1. St. Louis Rams--Ndamukong Suh [DT] Nebraska
The Rams have two glaring needs this offseason. One is at the QB spot. One is on their defense. My guess is that they find a QB in the offseason to act as a stopgap while they fix their other problems, especially since their head coach is a former defensive cooridinator. In this draft there are two clear consenus picks for best overall players. The first is a boy named Suh, and the second is Eric Berry. No safety has ever been drafted in the top 5 of the draft, and this year will not be the year that it happens. The Rams have a fairly solid defensive line, and by adding Suh they will dramatically increase their ability to apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks which will in turn help out their secondary immensely.
2. Detroit Lions--Gerald McCoy [DT] Oklahoma
The Lions have struggled mightily over the past decade, but I think they're starting to move in the right direction. Their offense has shown that it has the ability to put up big points, and I think that Stafford can become a big star in the league. The kid is tough and plays with grit, something that I think few of us thought he would do. Drafting McCoy will immediately improve their run defense as well as help out their secondary.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers--Derrick Morgan [DE] Georgia Tech
I originally had the Bucs picking Okung here because I thought they needed upgrades on their line. While they do need some upgrades there, they've actually got a fairly solid line with two young tackles who are improving. Football Outsiders actually ranks the Bucs offensive line better than ours for run blocking (we're ranked 32nd, they're ranked 29th), and much better at pass blocking (we're ranked 24th in pass blocking, they're ranked 11th.). Their pass defense is middle of the league but their run defense is horrid, giving up almost 160 yards per game on the ground. Derrick Morgan will be an instant upgrade for them and should provide a dramatic help in their run defense.
4. Washington Redskins--Jimmy Clausen [QB] Notre Dame
The Redskins have shown flashes of greatness but haven't been able to do anything consistently. They have a pretty good defense, but sorely need help on the offensive side of the ball. The entire coaching staff of the 'Skins was just fired, and I think Jason Campbell will feel the backwash of that and will be released this offseason. The Redskins desperately need a QB they can hang their hat on and Clausen is the best prospect.
5. Kansas City Chiefs--Russell Okung [OT] Oklahoma State
The Chiefs have also struggled mightily on run defense. They have a middle-of-the road pass defense but Football Outsiders ranks their run defense as the absolute worst in the league. Their offense isn't much better. Their run blocking is almost as bad as ours (31st in the league) and their pass blocking is ranked 26th. I think they upgrade the line here to protect their investment in Matt Cassel. Russel Okung is miraculously still on the board so they go grab him.
6. Seattle Seahawks--Eric Berry [S] Tennessee
Like us the Seahawks have the luxury of two 1st round draft picks, and they're going to desperately need them. They have the 30th ranked passing defense. Their run defense is decent (ranked 13th according to FO), but the pass defense is killing them. They have issues on offense too. Hasselbeck is getting old and they don't have a replacement for him. Their line struggles as well (25th in running, 22nd passing). With this pick they have the luxury of getting the best remaing defensive player on their board and he'll provide an immediate upgrade for their pass defense.
7. Cleveland Browns--Sam Bradford [QB] Oklahoma
The Brady Quinn experiment has also come to an end in Cleveland. Derek Anderson clearly isn't the answer for them either. They finished the season on a strong note behind the running of Jerome Harrison but defenses will soon learn to key up on that. They actually have a fairly solid offensive line (14th in run blocking, 15th in pass blocking). What they lack is a QB. With Holmgren coming to town I expect to see them developing a high octane offense. Clausen is gone, which leaves Bradford as the best QB left in the draft.
8. Oakland Raiders--Taylor Mays [S] USC
Lots of failed QB experiments in this draft. Jamarcus Russell's time in Oakland has come to an end. Gradowski played very good for them before he got hurt and I expect that they'll offer him the starting job next year and either draft a QB in the later rounds to be backup or give Charlie Frye that role. The biggest need for the Raiders (besides a new owner) is in their secondary. Taylor Mays is the perfect fit for them. He's hard hitting, exciting to watch and a big risk taker. If he has a great combine there's no way Al can pass up on him.
9. Buffalo Bills--Bruce Campbell [OT] Maryland
This pick is iffy. This morning the new GM announced a complete firing of the entire coaching staff. This will mean a complete overhaul in both offensive and defensive strategy, which will in turn make for an interesting draft. I originally had them picking up Tony Pike here, but that's a big reach even if they need a new QB desperately. Their pass blocking is in the bottom three in the league, though their run blocking is decent enough. Both their offensive tackles have been dealing with injury issues and neither of them has played the whole season. Campbell will provide depth as well as being an upgrade. They'll go after a QB in FA or in the later rounds.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars--Earl Thomas [S] Texas
Surprisingly Jackonsville has a top 10 offensive line, though their pass protection leaves much to be desired. The team ranks 9th in the league in rushing (hello MJD), but 19th in passing. Their defense is awful though, particularly against the pass. I originally had them taking Tim Tebow for the tickets he can sell (and they might still go that way), but I think they upgrade their defense here. Earl Thomas will provide some much needed help in the secondary.
11. Denver Broncos from Chicago Bears--Rolondo McClain [LB] Alabama
The Broncos are pretty set at offense. Kyle Orton won't end up in the Hall of Fame but he's a solid starter for them. Their offensive line is the best in the league, and any RB they draft will have great numbers behind it. They've got some great receivers as well. Where they really struggle is their defense, particularly their run defense. They run a 3-4 so I debated about giving them Terrence Cody, but Ronald Fields has been playing pretty good for them at NT. I think they improve their linebackers by picking up the best LB in the draft. McLain already plays 3-4 so won't have to adjust any and he's terrific against the run.
12. Miami Dolphins--Tim Tebow [QB] Florida
There's no denying that Tebow has talent. There's also no denying that he has issues with his mechanics, and that opinions on his ability as an NFL quarterback are sharply divided. Bill Parcells has said that he thinks Tebow is a top 10 talent. If he truly thinks that there's no way he passes him up at #12, especially not with the serious concussion that Pat White just took. Henne is a decent QB, but Tebow would be deadly with the wildcat. This will be a controversial pick should Parcells go this way.
13. San Francisco 49ers--Anthony Davis [OT]
There's no denying that our biggest needs in the offseason a new OT, new OG, PR/KR, and a safety. With the luxury of two first round picks we can fix the most glaring needs first. Anthony Davis is the best tackle on the board. He's not a huge guy but he could step in at RT and immediately be an improvement over Adam "Turnstile" Snyder
14. Seattle Seahawks from Denver Broncos--Brian Bulaga [OT] Iowa
Having picked a solution for their secondary the Seahawks move on to their next biggest area of need, offensive line. Bulaga is the best tacle on the board at this point and should provide an immediate upgrade.
15. New York Giants--Brandon Spikes [LB] Florida
How the mighty have fallen. The New York Giants won a Super Bowl mostly on the backs of their stellar defense (with a bit of help from an amazing catch by David Tyree). Now their defense is pedestrian at best and has let them get blown out by the Saints, the Eagles, the Broncos, the Panthers, and the Vikings to finish off the season. The offense can put up big points if they want to, but the defense isn't getting the job done at all. Spikes can come in and be an immediate upgrade at LB
16. Tennessee Titans--Eric Norwood [OLB] South Carolina
Thanks to VY's resurgence QB is no longer a position of need for the Titans. They obviously don't need help at RB, not with Chris Johnson smashing records left and right. When the second and third leading tacklers on your team are defensive ends you know youv'e got issues at LB. Tulloch is a pretty good ILB, but the OLBs for the Titans are not very good at all. I'm thinking they upgrade their defense here by getting one of the best LBs left on the board.
17. San Francisco 49ers from Carolina Panthers--Mike Iupati [G] Idaho
Ipuati is probably the best guard prospect to come along in years and quite possibly the best offensive linemen prospect in this year's draft. If he were an offensive tackle he'd be going in the top 5, but since he plays guard he moves down the boards a bit. He's got the heighth and weight to play LT, but whether or not he has the quickness is something that's yet to be determined. If he plays OT at the Senior Bowl and does well he might move up several slots
18. Pittsburgh Steelers--Terrence Cody [NT] Alabama
Polamalu should be back next year, so a replacement for him isn't an immediate concern (although they will n eed to address that soon). However they're running very thin at NT. Casey Hampton has been playing for 9 years. His contract is up this year and he's a Free Agent. He may or may not be resigned, depending on what he wants. The backup Chris Hoke has also been in the league for 9 years (and is really only good enough to be a solid backup). If Hampton isn't resigned, Cody can start right away. If he is resigned Cody can learn the ropes and take over in a couple of years.
19. Atlanta Falcons--Joe Haden [CB] Florida
The Falcons have a wide open offense and are set at QB with Matt Ryan (who had a worse year statistically than did Alex Smtih). They have an elite TE and Roddy White had almost 1200 yards receiving on the year. Their pass defense is one of the worst in the league and they have no depth at all at CB. Haden will help out with that depth and should be a big upgrade for them.
20. Houston Texans--C.J. Spiller [RB] Clemson
Surprisingly Houston passed for more yards this year than any other team (including Indy). Their rushing offense is not good. They're ranked 30th in rushing yards (though San Diego and Indy are worse). Their defense is solidly in the middle of the pack and they have no glaring holes in either run defense or pass defense. I think they look to upgrade their offense to become more two-dimensional. Spiller will be an immediate upgrade over Chris Brown and Ryan Moats.
21. New York Jets--Trent Williams [OT] Oklahoma
The New York Jets have a great defense. They're ranked #1 against the pass and have two of the best CBs in the league. They have a stout run defense as well that's been hampered with the injury to NT Kris Jenkins. He should be back next year and should be good for a couple more seasons so that's not a great need. They have two pretty solid RBs in Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene, and Mark Sanchez will be their QB for a long time to come. However they've got serious issues on their offensive line and they have no real go to guy other than Braylon Edwards. Decent WR's can be had in the later rounds so they go with the upgrade to their offensive line with Trent Williams. Williams started the year ranked as one of the best (if not the best) OT in college football but his stock has slipped some. However he's shown that he's got the versatility to play many positions, so he's still worth a first round pick.
22. Baltimore Ravens--Dez Bryant [WR] Oklahoma State
It's surprising that Baltimore only has a 9-7 record. They're a top 5 rushing team with the powerful duo of McGahee and Rice. They're still a top 5 defense. They've got an incredible line with Gaither and Oher bookending it. Their TE is one of the better TEs in the league and their QB had breakout rookie year and an even better secondary year. However they only have one receiving threat and that's Derrick Mason who's been around for 13 seasons and is a FA in 2010. By drafting Bryant the Ravens could afford to give Mason a one or two year deal and then allow Bryan to take over the main receiving role.
23. Arizona Cardinals--Jerry Hughes [DE] TCU
Arizona has always relied on it's high octane passing attack. They have a solid offensive line, great WRs and two promising RBs. They'll probably have to get another backup QB soon, since it looks like Leinart might not be the guy they want. They need help at OLB though, as Dansby is the only real playmaker they have. Both of their OLBs are getting old in the tooth and should be upgraded. Hughes will bring some much needed depth to the position as well as a set of fresh legs.
24. Cincinnati Bengals--Golden Tate [WR] Notre Dame
Cincinatti has done something this year that they've never done before, which is completely sweep their division (and in my opinion it's the toughest division in football). They've got a tough defense, a pretty impressive running back (two of them with LJ there), and a great WR in Ochocinco. Just one though, and that's the problem. The #2 guy is Laveranues Coles who has been around the league for too long. Tate played WR at a passing university in a pro-style offense. With Ochocinco also in his 9th year Tate provides some good youth movement for the Bengals.
25. New England Patriots--Sergio Kindle [OLB] Texas
Kindle currently plays DE for Texas but is the right size to make the switch to OLB in a 3-4. At right OLB the Patriots have Adalius Thomas who is still chugging along. At left OLB they have Pierre Woods and Tully Banta Cain, neither of whom are more than journeymen. Kindle should be an upgrade for the Patriots as well as providing much needed depth.
26. Green Bay Packers--Ciron Black [OT] LSU
The Packers have an incredibly solid team. They have two 1000 yard receivers, a running back who ran for 1200 yards, and a QB who's ranked among the top this year. They have two of the best safeties in the league and the best run defense in the league. The offensive line has struggled this year, partly due to injury and partly due to age. Tauscher started the year at LT but has since been replaced by Allen Barbre who is making his first starts. Tyson Lang is a 4th round rookie on the other side. Ciron Black is an imposing figure. He's started 52 straight games for LSU. Right now he plays RT, but he's also played LT and has the size to move back to that spot if needed. He'll provide some depth to the Packer's offensive line and compete immediately for starting spot.
27. Philadelphia Eagles--Dexter McCluster [RB] Ole Miss
The Eagles used to be known as a rushing team that threw it every once in awhile. This year they've gone almost exclusively to the passing game and are actually ranked 10th in the league right now. Where they're hurting is in the running game Westbrook suffered a series of concussions this year that knocked him out for most of the season. He might not be back. McCoy and Buckley aren't real stars at that position either. McCluster was originally projected to be a mid second to early 3rd round pick, but his performance at the Cotton Bowl has made his stock rise. He'll fill a real position of need with the Eagles.
28. Dallas Cowboys--Reshad Jones [FS] Georgia
Dallas has probably played the best football since Tony Romo became the starter. They've played lights out in December and are a juggernaut on offense with a powerful run game and a potent passing attack. They have a strong run defense but where they struggle is with the pass. They've got solid CBs, but their safeties aren't all that great. Jones should be an upgrade for them. At 6'2, 212 lbs he's got great size. He's had a tremondous year with 61 tackles, 1 FF, 4 INTs, and 6 passes defended.
29. Minnesota Vikings--Sean Weatherspoon [OLB] Missouri
The Vikings are another team with a great offense, solid run defense and mediocre pass defense. The pass defense is kind of an odd thing since they have two great CBs in Cedric Griffin and Antoine Winfield. They could also use some serious help with their LBs as well--none of them have recorded 100 tackles this year. Weatherspoon has played great ball since stepping into the starting role in 2007. He can play run support, he can rush the passer, and he can drop back into coverage. Holding him back from being a much higher pick are his size and speed (mostly his speed). He should still be an upgrade for Minnesota's linebacker group.
30. San Diego Chargers--Ricky Sapp [DE/OLB] Clemson
It's a good thing that San Diego has such a high scoring offense. Otherwise they wouldn't have anywhere near the kind of record that they do now. Their rushing offense is ranked 31st in the league (even with LT and Sproles). Their pass defense is ranked 11th, and their run defense is 20th. They've got a really bad situation coming up (depending on what happens with the CBA). McNeil, Sproles, Jackson and Merriman are all potential UFA's this year. It's tough to say what they'll do until their status is resolved but right now I'm going with Ricky Sapp as the choice. He'll provide some much needed depth, as well as providing a potential replacement for Merriman should he decide not to stick around.
31. New Orleans Saints--DeAndre McDaniel [S] Clemson
Darren Sharper isn't getting any younger and might not be around next year. Roman Harper is also going to be a FA. If either one of them leave there will be huge holes in the New Orleans secondary. McDaniels has all the tools needed to fill those. He actually started his collegiate career out at LB before moving to safety. He's exploded on to the scene in 2009, recording 98 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 FF, and 8 INTs, 1 of which he ran back for a TD. It might be wise for him to go back for another year, because if he does he'll be sure to see his draft stock rise. If he doesn't he'll fit right in with the Saints.
32. Indianapolis Colts--Jared Odrick [DT] Penn State
Odrick has had a great year for Penn State, recording 43 tackles and 7 sacks. Indy is still looking the help they need in their run defense. Neither of Indy's starting DTs have played all that well and both of them have been injured often. Odrick coudl be the answer the're looking for. At 6'5" and 305 lbs he already has the size to play in the NFL and even has the room to put on a few more pounds.
This draft will change when I get a new mock done. I'd written this up before Morgan got manhandled in his bowl game and before McDaniel committed to going back to school. In my first draft I had us picking up Spiller with 1a and best tackle at 1b with Buffalo picking up Tony Pike. I might go back to it in the next version I do.
[ Edited by smileyman on Jan 7, 2010 at 11:58:37 ]