I’m throwing my hat in the Mock Draft ring for the first time… in print. So for the sake of keeping things spicy I’m changing the format, just a smidge, from the usual mocks we’re all used to seeing here. Along with the typical roll call of picks I’m adding a TRADE ALERT. These are the picks that I suspect have a good chance to be traded and here’s where I need help from Mittens. He’ll prognosticate like a sonovabitch and let me know who’s moving in to these slots and who the pick could be.
Come with me if you want to live…
1. St. Louis: QB Sam Bradford – After Bradford’s electric pro day and Bulger’s release this pick is now a forgone conclusion. Sammy the Bull will be Steve “The Don” Spagnuolo’s Consigliore for the next decade.
2. Detroit: DT Ndamakong Suh – I was looking at Okung with this pick for a while (still a possibility) but now that the Lions traded for Sims I think they’ll sit on OT’s until the later rounds and draft a developmental guy there. This team needs everything and Suh can team up with VandenBosch to form a very formidable front.
3. Tampa Bay: DT Gerald McCoy – This guy reminds a lot of experts of Warren Sapp but without the off field distractions. That alone ensures McCoy will be a Buc on April 22nd. Gerald will be a perennial Pro Bowl tackle for Tampa Bay.
4. Washington: Russell Okung OT – The trade for McNabb has a massive impact on the top ten and the ripples could be felt as deep as the second day. Many pundits had Clausen in this spot but no more. With the retirement of Chris Samuels, Shannahan and Co. provide their new star with a LT to watch his blindside until he retires.
5. Kansas City: Brian Bulaga OT – Scott Pioli knows that great teams are built inside out and Bulaga could team with Branden Albert at RT to form a dominating offensive line on the ends. Eric Berry is even money here as well. If only they could score TD’s….
6. Seattle: Trent Williams OT – The last of the top tackles goes to a team in desperate need of one. Berry and Spiller get serious consideration here and I wouldn’t be surprised to see either one selected but like I said before, good teams are built from the inside out.
7. Cleveland: Eric Berry FS – Holmgren can add this future stud to a now vastly improved secondary that just traded for Sheldon Brown to play corner. Berry is a big time playmaker which is exactly what this defense needs.
8. Oakland: Jason Pierre-Paul DE – Al Davis is bat shit crazy and he proves it again with the drafts first shocker (but is it really?). JPP has all the potential in the world but for a team with so many glaring needs, offensive tackle being the biggest, this could be a disastrous pick. So of course it has to happen. Welcome to the nut house Jason, God speed.
9. Buffalo: Jimmy Clausen QB – With apologies to Brian, the self-proclaimed Buffalo Bills #1 Fan who has an unhealthy man crush on Tim Tebow, The Bills take their future franchise QB here. I was tempted to go OT here but it’s a bit of a reach to select either of the next two LT prospects (Davis and Campbell) this early.
TRADE ALERT: Mittens, the Catstrodamus, thinks the Bills might be tempted to trade down and that the Giants, desperate for Rolando “Die Hard” McClain, might be willing partners. If Clausen is still on the board at 15 he’s the pick. If not… Tebow?
10. Jacksonville: Derek Morgan DE – This is the appropriate pick for first DE off the board (apologies to Al…. and Mike Mayock for that matter). With Aaron Kampman paired with Morgan, The Jags might finally have the pass rush they’ve been lusting for. I was tempted to go with Dez Bryant but this team needs help on defense in the worst way. Jax will address receiver later.
11. Denver: Dez Bryant WR – This makes even more sense now that Forgetting Brandon Marshall is a Dolphin. I think his “issues” are a bit over blown and this kid will reach his full potential in a year or two. Who’s throwing him the ball by 2011 is anyone’s guess though. Hint… it won’t be the asstastic Kyle Orton.
12. Miami: CJ Spiller RB – As a huge Dolphins fan I had Earl Thomas in this slot until yesterday morning. Doesn’t make sense? Hear me out. Earl Thomas at 12 and one of the remaining DT’s at 42 (I was hoping for Cody). Now without a second rounder what do we do? Simple: replace the soon to be traded Ronnie Brown with the draft’s most dynamic runner (half his collegiate TD’s were over 40 yards) and instantly create one of the NFL’s most dangerous offenses. Then use the remaining picks finding pass rushers.
TRADE ALERT: Mittens is at it again! There are several teams who desperately want to get in to the top half of the draft (NE, Philly, Dallas etc) and we might be able to wrangle a second round pick in exchange for the swap, however, Spiller will not get past Seattle)
13. San Francisco: Joe Haden CB – Not too long ago this kid had a top ten grade in most drafts but various trades, signings and other prospects getting red hot (Morgan, Williams, JPP) allow him to fall… right into a giddy Mike Singletary’s lap. Sometimes good things happen to good people.
14. Seattle: Sergio Kindle OLB – with Spiller gone the ‘hawks look to address their anemic pass rush here. Kindle and Williams aren’t the type of sexy picks that sell Season Tickets but at the end of the day its wins that are the true measuring stick (and what will give the new coaching staff some job security).
15. New York Giants: Rolando McClain ILB – The Football Gods have spoken, and in the Giant War room, the word is good. Word around the bolgosphere has the Giants wanting to trade up to snag this guy but with the Fire Marshall trade the needs of the other teams ahead of them has shifted. Goodbye Antonio Pierce, hello Rolando McClain. Yippee Kiyay Mother……!!
16. Tennessee: Brandon Graham OLB/DE – He doesn’t have the hype that surrounds Derek Morgan and JPP but this kids just makes plays. In fact, in College he made a living behind the line of scrimmage. Jeff Fisher will love this guy.
17. San Francisco: Mike Iupati G/T – If Mike Singletary were an Offensive Lineman instead of a Linebacker he might have a game like this mauler. That alone makes him the pick dujour at 17. Somewhere, Frank Gore is smiling.
18. Pittsburgh: Kyle Wilson CB – with both Bruce Campbell and Anthony Davis still on the board the Steelers might be tempted to go in that direction. However, this team built its legacy on strong defense and now that the Ravens and (to a lesser extent) the Bengals have enhanced their passing attack, Wilson is a no brainer.
19. Atlanta: Dan Williams DT – Ideally they’d have liked a pass rusher here but none of the elite ones fell this far so they shore up another area of need. Plug Williams beside Babineaux and the Falcons potentially have the makings of a great front in their 4-3 defense.
20. Houston: Earl Thomas S – Sure, Running Back is a big area of need but there will be plenty of quality backs in the next 2-3 rounds. And its not like this team has trouble scoring points as it is. Earl Thomas is a Dolphin if Spiller is off the board (in my mock vision) so this is massive value at another area of need. The Duke has a few Pro Bowls in his future.
21. Cincinnati: Chris Dunlap DE – Many pundits have TE Jermaine Gresham going here (and it could still happen) but I think defense is a bigger need. Dunlap is massive at 6-6 280 and will immediate help their run defense but he’ll need coaching to become a pro worthy sack artist. Guys like Gronkowski, Dickerson and Pitta will still be available in the second and third round if the Bengals are set on drafting a TE still.
22. New England: Jermaine Gresham TE – With the emerging Julian Edelman and this stud, the NE offense may not even skip a beat while Welker is rehabbing. And when he gets back….. sweet baby Jesus… The AFC East will be an exciting division – in spite of the Bills barf enducing potential.
TRADE ALERT: If Gresham is gone (and no edge rushers are enticing enough) NE could very well trade out of this spot. Green Bay will almost certainly draft a LT or C/G and Dallas may want to trade up to the spot just in front to get their pick and thus leave Green Bay with the leftovers.
23. Green Bay: Maurkice Pouncey G/C – This is a no-brainer. Aaron Rodgers is the franchise and he got hammered every Sunday last year. That is simply unacceptable so the Packers draft a guy who could anchor the middle of their line for 7-10 years. The only one who hates this pick is Rodgers’ Chiropractor.
24. Philadelphia: Devin McCourty CB – By trading Sheldon Brown and losing Dawkins last year the Eagles have big holes in the secondary. The scouting report on McCourty is that he was a great cover guy in College and should be able to translate to the pros quickly. Kolb will have a lot of pressure on his shoulders but if he’s forced to come from behind every game the pressure could be too much. Eagles fans are ruthless. A good pass defense will help.
25. Baltimore: Jared Odrick DT – Versatile enough that he can play DE in a 3-4 or DT in a 4-3, Odrick will slide right in beside Haloti Ngata and form a front that has the potential to be dominating. Terrance Cody is a possibility here as well or perhaps an edge rusher like Everson Griffin. Regardless, Ozzie Newsome is goddamn wizzard and whoever he picks will be a Hal lof Famer.
26. Arizona: Sean Weatherspoon LB – The problem (but not really) with this kid is scouts can’t come to a consensus on where he plays. Does he have the coverage ability for a 3-4 or is he better suited in a 4-3? Either way, this kid’s athleticism is off the charts and the Cardinals will find a way to use him.
27. Dallas: Bruce Campbell LT – Is Doug Free really the guy to replace Flozell Adams? Campbell is a bit of a project but he’s a freakish athlete. Dallas may sit him for a year or throw him out at RT and see what happens. Either way, Jerry Jones loves high upside, athletic players and OL is an area of need. A Safety is also a possibility here.
28. San Diego: Ryan Matthews RB – I agonized over this pick as DT is a huge area of need as well. However, I think AJ Smith banks on the depth of DT’s in this draft and snags one in the next round. Matthews put up massive numbers at Fresno State and has the tools to be an every down back in the pro’s.
29. New York Jets: Everson Griffen DE – At long last, the Vernon Gholston era has come to a merciful end. If this kid can play then the Jets may have the best defense in football (if they don’t already). A quality pass rusher is really all that’s missing.
30. Minnesota: Patrick Robinson CB – I so wanted to go with Colt McCoy here but it looks like Favre is coming back and the duo of Jackson/Rosenfels are decent caretakers if the Vikings decide to take a developmental QB like Skelton, Crompton or Kafka later in the draft. However, injuries and free agency have done a number on the team’s secondary and Robinson has the skills and smarts necessary to handle the complex packages Minnesota runs.
31. Indianapolis: Kareem Jackson CB – 5 corners in the first round… but wasn’t this supposed to be the year of the DT? True, but Indy is desperate for help in the secondary for the same reason as Minnesota. And many scouts/pundits have Jackson rated higher than both McCourty and Robinson so this is good value here.
TRADE ALERT: NE, Buffalo or even Jacksonville could trade up for this pick to select Tim Tebow (assuming the Bills pass on Clausen of course). The extra picks would allow the Colts to fill a lot of positions like C (John Asamoah?), DT (Terrance Cody or Tyson Alualu?) or perhaps even get Kareem on a back slide.
32. New Orleans: Nate Allen S – This is a pick on the assumption that Darren Sharper is not resigned. He was such a huge part of the defense and if he leaves they have no one to replace him. Enter Nate Allen. However, even if Sharper returns he’ll be 36 years old. Jerry Hughes, the OLB from TCU is a definite possibility here as well.
Notable 1st Round Absentees:
Taylor Mays S - poor footwork, might end up a linebacker anyways.
Terrance Cody and Tyson Alualu DT - two teams in the first 10 picks of the second round just hit the goddamn jackpot.
Charles Brown OT - no way he gets past the Rams or Lions.
Demaryius Thomas WR - He needs coaching which is why he slides but he has huge potential. Tampa Bay takes a hard look.
Golden Tate WR - just a victim of the needs/numbers game. He won't get past Seattle.
Colt McCoy QB - if Tate and Thomas are gone, Seattle gives this guy serious consideration. As does Cleveland and San Fransisco.
Tim Tebow QB - If Buffalo passes on Clausen at 9 then they do everything they can to get this kid. Jim Kelly said he likes him so the Bills fans, ever so Pavlovian, now love Tebow too. He could bring His message to Western New York.
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