1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford QB, Oklahoma
Team needs: QB/WR/CB/DE/OLB
Before anyone starts to argue this pick with me I want you to read the following article, because I couldn’t have explained it better myself. http://walterfootball.com/nfldraftdefensivecoaches.php I’m not going to change this pick from a QB unless the Rams find one in free agency such as Jason Campbell or Michael Vick, or trade for one. Their number one priority has to be to find a new Quarterback. GM’s don’t think to themselves, “We’ll be bad enough to get the top QB next year” and neither do head coaches who only have a very limited time to prove their worth. For a great example of this you only have to look to last year’s draft. Many said that Aaron Curry was much more of a sure thing than Matt Stafford. New Lions coach Jim Schwartz, with a defensive coordinators back ground, still took the QB instead of a top D prospect because he knows that a team starts with a QB. Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh is a great player but he’s not going to single-handedly wins games for them. Even if Suh did win them 5 more games than they would’ve, then they wouldn’t be drafting high enough to get next years top QB Jake Locker. Previously I had the Rams taking Jimmy Clausen but apparently the rumor mill is saying that they are more enamored with Bradford so I’m going with it. Heading into an uncapped year means the Rams can dump Marc Bulger’s salary without any future consequences.
2. Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh DT, Nebraska
Team needs: OT/DT/CB/OG/SS
What the Lions need most is an impact player. This team needs playmakers everywhere other than QB, TE, and FS. They need a cornerstone LT to protect their 40 million dollar man in Matt Stafford but Suh is too great a player to pass on, plus it seems the Lions are blindly devoted to current LT Jeff Backus. Suh looks to be the best defensive lineman prospect since Warren Sapp. Although he has already had 2 knee surgeries so far and given how much money he would be guaranteed, they may shock everyone and opt for Gerald McCoy, who many feel is the better overall prospect. At this pick, the only other options I can see them going with if they elect not to take a DT are Russell Okung or Eric Berry. But if Suh is available they would be crazy to pass on him.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy DT, Oklahoma
Team needs: DT/WR/DE/CB/SS
The Bucs messed themselves up winning just enough games to take them out of the Suh sweepstakes. Unfortunately he is no longer available but getting McCoy is not a bad option. Many consider him to be the most technically sound DT in this draft, even more so than Suh. Not having a need for a QB or LT means that this pick would pretty much only be Eric Berry or perhaps even Derrick Morgan if they decide to not go with McCoy. Trading back with a pick this high isn’t really much of an option as other teams will not want to pay the amount of guaranteed money expected to a top 3 pick. It’s also not out of the realm of possibility that they trade up with the Rams to get Suh, as the Rams would still be able to get Clausen or Bradford here. Or they could trade up one spot with the Lions, who would still be able to get McCoy, save a couple million, and pick up another draft choice.
4. Washington Redskins: Jimmy Clausen QB, Notre Dame
Team needs: OT/QB/OG/RB/OLB
Regardless of whether or not you’re a Jason Campbell fan, the fact remains that this team is not winning with him. I know a lot of the problems are because of the injuries to the offensive line but Snyder is going to go with a flashy, big name like Clausen, especially now that Mike Shanahan has been hired as the new head coach. There is a perception that Clausen has an attitude problem, which has been greatly exaggerated by the likes of ESPN’s Todd McShay, that may influence teams from taking him early but I doubt someone like Snyder would concern themselves with it. If Snyder decides that he doesn’t want Clausen and Bradford isn’t available he will target Russell Okung, Bruce Campbell, or Anthony Davis.
5. Kansas City Chiefs: Russell Okung OT, Oklahoma State
Team needs: OT/NT/OLB/WR/Safety
Matt Cassell needs a LT that will give him enough time to throw the ball down field. KC spent a lot of money on Cassell and it would be nice if they got a return on their investment. It would also allow them to move 2008 1st round pick Brandon Albert to LG, his natural position, or RT since it doesn't seem like he can make it playing on the left side. Moving Albert to LG means they could slide Brian Waters to center and really solidify that line. Okung has distinguished himself as the top OT in the draft with a strong combine showing and would be a great addition to the Chiefs O-line. He's athletic, uses his hands very well, and has quick feet to get out in front of speed rushers. If they are somehow still confident that Albert can play LT then this pick would change to Eric Berry or even Rolando McClain.
6. Seattle Seahawks: Eric Berry S, Tennessee
Team needs: OT/DE/QB/RB/WR
I’m going with Berry here because with two early first round picks, there is plenty of OT talent but Berry is too good to pass on. If Okung were available they would probably go for him, but given Bruce Campbell’s injury history and Anthony Davis’ reputation as being inconsistent they will elect to go with Berry would many consider an Ed Reed clone. Berry ran a 4.4 40 and posted a 43in vertical at the combine which can only solidify himself as a top player if there were any doubts. I will give new Head Coach Pete Carroll enough credit to go with talent over the familiarity he has with Taylor Mays.
7. Cleveland Browns: Joe Haden CB, Florida
Team needs: CB/Safety/RB/ILB/OLB
Cleveland needs help everywhere except for LT where they have Joe Thomas. A lot of draft lovers think they will target a QB, but I’m not sure the franchise is quite ready to give up on Brady Quinn, especially when there is no more 1st round talent QB’s left, although they may target one in the later rounds. Haden is the only elite corner in this draft class and landing him would be a decent consolation prize after missing out on Berry. He posted a slow 40 time (4.57) which may cause him to slip a bit but I doubt it. He may have had an off day at the combine but I’m sure he’ll improve him 40 time on his pro day. If they elect to keep the 3-4 defense this pick may turn to Alabama ILB Rolando McClain.
8. Oakland Raiders: Bruce Campbell OT, Maryland
Team needs: OT/DT/CB/DE/OLB
Bruce Campbell secured this pick by measuring in at the combine at a stout 6’6” 314lbs., with 36 1/2in arms, and add to that 34 reps on the bench press and a 4.85 40. That’s enough to make undead Al foam at the mouth. Given Okung’s great combine if he manages to slip this far I believe the Raiders would take him, although given his great combine I doubt he would make it past Seattle. At this point I really can’t see anyone but Campbell being selected here unless Davis goes with Taylor Mays unofficial 40 time of 4.27.
9. Buffalo Bills: Anthony Davis OT, Rutgers
Team needs: OT/QB/NT/OLB/ILB
The Bills will look to fill their biggest need which is gaping hole left by the Jason Peters trade to Philly. I gave serious thought to mocking them NT Dan Williams, especially since they are switching schemes to a 3-4 defense and there were grumblings about Davis’ poor combine interviews, but there will be a couple of quality NT’s to choose from in the second round but no more OT’s. They may also consider Rolando McClain to help shore up that horrendous run defense. There’s also an outside chance they may pick Jason Pierre-Paul but it’s unlikely since they selected pass rusher Aaron Maybin in the first round of last years draft.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Morgan DE, Georgia Tech
Team needs: DE/FS/OG/OC/OLB
The Jags young receiving corps has come on this year and as such seems to be no longer a dire position of need, although they due lack a true number one receiver in which case they make target Dez Bryant. This team needs a DE as the Jags make the transition back to after a woeful attempt at using a 3-4. Morgan has distinguished himself as the top DE for a 4-3 as he is an excellent pass rusher. It’s also likely that they pick Carlos Dunlap over Morgan because he’s a local boy and team owner Wayne Weaver will try whatever he can to put fans in the stands. They also need an upgrade along the interior O line as well as a replacement for the disappointing Reggie Nelson. There’s talk that the Jags are looking to save money so they may look to trade back with a team like the Steelers who may be targeting Rolando McClain.
11. Denver Broncos(via Chicago Bears): Rolando McClain ILB, Alabama
Team needs: DE/NT/WR/OC/OG
Look for the Broncos to take the best defensive player available. McClain is a natural leader, is continuing to rise up draft boards, and would be a perfect fit considering he played in a 3-4 defense at Alabama. The Broncos have very few holes to fill as they have plenty of young talent that will develop over time. But after going 6-0 they have been exposed for their lack of the deep ball. If they finally do trade Brandon Marshall this offseason then I will change this pick to Dez Bryant.
12. Miami Dolphins: Jason Pierre-Paul DE/OLB, USF
Team needs: OLB/ILB/WR/NT/FS
Previously I had them choosing Dez Bryant, but given that he didn’t even participate in the combine drills and there is a perceived notion that like Anthony Davis he has a maturity problem, I’m going with JPP. Personally I think he has a high bust rate and have compared him to Vernon Gholston on many occasions as he too is a one year wonder and a workout warrior but with a great combine he has clearly shown that he has the tangibles to be an excellent rusher at the next level. Whether or not he can parlay those skills into actual results remains to be seen. They may also consider Tenn. NT Dan Williams but if McClain slips past Denver I would expect him to be the pick.
13. San Francisco 49ers: Trent Williams OT, Oklahoma
Team needs: RT/SS/CB/OG/RS
I know this is a little high for a RT but it fills the 49ers biggest need. Williams is an absolute mauler and if he gets his hands on a defender it’s over. He was a pleasant surprise at the combine, showing more than expected athleticism and running a 4.88 40. It’s now become unlikely they will take NT Dan Williams as they have slapped the franchise tag on current nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin and it sounds as though they are close to a long-term deal. The 49ers also need help in the secondary so Earl Thomas may be an option for them as well.
14. Seattle Seahawks (via Denver Broncos): Charles Brown OT, USC
Neither Walter Jones nor Sean Locklear can seem to stay healthy, with Jones recently announcing his retirement. Previously I had them taking Bryan Bulaga, but he measured in with only 33in arms at the combine which is going to scare teams from drafting him too high. After playing most of the past season at around 290lbs., Brown weighed in at 304lbs. which is going to cause his stock to rise although he needs to gain another 10 lbs. to be ideal. The Hawks may also look for a RB, especially since the electrifying Spiller is still on the board, but they should be able to grab Cal’s Jahvid Best, Georgia Tech’s Jonathan Dwyer, MSU’s Anthony Dixon, or Fresno State’s Ryan Mathews in the 2nd or 3rd round at a greater value.
15. New York Giants: Brian Price DT, UCLA
Team needs: MLB/FS/RT/DE/CB
Price has probably seen his stock soar more than any other prospect since the end of the college season and would be a great addition as the Giants continue to stockpile D linemen. They could also use a replacement for Kareem McKenzie who is over 30 and starting to show his age but this need can be addressed in the later rounds. They released MLB Antonio Pierce but with McClain already off the board they will have to wait as this is way too high for Brandon Spikes or Daryl Washington. They could also consider Earl Thomas who would fill a much greater need to pair with Kenny Phillips, or even to replace Phillips given the nasty knee injury he sustained.
16. Tennessee Titans: Everson Griffen DE, USC
Team needs: CB/DE/ OLB/ DT/OC
Who would have thought that after a 0-6 start that Vince Young would salvage their season? They have multiple needs but Young’s play means they won’t be looking for a QB. Cornerback is their biggest need but without one worthy of this pick they’ll address their D-line which wasn’t able to get much pressure last year. Previously I had them taking Dan Williams, but they do have plenty of depth at the DT position. Thanks to Griffen’s combine performance he has elevated his stock as much as Carlos Dunlap’s stock has dropped.
17. San Francisco 49ers(via Carolina Panthers): C.J. Spiller RB, Clemson
After having taken care of their need for a RT with their first pick, they get the luxury of bolstering their RB corps. Spiller would fill two needs as he would provide an instant boost to their return game as well as a pass-catching option on third downs. Earl Thomas could be an option, but they really need a SS to replace Michael Lewis and Thomas would definitely have to play FS. They may also look at Brandon Graham or Mike Iupati if they don’t take Trent Williams at 13.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers: Earl Thomas S, Texas
Team needs: FS/OG/ILB/DE/NT
So we managed to work out a long-term deal with Casey Hampton which means our need for a NT has diminished. Even still, Hampton is 32 years old and with Dan Williams still on the board we may take him as the Steelers always look towards the future. At the combine GM Kevin Colbert stated that the team is looking at players from every position other than QB and TE. I’ve weighed the needs and values of this pick over and over again, and much to the disappointment of Steeler Nation I went with Thomas over Mike Iupati who has become a fan favorite. Iupati was outstanding in his SB practices and has solidified himself as a 1st round pick. During the game he dominated his opponents except for one time when he got beat by UGA’s Geno Atkins. He would fill the one weak point at RG where Darnell Stapleton and Trai Essex are lacking and rookie Craig Urbik didn’t show much during the off season. But even with the rag-tag group of O-linemen we had we still managed to have the 7th ranked offense in the league. And after thinking about it I believe the Steelers organization may feel it has an up-and-comer in last years UDRFA Ramon Foster to fill the void at RG. So without question the Steelers greatest need is on the defensive side of the ball, especially at safety. Ryan Clark is a free agent and from what his agent is telling the media, he expects to be paid like one of the top safeties in the league. Although I’m sure that is just his agent posturing for a better contract. Tyrone Carter who played horribly week in and week out in Troy Polamalu’s absence is also a free agent and unlikely to be retained. Thomas is an absolute ballhawk, and would be the perfect compliment to Troy P. He’s had a reputation of being a poor tackler, but it’s not for a lack of effort. He just doesn’t have the size to truck a running back. The Steelers also need to find an eventual replacement for James Farrior. His play declined dramatically this past year, he’s 34 years old, and since it takes a couple years for linebackers to learn the system anyway it would be nice to find his replacement now. Keyarn Fox has filled in admirably at ILB for Lawrence Timmons but is not a permanent solution. Besides, Fox is too valuable as a special teamer. Unfortunately Rolando McClain will be long gone but there is talk that the Steelers might make a move up for him, trading with Jacksonville. A lot of people are high on Florida ILB Brandon Spikes, who may be great against the run but is somewhat of a liability in zone coverage. Another option would be TCU ILB Daryl Washington. A player I really like in the later rounds would be Baylor’s ILB Joe Pawelek although I suspect the Steelers would rather target a homer like PSU’s Sean Lee. After watching him in the Orange Bowl, I really like Iowa’s Pat Angerer in the later rounds as well. It’s also conceivable that they draft Sean Weatherspoon who has the size and leadership qualities to play ILB. Cornerback could also be another option considering none of the rookies from last year have seemed to distinguish themselves, although the only option in the 1st would be to trade up for Joe Haden. Clemson RB C.J. Spiller would be a slightly long-shot option if he were available. Willie Parker is most likely not going to be resigned and Spiller would be a great speedy compliment to Mendenhall’s power for a lot less cost than Parker.
19. Atlanta Falcons: Sean Weatherspoon OLB, Missouri
Team needs: DE/OLB/CB/Safety/DT
The Falcons will take the best defensive player available, particularly an OLB or DE. Weatherspoon is the top OLB suited to play in a 4-3 defense. He managed to impress everyone in the SB practices with his vocal leadership and enthusiasm. During the game he didn’t disappoint, playing sideline to sideline and showing very good man-coverage skills. At the combine he put up the second most bench press reps for a linebacker with 34 as well as the second best vertical jump of 40 inches. They could also consider Dan Williams, Carlos Dunlap, or even a solid compliment to Roddy White like Damian Williams.
20. Houston Texans: Dan Williams NT, Tennessee
Team needs: CB/FS/OG/DT/RB
They need help in multiple areas, specifically on defense since they are letting Dunta Robinson leave via free agency, and in the interior defensive line after sending former 1st round pick Travis Johnson to the Chargers earlier in the year. Williams will shore up the front of their 3-4 defense. Damian Williams would also be an option as he would pair nicely with Andre Johnson, and fill a position of need if Kevin Walter isn’t resigned. The Texans could’ve won at least 3 more games this past season if they had a power running game so Mike Iupati could be an option as well.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Dez Bryant WR, Oklahoma State
Team needs: WR/TE/FS/ILB/OG
The Bengals only real needs are for WR’s and safeties and here they manage to take the top WR in the draft. There have been many questions raised about his maturity level and love for the game but as recent draft history has shown us the Bengals are more than willing to draft players with character issues. Outside of Chad OchoCinco, none of their WR’s has had much of an impact this year. If none of the WR options at this point are preferable to the Bengals they would certainly consider Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham.
22. New England Patriots: Sergio Kindle DE/OLB, Texas
Team needs: OLB/CB/DE/WR/RB
The Patriots need more youth and depth in their linebacking corps. They may opt of Brandon Graham but Kindle lined up all over the field for Texas and is the sort of versatile player Belichick loves. He had a great showing in the Championship game and solidified himself as a first round pick. Given how much the Patriots like to trade back, it would actually surprise me if they keep this pick, especially considering how deep the talent pool is in this draft. This is still a little early to consider any of the second tier of CB’s like Devin McCourty and Kyle Wilson.
23. Green Bay Packers: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
Team needs: OT/CB/Safety/OG/DE
Bulaga has fallen because his short arms will scare a few teams away but he would be a great value pick here and fill Green Bay’s biggest need. They have had to compensate for the lack of talent at OT by adjusting their scheme to keep TE’s in to block. Adding some OT depth would really help open up that potent offense. This is where teams will start considering Mike Iupati as an OT prospect rather than an OG. They may look to add an OLB to replace Aaron Kampman who’s set to become a free agent and clearly not comfortable after making the switch from DE to OLB, especially with Jerry Hughes and Brandon Graham on the board. Green Bay also needs to start looking at replacements for their aging secondary but will find better value for the in the next 2 rounds.
24. Philadelphia Eagles: Carlos Dunlap DE, Florida
Team needs: DE/OLB/FS/CB/OT
Without any tackle prospects left to replace the often injured Shawn Andrews, look for the Eagles to take the top DE or Linebacker prospect available. They need to fill the DE spot opposite of Trent Cole. Carlos Dunlap has had his work ethic and love of the game questioned but he’s just the sort of big lineman that Andy Reid loves and perhaps Reid and others can get Dunlap to mature.
25. Baltimore Ravens: Golden Tate WR, Notre Dame
Team needs: WR/CB/TE/DE/OC
Previously I had the Ravens taking Brandon LaFell but he ran a very disappointing 4.59 40 which is going to cause him to slip. Tate on the other hand ran an impressive 4.36 and apparently wowed teams during the interview process. During a media interview he compared himself to Percy Harvin which may be fair as he has the same explosive abilities which could certainly be used in a Ravens WR corps that finds itself completely lacking in that department.
26. Arizona Cardinals: Brandon Graham DE/OLB, Michigan
Team needs: OT/OLB/ILB/OC/NT
Arizona’s biggest need has been for a LT. They drafted Levi Brown a couple years ago but he has struggled on the left side. Now that Matt Leinart, a lefty, is at the helm with the retirement of Warner they may wait on a LT. This is another team they may look at Iupati’s potential as an OT. Outsider linebackers Haggans, Okeafor, and Berry are all 33 years old or older so they will definitely be upgrading with Graham who had a spectacular showing at the combine and SB, showing a variety of pass-rushing moves and looking a lot like Broncos OLB Elvis Dumervil.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Mike Iupati OG, Idaho
Team needs: OT/FS/OG/NT/ILB
The Cowboys get Iupati, who from what I’ve read in many mock draft forums to be a fan favorite, to fill a huge need along the offensive line. The Cowboys love big linemen and Iupati would be a great addition. They may try him out at OT which I feel may be a big mistake but we’ll see. At this point I really can’t see them taking any other player except maybe Taylor Mays, Terrence Cody, or possibly even Jared Odrick.
28. San Diego Chargers: Ryan Mathews RB, Fresno State
Team needs: RB/NT/DE/ FS/CB
Assuming they resign or tag LT Marcus McNeill, what the Chargers need most besides a NT to replace the aging Jamal Williams who was put on IR at the beginning of the season is a RB given that they chose to not franchise Darren Sproles and have already released LaDainian Tomlinson.. Unfortunately the only NT with a 1st round grade is already taken. I think that General Manager A.J. Smith is too smart to gamble on “Mount” Cody with a 1st round pick given that it’s become highly probably that he’ll eat himself out of the league in a couple years. Even with the fast 40 times of Spiller and Jahvid Best it was Mathews who had the best combine performance in my opinion. He ran a 4.4 40 and looked very solid in catching the ball which is something San Diego covets in its RB’s.
29. New York Jets: Jerry Hughes OLB, TCU
Team needs: OLB/CB/DE/WR/FS
The Jets biggest needs are a corner to play opposite Darrell Revis, a DE considering Shaun Ellis is coming off of an injury and Marques Douglas is a free agent and both are 33 years old, and a rush linebacker. With Hughes they can replace 1st round bust Vernon Gholston. With Jared Odrick still on the board he is the only other option I can see the Jets going with at this point. .
30. Minnesota Vikings: Devin McCourty CB, Rutgers
Team needs: CB/FS/MLB/OG/DT
The Vikings will look to shore up the few weak points on a very strong defense. Current starters Griffin (torn ACL) and Winfield (Foot) are both nursing injuries. Before the combine McCourty graded out as a solid 2nd round prospect, but after running the fastest 40 time (4.34) of any DB and looking very fluid in the drills he’s managed to catapult himself into the number 2 CB slot. The Vikings could also consider FS Nate Allen, MLB Daryl Washington, or OG/OC Maurkice Pouncey.
31. Indianapolis Colts: Jared Odrick DT, PSU
Team needs: OT/DT/MLB/DE/OG
Without any cornerstone LT’s left, which is their biggest need, the Colts will focus on defense. I know the Colts do not typically invest early round picks on defense but it’s about time that they start. They are really lacking depth at DT and Odrick is a great 3 technique player. They may continue the trend of drafting offense in the 1st in which case they would go for Maurkice Pouncey to shore up a weak point at OG where Mike Pollack was lacking all year. Considering that Gary Brackett is a free agent they may even consider Daryl Washington who would be a great fit for their defensive scheme.
32. New Orleans Saints: LaMarr Houston DT, Texas
Team needs: DE/DT/OLB/Safety/OC
With an already potent offense the Saints will look to upgrade a defense that was hot and very cold all season long. Their biggest need is probably a DE to replace Charles Grant, but without any of the 1st round talent left they will choose to find someone to pair with Sedrick Ellis. Houston went from being a complete unknown at the beginning of the season to possibly being a late 1st round pick thanks to a great showing in the BCS championship as well as at the combine. With Taylor Mays’ recent 40 yard dash he may be an option here as well if the Saints do not resign Darren Sharper.
33. St. Louis Rams: Damian Williams WR, USC
Now that the Rams have their QB of the future they need weapons for him to throw the ball to.
34. Detroit Lions: Maurkice Pouncey OG/OC, Florida
The Lions are getting a great interior lineman in Pouncey who’s versatile enough to play Center, Guard, or possibly even Right Tackle.
35. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Arrelious Benn WR, Illinois
The Bucs need WR’s to help the progression of young QB Josh Freeman. Michael Clayton has been underwhelming so far in his career and Antonio Bryant is not going to be retained.
36. Kansas City Chiefs: Terrence Cody DT, Alabama
Even though he may eat himself out of the league in a couple years, which is why he’s slipped out of the 1st round to begin with, the Chiefs are not going to pass up the chance to solidify their defensive front with someone who is could be a dominant 2-down NT.
37. Washington Redskins: Mike Johnson OG, Alabama
With a new QB in hand, it’s time to rebuild that ancient O line. Johnson would be a perfect fit for Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme.
39. Oakland Raiders: Jeff Owens DT, UGA
Jeff Owens did 44 reps on the bench press which makes him a steal in the second round in the eyes of the Crypt Keeper.
41. Buffalo Bills: Cam Thomas, NT, UNC
The Bills need a NT for the transition to a 3-4. Thomas had a great SB week.
43. Miami Dolphins: Brandon Spikes ILB, Florida
Parcells will continue to focus on the defense. The linebacking corps continues its overhaul.
45. Denver Broncos: Alex Carrington DT/DE, Arkansas State
They fill their need with a 5-technique DE.
46. New York Giants: Daryl Washington ILB, TCU
With the release of Antonio Pierce they need a replacement now.
47. New England Patriots (via Tennessee Titans): Patrick Robinson CB, FSU
Known for playing soft in his final season but played a great game at the Senior Bowl.
48. Carolina Panthers: Brandon LaFell WR, LSU
Team needs: WR/DT/OG/DE/OT
Regardless of whether Delhomme or Moore is the staring QB next season, they need someone to throw to besides Steve Smith. LaFell drops considerably due to a poor 40 time but is a solid possession receiver and a very underrated downfield blocker.
49. San Francisco 49ers: Taylor Mays S, USC
A replacement for the disappointing Michael Lewis. Taylor Mays has been the monkey wrench to every mock draft out there. He ran a great 40 at the combine but he still can’t cover that well. Given his combo of size and speed he could very easily be a top 20 pick but his inability to cover could easily mean he slips deep into the second round.
50. Kansas City Chiefs (via Atlanta Falcons): Dexter McCluster RB/WR Ole’ Miss.
McCluster had a great week of SB practices, showing off his amazing speed and cutback ability. Personally I think this is a little high for him, but some team is going to view him as the next Percy Harvin.
52. Pittsburgh Steelers: Linval Joseph DT, East Carolina
Even with the resigning of Casey Hampton, they need to plan for the future. At the combine Joseph ran a 5.09 40 which is incredible for a man his size and did 39 reps on the bench press.
54. Cincinnati Bengals: Morgan Burnett FS, Georgia Tech
With their second pick, they fill their second biggest need.
56. Green Bay Packers: Rickey Sapp DE/OLB, Clemson
They have much bigger need in the secondary, but this is a BPA situation as they also need a rusher opposite Clay Matthews.
57. Baltimore Ravens: Chris Cook CB/FS, Virginia
They fill their 2nd biggest need. Cook also has the size and range to play FS in the event that Ed Reed does retire.
58. Arizona Cardinals: Rodger Saffold OT, Indiana
The Cards pick up a tackle prospect that showed off his great athleticism at the combine.
60. San Diego Chargers: Torrell Troup DT, Central Florida
Troup really wowed people at the East-West shrine game and probably solidified himself as the 3rd or 4th best NT in this class.
61. New York Jets: Tyson Alualu DT/DE, Cal
Ellis and Douglas are both 33 years old, with Ellis coming off of an injury and Douglas a pending free agent.
62. Minnesota Vikings: Vladimir Ducasse OG, UMass
They need a run-blocking RG.
63. Indianapolis Colts: Pat Angerer ILB, Iowa
A replacement for Gary Brackett considering he’s a FA. Angerer is a little undersized but a great player and a perfect fit for the Cover-2.
65. St. Louis Rams: Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State
This starts the defensive overhaul.
67. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Darrell Stuckey SS, Kansas
At this point their two biggest needs are for a DE and SS. At this point it would be a big reach for any of the DE’s available and Stuckey had a nice combine.
68. Kansas City Chiefs: Koa Misi DE/OLB, Utah
They need pass-rushers. Misi is another player who benefited from a great showing in the SB practices.
69. Oakland Raiders: Mitch Petrus OG, Arkansas
Oakland needs an OG and Petrus put up 44 reps on the bench press, which makes him a steal in the 3rd as far as Al Davis is concerned.
71. Cleveland Browns: Chad Jones SS, LSU
Pool and Elam both need to be replaced. This would complete the secondary overhaul. Jones has slipped due to a poor combine.
72. Buffalo Bills: Marshawn Gilyard WR, Cincinnati
T.O. wasn’t the answer and wasn’t retained. They need someone else besides Lee Evans. If James Hardy pans out Gilyard would make a great slot receiver.
73. Miami Dolphins: Carlton Mitchell WR, USF
Add another USF Bull and combine warrior to the team. Mitchell is very raw but has the size and speed to develop into a number one WR which is something Miami really needs.
75. Chicago Bears: Jon Asamoah OG, Illinois
Team needs: DE/OG/FS/OC/DT
Instead of reaching for a DE, and factoring in that they are probably the leading candidate to sign Julius Peppers, they take a local product to fill their need for a LG.
76. New York Giants: Kyle Calloway OT Iowa
They fill their need for tackle depth with someone that played just as good as top-15 pick Bryan Bulaga in the Orange Bowl.
79. San Francisco 49ers: Donovan Warren CB, Michigan
Warren had an awful combine which has caused him to spiral downward, but he’s a solid player and would replace Dre Bly who will most likely not be retained.
80. Denver Broncos: Matt Tennant OC, Boston College
Casey Wiegmann is 36 years old and no longer fits the blocking scheme in Denver.
81. Houston Texans: Toby Gerhart RB, Stanford
This pick should be a given. They desperately need a short-yardage power back.
82. Pittsburgh Steelers: Sean Lee ILB, PSU
This pick comes down to Lee, an OG like Ole’ Miss.’s John Jerry, a DE like Vince Oghobaase or Mike Neal, or possibly even a CB. Ogho’ and Neal are DT’s that could play DE in a 3-4. All but Lee would be a reach here. If not for an injury history Lee would be a 1st round pick but is a good value here to eventually be the successor to James Farrior.
84. Cincinnati Bengals: Rob Gronkowski TE, Arizona
The Bengals finally fill their need for a pass-catching TE.
86. Green Bay Packers: Akwasi Owusu-Ansah CB, IUP
Green Bay continues the youth movement in the secondary.
88. Baltimore Ravens: Jason Worilds OLB, Va. Tech
This is too early for any of the DE’s left, or a TE that fits their style of offense, and they need pass-rushing depth.
89. Arizona Cardinals: A.J. Jefferson CB, Fresno State
They need CB depth.
90. Dallas Cowboys: Jared Veldheer OT, Hillsdale
Just the sort of big lineman the Cowboys love. He had a great combine but may slip farther than this due to having ridiculously short arms (33inches) for a man of his size.
91. San Diego Chargers: Jahvid Best RB, Cal
They will probably not resign Darren Sproles and Best would function in the offense much the same way he did. Best had a great combine but I believe many teams will be scared off due to his diminutive stature and serious injury history.
93. Minnesota Vikings: Jonathan Dwyer RB, Georgia Tech
The Vikings are going to let Chester Taylor walk in free agency. Dwyer had a poor combine which is why he’s slipped this far but would be a good value pick here.
94. Indianapolis Colts: Jason Fox OT, Miami
This may be a bit of a gamble given Fox’s knee injury, but if not for the injury Fox would be an early 2nd round selection and he’s the type of lean, athletic lineman the Colts prefer.
95. New Orleans Saints: Willie Young DE, N.C. State
The Saints find a replacement for Charles Grant.
98. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Demaryius Thomas WR, Georgia Tech
They continue to rebuild the WR corps to help the progression of their young QB. They have a bigger need for a DE but anyone left would be a huge reach.
100. Washington Redskins: Sam Young OT, Notre Dame
They continue to rebuild an O-line ravaged by injuries and age.
101. Seattle Seahawks: Andre Roberts WR, Citadel
Outside of T.J., they really don’t have any other WR to throw the ball to. Roberts put himself on the map with a great week at the Senior Bowl.
102. Cleveland Browns: Dekota Watson OLB, FSU
They need someone to play opposite of Kamerion Wimbley.
103. Oakland Raiders: LeRoy Vann CB/KR Florida A&M
This is incredibly high for him as he is graded as a very late round prospect, but he’ll probably run a 4.3 40 at his pro day and he’s returned 11 kicks back for TD’s in the last 2 years.
104. Buffalo Bills: Jevan Snead QB, Ole’ Miss.
The Bills need to bring someone in to challenge Trent Edwards.
105. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tim Tebow QB/H-back, Florida
Yes I know. But in the 4th round there’s good value to be had, not in him so much as the number of tickets the Jags will sell because of his presence.
106. Chicago Bears: Daniel Te’o-Nesheim DE, Washington
Ogunleye and Anderson are both free agents.
107. Miami Dolphins: Jerome Murphy CB, USF
By an unintended fluke I’ve managed to mock 3 USF players to the Dolphins, and 4 players from the state of Florida overall. They need a FS to replace Gibril Wilson but find better value with Murphy in which case they can move current #2 cornerback Sean Smith to FS which is his natural position anyway.
108. Tennessee Titans: Perry Riley OLB, LSU
They need LB depth as they continue to rebuild their defense.
109. Carolina Panthers: Marshall Newhouse OG, TCU
They need a replacement for RG Keydrick Vincent.
110. San Francisco 49ers: John Jerry, Ole’ Miss.
Jerry is just the sort of big lineman that coach Singletary loves.
111. Denver Broncos: Tony Pike QB, Cincinnati
They tendered Kyle Orton but they will need depth behind him. Pike will take some time to develop and add bulk, but he has the potential to be a quality starter in the pros.
113. Pittsburgh Steelers: Myron Rolle SS, FSU
I know this pick will make many people in Steeler Nation happy. Tyrone Carter, and probably Ryan Clark, will not be resigned so drafting only one safety isn’t enough. Rolle is the type of smart, high character player that the organization loves.
114. Atlanta Falcons: Amari Spievey CB, Iowa
Atlanta was hurting all year for CB depth.
116. New England Patriots: Riley Cooper WR, Florida
Welker may not make it back by the start of the season and Moss isn’t getting any younger.
117. Cincinnati Bengals: Mike Neal DT, Purdue
They need line depth, especially if they don’t retain Tank Johnson.
124. Philadelphia Eagles (via New York Jets): Ed Wang OT, Va. Tech
They need OT depth.
125. Minnesota Vikings: Arthur Jones DT, Syracuse
If Pat Williams retires they will have a hole on the defensive front, and even if he doesn’t they still need depth.
126. Indianapolis Colts: Rennie Curran OLB, Georgia
If Curran were just a little bit bigger he would be a 1st round pick, as it stands now he’s a perfect fit for the Colts cover-2.
127. New Orleans Saints: Van Eskridge FS, East Carolina
Eskridge was named defensive MVP of the East-West Shrine Bowl. Even if they do resign Darren Sharper they still need depth behind him.