For a few years now writers and columnists from the 32 NFL cities have been doing a live mock draft. The idea is to have folks with a solid finger on the pulse of their teams run through the exercise and see how the actual draft might go.
The first leg of that draft happened Sunday, as 13 selections were made. I made the selection for the Dolphins among the list of national media. (And I recognize you are now asking, 'Why did Salguero make the Miami pick if it's supposed to be done by someone with a good idea what the team will do?')
Folks, this isn't science. I made the pick for Miami, like it or not.
I am not predicting this will be Miami's pick.
The greater point is, judging from the picks made by folks ahead of the Dolphins, I would tell you the Dolphins will have quite a few talented players to pick from at No. 12 if the writers have any clue what their teams might do.
The exercise suggests that when Miami picks at No. 12 great talent will remain on the board for the Dolphins if they do not trade down. In this mock, Earl Thomas, Jimmy Clausen, Mike Iupati, Derrick Morgan, Dez Bryant, Sergio Kindle, and Dan Williams are all available to Miami at No. 12.
If that happens on draft day, I would tell you the Dolphins will try to bug out of No. 12. Clausen will have value to someone. Bryant may have value to someone. Thomas will have value to someone, as well as to Miami.
The Dolphins may be able to trade down and get back a second or third round pick. Of course, all this is speculation, an opportunity for you to disagree. It's a mock draft.
1: St. Louis Rams (By Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post Dispatch).
The skinny: After passing on Mark Sanchez and Matt Ryan in the past two years, the Rams won't pass on Sam Bradford this year. Only what GM Billy Devaney calls a "king's ransom" of picks and players in a trade down will keep St. Louis from taking Bradford. After three subpar seasons, two-time Pro Bowler Marc Bulger was released, leaving only A.J. Feeley, and small-school projects Keith Null, and Mike Reilly on the roster at QB. The pick: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma.
2: Detroit Lions (By Mike O'Hara, longtime Lions beat writer for Detroit News).
The skinny: The Leos have ranked last in the NFL in yards allowed for three straight years, and the interior defense has been especially soft. Ndamukong Suh can give them more than a run-stuffing tackle. He can get pressure up the middle on the quarterback, and his presence will free up players such as Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril to get single blocking to rush the passer. The pick: DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska.
3: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (By Ira Kaufman, Tampa Tribune).
The skinny: The Bucs finished last in rushing defense and their starting DTs were Ryan Sims and Chris Hovan. Enough said. It's hard to imagine the Bucs passing on either Suh or Gerald McCoy at No. 3. If both are gone, the Bucs will entertain offers to move down and perhaps land S Eric Berry. Other pressing needs are DE, WR, CB and G. Tampa Bay was strangely silent in the offseason for a 3-13 club, signing free agent S Sean Jones and trading for Eagles WR Reggie Brown. Second-year QB Josh Freeman desperately needs more weapons, but GM Mark Dominik and coach Raheem Morris are committed to rebuilding a once-proud defense and the D-line is in shambles. I believe they prefer Suh over McCoy, but they won't mind turning in a card with McCoy's name on it Thursday evening. The pick: DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma.
4: Washington Redskins (By David Elfin, longtime beat writer for the Washington Times).
The skinny: If there was any doubt that the Redskins would use the No. 4 on a LT to replace Chris Samuels (who had to retire because of spinal issues), that was erased when they traded for Donovan McNabb to replace incumbent Jason Campbell. After a 4-12 season, their worst since 1994, the Redskins have plenty of needs (see above) not to mention unhappy DT Albert Haynesworth and LB Rocky McIntosh, who skipped this weekend's "voluntary" minicamp, but they are bereft at LT beyond the marginal Stephon Heyer, who started at RT last season. Washington hopes that Okung can be a carbon copy of Samuels, who made six Pro Bowls in 10 seasons after being chosen second overall in the 2000 draft. The pick: OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma State.
5: Kansas City Chiefs (By Randy Covitz, Kansas City Star).
The skinny: I would be lying if I said I had any idea what Scott Pioli is thinking other than I know it's something completely different than the rest of us (see Tyson Jackson). While they don't have a safety to line up and play a game, I'm not buying into the Eric Berry hype. Just too high a pick for a safety when the Chiefs can grab one with one of their two second-rounders. Of course, some say they can get an OT in the second round. I really think Pioli wants to trade down, pick up extra picks, take a Rolando McClain or an Earl Thomas later in the first round or one of the second-tier OTs. Short of predicting trades, I've been giving them Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga with the fifth pick in most mock drafts, though if Suh falls there, they'd have to grab him. They can play Bulaga at RT or move Branden Albert from LT to RT and plug in Bulaga at LT. He's a safe pick and fits their profile. The Chiefs allowed 45 sacks last season. Trent Williams' inconsistency and work ethic does not fit what Piioli calls The Right 53. The pick: OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa .
6: Seattle Seahawks (By Danny O'Neil, Seattle Times).
The skinny: General manager John Schneider is running his first draft, and in Green Bay he worked for a team that made a habit of trading down in the draft order to acquire more picks. Trading down will be a consideration at No. 14, but at No. 6, expect Seattle to take a left tackle. While Walter Jones has not officially retired, the Seahawks are planning as if he won't return. Seattle started four different players at left tackle last year, two of whom were not on the team's roster when training camp began (Brandon Frye and Damion McIntosh). Seattle held its first minicamp last week, which showed just how thin Seattle is along the offensive line. Both of the tackles on the second-string offensive line were tryout players. Seattle is high on safety Eric Berry, who played for Monte Kiffin last season at Tennessee. Kiffin remains a formative influence on new Seattle coach Pete Carroll, but the Seahawks' needs on offense are simply more urgent as Seattle hasn't chosen an offensive player in the first round since choosing center Chris Spencer in 2005. The pick: OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma.
7: Cleveland Browns (By Tony Grossi, Cleveland Plain Dealer).
The skinny: Forget a trade up with Rams. Forget taking Jimmy Clausen. Mike Holmgren's statement to me about wishing he liked Clausen more was not a smokescreen; he was being candid. Could he have been won over by now? Possibly, but Holmgren realizes the team has many more urgent needs. He paid Jake Delhomme $7 million for 2010 and thinks the world of backup Seneca Wallace. Odds are down to 50-50 that Holmgren even picks a QB, perhaps using two 3s to move into 2d for McCoy. Otherwise, he might wait till 5th ... I seriously doubt they would trade up with Kansas City to take Eric Berry. I just don't think they like Berry enough to give up a 3 for him. Like everyone else, they like to move down. Potential move-down possibilities are Penn State DE Jared Odrick (they love him and they've got nothing but over-30s at DEs) and OG Mike Iupati. If they stay at No. 7 and Berry's there, I'd say Berry. If he's not there, they may consider Odrick that high, but my best guess would be Texas S Earl Thomas (if Berry's not there). CB Joe Haden was eliminated when they traded for Sheldon Brown. Dez Bryant or C.J. Spiller? I think Bryant scares them (post-Braylon Edwards). Spiller is a glorified Jerome Harrison, who they already have. Derrick Morgan or Jason Pierre-Paul? Neither are fits in the 3-4 and the Browns had more sacks (40) last year than 8 playoff teams, including God's gift to the NFL, the Jets. The pick: FS Eric Berry, Tennessee.
8: Oakland Raiders (By Nancy Gay, AOL Fanhouse)
The skinny: Al Davis is tempted – really tempted – to pick Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen here, since he is still on the board and even the owner seems to be losing patience with JaMarcus Russell. But can the Raiders afford another first-round quarterback mistake? No way. The team has four quarterbacks on the roster now (Russell, Bruce Gradkowski, Charlie Frye, Kyle Boller) but has no legitimate left tackle to protect any of them. He may consider Oklahoma OT Trent Williams here and is intrigued by the potential of USF. DE Jason Pierre-Paul, but Davis won’t be able to forget what one of the Combine’s celebrated workout stars. The pick: OT Bruce Campbell, Maryland.
9: Buffalo Bills (By Mark Gaughan, Buffalo News).
The skinny: The Bills' entire 2009 season was held hostage by the OT position. But the top three tackles are gone. Don't think they will reach for Anthony Davis here. I don't think they will go with Clausen even though you could make a good case for it. They're kind of stuck. Look for a surprise pick. They will go best player available. Possiblities include C.J. Spiller, Dan Williams and Rolando McClain. The pick: RB C.J. Spiller, Clemson.
10: Jacksonville Jaguars (By Vito Stellino, Florida Times-Union).
The skinny: What they want to do is trade down. They hope somebody will want to trade up for Clausen. They want more picks and don't think they'll get value at 10. Think they'll have to overpay. They would have liked one of the 3 OT tackles and could play Eban Britton at guard but they're gone. So is Spiller. Gene Smith is a best available guy. The pick: ILB Rolando McClain, Alabama.
11: Denver Broncos (By Jeff Legwold, Denver Post)
The skinny: If the Jags or anybody else indeed take McClain as this scenario had unfolded, they're going to be looking to get out and move down. They're looking wide receiver at the top of the second, though Josh McDaniels (some smokescreen) went on and on Friday about how Dez Bryant is not a bad guy. So that is a slight possibility here. However, they would love to move down a little, get a pick and take Florida center Maurkice Pouncey, who could start from the moment they draft him. So, that's who I would give them here with the caveat they would try to move down to do it. They do like Dan Williams as well as a guy to go in the rotation at the nose so he is a possibility as well. But Pouncey would be my pick with a move down to do it. The pick: C Markice Pouncey, Florida.
12: Miami Dolphins (By Mando, The Miami Herald).
The skinny: The Dolphins are in the market for extra picks. They want to recover the second-rounder they gave up for Brandon Marshall. Another reason they want to add picks is they currently have no proven starter at FS, SOLB, and LG. NT is also a problem because 36-year-old Jason Ferguson will serve an 8-game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. He won't be availabe until November, meaning Miami has issues at NT as well. If Miami cannot get out of the pick and add a second- or third-rounder in the process, it will look to fill one of its top needs. Bill Parcells is still looking for his new Lawrence Taylor. After carefully considering Earl Thomas (who's visited twice and worked out) and Dan Williams (who has the measurables at NT), the Dolphins go with the pass-rusher. The pick: OLB Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech.
13: San Francisco 49'ers (by Nancy Gay, AOL Fanhouse).
The skinny: Offensive tackle (LT Joe Staley is very solid but RT Adam Snyder struggles in pass protection and is really a backup thrust into a starting role); cornerback (LCB Walt Harris is recovering from ACL surgery, big-money free agent bust Nate Clements was replaced in the starting lineup last season by ’07 fifth-round pick Tarell Brown and talented Shawntae Spencer is better as a nickel CB); outside linebacker (Niners need a hybrid pass rushing LB/end who can excel in both fronts); nose tackle; wide receiver. The 49'ers are thrilled to grab the top-rated CB in the draft, who excels in press coverage and should have an easier transition to the NFL than most college cornerbacks. Coach Mike Singletary isn’t worried about the knocks on Haden’s speed; he’s more impressed with Haden’s physical play against top SEC receivers. The pick: CB Joe Haden, Florida.
OK, the countdown is on before someone comments that my pick is wrong. 3-2-1...