Just like fantasy football and Madden videogames NFL mock drafts have almost no impact on actual NFL decision-making and as such are mostly pointless. But like fantasy football and Madden videogames mock drafts are fun, stupid addictive fun.
So with that I give you my mock draft 1.0. It will only include picks 1-24, no hypothetical trades and I settled all tie breakers just like the NFL, a multi-billion dollar business does, a coin flip.
1. St-Louis Rams- Ndamukong Suh, Senior, Nebraska
Many scouts claim Suh is the best defensive tackle prospect of all time. What makes Suh so impressive is his combination of pure herculean strength, incredible lateral agility, lightening fast foot quickness, unstoppable motor and the hip smoothness and explosion of a running back. Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo is probably already salivating.
Berry has the open field ball-hawking awareness of Ed Reed, the run stuffing tenacity and fearlessness of Bob Sanders, Ronnie Lott’s ability to lock down the slot and Ray Lewis’s leadership and attitude. Berry will become the immediate heart, soul and star of a Lions defense in desperate need of a change of attitude. Berry and last years second round pick Louis Delmas will form the best young safety duo in the league bar none.
3. Tampa Bay Bucs- Gerald McCoy, Junior, Oklahoma
McCoy has the fastest first step of any defensive tackle to enter the draft since Chicago Bears star Tommie Harris was drafted in 2004. The Bucs have one of one of the weakest defensive lines in the league and McCoy fits Head Coach Raheem Morris’s defensive scheme perfectly, so in essence this makes too much sense not to happen.
4. Washington Redskins- Sam Bradford, Junior, Oklahoma
Bradford, a member of the Cherokee nation may be a tad offended playing for a team known as the Redskins but he and Mike Shanahan were made for each other. Bradford’s laser sharp accuracy, ability to bootleg, decision making, underrated arm strength, intelligence, size and moxie are too perfect for Shanny’s west coast offense to pass up despite injury concerns.
5. Kansas City Chiefs- Rolando McClain, Junior, Alabama
A reach to be sure, but the kind of reach Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli is known for. The Chiefs lack a single viable inside linebacker, McClain would fix that and make the run defense at least respectable. McClain has elite size and instincts for the 3-4 inside linebacker position and while lacking elite speed he can go sideline to sideline. McClain would be the starter from day one and control the defense like Peyton Manning does the Colts offense.
6. Seattle Seahawks- Jimmy Clausen, Junior, Notre Dame
Pete Carroll needs to begin remaking the Seahawks offense and Clausen is the perfect starting point. Clausen is tough, smart, clutch, strong armed and accurate. While he floats his deep balls Carroll can coach that out of him. Current QB Matt Hasselbeck can play elderly mentor while Carroll coaches Clausen up from the bench for a year.
7. Cleveland Browns- Joe Haden, Junior, Florida
Mike Holmgren may want to go offense but the top of the draft is defense heavy. Haden has elite speed, hips, burst and instincts for the cornerback position. His tackling and awareness can be coached up by Eric Mangini, who has proven that he can develop a great secondary. Give Mangini Joe Haden to pair and develop with Eric Wright and the Browns secondary will befuddle and frustrate quarterbacks for years.
8. Oakland Raiders- Tim Tebow, Senior, Florida
A reach of massive proportions but Al Davis is currently inept beyond compare, and trying to figure out what crazy draft move he will make next is like trying to grab the moon, but I’ll try. JeMarcus Russell is a Ryan Leaf like bust at this point in his career and his disinterest is killing the Raiders hopes of the playoffs. Tebow would at least give the Raiders a positive attitude and an effective running game.
9. Buffalo Bills- Anthony Davis, Junior, Rutgers
The Bills offensive line was one of the worst in football last year and that was before first round pick Eric Wood suffered a leg injury that would make Joe Theisman wince. Davis is a first class athlete at left tackle, huge, nimble, long and violent. However he is inconsistent in effort, but he is far and away the most gifted left tackle prospect in this years draft.
10. Denver Broncos- Carlos Dunlap, Junior, Florida
The Broncos defense started off red hot under new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan but tailed off as the defensive line got tired and hurt. Carlos Dunlap is like a poor man’s Mario Williams; huge at 6’6 290 pounds but also fast and quick. Dunlap would play 3-4 end for the Broncos, and would thrive in a role similar to the role Justin Smith plays for with the 49ers. He would go higher if not for an ill-timed D.U.I. arrest at the end of his college career, this is as far as the slide goes though.
11. Jacksonville Jaguars- Derrick Morgan, Junior, Georgia Tech
Derrick Harvey isn’t that good and Quentin Grooves is a bust. Head Coach Jack Del Rio is also circling the drain, and need to make the playoffs to save his job. If that is going to happen the Jags have to do a better job attacking Peyton Manning, Vince Young and Matt Schaub. Morgan is the best pass rusher in the draft with a fantastic size/speed ratio and outstanding instincts. He is athletic enough to play outside linebacker in a 3-4, but would be best suited as a defensive end in a 4-3.
12. Miami Dolphins- Dez Bryant, Junior, Oklahoma State
The Dolphins are desperate for a top-flight wide receiver and prior to last season considered a strait up deal of Ronnie Brown for Braylon Edwards. Tedd Ginn is a player but not a stud and Chad Henne needs help. Dez Bryant may be the best pure deep ball threat to enter the draft since DeSean Jackson only he's taller, tougher and stronger than Jackson.
13. San Francisco 49ers- Earl Thomas, Junior, Texas
The 49ers are on the cusp, but their pass defense and offensive line aren’t up to par. Earl Thomas is a poor man’s Eric Berry, a little smaller, a little slower, etc, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a fantastic prospect in his own right. Thomas would supplant Michael Lewis at safety for the 49ers, who at this point is a linebacker masquerading as a safety.
14. Seattle Seahawks- Russell Okung, Senior, Oklahoma State
The ‘Hawk’s would be doing cartwheels if they got Okung, the most complete left tackle in the draft, to protect Jimmy Clausen. Okung does not possess elite size or athleticism nor is he an elite pass-blocker or run-blocker. However he is well above average in all of those categories and lacks any real weaknesses aside from his lack of bulk. With a little extra weight Okung would have Jimmy Clausen relaxed in the pocket for a decade.
15. New York Football Giants- C.J. Spiller, Senior, Clemson
Spiller seems like a luxury pick for the Giants on the surface, but he wouldn’t be. The Giants return game needs an upgrade and Eli Manning needs a security blanket in the passing game out of the backfield. Spiller would provide both in explosive fashion, giving the Giants a dangerous exciting all purpose running back the likes of which they haven’t seen since a young Tiki Barber.
16. Tennessee Titans- Taylor Mays, Senior, U.S.C.
Mays physical attributes are off the charts, he hasn’t even tested yet and he is already a combine legend. However Mays’ lacks the instincts in the passing game to translate well to the NFL as a safety. That doesn’t mean Mays wouldn’t be epic as a 4-3 weakside linebacker. Mays was always better in the box at U.S.C., put him there fulltime with the Titans and his production may be otherworldly.
17. San Francisco 49ers- Trent Williams, Senior, Oklahoma
William’s senior season as a left tackle was not very good. To put it plainly, he cannot play left tackle at the NFL level as he lacks the foot speed and first step burst to keep up with elite right ends. As a right tackle is another story, put him on the right side of the offensive line and watch him maul. Alex Smith needs the protection and Frank Gore needs the running lanes.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers- Dan Williams, Senior, Tennessee
The Steelers are a 3-4 team, and their all-pro nose tackle Casey Hampton is just about at the end of the road. If the Steelers want to continue to run a 3-4 after Hampton, which is soon, they need a replacement nose tackle. Dan Williams is big enough, strong enough and has a good enough understanding of leverage to be that guy.
19. Houston Texans-Brian Price, Junior, UCLA
Aside from Mario Williams the Texans draft history for defensive lineman is just awful. That doesn’t mean they should stop trying. Brian Price would give the Texans what they thought they had with Amobi Akoye. Price is extremely quick with the best understanding of leverage of any defensive tackle prospect in the draft. He would make the lives of Williams, Brian Cushing and DeMeco Ryans much, much easier.
20. Atlanta Falcons- Jason Pierre Paul, Junior, Southern Florida
Jamaal Anderson is a bust and John Abraham is getting old so injecting some skill and youth into the Falcons pass rush is a major need. Paul is a little raw in his technique against the run and could stand to add a few pounds but his instincts for rushing the quarterback and athleticism are both top notch if not elite.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- Jermaine Gresham, Senior, Oklahoma
A bit of a reach, but the Bengals were so desperate for a tight end last year they offered the Dallas Cowboys a first round pick for Martellus Bennett. Gresham is coming off a lost year due to a knee injury and may not be able to work out before the draft. That being said if doctors say he is fine Gresham has a chance to be a Kellen Winslow Jr. type threat without the attitude.
22. New England Patriots- Jonathan Dwyer, Junior, Georgia Tech
Dwyer reminds me of Michael Turner in his size and underrated speed. What makes him perfect for the Patriots is his ability to run effectively out of the spread formation, something the Patriot love to employ. Dwyer would also give Brady’s arm a rest and help the defense rest up by keeping the clock running. Dwyer would give the Patriots their most bruising north/south runner since Corey Dillion.
23. Green Bay Packers- Bryan Bulaga, Junior, Iowa
The Packers offense is a scoring machine but that will only last as long as they don’t get Aaron Rodgers killed with terrible pass protection. Enter Bulaga, who has the size, quickness and tenacity to challenge the Jared Allen’s of the world. Bulaga is a tough player to evaluate and scouts seem to be very split on him. Some have him a second rounder and others a lock as a top 10 pick. If he is available, the Packers need him to keep Aaron Rodgers upright.
24. Philadelphia Eagles- Brandon Spikes, Senior, Florida
Spikes would provide an immediate injection of physical and mental toughness to the Eagles defense, something they have sorely lacked since Brian Dawkins left. Take into account that the Eagle’s linebacking core was so thin they brought back Jeremiah Trotter and Spikes makes even more sense. With big bodies Broderick Bunkley and Mike Patterson in front of him, Spikes would become an immediate and perennial 100+ tackling machine.