2010 NFL Mock Draft


(Version One: 17 February 2010)

By John L. Clarke

  1. St. Louis – Ndamukong Suh, Defensive Tackle, Nebraska

The Rams have Coach Steve Spagnuolo at the helm, whom knows the importance of a great defensive line like he had on the NY Giants.  Suh will immediately pay dividends alongside 2007 draft picks Adam Carriker and Clifton Ryan in addition to 2008 pick Chris Long.  They may trade down because to acquire more picks to help out greater needs, such as QB, for their team.

  1. Detroit – Gerald McCoy, Defensive Tackle, Oklahoma

Like the Rams, Detroit may trade out of this spot to acquire more picks.  Also like St. Louis, Coach Jim Swartz is a defensive guru and his d-line is the weakest spot on the team.  Russell Okung may get selected here, but Coach Swartz has a lot of faith in Jeff Backus and Gosder Cherilus…why, I am not sure.

  1. Tampa Bay – Russell Okung, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma State

Although an upgrade on the defensive line would be useful, Okung would provide the tough-nosed offensive lineman that can help establish the run game the Bucs desperately need.  Although Okung would normally be much lower in the 1st round in most other drafts, he is the best overall tackle on the board and probably won’t slip much further than this.  Raheem Morris was the defensive back coach before being the head coach, so look for Eric Berry to possibly get selected here.

  1. Washington – Trent Williams, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma

With Mike Shanahan taking the helm in Washington, expect the offense to get major upgrades, starting with the draft.  The offensive line has been a sore spot for quite some time, and Shanahan knows the importance of having a good running game to help set up his West Coast passing attack.  With him reuniting with Clinton Portis, he is going to need a more athletic offensive tackle to play within his zone blocking scheme.  I know the sexy choice is a franchise quarterback, but I think Shanahan will take another chance on Jason Campbell in the interim. 

  1. Kansas City - Eric Berry, Safety, Tennessee

Coach Todd Haley probably doesn’t want to draft defensively, but he needs upgrades all around.  Haley also knows the value of a great defensive back, since his resume had primarily been built upon beating them.  Berry provides a playmaking young player that can also help the run defense.  He is one of the most sure things in this draft.

6. Seattle -Jimmy Clausen, Quarterback, Notre Dame

With injury-prone quarterback Matt Hasselbeck turning 35 at the beginning of the season, Clausen is a smart choice because he won’t have to play during his rookie season.  Coach Carroll played Notre Dame every year, and got a firsthand show of Clausen’s capabilities.  Carroll will also like that Clausen ran a Pro-Style Offense which will make the transition into the NFL easier.  Although it’s a tight race with Sam Bradford, I think Carroll likes the competition that would be immediately created with Hasselbeck vs. Clausen, instead of waiting for Bradford to heal that right shoulder.

7. Cleveland –Rolando McClain, Inside Linebacker, Alabama

Although Mike Holmgren is known as the favorite son of the late great Bill Walsh and his West Coast Offense, his track record shows he selects defense players in the draft.  Inside linebackers are not normally taken this high, but McClain is much needed as not only a run stopper in the 3-4, but as a leader.  He also fits the mold of what a Bill Belichick, I mean Eric Mangini, linebackers IQ level should be at.

8. Oakland – Dan Williams, Defensive/Nose Tackle, Tennessee

      This is the smart choice, with the Raiders being horrible against the run with no true nose tackle.  Williams looked excellent at the Senior Bowl, and if the Raiders truly want to improve their defense, than Williams is the next choice.  As most mock drafts show, Al Davis is going to make this selection based on, well who knows what, so also look for Taylor Mays to get selected this high.  Mays will hopefully be moved to outside linebacker, ala Thomas Davis, to high light his athleticism. 

9. Buffalo – Bryan Bulaga, Offensive Tackle, Iowa

A replacement for Jason Peters is needed, and new Coach Chan Gailey likes to run the ball, which why a mauler like Bulaga belongs in Buffalo.  With Fred Jackson stepping up and Marshawn Lynch looking to regain his starting spot, Gailey needs to utilize both backs to win now, and Bulaga should help more than a Quarterback at this point.

10. Jacksonville – Joe Haden, Cornerback, Florida

Jacksonville needs to liven up their attendance, and a big play corner opposite Rashean Mathis will help with the home crowd, especially those Gator fans that hopefully will come over to watch Haden.  This selection also helps with competing with the likes of AFC South studs Reggie Wayne and Andre Johnson.

11. Denver {from Chicago} – Arrelious Benn, Wide Receiver, Illinois

Okay, so why not Dez Bryant?  Well, we all know that Brandon Marshall is probably gone and Bryant has his own issues that Coach Josh McDaniel’s is not going to deal with.  Benn not only is the perfect size at 6’2” 220 lbs., but possess great speed and return skill value.  Most will think this is too high, but with Golden Tate being more an all-around skill guy, I think Benn is the best pure receiver in the class.

12. Miami – Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State

With Ted Ginn on the way to Bustville (known residents include Ryan Leaf and Maurice Clarrett), Miami needs a dynamic Wide Receiver to complement their ensemble of possession guys in Greg Camarillo, Brian Hartline and Davone Bess.  Bryant had some off the field issues, but Parcells thinks he can mold anyone into a football player.  This would be a huge win for the ‘Fins, because their ground game is already stellar and a talent like Bryant will only help the offense progress.

13. San Francisco – Anthony Davis, Offensive Tackle, Wisconsin

Coach Mike Singletary needs tough guys that play fundamentally sound football, which is why Davis is shooting up draft boards.  With the 49ers style of grind it out football, Davis will be a welcome addition to the offensive line.

14. Seattle {from Denver} - Mike Iupati, Offensive Guard, Idaho

With two first round picks, look for Coach Carroll to perhaps move up to get a quality offensive lineman that they need to replace aging Walter Jones.  At this spot, they need to find anything to help the offensive line and to finally replace Steve Hutchinson, who left via free agency several years ago.  Iupati gives the Seahawks options because of his versatility.

15. New York Giants – Earl Thomas, Safety, Texas

With Eric Berry already gone, Thomas moves up the list as a reliable defensive back.  When former 1st round pick Kenny Phillips went down, the Giants secondary struggled.  With Phillips ability to play Strong Safety and Thomas at Free Safety, the G-Men can contend with the vertical passing threats in their division (i.e. DeSean Jackson, Miles Austin, Santana Moss, etc.).

16. Tennessee – Patrick Robinson, Cornerback, Florida State

With their feisty cornerback Cortland Finnegan missing some time last year due to injury, the Titans very vulnerable to the pass.  This may be a tad high for Robinson, especially with his former teammate, Myron Rolle, shooting up the draft charts, but out of all the needs of Tennessee, this is the most glaring.  Coach Jeff Fisher, a former defensive back himself, will like Robinson’s athleticism as well.

17. San Francisco {from Carolina} – Golden Tate, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame

Such a high premium has been placed on these All-Purpose athletes that Tate probably won’t slide much further than 17.  Although Coach Singletary is a defensive guy and believes in his system, he can’t ignore the offense; hence the two first round picks that should upgrade the 49ers immediately.  Singletary will like Tate’s toughness and versatility as he pairs with up and coming WR’s, Josh Morgan and Michael Crabtree.  They need a pass rusher, so Sergio Kindle may go here, but there is value in the later rounds that can help with the outside linebacker need.

18. Pittsburgh – Terrence Cody, Nose Tackle, Alabama

      Lets face it, although Cody came in overweight at the Senior Bowl, he is still a great nose tackle, which are hard to come by in the NFL.  Although the Steel City faithful will be clamoring for an offensive lineman, which is needed, value could be found in free agency and/or later rounds.  A good nose tackle, however, is going to be hard to come by and if Cody gets his giant butt into shape, he will get selected here.  The Steelers would ideally like to trade up for a Bulaga type offensive tackle or down for Jared Odrick (to be used as a DE in their 3-4), but I think they will take Cody and cross their fingers.

19. Atlanta – Derrick Morgan, Defensive End, Georgia Tech

            The Falcons’ Mike Smith is a 4-3 defensive minded, attacking style, no holds bar head coach and he needs players to compliment his defense.  Although Morgan was a beast last year with 12.5 sacks, he was shut down during the Orange Bowl.  His athleticism is fantastic and coupled with his 6’4” 275 lbs. frame, he showed he can pass rush and anchor against the run.  Brandon Graham is also a possibility as a top-notch 4-3 defensive end, so he may go here as well.

20. Houston – Taylor Mays, Safety, USC

      Although most people are wowed by Mays blend of size (6’3”, 230 lbs.) and speed (a reported 4.4), I don’t see the instincts or playmaking ability someone with his athleticism should have.  At #20, he is a solid fit, with upgrades desperately needed in the Texans defensive backfield.  Mays should be kicked to outside linebacker, ala safety turned linebacker Thomas Davis from Georgia and now on the Carolina Panthers.  If the Texans select him here, let’s hope that he can contribute as a safety for this to be a smart pick.

21. Cincinnati – Jermaine Gresham, Tight End, Oklahoma

      Most of the talk has been surrounded by the Bengals drafting a wide receiver.  Although I agree that Carson Palmer needs more weapons at the WR spot, there are several available from free agency that can help immediately.  Also, the TE spot is in desperate need of an upgrade.  With Benn, Bryant and Tate already gone, Gresham is the next best catcher that has 1st round talent.  If Chase Coffman returns from injury, which would give the Bengals 2 pass catching TE’s that could be on the field at the same time.  The Bengals love to run the ball and the double TE formation would help with that.  This ends up being a great pick for the offensive side of the ball.

22. New England – Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri

      Weatherspoon has been a dominating figure in the NCAA world, not only for his jarring hits, but his leadership and tenacity he brings as well.  All the aforementioned attributes are why the Pats are going to be holding their breath, hoping Weatherspoon lasts this long in the 1st round of the NFL Draft.  With Junior Seau, Ted Johnson and Tedy Bruschi retiring in recent years, Matt Vrabel being traded, and a pass rush needed, Weatherspoon not only fits the Pats ‘Want’ but also he’s a ‘Need’.

23. Green Bay – Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland

      Although this may be a stretch for Campbell, I think the Packers can’t wait any longer to add talent to their offensive line.  Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Grant are the futures at their respected positions, but can’t do it based on the current O-Line depth chart.  Campbell has some injury concerns and is raw, but the Packers can’t wait to find a diamond in the rough during later rounds.  A cornerback is also needed, but with both Haden and Robinson gone, look for the Packs to address that need in Free Agency.

24. Philadelphia – Sergio Kindle, OLB/DE, Texas

      Similar to Taylor Mays, I am sure most people had Kindle going higher for the same reasons, freakish bodies with athleticism a plenty.  However, the same concerns about Mays I feel about Kindle…instincts and playmaking ability.  Kindle’s blend of size and speed should make him unstoppable, yet he can disappear through stretches every game.  This selection by the Eagles will not only give them another pass rushing DE on passing downs outside of only Trent Cole, but gives them depth at the OLB position…two for one deal!  I think if the Eagles only use Kindle in passing situation at both positions, this is a great value pick.  Ask him to do too much, and we may have another Vernon Gholston situation on our hands.

25. Baltimore – Brandon Graham, DE/OLB, Michigan

      Although an upgrade at WR is desperately needed, I think the Ravens will address that in free agency.  As for their defense, Graham provides not only the motor and tenacity that is desired to “Play Like a Raven”, but he is diverse enough to handle both OLB and DE.  Graham was a monster during the Senior Bowl and Ozzie Newsome and his staff certainly saw that game and wants Graham as a Raven.

26. Arizona – Brandon Spikes, MLB, Florida

      With Karlos Dansby all but booking his flight out of town, Spikes brings some leadership and toughness to an up and coming defense.  Although there are offensive line issues, namely at left tackle, there are no 1st round quality offensive tackles left on the board.  After the Packer shoot out and the Saints drudging, defense is the next logical up-grade.  Spikes have the pedigree, instincts and tenacity you need in a MLB.  He can also be versatility enough to play OLB in the Cardinals 3-4 defense.

27. Dallas – Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State

      Odrick will be shifted to DE in the Cowboys 3-4.  He is aggressive and disruptive and has the size to allow pass rushing dynamos, DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, to run free.  Dallas may try and squeeze offensive guard Rodger Saffold into the 1st round, as owner Jerry Jones knows the importance of good guard play.  Jones also may take a shot on Chad Jones, the Taylor Mays built safety from LSU.  For now, Odrick is the safest pick and fills a need.

28. San Diego - Jason Pierre-Paul, DE/OLB, South Florida

JPP is finally selected!  I know his potential is through the roof, but he only projects as a 1st rounder as an OLB in a 3-4 scheme, rather than a 3rd round DE in a 4-3 scheme.  With Shawn Merriman being a free agent, another pass rusher is needed.  JPP will offer the Chargers a quality replacement, as well as a pass rushing DE in passing downs.

29. New York Jets – Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida

      Dunlap shot himself in the foot (metaphorically, not Plaxico-lly) when he was arrested for a DUI.  Although that is a huge concern, I think Rex Ryan looks past that and hopes he can motivate this kid to play in his defense.  At 6’6” 290 lbs., he is got the perfect size to play in a 3-4 as a DE.  He is very quick and strong and would be a perfect fit within the confines of the defense.  Jason Pierre-Paul may go here as an OLB, but I think Ryan builds his defensive line first.

 30. Minnesota – Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State

      The Vikings are one of the more complete teams in the NFL, but once Antoine Winfield got hurt, the stellar defense took a hit.  With Winfield aging, Cox is a smart selection.  He is a bigger cornerback (6’0”, 200 lbs.) and has the playmaking ability to start opposite of Winfield right away.  Offensive line is another concern, but with more and more teams passing the ball often, good CB’s are hard to find. 

31. Indianapolis – Brian Price, DT, UCLA

      The Colts have needed an upgrade at defensive tackle for a while now.  Price has a big body and should fit the 4-3 scheme nicely.  There are several other DT’s that are coming closer to knocking Price into the 2nd round, but only after the NFL Combine will we know for certain.  Price remains at this spot for now.

32. New Orleans – Lamarr Houston, DT, Texas

      As mentioned with Dallas, look for Chad Jones to perhaps show enough to warrant a 1st round selection.  With Darren Sharper only a few years away from retirement, Jones may can help in certain packages while learning from one of the NFL’s best of all time.  Also as mentioned with Price’s selection at #31, Houston seems to be shooting up the charts making his way toward the 1st round.  The Super Bowl Champions need depth and youth on their defensive line, but several players could be called at this point.  I think Houston will slip in to this spot and help the Saints.