Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Updated mock draft - December 9th

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

The draft order is based on current records and tie breakers. You can find the reference list I used by clicking here.

Picks 1-5

#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.

Picks 6-10

#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.

Picks 11-15

#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.

Picks 16-20

#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.

Picks 21-25

#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.

Picks 26-32

#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.


Anonymous said...

Interesting mock. My comment regarding Spiller is... can you really see him going that high, when he isn't really a feed-him-the-ball-25-times-a-game, feature back? I'm not so sure. If he were to drop to our second 1st round pick, I would grab him in a heartbeat. In the top 10, probably not. It just doesn't seem like a good value that high, expecially considering the other areas of need on the team.


Rob Staton said...

Hey TJ,

I've asked the question many times about whether he can carry the ball that often. I've come to the conclusion that I think he can... maybe not every week... but when you need him to, he will. He carried it 20 times last weekend for 233 yards despite clearly struggling with a turf toe injury. He took the hard yards as well as the breakaway runs.

I think he has that Chris Johnson type potential. Johnson went in the 20's, but if that draft was re-done undoutbedly he'd go earlier. I think Spiller will benefit from Johnson's success because I expect he'll run a similar, if not better, 40 yard dash time.

It's an expensive pick of course for a running back that early. I understand why people would be concerned. However, Spiller's a points scorer. Kick offs, running, receiving. He scores touchdowns. He'd add a dimension to Seattle's offense that they just don't have and very much need.

I think it's also important to point out this is merely a December mock, touting possibilities. You can never make a serious projection this early. However, I think Spiller could be a top ten pick if he runs as well as I expect at the combine.

What would the other options be? In this mock, undoutedly Joe Haden. Possibly Bryan Bulaga. But no really obvious alternatives, which is another reason why I felt confident going with Spiller.

maglor said...

at this point its fair to say that Denver took advantage of the Hawks with the trade for their first rounder this year. The safety they got has been pretty good for them who could have been ours or maybe Ruskell would have picked that tackle the Jag's got a few picks later.

Mind of no mind said...

I think this might be a good argument against anyone that says you should root for the Seahawks to lose so that they can get a higher pick. Sometimes the player you need most doesn't represent the best value at the spot you're picking. If the Hawks can go a little run, we might be able to push our pick back to around the #11 spot, which is the best spot in the draft when you compare production vs cost.

Also, the thing I like about the pick is the fact that he can return kicks. One thing that always hurts you is when an early pick holds out and misses too much of camp. But at least if that happens with Spiller, we can stick him back at returner and potentially get great production out of him while he plays catchup on offense.

Also in regards to him not being an every down back; I think given the fact that we have a very effective 3rd down back in Forsett, I'm not sure we would even need him to be an every down back. I agree with you that we need a true threat on offense, so I'd love this pick.

Mind of no mind said...

Maglor - They drafted Alphonso Smith, who plays CB not S. And so far he's done next to nothing in the NFL. So far the only stats he's recorded are 2 passes defended 6 tackles and 5 assisted tackles. As a returner he had 5 punt returns for 8 total yards and 1 kick return for 18 yards.

Accordingn to the most recent article I could find on him, he has lost both his nickle back spot and returning duties. If Ruskell had drafted him instead of trading for a 1st rounder, people would be pilling on Ruskell for drafting yet another failure at CB (even though Wilson was a great pick, but nobody against Ruskell would ever admitt that).

Anonymous said...

First "mind of no mind" I will admit that Wilsonw as a good pick. If he we 6ft he would be thought of as our best CB. I would not really have a problem with Spiller because how he would improve us in several ways. Hass could do Play action passing more to allow the WRs to get open and we would have a potential game breaker that the D-line would have to respect and may cause them to freeze slightly on their rush, making out O Line look like that got "better." I still remember the impact that Curt Warner had when we drafted him high. He set up everything else we wanted to do.

Also would LOVE to get Lupati. Resign Sims and have Lupati on the right side. Move Ungar to center and get an OT in fee agency or later in the draft (still think we should go after Charlie Johnson- starting LT for Indy.)

Mike Kelly

fountaindale said...

Just wanted to second the comment from Mind of No Mind. There was a lot of piling-on with Ruskell. I think he drafted pretty well. Maybe there were other areas where he failed. However, if you're going to pan somebody you should have the data to back it up. Ruskell sucks doesn't show me much.

kearly said...

Nice job. In future mocks, could make a quick list of the players you like the most at each Seahawks pick? For example, at #9, listing guys like Spiller, Brown, Haden, Clausen, etc, and then telling us your thought process on why you didn't choose them. Same thing with Denver's pick. It would add an extra level of insight which I know at least I would appreciate.

I've made my thoughts on Spiller/draft stock known so no need to rehash.

Watching the 2009 team, its clear to me that a lack of mid-deep passing game is allowing opposing defenses to play closer to the line of scrimmage and its really hurt the short passing and running game that Knapp lives off of. I wouldn't put that on the WR either- Housh/Burleson/Branch/Butler is a good WR corp- the fault clearly belongs to Hasselbeck's vanishing right arm.

Spiller will be a nice addition but he won't have much impact if defenses continue to key the short game. If the Seahawks go crazy and sign Jason Campbell and Marcus McNeill somehow before the draft, then Spiller would make a lot of sense. Otherwise, I think the team should address the elephant in the room and worry about arranging the furniture later.

Anonymous said...

Rob, intersting take on the draft. I am a draftnik, so love considering all the posibilities. I do think that Spiller will go higher than Johnson because of his return/receiving/blocking skills. He may not get 25 carries/game, but could get 20 touches per game. I agree, Seattle needs a gamebreaker that needs to be gameplanned against. A few more touchdowns and we could be vying for the division lead right now. Still, rather than take him at 9, I'd hope we could trade down to at least get back our missing 3rd rounder, and take him at about 15. I'd also like to trade down from our Denver pick and get another 3rd rounder. With the depth in this draft, there will be some very good DT's and DB's available in the 3rd round. Mebane won't be here forever. Time to find another diamond in the rough.

kearly said...

As far as what I'd do, assuming the board fell the same way:

My top choices would be Joe Haden, Jimmy Clausen, Damien Williams, and Charles Brown. The team could trade down 10 spots and still likely have a shot at 1 of these 4 players, so trading down would be my first option. If forced to pick, I'd most seriously consider Haden and Clausen.

QB is a glaring need for the Seahawks. Here are my feelings on Clausen- he came from a pro-style offense in Notre Dame that is very similar to what Seattle currently runs (WCO, ZBS). If Holmgren likes him enough to draft him this high, it means he sees some potential and I'd trust his judgment. I won't lie though, Clausen is a pick that makes me little nervous. His height worries me- Wallace has to escape the pocket to find any accuracy and if Clausen's lack of height and low release creates the same problem, he's doomed. If we're going to take a QB this risky, I would much rather have taken Sanchez last year.

Joe Haden is the blindingly obvious pick. CB is not the teams biggest need, but it is a need. Marcus Trufant has been slowed by injuries two years in a row and could be experiencing an early decline. He turns 30 next season. Ken Lucas is over 30, and should the team not draft CB, I'd welcome him back, but he's got 1 more year at most as starter capable I think. Josh Wilson is the teams best corner, and dammit, he's fucking awesome (spread the word!), but his talent is optimized in the nickle. Jennings is a good, cheap Dime CB, but he could be gone after this year and he's the worst possible fit for zone coverage scheme. Seattle needs a true #1 CB, and they also need a player that can bump every other CB one wrung lower on the depth chart where they would be more useful. Haden is the consensus #1 CB who should be taken right around the 10th pick. I haven't read a good scouting report on Haden yet, but if he projects to be a zone type CB (like Wilson), this pick becomes almost an urgent one. The Seahawks desperately need to add zone friendly corners to their secondary. Lastly, CB is a premium position, so you wouldn't have to worry about Haden earning his paycheck nearly as much as someone like Spiller would.

With the 2nd pick, I like Iupati, but he is pretty much the antithesis of an Alex Gibbs interior lineman. He may be decently mobile for his massive size, but he still wouldn't be as quick and nimble as a Rodney Hudson type. If the team announces a move back to man blocking, I'd LOVE this pick, of course.

Of course, Jimmy Clausen is still on the board here, which would make him 2010's Aaron Rodgers/Brady Quinn. I'd very strongly consider him with that pick unless I was completely scared away.

Anonymous said...

Nice Job! but for future mocks i thought i would let you know that Tampa has a good offensive line, they are definitely going defense.

Michael said...

Reggie Bush = Spiller. I love him, but he is a situational back. We can pick up Bush on the cheap if you want that guy.

Also, for all those people who insist that ZBS is to be run with small quick lineman - Please stop.

ZBS requires athleticism. Iupati has it in spades. It is also what Charlie Brown has in spades. Both are highly athletic AND strong.

Let's please drop the "small" is ZBS concept. It is yet another reason I hope we do not draft Hudon if he is available. He was destroyed against Florida. He is small and athletic. Iupati is large and athletic. Genetics matter in ZBS just like Man.

Rob Staton said...

Annonymous - I've seen Tampa Bay three times (once was at Wembley, live) and their line looked distinctly poor. However - I'll ask around and do some research and may evaluate that selection for future mocks.

florida ted said...

Nice draft a lot of thought into this one. I see Al Davis as usual ake somone like Mays first round or someone not a day pick . I also have my doubts about Tebow going round 1 to Jaxville, That would make all 28 season ticket holders very happy. Patriots need to draft a complete deaft of d=linemen and o linemen they were embarrising to watch the last 2 weeks time to man up and draft by possition not best available

Timshorts said...

A few points:-
1. Looking at the fixtures 'til the end of season our 1st pick ought to be lower than 9 and our second (the Denver pick) ought to be higher than presently shown.

2. Spiller can catch the ball. From what I've seen of him, he is at his most devastating on a catch and run. Now think back to Sean Alexander.....

3. Please: No Jimmy Clausen. He doesn't look any better to me than a fourth rounder. In fact, thinking back to Brady Quinn's time, didn't Quinn look a lot more like an NFL quarterback playing for the goldtops at a time when they had a schedule that warranted a live broadcast at least a few times a season. And look how he's got on
I wouldn't mind betting that Kellen Moore would make a better NFL QB if he could come out now n years early. Yes, he's only 6ft and projected as a 5th rounder or something, but Clausen might as well be 5'11" given the low position that he releases the ball.
I'd rather take a punt on a small schooler with possibilities - maybe Tyler Sheehan from Bowling Green (and his WR Barnes) or Kafka or take a punt on Matt Flynn,,,,or anything.

Mike J said...

I am a Bucs fan; if it falls out as you theorize, I think the Bucs trade down to a club in the QB hunt, but I suppose you can't posit trades. They may opt to stay & take S Berry, depending on the rec they get from Monte Kiffen, w/ whom the club still has a good rapport.Rd. 2 seems to be shaping up to be loaded, & a lower One & a Two would be ideal, if they can't get s DT.

zayden said...

LIke the Spiller pick, IF all holds true and the top OL/DL is gone. Someone mentioned Alexander out of the backfield, yikes, was thinking the more of the speed out from Warner to Faulk that was indefensible.
And the kid from Idaho would just be a beast on the left and makeup for some of the defincies the LT may be at that time. Just a roadgrader. If not he, then one of the Tackles could be there and then go Guard on top of rd 2. Like the kid outta Florida, Pauncey.
Hope and pray that Mccoy falls, but wouldn't cry if it was Spiller. The defense would have to account for him on every play!

Rob Staton said...

Mike J - thankyou for stopping by and offering some info on the Buccs. I'll never pretend to be an expert on other teams and when I try to calculate a mock, sometimes you assume certain needs that perhaps aren't true.

With regard to Eric Berry, I've no doubt Monte Kiffin will offer a positive review. I will also say this - despite my criticism of some aspects of Berry's game, he's still a very intriguing prospect. But I don't think teams will take him in the top 10-15 because of the money involved and the fact that, yes he has playmaking ability - but taking a safety that early his tackling qualities have to be above average. Berry's are not and he has been a liability at times this year.

Anonymous said...

OT/S/CB/RB Those should be our first 4 picks

Anonymous said...

Rb being Dwyer or thumper. Not Spiller

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Anonymous said...

You have no idea about a lot of the things you write about! Again, with Eric Berry, you watched two or three games! He has played 30 plus! All American on every list, I don't think they give the THORPE AWARD to liabilities! His tackles rank second on the team and he is NOT even a lineman. All the DRAFT experts rate him high, but you are not so sure! Glad you are just here on the blog. Your thoughts would be a liabilty if someone actually listened! Remember, post after again after the draft! and the Pro Bowl!