Each year, fans across the globe focus their attention on the upcoming NFL draft and all of college footballs former stars. After watching an ungodly amount of tape on most prospects coming out this year, I have finally released my first mock draft of 2010. Who is your team getting in this scenario?
1st Overall Pick - St Louis Rams – Sam Bradford – QB – Oklahoma
Most people see the Rams taking Suh at this spot, but that's something I have difficulty with. The Rams have passed on Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez in successive years, and are evidently paying the price for it. Unless the Rams look to make a play at Jake Locker in next year’s draft, they have to take Bradford.
3 Defensive lineman in 4 years, all in the top 10, is not the way to build a franchise long term, and although Suh is a phenominal player, he wont carry your team on his shoulders into the playoffs like a Quarterback can.
Sacrificing a season to get a Quarterback in 12 months is not something they can do to their fans in good conscience. Take Bradford and address your other needs in later rounds.
2nd Overall Pick – Detroit Lions – Russell Okung – Oklahoma State
I hear the screams of insanity as people curse my name for having the Lions pass up on Suh. After taking Stafford last year, the Lions still do not have the offensive line to protect their $78 million investment.
While Suh has an upside unmatched at the Defensive Tackle position since Warren Sapp, the position can be addressed later on. Offensive Tackles provide opportunities for Quarterbacks to change games, and in turn, win games. To give Stafford a chance to succeed, the Lions take the Ryan Clady clone and slot him in at LT for the next decade.
3rd Overall Pick – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Ndamukong Suh – Nebraska
Despite half the world’s media claiming that McCoy is a better gap rusher than Suh, this is not what I saw on tape. Although McCoy uses his speed well to shed blockers, Suh shows a strength and initial burst that will only be rivalled by Albert Haynesworth in the NFL.
Suh's constant need for double teams will open up the other three lineman more often in the Tampa-2 defense. Not only is he a human wrecking ball in the run game, his closing speed and ability to press the pocket make him a constant threat on passing downs. He is as close to a “Can’t miss prospect” as I have ever seen on defense.
4th Overall Pick – Washington Redskins – Jimmy Clausen – Notre Dame
If anyone but Mike and Kyle Shanahan would be coaching Clausen, I wouldn’t dream of having him higher than seventh overall, but the prospect of him running the offense Shanahan and Son operate with is filled with unbound potential.
Shanahan has helped several Quarterbacks over the course of his career become game changing passers. With the complete overhaul that comes with a regime change like the one that has taken place in Washington, a Quarterback is the place to start.
The Chiefs will be doing back flips on their way up to the desk to hand in the selection. They get a phenomenal athlete who, in the right system, could have an immediate impact.
Pairing Berry at Safety with Brandon Flowers at corner would give the Chiefs a base in their defensive backfield to build on. This, more than any other in the top five, is the pick that could be traded. A team could want to trade up to select McCoy, who is slipping in this mock.
6th Overall Pick – Seattle Seahawks – Gerald McCoy – Oklahoma
Despite Defensive Tackle not being one of their most glaring needs, the Seahawks jump at the opportunity to select someone who many experts have as the most talented player in the draft. Having McCoy inside of Lawrence Jackson will benefit both players greatly. Top-three talent at number six is a great way to start a new era in Seattle.
7th Overall Pick – Cleveland Browns – Joe Haden – Florida
Don’t read anything into his slow 40 time. Not one little bit. Watching him on tape, he is at least a 4.4 runner, and I think that’s the sort of speed he will show on his pro day. He shows great closing speed, good coverage skills and is tough enough to contribute in run defense as well. His best attribute is his ability to break on the ball when it’s in the air, stopping many big plays during his Florida career. Holmgren starts of his era in Cleveland by filling a colossal need on defense.
8th Overall Pick – Oakland Raiders – Trent Williams – Oklahoma
The Raiders do something here that they haven’t done in a while; make a safe pick. After many years of failed first round selections the Raiders take a player who can slot in at both Tackle positions and try and keep whichever poor excuse for a Quarterback the Raiders decide to start on his feet. Williams showed great pass blocking footwork while at Oklahoma, and although he blocked in a Shotgun based offense, he won’t have any issues transitioning into a Pro-Offense.
9th Overall Pick – Buffalo Bills – Anthony Davis – Rutgers
Despite some character concerns, Davis still has an abundance of potential, and I think the Bills will be wise enough to see it. He shows great feet in both the passing game and running game, where he will become a mauler in the cold Buffalo weather. Davis could join the club of young, elite Left Tackles in the AFC. (Joe Thomas, Ryan Clady, Jake Long and Michael Oher)
10th Overall Pick – Jacksonville Jaguars – Jason Pierre-Paul – South Florida
After Derrick Harvey had two unspectacular seasons in the NFL, both of Jacksonville’s season ticket holders might be apprehensive about taking another in-state project Defensive End. Even though this is a valid point, Pierre-Paul has so much potential it is scary. Giving him some mentoring from newly signed Aaron Kampman would be a great benefit, and he could then be placed into a rotation with Harvey. Furthermore, he can’t be worse than any of the “Pass-Rushers” the Jaguars had last year.
11th Overall Pick – Denver Broncos – Rolando McClain – Alabama
This pick changes in half a second if Brandon Marshall gets traded, but for the moment that is not the case. Despite McClain not running a 40 time yet, he has shown great leadership and instincts throughout his career, and will be great in either Inside Linebacker spot in the Broncos 3-4 defense. If Marshall is traded, this pick becomes Dez Bryant from Oklahoma State.
12th Overall Pick – Miami Dolphins – Dan Williams – Tennessee
Williams is probably the most ready of any Defensive Tackle in this draft to play the nose in a 3-4 defense. With an aging Jason Ferguson being suspended for the first eight games, this position jumped to the top of their needs list, with Williams all but guaranteed to be the pick if he is still on the board at this point. With his size and strength combined with his natural ability, he is sure to swallow up double teams to allow new signing Karlos Dansby the freedom to wreak havoc in opposing backfields for several years to come.
13th Overall Pick – San Francisco 49ers – C.J. Spiller – Clemson
The 49ers get a dynamic playmaker in the running, receiving and return game to go along with grinding back Frank Gore. Giving the 49ers a viable home run hitter, he adds a new dimension to a previously one dimensional running game. Getting 15-18 touches a game, including returns, will give Spiller enough chances to change games. He is valuable pick in the middle of the round with the first of their selections in this round.
14th Overall Pick – Seattle Seahawks – Mike Iupati – Idaho
Although Iupati has been projected as a Guard in the NFL, but I think he can move over to Left Tackle for the Seahawks. With this being there most glaring need, they take the mauler from Idaho and coach him up on some of his pass protection footwork. He may be more suited to the Right Tackle spot in the long term, but he has the skill set and size to be given the opportunity to make the Left Tackle spot his.
15th Overall Pick – New York Giants – Derrick Morgan – Georgia Tech
Despite them having bigger needs elsewhere, Morgan would be great value for the Giants here. He is a prototypical 4-3 End with good size and speed. The Giants aren’t as deep along the front four as people like to make out, and adding a quality three-down End to the rotation will benefit them in both the short and long term future of the defense.
16th Overall Pick – Tennessee Titans – Everson Griffen – USC
With the departure of Vanden Bosch, the Titans have a need at Defensive End, and the USC prospect is a great fit for what they run. A physical presence off the edge, he has the potential to be a better NFL Defensive End than he was at USC.
17th Overall Pick – San Francisco 49ers – Brian Bulaga – Iowa
Bulaga is the type of player that the 49ers need to take their offensive line to the next level. A physical presence with perfect measurable numbers to play Left Tackle, he could force Joe Staley to kick over to the Right Tackle spot to give the 49ers a young pair of bookend tackles to run behind and hopefully keep Alex Smith on his feet. The length of his arms is a slight concern, but let’s hope he has a better career at tackle than the last Iowa tackle who went to the Bay Area, Robert Gallery.
18th Overall Pick – Pittsburgh Steelers – Maurkice Pouncey - Florida
The Steelers get an immediate upgrade on the interior of their line with the talented Centre from Florida. Although he will not be starting at Centre this season, he will be able to play either guard position while learning the offense. He has the potential to be an All-Pro centre, and the Steelers new style of offense will do well to display his skills.
19th Overall Pick – Atlanta Falcons – Dez Bryant – Oklahoma State
Despite being the most physically gifted Wide-out to enter the draft since Calvin Johnson, I have Dez Bryant slipping to the Falcons. With the suspension that took place in his final year with the Cowboys, Bryant showed an immaturity and lack of team driven focus that NFL General Managers see as a huge risk.
When he lied to the NCAA investigators he placed himself ahead of his team, which undoubtedly cost Oklahoma State a victory or two last season.
The Falcons get a dynamic playmaker opposite Roddy White who can take the Falcons Offence into the elite. With two star receivers, a Hall of Fame Tight End and a home run threat by the name of Michael Turner in the backfield, Matt Ryan will have a lot of fun for the next few years.
Although they have bigger needs, the value here will be too much for them to pass on.
20th Overall Pick – Houston Texans – Kyle Wilson – Boise State
The Texans will be doing back flips if Kyle Wilson falls to them in the draft. He is a physical corner who has the potential to be a shut-down corner.
With Dunta Robinson becoming the most ridiculously paid Corner in the league with the Falcons, Wilson fills a need immediately, probably starting from the moment he puts pen to paper on his contract. He shows a great range motion and has elite fluidity in his movements, rarely making mistakes that give up big plays.
As stout as he is in the passing game, he has shown that he is strong enough to make contributions in run defense, with the ability to shed blockers and make a play. If he proves that he can also corner-blitz, he could be a complete player.
21st Overall Pick – Cincinnati Bengals – Earl Thomas – Texas
The Bengals need a ranging play-making safety to potentially go along with Chris Crocker. Although Crocker is a free safety, he does not make enough plays in the passing game. With Roy Williams signing a one year deal, it is evident that he is not the long term answer.
Thomas is an athletic defender who is a sure tackler. Grouping him with Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph would give the Bengals a trio of Ball-Hawking defensive backs to make every opposing Quarterback think twice before bombing it deep.
22nd Overall Pick – New England Patriots – Brandon Graham – Michigan
The Patriots pass over a Wide Receiver to improve a pass rush that was severely lacklustre last season. Graham spent more time in opposing teams’ backfields than anyone else in college football, and he will be dynamic whether he is asked to play 4-3 End or 3-4 Outside Linebacker.
He is a typical Bill Belicheck defender and will more than likely secure a starting spot by the time the season rolls around.
23rd Overall Pick – Green Bay Packers – Charles Brown – USC
For the first half of last season Aaron Rodgers was a tackling dummy for opposing defenses, and that is unlikely to improve with the line getting one year older. Taking Brown here is a reach, but he is the best Offensive Lineman left, and a player of his talents is unlikely to be around by the time they pick in the second round.
Sergio Kindle will be tough to pass on here to pair with Clay Matthews, but keeping the franchise Quarterback in one piece is their first priority.
24th Overall Pick – Philadelphia Eagles – Taylor Mays – USC
The Physical freak that is Taylor Mays will become the third Southern California product to be taken in the first round, going to a situation in Philly that would require him to start from day one.
Although his pass coverage statistics dropped off in 2009, his ability to defend the pass as well as stop the run would have some teams consider him as a Middle Linebacker in a Cover-two Defense, in a role similar to Brian Urlacher. The Eagles will keep him in the backfield, and utilize him in various different ways.
He is a great value pick here, and if he plays half as well as he works out, he will be a starter for the next decade, beginning with week one.
25th Overall Pick – Baltimore Ravens – Jermaine Gresham – Oklahoma
Gresham will be the fourth Sooner taken in the first round, and will become another toy for third year Quarterback Joe Flacco. With the acquisition of Anquan Boldin, the Ravens are in a better position going into 2010, but they still need a long term replacement for Todd Heap.
Gresham is a complete Tight-End who can hold his own when blocking and is also a threat between the numbers. The Ravens will be glad to get the top ranked player in the draft at a position of need.
26th Overall Pick – Arizona Cardinals – Jerry Hughes – TCU
If Hughes is still available at 26, take this pick to the bank. Hughes will become the only pass rushing threat that isn’t a five-technique Defensive tackle in a system that is gradually becoming a full time 3-4. Once he is fully coached into the system, expect 10-12 sacks a year from Hughes, a great athlete who will make a career in the opposing teams’ backfield.
27th Overall Pick – Dallas Cowboys – Arrelious Benn – Illinois
After the historically bad Roy Williams trade, the Cowboys are still left with a glaring need at Receiver. Benn will give them a good compliment to Miles Austin, and great value at the end of the first round.
A physical receiver who is also a dynamic playmaker, he will give the Cowboys another dimension, one that Williams has been unable to give. When watching tape on him, I get visions of Anquan Boldin, which is a great compliment to any receiver.
28th Overall Pick – San Diego Chargers – Terrence Cody – Alabama
Yes, I have Mt. Cody going in the first round.
With the departure of Jamal Williams, the Chargers have a giant hole in the middle of their 3-4. Although he is far from the most athletic defensive tackle in this draft, he will be eat enough space that Merriman and company can make plays in both the running and passing game. Draft him, play around him for eight years.
29th Overall Pick – New York Jets – Sergio Kindle – Texas
After the colossal bust named Vernon Gholston, the Jets still need a playmaker at Outside Linebacker with Bryan Thomas aging and Jamaal Westerman being limited in his physical capabilities.
Kindle has the physical attributes to do anything in Rex Ryan’s aggressive defense. Cutting Gholston and getting a steal at the 29th overall pick will benefit the Jets in many ways, the most important being on field production.
30th Overall Pick – Minnesota Vikings – Brian Price – UCLA
The Vikings having a defensive tackle start who isn’t named Williams? We all knew it would happen someday, but it will truly be an end of an era when the “Williams Wall” becomes the “Williams-Price Wall”.
It doesn’t have the same ring to it.
But what does have a good ring to it is Price’s on field play. He is a disruptive player who will benefit from every other player on that line needing double teams. Rotate him in with the Williams’ and reap the benefits short, and long, term.
31st Overall Pick – Indianapolis Colts – Jared Odrick – Penn State
Odrick has the physical toolset to either be an interior Defensive Tackle in a 4-3 or a 5-technique in a 3-4. The Cover-two the Colts play with requires disruptive, aggressive players along the front four, and that is exactly what Odrick brings to the table.
He will work well for the Colts as he has the ability to both take on multiple blockers, tying them up for other playmakers on the team, or shedding blocks to make plays himself, whichever the defensive play call requires. He could start day one for the Colts, and make one of the two interior line spots his own for years to come.
32nd Overall Pick – New Orleans Saints – Sean Weatherspoon – Missouri
After Scott Fujita signed with the Browns, this pick became a lot easier. Weatherspoon has the physical tools to cover a Tight End as well as play the run.
I have not seen enough of him to be sure he will be effective on Linebacker Blitzes, but from what I have seen he has good enough closing speed to bring down the Quarterback if he sheds the first block.
In Gregg Williams’ defense the Linebackers are utilized heavily in all aspects, so a physical talent like Weatherspoon is a perfect fit for what they run.