It’s past due for this blog to post another mock Draft, which we have not since free agency started. Our last one was commandeered by Paddy, before all the trading and moving about has happened.
Those moves have consequences, of course, and many of them have, in my opinion, redetermined selections all over this first round, as high as the second overall pick.
Without further ado:
|Pick||Team||Player Selected||Player’s Position||Player’s School||Analysis|
|1.||Sam Bradford||Quarterback||Oklahoma||It’s not entirely out of the question for the Rams to go DL at this point, but I’d think it’d be very unlikely given the high picks they have so far whiffed on (Adam Carriker has struggled as a DT penetrator, and Chris Long is going to need more time). There are rumors circulating out there that the Redskins might be sniffing around Carriker, and if that’s the case, the Rams go Suh here. Until then, the Rams are going to make a much-needed trip to the Franchise Reset button and pick up a beefed-up Bradford.|
|2.||Russell Okung||Offensive Tackle||Oklahoma State||
The great state of Oklahoma provides the two top picks this year, as the Lions forego what many of us had assumed they would do the entire offseason and ignore their defensive line with the #2 overall. Suh or McCoy would provide help to the Lions DL, but it’s not much needed help anymore: the Lions traded for Corey Williams and therefore have too much money tied up at defensive tackle already. The Lions do, however, need to protect the Lions’ best QB prospect ever in Matt Stafford, and Okung is the safest pick in the Draft. This allows Jeff Backus to move over to LG and the Lions have a pretty nice situation shaping up on their offense.
|3.||Ndamukong Suh||Defensive Tackle||Nebraska||As thrilled as many Bucs fans would be to see Suh fall to them, it still wouldn’t surprise me if the Bucs actually opted for Gerald McCoy instead — McCoy is much more of a penetrator than Suh is, much closer to the vein of Buccaneer Hall of Famer Warren Sapp. But Suh is regarded to be the best player in the Draft, and if that’s the case the Bucs do the smart thing and pluck him up. The Bucs are 100% certain to go defensive tackle, 0% chance to go Eric Berry as some people have guessed. If Eric Berry goes early, it’s to the Lions.|
|4.||Jimmy Clausen||Quarterback||Notre Dame||New regimes mean new quarterbacks. I actually like Jason Campbell and think he has just been expected to be a competent QB for the most incompetent franchise in the NFL. But nonetheless, Campbell’s time is done with Shanahan coming in. Shanahan will take Clausen if he’s there simply because Clausen is an accurate, NFL-ready QB who can handle the biggest stage. Clausen’s prickly personality won’t shy away the coach who loved Cutler and Jake Plummer. Clausen doesn’t make it to Kansas City, unfortunately.|
|5.||Eric Berry||Safety||Tennessee||This is by no means a sure thing, Chiefs fans. (Although it becomes a lot more likely with Okung going to the Lions.) I think there are three serious options here: (1.) Berry, as elite a prospect as there is, (2.) Brian Bulaga, because of Pioli’s Ferenz connection, but Bulaga is a ridiculous reach that would make the Tyson Jackson selection look like a freakin’ value pick by comparison, and (3.) Gerald McCoy, who is becoming far more likely to drop to this pick. McCoy is essentially Glenn Dorsey except that he’s a far better fit for the 3-4, so if Dorsey has been traded, there’s no question Pioli would rather go with DL than with Berry.|
|6.||Gerald McCoy||Defensive Tackle||Oklahoma||With no viable QBs left on the board, the Seahawks see a crazy great value pick in Gerald McCoy. I’m in the minority of draftniks who actually believes McCoy is going to be a better player than Suh — he has virtually no injury history and has a longer track record.|
|7.||C.J. Spiller||Running Back||Clemson||This is an incredibly difficult pick for the Browns. No QB at this point is worth taking. The defensive players that have been so often mocked to them — McClain and Haden — have looked so ridiculously awful this offseason. So I think the Browns trade either up or down, or they go with the best skill position player they can find.The choice is Spiller or Dez Bryant. The space between Bryant’s ears is so unpredictable, there’s really no way to know if he’ll make it out of this league in one piece despite his amazing talent. I’m of the opinion that Spiller’s more talented, anyway.|
|8.||Bruce Campbell||Offensive Tackle||Maryland||This goes without saying, given Campbell’s athletic freakishness.First DHB last year, then Campbell this year. There’s something in the water in Maryland that creates these kinds of freaks…|
|9.||Trent Williams||Offensive Tackle||Oklahoma||All things being equal, I believe the Bills would go for a nose tackle here to anchor their defense. But there is going to be a historic run on offensive tackles in this first round, and it’s possible that this will be Buffalo’s only chance to pick up elite OL talent.I mean, it’s a deep OT class, but a ton of them could be going in this first round this year, unlike anything we’ve ever seen.|
|10.||Jason Pierre-Paul||Defensive End||South Florida||I could go with a detailed explanation, but Paddy broke this one down simply enough:”Pierre-Paul is shooting up draft boards and the Jags need a pass rush. This kid has tons of upside.”|
|11.||Taylor Mays||Safety||USC||All things being equal again, I think McDaniels would opt for Dez Bryant to give him the leverage he needs to part ways with Brandon Marshall. But Bryant is such a potential headcase, you can’t really go there and be confident with the #11 overall.I honestly think Dan Williams would be the better pick, but with Jamal Williams on board, it’s just not the smart pick. Instead they pick up the best player on the board at this point, Taylor Mays, because Brian Dawkins is pretty much done.|
|12.||Dan Williams||Defensive Tackle||Tennessee||There are a trio of players available here that Parcells is in love with, I’m sure: (1.) CB Joe Haden, whose awful workouts have dropped him to here, (2.) ILB Rolando McClain, a quarterback on the field that will make any defense his own, and (3.) NT Dan Williams, the highest rated big ugly on the board.Although honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if Parcells goes with Terrance Cody, since Cody is much closer to Jason Ferguson than Williams is. But Williams’ upside is too high to pass on.|
|13.||Anthony Davis||Offensive Tackle||Rutgers||The Niners would have preferred to go offensive tackle with the 16th instead of the 13th, but the early run on tackles is going so fast that they have to jump on the best talent possible. I like Davis a lot despite his workouts, but I mostly think the dropoff from him to Bulaga or Brown is too sharp, and the Seahawks will definitely be going tackle with the next pick. So if you’re the Niners, you get the value while you can.|
|14.||(Den)||Charles Brown||Offensive Tackle||USC||Best available offensive tackle for the Seahawks, and Seattle’s gamble on McCoy (instead of any OT they wanted at the #6 overall) has paid off. Sure, tackles have gone fast and furious, but Bulaga and Brown still remain on the board.Far as I know, this is the earliest Charles Brown has gone in any mock this year. But (a.) he has looked great all year at USC, weighed in well, and knows the techniques of the blind side better than any tackle in this Draft, and (b.) Brian Bulaga just doesn’t look good to me anymore. He looks like an elite RT, or a decent LT with zero upside.|
|15.||Brian Price||Defensive Tackle||UCLA||I feel like I’m in Oz with a couple picks in this Draft. The idea that the Steelers or the Jets seriously need to go defense in this Draft seems to counterintuitive it’s just goofy. The same goes for the Giants, who somehow are actually going to need to stock up on DL this Draft if they’re able to.This choice was between Price and Derrick Morgan. Brian Price is an overlooked talent — a pure penetrator that the Giants haven’t had at defensive tackle in some time. I’d go defensive end here if I could but other than Derrick Morgan’s limited upside, there’s not much to excite here.|
|16.||(CAR)||Derrick Morgan||Defensive End||Georgia Tech||There’s really no explanation needed here except for why the Titans would opt for Morgan other than the other available passrushing talent…The Titans aren’t in rebuilding mode — they need the best talent they can get now, and Morgan is the best 4-3 DE in this Draft. He’s the quickest transition and the surest thing over everybody else.|
|17.||Joe Haden||Cornerback||Florida||WHAT?!?!? JOE HADEN FELL HERE!?!?Yes, yes he did. Cornerback is one of those positions that will spook teams if they don’t see the measurables they like. Haden is now arguing that he had a sprained back at the Combine — that’s right, he would rather have teams believe he’s coming off an injury than that he’s slow.
Nevertheless, the Niners are willing to see what he’s made of. Their secondary is in flux right now so he could start right away or get limited reps as a backup.
|18.||Rolando McClain||Inside Linebacker||Alabama||The Steelers are downright ancient in the middle of their linebacking corps — and unlike the Patriots, they don’t prefer to keep it that way.McClain is solid value for the Steelers. Pittsburgh just about values linebackers above everything else anyway so this is a match made in Heaven, or at least the middle of the first round.|
|19.||Brandon Graham||Defensive End||Michigan||The Falcons need to help their quarterback, and they need help getting to the other team’s quarterback. This choice, for me at least, would be between Dez Bryant and the best passrusher available, in this case Brandon Graham.Dez Bryant remains just too much of a personality red flag for me to opt for him — I think he’s going to drop to a particular team that doesn’t care about those kinds of red flags.
Some people have suggested that the Falcons might opt for Sean Weatherspoon, but I seriously dislike spending this high of a pick on a weakside linebacker…
|20.||Earl Thomas||Safety||Texas||The Texans pick a local talent for a much needed improvement in their secondary. This gives the Houstons SS Bernard Pollard and FS Earl Thomas locking down their safety position for the next ten years. Corner desperately needs to be improved with multiple picks for this secondary to rise to the Peyton Manning Challenge twice a year. Fortunately for the Texans, this Draft is silly-deep at corner.|
|21.||Dez Bryant||Wide Receiver||Oklahoma State||The Bengals, always in flux with headcases, need to get their wide receiver corps back to the top of the league. Bryant has some personal issues that would scare away most teams, but his great physical tools are the perfect match for Chad Ochocinco’s skillset.Bryant’s personality won’t scare the Bengals away, but his complete inexperience at route running will — but he simply offers too much ability to be passed on.|
|22.||Jermaine Gresham||Tight End||Oklahoma||The Patriots need more hands down the field, but this is kind of a skinny WR crop in this year’s Draft, and there’s not a lot of elite talent.Of the little elite talent there is, Gresham’s actually one of your best options. This is a team that needs to give Tom Brady a good run for the years he has left, and the team has a hole at tight end.|
|23.||Bryan Bulaga||Offensive Tackle||Iowa||I disagree with Paddy when talking about Bulaga: I don’t think he has a high ceiling at all, but I think he’s probably a slightly above average starter in this league. That’s his potential… But while he doesn’t have a high ceiling, he certainly doesn’t have a low floor, either. He’s going to be reliable for whomever takes him, although I doubt he’s ever outstanding.This Packers team could desperately use that reliability on the blindside. Bulaga falls here.|
|24.||Everson Griffen||Defensive End||USC||There are three things that are for certain in this life: death, taxes, and the Eagles needing a passrusher across from Trent Cole. The choice is between the underachieving but promising Griffen, and the fine track record but troubling Carlos Dunlap.I love Griffen on the left side, but it’s going to be interesting if Andy Reid thinks he can get some productivity out of this guy’s amazing talent. So far, Griffen has had a lot of trouble figuring that out. I think Dunlap’s character concerns are a no-go for the Birds.|
|25.||Jared Odrick||Defensive End||Penn State||The Ravens have done their best Patriots impression and tried to sign and trade for an entirely new WR corps. As a result, this pick is NOT a receiver for the first time all offseason. Now we look to their defense.The Ravens front seven relies on more than Ray Lewis, it relies on a dominant DL. Odrick is the best 3-4 DE in this Draft, and has the ability to get into the backfield but will need help playing the run. With the Ravens’ top-ranked run defense, I somehow think he’ll get that support.|
|26.||Sergio Kindle||Outside Linebacker||Texas||The Cardinals have oddly relied on their 3-4 defensive line for sacks for waaaaay too long. These guys need help, ‘Zona. Kindle is a product and is by no means a sure thing, but he offers the physicality the Cards are starving for at the position.|
|27.||Mike Iupati||Offensive Guard||Idaho||For every word I type explaining why the Cowboys would like to draft a massive roadgrader at guard, I feel like I am wasting pixel space.|
|28.||Terrance Cody||Defensive Tackle||Alabama||There aren’t a lot of great running backs in this Draft, but the Chargers do not have a lot of holes and they can move up and down all over this Draft if they want to.Without Jamal Williams, the Chargers have absolutely zero talent in the middle of their defensive line. There is no nose tackle talent in free agency, and as always, available noses in this Draft are few and far between.
I think Cody is the best nose in this entire Draft if he plays up to his potential, and I don’t think the Chargers release Williams without knowing that they will get Cody here.
|29.||Jerry Hughes||Outside Linebacker||Texas Christian||Hughes is the combination of size and power that Rex Ryan hungers for at passrusher. Hughes has a pretty good upside but essentially he’s just a perfect fit for this system.|
|30.||Kyle Wilson||Cornerback||Boise State||Much like the Fiesta Bowl this year, Boise State and TCU face up against one another. TCU’s stud finds a great place in a great defense in New York, and Wilson is going to love the opportunistic lifestyle of a Vikings corner. Wilson has the kind of fast-twitch athleticism that makes him a better athlete than most of the wide receivers he’ll be covering.Wilson marking Percy Harvin in practice, by the way? Purely golden entertainment.|
|31.||Rodger Saffold||Offensive Tackle||Indiana||A lot of teams have been mocking a center to the Colts, but Jeff Saturday isn’t the problem here. The problem is on the edges. Peyton Manning doesn’t need elite protection but he needs good protection, and he’s just not getting that on the edges.I understand that Saffold is a controversial pick here, but the tackle dropoff after him is very steep, and Saffold was as good as any left tackle in the league in the Big Ten against a ton of talented passrushers. I think he’s an unheralded talent that should surely go in the second round, but has enough versatility and experience that a first round sneak might not be out of the question.|
|32.||Sean Weatherspoon||Outside Linebacker||Missouri||The Saints can take a luxury pick here and pick up the best 4-3 outside linebacker we’ve seen come out of the Draft in freakin’ years.|