Todd McShay posted his first 2009 mock draft a few days after the '08 draft. He had Fili Moala (DT, USC) going first overall - he ended up going in the 2nd round to Indianapolis. Twenty one of his first round projections either didn't declare or didn't fall in the first 32 picks. Seattle were placed with Duke Robinson, who joined the Panthers on Sunday in the late fifth round. Jason Smith, Aaron Curry and Mark Sanchez were all absent. My report that follows will no doubt be equally as inaccurate.
I've seen a lot of people suggesting that the 2010 quarter back class is deep and generally better than the 2009 group. It's too early to accurately predict whether this proves to be true, but an early thought is that I would agree with the depth and maybe not with the quality. Sam Bradford (QB, Oklahoma) almost declared for this year's event having won the Heisman Trophy for 2008. At the last minute he decided to stay at school and is an early projection to potentially go first overall next year. Others who might also warrant consideration - Colt McCoy (QB, Texas), Tim Tebow (Florida) and Jevon Snead (QB, Ole Miss).
I find the above list distinctly unimpressive. Bradford is very accurate and has the potential to be a franchise quarter back. However, his presence in a quirky offense that calls plays based on reads from the sidelines may lead to some needed work upon arrival in the NFL. Playing behind a great line with an excellent arsenal at Oklahoma also made life easy for Bradford, who often had the time and talent to consistently make plays. Can he maintain accuracy with a defense in his face?
I just don't see a potential top five pick in McCoy, whilst Tebow needs a mechanical overhaul. They project as late first round-border line second round picks. Jevon Snead is the most intriguing prospect to me and could be someone to keep an eye on in 2010. But here's my point, why are any of these guys better than Stafford or Sanchez - who both went in the top five? I'm sceptical, even at this early stage I'm not seeing the hype that 2010 would be a great year to get a quarter back. There's depth, but is there top end talent?
What I do see in the 2010 draft is the potential for some elite defensive talent to hit the market. Carlos Dunlap (DE, Florida) has drawn comparisons to Mario Williams due to his size and speed. He had 9.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2008. Sergio Kindle (DE/OLB, Texas) is a possible 3-4 outside rush with ideal size. He gained 10.5 sacks as a junior.
Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma) almost declared for the 2009 draft. He could have been a top 10 pick this year, especially with a lack of quality depth at his position. He had 6.5 sacks in 2008 and with a solid 2009 season - could be taken very highly next year. Another defensive tackle worth keeping an eye on is Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska). He had 76 tackles, 16.5 TFL and 7.5 sacks last year and even returned two interceptions for touchdowns. Terrance Cody (DT, Alabama) and Lawrence Marsh (DT, Florida) could make this quite a class for defensive tackles.
One of the biggest names set to declare in 2010 is Brandon Spikes (LB, Florida). Outspoken, dominant and well known for slamming Andre Smith (OT, Cincinnati Bengals) to the floor. He plays with a swagger and scored two TD's in 2008 leading Florida's defense to a BCS championship. He would have almost certainly been a first round pick this year.
But perhaps the greatest attention in this article should be focused towards the safety class. The potential is there for two safeties to go very high in round one next year. The guy that excites me is Eric Berry (S, Tennessee). A pure ball hawk, playmaking safety. As a sophomore in 2008 he had seven interceptions (two returned for TD's) and three sacks. Lightning quick with potential to create big plays into scoring plays, Berry is someone to monitor.
The other big name safety is Taylor Mays (S, USC). He's popular amongst Seahawks fans as a Seattle native who plays for the Trojans. He found opportunities to make big plays restricted at SoCal - teams just won't throw deep against them. But he has unnatural size and speed and could develop into some player. Earl Thomas (S, Texas) is another highly rated safety prospect with first round abilities.
It could be a class that lacks the big name offensive skill players or the offensive line depth we saw in 2009. It's never too early for some mock drafts, so why not try these by Walter Cherepinsky, Sideline Scouting, Draft King, NE Patriots Draft, Sports Fantasy Guide.
So that's a premature look at the 2010 draft, which is only 362 days away...