Discussion

Projecting a possible Top 10

Based on current records and player evals, how the Top 10 NFL draft picks could look

Updated: December 19, 2010, 12:07 PM ET
By Mel Kiper | ESPN Insider

Every Friday, Mel takes a look at the NFL through the prism of the draft.

What you see below is what the Top 10 (13, actually, because of tied records) draft order in the NFL draft would look like if we called off the season today. It's also a look at who those teams might pick, based on current evaluations. And really, in some cases, if the rest of the season is merely for evaluating what the top needs are, some coaches might be in favor of simply calling it off today.

Some are just that obvious.

A couple things stick out:

• Of the 13 teams listed here eight, and possibly nine, have unsettled QB situations. That's a good reality for a guy such as Jake Locker, who has dropped on my Board to a possible late-first- or early-second-round value.

• A few teams still have a big need that they probably could have addressed last year (and thus wouldn't be drafting so high). Buffalo and Dallas are obvious, and I'll tell you why.

The draft order below is based on current records. Picks are based on the current Big Board, which as you all know will change a lot as juniors decide on draft entry and the workout process.

1. Carolina Panthers
Top needs: DT, WR, QB
Pick strategy: Carolina is in a really peculiar spot. Right now they really need a dominating interior presence on the D-line, and Auburn's Nick Fairley is an option, but he'd be a bit of a reach. The Panthers also need help at wide receiver, but they're young there with guys like David Gettis and Brandon LaFell (Steve Smith could be elsewhere next year), and they wouldn't likely take A.J. Green at No. 1. Bottom line: It comes down to Andrew Luck. Don't take it as an indictment on Jimmy Clausen, who has struggled as you'd assume a rookie would in this setting, but they could really like their QB and still take Luck. If he's there, he's the guy. If he's not, it's a possible trade down, or perhaps Fairley has worked his way into this range.

2. Cincinnati Bengals

MORE NFL HEADLINES