I have Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford in the No. 2 spot. Bradford missed much of last season with a shoulder injury that required surgery. That is a concern to a lot of scouts, but the word is that he’s made great progress.
Drew Brees won a Super Bowl this month, and he had his shoulder surgically repaired four years ago.
Bradford played in an up-tempo system at Oklahoma that will help him on the next level as he understands the passing-game concepts.
He isn’t the top-rated guy. But he isn’t far behind.
Here is the complete list of the top 32 heading into this week’s scouting combine.
1. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska: He couldn’t be blocked at times in college. He has quickness and power and will be a force at the next level.
2. Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma: His shoulder is the key. If it checks out, he’s the best quarterback in this draft. He understands the passing-game principles.
3. Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma: He reminds me of Warren Sapp. He’s athletic and strong, which will help him as a pass-rushing player inside.
4. Joe Haden, CB, Florida: He’s a smooth cover corner who came to Florida as a high-school quarterback. That helps a lot in coverage recognition.
5. Russell Okung, T, Oklahoma State: He’s a big man at 6-foot-8, 305 pounds and has the frame to get bigger. He plays with a nasty streak and lined up at both left and right tackle for the Cowboys, finishing up on the left side.
6. Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame: The pluses are he played in a pro-style system and he has a big arm. The negatives are his toe injury and some off-the-field concerns for scouts.
7. Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: He is an inside linebacker who can play on the outside. At 6-4, 255 pounds, he packs quite a pop in the run game, yet he’s athletic enough to play in coverage.
8. Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida: This is a raw pass rusher who has the skills to be a fierce edge rusher. He only played one year at USF after transferring, so he has a lot to learn. But he does have the size and speed.
9. Eric Berry, S, Tennessee: He’s a rangy safety who has received a lot of hype. Some have him rated as a top 3 player. But I think he missed too many plays last season. He’s in the Ed Reed mold, but I don’t think he’ll be that good.
10. Brandon Graham, OLB-DE, Michigan: This is higher than most lists, but I really like this kid. He’s a lot like former Michigan star LaMarr Woodley, who now plays for the Steelers. Graham had a great Senior Bowl week, and had a nice game against Iowa’s Brian Bulaga, a top-rated tackle.
11. Anthony Davis, T, Rutgers: At 6-5, 330 pounds, he plays with an athletic style you want in left tackles. He excels in pass protection. He does have a tendency to get overweight, and was actually demoted for it at the start of last season.
12. C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson: He has explosive speed and reminds me a lot of Tennessee’s Chris Johnson. They had questions about Johnson’s ability to run inside, just like they do with Spiller.
13. Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State: He didn’t play the last 10 games of the 2009 season for lying to an NCAA investigator about dealing with an agent. That will concern teams for a second, but when they see his size and speed, they will look the other way. Bryant could be a lot like Andre Johnson of the Texans.
14. Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech: He’s a bigger defensive end who doesn’t possess the burst of some of the others I have ranked higher. He looks more like an anchor-in left end rather than a speed-rushing right end.
15. Trent Williams, T, Oklahoma: He spent most of his career at right tackle, but moved to the left side in 2009. He is a tough guy who won’t back down. He isn’t as good an athlete as some of the other tackles in this draft, but he will battle all day.
16. Brian Price, DT, UCLA: He’s a strong player who doesn’t have the great height teams want. But at 6-2 and weighing 305 pounds, he’s big enough. He will be perfect for a team that features the one-gap system.
17. Mike Iupati, G-T, Idaho: He’s a big, nasty player who had a nice week at the Senior Bowl. He played guard in college, but his real value might come at tackle on the next level. He does, however, hold too much.
18. Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU: I have him rated higher than most, but I think he is one of the better speed rushers in this draft. Some say he is one-dimensional, but I think his speed gives him a big edge on some of the other rushers in this draft. His size is a concern to some scouts.
19. Brian Bulaga, T, Iowa: At 6-6, 315 pounds, he has played both guard and left tackle for Iowa. Playing for coach Kirk Ferentz, a former offensive line coach in the NFL, helps Bulaga. He does need to be better in the run game and speed moves can get him.
20. Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee: There are some who think this kid doesn’t play hard all the time. But the talent is there. At 6-3, 325 pounds, he has good agility for a man that big. He can get heavy at times, which is a concern.
21. Bruce Campbell, T, Maryland: He is considered a raw player who might be a better pro player than he showed in college. He has great feet, excelling in pass protection, but some scouts think he needs to mature.
22. Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma: He didn’t play in 2009 because of a knee injury. That has some scouts concerned about his ability to be the same player. It was the right knee and he previously tore the ACL in the left knee. When he’s healthy, he’s a big-time threat in the passing game.
23. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech: He broke a foot in a workout recently that will limit his chances to run for teams, but he has 4.4 speed and he’s big at 6-3, 225 pounds. Imagine if he hadn’t played in a Wishbone offense?
24. Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State: He had a great week at the Senior Bowl to help his stock. He played a lot of man coverage with the Broncos, which the scouts love.
25. Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida: He has superior size at 6-5, 290 pounds. That is attractive when you combine it with his speed off the edge. He can also anchor in against the run. There are some off-the-field issues relating to his DUI arrest last season.
26. Earl Thomas, S, Texas: He’s a cover safety which teams have to have in the modern NFL. He can run and cover. He isn’t as good a tackler as some of the other safeties, but he’s good enough.
27. Charles Brown, T, USC: This former tight end has a lot of athletic ability for the position and excels as a pass protector. But he played at under 300 pounds with the Trojans, so he needs to add some weight, which shouldn’t be a problem.
28. Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas: At 6-4, 240, he is being projected as a 3-4 outside rusher. He’s a good rush player, but there are questions about his strength and his ability to hold up against the run.
29. Navorro Bowman, OLB, Penn State: He’s a run-and-chase linebacker who would be perfect for a 4-3 team. He has great speed to get to the football and he can play the pass. He does have some character issues that need to be addressed.
30. Nate Allen, S, South Florida: This rangy safety has the speed teams need in the wide-open NFL. He hasn’t always been great in run support, but he is willing.
31. Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama: Javier Arenas got more attention playing opposite Jackson, but it’s this kid the NFL scouts love. He is a good man cover player, which NFL teams love.
32. Everson Griffen, DE, USC: He’s been a starter the past three years. At 6-3, 280 pounds, he is a good pass rusher, but he can also play the run. He had seven sacks last year for the Trojans.