In our first mock draft a week ago, we put ourselves in the shoes of some of the GMs around the league and gave you a look at what we thought should happen in the opening rounds of this year's draft. This week, as the event draws closer and more information (and misinformation) hits the rumor mill, we'll try to give you our best guess as to what will likely happen.
So without further ado, here is our final mock draft for the 2010 season.
1. St Louis — Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
OK, we concede. We still don't necessarily agree with it, but we've come to grips with the fact that Bradford will kick off Thursday's primetime first round. For Rams fans everywhere we hope for two things — that the team picks up a left tackle and a game-breaking receiver in the next two rounds, and that A.J. Feeley is ready to play and play well. Durability is a very real concern for Bradford and the Rams at this point. Last Week: Russell Okung.
2. Detroit — Russell Okung, T, Oklahoma State
We've been hearing more and more that the Lions will go offensive tackle here. Jim Schwartz learned in 2009 what the Rams are about to learn this year: If you are going to select a franchise QB, you'd better be able to keep him upright. NFL scouts and coaches believe you build a team around a left tackle, not a defensive tackle. Last Week: Ndamukong Suh.
3. Tampa Bay — Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
Gerald McCoy is more of your 3-technique tackle, which would be perfect in the Bucs' attacking scheme. He's got excellent quickness and the ability to shoot the inside gaps and create havoc in the backfield. Scouts have concerns, though, about his lack of ideal strength, and he can be washed down the line if he doesn't hit the gap cleanly. Suh is a two-gapper but has the quickness and agility to excel in Tampa's defense, or any other scheme for that matter. Last Week: Gerald McCoy.
4. Washington — Trent Williams, T, Oklahoma
Williams' athleticism makes him a player with a lot of upside, and many teams, including the Redskins, have him rated ahead of Okung as the top tackle. But whether he's the first or second tackle taken, the most important point is that athleticism makes Williams the better fit in the 'Skins' zone-blocking schemes. The ability to move and block men in space at the second level is key, and Williams does that as well as anyone. He's a day one starter for Mike Shanahan. Last Week: Williams.
5. Kansas City — Brian Bulaga, T, Iowa
Here's a case of the Chiefs knowing their draft board. They need to get stronger right down the middle of their new 3-4 defense — nose tackle, inside linebacker, safety — and we still have five available players rated higher than Bulaga on our board. But the Chiefs need a cornerstone tackle. The list of those players is short this year, and there is no guarantee that there will be a plug-in starter among the available OTs at the top of Round 2. Bulaga is NFL-ready and has the makings of a solid starter. Scott Pioli will look for the surest thing he can find at this point in the draft and find players for the defense beginning with his next pick. Last Week: Bulaga.
6. Seattle — Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
This is a steal for the 'Hawks. McCoy is generally considered one of the top three players on every board around the league, and he fits Pete Carroll's defense perfectly. His quickness and agility make him an ideal interior gap shooter, and his ability to move around easily will help him when Carroll starts stunting his fronts and bringing pressure from different points on the field. Last Week: Sam Bradford.
7. Cleveland — Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
Monte Kiffin, Berry's defensive coordinator at Tennessee last season, told us last week there isn't anything this kid can't do. He's got excellent instincts and the range to cover in a deep zone, he can walk down and cover the slot, he's a sure tackler and willing run supporter, and he has the speed and finishing ability to be used in the blitz package. Think about the way Kiffin used to use Ronde Barber in his prime in Tampa. That's what Berry can be for the Browns. Last Week: Berry.
8. Oakland — Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
The Raiders could go with a tackle like Anthony Davis here. That's an immediate need. But this team will not move forward until it replaces the QB. Clausen doesn't have the greatest physical tools, he doesn't have a gun of an arm, and there have been some questions about his maturity. But he's been trained in a pro-style offense, he knows how to read defenses, and he is an accurate short-to-intermediate passer, all things that JaMarcus Russell has failed to acquire in three years in the league. Last Week: Clausen.
9. Buffalo — Anthony Davis, T, Rutgers
Strong and quick for his size, Davis is among the best pass protectors in this class when he's on. Though there are questions about his commitment and his inconsistent technique, head coach Chan Gailey has a knack for working with those types of players. Davis' ability to play either right or left tackle or move inside to guard gives the Bills a lot of margin for error with this pick. He'll contribute in year one. Last Week: Davis.
10. Jacksonville — Earl Thomas, S, Texas
The Jaguars best safety is a former first-round disappointment, Reggie Nelson. Thomas has excellent speed and range at safety and does a good job of coming up to make plays in front of him. He wins balls in the air and will make receivers pay for coming over the middle. He's instinctive and is generally in the right place at the right time. Last Week: Derrick Morgan.
11. Denver — Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
The Broncos rebuilt their defensive line through free agency, and the addition of McClain gives them a tackling machine who'll get the protection he needs from Jamal Williams and who also has the ability to get to the QB as a blitzer. Last Week: McClain.
12. Miami — Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan
The more we evaluate Graham, the more we wonder if he'll even last on the board this long. He's the Senior Bowl Defensive MVP, shared the Big Ten MVP and is the only defensive player at Michigan to win team MVP honors twice. Listen to this — 56 tackles for loss and 29½ sacks. That's more than 85 plays behind the line of scrimmage! He's got a great attitude, loves football, and with Charlie Anderson and Cameron Wade the current OLBs in Miami's defense, he's a day one starter. Last Week: Graham.
13. San Francisco — Taylor Mays, S, Southern Cal
With great natural ability and athleticism, combined with a unique mix of size, speed and explosiveness, Mays has the makings of an immediate NFL starter and perhaps could blossom into a top-tier safety. His production hasn't been where some scouts thought it should be, but we have every confidence in coach Mike Singletary's ability to bring out the best in Mays. Last Week: Earl Thomas.
14. Seattle — C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
The Seahawks still need a tackle, a pass rusher, and potentially a corner. But for the second time in this round, they have a stellar player who has slid down the board to them. Spiller doesn't need to be the feature back in Seattle, but his ability to contribute as a runner, receiver and returner could equal 20 touches a game. What gets overlooked is his blocking skills, which are also NFL-ready. Last Week: Spiller.
15. New York Giants — Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
Due to his size, Williams is often tagged as a two-gapping nose tackle, but he has the agility and quickness to create an upfield push and collapse the pocket from the interior, much like Marcus Stroud or John Henderson. However, on run downs he has the size and strength to clog the middle and protect whoever ends up playing MLB. Last Week: Sean Weatherspoon.
16. Tennessee — Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
Morgan is a pure 4-3 end with prototypical size, speed and strength for the position. The Titans need to replace the departed Kyle Vanden Bosch, and Morgan is a smart, high-energy player who scouts feel is still on the come. Last Week: Joe Haden.
17. San Francisco — Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas
The Niners need a pass rusher to come off the edge in their 3-4 defense. Kindle had 34½ tackles for loss the past two seasons and 16½ career sacks. While with the Longhorns, he gained starting experience at both OLB and DE, and that versatility will help San Fran get more pass rushers on the field in obvious passing situations. Last Week: Kindle.
18. Pittsburgh — Joe Haden, CB, Florida
The Steelers desperately need a corner, and the ability to grab the top cover corner in the draft at this late juncture of the first round doesn't come very often. Haden is at his best in man coverage. He uses his hands very well and has quick feet and a smooth hip turn that makes him hard to elude. His slow 40 time at the combine will scare some teams off, but the play of guys like Darrelle Revis and Charles Woodson make this an important pick. There will be quality players left in Round 2 who can address Pittsburgh's need at WR. Last Week: Kyle Wilson.
19. Atlanta — Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
The Falcons need pass rush help and Odrick, though not a featured edge rusher, can create a push from the interior. He has the strength to be an effective bull rusher but also has a quick first step and several pass rush moves that help him attack the gaps. Atlanta likes to attack the LOS and get upfield to the QB. Odrick can help them do that. Last Week: Maurkice Pouncey.
20. Houston — Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
Though some will question his ability to transition from the WAC to the NFL, there's no denying Wilson's big-play ability and ballhawking skills. He recorded 11 career INTs, and will contribute right away as a return man. He's also a threat with the ball in his hands, recording five TD returns in four seasons at Boise. Last Week: Dan Williams.
21. Cincinnati — Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
We have always wondered what the Bengals offense would look like if they actually had a vertical threat at TE. Enter Gresham. Fully healed from a knee injury that required surgery and caused him to miss the 2009 season, he is ready to return to his collegiate form when he recorded 103 catches and 25 TDs over two seasons. He can consistently test the vertical seam, has good hands and will make the tough catch for Carson Palmer. Last Week: Taylor Mays.
22. New England — Jerry Hughes, OLB, Texas Christian
We really like this fit for the Patriots. They need to bolster the pass rush and Hughes is a player who can get to the QB. He had 28½ career sacks and over 40 tackles for loss. When it comes to intangibles, he has everything the Patriots like to see in their players. He's smart, tough and hard-working and can be a standout on special teams. Last Week: Hughes.
23. Green Bay — Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
The Packers have to think about upgrading their offensive line and keeping Aaron Rodgers upright. Iupati is a tenacious blocker in the run game and possesses a unique combination of strength and agility to dominate in pass protection. He has the versatility to play just about any spot along the front and will be a starter from the minute he walks in the Packers' building. Last Week: Iupati.
24. Philadelphia — Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida
Smart and tough, Pouncey is a powerful drive blocker and the best center in this year's draft. But he has experience at RG, where he could step in as a rookie and fill a need for the Eagles. That would give him a chance to learn by playing next to Jamaal Jackson, readying him to take over down the road. Last Week: Devin McCourty.
25. Baltimore — Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
McCourty has good speed and is not afraid to get physical with receivers in press coverage. He will make plays on the ball and is a dynamic returner. With the current corners on the Ravens roster nursing injuries and questionable for the start of the season, McCourty's ability to contribute in a variety of ways will be important, and scouts feel he is ready to step up to the task. Last Week: Jermaine Gresham.
26. Arizona— Charles Brown, T, Southern Cal
A former TE, Brown has great athleticism and a large frame that will give him the ability to add bulk at the next level. He's more of a finesse blocker than a power drive blocker at this point, but Ken Whisenhunt's staff can teach him that after they make him bigger and stronger. Brown started two seasons in a pro-style offense at SC and would be a better option at LT than the current solution, which is to move Levi Brown from the right side. Last Week: Brown.
27. Dallas — Rodger Saffold, T, Indiana
The Cowboys need a long-term answer at LT now that they've released Flozell "The Hotel" Adams. Doug Free can step in for the time being, while Saffold, a fast riser in recent weeks, can slide in at guard or tackle. He's got excellent size and athletic ability and is tough and durable, as shown by his 41 college starts. Last Week: Jared Odrick.
28. San Diego — Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State
Mathews is one of the highest-rated players still on our board at this point, and for good reason. He's a 220-pounder who runs a 4.4 40, was productive but not overused in college, and can step in as a two-down and short-yardage/goal-line back, leaving the smaller, quicker Darren Sproles in a third-down role where the Chargers are more comfortable with his skill set. The 'Bolts are also in need of a corner and could take a good, hard look at Kareem Jackson or Patrick Robinson here as well. Last Week: Mathews.
29. JETS — Everson Griffen, DE/OLB, Southern Cal
Griffen has risen up boards recently due to his athleticism and workouts, but he has the production to back some of it up. Griffen recorded 21 tackles for loss and 18 sacks in 17 starts at SC. The good news is that he has the frame to bulk up and play DE as an eventual replacement for Shaun Ellis, but he can also play OLB due to his quick first step and pass-rush ability as well as his open-field tackling, which is very good for a man his size. There have been some questions about his commitment and effort at times, but once again we will rely on Rex Ryan to get the best out of him. He weighs nearly 280 pounds and runs a 4.6 40. Last Week: Dez Bryant.
30. Minnesota — Brian Price, DT, UCLA
Most one-gap DTs make their living off outstanding initial quickness or an explosive first step. Price has both. But what sets him apart is his unbelievable strength — he benched 225 pounds 34 times at the combine. He makes great use of his hands and plays violently off the snap. While many prognosticators are trying to compare Suh or McCoy to Warren Sapp, this is the guy who most closely resembles the former Pro Bowler. Last Week: Patrick Robinson.
31. Indianapolis — Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
The Colts won't be happy to see Price gone, and they have some needs along the O-line as well. But the secondary was battered by injuries last year and they need to have more options there. Jackson is a prototypical Cover-2 corner who is physical in coverage, is a strong tackler, and possesses good ball skills. He brings positive intangibles to the table as well. Last Week: Brian Price.
32. New Orleans — Sean Witherspoon, LB, Missouri
Smart, strong and fast, Witherspoon can play any spot at the linebacker level, which will help the Saints account for the loss of Scott Fujita to free agency. He's a sideline-to-sideline player, breaks down well in space, gets deep into coverage drops, and can be effective in the blitz package. Gregg Williams will love moving this guy around. Last Week: Everson Griffen.