Less than 30 minutes into the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will put an end to the speculation that has surrounded this pick for the last four months and make a selection. Or make a trade.
The odds are the Bucs will pick one of two players – Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy. While it's certainly possible that neither will be the No. 1 pick on Friday – it appears the Rams will indeed make QB Sam Bradford the No. 1 overall pick – experts are in near unanimous agreement that Suh and McCoy are the draft's two best players. So why aren't the Rams going to take either player? The Rams need a QB bad, and if you've been a Bucs fan for a while, you know how hard it is to find a good one.
Now, the Rams could still gum up the works, but let's say they take Bradford as expected. The Detroit Lions are No. 2 and they have a big decision. They could take one of these fine DTs and solidify the interior of their defensive line, and I doubt anyone in Motown would complain. The Lions defense was nearly as putrid as its offense a year ago. But the Lions took their own franchise QB last year in Matthew Stafford, and he could use some protection.
And it wouldn't be a stretch to see the Lions take an offensive tackle at No. 2. There are three players that appear to be worth the pick – Trent Williams, Russell Okung and Brian Bugala. Most mock drafts have these three tackles in the Top 10, and some have all three going in the Top 5. It should not escape your attention that one of the Lions' better tackles, Damion Cook, is entering a contract year. It also should not escape your attention that one of the Lions' other veteran tackles, Jeff Backus, isn't getting any younger.
Don't forget the Lions have already upgraded the defensive line by signing tackle Corey Williams and end Kyle Vanden Bosch. It's not as pressing a need as it was in February.
Add this to the intrigue. Our Adam Caplan, Scout.com's Senior NFL Reporter, actually took McCoy at the No. 2 spot for the Lions in his recent mock draft. Caplan says that McCoy, not Suh, is the better fit defensively for the Lions' defensive scheme.
So, what will the Lions do? Well, GM Martin Mayhew and head coach Jim Schwartz haven't tipped their hands, and there's not much draft history to analyze. Schwartz told reporters that the Lions' top priority is talent, not a particular position. If you believe that, then the Lions will hold the line and take either Suh or McCoy.
That appears to be what Lions season ticket holders want. At a recent meet-and-greet at Ford Field, many of them serenaded coaches with a verse from Johnny Cash's hit, "A Boy Named Sue." It would seem they want Suh. Schwartz also said the Lions' draft board is pretty much set, but didn't indicate the identity of their best player on the board.
A recent Detroit Free-Press poll on the Lions' first-round pick saw Suh take 77 percent of the vote. Free Press beat writer Nicholas J. Cotsonika recently wrote that Okung has positional value for the Lions, and also said he wouldn't be surprised if the Lions went after a tackle at No. 2.
So, then who will it be at No. 3? Barring a trade, I believe the Rams will take Bradford. Then, at No. 2, I think the Lions are going to surprise everyone and bypass both defensive tackles and go for an offensive tackle. I'm sorry, but they have far too much money invested in Stafford to leave his blind side unprotected the way it did a year ago. Without some real help on the line, Stafford could become the next David Carr. The Lions will take a tackle at No. 2. They may take Okung, though I like Williams a little better.
That would leave McCoy and Suh for the Bucs at No. 3, and given the choice, I think GM Mark Dominik takes Suh and makes him the next Warren Sapp. And there's nothing wrong with that.
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Check us out on Friday morning for our look at who the Bucs could take in Rounds 2 and 3, and why.