Any time you get a team that's picking ahead of you that takes a player at a position you're not targetting, it helps because it moves better players closer to you, either to draft where you are, or if you decide to trade up for someone you really want. I also expect at least one or two guys to put up huge combine numbers and some idiot to fall in love with them and take them in the top 15. Hopefully, all of this will push either McClain or Haden to us, or at least withing striking distance so we can give up a third rounder or something to move up and get one of them.
I would agree with the first part of that except that where we are drafting, at 18, is far enough from the top 10 that it remains doubtful that an elite prospect would fall 8 spots. There's internal re-shuffling up in the top 10, and even factoring in the usual madness that is Al Davis taking some Combine speed guy, you still have 7 spots (too far to fall or for us to trade up).
For example, I think you have the following elite prospects, who will all be off the board by 1.11:
1. Ndamukong Suh
2. Eric Berry
3. Gerald McCoy
4. Russell Okung
5. Joe Haden
6. Sam Bradford
7. Derrick Morgan
8. Jimmy Clausen
9. Dez Bryant
10. Rolando McClain
I would suggest another tier of prospects as near-elite, any of whom could potentially fall to us. It's possible that a great Combine could vault one or two into the top 10, but IMO the top 10 is usually almost set in the war rooms before Indy. Again, Al Davis might take a physical freak like Jason Pierre-Paul, who should have a great Combine, but who is very raw (and IMO a R2 value).
11. CJ Spiller - some discussion as to whether he or Best is the top RB; might not have the size to be an every down back, but is a home run COP back with receiving and KR ability.
12. Anthony Davis - Monstrous RT with potential to be a LT, some work ethic issues. Will need to interview well.
13. Bryan Bulaga - Another RT with perhaps superior LT ability to Davis - may move up if he runs a sub-5; some med issues (thyroid) need checked.
14. Mike Iupati - Elite OG prospect who will need some coaching, may go lower if considered too raw.
15. Earl Thomas - Eric Berry Lite. Size and consistency are concerns.
16. Dan Williams - Best NT of the class, could go to either 40 or 30 front. One year wonder, or finally coached properly under Kiffen the Elder?
17. Sean Weatherspoon - Can play LB in or out, great team leader and on-field energy, disappointing senior season, likely under-rated on most mocks.
18. Bruce Campbell - Should show great measurables at Indy, as much upside as any LT here. Injuries and number of starts could keep him from climbing close to top 10.
19. Trent Williams - Appears to be RT only, might not measure out as tall as teams like, could fall.
20. Everson Griffen - IMO, a bit over-rated.
I think there's a better chance of a player moving up from below
these players listed to 1.18 than there is for one of the top 10 to drop through all the teams picking 1.11-1.17 to our spot. There are still some very good players in that near-elite group.
IMO, McClain and Haden are virtually out of reach. If they fall, it's a no-brainer.