Mock Draft Archives

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May 122012
 

1. St. Louis Rams 1-15

I have said it all along that this pick would and should be a quarterback, but I think I had the wrong quarterback. Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford showed up to the combine needing to prove his shoulder strength after two separations and a surgery last season. His shoulder not only passed with flying colors, but he put on 15-20 pounds of muscle, a major sign of his strong wrong ethic. Two major concerns of his were arm strength and shoulder health and he put both of those concerns to rest at the Combine.

I still say Clausen is the better quarterback, but, at The Combine, a former NFL GM anonymously  polled about 12, maybe more, current NFL GMs, about who they preferred, Clausen or Bradford, and every one of them said Bradford. Even if the Rams’ GM was not asked, which I find unlikely, it is still a very good sign for Bradford that he has this many supporters around the league. His strong Pro Day only makes it more likely that he goes #1.

Many will argue Ndamukong Suh here, but, as dominant of a prospect he is, he doesn’t have the positional value here. History has shown, if a team needs a left tackle or quarterback early in the draft, they will take that above all else, even the consensus top prospect. Remember Glenn Dorsey? How about Aaron Curry? Here’s some facts. Since 1998, 36 players have gone in the top three overall. 15 have been quarterbacks, 6 have been offensive tackles, and 6 have been defensive ends. That’s only 25% that aren’t quarterbacks, offensive tackles, or defensive ends. When you look closer, all 12 #1 overall picks since 1998 have been quarterback, offensive tackles, or defensive end. Those positions just have so much more positional value than any other. For more facts on the top 3 picks, click here.

The Rams don’t need an offensive tackle or defensive end, so it’ll be quarterback here. Recently, other mock drafters have been shifting heavily towards Bradford. For more information check out our NFL Mock Draft Database.

2. Detroit Lions 2-14

The Lions draft strictly from the draft board, going best available with every pick. That is why I have been alternating between Eric Berry and Ndamukong Suh here in recent weeks (Berry more over the past few weeks because defensive tackle is no longer a huge need). However, after Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung went to Detroit for a workout and the results were extremely positive, he will probably be atop their draft board, despite all the praise they have given Jeff Backus.

Besides, this is not the same old panel of drafters in Detroit where they are completely opposed to drafting guys with high positional value. After all, they did take a quarterback #1 last year before so called “safer prospects” like Aaron Curry and Jason Smith. Okung will allow Backus to move to left guard and, if the Lions can shore up their pass defense in the later rounds, they could be a huge sleeper next year, even in the stacked NFC North.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13

I’ve had the Buccaneers trading down to 6, with Seattle who moves up to get Jimmy Clausen, in recent weeks, but after the Charlie Whitehurst trade, the Seahawks no longer have the quarterback need nor the picks to get the job done. The Buccaneers may sadly, still trade down in hopes of getting still getting Gerald McCoy, but that would be a huge risk that could give their fans a synchronized heart attack. I would not be totally surprised if they moved down to 7, with Cleveland moving up to get Clausen, but I am not going to mock that here. The Buccaneers will just go with the overall top prospect at a huge position of need, defensive tackle, taking Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh in hopes of fixing their 32nd ranked run defense.

4. Washington Redskins 4-12

The writing is on the wall for Jason Campbell. There’s a new head coach and a new GM in town. The guys who drafted him are gone, most of them long gone. He just happened to have his 2 worst games of his career in the last 3 weeks of this season. He was resigned on a one year deal, but he’s probably only back on a one year deal to be a stop gap while a young quarterback waits to take over in 2011, a smart idea. This pick will be a quarterback and which quarterback it will be depends on what St. Louis does at 1. In this mock, St. Louis takes Bradford, so the Redskins will take Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen.

Don’t listen to Todd McShay when he says Clausen isn’t very good and that he isn’t a good leader. His teammates voted him team captain for a reason and his teammates are even defending him publicly against the public’s criticism. Would they be doing that if he wasn’t a good leader? Rumors out there are that McShay has an undisclosed personal reason for hating Clausen and therefore his opinion on Clausen should be completely discredited. For more on why McShay is an idiot, click here.

Even if Clausen did have a “personality issue” and lack leadership skills, he would be drafted here. Mike Shanahan took Jay Cutler 11th overall in 2006 and stuck by him as his quarterback even though Cutler really lacked emotional toughness and leadership skills.

5. Kansas City Chiefs 4-12

Brandan Albert was one of the worst starting left tackles in the league this year and he’s movable, either by trade or more likely to a different position, for many reasons. He doesn’t have a large contract. The regime that drafted him is no longer in town. He has versatility position wise and can also play right tackle or left guard in addition to left tackle. There’s a very good chance that Albert isn’t their left tackle next year.

Scott Pioli comes from the Bill Belicheck school of positional value, as shown by his passing up on Aaron Curry, the superior prospect, for Tyson Jackson, who played a more valuable position, last year with the 3rd pick. He has his “franchise quarterback.” Now he needs to protect him and Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga is the best available left tackle with Anthony Davis’ stock slipping after the combine.

6. Seattle Seahawks 5-11 

The Seahawks have quite a tough choice here between Gerald McCoy and Eric Berry. It is very tough for me to mock this pick because I don’t know what kind of drafters their new regime will be, so I’ll just go with what I would do and take the prospect with the higher positional value. That would be Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy who would breathe new life into their run defense as well as their pass rush.

7. Cleveland Browns 5-11

The Browns would love to be able to move up for a quarterback and I won’t completely rule that out. Detroit might want to move down here to take either Eric Berry or Trent Williams and get multiple 2nd and 3rd round picks out of it, but I would bet against it because teams rarely trade up into the top 3. The Browns will have to just wait until the later rounds to take a quarterback and go with by far the best overall player, Tennessee S Eric Berry.

8. Oakland Raiders 5-11

Maryland OT Bruce Campbell ran a 4.85 at 6-6 314 at the Combine. He also benched 34 reps of 225 pounds and had 36 ¼ inch arms. This makes him the greatest offensive lineman of all time in Al Davis’ mind, even greater than Robert Gallery. If Davis thought he was getting a good deal with Gallery at 2 in 2004 (over guys like Larry Fitzgerald, Phillip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger), then imagine how thrilled he’ll be when he sees Campbell still available at 8.

9. Buffalo Bills 6-10

The Bills are switching to a 3-4, which is a brilliant idea because they don’t have any of the personnel for it (besides Aaron Maybin). I don’t get why teams that don’t have the personnel to make the switch are making the switch, but I guess it’s just a trend. The Bills were 31st in the league in stopping the run last year and with no true nose tackle on the roster, they might actually be worse next year, especially when you consider that the Bucs have added Suh.

This nose tackle class is fairly average, but with so many teams without the necessary nose tackle switching to a 3-4, there will be a bunch of nose tackles that are reached for this year in the 2nd-4th round range. The Bills have an opportunity to actually get one without making a huge reach here by taking Tennessee NT Dan Williams. The Bills need a quarterback and a left tackle and those have more positional value, but I think they will be turned off by Anthony Davis’ work ethic and there are no franchise quarterbacks available here and I can’t see them moving up to 2 or 3 to get one.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-9

The Jaguars will try to trade down here in an attempt to get a 2nd rounder and draft Tim Tebow, but with the Steelers resigning Larry Foote, I can’t see anyone wanting to move up that badly. Instead, the Jaguars will probably try to trade up into the 2nd and go defense here. After Aaron Kampman trade they aren’t tied to the defensive end position here. Florida CB Joe Haden would kill two birds with one stone. He would fill their need at cornerback and be a huge upside guy in their zone scheme and he would also help sell tickets being local from the University of Florida.

11. Denver Broncos 8-8 (via CHI)

Remember week 6 when the Broncos were 6-0 and had a 3.5 game lead on the division and they were giving up 3.3 YPC. Those days are long gone. The Broncos finished 8-8 and 5 games behind in the division and gave up 4.5 YPC for the season, a number that would be a lot higher if you took out their somewhat fluky run stopping days of weeks 1-6. It makes sense that they can’t stop the run. They couldn’t last year and all new coach Josh McDaniels did to fix that is change to a more complicated defensive system and make a front 7 out of 2 starters from last year’s miserable run stopping bunch, a 2009 1st round pick playing out of position, and cast offs from the Niners and Browns.

Unless they trade Brandon Marshall, which, as of this posting has not yet happened, they will take the best 3-4 front 7 player available here, even though they have added guys like Jamal Williams and Jarvis Green this offseason. That would be Alabama MLB Rolando McClain who is one of the best pure 3-4 middle linebackers prospects of the last ten years. The release of Andra Davis makes this pick make even more sense.

12. Miami Dolphins 7-9

I have no doubt in my mind this pick will be a rush linebacker. Joey Porter is gone. Matt Roth was cut during the season. Jason Taylor turns 37 before the start of the season. Those guys were their 3 leading pass rushers last year. Bill Parcells love to take linebacker and he knows the importance of having a strong pass rush. However, which one he picks is a bit of a mystery. Jason Pierre Paul has the DeMarcus Ware upside that could interest him, but he’s extremely unproven and would be a huge risk here.

There have been rumors in recent days that the Dolphins love Georgia RLB Derrick Morgan. Morgan is the most proven pass rusher in the draft class, but he’s not a natural fit for a 3-4. However, the Dolphins appear to think he is. Brandon Graham will be in consideration as well, but he also isn’t a great fit for a 3-4 and he’s not as good of a pass rusher as Morgan.

13. San Francisco 49ers 8-8

Joe Staley is supposed to be the left tackle, but he’s hurt. Even when he’s healthy, he’s a liability against the pass and belongs at right tackle where the Niners currently have a load of crap. The Niners have 2 picks in this first round and can use one of the two, with no other huge needs that they can fill with the players left on the board, on an elite left tackle. Oklahoma OT Trent Williams had a great Combine and, though he may not be an elite left tackle, he can play both left and right and allow the Niners to mix and match him and Staley on the line in the way they see best fit.

14. Seattle Seahawks 5-11 (via DEN)

Denver could soon be getting this pick back as the Seahawks could sign Brandon Marshall and give the Broncos this pick. Until that day, I will still mock for the Seahawks here. CJ Spiller makes some sense, but I have to think that if Pete Carroll keeps both of his first rounder, especially if he trades his 2nd rounder to move up to get Clausen, he’s going to want to walk out of the first rounder with a left tackle. Their left tackle position is a mess. Walter Jones could be done for his career and Sean Locklear, even when healthy, is more of a right tackle than a left.

If they take a good zone blocking left tackle here like USC OT Charles Brown, who excelled in Carroll’s system last year at USC, they can have a very strong young offensive line. Having Bulaga and Locklear together on the offensive line would allow them to move Ray Willis from tackle to guard, where he belongs, and give them a very good offensive line for the future, with Locklear and Campbell at tackle and Willis and promising rookie, and 2009 2nd round pick, Max Unger at guard. Rob Sims could also be in the mix if he isn’t traded, but he doesn’t fit what offensive line coach Alex Gibbs looks for in an offensive lineman.

15. New York Giants 8-8

The Giants always draft best available, straight from the draft board, but it’s still anyone’s guess what that draft board looks like. They always are looking to upgrade their defensive line and it sure needs it this year, but it’s not in their nature to reach for a guy like Brian Price, or to take a huge gamble on a guy like Jason Pierre Paul. Middle linebacker is another huge area of need after they cut Antonio Pierce and Missouri MLB Sean Weatherspoon is well within the draft range. He’ll be an instant contributor on that defense and he’d be a perfect fit for the Tampa 2 defense new coordinator Perry Fewell wants to install. He would be favorite for Rookie of the Year if he were to go to New York.

16. Tennessee Titans 8-8

This pick is going to be defense. The Titans had so many holes on their defense last year and, given how good they have been on defense for a long time, they have to be ashamed by that. They could look for a replacement for Albert Haynesworth with a guy like Brian Price here. They could look cornerback with a guy like Kyle Wilson or Devin McCourty to play opposite Cortland Finnegan. However, with Kyle Vanden Bosch leaving for Detroit, defensive end becomes, by far, their biggest need. South Florida DE Jason Pierre Paul has the physical upside the Titans look for in a draft pick. Their draft philosophy is to take a guy with good measurables and athletic upside, especially if he’s a defensive guy, and then try to coach the upside out of him. Think guys like Chris Johnson, Vince Young, and Michael Griffin.

17. San Francisco 49ers 8-8 (via CAR)

The Niners really need cornerback help, but they aren’t likely to really reach for one, because it’s just not in their nature. Mike Singletary really likes USC S Taylor Mays. He’s got huge upside and Singletary thinks very highly of his ability to bring the best out of a player. He would will a need in the secondary at strong safety, where Michael Lewis is a solid, but not great and often injured strong safety. He probably wouldn’t play much right away, and wouldn’t need to, but he’s a good investment for the future.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7

It’s painfully obvious that the Steelers need offensive line help after giving up 20 sacks to the Browns, Packers, Ravens, and Dolphins in the last 4 weeks of the season. However, they’ve needed offensive line help for years and haven’t done anything about it. Plus, its also painfully obvious that Mike Tomlin doesn’t trust his defense, even more painfully obvious than their offensive line is bad. Mike Tomlin tried an onside kick with a 2 point LEAD in a game late in the season against the Packers because he didn’t trust his defense to stop Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Packers would recover and score and if it weren’t for late game heroics from Big Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin would have been the laughing stock of the NFL. That is how far this defense has fallen since being one of the best in history last year.

The biggest reason for their defensive struggles has been Troy Polamalu’s injuries. In the 5 games in which he has played, the Steelers were 4-1 and allowed 13.8 points per game. In the games he missed, they gave up 23.2 and were consequently 5-6. Their lack of a good safety opposite him is obvious. Texas FS Earl Thomas is probably the best player available and the Steelers have shown in recent years that they are fans of the best player available strategy drafting guys like Rashard Mendenhall and Evander Hood in the first round even when they weren’t their biggest needs.

19. Atlanta Falcons 9-7

I’ve had Spiller here in recent weeks, but I think it’s against their philosophy to draft a luxury player when they still have holes at important positions such as defensive end. Mike Smith has only had 3 first round picks in his time in Atlanta, but he spent 2 of those on either a quarterback or a left tackle. With a hole at the important defensive end position, I think that will be the focus this year in the first if a player Mike Smith likes is available. Smith likes players with good work ethics and strong motors and Michigan DE Brandon Graham fits that hold. After 2.5 sacks in 3 years, it’s safe for the Falcons to write Jamaal Anderson, a former 8th overall pick, off as a bust.

20. Houston Texans 9-7

The Texans have been pretty open about their needs this offseason and they have said that they are looking to draft a running back. They have some decent backs, Steve Slaton, Ryan Moats, Arian Foster, but no one like Clemson RB CJ Spiller, so even with more pressing needs at cornerback and safety, I think the Texans won’t let Spiller slip past them. He has the breakaway speed all of their backs lack and can take this dynamic offense to another level.

21. Cincinnati Bengals 10-7

The Bengals proved by signing Matt Jones that they are not done taking chances on guys with character problems, even though the team played well last year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, Cedric Benson looked like the MVP of the league before he got hurt and Larry Johnson helped the Bengals late last year when Benson was hurt and 2009 2nd round pick Rey Maualuga who dropped for character reasons was in the running for defensive player of the year this season. 

Florida DE Carlos Dunlap has an awful work ethic and recently was arrested for drunk driving, but those things are like turn ons to whoever if drafting for the Bengals. Antawn Odom is talented when healthy, but he rarely is so, assuming Michael Johnson doesn’t pan out, the Bengals still need a right end of the future and Dunlap, who has athleticism, 6-6 280 4.6, could be that guy if he straightens himself out. The signings of Matt Jones and Antonio Bryant make their need for a wide receiver lesser so I doubt they reach for one here.

22. New England Patriots 10-7

Randy Moss has one more year and, probably rightfully so, believes he won’t be brought back. It’s not in the Patriots’ nature to sign guys in their mid 30s to longterm deals, which Moss will almost certainly be after. Wes Welker had a nasty knee injury week 17 last year and could miss the beginning of next season and might never be the same. Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant is the best available player.

A lot of teams are reportedly scared off by his “character issues,” which consist of being suspended for a year for eating lunch with Deion Sanders, forgetting to bring his shoes to his Pro Day, having a mother who went to jail, and hanging out with Pacman Jones from time to time, but the Patriots aren’t afraid of guys like that as long as they are 100% football when necessary. Bryant could make an instant impact if needed because New England and Oklahoma State run fairly similar offensive schemes.

23. Green Bay Packers 10-7

Everyone knows the Packers drafting strategy, draft the best available regardless of need. I actually think they fill out a draft board of their highest rated prospects and then put the thing on ESPN autodraft. That’s the only way to explain their drafting. The Packers biggest need, by a mile, is an offensive tackle. Both Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton are well up there in age and also injury prone and they have no depth, for the most part, behind either. However, after they resigned Clifton to a ridiculous 3 year 20 million dollar deal, they aren’t tied to the position here.

This doesn’t completely eliminate Anthony Davis, but Davis didn’t look good at the combine, lowering his stock in many teams’ eyes, especially those who run zone style blocking schemes, which the Packers do. To make things worse, Davis canceled on teams at his Pro Day, not even showing up. That hurts his stock even more and teams are now really starting to slap the lazy tag onto him. I can’t imagine he’ll be that high on their draft board. 

It’s more likely that Boise State CB Kyle Wilson is. Charles Woodson is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, but he’s also 34 so I don’t know how much longer he can play at that level. Meanwhile, Al Harris is all but done and Tramon Williams is marginal at best with little depth behind him. Wilson helps in two ways, giving them cornerback depth and a future replacement for Woodson, and also giving them much needed help in the kick return game in the short term.

24. Philadelphia Eagles 11-6

After trading Sheldon Brown, the idea here is going to be to try to get a cornerback, but Kyle Wilson is gone and I don’t think they’ll reach for Devin McCourty, though they could. Texas OLB Sergio Kindle makes a lot of sense here based on what they’ve done in the past. They love freakishly athletic players who can create pressure on the quarterback. Kindle would be used in a similar way to the way Brian Orakpo was used in Washington this year. He would play linebacker on running downs, because he’s a good run stopper for a linebacker, but not for a defensive end, in the trenches at his size. On passing downs, he’d move up to the line and play end, using his ability to get to the quarterback and minimizing his weaknesses in coverage. The Eagles do have Darryl Tapp at the defensive end position right now, but he’s the perfect compliment to Kindle as he’s strong against the run, but not as a pass rusher.

I am not a huge fan of Kindle, despite his athleticism, because I think he’s too small to play the trenches and not a fluid enough athlete or adept enough in pass coverage to play rush linebacker, but I would love this pick for the Eagles. Kindle would be perfect in the role that Orakpo played in Washington last year and other 4-3 teams should take note. Guys like Ricky Sapp, Eric Norwood, and Jason Worilds would be extremely valuable in that role, as would any “tweener” rushers in the future.

25. Baltimore Ravens 10-8

The Ravens don’t have a ton of needs after signing Donte Stallworth, trading for Anquan Boldin, and resigning Derrick Mason. However, if they have the chance to take an elite over the middle target like Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham, they won’t be able to resist. They are huge fans of drafting best player available and that’s exactly what Gresham is at this point in the draft.

26.  Arizona Cardinals 11-7

The Cardinals actually had a strong pass rush last year, in terms of number of sacks, but most that was from their defensive line. If they want to switch full time to a 3-4, which they should because their personnel fits it so much better, they need to get more pressure from their linebackers. All 3 of their leaders in sacks from the rush linebacker position, Bert Berry, Clark Haggans, and Chike Okeafor, are either retiring this offseason or over 33 years old. Even if 2009 2nd round pick Cody Brown, who missed all of 2009 with an injury, pans out, they’d still need one more rush linebacker for the future. That could very well be TCU RLB Jerry Hughes, the consensus top pure rush linebacker after 26 sacks over 2 years at 6-2 255.

27. Dallas Cowboys 12-6

The Cowboys really showed a lack of offensive line depth when mid game injuries struck against the Vikings in the playoffs and they gave up 6 sacks in a humiliating loss. Also, all 5 of their starters on the offensive line from last year are over 30 making it, fairly easily, the oldest offensive line in the NFL. Rutgers OT Anthony Davis is seeing his draft stock go south in a big way recently, from a possible top ten pick to a guy who could fall to the mid 20s. That’s what happens when you show up out of shape to the Combine and skip your Pro Day without telling anyone.

All that being said, the Cowboys are going to love his size, his upside, and his versatility at this stage in the draft. At the very least, he can be an upgrade over Kyle Kosier at left guard. After cutting Flozell Adams, the Cowboys are definitely going to be targeting left tackle prospects in the first.

28. San Diego Chargers 13-4

I’ve had Ryan Matthews here in recent weeks, but after the Charlie Whitehurst trade, in which they were able to move up to the 40th pick from the 60th, that looks less likely. They can still get Ryan Matthews at 40, or at least there’s a good chance they can, but Alabama NT Terrence Cody won’t be available there and they need him after releasing Jamal Williams. Even if Matthews is gone, they can take a guy like Ben Tate or Montario Hardesty in the 3rd and still get a fairly decent running back.

29. New York Jets 11-8

Trading for Mark Sanchez was the right longterm move for the franchise, especially given how little they had to give up to move up to get him. One player they did give up was Kenyon Coleman. He is a 3-4 defensive end, so he’s absence did not hurt them a ton, especially when you consider they got a franchise quarterback, but they still do need to replace him. Penn State 3-4 DE Jared Odrick plays defensive tackle in college, but would be a natural fit for this team at 3-4 defensive end, which is a big need where they have a major hole.

30. Minnesota Vikings 13-5

How is it that Adrian Peterson struggled late last season? Poor interior blocking had something to do with it. Idaho G Mike Iupati is one of the most hyped guard prospects of the decade and he would immediately upgrade their interior line. He has huge upside and is being compared, prematurely, to Larry Allen, who is, by far, the top guard of the last 20 years.

31. Indianapolis Colts 16-3

The Colts drafted Fili Moala in the 2nd round last year, but he didn’t show much promise. Even if he did pan out, they’d still need another defensive tackle to play next to him. UCLA DT Brian Price is a steal here. He drops because he lacks elite athleticism and upside, but he’s the type of high motor player the Colts love. He’ll upgrade their mediocre run defense and get them another pass rusher besides Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. Those two guys are great pass rushers, but other than them, they aren’t getting much of a pass rush. They need to be able to attack the quarterback from all spots on the field.

32. New Orleans Saints 16-3

The Saints just cut Charles Grant, his large contract, and his larger gut. While it was the right move, it leaves them very thin on the left side of their defensive line opposite Will Smith, at end, and Sedrick Ellis, at tackle. I would be very surprised if two of their first 3 picks were focused on getting an upgrade at left defensive tackle and left defensive end. Here they take left defensive end because of who’s left on the board and go with USC DE Everson Griffen. Griffen has major upside, but also major downside, but the Saints can afford to take a risk after winning the Super Bowl and defensive genius coordinator Gary Williams will probably think he can bring the most out of him (and he’d probably be right).

33. St. Louis Rams- WR Arrelious Benn (Illinois)

Donnie Avery and Brandon Gibson are decent young receivers, but neither of them are really an elite #1 guy. Benn has #1 potential and more potential than any receiver left on the board, but he’s very raw.

34. Detroit Lions- CB Devin McCourty (Rutgers)

McCourty both is the best available, which the Lions love to take, and fills a huge need as the Lions really don’t have a lot of talent at the cornerback position. They coached him at the Senior Bowl so they should be very familiar with him.

35. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- WR Golden Tate (Notre Dame)

Head Coach Raheem Morris said the Buccaneers were going to try to build around 2nd year quarterback Josh Freeman this offseason and that would require getting him someone to throw to because, if Antonio Bryant leaves, they will have nothing at the wide receiver position and they have already basically said they will not offer him a longterm deal. Tate is the best available wide receiver, but he will never be a #1 option on a good playoff team. However, he can still be a solid #2 of the future and a very NFL ready wide receiver who could lead all rookies in receiving yards in his rookie year. That will help Josh Freeman out a lot.

36. Kansas City Chiefs- C Maurkice Pouncey (Florida)

Scott Pioli is a big believer in the Patriot way, building through the trenches. The Chiefs have a variety of defensive positions they could target year, but Pioli is not one to make big reaches. I know they got Okung in the first, but they have enough picks to spend 2 on offensive linemen and still have picks left over for other needs like defense. Pouncey can play center for the Chiefs, as well as guard, where he has more value and is a better fit.

37. Washington Redskins- OT Roger Saffold (Indiana)

The Redskins need to add a true franchise left tackle to the roster and Saffold is one of the last of that kind remaining. I say he is overdrafted if he goes here, but because of how thin the left tackle class is, this makes a lot of sense. He could go as early as 31 if Indy falls in love with him.

38. Cleveland Browns- WR Damian Williams (USC)

The Browns swapped out all their crap quarterbacks for other crap quarterbacks, some spare change and a fullback. Now time to actually get their quarterbacks someone to throw to.

39. Oakland Raiders- DT Geno Atkins (Georgia)

Geno Atkins ran a 4.75 at 6-1 293 at the Combine. That makes him the greatest defensive tackle of all time. See, isn’t drafting easy. I’ve had cornerback here in recent weeks, but that was only because I felt they would trade Nmandi Ashmouga (something about being too talented). That no longer looks like it’s going to happen so I think they’ll, sadly, be fine with Ashmouga, Stanford Routt, and Chris Johnson at cornerback next year.

40. San Diego Chargers (via SEA)- RB Ryan Matthews (Fresno State)

The idea with the Chargers moving up to 40 from 60 is to get a feature back like Matthews without having to pass on a nose tackle like Terrence Cody in the first. Done and done.

41. Buffalo Bills- QB Tim Tebow (Florida)  

This one is going to get me a lot of angry emails for Bills fans, but hear me out. The biggest icon in the city of Buffalo, Jim Kelly, is infatuated with him. Chan Gailey, their new head coach, also likes him. Buffalo is one of the few teams that will have a private workout with him. Chan Gailey runs a spread offense, which Tebow ran (with pretty good success I might add) at Florida for 4 years, so the learning curve won’t be as big. He’ll only have to learn to read NFL defenses, and given his commitment and work ethic, I am sure he will be able to, and learn to take the occasional snap from center, not hard, and fix that delivery, already in progress. The Bills want a franchise quarterback, which Tebow can be, but they don’t need one right away since they have Trent Edwards as a one year stopgap while Tebow gets ready to start in 2011. It’s not like the team is going anywhere before then no matter the pick here.

42. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via CHI)- CB Brandon Ghee (Wake Forest)

They need a defensive end, but there isn’t really one here that fits. They also need cornerback help and Ghee is the best cornerback available He is another guy who raised his stock at the Senior Bowl. He’s very raw, but he got great potential and head coach Raheem Morris, a former defensive backs coach, would love the opportunity to try to bring the most of out Ghee. He’s not likely to be available in a few picks.

43. Miami Dolphins- NT Cam Thomas (North Carolina)

Is Jason Ferguson?

A) Going to turn 36 next season

B) Coming off of a major injury

C) Facing an 8 game suspension for PEDs

D) All of the above

The answer is D so in a market where nose tackles are becoming more and more valuable to 3-4 teams, the Dolphins should know the value of getting someone like Thomas in the 2nd without having to make a huge reach.

44. New England Patriots (via JAC)- RB Jahvid Best (California)

As a Patriots fan, the Pats’ defense makes me cringe. They let Devery Henderson run straight down field for a touchdown without a guy within 10 yards of him against New Orleans and then missed 4 tackles as the Saints turned a loss on a screen play to a touchdown and they were only able to sack Brees once all game. Then Chad Henne came out and burned their defense again. However, Bill Belicheck will go value over need every time, especially with 3 picks in the 2ndround to work with. Best would help the Patriots become even more explosive on offensive by adding that explosive homerun hitting back that they lack right now. He would compliment Fred Taylor and Kevin Faulk well, both of whom are over 30.

45. Denver Broncos- WR Demaryius Thomas (Georgia Tech)

Even if they don’t trade Brandon Marshall, the Broncos are going to take a wide receiver fairly early. Marshall’s days in Denver are looking pretty numbered for the longterm and Eddie Royal is not a great #2 opposite him either. Thomas has good size and a good history of success in a college style offense like the one Denver runs.

46. New York Giants- DT LaMarr Houston (Texas)

The Giants are always one to look to upgrade their pass rush and their defensive line. They can’t be happy about the extremely low amount of sacks they generated from the defensive tackle position, or their low ranking against the run. Houston had 7 sacks last year, more than all Giants’ defensive tackles combine, and he is good against the run as well.

47. New England Patriots- 3-4 DE Alex Carrington (Arkansas State)

Their trade of Richard Seymour for a first round pick was borderline burglary, but they do need to replace Seymour on the line, especially with Jarvis Green now in Denver. Carrington is a natural fit for the 3-4 defensive end position as he is a great pass rusher, but also has amazing size. He’s like a poor man’s version of Tyson Jackson, who went 3rd overall last year.

48. Carolina Panthers- WR Brandon LaFell (LSU)

Part of the reason for Jake Delhomme’s struggles last year was because he had no one to throw to except Steve Smith. Matt Moore appears to be the quarterback of the future for this team so they’ll need to get him someone to compliment Smith. LaFell would be perfect for the job because he’s a consistent possession receiver, whereas Smith is an inconsistent deep threat.

49. San Francisco 49ers- RB Dexter McCluster (Mississippi)

I’ve had cornerback here in recent weeks. I was sure the Niners had to take a corner in the first two rounds, but the Niners are a team that likes to pick best available. This also happens to be an extremely deep cornerback class. They can get a future starter at the cornerback position in the 3rd round. They can’t get a playmaker like McCluster. McCluster helps on special teams, in the receiver corps as a slot guy, and out of the backfield as a 3rd down back and a change of pace back.

50. Kansas City Chiefs (via ATL)- TE Aaron Hernandez (Florida)

The Chiefs got this pick from Atlanta for Tony Gonzalez. They might want to consider using it on a replacement tight end, because Matt Cassel needs more guys to throw to. Scott Pioli could be partial to Hernandez over guys like Dennis Pitta and Rob Gronkowski because he reminds people of Ben Watson, who he worked with in New England.

51. Houston Texans- CB Patrick Robinson (Florida State)

The Texans had 14 interceptions all year last year and 4 of those came from their linebackers and 9 from their safeties, including 4 from Bernard Pollard (hey, maybe the Chiefs shouldn’t have cut him). That leaves only 1 interception by any of their cornerbacks. Robinson had 7 in his career at Oklahoma State and he had a very good game in the Senior Bowl.

52. Pittsburgh Steelers- CB Donovan Warren (Michigan)

The Steelers really lack talent at the cornerback position and need a starter opposite Ike Taylor. Warren is slipping because of his lack of timed speed, but he’s still a very solid cornerback who would fit their scheme well. Hopefully, the Steelers realize that.

53. New England Patriots- RLB Jason Worilds (Virginia Tech)

Bill Belicheck seems hesitant to draft a rush linebacker, which is weird because he’s never hesitant to do anything. It must be because of how few of the defensive ends switching to rush linebacker actually pan out. For more on that, click here. However, he can’t hesitate anymore, the Pats only managed 31 sacks all last year and their pass defense suffered because of it. Worilds is a safe bet here because he has experience playing standing up at outside linebacker at Virginia Tech, in addition to playing defensive end, so he is going to be comfortable in coverage and blitzing from an outside, standing position. Again, for more on why drafting rush linebackers with experience at outside linebacker is important, click the link above.

54. Cincinnati Bengals- TE Rob Gronkowski (Arizona)

The Bengals needed major help at wide receiver this offseason, but after signing Matt Jones and signing Antonio Bryant, I doubt they’ll target a wideout early, even though I don’t think Bryant will pan out as a #2 in Cincy. This leaves them with very few needs, but they have needed a tight end for years and if one like Gronkowski slips to them in the 2nd, I could see them pulling the trigger. They like run blocking tight ends and Gronkowski is a good, big blocker in addition to being a solid target over the middle.

55. Philadelphia Eagles- OLB Daryl Washington (TCU)

One linebacker won’t be enough. After cutting Will Witherspoon, the Eagles need a weakside linebacker badly. Washington has the speed Andy Reid looks for in a linebacker.

56. Green Bay Packers- OT Jared Veldheer (Hillsdale)

Even after resigning Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, the Packers’ biggest need this offseason is offensive tackle. Both Clifton and Tauscher are old and injury prone and, as we saw last year, this offensive line has no depth. In the 8 games Clifton and Tauscher both missed, they gave up 37 sacks, and consequently went 4-4 (as opposed to 7-1 in games in which both played). They didn’t take one in the first because they didn’t want to reach and Anthony Davis didn’t fit their scheme, but Veldheer is well in range here and has some major physical upside at 6-8 312 with 5.1 speed.

57. Baltimore Ravens- CB Kareem Jackson (Alabama)

After Lardarius Webb got hurt, the Ravens had to start kick returner Chris Carr at cornerback. I think its safe to say they need some cornerback depth and Jackson provides good depth and upside at the position.

58. Arizona Cardinals- OT Jason Fox (Miami)

Both of the Cardinals starting tackles gave up 9 sacks last year. Kurt Warner played well through it, but Matt Leinart is nowhere near as mentally tough, so they’ll definitely need tackle help.

59. Dallas Cowboys- WR Marshawn Gilyard (Cincinnati)

Not necessarily a huge need, but it’s a very predictable Cowboys pick. Gilyard is a big name. He would be an upgrade over Patrick Crayton at both wide receiver and punt returner. Plus, I think the Cowboys give Roy Williams only one more year to get his act together before the cut him and if that happens, Gilyard could also step into the starting lineup.

60. Seattle Seahawks (via SD)- RB Joe McKnight (USC)

Julius Jones is such a bad running back that every single Seahawks fan I have talked to is begging them to draft a replacement in the first two rounds. Pete Carroll and Joe McKnight worked well together at USC. Carroll probably wouldn’t mind giving him a try at the next level and he happens to be the best available running back.

61. New York Jets- RLB Ricky Sapp (Clemson)

With their holes in the secondary, corner and safety, filled up, it’s very likely that the Jets will look for pass rushers early in the NFL Draft. They got themselves a 3-4 down lineman rusher in the 1st, but they need help at rush linebacker too. Vernon Gholston has 0 sacks in 2 years and is on a very short leash. Sapp can be his future replacement when they cut him, most likely, next offseason. Calvin Pace is also on the wrong side of 30 and not what he used to be.

62. Minnesota Vikings- DT Mike Neal (Purdue)

Pat Williams says he’s 50-50 on retiring, but even if he doesn’t he’ll turn 38 next season and could retire soon. The defensive tackle position is, and has been, the strength of the Vikings for years, so, with no future replacement for Williams, they should draft Neal here and groom him to be the future replacement. Williams-Neal Wall doesn’t sound as good as Williams Wall, but it works.

63. Indianapolis Colts- OLB Navarro Bowman (Penn State)

The Colts always like to use the middle rounds to get outside linebacker help, but they need help there now so I wouldn’t be surprised if they took one earlier than normal. Bowman is a great fit for their cover 2 scheme. 

64. New Orleans Saints- RB Toby Gerhart (Stanford)

The Saints like to use a two back scheme to keep their backs fresh late into games and late into the season. It definitely worked last year, but with Mike Bell gone, and Lynell Hamilton penciled into that #2 back role, it might not work as well this year. Enter Gerhart, who would serve as the power back compliment to Pierre Thomas. The two of them would wreak some serious havoc next year. Gerhart is much better than even Bell.

65. St. Louis Rams- OLB Dekoda Watson (Florida State)

They traded Will Witherspoon midseason and replaced him with Paris Lenon and, no surprised, afterwards, their defense really sucked. Lenon is a free agent anyway. The Rams have bigger needs like their defensive line, but Watson has good upside and looked great at The Combine.

66. Detroit Lions- RB Jonathan Dwyer (Georgia Tech)

Sticking with best player available, the Lions take Dwyer, who could have gone in the first round before laying an epic stink bomb at the Combine, showing up out of shape, and running a much slower 40 than expected. He still has upside though and the Lions have a need at the position because they don’t have much behind Kevin Smith and even he didn’t have a good year last year.

67. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- S Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech)

Raheem Morris is a defensive backs coach by nature, so, while they need major help on the defensive line, I’d be very surprised if they reached for a defensive end like Jermaine Cunningham or Austin Lane over taking a steal of a defensive back. Burnett is a victim an extremely strong safety class. He’s an early-mid 2ndrounder by talent, but falls here to the early 3rd because he’s not as talented of a prospect as Eric Berry, Taylor Mays, Earl Thomas, and he doesn’t play a particularly important position. The Buccaneers would still love to have him though.  

68. Kansas City Chiefs- NT Linval Joseph (East Carolina)

The Chiefs are going to want to get a nose tackle before all the top 2 tier guys are gone and the class really drops off like a cliff. Joseph is the last of those top 2 tier guys and would fill a need for the Chiefs at nose tackle. The Chiefs love to draft in the trenches.

69. Oakland Raiders- QB Jarrett Brown (West Virginia)

Jarrett Brown ran a 4.54 40 at 6-3 224. This makes him a great quarterback in Al Davis’ eyes. He also has a cannon for an arm. He’s like JaMarcus Russell only less of a fat slob. The Raiders said they were sticking by Russell as their quarterback earlier this offseason, but after the recent rumors linking the Raiders to Donovan McNabb, that is no longer true. It probably has something to do with the fact that Russell weighed in at 290 at offseason workouts. If they can’t trade for McNabb, they’ll target a quarterback through the draft.

70. Philadelphia Eagles- S Nate Allen (South Florida)

Sean Jones failed in his first year in Philadelphia and won’t be back. Marlin Jackson was signed and he’s talented, but he’s no sure thing with his history of injuries. Allen is a steal here as he has 2nd round talent. With so many picks in this draft, and since the safety class is so strong, they’ll take a luxury safety fairly early.

71. Cleveland Browns- QB Colt McCoy (Texas)

Of all the quarterbacks available, McCoy would not be my choice, but there’s a very good chance he would be Mike Holmgren’s choice. Holmgren reportedly loves McCoy and might considering moving up into the late 1st round to take him, if he felt it necessary. I don’t believe he would do that, but I do believe that Holmgren does like McCoy as a quarterback prospect.

72. Buffalo Bills- OT Tony Washington (TCU)

In one of the most bizarre NFL draft stories in a long time, it was revealed that Washington once had consensual sex with his 15-year-old biological sister when he was 16 and had to register as a sex offender. Don’t you think if you were a registered sex offender, you might not want to be famous. Just a thought. Either way, as disgusting as that is, that has nothing to do with what kind of football player he will be and the left tackle starved Bills will reach for him here because the left tackle class is extremely thin this year and drops off right after him.

73. Miami Dolphins- WR Jeremy Williams (Tulane)

The Dolphins drafted Patrick Turner in the 3rd round last year, but I think Parcells knows that was a mistake. You can’t get them all right. They need a good receiver with true #1 abilities. Williams is a 2nd round prospect who they are fortunate is still available in the 3rd.

74. Jacksonville Jaguars- DE Jermaine Cunningham (Florida)

Signing Aaron Kampman was a great value move to add an elite pass rusher to their defense. However, unless Quentin Groves or Derrick Harvey stop underachieving and start living up to their potential, the Jaguars are going to need another pass rusher opposite him. Needing to make money, the Jaguars take a local kid in Cunningham.

75. Chicago Bears- S Myron Lewis (Vanderbilt)

Danieal Manning is a good kick returner, but they are kidding themselves trying to pass him off as a free safety. They need a true free safety. Lewis is a lot like Sean Smith, a defensive back prospect that can play both corner and safety, both of which the Bears need. Lewis is a better fit as a safety in the Bears’ scheme.

76. New York Giants- RB Montario Hardesty (Tennessee)

The Giants had Earth, Wind and Fire at the running back in 2008 and everything was great. Last year, Earth (Brandon Jacobs) turned to stone, Wind (Derrick Ward) blew out of town to take more money in Tampa Bay, and Fire (Ahmad Bradshaw) burnt out after two ankle injuries. There’s a chance that what they have at the running back position, currently, is enough for next year, but there’s also a chance that it isn’t and the Giants, always ones to look for best available, aren’t going to take that risk if Hardesty is still on the board. Hardesty has good hands and would fit the wind role well.

77. Tennessee Titans- CB Chris Cook (Virginia)

Nick Harper was so bad last year that he may have to retire this offseason, against his will, because no one is interested in the soon to be 36 year old free agent. I don’t see why the Titans didn’t just bench him, but he’s gone now so they’ll need to get someone for the future to start across from Cortland Finnegan. Cook has good upside and a ton of experience in a scheme similar to Tennessee’s at Virginia.

78. Carolina Panthers- DE Corey Wootton (Northwestern)

With Julius Peppers gone, the Panthers are going to struggle to create quarterback pressure unless 2009 2nd round pick Everette Brown has a huge breakout year. Take away Peppers’ 10.5 sacks and they had 20.5 sacks all last year. Even if Brown pans out, they’ll need a good left end opposite him. Wootton has a ton of upside as either a 3-4 right end or a 4-3 left.

79. San Francisco 49ers- CB Domonique Franks (Oklahoma)

Passing in their biggest need with their first 3 picks might have raised some eyebrows, but this cornerback class is extremely deep. Franks is a 2nd round prospect available in the 3rd. He has major upside and can be their future starter across from Shawntae Spencer.

80. Denver Broncos- RB Ben Tate (Auburn)

Correll Buckhalter isn’t a bad running back, but he’s 31 and injury prone and Tate is a great value here. He would do a very solid job backing up Knowshon Moreno. 

81. Houston Texans- S Reshad Jones (Georgia)

The Texans added Patrick Robinson in the second, but they need more than one upgrade in the secondary. Jones could step in and make a different right away at safety as the Texans try to finally beat Peyton Manning and/or make the playoffs.

82. Pittsburgh Steelers- OT Kyle Calloway (Iowa)

More offensive line help for one of the worst offensive lines in the league last year, Calloway is strictly a right tackle, but he’s one of the best right tackles in the draft class. He fits what the Steelers look for in a tackle, good mauling size, and good work ethic.

83. Atlanta Falcons- OLB AJ Edds (Iowa)

After signing Dunta Robinson, the Falcons don’t have a lot of needs left. Outside linebacker though is one of them as they need a solid starter to replace Mike Peterson. Edds can play on the strong side moving Stephen Nicholas to the weak side, where he is a better fit. Edds is a very good natural strong side linebacker who could be a starter for this team sometime during year 1.

84. Cincinnati Bengals- G Vladimir Ducasse (Massachusetts)

Bobbie Williams is 33 and still has yet to be resigned this offseason by the Bengals. He doesn’t want to leave the Bengals, but they aren’t meeting his demands. He may retire rather than sign with another need. Even if he’s back, Ducasse is too much of a steal not to be drafted here. Williams won’t last forever and Ducasse can play right tackle as well for when the Bengals realize Andre Smith sucks.

85. Cleveland Browns- OT Ciron Black (LSU)

Joe Thomas is an amazing left tackle, but they really need to fix holes on the right side of their line, including right tackle. Black isn’t much of a pass blocker, but if he can get in shape, he could be a hell of a run blocker.

86. Green Bay Packers- S Chad Jones (LSU)

In the spirit of best available the Packers take Jones, by far the best available. Atari Bigby is a good strong safety, but gets hurt way too often.

87. Philadelphia Eagles- CB Amari Spievey (Iowa)

Tapping into the depth of this cornerback class, the Eagles get a talented future starter replacement for Sheldon Brown in the 3rd round. They’ll need to be sure to get someone like him in this draft because Ellis Hobbs is better at nickel than as a starter.

88. Arizona Cardinals (via BAL)- MLB Jamar Chaney (Mississippi State)

The Cardinals need a replacement for Karlos Dansby at the 3-4 middle linebacker positon and Chaney has the size to play their scheme. This is right in his draft range as well.

89. Arizona Cardinals- C JD Walton (Baylor)

Kurt Warner won’t be their quarterback next year. Instead, they will have either the mentally fragile Derek Anderson or the mentally fragile Matt Leinart. Whoever starts, they’ll probably want to get an upgrade at center. Lyle Sendlein steps on too many feet and isn’t a good run blocker either.

90. Dallas Cowboys- S Darrell Stuckey (Kansas)

The Cowboys cut Ken Hamlin at the same time they cut Flozell Adams. I guess they got tired of him blowing coverages. They’ll give Michael Hamlin, who they drafted last year in the 5th round, a shot at the starting job, but he’s no sure thing. They’d be best served tapping into the depth of this safety class and taking Stuckey.

91. San Diego Chargers- WR Dorin Dickerson (Pittsburgh)

Both Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd are free agents next offseason, as is Antonio Gates. Their receiving corps could really suck in 2011. Dickerson is a very complex prospect, but he’s a good pass catcher no matter where you stick him on the field and the Chargers, possibly needing guys to throw to in a big way in a year or so, should take him here and sort the rest out later.

92. Cleveland Browns- NT Torrell Troup (Central Florida)

Shaun Rogers is facing felony weapons charges for trying to smuggle a weapon onto an airplane. Though I think he’s not so much a terrorist as just an idiot, either way he probably will not be back with the team next year, either by suspension or the Browns just releasing him. With so many picks this year, even after the Sheldon Brown trade, the Browns should look at a nose tackle prospect like Troup.

93. Minnesota Vikings- QB Dan LeFevour (Central Michigan)

Brett Favre could literally retire at any moment, and one of those timess he might stay actually retired. Unless they pull off a deal for Donovan McNabb, The Vikings would be smart to bring in a backup whose name isn’t Tarvaris Jackson through the draft.

94. Indianapolis Colts- DE Austen Lane (Murray State)

The Colts are likely to take some depth at the ever important defensive end position early because both of their starting ends are free agents in 2011.

95. New Orleans Saints- OLB Perry Riley (LSU)

Scott Fujita is gone, so the Saints take a local strongside linebacker prospect to play opposite Scott Shanle next year.

96. Cincinnati Bengals (comp)- WR Jacoby Ford (Clemson)

After signing Matt Jones and Antonio Bryant, wide receiver is no longer high on their draft list, but they lack a true speed burner like Ford in their receiving corps. His 4.28 speed can be used in many ways and will open the offense up in ways they just couldn’t do last year.

97. Tennessee Titans- DT Tyson Alualu (California)

Alualu is that pesky, high motor interior pass rusher that the Titans love. Anyone they play will you, they win by rotating out a bunch of talented one gap penetrators from the defensive tackle position.

98. Atlanta Falcons- CB Javier Arenas (Alabama)

After signing Dunta Robinson, cornerback is less of a need, but still a bit of a need. Arenas can also help on special teams in a big way.

99. St. Louis Rams- DT D’Anthony Smith (Louisiana Tech)

Steve Spagnuolo is a defensive coach who loves to build on the defensive line. He’ll try to find at least one defensive tackle in the mid rounds he can coach up because Fred Robbins is getting up there in age and Adam Carriker is no sure thing.

100. Detroit Lions- S Major Wright (Florida)

Their secondary was beyond awful last year. They need multiple upgrades in the secondary, including safety. Wright has 1st round upside and would go in the 3rd round most years so he could be a steal here if they can coach him up and bring out his natural athleticism.

101. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- OLB Roddrick Muckelroy (Texas)

The Buccaneers cut their two starting linebackers for 2008 last offseason and replaced them with the oft injured Angelo Crowell and a former safety. I wonder why they ranked dead last against the run last year.

102. Kansas City Chiefs- RLB Thaddeus Gibson (Ohio State)

The Chiefs more than doubled their sacks total from 2008 to 2009! That would be amazing if it wasn’t for the fact that they only had 10 sacks in 2008. 22 sacks in 2009 is nothing to brag about. Gibson fills the rush linebacker need opposite Tamba Hali.

103. Washington Redskins- G Mike Johnson (Alabama)

When you give up 43 sacks in a season, you need multiple offensive line upgrades in the offseason. Johnson is a perfect fit as a left guard in Mike Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme.

104. Seattle Seahawks- WR Andre Roberts (Citadel)

Nate Burleson is gone and I have my doubts about Deon Butler’s ability to be a starting wide receiver in this league and about Deion Branch’s ability to not get hurt. They’ll try to get Brandon Marshall this offseason, but if they can’t, getting Roberts in the 4th as a steal, will have to do for now.

105. Philadelphia Eagles- G John Jerry (Mississippi)

The release of Shawn Andrews also Andy Reid to take one of his trademark fat offensive lineman. Jerry weighs 330 and is a dominant run blocker, though he struggles against the pass rush.

106. Oakland Raiders- WR David Gettis (Baylor)

David Gettis ran a 4.39 at 6-3 216 at his Pro Day. Putting a ton of stock into Pro day 40 times isn’t a smart idea, but then again, neither is drafting purely on height and 40 times and Al Davis has been doing that for years.

107. Buffalo Bills- RLB Eric Norwood (South Carolina)

A rush linebacker is needed opposite Aaron Maybin. Norwood could be a steal here. I like him a lot more than most places.

108. Jacksonville Jaguars- WR Riley Cooper (Florida)

I know what you’re thinking. A 3rd Florida Gator in as many picks? It could happen. After all, the Jags need to sell tickets and Gainesville is about a 75 minute drive from Jacksonville so stacking a team with familiar players isn’t a bad idea, unless they were huge reaches which they haven’t been. Cooper will be a good wide receiver option for David Garrard.

109. Chicago Bears- G Jon Asamoah (Illinois)

Matt Forte was out of shape last year, but his awful season can’t be completely blamed on him. The Bears’ offensive line opened up a grand total of one hole for him all last year. Asamoah is a local kid who would be an immediate left guard upgrade.

110. Miami Dolphins- RB Anthony Dixon (Mississippi State)

Ricky Williams is probably living on borrowed time as a running back of his age still running well. Ronnie Brown suffers a devastating injury every single year like clockwork and he’s a free agent next offseason. They also aren’t too happy about his recent DUI. If a running back like Dixon is still there in the 4th, they’ll pull the trigger.

111. Tennessee Titans- OLB Donald Butler (Washington)

Will Witherspoon was a great signing as a weakside linebacker, but they still need help on the strong side. Butler can play there and also play some in the middle of their 4-3 which is also a bit of a need.

112. Carolina Panthers- TE Jimmy Graham (Miami)

The Panthers probably want to get Matt Moore more than one upgrade in his receiving corps. Graham is extremely raw after only one season playing football (he was also a forward on the Miami basketball team), but he is really amazing scouts with his upside and how quickly he has improved this offseason so he could wind up being a steal at this point.

113. San Francisco 49ers- MLB Brandon Spikes (Florida)

All 4-3 teams crossed Spikes off of their draft board after he ran a 5.0+ at Florida’s Pro Day, except for Al Davis because he’s dead and doesn’t have a draft board. No 4-3 linebacker is that slow. The Niners could have a steal, however, with him as a 3-4 middle linebacker in the middle of the 4th, assuming they can bring the most out of him. Mike Singletary thinks very highly of his ability to bring the most out of players, and rightfully so, which means Spikes makes a lot of sense here.

114. Denver Broncos- 3-4 DE Arthur Jones (Syracuse)

The Broncos seriously stank against the run last year in the 2nd half. Like seriously, I could smell it from here. Adding guys like Jamal Williams and Jarvis Green to their defensive front is a lot better than what they did last offseason (get random castoffs from the Niners and Browns), but they still need to focus on upgrading their defensive line through the draft. Unlike Robert Ayers, Jones is a natural fit at 3-4 defensive end and could be a huge steal if he beats the injuries and lives up to his potential.

115. New York Giants- CB Perrish Cox (Oklahoma State)

Cornerback isn’t a huge need, but neither is any position the Giants draft (for the most part). They go straight from the draft board. Cox is the best available and it’s not like the Giants couldn’t use another cornerback given how many teams are switching to the 3 receiver set as their base. Plus, if Aaron Ross gets hurt again, they’ll want depth.

116. Pittsburgh Steelers- 3-4 DE CJ Wilson (East Carolina)

Other than Evander Hood, an unproven 2009 1st round pick, every 3-4 defensive end on their roster is older than 33, including Aaron Smith, who, though he is the most underrated defensive player of the decade, is coming off of major surgery. Wilson adds some youth to the line.

117. Atlanta Falcons- WR Eric Decker (Minnesota)

I don’t hate Michael Jenkins. I don’t love him either. I’m sure Matt Ryan wouldn’t mind someone else to throw the ball to. Decker is a very good value here. 

118. Houston Texans- DT Vince Oghobaase (Duke)

Travis Johnson wasn’t very good as a Texan, but he was never replaced when they traded him so the Texans should target a replacement next to Amobi Okoye through the draft this year. Oghobaase has major upside, but also major injury issues. He’s worth a shot here in the 4th.

119. New England Patriots- TE Dennis Pitta (BYU)

The Patriots now have one tight end on their roster after signing the washed up Alge Crumpler. Think they’ll be looking for one come draft day?

120. Cincinnati Bengals- CB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (IUPUI)

Instead of signing the talentless and possibly dangerous Adam Jones, why not take AOA and his 5 special teams touchdowns in 2009. He can also play cornerback.

121. Philadelphia Eagles- WR Carlton Mitchell (South Florida)

The Eagles have a ton of picks this year after trading Sheldon Brown. I literally started running out of positions when I was putting this mock together. The Eagles could use a goal line type receiver like Mitchell, who has amazing physical upside.

122. Green Bay Packers- RLB Koa Misi (Utah)

Brad Jones was strong to end the year last year, but that’s not enough to give him the longterm starter’s job on. A good value like Misi, who fits the scheme well, will be brought in for competition.

123. Arizona Cardinals (via BAL)- QB Jevan Snead (Mississippi)

They signed Derek Anderson in free agency to go with Matt Leinart, but they wouldn’t be able to pass on Snead in the 4th. Plus, Anderson and Leinart aren’t exactly the most trustworthy guys. Between them, they have a combined 1 good season (Anderson, 2007).

124. New York Jets- S Myron Rolle (Florida State)

The Jets signed Brodney Pool from the Browns, but he is one concussion away from having to retire. The Jets can afford to take a high upside guy like Rolle here.

125. Dallas Cowboys- MLB Sean Lee (Penn State)

Keith Brooking is great, but also getting up there in age, so you never know how much longer he has in Dallas at his current price. They also lack much after him at the position so a high upside middle linebacker guy like Lee should be targeted here, even though he’s not a natural fit for the 3-4.

126. San Diego Chargers- S Larry Asante (Nebraska)

Kevin Ellison was thrown into the starting lineup midseason and struggled. He wasn’t supposed to be much more than a backup and a special teamer anyway because he struggles in coverage.

127. Seattle Seahawks- DE Greg Hardy (Mississippi)

The Seahawks got this pick after trading Darryl Tapp to the Eagles. They should probably use it to draft a replacement. Hardy is a risk, but a smart risk at this point because of his upside.

128. Minnesota Vikings- C Eric Olsen (Notre Dame)

John Sullivan really struggled to replace Matt Birk last year, especially as a run blocker, and Adrian Peterson struggled last as a result.

129. Indianapolis Colts- G Mitch Petrus (Arkansas)

Adding a dominant run blocker like Petrus to the mix will help their running game a lot in the future.

130. New Orleans Saints- DT Jeff Owens (Georgia)

The Saints are thin at defensive tackle and if Sedrick Ellis goes down again, they’ll majorly struggle to stop the run. Owens has a ton of physical upside and adds major muscle to the inside of their 4-3 defense.

131. Cincinnati Bengals- DT Earl Mitchell (Arizona)

Tank Johnson is decent, but could be upgraded. Mitchell is a great pass rusher, who, at the very least, can be a situational rusher.

132. St. Louis Rams- TE Ed Dickson (Oregon)

They need to get Sam Bradford someone else to work with in terms of receivers. Steve Spagnuolo is a defensive guy, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him spend this many picks on offense. We’ve seen it before, Tony Dungy, a defensive guy, being the best example. Coaches think they can more easily coach up players from their side of the ball than from the other side of the ball so they spend more of their resources on the other side. The Rams only took defensive players with 3 of their 7 picks last year, despite how bad their defense was the year before.

133. Detroit Lions- G Brandon Carter (Texas Tech)

The Lions didn’t just struggle to pass block last year. They struggled to run block. They need an upgrade at right guard badly.

134. Cleveland Browns- S Kurt Coleman (Ohio State)

Eric Berry is a great addition to the safety position for them, but they could afford to take one more because Abram Elam is only a borderline starter. Coleman adds valuable depth at the very least.

135. Washington Redskins- RB Deji Karim (Southern Illinois)

Mike Shanahan has a knack for drafting running backs in the mid-late rounds. He won’t be satisfied with their combo of Larry Johnson, Willie Parker, and Clinton Portis, and rightfully so.

136. Kansas City Chiefs- WR Jordan Shipley (Texas)

Even with Chris Chambers resigned on a multiyear deal, the Chiefs need receivers. Shipley can be a reliable slot guy who can catch all of Matt Cassel’s 5-10 yard passes. Scott Pioli will think he found the next Wes Welker with him.

137. Philadelphia Eagles- CB AJ Jefferson (Fresno State)

If the Eagles are being frugal next offseason, they’ll cut/trade Asante Samuel to save money. They should take some more depth at the position with one of their many draft picks this year.

138. Oakland Raiders- G Marshall Newhouse (TCU)

Newhouse ran a 5.00 at 6-4 322. This makes him a great player.

139. Seattle Seahawks- QB Tony Pike (Cincinnati)

They traded for and gave a large contract to Charlie Whitehurst, but counting on a former 3rd rounder who has never thrown an NFL pass to be your quarterback of the future is not a good idea. Tony Pike is a steal here and would be a good fit in Seattle’s West Coast scheme.

140. Buffalo Bills- WR Blair White (Michigan State)

James Hardy is a huge question mark as the wide receiver of the future across from Lee Evans after a rough rookie year and a nasty injury in his 2nd year. The Bills could use a pro style receiver like White just in case. Plus, depth at the receiver position is not a bad thing in this quarterback dominated league.

141. Chicago Bears- CB Jerome Murphy (South Florida)

Nathan Vasher is now a Chargers. He had huge upside early in his career, but never panned out. Time for the Bears to take another cornerback. Murphy is a steal here because of the strength of the cornerback class.

142. Kansas City Chiefs (via MIA)- CB Patrick Stoudamire (Western Illinois)

The Chiefs certainly have other needs, but cornerback is a pretty big one and they’ll need to get some late round depth. For my exclusive interview with Patrick Stoudamire, click here.

143. Jacksonville Jaguars- C Matt Tennant (Boston College)

Brad Meester used to be good, but injuries have really taken a toll on him recently and if the Jaguars get an opportunity to take a replacement center, they will and then they’ll cut Meester.

144. Kansas City Chiefs- S TJ Ward (Oregon)

Bernard Pollard was clearly too young and talented for the Chiefs defensive system so he was cut in favor of the veteran Mike Brown. However, Brown, predictably, struggled last season so the Chiefs could be looking for a replacement through the draft this year.

145. San Francisco 49ers- RLB Willie Young (NC State)

Manny Lawson looked great in the 2nd half of the season last year. However, one good half season doesn’t convince me he’s not a bust. They’ll need a backup plan in case Lawson reverts.

146. Cleveland Browns (via DET, via DEN)- TE Anthony McCoy (USC)

The Browns have so many picks this year that they can afford to use one on an upside pick like McCoy. He can be a decent run blocker opposite Ben Watson, but he could also step up and start if Watson gets hurt again or struggles.

147. New York Giants- DE Daniel Te’o-Neshiem (Washington)

Te’o-Neshiem can fill Osi Umenyiora’s role in their defensive end rotation and allow them to cut Umenyiora, or trade him if they can find a taker.

148. Tennessee Titans- QB John Skelton (Fordham)

The Titans might not be feeling too secure with just Vince Young at the quarterback position next year and Skelton is a good steal at this point.

149. Atlanta Falcons- C Jeff Byers (USC)

The Falcons will be looking for interior line depth and Byers can play all 3 interior line positions in their scheme.

150. Houston Texans- OLB Kavell Conner (Clemson)

Brian Cushing was a great pick by the Texans last year, but they needed multiple linebacker upgrades last year and only got too. Conner is a great fit for the scheme. He’s very raw and inexperienced, but you have to like his upside. He was great last year for Clemson after he took the starting job and ran with it.

151. Pittsburgh Steelers- RLB Antonio Coleman (Auburn)

James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley form the best 1-2 best pass rushing combo in the league, but Harrison is getting up there in age a bit, plus, they have zero depth behind either and if one were to get hurt, they’d be screwed. Coleman is unfortunately too small to play the trenches in the NFL because he’s a hell of a pass rusher. If he could make the transition to rush linebacker, he could be a starter in this league, but that transition could take a while. Given what he will be drafted to do, he will likely have plenty of time to make that transition.

152. Cincinnati Bengals- K Garrett Lindholm (Tarleton State)

The Bengals obviously don’t want Shayne Graham back or they would have resigned him. They’ll look for a kicker in the 5th round range and Lindholm is the best of this class as far as I’m concerned with his ability to nail 50 or even 60 footers with ease.

153. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via NE)- OT Sam Young (Notre Dame)

The Buccaneers lack depth at the offensive tackle position and Jeremy Trueblood struggled last year at right tackle.

154. Green Bay Packers- RB James Starks (Buffalo)

The Packers don’t have anything behind Ryan Grant and would be screwed if he got hurt. Starks can also be their Tim Hightower type 3rd down back.

155. St. Louis Rams (via PHI)- RB LeGarrette Blount (Oregon)

Even when they were 1-13 and Steven Jackson was having back spasms, they still rode him 25-30 times per game because they didn’t have anyone else behind him. Blount can change that.

156. Baltimore Ravens- 3-4 DE Corey Peters (Kentucky)

The Ravens, like the Steelers, need to focus on getting younger up front. Peters is a natural fit for a 3-4. He played there in college.

157. Baltimore Ravens- RLB Brandon Sharpe (Texas Tech)

Sharpe is a hell of a pass rusher with 15 sacks last year, but doesn’t bring much else to the table. He can push the once dangerous Terrell Suggs to get into shape and, at worst, he can be a situational pass rusher.

158. Oakland Raiders- S Matt Greco (Central Florida)

Matt Greco ran a 4.40 at 6-3 224. That makes him a great player.

159. San Diego Chargers- OT Zane Beadles (Utah)

Beadles provides depth at three positions the Chargers are weak at, left guard, right tackle, and right guard.

160. Cleveland Browns (via NYJ)- G Sergio Render (Virginia Tech)

Another upgrade for the right side of their line.

161. Minnesota Vikings- CB Walter Thurmond (Oregon)

They’ll need to add a cornerback to the mix in case Cedric Griffin can’t start next season after his injury.

162. Indianapolis Colts- OT Selvish Capers (West Virginia)

Charlie Johnson did a decent job at left tackle last year, but he’s a free agent in a year and Capers has huge upside as a zone blocking left tackle. He could also play some right tackle.

163. New York Jets- WR Marcus Easley (Connecticut)

The Jets should not have resigned Braylon Edwards. He had a decent year last year, but only caught 50% of his passes and didn’t seem to be trying much. They should draft a replacement wide receiver in the first, but in reality, they won’t. The most Jets fans can hope for his a guy like Marcus Easley in the 5th.

164. Pittsburgh Steelers (comp)- QB Bill Stull (Pittsburgh)

Sadly, Roger Goddell could slap a suspension on Big Ben without a conviction, which, needless to say, would be a huge hit to their team. Dennis Dixon isn’t necessarily the guy you want starting in his absence. Stull probably isn’t either, but if you combine the two, you have a better shot at finding a starter. Stull has experience in a Pro Style offense and is homegrown.

165. Atlanta Falcons- TE Scott Sicko (New Hampshire)

Tony Gonzalez has one year left on his deal. They better start looking for replacements in case he doesn’t come back. For my exclusive interview with Scott Sicko, click here.

166. Pittsburgh Steelers (comp)- MLB Micah Johnson (Kentucky)

Middle linebacker is no longer a huge need after they signed Larry Foote, but the Steelers like to bring in defensive depth and Johnson could be a steal here. He was a 3rd round prospect before hurting his knee.

167. Minnesota Vikings (comp)- RB Andre Anderson (Tulane)

Anderson could fill Chester Taylor’s old role behind Adrian Peterson.

168. San Diego Chargers- 3-4 DE Clifton Geathers (South Carolina)

They never did replace Igor Olshansky so taking a high upside guy like Geathers is a smart idea in the 5th.

169. Green Bay Packers (comp)- G Thomas Austin (Clemson)

Austin is another offensive linemen brought in to fix one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL last year.

 

1. St. Louis Rams 1-15

I have said it all along that this pick would and should be a quarterback, but I think I had the wrong quarterback. Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford showed up to the combine needing to prove his shoulder strength after two separations and a surgery last season. His shoulder not only passed with flying colors, but he put on 15-20 pounds of muscle, a major sign of his strong wrong ethic. Two major concerns of his were arm strength and shoulder health and he put both of those concerns to rest at the Combine. I still say Clausen is the better quarterback, but a former NFL GM polled about 12, maybe more, current NFL GMs, about who they preferred, Clausen or Bradford, and every one of them said Bradford. Even if the Rams’ GM was not asked, which I find unlikely, it is still a very good sign for Bradford that he has this many supporters around the league. Many will argue Ndamukong Suh here, but, as dominant of a prospect he is, he doesn’t have the positional value here. History has shown, if a team needs a left tackle or quarterback early in the draft, they will take that above all else, even the consensus top prospect. Remember Glenn Dorsey? How about Aaron Curry? Here’s some facts. Since 1998, 36 players have gone in the top three overall. 15 have been quarterbacks, 6 have been offensive tackles, and 6 have been defensive ends. That’s only 25% that aren’t quarterbacks, offensive tackles, or defensive ends. When you look closer, all 12 #1 overall picks since 1998 have been quarterback, offensive tackles, or defensive end. Those positions just have so much more positional value than any other. For more facts on the top 3 picks, click here. The Rams don’t need an offensive tackle or defensive end, so it’ll be quarterback here. Recently, other mock drafters have been shifting heavily towards Bradford. For more information check out our NFL Mock Draft Database.

2. Detroit Lions 2-14

The Lions draft strictly from the draft board, going best available with every pick. That is why I have been alternating between Eric Berry and Ndamukong Suh here in recent weeks (Berry more over the past two weeks because defensive tackle is no longer a huge need). However, after Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung went to Detroit for a workout and the results were extremely positive, he will probably be atop their draft board, despite all the praise they have given Jeff Backus. Besides, this is not the same old panel of drafters in Detroit where they are completely opposed to drafting guys with high positional value. After all, they did take a quarterback #1 last year before so called “safer prospects” like Aaron Curry and Jason Smith. Okung will allow Backus to move to left guard and, if the Lions can shore up their pass defense in the later rounds, they could be a huge sleeper next year, even in the stacked NFC North.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13

I’ve had the Buccaneers trading down to 6, with Seattle who moves up to get Jimmy Clausen, in recent weeks, but after the Charlie Whitehurst trade, the Seahawks no longer have the quarterback need nor the picks to get the job done. The Buccaneers may sadly, still trade down in hopes of getting still getting Gerald McCoy, but that would be a huge risk that could give their fans a synchronized heart attack. I would not be totally surprised if they moved down to 7, with Cleveland moving up to get Clausen, but I am not going to mock that here. The Buccaneers will just go with the overall top prospect at a huge position of need, defensive tackle, taking Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh in hopes of fixing their 32nd ranked run defense.

4. Washington Redskins 4-12

The writing is on the wall for Jason Campbell. There’s a new head coach and a new GM in town. The guys who drafted him are gone, most of them long gone. He just happened to have his 2 worst games of his career in the last 3 weeks of this season. He was resigned on a one year deal, but he’s probably only back on a one year deal to be a stop gap while a young quarterback waits to take over in 2011, a smart idea. This pick will be a quarterback and which quarterback it will be depends on what St. Louis does at 1. In this mock, St. Louis takes Bradford, so the Redskins will take Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen. Don’t listen to Todd McShay when he says Clausen isn’t very good. For more on why McShay is an idiot, click here.

5. Kansas City Chiefs 4-12

Brandan Albert was one of the worst starting left tackles in the league this year and he’s movable, either by trade or more likely to a different position, for many reasons. He doesn’t have a large contract. The regime that drafted him is no longer in town. He has versatility position wise and can also play right tackle or left guard in addition to left tackle. There’s a very good chance that Albert isn’t their left tackle next year. Scott Pioli comes from the Bill Belicheck school of positional value, as shown by his passing up on Aaron Curry, the superior prospect, for Tyson Jackson, who played a more valuable position, last year with the 3rd pick. He has his “franchise quarterback.” Now he needs to protect him and Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga is the best available left tackle with Anthony Davis’ stock slipping after the combine.

6. Seattle Seahawks 5-11 

The Seahawks have quite a tough choice here between Gerald McCoy and Eric Berry. It is very tough for me to mock this pick because I don’t know what kind of drafters their new regime will be, so I’ll just go with what I would do and take the prospect with the higher positional value. That would be Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy who would breathe new life into their run defense as well as their pass rush.

7. Cleveland Browns 5-11

The Browns would love to be able to move up for a quarterback and I won’t completely rule that out. Detroit might want to move down here to take either Eric Berry or Trent Williams and get multiple 2nd and 3rd round picks out of it, but I would bet against it because teams rarely trade up into the top 3. The Browns will have to just wait until the later rounds to take a quarterback and go with by far the best overall player, Tennessee S Eric Berry.

8. Oakland Raiders 5-11

Maryland OT Bruce Campbell ran a 4.85 at 6-6 314 at the Combine. He also benched 34 reps of 225 pounds and had 36 ¼ inch arms. This makes him the greatest offensive lineman of all time in Al Davis’ mind, even greater than Robert Gallery. If Davis thought he was getting a good deal with Gallery at 2 in 2004 (over guys like Larry Fitzgerald, Phillip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger), then imagine how thrilled he’ll be when he sees Campbell still available at 8.

9. Buffalo Bills 6-10

The Bills are switching to a 3-4, which is a brilliant idea because they don’t have any of the personnel for it (besides Aaron Maybin). I don’t get why teams that don’t have the personnel to make the switch are making the switch, but I guess it’s just a trend. The Bills were 31st in the league in stopping the run last year and with no true nose tackle on the roster, they might actually be worse next year, especially when you consider that the Bucs have added Suh. This nose tackle class is fairly average, but with so many teams without the necessary nose tackle switching to a 3-4, there will be a bunch of nose tackles that are reached for this year in the 2nd-4th round range. The Bills have an opportunity to actually get one without making a huge reach here by taking Tennessee NT Dan Williams. The Bills need a quarterback and a left tackle and those have more positional value, but I think they will be turned off by Anthony Davis’ work ethic and there are no franchise quarterbacks available here and I can’t see them doing what Seattle did and moving up to 3 to get one.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-9

The Jaguars will try to trade down here in an attempt to get a 2nd rounder and draft Tim Tebow, but with the Steelers resigning Larry Foote, I can’t see anyone wanting to move up that badly. Instead, the Jaguars will probably try to trade up into the 2nd and go defense here. After Aaron Kampman trade they aren’t tied to the defensive end position here. Florida CB Joe Haden would kill two birds with one stone. He would fill their need at cornerback and be a huge upside guy in their zone scheme and he would also help sell tickets being local from the University of Florida.

11. Denver Broncos 8-8 (via CHI)

Remember week 6 when the Broncos were 6-0 and had a 3.5 game lead on the division and they were giving up 3.3 YPC. Those days are long gone. The Broncos finished 8-8 and 5 games behind in the division and gave up 4.5 YPC for the season, a number that would be a lot higher if you took out their somewhat fluky run stopping days of weeks 1-6. It makes sense that they can’t stop the run. They couldn’t last year and all new coach Josh McDaniels did to fix that is change to a more complicated defensive system and make a front 7 out of 2 starters from last year’s miserable run stopping bunch, a 2009 1st round pick playing out of position, and cast offs from the Niners and Browns. They will take the best 3-4 front 7 player available here. That would be Alabama MLB Rolando McClain who is one of the best pure 3-4 middle linebackers prospects of the last ten years. The release of Andra Davis makes this pick make even more sense.

12. Miami Dolphins 7-9

I’ve had them taking a nose tackle in recent weeks, but the more I think about it, the more I think Bill Parcells will love South Florida RLB Jason Pierre Paul. JPP would be a perfect fit for his scheme at rush linebacker, where they do need help, and he has great upside. If the Dolphins sign Elvis Dumervil in the offseason, he wants to follow Mike Nolan to Miami and he’s from Miami, then this pick will be a nose tackle once again, but I don’t think Parcells will pass on JPP, especially with Joey Porter gone and Jason Taylor turning 37 before next season.

13. San Francisco 49ers 8-8

Joe Staley is supposed to be the left tackle, but he’s hurt. Even when he’s healthy, he’s a liability against the pass and belongs at right tackle where the Niners currently have a load of crap. The Niners have 2 picks in this first round and can use one of the two, with no other huge needs that they can fill with the players left on the board, on an elite left tackle. Oklahoma OT Trent Williams had a great Combine and, though he may not be an elite left tackle, he can play both left and right and allow the Niners to mix and match him and Staley on the line in the way they see best fit.

14. Seattle Seahawks 5-11 (via DEN)

Denver could soon be getting this pick back as the Seahawks could sign Brandon Marshall and give the Broncos this pick. Until that day, I will still mock for the Seahawks here. CJ Spiller makes some sense, but I have to think that if Pete Carroll keeps both of his first rounder, especially if he trades his 2nd rounder to move up to get Clausen, he’s going to want to walk out of the first rounder with a left tackle. Their left tackle position is a mess. Walter Jones could be done for his career and Sean Locklear, even when healthy, is more of a right tackle than a left. If they take a good zone blocking left tackle here like USC OT Charles Brown, who excelled in Carroll’s system last year at USC, they can have a very strong young offensive line. Having Bulaga and Locklear together on the offensive line would allow them to move Ray Willis from tackle to guard, where he belongs, and give them a very good offensive line for the future, with Locklear and Campbell at tackle and Willis and promising rookie, and 2009 2nd round pick, Max Unger at guard. Rob Sims could also be in the mix if he’s resigned.

15. New York Giants 8-8

As weird as it may sound, the Giants only had 32 sacks last season, despite all of the money they have invested in their defensive line. Now, Osi Umenyiora wants out because he’s insulted that he was turned into a 3rd down rusher only late last season. There’s a good chance they either cut him to take his large cap number off of the payroll, or trade him to a team like St. Louis who needs a veteran defensive line leader. Osi has also had his best success under Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, the former Giants defensive coordinator. If Osi leaves, they’ll definitely have to look for more help on the defensive line and even if he stays, they might consider Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan here simply because Giants GM Jerry Reese is such a fan of the best player available strategy when it comes to drafting.

16. Tennessee Titans 8-8

The Titans are known for their defense under Jeff Fisher. However, defense is now an issue for them. They lost Albert Haynesworth and replaced him with Jovan Haye, which, no offense to Haye, is a big downgrade. Starting corner Nick Harper is 35 and their linebackers are very mediocre with the exception of Keith Bulluck, who happens to be 32 and in the last season of his contract. They got some good pressure up the middle from their defensive tackles, but all of their defensive tackles are under 300 pounds. They need to add that versatility interior rusher with size, like they had with Haynesworth, to this mix to take on double teams and free up some of the exterior rushers. UCLA DT Brian Price is a bit of a one year wonder, but if he had gone back to school next year and repeated what he did this year, we would be talking about him next year in the same way we are talking about Gerald McCoy right now. He’s an extremely talented interior rusher with good upside. 

17. San Francisco 49ers 8-8 (via CAR)

The Niners really need cornerback help, but they aren’t likely to really for one, because it’s just not in their nature. Mike Singletary really likes USC S Taylor Mays. He’s got huge upside and Singletary thinks very highly of his ability to bring the best out of a player. He would will a need in the secondary at strong safety, where Michael Lewis is a solid, but not great and often injured strong safety. He probably wouldn’t play much right away, and wouldn’t need to, but he’s a good investment for the future.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7

Its painfully obvious that the Steelers need offensive line help after giving up 20 sacks to the Browns, Packers, Ravens, and Dolphins in the last 4 weeks of the season. However, they’ve needed offensive line help for years and haven’t done anything about it. Plus, its also painfully obvious that Mike Tomlin doesn’t trust his defense, even more painfully obvious than their offensive line is bad. Mike Tomlin tried an onside kick with a 2 point lead in a game late in the season against the Packers because he didn’t trust his defense to stop Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Packers would recover and score and if it weren’t for late game heroics from Big Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin would have been the laughing stock of the NFL. That is how far this defense has fallen since being one of the best in history last year. The biggest reason for their defensive struggles has been Troy Polamalu’s injuries. In the 5 games in which he has played, the Steelers were 4-1 and allowed 13.8 points per game. In the games he missed, they gave up 23.2 and were consequently 5-6. Their lack of a good safety opposite him is obvious. Texas FS Earl Thomas is probably the best player available and the Steelers have shown in recent years that they are fans of the best player available strategy drafting guys like Rashard Mendenhall and Evander Hood in the first round even when they weren’t their biggest needs.

19. Atlanta Falcons 9-7

I’ve had Spiller here in recent weeks, but I think it’s against their philosophy to draft a luxury player when they still have holes at important positions such as defensive end. Mike Smith has only had 3 first round picks in his time in Atlanta, but he spent 2 of those on either a quarterback or a left tackle. With a hole at the important defensive end position, I think that will be the focus this year in the first if a player Mike Smith likes is available. Smith likes players with good work ethics and strong motors and Michigan DE Brandon Graham fits that hold. After 2.5 sacks in 3 years, it’s safe for the Falcons to write Jamaal Anderson, a former 8thoverall pick, off as a bust.

20. Houston Texans 9-7

The Texans have been pretty open about their needs this offseason and they have said that they are looking to draft a running back. They have some decent backs, Steve Slaton, Ryan Moats, Arian Foster, but no one like Clemson RB CJ Spiller, so even with more pressing needs at cornerback and safety, I think the Texans won’t let Spiller slip past them. He has the breakaway speed all of their backs lack and can take this dynamic offense to another level.

21. Cincinnati Bengals 10-7

The Bengals proved by signing Matt Jones that they are not done taking chances on guys with character problems, even though the team played well last year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, Cedric Benson looked like the MVP of the league before he got hurt and Larry Johnson helped the Bengals late last year when Benson was hurt and 2009 2nd round pick Rey Maualuga who dropped for character reasons was in the running for defensive player of the year this season. Florida DE Carlos Dunlap has an awful work ethic and recently was arrested for drunk driving, but those things are like turn ons to whoever if drafting for the Bengals. Antawn Odom is talented when healthy, but he rarely is so, assuming Michael Johnson doesn’t pan out, the Bengals still need a right end of the future and Dunlap, who has athleticism, 6-6 280 4.6, could be that guy if he straightens himself out. The signing of Matt Jones makes their need for a wide receiver lesser so I doubt they reach for one here.

22. New England Patriots 10-7

Randy Moss has one more year and, probably rightfully so, believes he won’t be brought back. It’s not in the Patriots’ nature to sign guys in their mid 30s to longterm deals, which Moss will almost certainly be after. Wes Welker had a nasty knee injury week 17 last year and could miss the beginning of next season and might never be the same. Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant is the best available player. A lot of teams are reportedly scared off by his “character issues,” which consist of being suspended for a year for eating lunch with Deion Sanders and hanging out with Pacman Jones from time to time, but the Patriots aren’t afraid of guys like that as long as they are 100% football when necessary. Bryant could make an instant impact if needed because New England and Oklahoma State run fairly similar offensive schemes.

23. Green Bay Packers 10-7

Everyone knows the Packers drafting strategy, draft the best available regardless of need. I actually think they fill out a draft board of their highest rated prospects and then put the thing on ESPN autodraft. That’s the only way to explain their drafting. The Packers biggest need, by a mile, is an offensive tackle. Both Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton are well up there in age and also injury prone and they have no depth, for the most part, behind either. However, after they resigned Clifton to a ridiculous 3 year 20 million dollar deal, they aren’t tied to the position here. This doesn’t completely eliminate Anthony Davis, but Davis didn’t look good at the combine, lowering his stock in many teams’ eyes, especially those who run zone style blocking schemes, which the Packers do. To make things worse, Davis canceled on teams at his Pro Day, not even showing up. That hurts his stock even more and teams are now really starting to slap the lazy tag onto him. I can’t imagine he’ll be that high on their draft board. It’s more likely that Boise State CB Kyle Wilson is. Charles Woodson is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, but he’s also 34 so I don’t know how much longer he can play at that level. Meanwhile, Al Harris is all but done and Tramon Williams is marginal at best with little depth behind him. Wilson helps in two ways, giving them cornerback depth and a future replacement for Woodson, and also giving them much needed help in the kick return game in the short term.

24. Philadelphia Eagles 11-6

After cutting Will Witherspoon, the Eagles have a huge need at weakside linebacker once again. Missouri OLB Sean Weatherspoon has top 15 pick talent, but, like happens every year with a linebacker, he very well could slip out of the top 15 because of his position and the lack of need for it. The Eagles, needing a linebacker badly, will have to strongly consider a versatile playmaker like Weatherspoon here with very few other needs.

25. Baltimore Ravens 10-8

The Ravens don’t have a ton of needs after signing Donte Stallworth, trading for Anquan Boldin, and resigning Derrick Mason. However, if they have the chance to take an elite over the middle target like Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham, they won’t be able to resist. They are huge fans of drafting best player available and that’s exactly what Gresham is at this point in the draft.

26.  Arizona Cardinals 11-7

The Cardinals actually had a strong pass rush last year, in terms of number of sacks, but most that was from their defensive line. If they want to switch full time to a 3-4, which they should because their personnel fits it so much better, they need to get more pressure from their linebackers. All 3 of their leaders in sacks from the rush linebacker position, Bert Berry, Clark Haggans, and Chike Okeafor, are either retiring this offseason or over 33 years old. Even if 2009 2nd round pick Cody Brown, who missed all of 2009 with an injury, pans out, they’d still need one more rush linebacker for the future. That could very well be TCU RLB Jerry Hughes, the consensus top pure rush linebacker after 26 sacks over 2 years at 6-2 255.

27. Dallas Cowboys 12-6

The Cowboys really showed a lack of offensive line depth when mid game injuries struck against the Vikings in the playoffs and they gave up 6 sacks in a humiliating loss. Also, all of their starters on the offensive line are over 30 making it, fairly easily, the oldest offensive line in the NFL. Rutgers OT Anthony Davis is seeing his draft stock go south in a big way recently, from a possible top ten pick to a guy who could fall to the mid 20s. That’s what happens when you show up out of shape to the Combine and skip your Pro Day without telling anyone. All that being said, the Cowboys are going to love his size, his upside, and his versatility at this stage in the draft. At the very least, he can be an upgrade over Kyle Kosier at left guard.

28. San Diego Chargers 13-4

I’ve had Ryan Matthews here in recent weeks, but after the Charlie Whitehurst trade, in which they were able to move up to the 40th pick from the 60th, that looks less likely. They can still get Ryan Matthews at 40, or at least there’s a good chance they can, but Alabama NT Terrence Cody won’t be available there and they need him after releasing Jamal Williams. Even if Matthews is gone, they can take a guy like Ben Tate or Montario Hardesty in the 3rd and still get a fairly decent running back.

29. New York Jets 11-8

Trading for Mark Sanchez was the right longterm move for the franchise, especially given how little they had to give up to move up to get him. One player they did give up was Kenyon Coleman. He is a 3-4 defensive end, so he’s absence did not hurt them a ton, especially when you consider they got a franchise quarterback, but they still do need to replace him. Penn State 3-4 DE Jared Odrick plays defensive tackle in college, but would be a natural fit for this team at 3-4 defensive end, which is a big need where they have a major hole.

30. Minnesota Vikings 13-5

How is it that Adrian Peterson struggled late last season? Poor interior blocking had something to do with it. Idaho G Mike Iupati is one of the most hyped guard prospects of the decade and he would immediately upgrade their interior line. He has huge upside and is being compared, prematurely, to Larry Allen, who is, by far, the top guard of the last 20 years.

31. Indianapolis Colts 16-3

The Colts always seem to ignore defensive needs for offensive needs in the first round and this year probably won’t be an exception. Florida G Maurkice Pouncey is really gaining a lot of hype around the mock draft community, going as high as 19 to Atlanta at some places, which I think is insane. Nonetheless, I would not be surprised if he went here. He could start at guard from them sometime next year and eventually be Jeff Saturday’s replacement at center. I don’t love him as much as most places do, but then again, the Colts will be making this pick and not me.

32. New Orleans Saints 16-3

The Saints just cut Charles Grant, his large contract, and his larger gut. While it was the right move, it leaves them very thin on the left side of their defensive line opposite Will Smith, at end, and Sedrick Ellis, at tackle. I would be very surprised if two of their first 3 picks were focused on getting an upgrade at left defensive tackle and left defensive end. Here they take left defensive end because of who’s left on the board and go with USC DE Everson Griffen. Griffen has major upside, but also major downside, but the Saints can afford to take a risk after winning the Super Bowl and defensive genius coordinator Gary Williams will probably think he can bring the most out of him (and he’d probably be right).

33. St. Louis Rams- WR Arrelious Benn (Illinois)

Donnie Avery and Brandon Gibson are decent young receivers, but neither of them are really an elite #1 guy. Benn has #1 potential and more potential than any receiver left on the board, but he’s very raw.

34. Detroit Lions- CB Devin McCourty (Rutgers)

McCourty both is the best available, which the Lions love to take, and fills a huge need as the Lions really don’t have a lot of talent at the cornerback position. They coached him at the Senior Bowl so they should be very familiar with him.

35. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- WR Golden Tate (Notre Dame)

Head Coach Raheem Morris said the Buccaneers were going to try to build around 2nd year quarterback Josh Freeman this offseason and that would require getting him someone to throw to because, if Antonio Bryant leaves, they will have nothing at the wide receiver position and they have already basically said they will not offer him a longterm deal. Tate is the best available wide receiver, but he will never be a #1 option on a good playoff team. However, he can still be a solid #2 of the future and a very NFL ready wide receiver who could lead all rookies in receiving yards in his rookie year. That will help Josh Freeman out a lot.

36. Kansas City Chiefs- RLB Sergio Kindle (Texas)

The Chiefs more than doubled their sacks total from 2008 to 2009! That sounds impressive until you consider they only had 10 sacks in 2008. 22 in 2009 is hardly anything to brag about. Kindle has huge upside as a future #1 rush linebacker.

37. Washington Redskins- OT Roger Saffold (Indiana)

The Redskins need to add a true franchise left tackle to the roster and Saffold is one of the last of that kind remaining. I say he is overdrafted if he goes here, but because of how thin the left tackle class is, this makes a lot of sense. He could go as early as 31 if Indy falls in love with him.

38. Cleveland Browns- WR Damian Williams (USC)

The Browns swapped out all their crap quarterbacks for other crap quarterbacks, some spare change and a fullback. Now time to actually get their quarterbacks someone to throw to.

39. Oakland Raiders- DT Geno Atkins (Georgia)

Geno Atkins ran a 4.75 at 6-1 293 at the Combine. That makes him the greatest defensive tackle of all time. See, isn’t drafting easy. I’ve had cornerback here in recent weeks, but that was only because I felt they would trade Nmandi Ashmouga (something about being too talented). That no longer looks like it’s going to happen so I think they’ll, sadly, be fine with Ashmouga, Stanford Routt, and Chris Johnson at cornerback next year.

40. San Diego Chargers (via SEA)- RB Ryan Matthews (Fresno State)

The idea with the Chargers moving up to 40 from 60 is to get a feature back like Matthews without having to pass on a nose tackle like Terrence Cody in the first. Done and done.

41. Buffalo Bills- OT Jared Veldheer (Hillsdale)

Remember what I said about left tackles possibly being overdrafted this year. On paper, the unproven, but freakishly athletic Veldheer is a 3rd round prospect, but with the Bills badly needing to protect their quarterback, whoever that is, I would not be surprised if they reached for him here. Their drafting staff is all new and therefore very unpredictable, but they made it clear that they are looking for a left tackle early and after messing out on Okung, Bulaga, and Campbell in the first, they’ll have to settle for a project like Veldheer.

42. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via CHI)- CB Brandon Ghee (Wake Forest)

They need a defensive end, but there isn’t really one here that fits. They also need cornerback help and Ghee is the best cornerback available He is another guy who raised his stock at the Senior Bowl. He’s very raw, but he got great potential and head coach Raheem Morris, a former defensive backs coach, would love the opportunity to try to bring the most of out Ghee. He’s not likely to be available in a few picks.

43. Miami Dolphins- NT Cam Thomas (North Carolina)

Is Jason Ferguson?

A) Going to turn 36 next season

B) Coming off of a major injury

C) Facing an 8 game suspension for PEDs

D) All of the above

The answer is D so in a market where nose tackles are becoming more and more valuable to 3-4 teams, the Dolphins should know the value of getting someone like Thomas in the 2nd without having to make a huge reach.

44. New England Patriots (via JAC)- RB Jahvid Best (California)

As a Patriots fan, the Pats’ defense makes me cringe. They let Devery Henderson run straight down field for a touchdown without a guy within 10 yards of him against New Orleans and then missed 4 tackles as the Saints turned a loss on a screen play to a touchdown and they were only able to sack Brees once all game. Then Chad Henne came out and burned their defense again. However, Bill Belicheck will go value over need every time, especially with 3 picks in the 2ndround to work with. Best would help the Patriots become even more explosive on offensive by adding that explosive homerun hitting back that they lack right now. He would compliment Fred Taylor and Kevin Faulk well, both of whom are over 30.

45. Denver Broncos- 3-4 DE LaMarr Houston (Texas)

As mentioned in the first round, the Broncos flat out sucked against the run in the 2nd half of last season. Losing defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is only going to hurt this team against the run (yes, I did just say something good about Mike Nolan, horrible coach, excellent defensive coordinator). If McDaniels is a capable drafter (based on his 2009 showing I’m not so sure) he’ll focus 2 early picks on the front 7 in an effort finally make this team decent against the run.

46. New York Giants- DT Tyson Alualu (California)

The Giants need someone to replace Fred Robbins at defensive tackle. Jerry Reese loves to draft defensive linemen so I would not be surprised if they went back to back with defensive linemen in the first two rounds. Alualu is the high motor pass rusher they like.

Trade:

New England Patriots:

Jacksonville’s 3rd rounder

2011 2nd rounder

Jacksonville Jaguars:

New England’s 2nd rounder

This almost makes too much sense. The Patriots trade out of one pick at least every year and getting a future 2nd and a 3rd for a 2nd rounder is a great value and the Jaguars need to draft Tim Tebow this year.

47. Jacksonville Jaguars (Via NE, via TEN)- QB Tim Tebow (Florida)

Some people aren’t going to like this pick. To those people, I say this. First, at least I no longer have him going 10th and I have the Jaguars making a very necessary trade for a 2nd rounder to get Tebow, rather than risking their first on him. Second, recently, 1500 hundred people, from the city of Jacksonville, bought Tebow’s autograph from him for 160 dollars (so much for not having money) in a charity event the other day. If 1500 Jacksonvillians (is that a word?) will pay 160 dollars to get Tebow’s signature on a piece of paper, imagine how many will pay money to see him throw footballs for their team. Tebow is a borderline cult figure in Jacksonville and the cash scrapped Jaguars need to capitalize on that. Even if the Jaguars win 7-8 games a season for the next few years and don’t make the playoffs with Tebow, they’ll still make a ton of money and that is necessary for this team if they want to continue to exist. I also happen to believe in Tebow a lot more than most.

48. Carolina Panthers- WR Brandon LaFell (LSU)

Part of the reason for Jake Delhomme’s struggles last year was because he had no one to throw to except Steve Smith. Matt Moore appears to be the quarterback of the future for this team so they’ll need to get him someone to compliment Smith. LaFell would be perfect for the job because he’s a consistent possession receiver, whereas Smith is an inconsistent deep threat.

49. San Francisco 49ers- CB Kareem Jackson (Alabama)

The Niners have to take a cornerback here. Shawntae Spencer is the only starting caliber cornerback on the roster and he’s probably a #2 guy at best. Jackson is the best available in a strong cornerback class.

50. Kansas City Chiefs (via ATL)- TE Aaron Hernandez (Florida)

The Chiefs got this pick from Atlanta for Tony Gonzalez. They might want to consider using it on a replacement tight end, because Matt Cassel needs more guys to throw to. Scott Pioli could be partial to Hernandez over guys like Dennis Pitta and Rob Gronkowski because he reminds people of Ben Watson, who he worked with in New England.

51. Houston Texans- CB Patrick Robinson (Florida State)

The Texans had 14 interceptions all year last year and 4 of those came from their linebackers and 9 from their safeties, including 4 from Bernard Pollard (hey, maybe the Chiefs shouldn’t have cut him). That leaves only 1 interception by any of their cornerbacks. Robinson had 7 in his career at Oklahoma State and he had a very good game in the Senior Bowl.

52. Pittsburgh Steelers- CB Donovan Warren (Michigan)

The Steelers really lack talent at the cornerback position and need a starter opposite Ike Taylor. Warren is slipping because of his lack of timed speed, but he’s still a very solid cornerback who would fit their scheme well. Hopefully, the Steelers realize that.

53. New England Patriots- RLB Jason Worilds (Virginia Tech)

Bill Belicheck seems hesitant to draft a rush linebacker, which is weird because he’s never hesitant to do anything. It must be because of how few of the defensive ends switching to rush linebacker actually pan out. For more on that, click here. However, he can’t hesitate anymore, the Pats only managed 31 sacks all last year and their pass defense suffered because of it. Worilds is a safe bet here because he has experience playing standing up at outside linebacker at Virginia Tech, in addition to playing defensive end, so he is going to be comfortable in coverage and blitzing from an outside, standing position. Again, for more on why drafting rush linebackers with experience at outside linebacker is important, click the link above.

54. Cincinnati Bengals- S Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech)

The Bengals have very few needs this year, so they’ll be looking for upgrades defensively once again. Burnett didn’t work out at the Combine, but had a very strong Pro Day and could be a late 2nd round steal in this strong safety class. He could be a future upgrade over Chris Crocker.

55. Philadelphia Eagles- G Vladimir Ducasse (Massachusetts)

Cutting Shawn Andrews leaves the door open for Andy Reid to draft one of his trademark fat offensive linemen. Ducasse fits that job description at 330 pounds.

56. Green Bay Packers- RB Dexter McCluster (Mississippi)

Still not a left tackle, but the Packers always go best available. McCluster could be a nice compliment to the unspectacular Ryan Grant in the backfield and would also help on special teams where they need him.

57. Baltimore Ravens- CB Domonique Franks (Oklahoma)

After Lardarius Webb got hurt, the Ravens had to starting kick returner Chris Carr at cornerback. I think its safe to say they need some cornerback depth and Franks provides good depth and upside at the position.

58. Arizona Cardinals- OT Jason Fox (Miami)

Both of the Cardinals starting tackles gave up 9 sacks last year. Kurt Warner played well through it, but Matt Leinart is nowhere near as mentally tough, so they’ll definitely need tackle help.

59. Dallas Cowboys- WR Marshawn Gilyard (Cincinnati)

Not necessarily a huge need, but it’s a very predictable Cowboys pick. Gilyard is a big name. He would be an upgrade over Patrick Crayton at both wide receiver and punt returner. Plus, I think the Cowboys give Roy Williams only one more year to get his act together before the cut him and if that happens, Gilyard could also step into the starting lineup.

60. Seattle Seahawks (via SD)- RB Joe McKnight (USC)

Julius Jones is such a bad running back that every single Seahawks fan I have talked to is begging them to draft a replacement in the first two rounds. Pete Carroll and Joe McKnight worked well together at USC. Carroll probably wouldn’t mind giving him a try at the next level and he happens to be the best available running back.

61. New York Jets- RLB Ricky Sapp (Clemson)

With their holes in the secondary, corner and safety, filled up, it’s very likely that the Jets will look for pass rushers early in the NFL Draft. They got themselves a 3-4 down lineman rusher in the 1st, but they need help at rush linebacker too. Vernon Gholston has 0 sacks in 2 years and is on a very short leash. Sapp can be his future replacement when they cut him, most likely, next offseason. Calvin Pace is also on the wrong side of 30 and not what he used to be.

62. Minnesota Vikings- S Nate Allen (South Florida)

They have other need, but they never did replace Darren Sharper after he left last offseason and Allen is a steal who falls here only as a result of this amazing safety class.

63. Indianapolis Colts- OLB Daryl Washington (TCU)

The Colts always like to use the middle rounds to get outside linebacker help, but they need help there now so I wouldn’t be surprised if they took one earlier than normal. Washington is a great fit for their cover 2 scheme. 

64. New Orleans Saints- OLB Navarro Bowman (Penn State)

Scott Fujita just left as a free agent. He could have been upgraded anyway so that shouldn’t matter, but the Saints need to draft a replacement. Bowman would fit the scheme well. He’s a first round talent, but has a few character issues, but the Saints are in a position to take risks. 

65. St. Louis Rams- OLB Dekoda Watson (Florida State)

They traded Will Witherspoon midseason and replaced him with Paris Lenon and, no surprised, afterwards, their defense really sucked. Lenon is a free agent anyway. The Rams have bigger needs like their defensive line, but Watson good upside and looked great at The Combine.

66. Detroit Lions- RB Jonathan Dwyer (Georgia Tech)

Sticking with best player available, the Lions take Dwyer, who could have gone in the first round before laying an epic stink bomb at the Combine, showing up out of shape, and running a much slower 40 than expected. He still has upside though and the Lions have a need at the position because they don’t have much behind Kevin Smith and even he didn’t have a good year last year.

67. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- DE Jermaine Cunningham (Florida)

No one on the team had more than 6.5 sacks last year, so a defensive end will be targeted early. Cunningham is my favorite sleeper prospect and he would fit their Tampa 2 scheme very well, assuming they switch back to the scheme.

68. Kansas City Chiefs- NT Linval Joseph (East Carolina)

The Chiefs are going to want to get a nose tackle before all the top 2 tier guys are gone and the class really drops off like a cliff. Joseph is the last of those top 2 tier guys and would fill a need for the Chiefs at nose tackle. The Chiefs love to draft in the trenches.

69. Oakland Raiders- QB Jarrett Brown (West Virginia)

Jarrett Brown ran a 4.54 40 at 6-3 224. This makes him a great quarterback in Al Davis’ eyes. He also has a cannon for an arm. He’s like JaMarcus Russell only less of a fat slob. He’s perfect.

70. Philadelphia Eagles (via SEA)- S Chad Jones (LSU)

The Eagles signed Marlin Jackson to play free safety, but he’s always hurt so you can be sure they’ll be interesting in someone like Jones if he were to fall this far, certainly a possibility because of the class of the safety class.

71. Cleveland Browns- QB Dan LeFevour (Central Michigan)

So far, the Browns have cut Derek Anderson, traded for Seneca Wallace, signed Jake Delhomme, and traded Brady Quinn. There have also been rumors tying them to Troy Smith of the Baltimore Ravens, who is available for a 5th rounder. Unless that happens, I still expect the Browns to go for a developmental quarterback in the 3rd round range this year. Delhomme is 35 and is coming off one of the worst seasons by a starting quarterback this decade and Seneca Wallace is a smart backup at best. Pike fits their West Coast offense well and Mike Holmgren has, on numerous occasions, said they are looking for a developmental quarterback.

72. Buffalo Bills- QB John Skelton (Fordham)

The Bills have said they are looking for a development quarterback with a strong arm to play in the winds in Buffalo, one of the perils of playing for the Bills (that and being consistently mediocre). Skelton has one of the three strongest arms in this draft class. He has some mechanical issues and lacks elite draft accuracy, but he looked very good in his Pro Day, which was attended by Bills scouts and their quarterback coach.

73. Miami Dolphins- WR Demaryius Thomas (Georgia Tech)

The Dolphins drafted Patrick Turner in the 3rd round last year, but I think Parcells knows that was a mistake. You can’t get them all right. They need a good receiver with true #1 abilities. Thomas has the size that none of the Dolphins receivers have and he has experience in a weird style offense like the Dolphins run.

74. New England Patriots (via JAC)- 3-4 DE Mike Neal (Purdue)

Neal would be a good fit for their defense. They need a longterm replacement for Richard Seymour and Neal is a prototypical 3-4 defense end.

75. Chicago Bears- G Mike Johnson (Alabama)

Matt Forte really struggled last season, but that’s not all his fault. He had a grand total of one hole opened up from him last season. Offensive guard will be high on the Bears long list of offseason needs and Johnson represents good value here. He has the experience and ability to play both guard positions and right tackle.

76. New York Giants- RB Montario Hardesty (Tennessee)

The Giants had Earth, Wind and Fire at the running back in 2008 and everything was great. Last year, Earth (Brandon Jacobs) turned to stone, Wind (Derrick Ward) blew out of town to take more money in Tampa Bay, and Fire (Ahmad Bradshaw) burnt out after two ankle injuries. There’s a chance that what they have at the running back position, currently, is enough for next year, but there’s also a chance that it isn’t and the Giants, always ones to look for best available, aren’t going to take that risk if Hardesty is still on the board. Hardesty has good hands and would fit the wind role well.

77. Tennessee Titans- CB Chris Cook (Virginia)

Nick Harper was so bad last year that he may have to retire this offseason, against his will, because no one is interested in the soon to be 36 year old free agent. I don’t see why the Titans didn’t just bench him, but he’s gone now so they’ll need to get someone for the future to start across from Cortland Finnegan. Cook has good upside and a ton of experience in a scheme similar to Tennessee’s at Virginia.

78. Carolina Panthers- TE Rob Gronkowski (Arizona)

The Panthers need an upgrade at tight end. Gronkowski is a risk coming off of back surgery, but if he had returned to school and had another good year, he would have been a lock 1st round pick in 2011.

79. San Francisco 49ers- G John Jerry (Mississippi)

David Baas could be upgraded fairly easily and Jerry is the big mauling type guard they like.

80. Denver Broncos- RB Toby Gerhart (Baylor)

Correll Buckhalter isn’t a bad running back, but he’s 31 and injury prone and Gerhart is a great value here. He would do a very solid job backing up Knowshon Moreno. 

81. Houston Texans- S Reshad Jones (Georgia)

The Texans added Patrick Robinson in the second, but they need more than one upgrade in the secondary. Jones could step in and make a different right away at safety as the Texans try to finally beat Peyton Manning and/or make the playoffs.

82. Pittsburgh Steelers- OT Kyle Calloway (Iowa)

More offensive line help for one of the worst offensive lines in the league last year, Calloway is strictly a right tackle, but he’s one of the best right tackles in the draft class. He fits what the Steelers look for in a tackle, good mauling size, and good work ethic.

83. Atlanta Falcons- OLB AJ Edds (Iowa)

After signing Dunta Robinson, the Falcons don’t have a lot of needs left. Outside linebacker though is one of them as they need a solid starter to replace Mike Peterson. Edds can play on the strong side moving Stephen Nicholas to the weak side, where he is a better fit. Edds is a very good natural strong side linebacker who could be a starter for this team sometime during year 1.

84. Cincinnati Bengals- CB Javier Arenas (Alabama)

The Bengals are so desperate for a kick returner and cornerback depth that they are considering signing Adam Pacman Jones. Arenas is more talented and less crazy. Plus, he’s also Gilbert Arenas’ cousin and Gilbert Arenas could come shoot up the locker room if Arenas is on the team next year and the Bengals seem to like that element of danger in a player.

85. Cleveland Browns (via OAK, via NE)- 3-4 DE Alex Carrington (Arkansas State)

More depth is needed on their 3 man line after trading Corey Williams and Carrington is a very good value at this point.

86. Green Bay Packers- OT Tony Washington (TCU)

In arguably the weirdest draft story of this draft Pre-Season, it was revealed that Tony Washington is a registered sex offender for having consensual sex with his biological sister when he was 16. However, this was 7 years and, as gross as that is, it has very little to do with his football ability and he has plenty of that. He will be much needed for a Packers team whose top two offensive tackles are old and frail.

87. Philadelphia Eagles- DE Corey Wootton (Northwestern)

Trading for Darryl Tapp doesn’t completely fix the left end position. Adding a guy like Wootton would help and its something Reid would love to do considering how many defensive linemen he has drafted over the years.

88. Arizona Cardinals (via BAL)- MLB Jamar Chaney (Mississippi State)

The Cardinals need a replacement for Karlos Dansby at the 3-4 middle linebacker positon and Chaney has the size to play their scheme. This is right in his draft range as well.

89. Arizona Cardinals- C JD Walton (Baylor)

Kurt Warner won’t be their quarterback next year. Instead, they will have either the mentally fragile Derek Anderson or the mentally fragile Matt Leinart. Whoever starts, they’ll probably want to get an upgrade at center. Lyle Sendlein steps on too many feet and isn’t a good run blocker either.

90. Dallas Cowboys- NT Torrell Troup (Central Florida)

Adding a true nose tackle to the mix could allow Jay Ratliff to move to end, his natural position, and open up even more space for this talented front 7.

91. San Diego Chargers- CB AJ Jefferson (Fresno State)

The Chargers traded Cromartie and I would be very surprised if they didn’t use a mid round pick on some depth at the cornerback position behind Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason. The Chargers always seem to like to upgrade their defensive backfield. Jefferson is an athletic freak with a 44 inch vertical, long arms, and a 4.43 40 at 6-0 193. He could remind them of a younger Cromartie.

92. Cleveland Browns (via NYJ)- RLB Thaddeus Gibson (Ohio State)

After trading Kamerion Wimbley, the Browns really need to get a young prospect at the rush linebacker position. Gibson is raw, but showed his freak athleticism at the Combine and at his Pro Day.

93. Minnesota Vikings- DT Arthur Jones (Syracuse)

Pat Williams says he’s 50-50 on retiring, but even if he doesn’t he’ll turn 38 next season and could retire soon. The defensive tackle position is, and has been, the strength of the Vikings for years, so, with no future replacement for Williams, they should draft Jones here and groom him to be the future replacement. Williams-Jones Wall doesn’t sound as good as Williams Wall, but it works.

94. Indianapolis Colts- DE Austen Lane (Murray State)

The Colts are likely to take some depth at the ever important defensive end position early because both of their starting ends are free agents in 2011.

95. New Orleans Saints- S Darrell Stuckey (Kansas)

As of this moment, Darren Sharper is not a Saint. Even if he resigns, he’s going to be 34 soon, and might not have that many good years left in him. I’m assuming, considering he was drafted with the 14th pick in 2009, that the long term plan is to move Malcolm Jenkins to cornerback, so they need a longterm free safety. Stuckey is a part of a great safety class and could be a steal at this point.

96. Cincinnati Bengals (comp)- WR Jacoby Ford (Clemson)

After signing Matt Jones and Antonio Bryant, wide receiver is no longer high on their draft list, but they lack a true speed burner like Ford in their receiving corps. His 4.28 speed can be used in many ways and will open the offense up in ways they just couldn’t do last year.

97. Tennessee Titans (comp)- DE Daniel Te’o-Neshiem (Washington)

Their weak pass rush from 2009 will only get worse after the loss of Kyle Vanden Bosch putting more stress on their sub par secondary. They need to take an end in the first 3 rounds.

98. Atlanta Falcons (comp)- WR Dorin Dickerson (Pittsburgh)

The Falcons have very few needs so they can afford to take a guy like Dickerson. He doesn’t have a true position but can play fullback, wide receiver, and tight end for the Falcons. He’s a solid playmaker and a good run blocker for his size.

99. St. Louis Rams- DT D’Anthony Smith (Louisiana Tech)

Steve Spagnuolo is a defensive coach who loves to build on the defensive line. He’ll try to find at least one defensive tackle in the mid rounds he can coach up because Fred Robbins is getting up there in age and Adam Carriker is no sure thing.

100. Detroit Lions- S Major Wright (Florida)

Their secondary was beyond awful last year. They need multiple upgrades in the secondary, including safety. Wright has 1st round upside and would go in the 3rdround most years so he could be a steal here if they can coach him up and bring out his natural athleticism.

101. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- OLB Perry Riley (LSU)

The Buccaneers released Cato June and Derrick Brooks last season and replaced them with the oft injured Angelo Crowell and a former safety. Wow, I wonder why they were last against the run. Outside linebacker is yet another need on Tampa Bay’s ghost town of a defense.

102. Kansas City Chiefs- WR Jordan Shipley (Texas)

Even with Chris Chambers resigned on a multiyear deal, the Chiefs need receivers. Shipley can be a reliable slot guy who can catch all of Matt Cassel’s 5-10 yard passes. Scott Pioli will think he found the next Wes Welker with him.

103. Washington Redskins- G Jon Asamoah (Illinois)

When you give up 42 sacks, you need more than one offensive line upgrade. Asamoah is a good value and can play guard opposite Derrick Dockery.

104. Seattle Seahawks- WR Jeremy Williams (Tulane)

Nate Burleson is gone and I have my doubts about Deon Butler’s ability to be a starting wide receiver in this league and about Deion Branch’s ability to not get hurt. They’ll try to get Brandon Marshall this offseason, but if they can’t, getting Williams in the 4th as a steal, will have to do for now.

105. Cleveland Browns- OT Ciron Black (LSU)

Joe Thomas is an amazing left tackle, but they really need to fix holes on the right side of their line, including right tackle. Black isn’t much of a pass blocker, but if he can get in shape, he could be a hell of a run blocker.

106. Oakland Raiders- WR David Gettis (Baylor)

David Gettis ran a 4.39 at 6-3 215 at his Pro Day. Putting a ton of stock into Pro day 40 times isn’t a smart idea, but then again, neither is drafting purely on height and 40 times and Al Davis has been doing that for years.

107. Buffalo Bills- WR Andre Roberts (Citadel)

TO is not coming back and James Hardy is still a huge question mark after a poor rookie year and a tough injury last year so the least the Bills can do is bring in another wide receiver, especially one like Roberts who could be a steal.

108. Jacksonville Jaguars- WR Riley Cooper (Florida)

I know what you’re thinking. A 3rd Florida Gator in as many picks? It could happen. After all, the Jags need to sell tickets and Gainesville is about a 75 minute drive from Jacksonville so stacking a team with familiar players isn’t a bad idea, unless they were huge reaches which they haven’t been. Plus, might as well get Tim Tebow someone he’s familiar throwing to. They looked excellent together at Florida’s Pro Day.

109. Chicago Bears- CB Perrish Cox (Oklahoma State)       

Cox could go as high as the 2nd round, but he could also slip here based on circumstances. This is an extremely deep cornerback class in the late 2nd-mid 3rdround range and it’s almost a sure thing that one or two of those will slip to the 4th round. Cox has a ton of skills and can help on special teams, but his tape was not very consistent or strong and he didn’t wow anyone at the Combine.

110. Miami Dolphins- RB Ben Tate (Auburn)

Ricky Williams is probably living on borrowed time as a running back of his age still running well. Ronnie Brown suffers a devastating injury every single year like clockwork and he’s a free agent next offseason. They also aren’t too happy about his recent DUI. If a running back like Tate is still there in the 4th, they’ll pull the trigger.

111. Tennessee Titans- OLB Roddrick Muckelroy (Texas)

Will Witherspoon was a great signing as a weakside linebacker, but they still need help on the strong side. Muckelroy can play there and also play some in the middle of their 4-3 which is also a bit of a need.

112. Carolina Panthers- DE Willie Young (NC State)

Take away Julius Peppers’ 10.5 sacks and the Panthers had 20.5 sacks last year. Peppers is now in Chicago. Unless 2009 2nd round pick Everette Brown can have a huge breakout year next year, they are going to really struggle to pressure the quarterback. Even if he does have that breakout year, they’ll still need someone to help across from him.

113. San Francisco 49ers- MLB Brandon Spikes (Florida)

All 4-3 teams crossed Spikes off of their draft board after he ran a 5.0+ at Florida’s Pro Day. No 4-3 linebacker is that slow. The Niners could have a steal, however, with him as a 3-4 middle linebacker in the middle of the 4th, assuming they can bring the most out of him. Mike Singletary thinks very highly of his ability to bring the most out of players, and rightfully so, which means Spikes makes a lot of sense here.

114. Denver Broncos- TE Dennis Pitta (BYU)

The Broncos need a pass catching tight end. What happened to Tony Scheffler? Well, he looked at Josh McDaniels funny and was benched for their week 17 loss to the pathetic Chiefs, in the middle of a playoff race, which isn’t promising for his future. 

115. New York Giants- CB Amari Spievey (Iowa)

If Aaron Ross gets hurt again, the Giants are going to suck against the pass again. Spievey, like Cox, could have gone a lot earlier, but didn’t because of the depth of the position.

116. Pittsburgh Steelers- RLB Eric Norwood (South Carolina)

James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley combine to make the most fearsome 1-2 pass rushing duo in the NFL. However, Harrison will soon be 33 and they have zero depth behind either. They will be screwed if one of them gets hurt.

117. Atlanta Falcons- WR Eric Decker (Minnesota)

I don’t hate Michael Jenkins. I don’t love him either. I’m sure Matt Ryan wouldn’t mind someone else to throw the ball to. Decker is a very good value here. 

118. Houston Texans- CB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (IUPUI)

The Texans have already drafted one cornerback this year, but they need depth badly at the position if they want to stop the Colts. AOA is also way too good of a kick returner for them to pass on at this point, even if he doesn’t pan out as a defensive back. His 4.31 40 was sick and the tape only backs up that this is someone who is deadly fast on special teams.

119. New England Patriots- TE Ed Dickson (Oregon)

The Patriots now have one tight end on their roster after signing the washed up Alge Crumpler. Think they’ll be looking for one come draft day?

120. Cincinnati Bengals- G Mitch Petrus (Arkansas)

Bobbie Williams is 33 and has yet to be resigned as a free agent. The Bengals, with a ton more picks than clear needs this offseason, are probably going to spend a mid round pick on a guard. They won’t be afraid that Petrus was suspended for an entire season in 2008 for academic reasons because they didn’t care that Matt Jones was arrested for cocaine possession. I also don’t care that Petrus was suspended for academic reasons, because, last I checked, you don’t take classes in the NFL.

121. Philadelphia Eagles- MLB Sean Lee (Penn State)

They address the weakside linebacker position by drafting Weatherspoon. Now they need to replace Chris Gucong on the strong side. If the Eagles draft Lee, who has 2nd round talent but a scary history of injuries, they can move Stewart Bradley to the right side longterm.

122. Green Bay Packers- RLB Koa Misi (Utah)

Brad Jones was strong to end the year last year, but that’s not enough to give him the longterm starter’s job on. A good value like Misi, who fits the scheme well, will be brought in for competition.

123. Arizona Cardinals (via BAL)- QB Jevan Snead (Mississippi)

They signed Derek Anderson in free agency to go with Matt Leinart, but they wouldn’t be able to pass on Snead in the 4th. Plus, Anderson and Leinart aren’t exactly the most trustworthy guys. Between them, they have a combined 1 good season (Anderson, 2007).

124. New York Jets (via ARI)- WR Blair White (Michigan State)

In a perfect world, the Jets would realize that Braylon Edwards can’t catch and Jerricho Cotchery is a good slot guy but nothing more, and draft a receiver early. In the real world, they’ll probably wait until the mid rounds to get a Pro Style receiver like White. They gave Braylon Edwards too much money to sit him on the bench.

125. Dallas Cowboys- OT Derek Hardman (Eastern Kentucky)

The Cowboys’ entire offensive line is over 30 and they have no depth at any position. They need to draft 2 offensive linemen early.

126. San Diego Chargers- 3-4 DE CJ Wilson (East Carolina)

The Chargers never got a chance to replace Igor Olshansky after he left as a free agent.

127. Seattle Seahawks (via PHI, via NYJ)- DE Greg Hardy (Mississippi)

The Seahawks got this pick by trading Darryl Tapp. They’ll probably want to use it on a replacement. Hardy is injury prone, overweight, and lazy, but also damn talented, which is why I have given him a 3rd round grade despite his flaws. The Seahawks could have a steal here.

128. Minnesota Vikings- C Eric Olsen (Notre Dame)

John Sullivan really struggled to replace Matt Birk last year, especially as a run blocker, and Adrian Peterson struggled last as a result.

129. Indianapolis Colts- DT Vince Oghobaase (Duke)

If Vince Oghobaase ever stops being out of shape and hurt, he’ll be a steal. It’s not like the Colts couldn’t use another upgrade at defensive tackle anyway.

130. New Orleans Saints- DT Jeff Owens (Georgia)

The Saints could use depth at the defensive tackle position. When Sedrick Ellis was hurt, they couldn’t stop the run at all. Owens is a huge upside athlete, who, at the very least, will be some depth muscle at the defensive tackle position.

131. Cincinnati Bengals- TE Jimmy Graham (Miami)

The Bengals will probably try to give 2009 3rd round pick Chase Coffman a shot at tight end, but they won’t pass on Graham’s upside here. He’s a freak athlete, but extremely raw.

132. St. Louis Rams- DE Antonio Coleman (Auburn)

Steve Spagnuolo is not going to be able to resist taking a defensive end in the mid rounds even with other needs. The Rams’ 26 sacks last year were pretty pathetic anyway.

133. Detroit Lions- G Brandon Carter (Texas Tech)

The Lions didn’t just struggle to pass block last year. They struggled to run block. They need an upgrade at right guard badly.

134. Cleveland Browns (via TB)- CB Jerome Murphy (South Florida)

With so many picks in this draft, the Browns are almost certain to go after a cornerback at some point. Murphy is a could value at this point.

135. Washington Redskins- RB Deji Karim (Southern Illinois)

Mike Shanahan has a knack for drafting running backs in the mid-late rounds. He won’t be satisfied with their combo of Larry Johnson and Clinton Portis, and rightfully so.

136. Kansas City Chiefs- S Larry Asante (Nebraska)

The Chiefs need help at strong safety. Maybe, they shouldn’t have released Bernard Pollard.

137. Cleveland Browns- NT Jay Ross (East Carolina)

Shaun Rogers has weight issues so he could be next out as Mike Holmgren continues to clean house. Ross can also play end in a 3-4 if needed as well.

138. Oakland Raiders- CB Myron Lewis (Vanderbilt)

Every cornerback on the Raiders roster is over 6-1, so the 6-2 Myron Lewis will definitely a candidate to be a future Raider after running a 4.45 at the Combine.

139. Seattle Seahawks- QB Colt McCoy (Texas)

They traded for Charlie Whitehurst, but they’ll find it hard to pass on Colt McCoy in the 5th, even if he doesn’t have a lot of hope of converting to the NFL with his weak arm and small frame.

140. Buffalo Bills- MLB Pat Dillard (Nebraska)

By switching to the 3-4, the Bills created more needs for themselves. Signing Andra Davis helping in the short term at middle linebacker, but they need a longterm solution at the position next to Paul Posluszny, or at the very least some more linebacker depth.

141. Chicago Bears- WR Dezmon Briscoe (Kansas)

The Bears need to get Jay Cutler someone else to throw to so he doesn’t have to force it to Devin Hester every play.

142. Kansas City Chiefs (via MIA)- CB Patrick Stoudamire (Western Illinois)

The Chiefs certainly have other needs, but cornerback is a pretty big one and they’ll need to get some late round depth. For my interview with Patrick Stoudamire, click here.

143. Jacksonville Jaguars- DE Brandon Lang (Troy)

Signing Aaron Kampman helps their pass rush, but doesn’t completely solve the problem. Lane could be a steal if he can prove he’s better than his ugly 40 time.

144. Kansas City Chiefs (via CAR)- MLB Pat Angerer (Iowa)

The Chiefs need someone to fill Zach Thomas’ snaps at middle linebacker and Angerer is a steal at this point anyway.

145. San Francisco 49ers- RB Anthony Dixon (Mississippi State)

The Niners have made it clear that they are looking for a 3rd running back to add to the mix. Many are saying they it will be a speed, pass catching back, but Dixon fills their need as a powerful goal line and short distance back or maybe even full back. He’s also a decent pass catcher which they need and he’s a huge value here.

146. Cleveland Browns (via DET, via DEN)- TE Anthony McCoy (USC)

The Browns have so many picks this year that they can afford to use one on an upside pick like McCoy. He can be a decent run blocker opposite Ben Watson, but he could also step up and start if Watson gets hurt again or struggles.

147. New York Giants- MLB Donald Butler (Washington)

The Giants will probably try to bring in a middle linebacker in the mid rounds to compete with Jonathan Goff to replace Antonio Pierce in the middle.

148. Tennessee Titans- QB Zac Robinson (Oklahoma State)

The Titans might not be feeling too secure with just Vince Young at the quarterback position next year and Robinson is a good steal at this point.

149. Atlanta Falcons- C Jeff Byers (USC)

The Falcons will be looking for interior line depth and Byers can play all 3 interior line positions in their scheme.

150. Houston Texans- DT Earl Mitchell (Arizona)

Given how much Gary Kubiak likes to upgrade in the trenches, the Texans will probably be looking for a defensive tackle that can compete for the starting job next to Amobi Okoye next year. Mitchell quietly had 6.5 sacks last year, but is a bit undersized.

151. Pittsburgh Steelers- 3-4 DE Corey Peters (Kentucky)

Drafting Evander Hood in the 1st last year was a good start, but they still need to get younger at the defensive end position. Their top 3 guys at the positions, other than Hood who is still unproven, are over 30.

152. Cincinnati Bengals- C Matt Tennant (Boston College)

Center could be upgraded for the Bengals.

153. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via NE)- OT Sam Young (Notre Dame)

The Buccaneers lack depth at the offensive tackle position and Jeremy Trueblood struggled last year at right tackle.

154. Green Bay Packers- S Myron Rolle (Florida State)

The Packers always go best available player and will take a chance on Rolle here as he could be a future starting safety in this league. He provides good depth, at the moment, behind the oft injured Atari Bigby.

155. St. Louis Rams (via PHI)- RB LeGarrette Blount (Oregon)

Even when they were 1-13 and Steven Jackson was having back spasms, they still rode him 25-30 times per game because they didn’t have anyone else behind him. Blount can change that.

156. Baltimore Ravens- 3-4 DE Clifton Geathers (South Carolina)

The Ravens, like the Steelers, need to focus on getting younger up front. Geathers is a project, but has huge upside.

157. Baltimore Ravens (via ARI)- MLB Reggie Carter (UCLA)

Ray Lewis won’t last forever and, at the very least, Carter, a natural fit for a 3-4, would provide depth at the position.

158. Oakland Raiders (via NE, via DEN, via DAL)- G Marshall Newhouse (TCU)

Newhouse ran a 5.00 at 6-4 322. This makes him a great player.

159. San Diego Chargers- OT Zane Beadles (Utah)

Beadles provides depth at three positions the Chargers are weak at, left guard, right tackle, and right guard.

160. Cleveland Browns (via NYJ)- G Sergio Render (Virginia Tech)

Another upgrade for the right side of their line.

161. Minnesota Vikings- QB Tony Pike (Cincinnati)

Brett Favre won’t last forever and Pike could compete with Rosenfels and Jackson for the starting job if he suddenly retires.

162. Indianapolis Colts- OT Selvish Capers (West Virginia)

Charlie Johnson did a decent job at left tackle last year, but he’s a free agent in a year and Capers has huge upside as a zone blocking left tackle. He could also play some right tackle.

163. New York Jets (via PHI, via NO)- S Robert Johnson (Utah)

Brodney Pool was a good signing to replace Kerry Rhodes, but he’s also one concussion away from being pretty much forced to retire. Johnson would be a helpful depth guy to have.

164. Pittsburgh Steelers (comp)- QB Bill Stull (Pittsburgh)

Sadly, Roger Goddell could slap a suspension on Big Ben without a conviction, which, needlessly to say, would be a huge hit to their team. Dennis Dixon isn’t necessarily the guy you want starting in his absence. Stull probably isn’t either, but if you combine the two, you have a better shot. Stull has experience in a Pro Style offense and is homegrown.

165. Atlanta Falcons (comp)- K Leigh Tiffin (Alabama)

The Falcons struggled for consistency at the kicker position last year.

166. Pittsburgh Steelers (comp)- MLB Micah Johnson (Kentucky)

Middle linebacker is no longer a huge need after they signed Larry Foote, but the Steelers like to bring in defensive depth and Johnson could be a steal here. He was a 3rd round prospect before hurting his knee.

167. Minnesota Vikings (comp)- RB Andre Anderson (Tulane)

Anderson could fill Chester Taylor’s role behind Adrian Peterson.

168. San Diego Chargers (comp)- S TJ Ward (Oregon)

Strong safety help needed.

169. Green Bay Packers (comp)- G Thomas Austin (Clemson)

Austin is another offensive linemen brought in to fix one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL last year.

 

 

 

1. St. Louis Rams 1-15

I have said it all along that this pick would and should be a quarterback, but I think I had the wrong quarterback. Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford showed up to the combine needing to prove his shoulder strength after two separations and a surgery last season. His shoulder not only passed with flying colors, but he put on 15-20 pounds of muscle, a major sign of his strong wrong ethic. Two major concerns of his were arm strength and shoulder health and he put both of those concerns to rest at the Combine. I still say Clausen is the better quarterback, but a former NFL GM polled about 12, maybe more, current NFL GMs, about who they preferred, Clausen or Bradford, and every one of them said Bradford. Even if the Rams’ GM was not asked, which I find unlikely, it is still a very good sign for Bradford that he has this many supporters around the league. Many will argue Ndamukong Suh here, but, as dominant of a prospect he is, he doesn’t have the positional value here. History has shown, if a team needs a left tackle or quarterback early in the draft, they will take that above all else, even the consensus top prospect. Remember Glenn Dorsey? How about Aaron Curry? Here’s some facts. Since 1998, 36 players have gone in the top three overall. 15 have been quarterbacks, 6 have been offensive tackles, and 6 have been defensive ends. That’s only 25% that aren’t quarterbacks, offensive tackles, or defensive ends. When you look closer, all 12 #1 overall picks since 1998 have been quarterback, offensive tackles, or defensive end. Those positions just have so much more positional value than any other. For more facts on the top 3 picks, click here. The Rams don’t need an offensive tackle or defensive end, so it’ll be quarterback here. Right now, other mock drafters seem to be leaning towards Suh over Bradford and Clausen, but there has been an interesting shift to Bradford as the favorite in recent weeks. For more information check out our NFL Mock Draft Database.

2. Detroit Lions 2-14

After the Lions traded a 5th rounder for Corey Williams, Ndamukong Suh no longer looks like a lock here because defensive tackle is no longer a positional need, with Williams and Sammie Lee Hill. Some people are actually saying that this is a bad thing, the Lions filling their need in another way and essentially passing on Suh. I think it’s genius. Since when is filling your needs with cheaper options a bad thing. Now the Lions can focus on their other needs, hopefully ones of more positional value. Russell Okung would make a ton of sense at this pick, but the coaching staff actually seems committed to Jeff Backus at the left tackle position, though I won’t rule Okung out because of the positional value. The Lions proved last year that they will take best available regardless of need as they showed that last year, drafting a tight end at 20 over a much needed left tackle and then doing the same thing at 33 with a strong safety. I don’t know what the Lions’ draft board looks like and there actually is a possibility that Okung tops it, but for now I am going to say it’s a safe bet that its topped by Tennessee S Eric Berry. On all of the Big Boards I’ve seen across the internet, Berry is ranked really high, higher in almost all cases than Okung, so while I think Okung would be the smart move, to protect their young quarterback, Berry makes more sense to put here because of the Lions’ tendency to draft best available. Other options here include trading the pick. They have said on several occasions that trading the pick is an option and they could get a lot of positional value out of this slot, but teams rarely trade into the top 3. Besides, I can’t think of anyone in the top 5 who needs Suh that badly. besides Tampa who is unlikely to trade up just one spot. Seattle at 6 makes some sense, but they have way too many needs to trade up, and after 6, a trade up into the 2nd slot is way too complicated. The final option is that the Lions just take Suh, because he’s best available, and put him into a very crowded (and expensive) defensive tackle rotation with Williams and Sammie Lee Hill, but it’s more likely they go with either Berry or Okung.

Trade:

If Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh falls to the Bucs at 3, they will be ecstatic. There were actually some rumors that the Bucs would move up to 1 to get Suh so if they can get him at 3 to fix their run defense, which ranked 32nd in the league last year and really hasn’t been good since Warren Sapp left. Suh also adds to their pass rush. All that being said, the Buccaneers are always trying to be frugal, so they could trade down here. Trading down to 6 with Seattle makes a ton of sense as Seattle tries to jump ahead of Washington for Jimmy Clausen. They could get at least another 2nd rounder out of it, and likely another future pick and/or a player, and there’s actually a good chance that both Suh and McCoy are still there at 6 and I would be very surprised if both weren’t. Washington has too many other needs and too much money already invested in their defensive line and Kansas City has used their last 2 first rounders (both top 5 picks) on a defensive lineman. I can’t see them taking 3 defensive lineman, who all play similar positions, 3 years in a row.

Seattle receives: 3rd pick (value: 2200)

Tampa Bay receives: 6th pick (value: 1600), 40th pick (value: 500), and a 2011 3rd

3. Seattle Seahawks 5-11 (via TB)

Now with the 3rd pick, Seattle takes their future franchise quarterback, Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen and could either sit him a year behind Matt Hasselbeck, or trade Hasselbeck for some 2011 picks and/or some veterans to fill needs. Hasselbeck has developed Marc Bulger syndrome from the all the hits he has taken behind a poor offensive line in Seattle the past few years, and played really bad down the stretch last year. They need to have a successor and a 2010 fallout plan for him and they could trade a reliable one like Clausen without moving up.

4. Washington Redskins 4-12

I’ve said in recent weeks that this pick will come down to a quarterback, either Clausen or Bradford, whichever fell, or Russell Okung. Thanks to a trade, neither quarterback fell and Washington’s pick has essentially been made for them. Jason Campbell is being given another shot next year in Washington, by being given a 1st round tender, though this does not rule out the Redskins taking a quarterback at some point. Campbell could redeem himself next year in a new system, without all that pressure in his face and adding Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung to the offensive line as a left tackle, would greatly help Campbell. Okung reminds me a lot of Ryan Clady, who Mike Shanahan had in Denver. If the Redskins take a quarterback, it should be in the 4th and not the 2nd (they have to 3rd) because after Clausen and Bradford, the quarterbacks are pretty similar for a while, unless they want to take a risk on Tim Tebow in the 2nd, which they could because owner Daniel Snyder loves the big name, but I think in that case the fact that he would be a horrible fit for Shanahan’s offense would win out. Look for them to take someone like Sean Canfield in the 4th.

5. Kansas City Chiefs 4-12

Brandan Albert was one of the worst starting left tackles in the league this year and he’s movable, either by trade or more likely to a different position, for many reasons. He doesn’t have a large contract. The regime that drafted him is no longer in town. He has versatility position wise and can also play right tackle or left guard in addition to left tackle. There’s a very good chance that Albert isn’t their left tackle next year. Scott Pioli comes from the Bill Belicheck school of positional value, as shown by his passing up on Aaron Curry, the superior prospect, for Tyson Jackson, who played a more valuable position, last year with the 3rd pick. He has his “franchise quarterback.” Now he needs to protect him and Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga is the best available left tackle with Anthony Davis’ stock slipping after the combine.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13 (via SEA)

As I said before, Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh would be a very welcome addition in Tampa Bay, because he would help against the run, and as a pass rusher. However, the Bucs can trade down to 6, because, though it’s unlikely either Washington or Kansas City would take Suh, it’s even more unlikely that Washington would take Suh and Kansas City would take McCoy. The Bucs would love Suh, but they would be fine with McCoy.

7. Cleveland Browns 5-11

This spot had been called a crossroads spot by me in recent weeks, but if Oklahoma 3-4 DE Gerald McCoy is still available, this pick would be so much easier for the Browns to choose. McCoy isn’t an ideal 3-4 defensive end, but he can play the position and he has too much value to be ignored here. The Browns just traded Corey Williams to the Lions so they need a replacement 3-4 defensive end.

8. Oakland Raiders 5-11

Maryland OT Bruce Campbell ran a 4.85 at 6-6 314 at the Combine. He also benched 34 reps of 225 pounds and had 36 ¼ inch arms. This makes him the greatest offensive lineman of all time in Al Davis’ mind, even greater than Robert Gallery. If Davis thought he was getting a good deal with Gallery at 2 in 2004 (over guys like Larry Fitzgerald, Phillip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger), then imagine how thrilled he’ll be when he sees Campbell still available at 8.

9. Buffalo Bills 6-10

The Bills are switching to a 3-4, which is a brilliant idea because they don’t have any of the personnel for it (besides Aaron Maybin). I don’t get why teams that don’t have the personnel to make the switch are making the switch, but I guess it’s just a trend. The Bills were 31st in the league in stopping the run last year and with no true nose tackle on the roster, they might actually be worse next year, especially when you consider that the Bucs have added Suh. This nose tackle class is fairly average, but with so many teams without the necessary nose tackle switching to a 3-4, there will be a bunch of nose tackles that are reached for this year in the 2nd-4th round range. The Bills have an opportunity to actually get one without making a huge reach here by taking Tennessee NT Dan Williams. The Bills need a quarterback and a left tackle and those have more positional value, but I think they will be turned off by Anthony Davis’ work ethic and there are no franchise quarterbacks available here and I can’t see them doing what Seattle did and moving up to 3 to get one.

Trade: I’m not putting too many trades in this mock because they can be so tough to predict, but this one makes too much sense. The Jaguars are financial cautious, need Tim Tebow to sell tickets, sucked on defense last year, and don’t have a 2nd rounder. They can’t wait until the 3rd to take Tebow because they would be risking it, but he would be an enormous reach at 10 and that would not allow them to fix their awful defense in the 3rd, and they’d have to pay Tebow a ton. If they move down to 18, in a trade with the Steelers, they could get a 2ndrounder, save money on their first rounder, pick up a good defensive player, and still get Tebow in the 2nd. It’s a win-win-win-win. As for Pittsburgh, they would want to move up to get possibly the most impressive 3-4 middle linebacker prospect of the decade in Rolando McClain.

Pittsburgh gets: 10th pick (value: 1300)

Jacksonville gets: 18th pick (value: 900), 52nd pick (value: 380)

10 Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7 (via JAC)

The Steelers already have an amazing defense, but no reason why they couldn’t add a defensive stud like Alabama MLB Rolando McClain to the mix. James Farrior just turned 35 years old and doesn’t have many good year left in him at the middle linebacker positions. The Steelers and the Ravens have both had good defenses this decade, but the Steelers have lacked one thing the Ravens have, Ray Lewis. I’m not guaranteeing McClain will be the next Ray Lewis, but the premature comparisons are there and they certainly aren’t unreasonable.

11. Denver Broncos 8-8 (via CHI)

I’ve had Dez Bryant here in recent weeks, but if the Broncos trade Brandon Marshall (or let him go through free agency for a first rounder) because Josh McDaniels would rather have a team of completely silent players than players that act out a little bit, why would they want Bryant? Bryant was suspended all last season, for the most part. It was for something stupid and completely unfair, but then again Josh McDaniels is not very smart. The Broncos will go with a wide receiver here who doesn’t have a history of “character issues” that also has the size to replace Marshall. Illinois WR Arrelious Benn is not the smart pick here, but he didn’t have any problems with his coaches or the NCAA in his time at Illinois and he has the size to replace Marshall. He also didn’t produce last year and is mostly physical upside, but again, Josh McDaniels isn’t very smart. This is the guy who last season drafted a running back at 12 that he could have gotten at 18, drafted a guy at 18 who didn’t fit the scheme, traded a future first rounder for a nickel corner who did nothing this year, and traded up into the 2ndround for a blocking tight end that they could have gotten in the 7th. If Marshall is kept, Dan Williams will probably be the pick, but I could also see Jermaine Gresham go here because the Broncos will need a tight end after they refuse to resign Tony Scheffler.

12. Miami Dolphins 7-9

I’ve had them taking a nose tackle in recent weeks, but the more I think about it, the more I think Bill Parcells will love South Florida RLB Jason Pierre Paul. JPP would be a perfect fit for his scheme at rush linebacker, where they do need help, and he has great upside. If the Dolphins sign Elvis Dumervil in the offseason, he wants to follow Mike Nolan to Miami and he’s from Miami, then this pick will be a nose tackle once again, but I don’t think Parcells will pass on JPP, especially with Joey Porter gone and Jason Taylor turning 37 before next season.

13. San Francisco 49ers 8-8

When ‘Dre Bly is not busy making a fool of himself on an interception, by high stepping starting from the 30 yard line with a potential tackler a few feet behind him such that he gets tackled, loses the ball, and turns 7 points into a fumble, he’s busy getting burnt by quicker, faster, younger, more athletic receivers. The only reason he has a job is because Walt Harris, who is equally old and slow, had to have season ending knee surgery before the season. I don’t think Shawntae Spencer is the answer either, but with Nate Clements reportedly moving to free safety next year, Spencer is probably going to start another year. Regardless, they would still need a corner to play opposite him. Florida CB Joe Haden is the still the top cornerback in this draft class despite his slow 40 time. His slow 40 time was a result of having poor track running form. That can be the difference between a 4.4 and a 4.57. Good thing he plays football and doesn’t run track. There is no way you can see that 40 time and then say, well, all of those times I saw him run fast and dominant last year, those didn’t happen because he ran .15 seconds slower than projected. Haden is still an amazing athlete and an amazing corner. The tape is still there.

14. Seattle Seahawks 5-11 (via DEN)

Denver could soon be getting this pick back as the Seahawks could sign Brandon Marshall and give the Broncos this pick. Until that day, I will still mock for the Seahawks here. CJ Spiller makes some sense, but I have to think that if Pete Carroll keeps both of his first rounder, especially if he trades his 2nd rounder to move up to get Clausen, he’s going to want to walk out of the first rounder with a left tackle. Their left tackle position is a mess. Walter Jones could be done for his career and Sean Locklear, even when healthy, is more of a right tackle than a left. If they take a good zone blocking left tackle here like USC OT Charles Brown, who excelled in Carroll’s system last year at USC, they can have a very strong young offensive line. Having Bulaga and Locklear together on the offensive line would allow them to move Ray Willis from tackle to guard, where he belongs, and give them a very good offensive line for the future, with Locklear and Campbell at tackle and Willis and promising rookie, and 2009 2nd round pick, Max Unger at guard. Rob Sims could also be in the mix if he’s resigned.

15. New York Giants 8-8

As weird as it may sound, the Giants only had 32 sacks last season, despite all of the money they have invested in their defensive line. Now, Osi Umenyiora wants out because he’s insulted that he was turned into a 3rd down rusher only late last season. There’s a good chance they either cut him to take his large cap number off of the payroll, or trade him to a team like St. Louis who needs a veteran defensive line leader. Osi has also had his best success under Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, the former Giants defensive coordinator. If Osi leaves, they’ll definitely have to look for more help on the defensive line and even if he stays, they might consider Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan here simply because Giants GM Jerry Reese is such a fan of the best player available strategy when it comes to drafting.

16. Tennessee Titans 8-8

The Titans are known for their defense under Jeff Fisher. However, defense is now an issue for them. They lost Albert Haynesworth and replaced him with Jovan Haye, which, no offense to Haye, is a big downgrade. Starting corner Nick Harper is 35 and their linebackers are very mediocre with the exception of Keith Bulluck, who happens to be 32 and in the last season of his contract. They got some good pressure up the middle from their defensive tackles, but all of their defensive tackles are under 300 pounds. They need to add that versatility interior rusher with size, like they had with Haynesworth, to this mix to take on double teams and free up some of the exterior rushers. UCLA DT Brian Price is a bit of a one year wonder, but if he had gone back to school next year and repeated what he did this year, we would be talking about him next year in the same way we are talking about Gerald McCoy right now. He’s an extremely talented interior rusher with good upside. 

17. San Francisco 49ers 8-8 (via CAR)

Joe Staley is supposed to be the left tackle, but he’s hurt. Even when he’s healthy, he’s a liability against the pass and belongs at right tackle where the Niners currently have a load of crap. The Niners have 2 picks in this first round and can use one of the two, with no other huge needs that they can fill with the players left on the board, on an elite left tackle. Oklahoma OT Trent Williams had a great Combine and, though he may not be an elite left tackle, he can play both left and right and allow the Niners to mix and match him and Staley on the line in the way they see best fit.

18. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-9

The Jaguars traded down to get some defense, without having to risk Tim Tebow not being there in the 3rd. However, that doesn’t tie them to defense. They recently have signed Aaron Kampman to fix their awful pass rush, which was a brilliant move, so defense isn’t as enormous of a priority to this team as it once was. The Jaguars need to sell tickets first and foremost otherwise they might not exist (as we know them) in a few years. A defensive player isn’t going to do that as well as an offense player and with Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant still available here at 18, they should take him. Bryant is a big name, big play wide receiver and that will help them sell tickets. Drafting Bryant here doesn’t mean they don’t take Tebow if he’s available in the 2nd, but it certainly adds to their cause.

19. Atlanta Falcons 9-7

I’ve had Spiller here in recent weeks, but I think it’s against their philosophy to draft a luxury player when they still have holes at important positions such as defensive end. Mike Smith has only had 3 first round picks in his time in Atlanta, but he spent 2 of those on either a quarterback or a left tackle. With a hole at the important defensive end position, I think that will be the focus this year in the first if a player Mike Smith likes is available. Smith likes players with good work ethics and strong motors and Michigan DE Brandon Graham fits that hold. After 2.5 sacks in 3 years, it’s safe for the Falcons to write Jamaal Anderson, a former 8thoverall pick, off as a bust.

20. Houston Texans 9-7

The Texans have been pretty open about their needs this offseason and they have said that they are looking to draft a running back. They have some decent backs, Steve Slaton, Ryan Moats, Arian Foster, but no one like Clemson RB CJ Spiller, so even with more pressing needs at cornerback and safety, I think the Texans won’t let Spiller slip past them. He has the breakaway speed all of their backs lack and can take this dynamic offense to another level.

21. Cincinnati Bengals 10-7

The Bengals don’t have any glaring needs besides wide receiver, so they can just take best available. Safety isn’t a huge need, but they certainly could upgrade Chris Crocker at free safety and drafting Texas S Earl Thomas adds yet another young talented playmaker to their young talented defense.

22. New England Patriots 10-7

Benjamin Watson is a free agent this offseason and he could have been upgraded anyway. Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham has too much value to fall much farther down than 22. He has experience and has had success in an offense very similar to the one the Patriots run, in the past at Oklahoma. He would provide Tom Brady with a solid over the middle target in case Wes Welker is not 100% to start next season.

23. Green Bay Packers 10-7

Everyone knows the Packers drafting strategy, draft the best available regardless of need. I actually think they fill out a draft board of their highest rated prospects and then put the thing on ESPN autodraft. That’s the only way to explain their drafting. The Packers biggest need, by a mile, is an offensive tackle. Both Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton are well up there in age and also injury prone and they have no depth, for the most part, behind either. However, after they resigned Clifton to a ridiculous 3 year 20 million dollar deal, they aren’t tied to the position here. This doesn’t completely eliminate Anthony Davis, but Davis didn’t look good at the combine, lowering his stock in many teams’ eyes, especially those who run zone style blocking schemes, which the Packers do. To make things worse, Davis canceled on teams at his Pro Day, not even showing up. That hurts his stock even more and teams are now really starting to slap the lazy tag onto him. I can’t imagine he’ll be that high on their draft board. It’s more likely that Boise State CB Kyle Wilson is. Charles Woodson is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, but he’s also 34 so I don’t know how much longer he can play at that level. Meanwhile, Al Harris is all but done and Tramon Williams is marginal at best with little depth behind him. Wilson helps in two ways, giving them cornerback depth and a future replacement for Woodson, and also giving them much needed help in the kick return game in the short term.

24. Philadelphia Eagles 11-6

Shawn Andrews is hurt again and might not play again in his career. Good thing they gave him all that money. Andy Reid loves to invest in his offensive and defensive lines so he’ll look for a big mauling offensive lineman to play opposite Jason Peters here. Rutgers OT Anthony Davis definitely fits that model. He is a big 6-5 320 pound right tackle and if Andy Reid puts him on his all fat diet, he could be up to 340 in no time. All of Reid’s starting offensive lineman are over 320 pounds.

25. Baltimore Ravens 10-8

After signing Donte Stallworth, resigning Derrick Mason, and trading for Anquan Boldin, wide receiver is no longer a need. That position used to be, by far their biggest need, so much so that they probably would have had to draft two. Now, they don’t have any pressing needs and can just grab best available and maybe even take a risk. USC S Taylor Mays is both one of the best available and a major risk. He has a huge ceiling and can make this defense even more dangerous if he reaches his potential, but his floor is pretty low too. That being said, he could probably start at strong safety during year 1 for the USC because Dawan Landry, though good against the run, is one of the worst cover safeties in the league. Quarterbacks throwing on him last year were 35 for 44 for 488 yards and receivers he was covering had a total of 153 YAC.

26.  Arizona Cardinals 11-7

Karlos Dansby left as a free agent to sign in Miami so add middle linebacker to their list of offseason needs, which is surprisingly long for a playoff team like Arizona. They’ll probably just take best available at a position of need and Missouri MLB Sean Weatherspoon is that. He fits what they do really well because he can play both a 3-4 and a 4-3 and the Cardinals run a hybrid 3-4/4-3 scheme.

27. Dallas Cowboys 12-6

I don’t think the Cowboys, needing upgrades all across their offensive line will pass on Idaho G Mike Iupati. All of their starting offensive lineman are over 30 and their lack of depth was very evident in their playoff loss to the Vikings. Iupati has the size that the Cowboys love in an offensive lineman. The faces of the once asleep Dallas Cowboys’ scouts perked up majorly at the Senior Bowl when Iupati’s name was announced at the weigh in. He makes too much sense here.

28. San Diego Chargers 13-4

The Chargers always seem to surprise in the first round so I’ll go with a bit of surprising pick. It’s fairly obvious the Chargers need a running back after cutting LaDainian Tomlinson, but who they will pick is a mystery. Fresno State RB Ryan Matthews is what they look for in a back, good size, good speed, good hands, and a good pass protector, a real every down back. Matthews could be available when the Chargers pick again in the 2nd, but after his strong performance in the Combine, there’s a good chance he isn’t and the Chargers will want to make sure they can secure him.

29. New York Jets 11-8

Trading for Mark Sanchez was the right longterm move for the franchise, especially given how little they had to give up to move up to get him. One player they did give up was Kenyon Coleman. He is a 3-4 defensive end, so he’s absence did not hurt them a ton, especially when you consider they got a franchise quarterback, but they still do need to replace him. Penn State 3-4 DE Jared Odrick plays defensive tackle in college, but would be a natural fit for this team at 3-4 defensive end, which is a big need where they have a major hole.

30. Minnesota Vikings 13-5

The cornerback position is quickly becoming one of the most important positions in the game. First, we’ve all seen the impact a shutdown corner like Darrelle Revis has on a defense and since the NFL is a copycat league, everyone is going to be looking for the next Revis in the draft this year. Second, rules have drastically changed in the last ten years to make this a more passer friendly league. Now, so often, we see so many teams lining up in 3 or 4 wide receiver sets and all the good, valuable tight ends are pass catchers and not run blockers, before you know it, the 2-4-5 and the 3-3-5 base set defenses are going to become more and more popular. The Vikings have very few needs they can fill here. I don’t they’ll reach for a interior lineman like Maurkice Pouncey (not a 1st rounder in my book), a defensive tackle like LaMarr Houston, or a quarterback like Dan LeFevour or Tim Tebow. They probably would turn their attention to the secondary in this situation, most likely to the cornerback position. Cedric Griffin hurt his ACL in the NFC Championship game last year and is questionable for the start of next season. Griffin was already an average player. Benny Sapp is a nickel guy and Asher Allen, their 2009 3rd round pick, is a punt returner and a depth guy at best. Antoine Winfield is getting up there in age fast and lost much of last year to a foot injury so I don’t know how much longer he can play. In a progressively pass heavy league, the Vikings really should add one more starting caliber corner to the mix. I am not in love with Rutgers CB Devin McCourty and I haven’t given him a first round grade, but I have seen enough NFL teams and other draft sites give him a first round grade to know that this is well within his draft range, albeit the high end. He’s not the next Darrelle Revis, but he’s a solid player and a capable future starter. His stock has really soared after the Senior Bowl and the Combine.

31. Indianapolis Colts 16-3

Both Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney are free agents next offseason so they might need a replace for one of them. USC DE Everson Griffen is great value here at this point in the draft and even if they retain Mathis, you can never have enough defensive line depth. With very few needs, I can’t see them passing on someone with Griffen’s upside.

32. New Orleans Saints 16-3

The Saints just cut Charles Grant, his large contract, and his larger gut. While it was the right move, it leaves them very thin on the left side of their defensive line opposite Will Smith, at end, and Sedrick Ellis, at tackle. I would be very surprised if two of their first 3 picks were focused on getting an upgrade at left defensive tackle and left defensive end. Here they take left defensive end because of who’s left on the board and go with Florida DE Carlos Dunlap. Dunlap has major upside, but also major downside, but the Saints can afford to take a risk after winning the Super Bowl and defensive genius coordinator Gary Williams will probably think he can bring the most out of him (and he’d probably be right).

33. St. Louis Rams- WR Damian Williams (USC)

Donnie Avery and Brandon Gibson are decent young receivers, but neither of them are really an elite #1 guy. Williams is my favorite wide receiver and one of the most underrated players in the draft class, in my opinion. He’s NFL ready and has future #1 written all over him.

34. Detroit Lions- CB Donovan Warren (Michigan)

Warren both is the best available, which the Lions love to take, and fills a huge need as the Lions really don’t have a lot of talent at the cornerback position. He’s also in state from Michigan which makes this pick even better.

35. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- WR Golden Tate (Notre Dame)

Head Coach Raheem Morris said the Buccaneers were going to try to build around 2nd year quarterback Josh Freeman this offseason and that would require getting him someone to throw to because, if Antonio Bryant leaves, they will have nothing at the wide receiver position and they have already basically said they will not offer him a longterm deal. Tate is the best available wide receiver, but he will never be a #1 option on a good playoff team. However, he can still be a solid #2 of the future and a very NFL ready wide receiver who could lead all rookies in receiving yards in his rookie year. That will help Josh Freeman out a lot.

36. Kansas City Chiefs- NT Terrence Cody (Alabama)

The Chiefs would be very happy if the draft went this way. I would not be surprised if the Chiefs considered Cody at 5 because of the obvious comparisons between him and Vince Wilfork, who GM Scott Pioli brought to New England. Pioli is also a guy who likes to build in the trenches and he will not be happy with this team’s lack of a nose tackle. Luckily for him, Cody falls because of work ethic concerns and his lack of scheme versatility right into Pioli’s lap. And when he falls into Pioli’s lap, the 355 pound Cody will crush him.

37. Washington Redskins- G Maurkice Pouncey (Florida)

The Redskins don’t draft again until the 4th, but I still can’t see them reaching for a quarterback here. Daniel Snyder might push for Tim Tebow here because he loves big names, but Tebow wouldn’t fit Mike Shanahan’s offense at all so I can’t see that happening. I would not be totally surprised by a reach for Dan LeFevour, but I think they can get the same caliber quarterback in the 4th that they can get in the 2nd here. I’ve had running back here in recent weeks with Jahvid Best, but after they signed Larry Johnson, I can’t see them doing that here. As said as it may sound, I think they view Larry Johnson as the solution to their running back problem. That would leave more offensive line upgrades as their biggest need. Jason Campbell is going to be their quarterback again next year, so they need to make sure he doesn’t get sacked 40+ times again. Adding Russell Okung in the first helps, but they could certainly use another upgraded here. Pouncey is extremely versatile and can play anywhere on the offensive line they want him, both guard slots, center, and right tackle. He’s also a big name offensive lineman from a huge name school which Daniel Snyder likes.

38. Cleveland Browns- RLB Sergio Kindle (Texas)

Again, Eric Mangini is unpredictable as a drafter. He’ll probably trade down 5 times and draft a kicker, but I’ll give him some credit and assume he’ll take the best available at a valuable position of need. They have Kamerion Wimbley, but Kindle has more upside than him and they are still looking for an upgrade opposite him.

39. Oakland Raiders- DT Geno Atkins (Georgia)

Geno Atkins ran a 4.75 at 6-1 293 at the Combine. That makes him the greatest defensive tackle of all time. See, isn’t drafting easy. I’ve had cornerback here in recent weeks, but that was only because I felt they would trade Nmandi Ashmouga (something about being too talented). That no longer looks like it’s going to happen so I think they’ll, sadly, be fine with Ashmouga, Stanford Routt, and Chris Johnson at cornerback next year.

40. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- DE Jerry Hughes (TCU)

Hughes is a bit undersized for a defensive end, but he has first round skills so he’s a steal here. He’s not a perfect fit for their 4-3 scheme, but they’ve had success with smaller ends in the past and really need an athletic elite #1 end. There aren’t very many elite #1 ends after Hughes.

41. Buffalo Bills- OT Roger Saffold (Indiana)

The Bills gave Trent Edwards a bunch of weapons to work with but they lacked that true pass blocking left tackle and thus Edwards struggled this season and was benched and the Bills sit here at 6-10 drafting in the top ten yet again. Langston Walker was supposed to start at left tackle this year, but he was cut right before the season. That’s a very bad sign. Saffold is a bit of a reach here, but the left tackle class gets really thin in the 2nd round range this year.

42. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via CHI)- CB Brandon Ghee (Wake Forest)

They need a defensive end, but there isn’t really one here that fits. They also need cornerback help and Ghee is the best cornerback available He is another guy who raised his stock at the Senior Bowl. He’s very raw, but he got great potential and head coach Raheem Morris, a former defensive backs coach, would love the opportunity to try to bring the most of out Ghee. He’s not likely to be available in a few picks.

43. Miami Dolphins- NT Cam Thomas (North Carolina)

Is Jason Ferguson?

A) Going to turn 36 next season

B) Coming off of a major injury

C) Facing an 8 game suspension for PEDs

D) All of the above

The answer is D so in a market where nose tackles are becoming more and more valuable to 3-4 teams, the Dolphins should know the value of getting someone like Thomas in the 2nd without having to make a huge reach.

44. New England Patriots (via JAC)- 3-4 DE LaMarr Houston (Texas)

Again, they’ll probably trade down, but Houston would be a good fit for their defense. They need a longterm replacement for Richard Seymour and Houston fits as a 3-4 defense end.

45. Denver Broncos- 3-4 DE Arthur Jones (Syracuse)

As mentioned in the first round, the Broncos flat out sucked against the run in the 2nd half of last season. Losing defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is only going to hurt this team against the run (yes, I did just say something good about Mike Nolan, horrible coach, excellent defensive coordinator). If McDaniels is a capable drafter (based on his 2009 showing I’m not so sure) he’ll focus 2 early picks on the front 7 in an effort finally make this team decent against the run.

46. New York Giants- MLB Brandon Spikes (Florida)

Antonio Pierce has yet to be replaced. They’ll probably want to bring in some competition for Jonathan Goff at the middle linebacker position and Spikes would certainly give them that.

47. New England Patriots- RB Jahvid Best (California)

As a Patriots fan, the Pats’ defense makes me cringe. They let Devery Henderson run straight down field for a touchdown without a guy within 10 yards of him against New Orleans and then missed 4 tackles as the Saints turned a loss on a screen play to a touchdown and they were only able to sack Brees once all game. Then Chad Henne came out and burned their defense again. However, Bill Belicheck will go value over need every time, especially with 3 picks in the 2ndround to work with. Best would help the Patriots become even more explosive on offensive by adding that explosive homerun hitting back that they lack right now. He would compliment Fred Taylor and Kevin Faulk well, both of whom are over 30.

48. Carolina Panthers- WR Brandon LaFell (LSU)

Part of the reason for Jake Delhomme’s struggles last year was because he had no one to throw to except Steve Smith. Matt Moore appears to be the quarterback of the future for this team so they’ll need to get him someone to compliment Smith. LaFell would be perfect for the job because he’s a consistent possession receiver, whereas Smith is an inconsistent deep threat. 

49. San Francisco 49ers- RB Dexter McCluster (Mississippi)

I’ve heard rumors about the Niners possibly taking CJ Spiller in the first round, but when they have other needs, why would they take a luxury guy like Spiller in the first, especially when they can take McCluster in the 2nd. I can’t say for sure where McCluster is going, because he would fit so many teams, but he can definitely help the Niners in many ways. He can be their Percy Harvin. He can be a 3rd round back, a slot receiver, and help in the return game. Just put the ball in his hands and good things could happen.

50. Kansas City Chiefs (via ATL)- TE Aaron Hernandez (Florida)

The Chiefs got this pick from Atlanta for Tony Gonzalez. They might want to consider using it on a replacement tight end, because Matt Cassel needs more guys to throw to. Scott Pioli could be partial to Hernandez over guys like Dennis Pitta and Rob Gronkowski because he reminds people of Ben Watson, who he worked with in New England.

51. Houston Texans- CB Patrick Robinson (Florida State)

The Texans had 14 interceptions all year last year and 4 of those came from their linebackers and 9 from their safeties, including 4 from Bernard Pollard (hey, maybe the Chiefs shouldn’t have cut him). That leaves only 1 interception by any of their cornerbacks. Robinson had 7 in his career at Oklahoma State and he had a very good game in the Senior Bowl.

52. Jacksonville Jaguars (via PIT)- QB Tim Tebow (Florida)

Some people aren’t going to like this pick. To those people, I say this. First, at least I no longer have him going 10th and I have the Jaguars making a very necessary trade for a 2nd rounder to get Tebow, rather than risking their first on him. Second, recently, 1500 hundred people, from the city of Jacksonville, bought Tebow’s autograph from him for 160 dollars (so much for not having money) in a charity event the other day. If 1500 Jacksonvillians (is that a word?) will pay 160 dollars to get Tebow’s signature on a piece of paper, imagine how many will pay money to see him throw footballs for their team. Tebow is a borderline cult figure in Jacksonville and the cash scrapped Jaguars need to capitalize on that. Even if the Jaguars win 7-8 games a season for the next few years and don’t make the playoffs with Tebow, they’ll still make a ton of money and that is necessary for this team if they want to continue to exist. I also happen to believe in Tebow a lot more than most.

53. New England Patriots (via TEN)- RLB Ricky Sapp (Clemson)

Bill Belicheck seems hesitant to draft a rush linebacker, which is weird because he’s never hesitant to do anything. It must be because of how few of the defensive ends switching to rush linebacker actually pan out. For more on that, click here. However, he can’t hesitate anymore, the Pats only managed 31 sacks all last year and their pass defense suffered because of it. Sapp is a safe bet here because he has experience playing standing up at outside linebacker at Clemson, in addition to playing defensive end, so he is going to be comfortable in coverage and blitzing from an outside position. Again, for more on why drafting rush linebackers with experience at outside linebacker is important, click the link above.

54. Cincinnati Bengals- TE Rob Gronkowski (Arizona)

The Bengals needed major help at wide receiver this offseason, but after signing Matt Jones and signing Antonio Bryant, I doubt they’ll target a wideout early, even though I don’t think Bryant will pan out as a #2 in Cincy. This leaves them with very few needs, but they have needed a tight end for years and if one like Gronkowski slips to them in the 2nd, I could see them pulling the trigger. They like run blocking tight ends and Gronkowski is a good, big blocker in addition to being a solid target over the middle.

55. Philadelphia Eagles- S Nate Allen (South Florida)

Sean Jones failed in his first year in Philadelphia and likely won’t be back. Nate Allen is a smart, fundamentally sound player who is a steal at this point. He would be an immediate upgrade over Jones and could start week 1.

56. Green Bay Packers- OT Jason Fox (Miami)

Despite the fact that they resigned Chad Clifton for 3 years 20 million, they still must draft a left tackle in the first 2 rounds. Clifton is good, great in fact, considering the Packers were 7-1 allowing 13 sacks in games he played last year, and 4-4 allowing 37 sacks in games he missed, but, if my math is right, he’s a soon to be 34 year old left tackle coming off of a season in which he missed 8 games. Not exactly promising for the future. If Clifton goes down again, a strong possibility, Aaron Rodgers might actually die on the field. Fox has some injury and durability issues, but he’s a first round prospect when healthy and a great fit for their zone style scheme.

57. Baltimore Ravens- CB Kareem Jackson (Alabama)

After Lardarius Webb got hurt, the Ravens had to starting kick returner Chris Carr at cornerback. I think its safe to say they need some cornerback depth and Jackson provides good depth and upside at the position.

58. Arizona Cardinals- OT Jared Veldheer (Hillsdale)

Both of the Cardinals starting tackles gave up 9 sacks last year. Kurt Warner played well through it, but Matt Leinart is nowhere near as mentally tough, so they’ll definitely need tackle help. Veldheer is one of the more interesting prospects in this draft class because of his size and his dominance on a Division II level. He definitely has some good upside and is drawing comparisons to Jared Gaither, the young left tackle of the Baltimore Ravens.

59. Dallas Cowboys- WR Marshawn Gilyard (Cincinnati)

Wide Receiver isn’t the Cowboys’ biggest need, but I think they’re really only going to give Roy Williams one more year to keep the starting wide receiver job across from Miles Austin before they cut him loose. Gilyard would also instantly be an upgrade over Patrick Crayon in the slot and as a punt returner. Though he wouldn’t fill a huge need, you know Owner Jerry Jones would be interested because of Gilyard’s big name.

60. San Diego Chargers- S Chad Jones (LSU)

The Chargers focus a lot on their defensive backfield in the draft and with a need at strong safety, Jones, who has natural strong safety skills and size, despite playing both free safety and corner at LSU, is a perfect fit here. He can step in right away. He doesn’t have Taylor Mays’ upside, but I think he’s the most NFL ready strong safety in this draft class.

61. New York Jets-RLB Eric Norwood (South Carolina)

With their holes in the secondary, corner and safety, filled up, it’s very likely that the Jets will look for pass rushers early in the NFL Draft. They got themselves a 3-4 down lineman rusher in the 1st, but they need help at rush linebacker too. Vernon Gholston has 0 sacks in 2 years and is on a very short leash. Norwood can be his future replacement when they cut him, most likely, next offseason. Calvin Pace is also on the wrong side of 30 and not what he used to be.

62. Minnesota Vikings- DT Mike Neal (Purdue)

Pat Williams says he’s 50-50 on retiring, but even if he doesn’t he’ll turn 38 next season and could retire soon. The defensive tackle position is, and has been, the strength of the Vikings for years, so, with no future replacement for Williams, they should draft Neal here and groom him to be the future replacement. Williams-Neal Wall doesn’t sound as good as Williams Wall, but it works.

63. Indianapolis Colts- OLB Daryl Washington (TCU)

The Colts always like to use the middle rounds to get outside linebacker help, but they need help there now so I wouldn’t be surprised if they took one earlier than normal. Washington is a great fit for their cover 2 scheme. 

64. New Orleans Saints- OLB Navarro Bowman (Penn State)

Scott Fujita just left as a free agent. He could have been upgraded anyway so that shouldn’t matter, but the Saints need to draft a replacement. Bowman would fit the scheme well. He’s a first round talent, but has a few character issues, but the Saints are in a position to take risks. 

65. St. Louis Rams- OLB Dekoda Watson (Florida State)

They traded Will Witherspoon midseason and replaced him with Paris Lenon and, no surprised, afterwards, their defense really sucked. Lenon is a free agent anyway. The Rams have bigger needs like their defensive line, but Watson good upside and looked great at The Combine.

66. Detroit Lions- RB Jonathan Dwyer (Georgia Tech)

Sticking with best player available, the Lions take Dwyer, who could have gone in the first round before laying an epic stink bomb at the Combine, showing up out of shape, and running a much slower 40 than expected. He still has upside though and the Lions have a need at the position because they don’t have much behind Kevin Smith and even he didn’t have a good year last year.

67. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- S Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech)

Coach Raheem Morris is a former defensive backs coach so I wouldn’t be surprised if he drafted two defensive backs in the first 3 rounds this year, especially considering their holes at corner and safety. Burnett is a very talented safety that slips into the 3rd because of the strength of the class. On paper, he’s a 2nd round prospect.

68. Kansas City Chiefs- RLB Jason Worilds (Virginia Tech)

The Chiefs more than doubled their sacks total from 2008 to 2009! That would be amazing unless you consider that they had 10 sacks in 2008, an all time NFL low. The 22 they had last year aren’t exactly good. Mike Vrabel should not be a starting rush linebacker in this league anymore. Worilds has a ton of athletic talent, but should have the fluidity to move to rush linebacker. He has some experience rushing from a standing outside position which helps him going forward, but 4.5 sacks last year isn’t very impressive.

69. Oakland Raiders- QB Jarrett Brown (West Virginia)

Jarrett Brown ran a 4.54 40 at 6-3 224. This makes him a great quarterback in Al Davis’ eyes. He also has a cannon for an arm. He’s like JaMarcus Russell only less of a fat slob. He’s perfect.

70. Philadelphia Eagles- DE Greg Hardy (Mississippi)

Hardy has first round talent, but he’s got a shitload of injury problems in the past and he showed up to the Combine very out of shape. If enough teams slap him with both the injury prone and lazy tags, he could very well slip into the 3rd. The Eagles have been taking a lot more character risks in recent years, namely Michael Vick, so while they haven’t yet adopted the Cincinnati style of building a team (in which a player is actually more highly rated if he has committed a crime), I would not be surprised if they took a risk on Hardy here. He’s got the size and the pass rushing moves to be the type of guy Andy Reid would like at left end.

71. Cleveland Browns- QB Tony Pike (Cincinnati)

So far, the Browns have cut Derek Anderson, traded for Seneca Wallace, signed Jake Delhomme, and traded Brady Quinn. There have also been rumors tying them to Troy Smith of the Baltimore Ravens, who is available for a 5th rounder. Unless that happens, I still expect the Browns to go for a developmental quarterback in the 3rd round range this year. Delhomme is 35 and is coming off one of the worst seasons by a starting quarterback this decade and Seneca Wallace is a smart backup at best. Pike fits their West Coast offense well and Mike Holmgren has, on numerous occasions, said they are looking for a developmental quarterback.

72. Buffalo Bills- QB John Skelton (Fordham)

The Bills have said they are looking for a development quarterback with a strong arm to play in the winds in Buffalo, one of the perils of playing for the Bills (that and being consistently mediocre). Skelton has one of the three strongest arms in this draft class. He has some mechanical issues and lacks elite draft accuracy, but he looked very good in his Pro Day, which was attended by Bills scouts and their quarterback coach.

73. Miami Dolphins- WR Jeremy Williams (Tulane)

The Dolphins drafted Patrick Turner in the 3rd round last year, but I think Parcells knows that was a mistake. You can’t get them all right. They need a good receiver with true #1 abilities. Williams is a 2nd round prospect who they are fortunate is still available in the 3rd.

74. Jacksonville Jaguars- CB Domonique Joseph (Oklahoma)

Yeah, I know even with the trade I have mocked for the Jaguars, they have still not focused on defense. However, if they can trade down and get a big name true #1 wide receiver in Dez Bryant and Tim Tebow, a borderline cult figure in town, then they shouldn’t have anything to complain about. Their pass rush was awful last year, but the signing of Aaron Kampman will really help. They aren’t tied to drafting defense in the first two rounds, if the trade down. Domonique Joseph happens to be a steal at this point and he would allow Derek Cox to move to nickel where he belongs. If I were a Jaguars fan and my team hauled in Kampman, Bryant, Tebow, and Joseph in the offseason, even without a 2nd round pick going in, I would be ecstatic.

75. Chicago Bears- G Mike Johnson (Alabama)

Matt Forte really struggled last season, but that’s not all his fault. He had a grand total of one hole opened up from him last season. Offensive guard will be high on the Bears long list of offseason needs and Johnson represents good value here. He has the experience and ability to play both guard positions and right tackle.

76. New York Giants- RB Montario Hardesty (Tennessee)

The Giants had Earth, Wind and Fire at the running back in 2008 and everything was great. Last year, Earth (Brandon Jacobs) turned to stone, Wind (Derrick Ward) blew out of town to take more money in Tampa Bay, and Fire (Ahmad Bradshaw) burnt out after two ankle injuries. There’s a chance that what they have at the running back position, currently, is enough for next year, but there’s also a chance that it isn’t and the Giants, always ones to look for best available, aren’t going to take that risk if Hardesty is still on the board. Hardesty has good hands and would fit the wind role well.

77. Tennessee Titans- DE Jermaine Cunningham (Florida)

Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse are gone as free agents this offseason leaving them thin at the defensive end position. The Titans could address other needs here, but the defensive end position doesn’t have a ton of depth this year and Cunningham is one of the last ones that has a lot of upside as a future starter. They’ll love his motor.

78. Carolina Panthers- DE Corey Wootton (Northwestern)

With Julius Peppers gone, the Panthers are going to struggle to create quarterback pressure unless 2009 2nd round pick Everette Brown has a huge breakout year. Take away Peppers’ 10.5 sacks and they had 20.5 sacks all last year. Even if Brown pans out, they’ll need a good left end opposite him. Wootton has a ton of upside as either a 3-4 right end or a 4-3 left.

79. San Francisco 49ers- G Vladimir Ducasse (Massachusetts)

The Niners need more than one upgrade on the offensive line. Ducasse is a steal at this point and would be an upgrade at right guard over David Baas, giving the Niners the big powerful offensive line they want.

80. Denver Broncos- C JD Walton (Baylor)

Casey Wiegmann doesn’t fit the scheme and could be upgraded. It’s not a very important need in terms of positional value, which means Josh McDaniels will address in it round 3. JD Walton is the top center prospect this year, an All-American, and a possible 2nd round prospect. What a steal!

81. Houston Texans- S Reshad Jones (Georgia)

The Texans added Patrick Robinson in the second, but they need more than one upgrade in the secondary. Jones could step in and make a different right away at safety as the Texans try to finally beat Peyton Manning and/or make the playoffs.

82. Pittsburgh Steelers- CB Chris Cook (Virginia)

The Steelers will always go with best available and defense over offensive line so as much as their fans will want them to protect Big Ben this offseason, there’s a chance it doesn’t happen at all. Cook could mature into a solid starter across from Ike Taylor and he would fit the scheme well. He can also play safety in case something happens to Troy Polamalu again.

83. Atlanta Falcons- OLB AJ Edds (Iowa)

After signing Dunta Robinson, the Falcons don’t have a lot of needs left. Outside linebacker though is one of them as they need a solid starter to replace Mike Peterson. Edds can play on the strong side moving Stephen Nicholas to the weak side, where he is a better fit. Edds is a very good natural strong side linebacker who could be a starter for this team sometime during year 1.

84. Cincinnati Bengals- CB Javier Arenas (Alabama)

The Bengals are so desperate for a kick returner and cornerback depth that they are considering signing Adam Pacman Jones. Arenas is more talented and less crazy. Plus, he’s also Gilbert Arenas’ cousin and Gilbert Arenas could come shoot up the locker room if Arenas is on the team next year and the Bengals seem to like that element of danger in a player.

85. Cleveland Browns- S Darrell Stuckey (Kansas)

Brodney Pool is gone as a free agent to the Jets. The Browns didn’t even bother to tender him because of worries about his health. One more concussion and he could be done. Luckily this is a good safety class and the Browns can get a borderline 2nd round caliber safety here in the late 3rd.

84. Green Bay Packers- RLB Koa Misi (Utah)

Brad Jones was strong to close out last season, but I don’t think they should just hand him the future starting job based on a few games, within a true training camp fight. Misi would fit their scheme really well.

85. Philadelphia Eagles- G John Jerry (Mississippi)

The Eagles love picking up big fat offensive guards in the middle rounds. At 335 pounds, Jerry certainly fits, though I don’t imagine he fits into much at that size.

88. Arizona Cardinals (via BAL)- NT Linval Joseph (East Carolina)

If the Cardinals draft Jerry Hughes in the first, all that will be stopping them from being one of the most promising and complete 3-4 front 7s in the league is a true nose tackle. Linval Joseph is a bit of a reach here, but as I watch his tape, he is growing on me a lot as a nose tackle prospect. He also looked really good in the Combine. If the Cardinals wait another round to take one, they’ll likely have to make a huge reach.

89. Arizona Cardinals- QB Jevan Snead (Mississippi)

I wouldn’t take a quarterback in the 3rd round if I were the Cardinals. Matt Leinart isn’t exactly the mentally toughest quarterback in the league and the team taking a quarterback in the 3rd round wouldn’t exactly be a confident ringing endorsement for him into the future. It might even make him go cry and then take a hot tub with Nick Lachey, get drunk, and then throw 20 interceptions. The Cardinals really need to go big or go home with Leinart. Either trade for a veteran starter, like Donovan McNabb, or draft a capable backup/fallback plan in the 4th. That being said, Snead would be a great fit for the Cardinals. He showed some good accuracy at the Combine, and while his decision making is still poor, he probably has the strongest arm in the draft class and that would be a good fit for the vertical style offense the Cardinals run.

90. Dallas Cowboys- OT Tony Washington (Abilene Christian)

The Cowboys need to take 2 offensive linemen in the first three rounds. They don’t have depth, as shown by the crumbling of their line in the playoffs against Minnesota, and all of their starting offensive linemen are over 30. Washington doesn’t have the size the Cowboys look for in a left tackle, but he’s got huge upside and at 6-6 311, he’s big enough.

91. San Diego Chargers- CB AJ Jefferson (Fresno State)

The Chargers traded Cromartie and I would be very surprised if they didn’t use a mid round pick on some depth at the cornerback position behind Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason. The Chargers always seem to like to upgrade their defensive backfield. Jefferson is an athletic freak with a 44 inch vertical, long arms, and a 4.43 40 at 6-0 193. He could remind them of a younger Cromartie.

92. Cleveland Browns- WR Eric Decker (Minnesota)

Decker has slipped too far for the Browns to pass on him here. They drafted 2 wide receivers in the 2nd round last year, but there’s a good chance that Brian Robiskie doesn’t pan out and even if he doesn’t, you can never have enough talented wide receiver depth. Decker is a very mature receiver prospect with solid, dependable hands, and good size.

93. Minnesota Vikings- QB Dan LeFevour (Central Michigan)

Brett Favre could literally retire at any moment, and one of those teams he might stay actually retired. The Vikings would be smart to bring in a backup whose name isn’t Tarvaris Jackson.

94. Indianapolis Colts- DT Tyson Alualu (California)

They drafted Fili Moala in the 2nd round last year, but he only had 8 tackles this year, 5 in the last two games when they weren’t even trying. Even if by some miracle he pans out, they will still need an upgrade inside next to him. Alualu isn’t a great fit for most 4-3 schemes, but he would fit like a glove in the Colts’ scheme. He also has that elite motor the Colts love.

95. New Orleans Saints- OLB Perry Riley (LSU)

Scott Shanle could be upgraded. He’s also a free agent in 2011. If they draft Riley, they can put him on the strong side to replace Fujita and move Navarro Bowman to the weak side where he’s better off and have one of the most talented set of young outside linebackers in the league in 2011.

 

 

1. St. Louis Rams 1-15

I have said it all along that this pick would and should be a quarterback, but I think I had the wrong quarterback. Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford showed up to the combine needing to prove his shoulder strength after two separations and a surgery last season. His shoulder not only passed with flying colors, but he put on 15-20 pounds of muscle, a major sign of his strong wrong ethic. Two major concerns of his were arm strength and shoulder health and he put both of those concerns to rest at the Combine. I still say Clausen is the better quarterback, but a former NFL GM polled about 12, maybe more, current NFL GMs, about who they preferred, Clausen or Bradford, and every one of them said Bradford. Even if the Rams’ GM was not asked, which I find unlikely, it is still a very good sign for Bradford that he has this many supporters around the league. Many will argue Ndamukong Suh here, but, as dominant of a prospect he is, he doesn’t have the positional value here. History has shown, if a team needs a left tackle or quarterback early in the draft, they will take that above all else, even the consensus top prospect. Remember Glenn Dorsey? How about Aaron Curry? Here’s some facts. Since 1998, 36 players have gone in the top three overall. 15 have been quarterbacks, 6 have been offensive tackles, and 6 have been defensive ends. That’s only 25% that aren’t quarterbacks, offensive tackles, or defensive ends. When you look closer, all 12 #1 overall picks since 1998 have been quarterback, offensive tackles, or defensive end. Those positions just have so much more positional value than any other. For more facts on the top 3 picks, click here. The Rams don’t need an offensive tackle or defensive end, so it’ll be quarterback here. Right now, other mock drafters seem to be leaning towards Suh over Bradford and Clausen, but there has been an interesting shift to Bradford as the favorite in recent weeks. For more information check out our NFL Mock Draft Database.

2. Detroit Lions 2-14

After the Lions traded a 5th rounder for Corey Williams, Ndamukong Suh no longer looks like a lock here because defensive tackle is no longer a positional need, with Williams and Sammie Lee Hill. Some people are actually saying that this is a bad thing, the Lions filling their need in another way and essentially passing on Suh. I think it’s genius. Since when is filling your needs with cheaper options a bad thing. Now the Lions can focus on their other needs, hopefully ones of more positional value. Russell Okung would make a ton of sense at this pick, but the coaching staff actually seems committed to Jeff Backus at the left tackle position, though I won’t rule Okung out because of the positional value. The Lions proved last year that they will take best available regardless of need as they showed that last year, drafting a tight end at 20 over a much needed left tackle and then doing the same thing at 33 with a strong safety. I don’t know what the Lions’ draft board looks like and there actually is a possibility that Okung tops it, but for now I am going to say it’s a safe bet that its topped by Tennessee S Eric Berry. On all of the Big Boards I’ve seen across the internet, Berry is ranked really high, higher in almost all cases than Okung, so while I think Okung would be the smart move, to protect their young quarterback, Berry makes more sense to put here because of the Lions’ tendency to draft best available. Other options here include trading the pick. They have said on several occasions that trading the pick is an option and they could get a lot of positional value out of this slot, but teams rarely trade into the top 3. Besides, I can’t think of anyone in the top 5 who needs Suh that badly. besides Tampa who is unlikely to trade up just one spot. Seattle at 6 makes some sense, but they have way too many needs to trade up, and after 6, a trade up into the 2nd slot is way too complicated. The final option is that the Lions just take Suh, because he’s best available, and put him into a very crowded (and expensive) defensive tackle rotation with Williams and Sammie Lee Hill, but it’s more likely they go with either Berry or Okung.

Trade:

If Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh falls to the Bucs at 3, they will be ecstatic. There were actually some rumors that the Bucs would move up to 1 to get Suh so if they can get him at 3 to fix their run defense, which ranked 32nd in the league last year and really hasn’t been good since Warren Sapp left. Suh also adds to their pass rush. All that being said, the Buccaneers are always trying to be frugal, so they could trade down here. Trading down to 6 with Seattle makes a ton of sense as Seattle tries to jump ahead of Washington for Jimmy Clausen. They could get at least another 2nd rounder out of it, and likely another future pick and/or a player, and there’s actually a good chance that both Suh and McCoy are still there at 6 and I would be very surprised if both weren’t. Washington has too many other needs and too much money already invested in their defensive line and Kansas City has used their last 2 first rounders (both top 5 picks) on a defensive lineman. I can’t see them taking 3 defensive lineman, who all play similar positions, 3 years in a row.

Seattle receives: 3rd pick (value: 2200)

Tampa Bay receives: 6th pick (value: 1600), 40th pick (value: 500), and a 2011 3rd

3. Seattle Seahawks 5-11 (via TB)

Now with the 3rd pick, Seattle takes their future franchise quarterback, Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen and could either sit him a year behind Matt Hasselbeck, or trade Hasselbeck for some 2011 picks and/or some veterans to fill needs. Hasselbeck has developed Marc Bulger syndrome from the all the hits he has taken behind a poor offensive line in Seattle the past few years, and played really bad down the stretch last year. They need to have a successor and a 2010 fallout plan for him and they could trade a reliable one like Clausen without moving up.

4. Washington Redskins 4-12

I’ve said in recent weeks that this pick will come down to a quarterback, either Clausen or Bradford, whichever fell, or Russell Okung. Thanks to a trade, neither quarterback fell and Washington’s pick has essentially been made for them. Jason Campbell is being given another shot next year in Washington, by being given a 1st round tender, though this does not rule out the Redskins taking a quarterback at some point. Campbell could redeem himself next year in a new system, without all that pressure in his face and adding Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung to the offensive line as a left tackle, would greatly help Campbell. Okung reminds me a lot of Ryan Clady, who Mike Shanahan had in Denver. If the Redskins take a quarterback, it should be in the 4th and not the 2nd (they have to 3rd) because after Clausen and Bradford, the quarterbacks are pretty similar for a while, unless they want to take a risk on Tim Tebow in the 2nd, which they could because owner Daniel Snyder loves the big name, but I think in that case the fact that he would be a horrible fit for Shanahan’s offense would win out. Look for them to take someone like Sean Canfield in the 4th.

5. Kansas City Chiefs 4-12

Brandan Albert was one of the worst starting left tackles in the league this year and he’s movable, either by trade or more likely to a different position, for many reasons. He doesn’t have a large contract. The regime that drafted him is no longer in town. He has versatility position wise and can also play right tackle or left guard in addition to left tackle. There’s a very good chance that Albert isn’t their left tackle next year. Scott Pioli comes from the Bill Belicheck school of positional value, as shown by his passing up on Aaron Curry, the superior prospect, for Tyson Jackson, who played a more valuable position, last year with the 3rd pick. He has his “franchise quarterback.” Now he needs to protect him and Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga is the best available left tackle with Anthony Davis’ stock slipping after the combine.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13 (via SEA)

As I said before, Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh would be a very welcome addition in Tampa Bay, because he would help against the run, and as a pass rusher. However, the Bucs can trade down to 6, because, though it’s unlikely either Washington or Kansas City would take Suh, it’s even more unlikely that Washington would take Suh and Kansas City would take McCoy. The Bucs would love Suh, but they would be fine with McCoy.

7. Cleveland Browns 5-11

This spot had been called a crossroads spot by me in recent weeks, but if Oklahoma 3-4 DE Gerald McCoy is still available, this pick would be so much easier for the Browns to choose. McCoy isn’t an ideal 3-4 defensive end, but he can play the position and he has too much value to be ignored here. The Browns just traded Corey Williams to the Lions so they need a replacement 3-4 defensive end.

8. Oakland Raiders 5-11

Maryland OT Bruce Campbell ran a 4.85 at 6-6 314 at the Combine. He also benched 34 reps of 225 pounds and had 36 ¼ inch arms. This makes him the greatest offensive lineman of all time in Al Davis’ mind, even greater than Robert Gallery. If Davis thought he was getting a good deal with Gallery at 2 in 2004 (over guys like Larry Fitzgerald, Phillip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger), then imagine how thrilled he’ll be when he sees Campbell still available at 8.

9. Buffalo Bills 6-10

The Bills are switching to a 3-4, which is a brilliant idea because they don’t have any of the personnel for it (besides Aaron Maybin). I don’t get why teams that don’t have the personnel to make the switch are making the switch, but I guess it’s just a trend. The Bills were 31st in the league in stopping the run last year and with no true nose tackle on the roster, they might actually be worse next year, especially when you consider that the Bucs have added Suh. This nose tackle class is fairly average, but with so many teams without the necessary nose tackle switching to a 3-4, there will be a bunch of nose tackles that are reached for this year in the 2nd-4th round range. The Bills have an opportunity to actually get one without making a huge reach here by taking Tennessee NT Dan Williams. The Bills need a quarterback and a left tackle and those have more positional value, but I think they will be turned off by Anthony Davis’ work ethic and there are no franchise quarterbacks available here and I can’t see them doing what Seattle did and moving up to 3 to get one.

Trade: I’m not putting too many trades in this mock because they can be so tough to predict, but this one makes too much sense. The Jaguars are financial cautious, need Tim Tebow to sell tickets, sucked on defense last year, and don’t have a 2nd rounder. They can’t wait until the 3rd to take Tebow because they would be risking it, but he would be an enormous reach at 10 and that would not allow them to fix their awful defense in the 3rd, and they’d have to pay Tebow a ton. If they move down to 18, in a trade with the Steelers, they could get a 2ndrounder, save money on their first rounder, pick up a good defensive player, and still get Tebow in the 2nd. It’s a win-win-win-win. As for Pittsburgh, they would want to move up to get possibly the most impressive 3-4 middle linebacker prospect of the decade in Rolando McClain.

Pittsburgh gets: 10th pick (value: 1300)

Jacksonville gets: 18th pick (value: 900), 52nd pick (value: 380)

10 Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7 (via JAC)

The Steelers already have an amazing defense, but no reason why they couldn’t add a defensive stud like Alabama MLB Rolando McClain to the mix. James Farrior just turned 35 years old and doesn’t have many good year left in him at the middle linebacker positions. The Steelers and the Ravens have both had good defenses this decade, but the Steelers have lacked one thing the Ravens have, Ray Lewis. I’m not guaranteeing McClain will be the next Ray Lewis, but the premature comparisons are there and they certainly aren’t unreasonable.

11. Denver Broncos 8-8 (via CHI)

I’ve had Dez Bryant here in recent weeks, but if the Broncos trade Brandon Marshall (or let him go through free agency for a first rounder) because Josh McDaniels would rather have a team of completely silent players than players that act out a little bit, why would they want Bryant? Bryant was suspended all last season, for the most part. It was for something stupid and completely unfair, but then again Josh McDaniels is not very smart. The Broncos will go with a wide receiver here who doesn’t have a history of “character issues” that also has the size to replace Marshall. Illinois WR Arrelious Benn is not the smart pick here, but he didn’t have any problems with his coaches or the NCAA in his time at Illinois and he has the size to replace Marshall. He also didn’t produce last year and is mostly physical upside, but again, Josh McDaniels isn’t very smart. This is the guy who last season drafted a running back at 12 that he could have gotten at 18, drafted a guy at 18 who didn’t fit the scheme, traded a future first rounder for a nickel corner who did nothing this year, and traded up into the 2ndround for a blocking tight end that they could have gotten in the 7th. If Marshall is kept, Dan Williams will probably be the pick, but I could also see Jermaine Gresham go here because the Broncos will need a tight end after they refuse to resign Tony Scheffler.

12. Miami Dolphins 7-9

I’ve had them taking a nose tackle in recent weeks, but the more I think about it, the more I think Bill Parcells will love South Florida RLB Jason Pierre Paul. JPP would be a perfect fit for his scheme at rush linebacker, where they do need help, and he has great upside. If the Dolphins sign Elvis Dumervil in the offseason, he wants to follow Mike Nolan to Miami and he’s from Miami, then this pick will be a nose tackle once again, but I don’t think Parcells will pass on JPP, especially with Joey Porter gone and Jason Taylor turning 37 before next season.

13. San Francisco 49ers 8-8

When ‘Dre Bly is not busy making a fool of himself on an interception, by high stepping starting from the 30 yard line with a potential tackler a few feet behind him such that he gets tackled, loses the ball, and turns 7 points into a fumble, he’s busy getting burnt by quicker, faster, younger, more athletic receivers. The only reason he has a job is because Walt Harris, who is equally old and slow, had to have season ending knee surgery before the season. I don’t think Shawntae Spencer is the answer either, but with Nate Clements reportedly moving to free safety next year, Spencer is probably going to start another year. Regardless, they would still need a corner to play opposite him. Florida CB Joe Haden is the still the top cornerback in this draft class despite his slow 40 time. His slow 40 time was a result of having poor track running form. That can be the difference between a 4.4 and a 4.57. Good thing he plays football and doesn’t run track. There is no way you can see that 40 time and then say, well, all of those times I saw him run fast and dominant last year, those didn’t happen because he ran .15 seconds slower than projected. Haden is still an amazing athlete and an amazing corner. The tape is still there.

14. Seattle Seahawks 5-11 (via DEN)

Denver could soon be getting this pick back as the Seahawks could sign Brandon Marshall and give the Broncos this pick. Until that day, I will still mock for the Seahawks here. CJ Spiller makes some sense, but I have to think that if Pete Carroll keeps both of his first rounder, especially if he trades his 2nd rounder to move up to get Clausen, he’s going to want to walk out of the first rounder with a left tackle. Their left tackle position is a mess. Walter Jones could be done for his career and Sean Locklear, even when healthy, is more of a right tackle than a left. If they take a good zone blocking left tackle here like USC OT Charles Brown, who excelled in Carroll’s system last year at USC, they can have a very strong young offensive line. Having Bulaga and Locklear together on the offensive line would allow them to move Ray Willis from tackle to guard, where he belongs, and give them a very good offensive line for the future, with Locklear and Campbell at tackle and Willis and promising rookie, and 2009 2nd round pick, Max Unger at guard. Rob Sims could also be in the mix if he’s resigned.

15. New York Giants 8-8

As weird as it may sound, the Giants only had 32 sacks last season, despite all of the money they have invested in their defensive line. Now, Osi Umenyiora wants out because he’s insulted that he was turned into a 3rd down rusher only late last season. There’s a good chance they either cut him to take his large cap number off of the payroll, or trade him to a team like St. Louis who needs a veteran defensive line leader. Osi has also had his best success under Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, the former Giants defensive coordinator. If Osi leaves, they’ll definitely have to look for more help on the defensive line and even if he stays, they might consider Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan here simply because Giants GM Jerry Reese is such a fan of the best player available strategy when it comes to drafting.

16. Tennessee Titans 8-8

The Titans are known for their defense under Jeff Fisher. However, defense is now an issue for them. They lost Albert Haynesworth and replaced him with Jovan Haye, which, no offense to Haye, is a big downgrade. Starting corner Nick Harper is 35 and their linebackers are very mediocre with the exception of Keith Bulluck, who happens to be 32 and in the last season of his contract. They got some good pressure up the middle from their defensive tackles, but all of their defensive tackles are under 300 pounds. They need to add that versatility interior rusher with size, like they had with Haynesworth, to this mix to take on double teams and free up some of the exterior rushers. UCLA DT Brian Price is a bit of a one year wonder, but if he had gone back to school next year and repeated what he did this year, we would be talking about him next year in the same way we are talking about Gerald McCoy right now. He’s an extremely talented interior rusher with good upside.

17. San Francisco 49ers 8-8 (via CAR)

Joe Staley is supposed to be the left tackle, but he’s hurt. Even when he’s healthy, he’s a liability against the pass and belongs at right tackle where the Niners currently have a load of crap. The Niners have 2 picks in this first round and can use one of the two, with no other huge needs that they can fill with the players left on the board, on an elite left tackle. Oklahoma OT Trent Williams had a great Combine and, though he may not be an elite left tackle, he can play both left and right and allow the Niners to mix and match him and Staley on the line in the way they see best fit.

18. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-9

The Jaguars traded down to get some defense, without having to risk Tim Tebow not being there in the 3rd. However, that doesn’t tie them to defense. They recently have signed Aaron Kampman to fix their awful pass rush, which was a brilliant move, so defense isn’t as enormous of a priority to this team as it once was. The Jaguars need to sell tickets first and foremost otherwise they might not exist (as we know them) in a few years. A defensive player isn’t going to do that as well as an offense player and with Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant still available here at 18, they should take him. Bryant is a big name, big play wide receiver and that will help them sell tickets. Drafting Bryant here doesn’t mean they don’t take Tebow if he’s available in the 2nd, but it certainly adds to their cause.

19. Atlanta Falcons 9-7

The Falcons need both a defensive end and a cornerback, but Clemson RB CJ Spiller represents too much of a value here. CJ Spiller is the type of player that can really be added to any team. There aren’t a lot of teams that have playmakers like him and the Falcons are one of them. He can backup Michael Turner, complimenting him as the speed back and 3rd down back to Turner, the power back. He can also help in a big way on special teams and maybe even play some slot receiver. He could take their offense to a new level.

20. Houston Texans 9-7

The Texans just lost Dunta Robinson to free agency, and, while it’s good they didn’t overpay for him like the Falcons did, this does weaken their cornerback position, which was already weak as it was. In fact, their corners had a grand total of 1 interception all last year. They can’t beat the Colts and stop Peyton Manning like that. Boise State CB Kyle Wilson is shooting up draft boards at the moment, and, unlike a lot of prospects who shoot up this fast this late, I am ok with it because I have always kind of graded Wilson as that late 1st-early 2ndround type cornerback. This is well within his range in my opinion and a good pick for a Texans team in need at the position.

21. Cincinnati Bengals 10-7

The Bengals don’t have any glaring needs besides wide receiver, so they can just take best available. Safety isn’t a huge need, but they certainly could upgrade Chris Crocker at free safety and drafting Texas S Earl Thomas adds yet another young talented playmaker to their young talented defense.

22. New England Patriots 10-7

Benjamin Watson is a free agent this offseason and he could have been upgraded anyway. Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham has too much value to fall much farther down than 22. He has experience and has had success in an offense very similar to the one the Patriots run, in the past at Oklahoma. He would provide Tom Brady with a solid over the middle target in case Wes Welker is not 100% to start next season.

23. Green Bay Packers 10-7

The Packers biggest need, by a mile, is an offensive tackle. Both Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton are well up there in age and also injury prone and they have no depth, for the most part, behind either. However, after they resigned Clifton to a ridiculous 3 year 20 million dollar deal, they aren’t tied to the position here and they can continue their philosophy of best available. This doesn’t completely eliminate Anthony Davis, but Davis didn’t look good at the combine, lowering his stock in many teams’ eyes, especially those who run zone style blocking schemes, which the Packers do. I can’t imagine he’ll be that high on their draft board. Michigan RLB Brandon Graham is a lot more likely to top that board at this point. Brad Jones was decent late last season, but that was only a small sample size. He’s still an undersized former 7th round pick. Graham would be a much better upgrade and fit the scheme nicely.

24. Philadelphia Eagles 11-6

Shawn Andrews is hurt again and might not play again in his career. Good thing they gave him all that money. Andy Reid loves to invest in his offensive and defensive lines so he’ll look for a big mauling offensive lineman to play opposite Jason Peters here. Rutgers OT Anthony Davis definitely fits that model. He is a big 6-5 320 pound right tackle and if Andy Reid puts him on his all fat diet, he could be up to 340 in no time. All of Reid’s starting offensive lineman are over 320 pounds.

25. Baltimore Ravens 10-8

After stealing I mean “trading for” Anquan Boldin from the Cardinals, the Ravens don’t need to take a receiver here. They still need one more receiver and a tight end to add some depth to their receiving corps for Joe Flacco. However, they don’t need to address those needs here. In fact, all of their needs would be reaches for the most part here, so I think they’ll just go with best available as they often do. Ray Lewis is an amazing player, but he’s getting up there in years and Tavares Gooden is nothing special either. If they could add Missouri MLB Sean Weatherspoon to the mix at the middle linebacker position, it would further add to their strengths and give them a future replacement for Lewis, as well as someone who could be an upgrade over Gooden in the immediate future.

26.  Arizona Cardinals 11-7

The Cardinals actually had a strong pass rush last year, in terms of number of sacks, but most that was from their defensive line. If they want to switch full time to a 3-4, which they should because their personnel fits it so much better, they need to get more pressure from their linebackers. All 3 of their leaders in sacks from the rush linebacker position, Bert Berry, Clark Haggans, and Chike Okeafor, are either retiring this offseason or over 33 years old. Even if 2009 2nd round pick Cody Brown, who missed all of 2009 with an injury, pans out, they’d still need one more rush linebacker for the future. That could very well be TCU RLB Jerry Hughes, the consensus top pure rush linebacker after 26 sacks over 2 years at 6-2 255.

27. Dallas Cowboys 12-6

The Cowboys cut Roy Williams in the 2009 offseason and did not replace him. Jerry Jones is probably going to want to take a big name safety here and they don’t get much bigger than USC SS Taylor Mays. He will draft Mays and play him opposite Ken Hamlin. He probably won’t even notice that Mays, unless he figures out how to defense guys man-on-man, is essentially a really, really fast version of Roy Williams.

28. San Diego Chargers 13-4

The Chargers always seem to surprise in the first round so I’ll go with a bit of surprising pick. It’s fairly obvious the Chargers need a running back after cutting LaDainian Tomlinson, but who they will pick is a mystery. Fresno State RB Ryan Matthews is what they look for in a back, good size, good speed, good hands, and a good pass protector, a real every down back. Matthews could be available when the Chargers pick again in the 2nd, but after his strong performance in the Combine, there’s a good chance he isn’t and the Chargers will want to make sure they can secure him.

29. New York Jets 11-8

Trading for Mark Sanchez was the right longterm move for the franchise, especially given how little they had to give up to move up to get him. One player they did give up was Kenyon Coleman. He is a 3-4 defensive end, so he’s absence did not hurt them a ton, especially when you consider they got a franchise quarterback, but they still do need to replace him. Penn State 3-4 DE Jared Odrick plays defensive tackle in college, but would be a natural fit for this team at 3-4 defensive end, which is a big need where they have a major hole.

30. Minnesota Vikings 13-5

How is it that Adrian Peterson struggled late last season? Poor interior blocking had something to do with it. Idaho G Mike Iupati is one of the most hyped guard prospects of the decade and he would immediately upgrade their interior line. He has huge upside and is being compared, prematurely, to Larry Allen, who is, by far, the top guard of the last 20 years.

31. Indianapolis Colts 16-3

Both Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney are free agents next offseason so they might need a replace for one of them. USC DE Everson Griffen is great value here at this point in the draft and even if they retain Mathis, you can never have enough defensive line depth. With very few needs, I can’t see them passing on someone with Griffen’s upside.

32. New Orleans Saints 16-3

The Saints just cut Charles Grant, his large contract, and his larger gut. While it was the right move, it leaves them very thin on the left side of their defensive line opposite Will Smith, at end, and Sedrick Ellis, at tackle. I would be very surprised if two of their first 3 picks were focused on getting an upgrade at left defensive tackle and left defensive end. Here they take left defensive end because of who’s left on the board and go with Florida DE Carlos Dunlap. Dunlap has major upside, but also major downside, but the Saints can afford to take a risk after winning the Super Bowl and defensive genius coordinator Gary Williams will probably think he can bring the most out of him (and he’d probably be right).

33. St. Louis Rams- WR Damian Williams (USC)

Donnie Avery and Brandon Gibson are decent young receivers, but neither of them are really an elite #1 guy. Williams is my favorite wide receiver and one of the most underrated players in the draft class, in my opinion. He’s NFL ready and has future #1 written all over him.

34. Detroit Lions- CB Donovan Warren (Michigan)

Warren both is the best available, which the Lions love to take, and fills a huge need as the Lions really don’t have a lot of talent at the cornerback position. He’s also in state from Michigan which makes this pick even better.

35. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- WR Golden Tate (Notre Dame)

Head Coach Raheem Morris said the Buccaneers were going to try to build around 2nd year quarterback Josh Freeman this offseason and that would require getting him someone to throw to because, if Antonio Bryant leaves, they will have nothing at the wide receiver position and they have already basically said they will not offer him a longterm deal. Tate is the best available wide receiver, but he will never be a #1 option on a good playoff team. However, he can still be a solid #2 of the future and a very NFL ready wide receiver who could lead all rookies in receiving yards in his rookie year. That will help Josh Freeman out a lot.

36. Kansas City Chiefs- NT Terrence Cody (Alabama)

The Chiefs would be very happy if the draft went this way. I would not be surprised if the Chiefs considered Cody at 5 because of the obvious comparisons between him and Vince Wilfork, who GM Scott Pioli brought to New England. Pioli is also a guy who likes to build in the trenches and he will not be happy with this team’s lack of a nose tackle. Luckily for him, Cody falls because of work ethic concerns and his lack of scheme versatility right into Pioli’s lap. And when he falls into Pioli’s lap, the 355 pound Cody will crush him.

37. Washington Redskins- RB Jahvid Best (California)

Daniel Snyder is such a fan of big names and selling tickets that, even with their offensive line issues, he’s not going to be able to pass on Best here. Best would compliment an aging Clinton Portis well and would be an excellent fit in new coach Mike Shanahan’s zone style offense.

38. Cleveland Browns- RLB Sergio Kindle (Texas)

Again, Eric Mangini is unpredictable as a drafter. He’ll probably trade down 5 times and draft a kicker, but I’ll give him some credit and assume he’ll take the best available at a valuable position of need. They have Kamerion Wimbley, but Kindle has more upside than him and they are still looking for an upgrade opposite him.

39. Oakland Raiders- CB Chris Cook (Virginia)

Chris Cook ran a 4.43 at 6-2 212. That makes him a great player. See, isn’t drafting easy.

40. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via SEA)- S Nate Allen (South Florida)

Not a huge position of need, but Raheem Morris, a defensive backs coach, could be very intrigued by Allen here. Nate Allen is drawing premature comparisons to Brian Dawkins and should be a very solid pro. Plus, it’s not like they don’t need help at the position

41. Buffalo Bills- OT Roger Saffold (Indiana)

The Bills gave Trent Edwards a bunch of weapons to work with but they lacked that true pass blocking left tackle and thus Edwards struggled this season and was benched and the Bills sit here at 6-10 drafting in the top ten yet again. Langston Walker was supposed to start at left tackle this year, but he was cut right before the season. That’s a very bad sign. Saffold is a bit of a reach here, but the left tackle class gets really thin in the 2nd round range this year.

42. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via CHI)- CB Brandon Ghee (Wake Forest)

They need a defensive end, but there isn’t really one here that fits. They also need cornerback help and Ghee is the best cornerback available He is another guy who raised his stock at the Senior Bowl. He’s very raw, but he got great potential and head coach Raheem Morris, a former defensive backs coach, would love the opportunity to try to bring the most of out Ghee. He’s not likely to be available in a few picks.

43. Miami Dolphins- NT Cam Thomas (North Carolina)

Is Jason Ferguson?

A) Going to turn 36 next season

B) A free agent

C) Coming off of a major injury

D) Facing an 8 game suspension for PEDs

E) All of the above

The answer is E so in a market where nose tackles are becoming more and more valuable to 3-4 teams, the Dolphins should know the value of getting someone like Thomas in the 2nd without having to make a huge reach.

44. New England Patriots (via JAC)- 3-4 DE LaMarr Houston (Texas)

Again, they’ll probably trade down, but Houston would be a good fit for their defense. They need a longterm replacement for Richard Seymour and Houston fits as a 3-4 defense end.

45. Denver Broncos- 3-4 DE Arthur Jones (Syracuse)

As mentioned in the first round, the Broncos flat out sucked against the run in the 2nd half of last season. Losing defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is only going to hurt this team against the run (yes, I did just say something good about Mike Nolan, horrible coach, excellent defensive coordinator). If McDaniels is a capable drafter (based on his 2009 showing I’m not so sure) he’ll focus 2 early picks on the front 7 in an effort finally make this team decent against the run.

46. New York Giants- MLB Brandon Spikes (Florida)

Antonio Pierce has yet to be replaced. They’ll probably want to bring in some competition for Jonathan Goff at the middle linebacker position and Spikes would certainly give them that.

47. New England Patriots (via TEN)- RLB Ricky Sapp (Clemson)

Bill Belicheck seems hesitant to draft a rush linebacker, which is weird because he’s never hesitant to do anything. It must be because of how few of the defensive ends switching to rush linebacker actually pan out. For more on that, click here. However, he can’t hesitate anymore, the Pats only managed 31 sacks all last year and their pass defense suffered because of it. Sapp is a safe bet here because he has experience playing standing up at outside linebacker at Clemson, in addition to playing defensive end, so he is going to be comfortable in coverage and blitzing from an outside position. Again, for more on why drafting rush linebackers with experience at outside linebacker is important, click the link above.

48. Carolina Panthers- WR Brandon LaFell (LSU)

Part of the reason for Jake Delhomme’s struggles last year was because he had no one to throw to except Steve Smith. Matt Moore appears to be the quarterback of the future for this team so they’ll need to get him someone to compliment Smith. LaFell would be perfect for the job because he’s a consistent possession receiver, whereas Smith is an inconsistent deep threat. 

49. San Francisco 49ers- RB Dexter McCluster (Mississippi)

I’ve heard rumors about the Niners possibly taking CJ Spiller in the first round, but when they have other needs, why would they take a luxury guy like Spiller in the first, especially when they can take McCluster in the 2nd. I can’t say for sure where McCluster is going, because he would fit so many teams, but he can definitely help the Niners in many ways. He can be their Percy Harvin. He can be a 3rd round back, a slot receiver, and help in the return game. Just put the ball in his hands and good things could happen.

50. Kansas City Chiefs (via ATL)- TE Aaron Hernandez (Florida)

The Chiefs got this pick from Atlanta for Tony Gonzalez. They might want to consider using it on a replacement tight end, because Matt Cassel needs more guys to throw to. Scott Pioli could be partial to Hernandez over guys like Dennis Pitta and Rob Gronkowski because he reminds people of Ben Watson, who he worked with in New England.

51. Houston Texans- RB Toby Gerhart (Stanford)

The Texans have actually come out and said that they will be targeting a running back early in the NFL Draft. I wish everyone would do that. I would make my job so much easier. Anyway, Gerhart put himself into round 2 contention by showing at the combine that, even though he’s white, he’s actually a good athlete, by running a 4.53 40 at 6-0 238 and by recording a vertical leap of 38 inches. He would fit what the Texans need because he is a power back and a goal line back.

52. Jacksonville Jaguars (via PIT)- QB Tim Tebow (Florida)

Some people aren’t going to like this pick. To those people, I say this. First, at least I no longer have him going 10th and I have the Jaguars making a very necessary trade for a 2nd rounder to get Tebow, rather than risking their first on him. Second, recently, 1500 hundred people, from the city of Jacksonville, bought Tebow’s autograph from him for 160 dollars (so much for not having money) in a charity event the other day. If 1500 Jacksonvillians (is that a word?) will pay 160 dollars to get Tebow’s signature on a piece of paper, imagine how many will pay money to see him throw footballs for their team. Tebow is a borderline cult figure in Jacksonville and the cash scrapped Jaguars need to capitalize on that. Even if the Jaguars win 7-8 games a season for the next few years and don’t make the playoffs with Tebow, they’ll still make a ton of money and that is necessary for this team if they want to continue to exist. I also happen to believe in Tebow a lot more than most.

53. New England Patriots- RB Joe McKnight (USC)

Laurence Maroney was benched late last season after his like 15th fumble or something like that so that’s not promising for him being a huge part of their running back rotation next year. McKnight would bring the game changing speed to the Patriots’ running back committee that they currently lack.

54. Cincinnati Bengals- WR Marshawn Gilyard (Cincinnati)

Signing Matt Jones alone isn’t going to help their offensive issues. From week 9, when Chris Henry went out with an injury to the end of the season, Carson Palmer threw for 1254 yards in 8 games, 427 coming in games against the Lions and Raiders. Chris Henry died in December after a tragic accident. RIP. However, in football, life moves on, it has to. They need a deep threat, and not a possession guy like Jones, to compliment Chad Ochocinco otherwise Palmer is doomed to have another mediocre year. In fact, as shown in the playoffs, he could be worse than mediocre next year if they don’t get a deep threat at wide receiver. Gilyard really raised his stock with a big Senior Bowl. He’s a local product and a redemption story after losing his scholarship for academic reasons early in his college career which the Bengals will like.

55. Philadelphia Eagles- G Maurkice Pouncey (Florida)

The Eagles went offensive line in the first, but that hasn’t stopped them from going offensive line in the 2nd before. Andy Reid has proven time and time again that if a big lineman falls to him and he views it as a steal, he’ll pull the trigger. Normally it’s with defensive lines, but offensive line works for him too. Pouncey would be a welcome addition to the Eagles because of his size, upside, and versatility. He can play both guard positions in addition to giving them some depth at center, which they showed they desperately needed after Jamaal Jackson went down late last season.

56. Green Bay Packers- OT Jason Fox (Miami)

Despite the fact that they resigned Chad Clifton for 3 years 20 million, they still must draft a left tackle in the first 2 rounds. Clifton is good, great in fact, considering the Packers were 7-1 allowing 13 sacks in games he played last year, and 4-4 allowing 37 sacks in games he missed, but, if my math is right, he’s a soon to be 34 year old left tackle coming off of a season in which he missed 8 games. Not exactly promising for the future. If Clifton goes down again, a strong possibility, Aaron Rodgers might actually die on the field. Fox has some injury and durability issues, but he’s a first round prospect when healthy and a great fit for their zone style scheme.

57. Baltimore Ravens- CB Patrick Robinson (Florida State)

After Lardarius Webb got hurt, the Ravens had to starting kick returner Chris Carr at cornerback. I think its safe to say they need some cornerback depth and Robinson provides good depth and upside at the position.

58. Arizona Cardinals- OT Jared Veldheer (Hillsdale)

Both of the Cardinals starting tackles gave up 9 sacks last year. Kurt Warner played well through it, but Matt Leinart is nowhere near as mentally tough, so they’ll definitely need tackle help. Veldheer is one of the more interesting prospects in this draft class because of his size and his dominance on a Division II level. He definitely has some good upside and is drawing comparisons to Jared Gaither, the young left tackle of the Baltimore Ravens

59. Dallas Cowboys- G Vladimir Ducasse (Massachusetts)

The Cowboys need to trade two offensive linemen in their first 3 picks this year. Their lack of depth was shown big time when injuries struck their line against the Vikings in a playoff loss to the Vikings. Also, all of their starting offensive linemen are over 30. Ducasse has the size that the Cowboys like in an offensive lineman, and he has versatility to play, two if not three positions on the offensive line.

60. San Diego Chargers- S Chad Jones (LSU)

The Chargers focus a lot on their defensive backfield in the draft and with a need at strong safety, Jones, who has natural strong safety skills and size, despite playing both free safety and corner at LSU, is a perfect fit here. He can step in right away. He doesn’t have Taylor Mays’ upside, but I think he’s the most NFL ready strong safety in this draft class.

61. New York Jets- S Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech)

Kerry Rhodes was forced out of town by Rex Ryan for 75 cents on the dollar because Rhodes wasn’t giving 100% on the field, a valid reason to force someone out of town. The Jets can now use one of their first 3 picks, in a very strong safety class, on a replace for Rhodes, a younger, more athletic and motivated replacement.

62. Minnesota Vikings- DT Mike Neal (Purdue)

Pat Williams says he’s 50-50 on retiring, but even if he doesn’t he’ll turn 38 next season and could retire soon. The defensive tackle position is, and has been, the strength of the Vikings for years, so, with no future replacement for Williams, they should draft Neal here and groom him to be the future replacement. Williams-Neal Wall doesn’t sound as good as Williams Wall, but it works.

63. Indianapolis Colts- OLB Daryl Washington (TCU)

The Colts always like to use the middle rounds to get outside linebacker help, but they need help there now so I wouldn’t be surprised if they took one earlier than normal. Washington is a great fit for their cover 2 scheme. 

64. New Orleans Saints- OLB Navarro Bowman (Penn State)

Scott Fujita just left as a free agent. He could have been upgraded anyway so that shouldn’t matter, but the Saints need to draft a replacement. Bowman would fit the scheme well. He’s a first round talent, but has a few character issues, but the Saints are in a position to take risks. 

65. St. Louis Rams- DT Geno Atkins (Georgia)

Their signing of Fred Robbins means that they are more likely targeting a quarterback at #1, rather than a defensive tackle, but he’s nothing more than a 2 year stopgap at the position and, given Steve Spagnuolo’s proven commitment to upgrading his defensive line, it must be assumed that he’ll take a defensive tackle somewhere relatively early in the NFL Draft. Atkins certainly played himself into this range with his strong draft Pre-Season and while I’m still a bit concerned about his lack of production on the field over the past two years, he definitely has upside.

66. Detroit Lions- RB Jonathan Dwyer (Georgia Tech)

Sticking with best player available, the Lions take Dwyer, who could have gone in the first round before laying an epic stink bomb at the Combine, showing up out of shape, and running a much slower 40 than expected. He still has upside though and the Lions have a need at the position because they don’t have much behind Kevin Smith and even he didn’t have a good year last year.

67. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- DE Jermaine Cunningham (Florida)

No one on the team had more than 6.5 sacks last year, so a defensive end will be targeted early. Cunningham is my favorite sleeper prospect and he would fit their Tampa 2 scheme very well, assuming they switch back to the scheme.

68. Kansas City Chiefs- WR Jordan Shipley (Texas)

The Chiefs went through about 8 wide receivers opposite Dwayne Bowe this season until they finally found Chris Chambers who worked for them. Chambers is now a free agent and might not be back and even if he is, they don’t have much depth below him. Shipley would fit the scheme well. He would be able to be a sure handed guy for Matt Cassel to catch his short stuff the way Wes Welker was in New England.

69. Oakland Raiders- QB Jarrett Brown (West Virginia)

Jarrett Brown ran a 4.54 40 at 6-3 224. This makes him a great quarterback in Al Davis’ eyes. He also has a cannon for an arm. He’s like JaMarcus Russell only less of a fat slob. He’s perfect.

70. Philadelphia Eagles- DE Greg Hardy (Mississippi)

Hardy has first round talent, but he’s got a shitload of injury problems in the past and he showed up to the Combine very out of shape. If enough teams slap him with both the injury prone and lazy tags, he could very well slip into the 3rd. The Eagles have been taking a lot more character risks in recent years, namely Michael Vick, so while they haven’t yet adopted the Cincinnati style of building a team (in which a player is actually more highly rated if he has committed a crime), I would not be surprised if they took a risk on Hardy here. He’s got the size and the pass rushing moves to be the type of guy Andy Reid would like at left end.

71. Cleveland Browns- QB Tony Pike (Cincinnati)

The Browns will take a quarterback in the 2010 NFL Draft. They might not do it early, but they will do it eventually. Brady Quinn hasn’t had enough of a chance to be written off as a bust, but he also hasn’t been good enough for the Browns to be confident going into next season without a backup plan in case Quinn continues to stink and by backup plan I do not mean Derek Anderson. If Derek Anderson has to throw any more football for the Browns, the citizens of Cleveland will have to be on high alert for flying footballs heading their way. Pike would fit their scheme well.

72. Buffalo Bills- QB Dan LeFevour (Central Michigan)

I don’t like LeFevour that much, but I have to admit that a lot of places do and that normally reflects how the NFL views players. Mel Kiper, who I respect, unlike Todd McShay, loves LeFevour and said he was on the same level as McCoy and Tebow, which pretty much means a 2nd or a 3rd round pick. The Bills need a quarterback, so, with their left tackle of the future already taken in this mock, they need someone with upside to be their quarterback of the future. LeFevour fits.

73. Miami Dolphins- WR Jeremy Williams (Tulane)

The Dolphins drafted Patrick Turner in the 3rd round last year, but I think Parcells knows that was a mistake. You can’t get them all right. They need a good receiver with true #1 abilities. Williams is a 2nd round prospect who they are fortunate is still available in the 3rd.

74. Jacksonville Jaguars- CB Kareem Jackson (Alabama)

Yeah, I know even with the trade I have mocked for the Jaguars, they have still not focused on defense. However, if they can trade down and get a big name true #1 wide receiver in Dez Bryant and Tim Tebow, a borderline cult figure in town, then they shouldn’t have anything to complain about. Their pass rush was awful last year, but the signing of Aaron Kampman will really help. They aren’t tied to drafting defensive in the first two rounds, if the trade down. Kareem Jackson happens to be a steal at this point and he would allow Derek Cox to move to nickel where he belongs. If I were a Jaguars fan and my team hauled in Kampman, Bryant, Tebow, and Jackson in the offseason, even without a 2nd round pick going in, I would be ecstatic.

75. Chicago Bears- CB Devin McCourty (Rutgers)

The Bears have several needs that they could address here. They need a safety, a cornerback, a wide receiver, a guard, a defensive end, and a running back, but there isn’t anyone at any of those positions available that has more value than McCourty. He would fit their scheme like a glove. He had a huge Senior Bowl week and Combine to propel him into 2nd-3rd round consideration.

76. New York Giants- RB Montario Hardesty (Tennessee)

The Giants had Earth, Wind and Fire at the running back in 2008 and everything was great. Last year, Earth (Brandon Jacobs) turned to stone, Wind (Derrick Ward) blew out of town to take more money in Tampa Bay, and Fire (Ahmad Bradshaw) burnt out after two ankle injuries. There’s a chance that what they have at the running back position, currently, is enough for next year, but there’s also a chance that it isn’t and the Giants, always ones to look for best available, aren’t going to take that risk if Hardesty is still on the board. Hardesty has good hands and would fit the wind role well.

77. Tennessee Titans- DE Austin Lane (Murray State)

Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse could leave as free agents this offseason leaving them thin at the defensive end position. The Titans could address other needs here, but the defensive end position doesn’t have a ton of depth this year and Lane is one of the last ones that has a lot of upside as a future starter.

78. Carolina Panthers- TE Rob Gronkowski (Arizona)

The Panthers need an upgrade at tight end. Gronkowski is a risk coming off of back surgery, but if he had returned to school and had another good year, he would have been a lock 1st round pick in 2011.

79. San Francisco 49ers- G Mike Johnson (Alabama)

The Niners need more than one upgrade on the offensive line. Johnson is a steal at this point and would be an upgrade at right guard over David Baas, giving the Niners the big powerful offensive line they want.

80. Denver Broncos- C JD Walton (Baylor)

Casey Wiegmann doesn’t fit the scheme and could be upgraded. It’s not a very important need in terms of positional value, which means Josh McDaniels will address in it round 3. JD Walton is the top center prospect this year, an All-American, and a possible 2nd round prospect. What a steal!

81. Houston Texans- S Reshad Jones (Georgia)

The Texans added Kyle Wilson in the first, but they need more than one upgrade in the secondary. Jones could step in and make a different right away at safety as the Texans try to finally beat Peyton Manning and/or make the playoffs.

82. Pittsburgh Steelers- OT Kyle Calloway (Iowa)

More offensive line help for one of the worst offensive lines in the league last year, Calloway is strictly a right tackle, but he’s one of the best right tackles in the draft class. He fits what the Steelers look for in a tackle, good mauling size, and good work ethic.

83. Atlanta Falcons- DE Corey Wootton (Northwestern)

After 3 years and 2.5 sacks, it’s safe to call Jamaal Anderson a bust. They drafted Lawrence Sidbury last year, but he’s only a nickel rusher. Wootton could be a steal here if he pans out and he would fit well at left end across from John Abraham.

84. Cincinnati Bengals- CB Javier Arenas (Alabama)

The Bengals are so desperate for a kick returner and cornerback depth that they are considering signing Adam Pacman Jones. Arenas is more talented and less crazy. Plus, he’s also Gilbert Arenas’ cousin and Gilbert Arenas could come shoot up the locker room if Arenas is on the team next year and the Bengals seem to like that element of danger in a player.

85. Oakland Raiders- OLB Dekoda Watson (Florida State)

Dekoda Watson ran a 4.53 40 at 6-1 240 at the combine, making him the greatest linebacker of all time.

86. Green Bay Packers- CB Perrish Cox (Oklahoma State)

Cox helps the Packers in two ways. He can help as a defensive back, starting out as a nickel guy, and maybe challenging Tramon Williams for a starting job. Plus, Charles Woodson isn’t going to last forever so Cox can be their longterm replacement for him. He can also play some safety. Cox also would help in the return game.

87. Philadelphia Eagles- CB Domonique Joseph (Oklahoma)

They don’t have any major needs, but adding another cornerback to the mix is a good idea. Ellis Hobbs was tendered a 1st round tender this year, but he’s a free agent next year. Also, Sheldon Brown just turned 30 and has expressed a desire to be traded in the past. Joseph is a good value here.

88. Arizona Cardinals (via BAL)- NT Linval Joseph (East Carolina)

If the Cardinals draft Jerry Hughes in the first, all that will be stopping them from being one of the most promising and complete 3-4 front 7s in the league is a true nose tackle. Linval Joseph is a bit of a reach here, but as I watch his tape, he is growing on me a lot as a nose tackle prospect. He also looked really good in the Combine. If the Cardinals wait another round to take one, they’ll likely have to make a huge reach.

89. Arizona Cardinals- QB Jevan Snead (Mississippi)

I wouldn’t take a quarterback in the 3rd round if I were the Cardinals. Matt Leinart isn’t exactly the mentally toughest quarterback in the league and the team taking a quarterback in the 3rd round wouldn’t exactly be a confident ringing endorsement for him into the future. It might even make him go cry and then take a hot tub with Nick Lachey, get drunk, and then throw 20 interceptions. The Cardinals really need to go big or go home with Leinart. Either trade for a veteran starter, like Donovan McNabb, or draft a capable backup/fallback plan in the 4th. That being said, Snead would be a great fit for the Cardinals. He showed some good accuracy at the Combine, and while his decision making is still poor, he probably has the strongest arm in the draft class and that would be a good fit for the vertical style offense the Cardinals run.

90. Dallas Cowboys- OT Tony Washington (Abilene Christian)

The Cowboys need to take 2 offensive linemen in the first three rounds. They don’t have depth, as shown by the crumbling of their line in the playoffs against Minnesota, and all of their starting offensive linemen are over 30. Washington doesn’t have the size the Cowboys look for in a left tackle, but he’s got huge upside and at 6-6 311, he’s big enough.

91. San Diego Chargers- CB AJ Jefferson (Fresno State)

The Chargers traded Cromartie and I would be very surprised if they didn’t use a mid round pick on some depth at the cornerback position behind Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason. The Chargers always seem to like to upgrade their defensive backfield. Jefferson is an athletic freak with a 44 inch vertical, long arms, and a 4.43 40 at 6-0 193. He could remind them of a younger Cromartie.

92. Cleveland Browns- WR Eric Decker (Minnesota)

Decker has slipped too far for the Browns to pass on him here. They drafted 2 wide receivers in the 2nd round last year, but there’s a good chance that Brian Robiskie doesn’t pan out and even if he doesn’t, you can never have enough talented wide receiver depth. Decker is a very mature receiver prospect with solid, dependable hands, and good size.

93. Minnesota Vikings- CB Amari Spievey (Iowa)

Asher Allen was drafted in the 3rd last year, but he’s more of a nickel and a kick returner. Antoine Winfield is over 30 and showed some injuries and decline last year, while Cedric Griffen, an average player at best to begin with, might not be ready for the start of next year with an ACL tear, suffered in their playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints. Spievey is a good depth guy for this team to have given their issues at the position. You can never have enough cornerback depth.

94. Indianapolis Colts- DT Tyson Alualu (California)

They drafted Fili Moala in the 2nd round last year, but he only had 8 tackles this year, 5 in the last two games when they weren’t even trying. Even if by some miracle he pans out, they will still need an upgrade inside next to him. Alualu isn’t a great fit for most 4-3 schemes, but he would fit like a glove in the Colts’ scheme. He also has that elite motor the Colts love.

95. New Orleans Saints- S Darrell Stuckey (Kansas)

As of this moment, Darren Sharper is not a Saint. Even if he resigns, he’s going to be 34 soon, and might not have that many good years left in him. I’m assuming, considering he was drafted with the 14th pick in 2009, that the long term plan is to move Malcolm Jenkins to cornerback, so they need a longterm free safety. Stuckey is a part of a great safety class and could be a steal at this point.

 

 

1. St. Louis Rams 1-15

I have said it all along that this pick would and should be a quarterback, but I think I had the wrong quarterback. Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford showed up to the combine needing to prove his shoulder strength after two separations and a surgery last season. His shoulder not only passed with flying colors, but he put on 15-20 pounds of muscle, a major sign of his strong wrong ethic. Two major concerns of his were arm strength and shoulder health and he put both of those concerns to rest at the Combine. I still say Clausen is the better quarterback, but a former NFL GM polled about 12, maybe more, current NFL GMs, about who they preferred, Clausen or Bradford, and every one of them said Bradford. Even if the Rams’ GM was not asked, which I find unlikely, it is still a very good sign for Bradford that he has this many supporters around the league. Many will argue Ndamukong Suh here, but, as dominant of a prospect he is, he doesn’t have the positional value here. History has shown, if a team needs a left tackle or quarterback early in the draft, they will take that above all else, even the consensus top prospect. Remember Glenn Dorsey? How about Aaron Curry? Here’s some facts. Since 1998, 36 players have gone in the top three overall. 15 have been quarterbacks, 6 have been offensive tackles, and 6 have been defensive ends. That’s only 25% that aren’t quarterbacks, offensive tackles, or defensive ends. When you look closer, all 12 #1 overall picks since 1998 have been quarterback, offensive tackles, or defensive end. Those positions just have so much more positional value than any other. For more facts on the top 3 picks, click here. The Rams don’t need an offensive tackle or defensive end, so it’ll be quarterback here. Right now, other mock drafters seem to be leaning towards Suh over Bradford and Clausen. For more information check out our NFL Mock Draft Database.

2. Detroit Lions 2-14

The Lions need a franchise left tackle badly, but they have proven that they have the tendency to take the best available player regardless of need. Left tackle would help them and Matt Stafford majorly, but they are going to take best available player. Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh is the best available player, by far, and it’s not like the Lions don’t need any help at that position. Despite the surprisingly good play of Sammie Lee Hill at defensive tackle, they are still ranked 21st against the run, although they have looked better over the past few weeks. However, left tackle is more of an immediate need for them. I hope, if they don’t take one in the first round, that they take one in the 2nd round, for their own good. Jeff Backus is not the guy you want protecting Matt Stafford’s blindside during his development. But, you can’t really blame the Lions for taking the best available player, especially when he’s a player that is as dominant at his position as Ndamukong Suh. Only 1 defensive tackle has gone in the top three since 1998, but Suh is that good.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13

The Bucs want to build around their defensive line. Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy is available. He’s not the dominant defensive tackle Suh is, but he’s a great finesse one gap penetrator at defensive tackle that could flourish if the Bucs decide to switch back to a Tampa 2 defensive system. The Bucs could also trade down if someone like Seattle offers enough to move up here and take a franchise left tackle like Russell Okung because, even though he’ll probably be the guy they’re targeting, they can get McCoy a few picks farther down.

4. Washington Redskins 4-12

The writing is on the wall for Jason Campbell. There’s a new head coach and a new GM in town. The guys who drafted him are gone, most of them long gone. He just happened to have his 2 worst games of his career in the last 3 weeks of this season and now he’s a restricted free agent. Even if the Redskins tender him a contract, they’ll likely trade him to the highest bidder and even if he isn’t traded, he’ll likely only be back on a one year deal to be a stop gap while a young quarterback waits to take over in 2011, a smart idea. This pick will be a quarterback and which quarterback it will be depends on what St. Louis does at 1. In this mock, St. Louis takes Bradford, so the Redskins will take Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen. Don’t listen to Todd McShay when he says Clausen isn’t very good. For more on why McShay is an idiot, click here.

5. Kansas City Chiefs 4-12

Brandan Albert was one of the worst starting left tackles in the league this year and he’s movable, either by trade or more likely to a different position, for many reasons. He doesn’t have a large contract. The regime that drafted him is no longer in town. He has versatility position wise and can also play right tackle or left guard in addition to left tackle. There’s a very good chance that Albert isn’t their left tackle next year and if Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung is still available at #5, I would be very surprised if they didn’t draft him. The only reason I can see them passing on Okung is if they have their mind set on signing Matt Light in 2011 in an attempt to recreate the 2003 New England Patriots. I hear Ty Law and Troy Brown are still looking for work.

6. Seattle Seahawks 5-11

Pete Carroll could go a number of ways with his two first round picks. He could go best available. He could draft for need. He could value getting his own franchise quarterback above anything and with the way Matt Hasselbeck played at the end of the season last year, that might not be a bad idea. He could value drafting former USC players above anything. However, there’s one thing that I think is certain. If a player as good as Tennessee FS Eric Berry is available at #6, Carroll, unless he’s completely inept, is going to take him. Carroll knows talent obviously as shown by his major success at USC and I highly doubt he passes on someone as talented as Eric Berry.

7. Cleveland Browns 5-11

This is where the draft hits a crossroad. I have no idea what the Browns are going to do here. Eric Mangini didn’t draft his own guy at quarterback last year in his first offseason and with new team president Mike Holmgren, there’s a chance they go that direction, but I doubt they’ll reach for Tim Tebow to do it, especially with how much Eric Mangini enjoyed drafting random positions last year. Plus, I don’t think we’ve seen enough of Brady Quinn to call him a bust yet. I think the Browns will either draft down or go best available, but the problem is, determining who I believe they will see as best available. This pick could very well be Derrick Morgan, but he’s not a good fit for the 3-4 defense, so I won’t mock him here unless I here something from Cleveland saying that the coaching staff believes him to have the ability to play rush linebacker. Rolando McClain makes sense and I’ve actually had him here at this spot before, but then again, 3-4 middle linebackers rarely go top 10. Even Patrick Willis slipped to #11. That leaves Dez Bryant and Joe Haden, a wide receiver and a cornerback. I’ll go with Florida CB Joe Haden for now because Mangini obviously enjoys less valuable positions  like cornerback…or center, but don’t quote me on this one just yet.

8. Oakland Raiders 5-11

Maryland OT Bruce Campbell ran a 4.85 at 6-6 314 at the Combine. He also benched 34 reps of 225 pounds and had 36 ¼ inch arms. This makes him the greatest offensive lineman of all time in Al Davis’ mind, even greater than Robert Gallery. If Davis thought he was getting a good deal with Gallery at 2 in 2004 (over guys like Larry Fitzgerald, Phillip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger), then imagine how thrilled he’ll be when he sees Campbell still available at 8.

9. Buffalo Bills 6-10

The Bills gave Trent Edwards a bunch of weapons to work with but they lacked that true pass blocking left tackle and thus Edwards struggled this season and was benched and the Bills sit here at 6-10 drafting in the top ten yet again. Langston Walker was supposed to start at left tackle this year, but he was cut right before the season. That’s a very bad sign. Demetrius Bell, their new starting left tackle, leads the league in penalties and their offensive line as a whole had 9 false starts earlier this season in a loss to the Browns. Rutgers OT Anthony Davis has really jumped onto the national stage as an elite franchise left tackle in past weeks so he could very well be the 2nd offensive tackle off the board. He’ll also remind the Bills a bit of Jason Peters, who worked out well for them as a left tackle for a few years before they traded him last year. Both Davis and Peters are big over powering left tackles that are overrated pass blockers and dominant run blockers.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-9

Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver pretty much promised that the Jags would draft in state Florida QB Tim Tebow in the first round in an attempt to sell more tickets and save the franchise’s future in Jacksonville. He seems to have forgotten that the Jags already have a good quarterback, David Garrard, who has a 60% completion percentage in each of his four years as starter as well as 59 touchdowns to 35 picks, but I guess the Jags will do what they have to do to make Jacksonville football fans, who clearly don’t care, come to the stadium, rather than moving the team to a city that deserves a franchise like San Antonio or Los Angeles. Despite what media is saying, Tim Tebow’s Senior Bowl performance was neutral. He had some nice throws, some bad throws, but for the most part played out of an offense similar to what he played in at Florida so we can’t really make a judgement. However, all that being said, I think this pick will most likely be traded. The Jags really don’t have to worry about anyone else taking Tebow between now and Minnesota at 29, so they can trade down with a team like Philly who would be interested in taking Derrick Morgan here, and get themselves a 2nd round pick and another pick in the process. The Jags, in addition to not selling tickets, sucked on defense last year and if they take Tebow here instead of trading down, they’ll have to wait until the 3rd round to fill a defensive need.

11. Denver Broncos 8-8 (via CHI)

I’ve had Dez Bryant here in recent weeks, but if the Broncos trade Brandon Marshall because Josh McDaniels would rather have a team of completely silent players than players that act out a little bit, why would they want Bryant? Bryant was suspended all last season, for the most part. It was for something stupid and completely unfair, but then again Josh McDaniels is not very smart. The Broncos will go with a wide receiver here who doesn’t have a history of “character issues” that also has the size to replace Marshall. Illinois WR Arrelious Benn is not the smart pick here, but he didn’t have any problems with his coaches or the NCAA in his time at Illinois and he has the size to replace Marshall. He also didn’t produce last year and is mostly physical upside, but again, Josh McDaniels isn’t very smart. This is the guy who last season drafted a running back at 12 that he could have gotten at 18, drafted a guy at 18 who didn’t fit the scheme, traded a future first rounder for a nickel corner who did nothing this year, and traded up into the 2ndround for a blocking tight end that they could have gotten in the 7th. If Marshall is kept, Dan Williams will probably be the pick, but I could also see Jermaine Gresham go here because the Broncos will need a tight end after they refuse to resign Tony Scheffler.

12. Miami Dolphins 7-9

The more I watch Alabama MLB Rolando McClain, the more I think, Bill Parcells will love this guy. McClain is a big, athletic, do everything smart middle linebacker who will fit Parcells’ 3-4 scheme like a glove. The Dolphins need an upgrade next to Channing Chowder in the middle and McClain is the perfect guy for the job. I would be highly surprised if McClain fell past Miami. 

13. San Francisco 49ers 8-8

Joe Staley is supposed to be the left tackle, but he’s hurt. Even when he’s healthy, he’s a liability against the pass and belongs at right tackle where the Niners currently have a load of crap. The Niners have 2 picks in this first round and can use the first of the two, with no other huge needs that they can fill with the players left on the board, on an elite left tackle. Oklahoma OT Trent Williams had a great Combine and, though he may not be an elite left tackle, he can play both left and right and allow the Niners to mix and match him and Staley on the line in the way they see best fit.

14. Seattle Seahawks 5-11 (via DEN)

Pete Carroll has a pretty easy first round of his first NFL draft since returning to the NFL this year, huh? Just take the guy who is glaringly the best player available and fills a major need. Their left tackle position is a mess. Walter Jones could be done for his career and Sean Locklear, even when healthy, is more of a right tackle than a left. If they take a good zone blocking left tackle here like Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga, they can have a very strong young offensive line. Having Bulaga and Locklear together on the offensive line would allow them to move Ray Willis from tackle to guard, where he belongs, and give them a very good offensive line for the future, with Locklear and Campbell at tackle and Willis and promising rookie, and 2009 2nd round pick, Max Unger at guard. Rob Sims could also be in the mix if he’s resigned.

15. New York Giants 8-8

As weird as it may sound, the Giants only had 32 sacks last season, despite all of the money they have invested in their defensive line. Now, Osi Umenyiora wants out because he’s insulted that he was turned into a 3rd down rusher only late last season. There’s a good chance they either cut him to take his large cap number off of the payroll, or trade him to a team like St. Louis who needs a veteran defensive line leader. Osi has also had his best success under Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, the former Giants defensive coordinator. If Osi leaves, they’ll definitely have to look for more help on the defensive line and even if he stays, they might consider Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan here simply because Giants GM Jerry Reese is such a fan of the best player available strategy when it comes to drafting.

16. Tennessee Titans 8-8

The Titans are known for their defense under Jeff Fisher. However, defense is now an issue for them. They lost Albert Haynesworth and replaced him with Jovan Haye, which, no offense to Haye, is a big downgrade. Starting corner Nick Harper is 35 and their linebackers are very mediocre with the exception of Keith Bulluck, who happens to be 32 and in the last season of his contract. I think this is the farthest Tennessee DT Dan Williams falls. As weird as it may seem, he’s a do everything nose tackle. He’s 325 pounds, but has experience playing in a system similar to the one the Titans run now and he’s also an in-state college kid. He is mobile enough to play in Tennessee’s system and, though he’s not the pass rusher Haynesworth was, he can be the big mobile body that Haynesworth was in the middle of their defense a couple of years ago and free things up for the guys on the outside. He’d be a great compliment to their roster full of sub 300 pound defensive tackles.

17. San Francisco 49ers 8-8 (via CAR)

When ‘Dre Bly is not busy making a fool of himself on an interception, by high stepping starting from the 30 yard line with a potential tackler a few feet behind him such that he gets tackled, loses the ball, and turns 7 points into a fumble, he’s busy getting burnt by quicker, faster, younger, more athletic receivers. The only reason he has a job is because Walt Harris, who is equally old and slow, had to have season ending knee surgery before the season. I don’t think Shawntae Spencer is the answer either, but with Nate Clements reportedly moving to free safety next year, Spencer is probably going to start another year. Regardless, they would still need a corner to play opposite him. I’ve had Donovan Warren him in recent weeks, but word is that NFL teams view Boise State CB Kyle Wilson

as being a lot better of a cornerback. Even though I don’t agree with it, that is the case and with Wilson being the best available corner, he makes a lot of sense here.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7

Its painfully obvious that the Steelers need offensive line help after giving up 20 sacks to the Browns, Packers, Ravens, and Dolphins in the last 4 weeks of the season. However, they’ve needed offensive line help for years and haven’t done anything about it. Plus, its also painfully obvious that Mike Tomlin doesn’t trust his defense, even more painfully obvious than their offensive line is bad. Mike Tomlin tried an onside kick with a 2 point lead in a game late in the season against the Packers because he didn’t trust his defense to stop Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Packers would recover and score and if it weren’t for late game heroics from Big Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin would have been the laughing stock of the NFL. That is how far this defense has fallen since being one of the best in history last year. The biggest reason for their defensive struggles has been Troy Polamalu’s injuries. In the 5 games in which he has played, the Steelers were 4-1 and allowed 13.8 points per game. In the games he missed, they gave up 23.2 and were consequently 5-6. Their lack of a good safety opposite him is obvious. Texas FS Earl Thomas is probably the best player available and the Steelers have shown in recent years that they are fans of the best player available strategy drafting guys like Rashard Mendenhall and Evander Hood in the first round even when they weren’t their biggest needs.

19. Atlanta Falcons 9-7

The Falcons need both a defensive end and a cornerback, but Clemson RB CJ Spiller represents too much of a value here. CJ Spiller is the type of player that can really be added to any team. There aren’t a lot of teams that have playmakers like him and the Falcons are one of them. He can backup Michael Turner, complimenting him as the speed back and 3rd down back to Turner, the power back. He can also help in a big way on special teams and maybe even play some slot receiver. He could take their offense to a new level.

20. Houston Texans 9-7

The Texans need a good defensive back, especially a cornerback, but there aren’t any available that aren’t huge reaches so the Texans can really just go with the best available. Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant is a huge steal at this point in the draft. If he pans out, opposing defensive coordinators are going to have nightmares about having to guard both him and Andre Johnson, and Owen Daniels coming over the middle as a tight end.

21. Cincinnati Bengals 10-7

The Bengals proved by signing Matt Jones that they are not done taking chances on guys with character problems, even though the team played well last year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, Cedric Benson looked like the MVP of the league before he got hurt and Larry Johnson helped the Bengals late last year when Benson was hurt and 2009 2nd round pick Rey Maualuga who dropped for character reasons was in the running for defensive player of the year this season. Florida DE Carlos Dunlap has an awful work ethic and recently was arrested for drunk driving, but those things are like turn ons to whoever if drafting for the Bengals. Antawn Odom is talented when healthy, but he rarely is so, assuming Michael Johnson doesn’t pan out, the Bengals still need a right end of the future and Dunlap, who has athleticism, 6-6 280 4.7, could be that guy if he straightens himself out. The signing of Matt Jones makes their need for a wide receiver lesser so I doubt they reach for one here.

22. New England Patriots 10-7

Benjamin Watson is a free agent this offseason and he could have been upgraded anyway. Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham has too much value to fall much farther down than 22. He has experience and has had success in an offense very similar to the one the Patriots run, in the past at Oklahoma. He would provide Tom Brady with a solid over the middle target in case Wes Welker is not 100% to start next season.

23. Green Bay Packers 10-7

The Packers have done a better job of protecting Rodgers since Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton have returned from injury, but both are in their 30s and could retire soon. Before those two were both healthy, Rodgers was sacked 37 times in 8 games. If Tauscher and Clifton retire and neither are replaced by then, Aaron Rodgers could actually die on the field. They need a good young tackle familiar with a zone blocking scheme and athletic enough to play in it. USC OT Charles Brown might be the best pure zone blocking tackle in this draft class and that will shoot him up draft boards like it did with former USC tackle Sam Baker in 2008.

24. Philadelphia Eagles 11-6

Andy Reid is still the coach of the Eagles and he likes to take big defensive linemen. They need an every down left end, which they lack right now. Reid will not shy away from taking one, especially if South Florida DE Jason Pierre Paul is still available. He fits what the Eagles look for in a defensive end, tenacious and never quitting and a pass rusher.

25. Baltimore Ravens 10-8

Baltimore did not draft a wide receiver which means they are confident in their ability to resign Derrick Mason, a free agent after the 2009 season. That might be a bad move because if Mason leaves, they are really only left with Mark Clayton, which would be very bad for young quarterback Joe Flacco’s development moving forward. Even if Mason returns, he will be 36 by next year’s Super Bowl, so they need a longterm replacement. USC WR Damian Williams is the best available at a position of huge need and is the logical pick here.

26. Arizona Cardinals 11-7

Antrel Rolle is expected to be cut when the offseason starts. If that is the case, the Cardinals will have a need for a safety and could address that need with USC S Taylor Mays here. Mays has huge upside as a safety in this league and for that I can’t see him falling out of the 1st round. The Cardinals have a lot of needs, both defensively and offensively, but Mays will probably be seen as the best available player.

27. Dallas Cowboys 12-6

I don’t think the Cowboys, needing upgrades all across their offensive line will pass on Idaho G Mike Iupati. All of their starting offensive lineman are over 30 and their lack of depth was very evident in their playoff loss to the Vikings. Iupati has the size that the Cowboys love in an offensive lineman. The faces of the once asleep Dallas Cowboys’ scouts perked up majorly at the Senior Bowl when Iupati’s name was announced at the weigh in. He makes too much sense here.

28. San Diego Chargers 13-4

The Chargers always seem to surprise in the first round so I’ll go with a bit of surprising pick. It’s fairly obvious the Chargers need a running back after cutting LaDainian Tomlinson, but who they will pick is a mystery. Fresno State RB Ryan Matthews is what they look for in a back, good size, good speed, good hands, and a good pass protector, a real every down back. Matthews could be available when the Chargers pick again in the 2nd, but after his strong performance in the Combine, there’s a good chance he isn’t and the Chargers will want to make sure they can secure him.

29. New York Jets 11-8

Trading for Mark Sanchez was the right longterm move for the franchise, especially given how little they had to give up to move up to get him. One player they did give up was Kenyon Coleman. He is a 3-4 defensive end, so he’s absence did not hurt them a ton, especially when you consider they got a franchise quarterback, but they still do need to replace him. Penn State 3-4 DE Jared Odrick plays defensive tackle in college, but would be a natural fit for this team at 3-4 defensive end, which is a big need where they have a major hole.

30. Minnesota Vikings 13-5

The Vikings seem to be set for the future on the offensive end, with the exception of quarterback, but I doubt the Vikings would reach a quarterback in this situation, especially since all of the quarterbacks available here could be there when they pick in the 2nd round. Defensively, they have a few issues that need to be filled. This team is built upon their defensive line’s ability to stuff the run. Pat Williams will turn 37 in October and the Vikings need to bulk up their line and their depth at the defensive tackle position. They can’t afford to lose their biggest strength, so they take a high upside defensive tackle here, in UCLA DT Brian Price, who can come in, learn from the Williamses, and hopefully be able to take Pat’s place when he moves on. Price is an amazing pass rusher for his size and would fill Pat’s old pass rushing tackle role nicely. He should be able to capitalize on his 7 sacks this season and get drafted in the first round as the 3rd defensive tackle off the board.

31. Indianapolis Colts 16-3

Michigan DE Brandon Graham had a huge Senior Bowl week, impressing in practice and winning MVP. Defensive end is not a huge need for the Colts right now, in fact they have the best pass rushing duo in the league in Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, but both of them are going to be free agents in 2011, and either way, the Colts know value so I doubt they’ll let Graham slip by them. Graham is the type of defensive end they like, not physically opposing, barely 6 feet with the shortest arms of any defensive end at the Senior Bowl weigh ins, but he also has an energizer battery motor with a switch that is stuck on “on” 24/7.

32. New Orleans Saints 16-3

The Saints, with only 1 pick in the first 3 rounds of the 2009 NFL draft, were unable to secure a good young outside linebacker. Good news for them, they’ll be able to add a great one here in Missouri OLB Sean Weatherspoon. Lewis will add another young playmaker to an improving defense and help this team in all facets of the game. If it weren’t for Brandon Graham, Weatherspoon would be the MVP of the Senior Bowl. He looked excellent doing everything from getting into the backfield, to covering a much faster man and breaking up the pass, to getting a late interception.

33. St. Louis Rams- DE Everson Griffen (USC)

The Rams’ need a wide receiver, but not just any wide receiver, a guy with #1 potential. I’ve had Golden Tate here in recent weeks only because of his familiarity with Jimmy Clausen. Now that I don’t have Clausen going to the Rams, I feel that will not be the pick because Tate is a #2 receiver at best at the next level because of his size. So, the Rams go to another need and take Everson Griffen, who could have gone in the first round. Griffen has a ton of upside at the defensive end position and, if he and Chris Long both pan out long term, they could have a very solid group of ends, which Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo, based on what he did in New York with the Giants, would probably like that.

34. Detroit Lions- CB Donovan Warren (Michigan)

Warren both is the best available, which the Lions love to take, and fills a huge need as the Lions really don’t have a lot of talent at the cornerback position. He’s also in state from Michigan which makes this pick even better.

35. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- WR Golden Tate (Notre Dame)

Head Coach Raheem Morris said the Buccaneers were going to try to build around 2nd year quarterback Josh Freeman this offseason and that would require getting him someone to throw to because, if Antonio Bryant leaves, they will have nothing at the wide receiver position and they have already basically said they will not offer him a longterm deal. Tate is the best available wide receiver, but he will never be a #1 option on a good playoff team. However, he can still be a solid #2 of the future and a very NFL ready wide receiver who could lead all rookies in receiving yards in his rookie year. That will help Josh Freeman out a lot.

36. Kansas City Chiefs- NT Terrence Cody (Alabama)

The Chiefs would be very happy if the draft went this way. I would not be surprised if the Chiefs considered Cody at 5 because of the obvious comparisons between him and Vince Wilfork, who GM Scott Pioli brought to New England. Pioli is also a guy who likes to build in the trenches and he will not be happy with this team’s lack of a nose tackle. Luckily for him, Cody falls because of work ethic concerns and his lack of scheme versatility right into Pioli’s lap. And when he falls into Pioli’s lap, the 355 pound Cody will crush him.

37. Washington Redskins- RB Jahvid Best (California)

Daniel Snyder is such a fan of big names and selling tickets that, even with their offensive line issues, he’s not going to be able to pass on Best here. Best would compliment an aging Clinton Portis well and would be an excellent fit in new coach Mike Shanahan’s zone style offense.

38. Cleveland Browns- MLB Brandon Spikes (Florida)

Again, Eric Mangini is unpredictable as a drafter. He’ll probably trade down 5 times and draft a kicker, but I’ll give him some credit and assume he’ll just take best available. Spikes would fit their 3-4 defense really well and give them a much needed upgrade inside next to D’Qwell Jackson.

39. Oakland Raiders- CB Patrick Robinson (Florida State)

The Raiders are reportedly trying to trade Nnamdi Ashmouga (something about being too talented, I guess) and even if they don’t, they need an upgrade across from him. Robinson lacks a strong work ethic, but he’s one of Al Davis’ trademarked amazing athletes at 6-0 195 with a 40 that could be in the low 4.4s

40. Seattle Seahawks- RB Joe McKnight (USC)

Joe McKnight was a perfect fit for Pete Caroll’s scheme at USC, why wouldn’t be a perfect fit for Pete Caroll’s scheme now that Carroll is in Seattle. The Seahawks definitely need running backs as Julius Jones is awful and Justin Forsett is too small to be an every down guy.

41. Buffalo Bills- NT Cam Thomas (North Carolina)

The Bills were 31st in the league against the run out of 32 teams last year. Now they are switching to a 3-4. If they can’t get a big nose tackle to center their 3-4 around, they could be even worse against the run next year. Cam Thomas is a 3rdround prospect in my book, but after a huge Senior Bowl, and in a weak nose tackle class, he has the potential to go here.

42. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- CB Brandon Ghee (Wake Forest)

They need a defensive end, but there isn’t really one here that fits unless they are convinced that Jerry Hughes can play end in a 4-3, which I doubt. They also need cornerback help and Ghee is the best cornerback available He is another guy who raised his stock at the Senior Bowl. He’s very raw, but he got great potential and head coach Raheem Morris, a former defensive backs coach, would love the opportunity to try to bring the most of out Ghee. He’s not likely to be available in a few picks.

43. Miami Dolphins- RLB Jerry Hughes (TCU)

Joey Porter is expected to be released and Jason Taylor turns 37 before next season and they never really had much depth at the rush linebacker position behind either so they will take Hughes, arguably the best pure rush linebacker in the draft class, here in a heart beat.

44. New England Patriots- 3-4 DE LaMarr Houston (Texas)

Again, they’ll probably trade down, but Houston would be a good fit for their defense. They need a longterm replacement for Richard Seymour and Houston fits as a 3-4 defense end.

45. Denver Broncos- 3-4 DE Arthur Jones (Syracuse)

As mentioned in the first round, the Broncos flat out sucked against the run in the 2nd half of last season. Losing defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is only going to hurt this team against the run (yes, I did just say something good about Mike Nolan, horrible coach, excellent defensive coordinator). If McDaniels is a capable drafter (based on his 2009 showing I’m not so sure) he’ll focus 2 early picks on the front 7 in an effort finally make this team decent against the run.

46. New York Giants- SS Chad Jones (LSU)

The Giants gave up the 13th fewest yards in the league, but also the 3rd most points. That means they gave up a ton of big plays for touchdowns, whether on the ground or through the air, and they couldn’t stop anyone in the red zone. Both of those show poor safety play, which means sense because they are starting Michael Johnson and Aaron Rouse at safety after losing James Butler to free agency and Kenny Phillips to injury. Even if Phillips does return from his injury, which is not a guarantee at this point, they need a good safety to pair with him. Jones is the best available safety.

47. New England Patriots (via JAC)- RLB Sergio Kindle (Texas)

Bill Belicheck seems hesitant to draft a rush linebacker, which is weird because he’s never hesitant to do anything. It must be because of how few of the defensive ends switching to rush linebacker actually pan out. For more on that, click here. However, he can’t hesitate anymore, the Pats only managed 31 sacks all last year and their pass defense suffered because of it. Kindle is a safe bet here because he has experience playing standing up at outside linebacker at Texas, in addition to playing defensive end, so he is going to be comfortable in coverage and blitzing from an outside position. Again, for more on why drafting rush linebackers with experience at outside linebacker is important, click the link above. Kindle also has huge upside.

48. Carolina Panthers- WR Brandon LaFell (LSU)

Part of the reason for Jake Delhomme’s struggles last year was because he had no one to throw to except Steve Smith. Matt Moore appears to be the quarterback of the future for this team so they’ll need to get him someone to compliment Smith. LaFell would be perfect for the job because he’s a consistent possession receiver, whereas Smith is an inconsistent deep threat.

49. San Francisco 49ers- RB Dexter McCluster (Mississippi)

I’ve heard rumors about the Niners possibly taking CJ Spiller in the first round, but when they have other needs, why would they take a luxury guy like Spiller in the first, especially when they can take McCluster in the 2nd. I can’t say for sure where McCluster is going, because he would fit so many teams, but he can definitely help the Niners in many ways. He can be their Percy Harvin. He can be a 3rd round back, a slot receiver, and help in the return game. Just put the ball in his hands and good things could happen.

50. Kansas City Chiefs (via ATL)- TE Aaron Hernandez (Florida)

The Chiefs got this pick from Atlanta for Tony Gonzalez. They might want to consider using it on a replacement tight end, because Matt Cassel needs more guys to throw to. Scott Pioli could be partial to Hernandez over guys like Dennis Pitta and Rob Gronkowski because he reminds people of Ben Watson, who he worked with in New England.

51. Houston Texans- RB Toby Gerhart (Stanford)

The Texans have actually come out and said that they will be targeting a running back early in the NFL Draft. I wish everyone would do that. I would make my job so much easier. Anyway, Gerhart put himself into round 2 contention by showing at the combine that, even though he’s white, he’s actually a good athlete, by running a 4.53 40 at 6-0 238 and by recording a vertical leap of 38 inches. He would fit what the Texans need because he is a power back and a goal line back.

52. Pittsburgh Steelers- G Maurkice Pouncey (Florida)

The Steelers need offensive line upgrades. Pouncey, at 319 pounds, is the physical type lineman that the Steelers like. He can play 4 positions on the line, including center and right tackle, in addition to both guard spots.

53. New England Patriots- WR Jeremy Williams (Tulane)

I would be very surprised if the Patriots didn’t draft a wide receiver with one of their 3 second round picks. Randy Moss doesn’t believe he’ll be brought back after 2010, which I agree with because the Patriots don’t like giving players of advanced age (by football terms) longterm deal and that will almost certainly be what Moss wants. Welker, across from Moss, suffered a nasty knee injury and might not be ready for the start of next season. Julian Edelman is decent, but the Patriots certainly need to add more wide receivers to the mix and Williams is the best available.

54. Cincinnati Bengals- WR Marshawn Gilyard (Cincinnati)

Signing Matt Jones alone isn’t going to help their offensive issues. From week 9, when Chris Henry went out with an injury to the end of the season, Carson Palmer threw for 1254 yards in 8 games, 427 coming in games against the Lions and Raiders. Chris Henry died in December after a tragic accident. RIP. However, in football, life moves on, it has to. They need a deep threat, and not a possession guy like Jones, to compliment Chad Ochocinco otherwise Palmer is doomed to have another mediocre year. In fact, as shown in the playoffs, he could be worse than mediocre next year if they don’t get a deep threat at wide receiver. Gilyard really raised his stock with a big Senior Bowl. He’s a local product and a redemption story after losing his scholarship for academic reasons early in his college career which the Bengals will like.

55. Philadelphia Eagles- S Nate Allen (South Florida)

Sean Jones failed in his first year in Philadelphia and likely won’t be back. Nate Allen is a smart, fundamentally sound player who is a steal at this point. He would be an immediate upgrade over Jones and could start week 1.

56. Green Bay Packers- CB Perrish Cox (Oklahoma State)

Cox helps the Packers in two ways. He can help as a defensive back, starting out as a nickel guy, and maybe challenging Tramon Williams for a starting job. Plus, Charles Woodson isn’t going to last forever so Cox can be their longterm replacement for him. He can also play some safety. Cox also would help in the return game.

57. Baltimore Ravens- CB Domonique Franks (Oklahoma)

After Lardarius Webb got hurt, the Ravens had to starting kick returner Chris Carr at cornerback. I think its safe to say they need some cornerback depth and Franks provides good depth and upside at the position.

58. Arizona Cardinals- OT Jason Fox (Miami)

Both of the Cardinals starting tackles gave up 9 sacks last year. Kurt Warner played well through it, but Matt Leinart is nowhere near as mentally tough, so they’ll definitely need tackle help. Fox is solely a left tackle, and they might have to take one more tackle before the draft is over, but he has first round talent. He only falls here because of his lack of versatility and questions about his health, knee surgery, and heart problems.

59. Dallas Cowboys- S Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech)

Ken Hamlin was awful in pass coverage last year. They really should have drafted a safety early last year, but they didn’t because they decided drafting 85 outside linebackers would be a better idea. Hopefully they learn from their mistake.

60. San Diego Chargers- G Vladimir Ducasse (Massachusetts)

You can’t blame LT alone on his demise, the Chargers run blocking was mediocre. None of their running backs had a good average last year. Adding a big mauling guard to the mix like Ducasse would help.

61. New York Jets- RLB Ricky Sapp (Clemson)

I’ve mocked a wide receiver here in recent weeks, but reports say that the Jets will use their 1st/3rd tender on Braylon Edwards, which means unless someone is stupid enough to give up their 1st and 3rd for Braylon Edwards, Edwards is going to stay in town next year. He could be upgraded, but if the Jets are willing to use their 1st/3rd tender on him, they probably believe in his abilities, so defensive minded Coach Rex Ryan will focus on defense here. If the Jets can get a good rush linebacker prospect in the first 3 rounds of the NFL draft, they’ll cut Vernon Gholston and his 0 career sacks and start over at the position. Sapp has experience at both defensive end and outside linebacker making him an ideal fit as a rush linebacker.

62. Minnesota Vikings- DE Greg Hardy (Mississippi)

The Vikings like to take risks with their picks. Hardy has first round talent, but there are major questions about his health and motivation. Maybe falling to the end of the 2nd round will motivate him. The Vikings could have a major steal here if Hardy pans out and that would make their defensive line that much more dangerous. Ray Edwards is a free agent so they need to look at potential replacements.

63. Indianapolis Colts- OLB Daryl Washington (TCU)

The Colts always like to use the middle rounds to get outside linebacker help, but they need help there now so I wouldn’t be surprised if they took one earlier than normal. Washington can also play middle linebacker if Gary Brackett decides to leave as a free agent and he is a great fit for their cover 2 scheme. 

64. New Orleans Saints- DT Mike Neal (Purdue)

The Saints run defense really struggled without Sedrick Ellis this season and even weren’t that great when Ellis was in the lineup so it would make sense for them to draft a defensive tackle to play inside with Ellis. Neal has more upside than any player left on the board and the Saints don’t really need to make a safe pick.

65. St. Louis Rams- OLB Navarro Bowman (Penn State)

They traded Will Witherspoon midseason and replaced him with Paris Lenon and, no surprised, afterwards, their defense really sucked. Lenon is a free agent anyway. The Rams have bigger needs like their defensive line, but Bowman has big upside if he can stop getting into off the field trouble.

66. Detroit Lions- RB Jonathan Dwyer (Georgia Tech)

Sticking with best player available, the Lions take Dwyer, who could have gone in the first round before laying an epic stink bomb at the Combine, showing up out of shape, and running a much slower 40 than expected. He still has upside though and the Lions have a need at the position because they don’t have much behind Kevin Smith and even he didn’t have a good year last year.

67. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- DE Jermaine Cunningham (Florida)

No one on the team had more than 6.5 sacks last year, so a defensive end will be targeted early. Cunningham is my favorite sleeper prospect and he would fit their Tampa 2 scheme very well, assuming they switch back to the scheme.

68. Kansas City Chiefs- WR Jordan Shipley (Texas)

The Chiefs went through about 8 wide receivers opposite Dwayne Bowe this season until they finally found Chris Chambers who worked for them. Chambers is now a free agent and might not be back and even if he is, they don’t have much depth below him. Shipley would fit the scheme well. He would be able to be a sure handed guy for Matt Cassel to catch his short stuff the way Wes Welker was in New England.

69. Oakland Raiders- QB Jarrett Brown (West Virginia)

Jarrett Brown ran a 4.54 40 at 6-3 224. This makes him a great quarterback in Al Davis’ eyes. He also has a cannon for an arm. He’s like JaMarcus Russell only less of a fat slob. He’s perfect.

70. Philadelphia Eagles- OLB Dekoda Watson (Florida State)

The Eagles are set at two linebacker positions for next year with Stewart Bradley and Will Witherspoon, but they need one more linebacker. Watson has good upside and he has the speed Andy Reid likes out of his linebackers.

71. Cleveland Browns- QB Tony Pike (Cincinnati)

The Browns will take a quarterback in the 2010 NFL Draft. They might not do it early, but they will do it eventually. Brady Quinn hasn’t had enough of a chance to be written off as a bust, but he also hasn’t been good enough for the Browns to be confident going into next season without a backup plan in case Quinn continues to stink and by backup plan I do not mean Derek Anderson. If Derek Anderson has to throw any more football for the Browns, the citizens of Cleveland will have to be on high alert for flying footballs heading their way. Pike would fit their scheme well.

72. Buffalo Bills- 3-4 DE Tyson Alualu (California)

No quarterback available that is worth taking here so the Bills will have to go to another need. The Bills are transitioning schemes this offseason and have absolutely no personnel for it. Alualu could be a week 1 starter in a 3-4 because of his experience in a 3-4 at Cal. He’s a great high motor player who is also a great locker room presence.

73. Miami Dolphins- WR Demaryius Thomas (Georgia Tech)

The Dolphins drafted Patrick Turner in the 3rd round last year, but I think Parcells knows that was a mistake. You can’t get them all right. They need a good receiver with true #1 abilities. Thomas has the size that none of the Dolphins receivers have and he has experience in a weird style offense like the Dolphins run.

74. Jacksonville Jaguars- DE Austin Lane (Murray State)

Assuming the Jags are unable to trade up into the 2nd round or down to the late 1st to take Tebow and are forced to use the 10th pick on him, this pick will have to be defense. Their pass defense, an every level, was so bad last year. Their team leader in sacks had 2. Even as a rookie, Austin Lane could do better than that next year.

75. Chicago Bears- WR Eric Decker (Minnesota)

Decker would give the Bears the big possession receiver they currently lack so Jay Cutler doesn’t have to repeatedly force things downfield.

76. New York Giants- DT Vince Oghobaase (Duke)

The Giants’ two top defensive tackles from last year are free agents and given how much Jerry Reese likes to build in the trenches I would be very surprised if he passed on Oghobaase here. He fits what the Giants look for in a defensive tackle in terms of his pass rushing ability and he could have gone in the 2nd so getting him in the mid 3rd makes sense.

77. Tennessee Titans- CB Jerome Murphy (South Florida)

No defensive end that’s worth the pick available, so they’ll go to another need. Murphy is a good value here and could be their future replacement for Nick Harper. And by future, I mean week 1 2010. Harper is bad.

78. Carolina Panthers- TE Rob Gronkowski (Arizona)

The Panthers need an upgrade at tight end. Gronkowski is a risk coming off of back surgery, but if he had returned to school and had another good year, he would have been a lock 1st round pick in 2011.

79. San Francisco 49ers- G Mike Johnson (Alabama)

The Niners need more than one upgrade on the offensive line. Johnson is a steal at this point and would be an upgrade at right guard over David Baas, giving the Niners the big powerful offensive line they want.

80. Denver Broncos- QB Colt McCoy (Texas)

There’s a chance Kyle Orton leaves in free agency. If that happens, the Broncos will need a quarterback. Josh McDaniels will see McCoy as the best quarterback since Kyle Orton with his uncanny ability to complete 5-10 yard throws.

81. Houston Texans- CB Devin McCourty (Rutgers)

They ignored the secondary in the first because Bryant was an obvious value and in the second because they wanted a running back, but they can’t ignore it anymore. Peyton Manning burns them every single time he plays them and that will get worse next year if Dunta Robinson leaves, which I believe he will. McCourty is the best available at that position so he must be taken here.

82. Pittsburgh Steelers- OT Kyle Calloway (Iowa)

More offensive line help for one of the worst offensive lines in the league last year, Calloway is strictly a right tackle, but he’s one of the best right tackles in the draft class. He fits what the Steelers look for in a tackle, good mauling size, and good work ethic.

83. Atlanta Falcons- DE Corey Wootton (Northwestern)

After 3 years and 2.5 sacks, it’s safe to call Jamaal Anderson a bust. They drafted Lawrence Sidbury last year, but he’s only a nickel rusher. Wootton could be a steal here if he pans out and he would fit well at left end across from John Abraham.

84. Cincinnati Bengals- CB Javier Arenas (Alabama)

The Bengals are so desperate for a kick returner and cornerback depth that they are considering signing Adam Pacman Jones. Arenas is more talented and less crazy. Plus, he’s also Gilbert Arenas’ cousin and Gilbert Arenas could come shoot up the locker room if Arenas is on the team next year and the Bengals seem to like that element of danger in a player.

85. Oakland Raiders- WR Dorin Dickerson (Pittsburgh)

Dorin Dickerson ran a 4.40 40 at 6-1 226. This makes him a great receiver, almost as good as Darius Heyward Bey.

86. Green Bay Packers- S Darrell Stuckey (Kansas)

Going with their strategy of best available, they take Stuckey and use him as depth in case Atari Bigby gets hurt again.

87. Philadelphia Eagles- G John Jerry (Mississippi)

Andy Reid likes drafting massive offensive linemen and with Shawn Andrew’s future in doubt, they need some interior line help. Jerry is a massive run blocker at 335 pounds. Watch out for him at the combine; he’ll be the one making the ground shake when he runs the 40.

88. Baltimore Ravens- WR Andre Roberts (Citadel)

The Ravens don’t need just one wide receiver. If Derrick Mason isn’t back next year, they’ll need two. Roberts is a good value here after his impressive performance at Senior Bowl practices. He reminds me a lot of Austin Collie who was a 4th round steal last year.

89. Arizona Cardinals- RLB Eric Norwood (South Carolina)

The Cardinals actually had a good pass rush last year, but as a 3-4 team, they’d like to get more from their linebackers. Their three leaders in sacks from the rush linebacker position will either be retired next season, or well over 30. Even if Cody Brown, a 2009 2nd round pick who was hurt all year, pans out, they’ll still need another rush linebacker for the future. Norwood is intriguing because he could also play middle linebacker in a 3-4.

90. Dallas Cowboys- OT Jared Veldheer (Hillsdale)

Continuing to add some youth to one of the oldest offensive lines in the league, the Cowboys take the massive kid from a tiny school, Jared Veldheer. Veldheer is 6-9 325 and certainly fits what the Cowboys look for in terms of an offensive lineman. He was one of, if not the most dominant offensive tackle in Division I-AA over the last 4 years and didn’t miss a single start in his 4 years at Hillsdale.

91. San Diego Chargers- OT Ciron Black (LSU)

We can’t blame LT solely for the Chargers inability to run last year. Their run blocking was horrendous, especially on the right side of their line. Black isn’t much of a pass blocker, but he would be an upgrade as a run blocking right tackle for this team.

92. Cleveland Browns- RLB Jason Worilds (Virginia Tech)

Another rush linebacker is needed opposite Kameron Wimbley. Worilds has good upside as a rush linebacker, but has yet to put it all together as a pass rusher.

93. Minnesota Vikings- C JD Walton (Baylor)

Why did a running back as good as Adrian Peterson struggle late in the season? Poor interior blocking had something to do with it. John Sullivan really did a poor job replacing Matt Birk and with All-American first teamer JD Walton available here, they should take him to upgrade their center position.

94. Indianapolis Colts- G Jon Asamoah (Illinois)

The Colts need upgrade with their interior blocking and Asamoah would be a great fit for their scheme.

95. New Orleans Saints- DE Brandon Lang (Troy)

Charles Grant is owed a lot of money next season, and for the next 2 after that, so they should cut him while there is no cap, and target an end in the first 3 rounds of the draft. Lang is the best available. 

 

 

1. St. Louis Rams 1-15

The Rams considered drafting Mark Sanchez last year, but the truth was they had too much money tied up in the quarterback position already with Marc Bulger and his giant contract and cutting Bulger would have been too much of a cap hit. This year, they can cut Bulger and actually save money so this is probably his last year in St. Louis, unless the Rams fail to get anyone better than him. Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen is, with Bradford’s injury, the most complete quarterback in this draft class and would be an excellent addition to a Rams team that already has its left tackle and defensive end of the future. Don’t listen to Todd McShay when he says Clausen isn’t very good. For more on why McShay is an idiot, click here. Many will argue Ndamukong Suh here, but, as dominant of a prospect he is, he doesn’t have the positional value here. History has shown, if a team needs a left tackle or quarterback early in the draft, they will take that above all else, even the consensus top prospect. Remember Glenn Dorsey? How about Aaron Curry? Here’s some facts. Since 1998, 36 players have gone in the top three overall. 15 have been quarterbacks, 6 have been offensive tackles, and 6 have been defensive ends. That’s only 25% that aren’t quarterbacks, offensive tackles, or defensive ends. When you look closer, all 12 #1 overall picks since 1998 have been quarterback, offensive tackles, or defensive end. Those positions just have so much more positional value than any other. For more facts on the top 3 picks, click here. The Rams don’t need an offensive tackle or defensive end, so it’ll be quarterback here. Right now, other mock drafters seem to be leanings towards Suh over Clausen. For more information check out our NFL Mock Draft Database.

2. Detroit Lions 2-14

The Lions need a franchise left tackle badly, but they have proven that they have the tendency to take the best available player regardless of need. Left tackle would help them and Matt Stafford majorly, but they are going to take best available player. Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh is the best available player, by far, and it’s not like the Lions don’t need any help at that position. Despite the surprisingly good play of Sammie Lee Hill at defensive tackle, they are still ranked 21st against the run, although they have looked better over the past few weeks. However, left tackle is more of an immediate need for them. I hope, if they don’t take one in the first round, that they take one in the 2nd round, for their own good. Jeff Backus is not the guy you want protecting Matt Stafford’s blindside during his development. But, you can’t really blame the Lions for taking the best available player, especially when he’s a player that is as dominant at his position as Ndamukong Suh. Only 1 defensive tackle has gone in the top three since 1998, but Suh is that good.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13

The Bucs want to build around their defensive line. Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy is available. He’s not the dominant defensive tackle Suh is, but he’s a great finesse one gap penetrator at defensive tackle that could flourish if the Bucs decide to switch back to a Tampa 2 defensive system. The Bucs could also trade down if someone like Seattle offers enough to move up here and take a franchise left tackle like Russell Okung because, even though he’ll probably be the guy they’re targeting, they can get McCoy a few picks farther down.

4. Washington Redskins 4-12

The writing is on the wall for Jason Campbell. There’s a new head coach and a new GM in town. The guys who drafted him are gone, most of them long gone. He just happened to have his 2 worst games of his career in the last 3 weeks of this season and now he’s a restricted free agent. Even if the Redskins tender him a contract, they’ll likely trade him to the highest bidder and even if he isn’t traded, he’ll likely only be back on a one year deal to be a stop gap while a young quarterback waits to take over in 2011, a smart idea. Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford has a lot of issues, namely his injured shoulder and the system he played in during college, but if history is any indicator, there’s a good chance he sneaks up into the top 5. Last year, I had Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman in the 2nd round at this points. Sanchez went 5th and Freeman went 17th. Why? If a team needs a quarterback in the first round, chances are they take one even if it’s a reach. There are way too many teams with needs at the quarterback position this year, including Washington, for guys like Bradford and Tim Tebow, who look like borderline 1st round picks on paper, to not go in the top 15.

5. Kansas City Chiefs 4-12

Brandan Albert was one of the worst starting left tackles in the league this year and he’s movable, either by trade or more likely to a different position, for many reasons. He doesn’t have a large contract. The regime that drafted him is no longer in town. He has versatility position wise and can also play right tackle or left guard in addition to left tackle. There’s a very good chance that Albert isn’t their left tackle next year and if Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung is still available at #5, I would be very surprised if they didn’t draft him. The only reason I can see them passing on Okung is if they have their mind set on signing Matt Light in 2011 in an attempt to recreate the 2003 New England Patriots. I hear Ty Law and Troy Brown are still looking for work.

6. Seattle Seahawks 5-11

Pete Carroll could go a number of ways with his two first round picks. He could go best available. He could draft for need. He could value getting his own franchise quarterback above anything and with the way Matt Hasselbeck played at the end of the season last year, that might not be a bad idea. He could value drafting former USC players above anything. However, there’s one thing that I think is certain. If a player as good as Tennessee FS Eric Berry is available at #6, Carroll, unless he’s completely inept, is going to take him. Carroll knows talent obviously as shown by his major success at USC and I highly doubt he passes on someone as talented as Eric Berry.

7. Cleveland Browns 5-11

This is where the draft hits a crossroad. I have no idea what the Browns are going to do here. Eric Mangini didn’t draft his own guy at quarterback last year in his first offseason and with new team president Mike Holmgren, there’s a chance they go that direction, but I doubt they’ll reach for Tim Tebow to do it, especially with how much Eric Mangini enjoyed drafting random positions last year. Plus, I don’t think we’ve seen enough of Brady Quinn to call him a bust yet. I think the Browns will either draft down or go best available, but the problem is, determining who I believe they will see as best available. This pick could very well be Derrick Morgan, but he’s not a good fit for the 3-4 defense, so I won’t mock him here unless I here something from Cleveland saying that the coaching staff believes him to have the ability to play rush linebacker. Rolando McClain makes sense and I’ve actually had him here at this spot before, but then again, 3-4 middle linebackers rarely go top 10. Even Patrick Willis slipped to #11. That leaves Dez Bryant and Joe Haden, a wide receiver and a cornerback. I’ll go with Florida CB Joe Haden for now because Mangini obviously enjoys less valuable positions  like cornerback…or center, but don’t quote me on this one just yet.

8. Oakland Raiders 5-11

JaMarcus Russell could be easily replaced with a large sack of potatoes with a Raiders Jersey on it and no one would notice. Because of that, quarterback is a major possibility here, especially if Tebow runs a fast 40 like Al Davis likes, but I don’t think his arm is quite strong enough for Davis’ liking. Davis would have likely drafted USC FS Taylor Mays at #7 last year if he hadn’t returned to school. While at school, Mays’ flaws were exposed in a big way, but of course Al Davis hasn’t noticed because he’s been dead for 3 years. If Mays can live up to his measurables, 6-3 230 4.3, he’s a very good candidate to go here.

9. Buffalo Bills 6-10

Alabama MLB Rolando McClain is the best available player here, but I could never mock him to the Bills at 9 before because, despite their major need for a middle linebacker and someone to help stop the run, McClain doesn’t have top ten pick value as a 4-3 middle linebacker. However, now that the Bills have switched to a 3-4 with a new regime in town, it becomes more likely that they will draft McClain here. The first thing a new regime will do when it comes to town, after bringing in their own guy at quarterback if they feel it necessary, will be getting guys to fit their system, especially if they drastically change the system, like from a 4-3 zone to a 3-4. They don’t have anyone who fits the 3-4 middle linebacker position on their roster because all of their linebackers are too small, as they could be in a zone 4-3. McClain helps a team that was 31st in the league against the run not become worse this year, and also is the best available player.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-9

Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver pretty much promised that the Jags would draft in state Florida QB Tim Tebow in the first round in an attempt to sell more tickets and save the franchise’s future in Jacksonville. He seems to have forgotten that the Jags already have a good quarterback, David Garrard, who has a 60% completion percentage in each of his four years as starter as well as 59 touchdowns to 35 picks, but I guess the Jags will do what they have to do to make Jacksonville football fans, who clearly don’t care, come to the stadium, rather than moving the team to a city that deserves a franchise like San Antonio or Los Angeles. Despite what media is saying, Tim Tebow’s Senior Bowl performance was neutral. He had some nice throws, some bad throws, but for the most part played out of an offense similar to what he played in at Florida so we can’t really make a judgement. However, all that being said, I think this pick will most likely be traded. The Jags really don’t have to worry about anyone else taking Tebow between now and Minnesota at 29, so they can trade down with a team like Philly who would be interested in taking Derrick Morgan here, and get themselves a 2nd round pick and another pick in the process. The Jags, in addition to not selling tickets, sucked on defense last year and if they take Tebow here instead of trading down, they’ll have to wait until the 3rd round to fill a defensive need.

11. Denver Broncos 8-8 (via CHI)

I’ve had Dez Bryant here in recent weeks, but if the Broncos trade Brandon Marshall because Josh McDaniels would rather have a team of completely silent players than players that act out a little bit, why would they want Bryant? Bryant was suspended all last season, for the most part. It was for something stupid and completely unfair, but then again Josh McDaniels is not very smart. The Broncos will go with a wide receiver here who doesn’t have a history of “character issues” that also has the size to replace Marshall. Illinois WR Arrelious Benn is not the smart pick here, but he didn’t have any problems with his coaches or the NCAA in his time at Illinois and he has the size to replace Marshall. He also didn’t produce last year and is mostly physical upside, but again, Josh McDaniels isn’t very smart. This is the guy who last season drafted a running back at 12 that he could have gotten at 18, drafted a guy at 18 who didn’t fit the scheme, traded a future first rounder for a nickel corner who did nothing this year, and traded up into the 2ndround for a blocking tight end that they could have gotten in the 7th. If Marshall is kept, Dan Williams will probably be the pick, but I could also see Jermaine Gresham go here because the Broncos will need a tight end after they refuse to resign Tony Scheffler.

12. Miami Dolphins 7-9

I’ve had them taking a nose tackle in recent weeks, but the more I think about it, the more I think Bill Parcells will love South Florida RLB Jason Pierre Paul. JPP would be a perfect fit for his scheme at rush linebacker, where they do need help, and he has great upside. If the Dolphins sign Elvis Dumervil in the offseason, he wants to follow Mike Nolan to Miami and he’s from Miami, then this pick will be a nose tackle once again, but I don’t think Parcells will pass on JPP. The fact that they will likely release Joey Porter makes this move make more sense.

13. San Francisco 49ers 8-8

Joe Staley is supposed to be the left tackle, but he’s hurt. Even when he’s healthy, he’s a liability against the pass and belongs at right tackle where the Niners currently have a load of crap. The Niners have 2 picks in this first round and can use the first of the two, with no other huge needs that they can fill with the players left on the board, on an elite left tackle. Rutgers OT Anthony Davis is the best available tackle here and he’s too good for the Niners to pass on at 13. He’s very raw, but he’s also 20 years old only, and has only two years experience playing tackle and already he’s a very strong mauling blocker and a good right tackle at best. However, he has the upside to be an elite left tackle as well.

14. Seattle Seahawks 5-11 (via DEN)

Pete Carroll has a pretty easy first round of his first NFL draft since returning to the NFL this year, huh? Just take the guy who is glaringly the best player available and fills a major need. Their left tackle position is a mess. Walter Jones could be done for his career and Sean Locklear, even when healthy, is more of a right tackle than a left. If they take a good zone blocking left tackle here like Maryland OT Bruce Campbell, who is shooting up my draft board and plenty of others’, they can have a very strong young offensive line. Having Campbell and Locklear together on the offensive line would allow them to move Ray Willis from tackle to guard, where he belongs, and give them a very good offensive line for the future, with Locklear and Campbell at tackle and Willis and promising rookie, and 2009 2nd round pick, Max Unger at guard. Campbell is a steal here.

15. New York Giants 8-8

As weird as it may sound, the Giants only had 32 sacks last season, despite all of the money they have invested in their defensive line. Now, Osi Umenyiora wants out because he’s insulted that he was turned into a 3rd round rusher alone late last season. There’s a good chance they either cut him to take his large cap number off of the payroll, or trade him to a team like St. Louis who needs a veteran defensive line leader. Osi has also had his best success under Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, the former Giants defensive coordinator. If Osi leaves, they’ll definitely have to look for more help on the defensive line and even if he stays, they might consider Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan here simply because Giants GM Jerry Reese is such a fan of the best player available strategy when it comes to drafting.

16. Tennessee Titans 8-8

The Titans are known for their defense under Jeff Fisher. However, defense is now an issue for them. They lost Albert Haynesworth and replaced him with Jovan Haye, which, no offense to Haye, is a big downgrade. Starting corner Nick Harper is 35 and their linebackers are very mediocre with the exception of Keith Bulluck, who happens to be 32 and in the last season of his contract. I think this is the farthest Tennessee DT Dan Williams falls. As weird as it may seem, he’s a do everything nose tackle. He’s 325 pounds, but has experience playing in a system similar to the one the Titans run now and he’s also an in-state college kid. He is mobile enough to play in Tennessee’s system and, though he’s not the pass rusher Haynesworth was, he can be the big mobile body that Haynesworth was in the middle of their defense a couple of years ago and free things up for the guys on the outside. He’d be a great compliment to their roster full of sub 300 pound defensive tackles.

17. San Francisco 49ers 8-8

When ‘Dre Bly is not busy making a fool of himself on an interception, by high stepping starting from the 30 yard line with a potential tackler a few feet behind him such that he gets tackled, loses the ball, and turns 7 points into a fumble, he’s busy getting burnt by quicker, faster, younger, more athletic receivers. The only reason he has a job is because Walt Harris, who is equally old and slow, had to have season ending knee surgery before the season. I don’t think Shawntae Spencer is the answer either, but with Nate Clements reportedly moving to free safety next year, Spencer is probably going to start another year. Regardless, they would still need a corner to play opposite him. Michigan CB Donovan Warren is shooting up draft boards this season, after a down year last season. He’s a great man-on-man corner who quarterbacks don’t even try to throw on and he’s tough and physical against the run which Mike Singletary will love.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7

Its painfully obvious that the Steelers need offensive line help after giving up 20 sacks to the Browns, Packers, Ravens, and Dolphins in the last 4 weeks of the season. However, they’ve needed offensive line help for years and haven’t done anything about it. Plus, its also painfully obvious that Mike Tomlin doesn’t trust his defense, even more painfully obvious than their offensive line is bad. Mike Tomlin tried an onside kick with a 2 point lead in a game late in the season against the Packers because he didn’t trust his defense to stop Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Packers would recover and score and if it weren’t for late game heroics from Big Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin would have been the laughing stock of the NFL. That is how far this defense has fallen since being one of the best in history last year. The biggest reason for their defensive struggles has been Troy Polamalu’s injuries. In the 5 games in which he has played, the Steelers were 4-1 and allowed 13.8 points per game. In the games he missed, they gave up 23.2 and were consequently 5-6. Their lack of a good safety opposite him is obvious. Texas FS Earl Thomas is probably the best player available and the Steelers have shown in recent years that they are fans of the best player available strategy drafting guys like Rashard Mendenhall and Evander Hood in the first round even when they weren’t their biggest needs.

19. Atlanta Falcons 9-7

I’m hearing from sources that the Falcons are greatly leading towards a cornerback here, despite defensive end also being a major need. Some have even said that a cornerback going here is as close to a being a lock as there is in the first round. Atlanta reportedly loves Boise State CB Kyle Wilson whose stock is soaring after the Senior Bowl. Normally I’d be wary of a fast riser like Wilson, but I have been high on him for a while giving him a fairly steady 2nd round grade. He’d be a reach, but if they like him, there are a lot worse things they can do. All of the defensive ends available are upside guys for the most part, Everson Griffen, Greg Hardy, Carlos Dunlap, but if this team sees Brandon Graham as a fit for the 4-3 despite his height, he could also be the pick here. He’s the hard worker Mike Smith likes.

20. Houston Texans 9-7

The Texans need a good defensive back, especially a cornerback, but there aren’t any available that aren’t huge reaches so the Texans can really just go with the best available. Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant is a huge steal at this point in the draft. If he pans out, opposing defensive coordinators are going to have nightmares about having to guard both him and Andre Johnson, and Owen Daniels coming over the middle as a tight end.

21. Cincinnati Bengals 10-7

The Bengals proved by signing Matt Jones that they are not done taking chances on guys with character problems, even though the team played well last year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, Cedric Benson looked like the MVP of the league before he got hurt and Larry Johnson helped the Bengals late last year when Benson was hurt and 2009 2nd round pick Rey Maualuga who dropped for character reasons was in the running for defensive player of the year this season. Florida DE Carlos Dunlap has an awful work ethic and recently was arrested for drunk driving, but those things are like turn ons to whoever if drafting for the Bengals. Antawn Odom is talented when healthy, but he rarely is so, assuming Michael Johnson doesn’t pan out, the Bengals still need a right end of the future and Dunlap, who has athleticism, 6-6 290 4.7, could be that guy if he straightens himself out. The signing of Matt Jones makes their need for a wide receiver lesser so I doubt they reach for one here.

22. New England Patriots 10-7

As a Patriots fan, the Pats’ defense makes me cringe. They let Devery Henderson run straight down field for a touchdown without a guy within 10 yards of him against New Orleans and then missed 4 tackles as the Saints turned a loss on a screen play to a touchdown and they were only able to sack Brees once all game. Then Chad Henne came out and burned their defense again. However, Bill Belicheck will go value over need every time, especially with 3 picks in the 2nd round to work with. Clemson RB CJ Spiller would help the Patriots become even more explosive on offensive by adding that explosive homerun hitting back that they lack right now. He would compliment Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk well. They’re also always a candidate to trade down.

23. Green Bay Packers 10-7

The Packers have done a better job of protecting Rodgers since Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton have returned from injury, but both are in their 30s and could retire soon. Before those two were both healthy, Rodgers was sacked 37 times in 8 games. If Tauscher and Clifton retire and neither are replaced by then, Aaron Rodgers could actually die on the field. They need a good young tackle familiar with a zone blocking scheme and athletic enough to play in it. Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga is the best available left tackle. He had injury issues this year, but has all the physical tools to be an elite left tackle in the NFL and he has the athleticism and familiarity to play in the Packers zone blocking scheme.

24. Philadelphia Eagles 11-6

Andy Reid is still the coach of the Eagles and he likes to take big defensive linemen. They need an every down left end, which they lack right now. Reid will not shy away from taking one, especially if Michigan DE Brandon Graham is still available. He fits what the Eagles look for in a defensive end, tenacious and never quitting and a good bull rusher. He could be a ten sack guy in the future in the Eagles system opposite Trent Cole.

25. Baltimore Ravens 10-8

Baltimore did not draft a wide receiver which means they are confident in their ability to resign Derrick Mason, a free agent after the 2009 season. That might be a bad move because if Mason leaves, they are really only left with Mark Clayton, which would be very bad for young quarterback Joe Flacco’s development moving forward. Even if Mason returns, he will be 36 by next year’s Super Bowl, so they need a longterm replacement. USC WR Damian Williams is the best available at a position of huge need and is the logical pick here.

26. Arizona Cardinals 11-7

The Cardinals already have 3 good wide receivers, but they have yet to get an upgrade at tight end. Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham is too good for them to pass up at this point. Even with his injury, Gresham is one of the best pass catching tight end prospects of the decade. He will make this Cardinals offense that much deadlier for whoever the quarterback is in the future.

27. Dallas Cowboys 12-6

I don’t think the Cowboys, needing upgrades all across their offensive line will pass on Idaho G Mike Iupati. All of their starting offensive lineman are over 30 and their lack of depth was very evident in their playoff loss to the Vikings. Iupati has the size that the Cowboys love in an offensive lineman. The faces of the once asleep Dallas Cowboys’ scouts perked up majorly at the Senior Bowl when Iupati’s name was announced at the weigh in. He makes too much sense here.

28. San Diego Chargers 13-4

Always ones to surprise, the Chargers can be tough to predict. However, I have a hunch that this pick could be Alabama NT Terrence Cody. I know nose tackle isn’t a huge need, but Jamal Williams is on the wrong side of 30 and coming off of major surgery. Nose tackles like Cody are extremely rare so the Chargers, who run a pure 3-4 defense, shouldn’t pass on the chance to grab a true nose tackle here at 28.

29. New York Jets 11-8

Trading for Mark Sanchez was the right longterm move for the franchise, especially given how little they had to give up to move up to get him. One player they did give up was Kenyon Coleman. He is a 3-4 defensive end, so he’s absence did not hurt them a ton, especially when you consider they got a franchise quarterback, but they still do need to replace him. Penn State DE Jared Odrick plays defensive tackle in college, but would be a natural fit for this team at 3-4 defensive end, which is a big need where they have a major hole.

30. Minnesota Vikings 13-5

The Vikings seem to be set for the future on the offensive end, with the exception of quarterback, but I doubt the Vikings would reach a quarterback in this situation, especially since all of the quarterbacks available here could be there when they pick in the 2nd round. Defensively, they have a few issues that need to be filled. This team is built upon their defensive line’s ability to stuff the run. Pat Williams will turn 37 in October and the Vikings need to bulk up their line and their depth at the defensive tackle position. They can’t afford to lose their biggest strength, so they take a high upside defensive tackle here, in UCLA DT Brian Price, who can come in, learn from the Williamses, and hopefully be able to take Pat’s place when he moves on. Price is an amazing pass rusher for his size and would fill Pat’s old pass rushing tackle role nicely. He should be able to capitalize on his 7 sacks this season and get drafted in the first round as the 3rd defensive tackle off the board.

31. Indianapolis Colts 16-3

Little known Charlie Johnson did a decent job of protecting Peyton Manning’s blindside this year, though with a quarterback as smart as Manning, its not hard to look good protecting him. Still, Johnson, who was decent, but not great, is a free agent this offseason, and the Colts are a team that tends to use the strategy of best available when it comes to drafting. USC OT Charles Brown would be a perfect fit for their zone blocking scheme and he’s too talented to slip much further. He would be an upgrade over Johnson and a more longterm fix for the Colts. 

32. New Orleans Saints 16-3

The Saints, with only 1 pick in the first 3 rounds of the 2009 NFL draft, were unable to secure a good young outside linebacker. Good news for them, they’ll be able to add a great one here in Missouri OLB Sean Weatherspoon. Lewis will add another young playmaker to an improving defense and help this team in all facets of the game. If it weren’t for Brandon Graham, Weatherspoon would be the MVP of the Senior Bowl. He looked excellent doing everything from getting into the backfield, to covering a much faster man and breaking up the pass, to getting a late interception.

33. St. Louis Rams- WR Golden Tate (Notre Dame)

If the Rams draft Jimmy Clausen, they better get him someone to throw to. Who better than Golden Tate, his leading receiver at Notre Dame over the past two years, who also happens to be the best available receiver. Tate should continue to be Clausen’s favorite target next year if the two remain teammates. Side note: If the Rams pass on Clausen, they’ll have to choose between Colt McCoy and Tony Pike and besides the obvious reasons why Clausen is better than them, stronger arm, better production, pro style offense experience, younger, history shows that if a guy drops to the 2nd round, there’s normally a pretty good reason for that. For more on that, click here.

34. Detroit Lions- WR Brandon LaFell (LSU)

The Lions always like to grab the guy they feel is the best available and that could be LaFell, who could have gone in the first round. Wide receiver isn’t a huge need, but they do need someone opposite Calvin Johnson and with Matt Stafford throwing to Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew, and LaFell, they could have very balanced, young, and explosive offense. Offensive line help is also needed, but they appear content with Jeff Backus at left tackle and they wouldn’t use this pick on a guard.

35. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- DE Everson Griffen (USC)

The Bucs continue to rebuild their defense in the trenches. They got a 2nd round pick for Gaines Adams (RIP) so I would be very surprised if they didn’t take a replacement at right end for him. Styles G White is a decent nickel rusher, but not an every down end. Griffen has too much upside too fall any further even if there are questions about his hustle, motivation, and whether or not he can put it all together.

36. Kansas City Chiefs- RLB Jerry Hughes (TCU)

The Chiefs more than doubled their sack total in 2009! That would be amazing if it weren’t for the fact that they only had 10 sacks in 2008. They need an elite #1 pass rusher and luckily for them, Jerry Hughes falls out of fear that he’ll bust. Many rush linebacker prospects have busted in recent years because they are learning a new position (see Vernon Gholston). The Chiefs can afford to take a risk on Hughes here, in fact they can’t afford not to take a risk on him.

37. Washington Redskins- RB Jahvid Best (California)

Daniel Snyder is such a fan of big names and selling tickets that, even with their offensive line issues, he’s not going to be able to pass on Best here. Best would compliment an aging Clinton Portis well and would be an excellent fit in new coach ike Shanahan’s zone style offense.

38. Cleveland Browns- MLB Brandon Spikes (Florida)

Again, Eric Mangini is unpredictable as a drafter. He’ll probably trade down 5 times and draft a kicker, but I’ll give him some credit and assume he’ll just take best available. Spikes would fit their 3-4 defense really well and give them a much needed upgrade inside next to D’Qwell Jackson.

39. Oakland Raiders- OT Trent Williams (Oklahoma)

They are only rumors, but Trent Williams may have once run a 4.85 40 in practice at 6-5 315. If he’s anywhere near that fast at the combine, speed crazy Al Davis will take him here in the 2nd round. At least he’ll be an upgrade over Mario Henderson. Actually, this isn’t a bad pick.

40. Seattle Seahawks- CB Brandon Ghee (Wake Forest)

Marcus Trufant was the most penalized defensive back in the league last year. That’s bad enough, but when you consider that he did that despite missing the first 6 games of the season with injury. Something tells me the Seahawks could be looking for some young blood at the cornerback position this offseason, even if they do draft Eric Berry to play safety. Ghee would fit the scheme well and he is the best available cornerback.

41. Buffalo Bills- NT Cam Thomas (North Carolina)

The Bills were 31st in the league against the run out of 32 teams last year. Now they are switching to a 3-4. If they can’t get a big nose tackle to center their 3-4 around, they could be even worse against the run next year. Cam Thomas is a 3rdround prospect in my book, but after a huge Senior Bowl, and in a weak nose tackle class, he has the potential to go here.

42. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- WR Jeremy Williams (Tulane)

Head Coach Raheem Morris said that their biggest offseason need is to build around Josh Freeman. Well, if Antonio Bryant leaves as a free agent, Josh Freeman isn’t going to have any good receivers. Even if Bryant stays, he’s inconsistent and they do need an upgrade opposite him. This wide receiver class is pretty thick towards the top so they can take a guy like Williams here and be content that they have a guy who, at the very least, is a future #2.

43. Miami Dolphins- FS Nate Allen (South Florida)

Gibril Wilson was a waste of money. For all they paid him, he was still benched midseason. Chris Clemons was average at best in relief of him and he’s more of a strong safety anyway. Allen is a natural free safety and Bill Parcells is going to like him because of his fundamentals and the way he plays football.

44. New England Patriots- 3-4 DE LaMarr Houston (Texas)

Again, they’ll probably trade down, but Houston would be a good fit for their defense. They need a longterm replacement for Richard Seymour and Houston fits as a 3-4 defense end.

45. Denver Broncos- DE Arthur Jones (Syracuse)

As mentioned in the first round, the Broncos flat out sucked against the run in the 2nd half of last season. Losing defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is only going to hurt this team against the run (yes, I did just say something good about Mike Nolan, horrible coach, excellent defensive coordinator). If McDaniels is a capable drafter (based on his 2009 showing I’m not so sure) he’ll focus 2 early picks on the front 7 in an effort finally make this team decent against the run.

46. New York Giants- SS Chad Jones (LSU)

The Giants gave up the 13th fewest yards in the league, but also the 3rd most points. That means they gave up a ton of big plays for touchdowns, whether on the ground or through the air, and they couldn’t stop anyone in the red zone. Both of those show poor safety play, which means sense because they are starting Michael Johnson and Aaron Rouse at safety after losing James Butler to free agency and Kenny Phillips to injury. Even if Phillips does return from his injury, which is not a guarantee at this point, they need a good safety to pair with him. Jones is the best available safety.

47. New England Patriots (via JAC)- RLB Sergio Kindle (Texas)

Bill Belicheck seems hesitant to draft a rush linebacker, which is weird because he’s never hesitant to do anything. It must be because of how few of the defensive ends switching to rush linebacker actually pan out. For more on that, click here. However, he can’t hesitate anymore, the Pats only managed 31 sacks all last year and their pass defense suffered because of it. Kindle is a safe bet here because he has experience playing standing up at outside linebacker at Texas, in addition to playing defensive end, so he is going to be comfortable in coverage and blitzing from an outside position. Again, for more on why drafting rush linebackers with experience at outside linebacker is important, click the link above. Kindle also has huge upside.

48. Carolina Panthers- WR Eric Decker (Minnesota)

Part of the reason for Jake Delhomme’s struggles last year was because he had no one to throw to except Steve Smith. Matt Moore appears to be the quarterback of the future for this team so they’ll need to get him someone to compliment Smith. Decker would be perfect for the job because he’s a consistent possession receiver, whereas Smith is an inconsistent deep threat.  

49. San Francisco 49ers- RB Dexter McCluster (Mississippi)

I’ve heard rumors about the Niners possibly taking CJ Spiller in the first round, but when they have other needs, why would they take a luxury guy like Spiller in the first, especially when they can take McCluster in the 2nd. I can’t say for sure where McCluster is going, because he would fit so many teams, but he can definitely help the Niners in many ways. He can be their Percy Harvin. He can be a 3rd round back, a slot receiver, and help in the return game. Just put the ball in his hands and good things could happen.

50. Kansas City Chiefs (via ATL)- TE Aaron Hernandez (Florida)

The Chiefs got this pick from Atlanta for Tony Gonzalez. They might want to consider using it on a replacement tight end, because Matt Cassel needs more guys to throw to. Scott Pioli could be partial to Hernandez over guys like Dennis Pitta and Rob Gronkowski because he reminds people of Ben Watson, who he worked with in New England.

51. Houston Texans- CB Patrick Robinson (Florida State)

The Texans had 14 interceptions all year last year and 4 of those came from their linebackers and 9 from their safeties, including 4 from Bernard Pollard (hey, maybe the Chiefs shouldn’t have cut him). That leaves only 1 interception by any of their cornerbacks. Robinson had 7 in his career at Florida State and he had a very good game in the Senior Bowl.

52. Pittsburgh Steelers- G Maurkice Pouncey (Florida)

The Steelers need offensive line upgrades. Pouncey, at 319 pounds, is the physical type lineman that the Steelers like. He can play 4 positions on the line, including center and right tackle, in addition to both guard spots.

53. New England Patriots- WR Dezmon Briscoe (Kansas)

Randy Moss has only one year left on his contract and based on his effort last year and the Patriots early playoff exit, there’s a good chance they either trade or cut him this offseason. They would need a deep threat to compliment either Wes Welker or Julian Edelman, depending on whether or not Welker can play. Briscoe would fit the scheme extremely well because he played in a similar scheme and had huge numbers at Kansas last year.

54. Cincinnati Bengals- WR Marshawn Gilyard (Cincinnati)

Signing Matt Jones alone isn’t going to help their offensive issues. From week 9, when Chris Henry went out with an injury to the end of the season, Carson Palmer threw for 1254 yards in 8 games, 427 coming in games against the Lions and Raiders. Chris Henry died in December after a tragic accident. RIP. However, in football, life moves on, it has to. They need a deep threat, and not a possession guy like Jones, to compliment Chad Ochocinco otherwise Palmer is doomed to have another mediocre year. In fact, as shown in the playoffs, he could be worse than mediocre next year if they don’t get a deep threat at wide receiver. Gilyard really raised his stock with a big Senior Bowl. He’s a local product and a redemption story after losing his scholarship for academic reasons early in his college career which the Bengals will like.

55. Philadelphia Eagles- OLB Daryl Washington (TCU)

The Eagles need an outside linebacker opposite Will Witherspoon next season. Daryl Washington is an excellent fundamental player and a fluid athlete and would fit the Eagles scheme perfectly.

56. Green Bay Packers- CB Perrish Cox (Oklahoma State)

Cox helps the Packers in two ways. He can help as a defensive back, starting out as a nickel guy, and maybe challenging Tramon Williams for a starting job. Plus, Charles Woodson isn’t going to last forever so Cox can be their longterm replacement for him. He can also play some safety. Cox also would help in the return game.

57. Baltimore Ravens- CB Domonique Franks (Oklahoma)

After Lardarius Webb got hurt, the Ravens had to starting kick returner Chris Carr at cornerback. I think its safe to say they need some cornerback depth and Franks provides good depth and upside at the position.

58. Arizona Cardinals- OT Jason Fox (Miami)

Both of the Cardinals starting tackles gave up 9 sacks last year. Kurt Warner played well through it, but Matt Leinart is nowhere near as mentally tough, so they’ll definitely need tackle help. Fox is solely a left tackle, and they might have to take one more tackle before the draft is over, but he has first round talent. He only falls here because of his lack of versatility and questions about his health, knee surgery, and heart problems.

59. Dallas Cowboys- G Vladimir Ducasse (Massachusetts)

In case you couldn’t tell during their playoff game against the Vikings, in which Tony Romo was sacked 6 times, the Cowboys at least need some depth at the offensive line position. All 5 of their starting offensive lineman from last year are currently 30 or older. Ducasse can play both guard positions, in addition to right tackle, and possibly left tackle. He’s also 340 pounds and the Cowboys like their offensive lineman big.

60. San Diego Chargers- Jonathan Dwyer (Georgia Tech)

Its safe to say after his awful stinker of a season, in which he averaged 3.3 YPA, LT won’t be back next season. The Chargers can safe money by cutting him so I wouldn’t be surprised if they cut him. Even if they don’t cut him, he’s not going to be around much longer so I would be really surprised if they didn’t draft a running back in the first 3 rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft. Dwyer is the best available.

61. New York Jets- RLB Ricky Sapp (Clemson)

I’ve mocked a wide receiver here in recent weeks, but reports say that the Jets will use their 1st/3rd tender on Braylon Edwards, which means unless someone is stupid enough to give up their 1st and 3rd for Braylon Edwards, Edwards is going to stay in town next year. He could be upgraded, but if the Jets are willing to use their 1st/3rd tender on him, they probably believe in his abilities, so defensive minded Coach Rex Ryan will focus on defense here. If the Jets can get a good rush linebacker prospect in the first 3 rounds of the NFL draft, they’ll cut Vernon Gholston and his 0 career sacks and start over at the position. Sapp has experience at both defensive end and outside linebacker making him an ideal fit as a rush linebacker.

62. Minnesota Vikings- DE Greg Hardy (Mississippi)

The Vikings like to take risks with their picks. Hardy has first round talent, but there are major questions about his health and motivation. Maybe falling to the end of the 2nd round will motivate him. The Vikings could have a major steal here if Hardy pans out and that would make their defensive line that much more dangerous. Ray Edwards is a free agent so they need to look at potential replacements.

63. Indianapolis Colts- DT Mike Neal (Purdue)

They drafted Fili Moala in the 2nd round last year, but he only had 8 tackles this year, 5 in the last two games when they weren’t even trying. Even if by some miracle he pans out, they will still need an upgrade inside next to him and Neal fits the scheme well as a one gap penetrator. 

64. New Orleans Saints- RB Joe McKnight (USC)

Reggie Bush was an important part of their Super Bowl win. However, he’s also owed 12 million dollars next year. Unless he agrees to a pay cut, not out of the question, they will be looking for replacements for him in the NFL Draft, in an attempt to be able to cut him. McKnight can do most of the things Bush can, at a much cheaper rate.

65. St. Louis Rams- OLB Navarro Bowman (Penn State)

They traded Will Witherspoon midseason and replaced him with Paris Lenon and, no surprised, afterwards, their defense really sucked. Lenon is a free agent anyway. The Rams have bigger needs like their defensive line, but Bowman has big upside if he can stop getting into off the field trouble.

66. Detroit Lions- CB Jerome Murphy (South Florida)

The Lions can’t go through the first 3 rounds of the draft and not draft a cornerback and I think they know that. Their pass defense was horrendous last year. If they can’t get Kyle Wilson, who they like a lot, in the 2nd, a guy like Jerome Murphy would make sense here at the top of the 3rd.

67. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- OLB Dekoda Watson (Florida State)

The Bucs released Derrick Brooks and Cato June last offseason and replaced them with a former safety and the oft injured Angelo Crowell. Wow, I wonder why they sucked on defense this year. Assuming they transition back to a Tampa 2 style defense, Watson would be a great fit for their defense. He isn’t very big, but he has great speed and had a good Senior Bowl making several plays on outside runs.

68. Kansas City Chiefs- WR Jordan Shipley (Texas)

The Chiefs went through about 8 wide receivers opposite Dwayne Bowe this season until they finally found Chris Chambers who worked for them. Chambers is now a free agent and might not be back and even if he is, they don’t have much depth below him. Shipley would fit the scheme well. He would be able to be a sure handed guy for Matt Cassel to catch his short stuff the way Wes Welker was in New England.

69. Oakland Raiders- QB Jevan Snead (Mississippi)

As soon as Al Davis sees how far straight down field Snead can throw a football, he’ll be in love. Snead would be a perfect fit for the genius Raiders scheme, which consists of a guy with a strong arm throwing the ball straight down field to a bunch of fast guys and hoping one of them catches it.

70. Philadelphia Eagles- S Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech)

Sean Jones wasn’t very good this season so the Eagles, who don’t have a bunch of needs, could take Burnett here to be a potential upgrade for Jones. Burnett is a 2nd round talent who is a bit of a steal here.

71. Cleveland Browns- QB Tony Pike (Cincinnati)

The Browns will take a quarterback in the 2010 NFL Draft. They might not do it early, but they will do it eventually. Brady Quinn hasn’t had enough of a chance to be written off as a bust, but he also hasn’t been good enough for the Browns to be confident going into next season without a backup plan in case Quinn continues to stink and by backup plan I do not mean Derek Anderson. If Derek Anderson has to throw any more football for the Browns, the citizens of Cleveland will have to be on high alert for flying footballs heading their way. Pike would fit their scheme well.

72. Buffalo Bills- 3-4 DE Tyson Alualu (California)

No left tackle or quarterback available that is worth taking here so the Bills will have to go to another need. The Bills are transitioning schemes this offseason and have absolutely no personnel for it. Alualu could be a week 1 starter in a 3-4 because of his experience in a 3-4 at Cal. He’s a great high motor player who is also a great locker room presence.

73. Miami Dolphins- WR Demaryius Thomas (Georgia Tech)

The Dolphins drafted Patrick Turner in the 3rd round last year, but I think Parcells knows that was a mistake. You can’t get them all right. They need a good receiver with true #1 abilities. Thomas has the size that none of the Dolphins receivers have and he has experience in a weird style offense like the Dolphins run.

74. Jacksonville Jaguars- CB Devin McCourty (Rutgers)

This pick could be moved up to get Tebow, but in this mock I am not predicting trades so I have the Jags taking Tebow in the first because they can’t risk hoping he stays on the board until the 3rd. Owner Wayne Weaver thinks that Tebow is the only way his team will make enough money in the next few years to stay in town and I kind of agree with him. That being said, they were awful on defense here so if the have to take Tebow at 10, this pick must be either a cornerback or defensive end. McCourty is the best available at either of those positions.

75. Chicago Bears- G Mike Johnson (Alabama)

Matt Forte really struggled last season, but that’s not all his fault. He had a grand total of one hole opened up from him last season. Offensive guard will be high on the Bears long list of offseason needs and Johnson represents good value here. He has the experience and ability to play both guard positions and right tackle.

76. New York Giants- DT Vince Oghobaase (Duke)

The Giants’ two top defensive tackles from last year are free agents and given how much Jerry Reese likes to build in the trenches I would be very surprised if he passed on Oghobaase here. He fits what the Giants look for in a defensive tackle in terms of his pass rushing ability and he could have gone in the 2nd so getting him in the mid 3rd makes sense.

77. Tennessee Titans- DE Austin Lane (Murray State)

Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse could leave as free agents this offseason leaving them thin at the defensive end position. The Titans could address other needs here, but the defensive end position doesn’t have a ton of depth this year and Lane is one of the last ones that has a lot of upside as a future starter.

78. Carolina Panthers- TE Rob Gronkowski (Arizona)

The Panthers need an upgrade at tight end. Gronkowski is a risk coming off of back surgery, but if he had returned to school and had another good year, he would have been a lock 1st round pick in 2011.

79. San Francisco 49ers- RLB Eric Norwood (South Carolina)

The Niners had a great pass rush last year, but they didn’t have anyone with more than 6.5 sacks so they still lack that elite pass rusher. Norwood would fit as a rush linebacker. He could also slide inside and play middle linebacker if necessary. Mike Singletary will like his discipline, work ethic, and fundamentals.

80. Denver Broncos- QB Colt McCoy (Texas)

There’s a chance Kyle Orton leaves in free agency. If that happens, the Broncos will need a quarterback. Josh McDaniels will see McCoy as the best quarterback since Kyle Orton with his uncanny ability to complete 5-10 yard throws.

81. Houston Texans- RB Toby Gerhart (Stanford)

Houston has major running back troubles, especially on the goal line. If they could have converted a few goal line plays, they would have been 11-5 last year. Gerhart can, at the very least, be a goal line back.

82. Pittsburgh Steelers- OT Kyle Calloway (Iowa)

More offensive line help for one of the worst offensive lines in the league last year, Calloway is strictly a right tackle, but he’s one of the best right tackles in the draft class. He fits what the Steelers look for in a tackle, good mauling size, and good work ethic.

83. Atlanta Falcons- DE Brandon Lang (Troy)

After 3 years and 2.5 sacks, Jamaal Anderson, the former 8th overall pick, is officially a bust. They need to replace him in the starting lineup and may want to cut him as well. They drafted Lawrence Sidbury in the mid rounds last year, but he’s only a nickel rusher and they only got 28 sacks last year anyway. If they go cornerback in the first, this pick has to be a defensive end, even if Lang is a bit of a reach.

84. Cincinnati Bengals- CB Javier Arenas (Alabama)

The Bengals are so desperate for a kick returner and cornerback depth that they are considering signing Adam Pacman Jones. Arenas is more talented and less crazy. Plus, he’s also Gilbert Arenas’ cousin and Gilbert Arenas could come shoot up the locker room if Arenas is on the team next year and the Bengals seem to like that element of danger in a player.

85. Oakland Raiders- WR Taylor Price (Ohio)

Taylor Price could run a 4.3 40 at 6-1 199. This makes him a great player. He is almost as good as Darrius Heyward Bey.

86. Green Bay Packers- DE Corey Wootton (Northwestern)

The Packers need some 3-4 defense line depth and are always ones to look for best available. Wootton could have gone in the 2nd round so they’ll see him as a value here.

87. Philadelphia Eagles- G John Jerry (Mississippi)

Andy Reid likes drafting massive offensive linemen and with Shawn Andrew’s future in doubt, they need some interior line help. Jerry is a massive run blocker at 335 pounds. Watch out for him at the combine; he’ll be the one making the ground shake when he runs the 40.

88. Baltimore Ravens- WR Andre Roberts (Citadel)

The Ravens don’t need just one wide receiver. If Derrick Mason isn’t back next year, they’ll need two. Roberts is a good value here after his impressive performance at Senior Bowl practices. He reminds me a lot of Austin Collie who was a 4th round steal last year.

89. Arizona Cardinals- NT Linval Joseph (East Carolina)

The Cardinals don’t have a true nose tackle on the roster. If they did, they could transition full time to the 3-4, which their personnel is better suited for. Joseph may seem like a reach, but if they wait until the 4th they’ll have to make a bigger reach. Because of how many teams now use the 3-4, the nose tackle class is going to get very thin very fast this year.

90. Dallas Cowboys- OT Jared Veldheer (Hillsdale)

Continuing to add some youth to one of the oldest offensive lines in the league, the Cowboys take the massive kid from a tiny school, Jared Veldheer. Veldheer is 6-9 325 and certainly fits what the Cowboys look for in terms of an offensive lineman. He was one of, if not the most dominant offensive tackle in Division I-AA over the last 4 years and didn’t miss a single start in his 4 years at Hillsdale.

91. San Diego Chargers- OT Ciron Black (LSU)

We can’t blame LT solely for the Chargers inability to run last year. Their run blocking was horrendous, especially on the right side of their line. Black isn’t much of a pass blocker, but he would be an upgrade as a run blocking right tackle for this team.

92. Cleveland Browns- RLB Jason Worilds (Virginia Tech)

Another rush linebacker is needed opposite Kameron Wimbley. Worilds has good upside as a rush linebacker, but has yet to put it all together as a pass rusher.

93. Minnesota Vikings- C JD Walton (Baylor)

Why did a running back as good as Adrian Peterson struggle late in the season? Poor interior blocking had something to do with it. John Sullivan really did a poor job replacing Matt Birk and with All-American first teamer JD Walton available here, they should take him to upgrade their center position.

94. Indianapolis Colts- DE Jermaine Cunningham (Florida)

Both Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are free agents next offseason. Cunningham would fit their zone style defense well. He also fits what they look for in terms of a high motor player.

95. New Orleans Saints- DT Geno Atkins (Georgia)

The Saints take a depth at the defensive tackle position was evident when Sedrick Ellis went down and they couldn’t stop the run, but they also needed an upgrade next to him even when he was healthy. Atkins had a great Senior Bowl and would be a good value here with good upside. 

 

 

1. St. Louis Rams 1-15

The Rams considered drafting Mark Sanchez last year, but the truth was they had too much money tied up in the quarterback position already with Marc Bulger and his giant contract and cutting Bulger would have been too much of a cap hit. This year, they can cut Bulger and actually save money so this is probably his last year in St. Louis, unless the Rams fail to get anyone better than him. Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen is, with Bradford’s injury, the most complete quarterback in this draft class and would be an excellent addition to a Rams team that already has its left tackle and defensive end of the future. Many will argue Ndamukong Suh here, but, as dominant of a prospect he is, he doesn’t have the positional value here. History has shown, if a team needs a left tackle or quarterback early in the draft, they will take that above all else, even the consensus top prospect. Remember Glenn Dorsey? How about Aaron Curry? Here’s some facts. Since 1998, 36 players have gone in the top three overall. 15 have been quarterbacks, 6 have been offensive tackles, and 6 have been defensive ends. That’s only 25% that aren’t quarterbacks, offensive tackles, or defensive ends. When you look closer, all 12 #1 overall picks since 1998 have been quarterback, offensive tackles, or defensive end. Those positions just have so much more positional value than any other. The Rams don’t need an offensive tackle or defensive end, so it’ll be quarterback here. Right now, other mock drafters seem to be split 50/50 on Clausen and Suh. For more information check out our NFL Mock Draft Database.

2. Detroit Lions 2-14

The Lions need a franchise left tackle badly, but they have proven that they have the tendency to take the best available player regardless of need. Left tackle would help them and Matt Stafford majorly, but they are going to take best available player. Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh is the best available player, by far, and it’s not like the Lions don’t need any help at that position. Despite the surprisingly good play of Sammie Lee Hill at defensive tackle, they are still ranked 21st against the run, although they have looked better over the past few weeks. However, left tackle is more of an immediate need for them. I hope, if they don’t take one in the first round, that they take one in the 2nd round, for their own good. Jeff Backus is not the guy you want protecting Matt Stafford’s blindside during his development. But, you can’t really blame the Lions for taking the best available player, especially when he’s a player that is as dominant at his position as Ndamukong Suh. Only 1 defensive tackle has gone in the top three since 1998, but Suh is that good.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13

The Bucs want to build around their defensive line. Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy is available. He’s not the dominant defensive tackle Suh is, but he’s a great finesse one gap penetrator at defensive tackle that could flourish if the Bucs decide to switch back to a Tampa 2 defensive system. The Bucs could also trade down if someone like Seattle offers enough to move up here and take a franchise left tackle like Russell Okung because, even though he’ll probably be the guy they’re targeting, they can get McCoy a few picks farther down.

4. Washington Redskins 4-12

The writing is on the wall for Jason Campbell. There’s a new head coach and a new GM in town. The guys who drafted him are gone, most of them long gone. He just happened to have his 2 worst games of his career in the last 3 weeks of this season and now he’s a restricted free agent. Even if the Redskins tender him a contract, they’ll likely trade him to the highest bidder and even if he isn’t traded, he’ll likely only be back on a one year deal to be a stop gap while a young quarterback waits to take over in 2011, a smart idea. Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford has a lot of issues, namely his injured shoulder and the system he played in during college, but if history is any indicator, there’s a good chance he sneaks up into the top 5. Last year, I had Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman in the 2nd round at this points. Sanchez went 5th and Freeman went 17th. Why? If a team needs a quarterback in the first round, chances are they take one even if it’s a reach. There are way too many teams with needs at the quarterback position this year, including Washington, for guys like Bradford and Tim Tebow, who look like borderline 1st round picks on paper, to not go in the top 15.

5. Kansas City Chiefs 4-12

Brandan Albert was one of the worst starting left tackles in the league this year and he’s movable, either by trade or more likely to a different position, for many reasons. He doesn’t have a large contract. The regime that drafted him is no longer in town. He has versatility position wise and can also play right tackle or left guard in addition to left tackle. There’s a very good chance that Albert isn’t their left tackle next year and if Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung is still available at #5, I would be very surprised if they didn’t draft him. The only reason I can see them passing on Okung is if they have their mind set on signing Matt Light in 2011 in an attempt to recreate the 2003 New England Patriots. I hear Ty Law and Troy Brown are still looking for work.

6. Seattle Seahawks 5-11

Pete Carroll could go a number of ways with his two first round picks. He could go best available. He could draft for need. He could value getting his own franchise quarterback above anything and with the way Matt Hasselbeck played at the end of the season last year, that might not be a bad idea. He could value drafting former USC players above anything. However, there’s one thing that I think is certain. If a player as good as Tennessee FS Eric Berry is available at #6, Carroll, unless he’s completely inept, is going to take him. Carroll knows talent obviously as shown by his major success at USC and I highly doubt he passes on someone as talented as Eric Berry.

7. Cleveland Browns 5-11

This is where the draft hits a crossroad. I have no idea what the Browns are going to do here. Eric Mangini didn’t draft his own guy at quarterback last year in his first offseason and with new team president Mike Holmgren, there’s a chance they go that direction, but I doubt they’ll reach for Tim Tebow to do it, especially with how much Eric Mangini enjoyed drafting random positions last year. Plus, I don’t think we’ve seen enough of Brady Quinn to call him a bust yet. I think the Browns will either draft down or go best available, but the problem is, determining who I believe they will see as best available. This pick could very well be Derrick Morgan, but he’s not a good fit for the 3-4 defense, so I won’t mock him here unless I here something from Cleveland saying that the coaching staff believes him to have the ability to play rush linebacker. Rolando McClain makes sense and I’ve actually had him here at this spot before, but then again, 3-4 middle linebackers rarely go top 10. Even Patrick Willis slipped to #11. That leaves Dez Bryant and Joe Haden, a wide receiver and a cornerback. I’ll go with Florida CB Joe Haden for now because Mangini obviously enjoys less valuable positions  like cornerback…or center, but don’t quote me on this one just yet.

8. Oakland Raiders 5-11

JaMarcus Russell could be easily replaced with a large sack of potatoes with a Raiders Jersey on it and no one would notice. Because of that, quarterback is a major possibility here, especially if Tebow runs a fast 40 like Al Davis likes, but I don’t think his arm is quite strong enough for Davis’ liking. Davis would have likely drafted USC FS Taylor Mays at #7 last year if he hadn’t returned to school. While at school, Mays’ flaws were exposed in a big way, but of course Al Davis hasn’t noticed because he’s been dead for 3 years. If Mays can live up to his measurables, 6-3 230 4.3, he’s a very good candidate to go here.

9. Buffalo Bills 6-10

Alabama MLB Rolando McClain is the best available player here, but I could never mock him to the Bills at 9 before because, despite their major need for a middle linebacker and someone to help stop the run, McClain doesn’t have top ten pick value as a 4-3 middle linebacker. However, now that the Bills have switched to a 3-4 with a new regime in town, it becomes more likely that they will draft McClain here. The first thing a new regime will do when it comes to town, after bringing in their own guy at quarterback if they feel it necessary, will be getting guys to fit their system, especially if they drastically change the system, like from a 4-3 zone to a 3-4. They don’t have anyone who fits the 3-4 middle linebacker position on their roster because all of their linebackers are too small, as they could be in a zone 4-3. McClain helps a team that was 31st in the league against the run not become worse this year, and also is the best available player.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-9

Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver pretty much promised that the Jags would draft in state Florida QB Tim Tebow in the first round in an attempt to sell more tickets and save the franchise’s future in Jacksonville. He seems to have forgotten that the Jags already have a good quarterback, David Garrard, who has a 60% completion percentage in each of his four years as starter as well as 59 touchdowns to 35 picks, but I guess the Jags will do what they have to do to make Jacksonville football fans, who clearly don’t care, come to the stadium, rather than moving the team to a city that deserves a franchise like San Antonio or Los Angeles. Despite what media is saying, Tim Tebow’s Senior Bowl performance was neutral. He had some nice throws, some bad throws, but for the most part played out of an offense similar to what he played in at Florida so we can’t really make a judgement. However, all that being said, I think this pick will most likely be traded. The Jags really don’t have to worry about anyone else taking Tebow between now and Minnesota at 29, so they can trade down with a team like Philly who would be interested in taking Derrick Morgan here, and get themselves a 2nd round pick and another pick in the process. The Jags, in addition to not selling tickets, sucked on defense last year and if they take Tebow here instead of trading down, they’ll have to wait until the 3rd round to fill a defensive need.

11. Denver Broncos 8-8 (via CHI)

With McClain off the board, I think the Broncos will take Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant. The Broncos desperately need to upgrade their front 7, but McDaniels isn’t going to reach for front 7 players like Terrence Cody or Jared Odrick or Jerry Hughes. McDaniels prefers to reach for players at other positions. There’s a very good chance that Brandon Marshall is traded/allowed to be signed by another team in exchange for draft picks. He wants to come back, but McDaniels doesn’t want him back because he’s too talented. The Broncos can’t go into 2010 with the same receiving corps they had week 17 without Marshall. They had no deep target and just threw short passes all week. Even the Chiefs weren’t fooled by that and destroyed the Broncos at home, knocking them out of the playoffs.

12. Miami Dolphins 7-9

I’ve had them taking a nose tackle in recent weeks, but the more I think about it, the more I think Bill Parcells will love South Florida RLB Jason Pierre Paul. JPP would be a perfect fit for his scheme at rush linebacker, where they do need help, and he has great upside. If the Dolphins sign Elvis Dumervil in the offseason, he wants to follow Mike Nolan to Miami and he’s from Miami, then this pick will be a nose tackle once again, but I don’t think Parcells will pass on JPP. The fact that they will likely release Joey Porter makes this move make more sense.

13. San Francisco 49ers 8-8

Joe Staley is supposed to be the left tackle, but he’s hurt. Even when he’s healthy, he’s a liability against the pass and belongs at right tackle where the Niners currently have a load of crap. The Niners have 2 picks in this first round and can use the first of the two, with no other huge needs that they can fill with the players left on the board, on an elite left tackle. Rutgers OT Anthony Davis is the best available tackle here and he’s too good for the Niners to pass on at 13. He’s very raw, but he’s also 20 years old only, and has only two years experience playing tackle and already he’s a very strong mauling blocker and a good right tackle at best. However, he has the upside to be an elite left tackle as well.

14. Seattle Seahawks 5-11 (via DEN)

Pete Carroll has a pretty easy first round of his first NFL draft since returning to the NFL this year, huh? Just take the guy who is glaringly the best player available and fills a major need. Their left tackle position is a mess. Walter Jones could be done for his career and Sean Locklear, even when healthy, is more of a right tackle than a left. If they take a good zone blocking left tackle here like Maryland OT Bruce Campbell, who is shooting up my draft board and plenty of others’, they can have a very strong young offensive line. Having Campbell and Locklear together on the offensive line would allow them to move Ray Willis from tackle to guard, where he belongs, and give them a very good offensive line for the future, with Locklear and Campbell at tackle and Willis and promising rookie, and 2009 2nd round pick, Max Unger at guard. Campbell is a steal here.

15. New York Giants 8-8

As weird as it may sound, the Giants only had 32 sacks last season, despite all of the money they have invested in their defensive line. Now, Osi Umenyiora wants out because he’s insulted that he was turned into a 3rd round rusher alone late last season. There’s a good chance they either cut him to take his large cap number off of the payroll, or trade him to a team like St. Louis who needs a veteran defensive line leader. Osi has also had his best success under Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, the former Giants defensive coordinator. If Osi leaves, they’ll definitely have to look for more help on the defensive line and even if he stays, they might consider Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan here simply because Giants GM Jerry Reese is such a fan of the best player available strategy when it comes to drafting.

16. Tennessee Titans 8-8

The Titans are known for their defense under Jeff Fisher. However, defense is now an issue for them. They lost Albert Haynesworth and replaced him with Jovan Haye, which, no offense to Haye, is a big downgrade. Starting corner Nick Harper is 35 and their linebackers are very mediocre with the exception of Keith Bulluck, who happens to be 32 and in the last season of his contract. I think this is the farthest Tennessee DT Dan Williams falls. As weird as it may seem, he’s a do everything nose tackle. He’s 325 pounds, but has experience playing in a system similar to the one the Titans run now and he’s also an in-state college kid. He is mobile enough to play in Tennessee’s system and, though he’s not the pass rusher Haynesworth was, he can be the big mobile body that Haynesworth was in the middle of their defense a couple of years ago and free things up for the guys on the outside. He’d be a great compliment to their roster full of sub 300 pound defensive tackles.

 

17. San Francisco 49ers 8-8

When ‘Dre Bly is not busy making a fool of himself on an interception, by high stepping starting from the 30 yard line with a potential tackler a few feet behind him such that he gets tackled, loses the ball, and turns 7 points into a fumble, he’s busy getting burnt by quicker, faster, younger, more athletic receivers. The only reason he has a job is because Walt Harris, who is equally old and slow, had to have season ending knee surgery before the season. I don’t think Shawntae Spencer is the answer either, but with Nate Clements reportedly moving to free safety next year, Spencer is probably going to start another year. Regardless, they would still need a corner to play opposite him. Michigan CB Donovan Warren is shooting up draft boards this season, after a down year last season. He’s a great man-on-man corner who quarterbacks don’t even try to throw on and he’s tough and physical against the run which Mike Singletary will love.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7

Its painfully obvious that the Steelers need offensive line help after giving up 20 sacks to the Browns, Packers, Ravens, and Dolphins in the last 4 weeks of the season. However, they’ve needed offensive line help for years and haven’t done anything about it. Plus, its also painfully obvious that Mike Tomlin doesn’t trust his defense, even more painfully obvious than their offensive line is bad. Mike Tomlin tried an onside kick with a 2 point lead in a game late in the season against the Packers because he didn’t trust his defense to stop Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Packers would recover and score and if it weren’t for late game heroics from Big Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin would have been the laughing stock of the NFL. That is how far this defense has fallen since being one of the best in history last year. The biggest reason for their defensive struggles has been Troy Polamalu’s injuries. In the 5 games in which he has played, the Steelers were 4-1 and allowed 13.8 points per game. In the games he missed, they gave up 23.2 and were consequently 5-6. Their lack of a good safety opposite him is obvious. Texas FS Earl Thomas is probably the best player available and the Steelers have shown in recent years that they are fans of the best player available strategy drafting guys like Rashard Mendenhall and Evander Hood in the first round even when they weren’t their biggest needs.

19. Atlanta Falcons 9-7

After 3 years and 2.5 sacks, I think it’s time for the Falcons to write former #8 overall pick Jamaal Anderson off as a bust and start fresh at the defensive end position opposite John Abraham. They got burnt through the air a lot this season and a lot of that had to do with their poor cornerback play since Brian Williams’ injury, but their 28 sacks as a team didn’t help. USC DE Everson Griffen has all the talent of a #1 defensive end in the future, but he just needs to put it all together. He could actually go top 10 if he runs a sub 4.6 40 at 275 pounds, which I think would be a mistake because his production in college to this point has been limited. However, there’s no question he could be a future #1 defensive end.

20. Houston Texans 9-7

In Gary Kubiak’s four years as head coach, he has drafted either offensive or defensive line in the first round 3 times, Mario Williams in 2006, Amobi Okoye in 2007, and Duane Brown in 2008. The Texans had major problems running the ball last year and need big upgrades at offensive guard, so they will strongly consider taking Idaho OG Mike Iupati, one of the best guard prospects in a long time, in the first round. With no good defensive backs available and no clear best available player, I think Kubiak goes back and drafts inside.

21. Cincinnati Bengals 10-7

The Bengals proved by signing Matt Jones that they are not done taking chances on guys with character problems, even though the team played well last year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, Cedric Benson looked like the MVP of the league before he got hurt and Larry Johnson helped the Bengals late last year when Benson was hurt and 2009 2nd round pick Rey Maualuga who dropped for character reasons was in the running for defensive player of the year this season. Florida DE Carlos Dunlap has an awful work ethic and recently was arrested for drunk driving, but those things are like turn ons to whoever if drafting for the Bengals. Antawn Odom is talented when healthy, but he rarely is so, assuming Michael Johnson doesn’t pan out, the Bengals still need a right end of the future and Dunlap, who has athleticism, 6-6 290 4.7, could be that guy if he straightens himself out. The signing of Matt Jones makes their need for a wide receiver lesser so I doubt they reach for one here.

22. New England Patriots 10-7

As a Patriots fan, the Pats’ defense makes me cringe. They let Devery Henderson run straight down field for a touchdown without a guy within 10 yards of him against New Orleans and then missed 4 tackles as the Saints turned a loss on a screen play to a touchdown and they were only able to sack Brees once all game. Then Chad Henne came out and burned their defense again. However, Bill Belicheck will go value over need every time, especially with 3 picks in the 2nd round to work with. Clemson RB CJ Spiller would help the Patriots become even more explosive on offensive by adding that explosive homerun hitting back that they lack right now. He would compliment Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk well. They’re also always a candidate to trade down.

23. Green Bay Packers 10-7

The Packers have done a better job of protecting Rodgers since Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton have returned from injury, but both are in their 30s and could retire soon. Before those two were both healthy, Rodgers was sacked 37 times in 8 games. If Tauscher and Clifton retire and neither are replaced by then, Aaron Rodgers could actually die on the field. They need a good young tackle familiar with a zone blocking scheme and athletic enough to play in it. Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga is the best available left tackle. He had injury issues this year, but has all the physical tools to be an elite left tackle in the NFL and he has the athleticism and familiarity to play in the Packers zone blocking scheme.

24. Philadelphia Eagles 11-6

Andy Reid is still the coach of the Eagles and he likes to take big defensive linemen. They need an every down left end, which they lack right now. Reid will not shy away from taking one, especially if Michigan DE Brandon Graham is still available. He fits what the Eagles look for in a defensive end, tenacious and never quitting and a good bull rusher. He could be a ten sack guy in the future in the Eagles system opposite Trent Cole.

25. Baltimore Ravens 10-8

Baltimore did not draft a wide receiver which means they are confident in their ability to resign Derrick Mason, a free agent after the 2009 season. That might be a bad move because if Mason leaves, they are really only left with Mark Clayton, which would be very bad for young quarterback Joe Flacco’s development moving forward. Even if Mason returns, he will be 36 by next year’s Super Bowl, so they need a longterm replacement. USC WR Damian Williams is the best available at a position of huge need and is the logical pick here.

26. Arizona Cardinals 11-7

The Cardinals already have 3 good wide receivers, but they have yet to get an upgrade at tight end. Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham is too good for them to pass up at this point. Even with his injury, Gresham is one of the best pass catching tight end prospects of the decade. He will make this Cardinals offense that much deadlier for whoever the quarterback is in the future.

27. Dallas Cowboys 12-6

Jerry Jones is always looking for the big name and Alabama NT Terrence Cody was one of the biggest names in college football last year because of his trademark large gut. Jay Ratliff made the Pro Bowl last year as a nose tackle, but, as good as he was, he was playing out of position all year. He needs to move back to that 3-4 defensive end position. Ratliff is an excellent pass rusher for his size, but he’s not the big nose tackle, that commands two lineman, pushes the pocket, and serves as a shield for linebackers to come in and get into the backfield. Terrence Cody is and they need that. Cody would command two blockers and make things a lot easier for Ratliff on the outside and make him even more deadly. It would also free things up more for DeMarcus Ware, not like he needed to get freed up more, but, it can’t hurt.

28. San Diego Chargers 13-4

The Chargers’ top 2 receivers, Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd, are both free agents after this season. Even if they are able to bring both back Floyd is average at best. They could use another receiver here. LSU WR Brandon LaFell is the best available receiver for a team that doesn’t have a ton of needs. They are a pass heavy team so they need to get good young receivers for Phillip Rivers. LaFell is 6-4 and the Chargers like big receivers.

29. New York Jets 11-8

Trading for Mark Sanchez was the right longterm move for the franchise, especially given how little they had to give up to move up to get him. One player they did give up was Kenyon Coleman. He is a 3-4 defensive end, so he’s absence did not hurt them a ton, especially when you consider they got a franchise quarterback, but they still do need to replace him. Penn State DE Jared Odrick plays defensive tackle in college, but would be a natural fit for this team at 3-4 defensive end, which is a big need where they have a major hole.

30. Minnesota Vikings 13-5

The Vikings seem to be set for the future on the offensive end, with the exception of quarterback, but I doubt the Vikings would reach a quarterback in this situation, especially since all of the quarterbacks available here could be there when they pick in the 2nd round. Defensively, they have a few issues that need to be filled. This team is built upon their defensive line’s ability to stuff the run. Pat Williams will turn 37 in October and the Vikings need to bulk up their line and their depth at the defensive tackle position. They can’t afford to lose their biggest strength, so they take a high upside defensive tackle here, in UCLA DT Brian Price, who can come in, learn from the Williamses, and hopefully be able to take Pat’s place when he moves on. Price is an amazing pass rusher for his size and would fill Pat’s old pass rushing tackle role nicely. He should be able to capitalize on his 7 sacks this season and get drafted in the first round as the 3rd defensive tackle off the board.

31. Indianapolis Colts 16-3

Little known Charlie Johnson did a decent job of protecting Peyton Manning’s blindside this year, though with a quarterback as smart as Manning, its not hard to look good protecting him. Still, Johnson, who was decent, but not great, is a free agent this offseason, and the Colts are a team that tends to use the strategy of best available when it comes to drafting. USC OT Charles Brown would be a perfect fit for their zone blocking scheme and he’s too talented to slip much further. He would be an upgrade over Johnson and a more longterm fix for the Colts. 

32. New Orleans Saints 16-3

The Saints, with only 1 pick in the first 3 rounds of the 2009 NFL draft, were unable to secure a good young outside linebacker. Good news for them, they’ll be able to add a great one here in Missouri OLB Sean Weatherspoon. Lewis will add another young playmaker to an improving defense and help this team in all facets of the game. If it weren’t for Brandon Graham, Weatherspoon would be the MVP of the Senior Bowl. He looked excellent doing everything from getting into the backfield, to covering a much faster man and breaking up the pass, to getting a late interception.

33. St. Louis Rams- WR Golden Tate (Notre Dame)

If the Rams draft Jimmy Clausen, they better get him someone to throw to. Who better than Golden Tate, his leading receiver at Notre Dame over the past two years, who also happens to be the best available receiver. Tate should continue to be Clausen’s favorite target next year if the two remain teammates.

34. Detroit Lions- CB Kyle Wilson (Boise State)

The Lions use the best available strategy and Wilson definitely earned himself consideration in the early 2nd round with his performance in the Senior Bowl, where he was one of the most impressive cornerbacks. The Lions coaching staff, who coached the North team that Wilson was on, had very good things to say about him. The Lions should draft a left tackle here, but they are in love with Jeff Backus and believe that he should have even gotten Pro Bowl votes. Trent Williams or Jason Fox are still possibility, but I think they’ll go with Wilson here, who is likely to be the highest ranked player on their draft board and would also help their miserable pass defense.

35. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- CB Brandon Ghee (Wake Forest)

The Bucs pick again in a few picks so they will go with someone here who not only fills a need, but also won’t be available in a few picks. They need a defensive end and a wide receiver, but there isn’t really one here that they can’t in a few picks. They also need cornerback help and Ghee is the best cornerback available He is another guy who raised his stock at the Senior Bowl. He’s very raw, but he got great potential and head coach Raheem Morris, a former defensive backs coach, would love the opportunity to try to bring the most of out Ghee. He’s not likely to be available in a few picks.

36. Kansas City Chiefs- OLB Jerry Hughes (TCU)

The Chiefs more than doubled their sack total in 2009! That would be amazing if it weren’t for the fact that they only had 10 sacks in 2008. They need an elite #1 pass rusher and luckily for them, Jerry Hughes falls out of fear that he’ll bust. Many rush linebacker prospects have busted in recent years because they are learning a new position (see Vernon Gholston). The Chiefs can afford to take a risk on Hughes here, in fact they can’t afford not to take a risk on him.

37. Washington Redskins- RB Jahvid Best (California)

Daniel Snyder is such a fan of big names and selling tickets that, even with their offensive line issues, he’s not going to be able to pass on Best here. Best would compliment an aging Clinton Portis well and would be an excellent fit in new coach ike Shanahan’s zone style offense.

38. Cleveland Browns- MLB Brandon Spikes (Florida)

Again, Eric Mangini is unpredictable as a drafter. He’ll probably trade down 5 times and draft a kicker, but I’ll give him some credit and assume he’ll just take best available. Spikes would fit their 3-4 defense really well and give them a much needed upgrade inside next to D’Qwell Jackson.

39. Oakland Raiders- OT Trent Williams (Oklahoma)

They are only rumors, but Trent Williams may have once run a 4.85 40 in practice at 6-5 315. If he’s anywhere near that fast at the combine, speed crazy Al Davis will take him here in the 2nd round. At least he’ll be an upgrade over Mario Henderson. Actually, this isn’t a bad pick.

40. Seattle Seahawks- DT LaMarr Houston (Texas)

The Seahawks have a ton of needs, an interior line pass rusher, a defensive end, a wide receiver, a running back, a cornerback, a quarterback, that they can just take the best available at any of those positions from now on. There’s a good chance they view LaMarr Houston as that. He had a very good Senior Bowl.

41. Buffalo Bills- NT Cam Thomas (North Carolina)

The Bills were 31st in the league against the run out of 32 teams last year. Now they are switching to a 3-4. If they can’t get a big nose tackle to center their 3-4 around, they could be even worse against the run next year. Cam Thomas is a 3rdround prospect in my book, but after a huge Senior Bowl, and in a weak nose tackle class, he has the potential to go here.

42. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- WR Arrelious Benn (Illinois)

Head coach Raheem Morris said that his #1 priority this offseason is building around Josh Freeman. That would require him getting him someone to throw to. Even if they resign Antonio Bryant to a longterm deal, bad idea, they still need a good #2 receiver. Benn didn’t have the most productive season this year, though some of that could be attributed to having Juice Williams at quarterback, but, as Mohammed Massaquoi proved last year, that doesn’t matter. If you are extremely athletic and have great upside, you are a 2nd round prospect.

43. Miami Dolphins- WR Jeremy Williams (Tulane)

Chad Henne really need a true #1 wide receiver. No more some different guy leading the team in receiving every game, no more, on again, off again, Ted Ginn Jr, a true #1 wide receiver. Williams is the best receiver available and has great upside if he can stay healthy. He had a great Senior Bowl week.

44. New England Patriots- 3-4 DE Mike Neal (Purdue)

Again, they’ll probably trade down, but Neal would be a good fit for their defense. They need a longterm replacement for Richard Seymour and Neal is a prototypical 3-4 defense end.

45. Denver Broncos- DE Arthur Jones (Syracuse)

As mentioned in the first round, the Broncos flat out sucked against the run in the 2nd half of last season. Losing defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is only going to hurt this team against the run (yes, I did just say something good about Mike Nolan, horrible coach, excellent defensive coordinator). If McDaniels is a capable drafter (based on his 2009 showing I’m not so sure) he’ll focus 2 early picks on the front 7 in an effort finally make this team decent against the run.

46. New York Giants- SS Chad Jones (LSU)

The Giants gave up the 13th fewest yards in the league, but also the 3rd most points. That means they gave up a ton of big plays for touchdowns, whether on the ground or through the air, and they couldn’t stop anyone in the red zone. Both of those show poor safety play, which means sense because they are starting Michael Johnson and Aaron Rouse at safety after losing James Butler to free agency and Kenny Phillips to injury. Even if Phillips does return from his injury, which is not a guarantee at this point, they need a good safety to pair with him. Jones is the best available safety.

47. New England Patriots (via JAC)- RLB Sergio Kindle (Texas)

Bill Belicheck seems hesitant to draft a rush linebacker, which is weird because he’s never hesitant to do anything. It must be because of how few of the defensive ends switching to rush linebacker actually pan out. For more on that, click here. However, he can’t hesitate anymore, the Pats only managed 31 sacks all last year and their pass defense suffered because of it. Kindle is a safe bet here because he has experience playing standing up at outside linebacker at Texas, in addition to playing defensive end, so he is going to be comfortable in coverage and blitzing from an outside position. Again, for more on why drafting rush linebackers with experience at outside linebacker is important, click the link above. Kindle also has huge upside.

48. Carolina Panthers- WR Eric Decker (Minnesota)

Part of the reason for Jake Delhomme’s struggles last year was because he had no one to throw to except Steve Smith. Matt Moore appears to be the quarterback of the future for this team so they’ll need to get him someone to compliment Smith. Decker would be perfect for the job because he’s a consistent possession receiver, whereas Smith is an inconsistent deep threat.  

49. San Francisco 49ers-RB Dexter McCluster (Mississippi)

I’ve heard rumors about the Niners possibly taking CJ Spiller in the first round, but when they have other needs, why would they take a luxury guy like Spiller in the first, especially when they can take McCluster in the 2nd. I can’t say for sure where McCluster is going, because he would fit so many teams, but he can definitely help the Niners in many ways. He can be their Percy Harvin. He can be a 3rd round back, a slot receiver, and help in the return game. Just put the ball in his hands and good things could happen.

50. Kansas City Chiefs (via ATL)- TE Aaron Hernandez (Florida)

The Chiefs got this pick from Atlanta for Tony Gonzalez. They might want to consider using it on a replacement tight end, because Matt Cassel needs more guys to throw to. Scott Pioli could be partial to Hernandez over guys like Dennis Pitta and Rob Gronkowski because he reminds people of Ben Watson, who he worked with in New England.

51. Houston Texans- FS Nate Allen (South Florida)

The Texans need a big time defensive back with good hands. Though a cornerback would be preferable, its going to be hard for them to pass on a steal like Nate Allen.

52. Pittsburgh Steelers- G Maurkice Pouncey (Florida)

The Steelers need offensive line upgrades. Pouncey, at 319 pounds, is the physical type lineman that the Steelers like. He can play 4 positions on the line, including center and right tackle, in addition to both guard spots.

53. New England Patriots- WR Dezmon Briscoe (Kansas)

Randy Moss has only one year left on his contract and based on his effort last year and the Patriots early playoff exit, there’s a good chance they either trade or cut him this offseason. They would need a deep threat to compliment either Wes Welker or Julian Edelman, depending on whether or not Welker can play. Briscoe would fit the scheme extremely well because he played in a similar scheme and had huge numbers at Kansas last year.

54. Cincinnati Bengals- WR Marshawn Gilyard (Cincinnati)

Signing Matt Jones alone isn’t going to help their offensive issues. From week 9, when Chris Henry went out with an injury to the end of the season, Carson Palmer threw for 1254 yards in 8 games, 427 coming in games against the Lions and Raiders. Chris Henry died in December after a tragic accident. RIP. However, in football, life moves on, it has to. They need a deep threat, and not a possession guy like Jones, to compliment Chad Ochocinco otherwise Palmer is doomed to have another mediocre year. In fact, as shown in the playoffs, he could be worse than mediocre next year if they don’t get a deep threat at wide receiver. Gilyard really raised his stock with a big Senior Bowl. He’s a local product and a redemption story after losing his scholarship for academic reasons early in his college career which the Bengals will like.

55. Philadelphia Eagles- OLB Daryl Washington (TCU)

The Eagles need an outside linebacker opposite Will Witherspoon next season. Daryl Washington is an excellent fundamental player and a fluid athlete and would fit the Eagles scheme perfectly.

56. Green Bay Packers- CB Perrish Cox (Oklahoma State)

Cox helps the Packers in two ways. He can help as a defensive back, starting out as a nickel guy, and maybe challenging Tramon Williams for a starting job. Plus, Charles Woodson isn’t going to last forever so Cox can be their longterm replacement for him. He can also play some safety. Cox also would help in the return game.

57. Baltimore Ravens- CB Patrick Robinson (Florida State)

After Lardarius Webb got hurt, the Ravens had to start kick returner Chris Carr at cornerback. I think its safe to say they need some cornerback depth and Robinson provides good depth and upside at the position.

58. Arizona Cardinals- OT Jason Fox (Miami)

Both of the Cardinals starting tackles gave up 9 sacks last year. Kurt Warner played well through it, but Matt Leinart is nowhere near as mentally tough, so they’ll definitely need tackle help. Fox is solely a left tackle, and they might have to take one more tackle before the draft is over, but he has first round talent. He only falls here because of his lack of versatility and questions about his health, knee surgery, and heart problems.

59. Dallas Cowboys- G Vladimir Ducasse (Massachusetts)

In case you couldn’t tell during their playoff game against the Vikings, in which Tony Romo was sacked 6 times, the Cowboys at least need some depth at the offensive line position. All 5 of their starting offensive lineman from last year are currently 30 or older. Ducasse can play both guard positions, in addition to right tackle, and possibly left tackle. He’s also 340 pounds and the Cowboys like their offensive lineman big.

60. San Diego Chargers- Jonathan Dwyer (Georgia Tech)

Its safe to say after his awful stinker of a season, in which he averaged 3.3 YPA, LT won’t be back next season. The Chargers can safe money by cutting him so I wouldn’t be surprised if they cut him. Even if they don’t cut him, he’s not going to be around much longer so I would be really surprised if they didn’t draft a running back in the first 3 rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft. Dwyer is the best available.

61. New York Jets- WR Demaryius Thomas (Georgia Tech)

Braylon Edwards wasn’t awful last season with the Jets with 35 catches for 541 yards and 4 touchdowns, but when you consider he was targeted 70 times you’d expect him to have done a lot more statistically. He’s a free agent this offseason and if they’re smart, they’ll only resign him if he takes a reduced rate. Luckily he has the money from his book sales to sustain him. Regardless of whether or not he is back, they could use another wide receiver, especially one with good size. Thomas’ route running could be better, but he’s big and a great deep threat. He’s also an above average run blocker which is a plus for the Jets, who run lot.

62. Minnesota Vikings- DE Greg Hardy (Mississippi)

The Vikings like to take risks with their picks. Hardy has first round talent, but there are major questions about his health and motivation. Maybe falling to the end of the 2nd round will motivate him. The Vikings could have a major steal here if Hardy pans out and that would make their defensive line that much more dangerous. Ray Edwards is a free agent so they need to look at potential replacements.

63. Indianapolis Colts- Vince Oghobaase (Duke)

They drafted Fili Moala in the 2nd round last year, but he only had 8 tackles this year, 5 in the last two games when they weren’t even trying. Even if by some miracle he pans out, they will still need an upgrade inside next to him and Oghobaase fits the scheme well as a one gap penetrator. 

64. New Orleans Saints- RB Joe McKnight (USC)

Reggie Bush was an important part of their Super Bowl win. However, he’s also owed 12 million dollars next year. Unless he agrees to a pay cut, not out of the question, they will be looking for replacements for him in the NFL Draft, in an attempt to be able to cut him. McKnight can do most of the things Bush can, at a much cheaper rate.

65. St. Louis Rams- OLB Navarro Bowman (Penn State)

They traded Will Witherspoon midseason and replaced him with Paris Lenon and, no surprised, afterwards, their defense really sucked. Lenon is a free agent anyway. The Rams have bigger needs like their defensive line, but Bowman has big upside if he can stop getting into off the field trouble.

66. Detroit Lions- G Mike Johnson (Alabama)

The more I think about it, the more I think the Lions will stick with Jeff Backus for another miserable year. They really seem to like him as a left tackle. They could upgrade two positions at once by taking a left tackle and moving Backus to guard, but instead they’ll just take a guard. Johnson would fit their scheme really well and help open up gaps for Kevin Smith who got a grand total of 1 gap opened up for him last year.

67. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- OLB Dekoda Watson (Florida State)

The Bucs released Derrick Brooks and Cato June last offseason and replaced them with a former safety and the oft injured Angelo Crowell. Wow, I wonder why they sucked on defense this year. Assuming they transition back to a Tampa 2 style defense, Watson would be a great fit for their defense. He isn’t very big, but he has great speed and had a good Senior Bowl making several plays on outside runs.

68. Kansas City Chiefs- WR Jordan Shipley (Texas)

The Chiefs went through about 8 wide receivers opposite Dwayne Bowe this season until they finally found Chris Chambers who worked for them. Chambers is now a free agent and might not be back and even if he is, they don’t have much depth below him. Shipley would fit the scheme well. He would be able to be a sure handed guy for Matt Cassel to catch his short stuff the way Wes Welker was in New England.

69. Oakland Raiders- QB Jevan Snead (Mississippi)

As soon as Al Davis sees how far straight down field Snead can throw a football, he’ll be in love. Snead would be a perfect fit for the genius Raiders scheme, which consists of a guy with a strong arm throwing the ball straight down field to a bunch of fast guys and hoping one of them catches it.

70. Philadelphia Eagles- S Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech)

Sean Jones wasn’t very good this season so the Eagles, who don’t have a bunch of needs, could take Burnett here to be a potential upgrade for Jones. Burnett is a 2nd round talent who is a bit of a steal here.

71. Cleveland Browns- QB Tony Pike (Cincinnati)

The Browns will take a quarterback in the 2010 NFL Draft. They might not do it early, but they will do it eventually. Brady Quinn hasn’t had enough of a chance to be written off as a bust, but he also hasn’t been good enough for the Browns to be confident going into next season without a backup plan in case Quinn continues to stink and by backup plan I do not mean Derek Anderson. If Derek Anderson has to throw any more football for the Browns, the citizens of Cleveland will have to be on high alert for flying footballs heading their way. Pike would fit their scheme well.

72. Buffalo Bills- 3-4 DE Tyson Alualu (California)

No left tackle or quarterback available that is worth taking here so the Bills will have to go to another need. The Bills are transitioning schemes this offseason and have absolutely no personnel for it. Alualu could be a week 1 starter in a 3-4 because of his experience in a 3-4 at Cal. He’s a great high motor player who is also a great locker room presence.

73. Miami Dolphins- NT Linval Joseph (East Carolina)

Jason Ferguson is a 35-year-old free agent coming off of a stint on the IR so nose tackle will be among the Dolphins needs this offseason. Joseph might look like a reach here, but if they wait until the 4th, they’ll have to make an even bigger reach. This is not a very deep nose tackle class.

74. Jacksonville Jaguars- CB Domonique Joseph (Oklahoma)

Assuming the Jags are unable to trade up into the 2nd round or down to the late 1st to take Tebow and are forced to use the 10th pick on him, this pick will have to be defense. Their pass defense, an every level, was so bad last year. Joseph could be a future starter for this team, unlike Derek Cox who is a nickel guy at best.

75. Chicago Bears- CB Devin McCourty (Rutgers)

The Bears have several needs that they could address here. They need a safety, a cornerback, a wide receiver, a guard, a defensive end, and a running back, but there isn’t anyone at any of those positions available that has more value than McCourty. He would fit their scheme like a glove. He had a huge Senior Bowl week to propel him into 2nd-3rd round consideration.

76. New York Giants- MLB Pat Angerer (Iowa)

Some guys have Anger, but this guy has angerer. Name jokes aside, the Giants just cut Antonio Pierce and need a longterm replacement.

77. Tennessee Titans- DE Austin Lane (Murray State)

Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse could leave as free agents this offseason leaving them thin at the defensive end position. The Titans could address other needs here, but the defensive end position doesn’t have a ton of depth this year and Lane is one of the last ones that has a lot of upside as a future starter.

78. Carolina Panthers- TE Rob Gronkowski (Arizona)

The Panthers need an upgrade at tight end. Gronkowski is a risk coming off of back surgery, but if he had returned to school and had another good year, he would have been a lock 1st round pick in 2011.

79. San Francisco 49ers- RLB Eric Norwood (South Carolina)

The Niners had a great pass rush last year, but they didn’t have anyone with more than 6.5 sacks so they still lack that elite pass rusher. Norwood would fit as a rush linebacker. He could also slide inside and play middle linebacker if necessary. Mike Singletary will like his discipline, work ethic, and fundamentals.

80. Denver Broncos- QB Colt McCoy (Texas)

There’s a chance Kyle Orton leaves in free agency. If that happens, the Broncos will need a quarterback. Josh McDaniels will see McCoy as the best quarterback since Kyle Orton with his uncanny ability to complete 5-10 yard throws.

81. Houston Texans- RB Toby Gerhart (Stanford)

Houston has major running back troubles, especially on the goal line. If they could have converted a few goal line plays, they would have been 11-5 last year. Gerhart can, at the very least, be a goal line back.

82. Pittsburgh Steelers- OT Kyle Calloway (Iowa)

More offensive line help for one of the worst offensive lines in the league last year, Calloway is strictly a right tackle, but he’s one of the best right tackles in the draft class. He fits what the Steelers look for in a tackle, good mauling size, and good work ethic.

83. Atlanta Falcons- CB Jerome Murphy (South Florida)

The Falcons couldn’t stop the pass at all last year. Getting a defensive end in the first will help, but they need at least 1, if not two, upgrades in their secondary. Murphy has great size and could have gone 10-15 picks earlier.

84. Cincinnati Bengals- CB Javier Arenas (Alabama)

The Bengals are so desperate for a kick returner and cornerback depth that they are considering signing Adam Pacman Jones. Arenas is more talented and less crazy.

85. Oakland Raiders- WR Taylor Price (Ohio)

Taylor Price could run a 4.3 40 at 6-1 199. This makes him a great player. He is almost as good as Darrius Heyward Bey.

86. Green Bay Packers- DE Corey Wootton (Northwestern)

The Packers need some 3-4 defense line depth and are always ones to look for best available. Wootton could have gone in the 2nd round so they’ll see him as a value here.

87. Philadelphia Eagles- G John Jerry (Mississippi)

Andy Reid likes drafting massive offensive linemen and with Shawn Andrew’s future in doubt, they need some interior line help. Jerry is a massive run blocker at 335 pounds. Watch out for him at the combine; he’ll be the one making the ground shake when he runs the 40.

88. Baltimore Ravens- WR Andre Roberts (Citadel)

The Ravens don’t need just one wide receiver. If Derrick Mason isn’t back next year, they’ll need two. Roberts is a good value here after his impressive performance at Senior Bowl practices. He reminds me a lot of Austin Collie who was a 4th round steal last year.

89. Arizona Cardinals- RLB Ricky Sapp (Clemson)

I know they drafted Cody Brown last year, but with Bertrand Berry retiring, they are going to need more rush linebackers, even if Brown pans out. Sapp will be considered by the Cardinals in the 2nd so they’d be thrilled in get him here in the 3rd.

90. Dallas Cowboys- OT Jared Veldheer (Hillsdale)

Continuing to add some youth to one of the oldest offensive lines in the league, the Cowboys take the massive kid from a tiny school, Jared Veldheer. Veldheer is 6-9 325 and certainly fits what the Cowboys look for in terms of an offensive lineman. He was one of, if not the most dominant offensive tackle in Division I-AA over the last 4 years and didn’t miss a single start in his 4 years at Hillsdale.

91. San Diego Chargers- OT Ciron Black (LSU)

We can’t blame LT solely for the Chargers inability to run last year. Their run blocking was horrendous, especially on the right side of their line. Black isn’t much of a pass blocker, but he would be an upgrade as a run blocking right tackle for this team.

92. Cleveland Browns- RLB Jason Worilds (Virginia Tech)

Another rush linebacker is needed opposite Kameron Wimbley. Worilds has good upside as a rush linebacker, but has yet to put it all together as a pass rusher.

93. Minnesota Vikings- C JD Walton (Baylor)

Why did a running back as good as Adrian Peterson struggle late in the season. Poor interior blocking had something to do with it. John Sullivan really did a poor job replacing Matt Birk and with All-American first teamer JD Walton available here, they should take him to upgrade their center position.

94. Indianapolis Colts- DE Jermaine Cunningham (Florida)

Both Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are free agents next offseason. Cunningham would fit their zone style defense well. He also fits what they look for in terms of a high motor player.

95. New Orleans Saints- DE Brandon Lang (Troy)

Charles Grant could be upgraded and they could save a lot of money by cutting him. Drafting a future replacement like Lang could allow them to do that.

 

 

1. St. Louis Rams 1-15

The Rams considered drafting Mark Sanchez last year, but the truth was they had too much money tied up in the quarterback position already with Marc Bulger and his giant contract and cutting Bulger would have been too much of a cap hit. This year, they can cut Bulger and actually save money so this is probably his last year in St. Louis, unless the Rams fail to get anyone better than him. Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen is, with Bradford’s injury, the most complete quarterback in this draft class and would be an excellent addition to a Rams team that already has its left tackle and defensive end of the future. Many will argue Ndamukong Suh here, but, as dominant of a prospect he is, he doesn’t have the positional value here. History has shown, if a team needs a left tackle or quarterback early in the draft, they will take that above all else, even the consensus top prospect. Remember Glenn Dorsey? How about Aaron Curry? Here’s some facts. Since 1998, 36 players have gone in the top three overall. 15 have been quarterbacks, 6 have been offensive tackles, and 6 have been defensive ends. That’s only 25% that aren’t quarterbacks, offensive tackles, or defensive ends. When you look closer, all 12 #1 overall picks since 1998 have been quarterback, offensive tackles, or defensive end. The Rams don’t need an offensive tackle or defensive end, so it’ll be quarterback here. Right now, other mock drafter seem to be split 50/50 on Clausen and Suh. For more information check out the Sports Jabber Mock Draft Database.

2. Detroit Lions 2-14

The Lions need a franchise left tackle badly, but they have proven that they will take the best available player regardless of need. Left tackle would help them and Matt Stafford majorly, but they are going to take best available player. Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh is the best available player, by far, and it’s not like the Lions don’t need any help at that position. Despite the surprisingly good play of Sammie Lee Hill at defensive tackle, they are still ranked 21st against the run, although they have looked better over the past few weeks. However, left tackle is more of an immediate need for them. I hope, if they don’t take one in the first round, that they take one in the 2nd round, for their own good. Jeff Backus is not the guy you want protecting Matt Stafford’s blindside during his development. But, you can’t really blame the Lions for taking the best available player, especially when he’s a player that is as dominant at his position as Ndamukong Suh. Only 1 defensive tackle has gone in the top three since 1998, but Suh is that good.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13

The Bucs want to build around their defensive line. Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy is available. He’s not the dominant defensive tackle Suh is, but he’s a great finesse one gap penetrator at defensive tackle that could flourish if the Bucs decide to switch back to a Tampa 2 defensive system. The Bucs could also trade down if someone like Seattle offers enough to move up here and take a franchise left tackle like Russell Okung because, even though he’ll probably be the guy they’re targeting, they can get McCoy a few picks farther down.

4. Washington Redskins 4-12

The writing is on the wall for Jason Campbell. There’s a new head coach and a new GM in town. The guys who drafted him are gone, most of them long gone. He just happened to have his 2 worst games of his career in the last 3 weeks of this season and now he’s a restricted free agent. Even if the Redskins tender him a contract, they’ll likely trade him to the highest bidder and even if he isn’t traded, he’ll likely only be back on a one year deal to be a stop gap while a young quarterback waits to take over in 2011, a smart idea. Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford has a lot of issues, namely his injured shoulder and the system he played in during college, but if history is any indicator, there’s a good chance he sneaks up into the top 5. Last year, I had Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman in the 2nd round at this points. Sanchez went 5th and Freeman went 17th. Why? If a team needs a quarterback in the first round, chances are they take one even if it’s a reach. There are way too many teams with needs at the quarterback position this year, including Washington, for guys like Bradford and Tim Tebow, who look like borderline 1st round picks on paper, to not go in the top 15.

5. Kansas City Chiefs 4-12

Brandan Albert was one of the worst starting left tackles in the league this year and he’s movable, either by trade or more likely to a different position, for many reasons. He doesn’t have a large contract. The regime that drafted him is no longer in town. He has versatility position wise and can also play right tackle or left guard in addition to left tackle. There’s a very good chance that Albert isn’t their left tackle next year and if Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung is still available at #5, I would be very surprised if they didn’t draft him. The only reason I can see them passing on Okung is if they have their mind set on signing Matt Light in 2011 in an attempt to recreate the 2003 New England Patriots. I hear Ty Law and Troy Brown are still looking for work.

6. Seattle Seahawks 5-11

Pete Carroll could go a number of ways with his two first round picks. He could go best available. He could draft for need. He could value getting his own franchise quarterback above anything and with the way Matt Hasselbeck played at the end of the season last year, that might not be a bad idea. He could value drafting former USC players above anything. However, there’s one thing that I think is certain. If a player as good as Tennessee FS Eric Berry is available at #6, Carroll, unless he’s completely inept, is going to take him. Carroll knows talent obviously as shown by his major success at USC and I highly doubt he passes on someone as talented as Eric Berry.

7. Cleveland Browns 5-11

This is where the draft hits a crossroad. I have no idea what the Browns are going to do here. Eric Mangini didn’t draft his own guy at quarterback last year in his first offseason and with new team president Mike Holmgren, there’s a chance they go that direction, but I doubt they’ll reach for Tim Tebow to do it, especially with how much Eric Mangini enjoyed drafting random positions last year. Plus, I don’t think we’ve seen enough of Brady Quinn to call him a bust yet. I think the Browns will either draft down or go best available, but the problem is, determining who I believe they will see as best available. This pick could very well be Derrick Morgan, but he’s not a good fit for the 3-4 defense, so I won’t mock him here unless I here something from Cleveland saying that the coaching staff believes him to have the ability to play rush linebacker. Rolando McClain makes sense and I’ve actually had him here at this spot before, but then again, 3-4 middle linebackers rarely go top 10. Even Patrick Willis slipped to #11. That leaves Dez Bryant and Joe Haden, a wide receiver and a cornerback. I’ll go with Florida CB Joe Haden for now because Mangini obviously enjoys less valuable positions like cornerback…or center, but don’t quote me on this one just yet.

8. Oakland Raiders 5-11

JaMarcus Russell could be easily replaced with a large sack of potatoes with a Raiders Jersey on it and no one would notice. Because of that, quarterback is a major possibility here, especially if Tebow runs a fast 40 like Al Davis likes, but I don’t think his arm is quite strong enough for Davis’ liking. Davis would have likely drafted USC FS Taylor Mays at #7 last year if he hadn’t returned to school. While at school, Mays’ flaws were exposed in a big way, but of course Al Davis hasn’t noticed because he’s been dead for 3 years. If Mays can live up to his measurables, 6-3 230 4.3, he’s a very good candidate to go here.

9. Buffalo Bills 6-10

The Bills gave Trent Edwards a bunch of weapons to work with but they lacked that true pass blocking left tackle and thus Edwards struggled this season and was benched and the Bills sit here at 6-10 drafting in the top ten yet again. Langston Walker was supposed to start at left tackle this year, but he was cut right before the season. That’s a very bad sign. Demetrius Bell, their new starting left tackle, leads the league in penalties and their offensive line as a whole had 9 false starts earlier this season in a loss to the Browns. Rutgers OT Anthony Davis has really jumped onto the national stage as an elite franchise left tackle in past weeks so he could very well be the 2nd offensive tackle off the board. He’ll also remind the Bills a bit of Jason Peters, who worked out well for them as a left tackle for a few years before they traded him last year. Both Davis and Peters are big over powering left tackles that are overrated pass blockers and dominant run blockers.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-9

Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver pretty much promised that the Jags would draft in state Florida QB Tim Tebow in the first round in an attempt to sell more tickets and save the franchise’s future in Jacksonville. He seems to have forgotten that the Jags already have a good quarterback, David Garrard, who has a 60% completion percentage in each of his four years as starter as well as 59 touchdowns to 35 picks, but I guess the Jags will do what they have to do to make Jacksonville football fans, who clearly don’t care, come to the stadium, rather than moving the team to a city that deserves a franchise like San Antonio or Los Angeles. Despite what media is saying, Tim Tebow’s senior bowl performance is neutral. He had some nice throws, some bad throws, but for the most part played out of an offense similar to what he played in at Florida so we can’t really make a judgement.

11. Denver Broncos (via CHI) 8-8

Remember week 6 when the Broncos were 6-0 and had a 3.5 game lead on the division and they were giving up 3.3 YPC. Those days are long gone. The Broncos finished 8-8 and 5 games behind in the division and gave up 4.5 YPC for the season, a number that would be a lot higher if you took out their somewhat fluky run stopping days of weeks 1-6. It makes sense that they can’t stop the run. They couldn’t last year and all new coach Josh McDaniels did to fix that is change to a more complicated defensive system and make a front 7 out of 2 starters from last year’s miserable run stopping bunch, a 2009 1st round pick playing out of position, and cast offs from the Niners and Browns. They will take the best 3-4 front 7 player available here. That would be Alabama MLB Rolando McClain who is one of the best pure 3-4 middle linebackers prospects of the last ten years. If the Broncos trade Brandon Marshall, a strong, but stupid possibility, this pick will be Dez Bryant. The Broncos can’t go into 2010 with the same receiving corps they had week 17 without Marshall. They had no deep target and just threw short passes all week. Even the Chiefs weren’t fooled by that and destroyed the Broncos at home, knocking them out of the playoffs.

12. Miami Dolphins 7-9

Jason Ferguson will be 35 by draft day 2010 and also will be a free agent. Bill Parcells knows how important nose tackles are for a 3-4 defense so he should take Tennessee NT Dan Williams. I have had Terrence Cody here for some weeks, but I have changed it to Williams because Williams had a great Senior Bowl, whereas Cody showed up to his weigh in at 370 pounds, 15 pounds heavier than expected. I don’t think Parcells will take someone as out of shape as him when he can get someone more versatile and in better shape like Williams.

13. San Francisco 49ers 8-8

When ‘Dre Bly is not busy making a fool of himself on an interception, by high stepping starting from the 30 yard line with a potential tackler a few feet behind him such that he gets tackled, loses the ball, and turns 7 points into a fumble, he’s busy getting burnt by quicker, faster, younger, more athletic receivers. The only reason he has a job is because Walt Harris, who is equally old and slow, had to have season ending knee surgery before the season. I don’t think Shawntae Spencer is the answer either, but with Nate Clements reportedly moving to free safety next year, Spencer is probably going to start another year. Regardless, they would still need a corner to play opposite him. Michigan CB Donovan Warren is shooting up draft boards this season, after a down year last season. He’s a great man-on-man corner who quarterbacks don’t even try to throw on and he’s tough and physical against the run which Mike Singletary will love. Bruce Campbell is also a possibility here as the Niners need an offensive tackle, but the offensive tackle class is a lot deeper than the cornerback class in the first round and they can still get a good one at #17. Warren won’t be there at #17 and they’ll have to settle for a much weaker cornerback prospect.

14. Seattle Seahawks 5-11 (via DEN)

Pete Carroll has a pretty easy first round of his first NFL draft since returning to the NFL this year, huh? Just take the guy who is glaringly the best player available and fills a major need. Their left tackle position is a mess. Walter Jones could be done for his career and Sean Locklear, even when healthy, is more of a right tackle than a left. If they take a good zone blocking left tackle here like Maryland OT Bruce Campbell, who is shooting up my draft board and plenty of others’, they can have a very strong young offensive line. Having Campbell and Locklear together on the offensive line would allow them to move Ray Willis from tackle to guard, where he belongs, and give them a very good offensive line for the future, with Locklear and Campbell at tackle and Willis and promising rookie, and 2009 2nd round pick, Max Unger at guard. Campbell is a steal here.

15. New York Giants 8-8

As weird as it may sound, the Giants only had 32 sacks last season, despite all of the money they have invested in their defensive line. Now, Osi Umenyiora wants out because he’s insulted that he was turned into a 3rd round rusher alone late last season. There’s a good chance they either cut him to take his large cap number off of the payroll, or trade him to a team like St. Louis who needs a veteran defensive line leader. Osi has also had his best success under Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, the former Giants defensive coordinator. If Osi leaves, they’ll definitely have to look for more help on the defensive line and even if he stays, they might consider Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan here simply because Giants GM Jerry Reese is such a fan of the best player available strategy when it comes it drafting.

16. Tennessee Titans 8-8

The Titans are known for their defense under Jeff Fisher. However, defense is now an issue for them. They lost Albert Haynesworth and replaced him with Jovan Haye, which, no offense to Haye, is a big downgrade. Starting corner Nick Harper is 35 and their linebackers are very mediocre with the exception of Keith Bulluck, who happens to be 32 and in the last season of his contract. However, their biggest defensive need is defensive end, where two key members of the rotation, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse are free agents after the 2009 season and could leave the team. Tennessee should draft South Florida DE Jason Pierre Paul in case one or both of them leave. Even if neither of them do, Morgan could be a good depth guy and a future replacement for Kearse, who turns 33 this season. It would be too big of a risk for them not to take an end, as defensive end has quickly grown into the most important position on defense. JPP, as ESPN calls him, is an excellent fluid athlete with great upside who would fit the Titans scheme very well.

17. San Francisco 49ers 8-8 (via CAR)

Joe Staley is supposed to be the left tackle, but he’s hurt. Even when he’s healthy, he’s a liability against the pass and belongs at right tackle where the Niners currently have a load of crap. The Niners have 2 picks in this first round and can use the first of the two, with no other huge needs that they can fill with the players left on the board, on an elite left tackle. Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga is the best available offensive tackle.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7

Its painfully obvious that the Steelers need offensive line help after giving up 20 sacks to the Browns, Packers, Ravens, and Dolphins in the last 4 weeks of the season. However, they’ve needed offensive line help for years and haven’t done anything about it. Plus, its also painfully obvious that Mike Tomlin doesn’t trust his defense, even more painfully obvious than their offensive line is bad. Mike Tomlin tried an onside kick with a 2 point lead in a game late in the season against the Packers because he didn’t trust his defense to stop Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Packers would recover and score and if it weren’t for late game heroics from Big Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin would have been the laughing stock of the NFL. That is how far this defense has fallen since being one of the best in history last year. The biggest reason for their defensive struggles has been Troy Polamalu’s injuries. In the 5 games in which he has played, the Steelers are 4-1 and are allowed 13.8 points per game. In the games he has missed, they give up 23.2 and are consequently 5-6. Their lack of a good safety opposite him is obvious. Texas FS Earl Thomas is probably the best player available and the Steelers have shown in recent years that they are fans of the best player available strategy drafting guys like Rashard Mendenhall and Evander Hood in the first round even when they weren’t their biggest needs.

19. Atlanta Falcons 9-7

After 3 years and 2.5 sacks, I think it’s time for the Falcons to write former #8 overall pick Jamaal Anderson off as a bust and start fresh at the defensive end position opposite John Abraham. They got burnt through the air a lot this season and a lot of that had to do with their poor cornerback play since Brian Williams’ injury, but their 28 sacks as a team didn’t help. USC DE Everson Griffen has all the talent of a #1 defensive end in the future, but he just needs to put it all together. He could actually go top 10 if he runs a sub 4.6 40 at 275 pounds, which I think would be a mistake because his production in college to this point has been limited. However, there’s no question he could be a future #1 defensive end.

20. Houston Texans 9-7

The Texans need a good defensive back, especially a cornerback, but there aren’t any available that aren’t huge reaches so the Texans can really just go with the best available. Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant is a huge steal at this point in the draft. If he pans out, opposing defensive coordinators are going to have nightmares about having to guard both him and Andre Johnson, and Owen Daniels coming over the middle as a tight end.

21. Cincinnati Bengals 9-7

The Bengals biggest need this offseason is to open up their offensive. They beat everyone by like 3 points last year. Every win they had was a hard fought win in which they struggled and looked ugly. Cedric Benson, as good as he was last year, did not have a run that was longer than 42 yards all season. He carried the ball 301 times yet could not run for more than 42 yards one single time. They need to get a homerun threat on the ground and there is no bigger homerun threat than Clemson RB CJ Spiller. Spiller can come in and play the Reggie Bush role for this team and help out both the ground game and the receiving game while adding a new dimension to this offense. He can also help out a mediocre return game.

22. New England Patriots 10-7

As a Patriots fan, the Pats’ defense makes me cringe. They let Devery Henderson run straight down field for a touchdown without a guy within 10 yards of him against New Orleans and then missed 4 tackles as the Saints turned a loss on a screen play to a touchdown and they were only able to sack Brees once all game. Then Chad Henne came out and burned their defense again. However, Bill Belicheck will go value over need every time, especially with 3 picks in the 2ndround to work with. California RB Jahvid Best would help the Patriots become even more explosive on offensive by adding that explosive homerun hitting back that they lack right now. He would compliment Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk well. They’re also always a candidate to trade down.

23. Green Bay Packers 10-7

The Packers have done a better job of protecting Rodgers since Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton have returned from injury, but both are in their 30s and could retire soon. Before those two were both healthy, Rodgers was sacked 37 times in 8 games. If Tauscher and Clifton retire and neither are replaced by then, Aaron Rodgers could actually die on the field. They need a good young tackle familiar with a zone blocking scheme and athletic enough to play in it. USC OT Charles Brown might be the best pure zone blocking tackle in this draft class and that will shoot him up draft boards like it did with former USC tackle Sam Baker in 2008.

24. Philadelphia Eagles 11-5

Even with all of the offensive linemen the Eagles brought in during the offseason, they are still not playing well on the offensive front. Andy Reid, who loves to draft offensive linemen, will want to do something about that this year and draft the biggest offensive lineman available to help himself feel more secure about his own weight problems. He doesn’t have a starting offensive lineman who weighs less than 320 pounds. 330 pound Anthony Davis isn’t available, so 330 pound Idaho OG Mike Iupati will have to do. Think Andy Reid won’t draft an offensive guard in the first round, think again. He’s done it before.

25. Baltimore Ravens 10-8

Baltimore did not draft a wide receiver which means they are confident in their ability to resign Derrick Mason, a free agent after the 2009 season. That might be a bad move because if Mason leaves, they are really only left with Mark Clayton, which would be very bad for young quarterback Joe Flacco’s development moving forward. Even if Mason returns, he will be 36 by next year’s Super Bowl, so they need a longterm replacement. USC WR Damian Williams is the best available at a position of huge need and is the logical pick here.

26. Arizona Cardinals 11-7

The Cardinals already have 3 good wide receivers, but they have yet to get an upgrade at tight end. Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham is too good for them to pass up at this point. Even with his injury, Gresham is one of the best pass catching tight end prospects of the decade. He will make this Cardinals offense that much deadlier for whoever the quarterback is in the future.

27. Dallas Cowboys 12-6

Jerry Jones is always looking for the big name and Alabama NT Terrence Cody was one of the biggest names in college football last year because of his trademark large gut. Jay Ratliff made the Pro Bowl last year as a nose tackle, but, as good as he was, he was playing out of position all year. He needs to move back to that 3-4 defensive end position. Ratliff is an excellent pass rusher for his size, but he’s not the big nose tackle, that commands two lineman, pushes the pocket, and serves as a shield for linebackers to come in and get into the backfield. Terrence Cody is and they need that. Cody would command two blockers and make things a lot easier for Ratliff on the outside and make him even more deadly. It would also free things up more for DeMarcus Ware, not like he needed to get freed up more, but, it can’t hurt.

28. San Diego Chargers 13-4

The Chargers’ top 2 receivers, Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd, are all free agents after this season. Even if they are able to bring both back Floyd is average at best. They could use another receiver here. LSU WR Brandon LaFell is the best available receiver for a team that doesn’t have a ton of needs. They are a pass heavy team so they need to get good young receivers for Phillip Rivers. LaFell is 6-4 and the Chargers like big receivers.

29. New York Jets 11-8

Trading for Mark Sanchez was the right longterm move for the franchise, especially given how little they had to give up to move up to get him. One player they did give up was Kenyon Coleman. He is a 3-4 defensive end, so he’s absence did not hurt them a ton, especially when you consider they got a franchise quarterback, but they still do need to replace him. Penn State DE Jared Odrick plays defensive tackle in college, but would be a natural fit for this team at 3-4 defensive end, which is a big need where they have a major hole.

30. Minnesota Vikings 13-5

The Vikings seem to be set for the future on the offensive end, with the exception of quarterback, but I doubt the Vikings would reach a quarterback in this situation, especially since all of the quarterbacks available here could be there when they pick in the 2nd round. Defensively, they have a few issues that need to be filled. This team is built upon their defensive line’s ability to stuff the run. Pat Williams will turn 37 in October and the Vikings need to bulk up their line and their depth at the defensive tackle position. They can’t afford to lose their biggest strength, so they take a high upside defensive tackle here, in UCLA DT Brian Price, who can come in, learn from the Williamses, and hopefully be able to take Pat’s place when he moves on. Price is an amazing pass rusher for his size and would fill Pat’s old pass rushing tackle role nicely. He should be able to capitalize on his 7 sacks this season and get drafted in the first round as the 3rd defensive tackle off the board.

31. New Orleans Saints 15-3

The Saints, with only 1 pick in the first 3 rounds of the 2009 NFL draft, were unable to secure a good young outside linebacker. Good news for them, they’ll be able to add a great one here in Missouri OLB Sean Weatherspoon. Lewis will add another young playmaker to an improving defense and help this team in all facets of the game. If it weren’t for Brandon Graham, Weatherspoon would be the MVP of the Senior Bowl. He looked excellent doing everything from getting into the backfield, to covering a much faster man and breaking up the pass, to getting a late interception.

32. Indianapolis Colts 16-2

Michigan DE Brandon Graham had a huge Senior Bowl week, impressing in practice and winning MVP. Defensive end is not a huge need for the Colts right now, in fact they have the best pass rushing duo in the league in Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, but both of them are going to be free agents in 2011, and either way, the Colts know value so I doubt they’ll let Graham slip by them. Graham is the type of defensive end they like, not physically opposing, barely 6 feet with the shortest arms of any defensive end at the Senior Bowl weigh ins, but he also has an energizer battery motor with a switch that is stuck on “on” 24/7.

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33. St. Louis Rams- WR Golden Tate (Notre Dame)

If the Rams draft Jimmy Clausen, they better get him someone to throw to. Who better than Golden Tate, his leading receiver at Notre Dame over the past two years, who also happens to be the best available player. Tate should continue to be Clausen’s favorite target next year if the two remain teammates.

34. Detroit Lions- OT Trent Williams (Oklahoma)

The Lions have to draft a left tackle eventually right?…right…? Luckily for their fans and Matt Stafford’s health, Trent Williams is one of the best players available and would fit their zone blocking scheme well.

35. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- DE Greg Hardy (Mississippi)

The Bucs have two 2nd round picks thanks to their trade of Gaines Adams (RIP). You have to expect they’ll use one of them on a replacement longterm defensive end, one who fits their scheme better. Hardy could be a steal here if he can stay healthy.

36. Kansas City Chiefs- OLB Jerry Hughes (TCU)

The Chiefs more than doubled their sack total in 2009! That would be amazing if it weren’t for the fact that they only had 10 sacks in 2008. They need an elite #1 pass rusher and luckily for them, Jerry Hughes falls out of fear that he’ll bust. Many rush linebacker prospects have busted in recent years because they are learning a new position (see Veron Gholston). The Chiefs can afford to take a risk on Hughes here, in fact they can’t afford not to take a risk on him.

37. Washington Redskins- OT Jason Fox (Miami)

If Sam Bradford gets drafted by the Redskins, he better pray they use their 2ndround pick on a left tackle. Jason Campbell took 43 sacks last year. They can’t afford to let Bradford take that many, especially with the questions about the health of his shoulder. Chris Samuels might be done for his career so they can’t count on him to fix their offensive line problems. They need to draft a left tackle and Fox is the best available at the position. He fits the scheme perfectly.

38. Cleveland Browns- MLB Brandon Spikes (Florida)

Again, Eric Mangini is unpredictable as a drafter. He’ll probably trade down 5 times and draft a kicker, but I’ll give him some credit and assume he’ll just take best available. Spikes would fit their 3-4 defense really well and give them a much needed upgrade inside next to D’Qwell Jackson.

39. Oakland Raiders- DE Carlos Dunlap (Florida)

If Al Davis gets his hands on two amazing physical specimens like Taylor Mays and Carlos Dunlap in the first two rounds, he’ll be so happy, he might exactly show emotion. Then he’ll go back to being dead.

40. Seattle Seahawks- CB Brandon Ghee (Wake Forest)

Marcus Trufant was the most penalized defensive back in the league last year. That’s bad enough, but when you consider that he did that despite missing the first 6 games of the season with injury. Something tells me the Seahawks could be looking for some young blood at the cornerback position this offseason, even if they do draft Eric Berry to play safety. Ghee would fit the scheme well and he is the best available cornerback.

41. Buffalo Bills- DT LaMarr Houston (Texas)

Of all the bad defenses we saw last year, the Bills ranked dead last against the run despite trading for Marcus Stroud to bolster their interior defensive line just two years ago. Houston’s stock is soaring right now thanks to an impressive performance in the National Championship game and a strong Senior Bowl week.

42. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via CHI)- WR Marshawn Gilyard (Cincinnati)

Raheem Morris said his #1 objective in the 2010 offseason is to help franchise quarterback Josh Freeman. That would require getting him someone to throw to. Gilyard was arguably the best receiver at the Senior Bowl, and he’s also a good kick returner.

43. Miami Dolphins- WR Arrelious Benn (Illinois)

The Dolphins drafted Patrick Turner in the 3rd round to get some much needed size in their receiving corps. He didn’t log a single reception this year and only saw action on special teams in two games. That doesn’t surprise me because I didn’t like the pick when they made it last year. If Benn is still available in the 2nd round, Parcells will take a chance on him. He’s an amazing physical receiver, but he had a horrible statistical season last year, but a lot of that had to do with the poor play of Juice Williams at quarterback. Besides, as Mohamed Massaquoi proved last year, you don’t need to be productive to get drafted in the 2nd round if you’re a great athlete. Massaquoi went on to become the Browns’ leading receiver this year.

44. New England Patriots (via JAC)- OLB Eric Norwood (South Carolina)

Bill Belicheck seems hesitant to draft rush linebacker, which is weird because he’s never hesitant to do anything. It must be because of how few of the defensive ends switching to rush linebacker actually pan out. He can’t hesitate anymore, the Pats only managed 31 sacks all last year and their pass defense suffered because of it. Norwood is a safe bet here because he has experience playing standing up at outside linebacker at South Carolina, in addition to playing defensive end, so he is going to be comfortable in coverage and blitzing from an outside position.  

45. Denver Broncos- DE Arthur Jones (Syracuse)

As mentioned in the first round, the Broncos flat out sucked against the run in the 2nd half of last season. Losing defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is only going to hurt this team against the run (yes, I did just say something good about Mike Nolan, horrible coach, excellent defensive coordinator). If McDaniels is a capable drafter (based on his 2009 showing I’m not so sure) he’ll focus 2 early picks on the front 7 in an effort finally make this team decent against the run.

46. New York Giants- FS Nate Allen (South Florida)

he Giants gave up the 13th fewest yards in the league, but also the 3rd most points. That means they gave up a ton of big plays for touchdowns, whether on the ground or through the air, and they couldn’t stop anyone in the red zone. Both of those show poor safety play, which means sense because they are starting Michael Johnson and Aaron Rouse at safety after losing James Butler to free agency and Kenny Phillips to injury. Even if Phillips does return from his injury, which is not a guarantee at this point, they need a good safety to pair with him. Allen is the best available safety.

47. New England Patriots (via TEN)- DE Mike Neal (Purdue)

Neal seems like a classic Patriots pick, he’s better than the public views him, though in actuality they’d likely trade down to get him. Trading Richard Seymour was a smart move because they could end up with the #1 pick in 2011, but they do need to replace him.

48. Carolina Panthers- WR Eric Decker (Minnesota)

Part of the reason for Jake Delhomme’s struggles last year was because he had no one to throw to except Steve Smith. Matt Moore appears to be the quarterback of the future for this team so they’ll need to get him someone to compliment Smith. Decker would be perfect for the job because he’s a consistent possession receiver, whereas Smith is an inconsistent deep threat.    

49. San Francisco 49ers- OLB Sergio Kindle (Texas)

No one on the Niners had more than 6.5 sacks last year. Manny Lawson led the team with 6.5, but you can never count on him. They need an elite pass rusher prospect. Kindle has experience playing outside linebacker at Texas so the transition to rush linebacker won’t be as tough for him. He has elite athleticism and huge upside.

50. Kansas City Chiefs (via ATL)- SS Chad Jones (LSU)

The Chiefs used to have a great safety named Bernard Pollard. Then they decided he was too talented and cut him. They’ll need to replace him and Jones is a huge steal at this point. I think he’s the best strong safety in this draft class.

51. Houston Texans- CB Patrick Robinson (Florida State)

The Texans had 14 interceptions all year last year and 4 of those came from their linebackers and 9 from their safeties, including 4 from Bernard Pollard (hey, maybe the Chiefs shouldn’t have cut him). That leaves only 1 interception by any of their cornerbacks. Robinson had 7 in his career at Oklahoma State and he had a very good game in the Senior Bowl.

52. Pittsburgh Steelers- OT Kyle Calloway (Iowa)

The Steelers can’t ignore their offensive line any longer. Calloway is one of the best available offensive lineman and he fits the mold of the stereotypical Steelers offensive lineman because he always gives 110% on the field. If he can stay out of off the field trouble, he’ll be a great pick

53. New England Patriots- WR Dezmon Briscoe (Kansas)

Randy Moss has only one year left on his contract and based on his effort last year and the Patriots early playoff exit, there’s a good chance they either trade or cut him this offseason. They would need a deep threat to compliment either Wes Welker or Julian Edelman, depending on whether or not Welker can play. Briscoe would fit the scheme extremely well because he played in a similar scheme and had huge numbers at Kansas last year.

54. Cincinnati Bengals- WR Jeremy Williams (Tulane)

Drafting Spiller alone isn’t going to be able to help the Bengals offense alone. Carson Palmer needs another wide receiver to throw to other than Chad Ochocinco. When Darrelle Revis took Ochocinco out of the game in the playoffs, Palmer had no one to throw to. Williams is the best available receiver and another player who had a great senior bowl week.

55. Philadelphia Eagles- OLB Daryl Washington (TCU)

The Eagles need an outside linebacker opposite Will Witherspoon next season. Daryl Washington is an excellent fundamental player and a fluid athlete and would fit the Eagles scheme perfectly.

56. Green Bay Packers- CB Perrish Cox (Oklahoma State)

Al Harris just turned 35 and missed a good portion of the season with injuries, which have been plaguing him for years. Tramon Williams was decent, but not great in relief of Harris. Even if he does pan out well longterm, Charles Woodson, despite winning defensive player of the year, is 33 and will turn 34 next October. He can’t play that well forever. The Packers, who always like to take best available, will take Cox, because he will give them much needed cornerback depth. He’s also a good kick returner.

57. Baltimore Ravens- CB Domonique Franks (Oklahoma)

After Lardarius Webb got hurt, the Ravens had to starting kick returner Chris Carr at cornerback. I think its safe to say they need some cornerback depth and Franks provides good depth and upside at the position.

58. Arizona Cardinals- RLB Ricky Sapp (Clemson)

The Cardinals actually had a top ten pass rush last year, but no rush linebacker had more than 6 sacks last year. Bert Berry led the way with 6, but he’s retiring and none of their other rush linebackers are much younger, with the exception of rookie Cody Brown. Sapp is a good value here.

59. Dallas Cowboys- OG Vladimir Ducasse (Massachusetts)

In case you couldn’t tell during their playoff game against the Vikings, in which Tony Romo was sacked 6 times, the Cowboys at least need some depth at the offensive line position. All 5 of their starting offensive lineman from last year are currently 30 or older. Ducasse can play both guard positions, in addition to right tackle, and possibly left tackle. He’s also 340 pounds and the Cowboys like their offensive lineman big.

60. San Diego Chargers- RB Jonathan Dwyer (Georgia Tech)

Its safe to say after his awful stinker of a season, in which he averaged 3.3 YPA, LT won’t be back next season. The Chargers can safe money by cutting him so I wouldn’t be surprised if they cut him. Even if they don’t cut him, he’s not going to be around much longer so I would be really surprised if they didn’t draft a running back in the first 3 rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft. Dwyer is the best available.

61. New York Jets- WR Demaryius Thomas (Georgia Tech)

Braylon Edwards wasn’t awful last season with the Jets with 35 catches for 541 yards and 4 touchdowns, but when you consider he was targeted 70 times you’d expect him to have done a lot more statistically. He’s a free agent this offseason and if they’re smart, they’ll only resign him if he takes a reduced rate. Regardless of whether or not he is back, they could use another wide receiver, especially one with good size. Thomas’ route running could be better, but he’s big and a great deep threat. He’s also an above average run blocker which is a plus for the Jets, who run lot.

62. Minnesota Vikings- FS Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech)

The Vikings never replaced Darren Sharper. Drafting Burnett would allow them do that. They don’t have many other needs to worry about and quarterback would be a reach here.

63. New Orleans Saints- DT Vince Oghobaase (Duke)

The Saints run defense really struggled without Sedrick Ellis this season and even weren’t that great when Ellis was in the lineup so it would make sense for them to draft a defensive tackle to play inside with Ellis. Oghobaase has more upside than any player left on the board and the Saints don’t really need to make a safe pick.

64. Indianapolis Colts- OG Mike Johnson (Alabama)

The Colts need some help on the interior of their offensive line and Mike Johnson is the best zone blocking guard in this draft class.

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1/31/10

 

1. St. Louis Rams 1-15

The Rams considered drafting Mark Sanchez last year, but the truth was they had too much money tied up in the quarterback position already with Marc Bulger and his giant contract and cutting Bulger would have been too much of a cap hit. This year, they can cut Bulger and actually save money so this is probably his last year in St. Louis, unless the Rams fail to get anyone better than him. Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen is, with Bradford’s injury, the most complete quarterback in this draft class and would be an excellent addition to a Rams team that already has its left tackle and defensive end of the future. Many will argue Ndamukong Suh here, but, as dominant of a prospect he is, he doesn’t have the positional value here. History has shown, if a team needs a left tackle or quarterback early in the draft, they will take that above all else, even the consensus top prospect. Remember Glenn Dorsey? How about Aaron Curry? Here’s some facts. Since 1998, 36 players have gone in the top three overall. 15 have been quarterbacks, 6 have been offensive tackles, and 6 have been defensive ends. That’s only 25% that aren’t quarterbacks, offensive tackles, or defensive ends. When you look closer, all 12 #1 overall picks since 1998 have been quarterback, offensive tackles, or defensive end. The Rams don’t need an offensive tackle or defensive end, so it’ll be quarterback here. Right now, other mock drafter seem to be split 50/50 on Clausen and Suh. For more information check out the Sports Jabber Mock Draft Database.

2. Detroit Lions 2-14

The Lions need a franchise left tackle badly, but they have proven that they will take the best available player regardless of need. Left tackle would help them and Matt Stafford majorly, but they are going to take best available player. Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh is the best available player, by far, and it’s not like the Lions don’t need any help at that position. Despite the surprisingly good play of Sammie Lee Hill at defensive tackle, they are still ranked 21st against the run, although they have looked better over the past few weeks. However, left tackle is more of an immediate need for them. I hope, if they don’t take one in the first round, that they take one in the 2nd round, for their own good. Jeff Backus is not the guy you want protecting Matt Stafford’s blindside during his development. But, you can’t really blame the Lions for taking the best available player, especially when he’s a player that is as dominant at his position as Ndamukong Suh. Only 1 defensive tackle has gone in the top three since 1998, but Suh is that good.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13

The Bucs want to build around their defensive line. Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy is available. He’s not the dominant defensive tackle Suh is, but he’s a great finesse one gap penetrator at defensive tackle that could flourish if the Bucs decide to switch back to a Tampa 2 defensive system. The Bucs could also trade down if someone like Seattle offers enough to move up here and take a franchise left tackle like Russell Okung because, even though he’ll probably be the guy they’re targeting, they can get McCoy a few picks farther down.

4. Washington Redskins 4-12

The writing is on the wall for Jason Campbell. There’s a new head coach and a new GM in town. The guys who drafted him are gone, most of them long gone. He just happened to have his 2 worst games of his career in the last 3 weeks of this season and now he’s a restricted free agent. Even if the Redskins tender him a contract, they’ll likely trade him to the highest bidder and even if he isn’t traded, he’ll likely only be back on a one year deal to be a stop gap while a young quarterback waits to take over in 2011, a smart idea. Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford has a lot of issues, namely his injured shoulder and the system he played in during college, but if history is any indicator, there’s a good chance he sneaks up into the top 5. Last year, I had Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman in the 2nd round at this points. Sanchez went 5th and Freeman went 17th. Why? If a team needs a quarterback in the first round, chances are they take one even if it’s a reach. There are way too many teams with needs at the quarterback position this year, including Washington, for guys like Bradford and Tim Tebow, who look like borderline 1st round picks on paper, to not go in the top 15.

5. Kansas City Chiefs- OT Russell Okung (Oklahoma State)

Brandan Albert was one of the worst starting left tackles in the league this year and he’s movable, either by trade or more likely to a different position, for many reasons. He doesn’t have a large contract. The regime that drafted him is no longer in town. He has versatility position wise and can also play right tackle or left guard in addition to left tackle. There’s a very good chance that Albert isn’t their left tackle next year and if Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung is still available at #5, I would be very surprised if they didn’t draft him. The only reason I can see them passing on Okung is if they have their mind set on signing Matt Light in 2011 in an attempt to recreate the 2003 New England Patriots. I hear Ty Law and Troy Brown are still looking for work.

6. Seattle Seahawks 5-11

Pete Carroll could go a number of ways with his two first round picks. He could go best available. He could draft for need. He could value getting his own franchise quarterback above anything and with the way Matt Hasselbeck played at the end of the season last year, that might not be a bad idea. He could value drafting former USC players above anything. However, there’s one thing that I think is certain. If a player as good as Tennessee FS Eric Berry is available at #6, Carroll, unless he’s completely inept, is going to take him. Carroll knows talent obviously as shown by his major success at USC and I highly doubt he passes on someone as talented as Eric Berry.

7. Cleveland Browns 5-11

This is where the draft hits a crossroad. I have no idea what the Browns are going to do here. Eric Mangini didn’t draft his own guy at quarterback last year in his first offseason and with new team president Mike Holmgren, there’s a chance they go that direction, but I doubt they’ll reach for Tim Tebow to do it, especially with how much Eric Mangini enjoyed drafting random positions last year. Plus, I don’t think we’ve seen enough of Brady Quinn to call him a bust yet. I think the Browns will either draft down or go best available, but the problem is, determining who I believe they will see as best available. This pick could very well be Derrick Morgan, but he’s not a good fit for the 3-4 defense, so I won’t mock him here unless I here something from Cleveland saying that the coaching staff believes him to have the ability to play rush linebacker. Rolando McClain makes sense and I’ve actually had him here at this spot before, but then again, 3-4 middle linebackers rarely go top 10. Even Patrick Willis slipped to #11. That leaves Dez Bryant and Joe Haden, a wide receiver and a cornerback. I’ll go with Florida CB Joe Haden for now because Mangini obviously enjoys less valuable positions like cornerback…or center, but don’t quote me on this one just yet.

8. Oakland Raiders 5-11

JaMarcus Russell could be easily replaced with a large sack of potatoes with a Raiders Jersey on it and no one would notice. Because of that, quarterback is a major possibility here, especially if Tebow runs a fast 40 like Al Davis likes, but I don’t think his arm is quite strong enough for Davis’ liking. Davis would have likely drafted USC FS Taylor Mays at #7 last year if he hadn’t returned to school. While at school, Mays’ flaws were exposed in a big way, but of course Al Davis hasn’t noticed because he’s been dead for 3 years. If Mays can live up to his measurables, 6-3 230 4.3, he’s a very good candidate to go here.

9. Buffalo Bills 6-10

The Bills gave Trent Edwards a bunch of weapons to work with but they lacked that true pass blocking left tackle and thus Edwards struggled this season and was benched and the Bills sit here at 6-10 drafting in the top ten yet again. Langston Walker was supposed to start at left tackle this year, but he was cut right before the season. That’s a very bad sign. Demetrius Bell, their new starting left tackle, leads the league in penalties and their offensive line as a whole had 9 false starts earlier this season in a loss to the Browns. Rutgers OT Anthony Davis has really jumped onto the national stage as an elite franchise left tackle in past weeks so he could very well be the 2nd offensive tackle off the board. He’ll also remind the Bills a bit of Jason Peters, who worked out well for them as a left tackle for a few years before they traded him last year. Both Davis and Peters are big over powering left tackles that are overrated pass blockers and dominant run blockers.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-9

Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver pretty much promised that the Jags would draft in state Florida QB Tim Tebow in the first round in an attempt to sell more tickets and save the franchise’s future in Jacksonville. He seems to have forgotten that the Jags already have a good quarterback, David Garrard, who has a 60% completion percentage in each of his four years as starter as well as 59 touchdowns to 35 picks, but I guess the Jags will do what they have to do to make Jacksonville football fans, who clearly don’t care, come to the stadium, rather than moving the team to a city that deserves a franchise like San Antonio or Los Angeles. The Senior Bowl will be extremely important to Tebow as with a bad game, he could play himself out of this spot and then drop who knows how far, but I think at the moment, this spot is his to lose.

11. Denver Broncos (via CHI) 8-8

Remember week 6 when the Broncos were 6-0 and had a 3.5 game lead on the division and they were giving up 3.3 YPC. Those days are long gone. The Broncos finished 8-8 and 5 games behind in the division and gave up 4.5 YPC for the season, a number that would be a lot higher if you took out their somewhat fluky run stopping days of weeks 1-6. It makes sense that they can’t stop the run. They couldn’t last year and all new coach Josh McDaniels did to fix that is change to a more complicated defensive system and make a front 7 out of 2 starters from last year’s miserable run stopping bunch, a 2009 1st round pick playing out of position, and cast offs from the Niners and Browns. They will take the best 3-4 front 7 player available here. That would be Alabama MLB Rolando McClain who is one of the best pure 3-4 middle linebackers prospects of the last ten years. If the Broncos trade Brandon Marshall, a strong, but stupid possibility, this pick will be Dez Bryant. The Broncos can’t go into 2010 with the same receiving corps they had week 17 without Marshall. They had no deep target and just threw short passes all week. Even the Chiefs weren’t fooled by that and destroyed the Broncos at home, knocking them out of the playoffs.

12. Miami Dolphins 7-9

Jason Ferguson will be 35 by draft day 2010 and also will be a free agent. Bill Parcells knows how important nose tackles are for a 3-4 defense so he should take 370 pound Alabama NT Terrence Cody here. He may be a 2 down nose tackle in the NFL, but so is Kris Jenkins of the Jets and we all saw how bad their run defense got in a hurry after he got hurt. The Dolphins don’t have another starting caliber nose tackle on the roster and this is an extremely weak nose tackle class so they need to take one here, whether they like Cody or a less dominant, but more versatile guy like Dan Williams, is unknown at the moment.

13. San Francisco 49ers 8-8

When ‘Dre Bly is not busy making a fool of himself on an interception, by high stepping starting from the 30 yard line with a potential tackler a few feet behind him such that he gets tackled, loses the ball, and turns 7 points into a fumble, he’s busy getting burnt by quicker, faster, younger, more athletic receivers. The only reason he has a job is because Walt Harris, who is equally old and slow, had to have season ending knee surgery before the season. I don’t think Shawntae Spencer is the answer either, but with Nate Clements reportedly moving to free safety next year, Spencer is probably going to start another year. Regardless, they would still need a corner to play opposite him. Michigan CB Donovan Warren is shooting up draft board this season, after a down year last season. He’s a great man-on-man corner who quarterbacks don’t even try to throw on and he’s tough and physical against the run which Mike Singletary will love. Bruce Campbell is also a possibility here as the Niners need an offensive tackle, but the offensive tackle class is a lot deeper than the cornerback class in the first round and they can still get a good one at #17. Warren won’t be there at #17 and they’ll have to settle for a much weaker cornerback prospect.

14. Seattle Seahawks 5-11 (via DEN)

Pete Carroll has a pretty easy first round of his first NFL draft since returning to the NFL this year, huh? Just take the guy who is glaringly the best player available and fills a major need. Their left tackle position is a mess. Walter Jones could be done for his career and Sean Locklear, even when healthy, is more of a right tackle than a left. If they take a good zone blocking left tackle here like Maryland OT Bruce Campbell, who is shooting up my draft board and plenty of others’, they can have a very strong young offensive line. Having Campbell and Locklear together on the offensive line would allow them to move Ray Willis from tackle to guard, where he belongs, and give them a very good offensive line for the future, with Locklear and Campbell at tackle and Willis and promising rookie, and 2009 2nd round pick, Max Unger at guard. Campbell is a steal here.

15. New York Giants 8-8

The Giants gave up the 13th fewest yards in the league, but also the 3rd most points. That means they gave up a ton of big plays for touchdowns, whether on the ground or through the air, and they couldn’t stop anyone in the red zone. Both of those show poor safety play, which means sense because they are starting Michael Johnson and Aaron Rouse at safety after losing James Butler to free agency and Kenny Phillips to injury. Even if Phillips does return from his injury, which is not a guarantee at this point, they need a good safety to pair with him. Texas FS Earl Thomas is the top safety available and is both a great ballhawker and a solid hustle run stopper and tackler for his size. The Giants couldn’t tackle anyone in the open field late in the season against Carolina and Minnesota and lost in embarrassing fashion and fell out of the playoffs.

16. Tennessee Titans 8-8

The Titans are known for their defense under Jeff Fisher. However, defense is now an issue for them. They lost Albert Haynesworth and replaced him with Jovan Haye, which, no offense to Haye, is a big downgrade. Starting corner Nick Harper is 35 and their linebackers are very mediocre with the exception of Keith Bulluck, who happens to be 32 and in the last season of his contract. However, their biggest defensive need is defensive end, where two key members of the rotation, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse are free agents after the 2009 season and could leave the team. Tennessee should draft Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan in case one or both of them leave. Even if neither of them do, Morgan could be a good depth guy and a future replacement for Kearse, who turns 33 this season. It would be too big of a risk for them not to take an end, as defensive end has quickly grown into the most important position on defense. Morgan is that physical type of defensive end that Tennessee likes. He’s also the best available player here and the Titans should be very glad that teams won’t see the 270-275 pound Morgan as a rush linebacker.

17. San Francisco 49ers 8-8 (via CAR)

Joe Staley is supposed to be the left tackle, but he’s hurt. Even when he’s healthy, he’s a liability against the pass and belongs at right tackle where the Niners currently have a load of crap. The Niners have 2 picks in this first round and can use the first of the two, with no other huge needs that they can fill with the players left on the board, on an elite left tackle. Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga is the best available offensive tackle.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7

Obviously the defense was a major issue this year for the Steelers, but assuming Aaron Smith and Troy Polamalu are ready for 2010, they’ll be a lot better on that side of the ball. Unless there’s a huge steal of a defensive prospect available here, I doubt they focus on that side of the ball. Ben Roethlisberger statistically had his best career season, but also was sacked 50 times this season, despite missing a game with a concussion. He suffered an arm injury in the last game of the season which could have sidelined him into the playoffs if the Steelers made it and to make things worse, most of their depth on the offensive line is a free agent this offseason. There isn’t really a stand out offensive tackle available here that fits the Steelers criteria of an offensive lineman, big, strong, mauler. However, there is one offensive guard who fits that criteria like a glove. Idaho OG Mike Iupati has prematurely been compared to Larry Allen. I am extremely excited to watch him at the Senior Bowl. He’ll fit their scheme and their need very well and will upgrade both their pass blocking and run blocking for next season.

19. Atlanta Falcons 9-7

After 3 years and 2.5 sacks, I think it’s time for the Falcons to write former #8 overall pick Jamaal Anderson off as a bust and start fresh at the defensive end position opposite John Abraham. They got burnt through the air a lot this season and a lot of that had to do with their poor cornerback play since Brian Williams’ injury, but their 28 sacks as a team didn’t help. USC DE Everson Griffen has all the talent of a #1 defensive end in the future, but he just needs to put it all together. He could actually go top 10 if he runs a sub 4.6 40 at 275 pounds, which I think would be a mistake because his production in college to this point has been limited. However, there’s no question he could be a future #1 defensive end.

20. Houston Texans 9-7

Since taking over as coach in 2006, Gary Kubiak has drafted 3 players in the trenches with his 4 first round picks. There’s a good chance he does that again this year, especially defensively, as Houston was still middle of the pack against the run this season, and ranked near the bottom in sacks. They really lack that big mauling 4-3 nose tackle type guy on their defensive line and Tennessee DT Dan Williams would fit their need on the defensive line very well. Unlike Terrence Cody, Williams can play both the 4-3 or 3-4 schemes and actually has experience playing in a system similar to Houston’s, last year playing for Tennessee.

21. Cincinnati Bengals 9-8

From week 9, when Chris Henry went out with an injury to the end of the season, Carson Palmer threw for 1254 yards in 8 games, 427 coming in games against the Lions and Raiders. Chris Henry died in December after a tragic accident. RIP. However, in football, life moves on, it has to. They need a deep threat to compliment Chad Ochocinco otherwise Palmer is doomed to have another mediocre year. In fact, as shown in the playoffs, he could be worse than mediocre next year if they don’t get a deep threat at wide receiver. The Bengals have shown in the past that they are willing to take chances on questionable character guys so they shouldn’t have any qualms about drafting Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant who was suspended for the entire season for lying about where he had lunch with Deion Sanders or something like that. Bryant would be a huge steal here.

22. New England Patriots 10-7

As a Patriots fan, the Pats’ defense makes me cringe. They let Devery Henderson run straight down field for a touchdown without a guy within 10 yards of him against New Orleans and then missed 4 tackles as the Saints turned a loss on a screen play to a touchdown and they were only able to sack Brees once all game. Then Chad Henne came out and burned their defense again. However, Bill Belicheck will go value over need every time, especially with 3 picks in the 2ndround to work with. California RB Jahvid Best would help the Patriots become even more explosive on offensive by adding that explosive homerun hitting back that they lack right now. He would compliment Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk well. They’re also always a candidate to trade down.

23. Green Bay Packers 10-7

The Packers have done a better job of protecting Rodgers since Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton have returned from injury, but both are in their 30s and could retire soon. Before those two were both healthy, Rodgers was sacked 37 times in 8 games. If Tauscher and Clifton retire and neither are replaced by then, Aaron Rodgers could actually die on the field. They need a good young tackle familiar with a zone blocking scheme and athletic enough to play in it. USC OT Charles Brown might be the best pure zone blocking tackle in this draft class and that will shoot him up draft boards like it did with former USC tackle Sam Baker in 2008.

24. Philadelphia Eagles 11-6

Andy Reid always likes to build in the trenches, especially with big fat guys that make him feel better about his own weight problems. At 280-290 pounds, Florida DE Carlos Dunlap is big and fills a need at left end. He has huge upside, but not good character and he looked lazy at times on the field last year and ended up being suspended in December for a DUI. However, ever since he signed that big contract extension, Andy Reid has been taking a lot more risks on guys with character issues (Michael Vick).

25. Baltimore Ravens 10-8

Baltimore did not draft a wide receiver which means they are confident in their ability to resign Derrick Mason, a free agent after the 2009 season. That might be a bad move because if Mason leaves, they are really only left with Mark Clayton, which would be very bad for young quarterback Joe Flacco’s development moving forward. Even if Mason returns, he will be 36 by next year’s Super Bowl, so they need a longterm replacement. USC WR Damian Williams is the best available at a position of huge need and is the logical pick here.

26. Arizona Cardinals 11-7

The Cardinals already have 3 good wide receivers, but they have yet to get an upgrade at tight end. Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham is too good for them to pass up at this point. Even with his injury, Gresham is one of the best pass catching tight end prospects of the decade. He will make this Cardinals offense that much deadlier for whoever the quarterback is in the future. Quarterback is a possibility here if Kurt Warner decides to retire, which he hinted he is strongly considering. Matt Leinart flat out stunk this year when he got the opportunity to show his skills and if the Cardinals want to continue to be competitive next year, they may want to consider drafting a quarterback here just in case Leinart sucks again. As I said, if a team needs a quarterback, there’s a good chance they take one and Tony Pike would fit their scheme well, but I think the Cardinals will value Gresham’s skills over Pike’s positional value.

27. Dallas Cowboys 12-6

Jerry Jones likes money and big name players so he’ll draft Florida MLB Brandon Spikes. The Cowboys will be looking for inside linebackers that can play both 3-4 and 4-3, because Wade Phillips might not be back next season. Spikes can play both and the Cowboys will be looking for linebackers after failing to upgrade Zach Thomas last offseason, only replacing him with Keith Brooking, who is also on the wrong side of 30.

28. San Diego Chargers 13-4

The Chargers’ top 2 receivers, Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd, are all free agents after this season. Even if they are able to bring both back Floyd is average at best. They could use another receiver here. LSU WR Brandon LaFell is the best available receiver for a team that doesn’t have a ton of needs. They are a pass heavy team so they need to get good young receivers for Phillip Rivers. LaFell is 6-4 and the Chargers like big receivers.

29. New York Jets 11-7

Trading for Mark Sanchez was the right longterm move for the franchise, especially given how little they had to give up to move up to get him. One player they did give up was Kenyon Coleman. He is a 3-4 defensive end, so he’s absence did not hurt them a ton, especially when you consider they got a franchise quarterback, but they still do need to replace him. Penn State DE Jared Odrick plays defensive tackle in college, but would be a natural fit for this team at 3-4 defensive end, which is a big need where they have a major hole.

30. Minnesota Vikings 13-4

The Vikings seem to be set for the future on the offensive end, with the exception of quarterback, but I doubt the Vikings would reach a quarterback in this situation, especially since all of the quarterbacks available here could be there when they pick in the 2nd round. Defensively, they have a few issues that need to be filled. This team is built upon their defensive line’s ability to stuff the run. Pat Williams will turn 37 in October and the Vikings need to bulk up their line and their depth at the defensive tackle position. They can’t afford to lose their biggest strength, so they take a high upside defensive tackle here, in UCLA DT Brian Price, who can come in, learn from the Williamses, and hopefully be able to take Pat’s place when he moves on. Price is an amazing pass rusher for his size and would fill Pat’s old pass rushing tackle role nicely. He should be able to capitalize on his 7 sacks this season and get drafted in the first round as the 3rd defensive tackle off the board.

31. New Orleans Saints 14-3

The Saints, with only 1 pick in the first 3 rounds of the 2009 NFL draft, were unable to secure a good young outside linebacker. Good news for them, they’ll be able to add a great one here in Missouri OLB Sean Weatherspoon. Lewis will add another young playmaker to an improving defense and help this team in all facets of the game.

32. Indianapolis Colts 15-2

The Colts don’t have any major needs and they know value so I can’t see them passing up South Florida DE Jason Pierre-Paul if they get a shot at him. Both Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney are free agents in 2011 and even if both are resigned, you can never have enough defensive line depth. JPP is a project anyway and he’d be an excellent fit for the Colts’ cover 2 scheme with his fluid athleticism and his ability to drop back into coverage.

Go on to 2nd Round

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1/31/10 

33. St. Louis Rams- WR Golden Tate (Notre Dame)

If the Rams draft Jimmy Clausen, they better get him someone to throw to. Who better than Golden Tate, his leading receiver at Notre Dame over the past two years, who also happens to be the best available player. Tate should continue to be Clausen’s favorite target next year if the two remain teammates.

34. Detroit Lions- RB CJ Spiller (Clemson)

Improving their secondary and their offensive line are big needs, but the Lions have shown time and time again that they will take the best available player. Luckily for them, this new regime in town can actually identify talent, unlike Matt Millen. Spiller is a huge steal here and though running back isn’t a huge need, they could use him. Kevin Smith’s status for 2010 is in doubt after an ACL tear and he wasn’t playing particularly good before the injuries. He and Spiller will compliment each other well.

35. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- WR Arrelious Benn (Illinois)

Raheem Morris said his #1 objective in the 2010 offseason is to help franchise quarterback Josh Freeman. That would require getting him someone to throw to. Arrelious Benn had a horrible statistical season last year, but a lot of that had to do with the poor play of Juice Williams at quarterback. Besides, as Mohamed Massaquoi proved last year, you don’t need to be productive to get drafted in the 2nd round if you’re a great athlete. Massaquoi went on to become the Browns’ leading receiver this year.

36. Kansas City Chiefs- OLB Jerry Hughes (TCU)

The Chiefs more than doubled their sack total in 2009! That would be amazing if it weren’t for the fact that they only had 10 sacks in 2008. They need an elite #1 pass rusher and luckily for them, Jerry Hughes falls out of fear that he’ll bust. Many rush linebacker prospects have busted in recent years because they are learning a new position (see Veron Gholston). The Chiefs can afford to take a risk on Hughes here, in fact they can’t afford not to take a risk on him.

37. Washington Redskins- OT Jason Fox (Miami)

If Sam Bradford gets drafted by the Redskins, he better pray they use their 2ndround pick on a left tackle. Jason Campbell took 43 sacks last year. They can’t afford to let Bradford take that many, especially with the questions about the health of his shoulder. Chris Samuels might be done for his career so they can’t count on him to fix their offensive line problems. They need to draft a left tackle and Fox is the best available at the position. He fits the scheme perfectly.

38. Cleveland Browns- QB Tony Pike (Cincinnati)

I know 353 attempts is not enough to judge a career, but no one who drafted Brady Quinn in 2007 is still around in Cleveland, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they went for their own guy at quarterback in the 2nd-4th rounds, even if only to push Quinn, especially if its one that fits the scheme as well as Pike does. If they draft Pike, it will likely mean the end of Derek Anderson in Cleveland. He doesn’t fit the scheme anyway.

39. Oakland Raiders- QB Jevan Snead (Mississippi)

According to Al Davis, all a good quarterback has to be able to do is throw the ball straight down field really far. Snead can do that and then some. Have fun with 5 more years of mediocrity, Raiders Fans!

40. Seattle Seahawks- CB Brandon Ghee (Wake Forest)

Marcus Trufant was the most penalized defensive back in the league last year. That’s bad enough, but when you consider that he did that despite missing the first 6 games of the season with injury. Something tells me the Seahawks could be looking for some young blood at the cornerback position this offseason, even if they do draft Eric Berry to play safety. Ghee would fit the scheme well and he is the best available cornerback.

41. Buffalo Bills- DE Greg Hardy (Mississippi)

They drafted Aaron Maybin last year, but they only managed 32 sacks last year. Take away Aaron Schobel’s 10, because he’s reportedly retiring, and you have a pass rush that’s as bad as the Chiefs’. Even if Maybin pans out, they’ll need a left end opposite him. Hardy could be a major steal at this point if he stays healthy and for this team, its worth the risk.

42. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via CHI)- DE Brandon Graham (Michigan)

The Bucs got this pick from the Bears in exchange for Gaines Adams (RIP). There’s a good chance they use at on a defensive end because they’re pass rush wasn’t very good. They had 28 sacks last year and no one had more than 6.5. Graham has 10 sack year written all over him, but, despite his size, he’s not great against the run.

43. Miami Dolphins- FS Nate Allen (South Florida)

Gibril Wilson was a waste of money. For all they paid him, he was still benched midseason. Chris Clemons was average at best in relief of him and he’s more of a strong safety anyway. Allen is a natural free safety and Bill Parcells is going to like him because of his fundamentals and the way he plays football.

44. New England Patriots (via JAC)- OLB Eric Norwood (South Carolina)

Bill Belicheck seems hesitant to draft rush linebacker, which is weird because he’s never hesitant to do anything. It must be because of how few of the defensive ends switching to rush linebacker actually pan out. He can’t hesitate anymore, the Pats only managed 31 sacks all last year and their pass defense suffered because of it. Norwood is a safe bet here because he has experience playing standing up at outside linebacker at South Carolina, in addition to playing defensive end, so he is going to be comfortable in coverage and blitzing from an outside position.  

45. Denver Broncos- DE Arthur Jones (Syracuse)

As mentioned in the first round, the Broncos flat out sucked against the run in the 2nd half of last season. Losing defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is only going to hurt this team against the run (yes, I did just say something good about Mike Nolan, horrible coach, excellent defensive coordinator). If McDaniels is a capable drafter (based on his 2009 showing I’m not so sure) he’ll focus 2 early picks on the front 7 in an effort finally make this team decent against the run.

46. New York Giants- OT Trent Williams (Oklahoma)

Offensive line isn’t their biggest need, but if history is any indication they will draft Williams in this situation. They drafted William Beatty in the 2nd round last year after he slipped and Williams could have a similar fate, since both he and Beatty are tweener, not good enough pass protectors to be left tackles, but not big enough to be right tackles. Both of the Giants starting tackles will be 30 or older next season so its also good to get some depth for their offensive line. Williams and Beatty will compliment each other well both their both tweeners.

47. New England Patriots (via TEN)- DE Mike Neal (Purdue)

Neal seems like a classic Patriots pick, he’s better than the public views him, though in actuality they’d likely trade down to get him. Trading Richard Seymour was a smart move because they could end up with the #1 pick in 2011, but they do need to replace him.

48. Carolina Panthers- WR Eric Decker (Minnesota)

Part of the reason for Jake Delhomme’s struggles last year was because he had no one to throw to except Steve Smith. Matt Moore appears to be the quarterback of the future for this team so they’ll need to get him someone to compliment Smith. Decker would be perfect for the job because he’s a consistent possession receiver, whereas Smith is an inconsistent deep threat.

49. San Francisco 49ers- OLB Sergio Kindle (Texas)

No one on the Niners had more than 6.5 sacks last year. Manny Lawson led the team with 6.5, but you can never count on him. They need an elite pass rusher prospect. Kindle has experience playing outside linebacker at Texas so the transition to rush linebacker won’t be as tough for him. He has elite athleticism and huge upside.

50. Kansas City Chiefs (via ATL)- SS Chad Jones (LSU)

The Chiefs used to have a great safety named Bernard Pollard. Then they decided he was too talented and cut him. They’ll need to replace him and Jones is a huge steal at this point. I think he’s the best strong safety in this draft class.

51. Houston Texans- CB Perrish Cox (Oklahoma State)

The Texans had 14 interceptions all year last year and 4 of those came from their linebackers and 9 from their safeties, including 4 from Bernard Pollard (hey, maybe the Chiefs shouldn’t have cut him). That leaves only 1 interception by any of their cornerbacks. Cox had 10 in his career at Oklahoma State and he’d also help out in the return game for the Texans.

52. Pittsburgh Steelers- FS Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech)

The Steelers defense fell apart when Polamalu got hurt. They really lack any depth at the safety position. Burnett can fill in for Polamalu if he gets hurt again and, more likely, play alongside Polamalu very well. Burnett is the physical thumper type of safety the Steelers like.

53. New England Patriots-WR Dezmon Briscoe (Kansas)

Randy Moss has only one year left on his contract and based on his effort last year and the Patriots early playoff exit, there’s a good chance they either trade or cut him this offseason. They would need a deep threat to compliment either Wes Welker or Julian Edelman, depending on whether or not Welker can play. Briscoe would fit the scheme extremely well because he played in a similar scheme and had huge numbers at Kansas last year.

54. Cincinnati Bengals- OG Mike Johnson (Alabama)

I don’t know how Cedric Benson managed his have by far the best season of his career last year. The Bengals interior blocking sucked and will only continue to get worse because their guards are on the old side. Johnson is a very good run blocker and would get to reunite with former teammate Andre Smith, assuming Smith ever gets on the field. The two of them were a very deadly combination blocking for Glen Coffee and Mark Ingram in 2008.

55. Philadelphia Eagles- OT Ciron Black (LSU)

Despite all of the money they spent on the offensive line, they still couldn’t protect Donovan McNabb last year, especially late in the season. I highly doubt Shawn Andrews will play again and they need an upgrade over Winston Justice, who give up 7 sacks last season. Black fits the Eagles weight requirements for offensive lineman, all of the Eagles offensive lineman are 320 pounds or heavier because Andy Reid is insecurity about his own weight issues. Black is 320 pounds and can easily bulk up to 350 on Reid’s all fat diet.

56. Green Bay Packers- CB Trevard Lindley (Kentucky)

Al Harris just turned 35 and missed a good portion of the season with injuries, which have been plaguing him for years. Tramon Williams was decent, but not great in relief of Harris. Even if he does pan out well longterm, Charles Woodson, despite winning defensive player of the year, is 33 and will turn 34 next October. He can’t play that well forever. The Packers, who always like to take best available, will take Lindley, who would fit their scheme like a glove, because he will provide them some much needed cornerback depth.

57. Baltimore Ravens- CB Domonique Franks (Oklahoma)

After Lardarius Webb got hurt, the Ravens had to starting kick returner Chris Carr at cornerback. I think its safe to say they need some cornerback depth and Franks provides good depth and upside at the position.

58. Arizona Cardinals- OT Kyle Calloway (Iowa)

Both Levi Brown and Mike Gandy gave up 9 sacks last season. Imagine how good their offense could be if the quarterback didn’t have to worry about getting knocked to the ground every play. Kurt Warner dealt with it alright, but Matt Leinart is a little less mentally tough (and by a little, I mean a lot), so if Warner follows through with his retirement, depth at the offensive line position will be much needed.

59. Dallas Cowboys- OG Vladimir Ducasse (Massachusetts)

In case you couldn’t tell during their playoff game against the Vikings, in which Tony Romo was sacked 6 times, the Cowboys at least need some depth at the offensive line position. All 5 of their starting offensive lineman from last year are currently 30 or older. Ducasse can play both guard positions, in addition to right tackle, and possibly left tackle. He’s also 340 pounds and the Cowboys like their offensive lineman big.

60. San Diego Chargers- RB Ryan Matthews (Fresno State)

Its safe to say after his awful stinker of a season, in which he averaged 3.3 YPA, LT won’t be back next season. The Chargers can safe money by cutting him so I wouldn’t be surprised if they cut him. Even if they don’t cut him, he’s not going to be around much longer so I would be really surprised if they didn’t draft a running back in the first 3 rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft. Matthews is a complete back and a good pass blocker for his age which are both things the Chargers like in a running back. He would be a good compliment to Darren Sproles should they decide to keep him.

61. New York Jets- WR Jeremy Williams (Tulane)

Braylon Edwards wasn’t awful last season with the Jets with 35 catches for 541 yards and 4 touchdowns, but when you consider he was targeted 70 times you’d expect him to have done a lot more statistically. He’s a free agent this offseason and if they’re smart, they’ll only resign him if he takes a reduced rate. Regardless of whether or not he is back, they could use another wide receiver. Jeremy Williams has a history of injuries, but more upside than any wide receiver on the board and for the Jets who have few needs, that’s enough.

62. Minnesota Vikings- FS Darrell Stuckney (Kansas)

The Vikings never replaced Darren Sharper. Drafting Stuckney would allow them do that. They don’t have many other needs to worry about.

63. New Orleans Saints- DT Vince Oghobaase (Duke)

The Saints run defense really struggled without Sedrick Ellis this season and even weren’t that great when Ellis was in the lineup so it would make sense for them to draft a defensive tackle to play inside with Ellis. Oghobaase has more upside than any player left on the board and the Saints don’t really need to make a safe pick.

64. Indianapolis Colts- OLB Daryl Washington (TCU)

The Colts always like to use the middle rounds to get outside linebacker help, but they need help there now so I wouldn’t be surprised if they took one earlier than normal. Washington can also play middle linebacker if Gary Brackett decides to leave as a free agent and he is a great fit for their cover 2 scheme. 

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1/15/10

With the deadline for declaring for the NFL Draft already passed, this is our best opportunity yet to predict the first round of the NFL Draft. Note, players can still withdraw themselves from the draft pool before January 18th, but 1st round prospects rarely do. I will add a 2nd round to this mock in about a week, right before the Senior Bowl

1. St. Louis Rams 1-15

The Rams considered drafting Mark Sanchez last year, but the truth was they had too much money tied up in the quarterback position already with Marc Bulger and his giant contract and cutting Bulger would have been too much of a cap hit. This year, they can cut Bulger and actually save money so this is probably his last year in St. Louis, unless the Rams fail to get anyone better than him. Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen is, with Bradford’s injury, the most complete quarterback in this draft class and would be an excellent addition to a Rams team that already has its left tackle and defensive end of the future. Many will argue Ndamukong Suh here, but, as dominant of a prospect he is, he doesn’t have the positional value here. History has shown, if a team needs a left tackle or quarterback early in the draft, they will take that above all else, even the consensus top prospect. Remember Glenn Dorsey? How about Aaron Curry? Here’s some facts. Since 1998, 36 players have gone in the top three overall. 15 have been quarterbacks, 6 have been offensive tackles, and 6 have been defensive ends. That’s only 25% that aren’t quarterbacks, offensive tackles, or defensive ends. When you look closer, all 12 #1 overall picks since 1998 have been quarterback, offensive tackles, or defensive end. The Rams don’t need an offensive tackle or defensive end, so it’ll be quarterback here. Right now, other mock drafter seem to be split 50/50 on Clausen and Suh. For more information check out the Sports Jabber Mock Draft Database.

2. Detroit Lions 2-14

The Lions need a franchise left tackle badly, but they have proven that they will take the best available player regardless of need. Left tackle would help them and Matt Stafford majorly, but they are going to take best available player. Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh is the best available player, by far, and it’s not like the Lions don’t need any help at that position. Despite the surprisingly good play of Sammie Lee Hill at defensive tackle, they are still ranked 21st against the run, although they have looked better over the past few weeks. However, left tackle is more of an immediate need for them. I hope, if they don’t take one in the first round, that they take one in the 2nd round, for their own good. Jeff Backus is not the guy you want protecting Matt Stafford’s blindside during his development. But, you can’t really blame the Lions for taking the best available player, especially when he’s a player that is as dominant at his position as Ndamukong Suh. Only 1 defensive tackle has gone in the top three since 1998, but Suh is that good.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13

The Bucs want to build around their defensive line. Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy is available. He’s not the dominant defensive tackle Suh is, but he’s a great finesse one gap penetrator at defensive tackle that could flourish if the Bucs decide to switch back to a Tampa 2 defensive system. The Bucs could also trade down if someone like Seattle offers enough to move up here and take a franchise left tackle like Russell Okung because, even though he’ll probably be the guy they’re targeting, they can get McCoy a few picks farther down.

4. Washington Redskins 4-12

The writing is on the wall for Jason Campbell. There’s a new head coach and a new GM in town. The guys who drafted him are gone, most of them long gone. He just happened to have his 2 worst games of his career in the last 3 weeks of this season and now he’s a restricted free agent. Even if the Redskins tender him a contract, they’ll likely trade him to the highest bidder and even if he isn’t traded, he’ll likely only be back on a one year deal to be a stop gap while a young quarterback waits to take over in 2011, a smart ideaOklahoma QB Sam Bradford has a lot of issues, namely his injured shoulder and the system he played in during college, but if history is any indicator, there’s a good chance he sneaks up into the top 5. Last year, I had Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman in the 2nd round at this points. Sanchez went 5th and Freeman went 17th. Why? If a team needs a quarterback in the first round, chances are they take one even if it’s a reach. There are way too many teams with needs at the quarterback position this year, including Washington, for guys like Bradford and Tim Tebow, who look like borderline 1st round picks on paper, to not go in the top 15.

5. Kansas City Chiefs 4-12

Brandan Albert was one of the worst starting left tackles in the league this year and he’s movable, either by trade or more likely to a different position, for many reasons. He doesn’t have a large contract. The regime that drafted him is no longer in town. He has versatility position wise and can also play right tackle or left guard in addition to left tackle. There’s a very good chance that Albert isn’t their left tackle next year and if Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung is still available at #5, I would be very surprised if they didn’t draft him. The only reason I can see them passing on Okung is if they have their mind set on signing Matt Light in 2011 in an attempt to recreate the 2003 New England Patriots. I hear Ty Law and Troy Brown are still looking for work.

6. Seattle Seahawks 5-11

Pete Carroll could go a number of ways with his two first round picks. He could go best available. He could draft for need. He could value getting his own franchise quarterback above anything and with the way Matt Hasselbeck played at the end of the season last year, that might not be a bad idea. He could value drafting former USC players above anything. However, there’s one thing that I think is certain. If a player as good as Tennessee FS Eric Berry is available at #6, Carroll, unless he’s completely inept, is going to take him. Carroll knows talent obviously as shown by his major success at USC and I highly doubt he passes on someone as talented as Eric Berry.

7. Cleveland Browns 5-11

This is where the draft hits a crossroad. I have no idea what the Browns are going to do here. Eric Mangini didn’t draft his own guy at quarterback last year in his first offseason and with new team president Mike Holmgren, there’s a chance they go that direction, but I doubt they’ll reach for Tim Tebow to do it, especially with how much Eric Mangini enjoyed drafting random positions last year. Plus, I don’t think we’ve seen enough of Brady Quinn to call him a bust yet. I think the Browns will either draft down or go best available, but the problem is, determining who I believe they will see as best available. This pick could very well be Derrick Morgan, but he’s not a good fit for the 3-4 defense, so I won’t mock him here unless I here something from Cleveland saying that the coaching staff believes him to have the ability to play rush linebacker. Rolando McClain makes sense and I’ve actually had him here at this spot before, but then again, 3-4 middle linebackers rarely go top 10. Even Patrick Willis slipped to #11. That leaves Dez Bryant and Joe Haden, a wide receiver and a cornerback. I’ll go with Florida CB Joe Haden for now because Mangini obviously enjoys less valuable positions like cornerback…or center, but don’t quote me on this one just yet.

8. Oakland Raiders 5-11

JaMarcus Russell could be easily replaced with a large sack of potatoes with a Raiders Jersey on it and no one would notice. Because of that, quarterback is a major possibility here, especially if Tebow runs a fast 40 like Al Davis likes, but I don’t think his arm is quite strong enough for Davis’ liking. Davis would have likely drafted USC FS Taylor Mays at #7 last year if he hadn’t returned to school. While at school, Mays’ flaws were exposed in a big way, but of course Al Davis hasn’t noticed because he’s been dead for 3 years. If Mays can live up to his measurables, 6-3 230 4.3, he’s a very good candidate to go here.

9. Buffalo Bills 6-10

The Bills gave Trent Edwards a bunch of weapons to work with but they lacked that true pass blocking left tackle and thus Edwards struggled this season and was benched and the Bills sit here at 6-10 drafting in the top ten yet again. Langston Walker was supposed to start at left tackle this year, but he was cut right before the season. That’s a very bad sign. Demetrius Bell, their new starting left tackle, leads the league in penalties and their offensive line as a whole had 9 false starts earlier this season in a loss to the Browns. Rutgers OT Anthony Davis has really jumped onto the national stage as an elite franchise left tackle in past weeks so he could very well be the 2nd offensive tackle off the board. He’ll also remind the Bills a bit of Jason Peters, who worked out well for them as a left tackle for a few years before they traded him last year. Both Davis and Peters are big over powering left tackles that are overrated pass blockers and dominant run blockers.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-9

Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver pretty much promised that the Jags would draft in state Florida QB Tim Tebow in the first round in an attempt to sell more tickets and save the franchise’s future in Jacksonville. He seems to have forgotten that the Jags already have a good quarterback, David Garrard, who has a 60% completion percentage in each of his four years as starter as well as 59 touchdowns to 35 picks, but I guess the Jags will do what they have to do to make Jacksonville football fans, who clearly don’t care, come to the stadium, rather than moving the team to a city that deserves a franchise like San Antonio or Los Angeles. The Senior Bowl will be extremely important to Tebow as with a bad game, he could play himself out of this spot and then drop who knows how far, but I think at the moment, this spot is his to lose.

11. Denver Broncos (via CHI) 8-8

Remember week 6 when the Broncos were 6-0 and had a 3.5 game lead on the division and they were giving up 3.3 YPC. Those days are long gone. The Broncos finished 8-8 and 5 games behind in the division and gave up 4.5 YPC for the season, a number that would be a lot higher if you took out their somewhat fluky run stopping days of weeks 1-6. It makes sense that they can’t stop the run. They couldn’t last year and all new coach Josh McDaniels did to fix that is change to a more complicated defensive system and make a front 7 out of 2 starters from last year’s miserable run stopping bunch, a 2009 1st round pick playing out of position, and cast offs from the Niners and Browns. They will take the best 3-4 front 7 player available here. That would be Alabama MLB Rolando McClain who is one of the best pure 3-4 middle linebackers prospects of the last ten years. If the Broncos trade Brandon Marshall, a strong, but stupid possibility, this pick will be Dez Bryant. The Broncos can’t go into 2010 with the same receiving corps they had week 17 without Marshall. They had no deep target and just threw short passes all week. Even the Chiefs weren’t fooled by that and destroyed the Broncos at home, knocking them out of the playoffs.

12. Miami Dolphins 7-9

Jason Ferguson will be 35 by draft day 2010 and also will be a free agent. Bill Parcells knows how important nose tackles are for a 3-4 defense so he should take 370 pound Alabama NT Terrence Cody here. He may be a 2 down nose tackle in the NFL, but so is Kris Jenkins of the Jets and we all saw how bad their run defense got in a hurry after he got hurt. The Dolphins don’t have another starting caliber nose tackle on the roster and this is an extremely weak nose tackle class so they need to take one here, whether they like Cody or a less dominant, but more versatile guy like Dan Williams, is unknown at the moment.

13. San Francisco 49ers 8-8

When ‘Dre Bly is not busy making a fool of himself on an interception, by high stepping starting from the 30 yard line with a potential tackler a few feet behind him such that he gets tackled, loses the ball, and turns 7 points into a fumble, he’s busy getting burnt by quicker, faster, younger, more athletic receivers. The only reason he has a job is because Walt Harris, who is equally old and slow, had to have season ending knee surgery before the season. I don’t think Shawntae Spencer is the answer either, but with Nate Clements reportedly moving to free safety next year, Spencer is probably going to start another year. Regardless, they would still need a corner to play opposite him. Michigan CB Donovan Warren is shooting up draft board this season, after a down year last season. He’s a great man-on-man corner who quarterbacks don’t even try to throw on and he’s tough and physical against the run which Mike Singletary will love. Bruce Campbell is also a possibility here as the Niners need an offensive tackle, but the offensive tackle class is a lot deeper than the cornerback class in the first round and they can still get a good one at #17. Warren won’t be there at #17 and they’ll have to settle for a much weaker cornerback prospect.

14. Seattle Seahawks 5-11 (via DEN)

Pete Carroll has a pretty easy first round of his first NFL draft since returning to the NFL this year, huh? Just take the guy who is glaringly the best player available and fills a major need. Their left tackle position is a mess. Walter Jones could be done for his career and Sean Locklear, even when healthy, is more of a right tackle than a left. If they take a good zone blocking left tackle here like Maryland OT Bruce Campbell, who is shooting up my draft board and plenty of others’, they can have a very strong young offensive line. Having Campbell and Locklear together on the offensive line would allow them to move Ray Willis from tackle to guard, where he belongs, and give them a very good offensive line for the future, with Locklear and Campbell at tackle and Willis and promising rookie, and 2009 2nd round pick, Max Unger at guard. Campbell is a steal here.

15. New York Giants 8-8

The Giants gave up the 13th fewest yards in the league, but also the 3rd most points. That means they gave up a ton of big plays for touchdowns, whether on the ground or through the air, and they couldn’t stop anyone in the red zone. Both of those show poor safety play, which means sense because they are starting Michael Johnson and Aaron Rouse at safety after losing James Butler to free agency and Kenny Phillips to injury. Even if Phillips does return from his injury, which is not a guarantee at this point, they need a good safety to pair with him. Texas FS Earl Thomas is the top safety available and is both a great ballhawker and a solid hustle run stopper and tackler for his size. The Giants couldn’t tackle anyone in the open field late in the season against Carolina and Minnesota and lost in embarrassing fashion and fell out of the playoffs.

16. Tennessee Titans 8-8

The Titans are known for their defense under Jeff Fisher. However, defense is now an issue for them. They lost Albert Haynesworth and replaced him with Jovan Haye, which, no offense to Haye, is a big downgrade. Starting corner Nick Harper is 35 and their linebackers are very mediocre with the exception of Keith Bulluck, who happens to be 32 and in the last season of his contract. However, their biggest defensive need is defensive end, where two key members of the rotation, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse are free agents after the 2009 season and could leave the team. Tennessee should draft Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan in case one or both of them leave. Even if neither of them do, Morgan could be a good depth guy and a future replacement for Kearse, who turns 33 this season. It would be too big of a risk for them not to take an end, as defensive end has quickly grown into the most important position on defense. Morgan is that physical type of defensive end that Tennessee likes. He’s also the best available player here and the Titans should be very glad that teams won’t see the 270-275 pound Morgan as a rush linebacker.

17. San Francisco 49ers 8-8 (via CAR)

Joe Staley is supposed to be the left tackle, but he’s hurt. Even when he’s healthy, he’s a liability against the pass and belongs at right tackle where the Niners currently have a load of crap. The Niners have 2 picks in this first round and can use the first of the two, with no other huge needs that they can fill with the players left on the board, on an elite left tackle. Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga is the best available offensive tackle.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7

Obviously the defense was a major issue this year for the Steelers, but assuming Aaron Smith and Troy Polamalu are ready for 2010, they’ll be a lot better on that side of the ball. Unless there’s a huge steal of a defensive prospect available here, I doubt they focus on that side of the ball. Ben Roethlisberger statistically had his best career season, but also was sacked 50 times this season, despite missing a game with a concussion. He suffered an arm injury in the last game of the season which could have sidelined him into the playoffs if the Steelers made it and to make things worse, most of their depth on the offensive line is a free agent this offseason. There isn’t really a stand out offensive tackle available here that fits the Steelers criteria of an offensive lineman, big, strong, mauler. However, there is one offensive guard who fits that criteria like a glove. Idaho OG Mike Iupati has prematurely been compared to Larry Allen. I am extremely excited to watch him at the Senior Bowl. He’ll fit their scheme and their need very well and will upgrade both their pass blocking and run blocking for next season.

19. Atlanta Falcons 9-7

After 3 years and 2.5 sacks, I think it’s time for the Falcons to write former #8 overall pick Jamaal Anderson off as a bust and start fresh at the defensive end position opposite John Abraham. They got burnt through the air a lot this season and a lot of that had to do with their poor cornerback play since Brian Williams’ injury, but their 28 sacks as a team didn’t help. USC DE Everson Griffen has all the talent of a #1 defensive end in the future, but he just needs to put it all together. He could actually go top 10 if he runs a sub 4.6 40 at 275 pounds, which I think would be a mistake because his production in college to this point has been limited. However, there’s no question he could be a future #1 defensive end.

20. Houston Texans 9-7

Since taking over as coach in 2006, Gary Kubiak has drafted 3 players in the trenches with his 4 first round picks. There’s a good chance he does that again this year, especially defensively, as Houston was still middle of the pack against the run this season, and ranked near the bottom in sacks. They really lack that big mauling 4-3 nose tackle type guy on their defensive line and Tennessee DT Dan Williams would fit their need on the defensive line very well. Unlike Terrence Cody, Williams can play both the 4-3 or 3-4 schemes and actually has experience playing in a system similar to Houston’s, last year playing for Tennessee.

21. Cincinnati Bengals 9-8

From week 9, when Chris Henry went out with an injury to the end of the season, Carson Palmer threw for 1254 yards in 8 games, 427 coming in games against the Lions and Raiders. Chris Henry died in December after a tragic accident. RIP. However, in football, life moves on, it has to. They need a deep threat to compliment Chad Ochocinco otherwise Palmer is doomed to have another mediocre year. In fact, as shown in the playoffs, he could be worse than mediocre next year if they don’t get a deep threat at wide receiver. The Bengals have shown in the past that they are willing to take chances on questionable character guys so they shouldn’t have any qualms about drafting Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant who was suspended for the entire season for lying about where he had lunch with Deion Sanders or something like that. Bryant would be a huge steal here.

22. New England Patriots 10-7

As a Patriots fan, the Pats’ defense makes me cringe. They let Devery Henderson run straight down field for a touchdown without a guy within 10 yards of him against New Orleans and then missed 4 tackles as the Saints turned a loss on a screen play to a touchdown and they were only able to sack Brees once all game. Then Chad Henne came out and burned their defense again. However, Bill Belicheck will go value over need every time, especially with 3 picks in the 2ndround to work with. California RB Jahvid Best would help the Patriots become even more explosive on offensive by adding that explosive homerun hitting back that they lack right now. He would compliment Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk well. They’re also always a candidate to trade down.

23. Green Bay Packers 10-7

The Packers have done a better job of protecting Rodgers since Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton have returned from injury, but both are in their 30s and could retire soon. Before those two were both healthy, Rodgers was sacked 37 times in 8 games. If Tauscher and Clifton retire and neither are replaced by then, Aaron Rodgers could actually die on the field. They need a good young tackle familiar with a zone blocking scheme and athletic enough to play in it. USC OT Charles Brown might be the best pure zone blocking tackle in this draft class and that will shoot him up draft boards like it did with former USC tackle Sam Baker in 2008.

24. Philadelphia Eagles 11-6

Andy Reid always likes to build in the trenches, especially with big fat guys that make him feel better about his own weight problems. At 280-290 pounds, Florida DE Carlos Dunlap is big and fills a need at left end. He has huge upside, but not good character and he looked lazy at times on the field last year and ended up being suspended in December for a DUI. However, ever since he signed that big contract extension, Andy Reid has been taking a lot more risks on guys with character issues (Michael Vick).

25. New York Jets 10-7

Braylon Edwards is looking like a bust of a trade. Statistically he has been alright, but he seems to drop about half of the balls that hit him in the hands. Good thing they didn’t give up a lot for him. They can simply let him walk this offseason as a free agent, though if the price is right they’ll retain him. However, they’ll need a new #1 option. USC WR Damian Williams is my top rated wide receiver and has #1 option written all over him with his elite route running. He has played with quarterback Mark Sanchez before at USC and that will do a ton for young Sanchez’s confidence. That will be huge.

26. Baltimore Ravens 10-7

Baltimore did not draft a wide receiver in 2009 which means they are confident in their ability to resign Derrick Mason, a free agent after the 2009 season. That might be a bad move because if Mason leaves, they are really only left with Mark Clayton, which would be very bad for young quarterback Joe Flacco’s development moving forward. Even if Mason returns, he will be 36 by next year’s Super Bowl, so they need a longterm replacement. LSU WR Brandon LaFell is playing very well this season and is the type of wide receiver the Ravens need. He is tough and can block and has experience in a conservative pro style offense at LSU. He’ll fit in the Ravens’ offense very nicely and can help them right away.

27. Arizona Cardinals 11-6

The Cardinals already have 3 good wide receivers, but they have yet to get an upgrade at tight end. Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham is too good for them to pass up at this point. Even with his injury, Gresham is one of the best pass catching tight end prospects of the decade. He will make this Cardinals offense that much deadlier for whoever the quarterback is in the future. Quarterback is a possibility here if Kurt Warner decides to retire, which he hinted he is strongly considering. Matt Leinart flat out stunk this year when he got the opportunity to show his skills and if the Cardinals want to continue to be competitive next year, they may want to consider drafting a quarterback here just in case Leinart sucks again. As I said, if a team needs a quarterback, there’s a good chance they take one and Tony Pike would fit their scheme well, but I think the Cardinals will value Gresham’s skills over Pike’s positional value.

28. Dallas Cowboys 12-5

Jerry Jones likes money and big name players so he’ll draft Florida MLB Brandon Spikes. The Cowboys will be looking for inside linebackers that can play both 3-4 and 4-3, because Wade Phillips might not be back next season. Spikes can play both and the Cowboys will be looking for linebackers after failing to upgrade Zach Thomas last offseason, only replacing him with Keith Brooking, who is also on the wrong side of 30.

29. Minnesota Vikings 12-4

The Vikings seem to be set for the future on the offensive end, with the exception of quarterback, but I doubt the Vikings would reach a quarterback in this situation, especially since all of the quarterbacks available here could be there when they pick in the 2nd round. Defensively, they have a few issues that need to be filled. This team is built upon their defensive line’s ability to stuff the run. Pat Williams will turn 37 in October and the Vikings need to bulk up their line and their depth at the defensive tackle position. They can’t afford to lose their biggest strength, so they take a high upside defensive tackle here, in UCLA DT Brian Price, who can come in, learn from the Williamses, and hopefully be able to take Pat’s place when he moves on. Price is an amazing pass rusher for his size and would fill Pat’s old pass rushing tackle role nicely. He should be able to capitalize on his 7 sacks this season and get drafted in the first round as the 3rd defensive tackle off the board.

30. San Diego Chargers 13-3

Picking for the Chargers is always pretty random. They must just pick a position out of a hat and draft a player at that position every year. In the past three years, they have gone wide receiver, cornerback, rush linebacker, none of which were needs at the time and none of which actually panned out. I have a good feeling they could go with a strong safety this year. LSU SS Chad Jones might be the best pure strong safety in this draft class and he fits what the Chargers look for in a player because he’s tall.

31. New Orleans Saints 13-3

The Saints, with only 1 pick in the first 3 rounds of the 2009 NFL draft, were unable to secure a good young outside linebacker. Good news for them, they’ll be able to add a great one here in Missouri OLB Sean Weatherspoon. Lewis will add another young playmaker to an improving defense and help this team in all facets of the game.

32. Indianapolis Colts 14-2

The Colts drafted Fili Moala in the 2nd round last year in an attempt to fix their run defense, but he only had 7 tackles this year (surprise). 3 of those tackles came in meaningless games late in the season. Even if he does pan out, they still need an upgrade next to him, so don’t be surprised if they draft a defensive tackle again this year, especially one like Penn State DT Jared Odrick who would fit the scheme like a glove.

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1/4/10

1. St. Louis Rams 1-15

The Rams considered drafting Mark Sanchez last year, but the truth was they had too much money tied up in the quarterback position already with Marc Bulger and his giant contract and cutting Bulger would have been too much of a cap hit. This year, they can cut Bulger and actually save money so this is probably his last year in St. Louis, unless the Rams fail to get anyone better than him. Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen is, with Bradford’s injury, the most complete quarterback in this draft class and would be an excellent addition to a Rams team that already has its left tackle and defensive end of the future. Many will argue Ndamukong Suh here, but, as dominant of a prospect he is, he doesn’t have the positional value here. History has shown, if a team needs a left tackle or quarterback early in the draft, they will take that above all else, even the consensus top prospect. Remember Glenn Dorsey? How about Aaron Curry? Right now, other mock drafter seem to be split 50/50 on Clausen and Suh. For more information check out the Sports Jabber Mock Draft Database.

2. Detroit Lions 2-14

The Lions need a franchise left tackle badly, but they have proven that they will take the best available player regardless of need. Left tackle would help them and Matt Stafford majorly, but they are going to take best available player. Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh is the best available player, by far, and it’s not like the Lions don’t need any help at that position. Despite the surprisingly good play of Sammie Lee Hill at defensive tackle, they are still ranked 21st against the run, although they have looked better over the past few weeks. However, left tackle is more of an immediate need for them. I hope, if they don’t take one in the first round, that they take one in the 2nd round, for their own good. Jeff Backus is not the guy you want protecting Matt Stafford’s blindside during his development. But, you can’t really blame the Lions for taking the best available player, especially when he’s a player that is as dominant at his position as Ndamukong Suh.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13

The Bucs want to build around their defensive line. Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy is available. He’s not the dominant defensive tackle Suh is, but he’s a great finesse one gap penetrator at defensive tackle that could flourish if the Bucs decide to switch back to a Tampa 2 defensive system. The Bucs could also trade down if someone like Seattle offers enough to move up here and take a franchise left tackle like Russell Okung because, even though he’ll probably be the guy they’re targeting, they can get McCoy a few picks farther down.

4. Washington Redskins 4-12

Quarterback is going to be a need for them this offseason. If there was any doubt that Jason Campbell would not be resigned by the team, its gone now as he really stunk it up in the last three weeks since they hired new GM Bruce Allen. However, I don’t think they can pass on a franchise left tackle like Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung after all of the problems they have had protecting the quarterback this year. Chris Samuels might not play again anyway.

5. Kansas City Chiefs 4-12

The Chiefs desperately need someone who can get pressure on the quarterback. They had 10 sacks last season and didn’t really do anything to fix that with the exception of moving to a defensive scheme their players don’t fit in. This year, they only had 22 and their defense is being destroyed. However, this draft is really weak on pass rushers so they’ll just go best defensive player here. It’ll be hard for them to pass up Tennessee FS Eric Berry. He’s one of the best safety prospects to come out of college football in a longtime. He should become that Ed Reed type player at the next level, who makes a bad defense passable, a passable defense good, and a good defense great. The Chiefs desperately need that. Their defense gave up the 3rd most yards of any defense in the league and the 4thmost points.

6. Seattle Seahawks 5-11

There’s no question that they need a new quarterback. Matt Hasselbeck looks done back there. He’s got a bad case of Marc Bulgeritis. He’s taken so many hits at an advanced age, in football terms, that he literally is just throwing the ball anywhere to avoid hits and that translated to 9 picks over the last 3 weeks of the season. If they can get him some protection he may have one more good year in him, but that’s it. They desperately need a quarterback of the future. There are a lot of concerns about Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford, not a lot of experience under center, an injured shoulder, but this guy turned in one of the most dominant seasons in college football season last season as a mere redshirt sophomore, which a lot of people are forgetting. Plus, he wasn’t bad his freshman year either. If he gets that redshirt year in Seattle for a year behind Hasselbeck, he should be ready to take the reigns to this team and lead them to great things in 2011 and beyond.  

7. Cleveland Browns 5-11

Assuming Eric Mangini is still the coach next season, which I believe he will be because he has won four straight games and the only guy they have really had any interest in bringing in to replace him is now in the front office of the Browns, the Browns will go best available regardless of position. Last season, when they needed a face of the franchise quarterback, they traded down from the 5th slot where they could have drafted Mark Sanchez. After that, instead of drafting a rush linebacker or a running back, both of which the desperately needed, they went with Alex Mack, a center. Yes, Mack was the best player available in terms of how dominant he could be at his respective position and already he is one of the top 5 centers in the league, but still, he was a center and it was the first round. I don’t know who Mangini sees as the best players available, but there’s a good chance it is Alabama MLB Rolando McClain who would be a great fit in the center of their 3-4 defense. Very few 3-4 middle linebacker prospects have more upside than him. I could see them taking a quarterback with Mike Holmgren now in the front office which technically qualifies as a new regime, plus Eric Mangini never did get a chance to draft his own guy last season, but I think they want to see more of Brady Quinn (353 career throws is not enough to call him a bust). They are also a candidate to trade down, as they did last year.

8. Oakland Raiders 5-11

JaMarcus Russell was benched earlier in the season for Bruce Gradkowski. As if it wasn’t embarrassing enough that he was benched for the Browns 2008 4th string quarterback, after Gradkowski got hurt, Russell still wasn’t given his job back, instead the job went to Charlie Frye, who, in his only full season as starter, threw 17 picks to 10 touchdowns with the Browns in 2006. As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, after Charlie Frye suffered a concussion in his first start back, Russell, who somehow may have accidentally led the Raiders to a win in relief of Frye, still didn’t start. The Raiders would rather start Frye with a concussion in a meaningless game over JaMarcus Russell. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they liked recently signed JP Losman over Russell. Tom Cable clearly does not like Russell and, even though Cable enjoys beating people up, Cable is likely going to be back as coach next year because for some reason, over all the other coaches that have been decent that he has had, Al Davis seems to trust Tom Cable. Or maybe Al Davis died up there in the owner’s box and no one noticed, but whatever the reason, Davis isn’t objecting to Cable being the coach and benching Russell repeatedly, so its safe to say this team is going to be looking for a new quarterback. Regardless of whether or not Al Davis is alive during the season, he always comes back to life on draft day to screw over the Raiders so if they draft a quarterback it will be one of his trademark amazing physical specimens. Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett will probably throw the ball the longest straight down field at the combine and since we all know that is the only thing a good quarterback has to be able to do, Mallett is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and a huge steal here at 8.

9. Buffalo Bills 6-10

The Bills gave Trent Edwards a bunch of weapons to work with but they lacked that true pass blocking left tackle and thus Edwards struggled this season and was benched and the Bills sit here at 6-10 drafting in the top ten yet again. Langston Walker was supposed to start at left tackle this year, but he was cut right before the season. That’s a very bad sign. Demetrius Bell, their new starting left tackle, leads the league in penalties and their offensive line as a whole had 9 false starts earlier this season in a loss to the Browns. Rutgers OT Anthony Davis has really jumped onto the national stage as an elite franchise left tackle in past weeks so he could very well be the 2nd offensive tackle off the board. He’ll also remind the Bills a bit of Jason Peters, who worked out well for them as a left tackle for a few years before they traded him last year. Both Davis and Peters are big over powering left tackles that are overrated pass blockers and dominant run blockers.

10. Denver Broncos 8-8 (via CHI)

Remember week 6 when the Broncos were 6-0 and had a 3.5 game lead on the division and they were giving up 3.3 YPC. Those days are long gone. The Broncos finished 8-8 and 5 games behind in the division and gave up 4.5 YPC for the season, a number that would be a lot higher if you took out their somewhat fluky run stopping days of weeks 1-6. It makes sense that they can’t stop the run. They couldn’t last year and all new coach Josh McDaniels did to fix that is change to a more complicated defensive system and make a front 7 out of 2 starters from last year’s miserable run stopping bunch, a 2009 1st round pick playing out of position, and cast offs from the Niners and Browns. They will take the best 3-4 front 7 player available here. Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward is an underclassman who has not officially declared yet, but if he does, he could be regarded as the best pure 3-4 defensive end and that could shoot him up into the top 10 like it did with Tyson Jackson last season. Scouts will also like Heyward versatility as he can play 4-3 left end, cover 2 defensive tackle, and 3-4 defensive end. His size/speed combination, a projected 4.89 at 287 pounds, will also turn some heads. He proved in the Rose Bowl that he is worth a top ten pick.

11. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-9

Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver pretty much promised that the Jags would draft in state Florida QB Tim Tebow in the first round in an attempt to sell more tickets and save the franchise’s future in Jacksonville. He seems to have forgotten that the Jags already have a good quarterback, David Garrard, who has a 60% completion percentage in each of his four years as starter as well as 59 touchdowns to 35 picks, but I guess the Jags will do what they have to do to make Jacksonville football fans, who clearly don’t care, come to the stadium, rather than moving the team to a city that deserves a franchise like San Antonio or Los Angeles.

12. Miami Dolphins 7-9

Jason Ferguson will be 35 by draft day 2010 and also will be a free agent. Bill Parcells knows how important nose tackles are for a 3-4 defense so he should take 370 pound Alabama NT Terrence Cody here. He may be a 2 down nose tackle in the NFL, but so is Kris Jenkins of the Jets and we all saw how bad their run defense got in a hurry after he got hurt.

13. San Francisco 49ers 8-8

When ‘Dre Bly is not busy making a fool of himself on an interception, by high stepping starting from the 30 yard line with a potential tackler a few feet behind him such that he gets tackled, loses the ball, and turns 7 points into a fumble, he’s busy getting burnt by quicker, faster, younger, more athletic receivers. The only reason he has a job is because Walt Harris, who is equally old and slow, had to have season ending knee surgery before the season. I don’t think Shawntae Spencer is the answer either, but with Nate Clements reportedly moving to free safety next year, Spencer is probably going to start another year. Regardless, they would still need a corner to play opposite him. Florida CB Joe Haden is extremely athletic and physical and fits their coverage scheme like a glove.

14. Seattle Seahawks 6-10 (via DEN) 

Their left tackle position is a mess. Walter Jones could be done for his career and Sean Locklear, even when healthy, is more of a right tackle than a left. If they take a good zone blocking left tackle here like Maryland OT Bruce Campbell, who is shooting up my draft board and plenty of others’, they can have a very strong young offensive line. Having Campbell and Locklear together on the offensive line would allow them to move Ray Willis from tackle to guard, where he belongs, and give them a very good offensive line for the future, with Locklear and Campbell at tackle and Willis and promising rookie, and 2009 2nd round pick, Max Unger at guard.

15. New York Giants 8-8

The Giants give up the 13th fewest yards in the league, but also the 3rd most points. That means they are giving up a ton of big plays for touchdowns, whether on the ground or through the air, and they can’t stop anyone in the red zone. Both of those show poor safety play, which means sense because they are starting Michael Johnson and Aaron Rouse at safety after losing James Butler to free agency and Kenny Phillips to injury. Even if Phillips does return from his injury, which is not a guarantee at this point, they need a good safety to pair with him. Texas FS Earl Thomas is the top safety available and is both a great ballhawker and a solid hustle run stopper and tackler for his size. The Giants couldn’t tackle anyone in the open field last week against Carolina.

16. Tennessee Titans 8-8

The Titans are known for their defense under Jeff Fisher. However, defense is now an issue for them. They lost Albert Haynesworth and replaced him with Jovan Haye, which, no offense to Haye, is a big downgrade. Starting corner Nick Harper is 35 and their linebackers are very mediocre with the exception of Keith Bulluck, who happens to be 32 and in the last season of his contract. However, their biggest defensive need is defensive end, where two key members of the rotation, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse are free agents after the 2009 season and could leave the team. Tennessee should draft Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan in case one or both of them leave. Even if neither of them do, Morgan could be a good depth guy and a future replacement for Kearse, who turns 33 this season. It would be too big of a risk for them not to take an end, as defensive end has quickly grown into the most important position on defense. Morgan is that physical type of defensive end that Tennessee likes. 

 

17. San Francisco 49ers 8-8 (via CAR)

Joe Staley is supposed to be the left tackle, but he’s hurt. Even when he’s healthy, he’s a liability against the pass and belongs at right tackle where the Niners currently have a load of crap. The Niners have 2 picks in this first round and can use the first of the two, with no other huge needs that they can fill with the players left on the board, on an elite left tackle. Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga is the best available offensive tackle.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7

Its painfully obvious that the Steelers need offensive line help after giving up 20 sacks to the Browns, Packers, Ravens, and Dolphins in the last 4 weeks of the season. However, they’ve needed offensive line help for years and haven’t done anything about it. Plus, its also painfully obvious that Mike Tomlin doesn’t trust his defense, even more painfully obvious than their offensive line is bad. Mike Tomlin tried an onside kick with a 2 point lead in a game late in the season against the Packers because he didn’t trust his defense to stop Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Packers would recover and score and if it weren’t for late game heroics from Big Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin would have been the laughing stock of the NFL. That is how far this defense has fallen since being one of the best in history last year. The biggest reason for their defensive struggles has been Troy Polamalu’s injuries. In the 5 games in which he has played, the Steelers are 4-1 and are allowed 13.8 points per game. In the games he has missed, they give up 23.2 and are consequently 5-6. Their lack of a good safety opposite him is obvious. I don’t think Mike Tomlin could resist drafting USC SS Taylor Mays to pair with Polamalu. Mays is extremely raw, but with the right coaching, which the Steelers definitely have, he could be a bigger faster Troy Polamalu. If you thought one Troy Polamalu was scary, imagine two. He’d have to grow his hair out though to get the whole fear effect.

19. Atlanta Falcons 9-7

The Falcons weren’t very good against the pass before Brian Williams went down, but when he did, things just went south in the Atlanta defensive backfield and they can’t stop anyone, not even rookie quarterback Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers. Brian Williams is a good cornerback, but they lack any depth behind him. Michigan CB Donovan Warren is a great fit for their man coverage scheme and would compliment Brian Williams well at cornerback. He’s a great man-on-man corner who quarterbacks don’t even try to throw on and he’s tough and physical against the run.

20. Houston Texans 9-7

The Texans only have 22 sacks this season. Mario Williams only has 8 sacks this season because he’s being double teamed constantly. In addition to drawing the name for starting running back out of a hat, there’s one thing you can always count on Coach Gary Kubiak to do, build around his offensive and defensive lines. If the Texans get a chance to draft a big time every down left end like USC DE Everson Griffen, I think Kubiak takes it, assuming he hasn’t been fired by then, which I don’t think he will be because he closed the season out on a 4 game winning streak and delivered the first winning season in franchise history.

21. New York Jets 9-7

Braylon Edwards is looking like a bust of a trade. Statistically he has been alright, but he seems to drop about half of the balls that hit him in the hands. Good thing they didn’t give up a lot for him. They can simply let him walk this offseason as a free agent, though if the price is right they’ll retain him. However, they’ll need a new #1 option. USC WR Damian Williams is my top rated wide receiver and has #1 option written all over him with his elite route running. He has played with quarterback Mark Sanchez before at USC and that will do a ton for young Sanchez’s confidence. That will be huge.

22. Baltimore Ravens 9-7

Baltimore did not draft a wide receiver in 2009 which means they are confident in their ability to resign Derrick Mason, a free agent after the 2009 season. That might be a bad move because if Mason leaves, they are really only left with Mark Clayton, which would be very bad for young quarterback Joe Flacco’s development moving forward. Even if Mason returns, he will be 36 by next year’s Super Bowl, so they need a longterm replacement. LSU WR Brandon LaFell is playing very well this season and is the type of wide receiver the Ravens need. He is tough and can block and has experience in a conservative pro style offense at LSU. He’ll fit in the Ravens’ offense very nicely and can help them right away.

23. Arizona Cardinals 10-6

The Cardinals already have 3 good wide receivers, but they have yet to get an upgrade at tight end. Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham is too good for them to pass up at this point. Even with his injury, Gresham is one of the best pass catching tight end prospects of the decade. He will make this Cardinals offense that much deadlier for whoever the quarterback is in the future.

24. Cincinnati Bengals 10-6

From week 9, when Chris Henry went out with an injury to the end of the season, Carson Palmer threw for 1254 yards in 8 games, 427 coming in games against the Lions and Raiders. Chris Henry died in December after a tragic accident. RIP. However, in football, life moves on, it has to. They need a deep threat to compliment Chad Ochocinco otherwise Palmer is doomed to have another mediocre year. The Bengals have shown in the past that they are willing to take chances on questionable character guys so they shouldn’t have any qualms about drafting Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant who was suspended for the entire season for lying about where he had lunch with Deion Sanders or something like that. Bryant would be a huge steal here.

25. New England Patriots 10-6

As a Patriots fan, the Pats’ defense makes me cringe. They let Devery Henderson run straight down field for a touchdown without a guy within 10 yards of him against New Orleans and then missed 4 tackles as the Saints turned a loss on a screen play to a touchdown and they were only able to sack Brees once all game. Then Chad Henne came out and burned their defense again. However, Bill Belicheck will go value over need every time, especially with 3 picks in the 2ndround to work with. California RB Jahvid Best would help the Patriots become even more explosive on offensive by adding that explosive homerun hitting back that they lack right now. He would compliment Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk well. They’re also always a candidate to trade down.

26. Green Bay Packers 11-5

Add bruised ribs to the laundry list of minor injuries Aaron Rodgers has sustained this season, along with two sprained feet. The Packers have done a better job of protecting Rodgers since Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton have returned from injury, but both are in their 30s and could retire soon. Before those two were both healthy, Rodgers was sacked 37 times in 8 games. If Tauscher and Clifton retire and neither are replaced by then, Aaron Rodgers could actually die on the field. They need a good young tackle familiar with a zone blocking scheme and athletic enough to play in it. USC OT Charles Brown might be the best pure zone blocking tackle in this draft class and that will shoot him up draft boards like it did with former USC tackle Sam Baker in 2008.

27. Philadelphia Eagles 11-5

Even with all of the offensive linemen the Eagles brought in during the offseason, they are still not playing well on the offensive front. Andy Reid, who loves to draft offensive linemen, will want to do something about that this year and draft the biggest offensive lineman available to help himself feel more secure about his own weight problems. He doesn’t have a starting offensive lineman who weighs less than 320 pounds. 330 pound Anthony Davis isn’t available, so 330 pound Idaho OG Mike Iupati will have to do. Think Andy Reid won’t draft an offensive guard in the first round, think again. He’s done it before.

28. Dallas Cowboys 11-5

Jerry Jones likes money and big name players so he’ll draft Florida MLB Brandon Spikes. The Cowboys will be looking for inside linebackers that can play both 3-4 and 4-3, because Wade Phillips might not be back next season. Spikes can play both and the Cowboys will be looking for linebackers after failing to upgrade Zach Thomas last offseason, only replacing him with Keith Brooking.

29. Minnesota Vikings 12-4

The Vikings seem to be set for the future on the offensive end, with the exception of quarterback, but I doubt the Vikings would reach a quarterback in this situation, especially since all of the quarterbacks available here could be there when they pick in the 2nd round. Defensively, they have a few issues that need to be filled. This team is built upon their defensive line’s ability to stuff the run. Pat Williams will turn 37 in October and the Vikings need to bulk up their line and their depth at the defensive tackle position. They can’t afford to lose their biggest strength, so they take a high upside defensive tackle here, in UCLA DT Brian Price, who can come in, learn from the Williamses, and hopefully be able to take Pat’s place when he moves on. Price is an amazing pass rusher for his size and would fill Pat’s old pass rushing tackle role nicely. He should be able to capitalize on his 7 sacks this season and get drafted in the first round as the 3rd defensive tackle off the board.

30. New Orleans Saints 13-3

The Saints, with only 1 pick in the first 3 rounds of the 2009 NFL draft, were unable to secure a good young outside linebacker. Good news for them, they’ll be able to add a great one here in Oklahoma OLB Travis Lewis. Lewis will add another young playmaker to an improving defense and help this team in all facets of the game.

31. San Diego Chargers 13-3

Jamal Williams went on IR after week 1 and he’s also getting up there in age so, without a solid replacement for him on the active roster, which the Chargers have proved they don’t have this season, they’ll be looking for a big nose tackle in the offseason, most likely through the draft. Tennessee NT Dan Williams is a complete nose tackle who is shooting up draft board this season and could very well go in the first round because big nose tackles that move like him are extremely rare.

32. Indianapolis Colts 14-2

The Colts know value and need an upgrade at outside linebacker. Georgia OLB Rennie Curran has great potential, but drops because of his position, inexperience, and lack of size. For the Colts, he’s an extremely valuable player who fills a need and fits their cover 2 system perfectly, despite his lack of size, because he is good in pass coverage and has great speed. They can afford to wait on him to develop.

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Week 17

1. St. Louis Rams 1-14

The Rams considered drafting Mark Sanchez last year, but the truth was they had too much money tied up in the quarterback position already with Marc Bulger and his giant contract and cutting Bulger would have been too much of a cap hit. This year, they can cut Bulger and actually save money so this is probably his last year in St. Louis, unless the Rams fail to get anyone better than him. Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen is, with Bradford’s injury, the most complete quarterback in this draft class and would be an excellent addition to a Rams team that already has its left tackle and defensive end of the future.

2. Detroit Lions 2-13

The Lions need a franchise left tackle badly, but they have proven that they will take the best available player regardless of need. Left tackle would help them and Matt Stafford majorly, but they are going to take best available player. Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh is the best available player, by far, and it’s not like the Lions don’t need any help at that position. Despite the surprisingly good play of Sammie Lee Hill at defensive tackle, they are still ranked 21st against the run, although they have looked better over the past few weeks. However, left tackle is more of an immediate need for them. I hope, if they don’t take one in the first round, that they take one in the 2nd round, for their own good. Jeff Backus is not the guy you want protecting Matt Stafford’s blindside during his development. But, you can’t really blame the Lions for taking the best available player, especially when he’s a player that is as dominant at his position as Ndamukong Suh.

3. Kansas City Chiefs 3-12

The Chiefs desperately need someone who can get pressure on the quarterback. They had 10 sacks last season and didn’t really do anything to fix that with the exception of moving to a defensive scheme their players don’t fit in. This year, they only have 20 and their defense is being destroyed. However, this draft is really weak on pass rushers so they’ll just go best defensive player here. It’ll be heard for them to pass up Tennessee FS Eric Berry. He’s one of the best safety prospects to come out of college football in a longtime. He should become that Ed Reed type player at the next level, who makes a bad defense passable, a passable defense good, and a good defense great. The Chiefs desperately need that. Their defense gives up the 3rd most yards of any defense in the league and the 3rdmost points as well.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-12

With their franchise quarterback and franchise left tackle already secured, it would make a ton of sense for the Bucs to just go best available player that is not a quarterback or left tackle here, but that is a little tricky at this point with Berry and Suh, the two guys who are clearly the top two non quarterback/left tackle players in this draft class, already off the board. They could go wide receiver with Antonio Bryant being a free agent this offseason and Michael Clayton stinking it up again after getting a big contract extension last season, but a wide receiver would be a huge reach here. This draft class doesn’t have that one dominant Michael Crabtree or Calvin Johnson type wide receiver that deserves to be drafted this high. They could go defensive end with a guy like Derrick Morgan because, after giving up on Gaines Adams, they lack a real #1 defensive end of the future, but this is a top weak, middle heavy draft class at defensive end so they can still get a good pass rusher in the 2nd round with one of their two picks. Defensive backs and linebackers are out because they just don’t have the positional value at #4, so the last remaining option would be defensive tackle where Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy is available. He’s not the dominant defensive tackle Suh is, but he’s a great finesse one gap penetrator at defensive tackle that could flourish if the Bucs decide to switch back to a Tampa 2 defensive system. The Bucs could also trade down if both Suh and Berry are off the board and someone like Seattle offers enough to move up here and take a franchise left tackle like Russell Okung.

5. Washington Redskins 4-11

Quarterback is going to be a need for them this offseason. If there was any doubt that Jason Campbell would not be resigned by the team, its gone now as he has really stunk it up in the last two weeks since they hired new GM Bruce Allen. However, I don’t think they can pass on a franchise left tackle like Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung after all of the problems they have had protecting the quarterback this year. Chris Samuels might not play again anyway.

6. Cleveland Browns 4-11

Assuming Eric Mangini is still the coach next season, which I believe he will be because he has won three straight games and the only guy they have really had any interest in bringing in to replace him is now in the front office of the Browns, the Browns will go best available regardless of position. Last season, when they needed a face of the franchise quarterback, they traded down from the 5th slot where they could have drafted Mark Sanchez. After that, instead of drafting a rush linebacker or a running back, both of which the desperately needed, they went with Alex Mack, a center. Yes, Mack was the best player available in terms of how dominant he could be at his respective position and already he is one of the top 5 centers in the league, but still, he was a center and it was the first round. I don’t know who Mangini sees as the best players available, but there’s a good chance it is Alabama MLB Rolando McClain who would be a great fit in the center of their 3-4 defense. Very few 3-4 middle linebacker prospects have more upside than him. I could see them taking a quarterback with Mike Holmgren now in the front office which technically qualifies as a new regime, plus Eric Mangini never did get a chance to draft his own guy last season, but I think they want to see more of Brady Quinn (353 career throws is not enough to call him a bust). They are also a candidate to trade down for a team that wants to move up and take Sam Bradford.

7. Seattle Seahawks 5-10

There’s no question that they need a new quarterback. Matt Hasselbeck looks done back there. He’s got a bad case of Marc Bulgeritis. He’s taken so many hits at an advanced age, in football terms, that he literally is just throwing the ball anywhere to avoid hits and that translated to 4 picks last week. If they can get him some protection he may have one more good year in him, but that’s it. They desperately need a quarterback of the future. There are a lot of concerns about Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford, not a lot of experience under center, an injured shoulder, but this guy turned in one of the most dominant seasons in college football season last season as a mere redshirt sophomore, which a lot of people are forgetting. Plus, he wasn’t bad his freshman year either. If he gets that redshirt year in Seattle for a year behind Hasselbeck, he should be ready to take the reigns to this team and lead them to great things in 2011 and beyond.  

8. Oakland Raiders 5-10

JaMarcus Russell was benched earlier in the season for Bruce Gradkowski. As if it wasn’t embarrassing enough that he was benched for the Browns 2008 4th string quarterback, after Gradkowski got hurt, Russell still wasn’t given his job back, instead the job went to Charlie Frye, who, in his only full season as starter, threw 17 picks to 10 touchdowns with the Browns in 2006. As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, after Charlie Frye suffered a concussion in his first start back, Russell, who somehow may have accidentally led the Raiders to a win in relief of Frye, still didn’t start. The Raiders would rather start Frye with a concussion in a meaningless game over JaMarcus Russell. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they liked recently signed JP Losman over Russell. Tom Cable clearly does not like Russell and, even though Cable enjoys beating people up, Cable is likely going to be back as coach next year because for some reason, over all the other coaches that have been decent that he has had, Al Davis seems to trust Tom Cable. Or maybe Al Davis died up there in the owner’s box and no one noticed, but whatever the reason, Davis isn’t objecting to Cable being the coach and benching Russell repeatedly, so its safe to say this team is going to be looking for a new quarterback. Regardless of whether or not Al Davis is alive during the season, he always comes back to life on draft day to screw over the Raiders so if they draft a quarterback it will be one of his trademark amazing physical specimens. Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett will probably throw the ball the longest straight down field at the combine and since we all know that is the only thing a good quarterback has to be able to do, Mallett is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and a huge steal here at 8.

9. Buffalo Bills 5-10

The Bills gave Trent Edwards a bunch of weapons to work with but they lacked that true pass blocking left tackle and thus Edwards struggled this season and was benched and the Bills sit here at 5-10. Langston Walker was supposed to start at left tackle this year, but he was cut right before the season. That’s a very bad sign. Demetrius Bell, their new starting left tackle, leads the league in penalties and their offensive line as a whole had 9 false starts earlier this season in a loss to the Browns. Rutgers OT Anthony Davis has really jumped onto the national stage as an elite franchise left tackle in past weeks so he could very well be the 2nd offensive tackle off the board. He’ll also remind the Bills a bit of Jason Peters, who worked out well for them as a left tackle for a few years before they traded him last year. Both Davis and Peters are big over powering pass blocking left tackles.

10. Denver Broncos 8-7 (via CHI)

Remember week 6 when the Broncos were 6-0 and had a 3.5 game lead on the division and they were giving up 3.3 YPC. Those days are long gone. The Broncos are now 8-7 and are 4 games behind in the division and are giving up 4.1 YPC for the season, a number that would be a lot higher if you took out their somewhat fluky run stopping days of weeks 1-6. It makes sense that they can’t stop the run. They couldn’t last year and all new coach Josh McDaniels did to fix that is change to a more complicated defensive system and make a front 7 out of 2 starters from last year’s miserable run stopping bunch, a 2009 1st round pick playing out of position, and cast offs from the Niners and Browns. They will take the best 3-4 front 7 player available here. Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward is an underclassman who has not officially declared yet, but if he does, he could be regarded as the best pure 3-4 defensive end and that could shoot him up into the top 10 like it did with Tyson Jackson last season. Scouts will also like Heyward versatility as he can play 4-3 left end, cover 2 defensive tackle, and 3-4 defensive end. His size/speed combination, a projected 4.89 at 287 pounds, will also turn some heads.

11. Miami Dolphins 7-8

Jason Ferguson will be 35 by draft day 2010 and also will be a free agent. Bill Parcells knows how important nose tackles are for a 3-4 defense so he should take 370 pound Alabama NT Terrence Cody here. He may be a 2 down nose tackle in the NFL, but so is Kris Jenkins of the Jets and we all saw how bad their run defense got in a hurry after he got hurt.

12. San Francisco 49ers 7-8 (via CAR)

When ‘Dre Bly is not busy making a fool of himself on an interception, by high stepping starting from the 30 yard line with a potential tackler a few feet behind him such that he gets tackled, loses the ball, and turns 7 points into a fumble, he’s busy getting burnt by quicker, faster, younger, more athletic receivers. The only reason he has a job is because Walt Harris, who is equally old and slow, had to have season ending knee surgery before the season. The Niners need some young blood at the position. Florida CB Joe Haden is extremely athletic and physical and fits their coverage scheme like a glove.

13. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-8

Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver pretty much promised that the Jags would draft in state Florida QB Tim Tebow in the first round in an attempt to sell more tickets and safe the franchise’s future in Jacksonville. He seems to have forgotten that the Jags already have a good quarterback, David Garrard, who has a 60% completion percentage in each of his four years as starter as well as 57 touchdowns to 34 picks, but I guess the Jags will do what they have to do to make Jacksonville football fans, who clearly don’t care, come to the stadium, rather than moving the team to a city that deserves a franchise like San Antonio or Los Angeles.

14. San Francisco 49ers 7-8

Joe Staley is supposed to be the left tackle, but he’s hurt. Even when he’s healthy, he’s a liability against the pass and belongs at right tackle where the Niners currently have a load of crap. The Niners have 2 picks in this first round and can use the second of the two, with no other huge needs that they can fill with the players left on the board, on an elite left tackle. Maryland OT Bruce Campbell is shooting up draft boards with his strong season this year and is deserving of a top ten selection.

15. Tennessee Titans 7-8

The Titans are known for their defense under Jeff Fisher. However, defense is now an issue for them. They lost Albert Haynesworth and replaced him with Jovan Haye, which, no offense to Haye, is a big downgrade. Starter corner Nick Harper is 35 and their linebackers are very mediocre with the exception of Keith Bulluck, who happens to be 32 and in the last season of his contract. However, their biggest defensive need is defensive end, where both starters, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse are free agents after the 2009 season and could leave the team. Tennessee should draft Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan in case one or both of them leave. Even if neither of them do, Morgan could be a good depth guy and a future replacement for Kearse, who turns 33 this season. It would be too big of a risk for them not to take an end, as defensive end has quickly grown into the most important position on defense. Morgan is that physical type of defensive end that Tennessee likes. 

16. New York Giants 8-7

The Giants give up the 10th fewest yards in the league, but also the 5th most points. That means they are giving up a ton of big plays for touchdowns, whether on the ground or through the air, and they can’t stop anyone in the red zone. Both of those show poor safety play, which means sense because they are starting Michael Johnson and Aaron Rouse at safety after losing James Butler to free agency and Kenny Phillips to injury. Even if Phillips does return from his injury, which is not a guarantee at this point, they need a good safety to pair with him. Texas FS Earl Thomas is the top safety available and is both a great ballhawker and a solid hustle run stopper and tackler for his size. The Giants couldn’t tackle anyone in the open field last week against Carolina.

 

17. Houston Texans 8-7

The Texans have struggled with stopping the pass for years. They are better this year, but still not great and Dunta Robinson, their #1 corner, is a free agent this offseason. Neither of their starting cornerbacks, Robinson and rookie Glover Quin, who also could be upgraded, have an interception which is kind of pathetic. I don’t think they’ll pass on the opportunity to take a potential future #1 shutdown corner like Michigan CB Donovan Warren. He’s been compared to a young Darrelle Revis with his ability to take half the field away from a quarterback and force the offense to play 10 on 10 football.

18. New York Jets 8-7

Braylon Edwards is looking like a bust of a trade. Good thing they didn’t give up a lot for him. They can simply let him walk this offseason as a free agent, though if the price is right they’ll retain him. However, they’ll need a new #1 option. USC WR Damian Williams is my top rated wide receiver and has #1 option written all over him with his elite route running. He has played with quarterback Mark Sanchez before at USC and that will do a ton for young Sanchez’s confidence. That will be huge.

19. Atlanta Falcons 8-7

After 3 years and 2.5 sacks, I think it’s time for the Falcons to write former #8 overall pick Jamaal Anderson off as a bust and start fresh at the defensive end position opposite John Abraham. They have been getting burnt through the air a lot this season and a lot of that has to do with their poor cornerback play since Brian Williams’ injury, but their 27 sacks as a team aren’t helping. USC DE Everson Griffen has all the talent of a #1 defensive end in the future, but he just needs to put it all together. He could actually go top 10 if he runs a sub 4.6 40 at 275 pounds, which I think would be a mistake because his production in college to this point has been limited. However, there’s no question he could be a future #1 defensive end.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers 8-7

Its painfully obvious that the Steelers need offensive line help after giving up 17 sacks to the Browns, Packers, and Ravens in the past 3 weeks. However, they’ve needed offensive line help for years and haven’t done anything about it. Plus, its also painfully obvious that Mike Tomlin doesn’t trust his defense, even more painfully obvious than their offensive line is bad. Mike Tomlin tried an onside kick with a 2 point lead in a game two weeks ago against the Packers because he didn’t trust his defense to stop Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Packers would recover and score and if it weren’t for late game heroics from Big Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin would have been the laughing stock of the NFL. That is how far this defense has fallen since being one of the best in the league last year. The biggest reason for their defensive struggles has been Troy Polamalu’s injuries. In the 5 games in which he has played, the Steelers are 4-1 and are allowed 13.8 points per game. In the games he has missed, they give up 23.1 and are consequently 4-6. Their lack of a good safety opposite him is obvious. I don’t think Mike Tomlin could resist drafting USC SS Taylor Mays to pair with Polamalu. Mays is extremely raw, but with the right coaching, which the Steelers definitely have, he could be a bigger faster Troy Polamalu. If you thought one Troy Polamalu was scary, imagine two. He’d have to grow his hair out though to get the whole fear effect.

21. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) 5-8

Their left tackle position is a mess. Walter Jones could be done for his career and Sean Locklear, even when healthy, is more of a right tackle than a left. If they take a good zone blocking left tackle here like Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga, they can actually have a very strong young offensive line to protect whoever is playing quarterback in the future. Having Bulaga and Locklear together on the offensive line would allow them to move Ray Willis from tackle to guard, where he belongs, and give them a very good offensive line for the future, with Locklear and Williams at tackle and Willis and promising rookie, and 2009 2nd round pick, Max Unger at guard.

22. Dallas Cowboys 10-5

Jerry Jones likes money and the big name players so he’ll draft Florida MLB Brandon Spikes. The Cowboys will be looking for inside linebackers that can play both 3-4 and 4-3, because Wade Phillips might not be back next season. Spikes can play both and the Cowboys will be looking for linebackers after failing to upgrade Zach Thomas last offseason, only replacing him with Keith Brooking.

23. Baltimore Ravens 8-7

Baltimore did not draft a wide receiver in 2009 which means they are confident in their ability to resign Derrick Mason, a free agent after the 2009 season. That might be a bad move because if Mason leaves, they are really only left with Mark Clayton, which would be very bad for young quarterback Joe Flacco’s development moving forward. Even if Mason returns, he will be 36 by next year’s Super Bowl, so they need a longterm replacement. LSU WR Brandon LaFell is playing very well this season and is the type of wide receiver the Ravens need. He is tough and can block and has experience in a conservative pro style offense at LSU. He’ll fit in the Ravens’ offense very nicely and can help them right away.

24. Arizona Cardinals 10-5

The Cardinals already have 3 good wide receivers, but they have yet to get an upgrade at tight end. Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham is too good for them to pass up at this point. Even with his injury, Gresham is one of the best pass catching tight end prospects of the decade. He will make this Cardinals offense that much deadlier for whoever the quarterback is in the future.

25. Cincinnati Bengals 10-5

From week 9, when Chris Henry went out with an injury, to week 15, last week, Carson Palmer had thrown for 809 yards in 5 games, 427 coming in games against the Lions and Raiders. Chris Henry died last week after a tragic accident. RIP. However, in football, life moves on, it has to. They need a deep threat to compliment Chad Ochocinco otherwise Palmer is doomed to have another mediocre year. The Bengals have shown in the past that they are willing to take chances on questionable character guys so they shouldn’t have any qualms about drafting Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant who was suspended for the entire season for lying about where he had lunch with Deion Sanders or something like that. Bryant would be a huge steal here.

26. Green Bay Packers 10-5

Add bruised ribs to the laundry list of minor injuries Aaron Rodgers has sustained this season, along with two sprained feet. The Packers have done a better job of protecting Rodgers since Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton have returned from injury, but both are in their 30s and could retire soon. Before those two were both healthy, Rodgers was sacked 37 times in 8 games. If Tauscher and Clifton retire and neither are replaced by then, Aaron Rodgers could actually die on the field. They need a good young tackle familiar with a zone blocking scheme and athletic enough to play in it. USC OT Charles Brown might be the best pure zone blocking tackle in this draft class and that will shoot him up draft boards like it did with former USC tackle Sam Baker in 2008.

27. New England Patriots 10-5

As a Patriots fan, the Pats’ defense makes me cringe. They let Devery Henderson run straight down field for a touchdown without a guy within 10 yards of him two weeks ago and then missed 4 tackles as the Saints turned a loss on a screen play to a touchdown and they were only able to sack Brees once all game. Then Chad Henne came out and burned their defense again. However, Bill Belicheck will go value over need every time, especially with 3 picks in the 2ndround to work with. California RB Jahvid Best would help the Patriots become even more explosive on offensive by adding that explosive homerun hitting back that they lack right now. He would compliment Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk well.

28. Minnesota Vikings 11-4

The Vikings seem to be set for the future on the offensive end, with the exception of quarterback, but, even if a new regime comes in, I doubt the Vikings would reach for Colt McCoy in this situation, especially since he could be there when they pick in the 2nd round. Defensively, they have a few issues that need to be filled. This team is built upon their defensive line’s ability to stuff the run. Pat Williams will turn 37 in October and the Vikings need to bulk up their line and their depth at the defensive tackle position. They can’t afford to lose their biggest strength, so they take a high upside defensive tackle here, in Penn State DT Jared Odrick, who can come in, learn from the Williamses, and hopefully be able to take Pat’s place when he moves on. Odrick is an amazing pass rusher for his size and would fill Pat’s old pass rushing tackle role nicely.

29. Philadelphia Eagles 11-4

Even with all of the offensive linemen the Eagles brought in during the offseason, they are still not playing well on the offensive front. Andy Reid, who loves to draft offensive linemen, will want to do something about that this year and draft the biggest offensive lineman available to help himself feel more secure about his own weight problems. He doesn’t have a starting offensive lineman who weighs less than 320 pounds. 330 pound Anthony Davis isn’t available, so 330 pound Idaho OG Mike Iupati will have to do. Think Andy Reid won’t draft an offensive guard in the first round, think again. He’s done it before.

30. San Diego Chargers 12-3

Jamal Williams went on IR after week 1 and he’s also getting up there in age so, without a solid replacement for him on the active roster, which the Chargers have proved they don’t have this season, they’ll be looking for a big nose tackle in the offseason, most likely through the draft. Tennessee NT Dan Williams is a complete nose tackle who is shooting up draft board this season and could very well go in the first round because big nose tackles that move like him are extremely rare.

31. New Orleans Saints 13-1

The Saints, with only 1 pick in the first 3 rounds of the 2009 NFL draft, were unable to secure a good young outside linebacker. Good news for them, they’ll be able to add a great one here in Oklahoma OLB Travis Lewis. Lewis will add another young playmaker to an improving defense and help this team in all facets of the game.

32. Indianapolis Colts 14-0

The Colts know value and need an upgrade at outside linebacker. Georgia OLB Rennie Curran has great potential, but drops because of his position, inexperience, and lack of size. For the Colts, he’s an extremely valuable player who fills a need and fits their cover 2 system perfectly, despite his lack of size, because he is good in pass coverage and has great speed. They can afford to wait on him to develop.

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-12/29/09 

 

 

Week 16

1. St. Louis Rams 1-13

The Rams considered drafting Mark Sanchez last year, but the truth was they had too much money tied up in the quarterback position already with Marc Bulger and his giant contract and cutting Bulger would have been too much of a cap hit. This year, they can cut Bulger and actually save money so this is probably his last year in St. Louis, unless the Rams fail to get anyone better than him. Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen is, with Bradford’s injury, the most complete quarterback in this draft class and would be an excellent addition to a Rams team that already has its left tackle and defensive end of the future.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-12

I have said this pick will come down to either Gerald McCoy or Carlos Dunlap in weeks past. However, I don’t think Dunlap will go this high because he’s really struggling this season and is getting a reputation as being lazy, which is very, very bad for him. Michael Johnson had top 5 pick potential last year and plummeted to round 3 when he was slapped with the lazy tag. Dunlap also was suspended for DUI. That being said, I don’t think this will be McCoy either, because Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh is having a huge season and has really showcased himself as the complete defensive tackle. He’s having a huge year this year, better than McCoy, and makes more sense here. He also fits Tampa Bay’s scheme better.

3. Detroit Lions 2-12

I don’t like what the Lions did in their draft last year after they drafted Stafford. I don’t think they focused enough on their front 7 or their offensive line. The Lions will need a franchise left tackle to protect Matt Stafford if they want to avoid Stafford turning into David Carr, after passing on Jason Smith, Michael Oher, as well as both Eben Britton and William Beatty, twice. Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung is the top left tackle in this class and is on the level of Joe Thomas, Jake Long, and Jason Smith. They need him here

4. Kansas City Chiefs 3-11

The Chiefs desperately need someone who can get pressure on the quarterback. They had 10 sacks last season and didn’t really do anything to fix that with the exception of moving to a defensive scheme their players don’t fit in. This year, they only have 19 and their defense is being destroyed. However, this draft is really weak on pass rushers so they’ll just go best defensive player here. It’ll be heard for them to pass up Tennessee FS Eric Berry. He’s one of the best safety prospects to come out of college football in a longtime. He should become that Ed Reed type player at the next level, who makes a bad defense passable, a passable defense good, and a good defense great. The Chiefs desperately need that. Their defense gives up the 3rd most yards of any defense in the league and the 2ndmost points.

5. Cleveland Browns 3-11

Assuming Eric Mangini is still the coach next season, which I believe he will be because he has won two straight games and the only guy they have really had any interest in bringing in to replace him is now in the front office of the Browns, the Browns will go best available regardless of position. Last season, when they needed a face of the franchise quarterback, they traded down from the 5th slot where they could have drafted Mark Sanchez. After that, instead of drafting a rush linebacker or a running back, both of which the desperately needed, they went with Alex Mack, a center. Yes, Mack was the best player available in terms of how dominant he could be at his respective position and already he is one of the top 5 centers in the league, but still, he was a center and it was the first round. I don’t know who Mangini sees as the best players available, but there’s a good chance it is Alabama MLB Rolando McClain who would be a great fit in the center of their 3-4 defense. Very few 3-4 middle linebacker prospects have more upside than him.

6. Washington Redskins 4-10

After laying an epic stink bomb and coaching what was one of the worst coached games of the decade, at least that I’ve seen, in front of new GM Bruce Allen, its safe to say that Jim Zorn won’t be back next season. Since they’ll have a new coach, that would likely mean a new quarterback as new regimes mean new quarterbacks and current quarterback Jason Campbell is a free agent this offseason and the organization has not hinted that they are trying to bring him back. Who that quarterback is, depends on the coach. I have mocked Tim Tebow here in recent weeks, but now that Mike Shanahan seems to be the favorite for the job over Tebow’s #1 fan Jon Gruden, that doesn’t look as likely. Instead it seems more likely that it will be Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford, who is a better quarterback prospect in my book than Tebow and a better fit for Shanahan’s west coast offense as well.

7. Seattle Seahawks 5-9

Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy could go top 3, so the Seahawks are getting a steal here. Its not like their interior line couldn’t be upgraded, with Brandon Mebane, Cory Redding, and Colin Cole making up their defensive tackle rotation at the moment. They are ranked 17th in the league in YPA rushing allowed at 4.2. This is what I think the Seahawks would do in this situation and not what I would do. You can read all about what I believe the Seahawks should take a quarterback like Ryan Mallett in my latest blog post, “Why the Seahawks should take a quarterback in the top ten.” (really creative title, I know)

8. Buffalo Bills 5-9

The Bills gave Trent Edwards a bunch of weapons to work with this offseason but they lacked that true pass blocking left tackle and thus Trent Edwards had one of the worst seasons of his career. Langston Walker was supposed to start at left tackle this year, but he was cut right before the season. That’s a very bad sign. Demetrius Bell, their new starting left tackle, leads the league in penalties and their offensive line as a whole had 9 false starts a few weeks ago in a loss to the Browns. Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga is the best available player at a position of dire need for the Bills. Picking a left tackle here doesn’t mean that whatever new regime that is in place next year won’t draft a quarterback. It just means they won’t until the 2nd round or later.

9. Denver Broncos (via CHI) 8-6

Remember week 6 when the Broncos were 6-0 and had a 3.5 game lead on the division and they were giving up 3.3 YPC. Those days are long gone. The Broncos are now 8-6 and are 3 games behind in the division and are giving up 4.1 YPC for the season, a number that would be a lot higher if you took out their somewhat fluky run stopping days of weeks 1-6. It makes sense that they can’t stop the run. They couldn’t last year and all new coach Josh McDaniels did to fix that is change to a more complicated defensive system and make a front 7 out of 2 starters from last year’s miserable run stopping bunch, a 2009 1st round pick playing out of position, and cast offs from the Niners and Browns. Ronald Fields, a former 49ers bench warmer who weighs only 310 pounds is playing nose tackle. They need to get a real run stopping in the middle of that defensive line. Nose tackles don’t get much more real than 370 pound Alabama NT Terrence Cody. Cody will help this run defense out in a huge way even as a rookie. He may be just a two down nose tackle but so is Kris Jenkins of the Jets and we’ve seen how bad their run defense got in a hurry after he got hurt.

10. Oakland Raiders 5-9

JaMarcus Russell was benched earlier in the season for Bruce Gradkowski. As if it wasn’t embarrassing enough that he was benched for the Browns 2008 4th string quarterback, after Gradkowski got hurt, Russell still wasn’t given his job back, instead the job went to Charlie Frye, who, in his only full season as starter, threw 17 picks to 10 touchdowns with the Browns in 2006. As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, after Charlie Frye suffered a concussion in his first start back, Russell, who somehow may have accidentally led the Raiders to a win in relief of Frye, still hasn’t been given his job back. The Raiders might actually consider starting Frye with a concussion in a meaningless game over JaMarcus Russell. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they started recently signed JP Losman over Russell. Tom Cable clearly does not like Russell and, even though Cable enjoys beating people up, Cable is likely going to be back as coach next year because for some reason, over all the other coaches that have been decent that he has had, Al Davis seems to trust Tom Cable. Or maybe Al Davis died up there in the owner’s box and no one noticed, but whatever the reason, Davis isn’t objecting to Cable being the coach and benching Russell repeatedly, so its safe to say this team is going to be looking for a new quarterback. Regardless of whether or not Al Davis is alive during the season, he always comes back to live on draft day to screw over the Raiders so if they draft a quarterback it will be one of his trademark amazing physical specimens. Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett will probably throw the ball the longest straight down field at the combine and since we all know that is the only thing a good quarterback has to be able to do, Mallett is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and a huge steal here at 10.

11. San Francisco 49ers 6-8 (via CAR)

When ‘Dre Bly is not busy making a fool of himself on an interception, by high stepping starting from the 30 yard line with a potential tackler a few feet behind him such that he gets tackled, loses the ball, and turns 7 points into a fumble, he’s busy getting burnt by quicker, faster, younger, more athletic receivers. The only reason he has a job is because Walt Harris, who is equally old and slow, had to have season ending knee surgery before the season. The Niners need some young blood at the position. Florida CB Joe Haden is extremely athletic and physical and fits their coverage scheme like a glove.

12. New York Jets 7-7

Braylon Edwards is looking like a bust of a trade. Good thing they didn’t give up a lot for him. They can simply let him walk this offseason as a free agent, though if the price is right they’ll retain him. However, they’ll need a new #1 option. USC WR Damian Williams is my top rated wide receiver and has #1 option written all over him with his elite route running. He has played with quarterback Mark Sanchez before at USC and that will do a ton for young Sanchez’s confidence. That will be huge.

13. Houston Texans 7-7

The Texans only have 25 sacks this season. Mario Williams only has 8 sacks this season because he’s being double teamed constantly. In addition to drawing the name for starting running back out of a hat, there’s one thing you can always count on Coach Gary Kubiak to do, build around his offensive and defensive lines. If the Texans get a chance to draft a big time every down left end like Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan, I think Kubiak takes it, assuming he hasn’t been fired by then.

14. San Francisco 49ers 6-8

Joe Staley is supposed to be the left tackle, but he’s hurt. Even when he’s healthy, he’s a liability against the pass and belongs at right tackle where the Niners currently have a load of crap. The Niners have 2 picks in this first round and can use the first of the two, with no other huge needs that they can fill with the players left on the board, on an elite left tackle. Maryland OT Bruce Campbell is shooting up draft boards with his strong season this year and is deserving of a top ten selection.

15. Tennessee Titans 7-7

The Titans are known for their defense under Jeff Fisher. However, defense is now an issue for them. They lost Albert Haynesworth and replaced him with Jovan Haye, which, no offense to Haye, is a big downgrade. Starter corner Nick Harper is 35 and their linebackers are very mediocre with the exception of Keith Bulluck, who happens to be 32 and in the last season of his contract. However, their biggest defensive need is defensive end, where both starters, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse are free agents after the 2009 season and could leave the team. Tennessee should draft USC DE Everson Griffen in case one or both of them leave. Even if neither of them do, Griffen could be a good depth guy and a future replacement for Kearse, who turns 33 this season. It would be too big of a risk for them not to take an end, as defensive end has quickly grown into the most important position on defense.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-7

Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver pretty much promised that the Jags would draft in state Florida QB Tim Tebow in the first round in an attempt to sell more tickets and safe the franchise’s future in Jacksonville. He seems to have forgotten that the Jags already have a good quarterback, David Garrard, who has a 60% completion percentage in each of his four years as starter as well as 56 touchdowns to 32 picks, but I guess the Jags will do what they have to do to make Jacksonville football fans, who clearly don’t care, come to the stadium, rather than moving the team to a city that deserves a franchise like San Antonio or Los Angeles.

 

17. Miami Dolphins 7-7

Jason Ferguson will be 35 by draft day 2010 and also will be a free agent. Bill Parcells knows how important nose tackles are for a 3-4 defense so he should take Tennessee NT Dan Williams here. He’s a complete nose tackle who is shooting up draft board this season and could very well go in the first round because big nose tackles that move like him are extremely rare.

18. Atlanta Falcons 7-7

The Falcons weren’t very good against the pass before Brian Williams went down, but when he did, things just went south in the Atlanta defensive backfield and they can’t stop anyone, not even rookie quarterback Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers. Brian Williams is a good cornerback, but they lack any depth behind him. Michigan CB Donovan Warren is a great fit for their man coverage scheme and would compliment Brian Williams well at cornerback. He’s a great man-on-man corner who quarterbacks don’t even try to throw on and he’s tough and physical against the run.

19. Pittsburgh Steelers 7-7

Its painfully obvious that the Steelers need offensive line help after giving up 13 sacks to the Browns and the Packers in the past 2 weeks. However, they’ve needed offensive line help for years and haven’t done anything about it. Plus, its also painfully obvious that Mike Tomlin doesn’t trust his defense, even more painfully obvious than their offensive line is bad. Mike Tomlin tried an onside kick with a 2 point lead in last week’s game against the Packers because he didn’t trust his defense to stop Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Packers would recover and score and if it weren’t for late game heroics from Big Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin would have been the laughing stock of the NFL. That is how far this defense has fallen since being one of the best in the league last year. The biggest reason for their defensive struggles has been Troy Polamalu’s injuries. In the 5 games in which he has played, the Steelers are 4-1 and are allowed 13.8 points per game. In the games he has missed, they give up 23.4 and are consequently 3-6. Their lack of a good safety opposite him is obvious. I don’t think Mike Tomlin could resist drafting USC SS Taylor Mays to pair with Polamalu. Mays is extremely raw, but with the right coaching, which the Steelers definitely have, he could be a bigger faster Troy Polamalu. If you thought one Troy Polamalu was scary, imagine two. He’d have to grow his hair out though to get the whole fear effect.

20. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) 5-8

Their left tackle position is a mess. Walter Jones could be done for his career and Sean Locklear, even when healthy, is more of a right tackle than a left. If they take a good zone blocking left tackle here like USC OT Charles Brown, who is shooting up my draft board and plenty of others, they can have a very strong young offensive line. Having Brown and Locklear together on the offensive line would allow them to move Ray Willis from tackle to guard, where he belongs, and give them a very good offensive line for the future, with Locklear and Williams at tackle and Willis and promising rookie, and 2009 2nd round pick, Max Unger at guard.

21. Baltimore Ravens 8-6

Baltimore did not draft a wide receiver which means they are confident in their ability to resign Derrick Mason, a free agent after the 2009 season. That might be a bad move because if Mason leaves, they are really only left with Mark Clayton, which would be very bad for young quarterback Joe Flacco’s development moving forward. Even if Mason returns, he will be 36 by next year’s Super Bowl, so they need a longterm replacement. LSU WR Brandon LaFell is playing very well this season and is the type of wide receiver the Ravens need. He is tough and can block and has experience in a conservative pro style offense at LSU. He’ll fit in the Ravens’ offense very nicely and can help them right away.

22. Dallas Cowboys 9-5

Jerry Jones likes money and the big name players so he’ll draft Florida MLB Brandon Spikes. The Cowboys will be looking for inside linebackers that can play both 3-4 and 4-3, because Wade Phillips might not be back next season. Spikes can play both and the Cowboys will be looking for linebackers after failing to upgrade Zach Thomas last offseason, only replacing him with Keith Brooking.

23. New York Giants 8-6

The Giants give up the 7th fewest yards in the league, but also the 7th most points. That means they are giving up a ton of big plays for touchdowns, whether on the ground or through the air, and they can’t stop anyone in the red zone. Both of those show poor safety play, which means sense because they are starting Michael Johnson and Aaron Rouse at safety after losing James Butler to free agency and Kenny Phillips to injury. Even if Phillips does return from his injury, which is not a guarantee at this point, they need a good safety to pair with him. Texas FS Earl Thomas is the top safety available and is both a great ballhawker and a solid hustle run stopper and tackler for his size.

24. Arizona Cardinals 9-5

The Cardinals already have 3 good wide receivers, but they have yet to get an upgrade at tight end. Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham is too good for them to pass up at this point. Even with his injury, Gresham is one of the best pass catching tight end prospects of the decade. He will make this Cardinals offense that much deadlier for whoever the quarterback is in the future.

25. New England Patriots 9-5

As a Patriots fan, the Pats’ defense makes me cringe. They let Devery Henderson run straight down field for a touchdown without a guy within 10 yards of him two weeks ago and then missed 4 tackles as the Saints turned a loss on a screen play to a touchdown and they were only able to sack Brees once all game. Then Chad Henne came out and burned their defense again. However, Bill Belicheck will go value over need every time, especially with 3 picks in the 2ndround to work with. California RB Jahvid Best would help the Patriots become even more explosive on offensive by adding that explosive homerun hitting back that they lack right now. He would compliment Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk well.

26. Cincinnati Bengals 9-5

From week 9, when Chris Henry went out with an injury, to week 15, last week, Carson Palmer had thrown for 809 yards in 5 games, 427 coming in games against the Lions and Raiders. Chris Henry died last week after a tragic accident. RIP. However, in football, life moves on, it has to. They need a deep threat to compliment Chad Ochocinco otherwise Palmer is doomed to have another mediocre year. The Bengals have shown in the past that they are willing to take chances on questionable character guys so they shouldn’t have any qualms about drafting Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant who was suspended for the entire season for lying about where he had lunch with Deion Sanders or something like that. Bryant would be a huge steal here.

27. Green Bay Packers 9-5

Ted Thompson likes picking best available, which at this point would be Clemson RB CJ Spiller. The Packers lack a speed compliment to Ryan Grant and its not like Ryan Grant is that great anyway. Spiller could also help on special teams and in the return game.

28. Philadelphia Eagles 10-4

Shawn Andrews is hurt again and might not play again in his career. Good thing they gave him all that money. Andy Reid loves to invest in his offensive and defensive lines so he’ll look for a big mauling offensive lineman to play opposite Jason Peters here. Rutgers OT Anthony Davis definitely fits that model. He is a big 6-5 330 pound right tackle and if Andy Reid puts him on his signature all fat diet, he could be up to 350 in no time. All of Reid’s starting offensive lineman are over 320 pounds.

29. Minnesota Vikings 11-3

The Vikings seem to be set for the future on the offensive end, with the exception of quarterback, but, even if a new regime comes in, I doubt the Vikings would reach for Colt McCoy in this situation, especially since he could be there when they pick in the 2nd round. Defensively, they have a few issues that need to be filled. This team is built upon their defensive line’s ability to stuff the run. Pat Williams will turn 37 in October and the Vikings need to bulk up their line and their depth at the defensive tackle position. They can’t afford to lose their biggest strength, so they take a high upside defensive tackle here, in Penn State DT Jared Odrick, who can come in, learn from the Williamses, and hopefully be able to take Pat’s place when he moves on. Odrick is an amazing pass rusher for his size and would fill Pat’s old pass rushing tackle role nicely.

30. San Diego Chargers 11-3

Igor Olshansky left as a free agent and he was never replaced. The Chargers will want to focus on that here to plug up holes on their defense. Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward is an elite 3-4 defensive end prospect who is one of the best available players here. Heyward is leaning towards staying in school, but has not officially announced anything. He would be the best pure 3-4 defensive end in the draft class if he were to declare and that could shoot him up extremely high. I had Tyson Jackson this low last year before he established himself as an elite 3-4 defensive end prospect and went 3rd overall.

31. New Orleans Saints 13-1

The Saints, with only 1 pick in the first 3 rounds of the 2009 NFL draft, were unable to secure a good young outside linebacker. Good news for them, they’ll be able to add a great one here in Oklahoma OLB Travis Lewis. Lewis will add another young playmaker to an improving defense and help this team in all facets of the game.

32. Indianapolis Colts 14-0

The Colts know value and need an upgrade at outside linebacker. Georgia OLB Rennie Curran has great potential, but drops because of his position, inexperience, and lack of size. For the Colts, he’s an extremely valuable player who fills a need and fits their cover 2 system perfectly, despite his lack of size, because he is good in pass coverage and has great speed. They can afford to wait on him to develop.

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-12/23/09 

 

Week 15 

1. St. Louis Rams 1-12

The Rams considered drafting Mark Sanchez last year, but the truth was they had too much money tied up in the quarterback position already with Marc Bulger and his giant contract and cutting Bulger would have been too much of a cap hit. This year, they can cut Bulger and actually save money so this is probably his last year in St. Louis, assuming the Rams fail to get anyone better than him. Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen is, with Bradford’s injury, the most complete quarterback in this draft class and would be an excellent addition to a Rams team that already has its left tackle and defensive end of the future.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1-12

I have said this pick will come down to either Gerald McCoy or Carlos Dunlap in weeks past. However, I don’t think Dunlap will go this high because he’s really struggling this season and is getting a reputation as being lazy, which is very, very bad for him. Michael Johnson had top 5 pick potential last year and plummeted to round 3 when he was slapped with the lazy tag. Dunlap also was suspended for DUI. That being said, I don’t think this will be McCoy either, because Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh is having a huge season and has really showcased himself as the complete defensive tackle. He’s having a huge year this year, better than McCoy, and makes more sense here. He also fits Tampa Bay’s scheme better.

Agree with this pick? Don’t agree with this pick? Discuss this pick with other Rams fans and football fans in The Football Fan Forum. The Rams’ draft prospects are the topic of debate this week.

3. Detroit Lions 2-11

I don’t like what the Lions did in their draft last year after they drafted Stafford. I don’t think they focused enough on their front 7 or their offensive line. The Lions will need a franchise left tackle to protect Matt Stafford if they want to avoid Stafford turning into David Carr, after passing on Jason Smith, as well as both Eben Britton and William Beatty, twice. Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung is the top left tackle in this class and is on the level of Joe Thomas, Jake Long, and Jason Smith. They need him here. 

4. Cleveland Browns 2-11

By winning last week, the Browns now have the choice between Brady Quinn and Sam Bradford for next year because Jake Locker is returning to school. Unless the Rams win another game, the Browns won’t get to draft an elite quarterback like Clausen and if they can’t, I think Mangini sticks with Brady Quinn and goes and addresses other needs. The Browns had a top 5 pick last year and still somehow didn’t get any better on the defensive end and are playing in the 2009 season with the same awful bunch of defensive players that got destroyed throughout the 2009 season, with the addition of a few Jets castoffs. They will need to take the best defensive player available in 2010. The best defensive player available is Tennessee FS Eric Berry. He’s one of the best safety prospects to come out of college football in a longtime. He should become that Ed Reed type player at the next level, who makes a bad defense passable, a passable defense good, and a good defense great. The Browns desperately need that.

5. Kansas City Chiefs 3-10

Scott Pioli seems to have adapted his former mentor Bill Belicheck’s drafting strategy of always focusing on the 3 man line when drafting. The jury is still out on whether or not he will have the same success Belicheck has had, but there’s no denying he’s doing it as he spent his first 2 picks this on 3-4 defensive ends, even reaching for Tyson Jackson over Aaron Curry. Glenn Dorsey as a nose tackle is likely a one year thing as Pioli will want to bring in a true nose tackle. Dorsey will likely be traded if the demand is high enough or moved to defensive end, though I’m not sure he fits there. Nose tackles don’t come much truer than 370 pound Alabama NT Terrence Cody. If Pioli took Jackson because he reminded him of Richard Seymour, who he had with Belicheck in New England, than he’ll likely take Cody, who will remind him of New England nose tackle Vince Wilfork.

6. Oakland Raiders 4-9

USC FS Taylor Mays could run a low 4.3 40 at 6-3 230 which of course would make him the greatest player of all time, at least according to Al Davis.

7. Buffalo Bills 4-9

Dick Jauron is out as head coach of the Bills and has been replaced with interim coach Perry Fewell. Whoever is the coach next year, whether Fewell as someone else, possibly Marty Schottenheimer, will want to bring in his own guy at quarterback. Neither Trent Edwards nor Ryan Fitzpatrick are established quarterbacks. Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford is the best available quarterback here.

8. San Francisco 49ers (via CAR) 6-7

Not a ton of choices for the Niners here. No left tackles, quarterbacks, defensive backs, or rush linebackers that wouldn’t be major reaches. Middle linebacker is not a huge position of need for them, but I think, in this situation, if Mike Singletary gets a chance to get his hands on Alabama MLB Rolando McClain to put in the middle of his 3-4 defense next to Patrick Willis, he’ll jump at the opportunity. McClain is a freak of a middle linebacker prospect with the potential to be the next Ray Lewis, though that’s a bit of a lofty comparison at this point. Singletary will love working with him and Willis in the middle of that 3-4 defense.

9. Washington Redskins 4-9

The Redskins probably won’t want Jason Campbell back next season. He is a free agent and the Redskins searched for a quarterback this offseason so hard that it was as if Campbell wasn’t even there. Even if they want him back, I doubt Campbell will want to come back, so it’s safe to say that the Redskins will be looking for a quarterback when they draft in 2010. That means that the Redskins pick will be used on the biggest named quarterback available and that here is Florida QB Tim Tebow. He may not be a pure quarterback or fit the system all that well, but Daniel Snyder doesn’t care. He’ll sell tickets. The Redskins are considering Jon Gruden to coach their team. It’s no secret to anyone who watches Monday Night Football, Gruden loves Tebow.

10. Seattle Seahawks 5-8

Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy could go top 3, so the Seahawks are getting a steal here. Its not like their interior line couldn’t be upgraded, with Brandon Mebane, Cory Redding, and Colin Cole making up their defensive tackle rotation at the moment. They are ranked 17th in the league in YPA rushing allowed.

11. Denver Broncos 8-5 (via SEA)

The Broncos are going to draft a front 7 player hopefully because, even though their defense has somehow been good this season, they basically patched together a 3-4 front 7 around 2 players that were starters last season and a bunch of castoffs from bad teams. I’ve mocked Rolando McClain, Terrence Cody, and Arthur Jones here this season, but McClain and Cody aren’t available here and Jones has slipped into the 2nd round due to a down year, so they would be best served take a rush linebacker here. They need a rush linebacker opposite Elvis Dumervil. TCU OLB Jerry Hughes has 28 sacks over the last 2 seasons and is establishing himself as an elite rush linebacker prospect.

12. Miami Dolphins 7-6

Jason Ferguson will be 35 by draft day 2010 and also will be a free agent. Bill Parcells knows how important nose tackles are for a 3-4 defense so he should take Tennessee NT Dan Williams here. He’s a complete nose tackle who is shooting up draft board this season and could very well go in the first round because big nose tackles that move like him are extremely rare.

13. New York Jets 7-6

Darrelle Revis is an amazing shutdown corner, who can take any wide receiver out of the game by himself. However, it kind of defeats the purpose of having a guy like Revis if the quarterback can just pick on the opposite cornerback all day for a big game. Lito Sheppard was brought in during the offseason to start opposite Revis, but he’s been hurt and hasn’t played well when healthy. In place of Sheppard the Jets have been starting Dwight Lowery who is a good nickel corner, but not a great starting cornerback. Bringing in a talented young cornerback like Florida CB Joe Haden would help make their secondary even more dangerous.

14. Tennessee Titans 6-7

The Titans are known for their defense under Jeff Fisher. However, defense is now an issue for them. They lost Albert Haynesworth and replaced him with Jovan Haye, which, no offense to Haye, is a big downgrade. Starter corner Nick Harper is 35 and their linebackers are very mediocre with the exception of Keith Bulluck, who happens to be 32 and in the last season of his contract. However, their biggest defensive need is defensive end, where both starters, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse are free agents after the 2009 season and could leave the team. Tennessee should draft Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan in case one or both of them leave. Even if neither of them do, Morgan could be a good depth guy and a future replacement for Kearse, who turns 33 this season. It would be too big of a risk for them not to take an end, as defensive end has quickly grown into the most important position on defense. Morgan is that physical type of defensive end that Tennessee likes. 

15. San Francisco 49ers 6-7

When ‘Dre Bly is not busy making a fool of himself on an interception, by high stepping starting from the 30 yard line with a potential tackler a few feet behind him such that he gets tackled, loses the ball, and turns 7 points into a fumble, he’s busy getting burnt by quicker, faster, younger, more athletic receivers. The only reason he has a job is because Walt Harris, who is equally old and slow, had to have season ending knee surgery before the season. The Niners need some young blood at the position. Michigan CB Donovan Warren is shooting up draft board this season, after a down year last season. He’s a great man-on-man corner who quarterbacks don’t even try to throw on and he’s tough and physical against the run which Mike Singletary will love. 

16. Houston Texans 6-7

The Texans only have 22 sacks this season. Mario Williams only has 8 sacks this season because he’s being double teamed constantly. In addition to drawing the name for starting running back out of a hat, there’s one thing you can always count on Coach Gary Kubiak to do, build around his offensive and defensive lines. If the Texans get a chance to draft a big time every down left end like USC DE Everson Griffen, I think Kubiak takes it, assuming he hasn’t been fired by then.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-6

The Jags have been destroyed by every quarterback they have faced this year. They desperately need cornerbacks who actually fit their zone coverage scheme. Virginia CB Ras-I Dowling fits their cover 2 system perfectly. He has played in a zone system for 4 years in college at Virginia and has excelled.

18. Dallas Cowboys 8-5

Jerry Jones likes money and the big name players so he’ll draft Florida MLB Brandon Spikes. The Cowboys will be looking for inside linebackers that can play both 3-4 and 4-3, because Wade Phillips might not be back next season. Spikes can play both and the Cowboys will be looking for linebackers after failing to upgrade Zach Thomas last offseason, only replacing him with Keith Brooking.

19. Atlanta Falcons 6-7

The Falcons weren’t very good against the pass before Brian Williams went down, but when he did, things just went south in the Atlanta defensive backfield and they can’t stop anyone, not even rookie quarterback Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers. Brian Williams is a good quarterback, but they lack any depth behind him. Kentucky CB Trevard Lindley is a great fit for their coverage scheme and would compliment Brian Williams well at cornerback.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers 6-7

Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 8 times last week by the Browns. I’ll let you comprehend that……..get it yet………..how about now………….forget it, you’ll never comprehend it, I don’t comprehend it. The Browns had one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL before that, and yet they were still able to get to Big Ben 8 times. The Steelers need to fix their offensive line fast, especially since they have a lot of free agents on the offensive line this offseason. Luckily for them, Maryland OT Bruce Campbell has fallen to them. He’s a steal at this point.

21. Baltimore Ravens 7-6

Baltimore did not draft a wide receiver which means they are confident in their ability to resign Derrick Mason, a free agent after the 2009 season. That might be a bad move because if Mason leaves, they are really only left with Mark Clayton, which would be very bad for young quarterback Joe Flacco’s development moving forward. Even if Mason returns, he will be 36 by next year’s Super Bowl, so they need a longterm replacement. USC WR Damian Williams is the best available at a position of huge need and is the logical pick here.

22. New York Giants 7-6

The Giants have to be pleased with the way this draft has gone. The Giants always seem to be able to come out with really good players and this year won’t be an exception. Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham is still available here. He is the best player available and fits their needs like a glove. Kevin Boss is big, but he’s not a great tight end. Gresham would give Eli yet another young pass catcher, this time a skilled tight end to pair with his young wide outs.

23. Arizona Cardinals 8-5

The Cardinals strong passing game relies on pass protection. Mike Gandy, at right tackle, is a free agent after the 2009 season and he’ll be 31 then anyway. With no other major needs, they can bring in another right tackle through the draft. Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga would fill that need and allow this amazing passing game to continue. A strong offensive line will be even more important if Matt Leinart has to come in and start, if Kurt Warner decides to hang ‘em up.

24. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) 5-8

Their left tackle position is a mess. Walter Jones could be done for his career and Sean Locklear, even when healthy, is more of a right tackle than a left. If they take a good zone blocking left tackle here like USC OT Charles Brown, who is shooting up my draft board and plenty of others, they can have a very strong young offensive line. Having Brown and Locklear together on the offensive line would allow them to move Ray Willis from tackle to guard, where he belongs, and give them a very good offensive line for the future, with Locklear and Williams at tackle and Willis and promising rookie, and 2009 2nd round pick, Max Unger at guard.

25. New England Patriots 8-5

As a Patriots fan, the Pats defense makes me cringe. They let Devery Henderson run straight down field for a touchdown without a guy within 10 yards of him two weeks ago and then missed 4 tackles as the Saints turned a loss on a screen play to a touchdown and they were only able to sack Brees once all game. Then Chad Henne came out and burned their defense again. However, Bill Belicheck will go value over need every time, especially with 3 picks in the 2ndround to work with. California RB Jahvid Best would help the Patriots become even more explosive on offensive by adding that explosive homerun hitting back that they lack right now. He would compliment Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk well.

26. Cincinnati Bengals 9-4

Since Chris Henry went out with an injury week 9, Carson Palmer has thrown for 809 yards in 5 games, 427 coming in games against the Lions and Raiders. Chris Henry died today after a tragic accident. RIP. However, in football, life moves on, it has to. They need a deep threat to compliment Chad Ochocinco otherwise Palmer is doomed to have another mediocre year. The Bengals have shown in the past that they are willing to take chances on questionable character guys so they shouldn’t have any qualms about drafting Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant who was suspended for the entire season for lying about where he had lunch with Deion Sanders or something like that. Bryant would be a huge steal here.

27. Green Bay Packers 8-5

Ted Thompson likes picking best available, which at this point would be Clemson RB CJ Spiller. The Packers lack a speed compliment to Ryan Grant and its not like Ryan Grant is that great anyway. Spiller could also help on special teams and in the return game.

28. Philadelphia Eagles 9-4

Shawn Andrews is hurt again and might not play again in his career. Good thing they gave him all that money. Andy Reid loves to invest in his offensive and defensive lines so he’ll look for a big mauling offensive lineman to play opposite Jason Peters here. Rutgers OT Anthony Davis definitely fits that model. He is a big 6-5 330 pound right tackle and if Andy Reid puts him on his signature all fat diet, he could be up to 350 in no time. All of Reid’s starting offensive lineman are over 320 pounds.

29. Minnesota Vikings 10-2

Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett is a huge project at quarterback and needs time to develop his footwork, but he has Peyton Manning esque upside. The Vikings have their quarterback position figured out for now, but that’s only until Brett Favre retires and/or leaves the team to go play for someone else. I don’t think Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels are the long term answers so Mallett is a perfect fit for them here as the Aaron Rodgers type project behind Favre. Mallett can sit some, learn from one of the best, and then take over when he is ready.

30. San Diego Chargers
The Chargers’ top 2 receivers, Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd, are all free agents after this season. Even if they are able to bring both back, and Floyd is average at best. They could use another receiver here. LSU WR Brandon LaFell is the best available receiver for a team that doesn’t have a ton of needs. They are a pass heavy team so they need to get good young receivers for Phillip Rivers. LaFell is 6-4 and the Chargers like big receivers.

31. Indianapolis Colts 12-0

The Colts know value and need an upgrade at outside linebacker. Oklahoma OLB Travis Lewis has top ten pick value, but drops because of his position and lack of size. For the Colts, he’s an extremely valuable player who fills a need and fits their cover 2 system perfectly, despite his lack of size, because he is good in pass coverage and has great speed.

32. New Orleans Saints 12-0

The Saints, with only 1 pick in the first 3 rounds of the 2009 NFL draft, were unable to secure a good young outside linebacker. Good news for them, they’ll be able to add a great one here in Missouri OLB Sean Weatherspoon. Lewis will add another young playmaker to an improving defense and help this team in all facets of the game.

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12/17/09 

 

 

1. St. Louis Rams 1-11

The Rams considered drafting Mark Sanchez last year, but the truth was they had too much money tied up in the quarterback position already with Marc Bulger and his giant contract and cutting Bulger would have been too much of a cap hit. This year, they can cut Bulger and actually save money so this is probably his last year in St. Louis, assuming the Rams fail to get anyone better than him. Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen is, with Bradford’s injury, the most complete quarterback in this draft class and would be an excellent addition to a Rams team that already has its left tackle and defensive end of the future

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1-11

I have said this pick will come down to either Gerald McCoy or Carlos Dunlap in weeks past. However, I don’t think Dunlap will go this high because he’s really struggling this season and is getting a reputation as being lazy, which is very, very bad for him. Michael Johnson had top 5 pick potential last year and plummeted to round 3 when he was slapped with the lazy tag. Dunlap also was suspended for DUI. That being said, I don’t think this will be McCoy either, because Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh is having a huge season and has really showcased himself as the complete defensive tackle. He’s having a huge year this year, better than McCoy, and makes more sense here. He also fits Tampa Bay’s scheme better.

3. Cleveland Browns 2-11

Brady Quinn hasn’t thrown a pick in four weeks, but if that’s the way you qualify a good quarterback, there’s something wrong. He also only went 6 for 19 in a win over the Steelers on Thursday. Eric Mangini might not be back next season and the new coach would want to bring in his own guy at the quarterback position and even if Mangini is back next year, which might actually happen despite his awful season as coach, he also might want to draft a quarterback to bring in his own guy. The only quarterback he has brought in since becoming coach is Erik Ainge who hasn’t seen a snap this season. Washington QB Jake Locker will be seen as the best available quarterback here.

4. Detroit Lions 2-10

I don’t like what the Lions did in their draft last year after they drafted Stafford. I don’t think they focused enough on their front 7 or their offensive line. The Lions will need a franchise left tackle to protect Matt Stafford if they want to avoid Stafford turning into David Carr, after passing on Jason Smith, as well as both Eben Britton and William Beatty, twice. Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung is the top left tackle in this class and is on the level of Joe Thomas, Jake Long, and Jason Smith. They need him here. 

5. Kansas City Chiefs 3-9

The Chiefs desperately need someone who can get pressure on the quarterback. They had 10 sacks last season and didn’t really do anything to fix that with the exception of moving to a defensive scheme their players don’t fit in. This year, they only have one and their defense is being destroyed. However, this draft is really weak on pass rushers so they’ll just go best defensive player here. It’ll be heard for them to pass up Tennessee FS Eric Berry. He’s one of the best safety prospects to come out of college football in a longtime. He should become that Ed Reed type player at the next level, who makes a bad defense passable, a passable defense good, and a good defense great. The Chiefs desperately need that.

6. Washington Redskins 3-9

The Redskins probably won’t want Jason Campbell back next season. He is a free agent and the Redskins searched for a quarterback this offseason so hard that it was as if Campbell wasn’t even there. Even if they want him back, I doubt Campbell will want to come back, so it’s safe to say that the Redskins will be looking for a quarterback when they draft in 2010. That means that the Redskins pick will be used on the biggest named quarterback available and that here is Florida QB Tim Tebow. He may not be a pure quarterback or fit the system all that well, but Daniel Snyder doesn’t care. He’ll sell tickets. The Redskins are considering Jon Gruden to coach their team. It’s no secret to anyone who watches Monday Night Football, Gruden loves Tebow.

7. Buffalo Bills 4-8

Dick Jauron is out as head coach of the Bills and has been replaced with interim coach Perry Fewell. Whoever is the coach next year, whether Fewell as someone else, possibly Marty Schottenheimer, will want to bring in his own guy at quarterback. Neither Trent Edwards nor Ryan Fitzpatrick are established quarterbacks. Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford is the best available quarterback here.

8. San Francisco (via CAR) 5-7

Joe Staley is supposed to be the left tackle, but he’s hurt. Even when he’s healthy, he’s a liability against the pass and belongs at right tackle where the Niners currently have a load of crap. The Niners have 2 picks in this first round and can use the first of the two, with no other huge needs that they can fill with the players left on the board, on an elite left tackle. Maryland OT Bruce Campbell is shooting up draft boards with his strong season this year and is deserving of a top ten selection.

9. Denver Broncos (via CHI) 8-4

Before shutting down Brandon Jacobs and the Giants on the ground two weeks, the Broncos had given up 472 yards on the ground in the 3 weeks prior. I’m not actually surprised that they stopped Jacobs, who has been really struggling this season, and of course I’m not surprised at the Broncos struggles stopping the run because they, with the exception of a few starters, basically made their front 7 out of castoffs from other bad teams. They need to take the best 3-4 front seven player available here. Andra Davis is starting at middle linebacker right now. He is so bad that the Browns wouldn’t even bring him back last season. Alabama MLB Rolando McClain is an elite middle linebacker talent that fits perfectly into Mike Nolan’s 3-4 defense, the way Patrick Willis fit into Nolan’s defense in San Francisco.

10. Seattle Seahawks 5-7

Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy could go top 3, so the Seahawks are getting a steal here. Its not like their interior line couldn’t be upgraded, with Brandon Mebane, Cory Redding, and Colin Cole making up their defensive tackle rotation at the moment. They are ranked 17th in the league in YPA rushing allowed.

11. Oakland Raiders 4-8

USC FS Taylor Mays could run a low 4.3 40 at 6-3 230 which of course would make him the greatest player of all time, at least according to Al Davis.

12. New York Jets 6-6

Darrelle Revis is an amazing shutdown corner, who can take any wide receiver out of the game by himself. However, it kind of defeats the purpose of having a guy like Revis if the quarterback can just pick on the opposite cornerback all day for a big game. Lito Sheppard was brought in during the offseason to start opposite Revis, but he’s been hurt and hasn’t played well when healthy. In place of Sheppard the Jets have been starting Dwight Lowery who is a good nickel corner, but not a great starting cornerback. Bringing in a talented young cornerback like Florida CB Joe Haden would help make their secondary even more dangerous.

13. San Francisco 49ers 5-7

When ‘Dre Bly is not busy making a fool of himself on an interception, by high stepping starting from the 30 yard line with a potential tackler a few feet behind him such that he gets tackled, loses the ball, and turns 7 points into a fumble, he’s busy getting burnt by quicker, faster, younger, more athletic receivers. The only reason he has a job is because Walt Harris, who is equally old and slow, had to have season ending knee surgery before the season. The Niners need some young blood at the position. Michigan CB Donovan Warren is shooting up draft board this season, after a down year last season. He’s a great man-on-man corner who quarterbacks don’t even try to throw on and he’s tough and physical against the run which Mike Singletary will love.

14. Miami Dolphins 6-6

Jason Ferguson will be 35 by draft day 2010 and also will be a free agent. Bill Parcells knows how important nose tackles are for a 3-4 defense so he should take 370 pound Alabama NT Terrence Cody here. He may be a 2 down nose tackle in the NFL, but so is Jamal Williams of the Chargers and he’s still an extremely valuable player.

15. Houston Texans 5-7

The Texans only have 15 sacks this season. Mario Williams only has 5 sacks this season because he’s being double teamed constantly. In addition to drawing the name for starting running back out of a hat, there’s one thing you can always count on Coach Gary Kubiak to do, build around his offensive and defensive lines. If the Texans get a chance to draft a big time every down left end like Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan, I think Kubiak takes it, assuming he hasn’t been fired by then.

16. Tennessee Titans 5-7

The Titans are known for their defense under Jeff Fisher. However, defense is now an issue for them. They lost Albert Haynesworth and replaced him with Jovan Haye, which, no offense to Haye, is a big downgrade. Starter corner Nick Harper is 35 and their linebackers are very mediocre with the exception of Keith Bulluck, who happens to be 32 and in the last season of his contract. However, their biggest defensive need is defensive end, where both starters, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse are free agents after the 2009 season and could leave the team. Tennessee should draft USC DE Everson Griffen in case one or both of them leave. Even if neither of them do, Griffen could be a good depth guy and a future replacement for Kearse, who turns 33 this season. It would be too big of a risk for them not to take an end, as defensive end has quickly grown into the most important position on defense.

17. Baltimore Ravens 6-6

Baltimore did not draft a wide receiver which means they are confident in their ability to resign Derrick Mason, a free agent after the 2009 season. That might be a bad move because if Mason leaves, they are really only left with Mark Clayton, which would be very bad for young quarterback Joe Flacco’s development moving forward. Even if Mason returns, he will be 36 by next year’s Super Bowl, so they need a longterm replacement. USC WR Damian Williams is the best available at a position of huge need and is the logical pick here.

18. Atlanta Falcons 6-6

The Falcons weren’t very good against the pass before Brian Williams went down, but when he did, things just went south in the Atlanta defensive backfield and they can’t stop anyone, not even rookie quarterback Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers. Brian Williams is a good quarterback, but they lack any depth behind him. Kentucky CB Trevard Lindley is a great fit for their coverage scheme and would compliment Brian Williams well at cornerback.

19. Dallas Cowboys 8-4

Jerry Jones likes money and the big name players so he’ll draft Florida MLB Brandon Spikes. The Cowboys will be looking for inside linebackers that can play both 3-4 and 4-3, because Wade Phillips might not be back next season. Spikes can play both and the Cowboys will be looking for linebackers after failing to upgrade Zach Thomas last offseason, only replacing him with Keith Brooking.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers 6-7

The Steelers gave up 8 sacks somehow to the Cleveland Browns. If you think the Steelers have trouble protecting Big Ben now, just wait until next season, when a lot of their offensive lineman will have left via free agency. They desperately need a versatile offensive lineman. Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga is the best available offensive lineman. Bulaga can start at either tackle position next year for the Steelers.

21. New York Giants 7-5

The Giants have to be pleased with the way this draft has gone. The Giants always seem to be able to come out with really good players and this year won’t be an exception. Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham is still available here. He is the best player available and fits their needs like a glove. Kevin Boss is big, but he’s not a great tight end. Gresham would give Eli yet another young pass catcher, this time a skilled tight end to pair with his young wide outs.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-5

The Jags have been destroyed by every quarterback they have faced this year. They desperately need cornerbacks who actually fit their zone coverage scheme.Virginia CB Ras-I Dowling fits their cover 2 system perfectly. He has played in a zone system for 4 years in college at Virginia and has excelled.

23. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) 5-7

Their left tackle position is a mess. Walter Jones could be done for his career and Sean Locklear, even when healthy, is more of a right tackle than a left. If they take a good zone blocking left tackle here like USC OT Charles Brown, who is shooting up my draft board and plenty of others, they can have a very strong young offensive line. Having Brown and Locklear together on the offensive line would allow them to move Ray Willis from tackle to guard, where he belongs, and give them a very good offensive line for the future, with Locklear and Williams at tackle and Willis and promising rookie, and 2009 2nd round pick, Max Unger at guard.

24. Green Bay Packers 7-5

Ted Thompson likes picking best available, which at this point would be Clemson RB CJ Spiller. The Packers lack a speed compliment to Ryan Grant and its not like Ryan Grant is that great anyway. Spiller could also help on special teams and in the return game.

25. New England Patriots 7-5

As a Patriots fan, the Pats defense makes me cringe. They let Devery Henderson run straight down field for a touchdown without a guy within 10 yards of him two weeks ago and then missed 4 tackles as the Saints turned a loss on a screen play to a touchdown and they were only able to sack Brees once all game. Then Chad Henne came out and burned their defense again. However, Bill Belicheck will go value over need every time, especially with 3 picks in the 2ndround to work with. California RB Jahvid Best would help the Patriots become even more explosive on offensive by adding that explosive homerun hitting back that they lack right now. He would compliment Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk well.

26. Arizona Cardinals 8-4

The Cardinals strong passing game relies on pass protection. Mike Gandy, at right tackle, is a free agent after the 2009 season and he’ll be 31 then anyway. Levi Brown at left tackle isn’t playing well either. With no other major needs, they can bring in another right tackle through the draft. LSU OT Ciron Black would fill that need and allow this amazing passing game to continue. A strong offensive line will be even more important if Matt Leinart has to come in and start, if Kurt Warner decides to hang ‘em up.

27. Cincinnati Bengals 9-3

The Bengals proved by signing Larry Johnson that they are not done taking chances on guys with character problems, even though the team is playing well. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, Cedric Benson looked like the MVP of the league before he got hurt and Larry Johnson helped the Bengals win last week when Benson was hurt and 2009 2nd round pick Rey Maualuga who dropped for character reasons will be in the running for defensive player of the year this season. Florida DE Carlos Dunlap has an awful work ethic and recently was arrested for drunk driving, but those things are like turn ons to whoever if drafting for the Bengals. Antawn Odom is talented when healthy, but he rarely is so, assuming Michael Johnson doesn’t pan out, the Bengals still need a right end of the future and Dunlap, who has athleticism, 6-6 290 4.7, could be that guy if he straightens himself out.

28. Philadelphia Eagles 8-4

Even with all of the offensive linemen the Eagles brought in during the offseason, they are still not playing well on the offensive front. Andy Reid, who loves to draft offensive linemen, will want to do something about that this year and draft the biggest offensive lineman available to help himself feel more secure about his own weight problems. He doesn’t have a starting offensive lineman who weighs less than 320 pounds. 330 pound Anthony Davis isn’t available, so 330 pound Idaho OG Mike Iupati will have to do. Think Andy Reid won’t draft an offensive guard in the first round, think again. He’s done it before.

29. San Diego Chargers 9-3

The Chargers’ top two wide receivers, Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd are both free agents this offseason. I don’t think they’ll resign both and even if they do, they could still use an upgrade at wide receiver over Floyd. The Chargers also have a habit of drafting for value and big names over need and Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant has both value and need for the Chargers. Plus, he’s a tall wide receiver which the Chargers love.

30. Minnesota Vikings 10-2

Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett is a huge project at quarterback and needs time to develop his footwork, but he has Peyton Manning esque upside. The Vikings have their quarterback position figured out for now, but that’s only until Brett Favre retires and/or leaves the team to go play for someone else. I don’t think Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels are the long term answers so Mallett is a perfect fit for them here as the Aaron Rodgers type project behind Favre. Mallett can sit some, learn from one of the best, and then take over when he is ready.

31. Indianapolis Colts 12-0

The Colts know value and need an upgrade at outside linebacker. Oklahoma OLB Travis Lewis has top ten pick value, but drops because of his position and lack of size. For the Colts, he’s an extremely valuable player who fills a need and fits their cover 2 system perfectly, despite his lack of size, because he is good in pass coverage and has great speed.

32. New Orleans Saints 12-0

The Saints, with only 1 pick in the first 3 rounds of the 2009 NFL draft, were unable to secure a good young outside linebacker. Good news for them, they’ll be able to add a great one here in Missouri OLB Sean Weatherspoon. Lewis will add another young playmaker to an improving defense and help this team in all facets of the game.

 

 

1. Cleveland Browns 1-10

The Browns are going to have a hard time moving Derek Anderson and/or Brady Quinn this offseason (wonder why) which means they’ll have to pay the guaranteed part of both of their contracts for next season, which could mean that, even if they cut both of them, they’ll have a lot of money tied up in the quarterback position. However, if Eric Mangini has a chance to draft Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen, I think he still will even with all the money tied up in the position already. Ever since Andy Reid drafted Donovan McNabb with his first major decision as coach of the Eagles in 1999, there has been a major trend of new head coaches bringing in “their guy” at quarterback. It is extremely important for a coach to be able to trust his quarterback and a coach has a lot more trust in his quarterback if it’s someone he hand selected. Eric Mangini has ties to Charlie Weis, from their days as assistants with the New England Patriots, and Weis happens to be the coach of Jimmy Clausen, who happens to be the consensus top quarterback in the 2010 NFL Draft class.

Agree with this pick? Don’t agree with this pick? Discuss this pick with other Browns’ fans and football fans in The Football Fan Forum. The Browns’ draft prospects are the topic of debate this week.

2. Detroit Lions 2-9

The Lions need a franchise left tackle badly, but they have proven that they will take the best available player regardless of need. Left tackle would help them and Matt Stafford majorly, but they are going to take best available player. Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh is the best available player and it’s not like the Lions don’t need any help at that position. Despite the surprisingly good play of Sammie Lee Hill at defensive tackle, they are still ranked 19th against the run, although they have looked better over the past few weeks. However, left tackle is more of an immediate need for them. I hope, if they don’t take one in the first round, that they take one in the 2nd round, for their own good. Jeff Backus is not the guy you want protecting Matt Stafford’s blindside during his development.

3. St. Louis Rams 1-10

The Rams need to take a quarterback this year. Marc Bulger sucks and his contract makes him easy to cut this offseason. I don’t think NFL scouts and GMs are as sold on Jake Locker as ESPN is, so, by default this would be Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford, who, despite his injury, has amazing potential. The Rams probably don’t want to risk waiting to draft a quarterback until the 2nd round when they’ll likely be stuck with Jevan Snead (gag!).

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1-10

Raheem Morris wants to build the defense his way as evidenced by the fact that he got rid of pretty much everyone who was on that defense last year and did not replace them. Not one of his better ideas. I’m sure he’ll take the best defensive player available here with all of the offensive necessities, quarterback and left tackle, as well as some good running backs, locked up. Tennessee FS Eric Berry is the best available defensive player here and is the type of safety that can make a good defense into a great one, a passable one into a good one, and a bad defense into a passable. They don’t have anyone like that.

5. Oakland Raiders 3-8

In a normal year, I wouldn’t make this pick for the Raiders, but next year is likely going to be an uncapped year, which means the Raiders can take another quarterback here, admit they messed up big time drafting JaMarcus Russell #1 overall, release him and start over again, which is not a bad idea. If Al Davis does decide to go quarterback, he will take Washington QB Jake Locker. Locker fits all of Al Davis’s qualifications. He is fast and can throw the ball a long way. He’s got a stronger arm than Tim Tebow and could run a faster 40 than Tebow, though I wouldn’t rule Tebow out here. Davis is going to forget the fact that Locker is not a good quarterback prospect, at least in my book, and just go with the 40 time and arm strength as he seemingly is incapable of learning from his mistakes.

6. Washington Redskins 3-8

The Redskins probably won’t want Jason Campbell back next season. He is a free agent and the Redskins searched for a quarterback this offseason so hard that it was as if Campbell wasn’t even there. Even if they want him back, I doubt Campbell will want to come back, so it’s safe to say that the Redskins will be looking for a quarterback when they draft in 2010. That means that the Redskins pick will be used on the biggest named quarterback available and that here is Florida QB Tim Tebow. He may not be a pure quarterback or fit the system all that well, but Daniel Snyder doesn’t care. He’ll sell tickets. The Redskins are considering Jon Gruden to coach their team. It’s no secret to anyone who watches Monday Night Football, Gruden loves Tebow.

7. Kansas City Chiefs 3-8

Matt Cassel has been sacked 29 times in 8 games. There were questions when the Chiefs drafted Branden Albert as to whether or not he could pass protect well enough to play left tackle in the NFL. Now, almost two years after he was drafted, it is clear the answer to that question is no. They can draft a true franchise left tackle here and move Albert around the offensive line some, either to right tackle or left guard, his natural position. Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung fits the value and the need here. 

8. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) 4-7

Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy could go top 3, so the Seahawks are getting a steal here. Its not like their interior line couldn’t be upgraded, with Brandon Mebane, Cory Redding, and Colin Cole making up their defensive tackle rotation at the moment. They are ranked 17th in the league in YPA rushing allowed.

9. Buffalo Bills 4-8

Dick Jauron is out as head coach of the Bills and has been replaced with interim coach Perry Fewell. Whoever is the coach next year, whether Fewell as someone else, possibly Marty Schottenheimer, will want to bring in his own guy at quarterback. Neither Trent Edwards nor Ryan Fitzpatrick are established quarterbacks. Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett is inexperienced, but has huge time upside. He’s not NFL ready yet, but can sit a year behind either Edwards or Fitzpatrick to get ready. The Bills desperately need an identity at quarterback and a face of the franchise and with time, Mallett can be that guy.

10. San Francisco 49ers 5-6 (via CAR)

Joe Staley is supposed to be the left tackle, but he’s hurt. Even when he’s healthy, he’s a liability against the pass and belongs at right tackle where the Niners currently have a load of crap. The Niners have 2 picks in this first round and can use the first of the two, with no other huge needs that they can fill with the players left on the board, on an elite left tackle. Maryland OT Bruce Campbell is shooting up draft boards with his strong season this year and is deserving of a top ten selection.

11. Denver Broncos 7-4 (via CHI)

Before shutting down Brandon Jacobs and the Giants on the ground last week, the Broncos had given up 472 yards on the ground in the last 3 weeks. I’m not actually surprised that they stopped Jacobs, who has been really struggling this season, and of course I’m not surprised at the Broncos struggles stopping the run because they, with the exception of a few starters, basically made their front 7 out of castoffs from other bad teams. They need to take the best 3-4 front seven player available here. Andra Davis is starting at middle linebacker right now. He is so bad that the Browns wouldn’t even bring him back last season. Alabama MLB Rolando McClain is an elite middle linebacker talent that fits perfectly into Mike Nolan’s 3-4 defense, the way Patrick Willis fit into Nolan’s defense in San Francisco.

12. New York Jets 6-6

Darrelle Revis is an amazing shutdown corner, who can take any wide receiver out of the game by himself. However, it kind of defeats the purpose of having a guy like Revis if the quarterback can just pick on the opposite cornerback all day for a big game. Lito Sheppard was brought in during the offseason to start opposite Revis, but he’s been hurt and hasn’t played well when healthy. In place of Sheppard the Jets have been starting Dwight Lowery who is a good nickel corner, but not a great starting cornerback. Bringing in a talented young cornerback like Florida CB Joe Haden would help make their secondary even more dangerous.

13. Miami Dolphins 5-6

Jason Ferguson will be 35 by draft day 2010 and also will be a free agent. Bill Parcells knows how important nose tackles are for a 3-4 defense so he should take 370 pound Alabama NT Terrence Cody here. He may be a 2 down nose tackle in the NFL, but so is Jamal Williams of the Chargers and he’s still an extremely valuable player.

14. Houston Texans 5-6

The Texans only have 15 sacks this season. Mario Williams only has 5 sacks this season because he’s being double teamed constantly. In addition to drawing the name for starting running back out of a hat, there’s one thing you can always count on Coach Gary Kubiak to do, build around his offensive and defensive lines. If the Texans get a chance to draft a big time every down left end like Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan, I think Kubiak takes it, assuming he hasn’t been fired by then.

15. San Francisco 49ers 5-6

When ‘Dre Bly is not busy making a fool of himself on an interception, by high stepping starting from the 30 yard line with a potential tackler a few feet behind him such that he gets tackled, loses the ball, and turns 7 points into a fumble, he’s busy getting burnt by quicker, faster, younger, more athletic receivers. The only reason he has a job is because Walt Harris, who is equally old and slow, had to have season ending knee surgery before the season. The Niners need some young blood at the position. Michigan CB Donovan Warren is shooting up draft board this season, after a down year last season. He’s a great man-on-man corner who quarterbacks don’t even try to throw on and he’s tough and physical against the run which Mike Singletary will love.

16. Atlanta Falcons 6-5

The Falcons weren’t very good against the pass before Brian Williams went down, but when he did, things just went south in the Atlanta defensive backfield and they can’t stop anyone, not even rookie quarterback Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers. Brian Williams is a good quarterback, but they lack any depth behind him. Kentucky CB Trevard Lindley is a great fit for their coverage scheme and would compliment Brian Williams well at cornerback.