Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2010 NFL Draft Preview

This year's NFL Draft will start on Thursday night. I'm not sure what I think of that, and probably won't be sure until it actually happens. I know that the Washington Capitals are scheduled to play Wednesday and Friday, so we'll see if I'm up for spending three straight nights on my couch watching sports.

I do know that I'll at least watch through pick #4, as I'm very interested to see what the Redskins do with their first round pick. I'd be pretty surprised if they did anything other than draft offensive tackle Russell Okung, but you never know. That's why you tune in.

But of course, the Redskins aren't the only team whose fate will be affected on Thursday night. And so, we look forward to the 2010 NFL Draft. Like last year, we'll predict the top fifteen picks and give some analysis on each.

2010 NFL Mock Draft
  1. The St. Louis Rams select Sam Bradford, quarterback, Oklahoma. Not much surprise here at this point, with how much discussion there has been about Bradford's rise up everyone's draft board, but remember right after the NCAA football season ended? Ndamukong Suh was everyone's #1 pick. I guess we shouldn't be surprised when a quarterback ends up going #1 overall, though. Seven of the past ten first overall selections have been quarterbacks.
  2. The Detroit Lions select Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle, Nebraska. I don't generally get into college football, but I rooted like crazy for Nebraska when they played Texas in the Big 12 title game. A loss by Texas could have forced Cincinnati, Boise State, or TCU into the BCS title game, which is all I've ever wanted out of college football. Anyways, Suh is an elite defensive line talent, and the Lions are still the kind of team that just needs players.
  3. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Gerald McCoy, defensive tackle, Oklahoma. There's been some debate over which elite defensive tackle is the better player, but in the end, both guys will probably be long-time successful pros. There aren't a lot of ways to go wrong in this draft, especially early on. Tampa, like Detroit, should just be looking for talent, and McCoy has it in spades.
  4. The Washington Redskins select Russell Okung, offensive tackle, Oklahoma State. The more I read about Okung and the other tackles in this draft, the more I want the Redskins to find a way to reasonably trade down. None of these OTs is an elite, Jonathan Ogden/Orlando Pace caliber player, and there look to be four or five potentially very good tackles. If the Redskins hold onto the pick, Okung is the closest to a sure thing, so he's the pick.
  5. The Kansas City Chiefs select Eric Berry, safety, Tennessee. A lot of the talk has been that Berry would be the best player available, but that Kansas City would be concerned about giving "top 5 money" to a safety. Hogwash, I say. It would be much more costly to pass on a premier player and watch him return interceptions for touchdowns for the Browns. The first non-Big 12 player will be Berry, here at #5.
  6. The Seattle Seahawks select C.J. Spiller, running back, Clemson. I do think that the Seahawks will look long and hard at the various offensive linemen available, but with a new coach, especially a coach from college like Pete Carroll, I just expect him to want to go out and get a new toy for his offense. Spiller is highly rated, and I think he's their main target. With another pick later in the round, I imagine they'll be hoping that one of the top offensive tackles falls to them, which is a fair guess.
  7. The Cleveland Browns select Dez Bryant, wide receiver, Oklahoma State. This doesn't feel like the pick that the Browns will make, but every time I run through the logic in my head, it makes the most sense. Their offensive line is actually pretty good, so I don't see them going after one of the remaining tackles. Mike Holmgren apparently doesn't think much of Jimmy Clausen, or so people tell me. And the intriguing defensive options don't seem to have enough value to take here. Bryant could help a lethargic Browns offense to actually scare some folks, and after signing Jake Delhomme, you'd better get him a weapon.
  8. The Oakland Raiders select Jimmy Clausen, quarterback, Notre Dame. After last year's selection of Darrius Heyward-Bey, and the selection of Sebastian Janikowski in the first round of the 2000 draft, the Raiders have this aura of unpredictability around them. But as you look deeper, that's just not the case. While Darren McFadden, JaMarcus Russell, and Robert Gallery may not have turned out, they were all very reasonable picks, even "safe" picks. You can't blame Al Davis for trying to think outside the box. I think this year he stays reasonable, and sees Clausen as a guy who put up great numbers against top competition in college. He's a completely fair pick.
  9. The Buffalo Bills select Brian Bulaga, offensive tackle, Iowa. A pretty boring pick for a team that's been pretty boring the past few years. New head coach Chan Gailey has been coordinating offenses for long enough to know the value of a strong offensive line, and if Brian Bulaga falls to their pick at #9, I'd be pretty shocked if the Bills didn't snag him.
  10. The Jacksonville Jaguars select Jason Pierre-Paul, defensive end, South Florida. The Jags registered a measly 14 sacks in 2009, so obviously getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks is a desperate need. I've seen Pierre-Paul, Derrick Morgan, and Jerry Hughes all mentioned as the top DE in this draft, so any of them could go here. I mostly picked Pierre-Paul because he went to USF, and so he could maybe generate a little more buzz by staying in-state. Unlike some pundits, I don't see Tim Tebow as an option here.
  11. The Denver Broncos select Rolando McClain, linebacker, Alabama. Every "big board" I've seen has McClain lower than this, but every mock draft I've seen has the Broncos taking him here. I'm not going to pretend I know something that the experts don't. McClain was the anchor for a sensational Crimson Tide defense last year, and everything points to him being a high character guy as well. Denver recently acquitted themselves of Brandon Marshall, so you have to think character is a factor for them.
  12. The Miami Dolphins select Dan Williams, defensive tackle, Tennessee. The Dolphins run a 3-4 defense and don't have an elite nose tackle, so Williams is a nice fit. There was some thought that Dez Bryant was a perfect fit at this pick, but A) I've already got him well off the board, and B) the Dolphins just acquired Brandon Marshall, so wide receiver is suddenly not a need.
  13. The San Francisco 49ers select Trent Williams, offensive tackle, Oklahoma. Just a couple years ago, the 49ers took another workout warrior, tight end Vernon Davis. Williams was impressive at the combine, as well as already being a highly touted tackle. Honestly, after seeing Williams fall this far, I went back over my draft board to make sure I didn't miss something, but this is how I see things playing out, which would be a coup for San Francisco.
  14. The Seattle Seahawks select Anthony Davis, offensive tackle, Rutgers. Remember when the Seahawks reached for C.J. Spiller in the hopes that one of the top tier offensive tackles would fall to them? Well, hello Seattle, Anthony Davis just so happens to fall into that category. He's actually got the upside to be the best tackle from this class if he can overcome maturity concerns. Davis or Trent Williams would be a great result here if the Seahawks go for Spiller with the #6 pick.
  15. The New York Giants select Derrick Morgan, defensive end, Georgia Tech. The sports talk radio interviews I hear suggest that Osi Umenyiora may be dealt, possibly on draft day, which would create a distinct need for a defensive end. Morgan and TCU's Jerry Hughes are both on the board here, but Morgan's quality has been better publicized, so I'll go with him. Hey, the Giants are still a New York team. They still react to public opinion on some level.
I'm holding out hope that the Redskins are able to find a way to trade down a few picks and get back into the second and/or third rounds. Everyone says this is one of the deepest drafts in years, and given the fact that the Redskins seem likely to select merely the best of several offensive tackles, the opportunity for creating some value by trading down seems distinct.

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