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2015 NFL DRAFT

2010 draft: It's early, but some teams could have done better

by | NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst
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The 2010 draft can't be fairly or accurately assessed for at least two more seasons -- assuming there is football in 2011 and evaluation of these soon-to-be second-year players continues.

As is the case with any draft, there are hits and misses and everything in between.

We're taking a look back at the 2010 first round and applied hindsight to help offer each team advice on what they should have done in last year's opening round.

In some cases -- Sam Bradford in St. Louis and Detroit's Ndamukong Suh -- simple logic says the team got it right the first time.

1. St. Louis Rams

 SELECTION: QB Sam Bradford

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: QB Sam Bradford

Bradford was the NFL offensive rookie of the year, putting up numbers that not even Peyton Manning did as the Colts' starter in 1998. Bradford's presence took the Rams from the gutter to the precipice of winning the NFC West in one season. He'll have the team in title contention soon.

2. Detroit Lions

 SELECTION: DT Ndamukong Suh

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: DT Ndamukong Suh

An All-Pro as a rookie, Suh led all NFL defensive tackles with 10 sacks. His physical, relentless play combined with free agent additions Kyle Vanden Bosch and Corey Williams gave the Lions a defense they can build around.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 SELECTION: DT Gerald McCoy

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: WR Mike Williams

Had it not been for Bradford's emergence as one of the top young quarterbacks in the NFL, Williams would have been a shoo-in for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. The Bucs' fourth-round pick led all rookies with 65 receptions for 963 yards and 11 touchdowns -- the most scores from a first-year receiver since Randy Moss exploded onto the NFL scene in 1998.

4. Washington Redskins

 SELECTION: OT Trent Williams

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: WR Dez Bryant

Williams did a serviceable job at left tackle for the Redskins, but if Donovan McNabb was to have a chance at success he needed greater weapons as well as protection up front. Bryant struggled with injuries and ended the year on the IR after surgery to repair a broken right leg, but he was a dynamic when healthy and could have thrived opposite Santana Moss.

5. Kansas City Chiefs

 SELECTION: FS Eric Berry

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: OT Rodger Saffold

Berry provided a reliable open-field tackler and playmaker in the secondary, but if the Chiefs are going to take the next step, they need better protection for Matt Cassel. Saffold was the fifth offensive tackle selected in the 2011 draft, but made the most seamless transition to the NFL, starring as Sam Bradford's blindside protector.

6. Seattle Seahawks

 SELECTION: OT Russell Okung

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: C Maurkice Pouncey

When healthy, Okung proved well worth the sixth overall pick. Struggles with high ankle sprains, however, limited his dependability. Other than missing the Super Bowl, Pouncey was the picture of reliability for the Pittsburgh Steelers. His toughness and versatility would have been such a perfect solution for Seattle's inability to run the football, the team is expected to strongly consider his twin brother, Mike, in this year's draft.

7. Cleveland Browns

 SELECTION: CB Joe Haden

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: CB Devin McCourty

The Browns had other needs and many can still be considered greater than cornerback, but in taking Haden, Cleveland proved the wisdom of taking the best player available. Haden struggled early, but his consistent improvement and team-leading six interceptions point to brighter days in the future. As good as Haden was, the Patriots' McCourty was even better, finishing second in the NFL (to Ed Reed) with seven picks.

8. Oakland Raiders

 SELECTION: LB Rolando McClain

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: CB Joe Haden

McClain wound up with a respectable 85 tackles for the Raiders despite missing some time, but he wasn't the immediate impact defender many expected. Neither was Haden, at least in the first half of the season, but the Cleveland Browns' rookie made significant strides throughout the year and certainly would give the Raiders a more comforting backup option than overpaying Stanford Routt if Nnamdi Asomugha plays elsewhere next season.

9. Buffalo Bills

 SELECTION: RB C.J. Spiller

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: TE Rob Gronkowski

Quietly, C.J. Spiller racked up 1,500 all-purpose yards for the Bills, but he was not the threat Buffalo was anticipating when they made him the ninth pick of the draft. For a team with as many holes as the Bills, options are endless, but few make more sense than Gronkowski, who caught very nearly as many touchdowns (10) as the Bills' tight ends caught passes (11 total).

10. Jacksonville Jaguars

 SELECTION: DT Tyson Alualu

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: DE Carlos Dunlap

The Jaguars surprised many with their selection of Alualu, who quietly turned in a very solid rookie season. He did not, however, provide pass-rushing prowess on a level with the Bengals' Dunlap, who slipped to the 54th overall pick due largely to character concerns. Dunlap finished the season with 9.5 sacks and was improving as the season went on, registering 6.5 of his total in the final five games.

11. San Francisco 49ers

 SELECTION: OT Anthony Davis

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: OT Bryan Bulaga

The 49ers traded up to secure the rights to Davis and inserted him into their starting lineup at right tackle and he never found his rhythm. The team likely would have been stout in the running game and provided a more consistent pocket had San Francisco instead nabbed the technically sound Bulaga, who emerged as a versatile starter for the Super Bowl champion Packers.

12. San Diego Chargers

 SELECTION: RB Ryan Mathews

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: S T.J. Ward

When healthy, Mathews showed flashes -- mostly in the regular-season finale against Denver -- but a season total of 678 yards was hardly the production A.J. Smith envisioned when he aggressively traded up to land the former Fresno State star. The Chargers signed former Colts star Bob Sanders in the hopes that his physicality and reliable open-field tackling would aid their secondary. Cleveland found a similarly undersized thumper in the second round in Ward, who led all rookies (and all Browns) with 123 stops.

13. Philadelphia Eagles

 SELECTION: DE Brandon Graham

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: FS Eric Berry

The Eagles helped start a run on defensive ends in 2009 with the selection of Graham, but perhaps they should have continued the run on safety, instead. Their second-round pick, Nate Allen, was solid but isn't the difference-maker that Berry proved to be for the Chiefs. Berry led the team with four interceptions and finished second with 92 regular-season tackles.

14. Seattle Seahawks

 SELECTION: FS Earl Thomas

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: FS Earl Thomas

The Seahawks finished 27th in the NFL in pass defense and yet that number could have been significantly worse without the addition of Thomas. The speed and ball skills that attracted Seattle to Thomas in the first place helped the young free safety get off to a hot start and finish with five interceptions - nearly half of the team's 12 pass thefts.

15. New York Giants

 SELECTION: DE Jason Pierre-Paul

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: DT Lamarr Houston

Pierre-Paul's length and unique athleticism might make him the better player eventually, but Houston quietly emerged as one of the real steals of the 2010 draft. The Raiders' second-round pick was an immediate starter at left defensive end and, at 6-3, 305 pounds, he has the ability to slide in and play defensive tackle. He finished second among rookie defensive linemen in tackles (39) and posted five sacks. The Giants would have loved his versatility and consistency.

16. Tennessee Titans

 SELECTION: DE Derrick Morgan

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: QB Colt McCoy

No team got less from a first-round pick than the Titans who only got four games out of Morgan before he tore his ACL. Now, desperately needing a quarterback and potentially picking too high at No. 8 to land either Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton and too low to reach for Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett, the Titans might be wishing they'd gambled on McCoy.

17. San Francisco

 SELECTION: OG Mike Iupati

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: OG Mike Iupati

Iupati's strength and mobility as a run blocker makes it unlikely the team would go in another direction even if they had the chance to do so. They'll continue building a strong rushing attack under new head coach Jim Harbaugh.

18. Pittsburgh

 SELECTION: C Maurkice Pouncey

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: DT Tyson Alualu

With Pouncey off the board, Pittsburgh takes the high-motor five-technique prospect to continue the youth movement (with 2009 first-round pick Ziggy Hood) while Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith complete their fine careers.

19. Atlanta

 SELECTION: LB Sean Weatherspoon

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: DE Jason Pierre-Paul

Pierre-Paul was raw coming out of South Florida, but showed enough as a rookie (five sacks for the Giants) that the Falcons would consider him a boost to their lacking outside pass rush.

20. Houston

 SELECTION: CB Kareem Jackson

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: FS Nate Allen

Maybe adding rangy free safety Allen instead of Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson would have helped prevented some of the big plays the Texans gave up over the top last seasons.

21. Cincinnati

 SELECTION: TE Jermaine Gresham

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: TE Aaron Hernandez

Gresham's average speed and quickness made him a decent outlet for Carson Palmer, but Hernandez could have been a security blanket for the many times Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens didn't separate from coverage. To be fair, Gresham might have been nearly as productive as Hernandez if part of the Patriots' offense -- but it is tough to ignore the former Gator's future.

22. Denver

 SELECTION: WR Demaryius Thomas

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: DT Gerald McCoy

Even given his slow start and the torn biceps that ended his season prematurely just when he started to turn it on, McCoy's upside is too great for Denver to ignore. The fact that they're moving to a 4-3 base front makes him a great fit inside.

23. Green Bay

 SELECTION: OT Bryan Bulaga

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: OT Trent Williams

Bulaga was a big part of Green Bay's championship season, but I doubt the Packers would have selected him over Williams -- who could have handled the switch to the right side and would be as likely to take over for Chad Clifton once the veteran's knees finally give out.

24. Dallas

 SELECTION: WR Dez Bryant

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: LB Rolando McClain

Second-round pick Sean Lee was pretty good late in 2010, but Jerry Jones would have loved to add McClain's instincts and secure tackling to the Cowboys' linebacking corps.

25. Denver

 SELECTION: QB Tim Tebow

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: TE Tony Moeaki

The Broncos haven't had a legitimate receiving threat at tight end for a couple of years, and Moeaki proved himself one of those (47 receptions, 556 yards, three scores) in Kansas City last season.

26. Arizona

 SELECTION: DT Dan Williams

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: OLB Koa Misi

The Cardinals thought Joey Porter and Clark Haggans would harass quarterbacks more regularly last fall (five sacks each), but Misi brought down passers 4.5 times as a rookie with the Dolphins -- and has a bright future ahead of him.

27. New England

 SELECTION: CB Devin McCourty

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: CB Alterraun Verner

Bill Belichick wouldn't want to replace McCourty, but Verner looked good (101 tackles, three INT) with the Titans to earn this spot in our re-draft scenario.

28. Miami

 SELECTION: DL Jared Odrick

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: RB LeGarrette Blount

Blount covered over 1,000 yards as a rookie for Tampa Bay, displaying the power scouts knew he could if motivated and disciplined. His strength between the tackles would fit well in Miami's running game if Ronnie Brown and/or Ricky Williams choose not to return in 2011.

29. New York Jets

 SELECTION: CB Kyle Wilson

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: WR Jacoby Ford

The team would love to re-sign free agent receivers Santonio Holmes and Brad Smith, but bringing in Ford could have lessened the need for a deep threat like Holmes (18.8-yard per-reception average) and all-purpose/kick returner like Smith (155 rushing yards, 24.2 kick-return average with three touchdowns).

30. Detroit

 SELECTION: RB Jahvid Best

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: RB Jahvid Best

His season was derailed by turf toe injuries, but Best showed real potential with over 1,000 total yards with Detroit in 2010. We don't believe the Lions want to part ways with the player they moved up to get last April.

31. Indianapolis

 SELECTION: DE Jerry Hughes

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: OT Jared Veldheer

Amazingly, the 6-8 Veldheer held his own at center before moving over to left tackle for the Raiders. The Colts could use him at either tackle spot or even inside to keep QB Peyton Manning healthy and move the line of scrimmage as a run blocker.

32. New Orleans

 SELECTION: CB Patrick Robinson

 HINDSIGHT SAYS: LB Sean Lee

Lee had two interceptions as a back-up with Dallas in 2010--the Saints as a team managed just nine. His ability to play in coverage would have made him a natural to step in for either Danny Clark or Scott Shanle, both potential free agents, this upcoming season.

Chad Reuter contributed to this report. Rob Rang and Chad Reuter are senior analysts for NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange.

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