1. St. Louis Rams —Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
In Version 1.0 of our 32-team mock draft , we had Clausen going first overall. That has changed with the rumors that St. Louis has more interest in Bradford as the ticket to future success.
2. Detroit Lions —Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
The Lions are rumored to have heavy interest in OT Russell Okung, but look for them to take the highest-rated non-QB on their board. We doubt Okung will be rated higher than Suh on any board.
3. Tampa Bay Bucs —Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
McCoy’s 23 bench press reps are a concern, but he has displayed good overall intelligence and character, making any worries about his work ethic a bit less concerning.
4. Washington Redskins —Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
Will Jimmy Clausen be the pick? The Redskins placed a first round tender on Campbell, so he isn’t going anywhere. Washington needs to fix their line or no quarterback will be able to succeed.
5. Kansas City Chiefs —Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
The Chiefs are in dire need of a left tackle, and Bryan Bulaga has steadily been moving up boards. Safety Eric Berry could also be the selection here.
6. Seattle Seahawks —Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
Although we do not believe Clausen represents great value (we had him as the No. 37 rated overall player on our initial Big Board ), it is tough to pass up what you consider to be a potential franchise quarterback. Pete Carroll is very familiar with Clausen’s skill set.
7. Cleveland Browns —Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
The Browns would be doing cartwheels to grab Berry here. They have been rumored to be seeking either him or Florida CB Joe Haden. It will be interesting to see if they select Haden if Berry is off the board despite Haden’s poor 40-yard dash time.
8. Oakland Raiders —Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
Could it be? The Raiders don’t select the biggest, fastest player on the board? Look out for Maryland tackle Bruce Campbell here, but Williams ran just three-hundredths of a second slower (4.88) than Campbell, so his game tape could be the deciding factor (if Al Davis even looks at game tape).
The Bills have a lot of holes to fill. It will be interesting to see what they decide to do if Clausen or Bradford is still on the board at this point.
10. Denver Broncos —Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
This may seem a bit high for the DT from Tennessee, but we have talked to multiple scouts who say Dan Williams may be the most under-the-radar player in this year’s draft. Denver desperately needs to improve their run defense, and at 330 pounds, Williams may be just the man for the job.
11. Jacksonville Jaguars —Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, USF
Despite signing DE Aaron Kampman, the Jags will still be searching for talented pass-rushers early and often come April. Pierre-Paul is an athletic freak (260 pounds, 4.64 40-yard dash time) and a good fit in Jacksonville’s scheme.
12. Miami Dolphins —Brandon Graham, DE/OLB, Michigan
Graham has been soaring up the rankings since the Senior Bowl. After losing Jason Taylor, the ‘Phins will be on the lookout for a player such as Graham who is versatile enough to stuff the run as efficiently as he gets to the quarterback.
An overwhelming amount of Dallas fans want Thomas to be the team’s selection, but there is just no way he drops to the back of the round. A cornerback could also be the pick if San Fran releases Nate Clements.
14. Seattle Seahawks —Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
Davis’ stock could be slipping after he did not even weigh in or participate in drills at Rutgers’ Pro Day. Still, Seattle needs a replacement for LT Walter Jones.
15. New York Giants —Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
In a bit of a shocker, we have Kyle Wilson as the first CB off the board. Successful corners generally have either great size or speed, and Joe Haden has neither. That is not to say he won’t be a good corner, but Wilson is a more fluid athlete with greater versatility. He could help New York in the return game.
16. Tennessee Titans —Joe Haden, CB, Florida
Picks No. 15 and No. 16 could be flip-flopped on draft day, but we are going to stick with what we have heard from scouts. Ex-Ravens and Browns scout Daniel Jeremiah told us there is a chance that Haden drops into the 20’s.
17. San Francisco 49ers —C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
We debated listing Spiller as the 49ers’ first pick in the round, which is a definite possibility with Seattle selecting right behind them at No. 14. If Spiller lasts this long, expect the Niners, who will have already addressed one position of need, to bring in the home-run hitter to complement Frank Gore.
The Steelers’ linemen are getting old quickly, and the organization always places an emphasis on do-it-all players. Iupati, who will likely play guard in the NFL, has the potential to kick out to tackle, a characteristic which will surely boost his draft stock.
We had Pouncey as the Cowboys’ selection in our last mock draft , but in this particular version he won’t be available for Dallas. A lot of people may be surprised to see Pouncey this high, but some teams reportedly have him as a top 10 overall player.
20. Houston Texans —Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State
Local Houston newspapers have reported the Texans are going to select either Earl Thomas or Ryan Mathews. We think Thomas will be long gone, so Mathews will come into Houston with an immediate opportunity to start over Steve Slaton.
21. Cincinnati Bengals —Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
With the signing of WR Antonio Bryant, the Bengals’ focus will likely shift to the defensive side of the ball. Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall are excellent cornerbacks who could benefit from the pass rush abilities of a player such as Derrick Morgan.
22. New England Patriots —Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
Stories of Bryant missing meetings and even showing up late to games could be erroneous, but they still may hurt a player who already had character concerns. If Bryant drops into the 20’s he is dangerously close to Jerry Jones’ trade range. If the Cowboys stand pat, the Patriots would love a play-maker like Bryant to possibly replace Randy Moss in 2011.
Charles Brown is an undersized, athletic tackle who fits best in a West Coast offense because of his superb ability in pass protection. Green Bay re-signed tackle Chad Clifton, but will lose OT Mark Tauscher, so Brown fills a need.
24. Philadelphia Eagles —Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
Weatherspoon impressed at both the Combine and Missouri’s Pro Day, displaying the sort of consistency NFL coaches love. Philly may also go with Kyle Wilson or Joe Haden here if they happen to fall, but linebacker is a prime need.
25. Baltimore Ravens —Sergio Kindle, LB, Texas
We had Kindle rated as the No. 8 overall prospect on our Big Board , so Baltimore would be acquiring tremendous value here. Their wide receiver position is no longer weak with signings of Donte Stallworth and Derrick Mason and the trade for Anquan Boldin.
Honestly, we think Mays is going to be an average player at best in the NFL, but a lot of people obviously disagree. Some teams will fall in love with his workout numbers, and Arizona would probably love to see Mays drop to them after losing Antrel Rolle.
27. Dallas Cowboys — Jared Odrick, DT/DE, Penn State
At this point, Cowboys fans will likely be screaming for the team to select Maryland LT Bruce Campbell. Despite the need for an upgrade at tackle, we still see Odrick as the most likely pick.
There is a good chance either Marcus Spears, Jason Hatcher, or Stephen Bowen will not be back in 2011, and in addition to playing defensive end, Odrick can also become the primary backup to DT Jay Ratliff. If Odrick is gone at this point, which is a decent possibility, we see Bruce Campbell, Golden Tate, Brian Price, and Devin McCourty all as legitimate options for Dallas.
28. San Diego Chargers —Jahvid Best, RB, California
We love Jahvid Best’s skill set, and despite concerns about his size, he is actually the same size as C.J. Spiller. RB Darren Sproles may or may not return to San Diego, but either way the team must address the position early in the draft.
29. New York Jets —Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
Questions about Tate’s speed disappeared after his 4.42 official 40-yard dash time in Indianapolis. WR Braylon Edwards may not be in New York next season, so the Jets have to stock up on weapons for Mark Sanchez.
30. Minnesota Vikings —Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
A bit of a sleeper to sneak into the first round, McCourty displayed superb fluidity and change of direction at the Combine. In addition, he also possesses above average size and speed. Minnesota is desperate for an upgrade over Cedric Griffin.
We see Price as a legitimate option to convert to defensive end in a 3-4, but a lot of teams see him as a three-technique defensive tackle. He is an underrated player that will fit in well with Indy’s undersized defense.
32. New Orleans Saints —Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
The Saints are pretty free to select the best player available at this point. Linebacker is a bit of a question mark right now, so Brandon Spikes may be an option. Also do not rule out the Golden Child, Tim Tebow. Sean Payton is creative enough to concoct ways to utilize Tebow’s talent without disrupting the productivity of Drew Brees.