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Posted Dec. 8, 2009

Top Four Scenario

The final 2010 NFL Draft Order is quickly approaching (barring pre-draft trades) as we near the end of the regular season. Yes, Week 17 is a somber week for all fans of non-playoff teams because the season is over, but we have the NFL Draft right around the corner.

It is looking like the top four picks could belong to Detroit (2-10), Tampa Bay (1-11), Cleveland (1-11), and St. Louis (1-11).

What I am going to do today is project where I think these teams stand in terms of their big boards. We are going to examine what their needs are and how that fits up with the cream of the crop in terms of NFL Draft prospects.

I won't be perfect here and everything I write is always up for debate, but I approach this with only logical analysis and try to be as objective as possible.

I'm going to predict the top four players on the big boards of each team and then explain why. This will give you a barometer for how the 2010 NFL Draft could play out (barring pre-draft and Draft Day trades).

There are 24 combinations if you use the top four prospects for each team that I have outlined (4*3*2*1 = 24) and you can play around with it if you wish.

Detroit Lions
1. Russell Okung T
2. Ndamukong Suh DT
3. Gerald McCoy DT
4. Eric Berry S

The Lions' No. 1 need has got to be a left tackle and Russell Okung protects the Lions big investment in Matthew Stafford. The Lions could end up loving Ndamukong Suh so much they pick him ahead of Okung - after all this was the same team that drafted tight end Brandon Pettigrew over offensive tackle Michael Oher. However, when push comes to shove, Detroit must do everything they can to get Stafford to succeed and not having a left tackle is a problem. Okung has the edge in my mind at the moment.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1. Ndamukong Suh DT
2. Gerald McCoy DT
3. Eric Berry S
4. Russell Okung T

This is a great year to be Tampa in the draft because your No. 1 need (defensive tackle) matches up with the talent on the board. At No. 4, I was drawn between Okung and defensive end Derrick Morgan, and this is dependent on what happens with Donald Penn in the free agency period. Will Tampa give him a long-term deal or tender him again as a restricted free agent under the CBA? We shall see.

Cleveland Browns
1A. Jimmy Clausen QB
1B. Jake Locker QB
3. Ndamukong Suh DT
4. Eric Berry S

Clausen and Locker are tied at No. 1 because I don't know whom the future head coach will prefer. I personally have to give the edge to Clausen because he has far more experience in the West Coast offense and will get a huge endorsement from future NFL offensive coordinator Charlie Weis - and if Weis lands in Cleveland or St. Louis, that team is going to take Clausen if he is on the board.

Saint Louis Rams
1A. Jimmy Clausen QB
1B. Jake Locker QB
3. Ndamukong Suh DT
4. Gerald McCoy DT

Same deal here with the Browns in terms of Clausen and Locker at 1A/1B. The Rams also need serious help on the defensive line, so this big board is pretty much a done deal.

To play with my projections you could play out hypothetical scenarios. Let's say the draft order is: CLE, DET, STL, TB.

The picks would be: CLE: Jimmy Clausen/Jake Locker, DET: Russell Okung, STL: Jimmy Clausen/Jake Locker, and TB: Ndamukong Suh.

Matt McGuire's Recent NFL Draft Blog Entries:

Analyzing Andrew Luck's Decision - 1/7
Luck vs. Locker - 9/15
Top 10 Quarterback Busts - 7/7
NBA Draft vs. NFL Draft - 6/27
Six Sophomores Who Need to Step Up - 6/2
Kentucky 2010 NBA Draft Prospect Blog - 6/1
Brett Favre Retirement Conditions - 5/30
2010 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year - 5/24
2010 NFL Power Rankings Tier - 5/21
2010 NFL Power Rankings - 5/18
NFL Mailbag: C.J. Spiller and Buffalo Bills Reaction - 5/14
LeBron James Game 6 Reaction - 5/14
The Buffalo Bills - 5/13
LeBron James: Celtic Pride - 5/13
The JaMarcus Russell Lesson - 5/11
Most Productive 2010 NFL Rookies - 5/6
Double Down - 4/30
2010 NFL Draft Observations and Telecast Blog - 4/26
2010 NFL Draft Grades: Day 3 - 4/25
2010 NFL Draft Grades: Rounds 1-3 - 4/24
2010 NFL Draft Grades: First Round - 4/23
2010 NFL Draft Trade Analysis - 4/23
Random Round 1 Thoughts and Analysis - 4/23
2010 NFL Draft Class Predictions - 4/22
2010 NFL Draft Trades - 4/21
Response to Mike Mayock's Redskins-Trent Williams Comment - 4/8
Teams Misevaluating Their Own Quarterbacks - 4/6
Where Will Jimmy Clausen Go? - 4/5
2010 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Picks - 3/25
Gerald McCoy's Draft Range - 3/12
NFL Draft Picks Are Business Investments (Anthony Davis) - 3/11
Offense Matters - 3/9
Mel Kiper vs. Todd McShay Debate Revisited - 3/8
Taylor Mays - 3/3
"He's a Winner" ... Not Really - 3/2
Quarterback Height (Jimmy Clausen) - 2/25
The Top Five Reasons the Redskins Won't Pass on Jimmy Clausen - 2/22
2010 NFL Draft: All-Overhyped and Underrated Teams - 2/18
Matt Ryan and the Rams - 2/17
Prospect Case Study: Tim Tebow - 2/11
2010 NFL Draft Offensive Grades - 1/20
Tim Tebow at the Senior Bowl - 1/14
Junior Quarterbacks/Jimmy Clausen - 12/29
2010 NFL Draft Prospect Updates - 12/21
The Michael Oher Lesson - 12/20
Cameron Heyward's Ceiling - 12/17
Jake Locker to Return for Senior Season - 12/15
Top Four Scenario - 12/8
"Suh" is Elite - 12/7
Carlos Dunlap Update - 11/11
Player to Watch - 10/30
Alpha Quarterback - 10/29
2010 NFL Draft Mailbag - 10/28
O Bradford, Where Art Thou (Draft Stock)? - 10/27
The Trojan Torpedo - 10/26
Quarterback Mobility - 10/23
Charles Brown's Stock on the Rise - 10/18
Mays-Clausen and Gaines Adams - 10/17
Mr. Overrated - 10/14
2010 NFL Draft Cursed? - 10/8
Conservative Carroll - 9/22
The Crabtree Lesson - 9/21
Scouting Notes: Weeks 2-3 - 9/20
Terrelle Pryor - NFL QB? - 9/15
Jay Cutler Trade Evaluation - 9/14
THE Choke State University - 9/13
2009 NFL Predictions - 9/10
2009 College Football Predictions - 9/3
The Brett Favre Line - 8/20
Why Vick Hasn't Signed - 8/12
The Vince Young Lesson - 8/10
Vegas NFL Power Rankings - 8/9
Dorsey Fat - Chiefs Stupid - 8/7
Eli Manning: The $100 Million Man - 8/6
Predicting Future Needs Part II - 8/4
NFL Draft Moved - 7/24
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