March 02, 2010
With the Combine winding down, it's time to put up a first-round mock based on what we know so far. Part 1 will encompass picks 1-16, and 17-32 will come Wednesday. This won't be our last mock before the draft; just one that seems well-timed as the process moves along.
1. St. Louis Rams: QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma -- When Bradford weighed in at 236 pounds at the Combine, a 13-pound gain from his previously listed weight, he also showed lean muscle that could put to rest previous durability concerns. Bradford said at the Combine that his recovery from shoulder injuries has him at about 85 percent. By his Pro Day on March 25, my guess is that he'll put on the kind of show that will have the Rams realizing the value of his potential franchise quarterback status.
2. Detroit Lions: DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska -- After the Rams take Bradford, former Titans defensive coordinator and current Lions head coach Jim Schwartz will sit back with a cake-eating grin on his face, knowing full well that he's just had the next Albert Haynesworth(notes) drop right into his lap. Suh has the potential to be a rare dominant force at any level, and he will thrive in Detroit's 4-3.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma -- The Bucs will be tempted to take Eric Berry with the third overall pick; they were abused by the long pass in 2009, especially when they played single-high safety. But the need for a pointman on their front four is even more graphic. The Bucs ranked 28th in Football Outsiders' Defensive Adjusted Line Yards statistic, and were ghastly against the run in just about every department. McCoy has exceptional disruptive ability in the backfield, and he can hold the point as well.
4. Washington Redskins: OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma State -- If there's one thing Mike Shanahan knows, it's that it's impossible to evaluate a quarterback when he gets obliterated after a two-step drop. Washington's offensive line was a hot mess in 2009, which is why the Redskins will take Okung as the best tackle in this draft class. If Jason Campbell(notes) succeeds in Shanahan's offense (and most quarterbacks do), he'll need blindside protection to do it. Without that, no quarterback has a chance. Ask a certain Mr. Cutler about that ...
5. Kansas City Chiefs: S Eric Berry, Tennessee -- Drafting a safety fifth overall is an unusual step, but Scott Pioli didn't get where he is by not thinking outside the box. In an increasingly pass-happy league, the safety position has become more important than ever, and Berry has the kind of ability that makes comparisons to Ed Reed(notes) legitimate.
6. Seattle Seahawks: OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa -- Nobody in Seattle wants to admit it, but Walter Jones(notes) is basically done. New line coach Alex Gibbs is known for succeeding with quicker, smaller linemen, but Bulaga can get downfield in a hurry and he has the agility to do more than maul in a zone scheme -- he isn't just a corn-fed run-blocker.
7. Cleveland Browns: CB Joe Haden, Florida -- Haden was the first true freshman in Florida history to start; after 40 starts, he'll impress with his speed, agility and experience. Plus, he was a great quarterback in high school, so if the Browns can't figure out what they want to do with Brady Quinn(notes) and Derek Anderson(notes), maybe they can get a Josh Cribbs/Joe Haden quarterback controversy going?
8. Oakland Raiders: WR Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State -- Yes, he's probably overdrafted at 8. And yes, the Raiders just drafted a receiver high last season, and Darrius Heyward-Bey(notes) was an unmitigated disaster. But Bryant has the ability to catch in traffic that Heyward-Bey doesn't, and the franchise is hell-bent on proving that JaMarcus Russell(notes) is an NFL quarterback. Whaddya want, logic? These are the Raiders.
9. Buffalo Bills: QB Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame -- The Bills have some work to do with personnel in their new 3-4 defense, which will make players like Rolando McClain tempting. But someone's going to have to get the proverbial ball rolling on that offense, and it's pretty clear that when your options have been Trent Edwards(notes) and Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes), it's time to take a shot on a guy who might come through.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida -- The Jags have put a lot of time and money into their pass rush over the last few years, and they have very little to show for it. Pierre-Paul is a real reach here, but he has the kind of raw athleticism that's been very attractive to Jacksonville's various personnel people over the last few years.
11. Denver Broncos: ILB Rolando McClain, Alabama -- Now that the Broncos have dismissed Mike Nolan (the real reason for their surprising defensive success in 2009), they're going to have to go out and get players for their 3-4 that can try to match Elvis Dumervil's(notes) intensity and production. McClain is a downhill force, used to succeeding in a 3-4, and that's the kind of ready-made player Denver's going to need on that side of the ball.
12. Miami Dolphins: DT Dan Williams, Tennessee -- Nolan wound up in Miami, where the Dolphins are looking for their next great nose tackle, always a position of priority on Bill Parcells' shopping list. Williams is considered the best 3-4 two-gap convert in this class. With Nolan and Williams in their camp, watch out for the Dolphins in 2010.
13. San Francisco 49ers: OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma -- The Niners finished dead last in FO's Offensive Adjusted Line Yards stat, but you don't need an econ degree to know that their line was terrible -- just watch the tape. As this mock has fallen, Williams is the best option available.
14. Seattle Seahawks: RB C.J. Spiller, Clemson -- One of the reasons former Seahawks GM Tim Ruskell is no longer with the team is that he thought Julius Jones(notes) could be a franchise running back. No, seriously. Pete Carroll knows quite a bit more about the value of a true playmaker, and Spiller will shoot through this offense like a bolt of lightning.
15. New York Giants: OLB Sergio Kindle, Texas -- The Giants need to regain their identity is power running and tough defense. The second part of that equation will be helped by better linebacker play, and Kindle would be a great fit for this defense because of his ability to rush the passer and the potential to play a more traditional 4-3 linebacker role as well. He just needs to get over the whole texting while driving thing ...
16. Tennessee Titans: DE Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech -- The Titans' defensive line is in flux, and they'd have to think to jump at Morgan, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and the kind of prospect Jeff Fisher could develop even further as he has so often before.
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