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With top picks, focus is on line

For the first time, the NFL has broken the draft into three days, beginning with the first round Thursday (4:30 p.m. PDT; ESPN, NFL Network). Times NFL writer Sam Farmer takes a look at how Round 1 could unfold:

1. St. Louis: QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma -- By releasing Marc Bulger, the Rams have cleared the way to begin the Bradford era.

2. Detroit: DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska -- Jim Schwartz wants to rebuild the defense he had in Tennessee, and Suh is the Lions’ Albert Haynesworth.

3. Tampa Bay: DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma -- The Buccaneers have searched for years for a replacement for Warren Sapp. McCoy is a compelling option.

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4. Washington: OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma -- The Redskins need someone to protect Donovan McNabb’s blind side, and Williams fits their system better than Russell Okung.

5. Kansas City: OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma State -- He’d be a great value pick for the Chiefs, who need a left tackle to bump Branden Albert to the right. A stunner that may happen? Alabama LB Rolando McClain.

6. Seattle: S Eric Berry, Tennessee -- The Seahawks really want a tackle and would love Williams or Okung (in that order), but a playmaking safety doesn’t hurt, either.

7. Cleveland: QB Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame -- Clausen is going to go around this point in the draft, whether it’s to the Browns or to a team that trades up to get him.

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8. Oakland: G Mike Iupati, Idaho -- This is a surprise pick, but massive Iupati could play tackle in the Raiders’ man-blocking scheme. Other possibilities are Maryland tackle Bruce Campbell, South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and Clemson running back C.J. Spiller.

9. Buffalo: OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa -- The Bills are in dire need of a left tackle (that position devastated them last year) but they need a quarterback too. Would they leapfrog Cleveland for Clausen?

10. Jacksonville: S Earl Thomas, Texas -- Safety is a need for the Jaguars, although not their biggest. They’ll also take a hard look at McClain, the middle linebacker from Alabama.

11. Denver: C Maurkice Pouncey, Florida -- Too early for a center? Maybe, but this draft is light on elite interior offensive linemen and the Broncos badly need someone to snap the ball. There’s a big vacancy at receiver, too, so watch Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas.

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12. Miami: LB Sergio Kindle, Texas -- The Dolphins filled their need for a receiver with Brandon Marshall, and a pass-rushing outside linebacker would really help. Kindle’s an outstanding one, but there are questions about his knee.

13. San Francisco: OT Anthony Davis, Rutgers -- The 49ers sorely need someone who can step right in and secure the starting right tackle job. Davis is that kind of player.

14. Seattle: T Charles Brown, USC -- Pete Carroll is reunited with one of his former Trojans. Now, the pressure is on Brown (or Davis, if he’s available) to replace All-Pro Walter Jones.

15. N.Y. Giants: LB Rolando McClain, Alabama -- The Giants need a player to replace middle linebacker Antonio Pierce, and McClain is an ideal fit. But will the Chiefs snap him up at No. 5?

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16. Tennessee: DE Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech -- With Kyle Vanden Bosch in Detroit, the Titans need an impact pass rusher. Morgan is a good fit.

17. San Francisco: CB Joe Haden, Florida -- The 49ers will have addressed their two biggest needs at this point: offensive tackle and cornerback, both of whom will be immediate starters.

18. Pittsburgh: CB Kyle Wilson, Boise State -- The Steelers have very average cornerbacks, and Wilson could be the best in the draft. Food for thought: What if Pittsburgh took Tim Tebow here?

19. Atlanta: DE Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida -- Pierre-Paul is a freakish athlete who’s incredibly raw. If his upside were to pan out, though, he’d be a steal here.

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20. Houston: RB C.J. Spiller, Clemson -- Steve Slaton isn’t the answer for the Texans, and Spiller is a good option (although Ryan Mathews might be a more complete back). Texans could take a cornerback, too.

21. Cincinnati: TE Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma -- The Bengals need a tight end who can block and stretch the field. Remember, they also need a safety and they like players from USC. This could be Taylor Mays.

22. New England: WR Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State -- With Wes Welker coming off a knee injury and Randy Moss in the last year of his deal, Bryant is interesting. A lot of scouts like Georgia Tech’s Thomas better.

23. Green Bay: CB Devin McCourty, Rutgers -- The Packers are getting old quickly at cornerback and need an infusion of youth there. McCourty, Patrick Robinson and Kareem Jackson are options.

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24. Philadelphia: CB Patrick Robinson, Florida State -- Robinson might be the most physically gifted cornerback in this draft, but his play has been somewhat inconsistent. The Eagles need a replacement for Sheldon Brown.

25. Baltimore: DT Jared Odrick, Penn State -- Odrick is a good fit for Baltimore’s 3-4 defense. He’s huge and could help the Ravens maintain their excellence on the defensive front.

26. Arizona: DT Dan Williams, Tennessee -- Williams is shorter (6 feet 2) and wide (329 pounds), and he could be the nose tackle that Cardinals Coach Ken Whisenhunt has sought since he arrived.

27. Dallas: S Taylor Mays, USC -- The Cowboys cut Ken Hamlin, and they’re looking for a safety who makes more plays. Is that Mays? He still needs to prove he’s a playmaker, even though his “measurables” are off the charts.

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28. San Diego: RB Ryan Mathews, Fresno State -- The Chargers don’t have LaDainian Tomlinson and they need a young back who can complement Darren Sproles. They can pick up a defensive tackle in the second round.

29. N.Y. Jets: DE Brandon Graham, Michigan -- As good as Rex Ryan’s defense is, the Jets still need a pass rusher so the team doesn’t have to blitz so much. Another guy to look for here is TCU’s Jerry Hughes.

30. Minnesota: CB Kareem Jackson, Alabama -- The Vikings have a glaring need for help at cornerback. They could be in prime position to trade back if there’s a team zeroed in on Tebow.

31. Indianapolis: OT Rodger Saffold, Indiana -- The Colts need to revamp their offensive line, and Saffold is the type of player who fits their scheme. If they go defensive tackle, this could be UCLA’s Brian Price.

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32. New Orleans: DE Tyson Alualu, California -- Rising fast on a lot of draft boards, Alualu could step right into Gregg Williams’ defense and make an impact.


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