The Combine is over and teams everywhere are flocking to their draft boards to plot out exactly who they will take and where. Some prospects showed up and solidified their status as elite talent while others unfortunately only created questions of whether they can be successful at the next level.
Players such as Ndamukung Suh, Taylor Mays and Gerald McCoy showcased freakish athletic ability and Suh clearly distinguished himself as the best prospect in this years draft. Mays probably helped himself more than anyone having one of the most successful combines posting an unofficial 4.24 forty yard dash time, tying Titans running back Chris Johnson for the fastest recorded.
On the flip side were players like receiver Brandon Lafell, quarterback Colt McCoy and corner back Joe Haden who all had disappointing workouts. Haden has widely been considered the top corner in this years draft but his prowess on the football field did not translate as he posted a slow forty time at 4.57 seconds and appeared to be confused displaying poor technique in drills. Haden might not fall entirely out of the first round but the performance has certainly hurt his draft stock.
Lafell was a high prospect coming out of LSU but displayed average speed and explosiveness in the combine. His performance there coupled with the issues he had his senior season have certainly edged him out of the first round altogether.
Similar scenario with McCoy, a top QB prospect coming out of Texas, who displayed average athletic ability along with average height at 6″1. NFL clubs really want a physical specimen from a height stand point and McCoy just doesn’t stack up. He also opted no to throw at the combine only cementing the doubts scouts have about his arm strength and ability to make all the throws. He never had much of a chance to be taken in the first round anyways but it now appears his grading will place him somewhere in the third round.
Personally I don’t think this years crop of quarterback prospects houses a player worthy of a first round pick. In fact this is a darft that will be dominated by defensive players and offensive linemen where as many as four plus offensive tackles will get taken in the first round. In usual fashion though some team will reach and take a QB late in the first round, most likey Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford or Notre Dame stand out Jimmy Clausen.
Now that it’s over it is a little easier to gauge where certain players will be taken, although I am sure many things will change barring great Pro Days from some of these players and the inevitable draft shuffle that will happen amongst NFL teams in the first round.
As far as the Saints are concerned picking 32nd makes their choice pretty easy as they will take the best player available on their draft board regardless of need. Head coach Sean Payton has gone on record to confirm exactly this so the possibilities are wide open.
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|Pick||Team||Player Selected||Player’s Position||Player’s School||Analysis|
|1.||Ndamukong Suh||Defensive Tackle||Nebraska||Even with Marc Bulgers time over in St.Louis there just is not a QB worthy of the first selection. History tell us that most QB’s taken in the first round rarely find success at the pro level and the Rams will not be willing to take the risk. They take the safe pick and go with the best player in the draft Ndamukong Suh, free agency or a later round pick is where they will get their next QB.|
|2.|| Gerald McCoy ||Defensive Tackle||Oklahoma|| |
With Suh off the board, and having a QB of the future in Matt Stafford, the Lions will select the best 1-A prospect in the draft Gerald McCoy. McCoy will be a dominant interior lineman for years to come. This all assuming the Lions don’t trade away the pick that they are currently relentlessly shopping to other franchises.
|3.||Jason Pierre-Paul ||Defensive End||South Florida||Tampa could go either way with this pick and with safeties Mays and Berry both still here it presents a unique opportunity for Raheem Morris to upgrade his secondary with a young playmaker. In the end however since they face the Saints and Drew Brees twice a year Morris will opt to upgrade his pass rush by taking the most athletic pass rusher in the draft Jason Pierre-Paul|
|4.||Russel Okung ||Offensive Tackle||Oklahoma State||With the Redskins hoping to return to prominence after hiring head coach Mike Shanahan the team will look to develop their quarterback of now Jason Campbell and opt not to draft one here. Instead with a rather dominant defense and secondary currently in plave the Skins will draft the best offensive tackle in the draft amidst a very deep group, Russel Okung, to help protect a developing Campbell.|
|5.||Bryan Bulaga||Offensive Tackle||Iowa||Now that Okung is off the board the run on OT’s will begin and the Chiefs will take the second best tackle in the draft Bryan Bulaga.|
|6.||Anthony Davis ||Offensive Tackle||Rutgers||With Pete Carroll now at the helm in Seattle it is possible that Matt Hasselbeck’s future there is in jeopardy, but again there is not a QB worth drafting this high. There are a number of monster OT left here and think the third best is taken, Anthony Davis., to help get Hasselbeck upright.|
|7.||Eric Berry ||Safety||Tennessee||CB Joe Haden may have been the Browns choice here although after a not so hot combine I think Mangini looks elsewhere to re-build a struggling secondary and selects stud safety Eric Berry.|
|8.||Trent Williams ||Offensive Tackle||Oklahoma||What can you say here, Al Davis loves to draft freakishly fast players and my gut instinct tells me Davis wants Taylor Mays and that sub 4.3 speed in his backfield even with some pretty stud players there already. However I think Davis is pigeon holed into drafting a glaring need for the team and takes the next best tackle available Trent Williams.|
|9.||Derrick Morgan ||Defensive End||Georgia Tech||Any time you can upgrade your pass rush with an elite end you jump on the chance, The Bills are not known as a team with an electric pass rush but the addition of Derrick Morgan will immediately inject some life.|
|10.||Carlos Dunlap||Defensive End||Florida||The Jags follow suite and look to upgrade their pass rush after posting only 14 sacks in 2009 by drafting the next best defensive end Carlos Dunlap.|
|11.||Dez Bryant ||Wide Receiver||Oklahoma State||Looks like receiver Brandon Marshall may end up with the Seahawks or possibly any team other than Denver. Daniels will need to fill the void left by Marshall and decides to take the first and best receiver in the draft Dez Bryant.|
|12.||Sergio Kindle ||Outside Linebacker||Texas||This one is truly a no brainer as the only logical choice for the Dolphins is to take a linebacker after parting ways with Joey Porter coupled with the uncertainty of Jason Taylor’s future. The best linebacker in the draft comes off the board, Sergio Kindle, a future beast in a 3-4 scheme.|
|13.||Earl Thomas ||Safety||Texas||The 49ers need some help in the secondary and since Berry went off the board #7 to the Browns they decide to go after the next best ball hawking safety Earl Thomas.|
|14.||(Den)||C.J. Spiller ||Running Back||Clemson||Carrol is a smart guy and he understands that a good running back can go along way and let’s face it the Seahawks definitely need an upgrade at the position as they have not had a viable back since the days of Sean Alexander. At 14 they take the best running back off the board and select C.J. Spiller.|
|15.||Rolando McClain ||Inside Linebacker||Alabama||With former starter and leader of the Giants D linebacker Antonio Pearce a distant memory in the big apple the Giants desperately need someone to step up in his place and become a play-maker. The clear choice is the best inside backer in the draft Rolando McClain.|
|16.||(CAR)||Mike Iupati||Offensive Guard/Tackle||Idaho||The 49ers are looking to have one heck of a draft and have already secured one of the best defensive players in the draft safety Earl Thomas. The defensive minded Singletary more than got his fix drafting Thomas and opts to rebuild a not so go offensive line by taking the most versatile OL in the draft, Mike Iupati.|
|17.||Jared Odrick ||Defensive Tackle||Penn State||Although Albert Haynesworth cannot be replaced it’s about time they try and draft a potential run stuffing nightmare in DT Jared Odrick.|
|18.||Dan Williams||Defensive Tackle||Tennessee||The Steelers sewed up their starting nose tackle Casey Hampton which help solidify the position heading into the draft. I still think they go defense and take the next best defensive tackle off the board in Dan Williams.|
|19.||Daryl Washington ||Outside Linebacker||TCU||The Falcons need a corner but equally and maybe more importantly need a stud outside linebacker to help anchor the defense. Call me crazy but I think they go with the thumper from TCU Daryl Washington.|
|Corner Back||Florida||If I were the Texans I wouldn’t bet on stand out corner Dunta Robinson returning to the club. Therfore the pick is obvious especially considering they play Peyton Manning two times a year. Even after his poor combine Haden is arguably still the best corner in the draft and the Texans will select him in hopes of slowing Manning.|
|Tight End||Oklahoma||The Bengals have had nothing but inconsistency and injury at the tight end position and desperately need a play making tight end to command respect in the middle of the field. Regardless of Greshams knee injury they welcome him to Cincinatti with open arms.|
|22.||Brandon Graham ||Outside Linebacker||Michigan||The Patriots see a need and fill it, his addition will help an increasingly struggling pass rush. Just ask them how their game against Drew Brees went.|
|23.||Bruce Campbell ||Offensive Tackle||Maryland||Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers spent the majority of the 2009 season lying flat on his back as the o=line was a complete and utter catastrophe. Great strides were made towards the end of the season but never the less they will look to bolster the line and protect Rodgers by taking the best available tackle left, Bruce Campbell.|
|24.||Everson Griffen||Defensive End||Southern California||The same old analogy applies, if you can upgrade your pass rush then do it., Griffen paired with Cole is a tandem destined to wreak havoc.|
|25.||Arrelious Benn ||Wide Receiver||Illinois||Many think the Ravens may look at taking a linebacker here and there is definitely a consideration here. Brandon Spikes is still on the board but I think the Ravens take a wide receiver here and take the next best behind Dez Bryant, Arrelios Benn, to help Flacco and the passing game.|
|26.||Navarro Bowman ||Outside Linebacker||Penn State||Kurt Warner decided to retire leaving the starting job to once prized draft pick Matt Leinart. Leinart has been inconsistent and the possibility exists the Cards may take a QB here. I am going out on a limb by saying I think they wont take a Qb but will take a pass-rush specialist and draft Navarro Bowman from Penn State.|
|27.||Taylor Mays||Safety||Southern California||Jerry Jones make be getting the steal of the draft by taking Mays with the 27th pick, assuming he falls this far that is.. Mays is a freakish athlete with blazing speed and you can bet Jones is more than happy to add him into his secondary. They have to start winning play off games is they expect to pay for the Jones-Mahal.|
|28.||Ryan Matthews ||Running Back||Fresno State||San Diego is desperately seeking help at the running back position after releasing long time Pro Bowl back LaDainian Tomlinson this off-season. That’s not to mention that Darren Sproles may not return either. The Chargers have to go running back here and I think they take Matthews over Jahvid Best.|
|29.||Brandon Graham ||Defensive End||Michigan||Hey it’s Rex Ryan and you can be sure he always looking for ways to bolster his defense, the next piece of the puzzle will be DE Brandon Graham.|
|30.||Kyle Wilson ||Corner Back||Boise State||Plain and simple the Vikes need help at corner and low and behold the second best corner behind Haden is still on the board with the 30th pick.|
|31.||Jahvid Best ||Running Back||California||The more backs you have the better as more and more teams are employing a multi-headed backfield. One could argue that the Colts run game is ranked so poorly because of their dogged determination to keep the ball in the hands of Peyton Manning. Indy takes the best back availible and drafts Jahvid Best to compliment Addai and Brown.|
|32.||Maurkice Pouncey||Center||The Saints have more than a few needs ranging from DL to linebacker to OL. Common wisdom suggest the Saints take a linebacker or defensive end especially considering that long time starter Charles Grant most likely will not be back with team heading into the 2010 season. Sean Weatherspoon is available here and surely is a tempting option to help bolster the linebacker core but a need that is over looked much of the time is center, a position that has been just okay since the departure of Jeff Faine. With that being said I think the Saints opt to pass on Weatherspoon and instead take the best center prospect to come out in the draft since Nick Mangold and select Maurkice Pouncey 32nd.|