Draft talent runs deep: 2010 class could rival 1983
By Nate Davis, USA TODAY
INDIANAPOLIS — The first round of the 1983 NFL draft produced an unprecedented six Hall of Famers. Could the 2010 draft possibly be as bountiful?
"This is the best first round I've seen since 1983," says former NFL general manager Charley Casserly, now an analyst for CBS and NFL Network.
"I think it's the result of two things: Last year, there was a concentrated effort to keep players in school. Conversely, both sides in the labor negotiations have talked about a rookie wage scale. So when you have those two things working ... you have a perfect storm to have the best junior crop you've had since all the way back to '83."
But this draft does not appear to have the same depth at quarterback. Six signal callers went in the first round 27 years ago, with John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino eventually reaching Canton alongside running back Eric Dickerson, cornerback Darrell Green and offensive lineman Bruce Matthews.
The talent in 2010 appears to lie in the trenches. NFLDraftScout.com projects 18 offensive and defensive linemen to go in the first round. NFLDraftScout.com senior analyst Rob Rang says it's the best group he has seen in a decade for depth and quality.
"The juniors at defensive end and offensive tackle have made it that much better," says Rang, who ranks Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh as the best player on the board.
"Suh is so consistent and passionate and physical. There's almost a degree of ferocity to his game."
St. Louis Rams general manager Billy Devaney acknowledged at the scouting combine that he's focusing on Suh and fellow defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma) as candidates for the No. 1 overall pick along with quarterbacks Sam Bradford (Oklahoma) and Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame).
"We're still trying to figure that out," Devaney said. "There's pros and cons to whatever decision you decide to go.
"Those four guys ... we like everything about them so far."
For the first time, the draft will be conducted over three days, beginning with Round 1 Thursday night, April 22.
Casserly believes the new TV-friendly format could have other ramifications as teams try to snare players from a deep talent pool.
"I think you have the potential for more trades," he said, because teams will have more time to ponder and orchestrate moves while assessing their priorities as they react to what other clubs are doing with their selections.
Re: Draft talent runs deep: 2010 class could rival 1983
maybe with all these teams trading picks, we have a better chance of trading down and getting some depth.