NFL Mock Draft: Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh Will Go No. 1 to Rams

NFL Mock Draft: Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh Will Go No. 1 to Rams We won’t really know for a few years, but this could potentially be one of the deepest drafts in NFL history. With the possibility of a rookie pay scale and potential lockout in 2011, a record-tying 53 non-seniors declared for the 2010 draft, which takes place April 22-24 in New York City. It’s considered a very deep class, and teams should be able to load up on young stars in the early rounds.

Here is the NESN.com Mock Draft Version I. Check back every Thursday from now until the draft for an updated version. (An asterisk indicates the pick will be decided by a coin flip at the draft combine later this month.)

1. St. Louis Rams
2009 record:
1-15
The pick:
Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh
Analysis: There are too many holes to fill on this team, so the Rams would be better off taking Suh, who is widely considered the best player in the draft. Plus, head coach Steve Spagnuolo has worked magic when equipped with great defensive linemen.

2. Detroit Lions
2009 record: 2-14
The pick: Oklahoma State left tackle Russell Okung
Analysis: They’ve got options here, and it would be tough to pass over some of the high-level defensive prospects such as Gerald McCoy and Eric Berry, especially for the Lions’ last-ranked defense. But Detroit has to protect quarterback Matthew Stafford, the 2009 No. 1 pick, if it hopes he pans out as the franchise. Okung is 6-foot-8 but listed as a shade less than 300 pounds. Whoever drafts him will immediately go to work on adding 20 pounds of muscle, and he’ll become one of the biggest humans on earth.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2009 record: 3-13
The pick: Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy
Analysis: It would be tempting to pair Eric Berry in the secondary with Aqib Talib, but the Bucs need help all over their defensive line. McCoy would bring that, and he’d help free up middle linebacker Barrett Ruud.

4. Washington Redskins

2009 record: 4-12
The pick: Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford
Analysis: Bradford is a winner and a gamer with a good arm and great pro potential. The Jason Campbell experiment hasn’t panned out, and owner Dan Snyder loves himself some star power.

5. Kansas City Chiefs

2009 record: 4-12
The pick: Tennessee safety Eric Berry
Analysis:
The Chiefs have other needs, most notably along the offensive line. At this point, it’s tough to project a clear-cut No. 2 left tackle in this draft class, but the whole world knows of Berry’s potential. If the Chiefs can add a defensive playmaker, this should be a no-brainer.

6. Seattle Seahawks

2009 record: 5-11
The pick: Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen
Analysis: How many years has it been since we’ve heard quarterback Matt Hasselbeck’s time in Seattle is waning? The Seahawks can be aggressive at this spot and still land a defensive end or offensive lineman with the 14th pick. Plus, they could add Clausen and dangle Hasselbeck in a trade for a veteran, playoff-ready team that needs a quarterback (perhaps the Vikings?).

7. Cleveland Browns
2009 record: 5-11
The pick: Florida cornerback Joe Haden
Analysis: Head coach Eric Mangini knew what he was doing when he selected Darrelle Revis, so it would be a shock if Haden fell past the Browns.

8. Oakland Raiders
2009 record: 5-11
The pick: Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant
Analysis: Since Bryant is the best wide receiver on the board, maybe it’s wrong to assume owner Al Davis would draft him, instead opting for, say, the sixth best wideout available. Either way, Davis and Bryant are a match made in heaven. Bryant has some character concerns and is a flashy big-play threat who could bring out the best in the powerful right arm of JaMarcus Russell, who will inevitably win the starting job again because Davis won’t have it any other way.

9. Buffalo Bills
2009 record: 6-10
The pick: Rutgers left tackle Anthony Davis
Analysis: The Bills have to be hoping one of the top-two quarterbacks fall this far, and if it looks like that won’t happen (as was the case in this mock draft), they should get aggressive and trade up. But it wouldn’t hurt the Bills to add an offensive lineman since they might have the worst O-line in the league.

*10. Denver Broncos (From Chicago Bears)

2009 record: 8-8
The pick:
Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan
Analysis: Josh McDaniels would probably prefer adding a defensive tackle, but Morgan would be a great get at No. 10. The Broncos need help across their defensive line, so Morgan would be a nice addition.

*11. Jacksonville Jaguars
2009 record: 7-9
The pick: Alabama inside linebacker Rolando McClain
Analysis: They need help in all three levels of their defense, and McClain is the best defensive player on the board at this point. He figures to be a star, much in the way of San Francisco’s Pat Willis and New England’s Jerod Mayo.

12. Miami Dolphins
2009 record: 7-9
The pick: Clemson outside linebacker Ricky Sapp
Analysis: The Dolphins need to get younger at linebacker, regardless of whether or not they’re ever able to get rid of Joey Porter. This is a natural fit.

13. San Francisco 49ers
2009: 8-8
The pick: Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap
Analysis: They’re in greater need of an offensive lineman, but they also need a defensive end. With another pick coming up, though, the Niners can fill both needs in the middle portion of the first round. Plus, the next few teams on the clock are more likely to take a defensive end than an offensive lineman. They could probably take the same offensive lineman at No. 16 or 17 (pending the coin flip) that they’d take here at No. 13.

14. Seattle Seahawks (From Denver Broncos)
2009 record: 5-11
The pick: USC defensive end Everson Griffen
Analysis: Former Trojans head coach Pete Carroll goes back to his roots and snatches up the defensive end this team needs.

15. New York Giants
2009 record: 8-8
The pick: Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams
Analysis: The Giants have a lot of defensive needs, but they’ve got to add an anchor to the middle of their line. Williams probably has the most value at this point than any defensive backs or middle linebackers.

*16. Tennessee Titans

2009 record: 8-8
The pick: South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul
Analysis: Head coach Jeff Fisher needs to add some pop to his defense, which was abnormally bad last season. Draft critics either love or hate Pierre-Paul, so he’ll be an interesting one to watch at the combine. If it’s determined Pierre-Paul is overrated, Sergio Kindle or another hybrid edge rusher could better fill the Titans’ need.

*17. San Francisco 49ers (From Carolina Panthers)
2009 record: 8-8
The pick: Iowa tackle Bryan Bulaga
Analysis: The Niners were increasingly effective when they used more of a spread offense last season, but they’ve got to do a better job protecting quarterback Alex Smith. San Francisco quarterbacks were sacked 40 times last season, so it’s a guarantee the team adds at least one in the first round in April.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers
2009 record: 9-7
The pick: Oklahoma tackle Trent Williams
Analysis: The Steelers need help on the offensive line to protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was dropped 50 times last season. Just imagine what he’d be capable of if the line was good enough to keep the two-time Super Bowl champion upright.

*19. Atlanta Falcons
2009 record: 9-7
The pick: Texas outside linebacker/defensive end Sergio Kindle
Analysis: They were fairly inept at creating pressure on the quarterback, and Kindle would do well in head coach Mike Smith’s system. His speed would also mix well on the turf.

*20. Houston Texans
2009 record: 9-7
The pick: Texas defensive back Earl Thomas
Analysis: They’ve got some options here but should probably opt for a cornerback over a defensive tackle or running back C.J. Spiller. Thomas was an elite defensive back at Texas, and he could play either cornerback or safety in the NFL. Luckily for the Texans, they need both.

21. Cincinnati Bengals
2009 record: 10-6
The pick: Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham
Analysis: If it’s determined at the combine that Gresham has overcome the knee injury that wiped out his senior season, he’ll be off the board in the first round. The Bengals got no production from their injury-depleted core of tight ends in 2009, and that likely played a role in quarterback Carson Palmer’s down year. If Gresham isn’t the answer, Cincinnati will likely look toward a safety or guard.

22. New England Patriots
2009 record: 10-6
The pick: Florida middle linebacker Brandon Spikes
Analysis: Spikes would pair with Jerod Mayo to give the Patriots a ferocious pair of middle linebackers from the SEC. The Pats have also been linked to Michigan defensive end/outside linebacker Brandon Graham, so he’s another possibility at this point.

23. Green Bay Packers
2009 record: 11-5
The pick: Michigan defensive end/outside linebacker Brandon Graham
Analysis:
They’ll need an edge rusher to replace Aaron Kampman, who appears to be on his way out of town.

24. Philadelphia Eagles
2009 record: 11-5
The pick: USC safety Taylor Mays
Analysis: The Eagles still need a safety after parting ways with Brian Dawkins prior to last season, and Mays could be a very useful playmaker behind Philly’s talented cornerbacks.

25. Baltimore Ravens
2009 record: 9-7
The pick: Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate
Analysis: It’s about time they get another weapon for quarterback Joe Flacco, and Tate could be a good fit if the Ravens don’t go out and acquire someone like Denver wideout Brandon Marshall. If the Ravens feel like they’re reaching a little high for Tate, they could go after a cornerback.

26. Arizona Cardinals
2009 record: 10-6
The pick: Maryland tackle Bruce Campbell
Analysis: The Cards would likely prefer to get a linebacker here, but there is a pretty substantial drop-off at this point. With that, it would behoove them to grab an offensive lineman. After all, this quarterback transition to Matt Leinart might not go so smoothly.

27. Dallas Cowboys
2009 record: 11-5
The pick: Penn State outside linebacker Navorro Bowman
Analysis: This team has the tools to contend for a Super Bowl, so the Cowboys will be drafting for depth. At this point, they should concentrate on restocking their excellent defense.

28. San Diego Chargers
2009 record: 13-3
The pick: Clemson running back C.J. Spiller
Analysis:
It’d be like Christmas in April if Spiller fell this far. He might have the talent to be a top-15 pick, so if teams see him slipping, someone might make a trade to improve their position. The teams that could also target him at the top of the draft (Seattle, Cleveland, San Francisco, Houston) all have more pressing needs than running back.

29. New York Jets
2009 record: 9-7
The pick: Wide receiver Brandon LaFell
Analysis: The Jets’ needs will become a little clearer in a few weeks, since it’s expected they’ll be parting ways with some defensive backs and running backs. For now, LaFell would be a solid 6-foot-3 wide receiver who could help open up their passing attack.

30. Minnesota Vikings
2009 record: 12-4
The pick: Texas quarterback Colt McCoy
Analysis: Even if Brett Favre returns, the Vikings need to make plans for the future at the quarterback position. Since they’ll probably be drafting in the lower portion of the second round again in 2011, McCoy could be their best option in the next couple of drafts. Surely, the Vikings could use some help in the defensive backfield, but they’ve already seen what happens when they ignore the quarterback position.

31. Indianapolis Colts
2009 record: 14-2
The pick: Idaho guard Mike Iupati
Analysis: After president Bill Polian scolded the offensive line for the unit’s performance in the Super Bowl, we know where the Colts will focus their attention in the draft. As annoying as Polian can be, he’s been terrific in the draft and could go after Iupati, who is considered the best guard on the board.

32. New Orleans Saints
2009 record: 13-3
The pick: UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price
Analysis: The Super Bowl champs are also drafting for depth, and another giant body in the middle of their defensive line would be an attractive commodity, especially after Sedrick Ellis missed time with an injury last season.

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