March 09, 2010
For our second Shutdown Corner mock draft, we're going throw a couple semi-likely scenarios into the mix. First of all, as most mocks tend to reflect need as opposed to the Best Player Available mantra, free agency decisions will weigh heavily on many picks. Second, we'll throw in two hypothetical trades, just to make life a bit more interesting. Let's assume, for whatever reason, that the St. Louis Rams get cold feet on Sam Bradford and trade a second-round pick to the Eagles for Michael Vick(notes), in order to run more of an option offense in the short term to mitigate their lack of playmakers not named Steven Jackson. Then, let's say that the Seattle Seahawks pull the trigger on the Brandon Marshall(notes) deal, but give up the 14th overall pick they got from Denver last season in a trade, instead of the sixth-overall pick they'd have to give up for Marshall if there were no negotiations.
How would the first round look under those conditions? Here's one man's opinion, in two parts (picks 1-16 below; picks 17-32 can be found here):
1. St. Louis Rams: DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska -- Even if Bradford aces his March 25 private workout and puts to rest every question about his shoulder, Suh is still the best player in this draft class. There are those who believe that the signing of Fred Robbins(notes) tips the Rams' hand away from a defensive tackle in the draft. That would be more plausible if Robbins wasn't a 32-year-old prototypical nose tackle coming off microfracture surgery. If the Rams decide to pass on Bradford for any reason, Suh is the only reasonable choice.
2. Detroit Lions: DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma -- Lions head coach Jim Schwartz might be a bit disappointed to miss out on a supreme quarterback disruptor like Suh, but that will be cast aside with the selection of McCoy, whose ridiculous first-step quickness brings Kevin Williams(notes) to mind.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: S Eric Berry, Tennessee -- Russell Okung might be tempting here, but Berry's ability to cover center field will prove invaluable to a Bucs team that proved all too vulnerable against the deep ball last season. A Combine star, Berry lived up to every expectation of him in Indianapolis.
4. Washington Redskins: QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma -- Offensive tackle is the desperate need, but I do not see Mike Shanahan passing on a talent of Bradford's stature. The hope is that a new zone-blocking scheme will mitigate some of the line concerns as Bradford, who usually played pitch-and-catch in 2008 behind the best line in college football, finds his way in the pros.
5. Kansas City Chiefs: OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma State -- If the Chiefs take a flyer on Thomas Jones(notes) in hope that their offense finally takes flight, they'll need a dominant left tackle to lead the way. The jury is still out on Branden Albert(notes) at the position after he allowed nine sacks in 2009. Okung, more of a natural on the outside, could help the Chiefs further by pushing Albert inside or to the right side.
6. Seattle Seahawks: OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa -- There's no point in surrounding your quarterback with playmakers if he's eating turf all the time. There are some who are concerned that Bulaga isn't a natural fit for Alex Gibbs' scheme, but Gibbs ran more of a power zone in Atlanta, and nobody is better at assimilating the talent on the roster.
7. Cleveland Browns: CB Joe Haden, Florida -- The slow times at the Combine were cause for concern, but Cleveland's new front office will go to the film and see the real Haden In coverage.
8. Oakland Raiders: OT Bruce Campbell, Maryland -- The Raiders point in this direction because of their obvious over-interest in measurables, and an apparent lack of facilities in which they can watch actual game tape of college players. Al Davis signs off on the pick because he's a big fan of the "Evil Dead" movies.
9. Buffalo Bills: QB Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame -- Taken out of the Vick sweepstakes by our hypothetical trade, the Bills take the second-best quarterback in this draft class.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars: RB C.J. Spiller, Clemson -- Maurice Jones-Drew(notes) is one of the best in the business, but someone needs to help shoulder the load with Jacksonville's preference for a run-heavy offense. Spiller may be the best pure playmaker in this draft, and he'll light up the field when Pocket Hercules isn't dragging five tacklers a few yards downfield.
11. Denver Broncos: ILB Rolando McClain, Alabama -- Dez Bryant is very tempting here as Brandon Marshall's replacement, but Denver's front seven folded like a cheap card table down the stretch last season, and McClain has the required ability to attack downhill in the 3-4 defense.
12. Miami Dolphins: DT Dan Williams, Tennessee -- The Fins have solved their inside linebacker woes with the Karlos Dansby(notes) signing. Now, they address their most pressing defensive deficiency with the best 3-4 conversion nose tackle. At 6-foot-2 and 330 pounds, Williams will hold the point as Jason Ferguson(notes) serves his eight-game suspension and ponders life after football.
13. San Francisco 49ers: OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma -- He was the only one left after a mass exodus took away most of the NCAA's best line after the 2008 season, and Williams impressed with his toughness and determination in moving to left tackle. His next challenge: Help San Francisco's terrible offensive line get up to league average.
14. Denver Broncos (from Seattle): WR Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State -- Easy peezy, lemon squeezy. Just as they show Marshall the door, in comes the best receiver in the 2010 draft class. Bryant isn't a downfield speedster, but Kyle Orton(notes) doesn't have the arm for that, anyway. Orton will benefit from Bryant's ability to go vertical in a group of defenders.
15. New York Giants: DE Brandon Graham, Michigan -- Yes, linebacker is a need, but the Giants have a pressure-based defense without much pressure, and Graham is the guy who can sort that out.
16. Tennessee Titans: DE Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech -- Would they be better off taking Jason Pierre-Paul here? Perhaps, but the Titans need an end who can work against the run as well with the departure of Kyle Vanden Bosch(notes). Morgan is more of an overall defender who lacks the kind of splash explosion other edge rushers may have, but he'll fit the bill in Tennessee.
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