The No. 1 pick isn’t for defensive tackles or safeties. If you need a franchise passer, this is the pick you use to get one.
The Rams just released Marc Bulger, lost out on the Donovan McNabb sweepstakes (were they ever in them?), and have nothing at the quarterback position to suggest this isn’t the pick they make.
Bradford may have some durability questions, but he looked sharp at his pro day, and this is simply the right pick.
2. Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
There are rumors flying around that Albert Haynesworth wants out of Washington, and reuniting with Jim Schwartz in Detroit is his top choice.
With very little chance of this happening—simply because the ‘Skins won’t allow it—look for Schwartz to do his best by getting the top inside man on the board.
The Gerald McCoy rumors can quiet down. Suh is the pick here.
Honorable Mentions: Gerald McCoy
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
McCoy is right up there with Suh, and the Buccaneers need some major improvement on the inside. They’ll take the next best available defensive tackle; no question about it.
There will be some murmurs about snagging Eric Berry, but taking a safety that high could raise some eyebrows.
McCoy will give them an inside presence who can rival with the likes of Suh, and will help dominate their defensive line for years to come.
Outside of Suh, McCoy, or Berry, Dez Bryant is the fourth option the Bucs will truly consider. With Antonio Bryant now a Bengal, Tampa Bay desperately needs some playmakers on offense for second-year quarterback, Josh Freeman.
Honorable Mentions: Eric Berry, Dez Bryant
4. Washington Redskins: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
Washington may still desire a franchise passer, but with a huge need for youth and an overall talent upgrade on their offensive line, Mike Shanahan and Co. will be forced to bite the bullet and pick an “un-sexy” tackle.
Okung is actually far from un-sexy, as he is the top tackle in this draft. He will shore up Donovan McNabb’s blindside in 2010, and will develop into a stud down the road for whoever ends up being the franchise passer.
Jimmy Clausen or Sam Bradford are definite possibilities here, but with the addition of McNabb, quarterback isn’t a major need right now. Shanny could go the route he did a few years ago, when he ran with Jake Plummer for three years, and drafted Jay Cutler as his successor in Plummer’s third season with the Denver Broncos.
Regardless, there should be some solid quarterback talent available in the second round, while a meaty tackle like Okung will not be around for the choosing.
Honorable Mentions: Jimmy Clausen, Eric Berry
5. Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
The Chiefs paid a hefty price to land Matt Cassel from New England last year, so there’s not a great chance they ditch him so soon, regardless of any lobbying from Charlie Weiss for the front office to draft Jimmy Clausen.
It’d be interesting, but far from the best move.
Outside of that potential dramatic splash—which would destroy most mock drafts—the Chiefs will take a good, hard look at safety, receiver, and their offensive line.
In the end, Kansas City won’t be able to pass on such a stud safety like Eric Berry, no matter how tempted Todd Haley is to throw caution to the wind and draft Dez Bryant.
Honorable Mentions: Bryan Bulaga, Dez Bryant, Jimmy Clausen
6. Seattle Seahawks: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
The Seahawks are the strange team with tons of directions they could go in. They have few glaring holes that stand out above the rest, making them a relative “toss-up” at the sixth spot.
If Carroll can keep it together on that front, then it comes down to drafting a franchise passer, upgrading the offensive line, or possibly reaching a bit for C.J. Spiller.
Seattle didn’t trade for Charlie Whitehurst for the fun of it, and still has Matt Hasselbeck, Julius Jones, and Justin Forsett.
If we’re going on pure mathematics and logic, offensive tackle is where they go with their first selection.
Bryan Bulaga was arguably the next tackle off the board after Okung, so this should help improve Seattle’s horrible 2009 pass protection.
Honorable Mentions: Jimmy Clausen, Taylor Mays
How does Jimmy Clausen continue to fall this far?
First, because no matter what the combine or any 40-time tells you, the Browns are completely enamored with Haden.
He’s a complete corner with elite speed on the field, and should be able to step in immediately, and help Eric Wright (solid in his own right) form a very solid corner duo.
Secondly, Mike Holmgren has been open about his lack of interest in Jimmy Clausen. Call me crazy, but I’m buying it.
I still love Clausen as a franchise passer, but Holmgren just unleashed Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson, signed Jake Delhomme to a big deal (way too big), and traded for Seneca Wallace.
He’s not about to bring in a guy with even remotely questionable character, and something tells me he isn’t too high on Notre Dame passers, either.
I’m sure he and Cleveland will discuss it, but I also believe that if they’re looking to draft a passer, they already have two or three guys they feel confident in being able to land in the second or third round.
Going after a stud receiver or adding another offensive playmaker to the mix is also a solid possibility.
Honorable Mentions: Jimmy Clausen, Dez Bryant, C.J. Spiller
8. Oakland Raiders: Taylor Mays, S, USC
I’ve seen Bruce Campbell and Anthony Davis in this slot in a slew of mock drafts, but this is still Al Davis we’re dealing with.
The guy who took Darrius Heyward-Bey last year and JaMarcus Russell three years ago doesn’t exit the first round of the NFL Draft quietly.
It’d be the logical and the smart thing to beef up the offensive line, but logic and intelligence have little to with Davis or his M.O.
Mays actually fills a need, though, and also lives up to Davis’s ridiculous athletic and “measureables” standards. Despite this being an arguable reach, Mays could still end up being a rather nice pick, and potentially one heck of a football player at the next level.
Honorable Mentions: Anthony Davis, Bruce Campbell, Dez Bryant
The fall ends here.
Buffalo could surely use some offensive line help. If Clausen doesn’t drop this far (which is entirely possible, or almost likely), then the Bills will probably address the O-Line.
Hey, Chan Gailey loves athletic quarterbacks, so who’s to say it can’t happen? Then again, I’m still not ruling out a trade for Michael Vick, either.
Honorable Mentions: Anthony Davis, Trent Williams
10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
Jacksonville is in major trouble on defense, where their pass rush generated just 14 sacks in 2009, leading to an equally woeful pass defense.
That needs to get better before anything else really can, which leads Jack Del Rio and Co. to choose either Morgan or Jason Pierre-Paul.
Morgan is by far the more polished and NFL-ready player. Unless Del Rio is up for taking a major risk with a likely one-year lease left on his Jaguars’ coaching career, he won’t pass on Morgan.
While winning and turning the problem areas around has to be a top priority, so too is winning back the hearts of the fans.
Adding Florida’s own Tim Tebow, to the mix could surely appease fans, and at the very least help increase ticket sales.
Honorable Mentions: Tim Tebow, Jason Pierre-Paul
11. Denver Broncos: Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
We don’t know what will come of the Brandon Marshall situation yet, so predicting the Broncos to draft De Bryant is nothing short of premature.
Guessing Josh McDaniels will fill a need, though, is definitely not going against the grain.
He may have been controversial and even misguided in several aspects of his rookie season, but drafting is one spot where he actually did a solid job.
Expect that to continue, as he grabs a potentially elite inside linebacker at the 11th spot.
Honorable Mentions: Dez Bryant
12. Miami Dolphins: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
The Dolphins could go in a number of directions, one being finally drafting a star receiver in the first round.
They haven’t had a truly legitimate stud receiver since trading away Chris Chambers, and currently have one of the NFL’s most mediocre bunch of wide-outs.
Grabbing Dez Bryant, who arguably shouldn’t even be available anymore, would quickly change their entire offense, and would help Chad Henne’s development.
While that sounds all good and well, going for the elite receiver in the first round simply isn’t the Bill Parcells way.
It makes much more sense for the Dolphins to try replacing Jason Taylor and Joey Porter, or add a talented young guy to take over in the middle of their defensive line.
Stud defensive tackles are harder to come by than pass-rushing specialists—arguably, anyway—so Dan Williams is the slight favorite here.
Honorable Mentions: Sergio Kindle, Dez Bryant
The 49ers have been wildly rumored to be praying and hoping either Eric Berry or Joe Haden can fall to them.
No matter how many lucky stars they wish upon, neither is happening.
That means they get to choose from adding an equally solid safety (Thomas) or giving Frank Gore that elite running mate Mike Singletary keeps talking about.
If C.J. Spiller is still available here, there’s a good chance he lasts until San Francisco picks again at the 17th spot, as the teams picking at the three slots in between the 49ers’ picks don’t need a running back.
This gives the 49ers flexibility, and makes landing Thomas a real possibility.
Offensive tackle is another big area they could think about, but Singletary needs to put the finishing touches on his progressing defense.
Honorable Mentions: C.J. Spiller, Trent Williams
14. Seattle Seahawks: Dez Bryant , WR, Oklahoma State
Pete Carroll passed on Taylor Mays earlier in the draft, and he might be kicking himself. But that doesn’t mean he’ll reach for Damian Williams over Bryant, just to appease his hunger for USC alum players.
C.J. Spiller or Jason Pierre-Paul could both fill needs and give the Seahawks an added boost, but landing Bryant finally gives them an elite receiver they can actually depend on.
Regardless of whatever or not they ever pull off a deal for Brandon Marshall, they still have to accept the fact that Nate Burleson is gone, Deion Branch wants out, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh was a free agent bust.
Honorable Mentions: C.J. Spiller, Jason Pierre-Paul
15. New York Giants: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
The Giants surprisingly ran into problems with their defense last year, and really struggled to stay healthy, consistent, and fresh up front.
For their defense to work and to keep pressure off their average secondary, they need fresh, able bodies to rotate on their defensive line and get after the quarterback.
They definitely need to address inside linebacker and their secondary at some point in this draft, but adding another talented, young body on the line will go a long way in getting them back to where they were in 2007 and 2008.
Honorable Mentions: Sean Weatherspoon, Patrick Robinson
16. Tennessee Titans: Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida
I think this is a tremendous reach for what his stock is, but for his actual potential and overall ability, this makes more sense than most people care to admit.
The Titans need a ton of help at linebacker and could use an upgrade at corner, but they also need to fill a huge hole at defensive end, where both Kyle Vandenbosch and Jevon Kearse no longer reside.
They could opt for Brandon Graham to help their pass rush at linebacker, or reach for Kyle Wilson to help Cortland Finnegan in the secondary. Dunlap actually gives them the best package of size, athleticism, and potential.
Honorable Mentions: Brandon Graham, Kyle Wilson
17. San Francisco 49ers: C.J. Spiller , RB, Clemson
The 49ers could really use some help in one shape or another on their offensive line, so if they opt against hitting that position with their first pick, there’s a slight chance they go for it here.
But with the ability to land solid offensive linemen just about anywhere in a draft, it just doesn’t seem likely for San Francisco to pass up both Earl Thomas and C.J. Spiller.
These moves allow them to add immediate impact players on both sides of the ball, while Spiller can actually be effective in three facets of the game.
Honorable Mentions: Trent Williams, Anthony Davis
18. Pittsburgh Steelers: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
As usual, there aren’t a ton of areas where the Steelers are scrambling to improve, but the offensive line does continue to be the constant that needs addressing.
The Steelers won a Super Bowl and still remained competitive last season with a rather horrid offensive line, so upgrading the talent and production via a new tackle or guard is imperative.
They also need to start thinking about a solid backup to Troy Polamalu, as their defense got shredded when he missed time with injury.
Now that Willie Parker is in Washington, finding a new complement for Rashard Mendenhall is something that also need to be addressed.
Honorable Mentions: Mike Iupati, Toby Gerhart
Atlanta no longer has huge concerns at corner after landing Dunta Robinson. With a very solid core on offense, it really just needs to upgrade on defense across the board.
This could range from adding depth behind 34-year old Mike Peterson, finally replacing the departed Keith Brooking, or adding some pass-rush help on the line.
While all of this could fit and make sense, the biggest need by far has to be bringing aid to their paltry run defense.
Injuries dealt the Falcons a huge blow on both sides of the ball in 2009, but there is no excuse for how they handled the run. Adding a big plug in the middle like Price gives them solid depth at the position, and allows them to shape up the rest of their defense with a solid building block.
Honorable Mentions: Sean Weatherspoon, Brandon Spikes
20. Houston Texans: Ryan Mathews , RB, Fresno State
While Houston has plenty of needs to address, finally going after an elite running back who can carry the majority of the load is the top priority.
With the pass offense rated No. 1 in 2009, and the defense slowly coming together, it’s time for the Texans to get some help in their ground game and become a well-rounded offense.
Ryan Mathews adds the ability to punch inside for the tough yards, while also having the speed, agility, and quickness to make dazzling plays and break long runs.
He’ll allow Steve Slaton to play within himself, while providing a reliable source for blitz pick-up’s and pass protection out of the backfield.
Honorable Mentions: Jonathan Dwyer, Toby Gerhart
Despite an average combine, Gresham still has to be regarded as the top tight end of this year’s class. Considering Chase Coffman made no strides last year, he’ll be near the top of Cincy’s radar in the first round.
The Bengals should also be discussing upgrades in the linebacking corps and possibly adding another potentially elite corner, as well.
Addressing the offensive line, both for the sake of Carson Palmer and Cedric Benson, is well advised, too.
Honorable Mentions: Sergio Kindle, Anthony Davis
Tom Brady is 32, and didn’t look his sharpest for the stretch run in 2009.
That doesn’t mean he’s on his way out, and it definitely doesn’t equate to the Patriots reaching mightily for Tim Tebow.
However, all they have behind “Tom Terrific” is Bryan Hoyer and a converted receiver, Julian Edelman.
Tebow could serve as a project, their top backup, and a situational player in his first season, as he learns the ropes behind one of the game’s greats.
If Tebow is going to succeed in this league, who better to bring him along slowly than Tom Brady and Bill Belichick?
New England has a load of picks in the first two rounds, so reaching here won’t hurt them as it might other teams.
Honorable Mentions: Anthony Davis, Maurkice Pouncey
23. Green Bay Packers: Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan
Green Bay truly has four choices with their first pick: Complete their line-backing corps, upgrade their secondary, add depth to their offensive line, or trade down.
Knowing Ted Thompson, trading down makes the most sense. However, they actually traded up last year, and 2010 could mean the completion of their potentially lethal outside rushers for their 3-4.
They could easily opt for the best available corner or offensive tackle to help replace aging veterans at both positions, but if Graham is still here, he’ll be too good to pass up.
Honorable Mentions: Kyle Wilson, Bruce Campbell
24. Philadelphia Eagles: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
There’s an extremely good chance that Davis—and Bruce Campbell—are long gone by this point. If they’re still around, the Eagles will nab one of them, almost guaranteed.
They definitely need help at safety and linebacker, but making sure Kevin Kolb is set on both sides when he drops back has to be the top priority with their first pick.
Replacing Brian Dawkins would be great, but if the draft shapes out like this, Nate Allen or Chad Jones would be their best options here.
Hence, drafting Davis.
Honorable Mentions: Bruce Campbell, Nate Allen
25. Baltimore Ravens: Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
Before the trade for Anquan Boldin went down, Arrelious Benn was being targeted here. Now it’s being narrowed down to tight end, defensive end, and overall depth for this spot.
Baltimore could really use an elite tight end to help complete their new-look offense, but if Jermaine Gresham is gone (which he should be), they may be reaching for Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez.
Even if they can’t get those guys in Round Two, they could easily land Dennis Pitta or Garrett Graham in the middle rounds.
If the Ravens patch up their offensive line and add some depth at guard, they’re doing themselves a great favor. However, considering how nicked up Joe Flacco got last year, there’s a decent chance they take extra precautions and make sure they have him safe and sound going forward.
Honorable Mentions: Mike Iupati, Maurkice Pouncey, Jared Odrick
26. Arizona Cardinals: Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas
Arizona could bring on a young signal caller to compete with Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson, but even if they do, it’s unlikely they reach here, unless Jimmy Clausen were to take a crazy fall and be here at the 26th spot.
That leaves adding an elite offensive lineman, or giving their defense another juicy pass rusher to unleash on the opposition.
They lost some stud defensive players this offseason, and while they brought in Joey Porter, they could definitely use some extra speed on the outside to keep their defense lively and unpredictable.
Honorable Mentions: Patrick Robinson, Rob Gronkowski
27. Dallas Cowboys: Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
Dallas could address safety, their offensive line, or add depth to their defense as a whole, but adding an elite receiver to pair with Miles Austin may prove to be too tempting in the first round.
Golden Tate would make the failed trade for Roy Williams forgettable—and forgivable. Getting Tate would still allow Williams to line up on the outside where he belongs, but could have Tate as the official “starter,” while operating out of the slot as a rookie.
Regardless of how it works out, Tate would be a very welcome addition to the Cowboys offense, giving Tony Romo yet another explosive weapon to choose from.
Honorable Mentions: Mike Iupati, Nate Allen
San Diego let go of LaDainian Tomlinson, and doesn’t intend on having any of it’s current backs take over as the full-time starter.
That means they’ll almost certainly spend a pick on a top running back, and there’s no reason to think it won’t be the 28th overall selection.
The Chargers have been rumored to like Ryan Mathews and Toby Gerhart, both of which would pair quite nicely with Darren Sproles.
With Mathews off the board, going to Houston, San Diego will be more than okay with Toby Gerhart. Stanford’s bruiser has more wiggle to his run than people give him credit for.
A solid 40-time at the NFL Combine should have showed the Chargers and other teams that Gerhart is plenty fast, and that he has the tools to be an every-down back at the next level.
Another area of concern is receiver, as Vincent Jackson is a restricted free agent, and the Chargers are fairly weak at the position, otherwise.
Honorable Mentions: Jonathan Dwyer, Brandon LaFell
29. New York Jets: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech
The Jets could try adding another pass-rushing specialist to make up for Vernon Gholston being a bust, but with the success Rex Ryan’s defense has had, it’s not as pressing of a need as it seems.
Adding depth to the offensive and defensive lines is also key, while getting a stud defensive tackle to pair with—and eventually replace—Kris Jenkins is a move long overdue.
However, most of those moves might as well wait until the second, third, and fourth round, as they can get a true impact player in the passing game; something they really need to ensure steady development in Mark Sanchez’s confidence.
Thomas is a coveted option despite an injured leg, while Arrelious Benn, Brandon LaFell, and Damian Williams would also be quality options at the end of the first round.
Honorable Mentions: Arrelious Benn, Jared Odrick, Sean Weatherspoon
30. Minnesota Vikings: Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
If Kyle Wilson is still available, this will be a very tough decision for the Vikings. After seeing what can happen to their defense when/if starter Antoine Winfield goes down—and sometimes even when he’s playing—it’s clear Minnesota needs secondary help.
They are getting long in the tooth in the middle of their defensive line, too, while they should also look long and hard in the first three rounds and an eventual franchise passer.
It’s too early at this point to reach for a passer, and they do have the “Williams Wall” back intact for 2010, so Robinson remains the call.
Honorable Mentions: Kyle Wilson, Colt McCoy, Jared Odrick
31. Indianapolis Colts: Charles Brown, OT, USC
The Colts need to continue adding bodies to compete to block for Peyton Manning, as he once again carried the entire team on his back in 2009.
It ended with a pick and a Super Bowl loss, but bringing in Brown could mean an even more formidable offensive line, which can only lead to Manning feeling even more comfortable.
However, the Colts could still opt for safety, corner, or linebacker. Their pass defense has been strong, but with so many injuries riddling their pass defense last year, adding some youth and depth couldn’t hurt.
Honorable Mentions: Kyle Wilson, Jerry Hughes
32. New Orleans Saints: Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri
The Saints lost Scott Fujita and still aren’t sure if they’re getting—or want—Darren Sharper back, so safety and outside linebacker are two target spots they’ll think about.
Their offense doesn’t need to be touched, so how do you follow up a Super Bowl victory and a 13-3 regular season?
Address any and all needs, no matter how minor they may be.
This pick could also go to beefing up the run-blocking, where both Mike Iupati or Maurkice Pouncey could come into play, but there’s a good chance they go after a pass-rushing linebacker.
If it’s not Jerry Hughes, it’s Sean Weatherspoon. Weatherspoon is the more traditional outside linebacker, so he gets the nod.
Honorable Mentions: Jerry Hughes, Maurkice Pouncey
33. St. Louis Rams: Jared Odrick, DE/DT, Penn State
The Rams passed on two elite defensive tackles to get their franchise passer, so now they can make up for it by grabbing the best multiple-technique defensive tackle prospect left on the board.
It’ll actually be fairly amazing if Odrick is still here at the beginning of the second round, but if he is, he doesn’t slip past the Rams.
He has the versatility and athleticism to play in the middle or on the edge, and would be perfect for Steve Spagnuolo’s system.
Honorable Mentions: Daryl Washington, Kyle Wilson
34. Detroit Lions: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
Wilson’s stock is rising as we speak, so it’s already a reach that he drops out of the first round. Then again, before the NFL Combine, he wasn’t even necessarily a borderline first-round pick.
Regardless, the Lions got their man in the middle with their first pick, so the second round is about the secondary, grabbing another running back to compete, or adding some pass-rush help.
Wilson will be too tempting to pass up.
Honorable Mentions: Mike Iupati, Kareem Jackson
35. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, TCU
Tampa Bay surely needs help on offense, but just like the good old days, this Tampa Bay regime is starting from the defense first, and building a solid foundation.
After all, the defense was the weak link last season.
Jerry Hughes is just one of many options, but he’s likely the most intriguing option left on the board, and he brings excellent athleticism and versatility.
Tampa Bay could also easily look for Ronde Barber’s replacement or try upgrading at safety, while a shot at a stud receiver wouldn’t be frowned upon.
Honorable Mentions: Arrelious Benn, Kareem Jackson
36. Kansas City Chiefs: Mike Iupati, G/T, Idaho
Nate Allen or Chad Jones are very strong possibilities here if still available, while KC could definitely use some youth at corner, as well.
However, Iupati shouldn’t be left dragging his feet into the middle of the second round, and the Chiefs could really use the run-blocking support, along with an overall boost to the depth of their offensive line.
Iupati is very versatile and a fairly athletic offensive lineman, so he’ll fit in just fine.
Honorable Mentions: Brandon LaFell, Nate Allen
37. Philadelphia Eagles: Jahvid Best , RB, California
With Brian Westbrook gone, the future is all about Kevin Kolb, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin.
Doesn’t Jahvid Best’s name just roll off the tongue with that group?
Honorable Mentions: Pat Angerer, A.J. Edds, Perrish Cox
38. Cleveland Browns: Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
The Browns will be seriously eyeing Arrelious Benn or another play-maker on offense, but not if Colt McCoy is here. This will be a no-brainer.
39. Oakland Raiders: Geno Atkins, DT, Georgia
Oakland could definitely use a receiver with some reliable hands, but they have enough talent to work with, so it just wouldn’t make sense in the first two rounds.
They could add a quarterback here, too, but beefing up their strength (their defense) with an athletic beast of a defensive tackle like Atkins fits Al Davis’s way.
Honorable Mentions: Maurkice Pouncey
40. San Diego Chargers: Mardy Gilyard , WR, Cincinnati
Vincent Jackson is a restricted free agent. Even if he does stick around, the Chargers are overdue for some help at receiver.
Mardy Gilyard is a big deep-threat guy who can make tough catches, and have an immediate impact in year one.
San Diego could also start thinking about the departed Antonio Cromartie’s replacement at corner.
Honorable Mentions: Devin McCourty
41. Buffalo Bills: Arrelios Benn, WR, Illinois
Buffalo needs offensive line help and could beef up their pass-rush, but if Terrell Owens is gone for good, receiver is a major need.
Benn would help Lee Evans get the receiving corps back on track.
Honorable Mentions: Everson Griffin
42. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devin McCourty , CB, Rutgers
Tampa Bay had one of the worst secondaries last year, and Ronde Barber needs to be replaced fairly soon.
McCourty is a first-round talent that needs some refinement, but he could be a fantastic steal here if the Buccaneers can coach him right.
Honorable Mentions: Brandon Lafell, Jordan Shipley
43. Miami Dolphins: Terrence Cody, NT, Alabama
This could be a touchy pick for some, depending on how they view Dan Williams, who I have going to Miami in the first round. I personally think Williams can trim down and be a 3-4 defensive end.
In the case that the Dolphins don’t draft Williams, I especially love this pick.
Cody just makes sense to plug in the middle of their growing 3-4, and much more than Price in the middle. Price could still play the middle, but I think he can man an end spot even better.
Honorable Mentions: Brandon LaFell, Ricky Sapp
44. New England Patriots: Brandon LaFell , WR, LSU
New England is likely losing the 33-year old Randy Moss to free agency after the 2010 season is up. Even if they don’t, it never hurts to plan for the future.
They could add some youth to their offensive line or grab a shifty running back, but receiver is a bigger issue than people give credit for.
Honorable Mentions: Jordan Shipley
45. Denver Broncos: Everson Griffen, DE, USC
The Broncos could go after a big receiver if they get rid of Brandon Marshall, but other than that, they’re pretty set on offense (supposedly). Griffin gives them a big, versatile defensive end.
Honorable Mentions: Kareem Jackson, Sean Lee
46. New York Giants: Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, Florida
Sean Lee would be a bit of a reach here, but he’d be a solid addition for a team in desperate need of a team leader at middle linebacker.
However, getting their rush attack back on track also has to be a top priority, and with the versatile center/guard Pouncey still on the board, this isn’t a very difficult decision to make.
Honorable Mentions: Sean Lee, Perrish Cox
47. New England Patriots: Jordan Shipley , WR, Texas
The Patriots got their Moss replacement in LaFell, and now they’re making sure Wes Welker won’t be missed if he struggles to return back to form.
They have Julian Edelman to work in the slot, as well, but depending on a 29-year old Welker (with a bum knee), a converted quarterback, isn’t the safest of routes.
Shipley helps cover all the bases, and also gives them a shifty return man.
Honorable Mentions: Nate Allen, Jerome Murphy
48. Carolina Panthers: Ricky Sapp, DE/OLB, Clemson
Sapp is big, athletic, and versatile, and the Panthers need to replace the pass-rushing presence vacated by the loss of Julius Peppers.
They could also take a stab at a quarterback to compete with Matt Moore. Tony Pike wouldn’t be a bad bet if available, and I can even see the Panthers reaching a bit for Dan LeFevour or Zac Robinson. All in all, it looks like they’ll wait on a passer.
Honorable Mentions: A.J. Edds, Kareem Jackson
The 49ers landed an elite safety and runner, and somehow they have put the icing on the cake of arguably the best draft of 2010, with the addition of a potentially elite corner in Jackson.
They could opt for a reach at safety Chad Jones or Nate Allen if they don’t land Earl Thomas earlier—and, heck, even if they do. Grabbing Damian Williams wouldn’t exactly be frowned upon either.
Going after their ailing secondary with two of their first three picks actually makes the most sense—and the biggest impact—though.
Honorable Mentions: Damian Williams, Brandon Spikes
50. Kansas City Chiefs—Nate Allen, S, South Florida
The Chiefs need secondary help (badly), and Allen is a stud in “small school-sheep’s clothing”.
He’ll get rid of a ton of problems immediately.
Honorable Mentions: Myron Rolle, Jerome Murphy
51. Houston Texans: Jerome Murphy, CB, South Florida
The Texans lost a stud corner in Dunta Robinson, and need to pick up some pieces on defense.
Honorable Mentions: Perrish Cox, Myron Rolle
52. Pittsburgh Steelers: Corey Wooten, DE, Northwestern
The Steelers are only getting older on their defensive line, and don’t really have any other problem areas with their defense. They could use some depth at safety and corner, and could always use a shot of life in their offensive line.
Wooten is a decent bet here if there’s no one they love at safety.
Honorable Mentions: Koa Misi, Jahvid Best
53. New England Patriots: Aaron Hernandez, TE, Florida
New England is all about getting their offense back on track. Their defense is slowly coming together after unleashing aging veterans, as well as losing some big-name defensive leaders to injury and/or retirement.
Hernandez may go to waste in their tight end-unfriendly offense, but at the very worst, he’ll make everyone forget about the loss of Benjamin Watson.
Honorable Mentions: Rob Gronkowski, Daryl Washington
54. Cincinnati Bengals: Koa Misi, OLB, Utah
The Bengals have a pretty solid offense after adding Matt Jones and Antonio Bryant, so now it’s back to the defensive drawing board.
They made things happen for the better part of the season, but really came crumbling down in the season closer and the first round of the playoffs.
Misi will help get the tenacity and consistency back.
Honorable Mentions: Daryl Washington, Brandon Ghee
55. Philadelphia Eagles: Sean Lee, ILB, Penn State
The Eagles’ linebackers struggled mightily last year, so landing an elite tackler and a guy who can direct the middle of the defense is a must.
They can still add another linebacker and not be where they need to be, so adding one in the second round is almost a necessity at this point.
Honorable Mentions: Kyle Calloway
56. Green Bay Packers: Perrish Cox , CB, Oklahoma State
The Packers need secondary help in a bad way. Both of their starting corners are over 34, and one (Al Harris) had a serious injury for the second straight season.
Cox won’t have to alleviate all the pain right away, which should help him and the other Green Bay corners slowly transition into bigger roles.
Honorable Mentions: Kyle Calloway, Myron Rolle, Chad Jones
57. Baltimore Ravens: Rob Gronkowski, TE, Arizona
The Ravens would have loved to get their hands on Jermaine Gresham. Alas, Gronkowski will have to do.
Honorable Mentions: Brandon Ghee, Myron Rolle
58. Arizona Cardinals: Brandon Ghee , CB, Wake Forest
Arizona could use some secondary help, boost their offensive line, or add another pass-rushing specialist.
The secondary was the thorn in the defense’s side last year, so adding Ghee will help negate that.
Honorable Mentions: Daryl Washington, Tyson Aluala
59. Dallas Cowboys: Daryl Washington, OLB, TCU
Dallas has solid linebackers and pass-rushers, but adding to a strength is actually a better move here than reaching for something they can’t actually get the right value back for.
They definitely have issues in their secondary, but beefing up their mid-range defense is a good move.
Honorable Mentions: Myron Rolle
60. Seattle Seahawks: Damian Williams , WR, USC
Pete Carroll probably gnawed his fingernails over whether or not to get Williams in the first round, and when he sees him fall to the 60th pick, he’ll finally relax in his first draft in over a decade.
Honorable Mentions: A.J. Edds, Donovan Warren
61. New York Jets: Tyson Alualu, DT, California
If Kris Jenkins goes down again, then what? Adding a big guy in the middle, both for precautionary reasons and for the future, is the best call here.
They could also get an athletic safety like Chad Jones, just in case Brodney Pool can’t stay healthy.
Honorable Mentions: Lamarr Houston, Chad Jones
62. Minnesota Vikings: Tony Pike, QB, Cincinnati
Brett Favre is coming back, but after Minnesota adds a corner in the first round, they should take a breath in the second to look to the future.
With the right time and coaching, Pike could be something special.
Adding another corner or beefing up their linebacker unit could be a decent move here, too.
Honorable Mentions: Myron Rolle
63. Indianapolis Colts: Lamarr Houston, DT, Texas
The Colts have all the answers on offense, but could still use some depth on their line. If they’re content there for now, though, the middle of their defense is the next place to look.
They could easily keep plucking guys out of the draft to shape up their secondary and linebackers, but it starts on the line. Houston could give them the consistent big man in the middle they’ve been lacking for some time.
Honorable Mentions: Chad Jones, Kyle Calloway
64. New Orleans Saints: Chad Jones, S, LSU
Big money says Darren Sharper is gone, and the Saints suddenly look like they’re falling behind on defense. A solid second-round steal of Chad Jones or Myron Rolle should change that rather quickly.
Suddenly, after two quiet rounds, the Saints look just as good as they did a few months ago.
Honorable Mentions: Charles Scott, Pat Angerer
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