Now that a significant chunk of the free agent market has been settled, it's fairly safe to assume that most teams have at least some sense of who they'd like to target in April's upcoming NFL Draft.
While I could easily choose who I believe each team should draft, I would be grossly underestimating the arrogance and flat out ignorance of some of the NFL GM's and owners *cough Al Davis*. So if you disagree with who your team picks, rest assured, I probably do too.
1. St. Louis Rams - Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
While I'm sure there are fans in St. Louis that would love to see Ndamukong Suh's name here, I just can't see them taking another DT this early in the draft after snagging Chris Long a couple years ago.
Fan preferences aside, the NFL is a quarterback driven league, and the Rams can't win with Marc Bulger or Keith Null behind center. They need a franchise quarterback and Sam Bradford is exactly that.
If Bradford had come out last year, there's a good chance that he would've been drafted by the Lions with the first overall pick instead of Matthew Stafford. If he throws well on his personal pro day, then it's a done deal.
2. Detroit Lions - Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
Yet again, I guarantee that Lions fans will cry foul when Suh's name is not called on draft day. What they won't be taking into account is just how much money Detroit has already invested in their defensive line.
With the additions of DE Kyle Vanden Bosch and DT Corey Williams, the Lions have solidified their defensive front for the time being. It would be entirely irresponsible to invest another significant chunk of salary into a defensive lineman this year.
Instead, GM Martin Mayhew will do the smart thing, which is drafting the best offensive tackle on the board, Okung, to protect 2009's first overall pick, quarterback Matthew Stafford.
This pick should be a no-brainer, but this is the same Lions organization that passed up OT Michael Oher last year for TE Brandon Pettigrew. Nothing against Pettigrew, but that was a mistake. I have faith that they won't make the same mistake twice.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
Assuming the first two picks fall the way I've predicted, this will be a fairly easy decision for Tampa Bay. They need a DT, and they will have their pick of Gerald McCoy and Ndamukong Suh.
My gut instinct is that they will take Suh, who is the better overall player. If they do happen to get spooked by his injury history or smallish size though, McCoy would also be an excellent option and a good fit for their defense.
4. Washington Redskins - Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
Mike Shanahan is in charge now, and I have no doubt that he wants his own franchise quarterback. Jimmy Clausen is easily the second best quarterback in the draft, and unless Shanahan thinks Jason Campbell is still the man, Clausen will come off the board here.
Washington could also use an OT here, but unless Russell Okung manages to slip to them, I don't see them reaching for Bryan Bulaga or Bruce Campbell with Jimmy Clausen staring them in the face.
5. Kansas City Chiefs - Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
Kansas City needs an OT, there's no question about that. If Russell Okung is still on the board, then Scott Pioli will jump all over him. That being said, Okung won't be on the board and the next best OTs are too much of a reach at number five.
Eric Berry is being billed as the second coming of Ed Reed and is probably the best prospect in the draft behind Suh and McCoy. While safety is traditionally not a position drafted this high, it will be well worth it if Berry can even come close to living up to the hype.
6. Seattle Seahawks - Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
The Seahawks need to shore up their defensive line, and Gerald McCoy is a steal at the sixth pick of the draft. If Bradford or Clausen were still on the board I think this decision might be more difficult, but with both premier QB prospects off the board this is a slam dunk.
7. Cleveland Browns - Joe Haden, CB, Florida
I really think this is a stretch, as Haden had a pretty dismal showing at the combine. That being said, Cleveland's secondary is a joke, and Haden is still the best CB in the draft.
After dealing Brady Quinn and releasing Derek Anderson, the Browns are definitely in the QB market as well, and will likely be looking to trade up to grab Bradford or McCoy as well.
8. Oakland - Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
This pick is classic Al Davis. Campbell was an absolute beast at the combine. The problem is that he didn't exactly wow everybody while he was actually playing.
Like Darius Heyward-Bey before him, Bruce Campbell will be taken far too early by an easily excitable owner in Al Davis.
Other options here are safety Taylor Mays, who was the fastest player at the combine, and defensive end Jason Pierre Paul, who is a similarly freakish athlete. These positions are not as needed as OT, however, so the pick goes to Campbell.
9. Buffalo Bills - Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
The Bills, like the Lions, passed on Michael Oher despite a glaring hole at the left tackle position. They cannot afford to ignore the position two years in a row.
I could also see Oklahoma OT Trent Williams coming off the board here, but in my eyes Bulaga is the better prospect.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars - Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
The Jaguars were in dire need of a quality pass rusher, but they filled that need with the signing of free agent DE Aaron Kampman. This doesn't completely eliminate the possibility of drafting Jason Pierre-Paul or Derrick Morgan here, but it seems unlikely at this point.
Instead, the Jaguars will happily draft the best WR on the board in Dez Bryant. Yes, there are question marks since he missed most of the 2009 season, but Mike Sims-Walker can't do everything himself.
Bryant will provide QB David Garrard with another solid option in the passing game, which should help get Maurice Jones Drew some more room to maneuver.
11. Denver Broncos - Dan Williams, NT, Tennessee
Denver was awful against the run last year, and their lack of a solid nose tackle was part of the reason for that.
Dan Williams had a tremendous combine, and with Dez Bryant off the board, this should be a relatively easy decision, despite signing Jamal Williams last week, who is getting up there age wise.
12. Miami Dolphins - Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
The Dolpins got rid of Joey Porter and Jason Taylor is over the hill.
Long story short, Miami needs to improve their pass rush significantly. This means they have two options: draft the smarter, proven defensive end in Derrick Morgan or draft the unproven yet freakish athlete in Jason Pierre-Paul.
I believe Bill Parcels will make the more conservative, and ultimately smarter choice, and draft Derrick Morgan.
13. San Fransisco 49ers - Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
San Fransisco could really use a CB, but with Joe Haden off the board, they can afford to wait until Round Two or Three.
I could potentially see them drafting C.J. Spiller here, but it would be a crowded backfield with Frank Gore and Glen Coffee already in the mix.
The next logical decision is the fill the gap at right tackle with the next best offensive tackle on the board in Trent Williams.
14. Seattle Seahawks - C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
Seattle should really take Rutgers OT Anthony Davis with this pick. He is the last of the top tier offensive tackles available.
That being said, running back is a huge need for the Seahawks as well, and C.J. Spiller is the most explosive player on the board.
It's a toss up between Spiller and Davis, but Chris Johnson proved that blazing speed can get you pretty far, and Spiller has that in spades.
15. New York Giants - Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
The Giants have potential needs at DE and DT as well, but McClain is a good value pick here and, though not the greatest fit in their defense, has proven to be a smart and versatile defensive playmaker.
Alternatively, with Jason Pierre-Paul still on the board, and Osi Umenyora threatening retirement, the Giants could go that direction.
I feel that McClain is more of a sure thing, however, and Pierre-Paul is just too hit-or-miss.
16. Tennessee Titans - Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
The Titans got lost Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse to free agency. Defensive end is the Titans single biggest need.
Lucky for them, Jason Pierre-Paul is still available. Though he is very unproven and raw, his potential is enormous, and he would be a good value at 16.
17. San Fransisco 49ers - Taylor Mays, SS, USC
The word is that Mike Singletary likes Taylor Mays, the hard hitting, fast running safety out of USC. The problem with Mays is he can't cover anyone worth a damn.
If Singletary likes him though, maybe he can work with Mays and turn him into a more rounded defensive player.
With his freakish athleticism, Mays is not a bad value at 17, though there are probably better options out there.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers - Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
The Steelers have a pretty big need at the guard position, and Anthony Davis is far and away the best offensive lineman still on the board.
Pittsburgh is also in need of a solid CB, so Boise State's Kyle Wilson would be an option here as well, though he would be a bit of a stretch this early on.
19. Atlanta Falcons - Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
The Falcons had a measly 28 sacks in 2009, so an upgraded pass rush is a big need.
Graham is one of the more polished pass rushers available and would be difficult for Atlanta to pass up.
20. Houston Texans - Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
After losing Dunta Robinson, the Texans are in dire need of a number one CB.
Kyle Wilson was very impressive during the senior bowl, and is the best corner available.
The Texans will also look at Fresno State RB Ryan Matthews very closely, as the fumble prone Steve Slaton's leash is very short after last year.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Earl Thomas, FS, Texas
Marvin Lewis loves his USC players, but with Taylor Mays off the board he'll have a hard time passing up Earl Thomas.
Thomas is a more talented player than Mays anyways, so Bengals fans should consider this a blessing in disguise.
Adding Earl Thomas to an already talented secondary will make the Bengals defense a force to be reckoned with.
22. New England Patriots - Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
With Richard Seymour being shipped to the Raiders, the Patriots have a huge hole in their defensive line.
Jared Odrick performed well at the senior bowl and combine, and would be a perfect fit in Bill Belicheck's defense.
Jermaine Gresham is another option with this pick, as Belicheck has a history of drafting TE's in the first round.
23. Green Bay Packers - Charles Brown, OT, USC
The Packers showed their most glaring need last season, allowing Aaron Rodgers to get roughed up all season long by opposing pass rushers.
Charles Brown had a terrific combine, and though he's a bit of a reach this early, should be the obvious choice for Green Bay.
Finding a worthy successor to Charles Woodson at CB is a secondary need that could be filled here as well if the Packers feel they can find a quality OT in the next couple rounds.
24. Philadelphia Eagles - Everson Griffen, DE, USC
The Eagles could use an additional pass rusher to compliment Trent Cole, as Victor Abiamiri has been mostly a disappointment.
Griffen is a freakish athlete and, though he hasn't necessarily showed it in games, has the potential to be a dominant player at the professional level.
25. Baltimore Ravens- Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
Gresham is one of the top players available at this point in the draft, and is far and away the best TE prospect.
With Todd Heap on the decline, the Ravens are in need of a replacement. Gresham should be able to fill the role and then some, providing solid protection while offering a serviceable receiving option for Joe Flacco.
26. Arizona Cardinals - Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri
Weatherspoon had a tremendous showing in the senior bowl and proved that he can be an on field leader as well as a playmaker.
With Karlos Dansby gone, linebacker is a huge need for the Cardinals, and Weatherspoon is a great value this late in the first round.
27. Dallas Cowboys - Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
The Cowboys have a hole to fill at the guard position and Mike Iupati makes a whole lot of sense here.
He's a big, bruising, physical specimen that would fit perfectly into Dallas' defensive scheme.
Iupati is still a bit raw in pass protection, but he still provides plenty of value at the back end of round one.
28. San Diego Chargers - Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State
The Chargers do not have a single decent option at RB right now. They absolutely have to draft Ryan Matthews with this pick.
Matthews proved at the combine that he deserves to be drafted in the first round, and San Diego is the perfect fit for him.
29. New York Jets - Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
The Jets want Mark Sanchez to be successful. With that goal in mind they will draft Golden Tate if he's still on the board at this point.
Tate solidified his spot in the late first/early second round with his blazing fast 40 at the combine.
He will be a good compliment to Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery in the slot.
30. Minnesota Vikings - Brian Price, DT, UCLA
There are two needs the Vikings need to address in the draft: getting younger at the cornerback position and drafting an heir apparent to Pat Williams.
With Kyle Wilson off the board, any other CB would be a reach here, and Brian Price is a steal this late.
31. Indianapolis Colts -Maurkice Pouncey, G, Florida
The Colts have a prolific offense, but that doesn't change the fact that their offensive line could use an upgrade.
Pouncey is the top lineman still on the board and would fill a need of the Colts. Bill Polian would be happy to grab a good OL at the end of Round One.
32. New Orleans Saints - Sergio Kindle, ILB, Texas
The Saints don't need much, but with Scott Fujita gone, they'll need a replacement.
Sergio Kindle can play both the inside linebacker and defensive end position, and should be a serviceable replacement for Fujita.
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