The combine will be starting this week in Indianapolis, home of the “Desperate for Somebody to Take the Blame for the Super Bowl Loss Other Than Peyton Mannings.” Players will run and jump around in their underwear to try to impress NFL scouts. I am really into the draft and everything, but I can’t help but get the feeling that the combine is overrated. I’m not going to put too much stock into numbers from the combine, but there will be input from them. I’m still going to tune in and look at most of the numbers, but there won’t be drastic changes to how I already feel about players.
Once the combine is over I will start providing some player evaluations and post them up here on Inside Pulse Sports so you all (y’all for those who are reading in the South) can perhaps praise me or ridicule me. Either way, I like that people are able to read.
1. St. Louis Rams Ndumakong Suh DT, Nebraska
This pick could easily be Jimmy Clausen IF the Rams still have it. Recently there have been rumors about a trade between the Bucs and the Rams. The Rams would get the Bucs’ 1st and 3rd picks plus young backup QB Josh Johnson and the Bucs would get the number 1 pick, which would in all likelihood would be Suh. Chris Steuber of Scout.com reported that the trade could be made, but Pewterreport.com and Adam Schefter have said that there hasn’t been truth to the rumor. The trade could still happen, but it has not been initiated yet.
2. Detroit Lions Gerald McCoy DT, Oklahoma
Apparently, the Lions are shopping their pick too. I’ve had Okung here for a long time, but I’ll have to concede because it’s pretty apparent that the Lions do like Backus at left tackle. Lucky for the Lions, there are two great defensive tackles at the top of this draft, so even if the Rams take Suh, McCoy will be available for them to take. The Lions have needs everywhere, so taking the best player available here (and also filling a huge need) will help them hugely.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Eric Berry S, Tennessee
I think Berry is the third best prospect this year, behind Suh and McCoy. 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. Other possibilities to go here are Derrick Morgan, Jason Pierre-Paul, or if Donald Penn leaves, Russell Okung.
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. Clausen and Bradford are not throwing at the combine, so it may be difficult to see who is the clear cut number one QB for April. 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 Russell Okung OT, Oklahoma State
Brandon Albert will be able to move inside to guard, as many other mock drafters have said that will happen if the Chiefs take Okung here. Pioli showed last year when he reached for Tyson Jackson, that he would rather take a player of positional value with his first pick. The Chiefs, much like the Lions, have needs everywhere.
6. Seattle Seahawks Sam Bradford QB, Oklahoma
Seattle will be looking for a future QB in this draft since Hasselbeck is steeply declining and keeps getting injured. Bradford is deadly accurate, but questions about his arm strength, especially after shoulder surgery, have been raised. Could Matt Hasselbeck be traded in the offseason (maybe Cleveland)? They could also use a franchise left tackle or running back with their top picks.
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 until 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. The Raiders also could take a speedy offensive tackle, a speedy defensive linemen, or a speedy linebacker here. Mays is going to dominate the weights and drills at the combine this week, but when it comes to actually playing the game, he is not worthy of a pick this high.
9. Buffalo Bills Anthony Davis OT, Rutgers
The Bills need a lot. They’ll be searching for offensive, defensive linemen, and a quarterback 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 for 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. The Broncos could also choose to keep adding to their 3-4 defense.
11. Jacksonville Jaguars Derrick Morgan DE, Georgia Tech
This is a great draft for defensive linemen and there could be almost 10 taken in the first round. Right now, I think that Morgan is the top defensive end. Pierre-Paul bounced around from 2 JUCOs, then to USF, and now is in the draft. There’s just not enough there to see if he’s consistent. Morgan has plenty of tape on him and he’s proven that he’s the top DE. Jacksonville was dead last in the league (by a long shot) in sacks with only 14.
12. Miami Dolphins Rolando McClain LB, Alabama
Jason Taylor and Joey Porter are getting up there in age, so it’s time to draft a linebacker. Plus Taylor just had surgery and Porter was released until they weren’t allowed to let him go as of yet. The Dolphins couldn’t pick a better linebacker in this draft than McClain. He’s going to lead a defense in the NFL and he’s going to do it well. He was a tackling machine last year at Alabama with 105 tackles, 14.5 for loss, and 4 sacks.
13. San Francisco 49ers Jason Pierre-Paul DE, USF
The Niners need pass defense, so they should target Pierre-Paul here. (A better pass rush equals better pass defense, allowing the WRs less time to get open). He’s raw and has limited experience, but he has loads of potential. He looked lost at times last season, but still had a big impact in games. He’s also a very good pass rusher. If San Fran can solve their passing ineffectiveness and if Alex Smith steps up, the 49ers will be a force next season. This is a strong defensive and offensive line draft. Reaching for an offensive tackle here, much less a right one (Joe Staley is already entrenched at LT) would be a mistake.
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 them 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. If Rolando McClain is here, the Giants would jump all over him, or possibly trade up for him since Antonio Pierce got released.
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) Bryan Bulaga OT, Iowa
Bulaga’s stock has been soaring and especially after the combine, he’ll be a great enough value to be taken here by the 49ers. I was unwilling to put an offensive tackle here in earlier mocks due to the fact that there wasn’t a great enough lineman to take here. But now there is and the 49ers could not be happier. Bulaga has a medical condition that will need to check out at the combine however. So if he doesn’t pass, next week he could just as easily fall back down as fast as he rose.
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. One of the top performers from Senior Bowl week.
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 will want to get a back that has the size they will be looking for.
21. Cincinnati Bengals Jermaine Gresham TE, Oklahoma
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. A tight end could help out Carson Palmer hugely. They drafted Chase Coffman last year, but he got injured, so there’s no certainty there. WR is also a strong possibility for Cincinnati.
22. New England Patriots Brandon Graham LB, Michigan
The Patriots couldn’t get much pressure on many of their opponents’ quarterbacks this season. Graham really improved his stock from a mid second rounder to a mid to late first rounder during Senior Bowl week. He’s been compared, naturally, to Lamarr Woodley since they both went to Michigan. The Pats need to rebuild their defense if they want to get the most out of what’s left in Tom Brady’s career, if he’s on the decline after his knee injury.
23. Green Bay Packers Trent Williams OT, Oklahoma
Aaron Rodgers gets hit too often and we said it alot 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. 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. Williams is best at right tackle, but improved gradually at left tackle last year.
24. Philadelphia Eagles Carlos Dunlap DE, Florida
Dunlap has some character and work ethic issues, but one thing remains: he can terrorize an offensive line and quarterback. Victor Abiamiri could be leaving, so Dunlap would be a wise choice for a replacement. He had a DUI and was suspended for the SEC Championship game, so that red flag pops up as well. It will unfortunately for him, drop him into the mid to late stage of round one.
25. Baltimore Ravens Damian Williams WR, USC
Signing Stallworth may help, but I still see Baltimore looking for WR help in the draft. 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 a whole bunch of 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 Charles Brown OT, USC
Their offensive tackle position needs an upgrade. After those playoff games and Bert Berry retiring, the Cardinals really need defense, too. If Matt Leinhart is going to be given any chance of succeeding, he’s needs to be protected. Brown is a former tight end who is very athletic for an offensive tackle. He should be rising up boards slightly after the combine.
27. Dallas Cowboys Bruce Campbell OT, Maryland
I think the Cowboys draft their left tackle of the future with this pick. Flozell Adams didn’t play well last season and he committed quite a few penalties in the process. Drafting a good tackle in the first round would be a great addition to an already great offense. There are some injury concerns with Campbell, however and if he doesn’t check out well at Indy, he could drop.
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 at 31st in the league in rushing, which is pathetic. Iupati didn’t have the best Senior Bowl game he could’ve had, but the Senior Bowl is said to not be about the game, it’s about the practices. And Iupati dominated in practices.
29. New York Jets Kyle Wilson CB, Boise State
Wilson had a great showing in the bowl game against TCU. Kyle Wilson was one of the top performers at the Senior Bowl practices and I think he’ll continue to raise his stock before April. Add on a great performance during Senior Bowl week and he looks destined for a first round pick. I’ve had the Jets taking a wide receiver here before, but Braylon Edwards showed up for the most part during the playoffs.
30. Minnesota Vikings Brian Price DT, UCLA
Pat Williams will be coming back next season, but the Vikes could still take a defensive tackle here. Price declared early for the draft and it was a good move. He’s a little short and doesn’t have more room to gain size, but his stock is high after a great junior season. He has trouble with double teams, but pairing him next to Kevin Williams will help him along. If they want a shot at Bradford or Clausen, they’ll have to trade up.
31. Indianapolis Colts Maurkice Pouncey OG/C, Florida
Bill Polian blamed the offensive line and special teams for the Super Bowl loss. That’s laughable! CLEARLY, the blame should be on the playcalling and Peyton Manning. Manning threw the interception that cost the Colts the game. He choked again. I was ready to crown him the greatest. Nope. If he wants to be the best ever, he needs to prove he can beat the best of them in the playoffs, not just a Jets team who snuck into the playoffs or a Ravens team who could only run the ball. I guess Polian’s son will be blowing up the O-Line because giving Manning literally all day to throw in the Super Bowl isn’t long enough. Blame the offensive line…what a joke.
32. New Orleans Saints Jared Odrick DT, Penn State
Masterful performance from Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees. He outplayed Peyton Manning and led the Saints to their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history. It’s clear their offense doesn’t need work, but there could be some holes on that defense that could be fixed. They have two good defensive backs from last year’s draft, so solidifying the middle of the line would help.
Tags: Mock Draft, NFL Mock Draft