We already took a crack at the 2010 NFL Draft, but after seeing which players have officially declared, and how several prospects unfolded as the season went on, we knew we were way off.
But it’s the dawning of a new NFL season, despite the playoffs still going on, as the other 28 teams not competing for the Lombardi Trophy are now collectively competing for the services of college athletes that desire to step up to the next level.
This one round mock takes a good, hard look at each team’s glaring need, as well as the top talent that could/should be available to them when it’s their turn to make a selection.
Read on for the first round, and stay tuned for more updates to our mock draft:
1. St. Louis Rams- Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
The general consensus here is that defensive-minded head coach, Steve Spagnulo wants defensive tackle phenom, Ndamukong Suh, but will likely hear it from all angles if he doesn’t find his team a franchise passer.
Suh would give Spag’s front line an immediate impact player, and could really start turning things around for the Rams defense. However, with Marc Bulger likely out the door, and Kyle Boller and others not offering any promise, the Rams would be best-advised to get their signal caller of the future.
The only way they don’t take Clausen is if they trade for a quarterback (Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, Brady Quinn), or if they for some reason go with Suh.
Other options: Ndamukong Suh, Sam Bradford
2. Detroit Lions- Ndamukong, DT, Nebraska
If Suh does indeed drop to the second pick, he’s as good as gone. The Lions have a stud receiver (have gone down that road too often, anyways), have their quarterback of the future, and desperately need defensive help.
Grabbing Eric Berry here, while a bit of a reach, would significantly help their pass defense, but taking the top defensive tackle in the game is a no-brainer.
Suh can rush the passer at an elite level, and is big and strong enough to eat up space as a run defender. Jim Schwartz should be able to land his new version of Albert Haynesworth, and set the wheels in motion for a defensive transformation in Detroit.
However, there’s a decent possibility that the Rams take Suh first, which would really shake-up the way this draft plays out.
Other options: Gerald McCoy, Eric Berry, Russell Okung
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
Many have argued that McCoy is either somehow better than Suh, or at least on the same playing field. He’s a beast of a defensive tackle with a ton of potential, so really, it’s hard to argue against that thinking.
For Tampa Bay, it ultimately will come down to their defensive line or their secondary with this pick. They could always trade down and try to grab two solid defenders in the first round, but I think they’ll stick here and grab the best stud available.
If Suh gets snatched by the Rams with the top pick, the trickle effect will force the Buccaneers to draft either the third best DT, or go after secondary help.
McCoy will be available if the Rams take a quarterback (which they should), and if not, Eric Berry would be the next best choice. Getting a star receiver for Josh Freeman isn’t out of the question, either.
Other options: Eric Berry, Dez Bryant, Joe Haden
4. Washington Redskins- Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
As much as the Redskins could use (and want) Eric Berry to be their next star safety, they can’t pass up a future franchise passer.
Bradford has minor injury concerns after having surgery and missing most of the season, but Mike Shanahan knows good quarterbacks, and he’ll be able to look past a tiny injury flaw.
Outside of his shoulder concerns, Bradford has everything you look for in a pro passer, with a strong arm, great vision and accuracy, as well as prolific production.
Washington has a solid base on defense, so grabbing a guy to replace Jason Campbell could be key, while they can focus on the defensive side of the ball in the middle rounds.
Some other things to think about, especially with the offensive-minded Shanahan taking over: The Skins’ need another stud receiver, and should start thinking about life after Clinton Portis.
Other options: Eric Berry, Colt McCoy, C.J. Spiller
5. Kansas City Chiefs- Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
The Chiefs could use help in a number of areas, however, possibly none are more important than their atrocious offensive line.
Matt Cassel isn’t a bad quarterback. He simply needs protection and time to throw. That, and a few more weapons. Both needs will come into play in the decision-making at this spot, as Dez Bryant (WR from Oklahoma State) should garner Todd Haley’s vote, while the men upstairs may suggest Texas receiver Jordan Shipley can be had for cheap in the second or third round.
While Kansas City could also go for defense (and will if Gerald McCoy falls this far), their line needs help-fast. Eric Berry is still avaialble, but Okung is arguably the best tackle in the draft. Haley will have to suck it up and do what’s best for his quarterback.
Other options: Eric Berry, Dez Bryant, Joe Haden
6. Seattle Seahawks- Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
Pete Carroll has assembeled an all-star cast of former assistants and dream-team assistants from other teams, and now the next step is getting “his” guys.
His top priority is probably locking up a franchise quarterback, but when Jake Locker declared that he was returning to Washington for his senior season, getting one in the first round probably went out the door.
Colt McCoy or Tim Tebow (possible even Tony Pike) could be just what Carroll is looking for, but it would be extremely foolish to bite on any of them at the 6th pick, as Seattle could very possibly have their choice out of all three when they pick again at the 14th spot in the first round.
Carroll could also go for a “homer” pick, and steal Damian Williams very early. However, if he opted for a quarterback here, that is a more likely pick for the 14th selection.
Either way you look at it, the offense will improve with Carroll inserted, so the first draft move needs to be a defensive adjustment. And when the best safety in the draft is somehow still on the board, you don’t think twice.
Other options: Colt McCoy, Anthony Davis, C.J. Spiller
7. Cleveland Browns- Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
A ton of mocks have gone against the grain and said Cleveland would be aiming for Eric Berry if they move up, or settling for Joe Haden if they stick at the 7th spot. Neither of those moves will happen.
Mike Holmgren isn’t a fool. He’s inherited a team that went on an offensive surge and four-game winning streak to end the season in 2009, but was still one of the worst offenses in the league for the year.
The quickest way to ensure that doesn’t happen again, is to add explosive talent. Josh Cribbs on returns and Jerome Harrison aren’t going to do it again like they did in 2009, and even if they do, they can’t do it all by themselves.
Bryant is just one of several options, as Holmgren will consider adding some explosiveness to the running game with C.J. Spiller or Jahvid Best, as well as drafting a future franchise passer at this spot.
However, there is speculation that he’d rather just trade for a West Coast quarterback like Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, or Matt Hasselbeck.
Other options: Tim Tebow, C.J. Spiller, Joe Haden
8. Oakland Raiders- Taylor Mays, S, USC
Mays is exactly what Al Davis looks for. He’s got those insane “measurables”, as he has great size (6’3”, 230), and runs a ridiculous 40 time.
Oakland has issues on their offensive line, at receiver, and at quarterback, but it’d be foolish for them to reach for a project at quarterback, when they already have a failed one of their own.
They should wait until the second or third round to add any more potentially failing offensive weapons, so going after defense is the right decision.
Despite his best efforts, this will actually turn out to be a wise selection by Al Davis, as Mays has a terrific blend of natural athleticism an instincts. The Raiders could also choose to add some beef to either line, but will ultimately get some help at safety, where they desperately need new blood.
Other options: Anthony Davis, Bruce Campbell, Derrick Morgan
9. Buffalo Bills- Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
Morgan is a top-10 defensive end with a sound pass rushing resume, and could easily help the Bills immediately as a rookie.
Unfortunately, most of his help would probably be by default, as Pro Bowl veteran Aaron Schobel could be retiring, and last year’s rookie, Aaron Maybin, has been a disappointment.
Buffalo could look to a college linebacker to convert to their line, while they could also look to add a stud corner like Joe Haden.
On the offensive side of the ball, it’s no secret that they need a new quarterback, while their sketchy offensive line could almost always use an upgrade.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars- Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
The Jacksonville font office wasn’t shy about drafting Tebow, and for two fairly good reasons. First, they want their fans to know they’re bringing in Florida’s golden boy, which will immediately have the team seeing increased ticket sales. Secondly, there isn’t a strong fear of anyone drafting him in the top nine.
However, as controversial as this pick may be, and that’s just discussing it, Tebow is actually a fine prospect, and has all the intangibles and talent a quarterback needs to succeed in the NFL. His only issues are his inexperience in a Pro-Style offense, as well as his raw mechanics.
He could learn behind David Garrard as he hones his craft, while still contributing out of a Wild Cat package.
The Jaguars could also upgrade over aging receiver Torry Holt, and could definitely use some work on the defense side of the ball. Their offensive line is also in need of repair.
Other options: Bruce Campbell, Anthony Davis, Rolando McClain, Arrellious Benn
11. Denver Broncos (From Chicago)- Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
McCoy may not be necessarily what Josh McDaniels ideally looks for in a quarterback, but a lot of what he does well suits the role he’ll play for McDaniels’ offense.
Denver spent a lot of energy improving their defense last year, and it paid off. While they could still stand to make some changes, the direction of their future needs to be decided upon by picking a quarterback that can lead them back to the playoffs.
Kyle Orton was serviceable, but he’s no more than a stop-gap. McCoy has some issues with his throwing mechanics and his toughness, but in almost every other category, he projects to be a solid NFL quarterback. He has the athleticism that McDaniels liked in Matt Cassel, and a very quick release that will be beneficial to Denver’s offense.
Other options: Joe Haden, Rolando McClain, Brian Price
12. Miami Dolphins-Brian Price, DT, UCLA
Price is young and a bit rough around the edges, but his stats in 2009 are too gaudy to ignore. His 22.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks show his increased ability to get to the quarterback, as well as his overall ability to penetrate the middle of the offensive line to stop plays where they start.
The Dolphins are a solid team with no immediate glaring need, as they have solid depth at every position. However, they could use star power at a number of positions, and could probably even start to look to the future at the running back position.
Wide receiver and running back will be a luxury pick, so the assumption is still that Bill Parcells and Co. will keep things fundamentally sound in the first round, and draft either help on the offensive line, or beef up their defense.
To say price is beefing up their interior defensive is a grand understatement.
13. San Francisco 49ers- Joe Haden, CB, Florida
The 49ers struggled with consistency in their pass defense after corner back Nate Clements went down in 2009, and they were fairly inconsistent even when he was healthy.
It starts up front on both sides of the ball, but with the best corner in the draft falling this far, the 49ers will have to put all other needs to the side. Their offensive line is getting better, but could still use some help, while they can always use help on their defensive line and in their line-backing corps.
They’re a team on the rise that just needs to fill some extra holes and add some more play-makers, which is a terrific reason not to pass-up Haden.
Other options: Bruce Campbell, Anthony Davis, Rolando McClain
14. Seattle Seahawks (From Denver)- Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
It’s not secret that Seattle has an atrocious line. However, if Pete Carroll makes life a little easier on 34-year old quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, he may still have 2-3 years of good football left to give the Seahawks.
Regardless, with no elite passers on the board, Carroll will take his chances in the next few rounds, rather than reach for a quarterback here. He could grab Jahvid Best here and let Julius Jones go in the offseason, but how is he going to run without the proper blocking?
Seattle’s new road to success starts with good defense and an improved offensive line.
Other options: Jahvid Best, Damian Williams, Carlos Dunlap, Tony Pike
15. New York Giants- Everson Griffin, DE, USC
Their defensive line under-performed last season, and there are rumors swirling around that some Osi Umenyiora may not return to New York next season.
If New York is to get back to the playoffs, emphasizing a foundation built on great defense is a must. Griffin could be the start of a wave that gets them back in the right direction.
They could also look for an upgrade over Kevin Boss at tight end, while also snag the next best corner in the draft, as their corners are a bit suspect.
16. Tennessee Titans- Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
Tennessee needs to start thinking about finding a replacement for aging linebacker, Keith Bulluck, as well as shoring up their secondary.
Whether or not they’re completely satisfied with Vince Young as their quarterback of the future could also impact whether or not they reach for a signal caller.
The future of Lendale White being uncertain could also force them to get Chris Johnson a running-mate, although it doesn’t seem like they intend on splitting his duties with someone else anytime soon.
Other options: Carlos Dunlap, Earl Thomas, Brandon Spikes, Toby Gerhart
17. San Francisco 49ers (From Carolina)- Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
The 49ers are all about defense and ball control offense, although their defense had some inconsistent stretches in 2009, and Alex Smith re-gaining the starting role at quarterback changed their offensive philosophies.
However, Mike Singletary emphasized a re-commitment to their base philosophy in the team’s season-ending press conference, and to accomplish that goal, this draft has to be all about defense and improving the offensive line.
Bulaga will give Alex Smith some extra protection, and is a top-five tackle that could start for the 49ers for years.
San Francisco could try to get Smith another weapon here, as well, but knowing Singletary, this first pick will be about gaining some stability first.
Other options: C.J. Spiller, Brandon Spikes, Earl Thomas
18. Pittsburgh Steelers- Earl Thomas, S, Texas
Pittsburgh just went through a 9-7 season where it saw their defense crumble in a ton of games that Troy Polomalu miss. It’s clear that they need a little help at safety, whether it’s depth or insurance for future injury.
They’re usually pretty set at most positions, which allows them to spend a luxury pick if they choose.
I could see them getting a better complement to Rashard Mendenhall than aging Willie Parker, as well as addressing their average offensive line, or their aging defensive ends.
Safety looks like a good bet here, though, especially if Thomas is available.
Other options: Trent Williams, Carlos Dunlap, C.J. Spiller
19. Atlanta Falcons- Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida
Atlanta needs help on their defensive line which is easily one of their more glaring needs. Their defense as a whole under-peformed in 2009, and is clearly the weakness in their team’s balance.
As long as their offensive stars can come back healthy and make it through the season, there’s no need to make any changes or fret about drafting new blood on that side of the ball.
The focus needs to be about defense here, so getting an aggressive run-stopper or a sound pass rusher is key with this pick.
Other options: Jason Paul-Pierre, Dan Williams
20. Houston Texans- C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
There’s been talk that Houston has seen enough of Steve Slaton as an every-down back, and that the franchise isn’t willing to go through another season of “hot potato” with their other running backs, either.
They also may want to start looking at drafting an elite receiver to complement Andre Johnson, as Kevin Walter may be leaving the team, and there isn’t much talent after Jacoby Jones.
Filling the potential gap that Owen Daniels could leave if he doesn’t recover from injury, or if he leaves in 2011 could also be something to address.
However, if Spiller falls this far, the Texans may finally find the back that can do it all. And regardless of some experts thinking he can’t, the kid from Clemson most certainly can.
Other options: Arrellious Benn, Toby Gerhart, Jahvid Best
21. Cincinnati Bengals- Arrellious Benn, WR, Illinois
Chad Ochocino is getting older, and LaVeranues Coles has clearly lost a step (or three), meaning Cincinnati is dying for some explosive options in the passing game.
Benn fits the mold of “explosive” options, and would be an excellent fit in a team that would very much like to rejoin the NFL’s potent offense’s ranks.
They could also look to add a tight end, as last year’s rookie, Chase Coffman, appears to be a major flop.
Other options: Golden Tate, Damian Williams, Jermaine Gresham
22. New England Patriots- Jason Paul-Pierre, DE, South Florida
New England got rid of Richard Seymour last year, and could use a stud defensive end to add to their aging defense.
Paul-Pierre is a mammoth end with great size and athleticism, and would be a great addition to the Patriots.
Their defense is in a bit of a transition mode from being elite to getting younger, so adding some youth on the line is a step worth taking. There will definitely be some growing pains, but it’s a necessary move to keep the team growing, while continuing it’s competitiveness.
It wouldn’t be a total shock to see the Patriots reach for Texas receiver Jordan Shipley here, as some have said he’d make an excellent receiver in the slot. With Wes Welker nursing torn ligaments and Julia Edelman inconsistent as a receiver, the Patriots may feel inclined to cover their backs heading into 2010.
Other options: Dan Williams, Terrence Cody, Jordan Shipley
23. Green Bay Packers- Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
Green Bay needs to replace Mark Tauscher and/or Chad Clifton on the outsides of their offensive line, as the most important aspect of their future is protecting Aaron Rodgers.
They could go for an electric running back, something that haven’t had in years, but Ted Thompson isn’t risky enough for that. However, with no backs on their roster with any true explosive ability, don’t rule out Jahvid Best at this post.
Green Bay did a great job in transitioning to a 3-4 last year and found possible career starters in Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji.
If they don’t add some much-needed talent and beef to their o-line, getting an elite corner to replace Al Harris is next in line. Atari Bigby is only average in coverage, so replacing him would be something to consider, as well.
Other options: Jahvid Best, Patrick Robinson, Donovan Warren
24. Philadelphia Eagles- Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
Philly has a ton of holes on defense that it could address, most notably their safeties and their defensive line. However, with injuries and inconsistent play in their line-backing corps, grabbing an elite linebacker may be crucial to future defensive success.
Ultimately, they need an aggressive man in the middle, as well as depth on the line, so Williams fits in nicely at this spot.
If they plan on parting ways with either (or both) Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown, adding another receiver wouldn’t be a horrible move, either.
Other options: Brandon Spikes, Sean Weatherspoon, Golden Tate
25. Baltimore Ravens- Damian Williams, WR, USC
The Ravens have a stout defense and stop the run with the best of them, but have severely struggled in their secondary. Samari Rolle is almost certainly done, while safety Ed Reed, though only 31, is already contemplating retirement.
Their secondary woes may have to wait for the second round, however, as Mark Clayton just isn’t getting it done as their number two receiver, and Derrick Mason gets closer to hanging them up with every passing month.
Other options: Brandon Spikes, Golden Tate, Sergio Kindle, Donovan Warren
26. Arizona Cardinals- Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas
Arizona has a slew of athletic linebackers, but only one or two who is fundamentally sound. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt has taken his time in building a defense that will last, so he needs to take the next step and add a linebacker that can control the middle of the field.
They could think about adding another pass rusher, as well, and could even grab the best tight end off the board, as they haven’t had an elite tight end, well, ever.
Other options: Brandon Spikes, Jermaine Gresham, Terrence Cody
27. Dallas Cowboys- Eric Decker, WR, Minnesota
Dallas has an explosive weapon in Miles Austin, and has a solid slot receiver in Patrick Crayton. The addition of Decker would give them an excellent possession receiver and a fine number two receiver that could replace a regressing and ineffective Roy Williams.
This move would round-out the Cowboys offense, and give them legit weapons to move the ball down the field consistently.
They could also stand to add some depth in their secondary, add another linebacker, or address their safeties.
Other options: Golden Tate, Jerry Hughes, Terrence Cody
28. San Diego Chargers- Jahvid Best, RB, California
San Diego should be saying good-bye to aging and regressing running back, LaDainian Tomlinson, but he could come back to the team if he accepts a pay-cut
Regardless, Darren Sproles is both unlikely to return, and not an every-down option. Jacob Hester is better than people giving him credit for, but it appears San Diego is set on having him play just a situational role, or sticking at fullback.
Best is one of the better backs in the draft, and would instantly give the Chargers new energy at the position, which would make their overall offense almost unstoppable.
The could use upgrades at guard and on their defensive line, but instead of reaching for talent that may not live up to the pick, they’ll be happy to land Best.
Other options: Terrence Cody, Brandon Spikes, Jon Asamoah
29. New York Jets- Golden Tate, WR, New York Jets
The Jets have good depth in their running game, and with Leon Washington likely coming back next season, they have no worries at that position for at least another year, especially with rookie Shonn Greene apparently grabbing the torch from 32-year old, Thomas Jones.
Their defense is solid, too, although with Rex Ryan, there can always be some upgrades made, and an elite defense can even get better.
The Jets could opt to replace aging defensive tackle Kris Jenkins, upgrade their safeties, or help out Mark Sanchez on offense.
Braylon Edwards is good for nothing more than dropping big passes these days, so he could be a casualty, and even if he isn’t, adding a receiver will only help the Jets so-so passing offense.
Other options: Terrence Cody, Donovan Warren, Sean Weatherspoon
30. Minnesota Vikings- Tony Pike, QB, Cincinnati
Minnesota has Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson to fight over the starting job if Brett Favre finally retires, but even if he doesn’t, Pike is a good investment for the future.
Neither Jackson or Rosenfels have what it takes to consistently lead an NFL team, while Pike has the ideal size and accuracy to do exactly that.
It wouldn’t hurt for him to be groomed behind Favre for a year or so, either.
If Minnesota doesn’t go for quarterback here, it’d be a wise decision to start thinking about replacement options for aging defensive stars, Pat Williams and Antoine Winfield.
Adding some depth at linebacker or upgrading at safety are two other direction they could go in with this pick.
Other options: Terrence Cody, Sean Weatherspoon, Donovan Warren
31. New Orleans Saints- Terrence Cody, DT, Alabama
The Saints’ run defense has been mush all season without Sedrick Ellis, and even if he’s healthy and back to an elite level next season, they need some more depth inside to ensure that doesn’t happen again.
Cody is the perfectly candidate to fulfill that need, and is the best DT on the board if the draft pans out like this.
New Orleans could also stand to add some more consistent pass rushers, and could even debate whether or not adding fresh legs at running back is a good idea. Mike Bell regressed during the end of the season, and Reggie Bush could be gone if the season doesn’t end with a Super Bowl, and still could be playing elsewhere next season, regardless.
Other options: Sean Weatherspoon, Jerry Hughes, Greg Hardy, Jonathan Dwyer
32. Indianapolis Colts- Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
The Colts, regardless of whether they win it all or where they pick, are a very sound team with good depth in every position, except for quarterback.
We saw in the final two games what would happen if Peyton Manning ever went down for the season. While it’s unlikely Indy drafts a quarterback in the first round, it’s definitely something to start thinking about with Manning already at age 33.
Another option would be to beef up the defense, and possibly even find a replacement for the oft-injured Bob Sanders. Toby Gerhart from Stanford could give them a reliable runner if they’re not happy with Joseph Addai and Donald Brown.
Other options: Sean Canfield, Jared Odrick, Toby Gerhart
Stay tuned for more mock drafts and extra rounds.