Markel's 2010 NFL Mock Draft

Updated: 11 March 2010

By Markel Johnson

1. St. Louis Rams- Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma

The Rams are in a tough spot here. They’re going to have to fork over $60 million dollars to either a QB who’s nowhere near ready for the NFL game in Bradford, or a DT in Suh or McCoy that will fill a position but not increase their chances of winning enough to justify so huge an investment. In this case, the tie goes to the kid who can inject some excitement into the fan base, and who knows, perhaps become a good player in the future.

2. Detroit Lions- Ndamokung Su, DT, Nebraska

Unlike St. Louis, the Lions already have a franchise signal caller. What they’re missing is a franchise LT to protect Matt Stafford, who was sidelined by knee and shoulder injuries as a rookie. Unfortunately for Stafford, the Lions seem to be keen on taking the best available player regardless of position. They took TE Brandon Pettigrew and FS Louis Delmas last year when there were still decent LT prospects on the board. I cant knock the picks, both Delmas and Pettigrew seem to have panned out, but leaving your QB unprotected for a second straight year is risky. If Matt Ryan is “Matty Ice”, then perhaps Matt Stafford will be “Matty Ice Bag”.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma

The Bucs are in a good spot here, the player that fits their system, the player they would have taken at #1, is sitting there for them at #3, which will save them $5-8 million. Also, they may be in a position to trade down even further should some (Seattle?) team want to trade ahead of Washington to take Jimmy Clausen. Neither Washington nor K.C. are likely to take McCoy, so it would be worth the risk in my opinion. Eric Berry is a possibility here, but not even Sean Taylor, the best college FS I’ve ever seen, went this high, and Berry is no Taylor. Likewise, the comparisons between him and Ed Reed are shall I say, premature at best.

4. Washington Redskins- Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame

The Redskins have been quiet in free agency, declining to engage in their annual splurging ritual. That lowers my level of confidence in this pick to some degree. Could common sense be reigning supreme now that Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan are in control? Has amateur hour ended? If so, Jason Campbell is a serviceable QB when he’s well protected and not asked to do too much. Russell Okung would be a nice fit here, but I’m going to stick with Clausen unless Campbell receives a multi-year deal.

5. Kansas City Chiefs- Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma St.

63 million for Matt Cassell? I’ll scratch a hole in my head before I understand that one. In his defense, Cassel spent much of last year running around like a chicken with his head cut off. A new system under Todd Haley, a porous offensive line, and WR’s that couldn’t catch a cold in Siberia during the winter all contributed to an Epic Fail for the KC offense. Taking Okung is the first step to getting Cassel on track, its hard to go through your progressions when you’re worried about being ear holed by the opposing DE.

6. Seattle Seahawks- Brian Bulaga, OT, Iowa

Bulaga wont whip the fans into a frenzy the way Clausen, or Dez Bryant would, but he may add to the rapidly expiring shelf life of one Matt Hasselbeck. (Side note, if you want your son to be an NFL quarterback, name him Matthew.) Walter Jones is done, Sean Locklear isn’t the answer, and the Bears showed last year what happens when you try to skimp on grabbing a decent LT, when they signed the equally over the hill Orlando Pace. Seattle picks again at 14, and Pete Carroll will be able to grab his skill position guy there.

7. Cleveland Browns- Eric Berry, FS, Tennessee

Joe Haden is still a possibility, but his combine 40 time hurts his chances, especially with a talent like Berry still on the board. I hear rumors that the NFL may waive the 5 year waiting period and induct Berry into the Hall of Fame immediately after he is drafted, or something like that.

8. Oakland Raiders- Jason Pierre Paul, DE, USF

Every year there has to be one. A Mike Mamula. A Vernon Gholston, a Derrick Harvey, an Aaron Maybin. Some guy wows the cameras at the combine, and the smoke screening starts. All of the teams who DON’T want Paul start whispering about how he’s a beast, he’s shooting up their board etc. The reporters hear this and suddenly its on TV, some poor GM gets caught up in the hype and overdrafts a bustalicious player. Happens every year. Uncle Al Davis loves 40 times and upside, so the Mamula streak will continue at pick 8.

9. Buffalo Bills- Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers

The Bills need a QB who can throw a spiral into gale force winds, but there aren’t any available so they’ll have to grab an OT that can help keep Trent Edwards off of the injured list. Dan Williams is a possibility here, but protecting your QB has to come before protecting your linebackers.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars- Joe Haden, CB, Florida

“The Jacksonville Jaguars select, Cornerback from the University of Florida“… And for the next spit second, many wont know whether they heard “Corner” or “Quarter“. It should make for a tense moment for quite a few households in Duval County Florida and beyond. Unlike Tim Tebow, Haden can step in and play right away, and he‘ll need to. Dunta Robinson is gone, but Reggie Wayne, Peyton Manning, Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub remain. As the meteorologists like to say, the storm is coming.

11. Denver Broncos- Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama

“The Broncos select, Vontae Davis, cornerback, Miami Dolphins”. Wait a minute, can they do that? No, but they would if they could, I’m sure of it. FS Renaldo Hill, CB Andre Goodman, and now CB Nate Jones are all former Fins and current Broncos. Miami ranked 25th and 24th vs. the pass during the last two years, so there’s no telling which team’s fan base should be excited. McClain was a sure top 15 pick until the smoke screening started, now he’s projected as a guy who cant run and may fall out of the first round. I doubt it.

12. Miami Dolphins- Earl Thomas, FS, Texas

I still have nightmares of Gibril Wilson chasing Dallas Clark, Jeremy Shockey, Tony Gonzalez etc around like he was their younger brother, much younger. Torry Holt was a guest analyst on ESPN this week, and he chose to diagram, you guessed it, his complete embarrassment of Gibril Wilson, likely his sole highlight worthy play of the year. Wilson’s been cut, but the hole at FS remains. Thomas is ball hawk, a hitter, he can play man, zone, CB, he can do it all. Need and talent rarely come together so well. Dez Bryant is a possibility as well, but I think Parcells steers clear unless Thomas is off the board.

13. San Francisco 49ers- Taylor Mays SS, USC

Mays and Dashan Goldson would be the hardest hitting safety tandem in the league. The 49ers could be the hardest team to run on in the league. Mike Singletary is salivating just thinking about it.

14. Seattle Seahawks- Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma St.

The Seahawks are interested in Brandon Marshall but if they don’t get him, Bryant could be a nice consolation prize. The character issues he reportedly has remind me of the hoopla that surrounded Randy Moss. Moss was kicked off of the team at Notre Dame and FSU, then passed on until the 21st pick despite having top 5 talent. Can you spell, mistake? Pete Carroll is still in his honeymoon phase, so he can afford the risk. Personally, I don’t care if Bryant was late for warm-ups or class, or whatever else he allegedly did. When I watch the film, I see a beast. I suspect he’ll go earlier but I don’t see Dez falling past 14.

15. NY Giants- Jared Odrick, DE/DT, Penn St.

Chris Canty, Justin Tuck, Fred Robbins, Osi Umenyiora, Matthias Kiwanuka, Jay Alford and Barry Cofield would appear to make up one of the best and deepest DLines in the league but it didn’t work out that way. They started 5-0, but injuries and poor play spelled doom for the G-Men once they started playing actual NFL teams. Odrick is young and hungry, two qualities that seemed missing towards the end of last year for New York. But nothing gets players motivated like the fear of losing their paycheck. Drafting Odrick means someone is going to be fired, and no one will wan to be “that guy”.

16. Tennessee Titans- Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech

The Titans don’t blitz much, hardly ever in fact. So they have to rely on their front four for pressure and their best past rushers have moved on in Albert Haynesworth and Kyle Vandenbosch. Derrick Morgan comes along at the right time, he may be the best player on the board, and he fills a major need.

17. San Francisco 49ers- Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma

If the 49ers plan to win with Alex Smith, they’ll need to protect him. Joe Staley is a decent OT, but the 9ers need a bookend. Corner is a need as well, but the depth at CB is good enough for San Fran to nab one later.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers- Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan

James Harrison doesn’t play like it, but he’s 32 years old and the Steelers like t have their pieces on board before their needed to step in and play. Graham has shorter arms than you’d like, but if he’s plugged in on the weak side, he should be able to manage, a la Elvis Dumervil.

19. Atlanta- Eversen Griffin, DE, USC.

The Falcons invested a lot of money into Dunta Robinson, but in order for him to be successful, the Black Birds will need to upgrade their pass rush. Griffen is about as polished as they come for a college player, he has multiple rush moves and is effective from either side. John Abraham is getting up there in age, so another disruptor will be needed if Atlanta wants to silence the “Who Dats” chants.

20. Houston- C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson

The Texans need a RB who wont fumble the ball away in crucial contests vs. division rivals. CJ Spiller amassed 629 touches while at Clemson, with 43 TDs and 0 fumbles. Enough said.

21. Cincinnati Bengals- Jermane Gresham, TE, Oklahoma

By the end of last year, the Bengals were shooting blanks on offense. They lost their top two TEs in camp, then lost Chris Henry to injury. Laverneus Coles was ineffective, as was Andre Caldwell. Antonio Bryant’s been signed, adding a TE would make sense as well.

22. New England Patriots- Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame

It doesn’t look like Wes Welker will be ready for next year, and it doesn’t look like Randy Moss will be in New England after next year. Brandon Tate didn’t show much last year, and Julian Edelman is a more of a situational player. Tate is a good, safe pick. He fills both short/long term needs, and is a good value this late in the first round.

23. Green Bay Packers- Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland

The Pack played Russian roulette for most of last year, with the likes of TJ Lang protecting the franchise. Chad Clifton is back, but he’s on his last legs and with Julius Peppers joining Jared Allen in the NFC North, nothing short of gross negligence will prevent Green Bay from finding a OT in this draft.

24. Philadelphia Eagles- Sean Witherspoon, OLB Missouri

The Eagles luck with linebackers has to turn around soon. They cant afford to be bringing Jeremiah Trotter out of retirement, trading draft picks for rental players, and overall just plain not getting it done. This shiny new Witherspoon will replace the recently cut Will Witherspoon at WLB, joining Chris Gocong, Stewart Bradley and Omar Gaither in the Eagles LB Corps.

25. Baltimore Ravens- Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee

Williams has a good chance of going higher than this, but there are several NT prospects to be had in rounds 2-4 so some teams could take a chance on getting one later on. Kelly Gregg has had injury issues and Justin Bannan recently signed with Denver so finding a young NT is probably a good idea, especially with Gresham off the board and Anquan Boldin nestled in at WR.

26. Arizona Cardinals- Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas

Chike Okeafor and Clark Hagans are aging vets, and Kindle can play in a situational role while he learns the OLB position. Rebuilding the D has to be a priority for Zona, they certainly wont be able to count on their offense the way they did when Kurt Warner was at the controls.

27. Dallas Cowboys- Brian Price, DT, UCLA

Igor Olshansky is not the long term answer for the Cowboys and Price has the size/ quickness to play the 5 technique once Olshansky is gone. Jay Ratliff is the league’s lightest NT, so if Price can play NT, Ratliff can move to the 5. He and Demarcus Ware, side by side, would be unblock able in my opinion. In other news, Jason Peters is strongly considering retirement, or something like that.

28. San Diego Chargers- Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise St.

The Bolts have a hole at RB, that’s obvious. But they also have holes at CB and at NT, positions that are much harder to fill. With no NT worth taking here, and several RBs to be had later in the draft, I have the Chargers grabbing the best CB on the board.

29. New York Jets- Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers

Yes, I know they just nabbed Antonio Cromartie, but for a 3rd round pick in next years draft? That’s like a car salesman telling you he’ll give you a 2005 BMW 750 for $5,000. Something’s got to be wrong. I expect the Jets to draft an insurance policy for Cromartie, and with so few draft picks, this is probably their best chance to do it.

30. Minnesota Vikings- Patrick Robinson, CB, FSU

The CB derby continues with the Vikings, who’ll have to face Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford, and Jay Cutler 6 times a year, and perhaps without their trigger man Brett Favre who is once again being coy about his plans. Sure Robinson underachieved at FSU, but doesn’t everybody?

31. Indianapolis Colts- Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho

The Colts OL is overrated because Peyton Manning does such a good job of feeling and avoiding pressure, but its time for some new blood on the OL. After dumping Ryan Lilja, the need for interior lineman is that much greater. Iupati is the best guard in the draft, and he should be able to step in right away.

32. New Orleans Saints- Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU

The Saints had issues at LB even before they lost Scott Fujita to the Browns, so grabbing a guy who can play outside will be a priority for a team that doesn’t have many holes elsewhere.

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