Mock First Round

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With the start of the 2010 NFL Draft less than eleven hours away, I finally feel secure publishing my projection of the full first round.  Hopefully, I'll be able to do the same for the two other segments of the the draft being held tomorrow and the day after as well.  Draft preparation this offseason has been a long process, but an enjoyable - and, I hope, entertaining - one.  For me, this is a bittersweet moment, but it's certainly heavy on the sweet!

Before we get to the mock itself, I'd like to share a few general notes that will hopefully preempt some of your questions, comments and/or concerns. I did not project any trades, but I accounted for their likelihood by focusing on needs rather than value. In that way, I built in the outcome of potential deals without having to predict any specifics. There are, however, some unexpected predictions in here that are sure to raise a few eyebrows, so hopefully you won't feel as though you're looking at what you've already seen elsewhere around the web. And so, without further ado, here's how I see today's first round breaking down:

1. St. Louis Rams - Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
2. Detroit Lions - Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
4. Washington Redskins - Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
5. Kansas City Chiefs - Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
6. Seattle Seahawks - Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
7. Cleveland Browns - Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
8. Oakland Raiders - Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
9. Buffalo Bills - Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
10. Jacksonville Jaguars - Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State

More below the fold!

With the 11th pick in the 2010 NFL draft, the Denver Broncos select: Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida (6'5", 304)

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Could this match-up continue to play out in the AFC West for years to come?

If the Broncos are unable to trade down, then this pick could go a number a different ways with the top ten that I projected above, but Pouncey would certainly be under consideration. If they find a way to trade down, however, then most of those other options would no longer be feasible, yet Maurkice would definitely be among the group of remaining potential targets - if he's available - when Denver goes back on the clock. Though I'm not entirely comfortable with calling his name here, he has the potential to turn our single greatest deficiency into a strength right out of the gate and for years to come. So, while his overall value may make this pick a bit of a "reach", he probably represents the greatest possible marginal value of any likely choice for us. Since he's been a fan-favorite on MHR for some time now, it might be superfluous to include my personal scouting notes here, but I guess it's better to be safe than sorry!

Scouting notes: great all-around technique... uses his hands very well... great timing... plays with very good leverage... displays good awareness... is willing to help linemates if possible and when necessary... demonstrates impressive power... has the size and strength to handle bigger defensive tackles... is quick and agile enough to handle penetrating DTs... has good balance... plays well in space... has a mean streak... is the unit leader... is tough... has proven durability... played in a shotgun system.

On to the remainder of the first round!

12. Miami Dolphins - Brandon Graham, DE/OLB, Michigan
13. San Francisco 49ers - Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
14. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver) - Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
15. New York Giants - Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
16. Tennessee Titans - Joe Haden, CB, Florida
17. San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina) - Earl Thomas, DB, Texas
18. Pittsburgh Steelers - Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
19. Atlanta Falcons - Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
20. Houston Texans - Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
22. New England Patriots - Sergio Kindle, DE/OLB, Texas
23. Green Bay Packers - Charles Brown, OT, Southern California
24. Philadelphia Eagles - Taylor Mays, S, Southern California
25. Baltimore Ravens - Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
26. Arizona Cardinals - Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
27. Dallas Cowboys - Rodger Saffold, OT, Indiana
28. San Diego Chargers - C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
29. New York Jets - Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, Texas Christian
30. Minnesota Vikings - Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
31. Indianapolis Colts - Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
32. New Orleans Saints - Everson Griffen, DE, Southern California

Perhaps the most startling projections above are the quarterbacks after Sam Bradford. Personally, I think that Cleveland, Buffalo and perhaps Oakland - the franchises in the top ten most likely to be landing spots for Jimmy Clausen - are far more interested in the second tier QBs that most believe will be available to them at their current picks in the second round. Obviously, however, I think Tim Tebow won't stay on the board that long. I have a sneaking suspicion that someone will trade into the last third of the first round to secure him and that, barring that, the Vikings won't pass up the opportunity to take him at #30.

As for our division rivals, I'd be slightly concerned about these picks as a Broncos fan. Dan Williams to Kansas City at #5 would certainly be viewed as a reach, but it wouldn't be more of one than our taking Pouncey at #11 and I think most of us would be at least pleased by that. Their general manager, Scott Pioli, has shown that the Chiefs will be looking to emulate the Patriots and that means spending high value picks along the defensive line. It's been fun projecting Bruce Campbell (both the workout warrior and the B-movie star) to Oakland, but I just don't think that holds water... at #8. If Trent Williams is available there, then he'll be Raider; don't forget, he's a rare athlete for the position as well. If not - and they go for a guy like Iupati instead - then expect Campbell to be my pick for them in the second round. Finally, the Chargers are the beneficiaries of no team truly needing a running back and my belief that Spiller's just not an elite prospect, at least not overall. That said, he'd still be a great value at #28 and would be an upgrade - moderate as it may be - over what they've at RB these last couple of years.

Well friends, that's it for me for now. If I left any questions unanswered, feel free to ask them below. As always, your input is deeply appreciated, so don't hold anything back! I look forward to chatting with you in the comments as we anticipate the start of the real thing later tonight; go Broncos!

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