Your palms are sweaty, your mouth is dry, the butterflies in your stomach are flipping around like Béla Károlyi 's newest phenom, are you about to go on a date with Ben Roethlisberger?! No, but nearly as precarious you are finalizing and submitting your mock draft. Last night my co-commissioner and I had the experience of supervising a very face paced 3-round radio mock draft and let me assure you that there were quite a few, OMG!! Moments, nevertheless and a couple of FanIQ stalwarts did themselves proud.
For the past few years I have done a 7-round, in a futile attempt to prove I qualify for SSI by means of mental disability, here it goes:
1. STL: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma- Two transactions by the Rams seem to be tipping their hand that they will select a quarterback with this pick: #1 signing veteran quarterback A.J. Feeley and signing defensive tackle Fred Robbins. With Feeley, the Rams get a veteran quarterback to help in the transition of their franchise quarterback, and with Robbins the Rams help fill a major need at defensive tackle.
With that, it seems likely the Rams will pass on Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy and will take Sam Bradford The Rams franchise have not selected a quarterback in the 1st round since: 1962 when Roman Gabriel was selected #2 out of NCSU and in 1964 when the Los Angeles Rams took Bill Munson from USU and the last time they took a quarterback in round 2 was Tony Banks in 1996. For now, Sam Bradford seems a fait accompli that Bradford’s headed to St. Louis.
2. DET: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
With the Rams taking Bradford, this pick would seem to be a no brainer. The Lions have been busy this offseason building their defensive line, but Suh would be the prized piece, and hopefully the piece that helps turn around a struggling defense. Just about the only other options are DT Gerald McCoy or OT Russell Okung.
3. TB: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
The Buccaneers would seem happy to settle on whichever defensive tackle falls to them. They may even consider drafting safety Eric Berry, but Gerald McCoy would seem the obvious choice. He fills a major need and is considered by most to be the 2nd best prospect in this draft, only behind Ndamukong Suh.
4. WAS: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
With Donovan McNabb a Redskin, this most likely ends the possibility of Jimmy Clausen going to D.C. With that, the Redskins will focus on protecting their quarterback, especially with the retirement of veteran Chris Samuels. Russell Okung is considered the top tackle in the draft, but Trent Williams is considered the better player for Mike Shanahan's zone blocking scheme, so the Redskins have to decide who they want. For now, I think they go with the more polished pass protector Okung.
5. KC: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
The Kansas City Chiefs invested millions in their franchise quarterback before last season. Now with the season over and Matt Cassel banged up, they may want to consider investing in his health. The Chiefs' current left tackle Branden Albert may be better on the right side and with the addition of Trent Williams would add a solid, young tackle combo and more importantly is a long term protection plan for its franchise quarterback.
6. SEA: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
With the Seahawks giving Charlie Whitehurst $5 million, I assume it is to play rather than just hold a clipboard, and most importantly to keep his limbs out of casts and slings. Once Hasselbeck either gets hurt or gives way to the Clemson product, they better focus on protecting his blind side. With Walter Jones retired, the Seahawks need someone to protect whoever will be throwing the ball for Seattle. After a solid junior campaign and a great Combine, Bulaga looks to be the 3rd top tackle on the board. Seattle could also go with safety Eric Berry, but offensive tackle has far more value at this pick. Jimmy Clausen is still a long shot possibility if Carroll wishes to hedge his bet on Whitehurst.
7. CLE: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
With the recent trade to obtain cornerback Sheldon Brown from the Eagles, cornerback became less of a need and makes Joe Haden no longer a need at this spot. With the Brown's passing defense being absolutely atrocious, the Browns still should focus on the defensive backfield. The Browns fix it by taking the all-everything safety in Berry, who many consider to be as good as Ed Reed. Other possibilities include WR Dez Bryant and DE Jason Pierre-Paul
8. OAK: Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
Nothing is more exciting in making a mock draft than projecting who the heck Al Davis is going to pick. After a great athletic performance, Bruce Campbell certainly made especially, and probably especially toward Mr. Davis. I really feel this is a cliché pick, Campbell is much rawer than some of the other tackles, but If there's a prototype "look" for a LT in the NFL, Campbell has it. He's got the length and athleticism to handle speed rushers off the edge, is good at keeping his feet under him, shows the lateral movement necessary to mirror and prevent lunging, sets up fairly quickly, has the ability to correct and recover, and he can get to the second level and be very effective in space.
His ability to identify and engage defenders could be a real find for a team that runs a lot of screens. As a run blocker, he can seal well and possesses the strength to drive the defender back. He's a rock of an offensive tackle. He's got Dwight Howard shoulders and is probably the leanest offensive lineman in the draft.
The buzz around Campbell began when he weighed in. Coming in at 6'6" with 36 1/4-inch arms, Campbell has as good of length as you'd want. Then, he stepped onto the field. He ran an official 40-yard dash time of 4.85 seconds. He also put up 34 reps in the 225-pound bench press.
The Raiders could move down in the draft and still get their guy. This is a guy that the Raiders may feel have needed for some time. He could be a building block for the next decade, or Gallery 2.0. Campbell is projected to be drafted between picks 20-30, but those projections have never affected what Al Davis does. Another possibility is the freakish, but raw defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul or even Earl Thomas but with OT a bigger need, I say Campbell has the slight edge.
9. BUF: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
I know the Bills seemed to be on the Tim Tebow bandwagon, but I can't see them bypassing a chance to take Jimmy Clausen when they lack a franchise quarterback. By some opinions, Jimmy Clausen is the top quarterback in this draft. Offensive tackle is a major need, but Clausen's value at #9 is far, far greater than the 4th or 5th OT in this draft. At this position though, the Bills may try to trade down to try to get Clausen at a lower pick.
10. Jacksonville: Joe Haden, CB, Florida
Earl Thomas, S, Texas
With the recent signing of Aaron Kampman, the Jaguars' greatest need is no longer defensive end. Now they can focus elsewhere especially on their defensive backfield. Safety and cornerbacks are both needs and with Joe Haden and Earl Thomas available there likely be some wrangling in the draft room will, as the Jaguars have a chance to fix one of the positions. The Jags drafted promising cornerback Derek Cox last year; Haden saved his draft stock from completely exploding by having a solid pro day at Florida. He may not ever be the pure shutdown cornerback, but he should be a very good corner.
11. DEN: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
Last year, the Broncos shocked us by taking the offensive weapon Knowshon Moreno. This year, I expect the Broncos to do the same thing, but at the receiver position. There are many questions regarding the future of Brandon Marshall in Denver, and I think is a high probability that he will be playing somewhere else. However, even if Marshall stays, the Broncos are lacking in playmakers. Eddie Royal is a nice slot guy, but not a number one receiver. Despite his suspension, Dez Bryant is the top receiver in this draft.
12. MIA: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee With the Dolphins filling their major need at OLB by signing Karlos Dansby, the Dolphins are able to fill another major need and also get tremendous value at this pick. Rolando McClain is tempting, but a 3-4 ILB does not have the same value as a 3-4 NT. With Jason Ferguson suspended the first 8 games of the season and already 35 years old, the Dolphins need to find their future nose-tackle. Williams looks to be the top 3-4 nose-tackle in the draft. Wide receiver is another need, but with Dez Bryant off the board, there is little value at this spot.
13. SF: Bryan Bulaga (6'5 3/8" 314 lbs) is a very good technician, despite his below average wing-span, has great feet and uses superior leverage. He's got nimble feet, moves well laterally, and shows great control over defenders in pass protection. Though his reach is not elite-[34+”] he knows how to re-direct players and dictate the action, he is more than strong enough he doesn't often get beat with the bull rush, and is smart, so he does really well in assignments and picking up blitzers, this pick just makes sense. RB C.J. Spiller is another possibility as is OG Mike Iupati.
14. SEA: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson after drafting its franchise quarterback with the first pick, the Seahawks take their franchise running back in Spiller. Spiller is an amazing athlete, and probably will give Pete Carroll thoughts of Reggie Bush. However, Spiller looks be a possible number one back, in addition to a solid kick returner. Defensive end (Derrick Morgan) is another option as Patrick Kerney looks to be over the hill, and USC alum Lawrence Jackson has yet to develop.
15. NYG: Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama For a team that did not make the playoffs, the Giants really do not have too many holes, at least on paper they don't. With the signing of Antrel Rolle, the Giants' no longer need a safety; it seems the Giants will hit the jackpot if Rolando McClain falls to them to replace Antonio Pierce at MLB. McClain should contend for defensive rookie of the year. He’s an instant playmaker who should start immediately. The only negative about McClain is that he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. However, it should not alter his draft stock or career.
16. Titans: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida There seems to be an undisputed decision around the internet that the Titans' number one priority is the defensive end position. He has more upside than anyone in this Draft, and the Titans need DEFENSE and DEFENSIVE ENDS at that! Brandon Graham will probably end up being a 3-4 OLB. Jason Pierre-Paul can be a great DE for the Titans and should start right away and take the place of Kyle Vanden Bosch Getting the top defensive end at pick 16 usually doesn't happen, so this is amazing value for the Titans.
17. San Francisco 49ers: FS Earl Thomas could be the best pick, to shore up that defense for the next decade, OTs are abundant this year, and not much talent differential between the # 3, 4 and #5 with safety being a bigger need, they take Earl Thomas, who can also play cornerback, giving him extra value. ILB Rolando McClain is another possibility. If he’s available
18. Pittsburgh Steelers: OG Mike Iupati (Idaho) It's no secret that the Steelers' offensive line is not the group of Pro Bowlers they had in the early 2000s. Iupati should help fix that, at least over the long term. Iupati has long arms, a great frame and enough strength to maul defensive linemen. But he is still raw in pass protection and lunges too much. Once he learns better technique, there are some scouts who think he could end up as a solid left or right tackle, but his best positions still appears to be guard. Iupati is the kind of talent who would give the Steelers a significant upgrade at guard, but it's not completely certain that he would be able to start from day one. Brandon Graham, Derrick Morgan and Kyle Wilson will also be considered.
19. Atlanta Falcons OT Anthony Davis Thomas Dimitroff is a huge positional value guy and Davis could fit that description. He's been sliding lately because he was out of shape at the Combine and reportedly interviewed poorly, but there's no denying his talent level.
20. Houston Texans Devin McCourty Rutgers CB Dunta Robinson has departed; enter Devin McCourty, perhaps most intriguing of top CB prospects in this year's draft. The Saints presented a usable formula for defending Manning in the Super Bowl that the other members of the AFC South had to be watching: very tight coverage in the defensive backfield all over the place.
21. Jermaine Gresham, TE - The tight end hasn't a big part of Cincinnati's offense, but the prospect of having Jermaine Gresham as an option for Carson Palmer could sway the Bengals into drafting the dynamic Oklahoma product, which is even more like Kellen Winslow Sr. than Kellen Winslow Jr.
22. Jared Odrick, DE/DT - The Patriots made a great move in acquiring Oakland's 2011 first-round pick for Richard Seymour. But New England now needs a replacement for Seymour. Jared Odrick may have seemed a bit less likely in the wake of the Damione Lewis signing, but as always Belichek thinks 2-3 years into the future.
23. Green Bay Packers: Charles Brown, OT, USC Even in the wake of the Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher re-signings, Charles Brown is a value at this pick. Aaron Rodgers received much better pass protection since losing to the Buccaneers, but things ultimately fell apart in Arizona. Relying on Clifton to protect Rodgers' blind side for another year is not advisable. Green Bay's No. 1 priority this offseason is finding a top-notch left tackle for Rodgers. Ted Thompson usually opts to draft the best player available, and you can make the argument that Brown fits that distinction here.
24. Eagles MLB/WLB Sean Weatherspoon: while Weatherspoon may or may not be able fit the middle of a 4-3 defense, the Eagles need help at linebacker. Whether Weatherspoon can fill the middle remains to be seen, but he is the athletic, ball-hawking linebacker the Eagles need on Week 1 next season.
25. Baltimore Ravens Brandon Graham Michigan DE/OLB: 3-4 Cornerback is definitely a position of need for the Ravens, especially with Webb’s injury but Graham is seen as practically a clone of current Steelers OLB LaMarr Woodley. A player of that caliber is impossible to pass up. Graham is the type of player that can give you a game-changing play and will one day replace Suggs.
26. Arizona, Cardinals Great for AZ a pass-rushing phenomenon and a two-time All-Big 12 selection, Sergio Kindle could be on the steals of the draft. He possesses great burst, closes extremely well on the ball, has ideal height, length and speed to be a top-tier pass rusher in the NFL. Probably the most complete overall pass rushing prospect in this draft, as he can cover, play the run and rush the passer.
27. Dallas Maurkice Pouncey, Florida, C Since the OTs and Iupati with a 1st round grade are off the board, Dallas selects a 3-position OL prospect (both OGs & OC) that solidifies the interior of their OL, as well as adding youth (all starters are over 30). Pouncey is smart, a technician (not to mention master of the shot-gun snap) and may move straight into OC, allowing Andre Gurode to play LG.
28. San Diego Chargers At 5'11 5/8" 218 pounds Mathews could give the Bolts a power running game that they haven't had in a while. He was the nation’s leading rusher in 2009 with 1,808 yards and 19 TDs and he ran a 4.45 second forty at the combine, he is tough and smart, think of a faster Curtis Martin.
29. New York Jets Jerry Hughes De/OLB 6’1 ½” 254 is a former running back who has put on muscle and switched to the defense side of the ball to play defensive end. Hughes learned the position quickly, winning conference defensive player of the year with 14.5 sacks in his first year as a full time starter in 2008. He was able to put on the muscle without losing his quickness from playing running back. He is one of the fastest defensive linemen in college football, but taking another DE/OLB projection after busting on Gholston is a real “onions” pick. But what else are the current Jets known for?
30. Minnesota Vikings: USC’s Taylor Mays probably would have been the first safety selected in last year’s draft but he chose to return for his senior season and that opened up his game to excessive scrutiny. The USC Safety is too big, fast to pass up, has played a lot, he’s versatile. Clearly the most common criticism is that Mays doesn’t make enough big plays in coverage (i.e. interceptions) but it’s important to keep in mind that he’s more of a big hitter than a playmaker. Also he was expected to play 17-18yards deep and come downhill on a play, so why does that matter? In the way most QBs read on deeper routes they are more likely to see the deep defender coming towards the play, most FSs get picks, [other than deflections] by slipping from underneath coverage suddenly out to the deep middle or deep half, often Ed Reed’s Modus Operandi. Is Bob Sanders any less a great player than Ed Reed because he only has six career picks? Of course not, they’re just different types of players. A great athlete who has an amazing blend of size 6’3” 230 and speed (4.34-4.43), Mays epitomizes the phrase “Hits Like a Linebacker, Runs Like a Cornerback”.
31. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS Brian Price, UCLA DT, This 2009 PAC-10 defensive player of the year will either provide exceptional depth for the line; he is a classic 3-technique, 1-gap penetrator, his measurements: 6'1” 303, with 32 ¼” arms will remind some of a slightly scaled up Mike Patterson, but he is stouter at the point and uses his hands better than the cross-town rival 3-technique.
The Saints just cut Charles Grant, his large contract, and his larger gut.
While it was the right move, it leaves them very thin on the left side of their
defensive line opposite LDE Will Smith and Sedrick Ellis, at tackle. Everson
Griffen DE/OLB is an interesting player, he's not your prototypical 4/3 LDE in
this league. He is under sized for the position at 6'3 3/8"266, when you
normally would see and prefer a 6'5" 285 or bigger player for this
position, but he ran 4.66 and 4.63, he did 32 bench reps he has 32 5/8"
arms he can be dominant and he can disappear, high bust potential but he could
be a better version of Hugh Douglas. Of the top DE/OLB “conversion” guys only
Kindle is as good in pass drops, I would be very surprised if two of their
first 3 picks were focused on getting an upgrade at left defensive tackle and
left defensive end. Here they take left defensive end because of who’s left on
the board and go with USC DE Everson Griffen. Griffen has major upside, but
also major downside, but the Saints can afford to take a risk after winning the
Super Bowl and defensive genius coordinator Gary Williams will probably think
he can bring the most out of him (and he’d probably be right).
St. Louis Carlos Dunlap* DE,
Florida 6' 6" 286
34 Detroit Arrelious Benn WR, U of IL, 6’1” 219
35 Patrick Robinson - CB-Florida St.
36 Kansas City, Golden Tate*, WR, Notre Dame 5' 10.4" 199
37 Philadelphia, Nate Allen, S, South Florida 6'1/2
38 Cleveland Demaryius Thomas*, WR Georgia Tech 6' 3" 229
40. San Diego Chargers Cam Thomas, DT, North Carolina
41. Bills Roger Saffold - OT-Indiana
42. Tampa Kareem Jackson CB Alabama
43. Broncos Vladimir Ducasse OT/OG Mass
44 -- NE Mardy Gilyard WR, CINN
45 -- DEN -- Matt Tennant - C-Boston College
46 -- NYG -- Chris Cook - CB-Virginia
47 -- NE -Brandon Spikes
48 -- CAR -- Tyson Alualu - DT-California
49 -- SF -- Darryl Washington - LB-TCU
50 -- KC -- Rob Gronkowski - TE-Arizona
51 -- HOU -- Toby Gerhart - RB-Stanford
52 -- PIT -- Brandon Ghee - CB-Wake Forest
53 New England, Navorro Bowman*,OLB. Penn State, 6' 1" 233
54 Bengals: Jason Worilds DE/OLB Virginia Tech
55 -- PHI -- Tim Tebow - QB-Florida
56 -- GB -- Perrish Cox - CB-Oklahoma St
57 -- BAL -- Amari Spievey - CB-Iowa
58 -- ARI -- Sean Lee - LB-Penn State
59 Dallas Damian Williams, WR, USC 6'0⅝" 197
60 -- SEA -- Reshad Jones - S-Georgia
61 -- NYJ -- Ricky Sapp - LB-Clemson
62 -- MIN -- C Thomas - DT-North Carolina
63 Indianapolis, Kyle Calloway, OT, Iowa 6' 6.3" 318
64 --Major Wright, UF, S
65. St. Louis Rams Jared Veldheer - OT-Hillsdale
66. Detroit Lions Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech Highlights
67. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Zane Beadles, OT/OG, Utah
68. Kansas City Chiefs Dexter McCluster, TB/WR, Mississippi
69. Oakland Raiders — Austen Lane, DE, Murray State
70. Philadelphia Eagles —Lamarr Houston, DT, Texas
71. Cleveland Browns — Brandon LaFell, WR, LSU Highlights
72. Buffalo Bills — Linval Joseph, DT, East Carolina
73. Miami DolphinsMorgan Burnett - FS, Georgia Tech
Jacksonville Jaguars DT-Geno Atkins, UGA
75. Tampa WR Carlton Mitchell, USF
#76 Chicago, Jon Asamoah, G, Illinois
I'll post the rest tomorrow if anybody wants me to.