First Round NFL Mock Draft #3

Posted March 11th, 2010 at 1:20 pm

This mock draft version follows the early days of free agency which resulted in some signings and trades that are likely to have altered draft strategies for multiple teams. This also continues to include thoughts coming out of the combine, though most of those notes were cited in the previous mock. Continue on for the “early in free agency” mock draft and leave your thoughts in the comments!

1. St. Louis Rams – Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Previous Selection: Ndamukong Suh
While Suh is seen as the most sure bet in this draft, the momentum has swung to Bradford being the guy for the Rams. After a few years of drafting on the lines the fan base is understandably anxious. Now, I don’t think it matters all that much whether they draft QB this year or next. They can pass this year but then they’ll absolutely have to get one next year. I won’t be surprised to see the Rams consider Brady Quinn, which would then allow them to draft Suh here.

2. Detroit Lions – Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
Previous Selection: Gerald McCoy
The Lions are in a good position here since they are assured of getting either Suh or McCoy. Their defense needs a lot of help and establishing themselves in the trenches is the way to build. This is one of the times where team need and best available player match up perfectly. They would likely go with Suh if the Rams were to take Bradford. I don’t buy into the idea that the trade for Corey Williams is a sign they will go with Russell Okung as opposed to Suh.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
Previous Selection: Eric Berry
The board shakes up perfectly for the Bucs, who would be able to get the impact DT they desperately need. The defense would instantly be more effective with someone that can collapse the pocket. It remains that, if both DTs are gone, they will probably go with Berry.

4. Washington Redskins – Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
Previous Selection: Sam Bradford
The Redskins are going either QB or OT at this pick. How they grade Bradford and Jimmy Clausen following their Pro Days will probably determine what they do here. I get the sense right now that if Bradford is gone, they will look to improve the o-line and go with Okung rather than Clausen but as of now it’s up in the air.

5. Kansas City Chiefs – Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
Previous Selection: Russell Okung
There is definite need on the offensive line to protect the big investment that was made in Matt Cassel and Okung would likely be the choice if the Redskins go QB. Instead here they could go for need with Brian Buluga or BPA in Eric Berry. Rolando McClain remains a darkhorse.

6. Seattle Seahawks – Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
Previous Selection: Jimmy Clausen
The Seahawks shipped backup QB Seneca Wallace out of town, though I haven’t gotten a good read on whether this increases the chances of selecting a QB in the draft. At first glance it would seem to be the case, but it could also lead to Derek Anderson signing as the backup or be an indication of the team’s confidence in Mike Teel heading into his second season. Should the board shift with both Bradford and Clausen gone prior to this selection that would likely drop Eric Berry into the Seahawks lap which would be the pick.

7. Cleveland Browns – CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson
Previous Selection: Dez Bryant
Clearly Mike Holmgren is reassessing the QB situation by trading for Seneca Wallace, dumping Derek Anderson, and shopping Brady Quinn. I would not be surprised to see the Browns trade up to #5 if Jimmy Clausen is there. The Chiefs could then take Brian Bulaga at this selection. Given the choices on the board right now I think they’d go one of two directions…CJ Spiller or Jason Pierre-Paul. A rotation at RB, a position where Holmgren drafted high twice in the four years as Seahawks GM, would make sense.

8. Oakland Raiders – Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
Previous Selection: Bruce Campbell
Everyone knows the Raiders draft more on athletic ability than anything else. That had me sitting comfortably with Bruce Campbell in the first two mocks. The excitement over the combine performance is more tempered now that teams are looking more at his film from last year which includes some glaringly bad plays. It is not a lock he goes in the first round. JPP is the athletic freak that has a ton of potential and will probably be intriguing to the Raiders.

9. Buffalo Bills – Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
Previous Selection: Bryan Bulaga
There are concerns about his relatively short arms but Buluga comes out of a system that has produced very good lineman at the next level and the Bills absolutely need to address their offensive line woes. QB and WR are other areas of need but the names at QB worthy of taking here are already off the board and impressions of Dez Bryant have been slipping.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars – Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
Previous Selection: Derrick Morgan
The Jags have missed on some early draft picks in recent years that were meant to address their pass rush. Rather than take another risk in the draft they made a big signing of Aaron Kampman. That puts them in a spot here to take BPA at a position of less glaring need than they had before, or they trade down to try and position themselves for taking Tim Tebow.

11. Denver Broncos (from Chicago) – Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
Previous Selection: Dan Williams
The defense needs to bolster its front seven but the signing of Jamal Williams means they don’t necessarily need to grab a NT this draft, instead they could look to someone like McClain if he is available. However with it looking likely that Brandon Marshall will not be back next year they draft his replacement.

12. Miami Dolphins – Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
Previous Selection: Jason Pierre-Paul
The signing of Karlos Dansby means the main needs of the Dolphins are at OLB and DT. Williams would be a great selection here as a NT in the 3-4. Jason Pierre-Paul remains an interesting possibility if he is still around, but I believe that Bill Parcells would likely go Williams here regardless.

13. San Francisco 49ers – Joe Haden, CB, Florida
Previous Selection: CJ Spiller
The 49ers have a couple different ways to go. They are looking for a back to split time with Frank Gore, want to shore up the offense line at tackle, and could use an upgrade in the defensive backfield specifically at safety. Joe Haden is too much of a talent to pass up despite his disappointing performance at the combine. The team needs help on the offensive line but they should be able to grab that with their #17 pick.

14. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver) – Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
Previous Selection: Joe Haden
The pick here seems likely to be either CJ Spiller, offensive line, or defensive end. It is probably too high to take Charles Brown but he may be the best fit in the draft for the zone blocking scheme. With Okung and Buluga gone I could see a trade down to take Brown later in the first. The more likely choice might be to grab the pass rusher the team needs. Derrick Morgan is a great talent and very balanced. He may not have the upside of a few other ends but he is ready to start and make an impact immediately.

15. New York Giants – Brian Price, DT, UCLA
Previous Selection: Rolando McClain
The team needs an ILB or could look to DE, but with McClain, Pierre-Paul and Morgan gone they they have to look elsewhere. The Giants rely on the defensive line to rattle the opposing QB and Price would be a great choice for another impact player on the interior.

16. Tennessee Titans – Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
Previous Selection: Brian Price
This pick would seem likely to go defensive line, whether it be a DE or DT, but the names that make sense are all gone. The Titans could also use an upgrade in the secondary. Wilson has been climbing boards after great performances at the Senior Bowl and Combine. Some teams even have him ranked above Haden right now.

17. San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina) – Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
Previous Selection: Trent Williams
There are questions about whether Williams will be best suited for right tackle or if he has left tackle potential. I thought he looked really good at the combine in the drills, and many haven’t talked about his very impressive 4.88 time in the 40 because Bruce Campbell ran .03 faster. Regardless what tackle he ends up playing the 49ers could most definitely use him and he would likely be penciled in on the right side to start the season.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers – Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
Previous Selection: Mike Iupati
The Steelers offensive line has struggled pass protecting for a few years, and the usual strong running game was mediocre last season. Iupati is a versatile lineman that will be a top notch guard but also is being looked at with the potential of moving to tackle. Starting out at guard though he would definitely improve the run game.

19. Atlanta Falcons – Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
Previous Selection: Kyle Wilson
Having filled their need at corner by signing Dunta Robinson the Falcons will probably still be looking at defense and go with an OLB or DE. They have struggled to put pressure on QBs and Graham, though undersized, could provide the disruption they need. Sean Weatherspoon would appear to be the other most likely option at this pick.

20. Houston Texans – Earl Thomas, S, Texas
Previous Selection: Earl Thomas
Houston has been looking for a playmaking safety for years and they could get the opportunity to choose one with Thomas. I really like his ability and he performed well at the combine. Taylor Mays could also be a consideration but is more of an enforcer than a playmaker. The Texans have drafted for the defensive line but it remains a weakness so they could look that direction also.

21. Cincinnati Bengals – Taylor Mays, S, USC
Previous Selection: Taylor Mays
The Bengals needed another threat in the passing game, which is why strong thought was given to Jermaine Gresham, Arrelious Benn, and Golden Tate. They have addressed that in free agency though with the signing of Antonio Bryant. Safety is a big area of need and Mays would fit the defensive scheme. He ran a blazing 40 at the combine though he looked stiff in the drills.

22. New England Patriots – Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State
Previous Selection: Jared Odrick
The Patriots clearly need to upgrade their defense, a pass rushing LB or or run stopping DE make the most sense. Bill Belichick tends not to draft pass rushers high though and Odrick would be a good fit as a 3-4 DE.

23. Green Bay Packers – Charles Brown, LT, USC
Previous Selection: Brandon Graham
With Aaron Kampman gone the Packers have immediate need for a pass rusher in their 3-4 but they also have big time need at LT despite re-signing Chad Clifton. I keep going back and forth on what way to go here, and considered Anthony Davis, who some are higher on then I am. However yesterday he was a no-show for his Pro Day reinforcing his worrisome reputation. Charles Brown is very athletic lineman that would fit the team’s o-line scheme well.

24. Philadelphia Eagles – Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri
Previous Selection: Carlos Dunlap
The Eagles could definitely use a high energy OLB or DE. The team let Will Witherspoon go, which was obviously done to avoid confusion with a possible Weatherspoon selection right? He would fit very well as an OLB in the Eagles defensive scheme and has seen his stock rising out of the Senior Bowl solidifying him as a first rounder.

25. Baltimore Ravens – Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
Previous Selection: Golden Tate
With the Ravens having traded for Anquan Boldin they no longer are considered to be a lock to take a WR. They can, however, still add an offensive weapon in Jermaine Gresham. Todd Heap is no longer the threat that he used to be. Gresham’s knee problems are still a concern but he seems like a good fit for the Ravens who would not need to overuse him early on.

26. Arizona Cardinals – Daryl Washington, OLB, TCU
Previous Selection: Sean Weatherspoon
With the team losing Karlos Dansby there is need to replace him, while they have filled the hole at safety already with the trade for Kerry Rhodes. Washington or Sergio Kindle would make sense here, or the Cardinals could look to draft a new offensive tackle.

27. Dallas Cowboys – Anthony Davis, LT, Rutgers
Previous Selection: Anthony Davis
The Cowboys could definitely use a playmaking safety but with Earl Thomas off the board they would have to look elsewhere. The team could use help on the offensive line and Davis would add some athleticism which has been lacking. He has top 10 talent but too many concerns, in areas such as injuries and maturity, allow him to slip to the late first round. Dallas would be in a position to take a chance on that talent and infuse some athleticism in their stiff offensive line.

28. San Diego Chargers – Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State
Previous Selection: Ryan Matthews
Though they chose to keep Darren Sproles the Chargers will still need to draft a RB. That doesn’t need to necessarily happen at this pick but Matthews is really well rounded and would make for a good duo with Sproles.

29. New York Jets – Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
Previous Selection: Devin McCourty
Until they traded for Antonio Cromartie it was a safe bet that Rex Ryan would be looking defense, primarily at CB. Now, I won’t be shocked if they still draft a CB here, but it opens it up to be a DE or WR. Tate is the best talent on the board and would give Mark Sanchez another weapon. I could also see someone like Corey Wootton come in as a DE in the 3-4.

30. Minnesota Vikings – Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
Previous Selection: Jahvid Best
The Vikings will likely look at corner or a complimentary back to Adrian Peterson given that Chester Taylor has departed. Talk of LaDainian Tomlinson makes me think they are going to fill that role in FA. McCourty had a fantastic combine which has shot his stock up to first round value. I also wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Colt McCoy, though how he performs at his Pro Day will be a big factor in whether he has the potential to go this high. McCoy would fit well in a west coast offense that Brad Childress runs.

31. Indianapolis Colts – Marukice Pouncey, C/G, Florida
Previous Selection: Charles Brown
The Colts could go defense here, with tackle and corner being the positions of most need. However the offensive line needs help as well especially after the recent cutting of guard Ryan Lilja. Charles Brown would fit great in the zone blocking scheme but I have him off the board and don’t see Bruce Campbell as a “Colts player”. Maurkice Pouncey would improve the interior of the line and is flexible enough to fit in well where needed.

32. New Orleans Saints – Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas
Previous Selection: Everson Griffen
Having lost Scott Fujita, it looks like the Saints could go OLB or DE at this spot. I would peg that to be between Kindle and Griffen and right now give the edge to Kindle. Both would fit in really well though and add an element to the defense that has been lacking.

Dropped out of first round from previous mock draft: Bruce Campbell, Jahvid Best, Everson Griffen, Carlos Dunlap.

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