With NFL Free Agency in full swing, mock drafts are undergoing major facelifts. Positions that were thought of as first round needs now are late-round considerations because of free agent signings.
The landscape has completely changed and the person once thought of as a solid lock in the first two spots, Ndamukong Suh, now may not even be a top five pick.
Tim Tebow has had his endless debate over his merits beaten even further into the ground and Colt McCoy has virtually disappeared from a lot of discussions.
But enough small talk, let’s look at how things might go next month in the wake of Free Agency.
NOTE: Draft order is based on best available information, and no trades are taken into account.
1.St. Louis Rams take QB Sam Bradford —With the signing of Fred Robbins, Suh is a luxury pick in the first round. The Rams need a franchise quarterback and Bradford is it.
2. Detroit Lions Take OL Russell Okung —Now that the Lions traded for Corey Williams, they also can’t waste a first round draft pick on a linebacker. Franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford needs protection, especially in the NFC North, and Okung will instantly upgrade the Lions' offensive line.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Take DL Gerald McCoy —The Bucs will have the number one pick when it comes to defensive players. Suh just as easily could’ve gone here, but McCoy is considered the “Safer” pick in some circles, so we’ll go with it.
4. Washington Redskins Take QB Jimmy Clausen —Mike Shanahan will want to make an immediate statement with the offense this year, and Clausen is the guy to do it. Jason Campbell isn’t getting it done, and drafting an offensive lineman won’t change the fact Campbell is going to be a career backup.
5. Kansas City Chiefs Take S Eric Berry —This is the first “whoa, what are you thinking?” pick, but think about it. If Okung is off the board, the Chiefs have to decide if Brian Bulaga is worth the number five pick, which they may feel he’s not. Berry is projected to be the kind of safety to strike fear into opposing team’s coaches on gameday, so if Okung is gone, Berry makes the most sense for pick number five.
6. Seattle Seahawks Take OL Brian Bulaga —Matt Hasselback isn’t getting any younger, but with the pickup of Charlie Whitehurst, the Seahawks signaled the rest of the league they’re not taking a quarterback in the first round. They do need to protect the quarterbacks they do have, though, so Bulaga becomes worth it to Pete Carroll.
7. The Cleveland Browns Take DL Ndamukong Suh —Team President Mike Holmgren and Head Coach Eric Mangini get a very early Christmas present with Suh still on the board at number seven. If this scenario plays out, there’s no way Suh makes it past Cleveland, and Browns fans rejoice.
8. The Oakland Raiders Take OL Bruce Campbell —While it is tempting to think Al Davis will go after Taylor Mays or Dez Bryant, Campbell is a good pick at this position. That being said, Davis could very well take a punter, that guy is just not in his right mind.
9. The Buffalo Bills Take WR Dez Bryant —The only team with weaker depth at wide receiver than the Bills are the Cleveland Browns, so with their only talented wide receiver, Terrell Owens, gone, his potential spiritual successor shuffles off to Buffalo.
10. The Jacksonville Jaguars Take CB Joe Haden —Haden’s Pro Day showed a much faster 40 time, and the Jaguars need a guy like Haden on their defense. They will not use this pick to grab Tim Tebow, so get that out of your head right now.
11. The Denver Broncos Take OL Trent Williams —The Broncos made a lot of moves on their defensive line in the offseason, so I don’t see them going defense with this pick. But protecting Kyle Orton is a good way to spend this pick and Williams is a solid addition here.
12. The Miami Dolphins Take LB Rolando McClain —There are about three or four options on defense for the Dolphins to take here, but McClain had 105 tackles and four QB sacks last year, so he’s the kind of guy Bill Parcells likes to take in the first round.
14. The Seattle Seahawks Take RB C.J. Spiller —Now that the Seahawks upgraded their line, they’ll need to grab a new running back to run through all the holes Bulaga will create. It is highly unlikely Spiller goes before this pick, so Seattle can afford to wait.
15. The New York Giants Take DE Derrick Morgan —Morgan is about the best player still on the board at this point and the Giants could use another good pass rusher, so Morgan becomes a no-brainer pick for the Giants.
16. The Tennessee Titans Take DE Brandon Graham —The Titans also need a new pass rusher. Graham and Jason Pierre-Paul are both similar, so I flipped a coin to see which one the Titans management would like better and came up with Graham.
17. The San Francisco 49ers Take DE Jason Pierre-Paul —The 49ers went offense with their first pick in this round, so it makes sense to grab some first round talent on the defensive side if you can. Pierre-Paul is a great pickup for the 49ers here.
18. The Pittsburgh Steelers Take OL Mike Iupati —After the beating Ben Roethlisberger has taken the past two years, if the Steelers don’t seriously upgrade that offensive line, it’s not going to matter who’s behind center. Iupati is the way to go here.
19. The Atlanta Falcons Take NT Dan Williams —Williams impressed at the Combine and is a great value for the Falcons with this pick.
20. The Houston Texans Take DE Everson Griffen —Griffen gives the Texans a quicker, younger pass rush, which they'll need to defend against Peyton Manning twice a year.
21. The Cincinnati Bengals Take S Taylor Mays —Mays has a lot of talent and a lot of potential, but got exposed his senior year on some of his coverage skills. The Bengals can take a chance on him with this pick and feel good Mays won’t bust out.
22. The New England Patriots Take TE Jermaine Gresham —The Patriots let Ben Watson go to Cleveland and their other tight end, Chris Baker, also has departed. This is the biggest position of need for the Patriots, so Gresham it is.
23. The Green Bay Packers Take OL Charles Brown —Aaron Rodgers and his offensive line didn’t get along last year, and even a “Come to God” meeting with the team that produced a late season surge of protection fell apart in the playoffs. Green Bay will choose to protect the franchise.
24. The Philadelphia Eagles Take DL Carlos Dunlap —The holes in the Eagles’ defense were exposed in the playoffs last year, so taking Dunlap is a good first step to upgrading their defense.
25. The Baltimore Ravens Take WR Golden Tate —The Ravens will surprise many with this pick, but Tate is one of the best wide receivers in the draft, and it will give Joe Flacco another great weapon in 2010.
26. The Arizona Cardinals Take OLB Sergio Kindle —If anyone saw any kind of pass rush out of Arizona last year, please raise your hand. (There’s a Drew Brees joke in here somewhere, because why would he want the Cardinals to upgrade after what happened last year?) Kindle, even as a rookie, should bring more pressure on opposing quarterbacks than most of the players on the roster did last year.
27. The Dallas Cowboys Take DE Jared Odrick —With the best offensive line talent for the first round all off the board, look for Dallas to trade down at this point. Barring a trade down, some more depth at the end of the line can’t hurt here.
28. The San Diego Chargers Take RB Ryan Matthews —Matthews pretty much has been the consensus pick for the Chargers in the various mocks. With LT gone, it just makes the most sense.
29. The New York Jets Take WR Arrelious Benn —With The Sanchize needing targets to throw to, because Braylon Edwards will never get better (Sorry Jets fans, it’s the truth, Braylon sucks), the Jets go with Benn to be the new favorite target for Mark Sanchez.
30. The Minnesota Vikings Take CB Earl Thomas —Thomas is a bit small, but he’s fast, so he’s perfect for a Vikings team that will want Green Bays' Aaron Rodgers to always be on the run.
31. The Indianapolis Colts Take C Maurkice Pouncey —While center was Pouncey’s position in college, he could easily be moved down the line and then be available as a backup, if needed. The Colts offensive line was a lot weaker than a Super Bowl team’s line should be, so the Colts take the best available, and it’s Pouncey.
32. The New Orleans Saints Take LB Sean Weatherspoon —Weatherspoon has to wait a bit before being picked, but he goes to the defending Super Bowl champions. The Saints lost Scott Fujita to the Browns and despite the pass-heavy trends of NFL teams today, you still need guys who can stop the run.