For those of you who struggle with the Greek alphabet (Alpha-Delta is all I know without looking it up), then this is my fourth installment. I really wanted to wait until after the Senior Bowl, but I had an itch to write.
Couple of notes:
-This mock draft is one round.
-I'm putting eight picks per slide to save time.
-As always, constructive criticism is welcomed.
Once the declaration deadline and the Super Bowl have passed, I will post my next mock draft. It will be at least four rounds, but my goal is to do a complete mock draft with every pick. I will also post a Trades version and a Least Needed version.
(Only includes players who have declared for the draft by Jan. 11).
1.1 St. Louis Rams—Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
The Rams need a new face of the franchise. Marc Bulger has developed David Carr syndrome and will never be the QB he was projected to be. Cutting him this offseason would make sense, especially since it would actually save the team money. Clausen is my No. 1 QB, and he's the best QB prospect I've ever seen in my draft coverage. Granted, this is only my third year, so I don't know how much that means...
1.2 Detroit Lions—Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
The Lions showed last year that they value talent over need. While LT is a much bigger need, Suh is the best prospect in the class, so I don't know how the Lions will be able to pass on him.
1.3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
Sucks for the Bucs. Meaningless wins over Seattle and New Orleans have caused the Bucs to miss out on Suh. So they "settle" for Gerald McCoy, who is a slightly lesser prospect. Eric Berry and Russell Okung are also options here.
1.4 Washington Redskins—Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
If I've learned anything from studying the draft, it's that new regimes mean new quarterbacks. Mike Shanahan would qualify as a "new regime." Bradford is only a mid-first-round prospect, but the lack of a competitor outside of Jimmy Clausen will cause him to be overdrafted. The decision to come back and enter this draft rather than compete with Stafford, Sanchez, and Freeman is looking smart right now.
1.5 Kansas City Chiefs—Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma St.
There are three strategies for taking players in the draft. There's drafting for talent, need, or positional value. Pioli plays the third. So, while Eric Berry is a better prospect, LT is more important than safety, so that makes the pick Okung. Not Anthony Davis.
1.6 Seattle Seahawks—Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
How excited would Seahawks fans be if they got Eric Berry? Not only is he the best player available (BPA), but he fills a need. Don't rule out Seattle trading up from this spot with a team like Tampa if they fall in love with Sam Bradford (or Clausen if the Rams take Bradford). New regimes mean new quarterbacks, and there's no other first-round talent besides Clausen and Bradford. Having two first-round picks allows you the flexibility to do that. And to think, all it took to get two first-round picks was a nickel corner. The USC Bandit better send Josh Mishandles a gift basket.
1.7. Cleveland Browns—Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma St.
Cleveland needs a QB, a FS, a SS, a TE, a RLB, and an ILB. Unfortunately, unless Rolando McClain declares, there are no players at those positions left worthy of this pick. So, the Browns go with a lesser need with the best player left on the board. This pick, as I said, would be Rolando McClain if he declares. I also considered Joe Haden for this pick.
1.8 Oakland Raiders—Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
No QB worth taking here, so the Raiders reach for a borderline first-round OT with extreme athleticism and injury concerns. Sounds like a Raider to me. Carlos Dunlap and Taylor Mays were also considered. If Donovan Warren declared, expect him to get a look here as well.
1.9 Buffalo Bills—Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
Poor Buffalo. With Ryan Mallett and Jake Locker both likely staying in school, they are cursed to live another year with Trenitave Edwards and Ryan St. Patrick's.
1.10 Jacksonville Jaguars—Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
Order your Jaguar Tebow jerseys now. There are unconfirmed rumors that the other owners will eschew drafting Tim Tebow so the Jaguars can get him to save the franchise.
1.11 Denver Broncos (from Chicago)—Joe Haden, CB, Florida
This pick becomes a WR if Brandon Marshall walks. The Broncos really need a 3-4 DE, but unless Cameron Heyward declares or Suh/McCoy fall, they have no chance at getting one here. I know they took a CB last year, but you need two. Bailey is on his last legs, Andre Goodman isn't a No. 1 corner, and Alphonso Smith is better suited as a nickel/slot corner. I also considered Earl Thomas and Damian Williams here.
1.12 Miami Dolphins—Damian Williams, WR, USC
Big surprise that Damian Williams declared. I mean, the entire coaching staff at USC has left in the last two years. The Dolphins need a WR in the worst way. Davone Bess is a good slot guy, and Hartline has shown promise, but neither guy is a true No. 1 guy, and Ted Ginn is a bust.
1.13 San Franciso 49ers—Jerry Hughes, RLB, TCU
Funny how the 49ers get gifts. Hughes is a top-10 prospect, but falls a bit because of the lack of success of recent 3-4 RLB prospects. Manny Lawson has been an underachiever, and the Niners would love a legit guy across from Parys Haralson.
1.14 Seattle Seahawks (from Denver)—Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
See how nice it is to take advantage of other idiot GMs? Still no QB worth this pick, so Seattle goes for an heir/replacement for Walter Jones, who doesn't have much left in the tank.
1.15 New York Giants—Earl Thomas, S, Texas
No one should ever be starting a safety nicknamed "Can't Cover Brown." That's all I have to say.
1.16 Tennessee Titans—Brian Price, DT, UCLA
The Titans defense really missed Albert Haynesworth this year. Granted, so did the Redskins' defense. While Price isn't that caliber, he's still a top-15 prospect and fills a need.
1.17 San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina)—Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
With this pick, the 49ers are guaranteed, barring an injury, to not have to worry about taking an OT for another 10 years. Seriously. You would have Williams, a rookie, and Joe Staley, who's locked up until 2018. Takes care of that problem.
1.18 Pittsburgh Steelers—Taylor Mays, S, USC
Apparently the safeties not named Troy Polamalu on the Steelers suck because I was torn to shreds by Steelers fans on another site for not making this pick a safety. So, why not pair up the future HOFer with another USC safety? For the record, said Steeler fans wanted Earl Thomas. Sorry, guys, he's not available.
1.19 Atlanta Falcons—Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
The Falcons need an OLB in the worst way. Mike Peterson is nothing more than a stopgap. Coy Wire and Stephen Nicolas? Please.
1.20 Houston Texans—Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
The Texans are short one starter on that D-line. Williams would make a nice addition to Mario Williams, Amobi Okoye, and Antonio Smith.
1.21 Green Bay Packers—Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma St.
It was painfully obvious in the Cardinals' playoff game that the Packers need help in the secondary. Charles Woodson is a monster, but he can't do it alone, and there's no other worthy corners left on that team. What I've seen of Cox has been very impressive, and I'm excited to see him in the Senior Bowl.
1.22 Cincinnati Bengals—Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
If Carson Palmer had a legit TE...
1.23 New England Patriots—CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson
Maybe not the biggest need, but Belichik employs the BPA strategy, and Spiller is by far the best player available here.
1.24 Philadelphia Eagles—Greg Hardy, DE, Ole Miss
Trent Cole needs help. He's a Pro Bowler, but no one can be a pass rush by themselves, not even Julius Peppers or Jared Allen.
1.25 New York Jets—Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise St.
Lito Sheppard really blows. What happened to him? He was so good in Philly... Kyle Wilson was incredibly impressive this season. And to think, he's one of only three seniors on a Boise State team that went 14-0...
1.26 Baltimore Ravens—Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
The reigning Biletnikoff award winner would make a great replacement for Derrick Mason. He has a very similar game. Not overly fast, but has elite hands, elite toughness, and great route-running.
1.27 Arizona Cardinals—Charles Brown, OT, USC
A replacement for Mike Gandy, who is mercifully a free agent this offseason.
1.28 Dallas Cowboys—Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida
Keith Brooking has been an amazing find this season. He's also going to be 34 years old at the start of next season. With no OT worth taking here, a replacement for Brooking seems like a viable option.
1.29 Minnesota Vikings—Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, USF
This guy has come out of nowhere this year. This pick changes if the Vikings re-sign Ray Edwards, which I don't believe will happen. I'd love to mock the Vikings a QB here, but this is a really weak QB class after Clausen and Bradford.
1.30 San Diego Chargers—Brandon LaFell, WR, LSU
Falls under BPA. No OT or power RB worth the pick.
1.31 New Orleans Saints—Vince Oghobaase, DT, Duke
With so many players (Rolando McClain, Terrence Cody, Donovan Warren, Derrick Morgan) not declaring yet, Oghobaase sneaks back into the first round. The Saints need another DT alongside Sedrick Ellis.
1.32 Indianapolis Colts—Nate Allen, S, USF
Tim Jennings, Marlin Jackson, Antoine Bethea, Melvin Bullitt (RFA), Aaron Francisco, and TJ Rushing are all free agents this offseason. That leaves three corners and one safety on the roster. Depth is needed.