By Kip Earlywine
In an uncapped year with so many UFA's becoming RFA's, we've seen a higher than usual amount of trading so far this offseason. Seattle alone has been involved in 5 (!) trades already, and that's not even counting the Brandon Marshall saga. I've never understood why NFL GM's have hesitated to make trades in the past, but because of unique circumstances, teams have awakened to this concept. At least for one offseason. And I think that's awesome... its a useful tool for GMs and fun for fans who are bored during the offseason.
In my very first post at SDB, I talked about my hopes and expectations for the new front office. Part of that was a FO that was aggressive and made a lot of trades. I haven't been the biggest fan of some of the deals, but I do appreciate the effort.
The fever pitch of trading around the NFL seems to be carrying over to the draft- the one time of year trades are actually common in the NFL. In my 20 years of following the NFL, I can't remember a time when there were more rumors flying about draft day trades. The latest rumor is the Cowboys moving up with the 49ers for Earl Thomas, and of course earlier this week we heard about the Eagles looking to move up for a top safety as well. Before that it was Marshawn Lynch being shopped by Buffalo. And of course there are now the rumors about Big Ben. Can you imagine Big Ben in a Seahawks uniform? Apparently the Seahawks are one of the 7 teams to make the call to Pittsburgh. And by the way, this could be serious. Something big is happening.
The point I'm making is... expect a lot of trades, maybe even a historic number of trades this weekend. Its completely conceivable that neither the 6th or 14th picks in the 2010 draft will be made by the Seahawks. As such, I don't expect this mock to be even the slightest bit accurate, but I will present what I believe to be the most likely first 32 picks of the draft... in some kind of magical alternate reality where no team trades its pick and all 32 teams pick as planned. Here we go:
#1 St. Louis: Sam Bradford (QB, Oklahoma)
Something fishy is going on in St. Louis. Normally the team that picks first overall makes their choice days before the draft and signs their guy to a contract. Yet here we are, and the Rams haven't said a lick about what they will do. We've been assuming that the Rams will select Bradford for some time now, but their last minute trade of former high first round DT Adam Carriker to the 'Skins certainly raises eyebrows, especially with the team probably wishing they could take Suh/McCoy if not for a need at QB. Suh going #1 is certainly not out of the question at this stage.
My theory is that the Rams are in very serious discussions with some team, perhaps Washington or Cleveland, about trading this pick. I think Bradford will probably go 1st overall, but it may not be the Rams who take him.
#2 Detroit: Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska)
Jeff Backus is a mediocre left tackle who is getting up there in age and nearing the end of his contract. That said, without a trade, I think Detroit goes BPA here. Maybe a trade happens, but for the purposes of this mock, one doesn't, and Suh is the pick.
#3 Tampa Bay: Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma)
This one is slam dunk if McCoy reaches #3.
#4 Washington: Trent Williams (LT, Oklahoma)
Tip of the hat to Rob, because now another Rob, Rob Rang, is saying that Washington has Williams higher on their draft board than Okung.
#5 Kansas City: Eric Berry (S, Tennessee)
I think KC will very seriously consider Okung and Davis here. Brandon Albert is NOT a tackle, and he proved that by giving up a whopping 9 sacks last year. However, there are several teams, most notably the Eagles, that desire to trade up for Eric Berry. I think KC is the one who pulls the trigger. Eric Berry will go here- either to a team that trades up or to Kansas City for themselves.
#6 Seattle: Russell Okung (LT, Oklahoma State)
Our handy source mentioned that Berry and Williams highlight the Seahawks options at #6, but did so under the assumption that both DTs and Okung would be gone. In this scenario, Berry and Williams are off the board, but Okung is surprisingly available. This isn't the pick I'd do (Derrick Morgan), but I think its the most likely pick in a stand pat scenario. Seattle will try like crazy to trade this pick. Don't expect a selection until the last second.
#7 Cleveland: Jimmy Clausen (QB, Notre Dame)
A Mike Holmgren led team has never drafted a 1st round QB before, and Holmgren recently made unflattering remarks about Clausen (possible smokescreen), but its clear that Delhomme and Wallace are not the future in Cleveland. I think Holmgren has his eye fixed on Colt McCoy in round 2, but it wouldn't shock me if he takes Jimmy Clausen, either.
#8 Oakland: Bruce Campbell (LT, Maryland)
Campbell satisfies Al Davis' need for a combine hero while also filling an area of urgent need.
#9 Buffalo: Bryan Bulaga (LT, Iowa)
This pick comes down to Anthony Davis vs. Bryan Bulaga. I chose Bulaga because he's been linked to Buffalo a lot more than Davis has.
#10 Jacksonville: Derrick Morgan (DE, Georgia Tech)
I strongly expect Jacksonville to trade down from this spot, to maneuver in such a way that they can take Tim Tebow later. But if a trade doesn't materialize, I think Derrick Morgan makes the most sense. An incoming 30 year old DE fresh off knee surgery is not going to block the best DE in the draft from coming to the pass-rush-neediest team in the NFL.
#11 Denver: Rolando McClain (ILB, Alabama)
Denver needs help on defense, their entire defense pretty much. This pick comes down to Haden, (Earl) Thomas, McClain, and Williams. I chose McClain because he strikes me as a centerpiece player, a good start for a new defense.
#12 Miami: Dan Williams (DT, Tennessee)
Miami also needs help with their 3-4 defense. A lot of teams need NT help in this draft, and Williams is one of the very few available.
#13 San Francisco: Anthony Davis (LT, Rutgers)
San Francisco is happy with their left tackle, but could use a good right tackle. I think Davis is best in a pure man scheme, but the 49ers zone is hardly a pure one, and Davis has the ability to be a pro-bowl RT.
#14 Seattle: Joe Haden (CB, Florida)
Seattle will try to trade this pick, and since Earl Thomas is still available, that might not be very difficult. However, in the unlikely event that a trade is not made here, Joe Haden has been mentioned by the source as a top option at #14 and he's still here (although sadly, Derrick Morgan is not). CB is a big need for the Seahawks, and while Haden's probably a better fit in man cover, he's still a great value here and a rock solid pick.
#15 New York Giants: Jason Pierre-Paul (DE, U of Southern Florida)
The Giants are looking to add talent to their defensive line. I'm a big critic of JPP, but New York is a relatively good landing spot as their need isn't cripplingly immediate and he'll have a little extra time to develop.
#16 Tennessee: Brandon Graham (DE, Michigan)
(Edit: changed from Everson Griffen to Brandon Graham) Almost every mock I've seen this year has the Titans taking a DE at #16. Graham is arguably the best pure pass rusher in the draft, and won't last much longer than this.
#17 San Francisco: CJ Spiller (RB, Clemson)
Frank Gore's milage is starting to add up, and Spiller is just too good to pass on here. I really expect the 49ers to trade one of their picks, especially this one if Spiller is still around.
#18 Pittsburgh: Taylor Mays (SS, USC)
Pittsburgh needs a strong safety to pair with former Trojan Troy Polamalu.
#19 Atlanta: Kyle Wilson (CB, Boise State)
Atlanta takes the best corner available here. There isn't a clear favorite, so I'll go with Kyle Wilson since he's been on the rise.
#20 Houston: Ryan Matthews (QB, Oklahoma)
This one is a pretty obvious pick. Houston is hurting at RB, and Mathews isn't just a solid RB, but he can carry the load- a rarity in this draft class.
#21 Cincinnati: Patrick Robinson (CB, Florida State)
Cincy could go a few directions here. I read on a Bengals blog that corner is quietly a big need for the Bengals.
#22 New England: Sergio Kindle (OLB, Texas)
Another decently obvious pick, Kindle is a good value here and the Pats badly need pass rush help.
#23 Green Bay: Charles Brown (LT, USC)
Green Bay needs tackle help pretty badly, and they run zone. Some teams rank Saffold higher than Brown, but I'm guessing Brown probably goes before Saffold does.
#24 Philadelphia: Sean Wetherspoon (LB, Missouri)
I seriously doubt Philly stays here. They will almost certainly trade up. But in the event they do not, I think they'll address LB here and Weatherspoon is a good fit that has been linked to Philly fairly often.
#25 Baltimore: Demaryius Thomas (WR, Georgia Tech)
Baltimore just traded for Anquan Boldin, but consider that Boldin is 30, that they only paid a 3rd and 4th rounder for him, and that WR typically require 2+ years of development time. Just like how the Housh signing shouldn't have prevented Seattle from drafting Crabtree, if Baltimore is smart, they will capitalize on the substantial value for WR here with either Dez Bryant or Demaryius Thomas. I lean towards Thomas for two reasons- Bryant has been flat out crossed off many teams big boards and secondly because Thomas is a bit of a project, which fits well into the Boldin window. Baltimore has a bit of a history of drafting toolsy WR, and when Matt McGuire scouted Thomas, one of his comps was Michael Clayton.
#26 Arizona: Rodger Saffold (LT, Indiana)
Arizona could very well consider Dez Bryant here, but I think they address their overarching need instead with the last drop of upper tier LT talent left.
#27 Dallas: Mike Iupati (G, Idaho)
This one has been in the books for a while. Iupati is a great fit for Dallas' scheme and needs. Value is about right too.
#28 San Diego: Jahvid Best (RB, Cal)
This was a tough pick to call, but I'm convinced that San Diego is desperate for RB help. They will definitely be players to trade up and a very likely trading partner for Seattle at #14. In the event they stay put, they will take the best remaining RB, who in this case is Jahvid Best.
#29 New York Jets: Dez Bryant (WR, Oklahoma State)
New York traded for Santonio Holmes, but Holmes is hardly a sure thing. Bryant is one of the biggest bargains in the draft, and the Jets have shown through their acquisitions that "diva" WR do not bother them.
#30 Minnesota: Brian Price (DT, UCLA)
The Williams Wall will soon need to be rebuilt. Price is a productive player with good untapped potential, if he can learn some pass rush moves.
#31 Indianapolis: Maurkice Pouncey (C, Florida)
Jeff Saturday is getting up there in age (35), and Pouncey is arguably BPA here anyway.
#32 New Orleans: Jared Odrick (DT, Penn State)
The Saints had a pretty good pass rush last year, but they could certainly use more help on the defensive line. Sedrick Ellis can't stay healthy, so expect DT to be a position of strong consideration.