By Rob Staton
There's under a month to go until the NFL draft and many questions are still to be answered. When I watched the tape of Jimmy Clausen, I wasn't completely convinced a team would spend a top ten pick to make him the future of their franchise. At the same time, I appreciated his background in a pro-style offense and the importance of the position he's played. In my mocks, I've shown Clausen going in the top ten (including to Seattle) and I've had him sinking down the board.
The Seahawks at #6 and Cleveland at #7 have both added quarterbacks outside of the draft. Is it a sign that Clausen won't be around by the time they select, or a sign that they have no interest in taking the Notre Dame quarterback? Are the Redskins really interested in bringing him to Washington? Today I'll look at a scenario I haven't yet reviewed.
#1 St. Louis: Sam Bradford (QB, Oklahoma)
The Rams have decided that they need to find a franchise quarterback. Bradford will be the choice. I'm not convinced by the McNabb trade talk.
#2 Detroit: Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska)
I still see Okung placed here and I still don't buy it. I'll hold my hands up if I'm wrong, but for me it'll be mind blowing should it happen.
#3 Tampa Bay: Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma)
The Buccs will settle for McCoy if Suh's off the board. This fills a huge need in Tampa Bay.
#4 Washington: Anthony Davis (OT, Rutgers)
People are low on Davis right now, but he has the most upside and he's already the best pure pass protector in this class. I think Shanahan will like this guy.
#5 Kansas City: Rolando McClain (LB, Alabama)
Nobody thought Tyson Jackson would go third overall this time last year. Kansas City will do what it takes to build a great 3-4 defense.
#6 Seattle: C.J. Spiller (RB, Clemson)
Is it expensive? Sure. Do people like it? A lot don't. You can get Spiller twenty touches a game and he'll get you points in return. Don't bet against this pick - it could happen even if you're not seeing it suggested in a lot of places.
#7 Cleveland: Eric Berry (S, Tennessee)
The Browns could go in a number of directions but they'll consider taking Berry to add a much needed presence in the secondary. I still think Berry could slide out of the top ten.
#8 Oakland: Trent Williams (OT, Oklahoma)
I'll be honest, when I watched this guy in 2009 I wasn't impressed. But he ran a 4.8 forty yard dash and suddenly people talk about him in a much more positive way. Sounds like an Oakland pick to me.
#9 Buffalo: Bryan Bulaga (OT, Iowa)
Bulaga will interest teams as a left tackle despite his short arms. Chan Gailey has experimented with the spread as an offensive coordinator, so Clausen's pro-style ability won't necessarily turn his head. I just can't see a Gailey-Clausen match.
#10 Jacksonville: Earl Thomas (S, Texas)
Thomas is another who itrigues me a lot. Some talk this week that he might not be as high on some boards as expected. Is it just talk to force a fall? The Jaguars will probably look to move down if possible.
#11 Denver: Sergio Kindle (OLB, Texas)
The Broncos have rebuilt their defensive line in free agency. They might look to add
an outside presence in the draft with Sergio Kindle - who is stout against the run.
#12 Miami: Dan Williams (DT, Tennessee)
The Dolphins re-signed Jason Ferguson, but he's suspended for the first half of the season. He's also getting up in years, so adding Williams to play the valuable nose tackle makes sense
#13 San Francisco: Jimmy Clausen (QB, Notre Dame)
The 49ers are not convinced with Alex Smith. They want to be, but they aren't. If Clausen falls here they'll really consider adding him. Having an extra pick at #17 and being able to fill another need will make this more realistic.
#14 Seattle: Derrick Morgan (DE, Georgia Tech)
There are a lot of options for Seattle here. They could move down the board or make a trade for Brandon Marshall. If they stay put - Morgan makes a ton of sense as the most polished defensive end in this class.
#15 New York Giants: Joe Haden (CB, Florida)
Haden repaired his stock with a well run forty at the Florida pro-day in difficult weather conditions.
#16 Tennessee: Jason Pierre-Paul (DE, USF)
Pierre-Paul is raw but he has unlimited upside and teams will look at him as someone they can coach into greatness. His lack of experience might keep him out of the top ten, but he owns top ten talent.
#17 San Francisco: Taylor Mays (S, USC)
Mike Singletary loves guys like Taylor Mays. The Niners have a need in the secondary, particularly at the strong safety position.
#18 Pittsburgh: Kyle Wilson (CB, Boise State)
The Steelers could tap into the depth at cornerback by taking the second best prospect after Joe Haden leaves the board.
#19 Atlanta: Dez Bryant (WR, Oklahoma State)
Receiver isn't a need for Atlanta, but the Falcons will have to consider him as BPA if he falls this far. Another great target for Matt Ryan.
#20 Houston: Kareem Jackson (CB, Alabama)
With a run on cornerbacks under way, the Texans will be cautious of filling the hole left by Dunta Robinson's departure.
#21 Cincinnati: Brian Price (DT, UCLA)
The Bengals do have needs on the defensive line and Price would offer a disruptive interior presence.
#22 New England: Jared Odrick (DT, Penn State)
The Patriots are in the process of major changes on their defensive line. Drafting the versatile Odrick gives New England some options long term.
#23 Green Bay: Russell Okung (OT, Oklahoma State)
Kyle Rota's scouting report on Okung is an absolute must read and highlights some of the reasons why Okung might not be a top ten lock. He performed well at the combine before his injury, but if any of the tackle class is facing an unexpected fall - I think it could be Okung.
#24 Philadelphia: Mike Iupati (OG, Idaho)
The Eagles could still target a defensive end like Everson Griffen or Carlos Dunlap despite trading for Darryl Tapp. However, Iupati could be a surprise contender to land in Philly.
#25 Baltimore: Devin McCourty (CB, Rutgers)
The Ravens would find some value in the under rated McCourty, who put on a show at the combine.
#26 Arizona: Charles Brown (OT, USC)
Brown could go higher than this, he really helped his stock by hitting 300lbs at the combine. The Cardinals could consider taking a tackle in round one.
#27 Dallas: Demaryius Thomas (WR, Georgia Tech)
Jerry Jones could target a big target at receiver. He's traditionally avoided drafting offensive lineman in round one and he likes a flashy pick.
#28 San Diego: Brandon Graham (OLB, Michigan)
Graham is a great pass rusher, but his lack of size could put off teams - as we saw with Everette Brown last year.
#29 New York Jets: Everson Griffen (DE, USC)
The Jets need to add to their pass rush and Griffen will interest some teams as a 3-4 outside rusher.
#30 Minnesota: Patrick Robinson (CB, Florida State)
Opinion differs so much on Robinson. He owns top 15 qualities, but watch the tape and you see so many mistakes. Playing behind a very good defensive line should help.
#31 Indianapolis: Maurkice Pouncey (C, Florida)
The Colts like their lineman to fit their scheme, they don't mind smaller guys. That's good news for Pouncey, who arrived at the combine smaller than advertised. He could play some guard from day one and eventually move to center.
#32 New Orleans: Sean Weatherspoon (LB, Missouri)
I was never blown away watching tape of Weatherspoon from 2009. He should warrant consideration here though and offers an instant impact as a rookie.
#33 St. Louis: Jermaine Gresham (TE, Oklahoma)
Getting Sam Bradford a safety net - especially one he's worked with in college - makes sense. Injuries are the only reason Gresham is still available here.
#34 Detroit: Carlos Dunlap (DE, Florida)
The potential reward taking Dunlap here counters the risk that comes with his inconsistent effort.
#35 Tampa Bay: Arrelious Benn (WR, Illinois)
The Buccs need to add some weapons for Josh Freeman.
#36 Kansas City: Golden Tate (WR, Notre Dame)
Tate impressed everyone with his speed at the combine and his production was superb in 2009. However, I still think he'll do well to find a home in round one.
#37 Washington: Roger Saffold (OT, Indiana)
Saffold's stock is rising sufficiently after a good combine and Washington must find a left tackle.
#38 Cleveland: Eric Decker (WR, Minnesota)
Browns GM Tom Heckert personally watched Decker on a number of occasions last year. The Browns need to add another receiver.
#39 Oakland: Chris Cook (CB, Virginia)
Al Davis loves to draft defensive backs and he loves to draft guys who run fast forty times. A perfect match.
#40 San Diego: Dominique Franks (CB, Oklahoma)
The Chargers' deal to move up with Seattle could see a corner back targetted early in round two.
#41 Buffalo: Tim Tebow (QB, Florida)
Chan Gailey experimented with the spread using Tyler Thigpen in Kansas City. If Jacksonville don't find a way to take him, Buffalo appears to be an alternative but I honestly think there's a chance Tebow goes earlier than this.
#42 Tampa Bay: Brandon Ghee (CB, Wake Forest)
The Buccs have a lot of needs. Ghee could go this early after running well at the combine.
#43 Miami: Ricky Sapp (OLB, Clemson)
Bill Parcells likes to draft linebackers and Sapp would be a steal here.
#44 New England: Rob Gronkowski (TE, Arizona)
The Patriots go through tight ends like they're going out of fashion, so they might invest one of these picks on a guy like Gronkowski. Back issues could force him way down the board.
#45 Denver: Brandon LaFell (WR, LSU)
LaFell has disappointed at the combine and during the 2009 season, but he has the potential to have a Dwayne Bowe type rookie season.
#46 New York Giants: Jahvid Best (RB, California)
Concussions push Best down the board, but this would be a great fit as part of a three-pronged rushing attack.
#47 New England: Jerry Hughes (OLB, TCU)
Hughes could go earlier than this - he'll be valuable as a pure pass rusher.
#48 Carolina: Aaron Hernandez (TE, Florida)
Not Carolina's greatest need, but a solid pass catching safety net for whoever starts at quarterback.
#49 San Francisco: Damian Williams (WR, USC)
The 49ers might look to add another weapon to go alongside Crabtree, especially if they do draft Clausen in round one.
#50 Kansas City: Cam Thomas (DT, North Carolina)
The Chiefs complete their 3-4 rebuild with a nose tackle.
#51 Houston: Ryan Mathews (RB, Fresno State)
I'm not as high on Mathews as some, but Houston appears ready to draft a new running back.
#52 Pittsburgh: Alex Carrington (DE, Arkansas State)
The Steelers add to their defensive line having drafted a cornerback in round one.
#53 New England: Ben Tate (RB, Auburn)
The Patriots always find ways to add talent and Tate could sneak into round two.
#54 Cincinnati: Bruce Campbell (OT, Maryland)
Very athletic, but the tape doesn't show a dominant force.
#55 Philadelphia: Daryl Washington (OLB, TCU)
A rising name who would fill a need for Philly.
#56 Green Bay: Amari Spievey (CB, Iowa)
The Packers could use corner help, although I think Joe McKnight is a sleeper to go here.
#57 Baltimore: Anthony McCoy (TE, USC)
McCoy flashed first round ability during the 2009 season, but injury and academic issues restricted production.
#58 Arizona: Torell Troup (DT, UCF)
The Cardinals might invest a pick at the all important nose tackle position.
#59 Dallas: Chad Jones (S, LSU)
Great size and athleticism at the safety position - something Jerry Jones likes to see.
#60 Seattle: Lamarr Houston (DT, Texas)
The Seahawks might have considered Houston at #40. A lack of 4-3 teams in need of an interior presence could mean he's still around twenty picks later - and this is great value.
#61 New York Jets: Linval Joseph (DT, East Carolina)
One to watch - Joseph is a potential nose tackle who ran a 5.09 and benched 39 reps - whilst weighing 328lbs. Strong and fast guys who play this position go early.
#62 Minnesota: Joe McKnight (RB, USC)
This makes sense in terms of a good replacement for Chester Taylor.
#63 Indianapolis: Geno Atkins (DT, Georgia)
The Colts like smaller, faster lineman on both sides of the ball. Atkins ran well at the combine and weighed in under 300lbs.
#64 New Orleans: Morgan Burnett (S, Georgia Tech)
It's unclear what the future holds for Darren Sharper, but if New Orleans move on they'll have a lot of options here. Reshad Jones and Major Wright could be alternatives.