by John Gustafson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Admittedly, projecting the NFL draft is not my strong point. I don’t even like NFL mock drafts, because they rarely go the way the “experts” think they do and even when they do, it’s no guarantee that the draft picks will pan out to be good pros. But my buddy Tony, over at the NCOFF challenged some of us football bloggers to compete in his NFL mock draft competition. So let that be my preface as you read this mockery, I’m simply having fun and tried to select the best overall player available for each team based on their need. With that in mind, ladies and gentleman, welcome to the 2010 NFL Draft, the St Louis Rams are on the clock…
1. St Louis Rams - Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma- I’m not wild about this pick if I’m a Rams fan. Yes Bradford could turn out to be a great pro. His quick passing style and system in college will fit the Rams west coast offense, but $50 million is a lot of money to give a quarterback with a history of shoulder injuries. It’s way too risky for my blood. I would play it safe and take Suh, but according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Bradford to the Rams is a foregone conclusion.
2. Detroit Lions - Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska- I have Suh as the top rated player in this draft. With the Lions rebuilding their defense, Suh should make a nice addition to a team that can use all the help they can get. This pick may come down to a matter of preference as fellow DT Gerald McCoy is expected to go top 3. If the Lions don’t take Suh, they’re taking McCoy or trading down for more picks.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma- The Bucs need WR help, but Dez Bryant would be a huge gamble. I’d love to see them get Bryant to get Josh Freeman a true #1 WR, but they’ll likely play it safe with McCoy. If the Lions take McCoy, the Bucs will take Suh.
4. Washington Redskins- Russell Okung, T, Oklahoma St- Some are saying that the Skins get their future franchise QB here in Jimmy Clausen. That’s certainly a possibility, but the problem in Washington wasn’t their QB, it was their offensive line. That won’t stop the Shanahans from taking Clausen if they think Clausen has what their looking for. However, I think they’re good with McNabb for 2-3 years. Looking to win now, the Skins will take Okung. He’s an obvious pick as the #1 rated offensive lineman in the draft.
5. Kansas City Chiefs - Eric Barry, S, Tennessee- The Chiefs may select tackle Bryan Buluga, but Eric Barry may be too tough for them to pass on. He’s a complete safety who plays bigger than he is. Their offense while not complete, should be better in 2010 leaving the door open to improve their defense with Barry.
6. Seattle Seahawks - Bryan Buluga, T, Iowa- The Seahawks have a lot of needs so this pick could go a number of ways. This will definitely be an early draft wildcard pick. Pete Carroll may take a gamble on Dez Bryant or he’ll rebuild his offensive line with Baluga.
7. Cleveland Browns - Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech- The Browns also have a lot of needs. This pick could see them taking Jimmy Clausen, Dez Bryant, or Joe Haden, but I think they go after Morgan to bolster their defensive line. Morgan could start on the left side of the line.
8. Oakland Raiders - Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame- It looks like Ol Uncle Al realizes that Jasuckus isn’t the answer at QB. He can be a stubborn one that Al, but if the team doesn’t trade for Redskins QB Jason Campbell, then they could surprise with Clausen. The Raiders have been known to make some head scratching decisions. In addition to that, Al likes hype which is all the more reason to think Clausen would get selected here.
9. Buffalo Bills - Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma St- This offense needs firepower. I doubt the Bills take Bryant, but they need to strongly consider it, otherwise Lee Evans and Fred Jackson will be left to do it all themselves. Bryant is big and dominant. He’s the type of WR that can take over games and rated #1 at the position this year. Clausen would also be an option if the Raiders and Redskins pass on him and the Bills are too (buffalo) chicken to take Bryant. Pun intended and encouraged.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida- There’s rumors that the Jaguars would take CJ Spiller here. While he would make a nice 1-2 combo with Maurice Jones-Drew, I’m not buying it. Clausen or Bryant could also end up here if still on the board. My guess is neither and they go with Pierre-Paul. Who knows for sure? The Jaguars have a lot of needs.
11. Denver Broncos - Dan Willams, DT, Tennessee- The Broncos have a glaring need on offense, specifically at WR, but McDaniels doesn’t like talented offensive players so I doubt he’s interested in Bryant if he’s still left. I have no idea really. This draft is going to be dicey. Again, I’m no expert in matters such as this.
12. Miami Dolphins - Earl Thomas, S, Texas- This is a player I really like and hope my Niners get, but the Dolphins need defensive help. Thomas is a young, high upside player. He could be a guy that Parcells loves. If that’s the case, then Parcells will have no problem taking Thomas a few picks early than he’s projected to go.
13. San Francisco 49ers- Joe Haden, CB, Florida- My Niners have a real shot to make some solid additions with 2 first round picks. I’m praying nightly that Jimmy Clausen is gone at this point so there’s no temptation by the Niners to take him. Haden is the #1 rated corner and would be able to start for a defense that had inconsistent corner play in 2009.
14. Seattle Seahawks- Taylor Mays, S, USC- There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not Mays is a first rounder or not. Let’s not forget that his college coach is now coaching for the Seahawks and may impulsively take Mays here. Is it a good decision? Maybe, but Pete Carroll’s failed as an NFL coach once… all I’m sayin..
15. New York Giants- Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan- The Giants love their DE and with rumors of Osi Umenyiora being shopped around, the Giants may be looking for his heir. Even if they’re not, they like being deep at this position. Graham’s size is of concern, but it may not matter if the Giants like him enough.
16. Tennessee Titans- Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama- Improvements need to be made on defense. They also may be looking to bring in another WR as they don’t have a true #1 just yet. McClain can play sideline to sideline and be a guy who can start right away.
17. San Francisco 49ers- CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson- Everyone swears he’ll go in the top 10, but it won’t be in the top 4 and the 5-10 teams all have decent RB situations. The same is true for the 11-16 teams. He may end up in Seattle or Denver, but he may just fall to my Niners. Most don’t think that the Niners are in the Spiller market now that they’ve added Ginn. Spiller still makes sense though because he would provide some versatility when, not if, Gore misses time to injury. My dream draft would see the Niners getting 2 of the following; Haden, Thomas, Spiller, and or Jahvid Best with their first 2 picks.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers- Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech- The Steelers allowed themselves to get robbed last week when they surprisingly let Santonio Holmes go for next to nothing. This immediately puts Pittsburgh in the WR market. Some are speculating that Mike Wallace now takes over for Holmes. I’m not buying that just yet. That could happen, but they would still need someone to fill the #3 role that Wallace operated out of last year. Thomas could be that guy.
19. Atlanta Falcons- Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame- The Falcons are also in the WR market. TE Tony Gonzalez is nearing retirement so they’ll need to bring in someone at some point to take some heat off of WR Roddy White. Disappointing starter WR Michael Jenkins isn’t that guy. Tate’s game is evolving into a very complete one and could serve as an excellent #2 WR in the NFL.
20. Houston Texans- Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise St- Everyone and their mother has the Texans taking Fresno St RB Ryan Mathews here. While he’s a good fit for their zone blocking scheme, that move just doesn’t make sense. The Texans already have 3 backs who started and played well at some point last year in Steve Slaton, Ryan Moats, and Arian Foster. Adding Mathews to that mix would just jumble things even more. This pick would be better spent on defense. Wilson is the second rated corner in the draft and will help their secondary.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- Mike Iupati, G, Idaho- Carson Palmer had no time to throw in last year’s playoff game vs the Jets. The Bengals will look to add Iupati here who can play G or be a guy they mold into a tackle. In case anyone forgot, this is a team who was trying to convert defensive ends into offensive linemen because they were so thin at the position. They need serious help at OL.
22. New England Patriots- Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno St- The Patriots have like 8 RBs that may play any given week. I exaggerate, but they are lacking a go-to back. Belichick has been known to take Fresno St players in the first round before (Logan Mankins, James Marshall) and he may do that again. Mathews runs hard and is the top lead back candidate in this year’s draft. Mathews would also make a nice little fantasy sleeper should he end up here. I had the pleasure of watching Mathews the last 3 years at Fresno St. He has some injury concerns, but other than that he’s the real deal.
23. Green Bay Packers- Bruce Campbell, T, Maryland- No, no, no, not the guy from Evil Dead, the other Bruce Campbell. While some would think that after giving up 50 points in a playoff game, the Packers should address their defense. That is certainly a direction they may take with this pick. The other area of concern is at OL. Rodgers is their franchise QB and they’d like him to stick around for awhile. A good way to ensure that is to add some depth to their OL by selecting Campbell here.
24. Philadelphia Eagles- Jared Odrick, DT, Penn St- The offense is young and pretty complete. They may go OL here, but more likely looking to go defense. Odrick isn’t the biggest guy, but has a nose for the ball and would fit in with their aggressive defensive scheme.
25. Baltimore Ravens- Brian Price, DT, UCLA- Like the Eagles, the Ravens offense is in tact. If Price isn’t a guy they’re interested in then they make move up for a guy they like more or trade down for more picks.
26. Arizona Cardinals- Brandon Spikes, ILB, Florida- The Cardinals will look to improve their D this draft. Spikes is a hard hitting LB who was dominant in college. He’ll also help improve their run defense which was one of his strengths at Florida.
27. Dallas Cowboys- Trent Williams, T, Oklahoma- Not a lot of needs for the Cowboys. Defense or offensive line may be the direction they take or trade down. Williams was disappointing last year but that was most likely to transitioning to a new position as he made the move from right to left tackle.
28. San Diego Chargers- Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech- As much as I think the Chargers may roll with Mike Tolbert as their next featured back, logical belief would be that they get a RB in the draft. There are rumors that they trade for Marshawn Lynch. The other rumor is that Mathews is there guy. Considering that, Dwyer could be a featured back if matched with the right team. This may be a match made in heaven if those other scenarios don’t play out.
29. New York Jets- Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas- The Jets have a great defense. Kindle needs some work but wouldn’t be pressed to start immediately in New York. He’s also rated the top outside linebacker in the draft and could be a nice value at this point in the draft.
30. Minnesota Vikings- Jahvid Best, RB, California- This is a sneaky pick, but I love it. The Vikings have been all too quiet this offseason. I’ve looked at their roster and no one stands out as a guy to spell AP. Best would be talked in the same breathe as CJ Spiller if he didn’t get hurt. Best is a beast. He’s quick, he can break off a big play at any time and is a threat in the passing game. There’s not much the Vikings need and Best makes a lot of sense here.
31. Indianapolis Colts- Anthony Davis, T, Maryland- The Colts may want to add some depth on their OL or defense. If it’s the OL, Davis will be there guy if still available. This may also be a pick that gets traded to a team with a lot of picks if there’s a guy that is a must-have for another team still available.
32. New Orleans Saints - Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida- The Saints are going to look to get younger at defense. Dunlap is raw, but will be given time to learn and progress. A potential project player for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.