St. Louis finds itself in a similar situation headed into the 2010 Draft. Do the Rams try and fix their QB problems by taking Jimmy Clausen or Sam Bradford? Or do they opt to bulk up on defense? The one bonus St. Louis has over Detroit circa 2009 is that there wasn't a player the caliber of Ndamukong Suh on the board for the Lions.
Suh looks like a once-in-a-generation talent on the defensive line. The predicament the Rams face is deciding if having a dominant player on defense will even matter if the offense can't improve. With very few QB options in free agency this offseason and a pending lockout, St. Louis may not get another chance anytime soon to find its quarterback.
As it stands in FanHouse's initial 2010 Mock Draft, we're expecting Suh to wind up in St. Louis. Read why and check out the rest of our first-round picks below.
Note: * indicates that a coin flip will be used as a tiebreaker to determine final draft order.
- 1. Rams: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
Unless they decide to trade down, the Rams will continue to build a defense for Steve Spagnuolo rather than reach for Marc Bulger's replacement.
-- Matt Snyder
- 2. Lions: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
If Suh's off the board, the Lions will hope Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen have great workouts, so a team in need of a quarterback overpays for Detroit's No. 2 pick. But the Lions need some playmakers on defense, and McCoy's the type of guy that they could build a defensive line around.
-- Chris Burke
- 3. Buccaneers: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
The Bucs would have taken Suh or McCoy had they fallen, but will "settle" for the best safety to come out of college since Ed Reed. Berry is a playmaker and has the talent and intelligence to run the Tampa defense from day one.
-- Knox Bardeen
- 4. Redskins: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
I actually wrote Sam Bradford's name in here at first, then changed my mind. Why? Well, for as much heat as Jason Campbell takes, with the weapons Washington has at wide receiver and tight end, plus Mike Shanahan's commitment to running the ball, Campbell -- assuming the Skins bring him back -- could be in line for a very solid 2010 season. But only if the offensive line isn't a total sieve again.
- 5. Chiefs: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
The nightmare situation where no one took a QB with the first few picks unfolded, and with Okung gone, it comes down to aiming for a top tackle or going defensive. Rolando McClain and Joe Haden seem like a bit of a reach at five and Davis has the raw talents to anchor this line.
-- Will Brinson
- 6. Seahawks: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Bradford's an obvious upside pick, but he's a gamble the Hawks need to take with Matt Hasselbeck clearly not the same signal caller he once was. People can talk about the injury issue all they want, but remember that he was the consensus best QB in last year's class if he'd come out. That makes him a steal here.
- 7. Browns: Joe Haden, CB, Florida
The defense was pretty good last year and Haden should make it even better by locking down one side of the field. The offense needs more help, but there's just not a player on that side of the ball that makes sense right here. Bradford would have been awfully tempting, but Dez Bryant isn't of much use until the quarterback situation gets figured out and following Brady Quinn with Jimmy Clausen wasn't exactly a big hit for Charlie Weis.
-- Josh Alper
- 8. Raiders: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, USF
This time around, Al Davis' obsession with upside and speed and whatnot doesn't burn him. But only because someone in the front office put Super Glue on his wheelchair's parking brake before he could make it to the draft room and demand they pull trigger on Dez Bryant. JPP does have all those factors, though, and he actually fills a need.
- 9. Bills: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
The Bills will be thrilled if this scenario plays out during the actual draft. The quarterback position has been a problem in Buffalo for quite a long time, and the drafting of Clausen would finally give the Bills a young franchise quarterback to build around. He's got the experience (three-year starter) and completion percentage (69 percent last year) that GMs crave.
-- R.J. White
- 10. Jaguars*: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
What Jacksonville needs with this pick is the ability to get a pass rush on opposing quarterbacks. What they don't need is to take Tim Tebow just to fill the stadium. Morgan is the best pass rusher in the draft and is also great against the run. The fact that he can also drop into coverage keeps this talented youngster on the field in multiple situations to show off his skills.
- 11. Broncos (From Bears)*: Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
It's tempting to take Dez Bryant here, but there's always a chance that Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall can work out his differences with Josh McDaniels (again). And besides, McClain is by far and away the best LB in the draft, and there's a chance that he won't be falling this far once the draft gets closer.
- 12. Dolphins: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
The Dolphins would like to add much needed depth at wide receiver and linebacker. When the top linebacker in McClain went off of the board, Miami can focus on the best wide receiver in the draft. Bryant will give the Dolphins a much needed big weapon in the passing game.
- 13. 49ers: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
If Seattle had pulled on an offensive lineman with their first pick, San Fran might feel safe waiting a few picks and letting Williams fall. But at this spot, there's too much risk that the road grader might drop of the board before they pick again.
- 14. Seahawks (From Broncos): CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson
Of course, Pete Carroll's running the show in Seattle, so more important than an offensive lineman might be landing the "next Reggie Bush," who you have to think Carroll believes has been mismanaged. (And it's probably worth noting that he might actually be the next Chris Johnson.)
- 15. Giants: Brian Price, DT, UCLA
The Giants need help all over the defense, including the middle of the defensive line. Price can fill that need and his seven sacks as a junior give hope that he can help revitalize a pass rushing attack that was wildly overrated last season.
- 16. Titans*: Everson Griffen, DE, USC
For the first time in years defense seems like a bigger concern for the Titans than offense. Seeing Price go one spot ahead hurts, as Tennessee could use more help on the front four and Price seems a better fit than Griffen. This may seem like a reach now, but I'm thinking that a strong combine performance will have Griffen climbing the draft rankings.
-- J.J. Cooper
- 17. 49ers (From Panthers)*: Earl Thomas, S, Texas
Having already picked up the offensive line help that they needed, the 49ers could draft Carlos Dunlap here and laugh at the Panthers as he turned out to be obviously better than Everette Brown. Or they could pick up the third best defensive back in the draft at a pretty cushy spot. Which they will.
- 18. Steelers: Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
This might be a good spot for a trade-down if Thomas is swiped by San Francisco as Pittsburgh has plenty of needs but very few places where it needs an immediate starter. But if the Steelers stay here, Iuptai is the best fit. He could play tackle if needed, but for now he could give the Steelers the physical presence at guard that has been lacking since Alan Faneca left in free agency.
- 19. Falcons*: Sergio Kindle, OLB/DE, Texas
The Falcons need real help in the secondary, but the available talent at the cornerback position are all under 6-feet tall, something the Falcons have enough of. Kindle is extremely athletic and powerful and can do a lot of learning from Mike Peterson as his career moves towards completion.
- 20. Texans*: Taylor Mays, FS, USC
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak says that he wants his team to be more physical. Hard to pass on Mays (pictured with Pete Carroll) given that he may be this draft's Brian Cushing. Cushing was last year's heavily-scrutinized, hard-hitting, athletically-freakish USC senior, and he ended up being Defensive Rookie of the Year. With Berry and Thomas off the board, the Texans hope that Mays isn't the coverage liability that some fear.
-- Stephanie Stradley
- 21. Bengals: Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida
This is great value for the Bengals, and Cincinnati's not a franchise that exactly shies away from players with troubled histories. Dunlap has to prove himself a bit in pre-draft workouts, but if he does, the Bengals will gladly take him here.
- 22. Patriots: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
This area of the draft screams trade down for the Patriots, because someone will be in love with a dropping player. If they make the pick, they'll have to think about replacing the sure to depart Vince Wilfork and Williams fits the bill better than anyone else on the board. He's a strong space-eater who should clog rushing lanes to make playoff embarrassments like Ray Rice handed out a lot less likely.
- 23. Packers: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
The Packers would be stupid to keep relying on veterans Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher up front. Bulaga could start immediately at right tackle if they choose not to re-sign Tauscher. If Bulaga is off the board, don't be surprised to see Green Bay look for an upgrade at safety, where the depth is thin and the starting talent not consistently reliable.
-- Bruce Ciskie
- 24. Eagles: Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
After years of using high picks on the cornerback position, the well is getting dry, and it's time to restock the cupboard at cornerback. Robinson had six interceptions in his sophomore year but just one in the next two years, so consistency may be a problem. But if the Eagles are to have any hope keeping up with the elite passing attacks of the NFC, they'll need to improve depth and talent in the secondary.
- 25. Ravens: Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
With retired/unretired Derrick Mason near or at the end of his NFL career, the Ravens must get quarterback Joe Flacco some weapons. Enter Tate, the explosive Golden Domer that combined for 25 touchdowns and over 2,500 yards in his last two seasons in South Bend. A defense that has to account for Ray Rice and Golden Tate at all times is a very worried defense indeed.
- 26. Cardinals: Ricky Sapp, OLB/DE, Clemson
Maybe they bring in Joey Porter or Julius Peppers, but until then, the Cardinals really need to generate an outside pass rush. Sapp represents a player with enough athleticism to come off the edge from outside linebacker in a 3-4 or get down in a three-point stance as a DE if need be. He's a poor-man's Brian Orakpo or DeMarcus Ware and will plug one of the many holes the Cardinals are facing.
- 27. Cowboys: Jared Odrick, DT/DE, Penn St.
This pick would likely hinge on Marcus Spears departing Dallas, and if he does, Odrick could fill his spot. The Cowboys could also look at bringing in secondary help, but the value just isn't there at pick no. 27.
- 28. Chargers: Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech
Last year, there was tons of talk that the Bolts would nab a first round back that could take the place of the fading LaDainian Tomlinson. But there's no more "one more year" stuff now -- Tomlinson's admitted he's basically gone and Darren Sproles simply isn't a feature back. That means this pick comes down to Dwyer, Ryan Mathews, LaGarrette Blount and Javhid Best. Dwyer seems more like the type of back that could compliment Sproles (provided he stays), although if Best blows up at the combine or CJ Spiller slips, that could all change.
- 29. Jets: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
Two things about the Jets secondary became clear during the postseason: You can't throw at Darrelle Revis and you can throw at anybody else. Wilson, who starred in the Fiesta and Senior Bowls, is the first step toward correcting that problem. An edge pass rusher is the other necessary step, but there isn't one here that's a great fit for the Jets' scheme.
- 30. Vikings: Dominique Franks, CB, Oklahoma
Cedric Griffin's blown knee made a big need even more pressing. Antoine Winfield is older than you would like for a cornerback, so it's time to start grooming his successor.
- 31. Colts: Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, Florida
Helps to solidify the middle of the offensive line alongside stalwart Jeff Saturday. Pouncey won't miss a beat in pass protection and improves the Colts' run blocking, which is key (they were last in the league in rushing yards per game in 2009).
- 32. Saints: Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri
Weatherspoon has the total package of both size and speed and his quick burst ability will allow him to fill gaps against the run or rush the quarterback.