Friday, April 23, 2010

2010 NFL Mock Draft Final

1) St. Louis Rams —Sam Bradford (QB Oklahoma)

Many made the mistake last year, including yours truly, of forgetting the most important rule of drafting. If you don't have a QB, and a QB is available, take him. This is not a suggestion, or a possible scenario, it is a rule. St. Louis is where they are today because of passing on QBs like Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers.

2) Detroit Lions —Ndamukong Suh (DT Nebraska)

At the Scouting Combine, Jim Schwartz intimated that the difference between this year and last was that the Lions went into 2009 unable to draft the best player because the team needed a franchise quarterback. Otherwise, the preference will be to take the best player at every available draft pick. Could left tackle be a similar problem this year? It is possible, but to pass on Suh—with no character or work ethic concerns that plagued other big busts—seems foolish.

3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers —Russell Okung (OT Oklahoma State)

By the same logic above, Gerald McCoy should go here. In fact, comparing Donald Penn to Jeff Backus, one could easily argue that the Lions have the greater need. The point is not that Penn is less talented, but is simply less steady—it's impossible to depend on a guy like Penn from season to season.

4) Washington Redskins —Trent Williams (OT Oklahoma)

Dream scenario here for the new Shanahan regime, as Williams is a better fit for their zone-blocking scheme and is an upgrade to any player on that offensive line. After his senior season, it is hard to imagine a long career at LT for Williams, but Washington is the best hope for him...and vice versa.

5) Kansas City Chiefs —Dan Williams (NT Tennessee)

*Cue the hate mail* Both the Chiefs and Scott Pioli have history of reaching for a player that others have ranked lower. The same rule about QBs above can be said for NTs on 3-4 defense teams. Williams is the only elite NT prospect in the draft and is the pick by process of elimination. With both OTs gone, the Chiefs will not take Berry—a safety—or McCoy—a poor fit. Huge candidates for a trade down (Williams) or a trade up (Okung).

6) Seattle Seahawks —Gerald McCoy (DT Oklahoma)

While the biggest needs for Seattle are on the offensive side of things, this pick is probably too high for Bulaga (poor fit for the ZBS), Spiller, or Clausen. Instead, the Seahawks take a player who is going to help a defensive line that couldn't buy a sack in 2009.

7) Cleveland Browns —Eric Berry (S Tennessee)

It used to be that no safety, by himself, drastically impacts a game. In today's NFL safeties are much more important than in the past, but elite safeties like Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, and Bob Sanders owe a lot of their success to their front seven. However, safeties are an important piece to the puzzle—especially in a 3-4, and if any safety is a game-changer in this draft, it's Berry.

8) Oakland Raiders —Anthony Davis (OT Rutgers)

The "athletic freak" tag applied to the Raiders has become a rule that is over-applied. Remember Robert Gallery? Napoleon Harris? Neither of those guys were athletic freaks, but they had an attitude that fit Raider Nation. What Al Davis likes more than anything is crazy upside—something Davis has in spades.

9) Buffalo Bills —Tim Tebow (QB Florida)

Sorry haters, no Tebow bias here, just looking at the signs. The Bills don't have a QB and have been incredibly complementary toward Tebow. His work with Marc Trestman and Sam Wyche has looked to have paid off and he is known to be a quick study. He did what he needed to do to win at Florida and will do the same in Buffalo.

10) Jacksonville Jaguars —Derrick Morgan (DE Georgia Tech)

Some like Jason Pierre-Paul's athleticism and upside here, I'm told the Jaguars don't. Instead, they are big fans of Morgan's leadership and character and want him to be a part of their franchise and a face on their defense.

11) Denver Broncos —Joe Haden (CB Florida)

When both your starting cornerbacks have one foot in retirement, it's time to upgrade and get younger. Haden probably doesn't solve the biggest need for the Broncos, but it is unclear if they would "roll the dice" with Dez Bryant right after the Brandon Marshall trade.

12) Miami Dolphins —Jason Pierre-Paul (OLB/DE South Florida)

The 'Fins could just as easily go with Brandon Graham here, but Pierre-Paul is the better athlete and is a locally grown prospect. If Dan Williams or Derrick Morgan are available, either one could be the pick, but in any case, expect Parcells to worry about defense now that Marshall is on board and the offense is looking good.

13) San Francisco 49ers —Bryan Bulaga (OT Iowa)

A small minority of scouts really like Bulaga and his stock remains high because of that. A word of caution, simply because he profiles a lot like Robert Gallery before him (and Sam Baker/Jeff Backus as well). Short arms and a lack of elite athleticism could mean a short time at LT and a move to the right or inside. No matter where he ends up, the 49ers are getting a good, hard-working lineman.

14) Seattle Seahawks —C.J. Spiller (RB/KR Clemson)

The offensive line is still a huge problem that needs immediate attention, but the lack of a top prospect makes reaching for one a bad idea. Instead, the Seahawks go immediate impact with a running back who can also return some kicks and punts and be a slot receiver as well. Still, with each pick that passes, the Seahawks will need to focus more and more on upgrading that line.

15) New York Giants —Taylor Mays (S Southern Cal)

A lot of mocks have LB as a need so...Rolando McClain. But, with Perry Fewell installing the Tampa Two offense, McClain is a pretty bad fit there. He's a downhill runner who would be out of place dropping back into a shallow third underneath the safeties. Mays works in that defense, keeping the play in front of him, but athletic enough to still support the run (and lay a hit when he gets there).

16) Tennessee Titans —Kyle Wilson (CB Boise State)

It is possible, all things considered, that with both on the board, the Titans still grab Devin McCourty, whose twin brother is already a Titan. However, Wilson is a top corner prospect and does everything McCourty does, only better. Wilson also has the physicality and attitude the Titans look to cultivate.

17) San Francisco 49ers —Jimmy Clausen (QB Notre Dame)

Clausen was a possible pick at 13, but at 17, he's a lock. Clausen is a polarizing prospect, for some question his upside, others question his intangibles. Still, he has experience in a pro system and is a better QB to build around than Alex Smith—who would likely be dealt Thursday or Friday night for a pick.

18) Pittsburgh Steelers —Dez Bryant (WR Oklahoma State)

Bryant is a top-five talent with second-round character concerns. Still, you drop a guy based on legal troubles, but not necessarily with work ethic concerns. Enough teams passed on Randy Moss to make this an easy pick only a few slots higher than Moss went. After dealing Holmes, there is no way they can pass unless Bryant is a complete headcase in their opinion.

19) Atlanta Falcons —Maurkice Pouncey (C/OG Florida)

The choice here is Pouncey (to supplant Todd McClure) or Sean Weatherspoon (to replace Mike Peterson). Is that really a choice? McClure has been steady, but Pouncey can play any interior line position while waiting to take over the starting center job—if he doesn't win it outright.

20) Houston Texans —Ryan Mathews (RB Fresno State)

OK, so maybe the last Fresno State product didn't fare so well in Houston, but this is a different team. The Texans need a running back they can count on and Mathews has spent the past four years having the ZBS ingrained in his cerebellum. It will be a quick transition to the NFL and the Texans start looking for defensive help later in the draft.

21) Cincinnati Bengals —Earl Thomas (S Texas)

The Bengals need a pass-catching tight end, but that has been the case for years and they keep passing on them again and again. Instead, the Bengals either go for a pass rusher (Graham still available) or prepare for the day when Roy Williams stops being effective—or they realize that day was years ago.

22) New England Patriots —Brandon Graham (OLB Michigan)

There is only one way the Patriots pass on Jared Odrick—Graham being available. If Graham, who wants to play LB in the pros, drops this far, New England could also trade up for him. He is a great fit in their scheme and fits what they look for in character. With Graham on board, the Patriots could look to move up and get Odrick as well.

23) Green Bay Packers —Charles Brown (OT Southern Cal)

In the later rounds, the Packers could also select the round-headed kicker from Pinecrest Elementary with the same name. Here, the Packers grab the best available OT and an athlete who fits their blocking scheme. Ted Thompson often looks for the BPA, but Aaron Rodgers needs protection even more than Ben Roethlisberger (double entandre intended)

24) Philadelphia Eagles —Nate Allen (S South Florida)

The Eagles are a huge candidate for a trade, considering they have an extra second-rounder to work with. The question is, how high are they willing to go for an elite safety? Allen is a severely underrated prospect who is more than able to hold his own in the secondary and shut down opponents' tight ends.

25) Baltimore Ravens —Devin McCourty (CB Rutgers)

It helps when Ray Rice publicly advocates your cause with the Baltimore coaching staff and front office. If the Ravens want to continue to climb up the ranks of the NFL, they need to stop settling for mediocrity at cornerback and kick returner—McCourty solves both.

26) Arizona Cardinals —Rolando McClain (ILB Alabama)

This is a big drop for McClain but he's a perfect fit in Arizona and a huge upgrade over Paris Lenon (who isn't?). McClain fills the "Ted" linebacker position and provides the run-stopping element as well as an underrated pass rush.

27) Dallas Cowboys —Bruce Campbell (OT Maryland)

Athletically, Bruce Campbell is a top-five pick, but since football players actually need to play football, he drops to the Cowboys. Dallas should be desperate enough for a LT that they grab Campbell and hope he moves Doug Free back to the right side sooner rather than later.

28) San Diego Chargers —Jared Odrick (DE Penn State)

While NT is a bigger need, this would be a huge reach for Terrence Cody and a trade down for him is more likely. In fact, if you want to go ahead and assume New England is making this pick and San Diego just picked up a few second rounders—fine. If the Chargers stand pat, they get a huge upgrade at defensive end and one of the best blue collar guys in the draft.

29) New York Jets —Sergio Kindle (OLB Texas)

Outstanding athleticism and ridiculous pass rushing ability are two things the New York Jets are looking for after upgrading at almost every other need position this off season. Getting to the QB was a problem in 2009 and hopefully for Jets fans, Kindle makes them forget about Gholston.

30) Minnesota Vikings —Colt McCoy (QB Texas)

Longhorns go back to back here as the Vikings end up with Favre's eventual replacement and find another good ol' boy to pass the rock to Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin. McCoy's lack of arm strength (mostly overblown) is no problem in the West Coast offense, and Tavaris Jackson is a player many teams would spend a later pick on.

31) Indianapolis Colts —Kareem Jackson (CB Alabama)

Kareem Jackson lost a lot of hype playing next to Javier Arenas, but the speedy cornerback has a lot of value in the end of the first and shouldn't drop out of the first-40 picks. The Colts got surprising play out of their young CBs last season but that doesn't mean an upgrade isn't in order.

32) New Orleans Saints —Sean Weatherspoon (OLB Missouri)

Gregg Williams will be lobbying for this pick the second the timer starts and it shouldn't take the Saints long to get the card up there. With Hargrove back, Brian Price is a possibility but not a necessity, while no safety available would replace Sharper. Still, the Saints could go with their normal M.O. and grab a WR like Demaryius Thomas and Gregg Williams starts updating his resume.

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