NFL Mock Draft II: Combine Should Shed Light on Possible Selections

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February 25, 2010

NFL Mock Draft II: Combine Should Shed Light on Possible Selections The 2010 NFL draft combine begins this week in Indianapolis, and it will shed a lot of light on a number of positional battles. These 40-yard dashes don?t make a whole lot of sense in the grand scheme of things, but they?re going to be worth millions of dollars to some of these prospects. The combine should also help paint a better picture of the positional rankings, and that will clear up some things in future mock drafts.

For now, here is the NESN.com Mock Draft Version II. 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
Previous mock draft pick: Same
Analysis: This will probably come down to Suh, Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy or Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford. Suh and McCoy look like sure things, but Bradford would give St. Louis that valuable ?face of the franchise? appeal. The Rams have recently targeted defensive linemen like the Lions used to go after wide receivers, but Suh is too good to pass up.

2. Detroit Lions
2009 record: 2-14
The pick: Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy
Previous mock draft pick: Oklahoma State left tackle Russell Okung
Analysis: My personal preference would be to add a left tackle to protect quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was last year?s top pick, and that?s why Okung was last week?s pick. But I don?t make the Lions? draft decisions, nor does Barack Obama ask me to balance the nation?s budget. (It?s probably for the best that I stay far away from both.) In the spirit of digression, all signs coming out of Detroit indicate the Lions will target a defensive player, and there isn?t a darn thing wrong with that, either.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2009 record: 3-13
The pick:
Tennessee safety Eric Berry
Previous mock draft pick: Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy
Analysis: With McCoy now off the board, the debate here is between Berry and Okung. Since Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris has a background coaching defensive backs, the thinking is he?ll lean toward Berry, who could be the highest-selected safety since Sean Taylor in 2004.

4. Washington Redskins
2009 record: 4-12
The pick: Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford
Previous mock draft pick: Same
Analysis: It?s hard to imagine the Redskins going anywhere but quarterback here. Yet there are reports indicating each of the teams drafting in the top four are exploring their trade options. That could mean other teams are trying to trade ahead of Washington, or the Redskins aren?t overly impressed with the prospects of Bradford leading their franchise. Of course, it could also mean they?re just doing their jobs, fielding calls and doing nothing noteworthy whatsoever.

5. Kansas City Chiefs
2009 record: 4-12
The pick: Oklahoma State tackle Russell Okung
Previous mock draft pick: Tennessee safety Eric Berry
Analysis: If the 6-foot-8 Okung is available, this should be a no-brainer for the Chiefs, whose offensive line fell under the ?offensive? cliche last season. In fact, since Kansas City?s O-line was so porous, it?s worth wondering if Okung would be the guy at the top of its draft board.

6. Seattle Seahawks
2009 record: 5-11
The pick: Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen
Previous mock draft pick: Same
Analysis: If the Seahawks want Clausen, they?ve got to act here and can?t wait until their next turn at No. 14. They?re also in a great position, since they don?t need to rush Clausen into a starting role and can let him tutor under Matt Hasselbeck. Heck, even if Hasselbeck goes down, the Seahawks can continue rolling with Seneca Wallace in backup duty if they really, really want to protect Clausen.

7. Cleveland Browns
2009 record: 5-11
The pick: Florida cornerback Joe Haden
Previous mock draft pick: Same
Analysis: Haden is the best cornerback in the draft, and he?ll make someone really happy when they draft him. In fact, it would be hard to fault any team in the top six for drafting the Gator.

8. Oakland Raiders
2009 record: 5-11
The pick: Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant
Previous mock draft pick: Same
Analysis: Rather than trying to get into the head of Oakland owner Al Davis, let?s just go with the flashiest prospect available in Bryant, who draws a lot of comparisons to San Francisco wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

9. Buffalo Bills
2009 record: 6-10
The pick: Rutgers left tackle Anthony Davis
Previous mock draft pick: Same
Analysis: About one week from now, we?ll have a better idea of who is considered the No. 2 offensive lineman in the draft, but for now, it appears as though Davis holds that perch. If the Bills don?t land Bradford or Clausen, they?ll have no choice but to bolster their line, which was every synonym of ?awful? you could find.

*10. Denver Broncos (from Chicago Bears)
2009 record: 8-8
The pick: Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams
Previous mock draft pick: Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan
Analysis: As we get deeper into the mock draft process, we?re starting to read more about Morgan as an outside linebacker than a defensive end, so he might not be as good of a fit for the Broncos, who need help on the line. With that, Denver head coach Josh McDaniels will be happy to add a defensive tackle. But UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price is starting to gain some momentum toward the top of the board, too.

*11. Jacksonville Jaguars
2009 record: 7-9
The pick: Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan
Previous mock draft pick: Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain
Analysis: The Jags will probably take the best defensive player on the board, regardless of position. Morgan is a guy who can spice up the Jags? backfield pressure, which got nothing from their outside rushers.

12. Miami Dolphins
2009 record: 7-9
The pick: Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain
Previous mock draft pick: Clemson outside linebacker Ricky Sapp
Analysis: Sapp is dropping down draft boards, but he could re-establish himself at the combine by proving his knee is in able shape. The Dolphins figure to take the best player available at one of two positions — defensive tackle or linebacker. McClain is a hot name in Miami.

13. San Francisco 49ers
2009: 8-8
The pick: South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul
Previous mock draft pick: Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap
Analysis: Pierre-Paul is an interesting prospect. He played at two junior colleges before getting his shot at South Florida, where he was dominant as a junior. But The Killer P?s only has one year of service at the major college level, which has created some skepticism. Still, draft analysts seem to think Pierre-Paul deserves a higher grade than Dunlap, and that?s the reason for this switch.

14. Seattle Seahawks (From Denver Broncos)
2009 record: 5-11
The pick: USC defensive end Everson Griffen
Previous mock draft pick: Same
Analysis: This is probably going to be a defensive end or an offensive lineman, but unless someone seriously emerges from the pack at this point in the draft, it?s easy to see new head coach Pete Carroll grabbing his former USC star.

15. New York Giants
2009 record: 8-8
The pick: UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price
Previous mock draft pick: Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams
Analysis: With Williams now off the board, the Giants can go after Price, who is projected to have the tools to play at any location along the line. The Giants value that type of versatility.

*16. Tennessee Titans
2009 record: 8-8
The pick: Texas outside linebacker/defensive end Sergio Kindle
Previous mock draft pick: South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul
Analysis: Similar to the Patriots, the Titans appear as though they?re in a position to add the best pass rusher available. Kindle has been gaining steam in the last couple of weeks.

*17. San Francisco 49ers (From Carolina Panthers)
2009 record: 8-8
The pick: Iowa tackle Bryan Bulaga
Previous mock draft pick: Same
Analysis: This should remain as the Niners? plan: Solidify the outside of each line. By adding Pierre-Paul and Bulaga, they?ll do just that.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers
2009 record: 9-7
The pick: Oklahoma tackle Trent Williams
Previous mock draft pick: Same
Analysis: The Steelers might want to add some insurance for safety Troy Polamalu since they were so ordinary without him, but the main concern at this point should be the protection of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

*19. Atlanta Falcons
2009 record: 9-7
The pick: Clemson outside linebacker Ricky Sapp
Previous mock draft pick: Texas outside linebacker/defensive end Sergio Kindle
Analysis: It?s fairly amazing the Falcons won nine games with a pretty bland defense, and they?ve got to add someone who can cause some havoc in the offensive backfield.

*20. Houston Texans
2009 record: 9-7
The pick: Texas defensive back Earl Thomas
Previous mock draft pick: Same
Analysis: It sounds like Thomas has more potential as a safety than a cornerback, but the Texans need help at both positions. Thomas would add a more explosive dimension to the Houston defense, but if the Texans are looking for a more traditional cornerback, they?ll likely look elsewhere.

21. Cincinnati Bengals
2009 record: 10-6
The pick: Idaho guard Mike Iupati
Previous mock draft pick: Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham
Analysis: The Bengals will need a rock at guard, whether or not Bobbie Williams returns next season. It also looks like this might be too high for Gresham unless he has an astronomical performance at the combine. Plus, there are a handful of good tight ends who will be available when the Bengals pick next at No. 54.

22. New England Patriots

2009 record: 10-6
The pick: Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap
Previous mock draft pick: Florida middle linebacker Brandon Spikes
Analysis: The Pats need an edge rusher more than they need a middle linebacker, and Dunlap is considered a better prospect than Spikes. Dunlap does have some character issues, though, so his interviews at the combine will really dictate his draft status.

23. Green Bay Packers

2009 record: 11-5
The pick: Michigan defensive end/outside linebacker Brandon Graham
Previous mock draft pick: Same
Analysis:
The Packers are yet another team that can take advantage of the deep crop of edge rushers in this draft.

24. Philadelphia Eagles
2009 record: 11-5
The pick: Clemson running back C.J. Spiller
Previous mock draft pick: USC safety Taylor Mays
Analysis: Mays could still be an option here, but with this week?s release of running back Brian Westbrook, the Eagles would probably jump at the chance to take Spiller. However, LeSean McCoy and Leonard Weaver combined for 960 rushing yards and six touchdowns last season, so the Eagles might wait to take a running back later.

25. Baltimore Ravens
2009 record: 9-7
The pick: USC safety Taylor Mays
Previous mock draft pick: Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate
Analysis: The crop of receivers after Dez White is a little too murky at this point, and Mays would be a good addition as the Ravens begin to think about life after Ed Reed, who has battled injuries and could soon retire.

26. Arizona Cardinals
2009 record: 10-6
The pick: Florida middle linebacker Brandon Spikes
Previous mock draft pick: Maryland tackle Bruce Campbell
Analysis: Linebacker Karlos Dansby will likely play somewhere else next season, and Spikes would be a great replacement. So much so, in fact, that some analysts have compared Spikes to Dansby.

27. Dallas Cowboys

2009 record: 11-5
The pick: Maryland tackle Bruce Campbell
Previous mock draft pick: Penn State outside linebacker Navorro Bowman
Analysis: Campbell?s stock is beginning to soar, and if he has a good combine, he might be off the board at this point. Either way, any step toward the direction of ridding yourselves of Flozell Adams is a good step.

28. San Diego Chargers
2009 record: 13-3
The pick: Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews
Previous mock draft pick: Clemson running back C.J. Spiller
Analysis: Curious to see if the Chargers take the Redskins? old approach of trading their best cornerback for a feature running back. If not, they?ll probably take a shot at Mathews, whose talent should really exceed any back they could get at No. 60.

29. New York Jets
2009 record: 9-7
The pick: Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson
Previous mock draft pick: Wide receiver Brandon LaFell
Analysis: The Jets need to build a little more depth at cornerback, outside linebacker and wide receiver, and Wilson might be the best prospect on the board among those positions at this point in the draft.

30. Minnesota Vikings
2009 record: 12-4
The pick: Texas quarterback Colt McCoy
Previous mock draft pick: Same
Analysis: With or without Brett Favre, the Vikings figure to contend for a playoff spot next season, and that will take them out of the running for one of the elite quarterbacks of the 2011 draft class. That?s why McCoy would be a great option at this point.

31. Indianapolis Colts
2009 record: 14-2
The pick: USC tackle Charles Brown
Previous mock draft pick: Idaho guard Mike Iupati
Analysis: We know Colts president Bill Polian wants to improve the offensive line, which he verbally slapped after the Super Bowl. Let?s see if Brown is good enough to limit Peyton Manning?s fourth-quarter interceptions and stop Pierre Garcon from dropping key passes.

32. New Orleans Saints
2009 record: 13-3
The pick: Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick
Previous mock draft pick: UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price
Analysis: Odrick is said to be versatile enough to play along the whole defensive line, and that would make him an attractive target for the Saints, who just need to add depth to their impressive front four.

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