Will Bradford be the #1 overall pick next month? It's starting to look more and more likely.
Now that we've seen who's wowed us at the combine and which teams have filled some needs in free agency, it's time to take another crack at how the first round of the draft could shake out. Again, not going to try to guestimate trades. Without further ado......
1. St. Louis Rams - QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma. Although some teams might toss up a draft day smokescreen, it appears the Rams have come to their senses and realized they're not going to win until they start grooming a franchise QB. Bradford fits that void and should be a good one.........as long as that shoulder is good to go.
2. Detroit Lions - DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska. Will the Lions' acquisition of DEs Kyle Vanden Bosch and DE/DT Corey Williams be enough to pass on one of the two marquee DTs in the draft? It is possible the Lions could go with Russell Okung to be a bodyguard for their oft-abused franchise
investment QB, but defensive-minded Jim Schwartz should continue to bolster that defensive front.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma. The Bucs get their guy in McCoy, who should thrive in the Tampa 2 system. As close to a no-brainer as can be.
4. Washington Redskins - OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma State. Pressure was a significant part of the reason behind Jason Campbell's struggles, so he might get some help. Skins undoubtedly looking for their next Chris Samuels. Jimmy Clausen could get consideration as well.
5. Kansas City Chiefs - S Eric Berry, Bennessee. Cemented his status of play-any-position-in-the-secondary stud with an impressive 40-yard dash time at the combine. Arguably the most complete, NFL-ready player in the draft, which is something the Chiefs desperately need on their defense.
6. Seattle Seahawks - QB Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame. The Seahawks swapped 2nd-rounders with San Diego for the unheralded and unproven Charlie Whitehurst....the 3rd stringer for the Chargers. Seneca Wallace has also been shipped off to C-town. As such, the 'Hawks still are thin at the QB spot and Clausen, who has plenty of experience in Weis' Pro-style offense, could still be the guy in Seattle. However, the swap of 2nd rounders (roughly 20 spots) for a 3rd-stringer was a steep price, so they may see darkhorse potential in Whitehurst......in which case a mauler like Bulaga or Davis could be a possibility.
8. Oakland Raiders - DE Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech. Greg Ellis isn't getting any younger and a long-term deal with Richard Seymour isn't in place. Morgan could be the top-rated pass rusher by draft day and, if so, would be a good value pick here.
9. Buffalo Bills - OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa. They need offensive line help in the worst way, especially after the sudden retirement of RT Brad Butler, and a physical, run-blocking OT like Bulaga would upgrade one side of the line for the Buffalo offense and give the running game a big boost. OTs Trent Williams and Anthony Davis are also possibilities.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars - DE Jason Pierre-Paul. Kampman signing makes DE less of a panicky need, but Jags know Kampman is on the backside of his career. Jags can afford to take a player with huge upside and give him the time to be groomed and develop.
11. Denver Broncos - DT Dan Williams, Tennessee. May be a bit of a reach here, but Williams has the size (around 330 lbs) to clog interior running lanes and slow down opposing rushing attacks. He should help anchor the middle of a Bronco defensive front that got trucked over the last part of the 2009 season. With the Broncos apparently willing to consider deals for WR Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant could be in play.
12. Miami Dolphins - WR Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State. The Ted Ginn, Jr. experiment has failed and the Fins lack a playmaking, go-to WR in an otherwise decent offense. Bryant would step right in and be that lifeline for Chad Henne.
13. San Francisco 49ers - RB CJ Spiller, Clemson. With plenty of options at OT on the board, the Niners should use the first of their 1st-rounders to add a playmaker to an offense/special teams that needs one.
14. Seattle Seahawks - OT Anthony Davis, Rutgers. They need offensive line help, and a mountain of a man like OT Anthony Davis (who's dropped to around 325 pounds from 368 at one time) would do well here.
15. New York Giants - ILB Rolando McClain, Alabama. With safety and linebacker as such pressing needs, the Giants could go a number of directions here. OLB Sergio Kindle is a distinct possibility, and DBs Earl Thomas and Taylor Mays could be in play. However, the departure of Antonio Pierce creates a gaping void in the middle of that defense that will have to be replaced by an inspiring, physical, playmaking presence. Rolando McClain appears to be the perfect guy to fill that position. His Crohn's disease didn't affect him at Alabama, so it shouldn't scare teams off.
16. Tennessee Titans - DE Brandon Graham, Michigan. Titans need to upgrade their pass rush. Carlos Dunlap is in play, but after getting burned by Pacman Jones, they might be more inclined to take the uber-talented combo rush/run-stopping end out of Michigan who kept his nose clean in school.
17. San Francisco 49ers - OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma. Niners keep filling needs with quality players and snare Williams to bolster their line.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers - G Mike Iupati, Idaho. Safety could be in play, but the re-signing of Ryan Clark and the acquisition of Will Allen give the Steelers some much-needed depth. Pittsburgh's offensive line nearly left Big Ben flattened last season. At 6-5, 325 pounds, Iupati would give the Steelers the flexibility of plugging him almost anywhere in the line.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - TE Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma. The top-ranked tight end would fit with the Bengal offense like franks and beans. He'd be a great weapon for Carson Palmer in the middle of the field, especially with 85 and Antonio Bryant on the outside.
23. Green Bay Packers - OT Bruce Campbell, Maryland. OT keeps flying off the board, and after the Packer offensive line's porous play nearly put Aaron Rodgers in the hospital multiple times last year, getting better on the line is a must for Green Bay. Campbell carries a few less lb's than the previously-mentioned tackles and he has less experience than other tackles (17 career starts at Maryland), but he's got the quickness to become a good pass-blocker, which is a premium in the Packer offense.
24. Philadelphia Eagles - S Taylor Mays, USC. Mays is a physical, lightning-fast player who can blitz and fly around the field, which is a premium in the aggressive Eagle defense.
25. Baltimore Ravens - WR Arrelious Benn, Illinois. The Ravens, despite signing Boldin, need the infusion of both a young talent and a home run hitter. Benn is that guy. He has the makings of a big, physical, true #1 WR. He should develop into a reliable target for Flacco.
26. Arizona Cardinals - OLB Ricky Sapp, Clemson. Departure of Karlos Dansby to Miami makes LB that much more important for 'Zona. Sapp could step in and take over in at the OLB spot flanking Calais Campbell, giving the Cardinals an explosive left side of their defense.
27. Dallas Cowboys - ILB Daryl Washington, TCU. Logical long-term solution in the middle with Keith Brooking on the backside of his career and Bobby Carpenter only being used in passing down situations. Washington is an impressive specimen that can cover well and hold his own against the run.
28. San Diego Chargers - RB Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech. With LT gone, Dwyer is, at worst, an excellent insurance policy for Darren Sproles and could certainly win the starting job. The departure of one FSU CB (Cromartie) could lead to the arrival of another.... as CB Patrick Robinson could be in play.
29. New York Jets - WR Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech. Thomas would move Cotchery into the slot, giving the Jets a formidable receiving trio. Moreover, Thomas is a physical, hard-nosed run-blocker who's used to spending the majority of the game blocking, which is what he would be expected to do in Rex Ryan's offense.
30. Minnesota Vikings - CB Patrick Robinson, FSU. Could be a hair-trigger decision between him and Kyle Wilson, but Robinson's freakish athleticism and play against tougher competition gives PR the nod.
32. New Orleans Saints - DT Brian Price, UCLA. Gregg Williams employed 4-3 fronts last year, were vulnerable up the middle against the run, and didn't get much of a push on passing downs from their tackles. The pocket-collapsing Price could be a force next to the double-team-commanding Sedrick Ellis.
So what do you all have to say? Mock it up.....