In what is shaping up to be one of the more interesting top of the drafts in years, the No. 1 pick in my old draft is looking at a long fall. Why?
The Rams seems enamored with Sam Bradford, which is completely out of my control. Washington has Donovan McNabb and the Seahawks have Charlie Whitehurst. If he weren't making $10 million the next two years, Clausen could still go there.
However, I feel that grabbing the best defensive player is more beneficial to the franchise than grabbing a quarterback with a ton of questions.
Here is the third version of my mock draft, just over two weeks before the draft.
1. St. Louis- Gerald McCoy, DT
The Rams can't afford to screw this pick up. I know they need a QB, but Bradford has too many questions. McCoy and Suh are really interchangeable at the top—both are phenomenal prospects with minor differences.
2. Detroit- Ndamukong Suh, DT
Jeff Backus is a decent left tackle. Can the Lions say the same about their other defensive tackle opposite Corey Williams? Suh could have an Albert Haynesworth-type impact in Schwartz's defense.
3. Tampa Bay- Russell Okung, OT
The Bucs took Josh Freeman with their top pick and could use someone to protect his blindside. Berry is tempting, but his position value doesn't fit here.
4. Washington trades the fourth pick to Cleveland for the seventh overall pick and Cleveland's third and fifth round picks and selects Eric Berry, S.
In fear of a team moving up to get him, the Browns pull the trigger and snag Berry, a player with a great skill set and attitude.
5. Kansas City- Brian Bulaga, OT
Certainly not a sexy pick, but Bulaga is a tough, physical player who is very consistent.
6. Seattle- Derrick Morgan, DE
Morgan is very underrated because he's so polished. He still has upside and can get after the quarterback.
7. Washington- Trent Williams, OT
Acquiring Donovan McNabb takes the Redskins out of the mix for Clausen or Bradford. Williams is versatile and quietly rising.
8. Oakland- Sam Bradford, QB
I'm not high on Bradford, and he's not a deep ball threat like Al Davis would want, but he's the top player on the board and fills a big need.
9. Buffalo- Anthony Davis, OT
Clausen is tempting, but they need to choose between Brian Brohm and Trent Edwards. Davis is the last of the top-tier tackles.
10. Jacksonville- Dez Bryant, WR
Mike Sims-Walker has been really good, but the Jaguars don't have much beyond him. Bryant is a great deep-threat and has value in the return game.
11. Denver- Rolando McClain, ILB
The Broncos need a Mike and McClain is the best in the draft.
12. Miami- Dan Williams, NT
Jason Ferguson is going to miss the first eight games of the season and he's 35. They need a replacement.
13. San Francisco- Earl Thomas, S
Thomas has tremendous versatility and is a ballhawk. He ran well and was bigger than people expected.
14. Seattle- Jimmy Clausen, QB
The 'Hawks' QB situation leaves a lot to be desired. I know they have $10 million in Charlie Whitehurst, but Clausen might too good at this spot.
15. New York Giants- Joe Haden, CB
The Giants could use some corner depth. Having Haden fall here is a great situation.
16. Tennessee- Jason Pierre-Paul, DE
Is he Jevon Kearse 2.0? He has a lot of catching up to do, but his physical skills and motor are intriguing.
17. San Francisco- CJ Spiller, RB
The Niners are lacking a dynamic playmaker on offense. Spiller fits that and is a tremendous value here.
18. Pittsburgh-Maurkice Pouncey, C/G
Pouncey is one of the best interior linemen prospects in the last five years and will fit into Pittsburgh nicely.
19. Atlanta- Everson Griffen, DE
Griffen has a ton of potential and should help upgrade the pass rush in Atlanta.
20. Houston-Kyle Wilson, CB
With Dunta Robinson leaving, the Texans have a huge void at corner. Wilson is physical and has been on fire since the Senior Bowl.
21. Cincinatti- Jermaine Gresham, TE
The Bengals could use a tight end to stretch the middle of the field.
22. New England- Brandon Graham, DE/OLB
Belichick will fall in love with Graham's productivity and versatility.
23. Green Bay- Kareem Jackson, CB
Jackson is a physical presence and would provide tremendous depth to the Packers' secondary.
24. Philadelphia- Sergio Kindle, OLB
His fall ends here. He fits well in Philly because of his quick first step and can blitz as well as anyone.
25. Baltimore- Devin McCourty, CB
The Ravens miss out on Gresham, but take McCourty, a strong special teams player and best corner on the board.
26. Arizona- Sean Witherspoon, LB
Witherspoon's versatility and his ability to break down in space and make tackles is too good to pass up.
27. Dallas- Charles Brown, OT
No safety is worthy at this point—Taylor Mays has Roy Williams written all over him. Brown has been on the rise because of his athleticism and the fact that he put on good weight.
28. San Diego- Terrence Cody, NT
Cody has weight issues and isn't a great pass-rusher, but he is dominant against the run and fills a huge—literally—void for the Chargers.
29. New York Jets- Arrelious Benn, WR
Benn's strength and size make him a good fit here for the Jets.
30. Minnesota- Brian Price, DT
The Vikings could use some young blood on the defensive line, and Price is a great value here.
31. Indianapolis- Mike Iupati, OG
The Colts are looking to get tougher and bigger on the offensive line. Iupati is a great fit here.
32. New Orleans- Jared Odrick, DL
Odrick is versatile and can line up at multiple spots.
33. St. Louis- Colt McCoy, QB
I think this is a good pick for St. Louis. Getting a top DT and third best QB is better than maybe the top QB and sixth best DT.
34. Detroit- Bruce Campbell, OT
The Lions want to protect Matthew Stafford, and Campbell rose after he blew up the combine.
35. Tampa Bay- Carlos Dunlap, DE
Character concerns are a big red flag, but his elite size and talent are intriguing.
36. Kansas City- Ricky Sapp, DE/OLB
The Chiefs could use a solid pass-rusher opposite Tamba Hali.
37. Philadelphia- Taylor Mays, S
The Eagles use the pick from Washington to add a talented but inconsistent player.
38. Cleveland- Tyson Alualu, DT
The Browns don't know what the future holds for Shaun Rogers. Alualu is a quality tackle that plays the run well.
39. Oakland- Sean Lee, ILB
The Raiders may be switching to a 3-4, and with Kirk Morrison's future in the air, Lee is a good pick here.
40. San Diego- Ryan Matthews, RB
The Chargers have hit gold here, getting the best pure running back in the draft.
41. Buffalo—Corey Wooton, DE
Wooton had some injuries last season, but he is a really good player and fits in the Bills' 3-4 defense. The Bills would have two starters with Dwan Edwards and Wooton.
42. Tampa Bay- Demaryius Thomas, WR
The Bucs could use a young pass catcher to go with rising second year QB Josh Freeman.
43. Miami—Jahvid Best, RB
Ricky Williams is older, but he isn't showing any signs of slowing down. Ronnie Brown's future in Miami is going to be uncertain, so grabbing Best here is a good value.
44. New England- Golden Tate, WR
Tate is familiar in a pro-style offense and could step in while Wes Welker rehabs from knee surgery.
45. Denver- Vladimir Ducase, OG
The Broncos would love to get more physical on the interior. Ducasse has a ton of upside and is still learning the game.
46. New York Giants- Daryl Washington, LB
The Giants need to replace Antonio Pierce in the middle, and selecting Washington is a good start.
47. Carolina—Rob Gronkowski, TE
The Panthers are committing themselves to Matt Moore, so getting him a weapon is essential. Gronkowski has medical concerns about his back, but his talent is undeniable.
49. San Francisco—Nate Allen, S
The Niners still haven't addressed their right tackle situation, but they take a player of good need and value. Allen is extremely athletic and can contribute on special teams immediately.
50. Houston—Lamarr Houston, DT
He's a local product and could fit in very well in the defensive tackle rotation.
51. Kansas City—Dennis Pitta, TE
The Chiefs need a replacement for Tony Gonzalez. Pitta is an instinctive route runner with underrated athleticism.
52. Pittsburgh—Cam Thomas, NT
Casey Hampton isn't going to be around forever, so getting an eventual replacement is a good idea.
53. New England- Patrick Robinson, CB
The Patriots could use some young talent at the corner spot. Robinson has great athleticism.
54. Cincinatti- Damian Williams, WR
The Bengals are hoping Williams can break through the starting lineup, unlike other mid-round picks.
55. Philadelphia- Jon Asamoah, OG
The release of Shawn Andrews will prompt this move. Asamoah is the second best guard in this draft.
56. Green Bay- Edwin Velheer, OT
The Packers could use a young tackle, and Velheer has good upside from a small school.
57. Baltimore- Alex Carrington, DE
Carrington is another small school kid who has great size as a five-technique in Baltimore's 3-4 defense.
58. Arizona- Chris Cook, CB
Cook is a big corner but has the potential to be a top notch safety.
59. Dallas- Eric Decker, WR
Decker would fit into the slot nicely in Big D.
60. Seattle- Dexter McCluster, RB
Didn't run well, but he's quick in space and ultra-productive.
61. NY Jets- Arthur Jones, DT
Jones would upgrade a unit that declined as the season ended.
62. Minnesota- Amari Spievey, CB
The Vikings could use an upgrade at corner with Griffin having ACL surgery and Winfield on the decline.
63. Indianapolis- Al Woods, DT
There's no doubt the Colts need to anchor better against the run.
64. New Orleans- Navorro Bowman, OLB
He has character concerns and didn't look overly athletic at Indy, but he's physical and productive on tape.
Feel free to comment—but keep it clean! Thanks for reading!
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!