Not what we think will happen in April’s NFL draft but what we’d do if we ran each team. Back in December, we took a look at how the Top 10 might shake out. We probably have Taylor Mays too high; ditto for Bruce Campbell, the workout wonder. The Raiders taking a QB? They should. Seattle fans might be happy if this is how things went. And we have the Jets going somewhere other than cornerback, a position they’ve needed since October.
1 St. Louis Rams – Ndamokong Suh, DT, Nebraska. “Pay that man his money.” Take a QB at the start of the 2nd round.
2 Detroit Lions – Eric Berry, S, Tennessee. A lot of people like Gerald McCoy, but the guess here is that Berry becomes an Ed Reed/Ronnie Lott type player and in a division with Cutler and Rodges, it’d be nice to have a smart, tough safety to pair with last year’s 2nd rounder, Louis Delmas.
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma. Third-worst run defense in the league should improve instantly.
4 Washington Redskins – Russell Okung, OL, Oklahoma State. Sticking with our original thought of bolstering the offensive line. Scenario: Okung starts from day one, and Cambell, who was dropped 3rd most in the league last year (43), improves because he actually has time to throw.
5 Kansas City Chiefs – Bruce Campbell, OL, Maryland. Athletic freak who “won” at the combine might help Matt Cassel, who was sacked 42 times.
6 Seattle Seahawks – Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma. You had a nice run, Hasselbeck.
7 Cleveland Browns – Joe Haden, CB, Florida. Will his slow 40 time give them pause? Probably, but the Browns are dumb and desperate and Eric Mangini is going to be in the room when this decision gets made. Had thought Dez Bryant might go here to help Brady Quinn, but Bryant’s apparently got some off-the-field issues that are scaring off teams.
8 Oakland Raiders – Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame. Because even though the Raiders said they’re going to give JaMarcus Russell one more chance … Al Davis only does bizarre things (and because Campbell is off the board).
9 Buffalo Bills – Anthony Davis, OL, Rutgers.
10 Jacksonville Jaguars – Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech. The team that was last in the league in sacks goes Morgan or South Florida’s Jason Pierre-Paul.
11 Denver Broncos (from Chicago) – Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State. This is on the assumption that Brandon Marshall is jettisoned out of the city he hates. Josh McDaniels has a big enough ego to think that he can help Bryant clean up his act.
12 Miami Dolphins – Taylor Mays, S, USC. With Bryant off the board, they bolster a shoddy defense with an athletic freak who isn’t technically proficient. We lean Mays here over Rolando McClain, the LB from Alabama. (Note: Our least favorite team in the league is either the Dolphins or Patriots.)
13 San Francisco 49ers – Trent Williams, OL, Oklahoma.
14 Seattle Seahawks (from Denver) – CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson. Probably overtakes Julius Jones as the No. 1 back by October. Two offensive picks should aesthetically improve one of the dullest teams in the league.
15 New York Giants – Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama. Replaces Antonio Pierce in the middle.
16 Tennessee Titans – Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida. If you’re into oddities, they have Jevon Kearse, the former Florida star who was drafted 16th … and Carlos Dunlap, another Florida star, could be the pick here.
17 San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina) – Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State.
18 Pittsburgh Steelers –Bryan Bulaga, OL, Iowa. Just about every mock draft has them going OL here. So we just went with the highest one left on the board.
19 Atlanta Falcons Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers. A lot of mocks have them going with the front seven; but in a good draft for corners, why not bolster the 5th worst pass defense?
20 Houston Texans – Earl Thomas, CB, Texas. Bad news for Jets’ fans, who had hoped he might fall to them at 29. This is just too glaring a need for the Texans.
21 Cincinnati Bengals – Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame. Too soon? Coles is beyond his prime, and the Jets’ exposed their lack of offense in the postseason. Formidable defense leaves WR or OL as the primary options.
22 New England Patriots – Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee. With four of the Top 53 picks, they have plenty of options. The first priority should be shoring up that rushing defense that gave up 234 rushing yards in the playoffs to the Ravens.
23 Green Bay Packers – Mike Iupati, OL, Boise St. Idaho. Could argue for a higher-rated defender here, but protecting the franchise (Aaron Rodgers) is the top priority.
24 Philadelphia Eagles – Maurkice Pouncey, OL, Florida. Or whatever the best OL is on the board. Sleeper pick: Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State. But we hope that doesn’t happen; you’ll see why shortly.
25 Baltimore Ravens – Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma. With the best two WRs off the board, go with the top TE.
26 Arizona Cardinals – Brandon Graham, DE/LB, Michigan. Alternative option: Carlos Dunlap to bookend Darnell Dockett.
27 Dallas Cowboys – Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida.
28 San Diego Chargers – Jahvid Best, RB, California. Similar in size to LT. California kid.
29 New York Jets – Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State. We’ve been prattling on about a cornerback for months, and yes, Mark Sanchez could probably use a wide receiver. But Mathews is going to be a monster. They just lost Thomas Jones. Mathews is a gift here, and the Jets will need three RBs going into the season because Washington’s coming off an injury and Greene did have some fumble issues last year. They can get their DB in the 2nd round.
30 Minnesota Vikings – Brian Price, DT, UCLA. One Williams (Pat) is getting old. Great value here. If he’s gone, then Penn State’s Jared Odrick is the guy.
31 Indianapolis Colts – Sergio Kindle, LB/DE, Texas.
32 New Orleans Saints – Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State. Would he look nice like to their 2008 No. 1 pick Sedrick Ellis? Probably.