NFL Mock Draft 1/21/2010

1. St. Louis Rams Ndumakong Suh DT, Nebraska
All of the talk so far has been that the Rams will take Suh. But I have to wonder if Clausen is a better option. He’s been in a pro style offense and the Rams desperately need a franchise QB. But is Clausen a franchise QB? He had a great junior year, but for now the pick is Suh. I would think that we’ll hear Clausen’s name come up more and more as time progresses. Suh is the top prospect in this year’s class as of now…but it’s still early.

2. Detroit Lions Russell Okung OT, Oklahoma State
The Lions have a good start to their rebuilding, but they need to keep Stafford on his feet. He got injured three times and he’s too important to their franchise to become injury prone. Okung is the best tackle in this year’s draft and he’ll be able to start from day one. There’s a very good chance they’ll take Gerald McCoy instead. We’ll be watching Okung’s and McCoy’s stocks to determine who the Lions could be taking.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Gerald McCoy DT, Oklahoma
The Bucs should be able to choose between safety Eric Berry and McCoy here. Either pick would help their struggling defense. McCoy isn’t too far behind Suh in terms of value. McCoy can play tackle in a 4-3 or move out to an end position for a team sporting the 3-4. He has a nonstop motor and plays just about every play.

4. Washington Redskins Jimmy Clausen QB, Notre Dame
Clausen had a great junior campaign (28 TDs, only 4 picks). He’s from a pro style offense, has a strong arm, is accurate, and played out the rest of the season with that injured foot. The Redskins GM Bruce Allen is smart and with new coach Mike Shanahan. New GM, new coach, and a new quarterback. Jason Campbell could still be on the team because he’s a restricted free agent, but who knows? He could be traded or just outright released.

5. Kansas City Chiefs Eric Berry S, Tennessee
I think Berry is the third best prospect this year, behind Suh and McCoy. Bernard Pollard was a huge mistake to let go. So they make up for that mistake somewhat here. Berry could go higher, but safeties don’t have high positional value. I’ve read multiple sources stating that Berry is in the mold of Ed Reed, so that’ll obviously make him highly regarded in addition to all of his other accolades.

6. Seattle Seahawks Sam Bradford QB, Oklahoma
Seattle will be looking for a future QB in this draft since Hasselbeck is steeply declining.  Bradford is deadly accurate, but questions about his arm strength, especially after shoulder surgery, have been raised.  Pete Carroll is in dire need of help on offense.  They could also use a franchise left tackle or running back with their top picks.  The Seahawks have a wide range of players to choose from here that could help them immediately.

7. Cleveland Browns Joe Haden CB, Florida
New general manager Tom Heckert has quite a task ahead of him as he tries to work with what very little Cleveland has.  Their passing game and defense are atrocious, but it would seem that their most pressing need is defense. The Browns were 29th in pass defense and 28th against the run. The best defensive player available here is Haden. He would be a great compliment for Eric Wright.

8. Oakland Raiders Taylor Mays S, USC
I’ve had Taylor Mays going to the Raiders for awhile now and I don’t like it, but it’s the most logical pick in Al Davis’ mind. Let’s wait til we get 40 times from the combine so we can see who else is at the top of his draft board. Mays is a physical freak, but his football skills leave something to be desired.

9. Buffalo Bills Anthony Davis OT, Rutgers
The Bills need a lot. They’ll be searching for offensive and defensive linemen and a quarterback probably this coming offseason. After trading Jason Peters, the Bills were left pretty thin on their O-line. They were hit hard with injuries this year. The cure for that is to always have “jars on the shelf.” That means back-ups and practice squad linemen. Always keep enough. If you don’t, you end up with Richie Incognito. This team will be desperate for a QB if they don’t trade or sign one.

10. Denver Broncos (from Bears) Dez Bryant WR, Oklahoma State
It’s fairly obvious that Brandon Marshall will be released or traded out of Denver.  That leaves the Broncos with a need on offense that far outcries any defensive need they have.  Dez Bryant has great hands and size, so he’ll catch anything Kyle Orton throws.

11. Jacksonville Jaguars Rolando McClain LB, Alabama
What a lot of mock drafters seem to think is that they know that the Jags will be taking Tebow.  Not so fast my friend…Gene Smith is no slouch, he knows how to draft and taking this team’s supposed savior at number 11 would be a mistake. If Tebow earns his way and improves his stock to warrant this draft position, then Smith’ll take him here. Until then, Smith will take the best available player, which is McClain.

12. Miami Dolphins Derrick Morgan DE, Georgia Tech
Morgan is a sack master, although he was held in check in that department in Tech’s bowl game against Iowa.  He still made quite a few plays though.  Bill Parcells will like Morgan’s high motor and constant pressure he puts on blockers.  The Dolphins will need linebackers, but Morgan will be playing defensive end.

13. San Francisco 49ers Trent Williams OT, Oklahoma
The Niners need pass defense, but they also need another tackle to complement Joe Staley. Williams is a great run blocker, so this pick makes a lot of sense. He made the switch from right tackle to left this past season, but he improved as the season went along. If San Fran can solve their passing ineffectiveness and if Alex Smith steps up, the 49ers will be a force next season.

14. Seattle Seahawks (from Broncos) CJ Spiller RB, Clemson
I think this is the perfect spot for Spiller to go in the draft. Teams are less willing to take running backs so high because of their durability. Switching to two running back backfields has also helped. Spiller is just a playmaker and the Seahawks need one on offense. With him and Bradford, the Seahawks could have quite a future ahead of them. They still have plenty of other needs though.

15. New York Giants Earl Thomas S, Texas
Kenny Phillips’ knee injury isn’t career threatening, but they need another safety anyways.  The Giants allowed a lot of points this season and that is probably mostly due to safety play.  Earl Thomas paired with perhaps a healthy Phillips might become one of the better safety pairings in the league.

16. Tennessee Titans Everson Griffen DE, USC
The Titans need some pieces for their defense. I think they can leave their offense to later rounds when they have The World’s Fastest Man in Chris Johnson. Defensive back, linebacker and defensive line can all be addressed here. I think the Titans could go with Griffen to aid the aging defensive line. Losing Haynesworth proved more costly than Jeff Fisher led everyone to believe. It’ll take some youth and talent to get the defense back to where he wants it.

17. San Francisco 49ers (from Panthers) Donovan Warren CB, Michigan
The Niner’s pass defense could really use an upgrade.  Their whole defensive backfield struggled this past season, so Warren would bring in some much needed talent and improvement.  With two first round picks, the 49ers could make their team a force to be reckoned with in the NFC next season.  They have a good, young core of players.  If they can get an at least steady quarterback, they’ll be good.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers Dan Williams DT, Tennessee
I think Pittsburgh needs offensive line help, but their aging defense needs more help.  Without Polamalu for much of last season, the defense struggled thus, their offense struggled.  Remember Robert Ayers from Tennessee last year? Dan Williams also majorly boosted his stock during his senior year. He can start learning from the aging Casey Hampton at nose tackle.

19. Atlanta Falcons Sean Weatherspoon LB, Missouri
The Falcons spent 6 of their 7 draft picks last year on defense. It hasn’t helped this season, but I’m sure down the road they’ll improve. There’s still work to be done on their defense however. Sean Weatherspoon isn’t spectacular, but he is very consistent and will be a solid pick. Mike Peterson is getting older, but is still serviceable. Weatherspoon will provide a steady defender for Mike Smith and his defense.

20. Houston Texans Jonathan Dwyer RB, Georgia Tech
The Texans really need a running back, and this year’s class is pretty thin. Chris Brown cost the Texans a playoff spot this year because he had key turnovers very late in close games against the Jaguars.  Jahvid Best could be a better prospect, but I think the Texans would want to get a back that has the size they will be looking for.

21. Cincinnati Bengals Jermaine Gresham TE, Oklahoma
Injuries decimated the Bengals this past season. Their linebackers seem to be cursed (Rey Maualuga, David Pollack, and Keith Rivers all got season ending injuries early in their careers). But what a tremendous job Mike Zimmer has done with that defense. The Bengals can count on their defense now, they just need to get their passing game going again. Not a WR, but a tight end will help out Carson Palmer hugely. They drafted Chase Coffman last year, but he got injured, so there’s no certainty there.

22. New England Patriots Jerry Hughes LB, TCU
The Patriots couldn’t get much pressure on many of their opponents’ quarterbacks this past season, so they’ll be looking at taking one of college’s best rushers Jerry Hughes.  Hughes isn’t a physical freak like Vernon Gholston was, but he gets to the quarterback, something that Gholston has proved that he can’t do.

23. Green Bay Packers Bruce Campbell OT, Maryland
Aaron Rodgers gets hit too often and we said it a lot this year. There are plenty of good offensive linemen in this year’s first round and the Packers would be getting a good one here. There are some injury concerns with Campbell, however. Depth on the offensive line for the Pack is an issue, so they’ll be looking for some in other parts of the draft and in free agency.

24. Philadelphia Eagles Carlos Dunlap DE, Florida
Judging where Dunlap will go is going to be difficult. Hopefully he’ll make things more clear after his combine and private workouts. Of course, he does have his baggage (DUI, questionable work ethic). The guy is a talent though. I see him falling just like Calais Campbell and Michael Johnson in past drafts. If this team signed Mike Vick, they could draft Dunlap, not that dog killing is anything close to DUI, but character may not be very important in Philly (i.e. fans).

25. Baltimore Ravens Damian Williams WR, USC
Normally, I wouldn’t expect Ozzie Newsome to take a WR in the first round as we all have seen how Mark Clayton worked out, but it makes some sense now that the Ravens have a good QB again. The Ravens continually draft well and that’s why they’ve been in the playoff race just about every year. If they fall behind in games, they don’t have a passing attack to even give them a chance to come back.

26. Arizona Cardinals Bryan Bulaga OT, Iowa
Arizona’s offensive line has been horrendous this year. If they want to be an annual playoff contender, they’ll need a better O-line. Their defensive front could also use some youth. Being in the NFC West certainly helps them win the division a lot. Kurt Warner needs more protection than ever, if he decides to come back next year.  Beanie Wells was a huge steal for them last year.

27. Dallas Cowboys Golden Tate WR, Notre Dame
I don’t see how the Cowboys could take a nose tackle here, especially since Jay Ratliff was an All-Pro this past year.  Golden had a great senior season and will probably shoot himself into the first round with great private and combine workouts.  He just needs to work on his route running.  Flozell Adams needs to be upgraded over, but the offensive line class is deep this year, so the Boys will be able to address it later.

28. San Diego Chargers Mike Iupati OG, Idaho
Iupati is clearly the best guard in this year’s class and could prove that he deserves to be a first round pick. He would be a huge upgrade for the struggling rushing “attack” of the Chargers. The Diego ended the season 31st in the league in rushing, which is pathetic. LT is on the downslide, but that can’t be the only reason SD’s running game struggled so much this past season.

29. New York Jets Brandon LaFell WR, LSU
Braylon Edwards can not be depended upon as a number one receiver and I think that GM Tannenbaum will go after at least one WR in the draft. He has drafted pretty well over the past few years and now has a QB to work with for a few years and build around. I think the Jets have a bright future ahead of them, especially after Mark Sanchez has played very well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see yet another trade in the works for the Jets high in the draft.

30. Minnesota Vikings Patrick Robinson CB, Florida State
Robinson has some serious speed. He ran down West Virginia’s Noel Devine from behind to save a touchdown in the Gator Bowl. The Vikings could use an upgrade in their secondary.  Antoine Winfield came back from injury, but isn’t what he used to be.

31. Indianapolis Colts Brian Price DT, UCLA
The Colts had trouble against the Jaguars passing game…need I say more? They need a lot on their defense. They still need a defensive tackle, even if they took Fili Moala last year in the second round. Brian Price could be a solution to their problem. I don’t think that Price will fall this far in the actual draft though.

32. New Orleans Saints Jared Odrick DT, Penn State
The Saints need defense, both against the run and pass, as evidenced by their rankings in the 20s. They’re lucky they have an All-World offense so they can stay ahead of their opponents.  They shut down Arizona’s offense pretty well, but it still needs improvement.

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