Saints might take a chance on Tebow late in the first round

Draft night is like the Oscars for those waiting to be welcomed into the league they have been dreaming about playing in since they were kids. The big event is just a couple weeks away. Naturally, the process is heating up. Time is short, evaluations continue to be solidified, but for the most part teams have their draft boards up and ready to go.

While fervently wishing that I had a crystal ball and could see inside all 32 teams' draft rooms, here is what the first round looks like to me right now. I will do one last mock draft from New York City before Commissioner Roger Goodell officially places St. Louis on the clock. Seeking a surprise? You've come to the right place:

1. St. Louis Rams

Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma

Bradford had a tremendous pro day by all accounts. Dr. James Andrews has cleared his injured shoulder medically. Erstwhile, Rams starter Marc Bulger has asked for, and been granted his release. Frank and Joe Hardy solved many cases with fewer clues than those. (Previous pick: Bradford)

2. Detroit Lions

Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State

I'm sticking with the reasoning that the Lions will opt to protect franchise QB Matthew Stafford with this pick, but my radar continues to buzz that one of the elite defensive tackles will be the choice. If so, I'm guessing they'll take Ndamukong Suh. (Previous pick: Okung)

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma

A strong case can be made that Tennessee safety Eric Berry is the best fit here, but I just don't think the Bucs will be able to resist a defensive tackle, and McCoy still really fits. Don't be surprised to read Suh's name in this slot in the not too distant future. (Previous pick: McCoy)

4. Washington Redskins

Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

There should really be an offensive tackle listed here, but with Okung gone, new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett gives a very impassioned, and persuasive pitch for the most dominant defender in college football in 2009. (Previous pick: Suh)

5. Kansas City Chiefs

Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa

Offensive tackle or Berry? Two years ago, the offensive tackle would have been a no-brainer, but Berry's gifts, and especially his ability to cover, gives GM Scott Pioli reason to think outside the box. Remember, he took DE Tyson Jackson at No. 3 last year. (Previous pick: Bulaga)

6. Seattle Seahawks

Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma

This youngster is gaining momentum with each day. In some camps he is rated on par with Okung. (Previous pick: Williams)

7. Cleveland Browns

Eric Berry, S, Tennessee

I'm letting myself be convinced that the Browns will not take a quarterback this high. Berry is exactly what they need to continue rebuilding. (Previous pick:Jimmy Clausen)

8. Oakland Raiders

Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland

The Raiders grabbed a Terp last year in WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, and he will be joined by a much bigger Maryland player this year. This NFL Scouting Combine superstar heads to Oaktown. (Previous pick: Berry)

9. Buffalo Bills

C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson

Running back became even more of a need given Marshawn Lynch's unhappiness. If one of the top three offensive tackles is still available, though, young Mr. Spiller may be left in the starting blocks. (Previous pick: Spiller)

10. Jacksonville Jaguars

Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech

A pass rush is needed in Jacksonville. Aaron Kampman is happy to be in a Jaguars uniform, and no longer playing linebacker. The ACC's best defender from last year is a nice piece to add with Kampman. (Previous pick: Morgan)

11. Denver Broncos

Sergio Kindle, LB, Texas

Kindle is an explosive pass rusher, and more than one personnel director has told me that they like this Longhorn better than they liked former Texas star (and rookie Pro Bowler) Brian Orakpo. Still, would Josh McDaniels have some interest in developing a young QB, maybe one from Notre Dame? An inside linebacker makes sense, too. (Previous pick: Kindle)

12. Miami Dolphins

Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee

A strong final season in Knoxville really put this big man on the map. He would be a nice pick for GM Jeff Ireland, and football czar Bill Parcells. There are still some safeties on the board (Earl Thomas and Taylor Mays) that will merit discussion in South Florida. (Previous pick: Williams)

13. San Francisco 49ers

Joe Haden, CB, Florida

An all-around excellent player who cleared up concerns about his speed at his pro day. He also does a fine job of blitzing from the slot, too. (Previous pick: Haden)

14. Seattle Seahawks

Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame

The 'Hawks QB of the future, who's from the West Coast, hooks up with a west coast head coach (Pete Carroll) who knows him well from their college days. (Previous pick:Dez Bryant)

15. New York Giants

Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama

He's awfully skilled, will strike, and has the smarts and savvy to run an NFL defense. The Giants will be fortunate if he is still available at this pick. (Previous pick: McClain)

16. Tennessee Titans

Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida

His lack of Division I game experience scares some people, but his athletic gifts have teams dreaming of double digit sack seasons in the near future. (Previous pick: Pierre-Paul)

17. San Francisco 49ers

Mike Iupati, G, Idaho

An area of need, some see this wrecking ball as a potential left tackle, too. RB Frank Gore sees him helping to clear a path to another Pro Bowl. (Previous pick: Iupati)

18. Pittsburgh Steelers

Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State

Offensive line is still an area of need, and there are good players available with this pick. But, my quick recollection of why the Steelers missed out on the playoffs drew me back to the defense. This may very well be the best corner in the draft. (Previous pick: Wilson)

19. Atlanta Falcons

Brandon Graham, DE/OLB, Michigan

I have liked this non-stop pass rusher since I saw him play in the 2008 season, and in discussing him with a long-time observer of the league I am even more convinced that he's the type of player that the Falcons need and covet. (Previous pick: Graham)

20. Houston Texans

Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State

I have been all over Houston's need for a consistent runner, but the loss of Dunta Robinson highlights the need for someone else to help slow down the Colts twice a year. (Previous pick:Ryan Mathews)

21. Cincinnati Bengals

Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma

He might have been a top-12 pick had he not gotten hurt and missed the 2009 season. I only see his knee improving, and his ability to flash his skills increasing in the near future. (Previous pick: Gresham)

22. New England Patriots

Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State

Versatile, can slide easily to the "5" technique in a base 3-4. He helps the Patriots rebuild their defensive line. (Previous pick: Sean Weatherspoon)

23. Green Bay Packers

Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri

A guy that hollers a lot on the field, who would love to play inside linebacker and run the defense. His skill set is excellent for a team seeking an outside linebacker that can run and chase, and he could really help Pro Bowl rookie Clay Matthews. Offensive line is a need, too. (Previous pick: Robinson)

24. Philadelphia Eagles

Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida

The Eagles need a pass rusher opposite Trent Cole. They are counting on revving up this talented youngster's motor on a full-time basis. (Previous pick: Dunlap)

25. Baltimore Ravens

Earl Thomas, S, Texas

Ed Reed continues to be on top of his game, but while Thomas is prepping behind him, he can play in their nickel packages, and some corner, too. He is talented enough. (Previous pick: Odrick)

26. Arizona Cardinals

Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State

A steal of top-five talent for the high flying birds of the desert. Say thank you, Matt Leinart. (Previous pick: Thomas)

27. Dallas Cowboys

Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers

With the release of Flozell Adams, this quickly became a need pick. Doug Free will get the first crack at the left tackle job, but this could be a steal for Dallas if he lives up to his immense potential. The need for a safety exists, too. (Previous pick:Bruce Campbell)

28. San Diego Chargers

Terrence Cody, DT, Alabama

Stats will never be his calling card because it's hard to make tackles while always occupying two people. His teammates will be grateful, though. (Previous pick: Cody)

29. New York Jets

Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech

Risk vs. Reward. Thomas is coming off an injury and comes from an option offense, which did not run a sophisticated passing game or routes. But, he has everything else, and the ability to learn quickly. (Previous pick: Thomas)

30. Minnesota Vikings

Taylor Mays, S, USC

Still seeking a spot to elevate this fine player. I keep hearing what he can't do, but I have observed plenty of things he can do. He can assist shoring up the back end of the Vikings' defense. (Previous pick: Mays)

31. Indianapolis Colts

Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida

Seriously, can he last this long? If so, Bill Polian chortles and sends the pick in early. No need for the full 10 minutes to call Jeff Saturday's eventual replacement. Until then, he'll play guard on a high level. (Previous pick: Pouncey)

32. New Orleans Saints

Tim Tebow, QB, Florida

I predicted Senior Bowl week that someone will fall in love with him and find a way to draft him in the first round, and it's time for me to stand by that statement. And the roar of shock, awe, approval, disapproval will be long and sustained as the first round concludes with his name called. Sean Payton would love to "mad scientist" this prospect that has invited so many differing opinions. I say he's an NFL QB, especially under the tutelage of the team that possesses the Lombardi Trophy. (Previous pick:Everson Griffen)

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