2010 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 1-16
In the NFL calendar, the NFL Draft is perhaps my favorite event of the entire year.
Seeing those young guys step up, shake Commissioner Roger Goodell's hand, and hold up that jersey means so much to me both as a fan and as an aspiring sportswriter.
Seeing the new faces through camp, the season, and sometimes in the playoffs is perhaps one of the best things to follow throughout the season in my opinion.
This is my first serious mock draft, and I have split my slideshow in half to picks 1-16 and finally picks 17-32.
I would really love to get your input, because mock drafts are just as much opinion as they are about overall player talent. But please, if you leave a negative comment, try not to be too harsh—it's not like this is set in stone.
Without further delay, here is my 2010 NFL Mock Draft! Enjoy!
First Overall Pick: Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
I have the Rams taking Bradford for a couple of reasons.
1. Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy are good, but I don't think they're good enough to lift St. Louis from the bottom of the league.
2. Marc Bulger isn't exactly in the spring of his career, and if the Rams don't find a future franchise QB in this draft, they will regret it.
C'mon, it's either Sam Bradford, Marc Bulger (for a few games at most), or Keith Null. It's a no-brainer.
Last year's rookie quarterbacks (Mark Sanchez and Matthew Stafford) each increased their teams' win totals by at least two. You have to start somewhere.
Second Overall Pick: Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
With the Rams happily taking Bradford, this leaves the Lions with perhaps the two best defensive tackle prospects ever to grace the draft to choose from.
Suh or McCoy? Chocolate or vanilla? Power or speed? Really, you could pick a name out of a hat and still have a future Pro Bowler on your roster.
I think Suh is a better overall fit for the Lions, and I think Jim Schwartz will fall in love with his great attitude, strength, and ability. But hey, McCoy could go too. It's a tough call.
Third Overall Pick: Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma
The Bucs need help in a lot of places, and McCoy will really help out a subpar Tampa Bay defensive line.
McCoy is the perfect three-technique tackle to complement the Buccaneers' 4-3 scheme, and he will be a disruptive force to many opposing offenses for a long time.
His speed, strength, and high motor make him an intriguing and mouth-watering player.
McCoy was a two-time First Team All-American at Oklahoma, and he was most definitely the anchor of their line. He had 34 tackles, 15.5 TFLs, and six sacks last season. Enough said.
Fourth Overall Pick: Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame
Jimmy Clausen will go in the top five picks. With Mike Shanahan's new regime dawning in Washington, he will most likely want to draft a quarterback to begin cultivating for the future of "his" team.
Following the trend, most new coaches like taking QBs in the draft, specifically in the first round, because they like to have "their guy" to build a team around. Some examples include Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez, Raheem Morris and Josh Freeman, Jim Schwartz and Matthew Stafford, etc.
All of those players came in last year's draft alone, so you can see the importance that fresh quarterbacks have in the hearts of some new coaches.
Apart from the inconsistency of Jason Campbell, Clausen is a big-armed quarterback who has had valuable experience in a pro-style offense at Notre Dame over the course of his college career.
I think the Redskins can address their needs at OL in the second and later rounds.
Fifth Overall Pick: Eric Berry, Tennessee
The Chiefs need some help in their pass defense (22nd in the league in pass defense last season), and Eric Berry is probably the best secondary player in the entire draft.
Berry has drawn comparisons to arguably the best safety of the past decade, Ed Reed, so you can see the effect he has had on scouts and NFL personnel.
Berry had 83 tackles, two INTs, and seven passes defensed last season, and he appears to be one of the most NFL-ready safeties to come along in some time.
Berry has a great attitude and excellent character, something that GM Scott Pioli takes almost as seriously as overall skill.
"If you don't pick me, I'll pick you," says Berry, and you can't not like a competitive statement like that.
Sixth Overall Pick: Russell Okung, Oklahoma State
Russell Okung is the best tackle in the draft, and the Seahawks need a solid bookend with the retirement of perennial All-Pro left tackle Walter Jones.
Okung could go at No. 2, 4, or 5 as well, but if he's here, look for the Seahawks to draft him to fit their No. 1 need.
Okung is a big kid who put up 38 reps of 225 at the Combine and ran a 5.17 40-yard dash, pretty good numbers for a guy that is 6'5", 307 lbs.
Overall, Okung is a great tackle prospect who seems to have all of the necessary tools to succeed at the pro level.
Seventh Overall Pick: Joe Haden, Florida
The Browns need help in a lot of places. Secondary is one of the most glaring needs, and Joe Haden is the best cornerback in the draft.
Despite not having the greatest Combine, Haden still has a special place in the hearts of NFL scouts. The video of this kid is incredible, and he is one of the best coverage corners to come along in the draft for a while.
Although secondary players aren't usually drafted in the top 10, Haden is a special player. The Browns could go with Dez Bryant here as well, but I think they have enough young receivers for now, and they can always add some young pass catchers in the later rounds.
This is a very deep receiving class, so the Browns could get a reliable wideout in rounds two, three, or four (e.g. Eric Decker, Mike Williams, Jordan Shipley, Riley Cooper, etc.).
Haden is a lockdown player who could hold down the Browns secondary for years.
Eighth Overall Pick: Bruce Campbell. Maryland
Now, I know what you're all saying: "Why does he have Bruce Campbell at No. 8?" Well, I have him here for a few reasons.
First, the Raiders can't draft to save their lives. Second, the Raiders need help on the offensive line. Third, Campbell is 6'6", 314 lbs., had 34 reps in the bench press, and ran a 4.85 40-yard dash at the Combine.
In Al Davis' mind, I'm sure Campbell is already a first ballot Hall of Famer. Davis loves physical freaks, and Campbell was by far the fastest tackle at the Combine, something he takes very seriously.
If not Campbell, then the Raiders will surely overdraft on some other fast player.
Ninth Overall Pick: Rolando McClain, Alabama
Buffalo could use a great linebacker with last year's first rounder Aaron Maybin showing the early signs of a bust.
McClain is a rare player because he has so much football IQ and because of his great versatility. This Alabama LB can play inside or outside, and in the Bills' 3-4 scheme he could flow sideline to sideline or be a stout run stopper.
He would be a great complement to Paul Posluszny, and he would make the team's linebacking corps even more prolific. McClain was the defensive leader at Alabama, and in the NFL it seems that he has nowhere to go but up.
The Bills need O-line help, but last year's other first rounder, OG Eric Wood, will be back from injury, and there will be plenty of options across the line in the later rounds.
10th Overall Pick: Jason Pierre-Paul, USF
Jacksonville had the worst pass rush in the NFL last season, and Jason Pierre-Paul is the best DE in the draft and the perfect candidate to get the Jaguars' D-line out of the ashes.
A former juco player, Pierre-Paul had only one season at USF (last season) before declaring for the 2010 NFL Draft.
At 6'5", 270 lbs., Pierre-Paul looks the part, and he has the skills to match. He had 16.5 TFLs and 6.5 sacks last season, as well as a pick six. He has a great motor for a guy his size, and he has a relentless ability to get to quarterbacks.
Jacksonville is a great spot for him because he is the prototypical 4-3 end, and he would stay in his home state of Florida. He and the newly acquired Aaron Kampman would wreak havoc together. Who knows—maybe he'd also increase ticket sales.
11th Overall Pick: Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State
With Brandon Marshall perhaps departing in free agency, it's time for the Broncos to find a new No. 1 receiver to groom for the future as well as contribute immediately.
Frankly, the Broncos may be lucky just to have Bryant fall this low, but there aren't many other prospects the Broncos should take here besides a receiver.
Despite not playing much last year, Bryant still makes scouts salivate because of his size, speed, and great hands. Bryant has drawn comparisons to Andre Johnson, and I don't think there is a team in the league that wouldn't want an Andre Johnson clone on its roster.
Brandon Marshall and coach Josh McDaniels never really seemed to gel together, and I think McDaniels will be excited to have a great offensive weapon like Bryant on his team.
12th Overall Pick: Dan Williams, Tennessee
Miami won't take a receiver here, and Dez Bryant will never fall to No. 12 overall. GM Bill Parcells, a former defensive coach himself, wouldn't take a risk on a receiver this early.
So, look for the Dolphins to fill the need for a franchise nose tackle, the most important part of the 3-4 defense. Parcells will sleep well knowing that he didn't draft a potential offensive bust.
Dan Williams is the best nose tackle prospect available, with Terrence Cody falling out of that position amidst weight and other issues. Williams was a fantastic player at Tennessee last year, and he is the third best DT in what is perhaps the best defensive draft in recent memory.
Along with Phillip Merling and Kendall Langford, Williams would complete what is possibly the best, most up-and-coming defensive line in the NFL.
I've seen Sergio Kindle and Rolando McClain mocked here, but Kindle isn't worth taking this high, and McClain will most likely be off the board.
13th Overall Pick: Earl Thomas, Texas
The San Francisco 49ers were 21st in the league in pass defense last year, with poor production at safety being one of the chief reasons.
Next to Berry, Thomas is the best option at safety, and I have a safety because Joe Haden is gone and there isn't really a worthy CB to take 13th overall.
Mike Singletary will improve his defense before his offense, and Thomas would really help the struggling 49ers to get some INTs and PDs. Thomas would be a great weapon to use against Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston of the Cardinals, a team that produces a lot of passing yards.
Overall, Thomas had a great career at Texas, and he should prove to carry over his successes to the pro game.
14th Overall Pick: C.J. Spiller, Clemson
The Seahawks have the chance to have a fantastic first round. If they do secure Russell Okung at No. 6, then they can address their god-awful run game at No. 14 with C.J. Spiller.
Spiller is a home run-hitting super speed back who could get Seattle one huge step closer to the playoffs. Spiller is by far the best RB in the draft, and the Seahawks need some serious help after finishing 26th in the league in rushing offense.
Think of C.J. Spiller as a slightly better version of Dallas Cowboys back Felix Jones, who can run, catch, and be a touchdown-making machine.
Matt Hasselbeck isn't getting any younger, and the fact that Seattle has relied on his arm too much is hurting him and the team. He will thank the front office for drafting a guy that can take some of the load off him.
15th Overall Pick: Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech
With Pierre-Paul off the board, Derrick Morgan of Georgia Tech is the New York Giants' best bet for a solid DE.
You may be wondering why the Giants even need defensive ends when they have Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. Well, Umenyiora has been complaining about playing time quite a bit recently, and he may consider an early retirement or plead for a trade.
Together, Tuck and Umenyiora racked up a measly 13 sacks last season. One of those guys should have that many for one season alone.
In drafting a pass rusher, the Giants can shift their focus from worrying about Umenyiora to focusing on the future of that position, and Morgan is the best available end at this point.
On some people's boards, Morgan is ahead of Pierre-Paul as the top DE in the draft, so the Giants will still be getting a talented prospect.
16th Overall Pick: Everson Griffen, USC
With the Lions picking up Kyle Vanden Bosch in free agency, the Titans suddenly have a gaping hole at defensive end. Apart from this, Keith Bulluck is aging, and their top sacker last season, Jacob Ford, had only 5.5.
The Titans have a great deal of defensive needs, so secondary or maybe even linebacker could be addressed in this spot.
However, Griffen is next in line in terms of DEs, and he himself was probably the best defensive end in the Pac-10 lat year.
At the Combine, Griffen put up a 4.66 40-yard dash, so he could also fit in and play a hybrid LB/DE position.
In any event, the Titans need sacks, and Griffen is in the best position to fill that need.