Commentary

Clausen's jump shifts the mock

Eight new names and major top-10 changes alter the pre-combine mock draft

Originally Published: February 17, 2010
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN.com
Getty ImagesJimmy Clausen's experience under center is just one reason his stock is on the rise.

This is the last big NFL draft primer before the scene really shifts for good. That's because with the NFL combine next week, it's not just about those remarkable 40 times, it's about NFL personnel people finding out whether a guy really is who they believe he is. It's amazing how many times NFL personnel folks come away shocked that a player is 5-foot-11, not 6-1, or 230 pounds as opposed to the 248 he'd been listed at. Remember that my Big Board and position group rankings really help in understanding overall draft value.

Some things that stand out in this second mock draft are a jump for quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who I think will emerge strong from the workout and interview process; eight new names; multiple shifts in draft choices and the degree to which defense dominates. Twenty picks fall on that side of the ball.


St. Louis Rams

Record: 1-15

Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

Clearly, the Rams need to figure out who will take the snaps, and it'll be interesting to see whether they are overwhelmed by one of the QB options. But unless St. Louis trades down -- which is always difficult given the economics of the draft -- Suh is a safe pick. As I've said before, on film he's maybe the most dominating defensive tackle I've seen. He can help immediately. Oddly, for a player so highly thought of, Suh may be even more versatile than some think.

Detroit Lions

Record: 2-14

Gerald McCoy*, DT, Oklahoma

McCoy or Suh will be a welcome sight for the Lions with the second pick, and McCoy is an extraordinarily good consolation prize for any team unable to get Suh. He's simply not that far behind the former Cornhusker in the eyes of personnel people. McCoy is highly disruptive and an ideal player to use as an attacking defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme.

Eric Berry*, S, Tennessee

People will continue to debate the merits of taking a safety so high, but Berry is an exception to any rule. He could be the next to join the class of true difference-makers at the safety position with the likes of Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed (the most frequent comparison) and Bob Sanders. Berry is outstanding in coverage and far more physical than his size would indicate.

Jimmy Clausen*, QB, Notre Dame

Clausen will gain momentum after the combine. Once he's fully recovered from his toe surgery, he'll show teams he can make the throws, but there's more to it. His intelligence, competitiveness and toughness will impress personnel people, and his stock will rise. Clausen has under-center experience and was as close to mistake-free as he could be given his surroundings this past season.

Kansas City Chiefs

Record: 4-12

Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers

Davis has the physical talent to be a Pro Bowl player early in his career, but he's still developing. Still, given a choice, the Chiefs can't pass on his upside, which is as high as any player's in the draft. A potential Walter Jones-like presence, if his development continues. The Chiefs also could move Branden Albert to the right side.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst

ALSO SEE