Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs Sunday Night Football Pick: The Chiefs with Tyler Palko in what is probably his last start of the season look to upend the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football. The Chiefs have pretty much lost everything great about their football team with Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry going down early in the season. Now with Cassel out and more guys beat up, the Chiefs get to host a tough Steelers team.
I know the Chiefs are usually very solid at home, a tough out for sure, but the Steelers are coming off a big win against Cincinnati and a bye-week to rest. They’ve gone 5-1 over their last 6 games and their only lost came on a last minute touchdown pass by Joe Flacco in a 20-23 loss to Baltimore. They’ve been playing their best football of the season as they walked into their bye week to heal up. The Chiefs were embarrassed last week on Monday Night Football when the Patriots carved them up. For reward they get a short week battle with that rested Steeler squad… Lucky!
The Steelers should look to run the ball more in KC. Holding the ball for long stretches and eating up close will be a good way to walk away with an easy win. I expect them to slowly build a lead and keep the Chiefs at bay throughout.
The Chargers have been crowned the champions of the AFC West already, so I don’t even know why these teams are showing up on Monday Night in front of a stacked Kansas City crowd in one of the best home-courts in football. I mean, it’s already over, right?
Besides the field, the underdog status in front of a national audience and a nice home-field advantage, the Chiefs still aren’t all that good – but they have some players, I can tell you that. Dwayne Bowe big brothers defensive backs like he’s been picking on them for years. Jamaal Charles is lightning on a football field and that offensive line is growing into a decent group. Matt Cassel might not have all the downfield skills to dominate, but after a struggle-filled season as a first year starter in Kansas City, I think he’ll be better in his second season. Plus, they picked up Eric Berry, Dexter McCluster, and Javier Arenas with their first 3 picks in the draft. All three of those guys are dynamic assets at their positions, big play guys that can change a game. For a team that lacked that big play, those three should make things a lot more interesting.
And that secondary needed a guy like Berry desperately. But it’s not the Chiefs as much as it’s the Chargers. San Diego has to wonder what’s going on. They have had an interesting summer with hold-outs and a GM that won’t budge a bit. So gone is one of their starting offensive linemen on an offensive line that was blah last season. Gone is their best receiver on a team that really didn’t have a steady production from any #2 they tried. Gone is a team that trusts their ownership? I don’t know. But that’s something.
All these things combined, plus a whole lot more that I don’t feel like adding to an already long write-up have me going with the dogs on Monday Night, late in Kansas City. Dogs playing tough on Monday Night at home is regular, so get used to it!
Kansas City Chiefs
(+12550) – Odds to Win the Super Bowl
(Over 6.5, -110: Under 6.5, -110) – Over/Under Total Wins
(+240) – Odds to Win Division
I like the direction the Chiefs are moving, but will it be enough to get them to 7 wins, have a chance at winning the AFC West, or even slipping into a situation where the Super Bowl is a possibility? Probably not. But this team is getting more explosive. Defensively, the Chiefs went with a sure thing in S, Eric Berry. Berry does everything well and should be a great leader in a secondary that has been blasted over the years. Dexter McCulster was a guy the Chiefs didn’t need to pick up, but his big play threat certainly won’t be a bad thing for a team desperately lacking scoring chances. I really like what Jamaal Charles did last year when he became the starter – the kid is a legit big play threat. McCluster will get chances all over the field, but he might take away chances for Charles. Thomas Jones is a solid player, hell, he’s been down right good over the years – but he’s an older back now, and even with the shape he’s in, it’s hard to see where he’ll fit in in Kansas City. Javier Arenas was a big play guy in college, but his lack of elite speed could hamper him at the next level – still, the Chiefs kept going for their big play draft. Kansas City needs to get consistent play from and offensive line that often looked out matched in pass protection last season. Matt Cassel needs to turn back into the guy the Chiefs thought they were getting when they traded for him from New England. All in all, the Chiefs need a lot of good things to happen before I would consider them a player in the AFC West, let alone a Super Bowl bid. 7 wins would be a great year for this Chiefs team – so I’d go with the under. 6-10, 5-11 – sounds right to me.
Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Berry is one hell of a player, and they had to kick conventional wisdom to draft the kid, as normally safeties don’t go in the Top 10. But Berry is an exception, and he should make a huge difference for a porous secondary. I really like Dexter McCluster, but #36 overall for a player that is very similar in terms of outside speed to the very young and talented back you already have, when there are plenty of needs in KC? I don’t like it. He should make plays right away, but I think he’s still a part time guy – and it’s tough to be a bad team drafting part time guys so high. Javier Arenas is a playmaker, and should be an ideal fit as a cover guy in the nickel package and a return stud. Not a real speedster, but when you make all the plays, it’s tough to argue. Asamoah will likely become a key contributor to a mediocre offensive line. He might even start. After that, the Chiefs got smart players that do the little things well – not huge names, but Moeaki is a great blocking TE, Lews is a solid safety that keeps the game in front, and Sheffield could, could become a pass rusher at the next level. Overall, a decent draft for KC, but I don’t know if they drafted too many starters – they needed about 4. C+ Back to the 2010 NFL Draft grading team list.
Some teams were great in Round 1 while others bombed the test with a big fat “F”. It’s just the first round, and regularly true grades are made by about year 3 after the draft, but I’m a danged sports writer, and I feel it’s a must for me to tell everyone how I feel about the “Prime Time” action that went down in the NFL yesterday. I must say, it was good TV.
St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford – The Rams had to grab Bradford, it only made sense. The kid is going to be good, I’ve thought so for years, and I won’t stop thinking so until he pulls a Ryan Leaf. I’ve said it once, but a home run at quarterback is better than a home run at defensive tackle. A
Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, Jahvid Best- Couldn’t go wrong with their top pick as they plucked one of the most dominant defensive tackle prospects in many-many years. But, I don’t see why the Lions felt the need to trade up to grab Best, but they did, and they got him, and I think he’s worth the pick. Maybe they felt Minnesota would have taken him had they not traded their pick, and with that being the case, this makes a little sense. But you know Indy and New Orleans weren’t going to take Best, and neither were the Rams. But he was the best running back prospect left, and I like the kid a lot. Give them a little credit, they ended up with two first rounders and they didn’t blow either one. A-
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy -Great pick for the Bucs, the guy fits perfectly and he’s a dominant player on every down. A
Washington Redskins: Trent Williams – The Redskins picked a talented offensive lineman, no doubt, and Splinter has done well picking the position in the past. However, questions about his work ethic and love for the game drop Williams a bit in my book. But he’s a good player and fills a great need for the Skins. C+
Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Berry -The Chiefs fought the urge to leave a safety on the board because the position isn’t usually drafted so high. But Berry is the exception, and that makes this an even greater pick because of their willing to ignore the common perception about the position. A+
Seattle Seahawks: Russell Okung, Earl Thomas -The Draft couldn’t have worked out better for Seattle. Well, I guess I would have liked it better had Berry fallen to them at 6 and had Davis fallen to them at 14. But drafting where they were, and considering who they got, this was an awesome draft for Seattle. Okung was my 2nd rated offensive lineman, and the most sure thing at the OT position – and Thomas was the 5th rated defender on my list, and he’s really close to Berry, Suh, McClain, and McCoy. Both were huge needs for Seattle. Perfect first round for Pete Carol. A+
Cleveland Browns – Joe Haden -The Browns drafted Haden, who is a very good and physical corner – a guy many had rated as the best CB in this class. I like Kyle Wilson more, but Haden might fit better in what the Browns do defensively. Still, when I heard that Holmgren might make his decision based on where the two corners played (Haden at Florida compared to Wilson at Boise State), I threw up in my mouth a little bit. That’s just flat stupid. Still, a solid pick for the Browns. B
Oakland Raiders: Rolando McClain -Finally the Raiders just picked a good player. Red-Red Ryan had McClain going to the Raiders in his Mock Draft back in January, and he got it right on the button. McClain is a weird pick for Oakland because he was so successful and productive in college. Tom Jackson had it right when he said, “The Raiders won’t be looking for a middle linebacker in next year’s draft.” McClain wasn’t a huge need pick for Oakland, but I have to give them a good grade for not picking a workout hero that didn’t excel in college. B+
Buffalo Bills: C.J. Spiller -I love C.J. Spiller. But he’s not a great pick for Buffalo. He’s a touchdown maker, and he’s good at everything, but for a team that needs so much, especially on the offensive line, a smallish running back at #9 is not great for them. However, if he turns out to be more Chris Johnson than Reggie Bush, then I’ll admit being wrong. Seems like a great kid, so I hope I’m wrong. C-
Jacksonville Jaguars: Tyson Alualu – “We like to “joke” with Jack Del Rio’s lack of intelligence, and expect him to do something mentally representative of that “joke”” – yeah, this is what I wrote prior to the draft – and while I liked Alualu as a solid defensive tackle prospect, I can’t help but believe they reached 20 picks early for the Cal defensive tackle, and the fact that 3 teams traded down into 11, 12, and 13 means they could have picked up a couple extra picks and still drafted their guy. I think Tyson will be solid, but that doesn’t help their grade. It’s like picking Tony Gonzalez with your first round pick in fantasy football – he’s good, but the pick is dumb. F
San Francisco 49ers: Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati – The 49ers traded up a couple picks to grab a guy I tabbed as the best and most talented offensive tackle prospect in the draft. I don’t think they needed to do so, but maybe they knew the next two teams were trying to trade down, and didn’t want to miss out on their top rated OT. With their second pick they grabbed one of the best all around offensive line prospects in the draft in guard Mike Iupati – and they did so right before Pittsburgh picked. The 49ers got a lot better up front, but more importantly, they might have drafted an identity. This was a very good start for the 49ers, though I don’t think they needed to trade up to get their guy – so I have to drop them a little bit. Having the balls to take two offensive linemen in the first 17 picks moves them up a little bit. A-
San Diego Chargers: Ryan Matthews – The Chargers traded way up and reached a bit for Ryan Matthews. Will he be worth it? Maybe. He’s the only every down running back rated as a first round pick, and they must think they are an every down back away from a Super Bowl. I happen to think they are a good nose tackle and a better secondary away from a Super Bowl, but what do I know? I think Matthews was reached for here, but he is going to be good, and did fill a need. C+
Philadelphia Eagles: Brandon Graham – The Eagles never seem to hesitate to trade up and get the guy they want, and I like their style. Brandon Graham was the 10th rated player on my big board, and the 6th rated defensive player. The Eagles got him at 13, and they moved up just in time to assure they got their guy. Seattle might have snagged him, and so could the Giants. They might have given up a lot, but he’s going to be a game changer right off the bat for a defense that has struggled to get after the quarterback in big games. A
New York Giants: Jason Pierre-Paul - Maybe the Giants like what Pierre-Paul brings to the table a lot more than Osi – but I’m not so sure. I like Pierre-Paul’s athleticism and upside, but I’ve seen Osi do work at defensive end. They are likely to trade him now, and Pierre-Paul’s ability was good value at 15, but I’m not sure the eventual trade will make them better. B-
Tennessee Titans: Derrick Morgan – The Titans needed a consistent player on their defensive line, and you can’t go wrong with Morgan. He’s not a pure pass rusher, and he’s not an all run defense guy – he’s very good at both. He’s an every down player that will help the Titans get after the quarterback and stop the run. He’s got a great motor, and is a good fit. Plus, the value for Morgan at 16 was great. A
Pittsburgh Steelers: Maurkice Pouncey - I think this is a little high to take Pouncey, but the kid can really play. He’s got great feet and understanding, and he did lots of good stuff at Florida. The Steelers really needed help up front, they got it with this guy. B+
Atlanta Falcons: Sean Weatherspoon -This was a bit of a reach, value wise, but ability wise I think it was perfect. I had Weatherspoon rated as the 19th best player in the draft because of his ability to positively effect the offense on every down. Not enough is said about that, and the Falcons have a very good and smart player to help their mediocre defense turn the corner And Sean fills a need for the Falcons. A-
Houston Texans: Kareem Jackson – I liked Kyle Wilson as the top corner, and he ends up getting picked as the 4th corner, behind Jackson, McCourty, and Haden. Kareem is a very physical player that helped the Crimson Tide dominate defensively all year long. His ability to do many things in coverage allowed Alabama to use many defenses, and he’s ready to help a Texans team that desperately needs help in the secondary. B
Cincinnati Bengals: Jermaine Gresham – The Bengals drafted the surest receiver in the draft, he just happens to be a tight end. The way Carson Palmer has regressed a bit means Gresham might be just what he needs. He’s more into throwing safer passes, and Gresham’s advantage over safeties and linebackers should help Palmer feel more comfortable on balls throw that way. B+
Denver Broncos: Demaryius Thomas, Tim Tebow – Oh Denver, you were doing so well with all your trade downs. Honestly, I like Thomas, I just think Dez Bryant is better. Also, I’m starting to like Tim Tebow, but mainly because there are so many haters for a guy that plays the game with all the passion and effort any fan could hope for. I think he has a chance to be a good quarterback at the NFL level, and now I’m rooting for him. I think Denver reached a little bit on both picks, and I would have loved to see them grab Dan Williams and Dez Bryant, but they traded down to get the guys they wanted at a better value than they would hvae been had they drafted them at their original draft slot. Take notes, Jacksonville, write it on your hand, use a sharpie. C+
Arizona Cardinals: Dan Williams – The Cardinals are good at drafting. Dan Williams is only going to make that elite defensive front that much better. Great value pick for the Cardinals, even though they didn’t have a high need at defensive tackle. A
New England Patriots: Devin McCourty – The Patriots traded down to draft who they wanted, and maybe McCourty is better made for their defensive schemes than Kyle Wilson – but I think the Patriots should have drafted Wilson at this spot, or Dez Bryant, or Jared Odrick – even Jahvid Best possibly. Smart teams draft corners that help in Round 1, but I thought there was a lot of value to be had elsewhere. C+
Miami Dolphins: Jared Odrick – The Dolphins traded down a few times and ended up with a great 3-4 defensive end prospect – a kid that has very functional strength on the football field, and a motor to match his ability. This is a perfect player for the Dolphins defense that needed help up front. They made a good choice to pass on a pass-rushing OLB with so many still on the board. A
New York Jets: Kyle Wilson – The Jets just gave themselves the best corner trio in football. Wilson’s ability to man up on receivers will allow the Jets to come up with some crazy blitzes and still be safe in coverage. They have 3 playmaking man corners that will do work for them. They are going to be good. Great value pick, as they didn’t feel like they needed to press for a need. They get an extra bonus for taking my top rated corner back. A
Indianapolis Colts: Jerry Hughes - The Colts are also smart. They happened to get the best pass rusher in the draft to fall into their laps at 31, and they took him. It’s not brain surgery, but they seem to make it look a lot easier than most. A+
New Orleans Saints: Patrick Robinson - The Saints see the value in adding depth and strength at corner. Robinson has the ability to help a Super Bowl caliber team right away at a position where they needed depth and ability. Good move by them. Great value? Probably not, but a good move nonetheless. B+
The NFL Draft takes place later this week (starting Thursday and ending Saturday). The First Round takes place on Thursday Night, starting at 7:30 PM ET. Rounds 2 and 3 take place on Friday Night, starting at 6 PM ET. And Round 4-7 take place on Saturday Morning starting at 10 AM ET. Below, I’ve listed the 40 players that I think will make the best pros. You should see most of these guys get drafted in the 1st Round. This is my Big Board…
- Sam Bradford: I’ve loved this guy’s game since the first time I saw him throw for Oklahoma. He’s got great size, great speed, amazing touch, and even better intangibles. Many people said this was a weak quarterback class – they are wrong, Bradford will be great.
- Eric Berry: Don’t pay for safeties? Why, every Super Bowl Champ has one.
- Ndamukong Suh: This guy is an unstoppable force in the interior.
- Anthony Davis: If he gets stronger mentally, he’s easily the best OT in the future.
- Rolando McClain: He’s super physical and makes plays all over the field. He gets angles and reads everything.
- Gerald McCoy: McCoy should be a great DT for years, he is solid against the run and gets up field quick on passing downs.
- Earl Thomas: This guy is very close to Berry, closer than people give him credit for. A true center fielder in the secondary.
- Dez Bryant: I’ve never been a fan of paying for receivers, but if you do, it might as well be on an elite talent like Dez.
- Jermaine Gresham: This kid is an elite receiver. He’s big, fast, has a great eye for the ball, and is fluid.
- Brandon Graham: He’s a difference maker against the pass right now. How many teams need that? Great nose for the ball.
- Jason Pierre-Pual: Maybe not immediately, but I’ve watched this kid do amazing things on the football field – he’ll be real good player in a couple years.
- Russell Okung: I think Davis has a brighter future, but Okung might be the safest OT out there.
- C.J. Spiller: The kid is a touchdown maker – however you look at that, it’s pretty important in the NFL.
- Jerry Hughes: This kid can flat out rush the passer, right now. He’s not rated this high, but he’s this good.
- Derrick Morgan: I don’t know if he’s elite at any one thing, but good against run and pass and a great hard working style.
- Kyle Wilson: Everyone has Haden ranked as the highest corner, and the only corner assured a 1st round spot – but I think Wilson’s ball skills an game changing plays make him a Top 20 guy.
- Dan Williams: Williams looks like a very good nose tackle in a league that is always looking for one. He should become an immediate starter in the middle.
- Bryan Bulaga: I love this guy’s game. He’s got great balance, a very underrated key to a good offensive lineman.
- Sean Weatherspoon: I see Weatherspoon being and immediate help to a good defense. He is a true every down linebacker that can get it done from the sideline
- Joe Haden: I don’t rate him as my top corner, but he’s not far behind. Great speed and hips make him a great prospect – but remember, it’s easier to guard guys when your front 7 give opposing QBs no time at all, like Haden’s D-front at Florida.
- Golden Tate: I know he doesn’t have an elite body, or amazing speed, but I watched him single handily make Jimmy Claussen look like an amazing QB while at Notre Dame. This kid can just flat out play the game.
- Sergio Kindle: The kid can really mess stuff up for opposing offenses. He makes wow plays every time he plays.
- Jahvid Best: I find it interesting that he always struggled against good defenses, but then again, his offensive line didn’t show up in those games. His speed, burst, and vision to find cutting angles is elite.
- Trent Williams: It’s always tough for me to go crazy about an OT with questions about his work ethic and love for the game – that is a position that desperately needs both, but on talent alone, Williams has to be listed.
- Taylor Mays: This kid likely comes out and shows everyone why he was supposed to be a Top 10 pick in last years’ draft. Note to everyone: he’s still the same amazing athlete he was two years ago.
- Mike Iupati: I think I like Mike lower because he’s a guard, but he looks like an All-Pro to me, and that’s probably more than at least half the guys in front of him will be able to say.
- Carlos Dunlap: Maybe I’m missing something. Dunlap seems to be falling down drafts, but here’s a guy that stepped up in big games. He might not have elite speed on the edge, but uses his hands well and has the body to disrupt offenses on many levels.
- Brandon Spikes: Knows how to win, great leader, great nose for the big play. Tough for me to pass up.
- Ryan Matthews: Matthews looks like he has all the tools to be a very successful every down back in the NFL – he has great moves and finishes forward as well as any back in the draft. to sideline against the pass and run. Very smart football player.
- Kareem Jackson: Great ball skills, very fluid, plays faster than his times would insist. Sounds like a great football player to me.
- Demaryius Thomas: Every year I like to look at elite receivers that were stuck in questionable passing situations – enter Mr. Thomas, he’ll be a good one.
- Toby Gerhart: Gerhart runs with a passion and physicality unmatched by any player in the draft, and he’s faster than most people think. I see no reason that he doesn’t succeed if given the chance to carry the load.
- Dexter McCluster: Like Spiller, McCluster can change games. He just makes plays. He’s not the fastest guy in the draft, but he’s probably the quickest, and that’s probably more important than straight line speed.
- Jimmy Claussen: He looks like a pretty boy whiner, but he showed some great poise and toughness last year, and I can’t leave him off this list no matter how much I want to.
- Arrelious Benn: Benn is a very physical receiver that does a lot of things well. He has great upside.
- Charles Brown: He lost some of his luster after the Trojans struggled, but he’s still got a bright future.
- Mike Williams: Williams is a huge personality risk, but he’s also one of the most physically gifted offensive players in the draft. I might not take the chance if I was a GM, but I’ll take the chance as a sports writer…
- Eric Norwood: Underrated player, and maybe I just think he’ll be great because of the way he made plays on the collegiate level – but I see a guy that can do it all.
- Maurkice Pouncey: Most great offensive lines have great centers, this guy has a Pro Bowl or six in his future.
- Colt McCoy: He may be small, but he’s accurate, quick, fearless, and one heck of a leader.
March 29, 2010 by luckylester · Comments Off
This Mock Draft has been updated as of April 15th, early Thursday morning. A trade or two has gone down, and the draft’s layout has changed a bit. Check out my most recent update!
After an action packed off-season with signings and tradings galore, and seeing as though we are just a month away from the real deal, I’ve put together my second mock draft for you. I think this one will be a little more accurate, but don’t forget to head back to my first mock draft – as there was plenty of intelligent picks to be had. I can’t wait for the most exciting day of the off-season, even if ESPN is doing their best to make this a week-long event. Let the drafting begin!!!
- St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma: As I said in my original Mock Draft way back before the Super Bowl, Bradford is easily the best quarterback in this class and his future is bright – I loved him as the top quarterback in a much better QB class last season, and I like him just as much this year (but with more injury concerns). I also had him going #4 to the Redskins. But since then, the former Heisman Trophy winner has shown his true colors, and they now believe his upside and the fact that he could be a great quarterback ends up being too much for the QB-less Rams to pass up.
- Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska: The biggest baddest sure thing star in the draft. I now understand why the Rams likely won’t pick the DT #1 overall, and that’s all fine and dandy, but I would take THIS DT #1 overall because he would fit a huge need, help a bad defense, and is the best player in college football. That last part is a big deal. I am a little sick of the idea of where a player should be drafted based on their position. You take the biggest difference maker, and I think Suh is that. I love Bradford, and get what the Rams are thinking, but the Lions benefit big time from that move. The big cat almost won the Heisman as a freaking defensive tackle. He’s a no-brainer for me.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma: This beast of a tackle would have been a Top 10 pick last season, but he stayed in school – unlike some other Oklahoma Sooners, this season only upped his stock, as McCoy gained strength and speed and proved even more dominating than before. He has the ability to be a force against both the run and pass. The Bucs likely benefit the most form St. Louis deciding to go quarterback here, they would have been looking at a safety or even reaching for an offensive lineman here, but now they get one of the best players in the draft at a position they have needs.
- Washington Redskins: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State: It looks like the Redskins agreed with McShay and myself on Claussen’s worth, which is exactly why they removed the chances of grabbing him by trading for Donovan McNabb. So now what will they do? I still think they lose in this draft as there’s no great value pick for them to grab. Russell Okung is supposedly the best offensive lineman in the draft, but I don’t see the elite footwork and athleticism that Mike Shanahan asks for in his OTs. So what do they do? Eric Berry probably isn’t an option for a team with a highly paid safety in the prime of his career. So what do they do? I haven’t seen a team drafting at 4 with so many questions. The Redskins almost have to move down here, but who wants this spot? If they stay here, and in my Mocks everyone stays in their slot, I think the Redskins should go for Anthony Davis, the most gifted OT in the draft, out of Rutgers. He fits the athletic mold Splinter likes from his O-linemen, and it fits a big need for the Skins. But it’s beginning to look like they won’t pick a question mark as large as Davis with a pick this high. Despite his limited athleticism, Okung is the guy that everybody sees as the safest thing right away, the guy most ready to help. That’s what the Redskins have signed up for, so they likely go Okung.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee: The Chiefs will probably shape a lot of the draft going forward, but I’ve decided it’s too hard to pass up a pro-bowl caliber player at a position of need for a team that needs a leader in the secondary. There it is. Eric Berry is a great pick for the Chiefs.
- Seattle Seahawks: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State: I’m not sure why the Hawks traded 2nd round picks with San Diego to get Whitehurst, but hey, maybe that is worth it in the future. What it did was eliminate a chance at Brandon Marshall, because the Dolphins could put a better now and later package together. What it does is open the door for Seattle to go big with the draft’s most explosive offensive player, Dez Bryant. He could give Seattle a great deep threat to team with TJ Housh, and give the offense some explosion down field. A reach, maybe, but his character questions are blown out of proportion, and he’s a big time game-breaker.
- Cleveland Browns: Joe Haden, CB, Florida: The Browns would be smart to sure up their defense with the best corner prospect in the draft, really the only guy that has a guaranteed 1st round grade and first round production in college (though I like Kyle Wilson from Boise State). Haden has good value here as the only cover corner with a 1st round slot, plus I think he’ll be very good, and the Browns could always use help at any position really, and name a tougher position to find an elite player than corner. Okay, maybe QB – but there’s nobody the Browns should take at 7 there.
- Oakland Raiders: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida: This physical freak of nature could become exactly what a 3-4 defense wants at the pass rushing end. He has the physical tools to dominate and has the motor to make it happen. I think this is a great upside pick for a defense looking for big plays. The problem with this pick is that I really like this guy, he grades out really high, and the Raiders could use more pass rushing presence. Yes, that wouldn’t be a problem unless it was Oakland picking a team that rarely drafts logically. Oh well, I’ll give them a lucky accident here.
- Buffalo Bills: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma: I think Trent Williams would be a big help to the Bills. But it’s between intelligent helpful pick and Jimmy Claussen here, and I have an eerie feeling the Bills are going to go the wrong way with this one. Still, I like Williams as a pick for Buffalo, a team that could only get better on the offensive line, especially with the run-heavy scheme they will likely be running next season (likely scratching the hurry up they put together last year). Williams is big and strong and solid.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Earl Thomas, S, Texas: Don’t tell me that the Jaguars get smart and draft a kid that will immediately make their defense better as a leader and a great player for a secondary that really struggles to hold their own against the rest of the NFL. Don’t tell me it’s happening. I’m putting this pick down because it’s smart, it’s perfect, it’s easy – but I wouldn’t be stunned for a minute if Jacksonville grabbed Claussen here.
- Denver Broncos: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee: I originally had the Broncos adding Earl Thomas, and still think he’d be a great pick for the Broncos here. In my draft, their new elite receiving prospect is off the board, and that’s probably good, because taking a receiver high wouldn’t be the greatest help to this team. Dan Williams projects as a great center piece in a 3-4 defense, and a great defensive lineman is something Denver could really use. Plus, it snags a player the Dolphins covet at pick 12 – perfect.
- Miami Dolphins: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech: Before the Marshall trade I saw the best wide receiving prospect in the draft going here, but with Marshall on board, and Dez now off the board, they’ll have to go in a different direction. They could use some help at lots of places, but defense is probably their biggest need. They don’t have any outside linebackers that make their 3-4 great, and they could go for a guy like Kindle here, but I think Morgan is the better value. They can use him on the line somewhere – he might not be a prototypical guy in a 3-4, but he does everything well, against the pass and run, and has a great motor – which should help even out the Brandon Marshall trade…
- San Francisco 49ers: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa: I like Brian Bulaga… This big offensive tackle has the feet I want in an offensive lineman, and he hasn’t reached his full potential yet. Yes, I like OL guys that don’t rely too heavily on overpowering college defensive linemen throughout their NCAA careers – because in the NFL, that won’t always be an option. Bulaga has the footwork to be very good, and should help a struggling run-game from the get go. People say that Bulaga isn’t an elite athlete, but balance is a key to athleticism in my mind and he’s great there. I had the Niners picking up Brian with their next pick, and that’s still possible, but this is a great fit for them in a big spot of need.
- Seattle Seahawks: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers: I thought the Hawks would get a chance at Morgan, but he’s off the board now. That leaves them in a good spot to take the most talented offensive lineman in the draft. The Hawks have good offensive line coaches in Seattle, and they should be able to do a lot with Davis. There’s no doubt in my mind that an OL pick in the 1st round would really help the Hawks’ chances at success.
- New York Giants: Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: There’s not much I have to say besides that this kid is one of the best football players I watched on the college level this season. I’m not ready to say this is one of the biggest needs the Broncos have, or that I can justify this pick over a defensive end and physical specimen like Carlos Dunlap, but McClain is a beast and would certainly give this team a lot of options at line-backer. I think he makes the entire defense more physical and athletic. Carlos Dunlap: The Giants could use some push on defense. I think Dunlap’s size and physical upside makes him a great selection for a Giants team that definitely lost a bit of their defensive punch as the season went forward. This team had a lot of injuries, and I’m not sure they have terrible need anywhere, which makes Dunlap, and his upside, an even better selection.
- Tennessee Titans: Sergio Kindle, DE, Texas: This team definitely needs pass rush help, as the time opposing quarterbacks got when they dropped back definitely effected the defense and their 31st ranking against the pass. There are lots of options defensively, and I’m not sure which guy fits the Titans’ defense best – but I like Sergio Kindle as a playmaker in a defensive front that is lacking difference makers. I think Brian Price is a good pick, as is Jason Odrick or even Everson Griffen – and those all might be safer picks, but Kindle’s big play ability wins out here.
- San Francisco 49ers: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State : I sure hope not, and I know some people thought I was crazy when I suggested the 49ers go OL-OL in back to back 1st round picks, but that’s because I really don’t think Claussen will work out, and two big guys will really help this team gain an identity. Claussen can run a pro-style offense, and that’s something to pursuade the Niners with, but I’m thinking true help for a team on the verge of the playoffs wins out, and they go a different direction. Kyle Wilson can help the 49ers where they really struggled down the stretch, deep. Wilson is a very solid ball defender that makes big plays and is downgraded a bit because he played for Boise State. I think if he played for Florida he’d be a Top 10 pick. This guy can play.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho: The Steelers need help right now, and I think Iupati steps in and plays from the get go. He’s a beast of a guard, and a technician for a rookie – he should sure up Big Ben’s time in the pocket, and if he does a really good job, they’ll put him in charge of keeping Ben out of trouble at bars and sorority houses and strip clubs alike.
- Atlanta Falcons: Brian Price, DT, UCLA: Mel Kiper has C.J. Spiller going here, but that doesn’t make too much sense to me. They already have a running back that gets a huge portion of carries, they have a guy in Jerious Norwood who, when healthy, has been dynamic with his limited touches, and they need a lot of help defensively to waste their 1st round pick on a situational running back (which is what Spiller would be for them). What the Falcons need more than anything is some help stuffing the run. Brian Price would give the Falcons everything they need up front, help against the run and a pass rushing presence from the interior.
- Houston Texans: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan: I haven’t seen Graham going to the Texans in many mock drafts, but the kid could do big time things rushing the passer opposite Mario Williams. No double teams, no problem – Graham’s quickness will automatically make life tough for opposing quarterbacks, and put less pressure on a shaky secondary. If you can’t improve your secondary with a value pick at corner or safety, why not improve your secondary with a value pick at defensive line?
- Cincinnati Bengals: Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State: The Bengals could really use a dual threat at defensive end, and this kid’s want-to and absolute motor will make him a solid option right off the bat. They need help on the defensive line, at least some depth, because they are shallow up front and injuries derailed them late last season.
- New England Patriots: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson: I still love this pick for the Patriots. I don’t see what’s taking Bill Belichick so long. The Patriots love to pass the ball, and they love to pass it short, why not have one of the most feared open space players in the draft come in and make the most out of Tom Brady’s ability to read defenses, and take advantage of mismatches. Spiller is a mismatch to big play waiting to happen. I know he doesn’t fit the normal Patriot mold, but what does that mean anyway? Does it mean they haven’t drafted one in a while? I see Spiller as a double-digit touchdown guy in the NFL – the Pats could use that at the RB position.
- Green Bay Packers: Taylor Mays, S, USC: The Packers need help up front really bad. Sure, Aaron Rodgers holds on to the ball a little longer than he should, but that doesn’t mean a grip of those sacks weren’t the fault of a faulty offensive line. The Packers do need help there, but OTs have already been reached out for, and the next best shouldn’t be drafted here. They could go for a guy flying up the charts like center/guard prospect Maurkice Pouncey. Pouncey keeps defensive tackles in front, and can help run and offense, rarely making pass protection mistakes. However, Taylor Mays is on the board, and I don’t think he gets passed up here. He’s a playmaker, an elite size and speed guy that excelled two years ago for one of the best defenses in college football. He struggled a bit last year in a down year for the USC defense, often trying to do too much – but in a league that considers upside, Mays has great value here.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Everson Griffen, DE, USC: The Eagles need youth and help lots of places defensively, but who knows, they might just go on and add a 4th quarterback here just to further complicate matters and mess around with us. I thought they’d try to grab Dan Williams if he fell, but he won’t – that’s what I’ve figured – and I don’t know if there’s another defensive lineman that’s way better than the next guy, but I think Everson Griffen has the upside you want if you’re part of the Eagles’ brass. A big, bad O-lineman wouldn’t be bad here, but I think Griffen is the right choice.
- Baltimore Ravens: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma: I think Gresham is the biggest game changing receiving option left in the draft, and though Todd Heap has shown skills in the past, he’s about as reliable to play every day as Pacman Jones is at staying in line at a strip club. Heap’s best years are gone, his health is always a question, and I think Gresham is much more talented than him anyway. The Ravens could grab defensive help in numbers, a guy like Jerry Hughes or maybe even Brandon Spikes as a playmaker for the future. They could go for a wide receiver like Arrelious Benn, Bradon Lafell, or even Demaryius Thomas, an elite receiver physically that might have been held back in college by the offense he was in. But I think the Ravens don’t reach for a receiver here and instead take one of the best pass catching tight ends to come out in a long time.
- Arizona Cardinals: Brandon Spikes, ILB, Florida: Warner retired so did Bert Berry, Dansby and Boldin were traded, I don’t know what the Cardinals will need more. Similar to a wiffle-ball, they have lots of holes, I know that. I know Carlos does lots of things for the Cardinals, and I’m not sure that Spikes will get those all done right off the bat – but he’s a difference maker at the ILB position and he plays with the physicality and instincts that make good players great, and the Cardinals could use some more pop, especially now that Dansby is gone. I know Spikes isn’t projected this high, but if the Cardinals can get him, it’d be great for them. Some other options, Carlos Dunlap, Jerry Hughes, or even a quarterback if they like a guy like Claussen and he’s still waiting. Jermaine Gresham if he’s still there? You bet – definitely an option.
- Dallas Cowboys: Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, Florida: Oh what does the team that has everything draft? Good question. The Cowboys seem to be loaded at running back, possess a strong offensive line, look to be loaded on defense and have millions of dollars invested into receiver. Do they reach for an offensive lineman like Charles Brown and hope he develops into a starter for them? The Cowboys should probably trade down with no big time need, and acquire some picks in a very deep draft. But, if they do en up picking here, how about a guy like Maurkice Puncey? Good pick for them. He’d sure up the offensive line at a few positions, and help this team if things went wrong up front, plus add a great prospect for the future. This pick may not be flashy enough for Jones, but it’s a good one.
- San Diego Chargers: Jahvid Best, RB, California: I like Ryan Mathews and think he could be a very good running back in the NFL, but Best has special upside and he should be strongly considered here. Don’t decide against drafting him because he’s small and you already have a small back. I love Sproles and his ability to makes nothing into something, but if Best is small, Sproles is miniature. Best has amazing speed, and it translates on the field. People question him because of his concussion and his struggles against top ranked defenses – but this kid can run, and he’s going to be a good one. If you’re going to drop a 1st round pick on a running back, it might as well be a homerun talent you’re bringing in.
- New York Jets: Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame: I’m sticking with this one. The Jets have some good players at receiver, and Edwards and Cotchery both have good size and speed – and I don’t know what Tate will “measure” out at, but I have to be honest, I don’t care. Golden Tate should get a weekly thank you letter from Charlie Weis that says, “I’d like to thank you for getting me a job as an offensive coordinator after I got fired. You are the reason I looked good when I did.” Tate might not have great size or speed or whatever you want to have for receivers – but he does do one thing, he goes and gets the ball and he makes magic happen. The kid was unstoppable and he made Jimmy Claussen look really good on some “up for grabs” balls. I think the Jets could really use a guy like him in their run first, big pass play offense.
- Minnesota Vikings: Charles Brown, OT, USC: Brandon Spikes could slip, no doubt about it. As could a guy like Brian Price, and both would be good options for the Vikings. This team definitely needs some youth on defense and more specifically at linebacker. But, the Vikings could get that on the days following the first round, and I don’t think they’ll be able to get an OL prospect like Charles Brown unless they go now. Brown would give some nice depth on the line to a team with possibly question marks arising, as Brett got killed in the NFC Championship and the offseason wasn’t good to Bryant McKinnie’s respect level.
- Indianapolis Colts: Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama: Kareem’s ability to anticipate the throw, hold down a side, and make sure nothing gets over his head should really help him in Indy’s safe scheme. Jackson moves very well, not just fast, but with good balance and great hips. He looks like a very good corner to me, and Indy could always use help on the outside.
- New Orleans Saints: Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri: This seems like an easy pick for the Saints as Weatherspoon looks like the most NFL ready sideline to sideline OLB in the draft, and the Saints are looking for one because Scott Fujita bolted for greener (money) pastures in Cleveland. There are obviously lots of options at linebacker, and the Saints could find more value going for a guy like Carlos Dunlap, Jared Odrick, even a pass rush specialist like Jerry Hughes – some player ranked higher than Weatherspoon. But why risk it when you can get a great player to fill in when you need help?
- Best Players Left: Devin McCourty, Carlos Dunlap, Ryan Matthews, Jerry Hughes, Aaron Hernandez, Arrelious Benn, Terrence Cody, Demaryious Thomas, Brandon LaFell, Colt McCoy, Patrick Robinson, Jonathan Dwyer, Dexter McCluster, Jimmy Claussen, Mike Williams, Ed Dickson, Cam Thomas
January 28, 2010 by Ryan Kauffman · Comments Off
Red Red Ryan’s 2010 NFL Mock Draft
This is my first mock draft in my short history as a sports writer. I’ve read all that I can read about where some of the key free agents might be going, who is leaving, who might be traded, and who is unhappy with the players they have. I have studied up on the players and their expected combine numbers, their potential as NFL stars as well as their college situations. I think I have a pretty solid grasp on the first round of the NFL Draft – so here it goes.
- St. Louis Rams: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska: I don’t know how the Lions pass up on the biggest sure thing of the draft. Rarely can you get a difference maker at a key position on the line that is the popular choice – don’t waste this St. Louis!
- Detroit Lions: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma: I know this is the same start to my mock as Lucky Lester’s mock, and everyone else’s mock too, but it just makes too much sense. I’ve liked McCoy since I thought he should come out last season, and his domination this year makes me like him even more. The Lions need help up front.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Joe Haden, CB, Florida: I know Berry is supposed to be the pick, but I don’t see value in a safety here, and I think, after much deliberation, the Bucs will feel the same way. The best corner in the draft is Joe Haden, and it’s not close. With Revis dominating all season long, I think a true shut down corner has some added value, and that value will sway the Bucs.
- Washington Redskins: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers: Many would like to see the Redskins go quarterback here, but I don’t think there’s a talented arm in the Shanny mold in this draft, and I think that leaves him grabbing the best offensive tackle with upside to fit his blocking scheme. Anthony Davis is that guy. He may not be the biggest or baddest lineman out there, but his combination of agility and upside has to be something Shanny likes. I think they’ll try to trade down with a team enamored by a QB, and I think they’ll be able to and still get Davis.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State: This guy is the biggest and baddest available, and the Chiefs could use him. It’s hard to get the most out of Matt Cassel and his average arm when he’s never getting time to throw. Okung is also a mauler than can help that new and improved Chiefs run-game.
- Seattle Seahawks: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee: Taylor Mays is a USC, Pete Carol guy, but what Pete and the Seahawks get here is probably the 2nd or 3rd best player in the draft. Berry would definitely help sure up that leaky Hawks secondary, and the Pee-Hawks will be really lucky to get this game breaker.
- Cleveland Browns: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma: Best quarterback in the draft, just like he would have been last season. His shoulder injuries are a little scary, but I think he’s worth the chance. Brady Quinn isn’t the answer. Holmgren has been solid with QBs, and I think Bradford is special.
- Oakland Raiders: Rolando McLain, OLB, Alabama: Al Davis is a nut job, but he has to see special when it dominates on the biggest stage. McLain is a beast, he brings the ruckus and he’ll be a good piece of an improving Raider defense.
- Buffalo Bills: Derek Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech: The Buffalo Bills need lots of things, but an every down end that can rush the passer and stop the run is a huge plus for that team, a team that will rely on their young and talented defense. Morgan has all the tools to be great, and he’s a good value here.
- *Jacksonville Jaguars: Earl Thomas, S, Texas: There’s Dunlap, there’s Tebow (if they’re really that in need of revenue), and there’s a bunch of other good players than can help – but Thomas is an every down difference maker on defense, and that’s as safe a bet as the draft has. I think they take him.
- *Denver Broncos: Carolos Dunlap, DE, Florida: Dunlap is a freak of nature, and if Josh McDaniels thinks he can get the most out of the very talented and ginormous defensive end, he’ll get picked up here. Jason Pierre-Paul could also go here. If McDaniels is really going to get a game changer, he’ll get Dez Bryant, but I think he waits on receiver help.
- Miami Dolphins: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State: Dez Bryant is a freak. I think he reacts to the ball as well as anyone, and he made a very mediocre college quarterback look very good the last two seasons. His run in with the NCAA will scare nobody. The Dolphins need WR help something fierce.
- San Francisco 49ers: Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland: I don’t see much else in terms of value for the Niners here. They could use a couple upgrades in the secondary I guess, so a guy like Taylor Mays could help, but they need more power up front, and Campbell has the athleticism to be a great one up front.
- Seattle Seahawks: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa: If the Hawks don’t get Eric Berry with their 6th pick, I think Mays could go here. Carol knows how great Mays can be, and he knows that a lot of those problems this season were do to over extending himself and trying to make every play for a struggling team. But since they have Berry, Mays is not an option here. Offensive tackle is, and the Hawks need help there. People who think the Hawks need Spiller here are flat crazy, as Carol will soon see that Justin Forsett will do just fine in that role, and a 1st round draft pick need not be wasted on a small running back. The Hawks could use some help on the defensive line too, but there’s lots of help there. I think Bryan Bulaga has enough OT upside for Seattle to grab him here.
- New York Giants: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma: Kevin Boss is solid, but he’s not Gresham. The Oklahoma pass catching end is special, and thus might be worthy of a middle of the pack 1st round pick. He was unstoppable during his last healthy season, and Eli could use a game breaker in the passing game.
- *San Francisco 49ers: Taylor Mays, S, USC: All the talent in the world, plenty of speed, brings it all every game – a game breaker – Mike Singletary’s type of player.
- *Tennessee Titans: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee: The Vols were very good defensively, and a lot of that credit has to be given to Williams and the way he dominated the line up front. He’s so strong and really uses good leverage. The Titans need defensive line help.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma: The Steelers really need help on the offensive line, and while Williams isn’t a guarantee to be great, he certainly proved he can play at a high level on the right side. Big Ben needs to stop holding the ball or get help up front, or both. Williams helps right now.
- *Houston Texans: Brian Price, DT, UCLA: The Texans keep building on defense, and it makes sense, because offensively they are good enough to win football games. I think Price will be a very good defensive tackle, and any other year he’s likely a Top 10 guy, but there’s so many D-linemen this year, he slips. Lucky Texans.
- *Atlanta Falcons: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida: I must have missed something letting this guy slip this far – but that always happens a couple times, and the Falcons, while not in a great need for a DE, have to take the very talented Paul at 20.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Aaron Hernandez, TE, Florida: Some think Aaron is the best of the TEs in a strong draft for pass catching big men. The Bengals definitely need some help in the passing game, another reliable threat for Palmer, and what better than a sure thing TE with great hands and mis-match type speed?
- New England Patriots: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson: I like what Lucky is thinking with this pick. Bill Belichick has to know a weapon when he sees one, and the Pats offense needs more weapons. Spiller scores a touchdown every game, that needs to be recognized. I think Sergio Kindle could go here as well.
- Green Bay Packers: Charles Brown, OT, USC: I’m doing this for lack of a better plan. I think Kindle could go here too, but offensive line is a big need and Brown is the next best OT. The Pack won’t want to leave the draft without some help up front, and it will be slim pickings later. Maybe the Pack would take a chance on the very talented Jahvid Best? I just don’t think a back-up RB has that much value here.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Navorro Bowman, OLB, Penn State: This is a great fit for the Eagles, a sure tackler that can get sideline to sideline. They were hurting at LB so much that they brought Trotter back in the fold. Seriously – as much as I did that guy, come on. I also think Everson Griffen has a chance to go here.
- Baltimore Ravens: Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame: The Ravens could go for the ideal WR body, speed and height, or they could go for the guy that is going to get it done, a guy that dominated all season long at ND. I think they go with option two after watching Derrick Mason be so consistent over the years.
- Arizona Cardinals: Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas: The Cardinals would be oh-so-lucky to get Kindle here, especially after the retirement of Bertrand Berry. Kindle is not a physicall imposing player, but what a difference maker and unbelievably physical for his size. A steal at 26.
- Dallas Cowboys: Brandon Spikes, ILB, Florida: Keith Brooking is 34 and Spikes is one of the best defensive players in college football. I’m not saying he can easily replace what Brooking did for the Cowboys this season, but he can learn from him, and he can help right away everywhere else.
- San Diego Chargers: Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho: Could the Chargers reach for the mammoth nose tackle Cody, knowing they need to clog up the middle on defense? Maybe. Could they go RB, to replace LT’s production as a more powerful back to team with Sproles? Maybe, but I think this is too high to go RB for them. Mike Iupati is a beast of a guard, and this run-game needs help. I think he starts right away for an O-line that needs some upgrades.
- New York Jets: Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, TCU: The Jets aren’t in dire need of offensive play-makers like everyone insists – come on. They have a stellar offensive line. They have a great defense – so I think they get to pick the best player available. If they think Hughes can fit somewhere in that 3-4, I think he works. He might not be the biggest or strongest, but the guy has gotten it done with great consistency, and I think Rex can appreciate a great football player.
- Minnesota Vikings: Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State: The kid is a good player and the Vikings could always use help in the secondary, he’ll help right now. For a team that was so good all season on both sides of the ball, I think the Vikings could get youth at any position and feel good about it. That being said, I still think it’s Robinson.
- Indianapolis Colts: Vladimir Ducasse: The Colts won’t go receiver, they don’t need RB help, and they are pretty much solid everywhere. They could always use warm bodies on defense where the team seems to sift through injuries, and a guy like Brandon Spikes or even Brandon Graham could go here. But I like this kid’s upside, and from what I read he has some great intangibles. The Colts are always looking to grab great upside.
- New Orleans Saints: Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State: This guy and Sedrick Ellis will clog up the middle, and bring a consistent inside pass rush for a long, long time. The Saints get a great player if Odrick falls to them.
That’s right, just one quarterback. My honest opinion is that Bradford is the only guy worth dipping a number one pick one, and none of the teams late in the draft should be loosing a 1st rounder to get a quarterback. If a trade down happens, sure, I can see that – but predicting a trade right now is straight ludicrous.
January 25, 2010 by luckylester · Comments Off
I’ve always thought that a pre-end of season mock draft is crazy. There’s so much time to go, shoot, we don’t even know which underclassmen are for sure and which ones are just flirting with the big show. But we have ideas, thoughts, predictions, and all that junk, and since this is just fiction and fortune telling at it’s best, I might as well get in on all the fun. Here’s my own mock draft, which player I would pick if I was the team on the clock. I’ll tell you one thing, it will take me a hell of a lot less time to make my draft happen then it will during the actual draft. As is, right now, pre-free agency signings and trades and combine and everything – this is what I’ve got…. This is my only Mock Draft that is solely based on the team’s needs and my opinion of where the team should go. After this, it’s all fortune telling! (* indicates that the exact draft order for these positions is still up to a coin flip)
Lucky Lester’s 2010 NFL Mock Draft
- St. Louis Rams: Ndamukong Suh:The biggest baddest sure thing star in the draft. I know some find it wrong to take a DT #1 overall, and that’s all fine and dandy, but this is the DT you take #1 overall because he would fit a huge need, help a bad defense, and is the best player in college football. The big cat almost won the Heisman as a freaking defensive tackle. He’s a no-brainer for me.
- Detroit Lions:Gerald McCoy: This beast of a tackle would have been a Top 10 pick last season, but he stayed in school – unlike some other Oklahoma Sooners, this season only upped his stock, as McCoy gained strength and speed and proved even more dominating than before. He has the ability to be a force against both the run and pass. This would help the entire Lions defense.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers:Eric Berry: The Buccos actually have a pretty solid offensive line, a nice youngster at QB that is way ahead of where most expected him to be, and a few running backs that have all had success in the league. I think Dez White is going to be special, and they could use help at receiver, but I would never take a WR in the Top 5 – that’s too much money going to that position.
Defensively, they could stand to gain some youth and explosiveness. I would go D here.They don’t really have a big need at safety, but Eric Berry is one heck of a game-breaker in the secondary – this is a little high for safety, not a spot you want to over pay. So I’m a bit hesitant. They could definitely use some help in the middle of that defensive line, and you can bet they’ll be hoping one of the top D-tackles falls to them at the 3rd spot. In my draft, I was smart, and I drafted those two bigs 1 and 2, so that leaves me in a bit of a quandary here.
I think Joe Haden had a great chance to go here, because corner is a tougher place to find starter-quality players than safety, but my belief in Berry as an elite pro has me taking the Tennessee safety here.
- Washington Redskins:Sam Bradford: The Redskins need offensive linemen bad, but it’s hard for me to believe that the best offensive line prospect, Russell Okung, will be drafted by Mike Shanahan. Shanny, or Splinter, as I call him, has always had a thing for linemen with elite footwork and quickness.
Okung is one hell of a player, but he’s not an elite athlete at the position. He’ll fit in most offenses, but at #4, it’s hard for me to see Shanny grabbing a guy that doesn’t fit the bill. What I do think Splinter has been good at is grabbing QBs. He’s a pretty good judge of talent there, though I’m not sure my favorite, Sam Bradford, has the arm strength master Splinter wants in a signal caller. Oh the tough decisions.
If I were the Redskins, I would trade down. I’m sure there will be a team wanting to get here to grab their favorite signal caller, and the Skins need help in a few places. Still, no trades for me, I’m not that good of a mock drafter, so I’ll take Sam Bradford. I think he is by far the best QB in the class, and though he doesn’t have John Elway or Jay Cutler arm strength, I think his future is bright.
- Kansas City Chiefs:Russell Okung: The Chiefs and coach Todd Haley could try to bolster their offense, which was 23rd in points scored and 25th in total yards in his first season as the head man. KC has compiled one heck of a coaching staff this off-season, hiring a couple big name former ex-Patriots’ staff members in Romeo Crennel (DC) and Charlie Weis (OC). Last year, the Chiefs went heavy defense, using thier first 3 picks on two defensive linemen and a corner. It didn’t help much as they were 29th in points give up and 30th in yards allowed. Yikes.
Considering their rushing resurgence over the final weeks of the season, and how that might be the only thing they have going for them, I’m sticking with my offense and grabbing Russell Okung. He’s a big bad man, and a guy that would help the Chiefs keep Matt Cassel off his ace and continue that rushing attack. He’s a mauler.
- Seattle Seahawks: Anthony Davis: The Rutgers offensive tackle has the tools to be an elite left tackle in the NFL. Face it, the Hawks have needed help along the offensive line for a long time. They could go defense here, sure, but the D-line is deep in this draft, and amongst the top O-line prospects, I think Davis has the best feet and thus the best upside. If I were the Hawks, I would love to see Sam Bradford, Eric Berry, or one of the D-Tackles here, but I’ll certainly settle for upgrading a position that is almost always the determining factor between playoff teams and those watching after Week 17 – offensive line success is a must! And in that spot, I’m looking for upside, not brute force.
- Cleveland Browns: Dez Bryant: I know this is higher than everybody else has the WR going, but he’s an elite pro prospect at the position. His “situation” this year is hardly a knock on his draft stock, and he was dominating during the season before his suspension. I think his size and speed as well as his ability to react to the ball make him an awesome prospect, one of the best since Calvin Johnson. Not that it matters, because this is MY DRAFT, but those that don’t think Holmgren would waste a pick on a WR here, give me a break, he traded a 1st rounder for Deion Branch, drafted Koren Robinson, and sees a need for an elite play-maker in a suspect passing game. Seems to fit.
- Oakland Raiders: Trent Williams: This is a tough, “What would I do” pick – I mean, if I were Al Davis, I would take out my batteries and fade away into oblivion, but that’s hardly part of “draft strategy” or is it? As is, I’m not taking into account the crazies that run these teams, so I’m going for what I’d go with. Derrick Morgan is a possibility, but he didn’t always impress me, and G-Tech defensive ends (seems like there’s always one great pass rusher on that team) scare me. So I’m waiting to draft him.
I think Trent Williams intrigues me here. I’m not enamored with either of the other two top quarterbacks, and while JaMarcus Russell has about as bright of a future as Al Davis himself, you can’t go wrong with Trent Williams. He’s a big strong tackle that can help immediately, and I promise he’ll make ten times the impact of a guy like, say, Darius Heyward-Bey….
- Buffalo Bills: Bruce Campbell: The Bills need help everywhere, no doubt, and you can bet their new staff will be turning every stone to acquire more draft picks or get the one guy here that can really help them move forward. I really like Joe Hadden, still the best player on my board, and has been for a while, but this team has some great young corners, especially last year’s 2nd round pick, Jairus Byrd – the guy nabbed 9 interceptions in his rookie season. Nasty. This team actually isn’t bad defensively. Numbers will tell you they stink, and they could definitely sure up that run-defense, but having an offense that scores no points and gets no yards puts a defense in bad spots. I think the Bills could take a chance on Jimmy Claussen here.
But I wouldn’t go that direction. The Bills need to run the ball, and especially with the run-game guru signed up as head coach, there are some good fits in this draft. I think Bruce Campbell’s quickness and footwork make him a great upside pick, and while this may be a little early, I’m looking for good, solid, franchise players that will help these teams. Bruce fits the bill.
- *Jacksonville Jaguars: Joe Haden: Perfect fit, great player, great value, a big need for a low-level pass defense that needs help in the secondary. There’s not much to say about this except the Jaguars will be really damn lucky if Haden falls to them.
- *Denver Broncos: Rolando McClain: There’s not much I have to say besides that this kid is one of the best football players I watched on the college level this season. I’m not ready to say this is one of the biggest needs the Broncos have, or that I can justify this pick over a defensive end and physical specimen like Carlos Dunlap, but McClain is a beast and would certainly give this team a lot of options at line-backer. I think he makes the entire defense more physical and athletic.
- Miami Dolphins: Jason Pierre-Paul: In the mold of a Jason Taylor more than a Joey Porter, this physical freak of nature could become exactly what a 3-4 defense wants at the pass rushing end. He has the physical tools to dominate and has the motor to make it happen. I think this is a great upside pick for a defense looking for big plays.
- San Francisco 49ers: Earl Thomas: I would consider Colt McCoy if I didn’t love Nate Davis’s game. That’s right, the kid that didn’t play for the 49ers this year has a bright future, and sooner than later that will be realized. As for this next season, they 49ers probably find a way to stick with Alex Smith, they owe themselves that much. And I think they should, they have bigger needs now than quarterback.
C.J. Spiller is intriguing if they are going to go against Mike Singletary’s initial hopes and run the spread, the guy could be a huge game breaker for them, but come on, Frank Gore is an all around beast, so Spiller is out. Derrick Morgan is still there, but I’m not sure he translates to a 3-4 defensive end or an outside linebacker, either way, the 49ers are pretty stout up front on D and while his value is high, I think the Niners are closer to being good than needing to build.
I think Mike, and myself as well (if I was running the Niners) would like to be stronger up front, but I’m not sure the value fits that position here. In the end I go with Earl Thomas. The 49ers are great against teh run, but Earl could really help them cover some ground in the secondary. He clogged passing lanes for a great Texas defense and I think he’ll do it at the next level as well.
- Seattle Seahawks: Derrick Morgan: I would have loved Earl Thomas here, for the Hawks, because they need help in that secondary bad. Taylor Mays could be the guy, and I’m this close to pulling that trigger, but the Pete Carol/USC roots thing is just too good to be true, even for a mock draft. But hey, Derrick Morgan with the 14th pick is an absolute steal, and so is Carlos Dunlap, both options that are, amazingly enough, still sitting around waiting to hear their names called here.
I think quarterback can wait, and since the Hawks already grabbed an offensive lineman earlier in this round, help on the defensive line seems like a good move. I like Derrick Morgan’s motor, and even as a GT D-end, his strength against the pass and run seems too good to pass up in the middle of Round 1. I don’t see Carrol, a defensive guru, moving to a 3-4, something he didn’t run at USC – and he’s already loaded at linebacker, so if he did that, this pick wouldn’t make sense.
- New York Giants: Carlos Dunlap: The Giants could use some push on defense. I think Dunlap’s size and physical upside makes him a great selection for a Giants team that definitely lost a bit of their defensive punch as the season went forward. This team had a lot of injuries, and I’m not sure they have terrible need anywhere, which makes Dunlap, and his upside, an even better selection.
- *San Francisco 49ers: Brian Bulaga: Jimmy Claussen is still on the board here, but I would still do my best to steer clear. I like Brian Bulaga… This big offensive tackle has the feet I want in an offensive lineman, and he hasn’t reached his full potential yet. Yes, I like OL guys that don’t rely too heavily on overpowering college defensive linemen throughout their NCAA careers – because in the NFL, that won’t always be an option. Bulaga has the footwork to be special, and should help an struggling run-game from the get go. The Niners definitely make the most of their two mid-round picks.
- *Tennessee Titans: Brian Price: Offensively, I actually think the Titans are stout. They could reach for a special tight end, and I think this draft has plenty to choose from, but I personally don’t believe in 1st round tight ends. Especially because Vince has a nice relationship with Bo Scaife, and they’ve shown that on the field. The team definitely needs pass rush help, as the time opposing quarterbacks got when they dropped back definitely effected the defense and their 31st ranking against the pass. They could get that at end, but the best defensive lineman on the board is Brian Price. Price might not be a freak of nature, isn’t 6’8″ and 320 pounds with a 50 inch vertical or anything, but the guy clogs holes, disrupts quarterbacks, and causes ruckus on the football field. The Titans need that.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Everson Griffen: Obviously offensive line is something I rate high, and the Steelers need help there badly, but my appreciation and respect for what good offensive linemen mean has the top 5 gone by pick 16, two picks before the Steelers draft. This team needs pass-blockers bad, and there’s a good chance one of the top 5 slip. If Bulaga or Campbell or Davis fell this far, I’d have them in black and gold in a hurry. As is, there’s no value at OL here, so I have to go another route.
Everson Griffen is an elite prospect that is probably coming out a little too early – but he could be molded into a 3-4 end. This is a team that never has too many concerns about drafting defensive prospects, and some help on the line. Brett Keisel will be in his 9th season, and while he’s still a force, Griffen would be a nice selection if the Steelers believe he can become that rush end in their base defense.
- *Houston Texans: Patrick Robinson: The Texans need help in the secondary, some way, some how. They’ve invested a lot into the defensive line, and they have some great upside there. The kids are growing up and now they need some lock-down players on the outside. I don’t know if Patrick Robinson is a Top 20 corner, but he’s close, and he definitely will help make plays for the Texans on the outside. Houston could go for help at linebacker, or even grab a guy like Taylor Mays, but I think Robinson helps them in a place of need, and he’s a lot better than option 3 at CB – value both for the team and in the draft.
- *Atlanta Falcons: Taylor Mays:The kid is an absolute specimen. His size and speed are an uncanny pair, and he was one of the best defensive players in college football two seasons ago. This season, he got caught out of position a few times, and definitely was trying to do too much. But a kid, and his upside, doesn’t change that much in a year, and this guy is a top 10 pick in that department. He’s a playmaker, a helper against the run, a destroyer looking for big hits in the secondary. I think the Falcons could use all of that, and I think this is a steal here.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Jermaine Gresham: I said I don’t like 1st round TE’s and I wasn’t lying, but just like any drafter, I have my value price where I just can’t pass a guy up. Gresham is more of an elite wide receiver than a TE, similar to a guy like Witten, Gates, Tony Gonzalez, at least in terms of upside. The Bengals have never had a TE with that kind of ability, and without an elite WR right here for the Bengals to grab (for an offense that was definitely lacking explosiveness in the passing game) I think Gresham is a great pick.
- New England Patriots: C.J. Spiller: I don’t see what’s taking Bill Belichick so long. The Patriots love to pass the ball, and they love to pass it short, why not have one of the most feared open space players in the draft come in and make the most out of Tom Brady’s ability to read defenses, and take advantage of mis-matches. Spiller is a mis-match to big play waiting to happen. I know he doesn’t fit the normal Patriot mold, but what does that mean anyway? Does it mean they haven’t drafted one in a while? I see Spiller as a double digit touchdown guy in the NFL – the Pats could use that at the RB position.
- Green Bay Packers:Sergio Kindle: I just can’t see a team like Green Bay passing on a guy like Kindle. I think the Packers are in a great spot, they don’t need much, but Kindle is a great piece to a 3-4 defense because of his ability to just flat out make plays. I know the Packers have plenty of players at linebacker, but I’m not sure any of them is as good a pair as Kindle would be to Clay Matthews. Kindle’s explosive nature would be yet another piece for a fast forward Packers defense.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Navorro Bowman: The Eagles could definitely use some sideline to sideline play-making ability from the linebacker spot, some youth, some speed, some all around great play. Bowman is a great linebacker, and he can definitely do what the Eagles need him to do. He’s not a great guy to fight off blocks, but if the Eagles can let him roam, he’ll make plays all over the field.
- Baltimore Ravens: Brandon LaFell: I think LaFell is going to be one heck of a receiver. I think a receiver’s stats in college can often be thrown right out the window, especially if they are part of a really special passing attack or a really terrible passing attack. LaFell can mark down himself as a victim of the latter, but I still think he has #1 upside. The Ravens could get depth in a lot of places, or they could go for the gusto and see if one of the late 1st to 2nd round receivers fits like a glove. I think LaFell is a good choice.
- Arizona Cardinals: Brandon Spikes: I don’t know what the Cardinals will need more. They have lots of holes, I know that. Dansby is a question mark, will he be back, will he be happy? Kurt Warner? Retiring? Anquan Boldin? Traded? Bertrand Berry retired, I know that, so the Cardinals could definitely use an end. I’m going for one hell of a football player to replace Carlos Dansby. I know Carlos does lots of things for the Cardinals, and I’m not sure that Spikes will get those all done right off the bat – but he’s a difference maker at the ILB position, and the Cardinals could use some more pop, especially if Dansby hits the road.
- Dallas Cowboys: Ricky Sapp: I’m not sure what the Packers really need. They have a three-headed monster at running back, one highly paid under-performer at receiver but teamed with an underpaid pro-bowler makes it a pretty solid position. Then you have one of the best TEs in the league, a great young quarterback, and offensive line that is good (but needs youth) – then you have that defense that is really maturing in the secondary while staying as powerful as ever up front. Tough to find a hole.
I think the Cowboys have room to grab the best player available, and the only problem is, I think that’s an OLB named Ricky Sapp. They are loaded at OLB, and I don’t know if there’d be room for Sapp to play, unless they Boys got rid of either Ware or Spencer, both of which are elite OLBs. Jahvid Best is another guy that is high on my list, as is Ryan Matthews, but it’s tough to see the Cowboys going RB. I’m not sure if any of the DL prospects would fit nicely in that 3-4 as a lineman. So without further ado, I’m just going to go on ahead and select Sapp – he’s the best player on my board and I don’t love any O-line guys right at this spot. I think Sapp is a steal, I don’t know how I didn’t pick him earlier.
- San Diego Chargers: Jonathan Dwyer: Obviously LT isn’t likely to come back, and I think Dwyer is the best power back in the draft. He played an interesting FB type position at Georgia Tech, and he wasn’t as leaned on during his last season with the Jackets, but Dwyer is a beast and I think he has the power and quick burst to be a very good starting running back in the NFL. He’s a great match with a guy like Darren Sproles, the heavy deep fried dough to the sprinkles and frosting that make a doughnut. What can I say, I’m on pastry thoughts here.
- New York Jets: Golden Tate: The Jets have some good players at receiver, and Edwards and Cotchery both have good size and speed – and I don’t know what Tate will “measure” out at, but I have to be honest, I don’t care. Golden Tate should get a weekly thank you letter from Charlie Weis that says, “I’d like to thank you for getting me a job as an offensive coordinator after I got fired. You are the reason I looked good when I did.” Tate might not have great size or speed or whatever you want to have for receivers – but he does do one thing, he goes and gets the ball and he makes magic happen. The kid was unstoppable and he made Jimmy Claussen look really good on some “up for grabs” balls. I think the Jets could really use a guy like him in their run first, big pass play offense.
- Minnesota Vikings: Dan Williams: The original Williams’s aren’t going to be around forever, and Dan Williams is a heck of a defensive lineman and the name fits – but that’s just coincidence, I promise. He may not be a dead ringer for one of the Wild Things, but he’s a big bad man with an extremely strong lower body, and built in the mold to take up space and fight for position. The Vikings need back-ups for exactly that.
- Indianapolis Colts: Bruce Carter: Bottom line, Bruce Carter is a machine. The Colts seem to plug new players in all the time, and this guy seems like he’ll fit the bill. Carter is a little undersized, but the Colts probably won’t mind, shoot, he’ll fit right in. This guy was a big reason why the UNC Tar Heels were a defensive force in the ACC – his speed and ability to move to the ball would make him an ideal guy in Indy’s defensive schemes.
- New Orleans Saints: Brandon Graham: I think Graham might fit that Colts edge rusher ideal better – I mean he’s a little undersized, probably won’t measure out as an elite prospect, but just does everything he can to get to the quarterback and make tackles in the backfield. His production this season, on a team that wasn’t very good at winning football games, was just down right scary. I think Graham continues his production at the next level, and the Saints could use more motor and pass rushing prowess. Even if he’s not the ideal size, I see him as the best fit for the Saints.