The main strength of the draft meets up in the trenches. Ndamukong Suh and Russell Okung are among the elite of the group. I project six down-linemen to go in the first 10 picks of the 2010 NFL Draft. In this mock draft, under half of the 32 players selected in the first round are skilled position players. One thing that stands out in this mock draft is the number one overall pick: Jimmy Clausen going to St. Louis.
1. St. Louis Rams—QB Jimmy Clausen
Marc Bulger is aging (32), he has few weapons, and his stock has been spoiled due to injuries. The Rams' quarterback situation has been nothing but a train wreck for a few years now. After signing left tackle Jason Smith in last year’s draft, it would be a great set up for a new franchise quarterback in Jimmy Clausen. Clausen has under-center experience and was as close to mistake-free last. He was in a NFL offensive system as well last year.
2. Detroit Lions—S Eric Berry
Detroit Lions have quite the headache on defense. Detroit was dead last in pass defense in 2009. The Lions' best option is to grab Eric Berry. He would step in right away and become one of the best safety combos in the NFL.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—DT Ndamukong Suh
Tampa Bay was last in the league last year against the run. Ndamukong Suh will be an immediate impact in the front four. They need an inside run-stuffer who can penetrate the offensive line. Suh is the playmaker they would be looking to get. They are now running the Tampa Two penetrating defense and an upfront "disrupter" would be ideal.
4. Washington Redskins—OT Russell Okung
The Redskins plan on keeping Jason Campbell. So, how about get him extra help on the line? If the Redskins want to reach their potential, they need to address the offensive line. Russell Okung’s transition to the NFL could be a breeze. The Redskins will be using a run-first offense, which will give him more time to work on his pass protection.
5. Kansas City Chiefs —OT Anthony Davis
The Chiefs drafted left tackle Brandon Albert in last year’s draft. Drafting Anthony Davis would help solidify the offensive line. Matt Cassel needs a solid offensive line to help him become a good quarterback in this league. Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe will make life a lot easier, but adding two solid tackles to grow with those players will help the defense get better as well.
6. Seattle Seahawks—QB Sam Bradford
With a new head coach in town, he would like a new quarterback. Matt Hasselbeck hasn’t picked his game up. Nothing but injuries to his resume has dropped his stock. Seattle has a few concerns they need to address, but they have another first-round pick. With that in mind, drafting Sam Bradford would be a great pick towards rebuilding your offense. Bradford doesn’t need to start right away. If Hasselbeck gets injured or needs to be benched then Bradford will be that franchise quarterback. Bradford has top-notch accuracy and could very well have gone ahead of Jimmy Clausen in this mock draft.
7. Cleveland Browns—CB Joe Haden
Joe Haden is the best corner in the draft and would make an instant impact. Haden is the total package; even if you catch the ball on Haden, he has great tackling ability. The Browns need a playmaker in the secondary. They need a guy with range and cover skills. With Haden’s presence, Eric Wright would be able to excel to be the corner he was thought of.
8. Oakland Raiders—DT Gerald McCoy
The Oakland Raiders have bad luck selecting anything and everything on offense. The Raiders would be lucky with McCoy dropping to number eight in the draft. The Raiders defense has a lot of potential if they draft McCoy with the eighth pick.
9. Buffalo Bills—OT Bruce Campbell
This front five was a disaster and allowed a league-high 46 sacks in 2009. The Bills never replaced Pro Bowler Jason Peters at left tackle. Trading away Peters doesn't look so good now, does it?
Buffalo’s quarterbacks will only be as good as the offensive line. We could be watching Campbell be in the mix of the number one overall pick, if it wasn’t for his injuries
10. Denver Broncos—WR Dez Bryant
Denver Broncos need another wide receiver to accompany Brandon Marshall or replace him. Either way, they need to fix this problem by selecting Dez Bryant. Bryant's combination of speed, power, and size, along with his mental toughness, makes him a superstar in the making.
11. Jacksonville Jaguars—DE Carlos Dunlap
Jacksonville needs an all-around defensive end like Carlos Dunlap, not another pass-rushing specialist. John Henderson might be getting older, but you would have two freakish players on the same line together for a few more years.
12. Miami Dolphins—LB Jason Pierre Paul
Miami is giving Joey Porter the boot, Jason Taylor is getting older, and Channing Crowder needs some extra help. Bill Parcells' favorite players are the outside linebackers in the 3-4 schemes. Selecting the talented pass rusher will give the Dolphins some upside to their pass defense.
13. San Francisco 49ers—LB Rolando McClain
While McClain passed Miami and Denver, San Fran will have no choice but to grab him with the 13th pick overall. Takeo Spikes is getting older and will need to be replaced soon. It looks like McClain would be a perfect fit in a 3-4 set. It’s not so much his physical ability and explosiveness; it’s his mental capacity to understand the game.
14. Seattle Seahawks—DE Derrick Morgan
The lack of a pass rush really hurt the Seahawks last season, and with Kerney on the decline, Derrick Morgan provides an instant upgrade at the position. The talks of Patrick Kerney retiring have been halted. The Seahawks need to upgrade the pass rush that was ranked 30th overall.
15. New York Giants—LB Brandon Spikes
Brandon Spikes has prototypical middle linebacker size and can light up running backs with the best of them. The only thing holding him back is his speed in the 40-yard dash. The only speed you need is football speed, and that’s what Spikes has. The Giants will be looking for a player to replace Antonio Pierce.
16. Tennessee Titans—DE Everson Griffen
Tennessee needs to focus on their defense in this year’s draft. Everson Griffen is your prototypical defensive end in the National Football League. Jeff Fisher would love to draft another high caliber player like Jevon Kearse. After Griffen tears up the NFL combine, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him in the top 10.
17. San Francisco 49ers—RB C.J. Spiller
By selecting C.J. Spiller, it would be a big weight off of Frank Gore. Gore has been on the injury list of late. This draft is stacked with offensive linemen and a good selection of cornerbacks, so they could wait for those picks. Spiller has been compared to Reggie Bush, but I think Spiller is more dynamic. He can return punts and kicks, while stepping up and becoming a featured back.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers—DT Dan Williams
Pittsburgh runs a 3-4 defense and you can’t count on Hampton much longer. Dan Williams being the number one nose tackle in the draft; it would only make sense for Pittsburgh to draft him. Casey Hampton will most likely be franchised this year. Rotating Williams and Hampton in the middle would be a massive destruction to any opposing offensive line.
19. Atlanta Falcons—CB Kyle Wilson
Kyle Wilson saw his stock rise during the Senior Bowl. He's excellent in coverage and an immediate help on special teams. Wilson had a quiet season, but great cornerbacks often do. He simply wasn't challenged enough. The Falcons need a true No. 1 cornerback to complement Chris Houston. His stock is now back on the rise.
20. Houston Texans—OT Trent Williams
The Houston Texans need some extra help keeping the fast defensive ends in check. The AFC is stacked with quick defensive ends and standout offensive tackle Trent Williams would be a major piece to keep these guys in line.
21. Cincinnati Bengals—WR Demaryius Thomas
The Bengals have been without a passing threat for some time now. At 6’3” 225 pounds, Thomas runs a scary 4.38 in the 40-yard dash. Thomas would be the receiving threat that could help Cincinnati over the hump and take charge of the playoffs.
22. New England Patriots—LB Brandon Graham
New England needs an athletic up-field guy who can rush the quarterback. Brandon Graham is the perfect hard-nosed 3-4 outside linebacker going in the NFL. The Patriots defense last year was pretty weak, something the NFL wasn’t used to seeing. Graham is an excellent value at this spot and would be a significant upgrade.
23. Green Bay Packers—OT Bryan Bulaga
The Green Bay Packers were horrible in pass protecting—yes, some were injured, but it needs to be addressed right away. Bryan Bulaga is the last of the potential starting offensive tackles in the draft. He very well could go earlier, but the Packers need to replace injury-prone Chad Clifton. Bulaga can help immediately, and he has room to grow.
24. Philadelphia Eagles—S Taylor Mays
The Philadelphia Eagles will be looking for a physical safety who can scare opposing receivers and contribute to the rush defense. After the departure of Brian Dawkins, the Eagles haven’t been the same on defense. Taylor Mays is a physical specimen who has plenty of potential, but needs a team like the Eagles to help him be NFL-ready.
25. Baltimore Ravens—WR Mardy Gilyard
Mardy Gilyard will be the explosive wide receiving threat the Ravens have been looking for since the franchise emerged. Joe Flacco has the arm to stretch the field, but nobody to throw it to. The leading receiver for the Ravens was running back Ray Rice. Selecting Gilyard would give the Ravens the dynamic down-field ability that would get them over the hump.
26. Arizona Cardinals—LB Jerry Hughes
Jerry Hughes could be the best pure pass rushing hybrid to enter the draft. The Cardinals pass rushing defense was good, but is very old. Bertrand Berry has retired and Okeafor might not come back. Jerry Hughes would be great lining up on the other side of sophomore outside linebacker Cody Brown.
27. Dallas Cowboys—OG Mike Iupati
The main concern with the Dallas cowboys is the offensive line lacking depth. The left side needs some reconstruction soon, leaving the Cowboys to draft the best guard in the draft Mike Iupati. Kyle Kosier is a good offensive guard, but he doesn’t have a mean streak to deal with those big nose/defensive tackles. Iupati could be the anchor for the Cowboys from day one.
28. San Diego Chargers—NT Terrence Cody
San Diego needs to select a nose tackle as soon as possible. Jamaal Williams is only going to get older and continue to have injury issues with his age and large size. He might only be a two-down nose tackle, but when he plays he’s a beast that you don’t want in front of you. Terrence Cody will need to be disciplined by San Diego so he doesn’t eat himself out of the league.
29. New York Jets—LB Sergio Kindle
Vernon Gholston hasn’t been what the Jets wanted. Sergio Kindle is an explosive outside linebacker who can play both ends sides of the field. With Kindle in the mix, he automatically gives Calvin Pace the extra boost New York Jets fans have been looking for.
30. Minnesota Vikings—S Earl Thomas
The Minnesota Vikings gave up too many big plays during the season last year. By selecting safety Earl Thomas they will have the ball hawking safety that they thought were getting when they picked up Madieu Williams. Minnesota is pretty stacked throughout the whole team; the secondary would be the weakest link.
31. Indianapolis Colts—DT Jared Odrick
Indianapolis is pretty weak in the middle of the defensive line, something they have been lacking to take care of since signing McFarland and Simon. Bringing Jared Odrick in would help beef up the defensive line, while offensive lines will be shaking their knees trying to mess with this line.
32. New Orleans Saints—LB Sean Weatherspoon
Sean Weatherspoon is the most complete outside linebacker in the draft. Weatherspoon would be a great compliment to inside linebacker Jonathon Vilma. He also can play inside linebacker, so adding versatility is also a good value proposition.