These days, three things are certain in the world of sports media.
1. You must be on Facebook.
2. You must be on Twitter.
3. You must publish your own NFL Mock Draft.
I’ve already taken care of #1 and #2. You can friend me at Facebook (Drew Forrester) or follow me on Twitter (professionally, @WNST and personally @df1570).
Today is my first-ever, completely official (for this week) Mock Draft. I’ll try and post one of these every other week between now and draft day. Next time out, I’ll get courageous enough to list all of the Ravens draft picks in addition to the 32 players who will go in the first round.
For now, here you go. You’ll notice I’ve really taken this seriously. I even have trades in the first round.
#1 (St. Louis) — Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma Comment: They might regret passing on Suh, but this is a franchise desperate for a franchise QB and Bradford is one of the most accurate QB’s to come out of college in the last 10 years.
#2 (Detroit) — Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska Lady Luck finally smiles on the Lions as they get the draft’s best player after St. Louis goes with a QB. The beginning of a resurgence in Detroit is underway and Suh helps make it happen.
#3 (Tampa Bay) — Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma Another team who benefits from Bradford going to STL is Tampa Bay, as they get McCoy — and immediately beef up their sagging defense.
#4 (Washington) — Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame ‘Skins would have preferred Bradford but Clausen isn’t a whole different. He’s accurate and operated out of pro style offense in ND under Charlie Weis, so Mike Shanahan gets a good one to start his coaching tenure in DC.
#5 (Cleveland – from Kansas City) — Eric Berry, S, Tennessee Comment: That Browns defense is already getting better. And Berry will really help. He says he’s comparable to Ed Reed. He better be right.
#6 (Seattle) — Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers Comment: Seattle needs a lot of help. Not sure how much Hasselbeck has left in the tank, but Davis will keep him from running on empty for a while.
#7 (Kansas City – from Cleveland) — Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State Like the Ravens with Oher/Gaither, the Chiefs will boast solid bookends to protect Matt Cassel with Okung and Branden Albert.
#8 (Oakland) — Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech Comment: Raiders get one of the first round’s best players with Morgan. He’ll be a beast off the edge and make life miserable for Rivers, Orton and Cassel in AFC West.
#9 (Buffalo) — Brian Bulaga, OT, Iowa The Bills passed on Michael Oher in 2009 and will always regret that faux pas. With a number of good OT’s available in round one, they won’t make that mistake again.
#10 (Jacksonville) — Joe Haden, CB, Florida A slow 40-time might have cost Haden a few slots and some $$, but he winds up staying in Florida and figures to help the Jaguars struggling secondary right away.
#11 (Denver) — Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland Broncos have the running back and the wide receivers. They just need someone on the line to open holes and protect the passer. Campbell is their man.
#12 (Tennessee – from Miami) — Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida Titans need this kind of player to keep Manning and Schaub off the scoreboard in AFC South play.
#13 (San Francisco) — Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma 49’ers start their first round surge with one of the best tackles available.
#14 (Seattle) — C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson Seahawks anemic offense gets some much-needed help with the draft’s best running back. Quite a haul for Seattle with Spiller and Anthony Davis (OT).
#15 (New York Giants) — Brian Price, DT, UCLA Giants will pass on Dez Bryant here and might live to regret it, but memories of their late season defensive collapses against Carolina and Minnesota will force them to take Price.
#16 (Miami – from Tennesse) — Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama Parcells will also pass on Dez Bryant here, continuing his trend of not taking a WR in first round (only time BP took a WR in 1st round was Terry Glenn in ’96). McClain will be a good fit in Miami.
#17 (Cincinnati – from San Francisco) — Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State Just what Carson Palmer needs, another wide receiver, right? With the death of Chris Henry and the up and down last few years of Chad Johnson, this is a natural move-up/trade for Cincy.
#18 (Pittsburgh) — Mike Iupati, G, Idaho Steelers desperately need offensive lineman to help protect Roethlisberger and open up the lanes for Mendenhall. Iupati is the logical choice here for Mike Tomlin.
#19 (Atlanta) — Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida This could be a first round reach for the Falcons, but they’re in need of a rush-end and Pierre-Paul is going to be the best one available at this stage if it all pans out like I have it (which, of course, it won’t).
#20 (Houston) — Earl Thomas, S, Texas All AFC South teams not named Indy make early picks based somewhat on this thought, “How does this guy help us beat Peyton Manning?”. Earl Thomas will do that for the Texans.
#21 (San Francisco – from Cincinnati) — Taylor Mays, S, USC Combine work-out warrior makes Mike Singletary happy when he’s still around at #21.
#22 (New England) — Jermaine Gresham, TE, Miami Bill Belichick won’t soon forget how his offense stalled in the post-season when one weapon (Welker) went down with an injury. Gresham gives Tom Brady another option, which Brady will appreciate, I’m sure.
#23 (Green Bay) — Charles Brown, OT, USC Green Bay lost the playoff game in Arizona because they couldn’t stop the Cards’ offense and their O-Line allowed an overtime sack that caused a fumble. They’ll keep that in mind when Charles Brown is available in round one.
#24 (Philadelphia) — Sergio Kindle, LB, Texas He can also play DE, so the Eagles will get a player that isn’t pigeon-holed into playing a certain system (the way Vernon Gholston got the shaft in NY).
#25 (Baltimore) — Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State Played in a pass-happy conference and was “on the island” every Saturday for 60 minutes and not only held his own, but won almost every battle. Good character, good man, perfect fit for the “Play Like a Raven” theme. Gives Ravens depth in the secondary and pushes Fabian Washington to the nickel role and pushes Frank Walker to another team, perhaps. Baltimore’s front office knows the only way to beat Pittsburgh is to shut down Ward, Holmes and Wallace. Over the last two years, the Ravens have lost that battle time and time again. Wilson helps them win those battles. I hear the Ravens really like Arrelious Benn and if they’re not able to sign or trade for a veteran WR, there’s a chance my mock draft might change directions (for the Ravens) in the next 6 weeks, but I expect them to get a WR and if they do, I think they’re going CB in round #1.
#26 (Arizona) — Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan Bad Cards defense just got a lot better with a guy who can put his hand in the dirt and get after the QB or drop back and play the pass as an OLB. Good value at #26 for Arizona.
#27 (Dallas) — Brandon LaFell, WR, LSU With the questionable situation involving Miles Austin, the Cowboys add another target for Tony Romo.
#28 (San Diego) — Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State Chargers got awfully thin at running back over a 10-day period in February. With no LT and apparently a parting-of-the-ways with Darren Sproles, SD needs a running back more than ever.
#29 (New York Jets) — Eversen Griffin, DE, USC Surprised that Rex Ryan goes defense in the first round this year? Me neither. They have a QB, a RB and a WR…they don’t need offensive weapons. Griffin gives them a DE who can chase the QB and pester the likes of Tom Brady in the AFC East.
#30 (Minnesota) — Donovan Warren, CB, Michigan Vikings have the offense, depending on Favre’s status, of course. But they need defensive help and the secondary could use a playmaker like Warren.
#31 (Indianapolis) — Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State Boosts the Indy secondary and gives them more security/protection in the event Bob Sanders remains injury prone.
#32 (New Orleans) — Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State What’s a champion need? Better players. Odrick gives them someone off the edge that can help bolster their suspect pass-defense.