On the first day of Winter 2009-2010, with the shortest amount of daylight in the Northern hemisphere, I present the latest installment of the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, picks 1-12. Projected from GBNreport.com for the full 16 game season, the Niners will select 11th (their own selection), and again with the 12th (the Panthers). Note: As of this date, through 14 games, the order would be reversed. However, since we play two stinkers to end the season, our opponents' W-L record will soon hit the gutters.
Final note: I'll project a Redskins loss in tonight's MNF game to the Giants, dropping them to 4-10.
1- St; Louis Rams- Ndamukong Suh (pronunciated "En-DOM-uh-ken Soo)- Nebraska- DT- The Rams need help everywhere, and while a QB would be a sexy choice, the run and pass defense is never a bad place to start. Suh never leaves the field, and is the best player in this draft entering the NFL.
2- Detroit- Gerald McCoy- Oklahoma- DT- The Lions rank dead last in the NFL in defense, and McCoy will post eye-popping numbers at the combine, and look terrific at his campus workout. Can play virtually anywhere on the line, but best suited to be a 4-3 undertackle.
3- Tampa Bay- Russell Okung- Oklahoma State-OT- The Bucs seem to have their franchise QB in Freeman; now they need to keep him upright. Why not grab the best LT in the draft, in Okung? Penn and Trueblood are average at best at the two tackle positions.
4- Cleveland- Eric Berry- Tennessee- S- Sorry, KC fans. The Browns are staring at Polamalu and Reed four games every year, and wonder what it would be like to have a stud defender in the back end. Wonder no more. Berry makes a huge impact from Day One. Quinn has been decent enough for another year. Look for offensive playmakers in Round Two.
5- Kansas City- Derrick Morgan- Georgia Tech- Sam Backer- I'll go on a limb here and say that Morgan can make the transition from 4-3 DE to 3-4 OLB, and if he looks good in drills, the Chiefs have picked up a solid bookend OLB to create problems for offenses in the AFC. The Chiefs rank at the bottom in total defense and points allowed.
6- Washington- Jimmy Clausen- Notre Dame- QB- Daniel Snyder is one impatient man, so even though Jason Campbell has played decently during the second half of the season, he will be dealt to another team, and the Skins will begin anew at QB. They select the most NFL-ready in Clausen. Certainly not the direction I would go, but I don't own the team.
7- Seattle- Anthony Davis- Rutgers- OT- The Seahawks could pull the trigger on Bradford, but give Hasselbeck one more year to get the team in the right direction. The Rutgers junior has a huge upside, and replaces the irreplaceable Walter Jones.
8- Denver (from Chicago)- Cameron Heyward- DE- Ohio State- Heyward is going to be a fast-rising player in this draft. His improvement in 2009 was remarkable, and simply was unblockable for most of the year. The Broncos 3-4 DE's have a grand total of 1 sack in 2009, making this a huge need pick.
9- Buffalo- Sam Bradford- QB- Oklahoma- The Bills are looking for a QB, and if they cannot grab Vick in FA, will have a tough call to make on draft day. Bradford may not be ready to fully throw effectively before the draft, but his resume is impressive. Let's say the team throws caution to the wind and makes the pick.
10- Oakland- Carlos Dunlap- Florida- DE- The Raiders love their athletes, and don't mind taking risks on guys with character questions. Dunlap provides big time talent, with the ability to get after the QB. Maybe the most athletic defender in the draft.
11- SF (own pick)- Trent Williams- Oklahoma- OT- The Niners finally solve the black hole at RT with the selection of Williams, who is solid in both run and pass blocking. Big and experienced, the team will have no problem running behind him. A no-brainer pick.
12- SF (Panthers' pick)- Joe Haden- Florida- CB- Another no-brainer selection for the Niners, whose pass defense is 28th in the NFL. Yikes!!! Nobody knows the future for Nate Clements, but virtually everyone knows that Haden is clearly the cream of the crop for CB's in this draft, and if he starts, will vie for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2010. He's simply way too good to pass up.
Final note: The correct draft order may be slightly altered from the above sequence. The 5-9 teams are bunched together in the projected opponent's W-L record.