Since the end of the scouting combine, Sam Bradford going No. 1 overall has been deemed one of the few givens in the 2010 NFL.
Despite his current strangle-hold on the No. 1 selection, Bradford still has to prove he is capable of transitioning to a pro offense at his pro day not to mention prove he is healthy. Assuming he struggles in his workout or gets a thumbs down from the Rams medical, ripples will be sent throughout the first round.
Here is one take for how things would shake out.
1. St. Louis Rams – DT Ndamukong Suh , Nebraska – With Bradford out of the equation, the choice comes down to Ndamukong Suh or Jimmy Clausen. Both would fill needs but of the two Suh is the one considered more of a can’t miss prospect (does such a thing exist?). Suh is a dominant force on the interior and will allow the Rams to upgrade the defense and look for a franchise quarterback via trade (McNabb) or in Round 2 or 3.
2. Detroit Lions – OT Russell Okung , Oklahoma State – With Suh off the board, the Lions shift gears and take the best offensive tackle in the draft and protect franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford. DT Gerald McCoy is not likely to be the pick because he is an under tackle just like recent acquisition Corey Williams.
4. Washington Redskins – QB Jimmy Clausen , Notre Dame – If the Rams pass on Bradford because he is a medical risk, it would not make sense for the Redskins to put a quarterback with a bad wing behind their horrific line. Clausen’s injury in not considered as serious, and he is used to playing behind poor protection at Notre Dame. You can also argue his experience in a pro style offense will allow him to make a quicker transition to the pro game.
5. Kansas City Chiefs – S Eric Berry , Tennessee – Offensive line will get consideration but if Berry is a playmaking safety in the Ed Reed mold, and finding a playmaker on the defensive side of the ball would fill a major need not to mention fill Pioli’s desire for a player who can make an instant impact.
6. Seattle Seahawks – OT Bryan Bulaga , Iowa – With the Raiders, Bills, and 49ers all needing offensive tackles prior to their second first round pick, the Seahawks better think twice before passing on an offensive tackle at No. 6. DE Derrick Morgan and RB CJ Spiller will be tempting, but failing to come out of Round 1 without a future left tackle would make for a disappointing draft. Additionally, picking the left tackle here, it gives them their choice of which tackle they select; if they wait until No. 14 they could be left with whichever one is on the board.
7. Cleveland Browns – QB Sam Bradford , Oklahoma – Unlike St. Louis and Washington, the Browns have one of the best left tackles in the game and the luxury of being able to offer Bradford a redshirt season if he his shoulder is not ready, and they would get the added benefit of giving him a year to adjust to a pro style offense.
8. Oakland Raiders – OT Bruce Campbell , Maryland – Campbell is probably only the fifth or sixth best tackle in the draft, but he possesses arguably the best set of physical tools, and Al Davis has a reputation for taking the best athlete available at a position of need.
9. Buffalo Bills – OT Trent Williams , Oklahoma – Williams is not a true left tackle but would prove to be an upgrade at the position or the Bills could elect to put him on the right side where he is more ideal suited. In either case, the Bills offensive line would be better with Williams on it than without, and he is a safer pick than Anthony Davis.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars – DE Derrick Morgan , Georgia Tech – The Jaguars could go in a variety of directions including wide receiver (Dez Bryant), cornerback (Joe Haden), or safety (Earl Thomas), but even after signing Aaron Kampman the Jaguars can not be satisfied with their pass rush. Additionally, Morgan is not only a quality pass rusher but a solid run defender whose high motor would fit well with head coach Jack Del Rio.
11. Denver Broncos – ILB Rolando McClain , Alabama – Dez Bryant is a possibility but his off-field baggage makes it seem as if he would not mesh well with Coach McDaniels. On the other hand, McClain is an ideal 3-4 inside linebacker with excellent instincts and leadership skills and would fill the hole left by Andra Davis’ departure.
12. Miami Dolphins – DT Dan Williams , Tennessee – A rush linebacker is a possibility especially considering Bill Parcells’ past history in drafting the position, but with Jason Ferguson’s eight game suspension not to mention age, finding a new nose tackle is as big of a priority and one which will be harder to fill in a later round.
13. San Francisco 49ers – CB Joe Haden , Florida – Tricky pick for the 49ers, do they wait to take an offensive tackle and risk someone trading in front of them at number seventeen or do they take the best talent on the board. Haden is the draft’s number one cornerback and would fill one of their defense’s primary needs. His physical style should also mesh well with coach Singletary.
14. Seattle Seahawks – RB CJ Spiller , Clemson – The Seahawks take their offensive playmaker with Spiller. His playing style is reminiscent of Reggie Bush, a player whom Pete Carroll is quite familiar with. Spiller may not be an every down back but provides a back who can make plays as a rusher, receiver, or returner.
15. New York Giants – DT Brian Price , UCLA – The Giants defense is built on bringing pressure with the front four and defensive tackle is currently the weakest link on that unit. Price is solid against the run, but it is his ability to penetrate and disrupt plays in the backfield that makes him a good fit for the Giants.
16. Tennessee Titans – DE Jason Pierre-Paul , South Florida – Pierre-Paul has “Freak”-ish skills and would be a great fit in Tennessee where they need a dynamic pass rusher and coach Jeff Fisher has a reputation for developing young players.
17. San Francisco 49ers – OT Anthony Davis , Rutgers – While Davis’ stock is sliding he remains a premier talent and would benefit from playing with a disciplinarian such as Singletary. While his experience is primarily at left tackle, he has the bulk to play the right side.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers – OG Mike Iupati , Idaho – With the top offensive tackles off the board, the Steelers audible and take Iupati, the top guard in the draft. While he is not the blindside pass protector the Steelers need, he is a road grading run blocker in the Steelers mold whose impact will be felt across the line. Some also believe he could eventually play left tackle.
19. Atlanta Falcons – DE Brandon Graham , Michigan – Graham lacks ideal measureables but is built like a tank and is not only a dynamic pass rusher but is also stout against the run. In other words he is the exact opposite of Jamaal Anderson (great measureables, poor production).
20. Houston Texans – S Earl Thomas , Texas – If Thomas is still on the board, this is one of the easiest picks in the draft. The Texans’ defense desperately needs a center fielder-type free safety, and Thomas is arguably the best true center fielder-type to come out in the past five years. He is a tad undersized but has excellent awareness and ball skills. The fact he played for the Longhorns does not hurt either.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – WR Dez Bryant , Oklahoma State – You can argue the Bengals filled their wide receiver need when they signed Antonio Bryant, but it is hard to imagine the Bengals passing on a top talent such as Dez. Ocho Cinco is not getting any younger and the Bengals won’t be scared of Bryant’s off the field concerns.
22. New England Patriots – RB Ryan Mathews , Fresno State – Conventional wisdom has the Patriots taking a rush linebacker in Round 1, but the Patriots have needs at the offensive skill positions as well. Mathews stock is on the rise and Belichick has ties to Fresno State head coach Pat Hill.
23. Green Bay Packers – OT Charles Brown , USC – Brown has flown under the radar this draft season, but he has good physical tools you look for in a blindside protector and would fill the Packers number one need. The Pack may have re-signed Chad Clifton but he is on borrowed time at this point in his career and they can not put off finding a replacement any longer.
24. Philadelphia Eagles – OLB Sean Weatherspoon , Missouri – Defensive end is getting most of the publicity for the Eagles in mock drafts, but the linebacker situation is shaky at best and Weatherspoon’s leadership skills and ability to play all three positions makes him an ideal fit. Finding a defensive end in Round 2 or 3 will be much easier than finding an outside linebacker.
25. Baltimore Ravens – TE Jermaine Gresham , Oklahoma – After adding wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth in free agency, the Ravens will look to complete the offensive facelift by adding a young pass catching tight end. Gresham has the size to block in line and natural receiving skills. He would likely be a top 20 pick if not for injury concerns. Five technique Jared Odrick, safety Taylor Mays, and cornerback Kyle Wilson also would receive consideration.
26. Arizona Cardinals – OLB/DE Sergio Kindle , Texas – Even after signing Joey Porter in free agency finding a young pass rusher remains a major need for the Cardinals defense. Kindle’s experience at linebacker as a senior will likely ease his transition to the rush linebacker position and allow him to make an earlier impact than most rookie rush linebackers.
27. Dallas Cowboys – S Taylor Mays , USC – If the top offensive tackles are off the board, Jerry Jones will give Taylor Mays a long look. Mays is one of the hardest players to slot in mock drafts because of his combination of top 10 athleticism and mid-round coverage skills. Jerry Jones loves athleticism and upside and is willing to gamble Mays develops into an elite safety.
28. San Diego Chargers – DT Terrance Cody , Alabama – If Ryan Mathews off the board, the Chargers will likely wait until Round 2 or 3 to take a running back and shift gears to the defensive side of the ball with either a five technique, nose tackle, or cornerback. Cody has his faults but you can not deny the fact he is nearly impossible to move at the point of attack. He is a classic run stuffing nose tackle who could replace the recently released Jamal Williams.
29. New York Jets – WR Golden Tate , Notre Dame – The Jets will consider five technique Jared Odrick or any of the host of rush linebackers still on the board but the opportunity to add a versatile playmaker such as Tate will likely trump their defensive desires. He can play the slot as a rookie and potentially replace Braylon Edwards on the outside down the road.
31. Indianapolis Colts – OT Rodger Saffold , Indiana – Saffold is a bit of a reach but like 2007, if a team wants to get an offensive tackle they will likely have to trade up or reach a little to get one. The drop-off at tackle after Saffold is steep which boosts his stock. For the Colts he can challenge for time right away at left guard while being groomed to play the blindside.
32. New Orleans Saints – DE Carlos Dunlap , Florida – The Saints’ needs are primarily on the defensive side of the ball and the team is positioned to take the best front seven player available. Dunlap has a rare combination of size and athleticism, making him a top ten prospect from a talent perspective who is sliding due to an inconsistent motor and character concerns. He would be a solid value at the end of Round 1 and provide a replacement for Charles Grant.