Monday, January 11, 2010

Pucci's NFL Mock Draft, Version 1.0: Picks 1-10

Please welcome Senior NFL Draft analyst Michael Pucci, who brings us the first of a continuing series of posts previewing the 2010 NFL draft class. In his first mock, Pucci tells us who the top ten teams will select.

1. St. Louis Rams – Jimmy Clausen, QB
While Ndamukong Suh is a great talent, the St Louis Rams have strayed far from their days of the greatest show on turf. The first overall pick has become a very large investment in recent years combine that with Marc Bulger’s poor play and this choice becomes easier than it may seem. A new quarterback will spark some life into the fan base and hopefully this young football team, and the Rams need a quarterback with a big arm to stretch the field and open up holes for the ever courageous Steven Jackson. Clausen has a big arm and has played in Charlie Weis’s pro system at Notre Dame, many scouts consider him the most pro ready quarterback prospect in this year’s draft and that’s exactly what this team needs. The Rams only scored 17 touchdowns last season, forcing the hand of management to bring in the quarterback of the future.

2. Detroit Lions – Ndamukong Suh, DL
Quietly the Hello Kitty’s of the NFL have put together a potentially potent young offense. With last years first overall pick Mathew Stafford and reliable targets in Brandon Pettigrew, Kevin Smith and the always dangerous destroyer of worlds Calvin “Megatron” Johnson the Lion’s front brass can look away from the offensive side of the ball with this pick and take the most disruptive defensive player in this year’s draft class in the form of Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh. While some may say left tackle is a glaring need for the Lion’s they seem to be confident in Jeff Backus protecting Stafford’s blind side, and there aren’t any enticing wide receiver prospects so this becomes a no brainer for the Lions as this boy named Suh will make an immediate impact on a defense that ranked last in the NFL.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Eric Berry, S
Last year the Bucs' defense was porous at best, ranking last in run defense, so Gerald McCoy is also a possibility here but Raheem Morris is their head coach. He is a former defensive backs coach, so do you really think he’ll pass on his very own Ed Reed? I don’t think so. Berry is projected to have 4.3 speed to go along with great instincts and some sticky hands, not to mention he can lay some lumber. Look for Berry to contribute immediately at both safety and cornerback as a rookie.

4. Washington Redskins – Russell Okung, OT
This pick will tell us a lot about what’s going on in Washington. Dan Snyder has been a pesky owner but has also shown that he wants to win which is a plus. If Snyder has completely handed over personnel decisions to Bruce Allen, the Skins’ first GM in 11 years, then no doubt about it Okung is the pick here. If Mike Shanahan wants to be successful implementing his zone blocking scheme the offensive line of the Skins’ must be addressed early and often in this years draft. Okung has size, speed, and good footwork at 6’5 305. Okung projects as the starting left tackle replacing veteran Chris Samuels. Okung will be Coach Shanahans choice, and the Ram’s will make this decision easier by taking the best quarterback prospect off the board in Jimmy Clausen. Russel Okung is the obvious choice over Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford.

5. Kansas City Chiefs – Taylor Mays, S
The Chiefs were hoping Okung would still be available here; offensive line is their most glaring need as they struggled to protect their 60 million dollar investment last season, quarterback Matt Cassel. Branden Albert would have also benefited from a move back to his natural guard position. As a result look for the Chiefs to try trading down a couple of picks in the 1st round to snag the likes of Rutgers Anthony Davis or Maryland’s Bruce Campbell. None the less, Mays is a worthy consolation prize, when head coach Todd Haley was a member of the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff he was around physical prototype safety Adrian Wilson who has a very similar stature and playing style as USC’s Taylor Mays. At 6’3 and about 230 pounds Mays runs a 4.4 40 yard dash and will sparkle at the NFL Combine and his Pro-day causing his stock to increase dramatically leading up to this years draft.

6. Seattle Seahawks – Sam Bradford, QB
Pete Carroll is leaving USC at the right time, and just so happens he’s ending up in the right place. The NFC West is weak, and if Kurt Warner retires the division will be up for grabs. Usually new regimes mean new quarterbacks. Bradford is a smart play caller with a quick release but will need to learn how to read and react to defenses at the line of scrimmage to succeed in the NFL. The Seahawks will be wise to retain veteran Matt Hasselbeck who has one year remaining on his current contract for about 5.75 million, he may very well be he highest paid teacher in America next year. While Bradford's Oklahoma teammate Gerald McCoy is the best player available the Hawks’ will not pass up on their next franchise quarterback.

7. Oakland Raiders – Carlos Dunlap, DE
No doubt about it, Jemarcus Russell will be a casualty of the upcoming uncapped season. This being so undead AL is going to want a new signal caller, but the crypt keeper missed out on both Jimmy Clausen and Sam Bradford, He’s obviously having a temper tantrum in his war room at this point. Now we all know how irrational Mr. Davis can be, especially when he doesn’t get his way so this pick shouldn’t come as a surprise. Gerald McCoy should be the obvious pick here and Maryland’s Bruce Campbell is also a possibility but this isn’t an organization that makes good decisions. Because undead AL doesn’t have character concerns when building his minion army he will be bedazzled by Dunlap’s physical tools and he’ll be giddy with delight when his scouts tell him that Carlos Dunlap could be his very own version of Mario Williams. Of course they found this information by reading sports blogs and internet scouting reports.

8. Cleveland Browns – Gerald McCoy, DL
In Mike Holmgren's first draft he gets a gift in the form of disruptive defensive lineman Gerald McCoy. Oklahoma’s star lineman at 6’4 296 pounds is very versatile and can play DE in the browns current 3-4 alignment or DT in a traditional 4-3. With both quarterbacks off the board Holmgren is able to take the best player available and McCoy will help a unit that was 28th in the league against the run a year ago. McCoy is a natural leader and a hard worker which will make him a favorite of coach Eric Mangini who has been known to have an no nonsense approach.

9. Buffalo Bills – Anthony Davis, OT
Last year the Buffalo Bills ranked 30th in passing, managing barely over 16 points per game, their offensive line was mostly to blame. While most of the nation were lucky enough to never have to watch the Buffalo Bills play football, unfortunately many of us in the north east had to endure the sights and sounds that were the Buffalo Bills offensive getting bullied around every Sunday. Davis is shooting up draft boards and is very athletic at 6’6 320 pounds, Davis is very aggressive and drives defenders into the ground in the run game, he consistently finishes plays. Too reach his pro bowl potential he’ll have to improve his technique, he’s very susceptible to double moves. Davis will join Brandon Wood (28th overall) and Andy Levitre (51st overall,) last years early draft picks, building the foundation for a very serviceable Offensive line.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars – Joe Haden, CB
Ya didn’t see that one coming did ya? Many people think the Jags’ will take a Florida Gator in the 1st round. Well I agree, but this gator won’t be kissing babies and preaching to convicts, this gator will be putting wide receivers behind bars for real. No need to panic you 243 Jaguar fans out there you’ll get your savior in the 2nd round, no need to rush. In a conference where you’ll be playing against Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub at least twice per season, secondary play will be key to success. Joe Haden is this draft class’s closest thing to a shut down corner, with projected 4.3 speed, great leaping ability, and solid tackle technique, Haden may very well outplay his draft slot. Dez Bryant or Rolando McClain are also strong possibilities here, but hedging their bet with a Florida guy will take away some of the sting if the Jags can’t land Tebow in the 2nd round, but if they can snag both players, 50% stadium capacity is doable.

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