Now that the Super Bowl has come and gone, it’s time for the real fun to begin.
With the NFL Combine upcoming later this month, I decided it was time to throw up my first mock draft of the year. I expect a lot of these picks to change up until the draft, so nothing's set in stone.
1. St. Louis Rams- Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
For Steve Spagnuolo, this is a dream come true. The Rams need talent at almost every position and Suh is this year’s most talented player. Unless Bradford or Clausen light it up at the combine, don’t expect the Rams to take a quarterback.
2. Detroit Lions- Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
Detroit has pieces on defense with Safety Louis Delmas and Linebacker DeAndre Levy, but they need someone to generate a pass rush. Gerald McCoy is the perfect fit for Detroit’s defense. McCoy is arguably the quickest DT in this year’s draft and the best pass rusher. I’ll throw it out now and say Gerald McCoy is my pick for Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2010.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
New Orleans just won the Super Bowl and if the Bucs want to contend for the NFC South Divison title anytime soon, they’ll need an impact player in the secondary. Berry is an elite athlete and an absolute ball hawk. He can cover like a corner, hit like a linebacker, and is dangerous with the ball in his hands.
4. Washington Redskins- Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Mike Shanahan stated that he couldn’t wait to work with Jason Campbell this offseason. In the NFL, when a new coach says that, it usually means they’re on their way out. If Bradford’s shoulder checks out to be fine, Shanahan will jump all over the idea of making Bradford the next John Elway.
5. Kansas City Chiefs- Russell Okung, LT, Oklahoma State
Jamaal Charles showed a lot of promise in the second half of this season even with a terrible offensive line, but the same couldn’t be said for Matt Cassel. With $63 million invested in Cassel, the Chiefs better find a way to protect him. Okung is the best pass blocker in the draft and would fit well in Kansas City’s offense.
6. Seattle Seahawks- Joe Haden, CB, Florida
Now this pick could cause some chaos in the NFL Mock Draft world, but let me explain myself. Pete Carroll is a defensive coach and if you’ve ever watched USC play, you know Pete loves to blitz his cornerbacks. In seven of the last 10 games this season, Seattle allowed opposing QBs to average 250 yards a game, which isn’t impressive at all. Haden is an athletic corner and would be a great fit with Pete Carroll.
7. Cleveland Browns- Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
The Cleveland Browns fan base wants Brady Quinn out, but I just don’t see that happening (this year, at least). The Browns play in the most physical division in the league and need a real thumper to lead their defense. McClain is by far the best linebacker in this year’s class.
8. Oakland Raiders- Anthony Davis, LT, Rutgers
When Oakland’s on the clock, you better be ready for anything. Al Davis made a major mistake by drafting Darrius Heyward–Bey last year over Michael Crabtree. With JaMarcus Russell and Darren McFadden playing like busts, Al Davis will finally make a good move by drafting Anthony Davis.
9. Buffalo Bills- Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
Trent Edwards, your time is up in Buffalo. The Bills need someone to be the face of the franchise, and let’s just hope he doesn’t still have the black eye though.
10. Denver Broncos (via Chicago)-Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
No surprise with this pick. It looks like Brandon Marshall has worn out his welcome in Denver, so the Broncos will need a true No. 1 receiver. Bryant reminds me a lot of Houston Texan Andre Johnson. Bryant has a rare combination of size, strength, and speed, which should help him excel in the future.
11. Jacksonville Jaguars- Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
I really hope the Jaguars organization was joking when they said they’d consider Tebow in the first round. The Jags totaled 12.5 sacks last year and that’s just not going to cut it. Morgan isn’t going to impress at the combine with a blazing 40 time, but he knows how to rush the passer.
12. Miami Dolphins- CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson
This was a tough decision for me to make. The Dolphins desperately need a pass rushing OLB, but at 12, the Dolphins would be making a dramatic reach to fill that need. Ricky Williams claims he’s retiring and Ronnie Brown is constantly on the IR. Spiller has electric speed and would be a great fit for the Wildcat.
13. San Francisco 49er’s- Bruce Campbell, LT, Maryland
San Fran. needs to improve their offensive line. Campbell is a very athletic LT that can run and pass block.
14. Seattle Seahawks (via Denver)- Bryan Bulaga, LT, Iowa
Bryan Bulaga completely dominated Derrick Morgan in the Orange Bowl this year. The Seahawks missed out on an LT in last year’s draft, so this year they’ll address that need.
15. New York Giants- Brian Price, DT, UCLA
The Giants' dominating defense didn’t look so dominant this year. Brian Price is a great talent at the DT position and would look good on New York’s D-line.
16. Tennessee Titans- Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida
The Titans once drafted “The Freak” and now they will take the second coming of Jevon Kearse. Carlos Dunlap has a world of potential, but there are a lot of question marks around his desire for the game and character issues. The Titans will either get a multi-pro bowler or bust with Dunlap.
17. San Francisco 49er’s (via Carolina)- Taylor Mays, S, USC
Taylor Mays looks the part of an elite prospect, but sometimes plays as a third round prospect. Mike Singletary is all about his defense and the combination of Patrick Willis and Taylor Mays is too good to pass up.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers- Dan Williams, NT, Tennessee
Casey Hampton is getting up there in age and may have possibly played his last game as a Steeler. As we all know, it all starts in the trenches and Pittsburgh would love the idea of Williams anchoring their D-line for the future.
19. Atlanta Falcons- Donovan Warren, CB, Michigan
Atlanta needs help at the CB and Donovan Warren could be the answer. Warren finished his junior season with 66 tackles and 4 ints.
20. Houston Texans- Earl Thomas, CB/S, Texas
The Texans are one ball hawking safety away from becoming the Saints of the 2010 season. Thomas is entering the combine as a cornerback, but could still end up playing safety in the future.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- Arrelious Benn, WR, Illinois
The Bengals once had the most feared passing attack in the NFL, but those days are long gone. Arrelious Benn is a great wide out that’s coming from an offense that underused him throughout his career. Benn will come in to the league with a hungry attitude to succeed.
22. New England Patriots- Brandon Graham, LB/DE, Michigan
The Patriots need some youth on their defense at almost every position. Graham had a monster Senior Bowl and could possibly serve New England as a LaMarr Woodley type player.
23. Green Bay Packers- Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas
Green Bay hit a homerun last year by drafting Clay Matthews. The Packers need help on the O-line, but with only Trent Williams left on the board and question marks around his ability to play LT in the league, the Packers will go with Kindle. Kindle and Matthews could wreak havoc for years in the NFC North.
24. Philadelphia Eagles- Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
Philly has all the weapons on offense, but none on defense. Sean Weatherspoon is a very emotional and vocal leader. Weatherspoon will become the next beloved defensive player in Philadelphia since Brian Dawkins.
25. Baltimore Ravens- Damian Williams, WR, USC
With Derrick Mason most likely gone, the Ravens will need to improve their WR corp. Williams and Mason are clones of each other: neither possess blazing speed, but have extraordinary quickness off the line of scrimmage.
26. Arizona Cardinals- Everson Griffen, DE, USC
The Cardinals could benefit from drafting a pass rusher of Griffen’s caliber. Griffen has a great motor and great quickness off the snap.
27. Dallas Cowboys- Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
The Cowboys love big offensive lineman and the Cowboys love Mike Iupati. Enough said.
28. San Diego Chargers- Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech
LT has played his last game in a Charger uniform. Filling the running back position is a big need for the Chargers to become a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Dwyer is a physical back with underrated speed and quickness.
29. New York Jets- Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU
Jerry Hughes has great blitzing ability and will become the player the Jets thought they were getting when they drafted Vernon Gholston. Hughes has played like a monster during his college career, and finished his senior season with 58 tackles, 11 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.
30. Minnesota Vikings- Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
The Vikings lost a heartbreaker in New Orleans and they also lost Cedric Griffin for the 2010 season. This creates a big hole for the Vikings’ secondary, which means Wilson to the Vikings. Wilson showed he had great leadership skills, unique versatility, and an aggressive nature on the field during the Senior Bowl.
31. Indianapolis Colts- Navorro Bowman, LB, Penn State
Bowman is a great fit for the Colts' cover 2 defense. Bowman has great size and speed to be an effective Weakside Linebacker in the NFL. Bowman finished his junior season with 93 tackles and three sacks.
32. New Orleans Saints- Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
The Super Bowl champs have a great opportunity to continue to build up a young defense with Pierre-Paul. The only knock I have on Pierre-Paul is that he was a one year wonder. He’s the perfect fit for this year’s “High Risk or High Reward” player.