2010 Mock Draft – Divisional Round – January 12, 2010
Summary: Well, the top 24 picks are set. I was tempted to wait until the playoffs are done, but…
1. St. Louis - Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
With Jake Locker and Ryan Mallet returning to school, Clausen is the by-far number one QB. Marc Bulger may force the Rams’ hand by retiring. The bottom line is that anyone who thinks they are better off with Ndamukong Suh and Tony Pike than Jimmy Clausen doesn’t know football. Both walterfootball.com and draftcountdown.com have done research to indicate that, if you want a successful QB, you almost HAVE to draft him in the first round.
On a side note, the Tampa Bay Bucs would LOVE to see the Rams take Suh instead of Clausen. If the draft goes Suh/McCoy, Tampa can trade down to Cleveland, who would LOVE to walk away with Clausen. It would cost the Browns their second and third rounders, leaving Tampa with #7 overall AND three early second round picks AND two early third rounders. That said, I doubt that happens because I think Mangini already has his QB of the future. More on that in a moment.
2. Detroit – Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
I think this is a mistake. There’s a reason that left tackles are definitively more valued than DT’s. However, by selecting Brandon Pettigrew over William Beatty last draft, the Lions front office indicated that they pick the best player available in a need position. Also, walterfootball.com reports that the Lions absolutely love Jeff Backus as their left tackle. Sigh. At least they aren’t drafting a wideout.
3. Tampa Bay – Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
McCoy is an extremely polished 3-tech that WILL make this defense better, whether or not they revert to Tampa-2.
Some consider Eric Berry a choice here. First, DT has slightly more positional value. Second, you have to remember that Eric Berry is the protégé of Monte Kiffin, that guy who stabbed the Buccaneers in the back by abruptly leaving to coach with his son at Tennessee. Though you can’t fault the guy, it still stands that the Tampa front office envisioned Kiffin helping out their hyper-young head coach, and he left them high and dry. For what it’s worth, passing on Eric Berry will make them feel better. Eh. Politics.
4. Washington – Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
I’d consider this move a mistake, personally. Jason Campbell is a decent fit for the offense Mike Shanahan will run, and they could get Russell Okung here and really help their aging offensive line. However, walterfootball.com’s “New Regimes Mean New Quarterbacks” mantra is ringing in my head. Before last draft, he even showed how 31 out of 32 of the current regimes made the choice, usually in the first year, to get “their guy”. The 32nd was Seattle, who stuck with Matt Hasselbeck, and are now no longer the regime in Seattle. Shanahan won’t follow that plan. (If you recall, he cost the Broncos the playoffs one year by prematurely switching from the successful incumbent Jake Plummer to the fiery, untested rookie Jay Cutler)
Is this not enough to convince you? Well, the nail in the coffin is that the doctor who repaired Bradford’s shoulder in on the Redskins’ payroll. The last time a collegiate prospect was worked on prior to his draft was Jonathan Stewart, who went to Carolina, the team whose doctor repaired him. Snyder and Shanahan will have more intel on Bradford than anyone else, so they’ll have too much time to fall in love with him for them to pass here. Finally, Jason Campbell will likely be tendered at the highest rate (it would cost another team a first- AND third-round pick to obtain him), so he’s likely to remain a Redskin in 2010 until the new guy can get up to speed.
5. Kansas City – Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
This is the first of many teams that drafttek.com has grabbing Rolando McClain. (For those who don’t know, “grabbing” refers to a team taking a certain player if he’s available regardless of need or his position on the big board) If the idea of McClain going this high persists, expect Matt McGuire to explain how it won’t happen. Yes, the Chiefs need some work on the defensive side of the ball. However, Matt Cassel is the future of this team (good or bad), and they need to protect him. Branden Albert, as it turns out, actually IS a guard, not a left tackle, so the Chiefs can expect that, by drafting Okung and sliding Albert inside, they essentially get two upgrades for the price of one. Add to that the fact that left tackle has CONSIDERABLY more positional value than safety, and Eric Berry officially falls out of the Top 5. I’m sure Todd McShay will crap himself.
6. Seattle – Taylor Mays, S, USC
SURPRISE!!! Former USC coach Pete Carroll knows that he can’t get “his guy” at QB this season. Carroll will very likely want to have Jake Locker next season to make his man, though it would probably require throwing the season.
No, that’s not what Carroll is doing here, at least, not intentionally. Carroll was supposedly given full control over player choices, and if you don’t think he’s going to reach out and touch as many of his Trojans as he can, you don’t know the ego of a head coach. Pete Carroll is pretty sure that he has maximized the effectiveness of “The YouTube Hero” Taylor Mays, and will likely rate him higher than Eric Berry. Carroll will also build upon his USC history to know that a great defense makes up for a young QB, so he’ll want to stockpile defenders until he can compete for Jake Locker.
7. Cleveland – C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
There are some pundits that will have the Browns either trading up for Sam Bradford or reaching for Colt McCoy. Here’s my take. In the 2009 free agent market, walterfootball.com had Brett Ratliff rated in the Top 5 of available free agents, and Mangini, who had worked with him in New York, grabbed him in the Sanchez trade. Now that Mangini has publicly humiliated both Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson, look for Brett Ratliff to be “his guy”.
Now that THAT’s decided, what now? Browns fans appear to want defense, but the Browns’ defense is what propelled them to their four-game winning streak at the end of the year. Their offense is severely devoid of playmakers, and now, Josh Cribbs wants out. Enter Spiller. Spiller can replace Cribbs’ kickoff return duties, and remains a playmaking threat both as a runner and receiver. You want more? Mangini drafted Spiller’s former teammate at Clemson, James Davis, last year, and this move would reunite a tandem that was very effective together at Clemson.
8. Oakland – Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
Bruce Campbell is a popular pick for the Raiders. They need a left tackle, and Campbell runs a fast 40. Well, according to nfldraftscout.com, Bulaga runs a slightly faster 40, which makes him a better player according to Al Davis! Plus, Bulaga can easily transition to left guard, which allows the Raiders to chase Selvish Capers for left tackle (he runs an EVEN FASTER 40!)
9. Buffalo – TRADE - #9 to SF for #13, 3rd
San Francisco – Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
Amazingly enough, when I ran the drafttek.com simulation on this draft, Eric Berry fell all the way to the Giants, so the 49ers would end up with Berry even without the move. However, for a third round pick, they can afford to make sure. If you thought Michael Crabtree was a steal last season, imagine an undisputed Top 3 talent here at #9.
10. Denver (from CHI) - Joe Haden, CB, Florida
3-4 defenses require even more out of their cornerbacks in terms of shutdown coverage, so this is a smart pick by Denver, so they probably won’t make it. McDaniels didn’t do a lot to give people confidence in his draftology, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. If this happens, expect Josh to send Pete Carroll a thank you card by keeping Haden from going to both Seattle and San Francisco.
11. Jacksonville – Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
This move is becoming more and more evident. With other top QBs returning to school, I can’t even expect to see Tebow available in the second round, so the Jags have to act here and now. It sucks (especially because I think Garrard would LOVE to throw to Dez Bryant) that this is the only card up Wayne Weaver’s sleeve, especially since Tebow is far from bust-proof (NOTE: Did Carson Palmer uphold the Heisman curse or what?). Honestly, I think this desperation draft is the first step towards the Jacksonville Jaguars becoming the L.A. Stars in a few years. (Okay, that name was random, but you get the point.)
12. Miami – Brandon Spikes, ILB, Florida
Face it. The second-round receiving class is WAY too good to force Bill Parcells away from his draftology and into the arms of Dez Bryant. The Dolphins need both an inside linebacker AND a defensive leader. Spikes was the leader of the Gator defense that made up for a mediocre season by Tim Tebow. McClain’s poor performance in the BCS Bowl helped narrow the gap between these two players, especially since there may now be concerns that McClain is a 4-3 SAM only (which would KILL his stock). I also think that, like Jacksonville, the Dolphins would feel a financial benefit from grabbing a local college guy.
13. Buffalo (from SF) – Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
Although Ralph Wilson has made comments about changing his penny-pinching ways in the hopes of seeing a Buffalo Super Bowl victory before he dies, it may have been smoke. What once was a head coaching race between Cowher and Shanahan is now looking like a coordinator promotion (the Wal-Mart of new head coaching strategies), and what once was a team interested in Sam Bradford is now a team that thinks that Ryan Fitzpatrick can win with a solid o-line.
Fortunately, I’m inclined to agree. Fitzpatrick is young, but experienced, and he has the arm strength to test defenses. Enter Anthony Davis. He keeps climbing up boards as a beefy non-ZBS offensive tackle who might pull the Jason Smith/Michael Oher strategy of playing a season at right tackle (because he certainly can), and then shift over. Then again, St. Louis and Baltimore both had serviceable left tackles at the time, so maybe not.
14. Seattle (from DEN) – Charles Brown, OT, USC
Pete Carroll’s thinking: “Well, we won’t get our QB of the future this season, but we need a left tackle, so maybe we should draft one. HEY! I coached a left tackle! He’ll be GREAT because I’M GREAT!”
On another note, if this happens, Aaron Rodgers goes somewhere secret and cries.
15. New York Giants – TRADE - #15 to ATL for #19, 3rd
Atlanta – Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
Derrick Morgan is value this far down the draft. The Giants are making a move for a certain player, and are betting the Falcons’ third round pick that he’ll be available in four spots. As for the Falcons, I have reason to believe that they’d rather Morgan over Brandon Graham or Carlos Dunlap.
16. Tennessee – Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
The Titans will almost assuredly draft DE or CB here. Graham is rated higher than the next CB.
17. San Francisco (from CAR) – Dan Williams, NT, Tennessee
Seriously?!? It wasn’t enough to steal Eric Berry, but now Dan Williams falls to you?!? You can’t be satisfied with just ONE awesome Volunteer defender?
In all seriousness, drafting Eric Berry and Dan Williams together on Thursday will have a lot of newspapers thinking “Sleeper of the Year” for this team come Friday morning.
18. Pittsburgh – Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
This may seem totally weird, but the Steelers need to face the facts. Big Ben is the future, and he could use more weapons. Hines Ward is effective but old, and, in this day and age, you need three good receivers. Holmes, Wallace, and…now Bryant. Don’t worry about drafting defense. I’m pretty sure EVERY star defender would love to be a part of Dick LeBeau’s group, so I expect the Steelers to be consistently excellent in free agency.
19. New York Giants – Earl Thomas, FS, Texas
A lot of Texans fans will be disappointed, but the Giants need him more than we do. Kenny Phillips’ condition is both tragic and demoralizing, and Earl Thomas is just what they need to replace their promising safety. Sure, Houston could trade up two teensy-weensy spots to leapfrog the Giants, but they won’t. I don’t think Smith has traded up once since he took over the Texans. Back to the Giants, they have to be happy that Earl declared. If Thomas had returned to school and had another year like this one, he’d be as highly pegged as Eric Berry this year. That said, being a First-Team All-American makes his stock high enough to pull the trigger a year early.
20. Houston – TRADE - #20, 4th to BUF for 2nd, 3rd, 3rd (from SF)
Buffalo – Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
Anyone who has seen my work recently knows I am a huge fan of trading out of the first round and grabbing great players on Friday. Well, my previous trade down was to trade our 1 and 3 for Tampa’s two early second rounders, but Tampa has no reason to do this, and I think it’s foolish to think that Tampa would be in love with Carlos Dunlap. Buffalo, however, has a reason to make the move. After all, it will be a new regime in place. Assuming that everything checks out about his BCS Bowl injury, McCoy is the LAST QB left that has a realistic shot of being a good starting QB. Plus, he never won the Heisman. I can’t completely ignore the grumblings that Ralph Wilson is in win-now mode, and so the franchise can’t sit around and wait for a year or two to get “their guy”, and, if you think about it, this move doesn’t cost the Bills much. They lose the bonus pick they got from the Niners (and they still got a great player at 13), and they downgrade their current 3rd to the 4th to move up almost an entire round. As for Houston, if you check out my seven-round mock of them on this site, you’ll see how this move plays right into our hands.
21. Cincinnati – Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
The Bengals need an elite tight end, and Gresham is still head-and-shoulders above his competition in this class. The Bengals could almost definitely afford to trade down, but they wouldn’t get much of anything out of it, so just take the risk out of it.
22. New England – Corey Wooten, DE, Northwestern
There’s a lot of debate over who is the best 5-tech in the draft class, but, at this moment, Wooten is on top. This is a big need for the Patriots, and they have really missed Richard Seymour’s play. The trade was a smart choice for the team, but they need to reload the position here.
Speaking of reload, watch out for the Patriots in 2011. Next season, they’ll bide their time, but Belicheck would have to have at least two epic collapses to get fired. He’s not going anywhere, no matter what happens in ’10. After that, assuming there is no play stoppage, because that would be stupid, the Patriots will have a high draft pick from Oakland and probably another Top 20 pick from themselves. That’s when they will strike next. The Patriot dynasty is not dead, but dormant.
23. Green Bay – Selvish Capers, OT, West Virginia
In this scenario, the Pack get blindsided by Carroll’s USC reach, but they HAVE to get a left tackle. Right now, I think that Jason Fox of Miami might be better than Capers, but Capers has the higher upside (and the ridiculous 40 time). If Crazy Al doesn’t get a left tackle at #8, watch for him to trade back into Thursday to try and get Capers.
24. Philadelphia – Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri
Andy Reid loves to flaunt an aggressive, attacking defense, and Weatherspoon is excellent at blitzing, among his many other talents. Carlos Dunlap is a consideration here, and Derrick Morgan would go if he were an option, but, he’s not, so Weatherspoon is likely to be choice number 2.
P.S. Andy Reid, you are an idiot. Donovan McNabb has gotten you nothing but five losses in the NFC Title Game and an embarrassing Super Bowl loss, and the Philly fans are beyond sick of him. But, instead of trading him while you might actually get some value for him, you are going to keep him until next year, when his value will likely be dead, AND Kevin Kolb will bolt to be someone else’s new starting QB. Smart move, Andy.
25. New York Jets – Damian Williams, WR, USC
The rest of the draft goes down without regard to potential outcomes of games. That said, if Baltimore loses to Indy, it will go down as a big upset in my opinion. The Ravens are hot and they can pound the rock, and the Colts are ice-cold, the fans are mad at them for taking a dive instead of going for 19-0, and, while the Colts won against Baltimore before, it was close, and Reed and Lewis can smell blood (remember that both of them could retire at season’s end).
Anyway, back to New York. These guys could really use another cornerback now that NO ONE will throw in the direction of Darelle Revis. However, I doubt they retain Braylon “Hot Potato” Edwards unless he gets no offers and limps back to New York for chump change. Rex Ryan is married to the San-Chise, and giving him his favorite receiver back is something Rex can’t ignore. The only way that this pick doesn’t happen is A: Pete Carroll steals Williams, or B: something happens that eliminates any possibility that Williams goes in the Top 50, such as Williams having a secret agreement with Ryan to tank the Combine and get drafted in the second round.
26. Baltimore – Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
McClain falls due to his poor performance at the BCS Bowl, but he should still be regarded as a high-end 3-4 ILB. That said, Ray Lewis may even stick around another season or two to mentor and work alongside this playmaker.
27. Arizona – Jerry Hughes, OLB/DE, TCU
The Cardinals defense is pretty solid (aside from last week), but they are in need of upgrades on the edge. Hughes is the best prospect to come from Corpus Christi since Tomlinson, and, while I think the Cards will be expecting to settle for Ricky Sapp, they’ll be thrilled to see Hughes fall to them.
28. Dallas – Mike Iupati, OG/OT, Idaho
Jerry Jones likes big name players, and the Samoan Vandal has gotten a lot of attention. After all, he’s a 320-pound guard with footwork so good that some think he can play ZBS, and athleticism so good that you’ll hear Mel Kiper mention the term “left tackle” in reference to him. Trent Williams is also a possibility here, but I think Jones still loves Flozell Adams, so he’ll prefer to upgrade his offensive line from the inside out.
29. Minnesota – Syd’Quan Thompson, CB, California
Drafttek.com says that the Vikings grab him in the first round, regardless of who’s available. The Vikes are likely to target Colt McCoy, but, in this scenario, they lose him to Toron…I mean, Buffalo. Thompson is undersized but talented and athletic, so he should fit well in Minnesota, where he can be comfortable as the #2 beside Antoine Winfield and avoid mismatches.
30. San Diego – Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
Trent Williams falls because he appears to be only a right tackle. Well, the Chargers could really use one of those, and are lucky to have him fall here.
31. New Orleans – Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida
Did you catch when Sean Payton bragged how the Saints, losers of three straight after starting 13-0, were right where he wanted them because people doubted them now? Yeah, that’s seem like just the guy who’d think he could fix Dunlap’s discipline issues. Dunlap is also given a huge helping hand from former teammate Percy Harvin, who silenced a lot of critics of HIS work ethic by earning Offensive Rookie of the Year.
32. Indianapolis – Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
Again, I’d be shocked if the Colts go all the way this season, but, instead of racking my brain mercilessly about WHO to put here, I’ll just stick with the chalk for now.
The Colts will lose Marlin Jackson to free agency, and the fragility of their secondary has to get addressed before it becomes an even bigger liability.
My sources of information
Walterfootball.com - Excellent analysis and one of the few places as obsessed about the NFL draft as I am
Draft Tek - A unique 7-round simulator highlights an excellent draft site
NFL Draft Scout from CBS Sports - Great source of stats and info; the best data source for mid and late round draft picks
Scott Wright's Draft Countdown - great breakdown and analysis; this site finds strengths and weaknesses in even the best (and worst) prospect
Houston Diehards - a Houston Texans fan site; Chris is great for inside information, and there is a lot of thought-out discussion on the message boards. This site was where I originally posted mock drafts