I've got a friend named Waller Mauler that follows the NFL draft extremely close. In fact he's the resident go to guy for me and my gaggle of friends come draft time. Although he's an Aggie, and probably consulted The Farmers Almanac to make some of these picks, I still trust him as much as any other mocker.
So, we'll use his mock as our template. To hell with the McShay's and Kiper's of the world who are nothing more than pawns in a skilled GM's game of chess.
Now this is important, so pay attention. His picks are who he thinks will be taken, mine are who I would take if given free reign over a team. So that means you can't call me wrong, just stupid.
1. Rams - Sam Bradford/QB/Oklahoma - I was almost certain the Rams were going to draft Bradford before they released Marc Bulger. Bradford allegedly had an outstanding Pro Day and alleviated any concerns about his shoulder. Unless somebody comes along with a ridiculous last minute trade offer, this is a done deal. magnusbleuveigner: I made bold statements about Bradford in my first mock. I stand by those. Bradford's the best QB prospect this year, and just about any other.
2. Lions - Ndamukong Suh/DT/Nebraska - Best player in the draft. mbv: The Lions can't believe there luck, Dez Bryant has fallen into their laps! Ok, that joke is pretty old, this will be the last year I make it, unless they take Dez. Suh, plays at the deepest position in the draft. I take Trent Williams if they can't trade down, and then go DT in the top of the second, where you're still getting first round talent.
3. Buccaneers - Gerald McCoy/DT/Oklahoma - Some like him more than Suh. I don't see it, but the Bucs will be happy to have him. mbv: With my mavericky decision to be all maverick and stuff, I have Suh still available. The Bucs can't pass on Donkey Kong.
4. Redskins - Russell Okung/OT/Oklahoma State - Okung is an ideal left tackle for Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme, he replaces the retiring Chris Samuels and hopefully keeps Donovan McNabb vertical.
mbv: Whoa Mauler, vertical as in erect? I agree, Okung would definitely excite McNabb.
5. Chiefs - Bryan Bulaga/OT/Iowa - I think I would take Eric Berry here, but the Chiefs are rumored to really want a tackle. Bulaga is a solid pick who can play both tackle spots. mbv: You're probably right on the money here. Pioli likes getting the big boys early, but I think Bulaga is a RT. I think Eric Berry is much more of an immediate difference maker, he's my guy. No Gerald McCoy because I think he's overrated, and they have tons of money tied up in the DL.
6. Seahawks - Trent Williams/OT/Oklahoma - I've had this as Jimmy Clausen forever, but with the oddball acquisition of Charlie Whitehurst, it looks as if Pete Carroll will not be taking a QB. Some think Williams is the best tackle in the draft, and replacing Walter Jones is their first priority. mbv: I love Dez Bryant here. He can be what all those big USC WR's were supposed to be. Also, Housh can steer him away from controversy like he did with Ocho, Kelley Washington, and Chris Henry.
7. Browns - Eric Berry/S/Tennessee - Should be an immediate star. mbv: Earl Thomas will be an immediate star.
8. Raiders - Bruce Campbell/OT/Maryland - Anybody who tells you they know what the Raiders are going to do is full of it. All we know is that Al Davis loves workout warriors, and Campbell fits the bill. Of course, so does Jason Pierre-Paul and Taylor Mays. Or Al might trade the pick to Vince McMahon for Triple H, a couple of track suits and a cup of Sanka. Who the hell knows? mbv: Does HHH come with Chyna? If so, that's something to think about. I'm hoping that I come nowhere near getting this right. I play it safe and smart with DE Derrick Morgan.
9. Bills - Anthony Davis/OT/Rutgers - A lot of people have Clausen going here, and the Bills certainly need a quarterback, but the Bills need everything on offense. Why not take a potential franchise left tackle and look at McCoy or Tebow in the second? mbv: Why? Maybe because Colt and Timothy won't be good. I can't stand Clausen and I hate myself for this, but Clausen's the pick. If he slips here, he slides. This is the same spot where Miami passed on Lady Quinn (for T. Ginn Jr., oops.) causing his fall.
10. Jaguars - Jason Pierre-Paul/DE/South Florida - Harvey and Groves have been busts, and Aaron Kampman isn't a long term solution. Jason Pierre-Paul is a physical freak and might give them the pass rusher they need. Derrick Morgan is a possibility, as well as reaching for local hero Tebow. mbv: Harvey and Groves were busts from the same year I believe. I'd be afraid of JPP busting as well. I play it safe and go Joe Haden. Two of three divisional foes are pass happy and the other team can run it. Haden will bolster the pass D and enthusiastically play the run.
11. Broncos - Rolando McClain/ILB/Alabama - It wouldn't surprise me at all to see the Giants trade up to make sure this doesn't happen. McClain is clearly the best interior linebacker in the draft, and that is a need in Denver. mbv: I still have Charlie Tanner's rag doll on the board. I slot Gerald McCoy about 8 places lower than anyone. Nate, you wanna fight?
12. Dolphins - Sergio Kindle/OLB/Texas - With Brandon Marshall on board at reciever, and both Joey Porter and Jason Taylor gone or leaving, finding a pass rushing outside linebacker becomes their first priority. Miami may trade back here because both Kindle and Brandon Graham should be available in the next eight to ten picks. Or, they might take one here if they really like him. Graham has a better motor, but Kindle is much more athletic. mbv: Yeah, I like Kindle here, but I think Parcells and Sparano can find a tweener athlete to play OLB later on, like Eric Norwood. I think the best value here is Dan Williams.
13. 49ers - Mike Iupati/OL/Idaho - The year of the lineman continues, and Iupati could be a dominant player at pretty much any position on the line. mbv: It's no secret that the Niners need OL help. They'd like to find someone to compete with Joe Staley at LT and then move the loser to RT. Paging Brian Bulaga. Look for the quicker Staley to win that battle.
14. Seahawks - Derrick Morgan/DE/Georgia Tech - Morgan and Trent Williams give the Seahawks a very impressive first round. mbv: CJ Spiller's the next Reggie Bush!!? Spiller and Bryant give the pacifist Whitehurst, some weaponry.
15. Giants - C.J. Spiller/RB/Clemson - If the Giants can't get McClain, the biggest playmaker in the draft makes sense. Spiller will have a much bigger impact on next year's team than any of the defensive players they might be eyeballing here. mbv: After the Nakatomi Towers debacle, and then dealing with Hans Grubers' murderous and vengelful brother in NYC, McClain is probably hoping to go to a smaller market with less desirable financial targets. Alas, NYC needs him once more. McClain and his tax dollars head to The Apple.
16. Titans - Everson Griffen/DE/USC - Griffen is a guy who is more potential than production. The prototypical "looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane." But, the Titans biggest need by far is DE with Vanden Bosch taking his goofy red contacts to Detroit, it's time to reach. mbv: Jason Paul-Pierre. I don't like it, and if Dez Bryant is on the board I snag him. Doing so means you wouldn't have to address the offense, other than OL for years.
17. 49ers - Earl Thomas/S/Texas - Safety isn't the big need for the 49ers, but they need players who make big plays, and Thomas is definitely that. mbv: This pick boils down to a DB or OLB. Kyle Wilson v Brandon Graham. Kyle Wilson wins out because of his prowess at both corner and returner.
18. Steelers - Joe Haden/CB/Florida - Haden slips with unimpressive forty times, but he is still a very good corner, and that was a weak spot for the Steelers last season. mbv: Corner is a need, along with OL help. They also might want to consider WR since Cedric Griffen's entire high school bolted for the Jets. If you take the best player available at their three positions of need you get.......Mike Iupati.
19. Falcons - Carlos Dunlap/DE/Florida - Make no mistake, this is a reach, but Atlanta needs a defensive end badly. mbv: Man this reach is needed to replace former reach Jamal Anderson. Atleast this isn't the #8 pick or whatever Anderson was. No, Dunlap's not for me. I go Kindle here. He's had his drinking and driving problems before, but luckily there's not much of a scene in the ATL for the young, black, and rich.
20. Texans - Kyle Wilson/CB/Boise State - The Texans will think real hard about Ryan Mathews here, but corner is too big of a need and they can add a compliment to Steve Slaton in the second round. mbv: Is this the year that Kubiak gets off of his annoying Broncos soapbox and takes a RB early? I think so. Houston is screwed at corner, but Mathews is the best option for immediate help on a team with realistic playoff aspirations. The Texans going corner in the first or second is a lock.
21. Bengals - Taylor Mays/S/USC - Joins Rivers and Maualuga on the Cincinnati defense. mbv: This would be awesome. I'd love to see Mays and OU Roy Williams running eachother smooth over in centerfield. As much as I'd like to see that, if I'm GM I try and make the offense more dynamic. Jermaine Gresham. What's that, four Sooners? Damn, what a juggernaut!
22. Patriots - Dez Bryant/WR/Oklahoma State - Short of Rae Carruth, there is probably not a reciever you would want mentoring Bryant less than Randy Moss. However, it's hard to see the top ten talent slipping much further, and with Wes Welker on the mend and Moss getting older, he makes sense here.
mbv: That would be convenient for Bryant as it's close to Harvard, making it easy to further his education. I just don't see him lasting that long. How about a high effort guy that can get to the passer? He's not Lamar Woodley.....yet. Brandon Graham, ftw.
23. Packers - Charles Brown/OT/USC - Brown is the best in the second tier of offensive tackles, and unless Aaron Rodgers suddenly becomes more nimble, the Packers need pass protection. mbv: Anthony Davis' freefall stops here. The Pack could use help on the line no doubt, but they wouldn't look so bad if Rodgers didn't have narcalepsy in the pocket.
24. Eagles - Devin McCourty/CB/Rugers - McCourty fills a need at corner, but I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to add an offensive skill position player to help Kevin Kolb. mbv: McCourty's the guy, plain and simple. He should blossom into one of the better all around corners in the league.
25. Ravens - Jermaine Gresham/TE/Oklahoma - Gresham and Boldin suddenly give the Ravens offense credibility. mbv: Jared Odrick. It's not sexy, but it's a need.
26. Cardinals - Brandon Graham/OLB/Michigan - Graham lacks the measurables to play defensive end, but he should be able to transition to OLB. mbv: Make room in that hot tub Matty! You've got another Trojan joining the party. I take Jane, and put her out there to bolster the pass rush.
27. Cowboys - Golden Tate/WR/Notre Dame - Miles Austin had a great year, but he is going to need help, and Roy Williams has done nothing to show it's going to be him. mbv: Jerry's a tough one to crack. I have no idea what he plans on doing. What I would do is take Maurkice Pouncey, and slide Andre Gurode to guard. It's not sexy, but maybe Maurkice can get implants and die his hair blonde.
28. Chargers - Ryan Mathews/RB/Fresno State - Mathews is a really good back, and the Chargers should pounce all over him if he is still here. mbv: I've got Mathews gone, if he's available he's a no brainer. Save the Jahvid Best, b.s., I like him fine, but he's not enough of a contradiction to Sproles. I get the dickhead another weapon to go with Vincent Jackson and the aging Antonio Gates. Brush up on your Espanol Oro Tate. I'm sure that's a piss poor translation. Oro = gold. Golden is his name, you see.
29. Jets - Jerry Hughes/OLB/TCU - Hughes could be a star in Rex Ryan's defense. mbv: I like Hughes here as well, although, I'd be tempted to select a WR to go with Braylon Edwards and his Wangmenian hands.
30. Vikings - Jimmy Clausen/QB/Notre Dame - Those of us watching on television will have been amused for several hours by now as the ESPN cameras continue to show an uneasy Clausen sitting in the green room, checking his cell phone to make sure it's working. Much like Brady Quinn and Aaron Rogers before him, quarterbacks have a way of slipping, and if he gets past Buffalo, I think that is what happens. If he does fall this far, Minnesota will have little choice but to take him. mbv: I know they signed Fred Robbins, but in my previous mock I had the Giants taking a DT in part because Robbins was there. This need seems to follow him. I'd go with the underrated Brian Price here.
31. Colts - Dan Williams/DT/Tennessee - A run stopper in Indy. mbv: I've seen quite a few mocks with Indy going OT here. I don't see it. I would reach and take Damian Williams. To me, it's not really a reach because Williams won't be there when the Colts pick again.
32. Saints - Sean Weatherspoon/LB/Missouri - Replaces Fujita. mbv: Anybody notice how you couldn't watch a Saints game without the announcers mentioning that Fujita had a sushi dish named after him? Imagine what they'll come up with in N.O. when his replacement actually has an eating utensil built into his name. I agree with the 'Spoon pick, although, Nate Allen and Kareem Jackson are possibilities.
So that leaves us with some notables not going in the first:
Taylor Mays: I'm just not a fan, though admittedly he'll be drafted in the first.
Terrence Cody: Scipio has him at number 8 on his big board. I think that's way too high. Look for SD to take him at 40 to replace Jamal Williams.
Colt McCoy: He'll go at the top of the second with speculation that he could slip into the first.
Lamarr Houston: I wonder what Lamarr knows. He's accepted an invitation to go to New York even though there isn't a mock out there that has him in the first. To me, it wouldn't be a stretch for him to get selected that early. Look for him to replace Marcellus Wiley in 12 years.
Him, He, Tim T.: Nick Carraway said it best: "A national figure in a way, one of those men who reach such an accute limited excellence at twenty one that everything afterwards savours of anticlimax." Second round.