It's the time of year for everyone to start putting out their mock drafts. I generally wait a while before putting out my first official mock draft, as I like to get as much information and listen to as many little birdies as possible. Luckily, I waited just long enough for a draft altering trade or two (see: McNabb to Redskins) and it will be a little easier to place the pieces into their numbered slots. Without further ado, my mock draft version 1.0, Part 1 (picks 1-16).
1. St. Louis Rams - Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma -
It's pretty obvious to most now, barring a blockbuster trade, that Sam Bradford is going to be the first overall pick. Many speculated that Bradford lost millions of dollars by not coming out in the 2009 draft and given the injury he sustained against BYU last season. The Rams however, cannot afford to pass another quarterback by after they watched the early success of players like Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez, both of which the Rams opted to pass on.
2. Detroit Lions - Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma -
I don't know the history of teammates going back to back in the NFL draft, but I think it's very possible here. Trent Williams is a guy who's been shooting up draft boards and many feel he'll wind up better than Oklahoma States' Russell Okung in a few years. While many will say "You're nuts! They're taking Suh!", I might be. However, if you consider the money Detroit invested in Matt Stafford and the fact that their left tackle resembles a broken turnstile, it's almost a no-brainer the Lions will go with a left tackle. Couple that with the fact that the Lions have made moves to beef up their defensive line and are still looking to sign defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Ndamkong Suh, DT, Nebraska -
Quite possibly the happiest team in the draft, the Bucs get their choice of the top two defensive tackles. Some draftniks have Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy rated as the top defensive tackle for the NFL, I just don't see it. Both played in the same conference, against the same teams, and one player completely dwarfed the other in production. Suh reminds me a lot of former Pittsburgh Steeler Joe Greene and has drawn comparisons to guys like Warren Sapp and Reggie White.
4. Washington Redskins - Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State -
This was the trade that potentially shook the draft. Washington picked up former Eagles signal caller Donovan McNabb last night in a little diddy. This essentially locks Washington in for a left tackle as their offensive line is in shambles. Okung is the next best left tackle available. However, I wouldn't be shocked to see Washington go outside the box here with a pick like Eric Berry or Gerald McCoy.
5. Kansas City Chiefs - Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama -
I can't take too much credit for this outside the box pick, as our very own Adam Stites has been pimping it for a while. As odd as the pick looks, it's something that's common for general manager Scott Pioli. Last year I told everyone Pioli was going to draft LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson to be the Chiefs Richard Seymour. This year, I think Pioli is going to take a swing and try to get their version of Jerod Mayo. McClain is a linebacker who can lead your defense for years to come. He's a "safe" pick and feels right at home in the 3-4 defense.
6. Seattle Seahawks - Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma -
I think Seattle would love to take safety Eric Berry here, but with Gerald McCoy available you have to take the big guy. Seattle has been trying to shore up their interior defensive line for quite a while now and McCoy will be an excellent piece to that puzzle. Not to mention the Seahawks have another 1st round pick at 14 in which they can address the safety spot.
7. Cleveland Browns - Eric Berry, S, Tennessee -
To me, aside from the Redskins taking a left tackle, this is the most obvious pick of the draft. Cleveland has been in love with Berry for a while and with the trade for Sheldon Brown shoring up their cornerback position, they desperately need a safety to shore up the secondary. Many can argue Berry as the best overall player in this particular draft and Cleveland would be sprinting to the podium with his name on the card.
8. Oakland Raiders - Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa -
Many have workout wonder Bruce Campbell pegged for Oakland here, which given Al Davis' history makes perfect sense. If you examine Davis' history further however, Al likes his offensive lineman big and nasty. That's exactly what Bulaga is. Other potential picks for this spot include Dan Williams and Joe Haden, but I think left tackle is their biggest need outside of quarterback.
9. Buffalo Bills - Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee -
I'm not going to lie, I was tempted to peg Tim Tebow here and fall in line with some of the other new mock drafts floating around, but I resisted. I mainly resisted because I think a team would have to be nuts to take on that kind of project in the Top 10 when he should be available in the 2nd and possibly 3rd round. The Bills are making the switch to a 3-4 defense and they need the keystone to it, a nose tackle. Dan Williams fits the bill (no pun intended) and should make the transition easier for the Bills defense.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame -
A few weeks ago it seemed like a far fetched idea that Jimmy Clausen would make it to the 10th pick, let alone past the Redskins at number 4, but it looks like a real possibility now. There is a potential for a trade down situation if Clausen makes it to pick 10, but unless the Jaguars are blown away I think this would be a good pick for them.
11. Denver Broncos - Maurkice Pouncey, OC/G, Florida -
Kind of an out of left field picked this early in the first round, but given Denver's needs it makes sense. Most people have them taking Dez Bryant in the belief that Brandon Marshall will be gone, but I tend to think he stays on the Broncos. The Broncos defense was shored up and their biggest concern is the interior of their offensive line. Pouncey can start right away at the center or guard position.
12. Miami Dolphins - Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State -
The biggest and most glaring need outside of a young pass rusher for the Miami Dolphins is a No. 1 wide receiver. Bryant ran what many considered a disappointing 4.57 40 yard dash time, but that's right around where I expected him to run. He's a big powerful wide receiver who can get open but isn't a speedster. He has the makeup to be the No. 1 receiver the Dolphins thought they were getting in Ted Ginn, and he compliments their wide receiver corps already in place.
13. San Francisco 49ers - Joe Haden, CB, Florida -
San Francisco already has a talented defense and has a big need on the offensive line, but Joe Haden at this point would be too much to pass up. It would also give the 49ers leverage in regards to Nate Clements and his gigantic contract. Word out of San Francisco is they have not been pleased with Clements play and could be looking to replace him. Haden should fit that bill and their defense perfectly.
14. Seattle Seahawks - Earl Thomas, S, Texas -
If the Seahawks can pick up Earl Thomas at 14 and couple him with Gerald McCoy at 6, it will go along way towards making the Seahawks defense respectable once more. Thomas not only would upgrade the safety position on the Seahawks, but he also has the talent to start right away at cornerback on a team starved for secondary players.
15. New York Giants - C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson -
The Giants spent a lot of time with Spiller at his pro day. They have not been too pleased with the progress of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. Spiller immediately provides them with a big play threat at the running back position they've been lacking. He also provides versatility in the sense that he can return kicks and be a threat out of the backfield in the passing game, something the Giants have lacked and been looking for since Tiki Barber left.
16. Tennessee Titans - Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida -
The Titans need to replace the loss of defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and Pierre-Paul fits that. He's considered a freak athletically and compares to two-time Titan Javon Kearse. While Pierre-Paul is extremely raw he is also extremely talented and would fit right in with the rest of the talented and young defensive line of the Tennessee Titans. He is explosive off the edge, holds up just fine against the run, and unlike most athletic raw defensive ends he has a high motor.
Look for picks 17-32 tomorrow.