Here's a first-round mock of the upcoming 2010 NFL draft .
Naturally, trades are going to occur on draft night(s), thus killing my predictions, but, every writer has to try.
Here's how I think things will shake out, starting this Thursday night.
1. St. Louis Rams-Sam Bradford , QB, Oklahoma
Not much doubt here.
The Rams need a QB, and Bradford is clearly the best available.
With Marc Bulger out of town, Bradford has the ability to come in right away and be the starter here, as the Rams pick in the top-two of the draft for the third consecutive year.
2. Detroit Lions-Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
The Lions brought defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch in from Tennessee to help generate a previously-nonexistent pass rush, and now they'll add Suh to continue to fortify the defensive line.
Suh, as he displayed on a national stage during the Big 12 Championship Game, is an absolute menace on the line, and a physical freak that cannot be reckoned with.
His presence automatically makes Vanden Bosch a more effective player, and the Lions are suddenly looking fairly formidable up front.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
This is a no-brainer, as well.
The Bucs need nothing more than an impact defensive tackle, and with Suh already off the board, McCoy is an easy choice.
Some scouts even prefer McCoy to Suh, so there isn't much drop-off from one to the other, if any.
He's an incredible athlete for a guy his size (6'4", 295), and fills a huge need for Tampa.
4. Washington Redskins-Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
The Big 12 is dominating the top of this draft, and Williams will be the fourth consecutive player from the conference taken right off the bat.
While Russell Okung is the higher-rated prospect on many teams' boards, it's been reported that Williams fits with what Mike Shanahan likes out of his offensive line more than Okung does.
Longtime incumbent at the position Chris Samuels recently retired, so the 'Skins have a large hole to fill on the left side of the line.
As is the case with Okung, Williams would likely be regarded as a higher choice if this were any ordinary draft, so the Redskins would do well to nab him here.
5. Kansas City Chiefs-Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
Okung is consistently rated as the top offensive lineman in this draft, and the Chiefs will welcome him with open arms here at No. 5.
He should step in and be the starting left tackle from day one, and will be handed the rather large responsibility of protecting the blindside of Matt Cassel; a job that Brandon Albert struggled with in '09.
6. Seattle Seahawks-Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
Some teams are uncertain about Bulaga's ceiling at this point, but the Seahawks need to replace Walter Jones, and Anthony Davis out of Rutgers would be a reach at No. 6.
This obviously opens the door to the possibility of a trade, but, again, we're not dealing with that here.
Enter Bulaga, a huge tackle with superior run-blocking skill and solid footwork.
Many rate him as one of the smartest players in the draft, and he's also been touted as having a great work ethic.
This isn't a flashy pick, but it's one the Seahawks need to make.
7. Cleveland Browns-Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
Berry is likely the best player on the board at this point, and the Browns could certainly use some help at safety.
While Jimmy Clausen is another possibility, Mike Holmgren and company likely can't let Berry fall any further than he already has.
He's been rated as high as the third overall pick at some points, so clearly the Browns are getting what they believe to be a great, impact player at safety.
He's definitely the top safety on the board, a punishing hitter with incredible ball skills as well.
8. Oakland Raiders-Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
We're giving Al Davis the benefit of the doubt here, with hopes that he'll actually make a wise selection with the first-round pick.
Campbell is huge and had an amazing combine, repping 225 pounds 34 times at the combine.
We all know how much Al loves that combine.
The Raiders need a left tackle to help protect the blindside of...whomever is actually playing quarterback for them next season, so Campbell is a natural fit.
9. Buffalo Bills-Jimmy Clausen , QB, Notre Dame
OT Anthony Davis would be an enticing selection, but since his stock appears to be falling, let's go with Clausen here.
The Bills haven't had a "franchise" quarterback since Jim Kelly, and Ralph Wilson and co. need to give the fans something to get excited about.
While tackles are valued highly, a premiere quarterback is often the first step towards serious contention.
While Clausen has his doubters (and I'm amongst them), he's a serious talent, and the Bills can't let him go past No. 9.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars-Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
The Jaguars sacked opposing QB's just 14 times in 2009, so, clearly, a pass rusher is a very high priority.
South Florida's Jason Pierre-Paul is a possibility here as well, but Morgan's on-field performance over the years gives him the nod over the workout wonder Pierre-Paul.
Jacksonville did sign veteran Aaron Kampman at the beginning of the offseason, but depth can never hurt.
Morgan will be the best player available on many boards, so he'll be a nice fit at no. 10.
The Jaguars are also candidates to trade down.
11. Denver Broncos-Dez Bryant , WR, Oklahoma State
Oh yes...Josh McDaniels rolling the dice with a potential "diva" receiver.
Bryant is the consensus best receiver in this relatively-slim receiving class, and his talent is too good to pass up on for Denver.
His work ethic has obviously been a huge question mark, but I don't think the Broncos will be able to overlook the way his ability fits in perfectly with team need.
12. Miami Dolphins-Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
Pierre-Paul offers the Dolphins a legitimate replacement for the recently-departed Jason Taylor.
While there is some concern about his maturity, as well as his lack of game experience, his extreme athleticism and unstoppable motor make him the pick.
13. San Francisco 49ers-Joe Haden , CB, Florida
Haden is the top corner prospect in this draft, and the Niners will jump at the opportunity to get him.
While he has some red flags, none of them are real causes for concern.
The 49ers do need a right tackle, but Haden is likely a top-two player still available, and he also fills a hole for San Francisco.
Nate Clements has fallen off the face of the earth, and Shawntae Spencer could use some help.
14. Seattle Seahawks-C.J. Spiller , RB, Clemson
Spiller would be a huge steal for the Seahawks at No. 14, considering many project him to be a top 10 talent.
If they're able to land him at No. 14, the Seahawks instantly acquire the biggest home run threat in the draft, as well as a no. 1 running back to play alongside Julius Jones.
Spiller likely isn't going to be an every-down back, but the Seahawks can't afford to pass on his talent here.
15. New York Giants-Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
Clemson running back C.J. Spiller will be very tempting, but McClain immediately fills the void left by the departed Antonio Pierce.
He'll step in and become a leader on the Giants' defense, as he was at Alabama.
He's quite similar to another former Alabama linebacker, the Texans' DeMeco Ryans.
If McClain is anything like the player Ryans has become, the Giants will be quite pleased with their 2010 first-round pick.
16. Tennessee Titans-Dan Williams, DT, Tennesee
While the most obvious need area for the Titans is at the defensive end position, the early picks of Derrick Morgan and Jason Pierre-Paul forces the Titans' hand to Dan Williams.
Brandon Graham could be the pick here but he is undersized to play defensive end in a 4-3 system. Williams should fill the void left by fellow former-Volunteer Albert Haynsworth a year ago, and will fit in nicely along with Tony Brown.
Having gone to school in near by Knoxville, Williams will fit in well with an aggressive Titans defense and as a player that has shot up the draft board in recent weeks should help Titans fans forget about Haynsworth in short order.
17. San Francisco 49ers-Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
It was posted here that that the combination of Davis and Haden would be the best-possible scenario for the two Niners' first round picks, and it's looking here as though that's exactly what they're going to get.
Davis will fit in nicely at right tackle opposite Joe Staley, and fills one of the 49ers' biggest needs.
His work ethic has been questioned, but he's a great talent and San Francisco won't be able to pass him up, as they'll be fortunate to have him fall to them at No. 17.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers-Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, Florida
Protecting the often sacked Ben Rothlisberger has to be a priority for the Steelers at this point in the first round.
Steeler fans may want to add an offensive weapon at this point to replace the production of exiled receiver Santonio Holmes but there are no wide-outs that fit the top twenty bill available.
Pouncey fits in well with the pound it out style of the Steelers and should help the front line keep the embattled quarterback on his feet more often than in previous seasons.
19. Atlanta Falcons-Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
The Falcons blew their selection of a defensive end with Jamaal Anderson in 2007, and they're hoping that Graham can be the player they thought they were getting with Anderson.
Graham excels against both the pass and the run, and since the Falcons were awful in pressuring the quarterback in '09, Graham fills a huge need.
His physical tools have been questioned, but his ability should make up for any physical limitations.
20. Houston Texans-Earl Thomas , S, Texas
The Texans ranked 30th in rushing offense in 2009, but they won't be able to pass on Thomas if he were to miraculously fall to them.
Many have him going in the 10-15 range in this draft, but he falls here.
While they do need a running back, Thomas gives them the big-play threat in the defensive backfield they've been lacking.
He possesses incredible instincts as a ball-hawking safety, and could develop into one of Houston's leaders on defense.
21. Cincinnati Bengals-Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
Bengals' tight ends were almost invisible in 2009, and adding Gresham should add a new dynamic to their offensive attack.
They also have a need for a receiver, but with Bryant off the board, Gresham seems like the best fit.
J.P. Foschi was the Bengals' leading receiver at tight end, catching 27 passes for 260 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The addition of Gresham makes the offense more well-rounded.
22. New England Patriots-Sergio Kindle, LB, Texas
The Pats will be extremely lucky if Kindle falls this far, and it will force Bill Belichick's hand into doing something unconventional.
Belichick has a reputation for avoiding pass rushers in the first round, but Kindle makes too much sense to pass up.
While they'd certainly like to be able to snag someone like Dez Bryant, he's long gone by this point.
Kindle may have dropped this far for a reason, but he seems like too good a talent to pass up on.
23. Green Bay Packers-Charles Brown, OT, USC
Brown will be of major interest to Green Bay, and it's hard to imagine them passing up on him if he's available.
While some question his ceiling, he's perfect for what the Packers are looking for.
They're going to need a tackle for the future to help protect the blind side of Aaron Rodgers, and Brown is a nice get for them.
24. Philadelphia Eagles-Kyle Wilson , CB, Boise State
Philly would have to be thrilled to be able to take Wilson here, a player that immediately fills the void left by Sheldon Brown.
Wilson's stock has been on the rise for quite some time, and he's even been projected to go in the teens in some mocks.
He should slide in alongside the aging Asante Samuel quite nicely in the Eagles' defensive backfield, and could eventually replace Samuel once he's gone.
He's also capable of handling kick return duties.
25. Baltimore Ravens-Jared Odrick, DL, Penn State
Once a strength on the Ravens' roster, the defensive line has lost some of its luster in recent years.
Haloti Ngata is still a menace, but they could use some depth.
Odrick may be the best player still available, and, while he could stand to bulk up, he's got the rest of the physical tools necessary to succeed in the NFL.
He never gives up on a play, and will fit in perfectly with the Ravens' reputation for punishing defense.
Another possibility here is Georgia Tech WR Demaryius Thomas.
26. Arizona Cardinals-Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
Weatherspoon was an OLB in college, but he'd likely be shifting to ILB if he were to be taken by the Cardinals.
He'd be helpful in replacing the departed Karlos Dansby, and has a reputation as one of the best tacklers in the draft.
He'll step in right away and fit in nicely with Arizona's 3-4.
27. Dallas Cowboys-Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
This is an easy choice for the Cowboys, who are also always candidates to trade up.
It's been reported that Iupati, a guard in college, has sufficient ability to convert to tackle in the NFL, where he could eventually replace Flozell Adams for the Cowboys.
Iupati would essentially be a best-case scenario pick, as they've been interested in his services all along.
28. San Diego Chargers-Ryan Mathews , RB, Fresno State
With LaDainian Tomlinson out of town, the Chargers will desperately seek a back to pair alongside Darren Sproles in the backfield.
Mathews would be a perfect pick here, as he's big and strong enough to handle the load as the No. 1 back, and also fast enough to be a potential big-play guy.
He's also a decent blocker and receiver out of the backfield, and will complement Sproles perfectly.
29. New York Jets-Devin McCourty , CB, Rutgers
With Jason Taylor now on-board, the Jets' necessity for a versatile defensive lineman wanes.
While they may still address this in the draft, they no longer need to spend a first-round pick on it.
This is where McCourty comes in. His stock has been on the rise lately, and he'll be a perfect safety net in case Antonio Cromartie struggles opposite Darrelle Revis.
While corner isn't necessarily a top priority either, as I stated earlier, you can never have too much depth.
30. Minnesota Vikings-Tim Tebow , QB, Florida
The Vikings are the one to take the dive here, as Tebow goes to them at No. 30.
Even if Brett Favre does decide to return, the Vikings need a QB for the future.
Tebow would be a perfect guy for Favre to mentor; a hard worker with great physical tools and willingness to learn.
While the jury is still out on his ability to perform as an NFL QB, the Vikings are willing to take a chance on the proven winner.
Colt McCoy is another possibility here.
31. Indianapolis Colts-Rodger Saffold, OT, Indiana
The Colts do have several needs on defense, but the offensive line has several upgradeable positions.
They were the worst running team in the NFL last year, and much of that falls on the shoddy play of the O-line for much of the year.
Saffold has shown great athleticism, and the Colts may feel he's capable of becoming a franchise-type left tackle.
Not a flashy pick, but an effective one.
32. New Orleans Saints-Jerry Hughes, DL/LB, TCU
Hughes' name has been thrown around as high as the teens in a few mock drafts, but he fits in perfectly with the Saints here.
While he was a defensive end in college, his size and athleticism make him a very versatile player at the next level, and should be able to play as an effective pass-rushing linebacker as well.
Florida's Carlos Dunlap will be a very appealing option here, but the versatility of Hughes puts him over the top.
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