In just under 10 days the 2010 NFL Draft will begin, and more than likely Sam Bradford will get his named called to be the savior of what used to be a championship football team just a decade ago.
Actually, with how recent years have gone, within 24 hours of April 22, the general public will probably know the exact terms of his over-inflated contract for being picked No. 1, somewhat ruining the fun of draft night.
But is it really the best choice?
By now we all know that the draft is a crap-shoot; a big gamble that sometimes pays off and gives you Peyton Manning, and other times you lose and get Alex Smith, or lose big and get JaMarcus Russell.
Now I don't think Bradford is an Alex Smith, and definitely not JaMarcus Russell, but in terms of value I don't think there's better value than what you can get by selecting Gerald McCoy No. 1 overall.
The way you can pair up McCoy with a quarterback such as the other (Colt) McCoy or Tim Tebow , and maybe even Jimmy Clausen with the way his stock has been falling, is much better than the defensive line help you can acquire at No. 33 overall.
The Rams did say they like Colt a lot after seeing his pro day, even enough to hold a private workout before the draft. Neither quarterback is going to make the difference this year with the Rams, and they have way too many holes to fill.
Do you run the risk of Colt McCoy not being there at 33?
Sure you do, just about every team this year has said they would like quarterback depth , but we all know that Gerald McCoy and Ndamukong Suh won't be there, and the gap in talent between McCoy and Suh and the rest of the DTs is much larger than the gap between Bradford and Clausen or McCoy.
Here is how I see the first round playing out, and I think it works best for the Rams to take McCoy, or even Suh for that matter, over Bradford.
No trades were worked in, although I'll mention spots where I see teams trading, which I feel this draft is building up to be a big trade day.
1. St. Louis Rams: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
It's tough to say who truly is the better prospect between McCoy and Suh , and I believe both will become elite DTs for the next decade.
I see it as a choice between Warren Sapp (McCoy) and Kevin Williams (Suh ). You really can't lose when looked at it this way. I just give McCoy the slight edge for one reason—he would have been top five last year, too.
That means little, but it's really a coin flip between the two. They'll address the QB issue in round two, or they could be a potential trade up into the late first round if they feel like they can get their guy.
2. Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh , DT, Nebraska
In the end I believe this is who the Lions really want.
He's a big DT that can stop the run and mix well with DE Vanden Bosch. Although O-line help here wouldn't be a huge stretch.
Gosder Cherilus could use some help as he makes Matt Stafford look like Joey Harrington. But the Lions have to believe Cherilus is the man for one more year, which is why Suh is the no-brainer for the Lions.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers : Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
Those are the two words coming out of the Tampa Bay boardroom after McCoy and Suh come off the board. The key positions of need—DL , WR —are too early to take in Dan Williams and Dez Bryant, and they just took Freeman so that cancels out Bradford.
So it comes down to Eric Berry and Russell Okung . Going back to Tampa makes Berry seem like the obvious choice, but the value of Okung and possibly Myron Rolle in round two or three is too good to pass up.
4. Washington Redskins: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
If Bulaga ends up with Washington, something went wrong on draft day. There's no way he goes here because someone (Oakland or Buffalo?) is going to bite the bullet and trade up for Bradford.
However, there's virtually no way to predict trades so if it were to go through, Washington needs to replace Chris Samuels , and fast.
Some may think that the ultimate one-up on Philadelphia would be to take McNabb from them and get Bradford, who the Eagles said is the reason they made the trade. But you just don't pay two QBs top five money...then again the team is still owned by Dan Snyder.
5. Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
One of the few bright spots from the one-year stint of Lane Kiffin is the preserving of safety Eric Berry.
Kansas City needs help, pretty much everywhere. They just missed on Bulaga (but theoretically I think he'll still be here) who is a Pioli guy and would be taken in a heartbeat.
Bradford won't be taken if Cassel's contract (six years, $63 million with $40.5 mil due in the first three years!) is still on the books. So that leads to the best player left on the board in Eric Berry.
Look for the Chiefs to trade the pick if Okung or Bulaga are gone.
6. Seattle Seahawks: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Looks like Pete Carroll just won the lottery.
Leave USC after one of his worst seasons ever at Southern Cal, get basically full control of an NFL team, then land Bradford.
Even if Carroll was serious about keeping Hasselbeck as the starter, this is very promising for the future. Again, I don't think Bradford will fall to six, but this just shows you exactly how far he can slide if the Rams go with McCoy or Suh .
Makes for a very interesting 14th pick with Bradford on board.
7. Cleveland Browns: Earl Thomas, S, Texas
For the sole reason that the Browns and Shaun Rogers need each other equally means that they will live with him at DT for one more year.
So this takes away the immediate need for a DT . So what's next? Can you name one player in the Cleveland secondary with a decent amount of skill? Can you name one player in the secondary period? Yeah, me neither.
Joe Haden's 40 was awful, but he's still a possibility. Berry would have been ideal but Holmgren will settle for Thomas as he needs all the help he can get.
8. Oakland Raiders : Jimmy Clausen , QB, Notre Dame
A west coast guy for a team out on the West Coast.
He is already is better than JaMarcus Russell, but then again so is just about anyone. If Bradford is sitting there at the fourth or fifth pick I think Oakland will move up to grab him as even Al Davis knows who is better.
Some may worry about Jimmy's character issues, but when has that ever stopped Al Davis? This is a match made in heaven for Davis, as we are either looking at the next Ryan Leaf or, potentially, Philip Rivers .
I'd take either over Russell at this point.
9. Buffalo Bills: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
They need a QB and missed on that; they need an OLB , but there really isn't one in this draft worthy of the ninth overall pick; and they need a LT.
Davis is the solid fit here over Trent Williams because Trent is a RT. He could play LT but in his first year I don't see him as an upgrade, and he'd probably start at RT anyway.
Davis can be the anchor that Jason Peters was before him; trading him actually cost Trent Edwards an NFL job. Don't be surprised to see Buffalo trade up to grab a QB, or down to position itself for McCoy or Tebow .
10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
Only Tim Tebow has more local notoriety in the state, and JP-P helps out the front four which is a key need.
Garrard was a pro bowl QB this year (back up yes, but he still was) so the need to replace him isn't glaring, and he could be useful for two to three more years.
The Jags need people in the stands, period, and the best way to do that is to trade for Tom Brady (probably not going to happen) or start winning games. Trading down would be smart and stockpiling picks to be able to fill holes would be ideal, but I don't see them passing on Pierre-Paul.
11. Denver Broncos: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
Maybe just a bit early to take him, but I don't see them really having a choice so long as Brandon Marshall is still on the team.
If they do manage to trade Marshall this pick becomes Dez Bryant in a flash, but McDaniels won't have two divas on the team, let alone at the same position.
Williams can be a solid DT for years. Even if he's not ready now, a year behind Ron Fields can't hurt his development. Yes, Champ Bailey is getting old, but he's still a shut-down corner, although this might be his last year at that level. Joe Haden here is also a possibility, but this is a deep CB draft.
12. Miami Dolphins: Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas
The addition of Dansby is good, but the departure of Porter isn't. Porter wanting out, and his clashing with Head Coach Tony Sparano made it easy for Miami to release him, but it doesn't help when Charlie Anderson and Erik Walden are his backups.
While the fans may want playmaker WR Dez Bryant here, which I don't blame them, the need for OLBs in a 3-4 is vital; we all saw how well Orakpo did with Washington last season.
Kindle has to excite Parcells and Co.
13. San Francisco 49ers: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
There are very few who believe Alex Smith is the answer, but he'll be the starter in 2010.
The 49ers are a prime candidate (with two first rounders ) to trade up and take Bradford or Clausen , but if they don't they'll give Smith as much time as they can.
Williams is a perfect fit here. He's big enough to play either tackle position, but with Joe Staley already rock solid at LT there is no need or pressure to move Williams from the right side.
14. Seattle Seahawks: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
Bradford to Bryant? Sounds good, but even Carroll knows to quit when you're ahead.
Bryant would bring in all the hype for the Seahawks to win the NFC West, but it doesn't fill the need of DE, which is much larger. Arguably DE is their biggest need, but with the combination of Bradford slipping and no elite DE prospect at six, they go with best available.
In this scenario they get the No. 1 QB and the No. 1 DE prospect, which is starting to sound like some of Carroll's old recruiting classes that made USC so good.
This pick also could become Brandon Marshall, which isn't an upgrade or downgrade over Morgan.
15. New York Giants: Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
This guy was a beast for Alabama's national championship team, and for an oddly soft New York Giants' defense this is just what they need.
Pierce is becoming a liability, and his age and injuries aren't helping his case. If Dan Williams is still here this pick becomes a very tough decision for the G-Men.
Safety is a concern, but more of a depth concern, so reaching for Taylor Mays here isn't smart even if you want him as a LB. This is one of the more obvious picks in the draft.
16. Tennessee Titans: Everson Griffen , DE, Southern Cal
When the Titans released Keith Bulluck , they filled that need with Will Witherspoon . The secondary is a concern, but with the loss of Vanden Bosch and the talent that Griffen can become makes this too good to pass up.
OLB is still a need that can be addressed in later rounds. Also, WR help for Vince Young will need to be address somewhere down the line.
Kenny Britt showed a flash or two of what he could be, but he is still somewhat raw, and I see him being more of a No. 2 WR than a dominant WR in the league.
17. San Francisco 49ers : Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
Being a diva really doesn't pay off.
Bryant has top five talent, but too many questions lead to him landing here. Teams with too many holes for one pick to change (Jacksonville, Buffalo, Miami) could be contenders to trade down for another team to move up and take Bryant. That seems more likely than him falling into the hands of the 49ers, who took fellow Big 12 diva Michael Crabtree last year.
However, by addressing the O-line at No. 13, and watching what the combination of Fitzgerald and Boldin did for the last three-to-four years, makes me wonder if the 49ers wouldn't mind trying to recreate that.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers : Joe Haden , CB, Florida
This could be a steal in the making, maybe the biggest of the whole draft.
Haden , who has top five talent, has a major concern involving his 40 times. The 49ers could take him at 13 or 17, but they need quick, speedy corners , not a 4.57 guy. But put him with Polamalu and let him develop into a starting corner opposite Ike Taylor and speed won't matter a whole lot.
D-line is also a huge concern and the Steelers could use some youth around Hampto n and depth pending the development of Ziggy Hood.
O-line depth could also be addressed with Iupati , but Haden is too tempting to leave on the board.
19. Atlanta Falcons: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
What if I told you that Tony Gonzalez was going to be around, at an elite level, for the next decade?
That's what the Falcons get by taking Gresham here. If he would have left last year he would have been the clear cut No. 1 TE over Pettigrew , who went No. 20 overall and probably would have been picked higher due to having more upside.
He's coming off an injury that cost him his entire senior season, so being behind Gonzalez for a year would do wonders for his development. It gives Matt Ryan weapons beyond 2010, which is key to him getting back to his 2008 form.
Corner and D-line are huge needs, but there is no shutdown corner past Haden , who was just taken, and there isn't a D-lineman with talent to blow them away here.
20. Houston Texans: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
With blazing speed and similarities to Reggie Bush with his impact in the return game, Spiller can add a dynamic that will compliment Schaub and Andre Johnson quite nicely.
There are a few minor holes that this team could also choose to fill, but for a team that was just a game out of the playoffs I feel they will take the best player available.
Slaton fell off the map last year and the Texans can't wait around for him to get on track. Arian Foster is a nice complimentary RB, and with the potential that Johnson could ask for a trade, the Texans need to get wins now.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Mike Iupati, OL, Idaho
With the unfortunate passing of WR Chris Henry the Bengals addressed the WR need when they signed Antonio Bryant.
However, this is not a replacement as the Bengals would have gone out and gotten WR help even if Henry were still around. Therefore WR Demaryius Thomas is a possibility here, and no team is bumming more than the Bengals that Gresham came off the board just two picks before them.
Taylor Mays is essentially a faster Roy Williams (the safety) and since the Bengals already have the original I can't see them going for Mays.
With Iupati's versatility to play either guard or tackle position, being able to pair him up with Andre Smith sounds like a great option for keeping Carson Palmer healthy.
22. New England Patriots: Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan
Trading away Richard Seymour really hurt the Patriots defense as a whole last year as they really struggled in a way that we aren't used to in the Belichick era.
Randy Moss isn't getting any younger, so Demaryius Thomas is tempting here as well as replacing Seymour, but the Patriots need to start building around Jerod Mayo and that starts with Graham.
His size and speed combination would fit wonderfully in the Pats' 3-4, and if needed he can slide into their DE position, although that's not likely for this system.
Faulk is in his last year, Maroney hasn't proven he's a No. 1 RB, so Ryan Matthews or Joe McKnight here isn't out of the question, and neither is trading the pick, which Belichick has shown he's always willing to do.
23. Green Bay Packers: Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
There is really only one glaring need for Green Bay: keep Aaron Rodgers off his back.
The Packers look extremely good on paper, and have few holes to fill, maybe the least of any team that made the playoffs last year. They need help at safety, which keeps Taylor Mays in the picture, but Rodgers just took too many hits, period.
Campbell is a bit of a stretch, but not taking an OL here makes it a stretch that Rodgers makes it all 16 games and into the playoffs.
Charles Woodson was great last year, and will be top five again this season, but he and Al Harris aren't on the good side of 30 so CB help needs to be addressed sometime soon as well.
24. Philadelphia Eagles: Sean Witherspoon, OLB, Missouri
This is tough for Philadelphia fans to swallow.
Yes, with Will Witherspoon leaving there is a hole at OLB and in a blitz-heavy defense designed by the late Jim Johnson OLBs, are in need.
The signing of DB Marlin Jackson from Indianapolis and his move to safety will help fill the hole that Dawkins left two seasons ago. The need for Witherspoon to come in and play over Moise Fokou and Akeem Jordan is bigger than Taylor Mays coming in and fighting for playing time with Jackson, Quintin Mikell , Quintin Demps , and Macho Harris.
25. Baltimore Ravens: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
Todd Heap is getting old and useless, but there's nobody to take his spot at this part of the draft.
The addition of Anquan Boldin solves the need for a playmaker at WR to help Joe Flacco . Ray Rice was a Pro Bowler last season and Michael Oher shored up the O-line.
Ray Lewis isn't going to let the defense slip, and they can help Ray make one late run at a Super Bowl by solidifying their pass coverage.
I don't think there is a shut down corner in this draft past Joe Haden , but that's not what the Ravens need Wilson to become. He can be a great No. 2 CB, or an Ike Taylor-like No. 1 for the next 12 years.
The last CB out of Boise State isn't doing too bad in Dallas either.
26. Arizona Cardinals: Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
This pick is very interesting.
No one has truly fallen to the Cardinals and the glaring need on the team, ILB , doesn't produce a prospect that can be really trusted at the 26th selection.
Brandon Spikes has first round talent, but with average speed and character issues he becomes a liability more than an impact.
Ken Whisenhunt commands the respect needed in the desert, but with no true DT the 6'5" Odrick should hear his name called here.
There is a need to replace Boldin, but this is a very deep WR draft and with the picks acquired in the Boldin trade that issue can be addressed with Jordan Shipley or Dez Briscoe .
27. Dallas Cowboys: Taylor Mays, S, Southern California
I just don't see this team going forward this year, not with what they have on the team now.
Roy Williams (the WR ) just isn't what Jerry Jones thought he would be, especially for $9 million a season. Miles Austin is solid, but can he handle No. 1 corners all year? Who is the RB in Big D—is it Barber, Jones or Choice? The front seven on the defensive side is the only thing that is a sure thing to stay constant, which is a huge plus.
With the release of Flozell Adams there is an obvious need to get OT help, but they also let go of Ken Hamlin, and Taylor Mays' presence might be enough to keep WRs honest and out of the end zone.
28. San Diego Chargers: Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State
The No. 1 producing RB from the college football season, with great size and surprising speed.
Sproles isn't going to be a No. 1 RB for the Chargers , let alone for any other team in the NFL, but he's good enough to warrant 15-20 touches. Mathews is a great side-kick for Sproles this year.
Looking towards the future, Mathews has the tools to become an elite RB in this league somewhere in the next two to three years, which is perfect timing for the team to shift away from Sproles and carry on with Mathews.
Also, giving Terrence "Mount" Cody a look isn't a poor idea, as a true NT could really help their defense.
Also, if Floyd and Jackson were to leave in free agency a WR such as Benn and Damien Williams are possible solutions.
29. New York Jets: Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida
I know what you're thinking, another DE athletic freak who has no work ethic once he gets paid, but this is different.
Gholston is all but a complete miss at this point, and even with the possible addition of Jason Taylor, the age of the Jets' DEs are a bit of a concern. Unlike Gholston , Dunlap is more of a true DE who can fit in the 3-4.
Gholston , who played DE at Ohio State, may be a physical freak, but he doesn't have the body mass to play the 3-4 DE. He apparently is missing the interest to play the 3-4 OLB , or football in general for that matter.
CB depth is also a bit of a need, but you can't address that in the first round. Looks like Hard Knocks: Rex in the City is going to be a good one.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
This pick kind of kills my whole point of taking Gerald McCoy No. 1 overall, but let's look at this a bit more.
The Rams should trade back into the later first round anyways, so don't look for McCoy to fall to them at 33 to begin with .
This is a rather deep draft at three positions: WR , D-Line, and CB. The aging Winfield is a problem, and Griffin is probably going to start on the PUP barring a miracle. Asher Allen needs at least one more year in the nickel-dime role, and there really isn't much past him that would be an upgrade in the future.
But a shutdown guy in college like an Amari Spivey of Iowa or a Javier Arenas or Kareem Jackson from Alabama will likely be there in rounds two or three.
O-line is a problem, especially if No. 4 is coming back, but Pouncey won't help the O-line this year, and past this year it's not as much of a need.
So why not groom McCoy behind the best to ever play the game, and allow his shoulder to heal fully to have a QB for the next 12-14 years? Tebow would be the other option here as the combination of pure leadership and not having to play anytime soon would be very tempting to look at.
31. Indianapolis Colts: Jerry Hughes, OLB, Texas Christian
Think about it: A versatile OLB /DE hybrid who can help at either position providing depth immediately and a solid starter in the future.
His size isn't a problem considering who is at DE for the Colts now (6'1" Freeney and 6'2" Mathis) and his quickness is very similar to the current starters .
They don't need a QB, RB, WR , TE, S, or an ILB , so now it becomes more of a depth draft pick rather than filling holes. To get back to the Super Bowl the Colts aren't too far away, and much of last year's team is still in the prime of their careers to make another run at it.
Depth at CB could be addressed here such as McCourty or Patrick Robinson, but the upside of Hughes is something the Colts love.
32. New Orleans Saints: Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
The Saints finally won the Super Bowl, whoever they pick here is going to be considered a "good" choice.
Even with last year's first round pick Malcolm Jenkins being a CB, he doesn't possess great speed and could very well be moved to safety if/when Sharper leaves.
The Saints have no real holes, obviously—they just won the Super Bowl—but their DBs aren't great. The only other position that could use an upgrade is OLB , but with Hughes and Witherspoon gone at this point, it is a bit too early to reach for Navorro Bowman.
Bowman has first round talent, coming from linebacker U, but his speed is a big question mark. If the Saints feel like they can get past the speed issue then I wouldn't put it past them to take Bowman here. But McCourty's value is undeniably better here.
Again, you can't mock trades so it's kinda tough to put Bradford at six overall, but that's just the way it falls. I don't think that the Rams will pass on Bradford at No. 1 overall, but it would be a valued mistake. Then again the draft is all a gamble.