Saturday, April 3, 2010

What's in Your Easter Basket? My NFL Mock Draft (Part 1)

Spring time is a great thing. Birds, flowers, warm weather, and most of all, the NFL Draft. It's 3 weeks off and we're really starting to see things forming into a model that makes sense (sort of). I realize this is the type of stuff that's pretty hit or miss interest-wise, but I eat this stuff up so I'm plunging in with both feet. I'll have notes on some picks, but maybe not all, since it's going to get mad long fast doing that. And so it starts...

(1) St. Louis Rams - Sam Bradford, QB
Really, this is the only reasonable thing to do. Bradford is a big-time QB and they need to finally jump on a guy to be the face of the franchise. There were some concerns over the shoulder injury, but it appears to be fine and he looked great at the pro day, especially after adding some much needed muscle mass.

(2) Detroit Lions - Ndamakung Suh - DT
(3) Tampa Bay Bucs - Gerald McCoy - DT
Both teams desperately need help up front and these two are hands down the top defensive prospects on the board. They're different in that Suh's more a 2-gap power guy (think Richard Seymour) while McCoy is more the quicker guy trying to shoot gaps (think Warren Sapp/John Randall). I like Suh more than McCoy, and I think he immediately becomes an upper-echelon guy right away. He's the type to make all the football junkies all swoony this time of year.

(4) Washington Redskins - Russell Okung - OT
Here's where things get hazy. The Redskins are more than likely weighing between Okung and Jimmy Clausen, but I can't see why they take a QB this high based on their needs. For all the weaknesses on the Redskins, Jason Campbell isn't near the biggest, and their line is in shambles after Chris Samuels retired. Right now they're basically screwed at the LT position, and they need to address it ASAP to improve overall.

(5) KC Chiefs - Dan Williams - DT/DE
Nobody's hoping the Redskins take Clausen more than the Chiefs, because they'd jump on Okung in a heartbeat. Problem is, when he's gone there's a big drop in the players they'd be excited to have. There have been rumors about them going for Eric Berry, the Tennessee safety, but let's get something clear: safeties are always a bad pick in the top 10. They're just too injury prone and too easy to replace to spend a high pick and all the money that goes with it. That's why I like Williams here. He's a big dude, and can play either at DE or NT in the Kansas City 3-4. They need big time defenders wherever they can get them, and the other OTs are a big step down from Okung. Also, consider that Pioli came through the Belichick/Parcells lineage and is going to be predisposed to taking those big guys that you can't just find at the 7-11.

(6) Seattle - Trent Williams - OT
Seattle doesn't necessarily have the huge need at a single position, but they have a lot of places where they're running out a fringe-starter (namely OT, DE, DT, and CB). This might actually be a worse situation, because they'll need to upgrade damn near everyone and won't pick this high normally. Williams gives them a good solid OT who they can try to use as a replacement for Walter Jones.

(7) Cleveland - Eric Berry - Safety
The real tragedy here is that Holmgren is overseeing the draft, so we won't get to see this pick get traded to the Jets for Mike Devito, a 4th Round Pick, and 2 dozen glazed donuts. Since they need talent everywhere, they'll probably just take Berry, the guy all the TV crews will be calling the "best available player." None of the other top guys fit a need as much since they traded for Sheldon Brown at corner. The other issue is that the one position they're ok with is OT, and that's where they'd need some guys. I don't like teams that are crappy taking risky guys, so I'd likely rule out Jason Pierre-Paul or Dez Bryant. Side note: This is a 4-12 team in the making. I hate the Browns.

(8) Oakland Raiders - Joe Haden- CB
Odd team here to figure. They'll do anything, even if it makes no sense, and they just don't care. My guess is that if Trent Williams were here, they'd take him. There's a chance they'll take Bruce Campbell, the OT from Maryland, since he was great at the combine and looks like a professional wrestler. Problem is, while he was at Maryland, nobody thought he was any good. He didn't get a single all-conference vote, which is a pretty big indictment in a mediocre conference. My guess is that they'll be a little gunshy on Bulaga, since the last OT from Iowa (Robert Gallery) was somewhat a bust. The McNabb situation creates some uncertainty, if he goes to Oakland, they'll need corners in a big way. But for right now, we'll guess they take the top CB in the draft and really create a good situation for themselves in pass defense.

(9) Buffalo Bills - Brian Bulaga - OT
I really like Bulaga here, although maybe it's just because he's a thick white guy who would fit in on wing night up in Buffalo. That and the Buffalo O Line is abysmal.

(10) Jacksonville Jaguars - Rolando McClain - LB
For chrissakes I hope they don't take Tim Tebow here. This team needs a lot of help, and they're an MJD hamstring pull from being 3-13. In McClain they can drop in a guy who can be the key playmaker for the next 8 years and fill in a big need. Part of me would love to see them take a guy like Dez Bryant, but his act and baggage won't fly up in that area. If Joe Haden fell here I think they'd have to consider him.

(11) Denver Broncos - Jason Pierre-Paul - LB
Denver's in a position where they need to figure out their own house before they try add new guys. If they plan on trading Brandon Marshall, they'll probably need to add Bryant. If they don't see Orton or Brady Quinn as the long term QB, maybe it's Clausen. They'll know what's up, even though it's tough for the public. If McClain was available, I think he'd be the pick. As it is, I like Pierre-Paul here as a developmental pass rusher for the 3-4.

(12) Miami - Brandon Graham -LB
I would have considered Bryant here, but it sounds like he completely effed up his workout and forgot his cleats. Troubling move for a guy with more character flaws than Don Draper. They'd love to get Dan Williams if available, but I have some doubts about that possibility. They'd likely jump at a trade to move down if someone wanted to come up and get Clausen or Bryant. Right now, they'll need a pass rusher and I like them to grab Brandon Graham, the high-production rusher for the 3-4, although I wouldn't be surprised to see them get Earl Thomas.

(13) San Francisco - CJ Spiller - RB

(14) Seattle - Derek Morgan - DE

(15) NY Giants - Maurkice Pouncey - C/G
They'd love a shot at McClain if he was available. Another team who could absolutely try to trade back a few spots to get some play. Probably a good time to get a serious upgrade for the OL, and Pouncey gives them flexibility to play either center of guard.

(16) Tennesee Titans - Carlos Dunlap - DE
Dunlap's fallen out of favor a little lately, and there are some concerns about character and work ethic. But that being said, the guy's a great size for the position and was a major contributor for the top franchise in the NCAA. Tennessee needs a ton of help in the front 7, and they'll remember the success they had with Jevon Kearse.

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