Monday, the Rams released veteran quarterback Marc Bulger to avoid paying him the 8.5 million he is due this upcoming season. The move also presumably positions them to take Sam Bradford with the first overall pick later this month.
With the Rams obviously in dire need of a franchise quarterback, any chances of the Browns trading up to draft Bradford are next to zero. How does this, combined with the other recent moves, affect the top of the draft board?
At this point, it seems the Rams are destined to select Sam Bradford. They were impressed with his pro-day workout and released the incumbent veteran that would stand in Bradford's path if her were drafted.
The Lions drafted Matthew Stafford last year to be their franchise quarterback. He spent too much time on the ground last year, and the Lions will almost certainly take Russel Okung to protect his blindside and keep him healthy.
At third overall, the Buccaneers basically have two options. Most experts are predicting them to draft a tackle, but my gut tells me that they are going to draft Eric Berry.
The Redskins traded for Donovan McNabb to transition to another quarterback eventually, but I would not expect them to draft one this year. McNabb is touchy about having another quarterback looking "over his shoulder" and the Redskins will give him a year or two before getting their next quarterback. Look for the Redskins to replace Chris Samuels by drafting Trent Williams.
The Chiefs need help on both sides of the field. However, with Berry off the board, they limit their options to a certain extent. Look for the Chiefs to either trade down or draft Bryan Bulaga to invest their large investment in Matt Cassel.
The Seahawks are in a perfect position to get one of the top two prospects on the board and jump at the chance to get Ndamukong Suh.
This leaves the Browns in a predicament. Ideally, they are able to draft Eric Berry. Gerald McCoy, the top prospect still on the board, does not fit in a 3-4 defensive alignment, where he would play a five-technique. Holmgren has already expressed his lack of conviction with Clausen, and it is too early to draft a right tackle. The Browns need to trade down, but if they are not able to trade, look for them to select Earl Thomas.
In this draft scenario, Eric Berry going to Tampa Bay third overall forces the Browns to take a player that is rated lower on most draft boards. Ideally, the Browns would trade down between picks 10-15, where they would be able to consider players such as Thomas, Jason Pierre-Paul, Mike Iupati, and Derrick Morgan.