Hey guys. Here's my first mock of the offseason. This year's draft is considered one of the deepest in years, especially at the offensive tackle position.
Find out who I think your team will take come April 22nd. Also, I plan to do one more mock around a couple of days before the first day and a Draft Winners and Losers immediately following it. Enjoy and thanks for reading.
Even though the Rams claimed that the release of Marc Bulger doesn't guarantee the drafting of a QB at number one, it is their most pressing need. Bradford silenced a lot of critics at his pro day when he displayed great arm strength coming off shoulder surgery. It's also worth noting that previous defensive lineman picks for St. Louis haven't really panned out.
Of course the two big defensive tackles, Suh and McCoy, are definitely still options here.
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, of all people, knows how important it is for your defense to have a dominating presence in the middle. He had that in Tennessee with Albert Haynesworth.
Suh is a force to be reckoned with and is a beast against both the run and the pass. He's number one on my board, slightly ahead of conference rival Gerald McCoy.
If Suh goes first, the Lions would turn to McCoy or possibly Oklahoma St. tackle Russell Okung.
No team in the NFL needs a player at a position worse than the Bucs need a DT. Many people consider McCoy the best prospect in the draft. He's an excellent pass rusher who played against good talent in his college career.
Very comparable to former Sooner great, Tommie Harris. If the Bucs get extremely unlucky, they would probably try to trade down or go with Tennessee safety Eric Berry.
With the acquisition of QB Donovan McNabb, the Redskins appear to now be in serious contention for a Super Bowl.
But the 'Skins have a huge hole at left tackle since Chris Samuels retired form a neck injury. Okung is the best tackle in the draft and should become a staple on the Redskins line. Don't rule out Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen here, though. McNabb is past his prime and they're going to need a future.
The Chiefs have a pressing need at tackle, so the former Sooner makes perfect sense here. Williams has a lot of buzz around him now because of a great showing at the Combine.
He's an excellent run and pass blocker and would fit well in a zone-blocking scheme. The Chiefs could really go with any tackle available here, but WR Dez Bryant and QB Jimmy Clausen are also possibilities.
Kind of a surprise here, right! I know what you're saying, "Dan, no one would take a guy this high who missed an entire season and has so many off the field issues."
To that I would say just look back at Mike Williams from USC. He didn't really pan out but that's because he came into camp at 280 lbs. Seattle is clearly in the market for a number 1 receiver and Bryant had a fantastic showing at his pro day. Yes his off the field issues are a concern, but he has tremendous upside and if he reaches his potential, this will look like a phenomenal pick for the Seahawks.
Any remaining OT would be and good option here as would QB Jimmy Clausen.
Finally! A pick not from the Big 12.
Berry was originally thought of as a top five talent and still should be. The problem? No one really wants to pay a safety top 5 money.
For the Browns to get Berry here at seven is a steal. They have serious issues in the secondary and addressed cornerback with the Sheldon Brown trade. Still, there is a possibility of Joe Haden sneaking in the Browns scheme and being picked here.
Oakland seriously must base their entire draft plans around what they see at the Combine. And this year, they saw Bruce Campbell.
He ran an impressive 4.8 40-yard dash time which fits Al Davis' mantra "You Can't Teach Speed", but seriously, when's the last time your team's OT ran 40 yards straight down the field to make a block that springs a touchdown?
Campbell has all the tools to be a good OT in the league, but just hasn't put it all together. Taylor Mays and Jason Pierre-Paul are also probably on the Raiders Big Board.
Need a QB, take a QB. And the Bills need a QB.
It is very possible that Clausen goes before Buffalo drafts at number 9, but since he's still on my board, he goes here. Clausen has a lot of tools to be a great NFL quarterback. He played in a pro-style offense under a fantastic offensive guru (Charlie Weis).
He had targets at Notre Dame that he will not have in the pro's though, and he doesn't always make the best throws.
If Clausen is gone, it is imperative that the Bills come away with an offensive tackle.
The Jaguars had a dismal 14 sacks as a team last season. Needless to say, they're going to draft a pass rusher.
Adding Aaron Kampman was a great pick up for them, but he's aging and hasn't played the position in a year. Pierre-Paul is a freak athlete and is starting to remind me of Jevon Kearse. I like him a little better than Derrick Morgan. If Clausen is somehow still available, he'd be a good option and don't count out Dez Bryant if he falls.
No inside linebacker has been drafted this high since the Bears took Brian Urlacher 9th overall.
McClain was an absolute beast during his tenure at Alabama and that culminated in a National Championship this year. Denver has a huge hole at middle linebacker after releasing Andre Davis.
McClain played in a similar 3-4 scheme under Saban in college. Florida center Maurkice Pouncey and Idaho T/G Mike Iupati are reaches here, but would help on the declining interior line.
It might be a little early for Miami to go for Graham here, but with Bryant off the board, he's a great replacement for the recently departed Joey Porter.
Also, it doesn't hurt Graham that some are comparing him to his former teammate and current Steeler Pro Bowler LaMarr Woodley.
Graham can play both a 34 linebacker and a 43 end. He is absolutely relentless during his pass rush but there are concerns about his coverage ability. If Dez Bryant is available at this spot, don't be surprised if Miami deals the pick to Dallas or takes Bryant for themselves.
The 49ers' should be absolutely ecstatic to get a tackle as good as Bulaga here.
They desperately need an upgrade over Adam Snyder at RT, and Bulaga might be a little raw for the left side.
He's a dominant pass blocker, and proved so when he shut down Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan in the Orange Bowl.
San Fran could also look to upgrade its' secondary by adding Joe Haden or Earl Thomas here.
Like the 49ers, Seattle has to be thrilled to come away with a starting left tackle at this point in the draft. They already addressed a need at WR with the 6th pick and now are starting to build their line.
Pete Carroll could take C.J. Spiller here and take a chance that his USC T Charles Brown would be there in the 2nd round, but I'm not sure Seattle could pass on Davis here, especially with Walter Jones' future up in the air.
Remember when the Giants were considered the best running team in the league? Well, those days are long gone. But they could be back.
The G-Men were at their best when they employed a 3 back system with Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, and Ahmad Bradshaw. Ward left last year and the running game fell apart, leaving the offense on the shoulders of Eli Manning and an inexperienced receiving corps. Don't count out the Giants trading up for Alabama LB Rolando McClain, though. Middle Linebacker is their most pressing need and they won't hesitate to get the guy they want.
Tennessee really struggled against the pass last year, and getting a guy like Joe Haden this late is an absolute steal.
Haden's stock began to fall when he ran a slow 40 time at the Combine, but he did so on a bad hamstring and at his pro day ran a 4.41. He's clearly the best corner in the draft and has top 5 value. It's likely that Haden could be off the board by now so if he is, Tennessee could go with Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan or Jason Pierre-Paul.
Thomas' stock has exploded as of late due to a great Combine and excellent individual workouts.
He's a little small but has excellent speed and packs a powerful punch when he hits. The man is just a playmaker and could end up moving to corner if needed.
The Niners would love to see Joe Haden available here and could also go with RB C.J. Spiller as a spell guy for Frank Gore.
The Steelers have had major needs on the offensive line for a few years now and just have not addressed them.
Mike Iupati would bring some tenaciousness back to Pittsburgh's front 5. He's an absolute mauler and could be run behind to pick up those 3rd and short's that so eluded the Steelers last year.
Iupati also claims that his two biggest idols are Russ Grimm (former Steelers offensive line coach) and Chris Kemoeatu (current Steelers LG). But, if Joe Haden falls past 12, don't be shocked if the Steelers move up to grab him after losing out on Darrelle Revis a few years ago.
Earl Thomas and Maurkice Pouncey are other possibilities for Pittsburgh.
Atlanta addressed their biggest need this offseason with the signing of Dunta Robinson.
Now, they'll look to bolster their defensive line. Derrick Morgan probably won't ever be mentioned with the greatest pass rushers of all time, but is probably the best all around DE in this years draft. He's an excellent prospect against the run and is a blue-collar hustle player.
Florida C Maurkice Pouncey could also get a look here to help at center or guard.
Houston lost a major part of their defense by letting CB Dunta Robinson go this offseason.
They'll need to address that spot early in the draft. Boise St's Kyle Wilson is an excellent talent who is under appreciated because he comes from a "mid-major" school.
He has all the tools you look for in a #1 corner except he's a little undersized. Fresno St. HB Ryan Matthews could get consideration here, as would S Earl Thomas.
For years the Bengals have been without a good receiving TE. Despite the fact the Gresham missed all of last season with a knee injury, he's still the best prospect at his position.
Cincinnati has already added WR Antonio Bryant to sure up their receiving unit and adding Gresham only gives Carson Palmer another weapon. The Bengals may also take a look at OLB/DE Sergio Kindle to help their diminishing pass rush.
The Patriots' releasing of Ben Watson creates a glaring hole at tight end, but with Oklahoma's Gresham off the board, they'll turn to their defense. Sergio Kindle was a very effective pass rushing OLB at Texas and is your classic tweener.
His game should transfer well to a 3-4 defense such as New England's. Obviously the Pats would love to have Gresham fall to them and could also look at DE Jared Odrick and WR's Golden Tate and Demaryius Thomas.
The Packers made a great transition to a 3-4 last year and rookie Clay Matthews was sensational. But the team lost Aaron Kampman to free agency, leaving a big hole opposite Matthews. Jerry Hughes was excellent at DE for TCU and last year moved to LB.
He should fit the Packers system perfectly and, if Clay Matthews is any sign of how the Pack teach their rookies, Hughes should be a good pick. The Packers would also love if CB Kyle Wilson fell to them here.
The Eagles struggled against the run last year, and most of that blame needs to rest on the shoulders of the LBers they employed.
Shawn Bradley missed the entire year, Will Witherspoon got cut, Joe Mays showed potential at the weakside, but none were really starters. Sean Weatherspoon provides immediate impact against the run and would most likely play the strong side linebacker.
Philly still has holes at CB and S so Kyle Wilson, Earl Thomas, and Taylor Mays are all possible solutions.
Baltimore solved its WR woes during the offseason by acquiring Anquan Boldin from Arizona.
Other than that position, the Ravens are pretty much set everywhere else, so they can draft for depth. Baltimore's current center, Matt Birk, is still good, but he's out of his prime and at the tail end of his career.
Pouncey has been a very solid center for Florida over the past few years playing next to his brother. Patrick Robinson should draw some attention from The Ravens as well.
The Cards shipped former Pro Bowl receiver Anquan Boldin off to Baltimore and lost their starting QB, Kurt Warner, to retirement.
This leaves Arizona with Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson at QB and Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston as the WRs. On a team built to throw the ball, that doesn't bode well.
Tate is a tough receiver with good hands and good speed. A tackle or linebacker wouldn't surprise me here either.
At the end of the 08-09 season, Taylor Mays was considered one of the best players in college football and an absolute physical freak. But after a subpar season last year, Mays lost a lot of ground. Despite the questions about his coverage ability and where he'll play, Dallas needs help at safety and the release of Ken Hamlin seems to signify they'll go that route in the draft. Mays could be an absolute stud in the NFL because he as such amazing size, but he is a risk.
It's also a definite possibility that Dallas will swap picks to get WR Dez Bryant who Jerry Jones absolutely loves. An OT here would also make sense.
With the release of longtime NT Jamaal Williams, San Diego has a clear need in the middle of the defensive front.
Dan Williams is an absolute monster at 6'2" 327 lbs. He's a plug in the middle. Most of his criticism has come that he's not an every down player, which he wouldn't have to be in the Chargers system.
The team will also take a good look at the RB's in this draft as well, so Ryan Matthews is a possibility here as well as Patrick Robinson to replace the traded Antonio Cromartie.
Odrick is one of those tweeners between a 4-3 tackle and a 3-4 end and with that, perfectly fits the Jets defensive system.
The team is lacking depth at end and Mike DeVito isn't a clear cut starter in the NFL. Not to mention that Shaun Ellis will be 33 next year. The Jets also seem to like Notre Dame WR Golden Tate, and are in need of a wideout.
Although the team expects Brett Favre back for next season, he is 40 and can't play QB forever. McCoy won't be there when the Vikes pick in the second round and as the draft goes on, QB's tend to rise above their value.
It is a little high for McCoy but in his college career, he displayed great talent, becoming the most accurate QB in NCAA history. They could look to bolster an aging CB unit or add depth behind 38 year old Pat Williams at DT.
Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell has long stated that he wants the team's line to get bigger and stronger. DuCasse is big at 6'4" 332 lbs. and can play either guard or tackle in the NFL. This would also help the Colts get some sort of running game going.
Indy may also look to add players on defense. Defensive tackle, linebacker, and corner are all concerns for the Colts.
Like his partner at TCU, Jerry Hughes, Daryl Washington's stock is rising after a great season.
He's a good fit for a 4-3 defense and with the Saints losing Scott Fujita to free agency, they need someone to fill in. He's extremely fast which fits the Saint's system well.
If the Saints fell in love with one of the free safety's in this class, they could take them here.