NFL Mock Draft Volume 2: Pre Combine Top 20 Picks
I have only done the top 20 picks through sheer laziness, maybe mock draft Volume 3 will have all 32 picks?!
1. St.Louis Rams (QB Sam Bradford Oklahoma)
In my previous mock draft, I had the Rams taking Clausen and although I still believe they need to take a QB I think Sam Bradford is that QB. If he had declared last year he would be playing for the Lions and news is that there is no setback from surgery. I believe he will regain his place as a top-three prospect and the Rams will now be justified in taking him over Suh, McCoy, and Berry who are better prospects. However play positions aren't as important as QB.
2. Cleveland Browns (Via Trade) (DT Gerald McCoy)
The Lions receive a third round pick and move five spaces down the draft order. Cleveland's defense isn't good enough and drafting McCoy—who I believe is a better 3-4 DE than Suh could be—not only fills a need but also drafts a top three talent. McCoy allows the Browns to have one of the best front 3's of 3-4 defenses with McCoy, Rogers, and Corey Williams. I would also expect them to go after a pass rushing OLB in free agency, maybe Vernon Gholston who Mangini drafted while at the Jets.
3. Tampa Bay (DT Ndamukong Suh)
Tampa fans rejoice! Tampa secures the services of the top-rated prospect. Suh will be a long time coming replacement for Warren Sapp. Suh is better at stopping the run than McCoy and may not have the immediate impact of McCoy but will instead contribute pressure on the QB down the middle and will help fill up gaps and tackle running backs in the backfield.
4. Seattle Seahawks (Via Trade) (OT Russell Okung)
Seattle traded their sixth overall pick and a third round pick to move up to fourth to take Russell Okung before Kansas City can, with the ongoing retirement of Hof Walter Jones Okung can be plugged in at either tackle position and contribute to a stagnant offense that can't keep Hasselbeck healthy or can't establish the run game.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (WR Dez Bryant)
I've seen a lot of mock drafts that suggest that the Chiefs will take a tackle here but with Okung gone the Chiefs will both fill a need and help Matt Cassel. A true No. 1 wideout will help Cassel as now he will have Bryant, Bowe, and Chambers in the slot. Obviously this pick would change if they sign Vincent Jackson, Brandon Marshall, or any other good free agent WR.
6. Washington Redskins (Via Trade) (S Eric Berry)
The Redskins trade down two spaces and get another third round pick and are able to draft a top-three prospect. After the passing of Sean Taylor and the somewhat bust that is Laron Landry, what looked like a major strength has become a major weakness. Eric Berry will help shore up that weakness. In a division with McNabb, Manning, and Romo a good pass defense is needed and Berry has been compared to Ed Reed.
7. Detroit Lions (Via Trade) (CB Joe Haden)
With the Lions trading down from the second overall pick it allows them to gather more picks and fills more needs on their weak roster. CB is one of those needs. Joe Haden is the best CB in the draft and the Lions take him and the combination of Joe Haden and Louis Delmas suggests a good pass defense for years to come.
8. Oakland Raiders (S Taylor Mays)
The earliest mock drafts I saw had this pick in every one of them however as time has progressed this possibility has become less and less likely. However as we all know Al loves athletes and that is exactly what Mays is. In my opinion this is a good pick. Mays reminds me of a slightly less-skilled Troy Polamalu, with excellent speed and hard hitting. If he worked on positioning and not making mistakes in coverage he could be the pick of the draft.
9. Buffalo Bills (OT Bryan Bulaga)
Although Jimmy Clausen might be a more popular pick I think Buffalo will go with O-Line help. I think they will pursue QBs in free agency and trades (Vick? Kolb?) and will sort out their biggest weakness. Trent Williams played well in 2008 and in my opinion can still be a starter in the league and with a good pass blocking, run blocking LT to replace Jason Peters, the Bills' running game might get going again.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars (DE Carlos Dunlap)
So tempted to put Tebow here, but I resisted. I still think they will pick him up later in the draft, but they fill an immediate need with Dunlap. Believed to be a top-10 talent his rating has dropped because of character issues but I still believe after an impressive showing at the combine he will be back in the top 10 and will be bringing pressure on Peyton Manning for a few years.
11. New York Giants (Via Trade) (ILB Rolando McClain)
McClain, in my opinion, is a top-five talent but ILB don't go very high and aren't a big need for any team in the top 10. I believe Brandon Marshall will be out of Denver by the draft and with no Dez Bryant the Broncos will look to trade down. The Giants will jump ahead of the Dolphins to take McClain from beneath their noses and to replace Antonio Pierce.
12. Miami Dolphins (OLB Brandon Graham)
I would expect Brandon Graham's draft stock to continue to rise at the combine and he fills a need for the Dolphins, replacing Joey Porter. Graham is the best true pass rushing OLB in the draft and that is what the Dolphins need the most.
13. San Francisco 49ers (Trent Williams)
In my opinion, apart from their secondary, the biggest need for the 49ers is offensive line and Trent Williams helps them. Not only will be provide the running lanes for Frank Gore but he will protect Alex Smith's blindside for the next few years.
14. Seattle Seahawks (QB Jimmy Clausen)
My opinion of Clausen has dropped dramatically. In my opinion, he doesn't do anything spectacular but he has no major flaws. With Okung and possibly Walter Jones protecting him it seems like a good scenario for a rookie QB to be put in.
15. Atlanta Falcons (Via Trade) (DE Derrick Morgan)
One top flight talent always slips on draft day and this time it's Morgan's turn. He will line up opposite John Abraham and the two will provide lots of pressure on Drew Brees for the next few years. Even if it isn't Morgan I can guarantee the Falcons will draft a defensive player in the first round.
16. San Francisco 49ers (S Earl Thomas)
Capable of playing either S or CB Earl Thomas will help improve a weak secondary, Thomas is underrated and is actually closer to Berry than some people think he will make an immediate impact.
17. Tennessee Titans (DE Jason Pierre Paul)
I expect Pierre Paul to climb draft boards but not as much as some people who are predicting he gets taken third by Tampa Bay. The Titans get their replacement for Vanden Bosch and a player that resembles current Titan Jevon Kearse. A player that is quite raw but has potential and is an extremely gifted athlete.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers (DT Dan Williams)
The Steelers never take OT when they should. Instead I have them taking Casey Hampton's replacement. The prospect of three Williams playing DT for the Vikings ends here.
19. Denver Broncos (WR Brandon LaFell)
The Broncos become the Browns of 2010 trading down from 11th to 19th. Although Golden Tate is a better rated WR LaFell has the same physical build as Brandon Marshall and will replace him when he is traded.
20. Houston Texans (RB CJ Spiller)
The Texans get the best RB in the draft, and their offense becomes a lot less pass-focused. CJ Spiller has slightly less speed than Chris Johnson but still can have as much of an impact.
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