Lone: A talented field set to enter the NFL


by Tim Lone/Staff Writer

While football season may be several months away, NFL fans will get their fix next week with the 2010 NFL draft. On April 22, starting at approximately 7:30 p.m. Eastern time, NFL teams will beg, borrow and steal to try and position themselves for the best up and coming football players.

Some teams will try to merely fill a couple of holes and find that last piece of the puzzle that will put them over the top.

Other teams are in more of a desperation mode and need more than just a big name to put on their roster.

As always, there is much debate about who will be taken with the No. 1 overall pick. This year the honor of having the first pick will go to the St. Louis Rams, by virtue of their 1-15 record in 2009.

The Rams could go a couple of different directions with their pick. Many mock drafts have the Rams picking Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford. Bradford had an impressive showing at his pro day, and even after a few injuries, he appears to be healthy.

The other possibility here is defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh, out of Nebraska. Suh has unparalleled size, speed, strength and talent.

While The Rams need a quarterback, we know from past experience those picks can be a crapshoot. Picking Suh would be anything but. He is as close to a sure thing as there is in this draft. If I’m the Rams, I’d take no chances and go with Suh.

The second pick will go to the Detroit Lions. Just like the Rams, the Lions have several holes to fill. If the Rams take Bradford with the No. 1 pick, Suh might be a good possibility here.

 The main need for the Lions is on the offensive line, particularly at left tackle. That being the case, I would take offensive tackle Russell Okung out of Oklahoma State. Okung’s rare combination of size and speed might be just the thing they need to protect second-year quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Third pick will go to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers don’t have quite as many holes to fill as the Rams and the Lions, but they do have several immediate needs; one of them being on the defensive line.

Suh is clearly the first choice for any team that needs a defensive lineman. But Suh could be gone by the time the Buccaneers pick. If that is the case, the Buccaneers will most likely take defensive linemen Gerald McCoy out of Oklahoma. McCoy stands at 6 feet 4 inches, 295 pounds and has tremendous strength and speed. Although he is their second choice at defensive linemen, McCoy is still a solid pickup for the Buccaneers.

As usual, the first three picks in the draft will have a massive ripple effect on the rest of the draft. Players that were thought to go in the first round could drop to the second or third round. It all depends on what the Rams, Lions and Buccaneers choose to do with their picks.

While most of the excitement occurs early in the first round, football fans in Iowa will still have plenty of reason to watch because several players from Iowa are likely to be drafted.

The best University of Iowa players in this year’s draft are offensive linemen Bryan Bulaga, cornerback Amari Spievey and linebacker Pat Angerer.

The clock is ticking, let the games begin.