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Mocking the Draft — Pre-Combine Edition

02.23.10 at 11:55 pm ET
By isn’€™t batting an eye when it comes to the 2010 NFL Draft. From interviews with experts to original mock drafts to on-location coverage of the scouting combine, this is the place to be leading up to draft weekend, April 22-24.

Offensive linemen and tight ends will be on display for scouts, coaches and other important football figures on Thursday, leaving just enough time for one final mock draft prior to the combine. With Vince Wilfork and Aubrayo Franklin having been franchised by the Patriots and 49ers, respectively, it becomes a little clearer which teams will and won’t be in on Penn State’s Jared Odrick or Tennessee’s Dan Williams in the first round.

The second installment of’s mock draft sees the same top five at last week, but quite an offensive shakeup beginning with picks No. 6 and 7. Without further ado…

1.  St. Louis (1-15) Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska At this point the top slot is Suh’s to lose, and while that may sound as though he’s a sure thing, consider what happened last year with Andre Smith. Anything can happen, but the Rams have clearly been dedicated to building a strong defensive line, as is evidenced by their recent high selections of Adam Carriker and Chris Long.

2.  Detroit (2-14) Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma Like the rest of this Top 5, McCoy isn’t a lock here. Based on skill, he is a very good candidate for selection in the top three picks, but the Lions could try to put franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford’s mind at ease by going with an offensive lineman.

3.  Tampa Bay (3-13) Joe Haden, CB, Florida This was the head-turning pick of last week’s mock, and it’s not changing until the Bucs address their No. 2 corner spot or Ronde Barber gets 10 years younger. Eric Berry would be a better value, but Haden would fill a bigger need.

4.  Washington (4-12) Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma If Berry falls to No. 4, the Redskins could finally realize the dominant duo at safety that they wanted in Sean Taylor and LaRon Landry. But it’s hard to imagine Mike Shanahan using that as justification for passing on a franchise quarterback.

5.  Kansas City (4-12) Eric Berry, S, Tennessee Here’s a pick that would be turned in about 30 seconds into the selection. The selection of Berry would finally put a face on a defense that finished 30th in the league last year.

6.  Seattle (5-11) Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame Pete Carroll wanted Clausen in 2006 before he committed to Notre Dame, and if he wants what’s to land a solid eventual replacement for Matt Hasselbeck, he’ll let bygones be bygones. Hasselbeck threw 10 interceptions in the final four games of the season and while he would likely still start with a better supporting cast, Seattle’s offense is so bad (17.5 points per game in ’09) that starting all over just may be the best option.

7.  Cleveland (5-11) Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State The Browns have so many gaping holes that they may just go for the Hail Mary by taking the best offensive weapon available at No. 7. They took a good look at Michael Crabtree last year, but were reportedly scared off by his personality.

8.  Oakland (5-11) Jason Pierre-Paul, DE/OLB, South Florida We wrote last week that Pierre Paul wasn’t worth a Top 10 pick just because of his speed.  We ignored, however, that the Raiders have a Top 10 pick.

9.  Buffalo (6-10) Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State Should such a scenario play out, it would mark the first time in five years that an offensive tackle was not selected in the first five picks. It would also mark the first time in eight years that the Bills addressed the tackle position in the first round. Bradford and Clausen would also be ideal options should they fall.

10.  Jacksonville (7-9) Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas The Jaguars finished last in the league last season with just 14 sacks. Kindle has the size and pass-rushing ability, but whether the Jaguars will overlook his legal problems remains to be seen.

11.  Denver [from CHI] (7-9) Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama Stud middle linebackers don’€™t come around as often as one would think. McClain is in a class with Patrick Willis, Jerod Mayo and A.J. Hawk as inside linebackers who can step in and take control of a defense right away.

12.  Miami (7-9) Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee This might be the highest anyone has seen Williams in a mock draft, but with Wilfork and Franklin officially off the market they will need to find Jason Ferguson’s replacement via the draft.

13.  San Francisco (8-8) Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida Dunlap will scare teams off with his Gholston-like lack of effort, but his size and status as the top 3-4 end in a weak draft at the position will tempt enough teams into taking him off the board early.

14.  Seattle [from DEN] (8-8) C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson Justin Forsett is a very good complementary back, but Julius Jones looks lost at times. Adding the likes of Clausen and Spiller would certainly give Carroll a couple of new toys for the future. Anthony Davis would also be a great value.

15.  New York Giants (8-8) Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers The Giants should definitely be in the market for an inside linebacker, but if McClain is off the board, they should be thrilled about being able to secure the draft’s second-best offensive lineman and put him at right tackle.

16.  Tennessee (8-8) Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech Kyle Vanden Bosch is expected to leave via free agency, so Morgan would seem to be the fit, despite his lack of athleticism.

17.  San Francisco [from CAR] (8-8) Earl Thomas, S, Texas Patrick Willis can’€™t be the only playmaker for Mike Singletary‘€™s defense. Thomas is undersized but makes up for it by flying all over the field.

18.  Pittsburgh (9-7) Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa With the emerging news that the Steelers will at the very least franchise Casey Hampton, Jared Odrick likely won’t be the pick. The team can instead use the 18th pick to strengthen the offensive line.

19.  Atlanta (9-7) Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State Wilson’€™s stock has skyrocketed since the Senior Bowl. Brent Grimes is a fine No. 2 corner, but the disappointing play of Chris Houston has left the Falcons needing a true presence in the secondary.

20.  Houston (9-7) Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame With Kevin Walter a free agent, the Texans would be wise to add another weapon for the league’€™s leading passer. Tate would be a perfect slot receiver in Houston.

21.  Cincinnati (10-6) Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State Mike Iupati would also be a good pick in owner Mike Brown‘€™s effort to finish what he started with last year’€™s selection of Andre Smith. With Tank Johnson a free agent, the Bengals can use his departure as an excuse to upgrade at defensive tackle, so putting Odrick next to Domata Peko should take priority.

22.  New England (10-6) Ricky Sapp, DE/OLB, Clemson. One week later and we’re not budging. Sapp has the size (6-foot-5) and athleticism that the Patriots need at outside linebacker. Plus, he has racked up enough time on the line at Clemson to contribute in 4-3 packages.

23.  Green Bay (11-5) Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma Aaron Rodgers has proven that he is one of the league’€™s best quarterbacks. It’€™s time the Packers treat him as such by protecting him.

24.  Philadelphia (11-5) Brandon Graham, DE/OLB, Michigan Graham was great at the Senior Bowl, but he isn’t big or fast enough to justify the leap into the mid first round that some are projecting. Graham may not be an ideal 3-4 lineman, but he would be a fine fit as a 4-3 outside linebacker in Philadelphia.

25.  Baltimore (9-7) Arrelious Benn, WR, Illinois It is hard to diagnose Benn’€™s game skills when considering how bad Juice Williams was as his quarterback. The Ravens still haven’€™t really proven that Joe Flacco was worth a first-rounder in 2008 because of how little he throws the ball (15th in passing yards and attempts in ‘€™09), but they could better utilize his arm with a target like Benn.

26.  Arizona (10-6) Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma Gresham missed all of 2009 due to right knee surgery, but the Cardinals should be so scared of Matt Leinart as their starting quarterback that they should go to any lengths to get him another good target.

27.  Dallas (11-5) Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland The Cowboys need somebody to eventually take over for 34-year-old Flozell Adams. It wasn’€™t pretty in the divisional round of the playoffs when Doug Free saw playing time.

28.  San Diego (13-3) Jahvid Best, RB, California Now that LaDainian Tomlinson is gone, it becomes clearer that the Chargers want to make any money they spend at the running back position count. Darren Sproles was a waste of a franchise tag and the team needs an identity in the backfield.

29.  New York Jets (9-7) Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State The speculation out there of a Asomugha-to-New York deal is certainly intriguing, but at this point it is just that ‘€” intriguing speculation. Even if the Jets opt not to persue the Raiders corner, the tandem of Darrelle Revis and Robinson would be brutal enough for opposing quarterbacks.

30.  Minnesota (12-4) Arthur Jones, DT, Syracuse If and when Pat Williams retires the Vikings will need someone to replace him. This may be high for Jones but the earlier selections of Williams and Odrick may force the Vikings’ hand.

31.  Indianapolis (14-2) Brandon Spikes, ILB, Florida If Gary Brackett leaves, the Colts will need a smart linebacker who can step in and take over in the middle. Spikes was a leader at Florida and though he isn’t on the same level as McClain he would be a good value at No. 31.

32.  New Orleans (13-3) Everson Griffin, DE, USC Charles Grant could be on the chopping block. If he is, Paul Spicer is a fairly dreadful option at left end for the Saints. Mike Iupati could also be an option.

Read More: 2010 NFL Draft, Mock Draft,



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