2 Round Mock Draft – March 23rd

Written by Shane Hallam on March 23, 2010

17. San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina)

Sergio Kindle – DE/OLB – Texas

Scouting Report

After grabbing one of the top Offensive Tackles in the draft, the 49ers will be looking to upgrade the defensive side of the ball at #17. One improvement that could be made is at the pass rushing OLB position for the team, as they struggled to hurry the QB last season. With such a deep class of pass rushers, the 49ers likely can make a value pick at this position and could end up with a player like Sergio Kindle out of Texas who other teams may value as a Top 15 pick. Kindle has experience playing both DE and LB in college, making him an ideal fit in a 3-4 scheme. After an outstanding junior season, Kindle opted to return back for his senior season, producing numbers that were less than stellar. On the other hand, he did hurry the QB on every drive and impacting the game in a way that doesn’t show up in the stat book. If the 49ers do want to look in another direction, they could opt for CB Kyle Wilson or Kareem Jackson, or even take a Safety like Earl Thomas to get a playmaker in the secondary.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers

Mike Iupati – OG – Idaho

For a few years now, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had numerous issues along the offensive line. They have lacked physicality and the odd Steeler adage of being tough and hardnosed in the trenches. Even Owner Dan Rooney commented that the Steelers should get back to the run game after being more of a finesse passing team the past two seasons. If this is the direction the Steelers are looking to build toward, they may look no further than Idaho’s Mike Iupati. Iupati has been the top guard prospect for most of this season, pancaking interior and exterior linemen left and right. His best fit is at the LG position, though he can play others along the O-Line in a pinch. Iupati also showed above average athleticism on tape and at the combine, being an asset pulling out and even in pass protection. He would provide the Steelers with an instant starter. Pittsburgh could also look at adding linebacker depth like Missouri’s Sean Weatherspoon or Michigan’s Brandon Graham, or draft a FS in Texas’ Earl Thomas to add depth.

19. Atlanta Falcons

Sean Weatherspoon – LB – Missouri

Scouting Report

The Atlanta Falcons Front 7 can use upgrading with holes at DE, OLB, and depth at DT. They were 28th against the pass and though the team hopes the signing of Dunta Robinson will help, but adding a linebacker that can add a pass rush as well as pass coverage would be another huge upgrade. Sean Weatherspoon fits the bill. He looks excellent on film, is passionate, and would be an instant leader on the Falcons defense. Showcasing himself at the combine, Weatherspoon may have become a Top 20 pick. If the Falcons were impressed with him in interviews, he will be near the top of their draft board in terms of need. With John Abraham, Peria Jerry, Sean Weatherspoon, Curtis Lofton, and Dunta Robinson, the Falcons defense would have a resurgence. If the Falcons do decide to go another way, another DE to pair with John Abraham like Brandon Graham.

20. Houston Texans

Kyle Wilson – CB – Boise State

After opting not to bring back CB Dunta Robinson, the Texans are in a jam with their secondary. Though young players like Glover Quin and Bernard Pollard have stepped up, there is still plenty of upgrading that can be had for Houston. The secondary has never been on a Pro Bowl level since the Texans entered the league, so it should be a focus in the present. If the Texans want to try and replace Robinson, bringing in a first round corner could be a solution. Kyle Wilson out of Boise State is rated by most as the #2 CB in this class, and if the Texans favor him over Alabama’s Kareem Jackson and Rutgers, the fit is ideal. Wilson is a bit on the shorter side for a 1st round corner, but his athleticism and playmaking ability make up for it. At worst, Wilson will be one of the top nickel corners in the NFL, and at best he could be an Asante Samuel type of player. Wilson could also contribute in the return game if Jacoby Jones takes on a larger role on the offense. The Texans could also look at a safety such as Earl Thomas or Taylor Mays, or opt for a bigger RB such as Ryan Matthews.

21. Cincinnati Bengals

Earl Thomas – S – Texas

Scouting Report

The Bengals went 6-0 in the AFC North, securing a playoff spot and many times not looking like the Bungals of old. After a devastating playoff loss, the team knows it needs playmakers on both sides of the ball. The safety play in general for Cincinnati has been below average, specifically the ability to turn offensive mistakes into big plays. Earl Thomas from Texas could come in and use his top notch instincts and playmaking ability to contribute immediately. Though only a Redshirt Sophomore, Thomas proved himself as one of the best safeties in the country with game changing interceptions and passes defended. He may even have better ball skills than potential Top 5 pick Eric Berry, propping him up for a team that needs turnovers. Being so raw however, Thomas does lack some of the technique in both coverage and tackling, so he may need some time to develop. Thomas would be an instant upgrade for the Bengals secondary and help in both the run and pass game. The Bengals could turn to the offensive side of the ball with a WR like Georgia Tech’s Demaryius Thomas or a TE in Oklahoma’s Jermaine Gresham.

22. New England Patriots

Brandon Graham – DE/OLB – Michigan

Scouting Report

For a few years now, the New England Patriots haven’t had an impact pass rusher on their defense. As Mike Vrabel aged and veteran signings not having a significant impact, it is time for the Patriots to upgrade their pass rushers. This would also help an underrated secondary defend the pass, and give the Patriots offense better field position as a whole. If he falls to this spot, Brandon Graham is the perfect fit for the New England model. A very solid player who lacks the measureables but excels in knowledge, intangibles, and pure skill, Graham may even creep up into the Top 15 or 10 if teams just want to find a solid contributer. The question with Graham is if he will ever be a truly special pass rusher like DeMarcus Ware or Julius Peppers, which may make teams hesitate before spending a Top 15 pick. Graham is in a similar mold to ex-Michigan teammate and mentor, LaMarr Woodley, who has excelled on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 3-4. If the Patriots bring in Graham, they should find an excellent addition and sack artist for the next decade. New England could look in other directions, possibly at a RB like Cal’s Jahvid Best or even a Defensive End like Penn State’s Jared Odrick.

23. Green Bay Packers

Charles Brown – OT – USC

Throughout the first half of the NFL season, the Green Bay Packers were plagued by god awful offensive line play. Young star Aaron Rodgers was getting murdered behind the line, and it led to some ineffective play. Still using some pieces of a zone blocking scheme, the Packers could look for an instant upgrade and reach a bit for an offensive lineman at #23. A great fit is USC’s Charles Brown who is very good in pass protection and has the athleticism to fit in with the Packers. Though he likely is more of a second round value due to poor run blocking and inconsistency, the value of finding a true LT props him into the late first round. Brown was a part of a USC team this year grooming young QB Matt Barkley and was integral to his progression as a player. Even in games where Barkley struggled against pass rushers, he often showed flashers of keeping up wth more talented defenders. All in all, it is a great fit and he could become cemented on the blindside of Aaron Rodgers for years to come. The Packers could also look to upgrade their secondary with Alabama’s Kareem Jackson or USC’ Taylor Mays.

24. Philadelphia Eagles

Marukice Pouncey – C/G – Florida

Scouting Report

After trading for Daryll Tapp, the Eagles have put themselves in position to take the best player available and build the depth and rotations of their team. Though Andy Reid went for flashy skill positions last year early in the draft like Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy, it may be time to find the gems in the trenches who can give the team a leg up. Florida’s Maurkice Pouncey brings versatility and toughness to a team that values it on the offensive line. A player who could easily end up as the first player taken in this draft from Florida, Pouncey can play center or either guard position at the next level. There is even talk that he could go as high as #11 to the Denver Broncos. Pouncey is very good at creating holes on the interior of the line and moving into space to take care of defenders on the second level. If Pouncey is available at 24, Philadelphia could add to their offensive line depth and get a future starter in the process. The Eagles could also look to bring in more safety help in USC’s Taylor Mays if Pouncey is not available.

25. Baltimore Ravens

Jermaine Gresham – TE – Oklahoma

Jermaine Gresham would be quite a steal falling all the way to 25. The best Tight End in the country as a junior, Gresham opted to come back for his Senior season and attempt to solidify a Top 15 grade. Unfortunately, he did not play a down for Oklahoma this past year. Couple that with a position that usually isn’t selected extremely high in the draft, and we could see Gresham be a player to fall on draft day. A very good pas catching TE with underrated blocking skills, Gresham is a big physical presence that NFL teams love to have, especially in the red zone. He isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder after the catch and pick up tough yards as well as beat a jam with his physicality. These attributes are highly valued by an organization such as Baltimore, and Ozzie Newsome may see a bit of his old self in Jermaine Gresham on the field. The Ravens have already added two new weapons for Joe Flacco in Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth, but a quarterback can never have enough. Gresham would turn the Ravens largest weakness into one of their biggest strengths. If they did want to look at the other side of the ball, a cornerback such as Rutgers Devin McCourty or Alabama’s Kareem Jackson would fit the bill.

26. Arizona Cardinals

Bruce Campbell – OT – Maryland

Though Bruce Campbell had an exceptional combine, his tape makes him look more like a 3rd or 4th round pick than a 1st round pick. Unless a team high in the draft falls in love with him, Campbell may ultimately end up falling to the late 1st behind some exceptional OT talents in this draft. Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm will look at Campbell as a player they can develop into a Hall of Fame Left Tackle. With outstanding measureables and athletic ability, there is little doubt he can be a top notch LT, but plenty of coaching needs to be done. The Cardinals have been a team that always look for high upside offensive lineman, whether it be Levi Brown or Herman Johnson. After Kurt Warner retiring and trading away Anquan Boldin, the team does need to give Matt Leinart the tools to be successful in the NFL. It could start with an athletic LT prospect to solidify the offensive line and allow Leinart and Larry Fitzgerald take over games. If the Cardinals did go another direction, they could add another pass rusher to pair with Joey Porter in TCU’s Jerry Hughes, or even upgrade at CB with McCourty or Jackson.

27. Dallas Cowboys

Taylor Mays – S – USC

Scouting Report

The Dallas Cowboys finally got over a hump last year with a playoff victory and now have their sights set on a possible Super Bowl. With the emergence of Tony Romo and Miles Austin, the Boys will likely use this pick to upgrade the defense and halt the dynamic offenses in their division. A player who Jerry Jones could easily fall in love with and find a place for is USC’s Taylor Mays. Taylor Mays is one of the best athletic specimens at Safety since Sean Taylor. At 6’3, 230 pounds, and running in the 4.3s, Mays’ potential is unmatched. He showed plenty of flaws at USC, not being great in coverage and often going for the big hit instead of wrapping up ball carriers. His best fit in the NFL is an in the box safety who can punish runners and wideouts over the middle, really limiting an opposing offense on where they can throw the ball. With the talent in Dallas, it could be a match made in heaven. The Cowboys could also upgrade along the line with Penn State’s Jared Odrick as a 3-4 DE.

28. San Diego Chargers

Ryan Mathews – RB – Fresno State

After letting go the face of the franchise in LaDanian Tomlinson and nearly letting go Darren Sproles, RB may be the largest hole on this team bar none. Even with Sproles now tendered, he is very unlikely to carry the load for the Chargers. Ryan Mathews wowed scouts at Fresno State, as well as the combine, showcasing a gigantic frame at about 6’0, 218 pounds, as well as sub 4.4 speed. Improving in pass catching, Ryan Mathews can be a three down player in the NFL and an excellent compliment to Sproles. It seems very likely he will go in the first round to a team like the Chargers or Vikings to add another offensive threat on the field. The Chargers could also use an upgrade up front on their defensive line with Alabama Nose Tackle Terrence Cody or Penn State’s Jared Odrick at DE.

29. New York Jets

Demaryius Thomas – WR – Georgia Tech

Demaryius Thomas is a player shooting up draft boards and now has a late 1st or early 2nd round grade. Watching the tape, Thomas is a down the field threat who can run a 9 route to burn opposing defenses. Teams are always looking for a homerun hitter to put on the outside or in the slot to create a mismatch. Though he still needs a ton of work on route running and concentration, the potential is unmatched. The New York Jets did bring in Braylon Edwards last year, but they have very little depth behind him and the aging Jerricho Cotchery. With Mark Sanchez’s development being a premium for the franchise, another weapon could be added. The team will be run focused, but that makes Thomas even more valuable as a play action threat. Mike Tannenbaum has also showed no fear in moving up in the draft, so the Jets could be one of those teams that try and find themselves another elite player.

30. Minnesota Vikings

Devin McCourty – CB – Rutgers

The Minnesota Vikings were extremely close to a Super Bowl berth and hope that a Brett Favre comeback will make them contenders again. After a remarkable season that earned them the 2nd best record in the NFC, the Vikings will be on the path to winning a championship again. One area that does need an upgrade is the secondary. When Antoine Winfield went down with an injury, it revealed some major flaws in a Vikings defense that had always been steadfast. With aging players and the lack of depth, the Vikings have shown interest in a number of corners, including Rutgers Devin McCourty. McCourty is the twin brother of last year’s Jason McCourty who was drafted by the Tennessee Titans. Devin shows that he has the full package and should contribute at the next level. Good size (5’11,) speed (sub 4.4,) and fluid hips make McCourty an attractive player. Though he does not make the big plays a team wants from a first round pick, he should be an excellent #2 corner who will always fight to bat down a pass. The Vikings may also look at adding depth to either line of scrimmage with Rodger Saffold or Brian Price.

31. Indianapolis Colts

Jared Odrick – DT – Penn State

One position the Indianapolis Colts have needed to upgrade for a few years now is the Defensive Tackle position. Last year’s midround selection Fili Moala was rarely active, and the Colts need an instant starter who can fill in, play the run, and be a solid upgrade for the team. Jared Odrick is a player who GM Bill Polian could fall in love with as an instant contributor to the squad. Odrick could play DE in a 3-4 scheme or be a solid UT in a 4-3. He will never wow you with insane pass rush ability or motoring down the line and laying big hits. But, Odrick is great at stuffing the run and making the players around him better. He would be an ideal fit in Indy and a steal at 31. If the Colts look elsewhere, it likely is on the offensive line at a player like Rodger Saffold from Indiana.

32. New Orleans Saints

Carlos Dunlap – DE – Florida

Scouting Report

After releasing Charles Grant, the Saints have a hole at defensive end that needs to be filled sooner rather than later. All-Pro Will Smith has held down one side, but another big time pass rusher could make the Saints defense even better. A value pick at #32 is Carlos Dunlap of Florida who has all the makings of a boom or bust pick. He is huge at 6’6, 277 pounds and shows the athletic ability to be dominant. The major problem is his inconsistent motor which leads to plays where he is worthless on the field. If a team feels they can motivate him, they will select him relatively high. The tape may push him down to the late first, or even the second though. The Saints could opt to add CB depth in Alabama’s Kareem Jackson, or even nab a DT to pair with Sedrick Ellis.

Shane Hallam

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