BlueDuckSport’s annual mock draft is here. In a draft billed as “one of the deepest in years,” every team in the NFL has hope that this year could be theirs. Of course we know that’s not true, but let’s look how at how the BlueDuck thinks it’ll play out (in a no-trade environment of course):
- Sam Bradford – QB – StL
St. Louis has more problems than every team in the NFL, including Oakland. No offensive line, questionable receivers, a sieve for a defense, and ownership in flux. This team needs a “face of the franchise” type player, and Bradford is the safe pick. He’s accurate and has no character issues. If he’s lucky, he sits Year 1 and learns while the team develops an O-Line.
- Ndamukong Suh – DT – Det
There’s debate over whether they should trade down or even allow this once-in-a-generation DT go and choose an offensive tackle to protect Mathew Stafford. Barring a pre-draft trade for Albert Haynesworth, Jim Schwartz should take Suh to clog the middle and press the QB.
- Gerald McCoy – DT – TB
Since Warren Sapp left before the ’04 season, DT has been a problem. The Bucs were able to patch the hole for a few years before the bottom fell out on this unit in 2009. The Tampa-2 depends on creating pressure up the middle, forcing the QB to rush and allowing the defensive backfield to make a play on the ball. That’s why McCoy is the pick at three.
- Trent Williams – OT – Washington
Russell Okung may be the better player, but this is a system pick. Everyone knows Shanahan will implement his legendary zone-blocking scheme, so getting a cornerstone left tackle that fits the system is especially important for the coach whose bread and butter is plugging in average players at RB and letting his scheme create stars. Williams is a start in getting the ball rolling.
- Russell Okung – OT – KC
Belichick deciple Scott Pioli hasn’t tipped his hand at all this off-season, but you’d have to think that if Okung is available, there’s no other choice. Sure, Eric Berry looks like a phenom, but you can’t expect to win many games if you can’t keep the QB upright. Choosing Okung here allows you to have bookend tackles locked up for the next decade (Branden Albert goes to RT). Then, Kansas City can finally see what they have in Matt Cassell in Charlie Weis’ offense.
- Bryan Bulaga – OT – Sea
The team needs to fill the massive shoes of HOF tackle Walter Jones, who looks doubtful to resume his career. There are certainly mixed reviews of Bulaga, some scouts rate him in the third round because he has “short arms”. Nevertheless, I say Seattle gambles on Bulaga who, in a worst case scenario, would the most dominant Seahawks guard since Steve Hutchinson left.
- Eric Berry – S – Cle
With newly added Sheldon Brown added to Eric Wright, the top corners are above average for this rebuilding team. In a conference with game-changing safeties like Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu, Cleveland will run to the podium to submit this pick. Berry is unquestioned best secondary player in this draft and would go a long ways to helping remake the defense.
- Anthony Davis – OT – Oak
Roll a dice with the name of players with questionable work ethics on it, because they are the Raiders cup of tea. The only question is which future bust will Al Davis saddle his team with this year? Every team wants their left tackle to be looking out for the quarterback, and with a history of weight fluctuations, Anthony Davis is the perfect BFF for JaMarcus Russell. That’s not necessarily a good thing.
- Jimmy Clausen – QB – Buf
Buffalo can go in a number of directions here since they have so many problems. Many in the NFL feel that the current regime in place is just a Band-Aid until Ralph Wilson can lure a big name coach to take over, which is why I’m skeptical about whether they’d really choose a potential franchise QB this year. Yet, I think the lure of grabbing the Golden Domer to sell some jerseys is the motivation here.
- Rolondo McClain – MLB – Jax
The Jags have needs at LB, DB, and O-line, any of which could be addressed here. There are rumors that they love C.J. Spiller, but that should just be a smokescreen with MJD already on the team. Jacksonville isn’t good enough to have the luxury of using first round picks on a second runner. With play-calling experience in a pro-style defense at Alabama, McClain is the steady player they need to plug the hole in the middle of the defense.