Mock Draft, Updated 1/31
This is a three round mock draft, which I will update periodically. Please comment, especially on your perception of team needs.
* Denotes a coin flip will decide draft order
1) St. Louis Rams -- Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska)
St. Louis badly needs a DT to anchor their defense. Suh is the best player in the draft, and the best DT prospect in a long, long time. Although they could also go T or QB here, the Rams take a guy who has the ability to be as much of a game and team changer as Albert Haynsworth would be if he tried every play.
2) Detroit Lions -- Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma)
To say Detroit's defense is bad is an understatement. They are especially horrendous against the run, and so they take McCoy, who is not on Suh's level, but is still very good. Their other main position of need is T, and they would be a prime candidate to trade down if anyone is targeting Berry or Morgan. If Suh drops to #2, Detroit sets the record for quickest draft selection.
3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Eric Berry (S, Tennessee)
The theme of the top of the draft: defense. Tampa Bay's is aging and lacking playmakers. They go with an Ed Reed-type safety who will instantly give their defense an identity they have lacked. They could also go with Morgan here, or trade down to select Dez Bryant.
4) Washington Redskins -- Russell Okung (T, Oklahoma State)
A lot of people expect Washington to go QB here, but I think Shanahan gives a talented Jason Campbell a chance. Campbell's biggest downside, and it is a major downside, is that he doesn't appear to be the kind of leader you would want in a QB. Having said that, Washington's bigger need is on the offensive line, especially with Chris Samuels getting up their in age, so the Redskins select the best available tackle. Shanahan knows the importance of a great LT like he had in Ryan Clady in Denver.
5) Kansas City Chiefs -- Rolando McClain (ILB, Alabama)
Kansas City's run blocking was 31st in the league and their pass blocking was ranked 26th (h/t Drew K). Some think Brandon Albert isn't cutting it as an NFL LT and would be better suited at RT. However, Albert improved greatly. over the second half of the season. The Chiefs might select Okung here if he falls and move Albert to RT if they grade Okung high, but if Okung and Eric Berry are not there I think the Chiefs go with the future anchor of their defense in McClain. Pioli chose Jerod Mayo high when he was with the Chiefs and knows he needs to improve this defense. Kansas City also needs help on S, CB, and at WR, so I think they would take Berry if he was available, and they are also a candidate to trade down if they like other Ts.
6) Seattle Seahawks -- Jimmy Clauson (QB, Notre Dame)
With two first round picks, Seattle has the amo to trade up if they really want Berry or one of the top DTs. Their offensive line has been terrible and soft this year, so I think they could select the best OT available. Matt Hasselback's skills have declined and he is getting up there in age. Seattle selects his eventual replacement in Clauson. The guy just seems like a Pete Carrol type of QB.
7) Cleveland Browns -- Dez Bryant (WR, Oklahoma State)
Cleveland seemed to improve at the end of the season, but they still have a lot of team needs. CB, S, DE, WR, QB. I'm not a fan of either of their QBs, but I think Holmgren and Mangini will give Brady Quinn one more year to prove himself. The pick could easily be Clauson, Bradford, Morgan or Joe Haden, but I think Cleveland goes with fulfilling their dire need of a #1 WR
8) Oakland Raiders -- Derrick Morgan (DE, Georgia Tech)
The Jamarcus Russel experiment should be over. He's horrible, but Al Davis doesn't know that. Oakland also has needs at QB, T, DT, DE, CB (#2), and WR. Other possible selections here are Clauson, Williams (T, Oklahoma), Dunlap (DE, Florida), and Joe Haden, who could cause Al Davis to dream of having two shut-down corners. I'm very nervous about this pick of a premier DE in Morgan, because it would actually make sense. And this is Oakland.
9) Buffalo Bills -- Sam Bradford (QB, Oklahoma)
Buffalo has a major need at QB here. Trent Edwards seemed like he was the future for a while, but he really regressed this past year. I think they may take a T here because their offensive live is awful, but the Bills choose to address that need later and take Bradford.. Buffalo could also go DT, DE, CB, WR, or T here. The major problem for the Bills is that there probably won’t be any high-grade tackles available when they pick in the second round, so they really need to make either QB or T a priority via a trade or free agency and fix the other need with this draft choice.
10) Denver Broncos -- Dan Williams (DT, Tennessee)*
Denver had two first round picks because of the Bears trade, but traded one away to the Seahawks to select Alfonso Smith, CB, in the second round last year. If anyone saw the running clinic the Kansas City Chiefs put on Denver, they know the Broncos main need is defense. If McClain is there, I think they take him, but seeing as he is not, Denver decides to go with a NT here and select Williams. They could also select an ILB, DE, S, WR (if they trade away Brandon Marshall), or 3-4 OLB (if they lose Dumervil to FA)
11) Jacksonville Jaguars -- Jason Pierre-Paul (DE, South Florida)*
Jacksonville needs DT, DE, CB, S, and TE (some say QB, but Garrard is good enough). I think they will trust that Cox will improve in his second year at CB, and pray that Nelson gets better at S. Therefore, I think they'll take Pierre-Paul, but they could easily go Dunlap, Haden, Thomas, or Price here. Some think they'll pick Tebow here, but I don't buy it. The Jags were last in the NFL in sacks this year, so they need help on the d-line.
12) Miami Dolphins -- Sergio Kindle (DE/OLB, Texas)
Jason Taylor and Joey Porter are getting up there in age. The Dolphins select Kindle, who can start out lining up as a 3-4 DE while learning the 3-4 OLB position to take oven when either Taylor or Porter eventually leaves or retires. They could also go for WR Dez Bryant here, but I think they go Kindle.
13) San Francisco 49ers -- Earl Thomas (S, Texas)
San Fran badly needs an impact safety, so they select the highest ranked safety in the draft in Thomas
14) Seattle Seahawks -- Bruce Campbell (T, Maryland)
Seattle's O-line was awful this year, and they go with the best O-lineman available. After workouts/the combine, this might be Bulaga, Campbell, or Williams, but for the time being it is Davis. They could also go DT, DE, or CB here.
15) New York Giants -- Brian Price (DT, UCLA)
The Giants once great defense was subpar, even bad last year. They also have major needs at MLB, S, and RT, but I think they take Price here, who will sure up their run defense in the middle and help their pass rush. Price had 7 sacks last year.
16) Tennessee Titans -- Joe Haden (CB, Florida)*
As a Titans fan, I think the Titans should trade up to get Haden. Nick Harper was absolutely awful this season as the Titans #2 corner, and Rod Hood didn't do much better when he got the start in Week 17 vs. Seattle. The Titans also have needs at OLB, DE, DT if Tony Brown is not re-signed, S (Griffin has regressed and Hope's skills are declining with age) and they may select a MLB and either move him to OLB or move their MLB (Tulluch) to OLB. If Haden falls here, I will scream at my TV for the Titans to take him, and I think they would. However, the Titans lack of a pass rush was a major reason for their decline from 2008/9 to 2009/10, and in a division with Schaub and Manning, the Titans may take a DE. They could go with Dunlap, Graham, Griffen, or Pierre-Paul (if available) here, but in this scenario I think they would go with Haden.
17) San Francisco 49ers -- Trent Williams (T, Oklahoma)*
San Fransisco is a young, talented team that still has a lot of needs. They have a LT in Joe Staley, but they badly need a RT, and pick an All-American one up in Williams. They could also select a S, DE/OLB, WR, CB, or NT here.
18) Pittsburgh Steelers -- Mike Iupati (G/RT, Idaho)
Some may think this is far too high for a guard, but the the Steeler’s offensive line was abused last year, really hampering an otherwise talented offense. At the same time their defense declined last year and is aging, so they may decide to go CB, S, DE, DT, or ILB here. However, I believe they will decide to go with an extremely talented guard with a mean streak and select Iupati, who scouts say will almost surely make several Pro Bowls in his career (even without about half the players dropping out of the Pro Bowl)
19) Atlanta Falcons -- Navorro Bowman (OLB, Penn State)*
The Falcons secondary is bad, but there is no CB here worth taking (I think Robinson is overrated and not worth a 1st round pick). The Falcons decide to sure up their run defense and a weak position at OLB and take Bowman, who has off-field problems but comes from LB U and appears to be very talented.
20) Houston Texans -- C. J. Spiller (HB, Clemson)*
Chris Brown and Ryan Moats were the Texan's starting running back at different times last year. Arian Foster did well in his last start for the Texans in Week 17, but the Texans would jump at the chance to select an electrifying, multipurpose back in Spiller. After all, they face one twice a year in Chris Johnson. Spiller has similar skills, although he doesn't quite have 4.24 speed. The Texans could also take a DE or S here. The Mays v. Pierre-Paul v. Spiller call would be difficult, but I think they would go with Spiller.
21) Cincinnati Bengals -- Jermaine Gresham (TE, Oklahoma)
At first, I thought Cinci would take a DE here. Antwan Odom will presumably be healthy next year, but the Bengals other DEs, Jonathan Fanene and Robert Geathers, don't exactly make defensive coordinators nervous. The Bengals would love to see such a talented, yet raw, defensive end fall to them as Pierre-Paul. The Bengals could also take a G like Iupati, a DE, or a WR here. However, after watching their offense struggle in the playoffs, I think the Bengals will take an extremely talented TE in Gresham instead.
22) New England Patriots -- Brandon Graham (DE/OLB, Michigan)
The Patriots have 3 second round picks, so they could move up if they are interested in a specific player like CJ Spiller. Here, with their pass rush not being what it once was, I think they take a pass rushing DE/OLB in Graham. They may also take a FS like Taylor Mays in this scenario, go for a WR, or draft a RB, but I think they improve their linebacking core here.
23) Green Bay Packers -- Bryan Bulaga (T, Iowa)
The Packers biggest weakness is their offensive line, specifically their tackles. Bulaga is the best tackle avaliable.
24) Philadelphia Eagles -- Carlos Dunlap (DE, Florida)
Philly’s defense was embarrassed by the Cowboys, so they go with the best available player left on the board, a player with a lot of question marks but even more potential in Dunlap.
25) Baltimore Ravens -- Arrelious Benn (WR, Illinois)
Derrick Mason is still producing, but he's old, and may retire. Mark Clayton can now surely be labeled a bust. The Ravens two main needs are WR and CB, but there aren't any CBs here worth taking. The Ravens go with the top WR on their board.
26) Arizona Cardinals -- Anthony Davis (T, Rutgers)
The Cardinals are a team that has done very well the last two years but still seemingly has a lot of needs at key positions. They need a LT, DE/OLB, DT and G. Their offensive line was horrible against the Saints and their defense was awful throughout the playoffs. However, the Cardinals go with the best player available and take the talented Davis.
27) Dallas Cowboys -- Charles Brown (T, USC)
The Cowboy's offensive line in the playoffs was awful. They take the best tackle available here in Brown.
28) San Diego Chargers -- Jonathan Dwyer (RB, Georgia Tech)
This is where the Bradford trade watch begins. San Diego doesn't bite on various trade offers, however, as they have too big of a need at RB, and select the best avaliable here.
29) New York Jets -- Jared Odrick (DT/DE, Penn State)
The Jets need a 3-4 DE or 3-4 OLB. Odrick will be a great 3-4 DE who can switch to DT if need be. They still need a WR, but this is a BPA pick; a better value at WR will probably be found in the second round. Also, the Jets are the #1 team that should trade for Anquan Boldin. For the Jets sake, I hope this pick is Cardinal's pick come draft day. I could also see Brandon Graham here as a 3-4 OLB
30) Minnesota Vikings -- Kyle Wilson (CB, Boise State)
If Minnesota could draft an RB coach to teach AP not to fumble, they would. Instead, they decide to take their DT of the future and select Odrick. If they grade a CB like Robinson or Wilson as a number one pick, they may draft a CB here (or trade back to take one, with the most likely trade candidate being Buffalo, trying to get Brown). I think Tavaris Jackson is better than any of the QBs available at this point and/or that the Vikings will sign or trade a QB prior to the draft
31) Indianapolis Colts -- Brandon Spikes (ILB, Florida)
Tony Ugoh has been a complete bust at T. For a team with a lot of of talent, they have a major need at tackle. However, with a projected 6 tackles going ahead of them in the 1st, there are no tackles to take here for 31st overall value. The Colts have a need at MLB, so they take a guy with great instincts in Spikes who can give their improved defense more of an attitude, and more skill.
32) New Orleans Saints -- Sean Weatherspoon (OLB, Missouri)
Who Dat? The Super Bowl champs improve their linebacking core by taking the talented Weatherspoon.
2-1) STL -- Jevan Snead (QB, Mississippi)
2-2) DET -- Everson Griffen (DE, USC)
2-3) TB -- Arthur Jones (DT, Syracuse)
2-4) KC -- Vladimir Ducasse (G, Massachusetts)
2-5) WAS -- Jahvid Best (RB, California)
2-6) CLE -- Patrick Robinson (CB, Florida State)
2-7) OAK -- Taylor Mays (S, USC)
2-8) SEA -- Ricky Sapp (DE/OLB, Clemson)
2-9) BUF -- Selvish Capers (T, West Virginia) -- I don't like this pick, but they really need a Tackle. Thoughts?
2-10) TB -- Damian Williams (WR, USC)
2-11) MIA -- Brandon LaFell (WR, LSU)
2-12) NE -- Dexter McCluster (RB/WR, Mississippi)
2-13)DEN -- Daryl Washington (ILB, TCU)
2-14)NYG -- Chad Jones (S, LSU)
2-15)NE -- Greg Hardy (DE, Mississippi)
2-16)CAR -- Aaron Hernandez Hernandez (TE, Florida)
2-17)SF -- Golden Tate (WR, Notre Dame)
2-18)KC -- Donovan Warren (CB, Michigan)
2-19)HOU -- Perrish Cox (CB, Oklahoma State)
2-20)PIT -- Terrence Cody (DT, Alabama)
2-21) CIN -- Demaryius Thomas (WR, Georgia Tech)
2-22) NE -- Ryan Mathews (RB, Fresno State)
2-23) GB -- Jerry Hughes (DE/OLB, TCU)
2-24) PHI -- Eric Norwood (OLB, South Carolina)
2-25) BAL -- Nate Allen (S, South Florida)
2-26) ARI -- Lamarr Houston (DT, Texas)
2-27) DAL -- Morgan Burnett (S, Georgia Tech)
2-28) SD -- Gene Atkins (DT, Georgia)
2-29) NYJ -- Mardy Gilyard (WR, Cincinnati)
2-30) MIN -- Rennie Curran (OLB, Georgia)
2-31) IND -- Chris Cook (CB, Virginia)
2-32) NO -- Larry Asante (S, Nebraska)
3-1) STL -- Rob Gronkowski (TE, Arizona)
3-2) DET -- Kareem Jackson (CB, Alabama)
3-3) TB -- Jon Asamoah (G, Illinois)
3-4) WAS -- Forfeited for 2009 Supplemental Draft Pick
3-5) KC -- George Selvie (DE/OLB, South Florida)
3-6) OAK -- Colt McCoy (QB, Texas)
3-7) PHI -- Reshad Jones (S, Georgia)
3-8) CLE -- Anthony McCoy (TE, USC)
3-9) BUF -- Roddrick Muckelroy (OLB, Texas)
3-10) MIA -- D'Anthony Smith (DT, Louisiana Tech)
3-11) CHI -- Myron Rolle (S, Florida State)
3-12) JAX-- Tim Tebow (QB/FB/TE, Florida)
3-13) NYG -- Sergio Render (G, Virginia Tech)
3-14) CAR -- Jordan Shipley (WR, Texas)
3-15) TEN -- Jermaine Cunningham (OLB, Florida)
3-16) SF -- Alex Carrington (DE/OLB, Arkansas State)
3-17) DEN -- Thaddeus Gibson (DE/OLB, Ohio State)
3-18) HOU -- Maurkice Pouncey (C, Florida)
3-19) PIT -- Tony Washington (T, Abilene Christian)
3-20) ATL -- Syd'Quan Thompson (CB, California)
3-21) CIN -- Mike Johnson (G, Alabama)
3-22) OAK -- Antonio Coleman (OLB, Auburn)
3-23) GB -- Brandon Ghee (CB, Wake Forest)
3-24) PHI -- Devin McCourty (CB, Rutgers)
3-25) BAL -- Javier Arenas (CB, Alabama)
3-26) ARI -- Myron Lewis (CB, Vanderbilt)
3-27) DAL -- Sean Lee (ILB, Penn State)
3-28) SD -- Taylor Price (WR, Ohio)
3-29) CLE -- Ed Dickson (TE, Oregon)
3-30) MIN -- J.D. Walton (G/C, Baylor)
3-31) IND -- Kyle Calloway (T, Iowa)
3-32) NO -- Amari Spivey (CB, Iowa)