We've heard Mel Kiper Jr.and Todd McShay talk our ear's off all year long about the top picks. They've changed their stories, opinions, and minds on several prospects, and can't agree on several more.
Here's one unbiased man's opinion on the 2010 NFL Draft, with no hidden agenda preventing me from uncovering how things will really shape-up:
1. St. Louis (1-15) - Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Despite the fact that Suh is the best overall player in the NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams are in a position offensively where they are a franchise quarterback away from becoming solid at the very least. With Steven Jackson running the ball, young receivers with potential, and bookend tackles to look forward to, the Rams simply cannot pass up on Bradford who is extremely accurate and smart. Despite former top 15 pick Adam Carriker being traded to Washington, St. Louis grabs their franchise guy.
2. Detroit (2-14) - Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
This is a no-brainer for Detroit. Suh is the best overall player in the draft, and while they may not want to pay top dollar for yet another top 5 pick, he’s just a can’t miss prospect. They need a lot of help on the defensive line, despite the acquisition of Corey Williams and Kyle Vanden Bosch, and Suh is their guy.
3. Tampa Bay (3-13) - Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
Like the Lions, this is another no-brainer considering McCoy is just about on the same level as Suh. With the Buccaneers finishing 2009 being 5th worst in the NFL in sacks, and worst against the run, they need a big time presence in the trenches.
4. Washington (4-12) - Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
The Redskins were tied for 4th most in the league in sacks given up to young quarterback Jason Campbell. On top of that former Pro-Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels is being forced into retirement due to a neck injury. The athletic, and quick footed Okung is the right fit in the nation’s capitol. With the acquisition of Donovan McNabb, you can bet that Washington is going to protect their new veteran quarterback.
5. Kansas City (4-12) - Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
Kansas City’s biggest problem offensively was the fact that they just couldn’t keep their 60 million dollar man on his feet. Scott Pioli’s ties to Kirk Ferentz and the dominance of Bulaga make him a prized possession and the franchise left tackle of the Kansas City Chiefs.
6. Seattle (5-11) – Eric Berry, S, Tennesse
Seattle needs help in the secondary, and Berry is the best player available, while playing a huge position of need. Berry is thought to be in the mold of Ed Reed, and certainly didn’t disappoint anybody with his combine performance. Berry could go sooner, but safeties aren’t usually coveted in the top 5, and sometimes not even the top 10, but he’s the real deal.
7. Jacksonville (7-9 trade up with Cleveland) - Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
The Jaguars really need a receiver that can make plays like Bryant can. Despite not playing much in 2009, Bryant’s physical skills are ideal for a true #1 wide receiver in the NFL. Any quarterback would love to have a strong, physical receiver like Bryant who can also make plays after the catch. Jacksonville gets their future stud wide receiver here.
8. Oakland (5-11) - Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
This really is an obvious pick considering Raider quarterbacks were sacked 3rd most in the league with 49. Campbell is a physical freak, who displayed his athleticism in the combine. As long as Al Davis is running the show, you can always bank on him reaching on a physical specimen like Campbell. With the failure of Robert Gallery who was a former top pick, the Raiders are in dire need for a true stud at left tackle.
9. Buffalo (6-10) - Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
Buffalo’s quarterback problems just never seem to go away. They’ve plugged in numerous starters over the years, and none of them seem to pan out. While they could use a lot of help on the offensive line, they just can’t pass up on a potential franchise quarterback in Jimmy Clausen who did a fantastic job in combine interviews and really pushed the “maturity” issues aside. Clausen comes from a pro-style offense in Notre Dame in which he put up big numbers without a lot of help. While Gailey is said to prefer more mobile quarterbacks, you cannot pass on a guy with Clausen’s ceiling.
10. Cleveland Browns (5-11 trade with Jacksonville) Dan Williams, NT, Tennesse
The key component to running a 3-4 defense is the nose tackle position. Although it is currently filled by Shaun Rogers, many believe that Rogers will be traded on draft day as he is aging, and is rumored to not want to be in Cleveland. Worst case scenario is that Rogers would be retained, and play the 5 technique, while Williams would play nose tackle. Williams is excellent value here.
11. Denver [from Chicago] (7-9) – Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
Denver could go a couple different ways here, but with a newly installed 34 defense, a signing of Justin Bannan to play some nose tackle, and the need for a Patrick Willis type linebacker in the middle, they grab McClain here. McClain can do it all. His weaknesses are very limited, as there are no glaring weaknesses. He’s the best sideline to sideline linebacker in this class who can cover as well as be a key in the run game.
12. Miami (7-9) – Earl Thomas, S, Texas
Miami’s biggest problem is on the defensive line, but they are equally as bad at the free safety spot. Thomas is just slightly below the talent of Eric Berry who Seattle grabbed at pick number 6. Thomas’ speed allows him to cover a lot of ground, and he’s very aggressive like a ball hawk.
13. San Francisco (8-8)- Joe Haden, CB, Florida
After Haden’s disappointing forty time at the combine, he slips a few picks, but not too far. Haden is still the best cornerback in the 2010 NFL Draft. He still has great change of direction, and terrific ball skills, as well as being a very physical corner. San Francisco could really use an upgrade at the cornerback position after giving up 226 pass yards a game, which was the one of the worst in the league.
14. Seattle [from Denver] (8-8) – Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
Seattle had just 28 sacks in 2009, and lack have a big problem getting to the quarterback. Derrick Morgan is the best pick at the 14th spot, being an excellent pass rusher who’s also stout against the run. He’s an athletic player who can be a game changer. Seattle gets to use their second 1st round pick to get another defensive stud, just like last season when they drafted linebacker Aaron Curry.
15. New York Giants (8-8) – Brian Price, DT, UCLA
With the loss of Fred Robbins, defensive tackle becomes the number one need for the G-Men. Brian Price is a dominant defensive tackle who just blows up plays in the backfield. He can get to the quarterback, and disrupt the backfield better than any other defensive tackle not named Suh or Gerald McCoy. The Giants get a bargain here with Price.
16. Tennessee (8-8) – Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
Best pick available here, and a huge need filled for the Titans drafting the speedy Wilson who has seen his stock rise quite a bit since the beginning of the 2009 football season. Wilson is a guy that can come in immediately and make an impact for a team who was 2nd to last in the NFL against the pass.
17. San Francisco [from Carolina] (8-8) – Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho
Iupati is one of the best offensive guards in the last few NFL Drafts. He’s also quite versatile as he can get work at right tackle and potentially even left tackle. The 49ers are in dire need of a dominating offensive guard for Gore and Company to run behind. Iupati fills that hole.
18. Pittsburgh (9-7) – Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
Pittsburgh quarterbacks were sacked a total of 50 times last season. The Steelers have had offensive tackle woes for quite awhile now, and this is the year they look to fix it with Williams filling in the left tackle spot. With Rashard Mendenhall looking to take control, the Steelers will want a big tackle in there to push the pile and open up holes for the big running back, while keeping their two time Super Bowl winning quarterback off the ground.
19. Atlanta (9-7) – Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
Weatherspoon is the type of player that all 32 football teams should have on their team. He’s a defensive leader who can go sideline to sideline and make tackles. On top of that he’s one of the better coverage linebackers in this draft and is a no brainer here for the Falcons who have a huge vacancy at the SAM linebacker position.
20. Houston (9-7) – C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
Spiller is a quick runner who’s also very effective between the tackles and out of the backfield. Houston was 30th in the league in 2009 in the rushing department, and with a quarterback as good as Schaub, they could be a stud rusher away from being a legit playoff team. Spiller gives them a dynamic at the running back position that they have never seen before.
21. Cincinnati (10-6) – Taylor Mays, S, USC
It’s hard for the Bengals to pass up on the athleticism and potential of Mays. Cincinnati lacks that intimidating safety in the defensive backfield, despite the signing of Roy Williams, who has regressed significantly. Mays has a high ceiling, and with proper coaching could become an elite player in the NFL.
22. New England (10-6) – Jason Pierre-Paul, DE/OLB, South Florida
New England lacks that feared pass rusher on defense. Adalius Thomas is regressing, as he had the highest tackle/missed tackle ratio of last season, and has slowed down quite a bit. New England’s coaching staff can develop this physical freak into an effective outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense.
23. Green Bay (11-5) – Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
Charles Woodson had an excellent season for Green Bay, but he’s aging, and they still need another cornerback as Tramon Williams is strictly a nickel guy. Jackson is a speedy corner with quick hips who isn’t afraid to make a tackle and is very instinctive. Jackson could take over as a dominant number one corner in the NFL one day, especially if he spends more time with Woodson.
24. Philadelphia (11-5) – Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
After losing Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown, the Eagles are desperate for a speedy corner opposite Pro-Bowler Asante Samuel. Their cornerback depth is weak, and McCourty is a player who can step in right away and play in the number two spot. He can cover speedy receivers down the field, and isn’t too bad against the run either.
25. Baltimore (9-7) – Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
Baltimore lost Dwan Edwards, and has an aging defensive end in Trevor Pryce. Odrick fits as a 3-4 defensive end or a 4-3 defensive tackle. He’s a powerful guy who plays well laterally and is excellent at the point of attack. Baltimore getting Odrick would make the transition to outside linebacker much easier for Paul Kruger, who is going to be asked to play a bigger role in 2010.
26. Arizona (10-6) – Brandon Graham, DE/OLB, Michigan
Arizona lacks a true pass rusher at outside linebacker, and both of their starters are over age 33. Graham’s stock has really risen after the Senior Bowl, and even more so at the combine posting a nice forty time, and 31 reps on the bench. Graham is a steal at the end of the first round and is looked at as a potential elite pass rusher in the form of Dwight Freeney.
27. Dallas (11-5) – Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
The Cowboys need help on the offensive line. Flozell Adams is regressing, and it’s too hard to tell if Doug Free can man the left side or not. Davis’ hopes are at left tackle, but I’m not 100% sold on his ability to protect the quarterback. His best fit is on the right side as a mauling right tackle, while the Cowboys keep Free at left tackle.
28. San Diego (13-3) – Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State
San Diego just let go their future Hall of Fame running back in LaDainian Tomlinson, and have only Darren Sproles back to the team. Even with LT last season, they were the 2nd worst in the league in rushing yards per game, and need an impact player at the running back spot. Mathews is an every down back who can run well between the tackles, and has the speed to get outside and break a long run and be a number one running back for the nest 5-7 seasons.
29. New York Jets (9-7) – Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida
Dunlap is a bit of a question mark when it comes to motivation and preparation issues, but is top 15 talent if coached up. What better defensive mind to go to than Rex Ryan? The Jets need help at defensive end and Dunlap could play 3-4 defensive end effectively. He fits the mold of Calais Campbell in that he can rush the passer while still holding the point of attack allowing the linebackers to make plays.
30. Minnesota (12-4) – Jahvid Best, RB, California
With all of the better cornerbacks already selected, the Vikings look to replace Chester Taylor as Adrian Peterson’s backup runner. Best can catch the ball well out of the backfield and is elusive, much like Taylor, only he’s a bit quicker. In a league where many teams are running with two backs consistently, this move makes sense considering the better members of the secondary are already off the board.
31. Indianapolis (14-2) – Charles Brown, OT, USC
With Tony Ugoh being a disappointment, the Colts are in need of a left tackle that can protect Peyton Manning and give them a few more shots at winning a Super Bowl ring. Brown is an agile tackle with long arms. He’s more of a finesse offensive tackle who doesn’t over power people, and is only mediocre in the run game. Brown would be able to fit right in protecting Manning’s backside.
32. New Orleans (13-3) - Everson Griffen, DE, USC
The Saints have a glaring need at defensive end opposite Will Smith who had 13.5 sacks in 2009. They get good pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but with a standout guy like Griffen, they can get better against the run, and penetrate the backfield much easier. Griffen is stout against the run, and is excellent with contain.
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