May 122012
 

“Should” Mock Fans Only Mock

Only 1 round today in my 2010 NFL Mock Draft. Tomorrow is the actual NFL Draft, the first round only, so I decided to go more in depth on round 1 rather than doing 7 rounds. Before Friday, I’ll have rounds 2-3 and then 4-7 before Saturday.

This mock is what I think will happen. To see what I think should happen, check out my alternate “Should” Mock Draft.

Be sure to check out The Football Fan Spot this Thursday during the draft for our official NFL Draft Live Blog

Updated 4/22/10

 

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.

Other possibilities:

QB Jimmy Clausen- They have brought him in for a workout, though no one thought much of it because Bradford is regarded as the best quarterback in the draft. However, we don’t know for sure they’ll take him and they may be scared off by the fact that he won’t sign before draft day. Regardless of what Todd McShay says, Clausen is good. In fact, McShay is an idiot who should be fired.

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.

Even after trading for Rob Sims, I still say this pick will be Russell Okung. They also have traded for Corey Williams this offseason and I’d rather have a patchwork defensive line than a patch work offensive line when I’m trying to protect a 73 million dollar 2nd year investment at quarterback. They may still pick Suh, but unless I hear otherwise, I trust the Lions will make the right pick. For more on how the Rob Sims deal effects this pick, click here.

Other possibilities:

DT Ndamukong Suh- The Lions like to take best available and may take Suh even though he fills less of a need or positional value.

DT Gerald McCoy- As is the case with Suh, they may decide that McCoy is the best available and take him.

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.

Other possibilities:

DT Gerald McCoy- Sources say they’ll take Suh over McCoy if given the choice, but sources aren’t 100% always. McCoy would be a better fit, though is a lower rated prospect.

DE Jason Pierre Paul- They may go for the homerun at a key position and take JPP and his massive upside.

4. Washington Redskins 4-12

What happens at this pick will say a lot about the Donovan McNabb trade. Did Daniel Snyder pick in McNabb to sell tickets now or to win now? If he did the former, expect this pick to be either Eric Berry or Gerald McCoy, even though they don’t have great positional value or address major needs, because they are bigger names. If it’s about winning now, you can bet Snyder will take an offensive lineman here to get Donovan McNabb some protection. He wouldn’t win much behind an offensive line that surrendered 43 sacks last year. I will lean towards the latter for now, assuming that the idea with trading for McNabb is to try to make the playoffs and compete for a Championship in the three or so good years McNabb has left in the tank. Oklahoma OT Trent Williams gives them the best opportunity to do that. If they pass on a tackle here, they’ll have to wait until the 4th to take one and that’s not a smart idea.

Other possibilities:

3-4 DE Gerald McCoy- The defensive line isn’t a huge need, but they like big names and doing stupid things. McCoy is also the best available. This becomes more likely if the Redskins move Albert Haynesworth.

S Eric Berry- Same case with McCoy, only Berry may be higher on their board.

OT Bryan Bulaga- Williams is a better fit for their blocking scheme, but Bulaga could be higher on their board.

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 or any flagship merchant services tying up sponsorships. 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.

Other possibilities:

S Eric Berry- Scott Pioli loves positional value, but he may not be able to resist Berry.

3-4 DE Gerald McCoy- McCoy is both a top prospect and also would fill their positional value qualifications. However, taking McCoy would probably mean moving Dorsey, but they’ve done weirder things before.

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.

Other possibilities:

S Eric Berry- Berry and McCoy are going to be 1-2 on their draft board, but I’m not sure in which order.

QB Jimmy Clausen- They spent a ton of money on Charlie Whitehurst, but they may find it hard to pass on Clausen, who would fit the scheme perfectly.

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.

Other possibilities:

QB Jimmy Clausen- Mike Holmgren has said he wishes he liked Clausen more. Who knows what that means or if he’s telling the truth.

RLB Jason Pierre Paul- He’s a risk, but is seen as a guy who could be the best player from this draft class in 5 years. They need playmakers on defensive so they might not be able to resist.

WR Dez Bryant- If they pass on Clausen, they’ll likely target Colt McCoy in the 2nd. Bryant would be a reach, but Holmgren may feel it necessary to surround McCoy with as many options as he can in order for him to succeed.

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.

Other possibilities:

S Taylor Mays- He doesn’t fill a need, but Al Davis may find it hard to pass on his 6-3 230 4.31 measurables

DE Jason Pierre Paul- He doesn’t fill a need, but Al Davis may find it hard to pass on his 6-5 270 4.64 measurables.

9. Buffalo Bills 6-10

New regimes mean new quarterbacks unless there’s already an established guy in place, which there is not in Buffalo. The Bills reportedly are very interested in Tim Tebow, but that doesn’t mean they’ll pass up a pro ready safer pick like Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen in the first to take Tebow in the 2nd. It could, but not necessarily. Clausen is the quarterback who gives them the best chance to win right away and longterm and hopefully they realize that.

Other possibilities:

NT Dan Williams- They may feel it necessary to take a nose tackle before they’re all gone and if they are targeting Tebow in the 2nd, they may pass on Clausen for Williams.

OT Anthony Davis- They have made it clear they want a left tackle, but Davis is a bit of a reach.

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.

Other possibilities:

DE Derrick Morgan- Morgan could be best available in their eyes and that may convince them to take him over the local kid.

WR Dez Bryant- Bryant would give this offense the wow factor that could attract fans.

DE Jason Pierre Paul- JPP is the upside guy and they may find him hard to pass on.

QB Tim Tebow- If they feel they can’t trade back into the 2nd, or that someone will take him in the late 1st, they might take Tebow here.

11. Denver Broncos 8-8 (via CHI)

After they traded Marshall to the Dolphins, this pick became a wide receiver in many mocks. I will agree that a wide receiver is most likely here, but I am not too quick to say for sure that it’ll be Dez Bryant. Remember, Brandon Marshall was traded because he’s a diva receiver and Dez Bryant has a reputation as a diva. Arrelious Benn makes some sense on some levels because he has good size, good upside, and lacks the diva tag than Dez has, but I will put Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant here for now, because the Broncos have scheduled a private workout with him and not Benn.

Other possibilities:

WR Arrelious Benn- If McDaniels is scared off by Bryant’s “character” issues, they could take Benn to fill their receiver need.

MLB Rolando McClain- Sadly, McDaniels may see Kyle Orton as the type of quarterback who doesn’t need good receivers and go defense.

NT Dan Williams- Also fills a defensive need if McDaniels doesn’t think taking an elite receiver is important.

12. Miami Dolphins 7-9

Rush linebacker and nose tackle are their two biggest needs going into the draft, but, while there are more rush linebackers prospects in this range available, Brandon Graham, Jason Pierre Paul, Derrick Morgan, than nose tackles, Dan Williams, there are also more rush linebacker prospects available when they pick in the 3rd, whereas most of the elite nose tackle prospects, if not all, will be off the board. I will assume Bill Parcells sees that and takes Tennessee NT Dan Williams.

Other possibilities:

RLB Jason Pierre Paul- They could get a rush linebacker in the 3rd, but Bill Parcells may see JPP as a can’t miss guy.

RLB Derrick Morgan- Less likely, but Parcells may not want to pass on the most proven pass rusher in the draft after Joey Porter and Jason Taylor left town.

13. San Francisco 49ers 8-8

With Joe Haden off the board, the Niners aren’t going to go with a cornerback in the first round, unless they fall in love with Kyle Wilson, because this is a team that doesn’t reach. The Niners will certainly be thinking about both of their picks when they draft here. They won’t draft a guy at 13 that they feel will still be there at 17. Anthony Davis makes a lot of sense for them, give that they need a mauling right tackle with the upside to play left. Mike Singletary is a tough disciplinarian and will feel can bring the most out of Davis. He will almost certainly be one of the two picks if Trent Williams is off the board.

As for their other pick, there are 4 options, given cornerback is out of the question. They can go best available with CJ Spiller, though he doesn’t fill a huge need. They can go with a safety, either Taylor Mays or Earl Thomas. Or they can go with the consensus best offensive lineman available, Mike Iupati and make him their guard of the future. If it is going to be a safety, it’ll be Mays. They love Mays and I think they have him rated higher than Thomas. Spiller is interesting, but I think they’ll feel they can get a similar player in the 2nd round with Dexter McCluster. That leaves Mays and Iupati and I think Mays allows this team to do more of what they want, stop the run.

So, their two picks will be Anthony Davis and Taylor Mays, but in what order? Seattle could take Mays at 14, especially after cutting Deon Grant, but I can’t see them taking Anthony Davis as he is nowhere near the type of player that fits their scheme. New York won’t take him and neither will Tennessee at 16, so this pick will be USC S Taylor Mays and Davis will go at 17.

Other possibilities:

OT Anthony Davis- They may fear Seattle taking him and pull the trigger on him here.

RB CJ Spiller- If they rate him as BPA, they could pull the trigger, even in the wake of the Ted Ginn deal.

S Earl Thomas- Sources tell me the Niners like Mays more than Thomas, but sources are occasionally wrong and Thomas makes sense.

14. Seattle Seahawks 5-11 (via DEN)

Patrick Kerney retired this week. He was their leader in sacks last year, so this already weak pass rush will get weaker without him. An offensive tackle makes sense here, but the Seahawks have an offensive line coach by the name of Alex Gibbs who has done good work with mid round offensive linemen so they are not tied to the position. Even if Lawrence Jackson pans out, they’ll need a defensive end opposite him and Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan makes the most sense here.

Other possibilities:

OT Charles Brown- Alex Gibbs feels he can wait to take a left tackle if necessary, but he may love Brown’s footwork. Brown has experience with coach Pete Carroll as well.

RB CJ Spiller- If they view him as BPA, they may take him even though Morgan fills more of a need and has more positional value.

15. New York Giants 8-8

The Giants reportedly are willing to move up to 10 to get Clemson RB CJ Spiller so they would be thrilled to be able to land him here at 15 without trading up. I don’t agree with the pick as I think he is too similar to Ahmad Bradshaw to be much help to them, but this is what I they will do, not should do.

Other possibilities:

MLB Sean Weatherspoon- Maybe their interest in Spiller is a smokescreen. In that case, Weatherspoon makes the most sense.

DE Jason Pierre Paul- They love pass rushers and may not be able to resist JPP.

16. Tennessee Titans 8-8

South Florida DE Jason Pierre Paul is the workout wonder of a defensive player the Titans will love. The Titans have a great defensive coaching squad and love to take high upside defensive players and bring their potential out, and it’s worked alright in the past. JPP fills their immediate and obvious need at defensive end.

Other possibilities:

CB Kyle Wilson- Cornerback is also a need and Wilson is the consensus top CB available

DE Carlos Dunlap- Dunlap also has nice measurables and plays defensive end

CB Devin McCourty- He’s not the consensus top CB, but he could be their top CB available because of his stronger measurables

 

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

I pretty much already debated this pick at 13, but this pick will be either Anthony Davis or Mike Iupati and since Davis has more physical upside and plays a more needed and valuable position, this pick will be Rutgers OT Anthony Davis. He has character issues, but the Niners aren’t scared off by that. They’ll try to coach him up.

Other possibilities:

G Mike Iupati- Iupati doesn’t have Davis’ positional value, but he could be a higher rated offensive lineman and viewed as a can’t miss type of player

MLB Rolando McClain- Doesn’t fill a huge need, but Mike Singletary may love McClain’s upside as a former middle linebacker

RB Jahvid Best- Same idea as Spiller, add a burner to their offense, so the Niners may not be able to resist the local kid

18. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7

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. Even with veteran Larry Foote signed in the offseason, this still makes sense. The Steelers are known to take best available early in the draft, especially defensively.

Other possibilities:

S Earl Thomas- Fills more of a need, while still upgrading their defensive, but probably not their BPA

CB Kyle Wilson- Same as above only a different position with more positional value

G Mike Iupati- They don’t normally go for the offensive line early, but they need help there definitely and Iupati is the mauler type of offensive lineman they love

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.

Other possibilities:

OLB Sean Weatherspoon- Doesn’t give them positional value like they like, but he is probably higher rated on their board and fills a need

DE Everson Griffen- More upside than Graham, but has a repuation for being a bit lazy and Mike Smith doesn’t like that.

20. Houston Texans 9-7

The Texans are one of the good young teams in the league, but they still don’t have that ball hawking defensive back. Luckily for them, this is a very deep safety class so they can take one here, such as Texas S Earl Thomas. Safety is by far the biggest need that Houston has and Thomas is the best safety available. Thomas has the hands and speed that none of Houston’s defensive backs right now really have right now. He also is from in state at the University of Texas.

Other possibilities:

CB Kyle Wilson- Also helps the secondary, but he’s a lesser rated prospect most likely, though he has more positional value

RB Jahvid Best- They’ve made it clear they want to add another running back to the mix and Best would be the best available at that position

RB Ryan Matthews- Matthews may be higher rated on their board because he can serve as an everydown back

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.

Other possibilities:

TE Jermaine Gresham- They don’t like to take tight ends early, but Gresham is the type of player they may make an exception for

DT Jared Odrick- Charcter issues in past, check. Doesn’t fill a huge need or have Dunlap’s upside, but he may be higher rated on their board.

RB Jahvid Best- Sleeper idea, take a burner to open up their offense and spell Cedric Benson, who was way overworked last year

22. New England Patriots 10-7

The Patriots have 5 main needs and 4 picks in the first 2 rounds. Those needs are running back, wide receiver, tight end, 3-4 defensive end, and rush linebacker. Jermaine Gresham would probably be the best available player here and would fill their need at tight end, but this class has more depth at tight end than any of those other positions, plus tight end does not have that much positional value and the Patriots’ like positional value. I think they’ll pass on Gresham here, unless they are absolutely infatuated with him, and take Penn State 3-4 DE Jared Odrick who would probably be higher rated on their board. I have heard reports that several teams actually have top-20 pick grades on Odrick and 3-4 teams from the bottom of the first may move up into the top 20 to get him. I think he’ll be high on the Patriots board and they’ll be happy that they can still get him.

Other possibilities:

TE Jermaine Gresham- There is more depth at tight end than 3-4 defensive end in this class, but Gresham may be higher rated on their board

WR Arrelious Benn- Even with the signing of Torry Holt, they may want to add a future starting receiver type guy and Benn’s upside could intrigue them

RLB Sergio Kindle- Fills more of a need and has huge upside, but BB doesn’t like to draft rush linebackers early

23. Green Bay Packers 10-7

The Packers did 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.

Other possibilities:

CB Kyle Wilson- Left tackle is their biggest need, but Wilson may be higher on their board. Al Harris and Charles Woodson is both well on the wrong side of 30.

G Mike Iupati- He doesn’t fit their blocking scheme perfectly, but he could be BPA and upgrade their offensive line at the same time.

RLB Sergio Kindle- Because of his upside, they may view him as BPA and take him to compete with Brad Jones

24. Philadelphia Eagles 11-6

I don’t think this pick will take very long to take. The Eagles traded away Sheldon Brown with the intention of using this pick on a replacement, namely Boise State CB Kyle Wilson who, they are fortunate enough, is still available here. This is a strong cornerback class, but I think they’ll go with more of a proven commodity at the position over some of the raw 2nd and 3rd rounders.

Other possibilities:

OLB Sean Weatherspoon- They may see the depth of this cornerback class and wait a few of their picks to take a cornerback. In that class, Weatherspoon makes the most sense because he is BPA and fills their need on the strongside across from Ernie Sims.

CB Devin McCourty- McCourty may be higher on their board as a corner

DE Everson Griffen- Andy Reid loves to draft in the trenches and, with so many picks, may take a d-line project to develop early. Griffen’s upside may intrigue him.

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.

Other possibilities:

MLB Sean Weatherspoon- Weatherspoon is probably BPA on their board and fills a future need at 3-4 middle linebacker, even though he doesn’t fit the scheme perfectly

NT Terrence Cody- They may want to move Kelly Gregg to the outside, which would force them to take a nose tackle at some point. Cody could be that guy.

CB Devin McCourty- Cornerback is also a need and McCourty’s upside could be intriguing.

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.

Other possibilities:

RLB Jerry Hughes- Rush linebacker has more positional value and is more of a need, though Weatherspoon is the clear BPA

RLB Sergio Kindle- Hughes is more of a safer pick at rush linebacker, but Kindle has the upside which could be intriguing for the Cardinals who have their pass rush set for the next 1-2 years

NT Terrence Cody- They are a nose tackle away from being able to move full time to a 3-4

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.

Other possibilities:

NT Terrence Cody- Ratliff needs to move to the outside and if they feel that is true, they could take Cody here.

S Nate Allen- Rumors say the Cowboys love Allen and could take him in the first even with the strength of this class at safety

OT Roger Saffold- Saffold has the most positional value and would make their offense the most Romo friendly, but he doesn’t have the size they like at tackle and would be a bit of a reach anyway

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.

Other possibilities:

RB Ryan Matthews- If they feel they can’t take Matthews at 40, they may take him here

NT Linval Joseph- They’ve done weirder things before. Joseph could be their highest rated NT

29. New York Jets 11-8

After trading for Santonio Holmes, the Jets really only are an elite pass rusher away from being a Super Bowl winning team, assuming Mark Sanchez continues his development. The Jets will probably be targeting a guy like RLB TCU Jerry Hughes here at 29, because I think they are tired of waiting order for Vernon Gholston to pan out.

Other possibilities:

RLB Sergio Kindle- Kindle is the upside pick at rush linebacker

3-4 DE Brian Price- Price may be BPA and fills a need, even though he wouldn’t quite fit the scheme

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.

Other possibilities:

QB Tim Tebow- If they view Tebow as a guy that can be a starting quarterback in 2011, they may have to pull the trigger

G Maurkice Pouncey- Their running game could be even better with a strong upgrade inside and Pouncey can play all 3 interior positions

CB Devin McCourty- They may feel they’ll take another cornerback to keep up with the Saints

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 18 to Pittsburgh at some places. 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.

Other possibilities:

OT Roger Saffold- Saffold helps their offensive line and has more positional value, but may be more of a reach

DE Everson Griffen- He could be BPA and would fill what would probably be a need next offseason

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).

Other possibilities:

OLB Sergio Kindle- An interesting weapon for their defense, he could be used like Brian Orakpo was in Washington last year

S Nate Allen- There are reportedly about a handful of teams that have given him a first round grade and if the Saints are one of those, they may take him to replace Darren Sharper.

 

Now check out what I think should happen

Or check out other mock drafts

Or make your own

Or read more of my thought on The NFL Draft

Or check out my NBA Mock Draft

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