Two mock drafts down, two more to go until draft day (15 days from now!!).
Since our last mock, three weeks ago, there have been a handful of trades/signings that have caused this third mock to change. But more than anything, the array of pro days and increased overall chatter amongst “insiders” (which we at OBOD are definitely not) has had the biggest effect on this new mock.
What does it look like now? Well, let’s find out, shall we?
(By the way, the “Ocean’s Thirteen” reference is strictly a joke. I can guarantee this mock will not be as bad as that film. God help me if I’m wrong.)
1. St. Louis Rams – Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma. Monday’s release of Marc Bulger, coupled with Bradford’s very good pro day showing last week, make the likelihood that he goes to the Rams exponentially greater. They clearly need a guy and, while my doubts about Bradford remain, he’s the best of the bunch and a pick St. Louis can sell to its fans.
2. Detroit Lions – Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska. Truth be told, I think the Lions would love to trade out of this spot. But I’m just not sure anyone will want this pick badly enough to make a move. In the event Detroit hangs on to the pick, Suh has to be the guy. He’s equally good against the run and the pass and would give the Lions a genuine difference-maker in the front seven, something head coach Jim Schwartz desperately needs.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma. I’ve had the Bucs going with Eric Berry in my first two mocks. This time around, I think McCoy will be pick. The Bucs, much like Detroit, need an impact player along the line as they only recorded 28 sacks last season (tied for 26th in the league). McCoy isn’t quite as good against the run as Suh is, but his pass rush skills will allow him to make an immediate difference.
4. Washington Redskins – Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State. Sunday’s trade for Donovan McNabb eliminates any speculation that Washington will select Jimmy Clausen. That trade also leaves the ‘Skins with just one pick in the first three rounds and you have to think they’d love to trade down. Like the Lions, though, I doubt they find much interest. In that case, they’ll go with Okung, the best o-lineman in the draft and someone who can help cover McNabb right away.
5. Kansas City Chiefs – Eric Berry, S, Tennessee. People seem to be cooling on Berry a little bit, and I’m not sure why. Forget about all the postseason workout stuff and just put on the tape. This kid’s a star in the making. Works out well for the Chiefs, then, as they need secondary help – particularly at safety – in a major way. In five years, we very well could be looking at Berry as the best player to come out of this draft.
6. Seattle Seahawks – Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa. While questions initially existed as to how high Bulaga’s ceiling really is, he seems to be gaining momentum in recent weeks. His size (6-feet, 6-inches, 312 pounds) and the recent track record of former Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year winners (Jake Long, Joe Thomas) likely have a lot do to with this. Plus, Peter King reported in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” column this week that Seattle GM John Schneider – remember him? – loves Bulaga. Makes too much sense not to happen.
7. Cleveland Browns – Earl Thomas, S, Texas. Another change from my first two mock drafts comes in this spot, where I originally had the Brownies going with Florida corner Joe Haden. But last week’s trade for former Eagle Sheldon Brown crosses corner off Cleveland’s list of needs. The Browns will still look to upgrade their secondary, one of the worst in football in 2009, but will do so with Thomas. A bit undersized (5-feet, 10-inches, just under 200 pounds), Thomas makes up for it with dynamic playmaking skills and excellent speed.
8. Oakland Raiders – Jason Pierre-Paul, OLB, South Florida. Crazy Al loves measurables. Pierre-Paul has measurables (6-feet, 6-inches, 265 pounds, amazing speed). Crazy Al loves Pierre-Paul. Done and done.
9. Buffalo Bills – Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame. Where Clausen lands is quickly becoming one of the big stories surrounding this year’s draft. Some think he could go top five, while others have him a bit lower. Put me in the latter group as I still think Buffalo is his likely destination. As I’ve said before, the Bills need hope of some kind, any kind. As of now, they have nothing. While my doubts about Clausen are even bigger than those of Bradford, he’ll definitely provide some hope.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State. I’ve said all along this is where Bryant goes and I’m sticking to it. The Jags need a big-time threat in the passing game. And Bryant, despite some character issues (mainly listening to Deion Sanders), is the closest thing to a big-time wideout in this draft. He’s not overly fast, but is big and tough with very good hands. Could be an immediate impact player for Jacksonville.
11. Denver Broncos (from Bears) - Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama. No movement here, either. McClain is by far the best ILB in this draft and a perfect fit for the 3-4 scheme that Denver runs (it’s the scheme he played in at Alabama). With a (presumably) healthy Jamal Williams eating up space in front of him, McClain should be able to punish ballcarriers for quite some time in Denver.
12. Miami Dolphins – Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee. Same position, different play for this pick as I originally had Miami going with UCLA’s Brian Price. I’ve got the Dolphins going with Williams this time, though, as he’s more of a prototypical 3-4 nose tackle. He’s got the size (325 pounds) and strength to be a force at the position, good because Jason Ferguson is old (35) and will miss the first eight games of the year (performance-enhancing drugs).
13. San Francisco 49ers – Joe Haden, CB, Florida. The 49ers will be doing cartwheels on draft night if Haden is indeed here, and I think he will be. His slight fall isn’t caused by anything he’s done (or hasn’t done), but rather because the teams above San Fran don’t really need a corner that badly. Haden is the best corner in this draft and should contribute right away.
14. Seattle Seahawks (from Broncos) – C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson. Spiller seems to be rising in the eyes of some “insiders”, but really, I doubt he goes before this spot. That doesn’t mean he’s lacking potential to be very, very good, because he isn’t. I just don’t think anyone else will look running back before here. That’s a good thing indeed for the Seahawks as Spiller could be Bush 2.0 for Pete Carroll. With Bulaga and Spiller in the fold, Seattle’s offense should be much better next season.
15. New York Giants – Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma. As I’ve stated previously, I have it on good authority – and by “good authority”, I mean my good friend/Giants superfan Matt Anderson – that Big Blue would love to snag McClain with this pick. I’m not sure he’ll be there, though, and if New York can’t get him, it will go with Williams. He’s got solid upside and would provide an instant upgrade at right tackle – his likely spot in the pros.
16. Tennessee Titans – Sergio Kindle, DE/OLB, Texas. The Titans struggled getting to the quarterback last season, their first without Fat Albert. That area looks to be even weaker now with Kyle Vanden Bosch’s departure to Detroit. In order to boost it back up, Tennessee will look to Kindle. At 255 pounds, you can forget about Kindle playing defensive end in the NFL. But as an outside linebacker, he brings much to the table, mainly his relentless nature and instinctive knack for getting to the QB.
17. San Francisco 49ers (from Panthers) – Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers. My previous mock had Davis to the Niners with the 13th pick. I still think this is where he ends up, though he’ll have to wait a little bit longer now. Davis’ solid pro day showing put some of the doubts surrounding him to rest, but questions about his work ethic and weight still remain. He’s got potential to be very, very good – if he can get with a coach that stays on him at all times. Enter Mike Singletary.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers – Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho. I still can’t believe the Steelers won it all two seasons ago with such a weak offensive line. That group wasn’t a whole lot better last season, either, and Pittsburgh must improve up front if it hopes to get back into serious AFC contention. Iupati could definitely help that cause. A 6-feet, 5-inch, 330 pound beast, Iupati is a throwback type of lineman. No zone blocking schemes for this guy – he just wants to maul.
19. Atlanta Falcons – Derrick Morgan, DE/OLB, Georgia Tech. I had Morgan going to Atlanta in my original mock. After a quick detour for our second mock, he’s back in Atlanta this time. Morgan is perhaps the best all-around defensive end in this draft. He’s solid against the run and a terror as a pass-rusher (12 sacks, two forced fumbles last season). His addition will be a big boost to Atlanta’s defense and should put the Falcons solidly back in playoff contention next season.
20. Houston Texans – Brian Price, DT, UCLA. Same position, different player for Houston this time around, as I previously had the Texans going with Penn State’s Jared Odrick. With Price still on the board, though, he’s likely the guy. He’s a hair better against the run than is Odrick, with equal pass-rushing skills. Houston hit a home run by taking a Pac-10 defensive player last season (USC’s Brian Cushing), so why not do it again?
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida. Toughness is lacking for the Bengals’ offense. That changes significantly with the addition of Pouncey, a physical, nasty lineman. He’s also intelligent, athletic and incredibly versatile (having played both guard and center for a big-time program). The Bengals could also look for another playmaker on offense here, but Pouncey is too good to pass up. They can grab a wideout in round two.
22. New England Patriots – Brandon Graham, DE/OLB, Michigan. Again, little change at this spot. New England still needs to improve its pass rush and Graham will give the Pats the best chance to do that. He’s an incredibly smart player who never stops coming at you and just knows how to get the job done (averaging nine sacks a year over his last three seasons at Michigan). The Hoodie has never been scared off by tweeners and I doubt that changes now. He’ll love this guy.
23. Green Bay Packers – Charles Brown, OT, USC. As usual, I’ll go a little longer here as this is a Packers blog. First, as draft night nears, I’m becoming more and more certain that Ted Thompson will trade out of this spot. The Packers have a few holes to fill, and if Thompson can pick up a couple more selections in the first few rounds, he can pretty much fill them all. He can not do so if he hangs on to this pick. As for the idea of taking an outside linebacker here, I’d say it’s certainly possible. But Brad Jones has a lot of potential and I think the Packers will wait on that spot. Hence, if they keep the pick, they’ll have to go with a tackle and Brown is the best left on the board. Again, yes, he’s got weight left to put on, but his pass protection skills are already very good. He could be the guy for a long, long time. This team can not wait any longer to find its left tackle of the future and history shows you have the best chance of getting Pro Bowl talent at that position in round one.
24. Philadelphia Eagles – Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State. While trading Brown filled Cleveland’s void for a corner, it opened a void at that spot for the Eagles. Wilson has excellent ball skills, can play both man and zone and is an excellent return man. He’d look good opposite Asante Samuel. Philly is flush with picks after its two trades and can address its need for a pass rusher in the second round.
25. Baltimore Ravens – Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma. Baltimore’s trade for Anquan Boldin originally had me thinking it would look defense with this pick. Then I remembered just how inconsistent/ineffective Todd Heap really was last season and changed my mind. Gresham has some concerns due to his knee injury from last season, but when you look at him on tape, it’s clear he can be a big-time playmaker. You can never give a young quarterback too many of those, right?
26. Arizona Cardinals – Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland. My first two mock drafts have had the Cards going defense, specifically outside linebacker. The recent addition of Joey Porter crosses that off the list, though, and I now believe Arizona will look to upgrade along the line. Campbell certainly has his share of question marks, but his upside is too much to pass on here. If anyone can get the most out of this guy, it’s Russ Grimm.
27. Dallas Cowboys – Taylor Mays, S, USC. Having recently cut Flozell Adams, it’s a good bet the Cowboys will be looking for his replacement at this spot. Unfortunately for them, the top six tackles are already gone. That being the case, Dallas will look to replace Ken Hamlin – also recently released – with Mays. Mays projects as a strong safety in the pros. In fact, he’s so big (230 pounds) and such a good tackler/hitter, some have suggested he could be moved to outside linebacker eventually. Either way, he’s got good value for Dallas here.
28. San Diego Chargers – Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State. My first two mocks have had the Bolts going with Alabama’s Terrence Cody. This time around, though, I think Matthews is the pick. San Diego needs a presence in the run game, something Darren Sproles just doesn’t provide. Matthews is a good combination of power and speed and his lack of pass-catching skills wouldn’t be a problem with Sproles in the fold.
29. New York Jets – Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri. The Jets are moving in the right direction, offensively, provided Mark Sanchez continues to develop. The defense is pretty damn good, too, but could use one more player, particularly another outside linebacker. Weatherspoon should quickly become a favorite of Rex Ryan’s. He’s a hard-hitting, hard-working linebacker who knows how to play the run and blitz the quarterback.
30. Minnesota Vikings – Terrence Cody, DT, Alabama. I still think Minnesota wants to snag a corner with this pick, but I don’t think there’s anyone left on the board worth taking this high. The Vikes will then turn their focus to the d-line. The possibility of dual four-game suspensions for Pat and Kevin Williams, plus Pat’s age (38 in October), make upgrading that spot a priority. Cody has some issues (weight, focus, etc.), but if he’s reigned in, he could become a dominant run-stuffer in the pros. Minnesota looks for a back to compliment Adrian Peterson in round two.
31. Indianapolis Colts – Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State. The Colts will likely hope one of the top six tackles fall to this spot (previously, I had them going with Campbell, for example) as Charlie Johnson just isn’t the long-term guy at that spot. Since they are all gone, however, Indy will look to solidify itself at d-tackle instead. The Colts need to get an impact player between Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. Odrick has decent size (306 pounds), recorded seven sacks last season and should help take some heat off those two.
32. New Orleans Saints – Carlos Dunlap, DE/DT, Florida. The recent release of Charles Grant leaves a void along the d-line for the defending champs (still feels weird writing that about the Saints). Dunlap lacks motivation at times – and has an unfortunate DUI arrest – but he’s also a monster talent. He recorded nine sacks in each of the past two seasons and, if New Orleans can keep a fire under him, it could end up with great value here.
One final note: This will be my last solo mock before the draft. Our final mock will be a three-man super mock, featuring Adam, Gene and myself. We’re going to run that the day before the draft, so stay tuned. It should be a lot of fun and will hopefully sound nothing like Asia (they were a super-group from the 80s…damn you kids).