As draft day approaches the rumours have began to intensify, and with several teams badly in need of filling holes in the roster several more days of trading are possible. However as it currently stands this is how we see the 1st round panning out. As it currently stands this is the first 16 teams in draft order and who they might go for:-
1 St. Louis Rams – Sam Bradford Quarter Back (QB).
This is a really tough decision for the St Louis Rams given the quality available this year and the fact they need to strengthen their Offensive and Defensive Lines. If they don’t take Sam Bradford then they will take one from Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy or Russell Okung I will be amazed if they pick anyone else. There is still a remote chance that some franchise will make a too good to miss offer and trade up but it is doubtful that any franchise will; especially now that Washington have secured Donovan McNabb.
2 Detroit Lions – Ndamukong Suh Defensive Tackle (DT)
This will be a classic take the best player available pick, as Detriot are slightly lighter on the offensive line than defensively and really need to protect Matt Stafford if he is going to reach his full potential. This pick assumes the Rams do take Sam Bradford, if Sam is still on the board there is a chance that they will trade down, possibly with the Cleveland Browns at 7 who need a QB badly as Jake Delhomme is nothing more than a stop gap. If they pass up on Suh it will almost certainly be to take an offensive tackle with either Russell Okung, Bryan Bulaga or Trent Williams being the top three candidates.
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Gerald McCoy (DT)
Tampa Bay love a strong defense and assuming Suh has gone which is probable then McCoy will fit the bill nicely. There is not a lot to choose between him and Suh so there is virtually no chance they would try and trade up. Things will be much more interesting if both have gone as they are sorted at QB after drafting Josh Freeman so a trade down would be possible with Cleveland or Buffalo the most likely candidates. Should they decide not to trade then taking an offensive tackle is an option with Russell Okung and Bryan Bulaga being the most obvious choices.
4 Washington Redskins – Russell Okung Offensive Tackle (OT)
Had they not secured Donovan McNabb’s services then Washington would have been taking the best QB left on the board but now they can focus on their main need which on the offensive line. I cannot see them picking anyone besides Okung but if he has gone then Bryan Bulaga or Trent Williams are possibles. I would expect Washington to trade the pick if Sam Bradford is still available as they could still get the OT they need and add a bit of value latter on.
5 Kansas City Chiefs - Bryan Bulaga (OT)
Assuming the draft has went as planned and there has been no big trade up then Bulaga is a cert for the Chiefs who need to protect Matt Cassel a bit better than they did last season. If they are going to make any impression on the AFC West this season this is where they need to strengthen. They are fortunate that there are plenty of OT’s available this year and in the highly unlikely event he has gone then Russell Okung or Trent Williams would fit the bill.
6 Seattle Seahawks – Eric Berry Safety (S)
Had Seattle not traded for Charlie Whitehurst then they would have been after a QB, however with this gap filled they will probably take the best player likley to be left on the board at this stage which is Berry. They do need help on the offensive line, but with so many good OT’s in this years draft they can probably wait until 14 to fill this gap.
If Eric Berry has gone, which it not very likely then they would probably consider the best of the OT’s left probably Trent Williams or Bruce Campbell.
7 Cleveland Browns – Trent Williams (OT)
The Browns finished the season well in 2009 but desperately need to improve their patchwork offense and a top class offensive tackle will go a long way towards sorting this out. If as is quite possible Williams is gone then they could make a move for Bruce Campbell at OT or possibly even wide receiver Dez Bryant although they may regard him as a little too expensive at no 7. Had anyone but Mike Holmgren been at the Browns then I would have probably had Jimmy Clausen as their pick but Holmgren doesn’t take QB’s in the first round unless its one of Sam Bradford’s potential. A trade up still can’t be ruled out but its highly unlikley.
8 Oakland Raiders – Bruce Campbell (OT)
The Raiders are very weak on the offensive line and will undoubtedly take the best OT left, who will probably be Bruce Campbell. In the very unlikely event he is gone then they will probably take another top OT probably Trent Williams or possibly trading down and taking Anthony Davies in the second half of the 1st round.
9 Buffalo Bills – Jimmy Clausen (QB)
The Bills will be very pleased that a QB with Jimmy Clausen’s potential has fallen this far down the draft and it will be a major surprise if they don’t take him at 9. If Clausen is gone, and I cant really see a scenario where this is possible then they would probably take whichever of the top OT’s is left or possibly nose tackle Dan Williams.
10 Jacksonville Jaguars – Joe Hayden Corner Back (CB)
The Jags need to get their fan base excited, but also need to win games hence the probable drafting of a quality corner in Joe Hayden who will dramatically help their back field. Of course if Eric Berry somehow slipped through to here then he would be a consideration as would the trading down to secure QB Tim Tebow, who would get the fans going. The trade is actually quite likely as given their financial losses they desperately need their hometown hero Tebow but not at the no 10 pick.
11 Denver Broncos (from Chicago) – Dez Bryant (WR)
The Broncos are thin of wide receivers after losing Brandon Marshall and Bryant would fit the bill nicely despite his reportedly unpredictable personality. Other potential candidates for their 1st round pick include defensive end Derrick Morgan or nose tackle Dan Williams, either of whom would fill some roster gaps. They could also make a move for Line Backer Rolando McClain however at 12 overall this would be quite expensive for a player in this position.
12 Miami Dolphins – Dan Williams Nose Tackle (NT)
The Miami Dolphins would dearly like to take Dez Byrant and if he is still on the board they probablywill . However as I expect Byrant to go to Denver, Williams will be the next best pick for them. In the event that both are gone then they could look at defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
13 San Francisco 49ers – CJ Spiller Running Back (RB)
The 49ers will be hoping that Joe Hayden slips through to them but I expect him to be long gone and with two 1st round picks they can afford to wait a little longer for a Corner and instead grab the best running back in this years draft. Spiller will complement Frank Gore well and could prove to be a shrewd pick. Also they will have to take him here as Seattle have the next pick and would undoubtedly pounce should he still be on the board. If he has gone then they could take cornerback Kyle Wilson early or turn their attention to OT’s Anthony Davis, or Mike Iupati either of whom could shore up their shaky offensive line.
14 Seattle Seahawks (from Denver) – Derrick Morgan (DE)
Although a defensive end is probably not at the top of Seattle’s wants list getting the chance at Morgan at this stage should prove too tempting an opportunity to miss. If he has gone , which is quite possible then they could turn their attention to offensive tackles Anthony Davis, & Mike Iupati or running back CJ Spiller if still available.
15 New York Giants – Rolando McClain, Inside Linebacker (ILB)
Should Rolando McClain still be on the board then the Giants will have little hesitation in taking him with their 1st round pick. This is a major weakness and McClain would no doubt be a starter if drafted. Other potentials would be Outside Line Backer (OLB) Sean Weatherspoon who should still be available at 15 or they could go for a defensive play maker such as DE Jason Pierre-Paul.
16 Tennessee Titans- Jason Pierre-Paul (DE)
This is probably the biggest hole in the Titans roster and I will be surprised if they don’t take the best defensive end still on the board when they come to pick. However if there are no value picks left in this position they could leave it until the latter rounds and move for Corner Back Kyle Wilson who will fill another gaping hole on the roster.
Tomorrows post will look at picks 17-32.