With the Senior Bowl in full swing and less than a month to the Combine, I decided to put together a new round one mock. There are some picks here that fit into conventional wisdom and others that I think you'll find go against the grain. (I'd say "provocative" but I find that's rather extreme for a freaking mock draft!) Anyway, I'm particularly interested to know what Bucs, Seahawks, 49ers and Eagles fans think of the picks I've assigned them.
Anyway, feel free to tear me apart at your leisure. I hope to have at least two more rounds done by this weekend.
1. St. Louis Rams - Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
Put me down on the "Draft Jimmy Clausen" side of the debate when it comes to who the Rams should pick. But as the NFL Draft demonstrates better than anything else, "should" and "will" are two entirely different things. On the other hand, Suh is the the best player in the draft, so it's not like picking him is a bad choice, you know?
2. Detroit Lions - Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
With the team bizarrely committed to Jeff Backus, there are only two choices for the Lions here: Suh or McCoy. Suh is gone, so this pick is easy.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Joe Haden, CB, Florida
Bit of a dilemma here for the Bucs. Their biggest need was for upgrading the interior of the D-line, but that's not happening with the #3 pick now that Suh and McCoy are both gone. As talented as Brian Price is, he is not a top 5 pick. They have basically 3 choices: They can go BPA in Eric Berry, they can make a slight reach for Joe Haden or a somewhat bigger one for Derrick Morgan. Ultimately, I think they'll opt for Haden. Ronde Barber will turn 35 a few weeks before the draft his numbers have been steadily dropping. Haden and Aqib Talib could form a fearsome shutdown duo.
4. Washington Redskins - Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
Mike Shanahan will be thinking offense first and that's going to be mean one of two things: a left tackle or a quarterback. Though right now it's tough to guess because we don't know what he's going to decide regarding Campbell, I have to think Shanahan will ultimately conclude Clausen has too much talent to let him get away.
5. Kansas City Chiefs - Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
Eric Berry will be a temptation here (and would be a good choice), but I believe the Chiefs will go with Okung if only because it would solve two problems. It gives reliable LT protection for Cassel and Branden Albert can slide to guard or RT, at both of which positions he'd be an upgrade for the Chiefs O-line.
6. Seattle Seahawks - Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
Pete Carroll has a number of interesting options. Ultimately, I think he'll opt for offensive tackle help. Campbell can keep Hasselbeck upright and throwing and his successor can be found in the mid-rounds or first round next year. He may even trade for Matt Leinart, who knows.
7. Cleveland Browns - Eric Berry, FS, Tennessee
Rejoice, Browns fans! The football gods have given you a gift. The next Ed Reed, dropped right into your laps.
Joe Haden would've attracted Davis' attention, but he's gone. Ditto for Bruce Campbell. With the emergence of Michael Huff (finally!) and Tyvon Branch this year, safety isn't a need, so that rules out Taylor Mays (but see below for a qualification). Linebacker is a need, but Rolando McClain isn't fast enough for a Davis LB. One place the Raiders desperately need help at is right tackle, however. Cornell Green is awful and his contract has expired in any case. Anthony Davis has mammoth size (6'6", 325 lbs.) but great athleticism to go along with it. I have to believe he'll be on Al's radar. One caveat: when it comes to Taylor Mays, I will rule him out as a safety but DO NOT think it's impossible that Davis will select him here and try to make him a linebacker.
9. Buffalo Bills - Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
In one sense, it doesn't really matter who the Buffalo QB is. Johnny Unitas couldn't be effective spending all his time on the grass staring up at the sky. I look for Bulaga to have an excellent combine and shoot up draft boards.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars - Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
The Jaguars have any number of problems, but the most glaring one is a complete inability to get to the other team's quarterback. Having whiffed on one Derrick, the Jags will try again with another, better prospect.
11. Denver Broncos - Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
Brandon Marshall's departure (if it happens) will leave a hole, but there's plenty of WRs to be had in rounds 2-3 in this class. The epic collapse of the Denver defense in the second half of the season has to be of great concern to Josh McDaniels and McClain is the type of playmaker who can have an instant impact.
12. Miami Dolphins - Dan Williams, NT, Tennessee
The success or failure of a 3-4 scheme lives and dies by two things: the NT and linebackers. Both are needs for the Dolphins. If McClain were still on the board, he'd probably be the pick here. However, since he's gone and Jason Ferguson is a 35 year old who tore his knee to shreds, Parcells will grab his replacement. I've been a big fan of Williams for a while now and I think his stock will only keep going up.
13. San Francisco 49ers - Taylor Mays, SS, USC
Neither one of San Francisco's safeties are terribly inspiring and you have to think Mike Singletary could take Mays' freakish athleticism and coach him up. I think a shift to SS in the NFL will help him out enormously.
14, Seattle Seahawks - Everson Griffen, DE, USC
Seattle's pass rush is pretty lackluster and Pete Carroll may look to a player he knows and respects to try and upgrade it. Also, if Taylor Mays is still on the board, I have to believe Carroll will snap him up here.
15. New York Giants - Brian Price, DT, UCLA
For spending a whole lot of money on the defensive line, the Giants sure didn't get much return on their investment last season. I've seen a ton of mocks sending Price to the Giants at this spot and for good reason: it makes a lot of sense.
16. Tennessee Titans - Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida
Dunlap's stock is hovering in the 2nd round currently, but I can't help but suspect once he gets the chance to show off at the Combine it'll go back up again. The Titans may see the new Jevon Kearse and will opt to go after someone with a bit more of a track record than the one-year-wonder Jason Pierre-Paul.
17. San Francisco 49ers - Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
Isaac Sopoaga is not the most inspiring player and I think Odrick could be very productive from the 3-4 end position.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers - Earl Thomas, FS/CB, Texas
Both cornerback and free safety are needs for Pittsburgh and in Earl Thomas they get a guy who could play either position.
19. Atlanta Falcons - Donovan Warren, CB, Michigan
There were several reasons for Atlanta's disappointing season, but a big one was because the secondary was decimated by injuries and couldn't cover anybody.
20. Houston Texans - Damian Williams, WR, USC
The Texans have some holes on defense, but filling them would involve considerable reaches. If they take Damian Williams, they can give Matt Schaub another home run threat.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
22. New England Patriots - Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU
Adalius Thomas is likely to be given a one way ticket out of town and the Patriots could sure use a guy like Hughes as a replacement.
23. Green Bay Packers - Charles Brown, OT, USC
Green Bay's line play improved as the season went on, but they still cannot risk Aaron Rodgers getting killed again like he did in the early part of the season.
24. Philadelphia Eagles - Ricky Sapp, OLB, Clemson
Philadelphia's situation at strongside linebacker is pretty pedestrian and Sapp's role as "bandit" end at Clemson closely mirrors the duties of a 4-3 NFL SLB.
25. Baltimore Ravens - Brandon LaFell, WR, LSU
26. Arizona Cardinals - Brandon Ghee, CB, Wake Forest
Both Green Bay and New Orleans destroyed the Cardinals' secondary. Ghee has been turning heads at the Senior Bowl so far and would make an effective tandem with DRC.
27. Dallas Cowboys - Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
28. San Diego Chargers - C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
Tomlinson is done and Spiller is awesome. There you go.
29. New York Jets - Nate Allen, FS, South Florida
Right now, it's looking like Kerry Rhodes will not be back with the Jets next season and they'll need a replacement. I'm a huge fan of Allen and think he can only make the already damn good Jets secondary even better.
30. Minnesota Vikings - Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
If Bradford falls as I project....he will fall no farther.
31. New Orleans Saints - Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri
Weatherspoon's stock has dropped somewhat during the season. Earlier, most had him from mid-to-late first whereas now most have early-to-mid second. Well, getting him at #31 isn't exactly a reach on the Saints part and he could do great things for them at WLB. (For the record, I've never changed my opinion: he'll be a great NFL player)
32. Indianapolis Colts - Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
Should you ever stop thinking about protecting the best player in the league? Answer: no.