Despite some early speculation in the day that the Redskins and Browns were interested in moving up to the number one spot, the Rams stand pat and draft the type of franchise quarterback they passed on the past two seasons. Bradford is uncannily accurate and the only question surrounding him at this point is his health. Clearly the Rams feel as if that question has been answered.
The Lions draft the most dominant defensive player in college football in years. Suh combines rare strength with outstanding technique and was ranked as the best available player in the 2010 draft by the vast majority of NFL teams. The Lions should take another big step under head coach Jim Schwartz with Suh, who will start from day one in Detroit.
If the Bucs had the number one pick in this draft, they would have drafted McCoy because his penetrating style of play is tailor made for the Tampa 2 defense. McCoy is the Warren Sapp-type of disruptor that Tampa has been yearning for ever since Sapp went to Oakland.
The late talk that the Redskins would draft Eric Berry was just a smokescreen as Washington gets the left tackle it needs to replace Chris Samuels in Williams. He has the best feet of any offensive lineman in this year's draft class and that quickness will allow him to make the backside cutoff block that is so critical to the success of Mike Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme.
The Chiefs ignore the talk about not taking a safety this high and draft the best player on their board in Berry. He is fantastic against both the run and the pass and will be a playmaker as a rookie for the Chiefs in 2010. The Chiefs are hoping they just got their version of Troy Polamalu or Ed Reed, and they just may have.
Seattle is thrilled that the offensive tackle most consider to be the best in this draft falls to them unexpectedly. With Walter Jones' retirement thought to be pending, the Seahawks needed to take a blind-side pass protector who could keep either Matt Hasselbeck or Charlie Whitehurst clean. Pete Carroll's first NFL draft choice in a long time is a solid one and takes some of the pressure off his next pick at No. 14.
The Browns wanted a corner in this draft in the worst way and they elect to choose the SEC battle-tested Haden over Boise State corner Kyle Wilson. Haden's bad 40-time at the combine meant nothing to the Browns brass, which saw all it needed watching him start ever since his true freshman year for the Florida Gators. It would be a surprise if Haden doesn't earn the starting spot opposite Eric Wright in the season opener.
The Raiders go against all of the mock drafts and take the top linebacker in this year's draft. McClain is a prototype middle linebacker who is NFL-ready having played under the tutelage of former NFL coach Nick Saban the past three years. McClain is a student of the game who provides a lot of pop in the running game and will likely beat out Kirk Morrison during training camp.
Despite already having Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch on the roster, the Bills draft the best playmaker in this year's class. Spiller gives the Bills the home run hitter they have been lacking and allows them to likely trade Lynch for a pick later in the draft.
The first real schocker of the draft comes with the Jags' pick of Alualu, a projected three-technique defensive tackle who was not anticipated to go until late in the first round at the earliest. Alualu is relentless and great with his hands, but unexpectedly picking him this high will open Gene Smith and the Jacksonville front office to a boatload of criticism if Alualu does not produce right away.
The Niners gave up their fourth-round pick to the Broncos to move up two spots and select Davis, the physically gifted tackle from Rutgers who steps into the void San Francisco has at the right tackle spot. The book on Davis is he plays to the level of competition and the 49ers are betting he will play well every week in the NFL, where all the defensive ends are good. It will be interesting to hear their explanation for leaping over the Miami Dolphins at No. 12 given that the Fins were not likely to take an offensive tackle.
The Chargers, needing to replace LaDainian Tomlinson, coveted Mathews so badly they traded both a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick in order to move up and take the best inside runner available. Mathews will team with Philip Rivers and the Chargers stable of receivers to keep the Bolts offense near the top of the league. His balance and vision should allow the Chargers to be less predictable offensively under Norv Turner.
The Eagles trade up in order to take the former Michigan pass rusher who completely dominated the competition at the Senior Bowl. Graham is extremely powerful and athletic which enables him to overcome his lack of height and short arms. The Eagles have been searching for years for a pass-rusher to team with Trent Cole and clearly they felt Graham was their guy, otherwise they would not have given up two third-round choices in order to secure his rights.
The Seahawks' good fortune continues as they get a day one playmaking safety in Thomas. His instincts and coverage skills are his strengths and the reason why some NFL personnel actually liked him more than Eric Berry. Thomas's cover skills are so stellar that Seattle could even play him at nickel corner in obvious passing downs, a luxury most teams don't have with their starting safety.
The new NFL necessitates that you can never have enough pass rushers and clearly the Giants adhere to that philosophy by adding Pierre-Paul to their stable that already includes Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka. Pierre-Paul is an athletic freak of nature who was a one-year wonder at South Florida and has boom or bust written all over him. He is also blessed with a non-stop motor that should serve him well. Umenyiora may now be placed firmly on the trade block.
Amidst the speculation the Titans would have taken Pierre-Paul if he was available, they instead have to take the most complete player at their biggest position of need. Morgan is equally effective against both the run and the pass and his relentless pursuit will serve him well under renowned Tennessee defensive line coach Jim Washburn.
The 49ers have a glaring need at cornerback and Boise State's Kyle Wilson is still available, yet they instead pick another offensive lineman in Iupati. Iupati is a powerhouse road grader who should start at left guard right away and plow open holes for Frank Gore. Iupati does have some technique issues, however, that San Francisco will have to work out before the season starts or else the yellow laundry could fly early and often.
The Steelers likewise pass on a need that cornerback Kyle Wilson could have filled in order to select an interior offensive lineman. Pouncey is the premier center in this draft but his real value is his versatility. His balance and footwork could allow him to start at right guard in place of Trai Essex in 2010.
Sean Weatherspoon fills a huge need at outside linebacker for an Atlanta defense that needed to get younger and faster at that position. It would be an upset if he didn't earn the starting spot at the weakside linebacker position. Then he'll team with stud middle linebacker Curtis Lofton to give the Falcons a pair of intelligent, playmaking 'backers they can build their defense around.
Clearly the Texans were higher on Jackson than Boise State CB Kyle Wilson, the guy most people had ranked higher than the Alabama defensive back. Like most Crimson Tide defenders, Jackson is very technically sound and a better athlete than people give him credit. He fills a need the Texans had to fill and now they will likely fill their other need, at running back, in round two.
Tight end was the one position the Bengals simply had to upgrade in this draft and they do it by selecting the clear-cut best player at that position in Gresham. If Gresham had come out a year ago or hadn't torn his ACL this previous season, he would have been a top 10 pick. The fact that the Bengals took Gresham over Dez Bryant speaks volumes about how they feel about the former Oklahoma Sooner.
Denver makes its third trade in the first round in order to move up this time and pick maybe the most athletically gifted wide receiver in this draft. Thomas excelled at Georgia Tech even though it ran the triple option offense, typically not suited for big-time production at the wide receiver position. With the Broncos, he'll try to fill the shoes of the recently traded Brandon Marshall.
Green Bay is ecstatic is is able to draft a player many thought would go in the top 10. Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher can't play forever, and Bulaga will either start on the right side at tackle or slide inside to guard for a year before bumping outside later in his career. A meat and potatoes pick for a meat and a potatoes franchise.
The Dallas Cowboys trade up to get one of the best playmakers in this draft. Bryant's on-field ability has never been questioned, but his off-field issues scared off some teams. Bryant is jubilant he gets to play for his hometown team, but the Cowboys' holes at offensive tackle and safety still remain.
Quite possibly the greatest college football player of alltime gets drafted by a coach, Josh McDaniels, who really believes in him. Tebow goes to Denver after the Broncos make their fourth trade count, giving up a lot to take the most heavily scrutinized player in recent memory. He'll likely sit behind Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn for a year before competing for the job in 2011.
The Arizona Cardinals get a tag-team partner inside for dominant defensive tackle Darnell Dockett as they attempt to improve a defense that let them down in the playoffs last season. Williams is a power player who is stout against the run but athletic enough to be able to push the pocket on passing downs. Arizona gets a value pick at 26; many so-called experts had Williams pegged as a top 12 pick.
After trading down in the first round, the Patriots still fill their need at cornerback with McCourty. He also fits the Patriot mold of providing value in multiple ways as he is considered the premier special teamer in this year's draft. He'll be a core special teamer as a rookie while slowly but surely earning more and more playing time in the defensive backfield.
The Dolphins are pumped up to see the best 3-4 defensive end in this year's draft still on the board after they traded all the way down to 28 from their original draft postion of 12. Odrick should start at the five-technique position for Miami and fit the Bill Parcells' mold of tough, physical defensive ends who are stellar against the run while being able to provide a steady interior pass rush on obvious passing downs.
Rex Ryan is a firm believer that you can never have enough pass rushers and cover guys. The Jets' selection of Wilson gives them the player many NFL people felt was the best pure cover corner in the draft. His fancy feet will enable him to earn playing time as the nickel corner in his native New Jersey right away. Tremendous value for a Jets franchise that has had an incredibly eventful offseason.
The Lions do business in division with the Vikings in order to take the explosive, multi-purpose threat from Cal. Best is undersized and his durability has been rightly questioned. When healthy, he is very similar to C.J. Spiller in terms of his big-play ability as a runner, pass-catcher and returner. He'll split time with Kevin Smith in the Lions backfield and likely be their third-down back immediately.
Hughes is your prototypical speed rusher off the edge that the Colts love in their one-gap penetrating system. He'll rotate as a rookie with both Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, allowing all three to stay both fresh and healthy. Many observers thought the Colts would go offensive line in this spot, but getting another legit pass rusher was too much for Indy to pass up.
The modern NFL is a passing game and as such you can never have enough corners. Robinson is considered the most physically gifted corner in this draft but his inconsistency on tape was maddening. This selection could open the door for an eventual move of last year's first-round pick, Malcolm Jenkins, to safety, especially if the Saints can't re-sign Darren Sharper.
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