The combine is fast approaching, and pundits everywhere are ready to over-analyze and overvalue combine numbers. Keep in mind, they will not be alone, as you can be sure the combine will drop round one picks to round two, round two picks to round four and round four picks to undrafted. Players like Darius Heyward-Bey and Vernon Gholson will climb up draft board and be absolute flops.
So lets get a mock draft in, before the madness begins. The top 15 picks will be accompanied with an explanation
So without further ado...here is Mock Draft version 1.0, from a slightly different point of view.
A lot of options here for the Rams. They can also go with either of the two best players available in the draft, the monstrous Ndamukong Suh or the talented Eric Berry.
The Rams must ignore calls for these players because a rebuilding franchise for sale needs a franchise player for any prospective owner to be able to sell.
A rebuilding franchise needs a franchise quarterback.
Bradford gets the nod over Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen here as a sheer guess. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying and likely projected Aaron Rodgers over Alex Smith in 2005 or Matt Sanchez over Matthew Stafford this time last year.
Anyone who dared to watch a Lions game over the last two seasons was witness to a plethora of woes.
The offense was terrible, the defense was worse.
Really, the Lions would not be amiss to draft more offense here.
That being said, the best players in this draft are not offensive. They are defensive tackles, a safety, and a corner.
Lucky for the Lions, their biggest need is rush defense, and the best player in this draft happens to be 305 pounds of run stopping goodness.
Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh edges out Eric Berry, Joe Haden, and fellow DT Gerald McCoy for the No. 2 slot in this draft.
Look out for OT Russell Okung to make some noise as a possible "surprise" pick.
A tough pick at the No. 3 slot, as the Buccaneers have the fortune to choose from a still strong list of outstanding options for their defense.
While super safety Eric Berry is a definite temptation here, the Bucs will ultimately fortify the position that defined their defense of the late '90s and early '00s.
In Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay may finally have their next Warren Sapp.
Other possibilities include the prototype 4-3 DE Derrick Morgan and WR Dez Bryant, if they decide to play for some offense in the draft.
With Jimmy Clausen on the board, it will be tempting for new coach Mike Shanahan to start his tenure as the Redskins' head coach with a brand new, pro-ready quarterback.
However, what all AFC West observers remember more than anything about Shanahan's Broncos was the strong running game year in, year out—regardless of who was taking the handoffs.
This required an offensive line with few equals. Enter Oklahoma State's Russell Okung.
Along with Clausen, expect to hear about another OT, Anthony Davis, as well as more about Derrick Morgan.
Simply a BPA decision here, but this Chiefs team has plenty of needs.
Eric Berry looks like the second coming of Ed Reed, winning the Tatum Award the past two years as the nation's top defensive back.
Other potential picks here include Anthony Davis, Dez Bryant, and Derrick Morgan.
Pete Carroll is not used to having a less-than-top QB at his disposal.
No offense to Matt Hasselbeck, but his days are past him, and Seneca Wallace is seeing more and more playing time each year due to injuries.
Carroll may choose to shore up that defense by selecting Derrick Morgan but, in a QB-lacking NFC West, the selection of a franchise QB is too much to pass up.
Also possible are Clemson's RB, CJ Spiller, and Rutger's OT, Anthony Davis.
At this point, most could consider this an extreme reach.
However, the same was said about Vernon Gholston two years ago. While Gholston has not worked out very well for the Jets, the opportunity for workout wonders is still ever-present in the NFL draft.
Graham was underrated for much of the season while playing on the inferior Michigan defense, but he has the skill set to make a splash in the same was LaMarr Woodley has for Pittsburgh.
Graham is a natural LB but, for these 3-4 teams, a pass rusher is a pass rusher, so you can expect Graham to play on and off the line.
More conventionally, you can expect Cleveland to go for Joe Haden, Anthony Davis, or Sergio Kindle.
This is a pure Al Davis projection. Pierre-Paul had a complete lack of production in the FBS with only one year to show, but he is a physical specimen and a half. Pierre-Paul is an Al Davis player.
As is the custom with Al Davis, however, all projections are wrong. So here are a bunch of other possible names:
OT Anthony Davis
DE Derrick Morgan
DE Carlos Dunlap
OT Bruce Campbell
CB Joe Haden
DT Terrence Cody
WR Darius Heyward-Bey
DE Howie Long
OT Art Shell
Need I continue?
When the Bills traded Jason Peters to the Eagles last year, it left them with a major hole on the blind side. Unable to draft or sign a suitable replacement, whichever quarterback dropped back in the pocket was given minimal time to get to work.
With an increase in protection, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Trent Edwards, or someone else will be given the opportunity to let plays develop.
Anthony Davis is one of many OTs in this draft whose position cannot possibly be projected.
Alongside Bruce Campbell, Trent Williams, and Bryan Bulaga, none of these four can be adequately ranked behind Okung.
Davis is a massive object with fantastic footwork for his size, but played slightly less known in New Jersey and has shown inconsistent tendencies.
Other than OT, possible picks include DE Derrick Morgan and WR Dez Bryant.
The Jags tried the 3-4 fad in 2009 and, without giving it much of a chance, they are returning to the more cost effective 4-3 defense.
With this reversion, the Jaguars are in a perfect spot to draft a prototypical 4-3 end who falls to No. 10 not due to talent, but due to a lack of versatility in a 3-4 scheme.
Derrick Morgan registered 12 sacks in 2009, earning ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors. He decided to forgo his senior season for gr$$ner pastures.
Also possible in this spot are ILB Rolando McClain, WR Dez Bryant, and DE Carlos Dunlap.
Brandon Marshall is not in Denver next year and any reports to the contrary, I do not buy.
In Dez Bryant, the Broncos will temporarily absorb a downgrade, but expect that to change quickly as Bryant has the physical tools to become an elite WR in the mold of Larry Fitzgerald.
Other possibilities include Joe Haden, Rolando McClain, and Carlos Dunlap.
If Jacksonville passes on favorite son Carlos Dunlap, the Dolphins will have the opportunity to win some fans in their home state by drafting the Gator.
Forget his questionable DUI arrest—Dunlap may be the top DE talent in the draft.
Thankfully, much like Derrick Morgan with Jacksonville, Miami runs a 4-3 defense suitable for the pass-rushing Dunlap.
Also possible are McClain, DT Dan WIlliams, and S Earl Thomas.
Back-to-back Gators are selected, as the most volatile top talent in this year's draft finds a home on the West Coast.
No one should be surprised to see Haden drafted in the top five picks but, due to team needs and a very talented draft class, Haden finds his way to the 13th pick.
While the 49ers may have bigger needs, this pick reaches a point where the talent is too much to pass up.
Also possible are DE Everson Griffin, S Earl Thomas, and 3-4 pass rusher Sergio Kindle.
After shoring up one piece of the backfield with the sixth pick, the Seahawks use their second pick (acquired from Denver) to revamp the offense completely.
CJ Spiller is far and away the top RB in the draft, and the Seahawks have not had production from the position since Shaun Alexander won the MVP.
Also possible are Everson Griffin, any of the previously mentioned OTs, and Pete Carroll's USC grad, S Taylor Mays.
Much like Joe Haden, Rolando McClain is a case of team needs outweighing BPA needs.
While he is not a top five talent, McClain is fantastic value at 15 for the defensively deficient G-Men.
With McClain, the Giants get themselves a natural leader and someone whom teams have to game-plan away from. Think Patrick Willis.
Also possible are Griffin, Dan Williams, and 3-4 pass rusher Brandon Graham.