This list is purely my opinion and what I think is going to happen in this years’ NFL draft. I looked at both what certain teams need and also just what I think certain teams will do in certain situations. And I haven’t taken into account any draft day trades that may or may not happen so this is what I think will happen if the picks stay where they are.
1. Saint Louis Rams
Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Honestly I believe that taking a quarterback here is a mistake for the Rams, only because I believe that Ndamukong Suh is the best player in the entire draft. However that is just my own personal opinion. From all the reports and articles that I’ve read over the past few weeks they lead me to believe that the Rams will instead go for the franchise quarterback in Bradford rather than just the best available player. Either way the Rams need a ton of help everywhere and if Bradford pans out as an actual franchise quarterback then this pick will be justified. They obviously first have to thoroughly check on Bradford’s shoulder before they invest number one overall pick money in him. Otherwise I believe Bradford is the best quarterback in this draft and if healthy and if the Rams can surround him with some more talent, he can have a very good, if not great career.
Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
The Lions need help everywhere and I’m sure the Lions will be tempted to grab the best Lineman in this years’ draft, Russell Okung, as their offensive line was horrendous last season and they have their own franchise quarterback to protect. However I believe Suh is the best overall player in the entire draft and he will help the Lions also horrendous defense tremendously. Suh has one of the best motors in this draft and will be a beast in the trenches. He made a living in the opposing teams’ backfield in college and I believe he will anchor the Lions defensive line for years to come. Furthermore I predict will be one of the best linemen in the league within his first 2-3 years.
Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
The Buccaneers need defensive help in the worst way and I can also see them drafting S Eric Berry from Tennessee, however I believe McCoy is the second best player in the draft right behind Suh. He is just as disruptive and has slightly quicker feet than even Suh. I myself can’t even name a defensive lineman on the Buccaneers roster after they traded the late Gaines Adams to the Bears last season. Just like Suh I believe McCoy will be able to vastly improve the Buccaneers defense at least if anything with stopping the run. More so McCoy fits perfectly into the Buccaneers defensive system which will help in his learning and development.
Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
This was a tough position to pick for me because I believe that Eric Berry is the third best player in the draft and I am a big believer in taking the best available player. I also believe Berry would greatly improve the Redskins defense by allowing Laron Landry to move back to his true safety spot. However with the retirement of Chris Samuels I do not see how the Redskins can pass up on the best offensive lineman in the draft. If Mike Shanahan wants to be able to develop Jason Cambell at all he’s going to have to keep him upright some of the time. Okung is the best tackle in the draft and should step in on day one as the starting left tackle in Washington.
Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
I make this pick solely based on Scott Pioli the former Patriots GM and current GM of the Chiefs. In his short tenure with the Chiefs Pioli has gone the Patriot way building in the draft and taking the best available player. Berry is to me the third best player in the draft and of course the Chiefs could use an offensive lineman among other things, however Berry can play any position in the secondary and timed faster at the combine than many expected for his size. He is the best defensive back in the draft and best player available in my opinion at this point and I just don’t see Pioli giving up the chance to have an Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu type player on his team.
Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
The Seahawks traded backup quarterback Seneca Wallace this week to the Cleveland Browns and now have nothing waiting in the wings if 30 something year old Matt Hasselbeck gets injured or just plays poorly. I’m actually a Hasselbeck fan however he has a tendency for getting injured and he isn’t getting any younger. The trade of Seneca Wallace shows me either that the Seahawks are going to trade for Brady Quinn, or select Clausen in the draft. Personally I am not a huge fan of Clausen and I do not think he is going to be this great quarterback that I hear people say he is going to be. I didn’t like Quinn coming out of college either and I think Clausen is basically a carbon copy of Quinn. I didn’t watch much of him in college but of what I did watch I didn’t see many good decisions or shining moments in my opinion. However unless the Seahawks pick up Quinn I believe they will select Clausen here with the sixth overall pick.
7. Cleveland Browns
Joe Haden, CB, Florida
I was tempted to pick Dez Bryant for this spot with the Browns. It would be a reach for them however they have absolutely nothing at wide receiver. I ultimately chose Haden based off of Mike Holmgren being in the front office. Holmgren is not going to take any player with baggage off the field and Bryant, although talented, has some baggage. So I believe the Browns will choose Haden here despite people ranking him lower due to his low 40 time at the combine. I believe he is still the best corner in the draft and will step in day one as the starter with the Browns. And with the AFC North quickly becoming a passing division with Flacco, Big Ben, and Carson Palmer, the Browns will need to keep adding to their improving yet still struggling defense.
Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
Now let first start off by saying I do not believe Pierre-Paul is the eighth best player or even a top 10 player. I am making this pick purely on the worst owner in the league, Al Davis. I know that’s a cheap shot and I’m not trying to be mean about it but the past years in the draft work against Davis. All you have to do is look at who had the best combine numbers and 40 time and you can predict who the Raiders will select in the draft. I was tempted to take Dez Bryant here and also OT Bruce Campbell. Bryant because he just seems like the Raider type, talented yet loads of baggage, and Campbell who exploded at the combine with great numbers. Personally I actually like Campbell and hope that the Raiders do not select him so that he can go somewhere else. Back to Pierre-Paul though, he had an awesome combine and is a pass rushing talent. I don’t dislike him I just do not think he is a top ten or even twenty player in this years’ draft. However that will not stop Al Davis from selecting him with the eighth overall pick.
Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
I was torn between Bulaga and Anthony Davis of Rutgers in this spot. The Bills are in desperate need of both offensive and defensive line help. I am more of a Davis fan then a Bulaga fan so I myself lean towards Davis personally, however I believe if both of them are on the board at this point the Bills will take Bulaga. He is a high character guy and is one of the top offensive linemen in the draft this year. You can also make a point of the Bills maybe taking Dan Williams out of Tennessee, however I believe offensive tackle is a more pressing need as Trent Edwards is injury prone and they need to protect him or any other quarterback they throw out there. And furthermore there is more value later in the draft at defensive tackle than offensive tackle. Either way the Bills should get good value at this pick.
Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
I really struggled with what I thought the Jaguars would do with this pick. I went back and forth between a couple of players. They could really use some more defensive help however if Anthony Davis is still available I think the Jaguars will pick him up. I believe that a defensive lineman here would be a reach. However I would not be surprised if they go with Derrick Morgan or Earl Thomas here. If not for the Jaguars selecting Reggie Nelson in the first round of last years’ draft I probably would have put Thomas here also. Although the Jaguars won’t be dissatisfied as Davis will be able to immediately compete for a starting spot and the best case scenario is the Jaguars being able to bump either Britten or Monroe down to guard and their offensive line will be immensely improved. I also thought about going Dez Bryant here with the release of Tory Holt however again I believe Davis has more value at this point in the draft.
11. Denver Broncos
Earl Thomas, S/CB, Texas
The Denver Broncos will be really happy to be here with both Earl Thomas and Rolando McClain from Alabama still sitting on the board. Personally I lean towards McClain and I’ve even heard him compared to Patrick Willis. However I believe Thomas is greater value here for the Broncos since he can platoon as both corner and safety. Thomas is versatile and athletic and can play pretty much anywhere in the secondary. And with both Dawkins and Champ Bailey getting older it would be a good investment for the Broncos to draft someone who can sit for a year or two behind two future hall of famers and still contribute a bit himself. Thomas would add much needed depth behind those two also as there isn’t much on the roster behind them.
12. Miami Dolphins
Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
Jared Odrick from Penn State is an option here also as he is the ultimate Parcells guy being tough and versatile. However Williams is an overall better talent and more value here at this pick. With Jason Ferguson being suspended for the first eight games of the upcoming season the Dolphins need that 3/4 nose tackle for their defense. Williams is a quick 320 plus defensive tackle perfect to play in that 3/4 system. This could also be another spot where Dez Bryant could go as the Dolphins do not have much at wide receiver. However I think Bryant’s baggage scares the Dolphins away. Also McClain is a nice possibility here, the second coming to Patrick Willis goes well with any defense however again I believe with the suspension of Ferguson, Williams is the better value for the Dolphins.
Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
Offensive line is a strong possibility for the 49ers here with the thirteenth pick however Odrick is great value and is a Singletary guy. Odrick has a great motor and can play anywhere on the defensive line. Under Singletary Odrick will be learning from a hall of fame defensive player. Paired with former first round pick Kentwan Balmer, Odrick will help solidify the defensive line and with Patrick Willis they will be able to help their aging secondary. The 49ers could possibly reach here with Taylor Mays the safety from USC, as they could use secondary help, however again that would be a reach this high in the draft. The 49ers took steps last season building their 3/4 defense with Balmer and with Odrick in the mix as the nose/defensive end their defense will keep on improving.
14. Seattle Seahawks
Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma State
I thought about going for C.J. Spiller from Clemson here as the Seahawks are in desperate need of pretty much everything. Also wide receiver could be a good pickup here if the Seahawks can look past Dez Bryant’s off the field issues. However I believe Trent Williams should be the pick here as he is the best offensive lineman left on the board and other than Walter Jones the Seahawks have no offensive line. Williams can step in and start on the right side while learning from Jones and ultimately replacing Jones when he retires. Pete Carroll needs to protect Matt Hasselbeck and more so they need to protect their other first round pick, Jimmy Clausen. With his stellar combine, Bruce Campbell could also sneak In to this pick and I am a Campbell fan myself, however I believe Williams is still higher on the NFL boards and will be the pick here for the Seahawks.
15. New York Giants
Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
This will be the easiest decision the Giants make all day. If McClain is still available the Giants will have the slip filled out and up to the podium before the commissioner is done saying they’re on the clock. McClain is a physical specimen and is going to be a beast in the NFL as I previously have stated in this article has been compared to Patrick Willis of the 49ers. With the release of Antonio Pierce the Giants are in great need of a linebacker and McClain will fit into that spot with ease and bring a motor and leadership. McClain is going to be in the talks for Rookie of the Year and will be one of the best linebackers in the league for years to come. If he falls this far the Giants will be ecstatic however by the time the draft roles around I bet the teams in the top ten will realize his immense talent and potential and he will be scooped up earlier. If not the Giants just got the leader of their defense for the next 10-15 years.
16. Tennessee Titans
Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
I really do not see the Titans taking any other player here with the sixteenth overall pick unless Odrick falls down to here. The Titans could use a lot of defensive help and Morgan will fill a big need. The Titans just lost Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse to free agency and have no depth on the defensive line. Morgan will fit into the Titans system perfectly and is one of the best pass rushers in this draft. I’ve seen a lot of people put Morgan earlier in the draft but that is just because I happen to not be as big a fan of his and a bigger fan of Odrick. I still believe that Morgan can be a solid player in this league and is good value here in the middle of the draft. Jeff Fisher will coach him up and Morgan will be a starter by week one of the NFL season. I could also see the Titans selecting Mike Iupati out of Idaho with this pick however defensive line is a bigger need I believe. Also with the release of Keith Bulluck I could see Sergio Kindle being picked as a replacement. However I just believe Jeff Fisher is the type of guy to build from the trenches out and Morgan is the best available at that position.
17. San Francisco 49ers
Taylor Mays, S, USC
In my opinion things have worked out perfectly for the 49ers in this draft so far. They already drafted Jared Odrick as their nose/defensive end in their 3/4 system, and now they have the last first round grade safety sitting on the board and in their laps. I’ve heard things about Mays falling down lower in the draft however I believe this is the spot for him. Mike Singletary is a defensive guy and will continue to add to his improving defense. Mays will step in day one as the starting safety and will be as hard hitting as any in the league. He may take a few chances in the secondary as a rookie but he’ll learn how to play the position and Patrick Willis will set him straight if he goes too over board. If anything the 49ers are getting a presence in the secondary who will put fear into receivers going over the middle and that’s exactly what Singletary wants. The 49ers could also use some offensive line help however there is only one left with even a slight first round grade so that would be a big reach at this spot in the draft. The 49ers will take Mays and Odrick and Singletary will be happy with his young hard hitting defense.
Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
Being a Steelers fan myself I was really torn with what to do with this pick. The Steelers are huge proponents of taking the best available player and with the signing of Ryan Clark along with their other free agent moves they are completely set up to do just that. I can see the Steelers going one of a few different ways here, Brian Price DT, Sergio Kindle LB, Mike Iupati G, Brandon Graham LB, or even Bruce Campbell OT. I wouldn’t be unhappy with any of these picks and neither would the Steelers. Keeping in mind all of this I go back to the year they drafted Timmons when they truly wanted Revis who is now the top corner in the league. The Jets jumped right in front of the Steelers and the rest is history, not that the Steelers are disappointed with Timmons, he is our starting middle linebacker now but a shutdown corner is tough to find. I may be higher on Wilson then most but I just believe this all goes towards the Steelers taking the cornerback from Boise State. Coming out of college I have heard him closely compared to Revis coming out and I don’t know if the Steelers can pass on that given the struggles of their secondary last season. However this is the Steelers and if they truly believe in their picks last year Burnett and Lewis, they will go with one of the other players I mentioned. Personally I’m Iupati fan but I could see any of these guys being good in black and gold.
19. Atlanta Falcons
Sergio Kindle, LB, Texas
I was tempted to take a wide receiver with this pick like Dez Bryant or even Golden Tate, however with both Kindle and Brandon Graham still on the board I believe the Falcons can’t afford to pass up this opportunity to strengthen their defense. They made a step in the right direction by signing Dunta Robinson in free agency however they need some more help on that side of the ball. They could also shock the world and take C.J. Spiller here to backup Michael Turner. Turner is 28 and coming close to that magical number 30 when running backs start to decline and Spiller could be a good change of pace and a good playmaker for the Falcons. However I believe the Falcons go defense with this pick and get good value with Kindle. He will be able to play any linebacker spot and will learn under veteran Mike Peterson for a couple years until he is ready to take the reins and replace Peterson.
20. Houston Texans
C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
The Texans get great value here at the twentieth pick in the draft. Spiller has top 15 talent and is the best running back in this draft. Being compared to Chris Johnson from the Titans, Spiller is a burner and a big play threat whenever he touches the ball. The Texans have a few other needs but are in the rare position in their history to take the best available player. Spiller will compete with last season holdover Arian Foster and will probably win. Either way the Texans will have a good one-two punch with Spiller and Foster to go along with Matt Schaub and the beast Andre Johnson. I could also see Mike Iupati coming off the board here as the Texans can always use offensive line help and Iupati is the best available lineman left on the board at this point. Also the Texans can reach a bit and go with Bruce Campbell out of Maryland who had a great combine and is climbing up draft boards. In the end if Spiller is still on the board I really don’t see how the Texans can pass up adding a playmaker of his caliber to they’re already rising offense.
Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
Dez Bryant was going to be my pick here as he is the best receiver on the board and has the baggage that the Bengals love to collect on their roster. However with the signing of Antonio Bryant this week I don’t believe the Bengals will go receiver with this pick anymore. They could also go defense and pick up either Brian Price or Brandon Graham here. And Mike Iupati would make any offensive line better. However the Bengals have absolutely nobody at the tight end position and Gresham is the only one with a first round grade. He will step in day one and will make an immediate impact on the Bengals offense. He will be able to go down the middle of the field causing matchup problems and will open it up on the outside for Bryant and Ochocinco. He isn’t as bad a blocker as I’ve heard from some people however he will have to get better at the next level. The Bengals passing offense struggled last season and with Gresham, Bryant and a healthy Carson Palmer, they will be greatly improved.
22. New England Patriots
Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
Almost every mock draft I’ve seen has the Patriots going with Brandon Graham out of Michigan with this pick. But all I can do is remember one year when the Patriots took an unknown lineman named Logan Mankins and that turned out pretty well for them. I don’t know I just have a feeling if Iupati is still on the board the Patriots will grab him. Protecting Tom Brady is priority number one in New England and Iupati is my favorite offensive lineman in this draft. He will be able to lean under veterans Stephen Neal, Matt Light and Logan Mankins and will be a main contributor as a rookie. I was actually a little tempted to go Dez Bryant with this pick as he is by all accounts the best available player left on the board and according to Randy Moss he won’t be there after this upcoming season. So the Patriots could us some more depth at receiver to sit and learn for a year and contribute a bit as a rookie. And as far as his baggage the Patriots deal with Randy Moss every day so I don’t think Bryant would be a problem there.
Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
It was well documented that the Green Bay Packers could not block anyone and could not keep Aaron Rodgers upright at all last season. In fact for the last half of the season the Packers offensive line did a pretty good job. However with Chad Clifton getting old and getting injured for most of last season, it is a good idea for the Packers to get some offensive line help for the future. Campbell is a bit of a project however he timed well in pretty much everything at the combine and has jumped up the boards. I think he is good value here with the Packers as he won’t have to step in right away, can learn under Clifton and will at least be given an opportunity to compete for a starting spot on that line. I really can’t see the Packers going anywhere else with this pick other than offensive line. They could possibly go for Patrick Robinson the corner out of Florida State as once Al Harris went down last season teams just threw away from Charles Woodson. Robinson would be able to learn from both Woodson and Harris and would be able to eventually step in as a starter. However I just really believe offensive line is where the Packers will go with this pick.
Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State
I will admit this is a bit of a reach even in my mind. However with the departure of Brian Westbrook I don’t know if the Eagles are convinced that McCoy is ready to just take the full time top spot. Matthews would be a good compliment to McCoy although he will need to get better in the passing game. Along the goal line Matthews was a beast and that is something the Eagles have been looking for, for years. And in my opinion, I believe given the opportunity, Matthews will take the starting spot from McCoy and will relegate him to third down and some passing situations. The Eagles are pretty set up at receiver so Dez Bryant is not going here however I could see them picking up Brandon Graham or Brian Price here. More so Graham than Price as the Eagles have a few first round picks on their defensive line and Graham would add some depth especially with Stewart Bradley coming off injury.
25. Baltimore Ravens
Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
The Ravens always do a great job in the draft and have set themselves up for this year with what they’ve done in free agency. The Ravens traded for Anquan Bolden and signed Derrick Mason and Donte’ Stallworth to contracts. This means that Dez Bryant will continue to fall down the draft board. The Ravens are pretty set at most positions except for cornerback. Their secondary was exposed at points last season and Robinson will be able to help that out. I’m not entirely sure that he would be able to step right in and start, however he will be able to learn under the veterans and will contribute as a rookie. And who knows if given the opportunity he could challenge Chris Carr for playing time. Either way the ravens will fill a need and add depth to a position that was torn apart during games last season.
Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan
Free agency has killed the Cardinals as they have already lost Antrelle Rolle and Karlos Dansby to the Dolphins and Giants respectively. I’ve heard rumors that Larry Foote could sign here but he is older and not as athletic as Graham at all. Graham will be able to step right in and contribute as a rookie. He fits into any scheme the Cardinals want to run defensively and is a tackling machine. He is really smart and instinctive and could compete for the Rookie of the Year award in my opinion. The Cardinals could also go with Brian Price here to pair with Darnell Dockett on the defensive line. Price would benefit from Dockett receiving constant double teams and would fit nicely in Arizona. I can also see Sean Weatherspoon from Missouri going here. Weatherspoon had a good combine and is also a smart athletic guy who tackles well.
27. Dallas Cowboys
Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
This is the flashy pick that Jerry Jones lives for. Bryant has slid all the way down to the end of the draft in my opinion because of his off the field troubles. Jerry Jones would love to scoop up the best receiver in the draft with the twenty-seventh overall pick. Jerry likes to believe that he’s the smartest guy in the room at all times and he will love taking Bryant when everyone else passed up on him. The reality is, Bryant is a great talent and will be a good receiver in this league. And everything I’m reading from Dallas leads me to believe Roy Williams will be gone after next season. Bryant will step in as the number three receiver ahead of Patrick Crayton and will then step up as the starter alongside Miles Austin when Williams leaves. This is a great value pick for the Cowboys and as long as Bryant keeps out of trouble he will be a player in this league for years. I could also see Jerry taking DT Terrance Cody to add to the Cowboys already good defense. However I don’t really see him passing up on a chance to take Bryant.
Jahvid Best, RB, California
The Chargers are really hoping that Ryan Matthews falls to them at this spot but in my opinion Matthews will be gone by now. The Chargers released future hall of famer L.T. and have tendered Darron Sproles however they need a running back. They do not believe Sproles is an every down back and it is a two back league now anyway. Best is a big talent and the best running back left on the board. If Matthews isn’t still here when the Chargers pick I believe Best is the player from them. Best will have to stay healthy and prove that there are no lingering effects from that scary concussion he sustained last season. The Charges could also go linebacker here and take Weatherspoon or maybe even Carlos Dunlap from Florida. However I believe Best is the back of the future for the Chargers regardless of what happens with Darron Sproles contract.
29. New York Jets
Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida
I believe the Jets will use Dunlap as a hybrid defensive end/linebacker in Rex Ryan’s 3/4 system. Although I can also see the Jets picking up a wide receiver such as Arrelious Benn from Illinois, or maybe Terrence Cody to have an insurance policy for Kris Jenkins as he is injury prone. I have also heard that maybe Everson Griffen from USC here with the Jets because of his measurables and his good combine workouts. However I believe Rex Ryan selects Dunlap based purely on presence. Ryan believes heavily on walking with a swagger and Dunlap has that. He has the opportunity to become a beast in the NFL if not for the questions of his work ethic. I believe Rex Ryan will be able to whip Dunlap into shape and get every ounce of effort out of him. Ryan has a knack of getting his team up for games and he will do the same with Dunlap.
Brian Price, DT, UCLA
This is the perfect fit for the Vikings and Brian Price. Price is a powerful, quick defensive lineman who fits perfectly into the Vikings system. Pat Williams and Kevin Williams are two of the best defensive tackles in the league and Price will be able to learn under them. Price can play both defensive end and defensive tackle and should be in the rotation from game one. Furthermore the Pat and Kevin are not getting any younger and the Vikings don’t have much depth behind them. Price has the golden opportunity to learn behind these two and whenever Pat retires to step right in as his replacement. I really can’t see the Vikings taking any other player here if Price is available. He just fills a need and his skill set fits the Vikings system perfectly. The only other players I can even see as a possibility are the two corners who are in between the first and second round, Kareem Jackson and Devin McCourty. With Winfield injured last season the Vikings secondary struggled and adding depth to that wouldn’t hurt anything. I just really can’t see any other pick other than Brian Price for the Vikings.
Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida
The Colts are in position to just sit back and pick the best available player at this point in the draft and Pouncey is the best center in the draft. Jeff Saturday is the starting center for the Colts however he is getting older and this is a good opportunity for Pouncey to sit for a couple years and learn the complicated system of the Colts. The Colts center needs to know exactly what Peyton Manning knows and always be on the same page as Manning. So it is a good fit to have Pouncey sit for a while and learn behind one of the best centers in the league and the one who knows Peyton inside and out. The Colts could conceivably pick one of the corners Jackson or McCourty here with the departure of Marlin Jackson to the Eagles. However I think the greater value here is Pouncey out of Florida.
Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
Obviously the Saints are in the best position than anyone in the draft because they have one thing no one else has from last season, a ring. So their reward is to be able to sit back and pick from what’s left from the board at this point in the draft. I believe Weatherspoon will be a great pick for the Saints here especially given the loss of Scott Fujita to the Browns. Weatherspoon had a good showing at the combine and is smart player who will be able to step in and contribute as a rookie. I can see the Saints also selecting Everson Griffin from USC here to replace another departure in Charles Grant. However at this point in the draft I believe Weatherspoon is the way to go. He has the opportunity to become the leader of the Saints defense especially with Darren Sharper’s contract up in the air and if anything his constant motor and tackling efficiency will help the Saints defense immensely.