(FYI – This mock was developed prior to the McNabb trade; hence Clausen to Washington.)
The last version I put together looked a little too inside the box. As a general rule, if you see the same picks by a lot of people, they’re unlikely to come true. So I tried reshuffling things a little bit, still focusing on need and value but coming up with some “un-public” picks, and here are my results:
1) Saint Louis Rams
Candidates: Ndamukong Suh and Sam Bradford
I still think the Suh is easily the best player in this draft, but can the Rams afford to pass on a possible franchise QB yet again? Will they find a better QB in a later round? Will they go through 2010 with AJ Feeley and Keith Null behind center? Colt McCoy and Tony Pike aren’t going to sell tickets, and Bradford’s shoulder is reportedly checking out well. He blew away his Pro Day and seems safely on the path to the #1 pick.
Rams pick…Sam Bradford (QB, Oklahoma)
2) Detroit Lions
Candidates: Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Russell Okung
I don’t see any other player gaining consideration for this pick aside from those three. According to sources close to the Lions, Suh was atop their board a month ago. With free agent acquisitions in Kyle Vanden Bosch and Corey Williams, the Lions have put a focus on improving the defensive line. When you consider how impressive Sammie Lee Hill was as a rookie at NT, the money going to Corey Williams, and the fact that both of those players are starting material, Suh isn’t a slam dunk. Now go through all that again and substitute McCoy for Suh. Is he any more likely to be the pick? The Lions would have been justified in upgrading from Jeff Backus at LT the last couple of offseasons, and they have a perfect opportunity to fill two holes with one selection here by drafting Okung to play LT and moving Backus in to LG. Offseason activity and the need to protect their franchise QB Matthew Stafford are big reasons to think Okung is the man for them. Still, I have a hard time seeing a second defensive-minded head coach passing on one of the best defensive prospects in recent years. The best player in the draft will not fall in Tampa’s lap. Shades of ’07, the Lions do it again.
Lions pick…Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska)
3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Candidates: Russell Okung and Gerald McCoy
I am 100% convinced that Suh would be the pick if he was still on the board, but at least here, he’s not. If the draft falls out this way, and the Bucs aren’t able to deal down, I really don’t see anyone other than these two even being in the discussion. CJ Spiller would be a nice offensive weapon, but he’s not good value in this spot. I was never a fan of Eric Berry with this pick, and that becomes (or at least it should) a non-issue with the Sean Jones signing. Dez Bryant? It is all about #5, but I have a hard time seeing the Bucs drop this pick on a receiver who is creating more questions than answers. I can’t possibly see the Bucs passing on one of the top defensive tackles if one remains. McCoy projects as the penetrating presence the Bucs have lacked since Warren Sapp left town, and while he’s a consolation prize to those hopeful of winning the Suh sweepstakes, McCoy is a high ceiling disruptor capable of making an instant impact. I’d wager that Okung would be the pick if for some reason both Suh and McCoy were unavailable.
Bucs pick…Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma)
4) Washington Redskins
Candidates: Russell Okung and Jimmy Clausen
The Redskins are playing this one close to the vest, but I’ve got to think it comes down to one of these two guys. I don’t want to give Clausen to the Redskins simply because there’s a new guy wearing the headset on the sidelines, but Mike Lombardi says Clausen is right up Mike Shanahan’s alley. It’s hard to argue with him, and being a fan of Clausen’s, I won’t. Jason Campbell is a RFA, and while I expect him to return to Washington in 2010, the question is for how long he will remain. QBs are a precious commodity, and there’s no reason to give him away. Still, I don’t think he’s Shanahan’s guy. All that said, it seems like no one wants to make Clausen the pick here. Whoever is under center for the Redskins will need to keep his head on a swivel given the shoddy offensive line. They’ve made a couple of moves to shore up that line, but LT and LG remain big weaknesses. Okung makes sense, but with the Skins moving to a ZBS they could wait a round or two and pick up a Roger Saffold (R2) or Selvish Capers (R3) to man the left side. Okung projects just fine in a ZBS, but I’m not sure Shanahan’s QB can be found later on.
Redskins pick…Jimmy Clausen (QB, Notre Dame)
5) Kansas City Chiefs
Candidates: Russell Okung, Bryan Bulaga, Eric Berry
If you believe the buzz, Eric Berry probably won’t garner much consideration for this pick. I think that if the Chiefs stay in this spot, the pick is almost certain to be a tackle. It’s high for any OLB or NT, and I don’t see Dez Bryant joining this team. Speaking of buzz, word is that the Chiefs’ current LT Branden Albert is on the move this offseason either inside to guard or over to the other tackle spot. I know that Scott Pioli and Kirk Ferentz have a connection, but would the Chiefs really take Bulaga if Okung was still on the board?
Chiefs pick…Russell Okung (T, Oklahoma State)
6) Seattle Seahawks
Candidates: Eric Berry, Bryan Bulaga, Derrick Morgan, Jason Pierre-Paul, CJ Spiller
The Seahawks could go in a lot of directions with this pick, especially when you consider that they choose 14th as well. With the Charlie Whitehurst acquisition, I don’t see Clausen being the pick if he was still available, and I really doubt Dez Bryant is on the radar right here. I’ll eliminate both defensive ends as well because I think there’s much better value at that position with the 14th pick. If they were to take an end at #6 I would guess that it would be JPP based on upside. Pete Carroll is reportedly looking for a “physical presence” at RB to go with Justin Forsett and Julius Jones, so I’ve got to think that Spiller isn’t high on his list here. That leaves Bulaga and Berry. SS is certainly a need, especially with them cutting Deon Grant, but they’ve got nothing at tackle with Walter Jones retiring. Berry’s nice, but do you “need” him at #6? You just invested a little bit in Whitehurst. Do you want him to stand upright?
Seahawks pick…Bryan Bulaga (T, Iowa)
7) Cleveland Browns
Candidates: Joe Haden, Eric Berry, Dez Bryant
The Browns need a #1 receiver, but I can’t see them bypassing Haden or Berry for a receiver with questions. They spent a #3 overall pick on Braylon Edwards a few years ago and didn’t exactly get the bang for their buck with that selection. Given how the draft has turned out so far, I think they must address one of the league’s worst secondaries with their first pick, and it’s a question of value/preference between Haden and Berry. Haden’s poor Combine may have turned off some teams and raised questions as to just what his ceiling/potential might be. The Browns are weak at safety, and that was before Brodney Pool joined the Jets. Abram Elam is a Mangini favorite, but he’s marginal at SS. I’ll go with the guy likely to make the bigger impact.
Browns pick…Eric Berry (S, Syracuse)
* Cleveland acquired Sheldon Brown from the Eagles, so that makes this Berry pick a lot easier.
8 ) Oakland Raiders
Candidates: Bruce Campbell, Jason Pierre-Paul, Dez Bryant
When the Raiders acquired Kamerion Wimbley, I figured they were set at DE. Well, apparently Wimbley is going to play SLB, so DE isn’t completely out of the question. How can I not mention Dez Bryant? Most teams wouldn’t consider taking a WR in this spot after selecting one a pick earlier the previous draft. Would Al? Left tackle is their biggest need that they’re likely to address. QB is #1, but an upgrade there seems unlikely unless they’re able to get Donovan McNabb. Who does Al like? Dez Bryant is causing me some hesitation, but I called my shot at the Combine and am not changing it here.
Raiders pick…Bruce Campbell (T, Maryland)
9) Buffalo Bills
Candidates: Anthony Davis, Trent Williams, Dan Williams, Dez Bryant
Is Dez Bryant the kind of pick a new ownership group is going to make? This looks really high for Dan Williams, but NT is right up there with QB and LT in the need category. I don’t have much of a feel for what the Bills think of Clausen and whether or not they’d take him if he were here, but he just doesn’t strike me as a Chan Gailey kind of QB. I think it’s a tackle with this pick, but which one will it be? If you’re following their stock, Davis’ is going down while Williams’ is on the rise. I haven’t been terribly high on the guy, but he’s had a fine offseason leading up to the draft and might be the safer selection.
Bills pick…Trent Williams (T, Oklahoma)
10) Jacksonville Jaguars
Candidates: Jason Pierre-Paul, Derrick Morgan, Joe Haden, Earl Thomas, Rolando McClain
Here’s my toughest pick so far. While the Aaron Kampman signing addresses a need, I don’t think you can say it’s filled. Is it bad enough that they need to take JPP or Morgan here? McClain has garnered recent buzz among some “experts” and makes a bit of sense here. Like the Bucs, the Jags could use an attitude change on defense and a leader to build around. The time seems right under Jack Del Rio for this kind of pick. How fed up with Reggie Nelson are the Jags? Enough to reach a little for Earl Thomas? Corner isn’t an urgent need with Rashean Mathis and Derek Cox as starters, but the Jags are in a division with the Colts and Texans, two teams who throw the ball with regularity. I want to give them Haden here, but word is that the Jags aren’t going to draft him. Gene Smith is a BPA kind of guy, and apparently they don’t have Haden that high. When the offseason started, the Jags put a huge huge huge emphasis on improving their pass rush. I think they go to the well again here, especially since a DE has yet to be selected.
Jaguars pick…Derrick Morgan (DE, Georgia Tech)
Recapping the top 10:
1) STL – Sam Bradford (QB, Oklahoma)
2) DET – Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska)
3) TB – Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma)
4) WAS – Jimmy Clausen (QB, Notre Dame)
5) KC – Russell Okung (T, Oklahoma State)
6) SEA – Bryan Bulaga (T, Iowa)
7) CLE – Eric Berry (S, Tennessee)
8 ) OAK – Bruce Campbell (T, Maryland)
9) BUF – Trent Williams (T, Oklahoma)
10) JAX – Derrick Morgan (DE, Georgia Tech)
Quarterbacks and defensive tackles make up the top 4, and 4 of the other 6 picks are offensive tackles.
11) Denver Broncos
Candidates: Dez Bryant, Joe Haden, Jared Odrick, Dan Williams
The Broncos are a team I could see passing on both Haden and Berry if they were available due to their depth at both positions. Dez Bryant is slotted here in a lot of mocks, but would Josh McDaniels really take on another receiver with question marks? This looks to be Bryant’s strongest possibility so far, but I really don’t see them drafting him. Even with the signing of Jamal Williams, don’t be shocked if the Broncos took Dan Williams here. Jamal will be 34 before the season starts and isn’t a long term solution. It may seem a little odd to have Odrick this high, but looking at their needs and talent on the board, I wouldn’t be shocked if they went for a DE with this pick. Odrick is better than Tyson Jackson IMO, and Jackson went #3 to the Chiefs last year.
Broncos pick…Jared Odrick (DL, Penn State)
It’s probably safe to say that no one else has them drafting this guy, but every year there are picks that you didn’t see coming. Hopefully this is one of them. I just don’t see a clear cut no-brainer for the Broncos, and his talent certainly fits their need.
12) Miami Dolphins
Candidates: Jason Pierre-Paul, Sergio Kindle, Dan Williams, Dez Bryant, Earl Thomas
Nearly all defense here. Do they take Thomas to upgrade Gibril Wilson’s FS spot? He has some corner versatility, and that might work well since Sean Smith, a guy Miami drafted last year, is a corner with safety versatility. Dan Williams got some Dolphin buzz recently, but while NT is a need, is it enough to pass up these other players? Do they have to get Williams here, or do they address the bigger need at OLB? Kindle brings the athleticism and sideline to sideline ability that Parcells loves. What about Derrick Morgan (who’s not available here)? I question playing him as a 3-4 OLB, but Miami is rumored to be really high on him. What about Bryant? The guy has been trashed this offseason, but has it all been warranted? They need a #1 target for Chad Henne, but Parcells isn’t a WR in R1 kind of guy.
Dolphins pick…Earl Thomas (DB, Texas)
I think his huge Pro Day justifiably catapults him into this range.
13) San Francisco 49ers
Candidates: Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati, CJ Spiller, Joe Haden
The Niners pick 13th and 17th, and I believe that they want to emerge from the first round with one lineman. If they do get one with this pick, I don’t think it’s Iupati. Do they take Davis to fill the need at RT, or can they wait until pick #17 thinking that one of these two will be there? I think at least one of them will. Haden and Spiller likely won’t. The Niners could use another pair of young legs in the secondary. Frank Gore is the man in San Francisco, and the passing game has some promise with Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. Barring a Donovan McNabb acquisition, it looks like Alex Smith is going to return as the #1 next year, so why not give him another weapon with which to work? Spiller would double as a return man and versatile offensive weapon. I still firmly believe in this selection, and when it happens, remember I called it back in early February.
49ers pick…CJ Spiller (RB, Clemson)
14) Seattle Seahawks
Candidates: Everson Griffen, Jason Pierre-Paul, Dez Bryant, Joe Haden
After addressing LT with their first pick, I think the focus is on DE, RB, SS, WR, and CB. Ryan Mathews hasn’t been linked to Seattle at all, but he’d be my sneaky pick in this spot. There’s not a SS I’d spend this pick on, but Haden might get some consideration here. I still say no to Dez Bryant. I passed on a pass rusher last time, but given their huge need here (Patrick Kerney might be retiring, and they traded away Darryl Tapp), I can’t pass on one this time. Do they prefer JPP, the high rising athletic wonder, or Griffen, Pete Carroll’s Trojan end? If I had to guess I think they take the guy with the highest upside as a pure pass rusher. Pete doesn’t play favorites here.
Seahawks pick…Jason Pierre-Paul (DE, USF)
15) New York Giants
Candidates: Anthony Davis, Rolando McClain, Brian Price
Davis would address a need of upgrading at RT where Kareem McKenzie isn’t getting any better. He also comes with the possibility of becoming the eventual blindside protector for Eli Manning. McClain is reportedly high on New York’s list, and they’ve got a huge hole at MLB. He seems like a Coughlin kind of pick. If they address the defensive line, the need is greater in the middle. Fred Robbins was about all they had worth mentioning, and he left for St. Louis. Price has been a popular pick, including by me. Not anymore.
Giants pick…Rolando McClain (LB, Alabama)
16) Tennessee Titans
Candidates: Joe Haden, Kyle Wilson, Sean Weatherspoon, Brandon Graham, Everson Griffen
I think it’s one of these three defensive positions. Weatherspoon would fill a hole at WLB, but do they have him rated this high? The Titans signed Will Witherspoon in free agency, and both he Weatherspoon have the versatility to play both outside spots and possibly the middle as well. Plus they’d have the cool Weatherspoon/Witherspoon name thing going for them. Tennessee could use an upgrade at the starting corner spot opposite Courtland Finnegan, and they might be licking their chops here with Haden and Wilson both on the board. They need a pass rusher badly. Kyle Vanden Bosch is now in Detroit, and Jevon Kearse isn’t returning. If Morgan or JPP were here, I might give them one, but they’re not.
Titans pick…Joe Haden (CB, Florida)
17) San Francisco 49ers
Candidates: Kyle Wilson, Mike Iupati, Anthony Davis, Taylor Mays
Wilson is still on the board, and the Niners need youth at corner. Iupati and Davis are still here and could be their solutions at LG and RT. I list Taylor Mays because Mike Singletary reportedly likes him.
49ers pick…Anthony Davis (T, Rutgers)
18) Pittsburgh Steelers
Candidates: Mike Iupati, Maurkice Pouncey, Kyle Wilson, Dan Williams
The Steelers re-signed Casey Hampton to a three year deal, so, while Williams would be a nice addition to an aging line, he wouldn’t be addressing a terribly urgent need. Iupati and Pouncey would be attractive options on the interior, but that isn’t one of their higher needs. The Steelers spent two picks on the cornerback position last year, and it looks like they’re going to have to do it again at least once this year. The position is deep, but why not take one from the top tier? After all, that’s why they’re going back to the well again this draft.
Steelers pick…Kyle Wilson (CB, Boise State)
19) Atlanta Falcons
Candidates: Brandon Graham, Everson Griffen, Sean Weatherspoon, Maurkice Pouncey, Dez Bryant
Mostly defense here, and none of it looks good from Tampa’s perspective. Pouncey would be a huge upgrade in the middle of the line. Do they like him this high? What about Dez Bryant? He’d be one hell of a #2 across from Roddy White. I see two primary needs, DE and OLB. At end, John Abraham is football old, and Jamal Anderson was a bust. Lawrence Sidbury was taken in last year’s draft, but they still need big time talent at the position. At LB they need to get better in space and in coverage. Weatherspoon would help them tremendously there. I think the Falcons select a DE for the third year in a row, but I’m guessing it’s not here.
Falcons pick…Sean Weatherspoon (LB, Missouri)
20) Houston Texans
Candidates: Ryan Mathews, Dez Bryant, Brian Price
The secondary is in bad shape, but I don’t see them taking Devin McCourty or Kareem Jackson in this spot. Taylor Mays? No thanks. Reportedly, they’re really high on Mathews and think he’s a great fit for their running game. Do they “need” to get him, or do they stick to their history of not draft a runner in R1? Price would help their interior get more of the push it needs.
Texans pick…Ryan Mathews (RB, Fresno State)
21) Cincinnati Bengals
Candidates: Jermaine Gresham, Taylor Mays, Dez Bryant, Golden Tate
The Bengals added Antonio Bryant this offseason to go along with Chad Ochocinco and Andre Caldwell, so the position doesn’t appear to have an urgent need. I still love Golden Tate in this offense and think he’d give them exactly what they need. Dez Bryant, this class’ highest rated receiver, is still on the board. Even with the Antonio Bryant addition, do you pass on him? The Bengals need to become more explosive offensively, so what better way to put an exclamation mark on this offseason. Cincinnati hasn’t been a team to heavily utilize the TE, but a prospect like Gresham might cause them to change their tendencies. The Bengals have shown a propensity to take players from USC, and they reportedly have Mays on their radar. FS is also probably their biggest need at this point IMO.
Bengals pick…Dez Bryant (WR, Oklahoma State)
22) New England Patriots
Candidates: Golden Tate, Sergio Kindle, Brandon Graham, Jermaine Gresham
Tate would give them a needed field stretcher, and Gresham would be an upgrade over the departed Ben Watson. I like the idea of going defense here and spending two of their three R2 picks on offensive skilled players. Graham would address a big need as a pass rushing linebacker, but he doesn’t really fit the mold (tall and fast) of rushers that Belichick has gravitated towards in the past. Kindle does.
Patriots pick…Sergio Kindle (OLB, Texas)
23) Green Bay Packers
Candidates: Charles Brown, Brandon Graham, Jahvid Best
I see them in somewhat of a crunch with the way this has played out so far. The Packers really need an infusion of youth at corner with both Charles Woodson and Al Harris being football old, but Kyle Wilson is off the board. Would they go for the third rated corner at this point? Jahvid Best would be a wow pick right here. I actually think he’d be a nice pick and would add quite a bit to their running game. They’re not deep at pass rusher, so I think Graham will at least get some consideration here. If Anthony Davis was still on the board, they might take him and play him at RT. He’s not, so do they take Charles Brown at LT even though Chad Clifton re-signed? Clifton is on the downside, and I like the potential in Brown. Safe pick IMO.
Packers pick…Charles Brown (T, USC)
24) Philadelphia Eagles
Candidates: Mike Iupati, Devin McCourty, Maurikce Pouncey
Stacy Andrews was a crappy signing and ended up being benched. Iupati would be an upgrade at RG. The Eagles need a center while Jamaal Jackson recovers from a torn ACL, and Pouncey could do that as well as slide over to guard if/when Jackson returns. I think Sean Weatherspoon would be high on their board as a replacement for Will Witherspoon, but he’s not available. McCourty might have some attraction as a nickel corner. I feel pretty strongly about this selection.
Eagles pick…Maurkice Pouncey (OL, Florida)
25) Baltimore Ravens
Candidates: Jermaine Gresham, Brandon Graham, Devin McCourty, Mike Iupati
Gresham makes a lot of sense, but he almost seems too obvious. Adding him and Boldin in the same offseason would be a serious upgrade to Joe Flacco’s arsenal. I haven’t thought much about it (not sure why), but Graham would be a really nice add to their hybrid defense as an edge guy. Paul Kruger looks to be moving to DE, but they still need more there. They apparently really like McCourty, and corner is a huge need seeing as how their best, Lardarius Webb, tore his ACL at the end of the season. At worst, Iupati would be an upgrade over Chris Chester.
Ravens pick…Brandon Graham (DE/OLB, Michigan)
26) Arizona Cardinals
Candidates: Devin McCourty, Dan Williams, Jerry Hughes
For a team that has been to the playoffs in each of the last two years, they sure do have a lot of urgent needs. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie got injured late in the season, and exposed their lack of depth at corner. McCourty would be a nice upgrade. Their NT situation is a joke. Williams would have a chance to play a lot early. They signed Jerry Porter, but that assclown already got into trouble. They don’t have any young proven talent at the position. They drafted Cody Brown and Will Davis last year, but neither showed much. Would they spend an early pick on another pass rusher?
Cardinals pick…Dan Williams (DT, Tennessee)
27) Dallas Cowboys
Candidates: Mike Iupati and Terrence Cody
I’ve read that Jerry Jones really loves Iupati. They need to find a successor plan to Marc Colombo at RT, but I don’t think that player is under consideration here. Iupati would be a replacement for Kyle Kosier and would team with Leonard Davis to give Dallas almost 700 pounds of man at guard. Cody could allow them to be more versatile up front.
Cowboys pick…Mike Iupati (G, Idaho)
28) San Diego Chargers
Candidates: Jahvid Best and Terrence Cody
With LT in KC and Darren Sproles not resembling a workhorse back, an addition is needed. If Mathews was still here, I think they definitely take him. Best? I’m not so sure. With the release of Jamal Williams, the Chargers don’t have a viable NT on their roster. Cody is here, and he’s as prototypical as they come. They pick again at #40 (due to the Whitehurst trade and swap of second rounders with Seattle), but there are several teams who could/would take Cody before he got around to them again.
Chargers pick…Terrence Cody (DT, Alabama)
29) New York Jets
Candidates: Jerry Hughes, Taylor Mays, Golden Tate, Demaryius Thomas
I have OLB, DE, G, WR, and FS as their biggest needs. With Iupati off the board, I don’t see a guard worth taking. I don’t see a DE with value here either; probably too early for Corey Wootton. Taylor Mays is enticing. Do you think a guy like Rex Ryan might be the slightest bit intrigued with the idea of lining up a physical specimen like Mays in the back of his defense? At receiver they have Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery as starters. Demaryius Thomas has a lot of R1 buzz, but I don’t think he’s different enough for NY. Tate would give them a real deep threat and help keep defenses honest against the run game. But then again, he’s one of those “popular” picks. Will the public be right? I mentioned before that the Jets might be turned off from converting collegiate ends into outside backers given their Vernon Gholston experience, but if they were to choose one, I would guess it would be Hughes due to his experience playing with his hand off the ground.
Jets pick…Taylor Mays (S, USC)
30) Minnesota Vikings
Candidates: Jahvid Best, Brian Price, Devin McCourty
Their secondary is banged up and depleted, so McCourty would see the field early. I have corner as their biggest need due to Antoine Winfield’s declining plan and Cedric Griffin’s torn ACL and the fact that I’m not a big fan of the talent behind those two starters. Price would be a nice addition behind the Williamses, but I think a Super Bowl contender like Minnesota will look for a player who can make an immediate impact. I really want to give them another explosive offensive weapon like Jahvid Best. Think of the plays they could draw up with Peterson, Best, Harvin, and Rice all on the field at the same time. Would they do it?
Vikings pick…Devin McCourty (CB, Rutgers)
31) Indianapolis Colts
Candidates: Jerry Hughes and Brian Price
With Pouncey and Brown off the board, I think the Colts have to wait a little bit to work on improving Peyton’s protection. They could use another pass rusher to go with Freeney, Mathis, and Brock, and Hughes excels at getting to the passer. The Colts rank near the bottom of the league in yards allowed per game on the ground. Imagine how bad they’d be if teams didn’t have to throw to catch up to their offense all the time. I like Antonio Johnson, but he’s about it in the middle of their defensive line.
Colts pick…Brian Price (DT, UCLA)
32) New Orleans Saints
Candidates: Chad Jones, Jerry Hughes, Carlos Dunlap, Everson Griffen, Jermaine Gresham, Colt McCoy
I’ve got to think they go defense here, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they took either one of the offensive players listed above. They need a backup to QB, and I’ve said that McCoy is a poor man’s Brees. Some might think he’s a waste of a pick at this point, but what happens if Brees gets hurt? It’s a severe drop to Mark Brunell and Chase Daniel. Yes they have Jeremy Shockey and David Thomas at TE, but one is almost always hurt and the other is a backup. Gresham would be a hell of an extra weapon for Sean Peyton and that offense. Defensively, Chad Jones might be on their radar depending on how they think the Darren Sharper situation is going to work out. What they really need right now is a pass rusher. Will Smith is all they have, and they got rid of Charles Grant. I’m not sure Hughes is the guy they’d want since Smith is on the right side. Is New Orleans the right place for Dunlap?
Saints pick…Everson Griffen (DE, USC)
END ROUND 1
Ok, here’s how the first 32 picks break down position-wise:
DL – 9
OL – 8
DB – 6
LB – 4
QB – 2
RB – 2
WR – 1
TE – 0
Linemen dominate the first round from my perspective. R2 should show more than a combined 3 receivers and backs selected.
10 notable players not drafted in R1:
Jerry Hughes, Carlos Dunlap, Demaryius Thomas, Jermaine Gresham, Patrick Robinson, Tim Tebow, Arrelious Benn, Kareem Jackson, Golden Tate, and Jahvid Best.
That means that with two of the first ten picks in R2, the Bucs should be able to come away with three possible R1 material guys with their first three picks. While trading back into R1 for Sean Weatherspoon, Earl Thomas, or Brandon Graham might seem appealing, the Bucs can sit tight and still get prime talent at #35 and #42.
A quick R2 rundown:
33) St. Louis – Jermaine Gresham (TE, Oklahoma)
Come on. With Bradford as their #1 pick, they’d be stupid not to take Gresham here.
34) Detroit – Jahvid Best (RB, California)
Still love him here; a great weapon for Stafford and a weak running game.
35) Tampa Bay – Jerry Hughes (DE, TCU)
I’m back to Hughes after going with Graham last time. I feel really good about going DT (Suh/McCoy) with the first pick and DE (Hughes/Graham/Griffen) with this one.
36) Kansas City – Golden Tate (WR, Notre Dame)
If Matt Cassel is going to be their QB, they need to find him more weapons to throw to. Tate follows Charlie Weis to KC.
37) Washington – Roger Saffold (T, Indiana)
Saffold is a high riser whose athleticism should be a fine fit on Washington’s rebuilt line.
38) Cleveland – Colt McCoy (QB, Texas)
I think they’ll have to take him here if they’re really interested in him. If not, they risk Minnesota or New Orleans getting him before they pick again. I expect Holmgren to emerge with a young QB, and McCoy projects very well in a WCO.
39) Oakland – Carlos Dunlap (DE, Florida)
With Wimbley at SLB there’s room for a pass rusher. Dunlap fits Davis’ mold.
40) San Diego (via SEA) – Toby Gerhart (RB, Stanford)
After missing out on Mathews in R1, they get a guy who fits in quite well with their scheme and existing personnel.
41) Buffalo – Tim Tebow (QB, Florida)
Chan Gailey + Jim Kelly + a team desperate for an identity = Tim Tebow
42) Tampa Bay – Arrelious Benn (WR, Illinois)
The Bucs have to emerge from the second round with a serious receiving target for Josh Freeman. Jordan Shipley isn’t my idea of a wise selection here, but I could live with Demaryius Thomas if they prefer him over Benn.
43) Miami – Ricky Sapp (OLB, Clemson)
Parcells gets his tall and fast pass rusher here.
44) New England (via JAX) – Kareem Jackson (CB, Alabama)
As much as I’d like to make Tebow the pick here, I think the Bills or even the Browns will take him before this pick. Taking the QB out of Jacksonville’s back yard with the pick that originally belonged to them would be a nice double slap. I’m really (honestly) intrigued to see what Tebow could become working with Bill Belichick in a role behind Tom Brady, but since he’s not here, I’m looking at the top talent at the WR, DE, ILB, RB, CB, and TE positions. Jackson is probably BPA IMO.
45) Denver – Demaryius Thomas (WR, Georgia Tech)
The Broncos wait until R2 to address the need at receiver. JD Walton (C, Baylor) would be my second choice here, but this might be a little high for him.
46) New York Giants – Tyson Alualu (DT, California)
I really like this pick. They get a high reward guy in Davis in R1 and another here with Alualu.
47) New England (via TEN) – Corey Wootton (DE, Connecticut)
The defensive line gets addressed here; nice value.
48) Carolina – Taylor Price (WR, Ohio)
I’d give them Alualu if he were still on the board, but here they get a needed upgrade across from Steve Smith. Speaking of Smith, he recently came out and said he’d like Carolina to get a young playmaker across from him. Price fits the bill.
49) San Francisco – Patrick Robinson (CB, FSU)
They get younger and faster at corner here.
50) Kansas City (via ATL) – Jason Worilds (OLB, Virginia Tech)
After going offense with the first two picks, the Chiefs add a much-needed pass rusher.
51) Houston – Chris Cook (DB, Virginia)
Cook appears to have some corner/safety versatility, and they could use help at both positions.
52) Pittsburgh – Vladimir Ducasse (OL, Massachusetts)
Here the Steelers get a versatile offensive lineman which should help with depth and give them an eventual replacement at one of the spots up front.
53) New England (again) – Aaron Hernandez (TE, Florida)
They definitely need a pass catcher at the position, and I like the Hernandez’s athleticism in this offense.
54) Cincinnati – Nate Allen (S, USF)
I hope they pass on Taylor Mays in R1 because I think Allen will be the better pro.
55) Philadelphia – Daryl Washington (LB, TCU)
He gives them a replacement for Will Weatherspoon at WLB.
56) Green Bay – Chad Jones (S, LSU)
I think he’s a real value this late, and SS could use some attention.
57) Baltimore – Dominique Franks (CB, Oklahoma)
If they don’t get a corner in R1, I expect them to get one here.
58) Arizona – Brandon Ghee (CB, Wake Forest)
A nice blend of size/speed, Ghee addresses their biggest need IMO.
59) Dallas – Morgan Burnett (S, Georgia Tech)
Ken Hamlin’s release was only a matter of time.
60) Seattle (via SD) – Jonathan Dwyer (RB, Georgia Tech)
The “physical presence” Pete Carroll is seeking.
61) New York Jets – Eric Norwood (OLB, South Carolina)
Here’s another guy I think fits really well with the Jets. Norwood gives them a very accomplished pass rusher.
62) Minnesota – Jon Asamoah (G, Illinois)
They could use upgrades at C, RG, and even LT (McKinnie is a shell of himself). Imagine what Adrian Peterson could do with an elite line.
63) Indianapolis – Jared Veldheer (T, Hillsdale)
The Colts get a strong and athletic bookend who could be quite a steal in this spot.
64) New Orleans – Navarro Bowman (LB, Penn State)
The Saints get an upgrade over Shanle on the weak side.
END ROUND 2
Through the first two rounds, the Bucs have added:
Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma)
Jerry Hughes (DE, TCU)
Arrelious Benn (WR, Illinois)
If they were to go with another position other than WR with that last pick, I would prefer Kareem Jackson or Patrick Robinson. Then you can come back in R3 with Mardy Gilyard, Brandon LaFell, or Damian Williams. This is of course assuming they don’t want to make my draft and take Chad Jones. I doubt they look safety early (if at all) with the signing of Sean Jones. I don’t think they’re set talent-wise, but I doubt they add someone else to Jones and Sabby.
My remaining Buccaneer picks stayed nearly the same.
R3 – Amari Spievey (CB, Iowa)
alt – Mardy Gilyard (WR, Cincinnati), Lamarr Houston (DT, Texas) (even with Suh/McCoy)
R4 – Pat Angerer (LB, Iowa)
Yes, I still have the back-to-back Hawkeyes.
alt – Marshall Newhouse (OL, TCU) or Dezmon Briscoe (WR, Kansas)
R5 – James Starks (RB, Buffalo)
alt – Kevin Basped (DE, Nevada) or Micah Johnson (MLB, Kentucky)
I wouldn’t be surprised if we added another pick in the R4/5 region some way or another. If/When they do, I lean towards Newhouse. He’s a player with G/T versatility that I think would be a nice asset to the team. I’d obviously like to take any of these guys, but I mention Newhouse specifically because I think the Bucs need to and will take a lineman in the middle rounds. I would just like them to acquire another pick in order to get that guy.
R6 – Marcus Easley (WR, Connecticut)
alt – Corey Peters (DT, Kentucky), Colin Peek (TE, Alabama)
Barry Church (S, Toledo)
Patrick Stoudamire (CB, W. Illinois)
Drew Davis (T, Alabama)
Kyle Williams (WR, Arizona State)
With the Bucs being awarded another selection, Williams goes from my undrafted free agent list to a draft pick.
This gives us a grand total of:
1) Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma) – penetrating franchise DT
2) Jerry Hughes (DE, TCU) – accomplished pass rusher
3) Arrelious Benn (WR, Illinois) – all round talent with #1 potential
4) Amari Spievey (CB, Iowa) – underrated future starter
5) Pat Angerer (LB, Iowa) – depth and potential replacement
6) James Starks (RB, Buffalo) – impressive speed, vision, and hands
7) Marshall Newhouse (OL, TCU) – versatile interior depth
8 ) Marcus Easley (WR, Connecticut) – lacks production; shows potential
9) Barry Church (S, Toledo) – still on my radar even with Jones
10) Patrick Stoudamire (CB, W. Illinois) – another needed cover man
11) Drew Davis (T, Alabama) – right tackle competition
12) Kyle Williams (WR, Arizona State) – he’s fast
WR – 3
DB – 3
DL – 2
OL – 2
RB – 1
LB – 1
Undrafted free agents:
Danario Alexamder (WR, Missouri)
Aaron Pettrey (K, Ohio State)
Freddie Barnes (WR, Bowling Green)
Crezdon Butler (CB, Clemson)
Brandon Long (WR, Louisville)
Thomas Austin (OL, Clemson)
Antonio Coleman (DE, Auburn)
James Ruffin (DE, Northern Iowa)
Malcolm Sheppard (DT, Arkansas)
Levi Brown (QB, Troy)