I've seen a lot of mock drafts on this site, and they almost never include trades. Now I understand the rationale- it's extremely difficult project trades, but for me, it's always been the most enjoyable part of making mock drafts. In that spirit I'm reveling in ambition and making my first mock for this site complete with trades. This mock is almost certainly 90% (or more) wrong, but I definitely enjoyed tinkering around with it. Feel free to comment away.
1. St. Louis Rams- QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma.
This seems more and more like its going to happen. I happen to think Bradford is going to be a very special player, and the Rams defense wasn't that bad last year. He would be an instant upgrade from anybody else they've got, although they will need some more weapons around him.
2. Detroit Lions- DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska.
I've seen some mocks where the writer is trying to talk themselves out of making this pick. I say no way. I know that their OT situation is awful, and I know they just picked up Corey Williams but Suh is the best player in the draft. More to the point, Schwartz loves to rotate his guys and move them around. Remember how much he used Haynesworth at end? No brainer in my opinion.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma.
I know, I know. Where's the surprise? McCoy is the best player on the board and is at a position of need. Sometimes its just that easy.
4. Washington Redskins- OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma State.
I'm sure Shanahan would love Bradford to fall here, but he's already gone. I understand that Clausen will still be here, but I get the sense that Bradford is Shanahan's guy. I was almost tempted to have the Redskins trading up to get him (I think Shanahan would have the guts to make the call, only I also think the price tag is going to be prohibitive). They settle for an athletic tackle who would fit wonderfully in Shanahan zone blocking scheme.
5. Kansas City Chiefs- ILB Rolando McClain, Alabama.
Scott Pioli wants to trade out of this pick. The good news is that he has some bait, with Clausen still on the board and Seattle next on the clock, but the only realistic options are are Buffalo and Denver. I doubt KC trades with a division rival and I doubt Buffalo trades at all, so they have to make this pick. I was very tempted by the o-line here, but I think McClain is just too good to pass up. He may be a little high here, but as last year proved, Pioli will reach a little if he likes the player.
6. Seattle Seahawks- QB Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame.
There are a ton of legitimate options here for Seattle, and I know Coach Carroll has talked about Hasselback being part of the Seahawks future. And Hasselback is certainly part of the Seahawks immediate future, but they need a replacement ready in the next year or two, and we know that Carroll likes Clausen.
7. Cleveland Browns- S Eric Berry, Tennessee.
Another team that I would expect to be shopping a pick, but with Berry still on the board, I think they pull the trigger. We know Mangini would like to get creative with his defenses, and I imagine he'd love the kind of flexibility he'd get with this kid. Play him man-to-man against a receiver, play him center field, play him in the box.
8. Oakland Raiders- Freakishly Gifted Athlete, Any Position.
The Raiders have gone from feared, to respected, to laughed at, finally to pitied; just like your dad on New Year's Eve. No one depresses me more this time of year than the Raiders. Al Davis has done so much for the game of football, and deserves respect, but how can he continue taking athletes instead of football players? When will he see this as an issue? As for this pick, I'm going OT Bruce Campbell, Maryland. In the last few years the Raiders have gotten together an all-bust offense with Russell, McFadden, and Heyward-Bey, they just need to add Campbell on to complete the set.
9. Buffalo Bills- OT Brian Bulaga, Iowa.
Ah, my own beloved Bills. I can't see any way around a tackle being the pick here, unless they fall in love with Dan Williams. Bulaga is probably the least athletically gifted of the top three remaining tackles, but you also know exactly what you're getting with him: a nasty, technically sound competitor. Those are the type of guys you can never have enough of.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars- WR Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State.
Say you what you want about his questionable maturity, this guy is the best receiver in the draft, and the only one worthy to be selected in the top half of the first round. Sims-Walker came on nicely last year, but who else do they have in the passing game? Mike Thomas is nice, but Bryant is explosive. I think that the Jaguars wouldn't mind trading down and picking up somebody like Earl Thomas.
11. Denver Broncos- DT Dan Williams, Tennessee.
The Broncos may end up creating a bigger need at receiver, but for right now, they go for the top 3-4 NT on the board. Their D-line is ok, but finished 26th against the run last year. Williams is a hard man to move period, and would greatly assist.
12. Seattle Seahawks (trade w/Dolphins)- RB CJ Spiller, Clemson.
There was a danger of the 49ers snatching up the second half of their perfect first round, so the Seahawks had to jump up and make sure they were. They overpaid (their 3rd), but managed to snag the most explosive back in the draft. The man has the kind of quickness and big play ability sorely missing from the Seahawks O.
13. San Francisco 49ers- OT Trent Wiliams, Oklahoma.
Another pick which is both unsurprising and also doesn't need much explanation. The 49ers have Joe Staley, but need to stablize the other side of the line. Williams showed surprising athleticism at the combine, and improved throughout the year at Oklahoma.
14. Miami Dolphins (trade w/Seahawks)- S Earl Thomas, Texas.
Williams would've been very attractive, but was off the board, so they trade down with the Seahawks. The 'Fins could certainly go with someone with Sergio Kindle, but they did finish third in the NFL with 44 sacks (though some of those are leaving with Joey Porter). Despite all that pressure however, they gave up the most yards per attempt in the NFL last season. Right now they have nobody next to Yeremiah Bell, and Thomas would be a huge upgrade.
15. New York Giants- OT Anthony Davis, Rutgers.
I've seen a lot of folks project D-lineman here, but I'm not sure I buy it. They certainly didn't get the most out of their D-line talent, but that doesn't mean they don't have any. I also know that they drafted Will Beatty last year, but neither Diehl or McKenzie is getting any younger. Davis is a local product, and has a boatload of talent. Is he a reach here? Possibly. But not a tremendous one.
16. Tennessee Titans- DE Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech.
I think just about anybody would be happy to steal Morgan with the 16th pick in the draft, but the Titans more than most. The Titans finished with 12 fewer sacks in '09 than '08, and need somebody to replace Vanden Bosch. Certainly they could go with a corner here as well, but Morgan is just too good to pass up.
17. San Francisco 49ers- CB Joe Haden, Florida.
Haden certainly took a little tumble from his combine performance, but not enough to let him slip past the 49ers. Haden has decent size, and is an excellent man-to-man corner. Both Clements and Bly are getting on in years, and Clements is more of a third corner at this point in his career.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers- CB Kyle Wilson, Boise State.
I was very close to giving the Steelers Jared Odrick to provide some youth to a very old D-line, but the secondary needs more immediate help. Polamalu's absence exposed a lot of weaknesses at the corner position, and Wilson's stock has been rising steadily for months.
19. Atlanta Falcons- DE Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida.
Now i'm mighty skeptical about Pierre-Paul (and maybe its that skepticism that allows him to fall this far in my mock draft), but there's no denying his elite potential. There's also no denying that Atlanta has a problem at the DE position. Jamal Anderson is a bust and who knows if Abraham will find his 2008 form again. Even so, they could let Pierre-Paul in as a sub-package contributor his first year, and perhaps bookend him with 2009 4th rounder Lawrence Sidbury in 2011.
20. Baltimore Ravens (trade w/Texans)- DL Jared Odrick, Penn State.
Probably the biggest reach as far as projecting a team's thought process. I know Ozzie isn't afraid to wheel and deal, but its hard to project them moving up instead of down. Odrick may be worth it though. He's strong, athletic, and most importantly, scheme diverse. They could line him up as a 3-4 end, a 4-3 tackle or even a 3-4 nose tackle. The Ravens are not getting any younger along the line, and lost Justin Bannan in free agency. Lastly, they know that the Patriots are just as much in the hunt for an outstanding D-line prospect and would have to be looking hard at Odrick.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- TE Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma.
I've seen this pick projected so often, but it just makes so much sense. JP Foschi was ok last year, but Gresham is a matchup problem in the middle of the defense. With the untimely death of Chris Henry, the Bengals also lack someone with the size to be a serious threat in the red zone. Gresham could provide that as well.
22. New England Patriots- OLB Sergio Kindle, Texas.
As I mentioned in the Ravens pick, I think that the Pats would love to get a hold of Odrick. They'll settle for one of the better 3-4 OLB prospects in the draft. The Patriots need some edge rushers, and Kindle athleticism is exceptional. As a Bills fan, I hate this pick, I don't want to see this guy lined up against our woeful tackles.
23. Green Bay Packers- CB Devin McCourty, Rutgers.
I know, I know- Charles Brown is still on the board, and the Packers gave up 51 sacks last year (most in the NFL). Only 10 of those sacks however, were in the seven games after Clifton and Tauscher returned to the lineup. The Pack already has a possible replacement for Tauscher in TJ Lang, and really don't need to press here. At CB however, there is a glaring shortage. Al Harris is 35 and coming off an ACL tear in November. Woodson had a great year last year, but how much longer can he play at that high a level in his 30s? McCourty will provide instant depth at CB, a future starter, and an immediate impact on special teams.
24. Philadelphia Eagles- DE Carlos Dunlap, Florida.
Lots of options here for the Birds. I'm sure that LB is bigger need, but one thing I know about Andy Reid is, he's drafts D-line early and often. Since arriving at Philly, he's taken 6 D-lineman in either the first or second rounds, the most at any position. Dunlap is overrated in my opinion, but a good value here. He could play the strongside on running downs and swing inside in obvious passing situations.
25. Houston Texans (trade w/Ravens)- DT Brian Price, UCLA.
The Texans defense started to turn things around last year, finishing in the top half of the league in total defense. However, they still finished 25th in sacks, racking up 30 total. The ends are solid, but very little pressure is generated from the tackle position. Price could potentially solve that problem. He finished with 7 sacks and 23.5 TFL in 2009.
26. Detroit Lions (trade w/Arizona)- OT Charles Brown, USC.
I've actually read some positive things about Backus's performance last year, but I have no doubt that the Lions are definitely in the market for a tackle. Brown isn't necessarily what I think of when I project the type of O-line that Coach Schwartz would like to build (I'm thinking about guys like Michael Roos and David Stewart), but Brown has quick feet and the frame to get a little stronger.
27. Dallas Cowboys- OL Mike Iupati, Idaho.
Iupati is very popular pick here, and with good reason. That Cowboys line isn't getting any younger, despite playing well last year. Iupati could immediately plug in at guard, and could potentially even take over on the outside.
28. San Diego Chargers- RB Ryan Mathews, Fresno State.
I'll be honest- I'm pretty out of touch with what the Chargers' needs are exactly, but I know they definitely need a RB, and Mathews has been climbing the board recently. He's probably the best all around back in this year's class. This is simply a combination of biggest need with best available talent.
29. New York Jets- OLB/DE Brandon Graham, Michigan.
The best player at the Senior Bowl is an excellent pickup for the Jets at 29. The Jets D got plenty of pressure on the QB last year, but so much of it was generated by the scheme. They need a pass rusher to win those one-on-one battles, and Graham has the talent to do just that. Could be the steal of my little mock draft.
30. Minnesota Vikings- RB Jahvid Best, California.
You know, I looked up and down this Minnesota roster trying to find a weak spot, and it was a difficult task. I nearly gave them Taylor Mays, but Best wins in the end. I know its high, and I know that Best has some serious red flags (injuries, blocking), but I couldn't help imagining a Split Backs set with Best, Peterson, Shiancoe, Rice and Harvin, all on the field at the same time. I'm not sure I would have any clue how to defend that. If it goes well, Best could be exactly the third down threat out of the backfield that Minnesota will need with Taylor gone.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (trade w/Indianapolis)- WR Golden Tate, Notre Dame.
With the Rams licking their lips to take Tate in only two picks, Tampa Bay had to make a deal. Polian is not afraid to move down, and likely will find plenty of value still available in a few selections. The Bucs get a receiving threat to replace the departed Antonio Bryant. The Bucs sorely need a weapon in the passing game, and will love Tate's ability after the catch. Hopefully, this is the start of a beautiful friendship with QB Josh Freeman.
32. New Orleans Saints- DE Everson Griffin, USC.
Probably the most talented guy left on the board, and at a position of some need for the defending champs. Griffin has the physical tools to be a high end starter, but who knows whether or not he can meet the mental/emotional challenges of the pro game. Will Smith played very well last year, but it's unclear what else the Saints have at end, so they roll the dice.