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2013 NFL Mock Draft Final Edition

Surely all of these picks will be correct on Thursday night…surely.

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
There has been plenty of pre-draft speculation that the Chiefs will select Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher with this pick and maybe they will. But GM John Dorsey will ultimately have the final say and he has a history of taking big school prospects. Whether it’s Joeckel or Fisher, expect the Chiefs to select an offensive tackle first overall.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Dion Jordan is a logical (and popular) pick for the Jaguars because they finished with 20 sacks last season, which is a brutal stat. But the bottom line is that this is a quarterback-driven league and neither David Caldwell nor Gus Bradley were around when the former regime took Blaine Gabbert with the 10th overall pick in 2011. Would I take Geno Smith this high? No. But Caldwell and Bradley might set the tone in their first draft by taking who they believe is a franchise signal-caller.

3. Detroit Lions: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan (PROJECTED TRADE W/OAKLAND)
Martin Mayhew tried and failed to land top cornerback prospects Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne the past two years, so there’s a possibility the Lions will stay at No. 5 and take Alabama’s Dee Milliner. But following the retirement of Jeff Backus and the departure of Gosder Cherilus (FA/Colts), the Lions can’t pass on addressing their need at left tackle. Fisher has as much upside as any offensive lineman in this draft, which includes Luke Joeckel. With the Jaguars passing on Fisher in this mock, the Lions swap picks with the Raiders to ensure that they land their left tackle of the future.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Eagles could go in a variety of ways here, including Oregon’s Dion Jordan or even Florida’s Sharrif Floyd if he’s available. But Jason Peters is coming off an Achilles injury and he’s set to make $10 million in 2014. Johnson is the most athletic offensive tackle in this year’s draft, which makes him a fit for Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense. The Eagles could slide Todd Herremans inside to guard and have Johnson start at right tackle until they’re ready to part ways with Peters.

5. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida (PROJECTED TRADE W/ DETROIT)
The Raiders need more draft picks after Hue Jackson foolishly gave up a ransom to acquire Carson Palmer from Cincinnati two years ago. Thus, they make a logical trade partner for any team looking to move up in the top 10. But whether they trade out of the No. 3 spot or not, Floyd is a solid fit. He gives them the interior defensive line help that they desperately need following the departures of Desmond Bryant and Tommy Kelly.

6. Cleveland Browns: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Unless the Browns intend to start career backup Christopher Owens opposite Joe Haden in their secondary, then cornerback remains a priority. Outside linebacker isn’t a pressing need for Cleveland but when it comes to a pass-rusher with unlimited upside versus a No. 2 corner, there is no debate for NFL teams. Jordan may not slide out of the top 5 but if he does, the Browns would be hard pressed to pass on the versatile Duck.

7. Arizona Cardinals: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
If Lane Johnson slides to the Cardinals at this spot, then he’s the most logical choice. In D’Anthony Batiste and Bobby Massie, Arizona had the worst offensive tackle tandem in the league last year so upgrading their line should be a priority. But with Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson off the board, the Cardinals could address their need at pass rusher with Mingo, who is an athletic freak. There’s some question whether the svelte Mingo will hold up against the run but for now, Arizona can use him as a designated pass rusher against the likes of Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson.

8. Buffalo Bills: E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib has been a popular pick for the Bills either at this spot or in the second round because of his connection to new head coach Doug Marrone. But Manuel is the better overall prospect and he’s the best fit in this year’s draft class to run the read-option (which Marrone plans to utilize in his offense). The Bills could use Kevin Kolb as a bridge player this year and turn the keys to Marrone’s offense over to Manuel next season.

9. New York Jets: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
If the season were to start today, Rex Ryan’s edge rushers would be Garrett McIntyre and Antwan Barnes. Thus, while receiver, running back and quarterback are all holes for the Jets, they can’t head into next season without addressing their need for edge rushers. Ansah is versatile in that he lined up both inside and outside at BYU, and has the ability to stand up as an edge rusher as well.

10. Tennessee Titans: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Everyone expects the Titans to draft a guard with this pick but after they signed Andy Levitre to a massive free agent deal, defensive end becomes a bigger need. Thus, if Ezekiel Ansah were to fall to this spot, he would be a logical selection. But with all of the top pass-rushers coming off the board in this mock (save for Florida State’s Bjorn Werner), the Titans take the best defensive back available in Milliner. He’s the type of press man corner that Tennessee is seeking and his medical history could scare off teams like Cleveland, which has been a popular landing spot for Milliner in other mocks.

11. San Diego Chargers: Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
Many draftniks will view this pick as a major reach but I’m willing to bet that Watson’s name will be read by Roger Goodell far sooner than people expect. There’s a team out there that has already fallen in love with his size (6’6″, 320 pounds) and will undoubtedly pull him off the board before he’s projected to go. Is that team the Chargers? Outside of cornerback and linebacker, there is no bigger need in San Diego than offensive tackle, so it’s certainly a possibility.

12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
I’m making this pick based on the assumption that the Dolphins will acquire OT Branden Albert before the draft. Miami signed Brent Grimes to a one-year deal but he’s coming off an Achilles injury that wiped out most of his 2012 season and there’s an opening that was created when Sean Smith signed with Kansas City. If the Dolphins don’t trade for Albert, then Watson could be the selection at No. 12 and Rhodes could be San Diego’s pick at No. 11.

13. New York Jets: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Tavon Austin and Tyler Eifert are definite possibilities at this pick but the Jets lost LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell in free agency and thus, safety is a huge need as well. Rex Ryan has yet to find a long-term solution at safety since taking the New York job in 2009, but the versatile Vaccaro could be the answer.

14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Panthers have needs at offensive tackle, cornerback and safety, but Richardson is arguably the best player available and would give Carolina’s pass-rush a boost. Playing on the same line as Charles Johnson could do wonders for Richardson, who should be a stud as a three-technique tackle.

15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jones is hard to project because you don’t know how many teams have flagged him as a medical risk. (He was diagnosed with spinal stenosis in 2009.) But the condition didn’t hinder him in 2012 and despite his poor showing at his Pro Day in March, he certainly stands out as a playmaker on film. The Saints need to give Rob Ryan more edge rushers and the versatile Jones could be used in a multitude of ways.

16. St. Louis Rams: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Rams have holes at safety, running back, outside linebacker and guard, but adding offensive playmakers continues to be a priority. After signing tight end Jared Cook in free agency, Austin could provide Brian Schottenheimer and the Rams with another mismatch in the slot. (He also fills an immediate need as a returner.) Many pundits don’t believe he’ll fall this far but the NFL is still about height, weight and speed. Austin certainly has speed, but his small frame could cause him to fall further than people expect. If he comes off the board to the Jets No. 13 like many suspect, then Alabama’s Eddie Lacy and Chance Warmack, North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper, and Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins are all possibilities at this spot.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The Steelers could go in a variety of directions here, including pass rusher, guard or safety. But after losing Mike Wallace to the Dolphins via free agency, they need to find another weapon to go along with Antonio Brown in their passing attack. Heath Miller blew out his knee in Week 16 last year, tearing his ACL, MCL and PCL in the process. With the 30-year-old due over $5 million in 2013 and $6 million next season, the Steelers could address an immediate and future need with the selection of Eifert (who can attack the seam as well as line up on the outside and challenge cornerbacks with his size and athleticism).

18. Dallas Cowboys: Eric Reid, S, LSU
The Cowboys have needs along both their lines but Jerry Jones loves to draft skill players in the first round. (Not that offensive and defensive linemen aren’t skill players in the NFL.) Prospect to prospect, I like Florida’s Matt Elam more than I do Reid. But Elam is 5’9″ and 208 pounds, while Reid is 6’2″ and 213 pounds and can run a 4.53 forty. He fills a need for Dallas and quenches Jones’ thirst to add athletic marvels on draft day.

19. New York Giants: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Is there a general manager in the league who values defensive ends more than Jerry Reese? With Osi Umenyiora now in Atlanta and Justin Tuck slowing down, Werner gives the Giants youth and upside at their most coveted position. While he’s shown a tendency to avoid tackling ball carriers, Werner had no issues getting after the quarterback at Florida State and is arguably the most skilled pass-rusher in this year’s draft.

20. Chicago Bears: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Nobody expects Cooper to fall this far but the average slot position for guards over the last 10 years is No. 23. Who thought David DeCastro would fall to the Steelers at pick No. 24 last year? Simply put, guards rarely go as high as everyone thinks they will. Phil Emery is currently paying for past mistakes made by former Chicago GM Jerry Angelo, who missed on former first-round busts Chris Williams and Gabe Carimi. Either Cooper or Alabama’s Chance Warmack would offer an instant upgrade over Lance Louis at right guard.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Bengals could still wind up re-signing Andre Smith after the draft but if they don’t, right tackle becomes a huge need for them. Alec Ogltree or a wide receiver are also options for Cincinnati as well.

22. St. Louis Rams: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
Assuming the Rams take a receiver at No. 16, they could go in a variety of ways with this pick, including guard, outside linebacker and safety. That said, I ultimately envision Jeff Fisher and Les Snead taking Lacy off the board here in efforts to fill the void left by Steven Jackson, and then address their need at safety in the second or third round. A combination of Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson won’t cut it for a head coach like Fisher, who wants to pound the ball between the tackles. Would I take Lacy here? No. Quality running backs are found in the middle rounds all the time (see Matt Forte, Maurice Jones-Drew, Michael Turner, Jamaal Charles, Stevan Ridley, Frank Gore and Ray Rice). But I don’t get the impression that Fisher is as concerned about the safety position as he is acquiring as many weapons for Sam Bradford as possible.

23. Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The Vikings did well to sign Greg Jennings in free agency, but they still have a need at receiver following the trade of Percy Harvin to Seattle. Patterson is raw and will need to refine his route-running ability, but he’s also an explosive playmaker when he gets his hands on the ball. If OC Bill Musgrave is creative, he’ll design ways to get Patterson the ball while he learns the nuances of becoming an NFL receiver.

24. Indianapolis Colts: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
The Colts addressed a lot of their defensive needs in free agency, so turning their attention to their offensive line is logical. While they did sign Donald Thomas in free agency, Indy could out-draft Mike McGlynn with the selection of Warmack or fellow guard Jonathan Cooper.

25. Minnesota Vikings: Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
Te’o could easily slip into the second round because the middle linebacker position just doesn’t hold as much value as it did 10 years ago. It’s a pass-happy league and teams will continue to avoid paying two-down linebackers big money, as well as drafting them high in the first round. But at 23, the Vikings could fill a need with Te’o, who was one of the best defenders in the nation last year despite his lousy performance in the national title game. He could start Week 1 and represents an upgrade over current MLB Marvin Mitchell.

26. Green Bay Packers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
There’s a good chance that Lotulelei won’t fall this far but the Packers and Steelers always seem to have top prospects fall into their laps on draft day. Last year nobody thought Stanford guard David DeCastro would slip out of the top 15 and he wound up going to Pittsburgh at No. 24. Nick Perry also fell to Green Bay with the No. 28 overall pick last year and Mississippi State offensive tackle Derek Sherrod wasn’t slated to slip to No. 32 in 2011. Lotulelei wasn’t one of the 23 prospects invited to Radio City Music Hall on Thursday night. And while that might not mean a damn thing, it also could be an indication that draftniks have the Utah defensive tackle rated too high. Either way, I’m calling my shot: Lotulelei falls further than people think on Thursday night.

27. Houston Texans: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
The Texans desperately need a weapon opposite Andre Johnson, which was evident during their postseason run last year. Hunter’s 2012 season was marred by a knee injury but he’s one of the most explosive receivers in this draft and has as much upside as any prospect slated to go in the first round.

28. Denver Broncos: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
The Broncos might wind up signing a veteran free agent like Dwight Freeney or John Abraham to address their need at defensive end, but even then they still need a long-term replacement for Elvis Dumervil. Jones might not get past the Giants at No. 19 but if he did, the former Bruin could be a steal at this spot. He has an aggressive style and often wins off the edge with strength and power. He’s also versatile enough to play inside in obvious passing situations.

29. New England Patriots: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
I’m not convinced that Allen will be a first-round pick but he was highly productive at Cal and might be the best route runner in this year’s draft class. New England is always a mystery on draft day thanks to Bill Belichick, but receiver is a need, as is cornerback, defensive end and safety.

30. Atlanta Falcons: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Plenty of mocks have the Falcons selecting a defensive end at this spot, which makes sense given their need for pass rushers. But they signed Osi Umenyiora in free agency and remain high on undersized pass rusher Kroy Biermann. They also seem to like former mid/late-round picks Jonathan Massaquoi and Cliff Matthews as well. Thus, the bigger need is at corner following the release of Dunta Robinson. Trufant might be off the board at this spot, but if he’s still available, he has the speed, agility and quickness to be a starter from Day 1. He just needs to be more physical, both in coverage and when defending the run. It’ll be interesting to see if the Falcons trade up to get Trufant, or maybe an edge rusher like Bjorn Werner if he falls. (Don’t rule out a defensive tackle such as Sheldon Richardson either.)

31. San Francisco 49ers: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
When Justin Smith tore his triceps in a late-season game against the Patriots last year, the 49ers’ secondary fell apart. But instead of investing a high draft pick in a cornerback, GM Trent Baalke once again went the bargain-bin route by signing Nnamdi Asomugha to a cheap one-year deal. (Baalke made a similar move a couple of years ago when he signed Carlos Rogers off the scrap heap in early August.) It makes sense that the Niners continue to focus on their front seven, and the versatile Hunt would be a nice fit at this spot.

32. Baltimore Ravens: Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
Ozzie Newsome signed Michael Huff in free agency, but the addition of Cyprien could make the Ravens’ safeties interchangeable. They need to find a replacement for Ed Reed and while the safety position is deep in this year’s draft, Baltimore can’t wait to land one seeing as how its picking at the bottom of each round. A linebacker such as Manti Te’o or Kevin Minter also makes sense.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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RG3 and his speed

Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III of Baylor University looks for a receiver during the team’s NCAA football game against the Washington Huskies at the Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, December 29, 2011. REUTERS/Joe Mitchell (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Jason Whitlock has an interesting take on Robert Griffin III and the impressive 40-time he displayed at the combine.

In my opinion, Griffin’s speed doesn’t enhance his draft stock. It damages it.

I am not a Robert Griffin hater. I love RG3. In all likelihood, he will be my favorite NFL player next season. He could quickly become my favorite active athlete, ahead of Tiger Woods, Ray Lewis and Jeff George (has yet to file his retirement paperwork).

But I’m worried about Griffin. He’s blessed with too many tools. Oftentimes, the greatest athletes are physically limited, which strengthens their focus. Bill Russell could never match Wilt Chamberlain’s size and limitless athleticism. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson weren’t the greatest leapers or the quickest on their feet.

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are relatively immobile. They play from the pocket because they have no choice. They mastered the art of playing from the pocket because they had no other choice.

NFL games are won most consistently by quarterbacks who play from the pocket. If a quarterback leaves the pocket, he’s going to get hit. If a quarterback gets hit regularly, he’s going to get hurt. If a franchise quarterback gets injured, his team has little chance of winning the Super Bowl.

NFL teams are looking for the next Manning or Brady. Or the next Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger. A little mobility is good, especially if the quarterback moves in the pocket in an effort to throw downfield. Rodgers and Big Ben are terrific at moving to throw. Is that how Griffin will use his athleticism?

Or does Griffin have so much speed that he’ll channel Michael Vick?

Whitlock goes on to recount Vick’s early problems as he relied too much on his speed and athleticism. Athletes like Steve Young had to learn how to stay in the pocket.

Whitlock basically sums up the primary reason why Andrew Luck is rated higher than RG3, even as some think RG3 has more upside. It’s a risk/reward analysis. Luck has shown that he can win strictly as a pocket passer, using his athleticism only when needed.

Can RG3 learn to play that way? Of course he can. But just because he has the aptitude and temperament to learn doesn’t guarantee success. Luck isn’t guaranteed success either, but we’ve seen him operate consistently from the pocket, so there’s less risk.

2011 NFL Mock Draft: Final Edition

This is it: This is the nasty wench that I’m putting all my money on. Anything less than 32 out of 32 correct picks and I consider this a failure.

All right, so I’ll take 10 of 32 correct picks – especially this year where the draft is the ultimate mystery. Thanks to the ongoing CBA fiasco, teams haven’t had the opportunity to address needs in free agency, meaning there are countless scenarios that we could see play out Thursday night in the first round.

Feel free to poke, prod and criticize – just make sure you do it before the draft. Don’t be like this clown, who told me how dumb I was two years after I compiled my 2009 mock draft. (I know how dumb I am, so just be up front with me at the start.)

As a bonus, my colleague at TSR, John Paulsen, spent some time crunching the numbers in order to provide scouting combine comparisons for every player. I’ll let him describe the method behind his madness.

John: I compared each prospect’s combine scores with players from the last six combines to determine the best athletic comparison. There are eight categories: height, weight, 40-yard dash, shuttle, 3-cone, vertical leap, broad jump and bench press. Not all prospects compete in all six tests, so certain comparisons are more confident than others.
Realize that we’re not suggesting that these players will turn into their comparisons – we’re simply saying that athletically, this is whom each prospect compares to based on their combine numbers.

All right – let’s get nasty, Ricky.

Quarterback Cam Newton of the Auburn University Tigers celebrates before the start of his game against the University of South Carolina Gamecocks in the NCAA SEC Championship college football game in Atlanta, Georgia, December 4, 2010. REUTERS/Chris Keane (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

No. 1 Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is a possibility at this pick, but I think when it comes down to it Ron Rivera will want to kick off his tenure in Carolina by taking a franchise quarterback. Newton is the ultimate boom or bust selection.
Combine Comparisons: Vince Young; Tim Tebow.

No. 2 Denver Broncos: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
There has been a lot of talk the last two days that the Broncos are considering Von Miller with this pick. But he’s not the ideal fit for the 4-3 in my eyes and I think in the end, Dareus is too good to pass up here.
Combine Comparisons: Marcus Thomas; Corvey Irvin; Red Bryant.

No. 3 Buffalo Bills: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
The Bills may flirt with the idea of taking a quarterback with this pick and they could certainly use an upgrade on the defensive line. But in the end, I think GM Buddy Nix will take the unquestioned best player in the draft.
Combine Comparisons: Brandon Ghee, Malcom Jenkins, Myron Lewis, Aquib Talib. As John notes, Peterson is faster than all four, although Talib is the best comparison in terms of size/speed. Another interesting comparison is Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who has the speed, but Peterson is almost 40 lbs heavier. Based on his 40, we really haven’t seen anyone with Peterson’s size/speed combination in the last six years.

No. 4 Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
The Bengals need to figure out their quarterback situation in regards to Carson Palmer but I don’t think they’ll pull the trigger on Blaine Gabbert here. With T.O. not expected back and Chad Ochocinco’s status up in the air, I like the Bengals to go receiver at this spot. Julio Jones is definitely a possibility (a lot of mocks have Cincy taking him), but Green is still the better overall prospect.
Combine Comparisons: Malcom Kelly; Limas Sweed; Hank Baskett.

No. 5 Arizona Cardinals: Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
Miller might not slip past Buffalo at No. 3 but if he does, I think Arizona would love to pair him with O’Brien Schofield at outside linebacker. Miller is viewed as the best pass-rushing OLB in the draft, which is certainly a need for the Cardinals (especially after they release Joey Porter and his $5.75 million salary in 2011).
Combine Comparisons: Aaron Curry; Clay Matthews.

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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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