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Gonzo's Final Mock Draft, Brought To You by Comcast

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As announced previously in this space, Comcast has generously agreed to support the best NFL community around -- us!  As part of that effort, between now and the end of the 2010 NFL season Comcast will be sponsoring a variety of special editorial and interactive features on our site.  They begin today with the launch of the Comcast HD War Room, your weekly destination for key draft insight and opinion.  Welcome!

Well, I said that the final version of the mock draft would be out today, and in the interest of keeping my word, here it is!  The first three picks remain the same, but things get quite a bit different from there.  Go ahead, hit the jump, and see what we've got for you!

Pick Team Player Position College
1 St. Louis Rams Sam Bradford Quarterback Oklahoma
The Rams have never taken a quarterback in the first round in the modern draft era.  This has to change now.  In interviews this week, Bradford hasn't sounded particularly fired up at the idea of being a member of the Rams, and St. Louis has brought in Ndamaking Suh this week for a visit, but it would be a monumental upset if they didn't select Bradford here, in my opinion.  Bradford has prototypical size for the quarterback position in the NFL, but he's coming off of a shoulder injury and hardly played at all last year.  Still, this appears to be the direction the Rams are committed to going.
2 Detroit Lions Ndamakong Suh
 Defensive Tackle
Nebraska
The Lions benefit from the Rams' desperation at the quarterback spot and snag the best overall player available at this year's selection meeting.  Suh spent his 2009 season at Nebraska basically leaving bodies in his wake, and was a truly dominant force on the defensive line.  He will immediately make Detroit's front seven on defense more viable, along with new acquisitions Corey Williams and Kyle Vanden Bosch.  The NFC North just got a whole lot tougher with this guy going to the Motor City.
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Gerald McCoy
Defensive Tackle
Oklahoma
As I said in the previous incarnation of this mock draft, in most years McCoy would be the #1 player available.  In this year's draft, he's only #2 at his position, but he's still a great get for the Buccaneers here.  Their once dominant defense has been reduced to a shell of its former self, and a disruptive force like McCoy is exactly the sort of player that defenses are built around.
4 Washington Redskins Trent Williams Offensive Tackle Oklahoma
From the word "go" in this year's draft, Russell Okung has been listed as the top offensive tackle available.  However, recently there have been a lot of rumblings taking place that the Redskins feel as though Williams is a better fit for their system than Okung is.  This is an idea that seems to be gaining momentum, so much so that that's the direction I'm going to go for Washington here.  The Redskins are also a prime candidate to trade down at this spot, as they don't have any picks after this one until the fourth round, and might like to make up for some of those picks they've lost.
5 Kansas City Chiefs Eric Berry Safety Tennessee
The Big 12's dominance of the early draft is broken up by the guy some are calling the most "can't miss" prospect in this year's draft.  Berry is a huge difference maker at the safety position, and is the best overall defensive back in this year's class, and by a significant margin, in my opinion.  Kansas City could easily take an offensive tackle here, particularly with the Okung slip in this scenario, but Berry could have a more immediate impact for a Chiefs secondary that needs a real difference-maker.
6 Seattle Seahawks Russell Okung Offensive Tackle Oklahoma State
No pressure on Okung at this spot. . .all he has to do is step in and replace a sure-fire future Hall of Famer at the left tackle spot for the Seahawks.  Nothing he can't handle.  Okung has everything it takes to be a dominant force at left tackle for the Seahawks in the same way Walter Jones was.  Obviously he's going to have some growing pains, but he's a welcome addition to a Seattle team that sorely needs the help up front.
7 Cleveland Browns Joe Haden Cornerback Florida
The Browns need some help in the secondary, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they were the team that tried to jump up to Washington's spot at #4 to take Eric Berry.  But since I'm not projecting trades and the Browns still have a need in the secondary, we'll give them the draft's best cornerback instead of its best safety.  Haden, despite having run a couple of poor 40 times at the Combine, is an outstanding corner, and will start from Day 1 on virtually any team that drafts him.  The Cleveland defense was terrible for most of last year, and a guy like Haden would go a long ways towards their resurgence.
8 Oakland Raiders Bruce Campbell Offensive Tackle Maryland
Yes, I've officially put my Crazy Al Davis white jumpsuit on, and there's no way that this pick is going to be anybody but Bruce Campbell, in my opinion.  Think about it. . .the Radiers DO actually need a left tackle, and Campbell put up some freakish physical numbers at the Combine.  Is he the best offensive tackle left at this point?  Nope. . .but Brian Bulaga isn't the sort of player Al Davis would pick.  Also, there are a lot of rumors flying around that this pick could be getting sent to Pittsburgh in exchange for a certain quarterback that's going to be missing 4-6 weeks of the 2010 season.  That's probably the most intriguing storyline leading up to tomorrow night.
9 Buffalo Bills Brian Bulaga Offensive Tackle Iowa
So, thanks to the Raiders, the Bills get a superior player at a lower spot.  Granted, Bulaga projects as more of a right tackle at the pro level from all accounts, but the Bills need help all over their offensive front, and Bulaga has the ability to play more than one position.  Not a sexy or exciting pick, by any means, but one that the Bills need to make in this scenario, in my opinion.
10 Jacksonville Jaguars Earl Thomas Safety Texas
His name is Earl, and he's shooting up the charts.  He might not be in Berry's class, but Thomas has cemented himself as the #2 safety in this year's draft.  He's a playmaker that isn't afraid to get his nose dirty in the running game, and should make an immediate impact for the Jags.
11 Denver Broncos (from Chicago Bears) Rolando McClain Linebacker Alabama
I had Dez Bryant projected in this spot for a while, but then something occurred to me.  You don't trade away a guy like Brandon Marshall. . .someone that is probably one of the five best receivers in the NFL right now. . .in the name of preaching hard work and dedication and "team-first" mentality, and then draft someone like Bryant.  It just doesn't fit what Josh McDaniels apparently wants to do in Denver.  So, we plug Rolando McClain in at this spot.  McClain was the best defensive player on the best defense in America last year with the Crimson Tide, and will give the Denver front seven a leader and a playmaker in the middle of their defense.
12 Miami Dolphins Dan Williams Defensive Tackle Tennessee
The Dolphins solved one of their biggest problems by acquiring Brandon Marshall from Denver, and now need to turn to their defense.  As a 3-4 defense, they need a big, space-eating nose tackle in the middle of that defense, and Williams fits that description as well as anybody in this year's draft.  He has the size and the tools necessary to be the prototypical 3-4 nose in the NFL for a long time.
13 San Francisco 49ers Jimmy Claussen Quarterback Notre Dame
The Niners actually face a pretty interesting dilemma here.  Their defense is extremely solid, but they have some holes to fill at the skill positions.  They could very easily go with C.J. Spiller at this spot and team him up with Frank Gore to give them a very nice "thunder and lightning" sort of rushing attack.  However, after all this time, thee Niners still don't know what they have in Alex Smith at the quarterback position, and at this point of Smith's career, that can't possibly be a positive.  So, rather than Spiller, they take the most pro-ready quarterback in this year's class and let him fight it out to be the Day 1 quarterback for the Niners.
14 Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos) C.J. Spiller Running Back Clemson
And so the Seahawks breathe a sigh of relief as their division rivals allow the draft's best back to fall right to them without any maneuvering on their part.  Having solidified their offensive line with Okung, Seattle can now start working on getting the rest of their offense in order.  Spiller is the biggest home run hitter in this year's draft, as any highlight reel you see of him can attest, and though he might get off to a rough start in Seattle with the current state of their offensive line, he shows a lot of promise for the future.
15 New York Giants Mike Iupati Guard Idaho
In this scenario, the Giants are ticked off, because they really wanted Rolando McClain to be there to plug in to the middle of a defense that totally collapsed at the end of last season.  But he's not, so the Giants take steps towards solving their next biggest problem, and that's the offensive line.  Iupati is a big, nasty mauler at the guard spot, and the word getting around recently is that he might have the ability to swing to the outside as a tackle, too.  Again, not a glamour pick, but a necessary one.
16 Tennessee Titans Jason Pierre-Paul Defensive End South Florida
The Titans need an immediate impact pass rusher after losing Kyle Vanden Bosch in free agency, and this year's YouTube sensation is right there for the taking.  Yes, JPP has all the athletic ability in the world, and I made the Jevon Kearse comparison in my last mock, but it remains to be seen whether JPP's skills translate as well to the NFL level as Kearse's did.  This is a huge boom-or-bust pick here, but that would be the case for whoever takes Pierre-Paul, in my opnion.
17 San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina Panthers) Sergio Kindle Defensive End/Linebacker Texas
Kindle is hard to get a read on.  (See that?  A technology joke!  Ah, what do you know from funny?)  He's obviously a 3-4 rush type of guy at the NFL level, and it's simply a matter of which 3-4 team he'll go to.  The Niners could attempt to address the secondary with this selection, but I think Kindle is the best player available at this point.
18 Pittsburgh Steelers Kyle Wilson Cornerback Boise State
Given the events of the past couple of days, no team leading up to tomorrow's draft is more interesting than Pittsburgh.  To borrow a line from WNYX Radio owner Jimmy James, they're a cipher, wrapped in an enigma, covered in a secret sauce.  If Ben Roethlisberger is no longer a member of the team by the time you read this, the Steelers might decide they're in full-on rebuilding mode, in which case your guess is as good as mine about which direction they go.  However, in this scenario, I think the Steelers need to take a good look at their secondary.  Wilson is an outstanding cornerback, and he has the versatility that the Steelers love, as he's also an outstanding return man.
19 Atlanta Falcons Derrick Morgan Defensive End Georgia Tech
Well, at least Morgan doesn't have to move very far to go from college to the NFL.  It's time for the Falcons to acknowledge that they completely whiffed on the Jamaal Anderson pick a couple of seasons ago, and Derrick Morgan might be the best 4-3 defensive end in this year's class.  Sure, he can't do 23 backflips in a row or whatever the number is, but he's a solid player at the DE spot, and someone the Falcons can plug into their front seven immediately as an upgrade.
20 Houston Texans Ryan Mathews Running Back Fresno State
We all know the stories about the Houston offense. . .#1 passing attack in the league, awful rushing game, due in no small part to Steve Slaton's inability to hold on to the football.  Mathews is one of those backs that does everything well, and could team with Slaton to bring a new dimension to the Texans' offense in 2010.  Houston could look at their secondary here, but Mathews serves both value and need at this spot.
21 Cincinnati Bengals Dez Bryant Wide Receiver Oklahoma State
Ladies and gentlemen, the Dez Bryant slide has come to an end.  This pick must happen.  Can you imagine the show we'd get with Chad Ochocinco on one side and Dez Bryant on the other?  Would Carson Palmer's head explode?  Would Marvin Lewis strangle one (or both) of them eventually?  Who knows. . .but with the way the Bengals' offense was shut down for the last month of 2009, they need someone else on the outside to take the pressure off of. . .Cedric Benson?  Did I really just type that?
22 New England Patriots Jermaine Gresham Tight End Oklahoma
The Patriots' tight end spot really doesn't have a whole lot going for it at this point, and with Wes Welker's gruesome injury at the end of the 2009 season, the Patriots are going to need someone to work the underneath area for Tom Brady and company, as Welker might not be the same even after he returns.  Gresham was set to have a monster year before injuring his knee, and he's the sort of sure-handed tight end that would wreak some serious havoc in the Patriots' offense.
23 Green Bay Packers Anthony Davis Offensive Tackle Rutgers
Yes, the Packers re-signed Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton, but both of those guys are well on the wrong side of 30 at this point, and they need to start rebuilding the line at some point.  Davis has some real character concerns, but he's also immensely talented.  And hey. . .where is there in Green Bay for him to potentially get in trouble?  The Packers could also take a look at the secondary, what with the injury to Al Harris and Charles Woodson's age, but I think Davis would be too good a value for them to pass up here.
24 Philadelphia Eagles Maurkice Pouncey Center/Guard Florida
The post-McNabb era is set to kick off in Philadelphia, and since new starter Kevin Kolb isn't quite as mobile as McNabb, the Eagles need to take some steps to keep him upright as much as possible.  It's entirely possible that Pouncey could go much earlier than this, but in this scenario he's fallen to a team that really needs him.  With the versatility to play either center or guard, Pouncey would be an upgrade at either of those spots for Andy Reid's team.
25 Baltimore Ravens Jared Odrick Defensive Tackle/End Penn State
The Ravens take a bit of a darkhorse pick here, as Odrick has been a bit quiet throughout this draft season.  However, he could be a big player in Baltimore's defense remaining a dominant one, as he has good size and can play either inside or outside.  He'd likely be an end in Baltimore's 3-4.  A bit of a surprise pick, but a good one, in my opinion.
26 Arizona Cardinals Brandon Graham Defensive End/Linebacker Michigan
Yeah, the Cardinals signed Joey Porter this off-season, but he's about 206 years old, and the Cardinals need more of a long-term solution at that outside pass rusher spot in their 3-4.  Graham is an outstanding athlete, and much better against the run than you might think.  After watching the Arizona defense give up 90 points in two post-season games this past January, there's no doubt where their focus needs to be with this pick.  They could look at the safety spot with this pick, but Graham would immediately upgrade them and be a good long-term guy as well.
27 Dallas Cowboys Taylor Mays Safety Southern California
Taylor Mays had a monster combine after a very up-and-down year at USC.  Granted, the USC defense was very young and inexperienced, but he still didn't make nearly as many plays as a safety of his caliber can make.  Still, he has physical tools that coaches drool over, and since there isn't an offensive tackle worth taking at this spot to replace Flozell Adams with, the Cowboys could very easily opt for Mays.  Maybe he can help Gerald Sensabaugh figure out where that pass to Sidney Rice in the playoffs this year went to, since I'm pretty sure that Sensabaugh still doesn't know.
28 San Diego Chargers Terrence Cody Defensive Tackle Alabama
There's no doubt what position Mount Cody is going to play at the NFL level.  He's a 3-4 nose tackle in its purest sense, and with the departure of mainstay Jamal Williams, the Chargers need someone they can plug into the middle of their defense to allow their linebackers to freely flow.  Cody's dedication has been a question mark, as has his conditioning, but for a team that doesn't need him to do anything more than take up space, there won't be many opportunities to get a guy like this one.
29 New York Jets Jerry Hughes Defensive End/Linebacker Texas Christian
So, what do you get for the defense that has everything?  Why, more talent, of course!  Hughes is a bit undersized, but he's another one of those 3-4 outside guys that can really get after the quarterback, as anyone that saw any TCU games last year can tell you.  Rex Ryan can find lots of different uses for a guy like Hughes, and has the luxury of taking a player like this after trading for Antonio Cromartie to shore up the secondary.
30 Minnesota Vikings Tim Tebow Quarterback Florida
Now, keep this in mind. . .this is not necessarily what I want to see happen. . .I think that this is what will happen.  I would like to see Tim Tebow as a member of the Minnesota Vikings, certainly, but I don't think that the 30th pick in Round 1 is necessarily the best spot to take him.  However, I'm not running the Vikings at this point.  My ideal scenario in this situation would be to try to find a team that has interest in Tebow (such as Jacksonville or Buffalo) and try to make a deal with them to fall back into the second and let them take Tebow.  The upside to Minnesota taking Tebow here is that there wouldn't be any pressure to get him out on the field right away, and he'd get the time that he truly needs to develop as a quarterback.  If the Vikings keep the pick, I sincerely hope they take a cornerback here like Devin McCourty or Kareem Jackson. . .but Brad Childress didn't spend all that time in Florida for nothing, in my opinion. . .and it was either to evaluate Tebow so the Vikings can take him, or to gin up enough interest in him where another team will move up to Minnesota's spot and grab him instead.
31 Indianapolis Colts Jahvid Best Running Back California
I've gone on record before as saying that I'm not Joseph Addai's biggest fan.  I don't think he's all that special, and outside of a few performances, he never really has been.  Also, he's a free agent after the 2010 season, so maybe the Colts can finally rid themselves of him.  Enter Best, who was having an amazing season for the Golden Bears in 2009 before a concussion ended his year.  He has outstanding speed, and can catch out of the backfield, an important trait in any offense with Peyton Manning at the controls.
32 New Orleans Saints Brian Price Defensive Tackle California-Los Angeles
While the Saints' defense stepped up quite a bit last season, they could still use some help for Sedrick Ellis on the interior.  Price would probably be considered the best defensive lineman left on the board at this point, and a very good value for the Saints at #32.  They could also go with a defensive end after losing Charles Grant, or even at safety with the unsure status of Darren Sharper, but I think Price is the best pick for them here.

 

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