Once again, it is that time of the year where while the NFL season is over with, all 32 teams are getting together – this year in prime time, no less – to reload for the 2010-11 season. And this year, like most years, will be difficult to ascertain which teams draft the best during the seven-round affair.
While the 32 war rooms strategize, with some possible pre-draft wheeling and dealing likely to take place, I will stick my ample neck out there and predict the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Without further adieu…
1. St. Louis Rams
Needs: QB, DL, RB
It isn’t every day that the Rams get a chance to grab a possible franchise quarterback with the first pick of the draft. And you can rest assured: Keith Null and Kyle Boller aren’t the answer. While it’s true that the Rams need some D-line help, they need a QB even more. Ndamukong Suh would be the sexy pick here, but the Rams’ offense is sorely lacking.
St. Louis picks: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
2. Detroit Lions
Needs: DL, RB, OT
Imagine this: the Lions actually opened their wallets and spent some bucks on some free agents who wanted to play for Detroit. Having said that, they can now turn their attention to grabbing the best defensive lineman available with the 2nd overall pick. Basically, there are two: Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy. They’ll grab a running back probably in the second round.
Detroit picks: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Needs: DL, CB, OL
The rebuilding project that is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continues, with the emphasis this time around being on the defensive side of the ball. Even with this early pick, I do wonder whether the Bucs can afford to pay him what a #3 usually commands as rumor has it that the team may have money issues. Don’t be surprised if the Bucs trade this pick for multiple picks. But assuming they don’t, I suspect they’ll grab a certain Cornhusker defensive lineman.
Tampa Bay selects: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
4. Washington Redskins
Needs: OL, QB, CB
Now that there’s two new sheriffs in town (new GM Bruce Allen and head coach Mike Shanahan), I think things will change in D.C. for the better as drafting decent players isn’t really their strong suit. They need to replace the retired Chris Samuels and need someone to back up Donovan McNabb at QB. The dilemma here is that they don’t have a pick until the 4th round, and I’m not sure they can find a quality QB with that pick. But then again, the New England Patrioits picked Tom Brady late.
Washington selects: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
5. Kansas City Chiefs
Needs: S, OL, DL
The Chiefs, much like the Buccaneers, are still in rebuilding mode. And it all starts with their defense, especially their secondary. While it’s true they need offensive line help, their secondary is flatlining (codepseak for leaves a lot to be desired). They did well in signing Casey Wiegmann, but Kansas City will need more than just him to stabilize their O-line.
Kansas City selects: Eric Berry, FS, Tennessee
6. Seattle Seahawks
Needs: RB, OL, DL
The Seahawks are in the enviable position of having two first-round picks (#6 and #14) so at the very least, they can address two of their most pressing needs: running back offensive tackle. Who they take first depoends on the immediate future of Walter Jones and to an extent Patrick Kerney. I’m beginning to think that Julius Jones’ shelf life in Seattle is near its expiration date, so I’m tending to believe that a RB is the likely pick with #6.
Seattle selects: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
7. Cleveland Browns
Needs: CB, QB, WR
Things should get interesting in Cleveland now that Mike Holmgren is running things. Well, ok…Tom Heckert, too. Anyways, the Browns have glaring needs on both sides of the ball, but I sense the Browns will focus on the defensive side first. And the secondary seems as likely a spot to begin as anywhere. But on the flip side, the QB duo of Derek Anderson and Brett Ratliff and the RB tandem of Jerome Harrison and Chris Jennings aren’t exactly awe-inspiring. Suffice it to say, Holmgren and Heckert will have their hands full between now and Thursday.
Cleveland selects: Joe Haden, CB, Florida
8. Oakland Raiders
Needs: QB, OL, LB
With the Raiders, you can expect – and usually get – the unexpected. Let’s face it: the social experiment known as The JaMarcus Russell Project was and is an utter failure. And Charlie Frye and J.P. Losman aren’t the answer, either. They need O-line help, too, but quarterback is their most pressing need. I can only hope that the Raiders’ braintrust can put
The Cryptkeeper Al Davis in his coffin for the next three days and for once draft according to need.
Oakland selects: Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
9. Buffalo Bills
Needs: QB, OL, WR
Chan Gailey has his hands full this Thursday in determining who he wants to pick first as the are glaring needs on offense. While they need the key components on offense (quarterback, O-line and wide receiver), one must wonder if the Bills’ war room have a solid draft plan in place. But I think one thing is for certain: Trent Edwards better watch his back. The Bills will draft a QB; the question is when they take one (#9 or #41).
Buffalo selects: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
10. Jacksonville Jaguars
Needs: LB, DL, QB
This will probably be the most trying season for head coach Jack Del Rio as he has needs on both sides of the ball. But defense probably being more so. The Jags signed defensive end Aaron Kampman; hopefully, he can remain healthy and provide the veteran leadership the team sorely needs. It is also a tossup as to whether David Garrard is the long-term solution at QB, so that factors into what Jacksonville does during the draft. they can draft sensibly, or draft according to what the fanbase wants – which in the fanbase’s case is to draft Tim Tebow. If the Jaguars are smart, they’ll pass on Tebow.
Jacksonville selects: Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
11. Denver Broncos
Needs: WR, LB, TE
Jay Cutler’s gone as is Brandon Marshall (Broncos get the last laugh on this one, Miami!). So that means that Kyle Orton needs a wideout to throw the rock to this season, and Eddie Royal, by default, is the #1 WR on their depth chart with Jabar Gaffney right behind him. The Broncos need a run-stuffing linebacker, as well; fortunately, there’s an abundance of quality LBs out there for the choosing (they’ll take one with one of their two second-round picks). And if they’re lucky, they can steal a tight end in the later rounds.
Denver selects: Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
12. Miami Dolphins
Needs: DL, LB, S
If not for the Brandon Marshall trade, wide receiver would top the list of their needs. That aside, they can now shift their attention to defense. They’re certainly hurting at DT, so that seems the logical position to draft with their first-round pick. But they also need LB help, despite signing Karlos Dansby.
Miami selects: Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
13. San Francisco 49ers
Needs: QB, S, LB
The 49ers are lucky as they have two first-round picks that are four spaces apart (#13 and #17). The pressing question is do they take a quarterback at 13 or 17? I think 17 only because their secondary needs immediate help. If they’re lucky, they can get a Bob Sanders-type of safety and luck into getting a decent linebacker in the 2nd round.
San Francisco selects: Taylor Mays, SS, USC
14. Seattle Seahawks
With the running back situation resolved with the selection of C.J. Spiller, I think they’ll turn their attention to the offensive line. Again, who they take will be contingent on what Walter Jones decides to do. But regardless, they should take a O-lineman with this pick.
Seattle selects: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
15. New York Giants
Needs: OL, LB, DL
They certainly have a need at linebacker, despite what the team has claimed. But the offensive line is where they need upgrading, since Eli Manning spent a lot of time on his posterior, as opposed to on his feet. I’m tending to think that they’ll pick an offensive lineman with their first pick, then hope a decent linebacker falls into their lap at #46.
New York Giants select: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
16. Tennessee Titans
Needs: LB, S, QB
Coach Jeff Fisher continues his mancrush of Vince Young, yet I am not convinced that he is the answer at quarterback. Come to think of it, I never thought that he was to begin with. That aside, their real need is on defense, especially at linebacker. Keith Bulluck’s gone and I’m not sold on Gerald McRath and Colin Allred just yet. Getting a safety during Round 3 may be a help to the Titans, as well.
Tennessee selects: Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan
17. San Francisco 49ers
Now is the time where the 49ers go and take the quarterback that will be the understudy to either Alex Smith or Shaun Hill (one of them will get cut). The thing is, the quality of the QB crop isn’t exactly blue chip, in my humble opinion. But the fact remains that they need a QB. And they’ll surpise with the selection of Tony Pike from the University of Cincinnati.
San Francisco selects: Tony Pike
18. Pittsburgh Steelers
Needs: CB, DL, QB
Ziggy Hood was a decent find for the Steelers in 2009, but they could use another defensive lineman; at the same time, they need a cornerback to keep quarterbacks honest. Then there is the Big Ben factor. does Pittsburgh retain faith in Roethlisberger or do they draft a QB for insurance purposes? Only the Rooneys know for sure. But their defense comes first.
Pittsburgh selects: Earl Thomas, CB, Texas
19. Atlanta Falcons
Needs: LB, OL, DL
With their offense in relatively good shape, the Falcons can look for either some outside linebackers or pass-rushing defensive ends. no matter which position they pick first, the depth at both positions ensures that Atlanta will get a quality product. I’m thinking outside linebacker, although that is subject to change in the next 48 hours.
Atlanta selects: Sean Witherspoon, OLB, Missouri
20. Houston Texans
Needs: CB, RB, S
The thing here is that while the Texans need a cornerback since Dunta Robinson’s history, they need a running back as Chris Brown’s best days are behind him. Houston is an offensive team, by nature, so I am inclined to think that they will address their secondary first. They can locate a decent RB at #51.
Houston selects: Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Needs: S, TE, DL
They definitely need an upgrade at safety, yet one can only wonder how dangerous the Bengals could be if they had a Dallas Clark-type tight end for Carson Palmer to throw to. Seems like Cincinnati hasn’t had a quality TE in what seems like forever. If they;re patient, they can get one in the second round. But a safety is a more pressing need at this point.
Cincinnati selects: Morgan Burnett, FS, Geogia Tech
22. New England Patriots
Needs: LB, DL, TE
Since Richard Seymour and Jarvis Green are gone, the Patriots are missing that speedy defensive end that made the team the envy of the NFL for several years. Those days are long gone, so New England will need to restock at those positions. DE seems to be the best pick at #22, although there’s lots of decent LBs to choose from.
New England selects: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
23. Green Bay Packers
Needs: CB, OL, S
As knowledgeable Packer fans already know, the team rarely dabbles in free agency. The big issue here is whether they pick an offensive tackle to counter the aging O-line or get a shutdown cornerback to enhance their secondary. It comes down to the age vs. need problem they are faced with. At #23, I submit that they take a CB.
Green Bay selects: Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
24. Philadelphia Eagles
Needs: RB, OL, DL
Having lost Brian Westbrook, the Eagles will have to rely on LeSean McCoy. I am not convinced that he can pick up where Westbrook left off, which is why I think they need a running back in the first round. They need O-line help, but they need a RB if only to not only provide McCoy competition during training camp, but to also take pressure off quarterback Kevin Kolb.
Philadelphia selects: Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State
25. Baltimore Ravens
Needs: CB, DL, TE
Ed Reed has hinted at retirement, which means the Ravens will need to address the cornerback position. They also need some reinforcement on the defensive line, as well. Age is catching up to Baltimore in terms of their D-line, but they will have to decide whether their secondary needs are secondary to their D-line needs or vice versa.
Baltimore selects: Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
26. Arizona Cardinals
Needs: LB, OL, WR
The Cards took a big hit in losing Antrel Rolle, Karlos Dansby and Anquan Boldin. Replacing Dansby is a big key to the Cards’ future success. At the same time, they will need some O-line help to protect Matt Leinart. This could be one of those coin-flip situations where they could pick either a linebacker or an offensive tackle with their first-round pick; it could go either way.
Arizona selects: Sean Lee, ILB, Penn State
27. Dallas Cowboys
Needs: OL, LB, S
They’ve been rather quiet, as of late; but to ba fair, they’re pretty solid at most positions, especially on defense. But they do need to solidify their offensive line since Flozell Adams’ situation is in limbo. And at some point of time, Keith Brooking will need to be replaced so a linebacker might be the smart pick here.
Dallas selects: Rodger Saffold, OT, Indiana
28. San Diego Chargers
Needs: RB, OL, CB
It seems so surreal knowing that LaDanian is no longer a Charger. Which means that other than Darren Sproles, they need a running back to spell or even surpass Sproles on the depth chart. Getting a offensive tackle will ensure that the RB’s travels downhill will be more comfortable and keep Philip Rivers healthy.
San Diego selects: Jahvid Best, RB, California
29. New York Jets
Needs: LB, DL, OL
The Jets scored a coup in getting a pair former Chargers, Antonio Cromartie and LaDanian Tomlinson. so CB and RB are solid, unless Leon Washington bolts (pun unintended). Assuming everything falls into place, I expect that New York will probably go with linebacke rwoth their first pick as Vernon Gholston has proved to be unreliable. The defensive line will be addressed, but not until the second round.
New York Jets select: Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas
30. Minnesota Vikings
Needs: CB, DL, LB
It’s all about the defense for the Vikings as they’re established but thin in terms of the reserves, especially in the secondary. But they also need defensive line and linebacker help, as well. Any way you slice it, they need reinforcements at the aforemrntioned positions.
Minnesota selects: Brian Price, DT, UCLA
31. Indianapolis Colts
Needs: OL, DL, CB
With the Colts, it is about speed, save for the offensive line. Which is their greatest need in this draft as Peyton Manning apparently cannot rely on Tony Ugoh to protect his blind side. They also need someone to either spell Jeff Saturday at center or better yet provide competition at guard. They also need some defensive line help to clog the running lanes, as well. The Colts lost Marlin Jackson and Tim Jennings to free agency, so the secondary will need to be reinforced. A tough call here between the O-line or the secondary.
Indianapolis selects: Charles Brown, OT, USC
32. New Orleans Saints
Needs: RB, LB, DL
One thing is an immediate need for the Super Bowl champs: they are woefully thin at RB. Reggie Bush isn’t the answer and the status of Pierre Thomas in uncertain as of this posting; also factor in that Mike Bell left the team to sign with the Eagles. They’re thin at linebacker, but thery can address that need with their second round pick.
New Orleans selects: Montario Hardesty, RB, Tennessee