Championship Sunday Mock Draft – Jan. 23rd

Written by Gil Alcaraz IV on January 23, 2011

17. New England Patriots (from Oakland) New England Patriots

Gabe CarimiGabe Carimi – OT – Wisconsin

The Patriots offensive line is old and worn. There were more than a few times that they struggled to keep pressure off of quarterback Tom Brady, which was a key reason for their loss to the New York Jets in the playoffs. With Carimi in the mix, Brady can feel more at ease when dropping back in the pocket.

18. San Diego Chargers San Diego Chargers

Justin HoustonJustin Houston – OLB – Georgia

The linebacker position was a huge question mark for the Chargers all season long in 2010. Whether it was injuries or just poor play, the San Diego linebackers struggled to keep the opposing offenses out of the endzone. With a player like Houston in the mix, that could change in a hurry in 2011.

19. New York Giants New York Giants

Anthony CastonzoAnthony Castonzo – OT – Boston College

Plain and simple, the Giants need some help on the offensive line. And what better way to provide themselves with that than with a hard-nosed, never-say-never type guy in Castonzo. He has the type of mentality that has symbolized Giants’ football for years to go along with outstanding blocking skills.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers

JJ WattJJ Watt – DE – Wisconsin

The Buccaneers added two outstanding defensive tackles last year with Gerald McCoy and Brian Price. With those two, the interior of the defensive line should be solid for years to come. Now they need a lot of help at the ends so that there can be some semblance of a pass rush. Watt is an excellent start.

21. Kansas City Chiefs Kansas City Chiefs

Stephen PaeaStephen Paea – DT – Oregon State

Kansas City’s offense surprised everyone with how balanced and explosive it was. Now they need to refine the defense if they hope to make another playoff appearance in 2011. With some solid defensive ends already in the mix, a dominating big man like Paea could be the final piece to a deep playoff run.

22. Indianapolis Colts Indianapolis Colts

Drake NevisDrake Nevis – DT – LSU

With two starting defensive ends who are primarily pass-rushers, the Colts need a defensive tackle that can hold his own and help bolster a run defense that is decent at best. Nevis will provide immediate run support, but can also be a factor in the passing game with his size and strength.

23. Philadelphia Eagles Philadelphia Eagles

Bruce CarterBruce Carter – OLB – North Carolina

It’s pretty clear that the Eagles still lack any big-time pass-rushers besides Trent Cole, and he can’t do it alone. Outside linebacker Ernie Sims is a free agent this off-season, and if they can’t bring him back then Carter can come in and be a terrific athlete and pass rusher at the linebacker spot for them.

24. New Orleans Saints New Orleans Saints

Aldon SmithAldon Smith – DE – Missouri

The Saints continue to be disappointed with the lack of production that comes out of their talented defensive line. Smith is definitely underrated and has shown that he has the tools to be a dominant force. The Saints will take a shot with him and I doubt they’ll be disappointed.

25. Seattle Seahawks Seattle Seahawks

Nate SolderNate Solder – OT – Colorado

One of the Seahawks’ biggest problems this year was their inability to keep pressure off of the quarterback. Even with 2010 first-round pick being a promising left tackle, the offensive line still needs plenty more talent before their quarterbacks are safe, and Solder could be the next piece to the puzzle.

26. Baltimore Ravens Baltimore Ravens

Rahim MooreRahim Moore – FS – UCLA

The Ravens still have a big hole to fill at receiver despite multiple 2010 additions, but the hole at safety may just be too worrisome to ignore. All-Pro safety Ed Reed has got maybe one or two more years in him and Moore would be an excellent player to take his place in a great Ravens’ defense.

27. Atlanta Falcons Atlanta Falcons

Kyle RudolphKyle Rudolph – TE – Notre Dame

This could be the end for future Hall-of-Famer Tony Gonzalez, and the Falcons will be in dire need to find a replacement for one of the most crucial pieces to their offense. Rudolph will provide them with a huge receiving threat that will pull defenders away from Roddy White while making big plays down the field.

28. New England Patriots New England Patriots

Mikel LeShoureMikel LeShoure – RB – Illinois

Although BenJarvis Green-Ellis proved this year that he could be a productive workhorse for the Patriots offense, I don’t think that he is the long-term answer for their running game. LeShoure wowed critics in 2010, and Brady will be excited to have a runner like him to hand off to in 2011.

29. Chicago Bears Chicago Bears

Jonathan BaldwinJonathan Baldwin – WR – Pittsburgh

The Bears have been lacking a talented number one receiver for quite some time, and Baldwin could be just what they needed to help quarterback Jay Cutler shed the underachiever tag that has been sown to his jersey since his Denver days. He is a great fit that fills a big need.

30. New York Jets New York Jets

Torrey SmithTorrey Smith – WR – Maryland

Despite all of the talent that there is in the Jets’ receiving corps, there seem to be no options for quarterback Mark Sanchez to go to when the game is on the line. With Smith added to the mix, all of the other talent will be more valuable and hopefully more productive. His versatility is also a plus.

31. Green Bay Packers Green Bay Packers

Derek SherrodDerek Sherrod – OT – Mississippi State

Without too many holes to fill in their roster, the Packers should look to add more depth and solidity to their offensive line like they did in 2010. Many scouts have Sherrod as their top offensive lineman, and he should be able to provide even better protection for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers Pittsburgh Steelers

Mike PounceyMike Pouncey – OG – Florida

This may not be the most sensible pick in the world, but look what happened when they drafted Mike’s big brother Maurkice last year. It was a perfect pick that yielded much better results than initially expected. I can only imagine that good things will happen if they reunite the Pouncey brothers.

Gil Alcaraz IV

Gil is the owner of the Minnesota Vikings blog, The Viking Den, and an editorial writer for Lakers Nation. Having followed the NFL Draft for years, Gil has had a knack for naming some of the big surprise players to make it in the NFL. Gil is also a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

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