Intersite Mock Draft – March 14th

Written by Will Spencer on March 15, 2010

17. San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina)

Earl Thomas – S – Tennessee

Scouting Report

If the 49ers address the offensive line with the 13th pick, then the secondary should be their focus with this selection. Dashon Goldson saw the majority of the playing time at free safety last season, and was exposed as a liability in coverage. No such claim will ever be made against Thomas, who some believe has the coverage skills necessary to transition to cornerback. Should the vastly overpaid Nate Clements continue to struggle (he was benched briefly in 2009), the 49ers just may decide to give Thomas a shot at corner.

Ryan McCrystal – Draft Ace

18. Pittsburgh Steelers

Trent Williams – OT – Oklahoma

Ben Roethlisberger has become one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the league, and it starts with the poor play of tackles Max Starks and Willie Colon. Though they are young players, they have struggled in pass protection and do not look to have a much higher ceiling. Trent Williams would solve this problem. He is a franchise left tackle, who can step in right away and start. Williams started for almost three years at Oklahoma and has the ability to play both left and right tackle. He also proved to be quite the athlete at the NFL Combine by running the second fastest 40 time for an offensive linemen, and he was also a force in the Broad Jump and Vertical Jump. Offensive line is what the Steelers need most, and the balanced game Trent Williams would be a steal at #18 overall (considered a top-ten pick by many).

Kevin Hatfield – NFL Draft Bible

19. Atlanta Falcons

Sean Weatherspoon – LB – Missouri

The Atlanta Falcons Front 7 can use upgrading with holes at DE, OLB, and youth 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.

Shane Hallam – Draft Countdown, Draft Breakdown, Blogging the Draft   

20. Houston Texans

Ryan Mathews – RB – Fresno State

Conventional wisdom would say that the Texans would pass on a running back in the first round because it doesn’t fit the "M.O" of head coach Gary Kubiak. Expect that trend to change this April. The team fully believes that they are only a few pieces away from legitimate contention. The main focus will be finding a full-time #1 back. Steve Slaton and Arian Foster have failed to show that they can be 20+ carry guys. Meanwhile, Mathews fits this selection maybe too perfectly. At 218 lbs, Mathews ran a 4.45 official time at last week’s combine. He’s a tough, downhill runner who could excel in Houston’s zone-blocking scheme. His production at Fresno State is matched by few and his play certainly warrants first round consideration. Mathews is also coming out as junior meaning he has taken less of a beating on his body than most senior backs in this year’s class. His stock ranges from picks #18-25 heading into his pro day, which fits perfectly for Houston?s #20 selection.  

Mike Band – Draft Ace

21. Cincinnati Bengals

Mike Iupati – OG – Idaho

After the signing of Antonio Bryant in free agency the Bengals focus shifts to tight end (Jermaine Gresham), guard (Mike Iupati) and safety (Taylor Mays) in round one. Mays will get strong consideration as the team has taken a Trojan in round one or two in each of the past two drafts but the offense will likely get more attention early on draft day. While on the surface one would think a tight end would make the greatest impact, the team has not featured the position under coordinator Bob Bratkowski and there are likely to be good values at the position in rounds two and three. Lastly, one of the biggest reasons the Bengals took the air out of the ball last season was concerns about the lines ability to protect Carson Palmer (the Bengals started three former practice squad players on the line for much of 2009). Iupati is an exceptional talent with pro bowl potential who would immediately improve the pass protection while combining with Andrew Whitworth to give them a pair of maulers to open holes for Cedric Benson in the ground game.

Chris Maier – NFL Draft 101

22. New England Patriots

Dez Bryant – WR – Oklahoma State

Even though I don’t see Dez Bryant slipping this far, the Patriots would have to take him if given the opportunity. Wide receiver is definitely a need with the injured Welker and aging Moss, and Bryant is too much talent to pass on. Belichick has never drafted a wide receiver in round one and would be reluctant to do so here. This class of defensive tackles is deep, and maybe the Patriots can land a 3-4 DE with one of their three round two picks. Pass rusher is the Patriot’s biggest need, but will easily grab one in round two as well. Simply put, you cant pass up on top 10 talent with pick 22.

Paul Swanson – The Draft Matters

23. Green Bay Packers

Kyle Wilson – CB – Boise State

The pick would have been Mike Iupati because of the Packers need on the offensive line, but because he was selected just two picks before (Bengals) it means Green Bay has to go to Plan B. Both Charles Woodson and Al Harris are no spring chickens, so age is a big concern in the Packers secondary. Harris went down last year with a season ending knee injury in November, and the team looked especially poor defending the pass in shootouts against the Steelers and the Cardinals (in the playoffs). In those two contests (combined) the Packers gave up 882 yards passing, 8 passing touchdowns, and zero interceptions! Tramon Williams is best suited as a nickel cornerback, so the Packers are thrilled to add a player like Kyle Wilson in the first-round. Wilson is an instinctive player who stands out on the field because of his tenacity and fire for the game. He looks natural in coverage, and has an outstanding work ethic. Wilson is very disciplined when playing zone coverage and does not regularly bite on double moves. His toughness stands out when he comes up to support the run. Three career touchdowns as a punt returner just adds to his value in the NFL.

Cecil Lammey – Draft Guys

24. Philadelphia Eagles

Taylor Mays – S – USC

Scouting Report

By selecting Taylor Mays, the Eagles fill a hole at the safety position that has been a problem since they dumped Brian Dawkins last spring. The combination of converted cornerback Macho Harris, Sean Jones, and Quintin Demps proved to be a failed experiment. The recent signing of Marlin Jackson raises eyebrows due to his two recent ACL injuries. With the 6’3 230 pound Mays, the Eagles would be getting one of the more intriguing athletes in this draft. For his size, he displays great range and plays with high intensity. He has the measurables and the upside, but has lacked in the big play department with only 4 interceptions on his resume. Whether Earl Thomas falls in their lap or they roll with Mays, look for the Eagles to make their first significant draft day investment in the secondary since the 2002 haul of Lito Sheppard, Michael Lewis and Sheldon Brown.

Todd DeVries – College Football Geek   

25. Baltimore Ravens

Jermaine Gresham – TE – Oklahoma

If the draft shaped up this way, the Ravens would be ecstatic. It’s no secret that Brandon Graham is one of their favorite players, and other players at need positions are still available (Devin McCourty, Jared Odrick). It’s hard for me to not pick Brandon Graham for the Ravens here because I know how hard it would be for them to pass on him, but Gresham would help provide Quarterback Joe Flacco with another big target for the middle of the field. Plus, the Ravens don’t have much behind Todd Heap because it’s likely that LJ Smith won’t be back for a second season with the team. There is a chance, however, that the Ravens aren’t comfortable spending a first round pick on a player who missed an entire season with a knee injury.

Rob Engle – Draft Breakdown

26. Arizona Cardinals

Dan Williams – DT – Tennessee

This pick is perfect for the Cardinals. Williams is the best player available and at a position of need. The Cardinals need a big run stuffing defensive tackle capable of playing the nose tackle position. Bryant Robinson, Alan Branch, and Gabe Watson are not the long term solution at the position. Some other players I considered were Brandon Graham and Jerry Hughes but I think the Cardinals will be able to sign Joey Porter and Larry Foote. They can use later round picks to provide depth at the linebacker position.

Jon Dove – Mocking the Draft

27. Dallas Cowboys

Maurkice Pouncey – OG/C – Florida

Pouncey is an excellent value here and fits a huge need. Since 1991 the Cowboys have drafted 11 offensive guards and have only gotten two starters to show for it: Larry Allen and Andre Gurode. Allen is long gone and Gurode is now their starting center. Pouncey (6′ 5" 314 lbs) has versatility because can play center or guard and will compete for the starting left guard spot against Kyle Kosier. Did I mention the Cowboys only back up guard, Cory Proctor, probably couldn’t make the roster of any other team in the NFL.

Robert Bryant – NFL Draft Dog

28. San Diego Chargers

Terrence Cody – DT – Alabama

Scouting Report

The Chargers’ two biggest holes are at NT and RB due to the departures of Jamal Williams and LaDainian Tomlinson. Jahvid Best is the top RB available but I can’t see the Chargers using their first round pick on a player with a history of injury and sub-par blocking skills. Terrence Cody may be a second round talent due to his conditioning, but with so many teams making the switch to the 3-4 a true NT will be a tough commodity to come by in the NFL. Cody has the size and strength to be a dominating presence on the interior of the Chargers’ defense. He also showed he’s dedicated to getting in shape by dropping from 370 pounds at the senior bowl to 348 pounds at Alabama’s pro day. If Cody is available this late in the first round, I don’t think the Chargers will be able to pass up on him.

Vinny Brandonisio – The Draft Matters

29. New York Jets

Brandon Graham – DE/OLB – Michigan

Scouting Report

Historically, the New York Jets front office values the defensive end who can pass rush. The defense was excellent overall in 2009 but only middle of the pack last year in sacks, 18th overall. They blitz well, but better quarterbacks (like Brady and Manning) can see the rush coming and can get rid of it. The defense isn’t getting enough sacks in straight up 3 or 4-man fronts. Calvin Pace is decent, Bryan Thomas is underrated but both turn 30 soon, if they haven’t already. Vernon Gholston is in a make or break situation this year, and certainly hasn’t done enough to allow the Jets to pass on Graham. With needs still at defensive line and wide receiver, they aren’t necessarily going into this draft looking for Brandon Graham but if he falls in their laps they can’t pass him up. He was deservedly the defensive MVP of the Senior Bowl game and was awesome in practices. Graham has top notch speed, functional strength and an arsenal of pass rush moves, many reportedly learned from current Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Lamarr Woodley.

Matt Bitonti – Draft Daddy

30. Minnesota Vikings

Devin McCourty – CB – Rutgers

The Vikings could have gone with a safety with this pick, but since Mays was selected earlier their pick was chosen for them. With Cedric Griffin unlikely to be ready within the first few weeks of the season, Antoine Winfield coming off a broken foot and aging, and Benny Sapp playing inconsistent for much of last season, the Vikings get much needed depth and one of the best corners in the draft. Not the biggest of corners, man coverage poses problems for McCourty if his opponent is bigger and/or faster, but he does poses great ball skills and leaping ability so he isn’t as easily outmatched as you think. Luckily for him he landed in a perfect defensive scheme, the cover-2, as he played in at Rutgers. That means help over the top for him, so he can use his great instincts and playmaking ability to take some chances. With many teams using three receiver sets, McCourty will likely see the field a lot in his rookie campaign. Not to mention he adds depth on special teams, mainly as a punt returner.

Kenny Franek – NFL Draft Bible  

31. Indianapolis Colts

Jared Odrick – DT – Penn State

Indianapolis needs to address the lines on both offense and defense. The left tackle situation is questionable and would be good to address, but they’d have to reach at this pick for someone like Charles Brown. On the defensive side, they have the choice of adding a defense end like Jerry Hughes who would still be behind Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis this year. Although good and provides some needed depth, Hughes would not be an immediate starter. The other option is to take a defensive tackle who could immediately compete for a starting spot against Daniel Muir and Antonio Johnson. Jared Odrick is a smart tackle with some great skills. He provides an excellent inside pass rush which will help the rest of the pass rushers be more effective. Odrick also has the ability to learn and develop into a solid run stuffer, something the Colts defense could use also.

Doug Lancy – NFL Draft 101  

32. New Orleans Saints

Everson Griffen – DE – USC

The Saints just cut Charles Grant, his large contract, and his larger gut. While it was the right move, it leaves them even thinner on the left side of their defensive line. They already needed an upgrade at left defensive tackle opposite Sedrick Ellis and now they need an upgrade at end opposite Will Smith. I would be very surprised if two of their first 3 picks weren’t focused on getting an upgrade at left defensive tackle and at left defensive end. Here they take left defensive end because of the nature of the draft board and take Griffen. Griffen has major upside, but also major downside, but the Saints can afford to take a risk after winning the Super Bowl and defensive genius coordinator Gary Williams will probably think he can bring the most out of him (and he’d probably be right).

Steven Lourie – Football Fan Spot

Will Spencer

Will is the founder and President of Draft Breakdown & has been scouting draft prospects since 2002. His work has been featured in numerous publications, including the USA Today Draft Preview Magazine, the official website of the Baltimore Ravens, Ravens Insider and The Orange and Brown Report. Will has previous playing experience as a defensive end in the AFA, is currently a member of the Football Writers Association of America and graduated from the SMWW Football Scouting course in 2009.

Recent posts by Will Spencer