We're still a long way away from having a firm grasp of how the 2010 NFL Draft will pan out, but I've published an updated mock draft today. I've set out to do two things in this prediction. Firstly, to try and think outside the box as much as physically possible. Secondly, to try and be as logical as possible when predicting the Seahawks' two first round picks considering we are awaiting the appointment of a new GM. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of the article, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The draft order is based on current records and tie breakers. You can find the reference list I used by clicking here.
#1 Cleveland - Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska)
#2 St Louis - Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma)
#3 Tampa Bay - Russell Okung (OT, Oklahoma State)
#4 Detroit - Derrick Morgan (DE, Georgia Tech)
#5 Washington - Jake Locker (QB, Washington)
Despite Cleveland and St Louis' obvious issues at quarterback, at this stage I have to put Suh and McCoy at the very top. The quarterback class of 2010 is filled with pit falls and despite the fact the NFL is clearly a QB league, this will be a draft best remembered for the elite talent on the defensive line. Suh and McCoy are by far the best prospects in this class.
Russell Okung is hugely over rated in my opinion, but then it's hard to understand what direction the Buccs are heading under their new GM. They would undoubtedly love to draft Suh or McCoy, but with both gone they'll look to protect Josh Freeman - a nice idea in method but I really think Okung is a mid-late first rounder. With a weak class at offensive tackle and the premium placed on the position, he could go this early. Washington will almost certainly go quarterback. I'm not convinced Locker will declare, but if he does I have to assume it'll be between him and Sam Bradford to be the first quarterback off the board.
#6 Kansas City - Dez Bryant (WR, Oklahoma State)
#7 Buffalo - Sam Bradford (QB, Oklahoma)
#8 Oakland - Carlos Dunlap (DE, Florida)
#9 Seattle - C.J. Spiller (RB, Clemson)
#10 Denver - Rolando McClain (LB, Alabama)
I'll talk about the other picks before getting onto Seattle (and I know I've left myself wide open for criticism for picking Spiller in the top ten, but I'll try to explain the thinking). Kansas City made a left field pick last year when they took Tyson Jackson third overall - it could happen again in searching for a playmaker to help Matt Cassel. Buffalo will have a new head coach and could look at drafting a new QB to match. Oakland and Carlos Dunlap - never have two parties been so perfect since, well, Oakland and Darren McFadden or Oakland and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
The Seahawks would be picking at ninth overall if the season ended today. In this projection, they would be on the board having seen the top four defensive lineman gone, the top two quarterbacks gone and the seemingly consensus top offensive tackle gone. As you will see later in the mock, I don't think Jimmy Clausen is going to go as early as some people think and wouldn't be taken by Seattle here. I have to believe the Seahawks would love to add a lineman, be it offensive or defensive. Charles Brown could be an option, but he has to prove he can add weight (currently playing at 285lbs) before I can put him amongst the top 10-15.
With options limited I chose C.J. Spiller. Many people will say, "you cant do anything on offense until the line is better." In watching the Seahawks the last two years, I've made one observation. Yes - the offensive line has been hit by injuries or performed poorly. However, teams simply do not respect Seattle's skill position players. It allows them to regularly stack the box, blitz freely and in numbers. They gamble that the Seahawks offense won't be able to hurt them - on the ground or through the air - and therefore commit extra men to attack the line. I don't care who you are - when you're trying to block two guys off the edge it's going to be tough to handle. I'm not sure if you put any of the rookie left tackles taken last year on that 'Hawks line, the results would be much improved.
Seattle has to get better on both lines but it also needs to get guys who can make things happen. I've watched Spiller a few times this year and am convinced he can be a big playmaker at the next level. He has elite speed and will see his stock propel after he runs at the combine. The Seahawks simply do not have anyone like Spiller. He's a threat to score every time he has the ball. He can be used in any play call and he's a brilliant return man. Durability concerns were somewhat tempered when he ran for 233 yards and four TD's in the ACC Championship despite clearly suffering from a turf toe injury.
The pick represents my opinion of where Spiller could go, but also my opinion of what Seattle could do. It doesn't mean it will happen and things could change when we know who the new GM will be. However - I wanted to represent this in the mock. I know a lot of people will disagree with taking a running back early, but there is a very real possibility the Seahawks will not be well placed to draft for the offensive line in the first few picks. With two first rounders, they have the potential to explore those areas later on.
#11 San Francisco - Joe Haden (CB, Florida)
#12 Houston - Earl Thomas (S, Texas)
#13 San Francisco - Bryan Bulaga (OT, Iowa)
#14 Tennessee - Brian Price (DT, UCLA)
#15 Pittsburgh - Dan Williams (DT, Tennessee)
The Niners will pick twice very quickly in the first fifteen picks thanks to Carolina's difficult season. Haden could be a top ten pick and would present good value here. Bulaga is a powerful run blocker who would be a good fit for San Francisco. I've made my feelings known about Eric Berry in the past, but it would not surprise me at all if Earl Thomas was the first safety taken off the board. He's been a bigger playmaker than Berry this year, but is a much better tackler.
#16 Atlanta - Jason Pierre-Paul (DE, USF)
#17 NY Jets - Damian Williams (WR, USC)
#18 Baltimore - Jermaine Gresham (TE, Oklahoma)
#19 Miami - Eric Berry (S, Tennessee)
#20 Jacksonville - Tim Tebow (QB, Florida)
I'm loathe to simply place Tebow with the Jaguars like every other mock draft out there. However, having watched the Jags vs Texans game last weekend and seen the empty seats - maybe they will draft for season tickets? Eric Berry going 20th overall? I've raised concerns about him in the past - he could be a liability in the NFL with his tackling. Jermaine Gresham's injury has knocked him down boards, I still think he'll go fairly early.
#21 New England - Sergio Kindle (OLB, Texas)
#22 NY Giants - Everson Griffen (DE, USC)
#23 Green Bay - Charles Brown (OT, USC)
#24 Arizona - Anthony Davis (OT, Rutgers)
#25 Philadelphia - Bruce Carter (LB, North Carolina)
I'm a big fan of Bruce Carter's. He could go higher than this if he declares, although he claims he's staying with North Carolina. Charles Brown has the potential to be this year's Jason Smith if he can add weight and show well at the combine. Until he does though, I want to keep him at this level. If he does show well in Indianapolis, he could be an option for Seattle.
#26 Dallas - Taylor Mays (S, USC)
#27 Seattle - Mike Iupati (OG, Idaho)
#28 Cincinnati - Jahvid Best (RB, California)
#29 San Diego - Brandon Spikes (LB, Florida)
#30 Minnesota - Travis Lewis (OLB, Oklahoma)
#31 New Orleans - Sean Wetherspoon (LB, Missouri)
#32 Indianapolis - Trent Williams (OT, Oklahoma)
One of the things I wanted to represent here is the fact Seattle will change at least some philosophies from the Tim Ruskell era. As we all know, Ruskell was not keen on drafting from smaller schools. I think it's fair to say he would not consider a guard from Idaho. However, it at least becomes a possibility now. This might not be a great draft for offensive tackles, but the Seahawks can still upgrade their line. In my previous mock I touted the possibility of taking Rodney Hudson (OG, Florida State). If he declares, he too would become an option in the late first round. However, it's not often that junior interior lineman leave school early - it's one to monitor.
So what about Jimmy Clausen? When I've scouted the Notre Dame quarterback this year, I've not been impressed. He has mechanical issues with a low, side arm throwing motion which often leads to deflected passes. Clausen loses all velocity throwing off his back foot - which can be often. The vast majority of his passes are high percentage outside slants to two of the most productive receivers in college football - he hasn't shown an ability to make a deep range of NFL throws. I think this will be enough to put teams off at the top of the board and he could suffer a substantial fall.
Obviously we're a long way away from the draft right now and things can change. However, I wanted to portray a situation I could potentially see happening. A lot of mocks have Clausen going in the top ten, or even first overall, so I wanted to take an objective view because personally - I wouldn't rate Clausen that highly.