Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2010 NFL Mock Draft

I'll be up front and honest: this mock draft will be incorrect. Every mock draft you read will be incorrect. It's impossible to guess a draft when every team involved is intentionally throwing out smokescreens to hide what they're really doing.

That being said, at least you can be familiar with the names being read when the NFL Draft hits prime time on April 22.

I had my friend Alastair pick half the teams in this draft just to have another person involved. He threw me some curve balls and had guys going to teams that I don't agree with. That's the point though, the NFL Draft will never go according to plan, so I had to take the best available guy who remained instead of creating a perfect little package that made sense to my little dinosaur brain.

The result is this incorrect
2010 NFL Mock Draft. Enjoy. I SAID ENJOY! (shaking fist)


1. ST. LOUIS RAMS - Sam Bradford, QB Oklahoma

Quarterback is one of the Rams' various needs, and with the equally undesirable Kyle Boller and Marc Bulger out of the picture, all signs point to Bradford. Clearly the question marks about his injured shoulder (which held him out of 10 games this past season) have been answered, and St. Louis has seen enough from the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner.

2. DETROIT LIONS - Ndamukong Suh, DT Nebraska

If you watched the Big 12 Championship Game, you know what a beast this guy can be. Suh was all over Colt McCoy and the Texas offensive line in that game, showcasing himself as a potentially dominant force in the NFL. I know Detroit probably wants to take a wide receiver, but even the Lions can't screw up this pick.

3. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS - Gerald McCoy, DT Oklahoma

The Bucs' secondary looks pretty solid, but they had the worst run defense in the entire league last season, and that will undoubtedly be their main focus. McCoy is the anchor Tampa needs along the defensive line, and will significantly help what was once a proud defensive franchise.

4. WASHINGTON REDSKINS - Russell Okung, OT Oklahoma State

If you trade for a 33-year-old Donovan McNabb, you'd better be sure you can protect him. The Redskins' complete focus in this year's draft should be on offense, where they ranked 26th in the NFL last season. Jason Campbell was sacked a whopping 43 times last year, and he's known as a somewhat mobile QB. He's also now a backup whom 'Skins fans will never want to see on the field again.

5. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS - Bryan Bulaga, OT Iowa

In terms of offensive tackles, he and Okung are touted as the two surest bets in the draft. The natural inclination is to think of fellow Hawkeye Robert Gallery, a bust of a tackle drafted 2nd overall in 2004 by the Raiders. The Chiefs will draw no comparison though, and after investing so much of their offensive future in Matt Cassel, the position of need is obvious.

6. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - Dez Bryant, WR Oklahoma State

He's easily the X-factor of the draft: Undeniable talent on the field, but potentially a project off the field. Bryant has been criticized for his lack of "life skills" (showing up late to practice and games), but it's not like he's a criminal. Still, it will take some level of risk for the team which selects him. If he gets it together though, he would look mighty fine across from T.J. Houshmanzadeh, and the window on Matt Hasselbeck is slowly closing.

7. CLEVELAND BROWNS - Eric Berry, S Tennessee

Berry has drawn comparisons to Ed Reed, and while the Browns clearly need to find their quarterback of the future, they can't afford to keep missing on 1st round selections. Of its last 11 1st round picks, only 2 remain on Cleveland's roster. Mike Holmgren has considered moving up for a chance at Sam Bradford, but seemingly every other QB is being looked at with an air of caution. The secondary of the NFL's 2nd worst defense from 2009 could use a quarterback just as bad.

8. OAKLAND RAIDERS - Trent Williams, OT Oklahoma

Some have Clausen going here, but the sting of JaMarcus Russell is still wearing off in Oakland and even Al Davis might be a little gun-shy on a QB. The Raiders might as well prepare for the prospect of someday having a quarterback worth protecting. Williams helped to turn Sam Bradford into the probable #1 overall pick, and hopefully he works out better than the aforementioned Gallery (hey, it can't go worse...).

9. BUFFALO BILLS - Jimmy Clausen, QB Notre Dame

There's a new head coach in Orchard Park (Chan Gailey), which often means a little house cleaning is in order. I think it's safe to say that Trent Edwards isn't the answer under center, and Clausen seems to have the most upside of any QB not named Sam Bradford (even though I love Colt McCoy). His biggest issue around the league is arrogance, but in an NFL QB, I'm not so sure that's a bad thing.

10. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - Jason Pierre-Paul, DE South Florida

The Jaguars have issues that extend far beyond the field. More specifically, they can't sell tickets, which is why some suggest Clemson running back C.J. Spiller in this spot. He's a home-run-hitter who would complement the steady, bowling ball known as Maurice Jones-Drew. However, the Jags desperately need a pass rusher, and despite having only 7 collegiate starts under his belt, Pierre-Paul played just down the road in Tampa and is a very intriguing DE prospect.

11. DENVER BRONCOS - Rolando McClain, LB Alabama

Trading Brandon Marshall clearly leaves a gaping hole at WR for the Broncos, but even if Dez Bryant is still available, does Josh McDaniels really want another headache out there? McClain anchored a championship defense at Alabama, and he's the cream of the crop at possibly the weakest position in the draft: Inside Linebacker. He'd be an ideal complement to D.J. Williams in the 3-4 scheme.

12. MIAMI DOLPHINS - Dan Williams, DT Tennessee

Miami basically needs a fat guy to clog the middle and take up blockers. Enter the 327 pound Williams, who would be almost guaranteed to start from day 1 with Jason Ferguson suspended for the first 8 games of the season. Outside linebacker (a position filled by veterans of late) is also a possibility, but the Dolphins' priority is perhaps more clear than any other team.

13. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS - Joe Haden, CB Florida

Nate Clements hasn't really lived up to his contract in the Bay Area, he's now on the wrong side of 30, and Haden is the consensus best cornerback in the draft. The Niners own picks #13 and #17 in the 1st round, so they can go after a right tackle or another skill position in just a few selections.

14. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - Anthony Davis, OT Rutgers

Walter Jones is 36 years old, coming back from 2 knee surgeries, and hasn't played a snap since Thanksgiving Day 2008. He used to be arguably the best tackle in the game, but needless to say a changing of the guard (in this case tackle, but a guard wouldn't hurt either) is necessary. Seattle allowed 49 sacks last year, and Matt Hasselbeck should fear for his life.

15. NEW YORK GIANTS - Earl Thomas, S Texas

I'll be honest, this pick makes little sense given the fact that the Giants have already signed Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant as safeties in the off-season. However, Rolle can play corner, and Grant was only locked up for one year. Plus, if every team drafted based on need, then mock drafts would be far more reliable.

16. TENNESSEE TITANS - Derrick Morgan, DE Georgia Tech

Morgan racked up 12.5 sacks in his Junior season at Georgia Tech and barely had any help in doing so. The Titans lost Kyle Vanden Bosch to free agency (seems like he was in Tennessee forever) and have a clear need at defensive end. It wouldn't kill Tennessee to get a decent wideout for Vince Young, but that will have to wait until later rounds.

17. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS - C.J. Spiller, RB Clemson

If Spiller is still there at the 49ers second pick, Mike Singletary will headbutt someone to celebrate. Sure San Francisco needs a cornerback, but since Haden is gone, he'll "settle" for the best running back in the draft. The knock on Spiller is that he's more of a change of pace back that can break open a game, but isn't a 25 carry guy. Well, Frank Gore will take care of that. Just wind up Spiller and let him go.

18. PITTSBURGH STEELERS - Mike Iupati, OG Idaho

The Steelers could really use a corner, but Joe Haden is gone and the second rated guy, Kyle Wilson, is not known as a physical defender. That doesn't sound like it would fly in Pittsburgh. So it comes down to a decision between Maurkice Pouncey and Iupati to fill an offensive line spot. Pouncey is more highly rated, but he's not the road grater that Iupati is. Hence, the Steelers go with the nastier guy.

19. ATLANTA FALCONS - Brandon Graham, DE Michigan

Graham is short for a defensive end (he's 6'1" and he's considered "short", doesn't that make you sick?) But he can rush the passer and the Falcons sucked at that last year. Picking Graham allows the Falcons to move Jamaal Anderson around to a place where he doesn't rush the passer as much. Because he clearly isn't good at that.

20. HOUSTON TEXANS - Kyle Wilson, CB Boise State

And the great Indianapolis chase continues. Houston got shredded... again... by Peyton Manning last year. Then their best corner, Dunta Robinson, left for Atlanta. (Quick aside: how many different ways can you spell the name Dante? I can think of four off the top of my head.) So Houston grabs a pass defender here to try and stop the bleeding. Lots of people think the Texans will get a big back like Ryan Matthews here, but you can get runners later in a draft; good corners go quickly.

21. CINCINNATI BENGALS - Jermaine Gresham, TE Oklahoma

I keep thinking that the Bengals won't invest in a tight end since they don't use that position much. Then again, the Bengals have never had an elite tight end to use. The Bengals need a big red zone target now that Chris Henry is currently not alive and Gresham is a big, athletic guy who can take pass defenders away from Chad Ochocinco.

22. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS - Jared Odrick, DT Penn State

Who the hell knows what the Pats will do? Chances are they'll trade down and pick up even more draft picks, but since we aren't doing that on this mock draft, they'll stay put. I'll go with what I know: New England traded away defensive end Richard Seymour last year, the defense had trouble, and Odrick is a big guy that can take over that end spot. Plus, Odrick is a Joe Pa guy which means you can teach him.

23. GREEN BAY PACKERS - Maurkice Pouncey, C Florida

Did anyone see the beating Aaron Rodgers took last year? The Packers could upgrade any offensive line position, so they take the highest rated lineman in the draft. Pouncey can play guard or center. The Packers only wish he could play both at the same time.

24. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES - Taylor Mays, S USC

The Eagles usually take big guys with their first rounders, but the top linemen are all off the board and Philly has major issues at safety now that Brian Dawkins is gone. Mays has some question marks, but he's big and he's fast. The Eagles got shredded by Dallas last year, so it's time to tighten up that D.

25. BALTIMORE RAVENS - Everson Griffen, DE USC

Ravens also need a corner, but GM Ozzie Newsome is well known for just grabbing the best player around and most boards have Griffen rated above any of the corners who are left. The Ravens could use a defensive end and Griffen is an athletic one.

26. ARIZONA CARDINALS - Sergio Kindle, OLB Texas

The Cardinals need an inside linebacker more, but the Cardinals can't pass on a talent like Kindle. He can learn behind Joey Porter and then when Porter's mouth gets him cut, Kindle can take over.

27. DALLAS COWBOYS - Roger Saffold, LT Indiana

Saffold has been shooting up draft boards recently and the Cowboys need a tackle. If they have a corner rated higher, they could go in that direction, but Saffold will fill a big need and he's a big man (something the Cowboys like on the offensive line.)

28. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS - Ryan Matthews, RB Fresno State

L.T. is gone and Darren Sproles is a scat back type. Matthews is the best big back in the draft and the Chargers won't hesitate in grabbing him to team with Sproles.

29. NEW YORK JETS - Jerry Hughes, OLB TCU

The Jets traded to get Mark Sanchez some help at receiver, now it's time to make Rex Ryan's defense more frightening. Hughes will have to make a transition to outside linebacker from defensive end, but no one doubts that he can rush the passer.

30. MINNESOTA VIKINGS - Devin McCourty, CB Rutgers

The Vikings are just sitting there waiting to see what falls to them and they decide to grab a corner. We all saw what Drew Brees did to the Vikings' secondary during the NFC Championship game. Minnesota is trying to close up the remaining defensive holes in order to make a championship run... if Grandpa Favre returns.

31. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS - Brian Price, DT UCLA

The Colts can always use big bodies on the defensive line as their quest to stop the run better continues. Price is a 300 pounder who will eat up space and let those Colts defensive ends create havoc.

32. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS - Sean Weatherspoon, LB Missouri

This is the best possible scenario for the Saints. Not only is Weatherspoon the best player still available, but he plays a position of need for the Saints. Plus he wore black and gold in college! Whoopie! Happy times all around on Bourbon Street!

Hmmm. So that's the mock draft. I looked at some of Alastair's picks and went "wha?!" I'm sure he did the same with some of mine.

We both agree, however, that these are most of the names that you will hear in the first round on Thursday night. The order may be different, but the players will remain the same.
Hooray! NFL Christmas is almost here!

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