Merry Christmas: NFL Mock Draft Picks 1-16

December 23, 2009 | Tom Clayton

With the NFL season winding down and the Ravens in the thick of the playoff hunt I figured when would be a better time to debut my first 2010 NFL Mock Draft? With Christmas two days away I thought I would project what is the equivalent of Christmas morning to NFL teams.   So I had to project most of the draft positions because the season isn’t over and nothing is set in stone as of right now.  Today I unveil picks 1-16 with 17-32 including the Ravens selection coming tomorrow.


1.      St. Louis – Ndamukong Suh, Defensive Tackle, Nebraska

The Rams have holes all over their roster and really could use help at just about any spot but they have the fortune of drafting the most dominant defensive player I have seen in about a decade.


Defensive tackles are not usually taken with the first overall pick (in fact the last defensive tackle taken first overall was Dan Wilkinson in 1994) but Suh is the kind of once in a generation talent that the Rams can build a dominant defense around for years to come.  Steve Spagnuolo will begin to build a dominant defensive line with the choice of Suh; something he knew very well as the defensive coordinator for the Giants. 



I thought about putting Jimmy Clausen in this spot but I just don’t think he is going to be the first pick in the draft.  I have a lot of question marks about his leadership ability and I think teams drafting in the top five will as well. 


2.      Tampa Bay –  Gerald McCoy, Defensive Tackle, Oklahoma


Yes it looks weird but two of the top three talents in the 2010 NFL draft are defensive tackles and McCoy will fill a big hole in Tampa’s defense.


McCoy is not the generational talent that Suh is but he is an outstanding talent that can get to the quarterback while still being very disruptive as a run stopper. 


3.      Detroit – Russell Okung, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma State


Jeff Backus should not be starting at left tackle for any NFL team…even the Lions and they must protect Matthew Stafford’s blindside or he is going to continue to take huge shots that will eventually destroy his career….does anyone remember David Carr in Houston? 


Okung is a franchise left tackle and a player that Detroit can build a good offensive line around.  If the Lions can begin to form some semblance of an offensive line they could have a dangerous offensive sooner than later with Stafford, Megatron, and a healthy Kevin Smith and Brandon Pettigrew.


4.      Cleveland – Eric Berry, Safety, Tennessee


The Browns could go with Jimmy Clausen here but I think they give Brady Quinn one more year…I mean the guy has absolutely no talent to work with.  It would be nice if their was a dynamic, top wide receiving prospect that the Browns could pair with Quinn but Dez Bryant is a stretch here.  The Browns have less talent than any other team in the league so I think they take the best available player.


That player is Eric Berry who is one of the best safety prospects to come along in a very long time and could become the next Ed Reed.  Berry will immediately upgrade the Browns secondary and could be a candidate for the Pro Bowl in his rookie season.


5.      Kansas City – Bruce Campbell, Offensive Tackle, Maryland


The Chiefs would love for Okung or Eric Berry to fall to them in this spot but I don’t see it….with that said they must protect their $63 million dollar investment in Matt Cassel.  Brandon Albert has proven that he is not an NFL caliber offensive lineman and must move inside.


This years combine superstar will be the Terps offensive lineman; he will blow people away with his unparalleled combination of size, strength, and speed…if Al Davis could get his hands on Campbell he would have that pick up to the podium in two seconds.  With the combination of Campbell and Albert the Chiefs will have the makings of a dominant left side to their offensive line. 


6.      Washington – Jimmy Clausen, Quarterback, Notre Dame


Jason Campbell has played better recently but owner Daniel Snyder has shown that he really wants some “star quality” under center and I think eventual coach Mike Shanahan will want to start fresh with “his guy”.


Jimmy Clausen has all of the physical tools and has played in a pro style offense for three years under Charlie Weis.  I think Clausen has the tools to be a top ten quarterback but I really question his leadership skills; in fact I see a lot of Jay Cutler in his personality. 


7.      Seattle – Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech, Defensive End


The Seahawks could really use an upgrade at defensive end; Patrick Kerney turns 33 this year and Lawrence Jackson isn’t scaring any offensive coordinators. 


Derrick Morgan has shot up draft boards after an amazing junior season; in thirteen games he has fifty two tackles and twelve sacks.  Morgan is a freakish athlete that could be a dominant pass rusher for years to come.


8.      Buffalo – Sam Bradford, Quarterback, Oklahoma


Buffalo is a team in flux and they need to find a “face for their franchise”.  Neither Trent Edwards nor Ryan Fitzpatrick is the answer under center and I think Ralph Wilson goes against the grain and takes perhaps the second most high profile player in this draft. 


Sam Bradford would have been the first overall pick last year but he decided to stay in college and it was a colossal failure.  Some teams are going to be scared off by the major injury he sustained to his shoulder and the lack of arm strength that was present even before the injury.  If he hits Bradford could be a Peyton Manning type savior but he could also end up being a Chad Pennington middle of the road quarterback.


9.      Oakland – Taylor Mays, USC, Safety


JaMarcus Russell has turned out to be the biggest bust in the history of the draft at this point in his career and Al Davis could fall in love with Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett and his rocket launcher of a right arm…but I think Al Davis goes with the biggest athletic freak on the board.


Like Sam Bradford, Taylor Mays has lost millions of dollars by coming back to college for one more year.  Mays has been shaky at best and has shown to be a deficient pass defender.  Mays is supremely physical and has the ability to pile up tackles but his inability to play the pass and ball skills could make him a bigger, faster version of Roy Williams.


10.  Denver (From Chicago) – Rolando McClain, MLB, Alabama


This pick is the first of two first round picks the Broncos got from Chicago for Jay “Jugs Machine” Cutler.  Denver has seen a resurgence on the defensive side of the ball this season under new coordinator Mike Nolan and they will use this pick to solidify one of the few weakness that remain on their team.


Rolando McClain is the best linebacker on the best team in the country and will certainly be the first linebacker off the board this year.  McClain is a tackling machine that could man the middle of the field in the Mile High City for the better part of the next decade.


11.  San Francisco (From Carolina) – Joe Haden, Cornerback, Florida


After making Nate Clements the highest paid defensive player in the history of the league two years ago it looks like he is moving to safety.  With that move the 49ers will need to get a shutdown corner to take over once the move happens.


Joe Haden is the best corner in the draft by a mile and fills a major need for the 49ers.


12.  Houston – Earl Thomas, Safety, Texas


The Texans have a Super Bowl caliber offense and a defense that hasn’t allowed them to finish better than .500 in the history of the team.  I think they could use a defensive tackle or corner but they go with the best defensive playmaker on the board.


Earl Thomas WILL be a better playmaker than Taylor Mays and should be drafted ahead of him but Al Davis will make the wrong decision leaving Houston to get a great playmaker and a steal in Thomas.


13.  San Francisco – Brian Bulaga, Offensive Lineman, Iowa


Former Raven Tony Pashos is out for the season (congrats to Ozzie for passing on that guy when he became a free agent) and Adam Snyder simply can not block anyone.  The emergence Alex Smith this season will allow them to fill some of the other holes on their roster and give them a potential for a deep playoff run next season.


Bulaga is a big, athletic tackle and should develop into a very steady tackle at the NFL level.


14.  Miami – Terrence Cody, Defensive Tackle, Alabama


The Dolphins could go a few different ways here and receiver seems like a logical choice but I think they anchor their defense with the best nose tackle in the draft.  With Bill Parcels favorite Jason Ferguson at 34 years old with an expiring contract and being placed on the IR it looks like nose tackle will be a major need for the Dolphins.


“Mount” Cody is truly one of the most massive human being I have ever seen.  If a G.M. was creating the ultimate nose tackle he may just come out with Cody.  Cody also possesses surprising athleticism to go with his massive frame.   


15.  Jacksonville – Tim Tebow, Quarterback, Florida


Sadly Jacksonville will make this decision more on financial then football reasons; they are in desperate need of some type of pass rush help on the defensive line but the potential of Tebow reviving a failing franchise may be too much to pass up.  If the Jaguars pass on Tebow (and potentially even if they don’t) I think they will be playing in Los Angeles within two seasons.


Tebow is the greatest college football player I have ever seen but I don’t know if his skills translate to the NFL.  He doesn’t throw a great ball; in fact a majority of his balls seem to flutter in the air and don’t have very much zip behind them.  Tebow also isn’t overly allusive in the open field as a runner and I don’t think he will be able to run over linebackers in the NFL with the same consistency as he has with the Gators. 


Tebow could prove everyone wrong and become the next Steve Young but I see a lot more Cade McCown in him.  A potential move to H-Back could be in the cards but this is an awful high draft pick to use on a player who you aren’t even sure will stay at his current position. 


 New York Jets – Dez Bryant, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State


The Jets traded for Braylon Edwards and now he is showing New Yorkers what everyone in Cleveland already knew…he hands are completely unreliable.  For Mark Sanchez to develop into the franchise quarterback that Rex and the Jets hope he will they will need to get him some weapons and that’s why I have them taking the best wide receiver in the draft.


Dez Bryant is a freakish athlete and I think he has top ten talent….the question is how many teams need help at wide receiver and how much will his suspension from OK State hurt his stock.  In my opinion Bryant would be a perfect fit in Baltimore he is a big, athletic receiver that can go up and get the ball at its highest point…but I think he will be off the board before the Ravens pick.