Now that the college football season is over, prospects are lining up to enter their name in the 2010 NFL Draft. The draft order is set, so now the discussion begins as to who will land where. The NFL Draft is still four months away, but that doesn't mean we can't look ahead. We make it easier for you with this edition of the NFL Mock Draft, looking at Round One from start to finish.
The St. Louis Rams have all sorts of problems on both sides of the ball. The aging Marc Bulger could have the Rams leaning towards a quarterback, but the stigma of doling out big dollars to top quarterbacks is starting to weigh on teams. Add a defensive-oriented head coach in Steve Spagnuolo and that will direct the Rams to Suh.
Putting Suh, arguably the best defensive player to enter the draft in the last five-plus years, alongside defensive end Chris Long and linebacker James Laurinaitis would make for a young, dynamic defensive core.
The Lions went offensive in 2009 with their selection of quarterback Matthew Stafford. This year, Detroit will address the defense by adding a notorious run-stuffer in Gerald McCoy. The Lions ranked 25th in the league this season against the run. After years of neglecting defense in the first round, Detriot will go for the big body in the middle.
The Saints are the standard bearer for offense in the NFC South. That means the Buccaneers will have to catch up. Young quarterback Josh Freeman needs protection, and the offensive line needs an anchor that will improve the league's 23rd ranked rushing attack in 2009.
Russell Okung is still a bit raw on the edges, but the Outland Trophy finalist is strong in pass protection (one sack allowed in 2009), which is something the Buccaneers very much need.
Despite years of skepticism about Jason Campbell's future, new Redskins head man Mike Shanahan said his quarterback will get one more year under center. Is it a financial move to avoid paying for a big QB contract in his first year? Potentially.
Nevertheless, going with Berry is the smart move here. Though slightly undersized for a prototypical safety, Berry makes up for it with speed, great hands and can lay the big hit. He is the best player on the board at this point and can instantly solidify a very shaky Redskins defensive backfield.
The Chiefs lost their guy in Okung two picks ago, which means they will have to slightly reach to grab Campbell. Kansas City finished 25th in passing offense in 2009 and need an anchor on the line to protect Matt Cassel. The Chiefs' QB was sent running for his dinner too often this season. Campbell will give Cassel the protection he needs.
New Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll knows Clausen well. Carroll watched plenty of film on Clausen during three years of preparing for him on the USC sideline. Now Carroll will snatch Clausen and make him the heir apparent to the aging Matt Hasselbeck. He has just enough left in the tank to let Clausen watch from the sidelines for at least one season.
To put it bluntly, the Browns were simply terrible in pass coverage in 2009. They finished 29th against the pass, allowed 244 yards per game and made 10 interceptions.
Haden, a Thorpe Award finalist, can step in and alleviate those problems on day one. He boasts high-end speed and will not shy away from stepping up to make a tackle.
There is always an air of confusion when it comes to Al Davis and the draft. That should pause for at least one season when the Raiders select the best pure pass rusher in the draft. Too much money has been invested at the quarterback and wide receiver positions over the last two drafts, which is why the Raiders will go for the impact player on defense.
The Bills finished 30th in passing in 2009 and will not bring balance to their offense until they have a big body to protect quarterback Trent Edwards. Williams will improve a 16th-ranked rushing attack and keep pass pass rushers off Edwards' back.
McClain is a dynamic athlete who showed the ability to fly to the ball. He was the captain of Alabama's stout defense and will bring his ball-hawking abilities to a Denver defense that ranked 26th against the run in 2009.
Price, a first team All-American and Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, is a big body who can clog the middle but also get after the quarterback. The Jaguars have depth at the position, but much of it is unproven talent. They are still looking for that piece to put alongside veteran John Henderson. Price will be that piece.
The Dolphins took the wide receiver route with Ted Ginn in 2007 and so far the results have been mixed at best. Ginn is more of a return threat in a number one receiver's body. Bryant is that legitimate number one target. Quarterback Chad Henne needs a receiver who can go get the football, and Bryant did that better than anyone prior to his NCAA suspension.
Injury concerns to former first round pick Joe Staley opens the door for the 49ers to solidify the offensive line. At 6-6, 325 pounds, Davis has the size but also showed the quickness to handle edge pass rushers. His selection may come with a temporary move to the right side, but the 49ers would have two studs to bookend their offensive line.
The Seahawks continue the reconstruction of their future offense with the most dynamic back in the draft. Spiller did it all for Clemson. He handled the ball, caught passes out of the backfield and returned kicks. He will have an instant impact on a team that finished 26th in rushing yards in 2009.
The Giants' defense was completely exposed in the second half of the season. Antonio Pierce faces significant health questions this offseason, and the rest of the Giants linebacking corps is skeptical at best. Spikes could step right in and provide the athleticism and energy the Giants defense often lacked in 2009.
The 49ers add another big piece to the offensive line puzzle in Iupati. The Outland Trophy finalist did not allow a sack in 2009 and would give the 49ers greater flexibility to run up the middle. Lack of depth and value on the current roster means Iupati could likely start from day one.
Dunlap will bring speed and aggressiveness off the edge in a division where getting after the quarterback is pivotal to success. The Titans can stick Dunlap opposite Kyle Vanden Bosch to solidify the defensive line.
Brown is a bit on the lean side for NFL tackles, but weight can always be added to a player who shows good athleticism and is strong in pass protection. He needs work in the running game and is a bit of a project.
However, his work in the passing game will be important considering the Steelers' troubles in keeping Ben Roethlisberger upright.
The Falcons ranked 28th against the pass in 2009 and need a cornerback who can shut down one side of the field, especially if they hope to slow down the Saints in the near future. Robinson is one of the fastest defenders in the draft with physicality and quickness to hang with the best receivers.
Griffen is a raw prospect, but has athleticism and knows how to get after the quarterback. The Texans have inexperience and little production opposite Mario Williams which allows teams to double-up on him. Griffen would lessen that effect with his ability to get push off the line with a quick first step.
If the Bengals have any hope of rediscovering a passing attack that vanished in the second half of 2009, they need a big, rangy target opposite Chad Ochocinco. The tragic passing of Chris Henry opened up glaring depth issues. The Bengals would close that hole with a 6'2" receiver with good speed and soft hands.
The Patriots prefer intelligent, versatile linebackers and that is what they will get in Bowman. The Penn State linebacker can rush the quarterback and has the athleticism to drop into coverage. He can make plays on the ball and jump routes to create turnovers. Off the field incidents may raise a flag with the Patriots, but he is a value player and that fits the Patriots' mantra.
The Packers two current tackles, Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, will be in their 11th seasons in 2010. The tread is starting to wear on the tires, and the Packers need a shot of youth on the line. Bulaga has work to do in run blocking, but is strong in pass protection and can peel off rushers to aid on the interior.
The Eagles' secondary was shredded by the deep ball down the stretch. They need a rangy center fielder who can cover lots of ground. Philadelphia will get that in Mays. The USC product is not a great playmaker and has shortcomings getting after the ball, but his speed and hard hitting will make quarterbacks and wide receivers think twice about going deep.
Questions surround Gresham after returning to school and missing the year due to knee surgery. Nonetheless, Gresham is a big athletic target who can command the middle of the field for quarterback Joe Flacco. At 6'6", he will be a target in the red zone for Flacco, something the Ravens need to back up their running game.
The Jets have few issues with the defensive side of the ball, offensive line or running game. Therefore, they will continue to add weapons for quarterback Mark Sanchez.
At 6'3" with speed and very good hands, LaFell will be another big target for Sanchez opposite Braylon Edwards. Edwards' history of the drops could ultimately make LaFell the number one guy in the near future.
Hernandez is not the fastest or most athletic tight end, but he is a big target with reliable hands and can run through contact. He keeps his routes simple and can move the chains. Given their wide receiving corps and stable of running backs, Hernandez will be a great compliment to the Cardinals offense.
The Crimson Tide's big (and that's an understatement), athletic tackle will clog the hole for the Dallas defensive line. Cody's big frame up the middle would draw a lot of attention and allow the Dallas defensive ends do what they do best—rush the quarterback from the edges.
Sergio Kindle provides the kind of versatility that is a perfect fit for the Chargers' base 3-4 defense. He shared time as a linebacker and defensive end at Texas, but his athleticism, strong tackling ability, and nose for the ball is better suited in the linebacker spot.
Pierre-Paul is a big-bodied defensive end who has the size and strength to work his way around the biggest offensive tackles. At 6'6", he is a force off the edge and gets after the quarterback. He bounced around in his collegiate career. As a result, he is somewhat of a project, but provides good value at the end of the first round.
The Vikings' defensive line is the best in the business. Now mMinnesota can add a weapon to the linebacking corps with Weatherspoon. He is somewhat undersized at 6'2", 245 pounds, but his quickness, sure tackling and ability to drop into coverage provides attractive versatility.
The Colts will really pick their spots in this upcoming draft, but there is nothing hasty in reaching a bit for one of the best cover corners in the draft. At six feet, Cox is one of the tallest defensive backs in the draft and plays the ball well. He is a bit of a project, but could grow into a shut down corner.