Now that we're mere hours away from the start of the 2010 draft, let's separate team needs from player skills and just line those draft prospects up on the basis of pure talent, as most teams do in their war rooms. In four parts, here's one man's opinion of how this draft class ranks from the perspective of sheer potential impact on the NFL - this has nothing to do with, "Well, the Rams need a quarterback, so Bradford's the first guy on the board". No, it's about pure potential and nothing else. 64 total names, and here's 1-16.
1. DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska - By far, the best player in this draft class. Great speed matched with astonishing upper body strength and stellar technique.
3. DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma - Perhaps the most dynamic disruptor on the board. Killer first step means that offensive linemen had best be on their game.
4. QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma - Durability concerns, and the possibility that he'll face a learning curve at the next level, cannot mask Bradford's peerless deep accuracy.
5. OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma - A real mover. Impressed with his ability to move to left tackle as for linemates left the team after the 2008 season. Great potential here.
6. OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma State - A very polished pass-blocker, Okung isn't quite as adept with the bull-rush and at the second level. Still, he's the ready-made tackle option.
8. CB Joe Haden, Florida - The best cover cornerback this year, with surprising aggressiveness in tackling. Haden has the range in space to work a zone perfectly.
9. S Earl Thomas, Texas - You'll see more corner-safety hybrids like Thomas as the NFL becomes more of a passing league. Thomas' tackling is the only big debit.
10. DE Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech - An undervalued player by many because he does so many things well and people are more impressed by pure pass rushers.
11. ILB Rolando McClain, Alabama - The optimal power 3-4 ILB. You'd like to see better coverage ability, but he goes downhill like crazy and he's a natural leader.
12. DT Dan Williams, Tennessee - Stronger at the point than Gerald McCoy, Williams will get a lot of looks from 3-4 defenses who need a conversion tackle.
13. CB Kyle Wilson, Boise State - From a man coverage perspective, Wilson is the best on the list. Ability to trail speed receivers has people comparing him to Darrelle Revis(notes). Could see a huge jump on draft day.
14. WR Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State - Dominant and tough receiver in mid-zones; he'll jump for anything and is absolutely fearless in traffic. Speed and work ethic are concerns.
16. OLB Sergio Kindle, Texas - Aggressive, nasty 3-4 pass-rushing linebacker - could be even better if he put on about 10 pounds and spent more time with his hand down.