The Scores Report’s 2010 NFL Mock Draft

This is it – this one is for all the marbles. The two previous mock drafts I put together mean nothing, unless of course one of those is better than the one below. In that case, please consider that to be my final mock so I can save some face.

We’re just days away from the 2010 NFL Draft and as usual, the uncertainty surrounding which player will be drafted by which team is at an all-time high. Teams are sending out smokescreens, it’s hard to figure out which GM is telling the truth (probably roughly around none of them) and all the while, the media is trying to keep up with all the rumors.

But here it is – my final crack at predicting the first round. Feel free to share your opinions in the comments section, but remember that they’re only valid when you make predictions before the draft. Don’t be the tool that comes back here a week from now boasting that you knew that Team A would take Player X, or else you will be made fun of mercilessly by your peers.

Let the games begin and once again, Happy NFL Draft time fellow draftnits.

Originally posted: Monday, April 19

1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Ndamukong Suh is the best player in the 2010 draft and if teams only drafted based on talent, then the Nebraska defensive tackle would be the first player selected in round one. But Suh plays a position that most teams can’t justify investing a truckload of guaranteed money in. That’s why Bradford will be the No. 1 pick, along with the fact that the Rams desperately need a quarterback to help revitalize their morbid franchise. I’ve never wavered with this pick – I’ve believed that Bradford was going to be the Rams’ selection at No. 1 all along. If they believe that he’s a franchise quarterback, then Suh and every other prospect in this draft becomes inconsequential in the Rams’ eyes. There’s no more important position on a football field than the one that lines up under center every week. Is taking a quarterback this high a risk? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, a franchise can’t function without a good QB. That’s why St. Louis won’t hesitate to take Bradford here.

2. Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
The Lions want everyone to believe that they’ll take an offensive tackle like Oklahoma State’s Russell Okung with this pick and they may very well might. But if Suh is still on the board when the Lions are on the clock in the first round, then they’d be nuts to pass on him. Suh is the best player in the draft on either side of the ball and could be the player current Lions (and former Titans’ DC) head coach Jim Schwartz builds his defense around, a la Albert Haynesworth in Tennessee.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
McCoy has kind of become the forgotten top 5 prospect in this draft because he’s overshadowed by Suh. But he’s a difference maker and a force against the run. If the Rams take Bradford at No. 1, one of the two defensive tackles will fall to Tampa here, which is exactly what it wants. The Bucs need an interior presence in the middle of their line that can be effective both against the run and pass. McCoy can potentially be that player.

4. Washington Redskins: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
As long as Mike Shanahan’s claims that the Redskins will take a quarterback with this pick are untrue, then Williams could very well be the third Sooner to come off the board in the first four picks this year. Okung is regarded as the best offensive tackle in the draft, but Williams is a better fit for Washington’s new zone-blocking scheme, making him the choice here. He’s an excellent all-around blocker and has the potential to immediately fill the void left by Chris Samuels on the Redskins’ O-line.

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2010 NFL Mock Draft Version 2.0

With the Redskins’ acquisition of Donovan McNabb, it’s a perfect time to update my mock draft. In my first mock, I had the Redskins taking Jimmy Clausen at No. 4, but with their need at quarterback being filled with the trade for McNabb, the dynamics in the top 10 have changed.

Here’s my second crack at predicting the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

(Side note: If I have the team selecting the same player as I did in my first mock, then my explanation of the pick will be the same in most occasions.)

1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
I have Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh rated as the unquestioned best player in this year’s draft. (Well, I don’t have an official ranking per se, but in my head he’s No. 1.) But that doesn’t mean I think the Rams will take him. Teams usually get quirky about the No. 1 overall pick. They feel as though they have to match the contract with the position in order to justify the player they’re taking, which is completely backwards when you think about it. A team should mostly be concerned with taking the right player that matches their scheme. But I digress. Bradford is the top rated quarterback and the Rams have a major need at the position now that the ultra-brutal Marc Bulger has been released. The Rams feel as though they need to breathe some excitement into their dull franchise and taking Bradford should do the trick. Is he the right player? That’s debatable.

2. Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
Their trade for DT Corey Williams kind of throws me off a little, but I still think that if Suh is available the Lions won’t pass on him. Jim Schwartz built one hell of a defense in Tennessee centered around Albert Haynesworth and he could view Suh the same way. He’s a difference-maker up front and regardless of whether or not he and Williams play the same position, if Suh is as good as I think he is then Schwartz will find a way to utilize him. Offensive tackle Russell Okung has been mentioned at this pick but again, if Suh is available I can’t see the Lions leaving him on the board.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
If the Rams wind up taking Bradford with the top pick, you might be able to hear the sounds of screams and jubilation coming from Tampa. That’s because the Bucs would love to land one of the two stud defensive tackles in this draft and if Bradford goes No. 1, then either Suh or McCoy would slip to Tampa here. Some people are down on McCoy after he only benched 225 pounds 23 times at the combine, but that’s not a justifiable reason for his stock to slip. A lot of defensive tackles are forced to shed weight for the combine and when they do, they lose strength in the process. Besides, not taking a player because of how he performed on the bench at the combine is ridiculous notion anyway. McCoy would be a great fit for the Bucs.

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2010 NFL Mock Draft Version 1.0

The full mock is finally completed!

I waited a lot longer than I normally do to compile my first mock draft of the year. Normally I whip up my first batch of mock draft right after the scouting combine, but this year I wanted to see what happened at the start of free agency before I even remotely considered whom teams would select in April.

I get as excited as any true draftnik about mock drafts, but how could anyone venture a guess at what player a team will select without knowing what big free agents signed where? It’s like taking a long road trip to a place you’ve never been before without your GPS. (Wow, have the times changed. A couple of years ago, I would have ended that sentence with “without your map” but that damn technology continues to track us down like a bear preying on an injured deer.)

Below is my first crack at predicting the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. As usual, feel free to argue my picks as much as you like but please, debate with some dignity. Don’t be the doucher that ruins the fun of mock drafts by spewing venom in the comments section of a sports blog. There may not be anything more pathetic.

1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
I have Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh rated as the unquestioned best player in this year’s draft. (Well, I don’t have an official ranking per se, but in my head he’s No. 1.) But that doesn’t mean I think the Rams will take him. Teams usually get funny about the No. 1 overall pick. They feel as though they have to match the contract with the position in order to justify the player they’re taking, which is completely backwards when you think about it. A team should be most concerned with taking the right player that matches their scheme. But I digress. Bradford is the top rated quarterback and the Rams have a major need at the position with Marc Bulger proving over the past two years that he’s better suited to run the scout team offense in practice and then the first unit on Sundays. The Rams feel as though they need to breathe some excitement into their dull franchise and taking Bradford should do the trick. Is he the right player? That’s debatable.

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St. Louis Rams 2010 Team Needs

As part of our 2010 NFL Draft coverage, I will be breaking down positional needs for all 32 teams, starting in reverse alphabetical order. Next up is the St. Louis Rams. Check out other team needs by clicking here.

1. Quarterback
A team doesn’t land the first overall pick in the draft without having a ton of holes that need to be addressed before the start of a new season. But even with all the areas of need that the Rams have, it all starts with the quarterback, which should be the Rams’ top priority this offseason. Marc Bulger turns 33 in July and ever since he signed a six-year, $65 million contract extension in 2007 he’s been worthless. Whether it comes in free agency or the draft, the Rams must upgrade the quarterback position this offseason and close the book on the Bulger era in St. Louis. They can’t possibly head into 2010 with Bulger at the top of the quarterback depth chart, especially considering they select at the top of each round in April and seeing as how Michael Vick could probably be had via trade. Rams GM Billy Devaney is familiar with Vick from their time together in Atlanta and Steve Spagnuolo has had nothing but positive things to say about the troubled quarterback so far this offseason. Vick could be acquired for cheap and while he certainly wouldn’t be a long-term answer, he would bring some excitement to the position and give the Rams more playmakers on offense. If not, the Rams could look at drafting a signal caller in one of the first two rounds.

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Bradford moving to the top of the Rams’ board?

Tom Kowalski of MLive.com reports that Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford might be moving to the top of the Rams’ draft board if his shoulder checks out okay.

In talking to a couple of well-informed folks from St. Louis last week at the Super Bowl, two interesting points came up.

The first is one that I’ve been talking about for awhile — that Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, once he proves his injured right shoulder is OK — could move into that No. 1 spot. The Rams are desperate to replace Marc Bulger, who is not in the team’s long-term plans.

The other interesting piece of information was that the Rams had considered drafting USC quarterback Mark Sanchez with the second overall pick last year. The Jets trading up to No. 5 and taking Sanchez was considered a reach so the Rams would’ve taken plenty of heat for taking Sanchez at No. 2 — which is why they didn’t. But after the rookie performance by Sanchez, it appears the Rams — who took tackle Jason Smith — made a mistake.

Rumors like these will surface over the next couple of months leading up to the draft, so it’s wise to take them with a grain of salt. I worked with Kowalski in Detroit and can speak from experience that he’s a reputable member of the media. But as he points out in his article, the top of the draft fluctuates from one day to the next and nothing is guaranteed at this point – especially considering the scouting combine hasn’t even taken place yet.

That said, it’s an interesting rumor and one that would certainly make sense given the Rams’ needs at quarterback. Many people believe St. Louis will select defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh with the first overall pick in April’s draft but the fact of the matter is that if the Rams believe that Bradford (or Jimmy Clausen or whomever) is a franchise quarterback, then they’ll pass on Suh. There is no substitution for a franchise signal caller, no matter how good a player like Suh is.


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