We’ll be doing one last mock draft at some point between now and Thursday. (We guarantee that we’ll nail it if you give us until, you know, Friday morning.) Making it difficult to discern the first 32 is the difficulty in figuring out the first five.
Assuming that quarterback Sam Bradford will be the first guy taken, let’s look at how the rest of round one could unfold.
At No. 2, the Lions are believed to be wrestling with the question of whether to take a left tackle or a defensive tackle. Russell Okung would be the best bet if the goal is to protect their investment in quarterback Matthew Stafford, the first pick in the 2009 draft. Some think Okung is also the safest pick in the entire draft, and we’re told that the Lions have been doing plenty of due diligence. But defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh could be the eventual choice, given his upside and his potential impact in a division that has Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, and Jay Cutler at quarterback.
At No. 3, it’s widely believed that the Bucs will take Suh or defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. We’ve got a feeling that they’d prefer not to have to choose between the two. (Then again, the Chargers didn’t have to choose between Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf.)
At No. 4, the Redskins are presumed to be prepared to take a left tackle — unless Sam Bradford squirts through. (They could take Bradford or trade the pick to someone who wants Bradford.) If Okung and Trent Williams are both on the board, the Redskins will have to make a choice between the two. NFLN’s Mike Mayock believes Williams is a better fit for the zone-blocking scheme in D.C.
At No. 5, the Chiefs will be staring at one of the two top defensive tackles and/or one of the two top offensive tackles. Presumably, they’d prefer a defensive tackle. But even though they’ve got a left tackle (Branden Albert), they could be intrigued by Okung or Williams.
Our best guess for now, barring a trade, is that the order will be Bradford then Okung then McCoy then Williams then Suh.
That said, there’s a vague sense that something unexpected will happen in the top five. Given the inherently unpredictable offseason, the only thing unexpected would be for the five teams to take their picks with no trades or other surprises.