This wouldn’t be a legitimate blog without at least one mock draft? Or would it?
Anyway, I figured I’d do one because even though these things are so hit-or-miss, it’s still fun to try.
I’ll say this: all projections are based on current first-round selection order without any trades (in other words, this is subject to change). Also, all picks are based on who the respective team should take. In other words, they may not need a certain player, or the player might be overrated, but the team will select that player anyway.
So, here it is. The inaugural Fast Football mock draft.
1. St. Louis Rams
- Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
- Let’s gives this guy credit. He resisted the 2009 draft. He came back, and got his shoulder jacked up vs. BYU. Then when he returned later in the same season, on basically the identical play, he re-injured his shoulder against BYU. He went through though rehab, but didn’t throw at the combine. Word was he would be tough to negotiate with if he was selected first overall, but that went away. If all that wasn’t enough, he shined at his pro day with all kinds of lofty expectations upon him. He’s been through it. And oh by the way, the Rams cut Marc Bulger, which leaves Kyle Boller as their current starter. Yeah…I think they’ll take Bradford.
2. Detroit Lions
- Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
- I did blog about how the Lions may get Albert Haynesworth, which would make Suh irrelevant to their 2nd overall pick. However, that seems less likely now, at least for the near future. Suh will be picked here because of his versatility and leadership skills. The Lions do need help at OT, but not as much as they need help at DT. Gerald McCoy wouldn’t shock me, but Suh is the man for this team, considering the Lions face Adrian Peterson, Ryan Grant and Matt Forte twice a year.
3. Tampa Bay Buccanneers
- Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
- Similar to Detroit, Tampa Bay is in desperate need of a lot, but defensive line being of the utmost importance. Warren Sapp was a special player for the Bucs when he helped them win Super Bowl XXXVII. McCoy may not be quite as good, but he might be close. The NFC South has faster backs than the NFC North, which makes McCoy a better fit here than in Detroit anyway.
4. Washington Redskins
- Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
- The skins were going to take a quarterback here, and they still will probably draft one, but not at this spot. They desperately need an OT with the departure of Chris Samuels, even more so now that they have a championship-caliber quarterback to protect. The best OT on the board will available at #4, and even the Redskins aren’t dumb enough to let him slip any lower. Think of Okung as a bookend OT who will do well immediately, but could be a pro-bowler by the time their franchise QB is ready to roll.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
- Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
- In a league that by-and-large features horrendous tackling, the Chiefs are the worst tackling team. They can’t tackle air. Of course I’m being facetious, but they did miss a lot of tackles last year. Although Bulaga may be slightly more highly rated on the Chief’s board, In a division that features Philip Rivers, Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates and Brandon Marshall, if the Chiefs want to contend this year, Berry is their guy.
6. Seattle Seahawks
- Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
- Wow, the state of Oklahoma is cleaning up. Pete Carroll is now the head coach of the Seahawks. They do need OL help, and Williams or Bulaga would make a lot of sense here. Williams is the pick for Seattle because of this: the offense he starred in at Oklahoma is similar to Pete Carroll’s style of offense. In the NFL, when you’re talking about QB or OT, any advantage or similarity the coaching staff offers to the prospect is a distinct advantage. Also, word is Carroll recruited Williams heavily while Williams was in high school. Williams will have big shoes to fill as he would replace Walter Jones, but he should be up to the task. Although Williams isn’t much of a risk, if there is a risk here, the Seahawks can afford to take it as they have the 14th overall selection as well.
7. Cleveland Browns
- Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
- Oh boy. Who do they have on their team besides Joe Thomas and Joshua Cribbs? I doubt Bulaga would fall any further than this spot, but as the board stands, the Browns can’t afford to pass on Clausen. I think Bulaga would be better for them if they hadn’t traded Brady Quinn for some reason. I don’t like this situation for Clausen…unless they switch Cribbs to WR permanently.
8. Oakland Raiders
- Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
- If the NFL won and lost games in the weight room and at the combine, Al Davis and the Raiders would go undefeated. Obviously the sample of Campbell is limited, and even what we know of him tells us his technique is far from what it should be. Obviously Bulaga makes so much more sense here, but obviously the Raiders don’t know how to operate a professional football team (other than signing Nnamdi Asomugha to a $45 million extension last season). Al Davis will get his way and draft who he wants (Bruce Campbell) instead of who he needs (Bryan Bulaga).
9. Buffalo Bills
- Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
- Somehow the Bills luck out and take Bulaga here. Through no fault of his own, rather due to the ineptitude of some of the previous franchises selecting ahead of the Bills will Bulaga land in Buffalo. Mike Williams was a bust. They traded Jason Peters to the Eagles. They need a tackle. Perhaps this is some good karma coming back to them for the four straight Super Bowl losses (and having to deal with Terrell Owens last year). Bulaga is the early steal of the draft at this point. Besides, how cool would it be to hear the following: “The Buffalo Bills select…Bryan Bulaga.” That’s a mouthful.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars
- Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
- Derrick Morgan or Rolando McClain might be the best option here, but the Jags need so much help. Mike Iupati fills a need for the Jags at G, but it’s a little too soon to pick him considering who else is available. So, where to begin? The big problem with the Jaguars is their lack of revenue. Tim Tebow is a native of Jacksonville, and would be the ideal player to draft and to market (he will be a good quarterback in the NFL if given a chance). He is the best college football player of all-time. He is a proven winner. NFL owners, GMs, etc. only care about one thing: winning. With that said, I think this is to high for the Jags to take Tebow. They could trade down, and if so, would take Tebow with their next pick. However, they need a bona fide (offensive or defensive) play-maker. Since they already have Maurice Jones-Drew, the wise choice would be Morgan.
11. Denver Broncos
- Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
- This guy is a physical force, and at 330 pounds, has no questions about his durability as an interior lineman. Other than Ryan Clady, Denver’s o-line isn’t spectacular (or at least their future as a collective unit isn’t). Adding a player like Iupati could start to shore up a key position in the Denver offense for years to come. Most mock drafts have him in the mid-to-late 1st round. I think he goes to the Broncos at 11. Denver already has their quarterback and running back of the future. Of course, Dez Bryant would be the most sense at this spot, but I can’t figure out why the Broncos would trade a WR like Marshall who is an all-pro to get Dez Bryant, an unproven receiver with the same type of off-field/attitude problems as Marshall. In other words, if off-field/attitude problems were the reason the Broncos traded Marshall, why would they draft Bryant? Anthony Davis could also fit here, but just because he may be better than Iupati, doesn’t mean the Broncos shouldn’t take Iupati. Look at the Jets. Yeah, their last few drafts have focused on the left side of their offensive line (Ferguson, Mangold, Faneca (free agency)), and they now have one of the best offensive lines in the league.
12. Miami Dolphins
- Dan Williams, NT, Tennessee
- Every good defense has a “go-to” player at each level. Vontae Davis should be the guy in the secondary that will shut down a large portion of the field to opposing QB’s. Karlos Dansby isn’t Zach Thomas, but he’s been to a Super Bowl, is a very sound linebacker, and will captain this Miami defense. Jason Taylor may want to go to the Jets, and if trading for Santonio Holmes didn’t remind you enough, Rex Ryan has quite the power of persuasion when it comes to attracting disgruntled veterans to his team. With that said, who will anchor the Dolphins defensive line? Over the last decade, players like Jason Taylor and Trace Armstrong have come to mind when thinking of Miami Dolphins’ defensive line. They were defensive ends; pass rushers. Times are changing in Miami, and they will most likely choose Williams to be the man of that d-line. He was a four-year starter at SEC-powerhouse Tennessee. And word is Bill Parcells is impressed. When you impress Parcells, you’ve got something.
13. San Fransisco 49er’s
- Joe Haden, CB, Florida
- There are slightly better prospects available at this time (Rolando McClain, Dez Bryant, Anthony Davis, C.J. Spiller), but San Fransisco doesn’t need a MLB (Willis), WR (Crabtree), OT (LT Staley…see pick #17 in FF’s mock draft: part II) or a RB (Gore). Haden fills the biggest need for the 49er’s. How Nate Clements got $80 mil. is still a mystery. Haden has good speed and is used to pressure. He may need some tweaking, but not much. If he’s on the board at 13, the 49er’s take him.
14. Seattle Seahawks
- C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
- With pick #6, the Seahawks took their new franchise LT. Now, they get to pick again. Think of this pick as “house money”. Williams was the pick you needed, now you can pick someone you want. Of course, you won’t throw this pick away, but you can make it taking more liberties than you might if this was your only pick in the first round. It’s between Dez Bryant and C.J. Spiller. It’s no secret that Seattle has been starving for a #1 wide receiver. However, C.J. Spiller has Reggie Bush speed and quickness. Who coached Reggie Bush in college? Pete Carroll. Who coaches the Seahawks now? Pete Carroll. Spiller is the pick for two reasons: He can run and catch–Bryant can only catch. Also, Spiller has no off-field issues to worry about. Whether those issues Bryant has are just or not, they are there. Spiller to the Seahawks at #14 overall.
15. New York Giants
- Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
- First a brand-new stadium, now a franchise linebacker in the mold of Patrick Willis–the Giants are cleaning up. McClain falls to them at #15 and they couldn’t be happier. After losing Antonio Pierce and wasting a 5-0 start to the ’09 season, the Giants will select McClain to restore order to their defense (and to their team). Imagine, Brandon Jacobs vs. Rolando McClain in practice…wow! McClain personifies toughness, but not just toughness, football I.Q. as well. As the best player on the best defense in the country last year, he had to be more than muscles to star for Nick Saban. Great pick for the Giants.
16. Tennessee Titans
- Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
- The Titans will most likely look for a defensive end at this spot. With the departure of Kyle Vanden Bosch to the Lions, as well as still trying to compensate for the void left by Albert Haynesworth, they would be wise to take Pierre-Paul. Although he has come on strongly in this past year and is a freak (think Jevon Kearse) of an athlete, that doesn’t mean he can’t be a sustainable force. Think of Pierre-Paul as a defensive Bruce Campbell with a more experience. Tony Brown is a very good NT for the Titans. If they do take Pierre-Paul, opposing offensive lines won’t be able to double-team the Titans defensive line as much. That kind of potential is something you almost have to take if it’s available to you.
Part II (picks 17-32) later.
Thanks for reading.