OGGOA’s comprehensive 2010 NFL Draft preview

By Adam Silverstein
April 22, 2010

When I sat down and thought about the best way to preview the 2010 NFL Draft from a Florida Gators perspective for OGGOA‘s readers, I realized trite things like mock drafts, destination predictions and the like are really a bunch of hogwash. At the end of the day, few things are certain when it comes to the NFL Draft – trades can occur at any moment and each team views its most pressing needs and what each player brings to the table differently than analysts and commentators do.

So rather than try to predict the unknown variables and tell you what could happen, we will stick with what likely will happen. And you can check it out…after the break!

» Cornerback Joe Haden will be the first Florida player selected

Unless a team (Denver Broncos) desperately needs a center and are willing to trade up into the top half of the first round to get one, Haden will be the first Gator off the board. And rightly so. Dominating receivers in the college game is certainly different from doing so in the professional ranks, but Haden’s ability to shut down his man one-on-one is a value that cannot be overstated in the pass-first NFL.

» Center Maurkice Pouncey will be the second Gator taken

Talk about making a smart decision. Pouncey went from hoping to earn a first-round grade to being projected by most to go at No. 18 overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he would join former Florida tackle Max Starks. He has the potential to have the longest and most successful career of any Gators player coming out this year.

» The questions will be plenty for quarterback Tim Tebow‘s new team

Once Tebow is selected, the questions about his throwing motion and mechanics will slightly subside, falling into the back end of what everyone wants to know. The new questions that will certainly arise are the main reasons that Tebow is the biggest story of the night at Radio City Music Hall. And they will all be asked to his new team’s head coach and general manager. Why did you find Tebow special enough to trade up for? Do you really think you can make him a starter in this league? Will he play Wildcat or H-back for you in the meantime? Are you concerned about his interests beyond football? Do you think his approach will work in a locker room full of grown men/millionaires?

» The criticisms for Tebow’s new team are to be expected

When his name is called, Tebow will be the subject of conversation on the ESPN and NFL Network draft day sets for as much as the next 10 minutes. Here is what will be said:

– “He’s a reach at [pick number], but [team] must believe they can make him into a starter. I don’t see it.”
– “I like his intangibles, but [pick number] is too high to take Tebow. I have him as a third-round talent and would have been OK if he was taken in the second.”
– “He’s a work in progress, not sure why [team] reached for him here. I would only take guys who can start for me in the first two rounds.”
– “Tebow needs at least two years behind an established veteran to even have a chance at making it in the NFL. He has a ways to go.”
– “NFL games are a different speed, and he has trouble reading the field. If you can’t do that, you won’t succeed in this league.”
– “I like the pick. The guy is the most decorated college quarterback of all time and is a proven leader. He will work his butt off and do whatever it takes to be successful.”

» Up to five more Florida players will be selected before Saturday morning

After Haden, Pouncey and Tebow, the Gators have a plethora of talent who grade out by many in the second and third rounds. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap (once considered a top-five pick), safety Major Wright (once considered a fourth-round pick), wide receiver Riley Cooper, defensive end Jermaine Cunningham and tight end Aaron Hernandez could all go somewhere between picks No. 33-98. Here are some notes:

– Dunlap is still capable of being selected in the first-round but his stock has taken a hit first due to his DUI arrest but more recently because of his inconsistent motor.
– There is a prevailing thought that Wright may not get out of the second round.
– Many are projecting a significant drop for Hernandez, who was once thought to be worthy of a second-round selection (character concerns).
– Opinions vary on Cooper; most think he is talented enough to go in the third round.

» Linebacker Brandon Spikes’ future remains a mystery

Coming off a National Championship after the 2008 season, Spikes could very well have been a first-round pick. Now in 2010, he may not be selected until the third day of the draft. That is how far Spikes has fallen due to concerns about his speed, health and technique. He was once thought to be the perfect middle linebacker; now teams are looking at him more as a compliment on the inside in a 3-4 scheme. Earlier this week I compared his NFL future to that of former Gator LB Brandon Siler – undervalued coming out but likely to have a solid impact in the league.

» …and then there’s the rest…

There are a handful of other Florida players who are draft-eligible, but those with the greatest chance of being selected at one point or another are linebacker Ryan Stamper, wide receiver David Nelson, kick returner Brandon James and cornerbacks Wondy Pierre-Louis and Markihe Anderson. In all likelihood, most of these guys will be undrafted free agents (which is actually better money- and contract-wise than being selected with a sixth- or seventh-round pick). OGGOA will also cover where they end up on Saturday night, Sunday and Monday after the draft has concluded.

For LIVE COVERAGE of the 2010 NFL Draft, be sure to join us back here at OGGOA tonight at 7:30 p.m. (EST).

19 Comments

  1. dr_ddennis says:

    Thanks for taking a smart approach to the draft. I’m so glad it’s finally here, because listening to projections for 5 months was brutal! Go Gators!

  2. Mr2Bits says:

    Just saw the below on Yahoo. Really makes me irate where these “execs’ want to bash Tebow and his faith but are too cowardly to say who they are. Love how they are “concerned” about a guy who has never been in trouble and does nothing but spew greatness. Love to know who this guy is as I’m sure his squad is made up of a bunch of stand-up guys…just not too stand-up as a few arrests keep them at a nice median level to not raise too many alarms.

    “I don’t want any part of him or the circus,” one AFC front office executive told Yahoo! Sports’ Michael Silver recently. “At some point as a team, don’t you have to be concerned with what comes with him? The guy has never met a microphone he didn’t like and he’s obviously got a message. I think he needs to go away and hide for awhile.”

  3. Mr2Bits says:

    Also forgot to mention that this guy is “concerned about what comes with him”. By that I guess he means team publicity, increase merchandise/ticket sales along with a soaring increase in media and tv coverage. Don’t know about you but those things really scare the crap out of me if I was in the business of making money.

  4. Joe says:

    Amen Dennis!!!

  5. 1 2 3 4 5 AND THA GATA DON'T TAKE NO JIVE says:

    TEBOW #30 TO VIKINGS.. TEBOW TO HARVIN FOR THE YEARS TO COME.. GO GATAZ

  6. FloridaMITCHELL says:

    Adam…this is great, thanks for the hard work

  7. Laura says:

    Great post, Adam. And great comment, Mr2Bits.

  8. ReptilesRule says:

    Mr 2 Bits, good comments and shows you why there are so many mediocre to poor teams in the league. Look at the Jags, there is a team that should be looking for a way to draft this guy but instead treat him like swine flu. I only hope that some day Tim makes them live to eat their words…

  9. brlgator says:

    Anyone know when the rams will go on the closk if espn starts coverage at 730. Is it gonna be right away or u think 8 is more likely

  10. brlgator – Clock starts for them at 7:32 p.m.

  11. Laura says:

    “Look at the Jags, there is a team that should be looking for a way to draft this guy but instead treat him like swine flu.”

    They’ve been doing that for the past few weeks, but couldn’t that just be a cover? There’s been a lot of talk about them trying to trade down-they’ve even said publicly that they want to do that. So, theoretically, couldn’t they still be interested in Tebow, but just don’t want anyone to know it?

  12. Ripley says:

    Tebow has had the right approach for a long time. His message has been it only takes one team to fall in love with a player. Well ladies and gents that one team is the Buffalo Bills. They will make a move to either move down or move other picks to gain a second pick in the 1st round and Tim Tebow will lead the Buffalo Bills. I am excited for Tim, because telling that kid no, or you cant, or your not good enough, is the best motivation he can have. Good Luck Timmy. And good luck to all the other gators that are going to be great pro’s!!

  13. SaraGator says:

    There is an ESPN article that suggests that Timmy knows where is going to land.

    Hope it’s a good team. I wish the best of luck to all Gators in the NFL Draft.

  14. npgator says:

    What are Hernandez’s character issues? He has tatoos but anything else?

  15. npgator – I’ve been wondering that for a few weeks. Haven’t been able to figure out exactly what those issues are. People just may not like the way he comes across in meetings.

  16. Mr2Bits says:

    If he goes to the Bills I wonder if they will give him the keys to the city like they did TO? Bet those two could have some fun.

  17. JLBOB says:

    Man I really hope he doesn’t go to Buffalo… Patriots, vikings, saints, colts, all ok, but the Bills? Not so much.

  18. Ripley says:

    Well…I was wrong about the team. But Jon Gruden said it at the end…it only takes one. And the one team to love Tim Tebow was Denver!! here is to you Denver and Timmy!! GOOD LUCK!! GO BRONCOS!! Orange and Blue 4-LIFE.

  19. Mr2Bits says:

    Thank you Denver for making my week and shoving it in the face of McShaw and Kiper. These two asswipes have continued to doubt you and this is the first step in showing them they are morons. Keep it up Tim!!!!

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