Here’s my 2013 NFL Mock Draft. This has a little bit of everything – some support from what I’ve been reading, a little recognition of team needs, some understanding of how teams draft, and a couple shots in the dark based on how I graded out some of these players. This draft could get wild if there are some big trades that stick quarterbacks at different spots in the first round. There are a lot of very good defensive players in this draft which means great value late on that side of the ball. As always, Bart Scott and I “Can’t Wait!!!”
- Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel – If Andy Reid learned anything during his last couple years in Philadelphia it’s that your entire offense can be derailed by poor play from your offensive line. I know that Andy believes in getting the best player, and I’m not sure Luke projects out to the best future, but there’s not more of a sure thing – and a sure thing on the offensive line, a guy that’s going to protect your quarterback for 8 years, that’s worth the #1 pick. A good offensive line can make a very mediocre quarterback look good.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan – Dion has an amaznig skill set and size speed potential that make him special. Jordan has the ability to be an every down player that flies all over the field making plays. The Jaguars have really missed that elite athleticism on the line over the last few years, or forever (doesn’t it seem like they’ve drafted a pass rusher time and time again?). Jordan seems like the right direction for a team in need of a youth movement, and they pick here, it’s hard to argue with upside like Jordan.
- Oakland Raiders: Geno Smith – The ghost of Al Davis strikes! Geno could be a great player. He certainly is accurate, has decent arm strength, and he always know what his receivers are doing – always good to have a student of the game running your offense. But the Raiders need impact players, and while QB is certainly the biggest impact position, I’m not sure Geno is much more than a flier to be a top 20 QB. Dropping Carson Palmer to the Cardinals and picking up Flynn could mean they make the smart move and pick up an offensive line upgrade or it could be a young stop gap player to help prepare Geno. I personally like Flynn, but an investment in Smith might make sense financially as well. Remember, QBs aren’t cheap, but the new draft cap rules make sure that the #3 guy comes at a pretty nice price.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher – Very strong and athletic player on the offensive line. The Eagles will almost certainly move up and down the field fast, even if they don’t run Chip’s Oregon offense to a T. Regardless of what they run and the speed they run it at, it was certainly apparent that Philly needs improvement all over the line of scrimmage. Fisher looks extremely close to a sure thing protector.
- Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner – The Lions keep trying to improve their defense but seemingly always end up giving big plays up to opposing offenses. Milliner is a confident cat out on the edge, using his strength, speed, and athleticism to be the best college corner in 2012. This would be one way to help sure up that leaky secondary. They could use some help on the offensive line, but with Fisher gone, they might see Milliner as the best player.
- Cleveland Browns: Ezekiel Ansah – The Browns need a pass rush and they need it bad. I know Jarvis Jones could put some pressure on opposing QBs, but he has health concerns and some wonder if he has the speed to be an effective OLB. I see Ansah as size/speed combination to be worth this pick.
- Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson – The Cardinals’ offensive line was terrible last year. I don’t carecif Beanie Wells was a huge disappointment since getting drafted in the 1st round, the per yard carry average of runners in Arizona was a combined pathetic, and much of that is due to the OL not being able to move defenders. Land can pass block longe enough for Larry Fitz to get downfield. That’s something Arizona desperately needs.
- Buffalo Bills: Jonathan Cooper – The Bills had a solid rushing attack in 2012, as C.J. Spiller really stepped up to become the explosive big play back the Bills drafted a couple seasons ago. But without a sure thing at quarterback and no speed weapons on the outside, they’ll need to get bigger and badder in the middle of that offensive line if they want to keep running the ball. Cooper is one of the most athletic, gifted linemen in the draft and the Bills could use the improvement.
- New York Jets: Sharrif Floyd – Floyd looks like the highest rated impact athlete on the defensive side of the ball. I’m not sure DT is New York’s biggest need, but they need a sure thing difference maker with this pick, and Floyd will immediately become a top player for the Jets inside. Maybe he doesn’t fall this far, and maybe they go need over talent, but for a team that didn’t do a good job of stopping the run, there could be a worse decision than Floyd.
- Tennessee Titans: Star Lotulelei – This seems like the perfect situation for Tennessee, too good to be true, maybe? They need help inside to free up some of their pass rushers, and Lotulelei might be the best defensive player in the draft. By this point, he grades out as the best available. After getting the okay from doctors, Star could be one in Tennessee.
- San Diego Chargers: Chance Warmack – The bottom line is that Warmack could be the best impact lineman in the draft and the Chargers have a sieved for an offensive line. Don’t overthink this, San Diego.
- Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes – Good corner. Physical, fast, athletic – held down the secondary on one of the best defenses in the ACC, Rhodes would be an immediate starter in Miami, and the Dolphins (and just about every team in the AFC) could really use more help in the secondary. The way I see it, good corners are hard to find, and X Rhodes is one.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Barkevious Mingo – Mingo could be an elite pass rusher at the next level, and if the Bucs need an upgrade, the defensive line seems like a good start. As a 4-3 rush defensive end, I’m not sure Mingo will be a stud against the run, but his aggressive nature would help the Bucs improve against the pass and create more turnovers in 2013.
- Carolina Panthers: Tavon Austin – This would be an interesting pick for the Panthers, one that might open the game up a little for Steve Smith. It seems like the Panthers have been drafting players to pair with Steve Smith for years, only to watch those players struggle despite single coverage. Austin has the makings of a huge play guy, especially if surrounded by just single coverage. This may be a shot in the dark, but a big offensive weapon for their franchise quarterback is an option.
- New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones – Jones may not have timed as well as he hoped, but he’s still an explosive difference maker on the football field, which I feel adds up to the better teams in the league. He could help a defense that got a lot older last season, really struggled to make plays, and lost them a lot of high scoring games. He may not be a perfect fit, but they need good football players and Jones is that.
- St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vaccaro – Vaccaro is a difference maker at safety, a spot that the Rams don’t get a lot of big plays out of. He fits the draft slot as he is one of the best players available and the best player at his position, a position of need for St. Louis. Making this pick would mean that they didn’t spend too high of a pick on a receiver that is too raw. The Rams love to try and give Bradford something to work with, something they continually fail to do. This pick should be a sure thing, I don’t see a receiver worth taking here that is.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: D.J. Fluker – The Alabama running backs should probably shell out some of their signing bonuses to Mr. Fluker, a young man that has mauled the way for more than a couple NFL running backs. The Steelers are said to have more pressing needs, but I’m not so sure. I watched the Steelers play plenty last season, and Big Ben was either dinged up, running for his life, or handing off to running backs that had no where to go. Fluker would help this team a lot, adding some good youth on an offense that could use it.
- Dallas Cowboys: Bjoern Werner – This kid just seems like a Cowboy selection. He’s a big time talent, can rush the passer well, plays solid football against the run, and comes with some star potential. The Cowboys seem to be moving defensive schemes, and Werner could help them turn that corner.
- New York Giants: Sheldon Richardson – Richardson has the quickness and athleticism New York likes out of their defensive linemen. They find spots for defensive ends inside, even, and while Richardson isn’t an end, he has one of the best burst of any DT in the draft. He has good but not great size, but his ability to make big plays in the backfield at a key position could help the Giants right off the bat. Best player available, something the Giants do well.
- Chicago Bears: Manti Te’o – I hate when these kinds of things work out. The Bears lose Urlacher (well, they don’t resign the aging version of Urlacher) and Te’o is the best middle linebacker in the draft, a tackling machine that will come in with a lot of hype and some scrutiny. Bottom line here, Te’o is a gifted football player – something Urlacher always was, and something the Bears could definitely use in his old spot.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Justin Pugh – The Bengals might lose their former top pick, Andre Smith, but even if he does resign, picking up the only first round rated lineman left on the board would be a nice take for them. Pugh could play tackle or guard, and despite not having a “need” there if Smith comes back, their low rushing touchdown and yard per carry averages means it’s not quite a strength, either.
- St. Louis Rams (from Skins): Cordarrelle Patterson – After doing the right thing and passing on Patterson with their first pick of the first round, the Rams go with the immensely talented project receiver with their second selection. Sure, they could use help at WR, but I still think Patterson is too raw this early.
- Minnesota Vikings: Desmond Trufant – The younger brother of the formerly good Marcus Trufant (long time Seahawk, not good anymore), Desmond threw up some good times at the combine and looks like a great cover corner (even if he’s not the strongest against the run). The Vikings lost Antoine Winfield to the Seahawks, and they weren’t that good against the pass to begin with. This could be a nice fit.
- Indianapolis Colts: Tank Carradine – This kid was a beast for Florida State before getting hurt, he’s a really hard worker with a lot of toughness. He’s coming off an ACL tear, but just ran at his pro day and put up decent numbers. He can really get after the passer and makes effort plays all over the field. If not for the injury he looks like a Top 15 guy. The Colts make some pretty good moves, and taking a chance on Tank could benefit a defense looking for help on the line.
- Minnesota Vikings (from Hawks): Alec Ogletree – If the Vikings can help themselves get younger and more explosive in their front 7 by adding a difference maker inside like Ogletree, they have to take that chance. I know a lot of people expect Percy Harvin’s replacement to go with one of their first two picks, but there will be value in the 2nd round at WR, and I’m not sure Keenan Allen times out well enough to take him, here.
- Green Bay Packers: Manelik Watson – Watson is a zone blocking offensive lineman that isn’t elite as a run or pass blocker but above average to good in both. He moves well and should be able to come in and improve a leaky Packers offensive line right away. Watson grades out around the end of the first round and fits a big need for a team looking to protect one of the league’s best players.
- Houston Texans: Keenan Allen – I believe that Allen is the best receiver in this draft. He may not have the big time speed and he may not have the freakish tools that a guy like Patterson has, he might not even be a speed wide receiver – but he finds ways to get open, he’s strong after the catch, he judges the ball well. He reminds me a little bit of Anquan Boldin in that way. The Texans won’t have to keep looking for that receiver to pair with Andre Johnson anymore, that’s a huge bonus, and they might even find the guy they can replace him with in a couple years.
- Denver Broncos: Tyler Eifert – If he falls this far do the Broncos just pick him up and use one of the best receiver options in the draft to freak defenses out on a weekly basis? It’s a tough call as TE isn’t a “need” for the Broncos, and offense really isn’t something they are searching for heading into the draft. They have three very talented receivers already, but if he falls… The Broncos probably should go with a corner like Jamar Taylor or a safety like John Cyprien, but taking the best talent available has never been the wrong move.
- New England Patriots: Sylvester Morris – The Patriots seem to grab big difference makers early, and Morris could help solidify a defense that could use a little youth up front. Morris plays hard, plays very quick, and has good versatility along the defensive line. For a team that often makes the smart pick, Morris seems like a good one.
- Atlanta Falcons: Jamar Taylor – Taylor was a big part of what Boise State did defensively. His ability to lock down opposing wide receivers allowed Boise to do a lot with their defense, which caused for big plays from an active defense. Taylor is a pretty solid all around corner with a strength as a man cover guy. Atlanta has Asante Samuel but not a lot of starter potential outside of that. There has been talk of Atlanta moving up to get a top guy, but if they can’t, Taylor might be the best option.
- San Francisco 49ers: Jonathan Jenkins – Jenkins would be another run stuffing body up front. He’s not a big time pass rusher, not even a strength for him, but with the way he clogs up the middle and plays with a mean streak makes him a key contributor right out of the gates. The 49ers have solid players up front, but they need depth, a guy like Jenkins would give them that. Jenkins would also allow those 49er linebackers more room to run, a huge asset since theirs are the best in the business.
- Baltimore Ravens: Robert Woods – It will be really tough to make up for the loss of Anquan Boldin – not because he takes the tops off of defenses or because they use him exclusively, but because he would go anywhere on the field and make plays. Robert Woods has that kind of confidence. He is comfortable in space, he runs solid routes, and he has the strength to break tackles. Woods would be an immediate contributor on a team that will be missing a huge piece of the Super Bowl puzzle this year.
- St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma: We’ve decided that this is not only the move that will most likely happen, but the best move. Think about it like this, would you rather have Albert Haynesworth or Peyton Manning. Al’s a home run at defensive tackle, Peyton’s a home run at QB. Makes sense, right?
- Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska: The Lions might be too stupid to make this pick. They have a franchise quarterback, they have an elite playmaker at receiver, they need help on defense and this guy is the king of the draft. It’s a no-brainer, which means even the Lions should be able to pull it off.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma: Pick number 3 seems like a good one for the Bucs. They need McCoy, and he’s one of the top players in the draft, and he fits their scheme perfectly.
- Washington Redskins: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State: We all think the Redskins should trade down, as the value for what they want just doesn’t hold here, but Okung’s a big bad man, and he’d certainly help the Redskins where they are hurting the most.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma: We’re a little torn here, but in the end, we think the Chiefs go with the best lineman available. Right now, we think that’s Anthony Davis – but all the “draftniks” say Trent Williams is the guy. They pass on Eric Berry, decide not to pay a safety Top 5 money, and get better up front.
- Seattle Seahawks: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee: The Hawks end up getting lucky, and grab one of the best players in the draft. Not only is that great for any team, but especially a team that has been getting killed in the secondary, and has questionable safety play.
- Cleveland Browns: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma: This is a questionable pick in many respects, as nobody has the Browns taking a chance on the infamous Oklahoma wide receiver – however, he’s the best prospect left, and the Browns could use that big play ability.
- Oakland Raiders: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers: I can’t believe that we agree on the Raiders making a good pick and taking a valuable offensive lineman – but that’s what we’re doing. I’m sure we’re off on this one, the Raiders NEVER do anything close to what I think is right.
- Buffalo Bills: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa: The Bills need lots of things – nobody is questioning that, but their new head coach has done good things with questionable offensive weapons, so there’s no reason to think they reach for anything “special” here. We all agree they need offensive line and defensive line help immediately. The elite offensive lineman will be all gone by the time the Bills pick next and there are many great defensive tackles.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Earl Thomas, S, Texas: We like to “joke” with Jack Del Rio’s lack of intelligence, and expect him to do something mentally representative of that “joke”, but if he doesn’t he’ll just take the playmaker in the secondary they’ve been trying to draft since Jack stole the job…
- Denver Broncos: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee: Denver gets a big bad nose tackle to help sure up their improving defense. We all agree that they’d like to see one of the top safeties on the board, but Earl just got sniped by the Jaguars leaving them with Williams.
- Miami Dolphins: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech: We think Morgan can make up for the loss of Jason Taylor. He’s a very versatile defensive lineman that would likely play the OLB in a 3-4 for the Dolphins. I don’t know if he’ll have tons of versatility in coverage, but he’ll be able to rush the QB and hold up against the run.
- San Francisco 49ers: Joe Haden, CB, Florida: The 49ers could use some young stopper in the secondary, and everyone loves Haden – they need help at offensive line, but Haden is good value here (though I like Kyle Wilson more). I was voted off this island, so Haden’s the guy.
- Seattle Seahawks: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson: I don’t like the Hawks taking a running back when they could use a lot of help in many places, but he’s a touchdown maker, and the Hawks could use some explosion. Sold.
- New York Giants: Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: They need a big playmaking linebacker and one of the best defensive players in the draft just happens to be on the board at that very position. Sold.
- Tennessee Titans: Jason Pierre Paul, DE, South Florida: The Titans could be big trade players this year, but without a trade they’ll have to improve their defense against the pass. They could do that by grabbing a corner like Kyle Wilson, but everybody knows good corners aren’t the only way to improve your pass defense – Pierre Paul has great upside and is a good value pick here. We think they go that way.
- San Francisco 49ers: Mike Iupati, G, Idaho: The 49ers wait until pick 17 to get one of the best offensive linemen in the draft. They need help at OT, but there are many that think Iupati has the versatility to play OT as well.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, Florida: The Steelers have some soul searching to do, no doubt about it – but what they do need, without a doubt, is good help up front. They haven’t been a good blocking team in a long time, and we all think Pouncey could help at multiple places along the offensive line. Papa Weimer think they’ll ignore that and go for the best player available and take Brandon Graham. I’m thinking Kyle Wilson – but in the end, we all agree, Pouncey is the likely guy here.
- Atlanta Falcons: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan: Sometimes a team gets lucky in the middle of round 1, a great player just happens to fall into their laps and he just happens to be at a major position of need. This is the case with Graham.
- Houston Texans: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State: I think Taylor Mays would be a good pick here. I think Kyle Wilson, or other help at CB (Kareem Jackson?) would be a solid pick for need here. But I also think this team needs more toughness up front, and Pouncey is one of if not the best interior lineman in the draft. I’m sold.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma: The Bengals could really use help in making their offense more explosive. Gresham is the 2nd best receiving option in the draft – a good pick here.
- New England Patriots: Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU: He’s the best player left on my board and he’s the best pass rusher in the draft. The Patriots get lucky with Hughes still on the board.
- Green Bay Packers: Charles Brown, OT, USC: He might not be the elite OT they need, but Brown has a bright future and enough talent to make him worth the Packers’ 23rd pick.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Sergio Kindle, DE, Texas: Kindle might not be the best fit for the Eagles, but he’s a dynamic defensive player for a team that lacks a pass rushing presence and big hitters. Sounds like a better fit than I thought.
- Baltimore Ravens: Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State: This big bad man will help the Ravens stay stout up front. He’s talented and has a non-stop motor, and he’s big enough and quick enough to hold up at DE for the Ravens.
- Arizona Cardinals: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame: Hey, 2 out of 4 of us think Clausen will be good, and none out of four of us think Matt Leinart will be good. Kind of a nuts pick for the Cards, but I’m sure they could do worse with it.
- Dallas Cowboys: Taylor Mays, S, USC: Taylor Mays has really fallen. He’s not the best cover corner in the draft, don’t get me wrong, but he’s a big hitter, a top flight physical specimen, and I’m sure he’ll help the Cowboys right off the bat. A few of us think Mays is now being underrated after being overrated to the point of being labeled an overrated player. Do that math.
- San Diego Chargers: Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State: I like Jahvid Best, think he’s the best running back on the board – but Matthews has good size, good speed, good vision, and good power. He’s not amazing at any one area, but good at all of them. The Chargers need somebody in that mold.
- New York Jets: Carlos Dulap, DE, Florida: They aren’t going to take a wide receiver, I know that. I think they’d give Kindle the call if he were left on the board, but as is, he’s not. I think Carlos Dunlap is getting overlooked here – he’s got a great NFL body, and with Rex pushing the buttons, they could get a steal here.
- Minnesota Vikings: Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama: This kid is very good, and was a shut down player for one of the best defenses in college football. Nobody threw his way, and for good reason. The Vikings could really use more talent and youth at corner.
- Indianapolis Colts: Roger Saffold, OT, Indiana: A late mover, the Colts get future help for the NFL’s franchise player.
- New Orleans Saints: Lamar Houston, DT, Texas: Lamar is one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the draft and I expect him to be a late 1st Round pick. The Saints got a little shallow toward the end of the year at DT, and I think Houston helps them right away.
- 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
1st Round Draft Analysis: 2011 NFL Draft Observations
Cam Newton: Hey, there can be plenty of naysayers out there gashing this guy and his personality woes, but don’t get it twisted – this guy isn’t JaMarcus Russell. He’s big, he’s black, and he has a cannon for an arm – but please, he is a completely different guy. First and foremost, Newton is one of the most competitive cats on the field at all times. Right there he completely separates himself from Russell. 2nd of all, Newton works his tail off to be great at this game. Why? Because of his competitive streak. 3rd, you question his character, but how about the way he stepped up and played the game of football when everyone was blasting him? All the allegations and questions – he just went out there and killed it. Football-wise, there’s some questions – there’s some growing time that needs to happen before he can be great at the next level – but he’s an elite athlete, has a solid throwing motion, decent touch, and the right competitive nature to succeed in the NFL. Solid pick by the Panthers.
Julio Jones: Good player, definitely, but Julio can’t be worth 2 first round picks, a 2nd, a 3rd, and a 4th. That’s what the Falcons traded to get a guy who won’t be as good as the guy they have. Sure, he’s an improvement at the #2 receiver spot over Michael Jenkins, but the Falcons have some options. In the slot they had Harry Douglas, who will be better a full season recovered from his knee injury. They have an aging but still reliable Tony Gonzalez. And Jenkins was decent. They need lots of help defensively, however, and I don’t know how they get there now with their draft getting donated to the Browns. Unless, of course, they get a couple heroes in free agency. We’ll see, but even for a guy that I liked a lot coming in, the treasure chest they handed over was too much.
Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder: One name doesn’t fit. Ponder was a huge reach, but I guess that’s what happens when quarterbacks start flying off the board. If you think you need one, you take the plunge. Of the three guys listed, it’s quite possible that Ponder is the most likely to be ready to start this coming season – so there’s something working on the Vikings’ side. Still, huge reach right there. A lot of people are calling Locker’s pick a reach as well, and while I’ve never been crazy about Jake’s quarterback play, I think the 8th overall selection for a guy of his makeup is completely justified. I watch him play the position and I’m not crazy about his feet, the way he always looks uncomfortable in the pocket, and his lack of accuracy – however, he has a cannon, he’s a super competitive kid with a drive for success. He’s always cared more about his teammates than himself, that’s been obvious – and he’s always been a leader, a big time leader. At #8, maybe a quarterback like that is more of a steal than a reach. Gabbert has all the tools as well. I know less about him than I know about Jake, but it’s obvious he’s a Top 10 guy. There’s nothing wrong with Blaine’s game – and a guy without holes is a nice pick at #10.
Steals: I’m not going to write a ton, but here’s a quick little taste…
Patrick Peterson: was the best secondary player in the draft and many had him rated as the best overall player. The Cardinals sucked everywhere last season, and it took a lot for them to skip over a couple QBs they weren’t crazy about to pick the best player on the board.
Nick Fairley: as far as I’m concerned, was the best defensive player in college football last season. I watched Auburn play to see this Newton guy, and it was Fairley impressing me the most. If the Lions find a way to get both he and Suh on the field, there will be no pockets for opposing passers. They are both forces against the run and pass. #13, steal.
Robert Quinn: dropped spots because a long time ago he was diagnosed with a brain tumor that is checked up on a ton, and has no immediate health risks. I have a couple moles that probably have more risk than Quinn’s situation. At #14 the Rams got a disruptive force – steal.
Prince Amukamara: has 5 sisters all with weird names like his – for example, Princess – and why not? That’s about where the questions stop with him. He didn’t have great technique, and doesn’t have perfect ball skills, but he lays hat, is real fast, and takes great angles. At #19? You bet!
Jimmy Smith: was said to have character concerns, like Talib – but stop it, they aren’t the same. Baltimore is the perfect place for him to go, Ray will have him straightened out in no time. Best cover guy in the draft at 26, please.
Cameron Jordan: is a perfect fit for the Saints who need a big bad man on the outside. They’ll be able to move him around and do some big things with him. Getting a guy with his size and versatility is a tough task late in Round 1, having him be a solid character guy makes it a great pick.
Muhammad Wilkerson: might be just as good as Cam Jordan, and he was picked 31st overall. The guy is a cat, flat out, he’ll be starting from Day 1 and giving the Jets something they didn’t have much of last season – good production from their DE spot.
Reaches: I don’t think these guys are bad, in fact, I really like most of them, I just think they were reaches in Round 1 because of the value of the draft…
Von Miller: will probably be a very good player, but an OLB at #2, I just don’t know about that. I think Dareus and Fairley and Peterson will all do more for their teams. Miller reminds me a lot of Aaron Curry, and while I think Curry is a solid player, a guy that will be much better this coming season, I don’t think he was worth his draft spot, either.
Julio Jones: Even without giving up 1st round picks, a 2nd, a 3rd, their unborn children, 6th overall was a little high for Julio in my opinion. It’s very possible that it could have been Cleveland’s reach if Atlanta didn’t trade up to get him, but it’s a reach nonetheless. Good player? Yessir! Great blocker, team guy, tough for a receiver – definitely – but there’s just some things you don’t do – draft WRs that aren’t amazing in the Top 10 (A.J. Green is the exception), draft RBs that aren’t Adrian Peterson in the Top 10, and trust Al Davis with a sharp pencil.
Aldon Smith: Love Harbaugh, hope I’m wrong and that Aldon proves his worth right off the bat, but this is a reach for a very unproven DE prospect. 7th overall? Yikes. Maybe the new coach is trying to get a project guy to help their cause for next season – I mean, in hopes of getting Andrew Luck.
Christian Ponder: But at least Jim didn’t pick Christian Ponder. Text message to my buddy after the Ponder pick: “christian ponder… haha. if the hawks had traded up to 12 to make that pick. i’d be boycotting everything blue and florescent green.” Pretty much. (PS- Home team here in the NW is the Seattle Sea-Chickens)
Mike Pouncey: Center, 15th overall, bad, bad, bad. I know Pouncey can play guard, and I know the Dolphins needed help inside more than just about anything else, and I also am pretty sure that Pouncey is going to be good – but he isn’t as good as his brother, and he climbed up to 15 because he’s got a twin brother that beat some ace last season. Reach.
James Carpenter: I actually like Carpenter a lot – and if they couldn’t trade back at all, I kind of get the pick, but he wasn’t on anybody’s 1st round list (well, except mine, see pick #31) and I think he was a reach for the Hawks. He will be a good player and help right off the bat as a starter for a team with no consistency on the offensive line, so it was a solid pick – just a reachy pick when Da’Quan Bowers, Brandon Harris, Gabe Carimi, and Jimmy Smith were on the board.
Jonathan Baldwin: Baldwin could be good. If you draft a receiver in the first round, you better be damn sure that he’s going to be good. I’m not sure. Reach.
Perfect: These guys were perfect fits, perfect value, and they all got perfect on the wonderlic (or so I lie)…
Marcell Dareus: This guy is a beast, and the Bills needed him more than anything. If he had been gone, I think they would have ended up doing something stupid – so not only was he a perfect value, a perfect fit, and one of the best players –but he saved the Bills from themselves – they’ve needed a guy to do that for a long time!
A.J. Green: You never pick a WR in the Top 10 unless he’s a guy like A.J. Green – write that down, it’s a draft day rule. Falcons, I said WRITE THAT DOWN! A.J. will be a star and he instantly makes the Bengals’ passing attack better.
Tyron Smith: The Cowboys got the best offensive lineman in the draft at Pick #9, and that would usually be a steal except this kid is still just 20 and may need some time. They have time, he’s a perfect pick.
Ryan Kerrigan: How bad did the Redskins need a consistent performer on the defensive line that would line up at safety or kicker if you asked him to? This kid is the anti-Haynesworth and he’s going to be good for a long time. Perfect pick value and situation at #16.
Nate Solder: Some people thought this was a reach, but the Patriots know offensive linemen as well as the Giants do, and the Giants were crushed when the Pats grabbed Solder two picks ahead of them. Talk about in the nick of time.
Anthony Castonzo: Maybe the most ready OT in the draft to help Peyton Manning stay clean. Safe and perfect.
Final Mock Draft
Here goes the last mock draft of the season. This is what I expect to go down on draft day, Thursday, with the first round turning out some big time surprises. We’ve done a few mock drafts here at LL.com, most recently a team mock that had 4 different guys playing GM for a day. But this one is different, this takes into account all the hoopla involved in the pre-draft process. I’m talking about rumors and needs and “what I hear” and all that good stuff. This one will be the most accurate of any mock we’ve put out. This is always a great time, a bunch of poor kids get rich! Enjoy the draft.
1. Carolina Panthers select Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
I don’t know how you pass on Gabbert’s all around safety and upside, but Newton might very well have the highest ceiling in the draft. Is that always worth the #1 pick? I don’t think so, but I get it.
2. Denver Broncos select Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Dareus is a beast in the middle, and the Broncos just flat out haven’t had anything close to that since, well, a long time. This team struggles against the run, Dareus will help them sure that area up. If you want safety, MD is the guy.
3. Buffalo Bills select Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
This youngster has a ton of upside as an all around player, and is a great fit for a team that really struggles defensively. Miller will help out against the pass, with his ability to put pressure on the quarterback, and he just plays football with a contagious effort level. I think an OLB is a tough pick at #3 overall, but he’s a game changer.
4. The Cincinnati Bengals select Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
You just don’t get a guy with no holes in his game, anymore. I’m sure Blaine doesn’t have the upside of Cam Newton or the immediate impact of Marcell Dareus, but shoot, he’s a possible franchise quarterback that is fast, big, has a strong arm, has some smarts, and a solid personality. I like Fairley a lot, but it looks like he’s got too many questions. I love A.J. Green –but I get going for a QB here. This “surprise” pick changes the rest of the draft going forward.
5. Arizona Cardinals select Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, Carolina
Arizona gets lucky by not being forced to go Gabbert with #5, I like Gabbert, but the team will get better faster if they get help in the trenches. Before Quinn was kicked off the football team for extra benefits, he was a Top 5 pick in the making – a stud DE that was a force, a big bad man that could play as a 4-3 end or a 3-4 OLB, similar to Terrell Suggs. Well, there’s no NCAA sanctions in the NFL, and Quinn is still that guy. Da’Quan Bowers’ knee questions certainly upped Quinn’s stock, but like I said, he’s always had the talent.
6. Cleveland Browns select A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Mike Holmgren isn’t above taking a wide receiver early, especially when he’s quite possibly the best offensive player in the draft and still on the board at #6. The Browns have some young WRs coming into their own, but they don’t have a guy like A.J. Green. While the Browns certainly don’t have an air-it-out attack, Green can help improve that area with his elite hands and ability to get open.
7. San Francisco 49ers select Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
The 49ers get lucky. This is the kind of guy their defense needs, a defense that is already tough in a bunch of areas, but Peterson just ups the entire group. He may be a Top 3 player from this class.
8. Tennessee Titans select Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
A lot of people have questions about Fairley’s personality, and he may be more difficult than your average bear, but he’s still a stud. Fairley is exactly what the Titans are missing since Haynesworth ran off to Washington DC – except I think there are less questions about Fairley’s personality than Big Al’s – Big Al is wild.
9. Dallas Cowboys select Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Dallas should get as much help in the trenches as possible. Amukamara is an option here, to help an ever-struggling secondary – but I think Romo’s health is of more importance, and Smith will assist in that category while improving the run game to boot.
10. Washington Redskins select Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
I’m not so sure that Splinter Shanahan will be enamored with the idea of going WR in the Top 10, but Jones really adds a lot to a small WR crew in Washington. Julio was supposed to be gone already, but A.J. Green’s small slip has JJ still available. DE or DT still an option here, JJ Watt or Cory Liuget possibly?
11. The Houston Texans select Cameron Jordan, DE, California
Jordan is all the hype right now, and he seems like a great fit opposite Mario Williams. Jordan does a lot of things well, and it’s not surprising that the more people look at him, the more they like what he brings to the table.
12. Minnesota Vikings select Jake Locker, QB, Washington
The Vikings could really use help on the offensive line, as evidenced by Brett Favre being used as a piñata by opposing defenses last season – but they also need a QB of the future, and the current regime doesn’t think they have one on the roster. Locker has great upside, works his A off, and is a strong leader. It’s a reach, but not as much as many think. If they hold off on QB, they could go in a number of different directions, J.J. Watt, Prince Amukamara, Anthony Castonzo (to name a few).
13. Detroit Lions select Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Prince not only has a great name, but the guy has all the speed and shut down ability you need to grab a corner this high. The Lions defense is really improving, but they can’t take that next step without a stud CB – they just happen to luck out and get one here.
14. The St. Louis Rams select Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
Liuget fits that DL mold that Spagnola was a big part of during his time in New York. The Rams could use Corey’s ability to disrupt the run and pass with his speed and strength. I think Liuget is a can’t miss option on the DL.
15. The Miami Dolphins select Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida
I think this is high for a center/guard player, even if his upside is grand. I know his brother is a stud, but remember, his brother is better. Still, I watched the Dolphins’ offensive line really struggle in the middle last season, and Pouncey will guarantee an improvement in that area – so it makes some sense.
16. The Jacksonville Jaguars select J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
I liked the Jaguars grabbing Ryan Kerrigan here, but think that Watt is just a little more impressive as a prospect. He’s still on the board in this scenario, so I think he’s gone, as Jacksonville gets a very solid and safe player in the middle of Round 1.
17. The New England Patriots select Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
I know that a lot of boards have Castonzo going here, and I certainly see the value in that from a Patriots’ perspective – but this team really missed Richard Seymour, and I think Wilkerson is going to be a stud DE in the 3-4 scheme – I also think the Patriots are really smart – those two thins add up to Wilkerson going here.
18. The San Diego Chargers select Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
Castonzo has starting LT upside, and right off the bat he could be plugged into the RT job in San Diego. This team has gone to the pass a ton over the last couple years, but bookends that can pass block and run block could help even things out in SD.
19. The New York Giants select Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Carimi is a mauler, and the Giants need to improve their run-game. Some think the best way to do that is to go grab Ingram, but anybody in the know highlights the need of new blood on the offensive line. Jacobs and Bradshaw are decent enough, and there’s plenty of RB options to be won later in the draft – right here, it’s OL or bust for the Giants.
20. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
One could argue that they are just getting rid of the last troubled CB they picked in Round 1. I’m going to go ahead and argue that Jimmy Smith doesn’t have those same concerns, and that he’s quite possibly the best cover guy in the draft. The Bucs need me to be right.
21. The Kansas City Chiefs select Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona
I don’t know how I missed this guy in my first couple mocks. I’ve hit up some film on him, because I heard a lot about his climb into the 1st round. He looks like the real deal to me. I know that Arizona had a stud defense this season, and he’s a big reason why. Tamba Hali is a solid pass rushing force for the Chiefs, but Reed coming form the other side could mean great things for the Chiefs D.
22. The Indianapolis Colts select Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
The Colts protect Manning here. Seems like a good move for a smart front office. If they were wild and crazy, they could think about picking up Aldon Smith and grooming him behind two greats – but the league’s getting tougher, and if they want to compete they need to protect their #1 guy, and improve the run-game.
23. The Philadelphia Eagles select Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
I love the Eagles to trade back here, but if they don’t, it’s because they find a value pick too good to pass up, or maybe they like Akeem Ayers enough to grab him this high? Tough call with the Eagles, per usual, but Sherrod helps them in a huge need area, and I think he’s the last top-tier OT option in this draft.
24. The New Orleans Saints select Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Does this clear up the running back position? I think so. I just don’t really get it. I love Ingram, really, I do – I think he’ll be a stud – but the Saints have proven that they can get a lot of production out of a number of RB options, why go RB with a valuable 1st round pick? Maybe the rumors are for the birds, I don’t know – if they don’t take Ingram, Ryan Kerrigan is a great value pick here, and Aldon Smith is another huge upside, value option.
25. The Seattle Seahawks select Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
I think the Hawks would love Sherrod or Solder to be here so they can improve the other side of that porous offensive line – but that’s just not the case in this mock, and that leaves them thinking… Jake Locker is already gone, so the home town boy options is out the window. I know DE isn’t a huge need for this team, but I still think Ryan Kerrigan is a great value pick this late – if he does indeed slip down the draft. But, with Paul Allen’s money, and a great place to risk it, why not grab Da’Quan Bowers? The kid is a stud, and if his knees do stay healthy for the next 5 years, what an absolute steal for a team looking for gamebreakers.
26. The Baltimore Ravens select Aldon Smith, OLB/DE, Missouri
I’m not sure what they’ll do with him, he’s obviously not big and bad enough to be a 3-4 DE, and they aren’t in need of an OLB in their 3-4, but this is a team getting older, and Smith is a steal here – he could learn from some greats. If they think Ryan Kerrigan can play DE in the 3-4, they’ll grab his motor here. Adrian Clayborn is an option, too. Maybe Brandon Harris or Ras-I Dowling to fill their biggest need? It gets tougher this late.
27. The Atlanta Falcons select Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
The Falcons are looking for a DE to help them put pressure on the passer and be stout on the edge against the run. Kerrigan is going to be a starter, and while he might not project as a Pro-Bowler, the safety in this pick has to be reassuring, the fact that they might get a sure thing this late in a huge position of need will be too good to pass up.
28. The New England Patriots select Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
I’ll be stunned if the Patriots don’t trade one of their first round picks. But there are no trades in my mock, so the Pats fill one of their biggest needs with Akeem Ayers, the playmaker from UCLA. He has the versatility the Patriots want from their players, and is decent value here.
29. The Chicago Bears select Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor
The bottom line here is that Chicago has to upgrade their offense line in Round 1. There’s no OT guy worth their top pick, but I don’t think that will keep them improving their biggest hole. Watkins is a beast, and I think a surefire upgrade is the right decision.
30. The New York Jets select Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
I think Clayborn is a great fit both in value and position of need. It’s tough to find good 5-technique players anywhere in the draft, and if they can do that with pick #30, that’s a great option. Clayborn is the type of guy that will fit perfect on a team that goes all out all the time.
31. The Pittsburgh Steelers select James Carpenter, OG, Alabama
The Crimson Tide had one of the best rushing attacks in the land, and that’s partly due to what Carpenter did on a weekly basis. James might not be the best run or pass blocker in the draft, but he’s well rounded in both areas. The Steelers really need help on the offensive line, and I think Carpenter will sure up the middle.
32. The Green Bay Packers select Will Rackley, OG, Lehigh
It doesn’t look like any of the Packers’ dream scenarios fall here. Brooks Reed, Cameron Heyward, or even Akeem Ayers are all gone, and that leaves them picking the best available guy to help them defend their Super Bowl. They could always use help on the offensive line, and Will Rackley could be their guy as an OG that could solidify their offensive line right away. If Clayborn or Ayers fall this far, they become the targets.
A Real Mock Draft – For Better (OR WORSE) Team LL.Com Makes the Pick!
Alright, so I had this idea about a mock draft that I thought would be twice as good as your late mock that all but copies the super-NFL writers that have all the inside information and basically know the picks heading into draft. This one is different. This isn’t a “what will happen” mock draft, this is more of a fantasy rookie draft. The fantasy? Team LuckyLester.com gets a random number, 1, 2, 3, or 4 (it would have been 5, but Red Red Ryan was “too busy” – scoff!). They pick for the team at that number all the way down the draft. Josh (JA) picked #1 out of the hat, I (LL) got #2, Papa Weimer (PW) got #3, and Nate Kuhns (NK) got last, #4, but at least he doesn’t have to pay his guys as much…
So Josh has picks #1, #5, #9, and so on. I pick #2, #6, and on and on. Papa #3, #7… Nate #4, #8….
It makes sense, I’m sure of it.
For this mock, we get to be the team owners, the GMs, the coaches, whoever decides the guy we’ll pick in Round 1. You’ll notice that I make all the best decisions… (as the editor, I get to write that without getting it deleted)
I have the initials down at the end of the write up, letting you know each guy who made the pick for each team, so you know who to write in (firstname.lastname@example.org) and trash. I’ll be posting good trash talking, arguments, agreements, etc – so write in!
Josh is on the clock….
1. The Carolina Panthers select Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Taking Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton will be the temptation here, but both are risky picks that weren’t projected as first rounders before Andrew Luck decided to stay in school and Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett faded down the stretch. Bowers will give the Panthers a pass-rushing monster to pair with Charles Johnson on the other side, wreaking havoc in opposing backfields. The Panthers need to stay ahead in turnover margin (-8 in 2010) for them to be successful, and getting pressure on the quarterback results in those impact plays that a defense feeds off of. I know his “knee concerns” will have him out of this spot, but I think he’ll be a very good player for a very long time. JA
2. The Denver Broncos select Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
I originally had the Broncos drafting Nick Fairley here, and while he came across poorly during the combine, I still think he’s the best defensive tackle in the draft (yes, better than Marcell Dareus) and he should be considered here. I watched the kid cause ruckus on the line all season long, and despite playing on the same team as Cam Newton, he was the best player on the field plenty of big games this season. However, I love me some Patrick Peterson, and think he has the make-up to be one special player on the outside. In a game that is becoming more pass friendly than ever, a player like Peterson can’t be overlooked. LL
3. The Buffalo Bills select Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Like Lucky said, Fairley was the best defensive player in college football last season. He affected games from the DT position similar to the way Suh did last season. Now, I don’t think Fairley is Suh, but he certainly has an amazing skill set for a big man on the line, and Buffalo needs to stop the run and rush the passer, two things that Fairley can do from the time he steps foot on the field. A quarterback might be tempting here, but Fitzpatrick is solid, at least, and this is a team that needs to start finding ways to win. A young project QB isn’t the answer if winning is the goal. They might be able to trade down and get him, but either way, Fairley would help this team more than anybody else on the board. PW
4. The Cincinnati Bengals select A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Green simply put is a beast at 6’4′ and 212 pounds with 4.38 speed, Green has the tools to make an immediate impact. With Ochocinco kicking balls instead of catching them, as well as Owens departure, the Bengals will need to look for an incumbent and Green is their man. I typically like to build inside out with the Top 5 picks, however with this kind of talent on the board, Green is my guy. NK
5. The Arizona Cardinals select Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
Another QB-needy team will look to address those needs either later in the draft or via a trade or free agency. As pressing as the need is I remain unconvinced that either Gabbert or Newton will put the Cards over the edge in the NFC West in the coming seasons. Von Miller would be an immediate upgrade to an Arizona defense that relies on the big play rather than being a shutdown unit. Bringing him off the edge in Ken Whisenhunt’s 3-4 scheme would instantly improve a pass rush that struggled to get to the quarterback at times during the 2010 season. I expect the Cards to make a major push for Kevin Kolb, and if they are able to attain his services with a package of 2012 draft picks and nab a top defensive talent like Miller with this pick, they could well be in position to return to the top of the weakest division in football sooner rather than later. JA
6. The Cleveland Browns select Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Dareus is just too good of a find here. With AJ Green already off the board, Von Miller headed to Arizona, Peterson gone early to Denver, Fairley slipping in at 3, the Browns are still lucky to get Dareus here. They won’t be looking for a quarterback at this point – Colt McCoy seems like the guy in Cleveland. I don’t think they’d reach for Julio Jones, and unless the like Robert Quinn more than Big MD, this one is tough to pass on. Dareus has proven to be a beat up front throughout his college career, and has done plenty for himself in the off-season. Many have Dareus plowing past Fairley as the top DT, and getting a game changer in the middle with the 6th pick will be great for the Browns. LL
7. The San Francisco 49ers select, Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
I have to believe that we’re wrong up to this point, and a quarterback has already been taken (I know I’m not wrong, it must me one of the other guys) – but if we aren’t, and teams are actually following our path of sound advice, then the 49ers will get their choice at QB. There’s no Andrew Luck in this class, as new headman Jim Harbaugh certainly recognizes, but I’m willing to bet there’s enough in Gabbert’s upside to woo the Stanford coach into taking a chance. Gabbert has a cannon, he worked out as well as any QB on the board, and he’s looked comfortable under pressure and in the pocket. I think he’s the choice here, even though this QB class scares me a bit. The 49ers could go for Cam Newton instead, but I think they’ll be more smitten with Blaine. Prince Amukamara is another very good player that would probably help this team more than a QB, but that chance of hitting gold might be too much to pass up if their favorite signal caller is still on the board. PW
8. The Tennessee Titans select Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
With the majority of high impact defensive players off the board, including highly targeted Da’Quan Bowers, the Titans will look to address the most important offensive position on the field at QB. Fisher has targeted athletic QB’s in the past, and will look to do so again. The risk here remains high, however with K. Collins going into his 18th season and the debacle surrounding V. Young, Tennessee and Fisher will look for the next signal caller. NK
9. Dallas Cowboys select Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Jerry’s crew should be thrilled to land Amukamara with the 9th pick in the first round. While Patrick Peterson profiles as the better athlete with the slightly higher ceiling, in my opinion Prince is more technically sound and possesses the higher floor. The cornerback position opposite Terence Newman has been a black hole for the Boys for years now and grabbing the heir to the throne both in name and position-wise would make too much sense to ignore. Securing the former Husker would allow the Cowboys to bump Mike Jenkins to the nickel back role or possibly transition Newman to safety as he approaches his age 33 season. JA
10. Washington Redskins select Julio Jones, wr, Alabama
With no true star at receiver, the redskins would have a tough time passing on a possible star in jones. His speed/size combo is very impressive and it’s even better that he’s not a princess like most star college receivers. This guy is as good a blocker as he is a playmaker and he’s big time in both areas. Think Brandon Marshall size and speed with no crazy tendencies. LL
11. The Houston Texans select Robert Quinn, de, Carolina
Robert Quinn would be a nice pick here, the Texans have needed production from the opposite DE spot as teams plan around Mario Williams but this corner is super talented and Houston needs more help in the secondary desperately. Tough choice. I’m going with Quinn here because his pressure will help the secondary as well as against the run. Pressure is a secondaries best friend. PW
12. The Minnesota Vikings select Tyron Smith, OT, USC
The glaring need here shines on the QB position, however with both top QB prospects off the board, Minnesota will look to solidify up front. Smith has the size and athleticism to become an impact player in both the run game as well as the pass. An investment here in Smith will increase the chances of the new QB in Minnesota staying off his back, as well as the Vikings getting back to a more balanced attack. NK
13. The Detroit Lions select Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
In the first real shocker of the draft, I like the Lions to avoid drafting based on need. If Amukamara slips this far I think he becomes the pick, but in this scenario Prince is long gone. Ingram is not a burner, but the presence of second-year man Jahvid Best allows the Lions to pair Ingram’s thump and grinding approach with Best’s big-play ability. The defense in Detroit has taken a major step forward under the guidance of DC Gunther Cunningham (not to mention an influx of talent headed by a boy named Suh). With the recent upgrades at the skill positions, this team is ready to ascend to the next level if QB Matthew Stafford can stay healthy under center. JA
14. The St. Louis Rams select J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
I know Watt has been pegged an ideal 3-4 DE and thus is linked to a lot of teams moving to that style of defense, or looking for an end to plug in. But Watt has a great size to be any kind of defense end in any style of defense. His relentless motor and strength is going to immediately upgrade the Rams pass-rush and run defense. He truly is in the mold of those New York Giant defensive linemen that Steve Spagnuolo has first hand knowledge of. He already has his quarterback, there’s not a receiver worth drafting here, I like him improving that defensive line. LL
15. The Miami Dolphins select Anthony Costanzo, OT, Boston College
Despite being known for the wildcat offense, a run-heavy attack, and possessing two very talented runners last season, the Dolphins really had trouble running the ball. We all know they have one very talented OT in Jake Long, but they could use another and Constanzo is the best on the board. Not many people realized that the Dolphins struggled on the line last season, but it didn’t go unnoticed form my point of view, and something tells me the Dolphins realized it as well. Rarely do you get a chance to pick arguably the best offensive tackle in the draft at pick #15, and with Mark Ingram already off the board, Costanzo’s the next best (maybe first best?) way to get that running game going again. PW
16. The Jacksonville Jaguars select Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
The plethora of talent from the DE position holds true with the selection of Kerrigan from the Boilermakers. An athletic smooth mover, Kerrigan, will help specifically with pressure on the quarterback, as well as add versatility to the defensive scheme. If I’m going to miss, I’m going to swing after a guy with a motor like Ryan’s. NK
17. The New England Patriots select Cameron Jordan, DE, California
The Pats will enter this draft looking to improve along the front seven and Jordan will give them a boost on the outside to pair with a healthy Ty Warren. When you factor in space eater Vince Wilfork the Patriots should be very stout against the run. Not a true sack master, Jordan has excellent intangibles and does everything well, a perfect fit for a Bill Belichick coached team and an excellent value in the middle of the first round. JA
18. The San Diego Chargers select Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
Wilkerson is a beast and will go to some team looking for a 3-4 defensive end in this draft. He may not have that big school pedigree, but when you watch him play the game, you certainly see how impressive the young man is. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s gone by this pick, but if he’s still on board, the Chargers will pounce at the chance to improve their defensive line at #18. LL
19. The New York Giants select Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
If you ask the draftniks which offensive lineman has the most upside, 3 out of 4 will tell you that Colorado’s Nate Solder is the guy. I know that Mike Pouncey has great name recognition, and that he may be the more versatile of any 1st round lineman, but I think Solder’s upside at #19 is quite the steal for a team without many holes. The Giants could go a lot of directions with this pick, but I see them improving their offensive line, a position that has gotten old over the years – when you’re not talking about cheese or wine, aged isn’t a good thing. PW
20. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
Tampa Bay keeps it in Colorado selecting another Buffalo in Jimmy Smith. Smith has the size speed and athleticism to make it at the next level. Jimmy’s past run in with the law has spawned character issues, and is the main reason why Smith is still on the board at 20. The Bucs will take the risk. NK
21. The Kansas City Chiefs select Gabe Carimi, OT, Boston College
The Chiefs certainly have needs, like any team, but it’s easy to see how much better they are when Matt Cassel gets time. He’s a very accurate passer when he’s not rushed, and Carimi would just add one more piece to an impressive offensive attack that produced the best rushing attack in football, and a solid passing game that saw KC in the playoffs in 2010. JA
22. The Indianapolis Colts select Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
Liuget is probably the best player that people know the least about coming into this draft. I’m not sure he’s going to slip this far in the real world, because he’s really good. Not only is he very quick on the line, solid against the run, and able to rush the quarterback, but the DT from Illinois has a great motor. It’s tough to find big talented bodies that give the effort he does. The Colts are usually in the business of going offensive line with this pick, but a little help on the defensive side of the ball could go a long way. Liuget is a Top 15 talent, and thus his value at a spot of need is too good to pass up, here. LL
23. The Philadelphia Eagles select Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida
The Eagles could be bummed if the draft goes like it did in our mock. They waited and waited and had 2 great fits left with just 2 teams to pick ahead of them, and whammy, both guys get drafted before it’s their turn on the clock. Carimi could really help an Eagles team that needs to get better on the offensive line (especially OT). Liuget would have been a steal for a team like Philly, looking to get more beasts of burden on the defensive line. As is, both those guys are gone, so I think the Eagles should go get Mike Pouncey. Pouncey is the type of guy that immediately upgrades your offensive line, because he can fit at multiple spots. He’s not a stud OT, but will be a really good player at either center or guard, and building your line with a piece like that is perfect. I do think Jake Locker is an interesting fit here, and the Eagles may consider it. I’ve never been crazy about Locker’s jitters in the pocket or just the way he looks player quarterback, but the Eagles could be without Kolb, and Vick isn’t a tadpole, either, he’s in his 30s and the way he plays, health isn’t a guarantee. The Eagles did well improving Vick’s accuracy, and Locker has the arm and athleticism that Andy Reid seems to love in his quarterbacks. That would be a huge surprise here, but I’m wouldn’t be stunned at all. Still, I think Pouncey’s the pick if I’m on the clock. PW
24. The New Orleans Saints select Justin Houston, OLB/DE, Georgia
The Saints needs are clearly highlighted on the defensive board. The need help on the defensive line, as well as speed in the secondary. With a strong showing at the combine, Houston makes himself a legitimate first round pick. Justin’s hybrid ability to play standing up allows for support on the edge as well as the ability to rush the QB. If Ingram some how slips to this position, even with all of the needs on the defensive side you might see Peyton go for a steady ball carrier, where the Saints will again be chasing points opposed to zeros. NK
25. The Seattle Seahawks select Jake Locker, QB, Washington
I don’t know that this is a match made in heaven but I do know that Carroll recruited Locker hard while at USC then had a front row seat to the QBs athleticism for the next three years. I think there are a lot of areas Locker needs to improve upon, but I also know his toughness, leadership and work ethic are second to none on this class. A year or two to study under Hasselbeck would do his career a world of good, allowing him to grow more comfortable in a pro offense as well as giving him time to hone his accuracy and pocket presence. JA
26. The Baltimore Ravens select Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
One wonders if the Ravens could steal Aldon Smith here, despite him not really having a perfect fit in their defense. He doesn’t have the size to be an End anchor in that 3-4, and I don’t know if he has the athleticism to be even a OLB that rushes the passer more often than not. I just don’t think he fits. I think the Ravens go for Akeem Ayers here, to do the same kind of thing they tried to draft Sergio Kindle to do last year. Everyone hopes Kindle gets healthy again, but a young stud athlete that moves around the field very well – seems like a good move for an aging Ravens defense. Ayers is only falling because of some sub-par numbers at the combine, but he’s really good at football – that should count for something. Corner here might be an option, as I still like Brandon Harris, Ras I Dowling, and Aaron Williams, but I think Ayers potential upside, and his great value, is too much to pass up. LL
27. The Atlanta Falcons select Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
This kid is a stud. He has some issues with his shoulder, a nerve condition, but he’s been tough and solid throughout his career. He’s not a “best of the bunch” pass rusher, run defender, or numbers guy – but he’s an NFL starter right out of the gate because he does everything well. Not okay, but well. He only had 4 sacks in 2010 after tallying 11 in 2009, but he was still one of the best defenders on a great defense in the Big 10. I think Clayborn is a great value pick here, and the Falcons could definitely use some punch at DE. PW
28. The New England Patriots select Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri
Already selecting a defensive end to man the 3-4 spot with the 17th pick, New England can afford to go elsewhere with this decision. There are still a ton of really talented options on the board, guys that certainly have 1st round ability, but I’m not sure there’s a guy that really fits what the Patriots need desperately, Randy Moss in his prime. Since there’s not a guy like that in draft, and the closest thing to that will get picked in the top 5. I think the Patriots grab talented depth at a key spot, the line. They could go for Derek Sherrod here, a talented OT, maybe even a guard like Danny Watkins – but I think they head over to the defensive side of the ball and pick upside with Aldon Smith. Guy is a freak physically, and while he hasn’t played OLB much, and certainly isn’t refined coming in, the Patriots could really use his tools at that position. Smith is a Top 15 talent and a steal here. NK
29. The Chicago Bears select Derek Sherrod
The Bears need to take the best offensive lineman on the board if indeed there is one of top tier guys. Sherrod is a solid guy that would instantly improve one of the weakest links on a good Bears squad. Aldon Smith might be the pick here, if he’s available, but a very good defense doesn’t have as much need to improve as their sieved of an offensive line. JA
30. The New York Jets select Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
The Jets need a nose tackle to crush up the running game in the middle, and provide a physical force inside that can eat up blockers so the linebackers and pass rushers get a chance to make plays against single coverage. The Jets had a great player on their roster, Kris Jenkins, but the big man just couldn’t stay on the field, and a great player on paper doesn’t mean much during the playoffs. This team is very good, and a couple key players away – a big, bad defensive nose-tackle could be that guy. LL
31. The Pittsburgh Steelers select, Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
The Steelers have a stud defense in the front 7, and they are solid in the secondary – they just need more speed and coverage ability on the corners. Harris has plenty of speed, and he measures out as a great athlete. He has good ball skills and he’ll immediately give the Steelers another body in the secondary, something they desperately need. Help on the offensive line is always an option, and a guard like Danny Watkins would be a good move, but they can get a good guard later and a very solid corner prospect right now. That seems like the best option. PW
32. The Green Bay Packers select Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
How do the rich keep getting richer? Like this. Cameron Heyward has some medical issues, he had Tommy John surgery on his elbow, and somehow that scares off everyone else in the first round except the Super Bowl Champs. It’s not like Heyward is going to be throwing 60 yard bombs or 30 yard outs, not for the Packers – they have Aaron Rodgers to do that type of work, and if he gets hurt, Matt Flynn ain’t bad either. Heyward will be fine holding his own as a 3-4 DE for the Packers, and the rich get richer! NK
This is my first Mock Draft for the 2011 NFL Draft. It’s out a little later than normal, but full of my thoughts and reason for each selection. Since the combine often changes so many things, I waited until now to publish my first mock. Team LuckyLester.com will likely get together to make our unified mock, but until then, this will have to do. Enjoy!
3. Buffalo Bills 4-12 – Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama: I don’t know if Dareus has as much upside as a quarterback does here, but he certainly will take the worst part of the Bills and make them better… Bills Mock Draft write up
8. Tennessee Titans 6-10 – Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina: The Titans have a lot of decisions to make here, and for the first time in a long time, Jeff Fischer won’t be a driving force in making those decisions… Titans Mock Draft write up
11. Houston Texans 6-10 – Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado: The Texans need some secondary help like Tara Reid needs somebody to throw a bone her way – only they’re not frothing at the mouth… Texans Mock Draft write up
18. San Diego Chargers 9-7 – Cameron Jordan, DE, California: If Jordan gets past the Patriots, it’s only because New England sees a plethora of defensive line options, and has another pick 11 spots down the line… Chargers Mock Draft write up
19. New York Giants 10-6 – Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin: The Giants lost some of their push from the offensive line this season, and even though they improved later in the season, adding a trail blazer like Carimi… Giants Mock Draft write up
22. Indianapolis Colts 10-6 – Mike Pouncey, G/C, Florida: Twin brother of the Steelers’ first round pick and center, Maurkice Pouncey, Mike looks to make his own mark in the NFL… Colts Mock Draft write up
24. New Orleans Saints 11-5 – Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple: Wilkerson’s a beast. He’s one of those elite players that comes out of a small school, and because of it he’ll slip down the draft board a little more than he should… Saints Mock Draft write up
27. Atlanta Falcons 13-3 – Dan Watkins, OG, Baylor: The Falcons weren’t as good running the ball this season as they have been in years’ past, and a big reason for that was the lack of punch inside… Falcons Mock Draft write up
31. Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4 – Aaron Williams, CB, Texas: The Steelers definitely need youth and athleticism in their secondary, and Aaron Williams is a very solid player… Steelers Mock Draft write up
For more Mock Draft opinions please check out these links below:
2010 NBA Mock Draft: Part II (15-30)
As promised, here is the second half of my 2010 NBA Mock Draft. Workouts are still taking place, but I think you’ll get a lot out of my take on the draft. Just like my first Mock, (The Lottery Picks), this write up has who I think the teams will take, followed by who I would take. Once a player is chosen, he leaves my draft board. If you missed my first half of the NBA Mock Draft, check it out HERE. Enjoy!
15. Ekpe Udoh– Milwaukee Bucks: Who would I draft? James Anderson. I think both guys make a lot of sense. I liked Udoh in college, but am not sure he’ll be able to out-athlete guys at the next level. Against Duke he seemed like an NBA player to me, and the Bucks could definitely use more bigs to play behind Bogut. However, with Salmons hitting free agency and the Bucks really taking off after John joined the club, I think getting a big scoring guard with polish would help them continue to win now. Anderson could get that done.
16. Donatas Motiejunas– Minnesota Timberwolves: Who would I draft? Damion James.I understand stashing a foreigner away, especially when you have 3 1st round picks, and if they grab Donatas at #16 then they pick up the highest rated foreigner in the draft – which all makes a lot of sense – but this team could really use some polished players to become a winning team, and picking up a small forward with a winning pedigree like Damion James, makes the most sense to me. James can hit jumpers, he likes taking big shots, and he plays tough as all hell. Good qualities for a Timberwolves team that needs an identity.
17. James Anderson– Chicago Bulls: Who would I draft? James Anderson. The Bulls really missed Ben Gordon’s scoring punch, and if James Anderson is still on the board, he makes sense here. There are a couple other shooting guard, scoring types that could find their way to Chicago (especially when you consider free agency and what might take place) but a guy like Anderson makes a lot of sense for the Bulls. Eric Bledsoe, if they think they can play him at the two and not be at a defensive disadvantage, might be a guy they would hope for. Dominique Jones, the SG from South Florida, is another guy I like who isn’t getting much 1st round attention, but should be a solid scoring option. Jordan Crawford is another guy with some big upside, a guy that might do well in Chicago if a solid leader is picked up to coach the team.
18. Eric Bledsoe– Miami Heat: Who would I draft? Eric Bledsoe. The Heat need somebody to run the point in Miami, and where Chalmers used to be looked at as a steal, he’s now being used minimally as a back up. I think Bledsoe’s upside is grand, and if John Wall had attended anywhere but Kentucky, we would have really seen what Bledsoe is capable of. As is, Bledsoe showed that he can succeed and have big games as a second fiddle in the backcourt – a great thing for a place like Miami. If the young pg/sg is available, I think the Heat would be stupid to pass him up.
19. Solomon Alabi– Boston Celtics: Who would I draft? Damion James. I think the Celtics have earned the right to take the best player, and I think that guy is likely James. If Bledsoe dropped, a back up shooting guard/point guard might be a brilliant decision, but he’s gone in my mock. Alabi, I see what the Celtics are doing by picking him – he has great defensive upside, works his but off, plays very smart, and is a huge body down low. They don’t need an offensive center, and Alabi could take care of some bench minutes. However, James is a polished player with a very solid all around game that is ready to be a pro right now. The Celtics have a small window, and James could show up for big minutes right off the bat. Tough call, but I would go with James if I were making the pick.
20. Damion James– San Antonio Spurs: Who would I draft? Jordan Crawford. Oh, the Spurs could go many different ways here, including over seas. I wouldn’t be stunned if they grabbed James because the kid knows how to play, will be a solid player in the NBA, is greatly undervalued, and they always seem to make sound decisions on draft day – and I think James will be good. But Crawford is a scoring guard that could flourish under the Spurs’ solid leadership, but in the front office, the coaching staff, and amongst the players. It’s a very good atmosphere for a kid with tons of scoring upside. San Antonio could get the most out of a guy like Crawford.
21. Patrick Patterson– Oklahoma City Thunder: Who would I draft? Patrick Patterson. This kid was a great player for Kentucky. At times, he looked like the best player on the floor, and that team was not only loaded with talent but claimed two of the best guards in the draft, the best player in the draft, and a big that might slip into the lottery that didn’t even get minutes because of a guy like Patterson. I don’t know how Patterson doesn’t get more love as a solid PF at the next level. He’s explosive, aggressive, plays smart, has range on his jump shot, and finishes hard at the rim. Oklahoma could use a power forward that works hard and can spread the floor a little – I guess I’m not sold on the Thunder being able to defend your average power forward with the likes of Jeff Green.
22. Lance Stephenson– Portland Trailblazers: Who would I draft? Terrico White. I think Stephenson has solid upside. He might be the most talented player left, he has good size, and while he underperformed last season – he looks like he has plenty of room to improve and grow as a player. The Blazers aren’t dying for anything, so taking a high upside kid with plenty of potential and ideal size might just makes plenty of sense. I like Terrico White a little more than Stephenson, as I see him as a little more polished and very explosive.
23. Quincy Pondexter– Minnesota Timberwolves: Who would I draft? Darington Hobson. Both these guys are productive players at the college level that some think might not transfer to the NBA. Pondexter probably played himself into a sure thing first round position with his awesome second half of the year at UW – but then he played him self into the latter picks of the round by stinking it up for most of the NCAA Tournament. He’s a good player that goes on streaks, but Minnesota could definitely use his long body and improved offensive game at small forward. But I like Darington Hobson just a little more. Hobson struggled big time during the post-season, but this kid showed me flashes of greatness all year – I see him being a solid pro.
24. Jordan Crawford– Atlanta Hawks: Who would I draft? Jarvis Varnado. The Hawks are going to lose Joe Johnson, don’t get it twisted – the guy is as good as gone. Crawford can score the basketball, has good upside, and has shown that he has the will to show up big time in the most important games. A lot of people don’t love his attitude, but every team needs a guy that wants the ball with the game on the line. This pick makes sense to me. I like Varnado because I think the Hawks suck against teams with a post presence. I think Varnado is a very good shot blocker that could help to give opposing offenses some trouble. The Hawks need post defense really bad.
25. Terrico White– Memphis Grizzlies: Who would I draft? Terrico White. White showed all season long how athletic he is. At the NBA Draft Combine, he proved it once again. The kid is super explosive and he can shoot the basketball. His speed and ability to handle the basketball give him a big point guard upside, while still being able to help put points on the board as a shooting guard. Memphis isn’t saddled with any huge holes, so taking an athletic scorer with upside makes sense.
26. Paul George– Oklahoma City Thunder: Who would I draft? Larry Sanders. George can really shoot the ball, and I understand the Thunder wanting to add some shooters around Durrant, because face it, guys are going to get open. But I don’t think this team needs any more players getting shots. They have Durrant, Westbrook, Jeff Green, and James Harden is going to be a good pro as well. You’re telling me a 5th guy to get shots is what they need? I don’t see it. I think Larry Sanders would be a much better pick. His size is very impressive, as is his athleticism. He isn’t a very polished player, but he’d give the Thunder another look, and his upside is a good value pick here.
27. Armon Johnson– New Jersey Nets: Who would I draft? Willie Warren. If I were the Nets, I’d take a chance on Warren. He was a lottery possibility last year, and some struggles off the court seemed to get the best of his this season. But the kid can really play, as he showed during his freshman campaign. Injuries, issues with the coaching staff, a disappointing season – whatever you want, there’s plenty of reasons to go a different direction – which is what I expect New Jersey, and the rest of the first round, to do. But Warren is still that potential Top 10 player, and at 27 I think he’d be a steal. Armon Johnson is a beast of a point guard, very strong, athletic, and fast. He has long arms and he can really score the basketball. He doesn’t have a great jumper, but his physicality and quickness could make him a productive late round pick.
28. Kevin Seraphin– Memphis Grizzlies: Who would I draft? Trevor Booker. Yeah, I would take Trevor Booker. Some people say him and Zach Randolph are a lot alike – they are wrong. Sure, Booker can score on the post, has a solid touch, and is a smooth player – but he’s also a hard worker that is much faster and more athletic than people think. He might not have All-NBA upside, but he can help any team in the league. Seraphin is a very big body, a nice project player from overseas. He might pull out of the draft, but right now he’d be a guy that Memphis could grab with one of their 1st round picks, stash him away for a few years, and grab him when and if he’s more NBA ready – or if they need post help.
29. Hassan Whiteside– Orlando Magic: Who would I draft? Trevor Booker. Whiteside is an interesting guy. He thinks he’s going to be an all star, he claims that he wants to be one of the best, but he just doesn’t put in the work to back up all his talk. Lots of people claim they want to be something, but when it comes right down to it, their dedication and hard work is a good indicator of what they really want. Whiteside, to me, is a perfect example of why an NBA body doesn’t mean you’ll ever be a success at that next level. Talent-wise, he’s got plenty, but mentally he’s too immature. The Magic have plenty of leaders on and off the court to keep Whiteside grounded. Getting his face dunked on by Dwight Howard in practice might be just what the doctor ordered for Hassan. However, I would go with Booker. The kid is way faster and stronger than people give credit. He’s a tough kid that would be a perfect compliment player to any good team. As workouts continue, and Booker dominates competition, he’ll move up the draft charts into the first round.
30. Stanley Robinson– Washington Wizards: Who would I draft? Stanley Robinson. Nobody is sure about what Stanley Robinson is going to bring to a basketball game, but at his best he’s athletically gifted with an NBA body ready to play right now. With a leader and quick floor general like John Wall on his squad, I feel like you would get the best from Robinson on a consistent basis. If the Wizards are going to run, Robinson would be a nice energy player that could finish around the rim and score points on the break. Somebody has to take a chance on this guy.
2010 NBA Mock Draft
Here’s my 1st Mock Draft for the 2010 NBA Draft. I’ve gone through every team making their first round pick based on who I think they will go for. In each explanation, I also tell you who I’d pick if I were selecting among. Who they will pick, who I would pick, explanation. That spells it out pretty clearly. Here goes the Lottery Picks, the first 14 picks in the draft. I’ll post the rest of my first mock next week.
1. John Wall – Washington Wizards: Who would I pick? John Wall. He’s the best NBA prospect in the draft. I would say Evan Turner was the best college basketball player in the country, and I know he’ll be a very good pro, but John Wall has that special motor and his feel for the game, his vision, and his leadership are underrated. He’s a must pick for the Wizards.
2. Derrick Favors – Philadelphia 76ers: Who would I pick? Evan Turner. I think Favors is a fantastic talent, and his upside might very well be greater than Turner’s, however Turner dominated the competition last season in a do-it-all fashion, and he’s the biggest sure thing in this draft. Turner might play the same position as Andre Iguodala but he’s a much smarter player, a much better passer, and a better shooter. If you don’t draft the best players, you are making a mistake. The 76ers weren’t in love with keeping Iggy last season, as he spent much of the pre-deadline time in trade rumors – why would you not draft a great player because he plays that same position? I see the sexiness in taking Favors, an elite NBA body, a big time upside front-court player on a team without any.
3. Evan Turner – New Jersey Nets: Who would I take? Evan Turner. The man in charge of New Jersey has a good head on his shoulders, he definitely gets it. If Turner falls to him at #3, he’ll smile and take the best college basketball player in the draft. Turner does it all for a team that has no real identity. He sees the floor very well and has great size and playmaking ability for a 2/3 player. To walk away with the biggest sure thing in the draft at #3 would be great for this 12 win team.
4. DeMarcus Cousins– Minnesota Timberwolves: Who would I take? Wes Johnson. Lets be honest, the Timberwolves aren’t great at any position. I would say they are solid at power forward, but at that spot they have two of the same guy. I would say that Al Jefferson is a great post offensive player, but his back-up, Kevin Love, is a better all around player. Jonny Flynn has some upside, and Corey Brewer showed some flashes, but neither are starters on a good team, right now. I think Wesley Johnson is a very good player that translates well to the NBA game. He shoots very well and has great size. He can play at least the 3 and the 4 in the NBA and can outshoot almost everyone at those positions. His game is refined. He can hit big shots. I think Cousins had great upside, but so do a lot of young guys with terrible attitudes that never turn out to be anything. He’s a chance, a big one, a guy I see the Wolves taking a chance on – but I’d take Wes Johnson if I were the Wolves. He’s the 4th best player in this draft.
5. Al Farouq Aminu– Sacramento Kings: Who would I take? Aminu. I think Cousins would be a good pick for the Kings. They don’t have any big question marks, and could really improve if they got a young stud center. If they have a chance to roll the dice on one of the best talents in the draft, I think they should take it. But he’s gone, and that leaves the Kings with a lot of guys to chose from. While I like Wes Johnson more as a player, and he could definitely help spread the floor for Evans, I just think Aminu’s athleticism and upside fits the best on a team with a ball dominant guard like Evans. Aminu would give them a completely different dimension off the bench at the small forward position. His upside is limitless and his athleticism is great.
6. Wes Johnson– Golden State Warriors: Who would I pick? Wes Johnson. I like Corey Maggette, but I think Wes Johnson would be a better player for this team. He does a lot of things well, can hit open shots, and has very good range – something Maggette doesn’t have. I honestly think Maggette and Ellis are very similar players, and having them on the floor at the same time doesn’t make much sense. I see Wes Johnson as a very good fit on any team, as he’s very versatile.
7. Greg Monroe– Detroit Pistons: Who would I draft? Greg Monroe. I think this would be a great pick for the Pistons. Regardless of what people say about Monroe, the kid does everything at a high level. He might not be dunking on people in the NBA, but the fact that he’s a great passer, a smart player, has a good feel for the game, and can do anything you want your PF/C to do makes him a great pick up for a Pistons team that is really missing that glue guy. He might not be an in-your-face tough guy like Dumars is after, but this kid will be a solid starter for a long time.
8. Gordon Hayward– Los Angeles Clippers: Who would I draft? Xavier Henry. I actually think these two guys are eerily similar. Both can shoot it well, but I think Xavier will end up being the better shooter down the line. Hayward is more athletic, but Henry has a very solid game. Both guys will be great #2, 3, or 4 options in a couple years.
9. Ed Davis– Utah Jazz: Who would I draft? Good question. I guess I’d take the guy I think is the best player left on the board, and that’s Henry. At the very least he can play a couple different dimensions. They would probably love Cousins, Monroe, Johnson, or Aminu to fall this far, but I don’t see any of them doing so. I have them reaching for an upside PF/C prospect in Ed Davis – a guy that probably lost some of his luster because his guards couldn’t really get him the ball, and he’s not a great low-post scorer. But he could do a lot of things for Utah, probably not fill in to Boozer’s spot, but his defensive presence, rebounding, and length makes him a decent pick. I think John Hollinger’s Player Rater doesn’t take into account the problems Davis had getting the ball from his guards at UNC. I tend to agree with what Hollinger is selling, but I disagree on Davis, I think he’ll be a solid contributor to a good team, off the bench early and maybe as a starter down the line. I still think Xavier will be the better player.
10. Avery Bradley– Indiana Pacers: Who would I draft? Eric Bledsoe. Why punish a kid for playing on the same team as the best pro prospect in college basketball? You give Bledsoe a chance to run the point at Kentucky, and I think he’s a Top 5 pick. I actually like A.J. Price, but Bledsoe has much better upside than him, and I definitely like him more than Earl Watson and TJ Ford. But I understand the lotto ticket you’re buying when you draft a guy like Bradley. Bradley’s physical talents and quickness are impressive. I don’t know how much he’ll be able to help offensively or run a team, but defensively he can help immediately. I like Bledsoe more, but I get it if the Pacers take Bradley.
11. Cole Aldrich – New Orleans Hornets: Who would I draft? Luke Babbitt. Everybody in New Orleans might as well start on the bench outside of their two point guards, Marcus Thornton, and David West. Emeka Okafor is greatly overpaid. David West is, too. The team’s two best players play the same position and both are small – tough to play together. But at least they have good something. What they need they probably will have trouble finding with the 11th pick, unless the reach for a good player that isn’t highly touted by NBA draftniks. One thing Babbitt can do is score. He can do that from many places on the floor, and that’s a great thing to team up with one of the best ball dominant guards in the NBA. Alrdrich may have been the better college player, and he does have good size and toughness, but this team doesn’t need another Emeka Okofor. One is too many, already.
12. Luke Babbitt– Memphis Grizzlies: Who would I draft? Eric Bledsoe. What the grizzlies don’t need is “upside” players. No, no – they need help fill in the cracks NOW players. This team definitely overshot their pre-season predictions, even with a tough 2nd half record. They are pretty solid up front, and they have depth with last years’ lottery pick, Thabeet. What this team really needs is to just get older, and get a point guard to either take Conley’s spot, or at least spell him. Mike’s not bad, but he’s not real good either. The Grizzlies are said to be in love with Babbit, so I say they take him here, but Bledsoe would be a solid option if Babbit’s off the board, and I still think Xavier Henry is the best player on the board. I don’t know if the Grizzlies need an offensive first scorer than doesn’t guard well – but what do I know?
13. Daniel Orton– Toronto Raptors: Who would I draft? Ekpe Udoh or Henry. They say Orton has huge upside, and lots of teams love him. But tell me how a guy can hardly get minutes for his college team and be a lottery pick that year? I’ve rarely seen that practice turn into success, but this could be the first. I know Orton has elite athleticism. While the Raptors will need help down low, especially with Bosh on his way out, I don’t think Orton is the answer. Amir Johnson is a solid enough “upside” guy that is already on their roster. I think Udoh is a guy that could help right now. He showed me a lot against Duke, and I think he would be a solid match with Andrea Bargnani, the one guy the Raptors will try to build around. I still like Henry a lot, and think taking the best player on the board is always a good move – but DeRozan is that same guy.
14. Xavier Henry– Houston Rockets: Who would I draft? Xavier Henry. I know they don’t need Henry – but looking at their roster, and what’s left in this draft, what do the Rockets need that can be filled here? A real Center? Not with Yao coming back, and Samhan is my highest rated guy left – probably not the best pick at #14. Hassan Whiteside has gobs of talent, but he seems a bit like a donkey if you ask me. Not that donkeys can’t flourish in a me-first league, but Houston is smart, and they don’t pick guys with those problems. I think Henry will be a good player in the NBA. Not a role player, a good player. He needs to grow up a little bit, physically, but he’s smart and he can help any team right out of the gates with his basketball IQ, his ability to shoot, and his versatility. Finally X goes off the board.
Alright, we got the Lucky Lester team together for one final mock draft. We all don’t completely agree on all the picks but these are the guys we felt most comfortable with.
The Draft is close!!! As old as I am, I always start jumping around like a youngster when April hits the midway point. It’s the 12th, and I’m already getting a little giddy. This draft seems as crazy as any I’ve ever seen, as the first round could go any number of ways. Once again, the Raiders are the wild-card. Much will flow based on who they “reach for” at #8 – and I have a real surprise in the works! This is how I see it going…
1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma: This is an easy pick. I’m not as sold on him as Lucky is, but he’s going to be a solid quarterback in the league – he just has that leadership presence. The Rams need that on the field.
2. Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska: There’s some whispers out there saying the Lions might like McCoy more than Suh. Gerald is probably a better interior pass rusher, but I still like Suh more. If they pick 2nd, they grab Suh. It’s possible they could sucker the Bucs into moving up a spot, get the guy they really want and a bonus pick later in the draft. Seems silly, but all the years I’ve been around I’ve seen it a couple times.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma: While the Lions definitely do well with Bradford getting picked #1, the Bucs don’t miss by much either. While it was originally thought they’d be choosing the best players on the board after the can’t-miss defensive tackles, the way it’s shaking out, they’ll walk away with McCoy. Lucky.
4. Washington Redskins: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State: I think Lucky is on to something when he says Okung is not an ideal Shanahan lineman – but he’s still the best on the board, and for a team that is in full-blown win-now mode, a big talented cat to guard their new quarterback’s blindside is the right thing to do, the right guy to pick – that’s Okung.
5. Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee: It would stun everyone else, but not me, if the Chiefs went Dez Bryant here. The kid is going to be a stud, but with all the bad press he’s getting, he’d be a stunner this high. The smart move would be to grab a difference maker on defense, so I’m going to go on and pretend they do that and grab Berry. The guy is a perfect safety for this team.
6. Seattle Seahawks: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma: The Hawks don’t win big in terms of value if Berry is gone and Okung is off the board. This is where they’ll have to choose the best player that just makes them a better team. They need offensive line help something fierce, and this guy is a good safe player. He can play a few different spots and will improve the Hawks worst area right off the bat.
7. Cleveland Browns: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech: The Browns traded a little to get Sheldon Brown, making sure that they weren’t going to reach for a corner back too early. So what does that leave for the Browns? They could go defensive end, but this might be a little early. Unlike most teams picking this high, they are pretty dang good up front, so offensive lineman is out. It may be a reach, but I think Derrick Morgan would be a solid pick for Cleveland. He’s very good against the pass and run – he has good upside, and they traded away a pass rusher to Oakland.
8. Oakland Raiders: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma: Throw reason out the window when the Raiders pick. I don’t know what great value would be here for Oakland, and obviously they can’t right all the wrongs of draft’s past, but picking another WR in the Top 10 doesn’t make much sense. So it’s the perfect pick. When you add to the equation that Dez Bryant truly is a game changing talent, and he’s still around at 8, seems like a perfect Raider pick to me.
9. Buffalo Bills: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers: The Bills could really use some help up front and most of us here at LL.com think Anthony Davis is the most talented of a very deep OT class. Getting him here at 9, even with some questions, would be a great deal for the Bills.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Joe Haden, CB, Florida: Who knows what Jack Del Rio and his cast of tangerines are going to do, but they simply suck defensively and Haden is the best corner in the draft. In a division with Manning and Schaub, they desperately need help, and Haden is going to be a heck of a player.
11. Denver Broncos: Earl Thomas, S, Texas: I think the Broncos get lucky and pick up one of the Top 5 players in the draft with Thomas at #10. This defense could use lots of things, and maybe safety isn’t a dire need for this team, but this kid is too good to pass up for a smart draft staff.
12. Miami Dolphins: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee: The Dolphins should jump for joy if Williams makes it to them. They need to get better defensively, and while there are a handful of outside/inside linebackers that would be solid here, there’s only one perfect defensive tackle left on the board, and they should grab Dan here.
13. San Francisco 49ers: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa: If Bulaga actually falls this far, Singletary and the Niners will be even happier than the Dolphins. This team needs more talent up front, some push, a little running game identity, and BB can help do that.
14. Seattle Seahawks: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson: Being a Hawks fan, I would HATE to see Claussen get picked here. Trading a 2nd round pick for a 3rd string quarterback was dumb, but at least that makes me think they won’t go get Claussen. I wouldn’t love it if they grabbed Spiller, because as good of a football player as he is, the Hawks need so much defensively. I think Early Thomas would be great if he was here, but he’s not. Haden would be good value here, but he’s gone. If one of the Top 4 offensive linemen fell this far, that would be great value – but one of them didn’t, and they took an OT with their 1st pick anyway. At least if they pick Spiller they get one of the most dynamic offensive players in the draft.
15. New York Giants: Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: I certainly don’t care about his numbers or any combine pre-draft camp stuff here. I watched this kid play, and he’s a machine at the ILB position, a spot where the Giants need some serious help.
16. Tennessee Titans: Jason Pierre Paul, DE, South Florida: The Titans were going to be hurting on the defensive line anyway, but even more-so now that Vanden-Bosch is gone. Paul is a physical specimen that could do very good things under Tennessee’s coaching staff.
17. San Francisco 49ers: Sergio Kindle, DE, Texas: The Niners filled their need with their 1st pick, and while I’m sure they have some more, they wouldn’t be filled by a player of Kindle’s upside. Sergio had some amazing games, and I think he’d be a perfect fit for an already talented defense in San Francisco.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Iupati, G, Idaho: The best guard in the draft, the Steelers will go big with help up front if he’s here. Pittsburgh lost the ability to run last year, checking to pass plays too often, and never having that confidence up front. With a very good young running back, a new physical presence up front would get them back to basics.
19. Atlanta Falcons: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan: This kid has really moved up since original draft rankings, and I’m not one bit stunned. He’s a great football player, and while elite size will never be something he has, the ability to change the game is there. This would be a great pick for a Falcons D that really needs it.
20. Houston Texans: Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, Florida: I think Taylor Mays would be a good pick here. I think Kyle Wilson, or other help at CB (Kareem Jackson?) would be a solid pick for need here. But I also think this team needs more toughness up front, and Pouncey is one of if not the best interior lineman in the draft. I’m sold.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma: The Bengals could really use help in making their offense more explosive. They are strong up front, they have a good quarterback that should be even closer to his old self this coming season, and they have some talent at receiver. Gresham is the 2nd best receiving option in the draft – a good pick here.
22. New England Patriots: Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State: The Patriots missed Richard Seymour desperately last season. They get a 1st round pick from the Raiders next season because of it, and that might be great then, but right now they need some help up front to replace that guy. I’m not saying Odrick is Seymour, because he’s not, but he can be a tough-nosed all-out presence against the run and pass. A little higher than people expect Odrick to go, but so what.
23. Green Bay Packers: Charles Brown, OT, USC: Brown isn’t the highest rated tackle in the draft, but he’s a very good player that may have dropped down a bit because of USC’s offensive struggles in 2009. That’s silly, because Brown was still very stout, and he projects to be a talented OT in the league. The Packers need to keep Rodgers off his back, Brown can assist from the get go.
24. Philadelphia Eagles: Taylor Mays, S, USC: They have bigger needs at corner back and on the defensive line, but the Eagles have to see a lot of value in Taylor Mays, the total package at safety. He might have played a little out of position as a deep center fielder last year at USC – but he’s going to be a very good pro and is probably a Top 10 talent.
25. Baltimore Ravens: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State: The Ravens have traded for just about everything they need. They got lots of help offensively with Anquan Boldin, and they are already very stout up front, so much so that they are looking to trade one of their best offensive linemen. That being said, they can definitely get better in coverage, and Wilson is one skilled corner. Big plays are the name of the game, and Wilson makes plenty of them.
26. Arizona Cardinals: Everson Griffen, DE, USC: Griffen has lots of tools, and while he might not be a linebacker to take over for Dansby, they can go get that in Round 2. Right now, at 26, to get a player like Griffen at defensive end is too good to pass up.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland: The Cowboys don’t need anything, so look for them to either go for the most upside here or take the best player on the board, or even (and they’ve done it before) trade this pick away to someone looking for the next best quarterback, and get value later. No trades is our rule at LL.com, so I think the Cowboys go with Bruce Campbell from Maryland. He may not be the most fluid or the best worker, but he’s a big body with some upside and the Cowboys could get younger on the offensive line – at least with depth. I think that one of the best football players left is Golden Tate, but would the Cowboys sign a 1st round receiver?
28. San Diego Chargers: Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State: He’s not as flashy as Spiller or Best, but he might damn well be the best every down running back in the draft. The Chargers no longer have one of those, and they might just grab the top guy late in Round 1.
29. New York Jets: Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU: Well, the Jets have officially traded for everything they could have wanted. They now have one of the best receiving corps in the league with Cotchery, Braylon, and newly acquired Santonio Holmes. Needless to say I don’t think WR is on their 1st round wish list. They have a great offensive line and a very talented defense that is getting better in the off-season, grabbing Antonio Cromartie from the Chargers, and possibly signing Jason Taylor. So I think they grab a game changer as a pass-rusher, because they’ve been looking for one to boost their pass-rush for sometime. Jerry Hughes may not have ideal size, but his motor and pass-rush prowess could be exactly what the Jets defense needs.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Jimmy Claussen, QB, Notre Dame: The Vikings might be without Favre, or the old man might play another year. Either way, there’s not a ton of value to be had for them here, aside from Claussen, who could be prepared to be the Vikings quarterback of the future.
31. Indianapolis Colts: Brian Price, DT, UCLA: Price has lost a lot of his luster, falling out of most 1st round mocks. But I think this kid is going to be a good one, and he can do a lot from the DT spot. Indy is always looking for help on the D-line, and Price should bring them an immediate reward.
32. New Orleans Saints: Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri: This kid is a great pick for the Saints. He’s a very smart and talented football player that would fill in right away for the loss of Scott Fujita. He might not have that veteran seasoning, but he’s a better talent at a spot of need.
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!!!