Now that the 2009/2010 College Bowl Season is over, (and it does feel like a whole season, doesn’t it?) we can start concentrating on our next big storyline for college football: the NFL Draft. Arguing about which college player should be ranked in what order of the draft and discussing which team needs which player is every bit as fun as talking about which baseball players belong in the Hall of Fame and why, and then ranking the best Performance Enhancing Drug users and non-Performance Enhancing Drug users of our time.
But, for the purpose of this discussion, we’ll stick to the NFL Draft. So, after looking at the draft boards, and the bottom teams of the NFL, this is where I see them. You may look at them and say, “He’s crazy”! it wouldn’t be the first time that’s been said, I promise you. But, I make an attempt to explain my selections. Feel free to disagree and post your own top 5 picks. I’ll be happy to entertain any argument.
The TMR Zoo Top 5
#1 – Jimmy Clausen – QB Notre Dame
As it stands right now, the St. Louis Rams have the top pick in the upcoming NFL draft, courtesy of their dismal 1-15 record. They should take the number one college football player in the country, Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh and build their defense around him. But with current QB Mark Bulger coming off an injury plagued, sub-par season (140-of-247 passes for 1,469 yards, with five touchdowns and six interceptions), they could easily let him walk and pick up Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen as the number one pick.
Clausen is going to be a top 5 selection, and while he probably shouldn’t go #1, considering the Rams current situation it’s not too far-fetched. He finished the season with a QB rating of 161.4 (3rd in the nation), 3722 yards (4th in nation), 28 TD (8th in nation) and only 4 interceptions in 425 attempts. Only Boise States’ Kellen Moore had a better ratio with 3 interceptions in 431 attempts.
#2 – Ndamukong Suh – DT Nebraska
OK, Suh is the TRUE number one pick in the draft, and he should be. And in any year that the Rams weren’t trying to rebuild their team from scratch, he would be. But I don’t think this is any year, and the Rams will be trying to rebuild their team from scratch. SO, Suh will drop to #2, quite unfairly. On the other hand, it’s a good thing for the Detroit Lions, who although improved from last season’s awful record of 1-15 to a somehow more respectable 2-14, they will again get the TRUE #1 pick in the draft. Last season they smartly used their #1 pick to grab QB Matt Stafford.
Without question Suh will quickly turn into a franchise player, especially for a team without one. Now, they can use this year’s number one pick to build their defense by picking up the best player on the board in Suh. He is certainly a player that you can build a defense around. He practically single handedly shut down a very powerful Texas Longhorns offense and QB Colt McCoy in the Big 12 Championship with 12 tackles and 4 ½ sacks. And he was doing that all season.
#3 – Gerald McCoy – DT Oklahoma
McCoy is a smaller version of Suh, and although very fast, he doesn’t have that “Jevon Kersey” speed that Suh has off the ball. Nor does he have that constant “Reggie White” presence that Suh has. Those things aren’t things you work on. You either have them or you don’t. Meanwhile, McCoy does have what it takes to make Oklahoma 7th in the nation in both yards per game (273.5) and points per game (13.5). He did a great job clogging up the middle and allowed only 88.6 yards on the ground per game (7th in the nation) and only 7 rushing TDs all season. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ranking 27th in the NFL in yards per game allowed (365.6) and dead last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (158.2 yards per game), they could use someone like McCoy to help bolster their defensive line. Sure, they need other things too, but they have to start somewhere and this seems like a logical place to me.
#4 – Russell Okung – OT Oklahoma St
The Washington Redskins might have taken a quarterback in this spot, but it appears that the new regime under Coach Mike Shanahan is going to stick with current QB Jason Campbell. Both his average yards per game (226) and his QB rating (86.4) fall right in the middle of the pack, ranked 15th and 16th, respectively. So, it looks like the Redskins will be looking for something else on draft day. How about someone to protect Campbell? That’s where Okung comes in. He’s considered to be above average to exceptional in every aspect of blocking, whether it for the run, against the blitz, or in pass situations. He will be a key component to any offensive line, and both Campbell and RB Clinton Portis need the protection if this team has a prayer of regaining some respectability. This is a good first step toward that end.
#5 – Sam Bradford – QB Oklahoma
Matt Hasselbeck, after 11 seasons, is older than his 34 years. His 75.1 passer rating this season was amongst the worst in the league as was his 17 TD and 17 interceptions. He’s inconsistant and at times, just not very good. It may be time for Seattle to be looking elsewhere, and this may be their opportunity. They could take Sam Bradford as their first overall pick, #5 overall, and start rebuilding their franchise. This season, they were 5-11. They were 15th in passing yards per game (218.9) and 20th in passing TDs (20). Bradford, coming off a Heisman Award winning season in ’08 got injured very early in the ’09 season, so we don’t know how he’s going to react to his shoulder surgery. But, if he plays anything like he did in ’08 when he won the Heisman, Seattle will be on to something. That season he not only won the prestigious award, but also took Oklahoma to the National Championship Game (where they lost to the Florida Gators), and he set several NCAA passing and TD records along the way. With him at the helm, the Sooners were the most productive offense in NCAA history. There’s something that can bring some sunshine to Seattle.
Of course, who really knows what any of these teams are really going to do? All of this is just my thoughts on some of their needs and what they can do with what’s available to make their teams just a little bit better.