The staff of NFL Draft 101 gathered during the weekend of April 3-4 to conduct our third annual seven-round mock draft. Seven-round mocks are the most difficult as it requires endurance, depth of knowledge, and the ability to read the draft, but you also need to avoid the inevitable trade. (The mock was updated to account for the Donovan McNabb trade, but Detroit's trade for G Rob Sims occurred after the mock's completion).
1. St. Louis Rams, QB Sam Bradford , Oklahoma: While one could have reservations about a team selecting a spread quarterback coming off of shoulder surgery with the number one overall pick, all indications are Bradford will be St. Louis' man as long as they can get him signed prior to the draft.
The franchise needs a new face despite the risks, and Bradford's accuracy, intelligence, and intangibles earn him the number one selection. Taking a quarterback number one also buys Devaney and Spagnualo more time to turn around the franchise.
2. Detroit Lions, DT Ndamukong Suh , Nebraska: Suh is the most disruptive defensive tackle to enter the draft in several seasons and is the type of player who can be disruptive against the run and the pass, and make the players around him better. That said, expect the 'Russell Okung fix the offensive line' buzz to build leading up to draft day. The pick is still likely Suh, but the gap is narrowing.
3. Tampa Bay, DT Gerald McCoy , Oklahoma: Tampa is the biggest beneficiary of the Bradford selection as it ensures one of the two top defensive tackles falls to them and allows them to upgrade the interior defensive line. McCoy is ideal under tackle and a one gap penetrator who can disrupt plays in the backfield and force some double teams.
4. Washington, OT Russell Okung , Oklahoma State: After the trade for Donovan McNabb, taking a left tackle at number four appears to be one of the biggest no-brainers in the draft. After trading for a proven signal caller, improving the offensive line requires a player who can make an immediate impact, such as Okung. A team drafting in the top six who drafts an offensive tackle has gone on to win 10 games each of the past four seasons.
5. Kansas City Chiefs, S Eric Berry , Tennessee: The Chiefs are looking for a player who can make an immediate impact. They will consider Bryan Bulaga, Eric Berry, and Dez Bryant, but in the end the selection is Berry because he is the highest-rated player of the three and a player with the potential to be a difference maker on the defensive side of the football (he's been compared to Ed Reed). There are also rumors that Berry isPioli's number one target.
6. Seattle Seahawks, OT Bryan Bulaga , Iowa: As an aging football team with a new coaching staff and general manager, there are a variety of directions the Seahawks can go. None is more important than drafting their replacement for franchise fixture Walter Jones. Bulaga is not the biggest name left on the board but he is an excellent pass blocker who is fundamentally sound and has the footwork and balance to come in and play right away at left tackle.
7. Cleveland Browns, CB Joe Haden , Florida: Most mocks have the Browns picking Eric Berry but what direction will the Browns go if he is off the board? The team could go after a variety of positions including rush linebacker, QB (if Holmgren actually likes Jimmy Clausen), and WR (Dez Bryant) but even after acquiring a fading Sheldon Brown the secondary remains the number one need. Having a guy such as Haden, who can potentially be a number one corner, will be difficult to pass up.
8. Oakland Raiders, OT Bruce Campbell , Maryland: Campbell to the Raiders is almost too obvious for it to actually happen. Campbell remains raw but would fill a major need and the upside to become a quality left tackle is there. If Campbell does not go here he likely falls to Green Bay at 23 or maybe further. If you are looking for a new name here—as nearly every mock has Cambpell for this pick—the other selection our staff debated was Jason Pierre Paul, a raw but high upside defensive end who would not be as big of a reach as Campbell.
9. Buffalo Bills, QB Jimmy Clausen , Notre Dame: The Bills desperately need an offensive tackle but Clausen is too good of a value to pass up for a team needing a franchise type quarterback. Coming out of Charlie Weis' pro style offense Clausen should be able to play right away and he is used to a heavy pass rush after playing behind a porous Notre Dame offensive line.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars, S Earl Thomas , Texas: Jacksonville is one of the top 10's biggest wild cards. They do not have a glaring need they need to fill but do have multiple positions in which they would like to upgrade.
The top four considerations were Derrick Morgan, Jason Pierre-Paul, Dez Bryant, and Earl Thomas. All would be solid picks but Earl Thomas may fill the biggest need as upgrading the secondary with a rangy center fielder type is crucial considering they play both Indianapolis and Houston twice a year. Thomas may lack size but he has tremendous coverage awareness and instincts.
11. Denver Broncos, ILB Rolando McClain , Alabama: Dez Bryant is a popular Broncos selection but it hard to imagine Josh McDaniels trading one diva receiver for another. McClain's stock has varied due to a lack of elite speed, but it hard to dismiss the value he can bring a 3—4 defense. He has great instincts and has the reputation as a quarterback of the defense. The departure of last year's starter Andra Davis also opens a spot for him.
12. Miami Dolphins, OLB/DE Sergio Kindle , Texas: Dan Williams has been getting a lot of buzz due to the lack of available nose tackles, but Bill Parcells has been known to take his rush linebackers early and Kindle has the burst, size, and athleticism to warrant the selection. His experience at linebacker should also ease his transition to the 3-4 defense.
13. San Francisco 49ers, OT Trent Williams , Oklahoma: The jury is out as to whether Williams has the talent to play left tackle, but it does not matter to the 49ers, whose need is on the right side.
While he not a prototypical road grader, Williams excelled as both a run blocker and pass blocker when playing on the right side. He is not the top tackle in the draft but his ability to play the right side should make him the top tackle on the 49ers board. The 49ers have the option of waiting to take the tackle until pick 17 but concerns of a possible trade up should force them to take Williams here despite the presence of CJ Spiller.
14. Seattle Seahawks, RB CJ Spiller , Clemson: After taking a much needed left tackle at number six, the Seahawks consider taking a safety (Taylor Mays), defensive end (Pierre-Paul or Morgan), or an offensive playmaker. Either direction provides good value but adding a playmaker such as Spiller is a bigger need and he could provide an immediate impact as a rusher, receiver, and returner as well as someone who can take pressure off of the quarterback position.
15. New York Giants, DE Jason Pierre-Paul , South Florida: With Rolando McClain off the board, the Giants go the best player available route by taking Pierre-Paul. Defensive end is not a need but the Giants love to accumulate pass rushers and Pierre-Paul can be eased into action along a deep Giants end rotation.
16. Tennessee Titans, DE Derrick Morgan , Georgia Tech: The Titans are looking to upgrade their front seven this offseason and would feel very fortunate if they are able to add the most complete defensive end in the draft in Derrick Morgan. He would not only improve the pass rush, but is a quality run defender as well.
17. San Francisco 49ers, CB Kyle Wilson , Boise State: Next to right tackle, cornerback is arguably the 49ers top need and with Joe Haden off the board and a deep cornerback class, the questions asked was whether the 49ers would like to take a Taylor Mays, Dez Bryant, or Brandon Graham here or have their choice among the remaining cornerbacks.
While Wilson may not have the name recognition of the previously mentioned players, he is an excellent cover corner with the football IQ Mike Singletary likes. His return skills are an added plus.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers, OT Anthony Davis , Rutgers: After watching Ben Roethlisberger get beat up the past couple of seasons, the Steelers take the best left tackle on the board in Davis. His workouts have been a little disappointing but the talent and upside is there.
19. Atlanta Falcons, OLB Sean Weatherspoon , Missouri: Weatherspoon is a versatile linebacker who can play the strong or weak side and would instantly upgrade a weak Falcons linebacker group. Undersized defensive end Brandon Graham was the other top consideration.
20. Houston Texans, DT Dan Williams , Tennessee: While most consider Williams as the top nose tackle in the draft, he is also a solid fit as a run stuffing defensive tackle in the 4—3 and would be a nice fit alongside Amobi Okoye. His ability to occupy blockers and anchor at the point of attack would be a huge boost to the Texans run defense.
21. Cincinnati Bengals, WR Dez Bryant , Oklahoma State: Bryant is a top five talent who falls due to character concerns. While the Bengals filled their wide receiver need by signing Antonio Bryant in free agency, the Bengals know they need to add youth at the position and the talent would be too much to pass up for an organization known for taking chances on the character front.
22. New England Patriots, DT Jared Odrick , Penn State: A bit of a surprise selection but the Patriots need to improve in their front seven and Odrick is an ideal fit as a 3-4 defensive end. His high motor will make him an instant Belichick favorite.
Brandon Graham and Jerry Hughes were the other top considerations but the Patriots have never taken a rush linebacker in the first round and their depth at the position and three second-round picks allows them to wait to fill that need.
23. Green Bay Packers, OT Charles Brown , Southern California: The re-signing of Chad Clifton was a good move, but he is on borrowed time at this point in his career and the Packers can not afford to wait to upgrade at this position any longer. Brown is not considered in the elite class of offensive tackles but he has the tools you look for in a left tackle and the ability to groom him behind Chad Clifton is a good situation.
24. Philadelphia Eagles, DE Brandon Graham , Michigan: Graham lacks ideal measurables to play defensive end in the 4—3 but the Eagles are the type of team that can overlook such limitations based on his skill set. Not only does Graham project as a pass rusher but his strength and ability to disrupt plays in the backfield makes him asset against the run.
25. Baltimore Ravens, TE Jermaine Gresham , Oklahoma: The Ravens focus this offseason has been adding weapons for quarterback Joe Flacco, and after acquiring wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth, they could look to finish off the renovation with TE Jermaine Gresham. Gresham has slid a little bit due to his knee injury but he remains the top tight end in the draft and Todd Heap has been banged up in recent seasons. CB Kareem Jackson and S Taylor Mays were also considered.
26. Arizona Cardinals, DE/OLB Jerry Hughes , TCU: Finding a young rush linebacker is a priority for a Cardinals 3-4 defense whose performance has been up and down over the years due to an inconsistent pass rush. Hughes has excellent length and burst and has the skill set to make the transition. Offensive tackle Rodger Saffold was also considered.
27. Dallas Cowboys, G Mike Iupati , Idaho: It was surprising to still see Iupati still on the board, but if he is available it would be an excellent value for an aging Cowboys offensive line. Despite the departure of Flozell Adams, the Cowboys would need to avoid the temptation to shift Iupati to left tackle.
28. San Diego Chargers, DT Terrence Cody , Alabama: The decision came down to Terrence Cody and Ryan Mathews, and the departure of Jamal Williams combined with a porous run defense leads the Chargers to take the high-risk/high-reward run stuffer out of Alabama. He may eat himself out of the league but he is also impossible to move at the point of attack. The presence of Darren Sproles makes waiting on a running back a little easier.
29. New York Jets, WR Golden Tate , Notre Dame: Cody going off the board in front of them took one option away. The decision came down to a rush linebacker or Golden Tate. Considering the defense is already the strongest part of the team, the Jets opt to take Golden Tate to give Mark Sanchez another option on offense. Tate would provide an immediate impact as a slot receiver and possible returner whom the Jets would look to develop into a top receiver down the road.
30. Minnesota Vikings, DT Brian Price , UCLA: With Pat Williams getting up in years, Brian Price would be a tremendous value pick for the Vikings. He is more of a penetrator than a true run stuffer but his youth, upside, and ability to make plays in the backfield would be a welcome addition to the Viking defense.
31. Indianapolis Colts, CB Kareem Jackson , Alabama: The debate was between OT Rodger Saffold, C Maurkice Pouncey, and CB Kareem Jackson. While Saffold and Pouncey would have been solid offensive line picks, the Colts opt for the fast rising Jackson whose physical style and instincts would be an excellent fit for their Tampa 2 defense.
32. New Orleans Saints, DE Carlos Dunlap , Florida: The Saints needs are on the defensive side of the ball and they are positioned to take the best front seven defensive player on the board. Dunlap has a rare combination of size and athleticism for a defensive end, making him a top ten prospect from a talent perspective, but an inconsistent motor and character concerns has caused his stock to slide.
Dunlap would provide the Saints with a replacement for the Charles Grant and a good value at at the end of round one. He has bust potential but is worth the risk at the end of the first round.
33. St. Louis Rams, WR Arrelious Benn , Illinois
34. Detroit Lions, RB Ryan Mathews , Fresno State
35. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, DE Everson Griffen , USC
36. Kansas City Chiefs, C Maurkice Pouncey , Florida
37. Philadelphia Eagles, S Taylor Mays , USC
38. Cleveland Browns, QB Dan LeFevour , Central Michigan
39. Oakland Raiders, DT Lamarr Houston , Texas
40. San Diego Chargers, RB Toby Gerhart , Stanford
41. Buffalo Bills, OT Rodger Saffold , Indiana
42. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, WR Demaryius Thomas , Georgia Tech
43. Miami Dolphins, WR Brandon LaFell , LSU
44. New England Patriots, DE/OLB Ricky Sapp , Clemson
45. Denver Broncos, WR Mardy Gilyard , Cincinnati
46. New York Giants, G Mike Johnson , Alabama
47. New England Patriots, RB Jahvid Best , Cal
48. Carolina Panthers, WR Damian Williams , USC
49. San Francisco 49ers, DE/OLB Eric Norwood , South Carolina
50. Kansas City Chiefs, TE Rob Gronkowski , Arizona
51. Houston Texans, S Morgan Burnett , Georgia Tech
52. Pittsburgh Steelers, RB Joe McKnight , USC
53. New England Patriots, TE Aaron Hernandez , Florida
54. Cincinnati Bengals, G John Jerry , Mississippi
55. Philadelphia Eagles, OLB Navorro Bowman , Penn State
56. Green Bay Packers, CB Perrish Cox , Oklahoma State
57. Baltimore Ravens, CB Devin McCourty , Rutgers
58. Arizona Cardinals, CB Dominque Franks , Oklahoma
59. Dallas Cowboys, S Chad Jones , LSU
60. Seattle Seahawks, S Nate Allen , South Florida
61. New York Jets, DE Corey Wooten , Northwestern
62. Minnesota Vikings, OT Jared Veldheer , Hillsdale
63. Indianapolis Colts, OT Jason Fox , Miami (Fla.)
64. New Orleans Saints, OLB Daryl Washington , TCU
Chris Maier is Senior Editor with nfldraft101.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow me on twitter: nfldraft101
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