Two weeks out from Day One of the new-look NFL Draft, here’s our latest take on what might transpire.
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Round Two »
1. St. Louis Rams — Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Previous mocks: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
The Rams say they don’t need to draft a quarterback, and that they’re perfectly fine entering the season with A.J. Feeley and Keith Null at the helm. Unless the plan is to play for next year’s top pick and a shot at Jake Locker, that ain’t happening. Working in the Rams’ favor is that they actually have a line that should keep Bradford relatively upright and a running game so that the brunt of the offensive load doesn’t fall on Bradford’s shoulders. Plus, if Laurent Robinson is healthy their receivers aren’t awful—at least nothing a trade for Brandon Marshall or a well-spent second-round pick couldn’t cure.
2. Detroit Lions — Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
Previous mocks: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
Unlike the Rams, the Lions have some issues with keeping their franchise quarterback upright. While McCoy or Suh would be a worthy selection here, after the upgrades Detroit made to their defensive line via free agency they’d be a luxury pick; Okung fills a glaring need and isn’t that great of a stretch. The Lions could also trade down with the Redskins and still wind up with Bryan Bulaga or Trent Williams, or maybe a bit further if they’re comfortable with Anthony Davis or Charles Brown.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
Previous mocks: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
The Bucs go from missing out on the elite DTs to having their pick of the litter. The consensus opinion seems to be that McCoy may not be quite the player that Suh is right now, but that he has more upside and potential as a pass-rusher; if that’s how the Buccaneers feel as well, then it’ll be McCoy they position as the heir to Warren Sapp. But either way Tampa Bay is ending up with one of the two best players in the draft.
4. Washington Redskins — Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
Previous mocks: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Donovan McNabb answers the quarterback question in the short term, and while it’s not out of the question that Mike Shanahan tabs Jimmy Clausen as his successor here it wouldn’t solve the Redskins’ glaring need for offensive line help. Only the Bills had more o-line issues than Washington last year, and if they want to get anything out of McNabb, Larry Johnson, Willie Parker, and Clinton Portis they desperately need to upgrade up front. If the Redskins find someone to take Albert Haynesworth off their hands, maybe they go with Suh here.
5. Kansas City Chiefs — Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
Previous mocks: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
Berry is in demand as both a play-making safety and potentially a cover corner, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Scott Pioli deals out of this spot to pick up a couple extra picks. But Berry is hardly a consolation prize and would certainly help out the back end of a Kansas City defense that ranked 29th in points allowed and 30th in yards allowed last year.
6. Seattle Seahawks — Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
Previous mocks: Bulaga; Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
Given what the Seahawks parted with to acquire Charlie Whitehurst, it’s tough to see them going after Jimmy Clausen here—especially when they’d still face the problem of no one to protect him. I could still see Pete Carroll trying to land a “splash” player here like C.J. Spiller or even Dez Bryant (though parting with a second-rounder or even their later first for Brandon Marshall makes more sense), but Walter Jones doesn’t appear likely to come back and it would be Lions-level foolish to invest in skill position players without the widebodies to let them be effective.
7. Cleveland Browns — Joe Haden, CB, Florida
Previous mocks: Sergio Kindle, OLB/DE, Texas; Haden
Can you really see Mike Holmgren taking another Notre Dame quarterback after dealing former first-rounder Brady Quinn for chump change earlier this offseason? Not that Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace are the answer, but Holmgren will have to really be sold on Clausen to waddle down that road again and all accounts suggest he’s far from sold. Haden recovered from a slow 40 time at the Combine with a solid Pro Day showing, and he’ll anchor an Eric Mangini defense that requires solid corner play.
8. Oakland Raiders — Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
Previous mocks: Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
It wasn’t all that long ago Suh was the no-brainer top pick, but now it appears the Lion and Rams are going in different directions. With so many teams playing the 3-4 and Suh not the prototypical 3-4 lineman (nose or end), it’s not difficult to see him sliding this far in the draft; after all, you aren’t seeing the same teams drafting in the top 10 year after year because they’re making smart draft day decisions. In this case, Al Davis has a stud fall into his lap and unless he’s so infatuated with Campbell’s athleticism that he must reach for him Suh heads to Oakland to shore up their run defense and make seven teams regret passing on him.
9. Buffalo Bills — Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
Previous mock: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
With the top three offensive tackles already off the board, the Bills will have to take the backwards approach and get their quarterback before building a line to protect him. It’s a deep tackle class that might yield some help in the second round, but unless Buffalo really likes Anthony Davis and is willing to settle for maybe Colt McCoy or Tim Tebow in Round 2 this might be their best bet at kick-starting the offense.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars — Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
Previous mock: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida; Morgan
Even after signing Aaron Kampman this offseason the Jaguars’ pass rush still needs more help. So the decision boils down to Morgan, who’s a more complete end who could stand up to the Titans’ run game while still getting after Peyton Manning, or Pierre-Paul, who has the athleticism to be an elite pass rusher but might also be a one-year wonder. Unless Jack Del Rio feels like swinging for the fences, Morgan makes more sense.
11. Denver Broncos (from Bears) — Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
Previous mocks: Joe Haden, CB, Florida; McClain
The most talented player on the board is WR Dez Bryant, but Josh McDaniels already has one head case wideout and isn’t seeking a bookend. The best fit for Denver might be C Maurkice Pouncey, but this feels too early for a center. The Broncos might jump at S Earl Thomas to groom under Brian Dawkins, but this is a relatively deep safety class so they’ll upgrade their front seven with McClain.
12. Miami Dolphins — Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
Previous mocks: Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama; Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
Maybe Bill Parcells feels the Dolphins offer the disciplined environment (read: babysitting) Bryant will need to be a successful pro... or maybe he’s already been there and done that with Terrell Owens. The free-agency signing of Karlos Dansby makes linebacker a lesser need, and a beefy blocker-eating nose tackle would make the linebackers even more effective.
13. San Francisco 49ers — Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho
Previous mocks: Iupati
It’s tough to see Iupati slipping past the Niners, who need to upgrade their offensive line and would be wise to use the first of their two Day One picks to do so. While Iupati’s experience is at guard, he has the size and athleticism to kick outside to right tackle; in either case, he’ll provide an immediate upgrade to San Francisco’s front line.
14. Seattle Seahawks (from Broncos) — C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
Previous mocks: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech; Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
With the safeties wafer-thin at safety and former Pete Carroll player Taylor Mays still on the board, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Seahawks scratch that itch. But Seattle can find a strong safety next round; an explosive player like Spiller isn’t as likely to be on the board. Carroll has several directions he can go here, but a talent like Spiller would be too much to pass up.
15. New York Giants — Earl Thomas, S, Texas
Previous mocks: Thomas
At the start of draft season Thomas felt like a bit of a reach here; now the Giants have to cross their fingers and hope he’s still on the board. While it’s a deep safety class and the Giants added Antrel Rolle in free agency, Thomas gives them depth at a position that killed them a year ago as well as the versatility and cover skills to contribute immediately in nickel packages.
16. Tennessee Titans — Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
Previous mocks: Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida
There is little question the area needing to be addressed is the pass rush. Dunlap is an option, as are Brandon Graham and Everson Griffen. While Graham may be the safest pick of the bunch, Pierre-Paul’s upside is too much to pass up; he’s a Jevon Kearse-type of athlete, and the Titans seemed to do okay with the Freak a few years back.
17. San Francisco 49ers (from Panthers) — Sergio Kindle, LB, Texas
Previous mocks: Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers; Taylor Mays, S, USC
Cornerbacks like Patrick Robinson remain on the board and might give the Niners pause with this pick, but another way to help the secondary is to upgrade the pass rush. Kindle might be a better fit in a 3-4 defense, but he can get after the passer from the edge and has cover ability as well. He plays like a Mike Singletary linebacker should, and teamed with Patrick Willis would give the Niners a formidable ‘backer corps.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers — Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida
Previous mocks: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee; Brian Price, DT, UCLA
The Steelers need to do a better job of protecting Ben Roethlisberger, and not just when he’s out bar-hopping: since the start of the 2006 season, Roethlisberger has been sacked 203 times in 65 games (includes playoffs). With Casey Hampton under contract and replacement options like Cam Thomas available in later rounds Pittsburgh can solidify the middle of its line with Pouncey, who can play guard if necessary until he’s ready to assume the mantle of legendary Steeler predecessors at his position such as Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson.
19. Atlanta Falcons — Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
Previous mocks: Graham; Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
Cornerback was addressed via the free agency signing of Dunta Robinson; the secondary will look even better if the Falcons add a pass rusher so they don’t have to cover so long. While Everson Griffen and Carlos Dunlap may have more potential, the Falcons already have one inconsistent, hard-to-motivate defensive end in Jamaal Anderson and would prefer the high-motor intensity of Graham.
20. Houston Texans — Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
Previous mocks: Wilson
Unless the Texans have fallen in love with another corner in this class—Devin McCourty, Patrick Robinson, Kareem Jackson—then Wilson makes the most sense here as they try to replace Dunta Robinson. The alternative would be a between-the-tackles back like Ryan Mathews, but Houston could wait a round and still get Jonathan Dwyer or Anthony Dixon; odds are the corner of their dreams wouldn’t still be on the board in Round 2.
21. Cincinnati Bengals — Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
Previous mocks: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State; Gresham
The Bengals would seem like the perfect haven for Bryant, but don’t you think Marvin Lewis has grown tired of dealing with all the head cases? Gresham fills multiple needs: as a blocker for their newfound power running game, and as an over-the-middle receiver for Carson Palmer. With linebacker their only other real area of need, and a strongside backer like Sean Lee likely available in the next round, Gresham makes sense here.
22. New England Patriots — Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
Previous mocks: Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, TCU; Sergio Kindle, LB, Texas
Previous mocks have the Patriots addressing their pass rush with a hybrid DE/OLB type, but if the unquestionably talented Bryant slips this far Bill Belichick seems like just the guy to rein him in. Randy Moss is playing out the string and Wes Welker isn’t likely to be ready for the start of the season; Bryant would give Tom Brady another athletic target who could eventually step right into Moss’s shoes. If Bryant is deemed an unreachable knucklehead by Belichick, they could go back to the linebacker well—or perhaps WR Demaryius Thomas has a clean bill of health.
23. Green Bay Packers — Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
Previous mocks: Davis; Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
The Packers traditionally like to trade down, and because Davis isn’t necessarily a value here Green Bay could entertain offers—say from a QB-needy team that’s targeting Colt McCoy or Tim Tebow—and still get OT Charles Brown, CB Patrick Robinson, or S Nate Allen. But if they stay put, then protecting Aaron Rodgers becomes the primary objective, and Davis is the best lineman left on the board.
24. Philadelphia Eagles — Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
Previous mocks: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson; Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida
The Eagles would love one of the elite defensive backs—Earl Thomas, maybe, or Kyle Wilson—but if those players are off the board and Philly doesn’t want to reach for a Devin McCourty or Patrick Robinson, expect them to address their linebackers. While Jerry Hughes and Ricky Sapp are are talented, they’re more hybrid/3-4 types. Weatherspoon can play any of the linebacker positions in the 4-3, and his speed will help him not only in pursuit but also in the many blitz packages the Eagles use.
25. Baltimore Ravens — Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
Previous mocks: Arrelious Benn, WR, Illinois
While Anquan Boldin doesn’t solve all of the team’s wide receiver needs, it does make it less of a priority; second-round options like Mardy Gilyard or Eric Decker would serve them well. That leaves the first round open for Baltimore to get younger in their secondary, and the top players on the board are all corners. Robinson’s speed seems to be the better fit for the Ravens over the likes of Kareem Jackson or Devin McCourty.
26. Arizona Cardinals — Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
Previous mocks: Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida; Brandon Graham, DE/LB, Michigan
The signing of rush linebacker Jerry Porter doesn’t necessarily take that position off the board for the Cardinals, and Jerry Hughes will certainly draw consideration here. But with Campbell still on the board and the Cards’ tackle situation unsettled at best, look for Arizona to give Beanie Wells and Matt Leinart some help up front. Fellow tackle Charles Brown could also draw consideration here as well.
27. Dallas Cowboys — Taylor Mays, S, USC
Previous mocks: Mays; Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
With Flozell Adams gone the Cowboys would have loved a shot at Campbell, and you can bet Jerry Jones is ready to rectify his Randy Moss mistake should Dez Bryant slip down the board as well. With other more Cowboy-like linemen available on Day Two (Kyle Calloway, Adam Urbanski), they’ll pass on Charles Brown here and address their safety situation. Mays’ athleticism is off the charts, and while his playing speed doesn’t match his measurables on film he looked so good at the Combine that at least one team will take a shot on him in the first round.
28. San Diego Chargers — Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State
Previous mocks: Mathews; C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
Even though Darren Sproles signed his tender, he’s not the long-term solution in San Diego. Mathews is the best every-down back in this draft, and the areas in which he needs improvement—pass protection and receiving—can be taught while Sproles takes those on-field reps in 2010. While the Chargers are transitioning to more of a passing team then they’ve been in the past, if he lands this gig Mathews projects to be the top fantasy rookie this year.
29. New York Jets — Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU
Previous mocks: Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
Not that the Jets wouldn’t like to add a wideout here, and if Demaryius Thomas checks out health-wise he might just be their pick. But with Vernon Gholston looking like a loss, Rex Ryan’s defense needs to add an edge rusher. Hughes might be a little smaller than, say, Everson Griffen, but Ryan will prefer the guy with the motor that doesn’t quit.
30. Minnesota Vikings — Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
Previous mocks: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame; Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
The Vikings have plenty of options here: a developmental quarterback like Colt McCoy or Tim Tebow, for example, or offensive line help like Charles Brown if they’re ready to cut ties with Bryant McKinnie. But the more pressing need, with Antoine Winfield getting on in years and Cedric Griffin unlikely to be available for the start of the season, is a cornerback. McCourty and Kareem Jackson are the best fits for Minnesota’s style, with McCourty’s standout special teams skills giving him the nod.
31. Indianapolis Colts — Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
Previous mocks: Odrick
The Colts’ plan to get bigger along the offensive line could lead to the selection of OT Charles Brown, but there are other options in the next couple of rounds—specifically Jared Veldheer, out of longtime Indy line coach Howard Mudd’s alma mater, Hillsdale—to fill that need. Adding Odrick helps shore up the interior of the Colts’ underrated defense, with Odrick either capitalizing on all the attention paid to Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis—or drawing enough attention himself to free up the outside playmakers.
32. New Orleans Saints — Everson Griffen, DE, USC
Previous mocks: Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri; Griffen
The Saints would prefer to see a linebacker with pass-rushing skills slide to them here, but if Weatherspoon is off the board they can use this pick to replace Charles Grant along their front line. Griffen’s talent suggests he be drafted much earlier, but an inconsistent motor has him pegged as a boom-or-bust candidate. The defending Super Bowl champs can afford to take the risk.
Round Two »