In the second installment of 2010 NFL Draft Buzz, we take a look at the teams from the NFC. If you are looking for your favorite AFC team, you'll find them here.
There are growing concerns in the Minnesota Vikings' camp about Adrian Peterson's fumblitis. And the loss of Chester Taylor will have a bigger impact than you might think. Picking in the latter end of the first round, the Vikings will be one of those teams "taking the best available player" and we wouldn't be surprised if it is a running back that compliments AP. But that would likely mean that a speed back like C.J. Spiller or Jahvid Best would have to fall into their lap. We're also of the belief that the Vikings are one team that is seriously considering Tim Tebow, and not just giving him lip service. We've had the Vikes taking Tebow in the second round for some time now.
DT Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska) has been on most Detroit Lions fans' wish list for some time. And with QB Sam Bradford (Oklahoma) likely headed to St. Louis, they just might get their man. However at least one analyst thinks the Lions will look to move out of the pick. "I think they'd like to trade out of there," said Gil Brandt, an NFL Network analyst and former Dallas vice president of player personnel. "They hope that somebody is looking for a quarterback and they can pick up an extra choice or two extra choices." Lions general manager Martin Mayhew also hasn't been shy about sharing those thoughts.
In the end the Lions probably aren't sitting in the best position, unless St. Louis passes on Bradford or general managers looking for a defensive tackle find it easier to deal with the Lions than the Bucs. While Suh seems like the pick, the Lions have been shuffling offensive line prospects in and out of Allen Park this offseason; this is a strong indication that they could go the offensive line route instead. And there are rumors that they've taken a keen liking to OT Russell Okung (Oklahoma St.). Especially if they can pry DT Albert Haynesworth out of Washington.
The Chicago Bears don't get into the action until Saturday with the 11th pick in the 3rd round. While they don't have any picks on Thursday or Friday, they could be active. The New England Patriots have three second round picks and a need for a tight end. But it will take more than Greg Olsen to wrestle one of those picks from the Pats.
Corner and offensive tackle are two of the Green Bay Packers' biggest needs, and that is the direction we have the Pack heading in our mock draft. But they will also be looking for a replacement at outside linebacker after losing Aaron Kampman to free agency. They've reportedly been out to see OLB Sergio Kindle (Texas) and DE/OLB Everson Griffen (USC). While I still see Griffen as a 4-3 end, most think he would thrive as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
The New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons are both taking a hard look at DE/OLB Eric Norwood (South Carolina). Most draft pundits have Norwood outside of the first round and some even into the third. However, don't be surprised to see him go to either of the these two teams in the first. The Darren Sharper situation won't be resolved before the draft, which makes for some high drama if the Saints snag a safety over the weekend. The Saints are also looking hard at DT/DE Jared Odrick (Penn State).
Speaking of the Atlanta Falcons, there also seems to be a strong interest in a pair of defensive linemen from the West Coast as they brought nearly the entire cast of characters to the West Coast to take a look at UCLA DT Brian Price (UCLA) and USC DE Everson Griffen (USC). The Falcons have also looked at ILB Rolando McClain (Alabama), OLB Sean Weatherspoon (Missouri), DT/DE Jared Odrick (Penn St.), LB Daryl Washington (TCU), OLB/DE Jerry Hughes (TCU) and DE/OLB Everson Griffen (USC)...noticing a theme? But the a real shocker would come if they pick Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham (Oklahoma).
There is wide speculation that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will try everything possible to move out of the #3 spot. But it is not going to be easy. The most likely trading partner is the Oakland Raiders, who could be looking for a defensive tackle. If the Bucs can't move down, most have them selecting DT Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma). But we would not be at all surprised if they take OT Russell Okung (Oklahoma St.). Up until our latest mock draft, we had the Bucs doing just that.
Without a first round pick, the Carolina Panthers won't be able to partake in the festivities on Thursday night. And with only three picks in the first five rounds, they likely won't be able to trade up to join their counterparts in the fun. Defensive line and wide receiver are the team's biggest needs, and receivers will likely hold the most value at the #48 spot.
If you're basing your predictions on who the Dallas Cowboys might draft on who they've brought in, offensive tackle and wide receiver would be high on your list, with safety and corner not far behind. In fact wide receiver seems to be a position they are evaluating very closely.
Word on the street is the Philadelphia Eagles will see a bit of a rebirth with Kevin Kolb under center. Kolb will be 26 at the start of the season, and will have much more in common with WR DeSean Jackson, WR Jeremy Maclin and RB LeSean McCoy, than the aging and departed Donovan McNabb. The Eagles are expected to continue with the youth movement on offense and possibly add another running back to the mix. They've been in contact with RB Toby Gerhart (Standford) and Cal RB Jahvid Best's name keeps getting thrown around when talking about the Eagles. And while Kolb will be the guy in 2010, the Eagles are at least looking at the quarterbacks that will be available. On the defensive side of the ball grabbing a safety is also a high priority.
According to reports, the New York Giants haven't completely ruled out drafting a running back with the first pick. RB C.J. Spiller (Clemson) has been in for a visit and according to talk around town, the Giants and Philadelphia Eagles are both looking to make a play to land him. The most obvious choice is still LB Rolando McClain (Alabama); he was in town to visit with the team on April 12, and he plugs a hole..literally and figuratively.
The Washington Redskins have been taking a close look at quarterbacks Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame) and Tim Tebow (Florida) as potential successors to Donovan McNabb. Barring a trade, Bradford looks improbable, but the other two would be well within their reach. However, offensive tackle is the more likely direction in the first round and some believe Trent Williams might actually be their top choice. The other storyline has the Skins moving defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. If that happens, look for the Skins to make a run at NT Dan Williams (Tennessee).
The player that has been generating the most buzz for the San Francisco 49ers is quarterback Jimmy Clausen. Niners GM Trent Baalke has reaffirmed Alex Smith as their starter, but in the same breathe he didn't rule out drafting a quarterback. Which tells us that at least privately they are considering Plan B. Drafting Clausen seems to be a win-win scenario. If Smith produces, the Niners are winning ball games. If not, Clausen will have a year of learning the ropes before taking over next season. With two first-round picks, the Niners are also a team that could move up a few spots to get a guy they want. Coach Mike Singletary is also reportedly high on S Taylor Mays (USC) and the Niners have been repeatedly tied to S Earl Thomas (Texas).
Is the signing of former USC WR Mike Williams a sign of more to come for the Seattle Seahawks and new head man Pete Carroll? If Carroll still has a soft spot for a guy that has been out of football for two years, imagine how he must feel about S Taylor Mays (USC). New general manager John Schneider has already acknowledged they "would strongly consider taking a safety" in the first round. The Seahawks are also said to be high on S Eric Berry (Tennessee). The other glaring need is at offensive tackle. Picking at #6, the Seahawks will be in good a position to land one of the top choices. Or, following the USC theory, they could make a play for OT Charles Brown (USC) later in the draft. The Seahawks are also one of the many teams that worked out QB Tim Tebow (Florida).
The St. Louis Rams have gone from definitely taking DT Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska) to definitely taking QB Sam Bradford (Oklahoma). We were never on-board with the first but following the second like a horse to water. But is QB Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame) completely out of the mix? In the words of Lee Corso, not so fast my friend. "Clausen looked outstanding," GM Billy Devaney said after attending Clausen's Pro Day. Of course what else is he going to say? But there is a growing belief by many that the Rams might have a similar grade for Clausen as they do Bradford, making a trade with the another team at least a possibility...albeit a slim one. The Rams have also worked out QB Colt McCoy (Texas), so it is pretty clear quarterback is their main target in the draft.
The Arizona Cardinals have had good success in the draft the last three years with 17 of their last 20 picks currently still on the roster. With no glaring needs, coach Ken Whisenhunt says they are "in a position where we have flexibility in this draft and that's a very good thing." But let's be honest here, I think we all know the Cards are going defense early and often. The most likely target will be linebacker, where we have the Cards selecting OLB Sean Weatherspoon in our latest mock draft. Also don't be surprised if they take a quarterback in the later rounds.
That will wrap up the buzz going around the league, bring on Thursday night!
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