There's plenty of reasons I haven't written here in a few weeks, but since none of those reasons are interesting at all, I'll just say I'll be writing again more frequently, and with the first round of the NFL draft later tonight, here's my best guess at how it'll all play out. Commentary for the first 15 picks, and by then you should be sick of reading me so I'll just make the picks from 16-32 and spare you the commentary.
1. St. Louis - Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
After passing on Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez over the last two seasons, there's simply no way the Rams are passing on another potential franchise QB, regardless of how good those two defensive tackles are.
2. Detroit - Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
I understand why people think Detroit needs a franchise LT to help protect Stafford, but Suh is simply too good to pass up. He's a game changing DT with the potential to be the best all-around DT in football in a few years. As a Vikings fan, I don't look forward to watching this guy wreck havoc in the division for the next decade and a half.
3. Tampa Bay - Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
McCoy would have been the best defensive prospect in almost any draft over the last five years, but thanks to the presence of Suh and a franchise QB the Bucs get a gift with this kid falling to number three overall. He's got the potential to be better than Suh, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if McCoy becomes a star earlier than Suh. He's that good.
4. Washington - Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
Russel Okung has been the consensus top tackle in the draft for quite some time, but Williams has been gaining a lot of momentum lately. Williams is apparently a better fit for Mike Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme because he's a better athlete than Okung. I think the Redskins would prefer to trade down, but I don't see anyone being interested enough to make a move.
5. Kansas City - Russel Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
The Chiefs reportedly would love to move down from this spot to a team looking to draft Eric Berry or Jimmy Clausen, but I think they'll ultimately be forced to keep the pick and if they do I think they'll take the best available tackle. Branden Albert has been very good but with Okung they'd be able to leave Albert on the right side and they'd have one of the best tackle combinations in football for years to come.
6. Seattle Seahawks - Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
There's no reason Eric Berry shouldn't be in the top six picks, but with Seattle having a huge need on their offensive line they need to take the best available tackle here. Bulaga isn't quite in the same tier as the two prior tackles, but he should be a very good left tackle or an elite right tackle fairly early in his career.
7. Cleveland Browns - Eric Berry, SS, Tennessee
The Browns would love to have arguably the most talented player in the draft fall to them at 7, and I don't think they'd have to think twice to pull the trigger here. With so many draft picks and even more needs, they can worry about who fits where later, for now they need to focus on taking the best player available.
*Trade: Oakland trades #8 overall and their 2011 3rd round draft pick to Pittsburgh for QB Ben Roethlisberger*
Oakland has the worst QB situation in the league, Al Davis will do anything to get in the headlines, and from a football standpoint this trade would make a lot of sense. I don't know if it will happen, obviously, but it seems like it has at least a good possibility of occurring.
8. Pittsburgh - Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
Clausen is considered by most scouts to be the most NFL-ready QB in the draft, and if Pittsburgh decides to move on from Big Ben they would undoubtedly be targeting Clausen with the pick they receive. Clausen could potentially start from day 1, something we know Big Ben won't be doing, and if Clausen needs more time Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch can try to keep the Steelers afloat.
9. Buffalo - Dan Williams, NT, Tennessee
I think this is way too early for Williams, but rumors persist the Bills are looking hard at Williams at #9 because of the lack of any kind of decent nose tackle for the 3-4 defense. The Bills could also look at Anthony Davis but rumors are he had poor interviews and the Bills have soured on him. With Clausen gone, Williams fills the teams biggest need and at least has the potential to be a very good nose tackle.
*Trade: Jacksonville trades #10 to New York Giants for #15, #76 and #147*
The Giants are in dire need of improving their linebackers and tackling on a defense that was a big disappointment last year, and if they wait until #15, they likely won't be able to land the linebacker they seem to be targeting. The Jaguars would love to move down here, and would be ecstatic to see the Giants willing to move up.
10. New York Giants - Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
McClain would give the Giants a young, dynamic middle linebacker to help anchor their defense for years to come. Giving up a third and fifth round pick to get into position to take a player they seem to really like shouldn't be a big deal to the Giants decision makers.
11. Denver - Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho
Center Maurkice Pouncey seems to be a popular choice here, or with the Broncos trading down, but with Iupati gaining a lot of pre-draft steam I would be pretty surprised if the Broncos passed on him here. He's got the potential to possibly move to the outside if needed, but otherwise should become an elite guard for years to come.
*Trade: Miami trades #12 to Philadelphia for #24, #37 and #200*
With the Eagles reportedly in love with Earl Thomas and the 49ers lurking at 13, the Eagles realize they need to get up to 12 to be sure they land the player they love. With a lot of picks in the first three rounds, Philly can afford to make this kind of deal. The Dolphins appear to be targeting McClain or Dan Williams, and with both off the board I think Parcells would love to move down.
12. Philadelphia - Earl Thomas, FS, Texas
Thomas has the speed and play-making ability to be an elite safety, and if he continues to work as hard in the NFL as he did in college he should be a very good player. His size is a bit of a concern, as injuries may become a problem, but his combination of speed and hands makes him a rare safety in this draft class.
13. San Francisco - Joe Haden, CB, Florida
Haden fills one of the 49ers biggest needs, is arguably the top player left on the board, and was seen as a potential top 7 pick before his disappointing 40 time and average workouts. Haden is one of my favorite players in this draft after a great career at Florida, and looks like a steal at #13.
14. Seattle - C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
The Seahawks appear to be targeting Spiller with this pick, and it's possible they'll move up to the 10-12 range to make sure they land him. They would be pumped if Spiller just falls into their laps at 14, as they'd have filled arguably their two biggest needs with very very good prospects at each position.
15. Jacksonville - Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
Definitely the biggest surprise of the first round. With the top two DE prospects on the board still as well as Kyle Wilson, it would be shocking to see the Jags take Tebow here. It's possible the Jags would be able to trade down again if they can find a team that covets Wilson or a DE enough, but ultimately I think the Jags will stay put and be sure to land Tebow here.
16. Tennessee - Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
17. San Francisco - Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
18. Pittsburgh - Maurkice Pouncey, C/OG, Florida
19. Atlanta - Jason Pierre Paul, DE, South Florida
20. Houston - Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
21. Cincinnati - Taylor Mays, S, USC
22. New England - Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
23. Green Bay - Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
24. Miami - Jerry Hughes, OLB/DE, TCU
25. Baltimore - Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State
26. Arizona - Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri
27. Dallas - Nate Allen, FS, South Florida
28. San Diego - Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State
29. New York Jets - Sergio Kindle, DE/OLB, Texas
30. Minnesota - Brian Price, DT, UCLA
31. Indianapolis - Roger Saffold, OT, Indiana
32. New Orleans - Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
I'll be back Friday with some random thoughts and a look back at how many picks I got wrong.
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