The first thing you’ll notice about this mock draft is a few big names missing from the first round including NFL Combine studs Bruce Campbell, Jahvid Best, and Arrelious Benn.
I think the questions surrounding Best’s long-term health and durability will drop him into the second round, while Benn is simply a victim of need and a poor NFL Combine. Past Denver at No. 10, the Titans (No. 17), and Jets (No. 29), not many could use the services of a first-round receiver. Campbell simply doesn’t transfer to the game. His workouts are out of this world, but again, he doesn’t transfer that onto the field.
Also, this will be a very defensive-minded first round. A lot of defensive talent in 2010. Also, a lot of Big 12 talent (I have six in the top 11 picks). Risers for 1.0 were Everson Griffen (DE, USC), Trent Williams (OT, Oklahoma), Kyle Wilson (CB, Boise State), Jerry Hughes (OLB, TCU), and, not in the first round, Kareem Jackson (DE, Alabama). Fallers have been Carols Dunlap (DE, Florida) and Anthony Davis (OT, Rutgers).
So enjoy the first round.
2010 NFL Mock Draft Round One
1. St. Louis Rams – Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma – With a lot of first-round money still tied up in defensive linemen Chris Long (No. 2 in 2008) and Adam Carriker (No. 13 in 2007), the Rams cannot justify No. 1 money on another defensive tackle. Especially with a huge void at the position and the fact they have passed up Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez in the past two drafts.
2. Detroit Lions – Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska – Jim Schwartz has revamped the Lions defensive line this offseason with defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and defensive tackle Corey Williams. Suh is the best run-stopping defensive tackle and will help what was a turnstile in the line last season.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma – Paging memories of Warren Sapp. That’s what McCoy brings to Tampa here, a good run stopper and an even better pass rusher on the interior. Not saying he is the second-coming of Sapp, but he could be better.
4. Washington Redskins – Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma Sate – I can’t jump on the Jimmy Clausen bandwagon here, especially not after Chris Samuels retired. Left tackle is a harder to fill void and Jason Campbell is tendered at a first-round and third-round pick.
5. Kansas City Chiefs – Eric Berry, S, Tennessee - Best player in the entire draft and the Chiefs will have a steal here with Berry. Finally a player with playmaking abilities in Kansas City on defense. Berry has shown the Ed Reed comparisons are right on.
6. Seattle Seahawks – Brian Bulaga, OT, Iowa - The need to replace Walter Jones at left tackle is far greater than the need to replace Matt Hasselback right now. Seattle could also use a pass rusher here (26th in sacks in the NFL in 2009), but growing an offensive line is an immediate need. Bulaga and any other tackle is a stretch here, but he is the safest offensive lineman around. Not as high of a ceiling as Okung, but a very low bust potential.
7. Cleveland Browns – Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame - Will Mike Holmgren actually try to make due with Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace? I don’t think so. The Browns have been heavy at Tim Tebow camp, but I don’t see them developing a quarterback with that big of a learning curve with an early second-round pick. Clausen needs development time, and Delhomme could stand as a mentor. Too many needs in the round two for Tebow, and too big of a need at QB to pass on Clausen here.
8. Oakland Raiders – Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida – Bigger, faster, and stronger is how Al Davis drafts, and minus Maryland tackle Bruce Campbelll, Pierre-Paul represents the biggest physical talent in the draft. Unlike Campbell, he’s football gifted. One year at the FBS level and he records 14.5 sacks—not too shabby.
9. Buffalo Bills – Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma - I think it’s a good draft to be an offensive and defensive tackle. Williams is a top 15 talent, but moves up some picks due to need. The Bills would like to target Clausen here, but not now. Dez Bryant is in the picture, but supporting a QB and running game is more of a need for Chan Gailey and Co.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars – Joe Haden, CB, Florida - Many thought Haden’s 4.42, 4o-yard dash time at pro day would put him at No. 7. Still possible, but I think Cleveland addresses that controversial offensive spot. Jacksonville could use pass rushers or offensive playmakers here. I think they grab the best player available in Haden who solidified his top 10 status. They could use some youth in the secondary besides Reggie Nelson at safety, who happens to be another Gator product.
11. Denver Broncos (from Chicago) – Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State - Brandon Marshall, or no Brandon Marshall, Denver could really use another wide receiver. Eddie Royal didn’t have the same season in 2009 as he did in 2008, and he would make a better slot man, than a No. 2 receiver. If they can put the Marshall issues behind them, Kyle Orton or Brady Quinn will have some dangerous targets.
12. Miami Dolphins – Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee – Williams is a perfect fit in Miami’s 3-4 scheme, though some questions are there at linebacker. Williams is athletic and can plug the running lanes.
13. San Francisco 49ers – Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech – With another pick coming at No. 17 the 49ers don’t reach for an offensive lineman here, or someone to fill up the secondary. Instead I think they add to the pass rush with the best pure pass rusher in the draft. Morgan is smart, but I question his transition into the 3-4 as an end or backer. Good news is Mike Singletary knows a little something about defense and playing linebacker.
14. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver) – C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson – With a new offensive lineman in place, a top pass rusher off the board, and no viable quarterback options; Seattle is limited to either safety or running back. Julius Jones and Justin Forsett did not work out and Spiller can score at anytime, from anywhere. Best all-around back, with speed, hands, and vision. Spiller takes pressure of the QB and gives a scary scoring option to Pete Carroll, much like Reggie Bush at USC.
15. New York Giants – Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama - The Giants need linebackers, both inside and outside, and McClain is the best around. His effort have been put into question by some, but he answered those by revealing a hamstring injury. His 40-yard dash time is fine to scouts, but I like that he wants it better. He’ll replace Antonio Pierce nicely.
16. Tennessee Titans – Everson Griffen, DE, USC - Griffen has been a very fast riser and had a monster workout at the Combine. At this point, I think he and Derrick Morgan can be flip-flopped. Either way, the Titans need pass rushers and losing Kyle Vanden Bosch to free agency helped none.
17. San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina) – Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho - Iupati could go as a guard or tackle, but either way the Niners improve their offensive line and pass protection scheme. He would start more comfortably as a guard, but time will tell what he actually plays.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers – Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers - The Steelers need to improve their run game and that starts on the line. The talent at back is there with Mendenhall. Davis is a raw talent and had a disappointing combine which dropped him from Seattle at No. 6. Pittsburgh would be a fine team to develop him.
19. Atlanta Falcons – Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan – Graham is a hybrid-type that can play outside backer in the 3-4 or end in the 4-3. Graham will remind the Falcons of a younger John Abraham who has still been productive, but is not getting any younger.
20. Houston Texans – Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State - Dunta Robinson was lost to free agency and the Texans have a huge hole at corner. Wilson has good speed and is a solid press corner. He’ll help out in the special teams aspect also. Wilson had a monster combine workout that showed he has good strength for his small size.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma State - Carson Palmer is finally going to get a big receiving tight end to throw to. Some big changes on their offense with Antonio Bryant at wideout to go along with Laverneous Coles and Chad Ochocinco. Gresham adds a 6′6″ tight end that can go up the middle and catch. OK speed, though his combine was slow. Might be a guy who is “faster on the field.”
22. New England Patriots – Carlos Dunalp, DE, Florida - A few character issues and a fast-rising Everson Griffen drop Dunalp form the Titans at No. 16. The Pats have some glaring holes at end and linebacker now. Dunlap would mature pretty quickly on this team and the unrivaled leader of Tom Brady. A great talent, top 10 possibly, headed to New England is a good start at improving.
23. Green Bay Packers – Earl Thomas, S, Texas - Atari Bigby has not produced of late and the offensive line is returning with Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher. Plus, there’s not really another OT worth reaching this low for. Thomas can double as free safety or strong safety to compliment Nick Collins. He’s a good playmaker in the run and pass.
24. Philadelphia Eagles – Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas - Not a lot of holes in Philly but outside linebacker is one of them. Kindle is just the type of backer that fits into the old Jim Johnson system—a hybrid type that can blitz and stop the run. He’ll probably replace Chris Gocong and could make an impact right away.
25. Baltimore Ravens – Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama – Baltimore has been in need of corners for a couple years now. Adding Anquan Boldin pushes the need for another wide receiver back a few rounds. Jackson is a fast-rising talent and overtakes Rutgers' Devin McCourty for the final first-round corner spot.
26. Arizona Cardinals – Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU - This pick is pretty simple as they need to replace Karlos Dansby and up their pass rush. Hughes is a fast-riser, with good physical skills, and consistent production as a defensive end at TCU. Think Larry English (No. 16 to the Chargers in 2009).
27. Dallas Cowboys – Taylor Mays, S, USC - Safety is a weak spot and with Mays on the board I think the ‘Boys wait another round to start replacing Flozell Adams. Mays had a great combine and will be a workout monster. His angles to the ball need to improve, but he’s a solid first-round pick now and could go higher if Thomas goes higher.
28. San Diego Chargers – Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State - Mathews provides the Chargers with a more “bruising” back than Darren Sporles which is why they don’t go with Jahvid Best here. Mathews had a better-than-expected workout in Indianapolis and caught the ball well, too. He’ll be a solid replacement to LaDanian Tomlinson.
29. New York Jets – Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame - Unless a top flight DE/OLB like Hughes is available, I think the Jets go after someone who could aide Mark Sanchez’s progression Tate would provide a good slot receiver to accompany Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery. He’ll be a solid No. 2 guy in time. He ran faster than predicted at the combine and far outperformed Arrelious Benn to put him ahead. Tate will help the special teams, too.
30. Minnesota Vikings – Brian Price, DT, UCLA - Pat Williams has been steadily braking down and Price is arguably the third best D-lineman in the draft. He’ll be best in a 4-3 which is why he really doesn’t go ahead of Dan Williams to Miami. Price is a great talent to add to an already stout run defense.
31. Indianapolis Colts – Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, Florida - The biggest need for the Colts is in the pass protection and getting younger on the line. Jeff Saturday and Ryan Diem are getting older, and Ryan Lilja was released. Pouncey can also play guard and would likely start in place of Lilja instead of former first rounder Tony Ugoh.
32. New Orleans Saints – Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri - A “weak” spot to the Saints defense is at outside backer, especially with Scott Fujita in Cleveland now. Weatherspoon has had good workouts to solidify himself in round one. Won’t be a Rookie of the Year-type impact player, but will give solid production as a rookie.
Well that wraps up round one. My next draft update will be on Saturday, April 3 with the second round included. Another update will be Saturday, April 17. My final mock draft (two rounds) will come on Wednesday, April 21, the day before the draft.
I’ll keep posting, you keep reading. Comment if you feel the need to.