There are concerns about the system Bradford played in at OU and the season-ending shoulder injury he suffered last year, but we still think he's an excellent value here. His shoulder has clearly healed and his arm may be even stronger than it was before the surgery. We also believe he has the mental aptitude to make a successful transition to the NFL.
While it's tough to expect a new quarterback to start on a 1-15 team, that's what the Rams want from Bradford because they don't have many other options. A.J. Feeley was signed from Carolina, but he's a short-term fix. Keith Null struggled badly when given opportunities last year, and Mike Reilly is the only other quarterback on the roster. The Rams have a lot of other needs, but Bradford's intangibles, mental makeup and consistency are exactly what a new quarterback will need on a rebuilding team.
Suh lacks elite initial quickness but is still above-average. He has outstanding upper-body strength, and while he may not get to the QB regularly at the NFL level, he should be a disruptive pass-rusher who can consistently hurry signal-callers. He also has the potential to develop into an upper-echelon run-stopper who can hold his own when teams run at him and make an occasional play in the backfield.
This was a great pick for a defense that ranked 32nd overall last year and 25th against the run. While the Lions recently added Corey Williams, they still needed someone to help at the point of attack and to bring stoutness and physical play. Suh is regarded as one of the strongest players on the line of scrimmage this year, and he will undoubtedly tie up blockers, collapse run lanes and change the makeup of the defensive front.
McCoy has exceptional quickness for a 295-pound defensive tackle. He excels at getting off the ball and shooting gaps, and there's also a lot to like about both his foot speed and hand speed. He makes it very difficult for offensive linemen to get their hands on him and sustain blocks, and he should be a disruptive run-defender and a productive pass-rusher.
The Bucs have a small, aging defensive front and they really needed an explosive playmaker on the interior. Chris Hovan and Ryan Sims lack the strength, quickness and raw talent of McCoy. He will come in and make an impact right away and give the team a lot more firepower versus the run and pass. The Buccaneers were last against the run last year, which is unusual for a team that relied on defense for years, especially at defensive tackle. McCoy will anchor this team's defense for years to come.
This a risky pick. There are concerns about Williams' work ethic and commitment to improving his game. However, the reward could be well worth the risk. He's the most naturally gifted tackle in this draft. He has a quick first step and lateral mobility to prevent NFL pass-rushers from turning the corner, and also has the power and nasty disposition to quickly develop into an effective drive-blocker.
It was no secret the Redskins and new coach Mike Shanahan needed to add a prototypical left tackle for them to succeed quickly. The addition of QB Donovan McNabb inspires hope in the offense and Williams can bring some stability to the offensive tackle position. Players were in and out of both tackle spots last season, and the team's best offensive tackle, Chris Samuels, retired in the offseason. This pick was absolutely necessary and Williams will start from day one.
At 211 pounds, Berry might not be big enough to play in the box regularly, but he is not afraid to fill hard and play the run. He's a sound tackler who flashes the ability to deliver the big hit. The reason he was taken this high is his playmaking ability. He has outstanding range in zone coverage and can match up with slot receivers in man coverage, and he's always looking to make plays on the ball regardless of what you ask him to do in coverage.
The Chiefs definitely needed a safety and Berry will bring playmaking ability to this defense immediately. He is a well-rounded safety and the Chiefs needed this infusion of youth and talent at the position. Mike Brown was productive last year but is now gone, and Jon McGraw will be able to shift back to his more natural backup and special-teams role. This was the 30th-ranked defense in the league and was devoid of playmakers in the secondary.
Okung is not an elite athlete for a left-tackle prospect and his footwork needs improvement. Still, he is quick and agile enough to hold his own in pass protection at left tackle in the NFL. He's also a tough, nasty run-blocker who looks to put defenders on their backs. He proved to be a consistent performer and hard worker in college who will continue to improve his game at the NFL level.
Former All-Pro Walter Jones missed last season and has been a physical question mark for some time. A replacement for him was needed badly. Plus, this allows Sean Locklear and Ray Willis to move to right tackle and guard, where they are better-suited. Okung's pass protection and especially his nasty run blocking will have a big impact for the Seahawks. The team needed both youth and depth at this position and this was a very sure pick. He will improve Seattle's production and toughness as soon as he walks into camp.
Haden has yet to reach his full potential because he needs to work on his route-recognition skills and the consistency of his footwork. He clearly has a great deal of upside. He turned in a disappointing 40 time at the combine, but look at the film and you'll see a player who's fast, quick and agile enough to develop into a cover cornerback at the NFL level.
While the Browns needed help in multiple areas, they were 29th versus the pass and 31st overall on defense. The secondary recorded only 10 interceptions last year, and Haden will add speed and great upside to this under-producing unit. Though the Browns recently traded for Sheldon Brown, another impact corner was still needed. This pick gives the team a true four-corner rotation and allows 2009 rookie Coye Francies a chance to be a reserve and focus on special teams.
It's a little early to be taking an inside linebacker, though McClain was the best on the board. McClain doesn't have elite top-end speed but he covers more ground than you would think because of his instincts. He locates and gets to the ball quickly and can also hold his own in phone-booth situations when teams run at him. He shows good instincts and adequate range in coverage, as well.
The Raiders are obviously overhauling their linebacker corps. They recently added Kamerion Wimbley, who will likely play strongside linebacker with McClain in the middle and Trevor Scott on the weak side. The Raiders tendered Kirk Morrison only an original-round tender as a restricted free agent, showing a potential willingness to replace him. This Raiders defense was 29th versus the run and McClain will help to improve this quickly. Though it's a surprising pick, this does give the Raiders a good mix of speed and toughness at linebacker.
Spiller is an excellent value here because of his versatility and playmaking ability. He's a threat to score every time he touches the ball, whether as a runner out of the backfield, a receiver working the slot or returning kicks. He has excellent explosiveness, can make defenders miss in space, and can outrun defenses when he gets a seam. He is clearly the best back available in this year's class.
New GM Buddy Nix is very open about his desire to run the football. Marshawn Lynch has been chirping about trades and Fred Jackson is not built for carrying the load by himself. Spiller will add instant explosiveness and playmaking ability to the Bills. Spiller has drawn comparisons to Tennessee's Chris Johnson, and the Bills can only hope the former Clemson back gives them the same amount of production right away.
When you watch Alualu on film, the first thing that pops out at you is his hands. He's very active and explosive, and if an offensive linemen is able to lock onto him, he has the upper-body strength to quickly shed. While he doesn't have great initial quickness, he can beat blockers to the point of attack and penetrate, and there's also a lot to like both in pursuit and rushing the passer.
Jacksonville was last in the NFL in sacks last year, and even though the Jags signed Aaron Kampman to play the position he likes, 4-3 defensive end, it was not enough. Backups Montavious Stanley and Atiyyah Ellison will be moved out of the defensive tackle rotation, allowing Alualu to spell John Henderson and Terrance Knighton. The Jags definitely needed help on the defensive front and Alualu was a good pick in that sense.
Davis is another talented offensive tackle prospect with character concerns. Additionally, his technique as a run-blocker needs a good deal of work. More specifically, he needs to learn to sink his hips and get under defenders. On the other hand, he has as much, if not more, upside as a pass-blocker as any offensive tackle in this draft.
Joe Staley is a sound left tackle, but Adam Snyder really struggled on the right side last year. Backup Barry Sims provides depth but is aging quickly and Tony Pashos is off to Cleveland. This was the 49ers' No. 1 need and they did a good job of trading up to get their guy. This may afford the 49ers the ability to move Staley to the right side as Davis comes into his own and realizes his tremendous upside.
Mathews is a powerful downhill runner with above-average balance and the competitive nature to constantly fight for extra yards. While there are concerns about his ability to contribute as a receiver early in his career (and his pass blocking, which needs refining), Fresno State didn't ask much of him in either area. We think he will improve in both areas as he gains experience.
With LaDainian Tomlinson gone to the Jets, Darren Sproles needed help. Sproles will remain the big-play threat and explosive returner, but Mathews will quickly become the primary between-the-tackles runner. His combination of size, speed and balance will complement Sproles very well. Though the Chargers traded up, it was one of their primary needs and they filled it well.
Graham doesn't have ideal height for a defensive end prospect and he doesn't have elite natural ability, but he makes the most of his skill set. He's a tough run defender who can set the edge. He shows adequate range in pursuit. While he is a bit of a straight-line pass-rusher, Graham is relentless and powerful. He also does a good job of getting under offensive tackles and bending back inside.
Graham gives the Eagles a versatile defender who will add needed pass-rush ability and a great motor, much like Trent Cole. Juqua Parker is aging, Victor Abiamiri has become a role-playing inside sub-rusher, and newly signed Darryl Tapp is not a team savior. Graham adds toughness and aggressiveness to a defense that thrives on it. Graham will also be able to take some of the pressure off Cole as the lone pass-rushing threat.
Thomas is a slightly undersized safety prospect, especially for a player taken in the top half of the first round. Still, he is an excellent value at this point. He has excellent versatility in coverage, showing the ability to walk up and line up over the slot receiver or play a center-fielder role in zone coverage. He shows excellent instincts for a redshirt sophomore and plays the ball well. While his lack of size is a concern, he is better against the run than you would think because he's tough and he closes very quickly. He needs to do a better job wrapping up, but he hits big for a smaller prospect.
Entering the draft, the Seahawks have only two returning safeties -- Deon Grant is now with the Giants and Lawyer Milloy remains unsigned. Seattle was 30th in the NFL versus the pass and Thomas will add instincts, closing speed and ball-hawking skills in a pass-happy division. He will start next to Jordan Babineaux, and Jamar Adams will now be a backup and special-teams player.
Pierre-Paul didn't start playing football until his junior year of high school and has only one year of FBS experience. There's no question he has a great deal of potential, though. He explodes off the ball and shows above-average closing speed as a pass-rusher. He has to learn to play lower and anchor when teams run at him, but he's quick enough to disrupt plays in the backfield and chase down backs in pursuit. In addition, based on his effort on film, there's reason to be optimistic that he'll reach his ceiling.
This was clearly insurance for the Giants in case they cut ties with Osi Umenyiora, who had a down year. Pierre-Paul is a talented and active defender, which also describes the defensive ends the Giants have become accustomed to. He is very raw and will be allowed to progress behind Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka. This pick was not a big need for this team, but they obviously didn't want to pass on his upside.
Morgan is the most complete, polished end in the 2010 class. He doesn't have elite top-end speed but can still be a productive pass-rusher in the NFL because of his quick first step and his wide variety of pass-rush moves. He plays bigger than his size against the run, staying low coming out of his stance and using his hands well.
Defensive end was one of the Titans' biggest needs and Morgan was the most well-rounded defensive end in this class. The recent losses (via free agency) of Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse gave the Titans concern about their pass rush. Putting heat on the quarterback was a problem last year; the team was 31st in the league in rushing the passer. The club recently added Jason Babin in hopes of improving its quarterback pressure, and this was a good pick to do more of the same.
With his elite combination of size and power, Iupati is an excellent inline blocker and simply a road grader. He has the skills to start immediately , and he also has the skills to switch to tackle later in his career. Overall, Iupati has All-Pro potential.
This is a big, strong man with the ability to play guard and possibly tackle, and though the 49ers already picked Anthony Davis, Iupati will provide tremendous upside and has a chance to work into the offense more slowly. The team had other needs but could not pass up on another protector for QB Alex Smith.
Pouncey is a gifted athlete with great feet and mobility for his size. He also brings the versatility to line up at either guard or center. His overall skill set should make him a more-than-adequate starter for years to come.
Pouncey likely will play guard initially and could move to center in due time. The Steelers allowed 50 sacks last season and Pouncey will be an upgrade in this area. He has better feet and pass-protection range than Chris Kemoeatu or Trai Essex. Current C Justin Hartwig is getting older and the Steelers needed Pouncey's versatility.
Weatherspoon has tremendous size and strength. He also possesses good straight-line speed, which gives him wide range. He has improved his overall ball skills as well as his ability in coverage, and he should be a starting three-down linebacker within a few years.
:Mike Peterson is getting older, and though Stephen Nicholas produced well last year, the Falcons needed additional talent at outside linebacker. Curtis Lofton will man the middle linebacker spot and Weatherspoon will improve the club's depth and pass defense. He likely will be able to play the role Michael Boley filled in 2008 in subpackages.
Jackson may be the best pure cover corner in this year's draft. Jackson has tremendous feet, balance, anticipation and route-recognition skills when out on an island. He should be able to make a smooth transition to the NFL level coming out of a Nick Saban-coached defense.
The loss of Dunta Robinson to Atlanta is a big blow and the Texans desperately needed a shutdown corner, so this pick is no surprise. Glover Quinn stepped up solidly as a rookie last season and Jacques Reeves will continue to play, but Jackson could give the Texans the ability to take away half the field.
Though he provides little as a run-blocker and there is a concern about the knee injury that cost him the entire 2009 season, Gresham has bounced back well; he turned in a very strong pro day. At 6-foot-5, he runs like a deer and has excellent range as a receiving tight end. He should pose a threat in the vertical passing game over the middle for years to come.
Daniel Coats contributed only 16 catches last season with numerous drops, and Chase Coffman missed his entire rookie season with an ankle injury and cannot yet be counted on as a downfield threat. Gresham will provide the ability to stretch the middle of the field and open up what was a diminished passing attack last year. The Bengals were expected to opt for a tight end and Gresham is the best in this class.
Thomas brings rare size and speed to the position and will be an immediate deep threat. He comes from a triple-option offense and is a bit raw as a route runner, but his size and ball skills provide him with great upside.
The Broncos desperately needed receiver depth and playmaking ability now that Brandon Marshall is in Miami. Thomas is built much like Marshall and will provide a downfield threat. Other than Eddie Royal, there was not a lot of speed or size at receiver on their roster, and though Thomas has a limited route tree, he will provide another weapon for Kyle Orton or Brady Quinn.
Bulaga is a bit heavy-footed and a limited athlete, and he is probably better-suited to play on the right side in the NFL. He has the toughness, balance and awareness to challenge for immediate playing time, however, and should eventually become a long-term starter.
The Packers struggled mightily to protect Aaron Rodgers last year, giving up 57 sacks. Their offensive line has been depleted by injury and age the last few seasons. Josh Sitton and Jason Spitz are smaller offensive lineman who lack the stoutness in pass protection the Packers need. Bulaga will provide this and allow Spitz to focus on playing center.
Bryant is a top-10 talent with a rare blend of size, speed, strength and quickness. He brings an immediate and dynamic playmaking presence. While he has some well-documented off-the-field issues, he brings too much value to pass up here No. 24. He should develop into a No. 1 option.
Dallas needed a well-rounded playmaker with the ability to go over the middle and make contested catches. Miles Austin, who returned as a restricted free agent, will pair well with Bryant. Roy Williams is still a big question mark and Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd can now function as serviceable backups. Though there were some character issues, Tony Romo just got better with Bryant coming on board.
This is a stretch. Tebow is a long way from developing into a functional NFL quarterback, and he might never become one. We have concerns about his footwork and elongated delivery, and his struggles at the Senior Bowl only magnified those issues. He has reworked his delivery, but has had only a few weeks to make those changes. However, he brings intangibles that set him apart from almost any other player in this draft, and if he doesn't work out as a quarterback he showed at the combine that he has enough athleticism, determination and toughness to become an H-back and work as a signal-caller in short-yardage and Wildcat situations. Still, this was a surprising pick.
Tebow won't be asked to start right away since Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn are already on the depth chart. What Tebow will bring is intensity, passion for football and leadership. His willingness to improve and uncanny intangibles are qualities that coach Josh McDaniels demands. Tebow has his work cut out for him in terms of mechanics, but he will be worked into the offense slowly. Time will tell on this pick.
Williams is a one-of-a-kind in this year's draft; he's the only nose tackle who graded out as a first-rounder. He carries his 330 pounds well and has an extremely thick lower body and base. He plays with great bounce and has heavy hands and an explosive initial punch. He should provide an immediate anchor in the middle for Arizona's 3-4 defense. In addition, Williams has adequate athleticism to hold up on the interior and to make plays in pursuit outside the tackles. Arizona got great value here.
Old-timer Bryan Robinson is no longer around, so Gabe Watson was slated to be the nose tackle in Arizona's 3-4 packages. With the addition of Williams, the Cardinals get the best prototypical 3-4 nose tackle in this draft. While this wasn't the club's biggest need, they now have a formidable front in Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett and Williams.
McCourty is a great special-teams contributor, having blocked seven kicks during his time in college. He also contributes as a gunner and vice both on the punt and punt-return units and should be able to provide help as a kick returner. In addition, he is one of the more fluid corners in this year's class, and while he doesn't have great ball skills, he plays bigger than his size would suggest.
Brandon Merriweather is a good NFL safety, finishing last season with five interceptions, but the Patriots struggled overall to prevent big pass plays. The Patriots pride themselves on taking versatile players on both sides of the ball and McCourty fits the bill. His run support will be an improvement over James Sanders, Brandon McGowan and Pat Chung. While this wasn't the Pats' biggest need, he is a prototypical New England playertough and versatile.
Odrick is a unique prospect who does not have a great fit anywhere, but he could work out as a five-technique DT in the Dolphins' 3-4 front. He has great initial quickness and a relentless motor, and he shows the ability to stick his feet in the ground and regain leverage to anchor against double-teams. While he needs polish as a pass-rusher, he provides depth on the Dolphins' front line.
Randy Starks is coming off a very good year but is not getting any younger. Kendall Langford and Phillip Merling are active, physical players and Odrick will fit in well in this mold. The team still needs pass-rush help, but if the Dolphins could not get a true nose tackle at this spot, improving their depth at the five-technique will go a long way toward helping out the nose-tackle situation.
Wilson is one of the tougher corners in this year's class. We love his ability to play in press coverage and get his hands on wideouts and disrupt their timing. He also shows great anticipation and route recognition along with above-average ball skills. He plays with an attitude that certainly fits the Jets' philosophy.
The No. 1 overall defense from 2009 is now loaded up with cornerbacks. Darrelle Revis is one of the league's best, the Jets just traded for Antonio Cromartie, and now Wilson gives the Jets one of the best cornerback trios in the NFL. Cromartie likely will play on the outside in subpackages, with Dwight Lowery serving as the fourth corner. Wilson is just the next playmaker coach Rex Ryan has at his disposal, and the newest Jet will also have the chance to be the team's punt returner.
Best has just as much quickness and explosiveness as C.J. Spiller, but durability issues caused him to slide down the board. The thing you really like about Best is his lateral movement and ability to accelerate through cuts. He also has great vision to bounce it to the outside as well as home run speed. If he can remain healthy, Best could make a substantial impact on the offense.
Kevin Smith is coming off reconstructive knee surgery and averaged only 3.4 yards per carry before going down. The offense was without big plays in the running game and that is what Best brings to the table. Maurice Morris and Aaron Brown both performed admirably in place of Smith, but neither has the quickness, agility or explosion Best brings to the table. This is a very good value pick.
Hughes has a nonstop motor. He possesses great quickness, body control and the ability to bend and accelerate to close on quarterbacks. He also shows an array of pass-rush moves to both the inside and outside, which keeps offensive tackles on their toes. He had a very productive and durable college career. Hughes fits perfectly at the NFL level as an undersized pass-rush specialist off the edge.
Hughes is in the same mold of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. While the duo had 23 sacks combined, both players have been at risk of wearing down. Freeney and Mathis are undersized defensive ends at or nearing the age of 30. Raheem Brock was released, so depth was needed and Hughes will immediately be an effective pass-rushing reserve for the Colts.
Robinson is physically gifted with all the tools -- good feet, quickness and top-end speed. What concerns us is his inconsistency and his lack of natural instincts can get him into trouble at times. The situation with the Saints will allow him to develop over time; he has great upside and should develop into a starter.
The New Orleans cornerbacks were very productive in 2009 in terms of interceptions, but had somewhat of a revolving door at the position due to injuries. There is no shutdown corner on the roster, and Robinson will have a chance to earn that role. He will quickly become the nickel corner and should work his way into a starting role by Year 2. He falls into a good situation with experienced corners -- Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter, Randall Gay and Malcolm Jenkins -- around him.