At the College Football Roundtable, we ask each member of the coverage staff for their opinion about a topic in the sport.
Today's question: The 2009 NFL draft is in the books, so who do you think will go No. 1 in the 2010 draft?
Olin Buchanan's answer:
It obviously depends on what team will be drafting first and its needs. I wouldn't be surprised if Detroit was picking first again next season. If that's the case, the Lions, who drafted Matthew Stafford this year, wouldn't need a quarterback. If Detroit is picking first, that takes Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow and Jevan Snead out of the running. Stafford's contract guarantees him more than $40 million. Therefore, the Lions need to protect their investment. That's why they likely would go with Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung. They might also look for defense, which likely would mean Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (presuming he enters the draft) would be the choice. Personally, I think Tennessee strong safety Eric Berry is the best player in the country, but safeties never are taken first.
Tom Dienhart's answer:
Given the perpetual lack of viable quarterbacks, I think Oklahoma's Sam Bradford will be No. 1. In fact, had he declared for the 2009 draft, many felt he may have been the No. 1 overall selection. As it stands, Bradford will continue to hone his strength, decision-making ability and big-game performance. Other possibilities for the top spot are Tennessee strong safety Eric Berry, Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung. But in the end, the allure of a big-time quarterback will be too much for the team with the No. 1 pick to ignore.
David Fox's answer:
Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford probably would have been the top pick in the 2009 draft had he left school. Bradford will be under much more scrutiny this season. The NFL will nit-pick his game throughout the season, especially since he won't play behind as good an offensive line as he did in '08. None of that will matter on draft day. The team picking first probably will need a quarterback. Jevan Snead and Colt McCoy will be candidates to be the top quarterback in the draft, but Bradford is as good a top pick as any.
Mike Huguenin's answer:
Nine of the past 12 overall No. 1s have been quarterbacks, and given that Oklahoma's Sam Bradford likely would've been the first overall pick in this year's draft, it seems likely he will go No. 1 next year because of his perceived ability to be a "franchise quarterback." If not him, I'd say it would come from this grouping: offensive tackle Russell Okung of Oklahoma State and defensive tackles Gerald McCoy of Oklahoma and Terrence Cody of Alabama.
Steve Megargee's answer:
I have to think Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford probably would have been the first player taken this year if he had chosen to enter the draft. That doesn't necessarily mean he will be the first guy taken next year. USC quarterback Matt Leinart and Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn both were seen as obvious No. 1 overall picks as they headed into their senior seasons, but after giving NFL franchises one more year to pick apart their perceived flaws, both players were taken much later than expected. But something tells me that won't happen with Bradford. The No. 1 pick in the draft now gets such a high salary that the team investing all that money in the selection may as well spend it on a quarterback, and Bradford certainly looks like the best pro prospect of any college quarterback in the nation. Two of the other players universally regarded as sure-fire high picks are safeties – Tennessee's Eric Berry and USC's Taylor Mays – and players at that position rarely are taken that early. Bradford undoubtedly will encounter plenty of criticism, but I just don't think what happened to Leinart and Quinn will necessarily happen to Bradford.