Richard Lines’ Mock Draft 1.0 – 22/2/2010
1). Jimmie Clausen – QB – Notre Dame
The Rams are in desperate need of a young signal caller in 2010. The team has relied on Kyle Boller to man the show as Marc Bulger continues to struggle with his form and is owed a great deal of money. In all likelihood, Bulger’s career in St. Louis appears to be over. I don’t personally think that Clausen deserves to be the #1 overall pick, but given the Rams needs on offense, the pressure to find the new “Face of the Franchise” may be too great. Add in the fact that the quarterback class is not exceptionally deep this year, the Rams may be forced to take a position over a player at #1. Clausen is a good player, but would likely be better suited going to a team later on in the round that has a bit more talent around him. The dilemma for the Rams is that their defensive line is still not very good despite investing several high picks on the area over the last several years. Steve Spagnuolo would like to add another front line player in an effort to bolster the unit, however the Rams do not have many real options at quarterback and must bring in new talent. Spagnuolo ran an aggressive, attacking defense while in New York, so if the Rams do indeed go defense with their first pick, it may be Gerald McCoy’s name that is called over Ndamukong Suh. Bradford’s shoulder injury may give Clausen the edge although Bradford may be the better player overall.
2). Ndamukong Suh – DT – Nebraska
The Lions do need to provide Matthew Stafford with more protection than he currently enjoys, however there is no offensive tackle that would be worth the contract at #2 overall in my opinion. The Lions need help all over the place as the team won only 2 games in 2009. The defensive line is very thin at defensive tackle as the team relied on Grady Jackson who will be entering into his 13th season, Sammie Lee Hill along with Landon and Joe Cohen. The Lions defense must be rebuilt through the middle at some stage in the near future. Middle linebacker is a need, but again there really isn’t anyone worth this selection. Jim Schwartz also knows that he must produce more than 26 sacks in 20010 if the team is to continue to advance, although there is some talent at the position in the form of Jason Hunter. Jason Pierre Paul is a defensive end that is climbing many draft boards, but he may be too much of a gamble to take #2 overall. Suh can provide the force in the middle for Schwartz in much the same way Albert Haynesworth did for him in Tennessee.
3). Gerald McCoy – DT – Oklahoma
In 2009, the Buccaneers drafted their quarterback of the future in Josh Freeman. Freeman received valuable playing time last season, but it is clear that he needs more weapons around him. The Bucs could use a top flight wide receiver to pair with Freeman as they attempt to jump start their offense, although the defense must be a consideration given that the unit gave up 158.2 yards on the ground in 2009. Ryan Sims and Chris Hovan are not providing the team with the level of play necessary for the Buccaneers to compete on a weekly basis. The team does have some youth in Roy Miller and Dre Moore but neither player is anywhere as talented as Gerald McCoy. A one gap tackle with McCoy’s burst are not easy to pass up, especially for a team in dire need of defensive line help.
4). Russell Okung – OT – Oklahoma State
The Redskins have been rumored to have interest in Jimmy Clausen if he should make it this far. In this scenario, Clausen is long gone and Shanahan must move on to plan B, which is likely to be upgrading the offensive line. Shanahan’s offense will need linemen who are agile and athletic. Okung is not an elite tackle prospect, but he certainly is a better fit for the Redskins offense than players like Brian Bulaga and Bruce Campbell for instance. The Redskins could always surprise everyone and bring in a player like Jason Piere Paul to bolster the defensive line and provide a complement to last year’s first round sensation Brian Orakpo.
5).Eric Berry – FS – Tennessee
The Chiefs need to continue to add talent to their roster, and the offensive line would be a good place to start. However, could either Brian Bulaga or Trent Williams be an option this early in the process? I doubt it, although Scott Pioli did draft Tyson Jackson in the Top 5 last year. The Chiefs need help throughout their linebacker corp as well, but the best player on the board is likely Eric Berry. Berry does fill a need for the Chiefs as neither Jon McGraw no Mike Brown are the answer for the Chiefs long term, and Berry is one of the best players in the entire draft to begin with and Pioli knows how much of an impact a quality safety can have for a defense and organization in dire need of quality talent.
6). Sam Bradford – QB – Oklahoma
Pete Carrol has always been a defensive coach so the team could look to address this area first. However, the fact that Matt Hasselbeck will be 35 during the 2010 season with either Seneca Wallace or Mike Teel as backups means the team must address the position quickly. Bradford does have injury concerns, but when healthy, he is a very accurate passer who could benefit from sitting as much as possible his rookie year. Seattle also needs to address the left tackle position, but I don’t think this year’s class is as talented as in years past and therefore any selection here may be a reach.
7). Joe Haden – CB – Florida
The Browns had a putrid offense in 2009 and must continue to add play makers to the unit. However, the defense is just as bad as the unit lacks a truly dominant player although there is some talent amidst the linebacking corp, just not enough. Perhaps the worst unit on the Browns roster is their secondary as there is just a general lack of top flight talent. Haden is the best all around corner on the board and has been linked to the Browns in recent weeks. I still wonder however, if the Browns decide to bring in more weapons, such as Dez Bryant in an effort to open up and anemic passing game. Cleveland needs a number one receiver and football czar Mike Holmgren may lean in that direction come draft day.
8). Jason Pierre Paul – DE – USF
The Raiders have holes at many spots on their roster. The team relied heavily on rookie Louis Murphy to help lead the offense, and it showed. Unfortunately, the monetary investment in JaMarcus Russell has been ill advised. The trouble is, does Al Davis know this? The Raiders are one the hardest teams to predict due to their erratic nature. Al Davis loves players with measurables and Pierre Paul is one of the more freakish athletes in the 2010 Draft. Taking Pierre Paul may not be the best option for the team, as the offensive line could use attention. If it were up to Head Coach Tom Cable offensive tackle Trent Williams or Bryan Bulaga may be an option as they would fit in with what the Raiders do on offense pretty well in my opinion. But, as we all know Cable doesn’t call the shots in Oakland, so Pierre Paul gets the nod.
9). Dan Williams – DT – Tennessee
This is the first big surprise of Round 1 and it may be a move made out of necessity than anything else. The Bills are switching to a 3-4 defense and their front line personnel do not mesh with this new philosophy. Marcus Stroud is said to be against playing the nose, Aaron Schoebel is considering retirement and their linebackers are primarily cover 2 style players. Ralph Wilson was rumored to have offered 10 million a season to Mike Shanahan this off season. But, as those rumors never amounted to anything tangible, it is more likely the Bills will continue there fiscally responsible ways. If that trend stays true to form, then the Bills will likely balk at the asking price for the game’s premiere nose tackles – which may be in the 7-9 million dollar a season range. This is a reach in terms of many Big Boards, but the Bills have some players to man the outside linebacker position, they have no one to man the middle of their 3-4 defense and Williams is certainly an option for that position.
10). Dez Bryant – WR – Oklahoma State
The Broncos have seen Brandon Marshall and Head Coach Josh McDaniels squabble during the season and at some point the relationship may go further south. If so, the Broncos would do well to add an insurance policy in the form of Bryant, the draft’s top rated receiver. Another option could be that Denver believes McDaniels can handle the star wide out’s mercurial personality and choose to address their needs at defensive end as both Kenny Peterson and Vonnie Holliday will be 32 or older by season’s end.
11). C.J. Spiller – RB – Clemson
The Jaguars do have a glaring need at defensive end and that may lead many to pencil in Derrick Morgan to the Jaguars here. Last year GM Gene Smith showed that he would take the best player available as the team took offensive tackles with back to back selections. While Morgan is indeed the top rated defensive end, is he the best player on the board for what ails the Jags? If you are speaking in those turns, then someone like Spiller, Earl Thomas and Rolando McClain enter into the discussion ahead of Morgan in my opinion. This is not to say that Morgan is not a good value here, only that Spiller may be the better overall value. Spiller provides an excellent compliment to Maurice Jones Drew’s running style whilst providing an addition to the passing game as well.
12). Derrick Morgan – DE – Georgia Tech
The biggest need in Miami is at the linebacker position thanks to the impending release of Joey Porter and Jason Taylor being a free agent. The Dolphins need to get younger and more athletic at the position – that much is clear. The problem is that the Dolphins do not have much depth behind either veteran, or at inside linebacker, making the need to find a steady player a must as the team looks to move forward. Morgan is not an elite pass rusher, but he plays the run well. However, he must show that he can move well enough to occupy the strong side linebacker spot in the new Dolphins’ Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan’s defense. Jared Odrick, Jerry Hughes and even Ricky Sapp may be options here as well due to the athletic requirements of the position and the Dolphins’ need.
13). Bryan Bulaga – OT – Iowa
San Francisco is a team on the rise in the NFC West, and given Kurt Warner’s retirement, the 49ers could very well be the team to beat in 2010. However, for that to happen the 49ers must address some of their needs. One area that needs improvement is the team’s secondary whether it is at safety of corner. The other area that requires immediate concern is the team’s offensive line – especially right tackle where Adam Snyder has been the starter, but he is likely better as a guard than tackle. Bulaga should provide the team the bookend tackle it needs to keep Alex Smith upright and open holes for Frank Gore in the running game. With two first round picks in 2010, the team can address corner later on in the first if they so desire.
14). Jared Odrick – DT – Penn State
This pick may take some by surprise given the position in question but if you look at how bad the Seahawks line was last year. With the hiring of Alex Gibbs as the offensive line coach, the likelihood of the Broncos spending a first round selection on offensive lineman may be limited. As such the Seahawks may choose to turn their attention to the defensive side of the ball. The Seahawks do have a need for safety help so Earl Thomas may be a consideration here, but the Seahawks do have a need for defensive lineman to control the middle of the field and protect Lofa Tatupu. Currently Brandon Mebane is the best inside defender for the Seahawks and he needs to have a running mate heading into the future.
15). Rolando McClain – ILB – Alabama
The recent release of Antonio Pierce means the Giants have a need for a new middle linebacker. McClain is a smart, experienced defender who is a student of the game. The Giants also have a need at defensive end so a player like Everson Griffen may also be a consideration at this spot. However, given the lackluster depth at inside linebacker, the Giants may opt to sure up this area early. There is a feeling that the Giants are more than satisfied with Jonathan Goff’s progress. How they feel about the 3rd year player may have a lot to do with this pick as it could lead the Giants to head in a different direction such as defensive end or safety. The one other influential matter is the depth of this year’s safety class – which could still land the Giants a quality safety in Round 2.
16). Everson Griffen – DE – USC
The Titans are in desperate need of infusions of talent into two positions on the roster: defensive end and corner. Kyle Vanden Bosch is 32 years old, and only Jacob Ford looks like a worthy successor in the making. Jevon Kearse is 33 years old and really doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of pass rush ability. Griffen is an excellent athlete and has the ability to be a disruptive force for the Titans for years to come. Griffen can play on either side of the formation and should provide the Titans with options moving forwards.
17). Earl Thomas – FS – Texas
The 49ers picked up Bryan Bulaga with their first pick in an attempt to fill out their offensive line and can now turn their attention to their secondary. In reality the 49ers need to spend multiple picks on this area as a means of filling their needs. Thomas’ ability to slide between safety and corner may make him more appealing than Kyle Wilson for instance. Thomas is a fluid defender who routinely gets his hands on balls in the air. If the 49ers can address this issue along with their need at backup outside linebacker they will have gone a long way to improving their chances of winning the NFC West.
18). Anthony Davis – OT – Rutgers
The Steelers glaring need is along their offensive and defensive lines where they either need youth or talent at certain positions. The Steelers likely will not continue to operate with both Willie Colon and Max Starks as starting tackles. Anthony Davis fits the mold of big offensive tackles the Steelers seem to like more than Trent Williams who I think is a better prospect than Davis. The Steelers other needs are at center and corner. There simply is no one of value at center here, although Kyle Wilson or a dark horse like Dominique Franks fit the Steelers profile on defensive backs in my opinion and may be an option of draft day.
19). Sean Weatherspoon – OLB – Missouri
The Falcons are in need to generate more pressure on the quarterback in 2010 than they did in 2009. The team does get Peria Jerry back from injury so his presence should bring some added benefits. However, the team also has needs at outside linebacker as Mike Peterson is 33 and is really out of position. Most Falcons fans are clamoring for Sean Weatherspoon, and I agree that he would be a good fit as a weak side defender. This is an example of a player and scheme fitting together well and hence providing good value to the Falcons here.
20). Jonathan Dwyer – RB – Georgia Tech
The Texans have tried several running backs over the last few years with mixed results. The team thought it had found a capable player in Steve Slaton but he did not provide the same level of play as he did in 2008 as a rookie. Chris Brown and Ryan Moats round out the unit that leaves a good deal to be desired. This pick may seem a somewhat out of the blue, but I don’t know that the Texans will see Patrick Robinson or Kyle Wilson as an option here. Dwyer’s down hill running style should blend well with what the Texans wish to do on offense. The Texans could look to add some help to their defense, but they may feel they can still get a quality corner in round 2.
21). Mike Iupati – G – Idaho
The Bengals have addressed some of their needs in recent years but they continue to need help along their offensive line. The team has addressed their issues at offensive tackle but the interior of the line needs a much needed boost. Evan Mathis is a good journeyman backup, but nothing more, and should be replaced. Iupati is the class’ top prospect and should help to improve the Cincinnati offense’s effectiveness in 2010. Wide receiver is an option, but may run a back seat to protecting Carson Palmer.
22). Ricky Sapp – OLB – Clemson
The Patriots have a dire need of help at outside linebacker as the team has released Adalius Thomas and relied on Tully Banta-Cain as its primary pass rusher. If the Patriots wish to be a playoff team in 2010, the defense must play more of a role in the success of the team. Sapp is an explosive edge rusher who is somewhat raw, but has tremendous upside due to his overall athleticism. He had one of his best seasons coming off an ACL tear. Sapp has experience with playing with his hand in the dirt and standing up which could make him a target for the rush starved Patriots.
23). Trent Williams – OT – Oklahoma
The Packers began their conversion to a 3-4 defense last season under new Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers. The team tried to squeeze Aaron Kampman in at linebacker, but the move was not the best for either side. Clay Matthews is more of a weak side player so the team must find a strong side replacement for Kampman. However, it also became readily apparent that the Packers did not have the talent along the offensive line to keep quarterback Aaron Rodgers off the ground. Both starters Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher are 32 or older, making the need for an injection of youth even more paramount. Williams is a better player than Anthony Davis in my opinion but has slipped this far in the draft to the Packers delight.
24). Bruce Campbell – OT – Maryland
The Eagles have tried to utilize Winston Justice in their plans along the offensive line however he is simply best served as a backup. As such the team could do with an upgrade at that position and Bruce Campbell while oft injured should provide the Eagles with the player they need at right tackle. The Eagles may also look to bring in another pass rusher but the question of value must be answered. Jermaine Grehsam is also an option should the Eagles look to upgrade over Brent Celek.
25). Golden Tate – WR – Notre Dame
It is no secret that the Ravens need help at wide receiver. Derrick Mason retired then unretired before the season. Mark Clayton has periods where he is a non factor. Tate may not have the ideal size, but he is a play maker, has experience in a pro style offense at Notre Dame and was a scoring machine in college. Mason cannot be counted on as the team’s sole true threat at wide receiver any longer. Having Tate in the fold for a year without having to rely on him fully may the best avenue for his future. Baltimore could decide to use this pick on a player such as Brian Price but he may not be a good value here given the needs of the team. Another option may be Brandon Spikes but he too may be a player that ends up providing more value in the second round.
26). Jermaine Gresham – TE – Oklahoma
The Cardinals can take this pick in several directions. They could choose to upgrade their offensive line and bring in Maurkice Pouncey to replace Lyle Sendlein at center. Or they could choose to upgrade their talent at the tight end position. The team could always choose to take a chance on Brandon Spikes as the team could need to replace Dansby should he leave via Free Agency. At this stage I think they will look to add to their offense as the team builds around Matt Leinart.
27). Nate Allen – FS – USF
The Cowboys do not have a great deal of depth behind starters Mike Jenkins and Terrance Newman and could look to add a corner here. The Cowboys don’t have a great deal of holes except along the offensive line and maybe depth at wide receiver. However they could also use to add more talent to the safety spot as Ken Hamlin while effective is nearing 30 years of age and does not have the most range to begin with. If they do decide to go this route Nate Allen could be an option as he has the skill set to help improve the Dallas defense’s passing statistics.
28). Ryan Matthews – RB – Fresno State
The Chargers had success despite the fact they were one of the worst rushing teams in the NFL in 2009. LaDainian Tomlinson is clearly on his way out of San Diego and the Chargers must have a viable replacement if they are to have any chance to repeat as AFC West Champs. Matthews is a need pick and is more in the line of what the Chargers may look for in a runner. Right tackle is also an option should a tackle fall to this stage of the first round as Barndyn Dombrowski may not be the long term answer. Corner could also warrant a look at this stage of the draft as well. However, given the Chargers hopes in 2010, their need at running back may be too great to pass up on Matthews here.
29). Kyle Wilson – CB – Boise State
The Jets thought they had fixed their needs at wide receiver after trading for Braylon Edwards, but after a hot start with the club, he returned to form. As such there is a movement to fill their needs at the position in the first round. However, the team also has needs at outside linebacker and corner. Darrelle Revis is the best corner in the game, but Lito Sheppard is hardly an adequate complement for the All Pro. Wilson is a good corner who has the physical style that Rex Ryan’s defense thrives on. This pick could be used on a player such as Sergio Kindle, but I don’t think he has the value required.
30). Patrick Robinson – CB – Florida State
The Vikings do not have a great many needs other than may be right guard and depth at corner. Corner may not appear to be that much of a need but Antoine Winfield will be 33 this year and the team’s backups are not really capable of stepping up long term. Robinson is a solid corner who could benefit from the tremendous front seven Minnesota possesses. The team could always decide to take Maurkice Pouncey as an upgrade to John Sullivan but in this scenario they choose the corner for added depth.
31). Maurkice Pouncey – C – Florida
This is the definition of drafting for need. The Colts have Jeff Saturday in the fold, but he is 34 and whilst still productive, having a quality backup in place should Saturday go down is immeasurably important. Pouncey is the best center in the draft and while it may be seen as a reach, there is more value here with this choice than many others in my view. The Colts do not have glaring needs at wide receiver and they have traditionally drafted their starters on defense in later rounds aside from their defensive line for the most part.
32). Carlos Dunlap – DE – Florida
The Saints do not have a great deal of holes to fill, but adding another pass rusher may be one of them Bobby McCray produced on 1.5 sacks last season playing across from Charles Grant. Dunlap does have some character issues, but with his going to a championship team, there will be eveteran leadership present to help keep him in line. The Saints could look to bring in Brandon Spikes as a way to further increase their defensive talent level, but adding another pass rusher is never a bad thing.