Mock Draft – February 12th

Written by Shane Hallam on February 12, 2010

17. Tennessee Titans

Carlos Dunlap – DE – Florida

After Albert Haynesworth left Tennessee, the Titans saw their defensive line production go way down.  Kyle Vanden Bosch was not extremely effective (and may be gone as a Free Agent,) and William Hayes is solid but not spectacular.  The Titans need a prospect with huge upside who can be reminiscent of Jevon Kearse in his prime.  One perfect example is Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap.  Dunlap is the epitome of a boom or bust prospect.  When he is motivated to wreak havoc in the backfield, there may be no better pass rusher in this class.  But, Dunlap’s motor is rarely in full gear and he can disappear for long stretches of time, like last year’s 3rd round pick Michael Johnson.  That being said, if Jeff Fisher can coach up Dunlap, he could lead the Titans to being Super Bowl contenders this year.  The Titans may also go after a corner like Florida State’s Patrick Robinson, or upgrade their interior line with Idaho’s Mike Iupati.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers

Sean Weatherspoon – LB – Missouri

The Pittsburgh Steelers were quite the paradox this past year.  They had a high flying offense but a downright horrendous defense.  Contributing to this was a lack of depth at nearly every defensive position including safety, corner, and linebacker.  Rumor has it that the Steelers have talked with Sean Weatherspoon and are very interested in bringing him in as the heir apparent to James Farrior at ILB.  Weatherspoon plays like the type of player every team wants.  He is good in pass coverage, tackles well, and has tremendous athleticism.  Add on tremendous intangibles and you have a superb linebacker prospect.  Weatherspoon can fit in the middle of a 3-4 defense or on the strongside of a 4-3.  The Steelers could also look at USC safety Taylor Mays if they lose Ryan Clark to free agency.

19. Atlanta Falcons

Brandon Graham – DE – Michigan

No player may have helped themselves more during the Senior Bowl game than Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham.  A player who doesn’t have the best measureables or speed that teams look for in Top 20 picks, Brandon Graham still may have trouble moving up this high in the draft.  One aspect of his game that has never been lacking is production though, with 29.5 sacks throughout his career.  He is the type of productive player that Atlanta needs.  The Falcons front 7 was fairly suspect this past season after losing last year’s first round pick Peria Jerry to injury.  With John Abraham running hot and cold, a player like Brandon Graham to play defensive end could keep the pass rush up and provide run stopping along the edge.  The Falcons would also love Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon to fall to them as OLB is a huge need.   

20. Houston Texans

Taylor Mays – S – USC

The Houston Texans finally made it over the .500 winning percentage hump for the first time since they were introduced to the league in 2002.  With an explosive offense led by Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson, the Texans still need an upgrade on defense.  One position that has always been subpar for Houston has been their safeties.  Though play improved this year, the Texans needs to find a dominant player in the secondary.  I imagine Houston would be ecstatic if a player like Taylor Mays fell to them at 19 or 20.  Mays is known for being a massive safety in a linebackers body.  He is fast, goes for the big hit, and he has all of the athletic tools you look for.  At the Senior Bowl, Mays got some pro coaching and improved his ball skills as well.  He may go much earlier than this if a team falls in love after the combine, but if not, it could be a steal for the Texans.  Houston could also pick a big stout running back like Georgia Tech’s Jonathan Dwyer or a big defensive tackle like Tennessee’s Dan Williams.  

Scouting Report

21. Cincinnati Bengals

Jermaine Gresham – TE – Oklahoma

The Bengals have lacked a true playmaking tight end for years.  Last year they attempted to rectify this by drafting Chase Coffman, who was soon injured.  With Ocho Cinco and an emerging Andre Caldwell as the only true receiving threats, a big time player like Jermaine Gresham would be a tremendous addition to the Bengals.  Gresham likely would be a Top 15 pick if an injury did not hold him out this past season.  Another player who came back as a senior, Gresham hadn’t been able to show what he can do this past year.  When teams go back and watch his junior tape however, they will see an amazing pass catcher who is a powerful runner after the catch.  He would provide an excellent bailout for Carson Palmer and provide a lift for that offense.  The Bengals could also look on the defensive side instead with Texas Safety Early Thomas.

22. New England Patriots

Jahvid Best – RB – California

New England’s draft depends on numerous free agent moves they can make.  Will Vince Wilfork be back at Nose Tackle?  Will they sign Julius Peppers as a pass rusher?  All of these will heavily affect how the Patriots view their draft.  Last year, the team took a long hard look at drafting Donald Brown last year and may still want to upgrade the RB position with a player to fit into a future Kevin Faulk type of role.  Though Best has struggled with pass catching, he is lightning quick and would give the Patriots another big time playmaker.  With three second round picks, the Patriots likely will be making some type of move in this draft, whether it be up or down, so this pick doesn’t quite stick.  Even so, Best is a first round pick with his superb speed and vision.  This would be an intriguing fit.  If the Patriots get rid of Vince Wilfork, Tennessee’s Dan William would make sense if they don’t trust Ron Brace.

23. Green Bay Packers

Bryan Bulaga – OT – Iowa

Despite the Green Bay Packers defensive melt down their last few games of 2009, the biggest concern for most the season was the offensive line.  Aaron Rodgers showed the ability to be a near elite QB, but he just was not protected enough behind that offensive line.  One rectification of this would be to draft a left tackle like Bryan Bulaga.  Bulaga is likely slightly overrated in draft circles right now, but he has the potential to be a franchise left tackle.  Excellent footwork and use of his hands is what Bulaga brings to the table for the team that drafts him.  Though he doesn’t have the punch and strength most teams look for in a LT, Bulaga would fit in well within the Green Bay scheme.  The Packers could also look at another pass rusher to plug in opposite Clay Matthews like Brandon Graham.

24. Philadelphia Eagles

Earl Thomas – S – Texas

If one weakness came out of the playoffs for the Eagles, it was the play of their safeties.  Sean Jones has not been effective, and there just is not the depth there once was since Brian Dawkins left.  Playing in the NFC East, safety is important to shut down opposing QBs and WRs.  The Eagles also have the luxury to groom a first round rookie since there aren’t many pressing needs for this team.  The best route would be to draft a raw Texas sophomore, Safety Earl Thomas.  Thomas is excellent in coverage and has tremendous big play ability.  He tracks balls very well and can play center field.  Thomas struggles with the fundamentals of the position (tackling, hip movement, etc,) but he is a player that can be groomed in an excellent Philadelphia organization.  The Eagles could also upgrade at the Defensive End and may opt for a player like Brandon Graham.  

25. Baltimore Ravens

Arrelious Benn – WR – Illinois

The Ravens have two major holes on their team which is holding them back from being a Super Bowl contender, wide receiver and cornerback.  Ozzie Newsome has already come out and stated they are more likely to address WR through the draft than Free Agency, which sets them up at well at #25.  If Derrick Mason does not retire, the Ravens have a solid #1 possession WR but need to find an athletic deep threat.  Arrelious Benn out of Illinois would be an excellent compliment to Mason.  Benn wasn’t as productive as you hope for, but he often struggled due to the team around him in Illinois.  At 6’2, 220 pounds, Benn still has the speed and physicality to match up with the tough corners in the NFL.  Joe Flacco would enjoy having a player of Benn’s caliber to pass to.  If the Ravens did want to bypass taking a wide receiver, they could go corner with Florida State’s Patrick Robinson.

26. Arizona Cardinals

Bruce Campbell – OT – Maryland

The Arizona Cardinals found out how a good pass rush can dominate a mediocre offensive line when they lost to the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs.  Kurt Warner got battered and bruised to the point of retirement, and next year will have Matt Leinart under center.  The Cardinals have lacked an athletic tackle who can adjust to speed rushers for years.  Even two years ago in the Super Bowl, Left Tackle Mike Gandy was abused.  Bruce Campbell would be an excellent fit for the Cards.  Campbell is a high upside type of player whose athleticism and first punch will be enamored by teams.  He needs a lot of help to reach an elite status as a tackle, but all the tools are in place for it.  With an amazing coach in Russ Grimm, there is little doubt Campbell could hit that potential and use his hands much better than he did as a college player.  The Cardinals may also opt for a pass rusher like Clemson’s Ricky Sapp.

27. Dallas Cowboys

Jared Odrick – DT – Penn State

Many of last year’s playoff teams don’t have huge holes, the Dallas Cowboys included.  Though their offensive line was beat up against the Vikings, it generally isn’t an area addressed early by Jerry Jones.  If they do want to build the trenches, it may be gathering depth on the other side of the ball.  The Cowboys defensive ends aren’t exactly stellar.  They brought in Igor Olshansky who has been solid but not spectacular, and Marcus Spears is nothing more than an above average starter.  Similar to the Pittsburgh Steelers pick of Ziggy Hood last year, Jared Odrick being drafted by the Cowboys would add to depth and develop a future starter.   Odrick is a player moving up draft boards and may even go higher than this when April arrives.  His forte has been pass rush up the middle while often getting thrown off the ball during running plays.  He can fit in as a 3-4 DE and become a mainstay there for the Cowboys franchise.  If the Boys do want to address the offense line, Oklahoma’s Trent Williams would be a great fit, or even Idaho’s Mike Iupati.

28. San Diego Chargers

Trent Williams – OT – Oklahoma

San Diego has disappointed season after season in the playoffs, but are an absolute regular season powerhouse.  As they let go of LaDanian Tomlinson, it seems rumors are emerging of trading or signing a runner instead of drafting one in the first round.  One area of growing concern for the Chargers is the right tackle position, and something they definitely may address earlier rather than later.  Trent Williams is a player whose draft stock varies depending on who you talk to.  Some teams may consider him Top Ten, while others may not figure him to even crack the first round.  The truth is, he was extremely inconsistent at left tackle, and his best fit is on the right side of a line.  Most right tackles aren’t going to be high first round draft picks, and thus the fall to 28.  Williams could step in Day 1 for a team as a rookie RT and make a big impact in both run and pass blocking.  If the Chargers did want a running back, a guy like Fresno State’s Ryan Matthews or Georgie Tech’s Jonathan Dwyer makes the most sense.

29. New York Jets

Patrick Robinson – CB – Florida State

One team that exceeded expectations with a first year coach and first year coach was the New York Jets.  An excellent run game and top notch defense is what moved the Jets to success, but their top ranked defense still has some major issues.  Behind the best corner in the game, Darrelle Revis, is little to nothing.  Lito Sheppard is likely to be cut and Dwight Lowery is nothing more than a nickel corner.  The Jets didn’t have very many sacks in 2009 either (ranking 18th in the league,) and could use another pass rusher.  Addressing one of these two positions in Round 1 would be smart, and if a player like Patrick Robinson is available, he could be a great pick for them.  Robinson is a very similar prospect to former Florida State CB Antonio Cromartie.  Robinson could post one of the fastest 40 times in this upcoming Combine, but lacks the awareness and tracking ability that a top CB needs.  A guy who had an incredible junior year but took a step back as a senior, Robinson could get great coaching and mentoring on the Jets, hopefully turning into an amazing compliment to Revis.  The Jets could opt for a different CB like Oklahoma State’s Perrish Cox, or turn to a pass rusher like TCU’s Jerry Hughes.

30. Minnesota Vikings

Mike Iupati – OG – Idaho

The one “Final Four” team that may still have some work to do on their roster is the Minnesota Vikings.  They lack depth on the defensive line, may need a new QB, and are getting older throughout the secondary and O-Line.  Therefore, Vikings GM Rick Spielman could opt for a BPA approach and just try to find great depth for this team.  At 30, the best player available could very well be Idaho Guard Mike Iupati.  Iupati improved his stock during Senior Bowl week where he matched up in “The Pit” with high caliber players and dominated.  During the game, he struggled when moved a bit, but was downright nasty playing LG, his ideal fit.  If the Vikings want to move from one of the top guards to ever play the game in Steve Hutchinson to the next great in Mike Iupati, this would be the way to go.  The Vikings could also add to Defensive Tackle depth with Tennessee’s Dan Williams. 

31. Indianapolis Colts

Ricky Sapp – DE – Clemson

Dwight Freeney’s injury seriously negated the Colts pass rush during the 2nd half of the Super Bowl.  With very little depth behind Freeney and Robert Mathis, the Colts may opt for another undersized pass rusher to add depth and build a rotation at the defensive end position.  Likely one of the weakest positions on the Colts, the defensive line will be a focus this offseason.  Ricky Sapp fits in the typical mold of Colts pass rushers.  Sapp was extremely productive at Clemson, racking up 17 sacks over his career.  Most view him as a likely rush backer in a 3-4 scheme, but if he finds the right place (like Indianapolis,) to cement himself as a pass rushing threat in the league.  The Colts got look at the interior of the line as well with Tennessee’s Dan Williams or Penn State’s Jared Odrick.  

32. New Orleans Saints

Dan Williams – DT – Tennessee

For a Super Bowl winner, there are still plenty of places the New Orleans Saints can upgrade their team.  The Saints lack an elite center who can lead their offensive line, as well as an impact linebacker on the outside.  One area the Saints should look eat early though is bringing in a nose tackle to improve their defense against the run.  Sedrick Ellis has developed nicely, but a big presence next to him is crucial for the defensive success of the Saints.  Dan Williams is a nose tackle whose tutelage under Monte Kiffin this past season rose his stock.  There is even a strong possibility of Dan Williams going Top 15 in the draft with such a large need at Nose Tackle in the NFL.  If he does fall to #32, it would be a coup for the Saints.  The Saints may also want to add to their corner depth with Oklahoma State’s Perrish Cox or Michigan’s Donovan Warren.

Shane Hallam

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