2010 NFL Draft Predictions: Suh or Bradford for top pick, Jags unlikely to use first-round pick on Tebow


I love the NFL Draft. I love everything from round one to round seven. I love everything from the obvious picks to the sleepers. I even love everything from the Radio City Music Hall boos to Mel Kiper’s incredible hair. With the 75th NFL Draft just days away, let’s take a look at what might happen this year.
I know being in North Florida, everyone will want me to talk about Florida quarterback Tim Tebow first. Well, you overzealous Gator fans will have to wait. If you cannot wait, just turn on ESPN or any local sports talk radio because for them, not a minute goes by without a Tebow mention.
Instead, let’s start out with who is going to be this year’s number one overall pick. The general thought is that it’s going to come down to two players, either Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford. The St. Louis Rams own the first pick and have need at just about every position imaginable. Most think Bradford will end up being the pick. However, Bradford and the Rams are yet to work out a contract, and the Rams have publically admitted to wanting to lock up their pick to a contract before the draft on Thursday, April 22. This protects them from any holdout threat. If the two parties can’t agree to a contract, the Rams could move to Suh.
Contracts aside, if it was me making the pick, I would take Suh. Yes, Bradford could be that franchise QB everyone wants, but he is coming off a season where he injured his throwing shoulder twice, which raises huge warning signs with me. Bradford has great accuracy; however, he needs to learn how to protect himself from taking those nasty hits. You don’t see Peyton Manning getting hit like that on a regular basis.
Suh is my pick because of how dominant he was at Nebraska. He can both stop the run and rush the passer. He finished the last season with 82 tackles, 12 sacks and one interception. His most dominant performance came in Nebraska’s biggest game of the year, the Big 12 Championship, where he recorded 12 tackles and four sacks. Big guys like Suh do not come along every day.
In addition, I think you can pass on a QB this year in the draft because next year will have a very strong QB class with pro prospects such as Washington’s Jake Locker, Idaho’s Nathan Enderle and Ryan Mallett of Arkansas headlining the group.
Now being that we are in Jacksonville, let’s take a look at what the Jaguars will do with the 10th pick on Thursday. I am going to stop you right now because the Jags are not taking your beloved Tebow at 10. I believe the Jags desperately want to trade out of the 10th spot. This would allow them to get a later pick in the first round while at the same time get them back this year’s second round pick they traded away last year to move up in the third round to draft cornerback Derek Cox. If Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen is still on the board when the Jaguars go on the clock, trading back will become a very good possibility because there will be teams who are very interested in drafting Clausen.
However, let’s go about this as if the Jags end up picking at 10. This will be Gene Smith’s second draft as the Jaguars General Manager. His first draft last year had great results — it produced four starters including left tackle Eugene Monroe, right tackle Eben Britton, DT Terrnace Knighton and CB Derek Cox. The rest of last year’s draft all made significant contributions last year as well.
Gene is a big believer in drafting the best available player (BAP) and not necessarily drafting by need. This means while the Jags have a need at defensive end and safety, they won’t necessarily reach for a player at one of those positions. I say this because in my opinion the Jaguars will take either Clemson running back C.J. Spiller or Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain.
Spiller is the top RB in this year’s draft and possesses homerun ability that will be tough to pass on. The one-two combo of Jaguars’ RB Maurice Jones-Drew and Spiller would immediately be among tops in the NFL.
Taking McClain, even though LB is the best unit the Jaguars defense has, would allow Justin Durant to move back to outside linebacker where he is more productive. McClain has great side-to-side speed and is a fantastic tackler, which has been a weakness for the Jaguars Defense.
OK Gator fans: here is the moment for which you all have been waiting. Please do not take the following as me being anti-Tebow.
Tim Tebow is not a first round pick. If you expect the Jaguars to use the 10th pick on a project QB, you are delusional. Before Tebow revamped that horrible throwing motion, I would not have picked him earlier than the fourth round. However, now I could be talked into using a late second or third round pick on him. Especially if I had extra picks in those rounds.
That being said, I do believe Tebow can be a good NFL QB but not right away. He needs to go to a good team that has a proven guy who can help Tebow and give him time to develop into an NFL QB.
One team that has all of the things I just said is the New England Patriots. The Patriots have three second round picks. They also have a solid core of veterans. But most importantly, they have this guy named Tom Brady who I’ve heard is a good QB. Brady would be a great mentor for Tebow to learn from.
If Tebow is still available when the Jaguars pick in the third round, I could see them taking the “hometown hero” then. So, you Gator fans out there should start hoping he drops to the third.
All of this being said, the NFL Draft is always full of surprises. The coverage is great, and this year they are changing the draft to a three day event which is going to make this a very good weekend for me. I have told everyone I know I am busy from Thursday to Saturday. I’ll have a cooler by my side, some friends watching with me and a smile on my face. That is unless the Jaguars do end up using the 10th pick on Tebow.