“Way too early” Mock Draft 3.0

Written by Will Spencer on September 24, 2010

17. Denver Broncos

Dont’a Hightower – ILB – Alabama*

There was much speculation last season that the Broncos coveted Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain. This year, they get their guy…who just might be a better player than McClain. Hightower also has the added advantage of playing in Nick Saban’s 3-4 defense, which might be the most complex defense in all of college football. If he can handle that, Hightower can make a smooth transition to the Broncos 3-4 defense.

18. Washington Redskins

Julio Jones – WR – Alabama*

The Redskins have been trying to find a top flight wide receiver for some time now. With the addition of Donovan McNabb, it’s hard to not give the guy more weapons. What’s possibly the best aspect of Jones’ game is his ability as a blocker. Not only would Jones bring a legitimate vertical threat to the offense and ease the load of Santana Moss, his downfield blocking could also help the run game.

19. New York Jets

Allen Bailey – DE – Miami

Bailey just looks like someone Rex Ryan would drool over. Strong, powerful and versatile. These are the things that Ryan covets in a defender. While Vernon Gholston has made strides in his transition to 3-4 defense end, he’s still a rotational player at best. Bailey’s versatility would allow him to line up at multiple positions along the defensive line, adding more of a pass rush and strength against the run for an already strong defense.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Nate Solder – OT – Colorado

The Steelers have neglected their offensive line for some time now and if they plan on getting back to Super Bowl form, they can’t afford to wait any longer. Pittsburgh needs help at both offensive tackle positions and Solder is the best available here.

21. Seattle Seahawks

Daniel Thomas – RB – Kansas State

Seattle’s new coaching regime brought in two running backs in the offeseason. LenDale White was cut from the roster and Leon Washington doesn’t appear to be the same player he was before his leg injury. In order to take their offense to the next level, they’ll need a legitimate running threat and Thomas’ stock is on the rise.

22. New England Patriots

Derek Sherrod – OT – Mississippi State

The Patriots are another veteran team that has neglected to address an area of serious concern, the offensive line. After inking Brady to a major contract, they’ll need to protect their investment. Time has run out for guys like Mankins along the offense line and they grab some much needed youth here.

23. Chicago Bears

DeMarcus Love – OT – Arkansas

Chicago is actually playing pretty well this season on offense. However, their offensive line includes several guys that just aren’t making the cut. Love should be able to start along this offensive line on day one, which has to make Jay Cutler happy. If the Bears don’t look at the offensive line here, they could also look to grab a legitimate vertical threat.

24. Baltimore Ravens

Ras-I Dowling – CB – Virginia

Sure, the Ravens secondary has actually played pretty well over two weeks. However, Dominique Foxworth will be coming off a season ending knee injury next season and will probably need a few weeks to get back to form. Last season, the Ravens were high on another Virginia CB, Chris Cook. Dowling is another big, physical corner that would fit in nicely with the Ravens defense. Baltimore could also look to address their right tackle spot here if the right person is available.

25. Atlanta Falcons

Cameron Heyward – DE – Ohio State

Each year, there are always mock drafts that have the Falcons bringing in a defensive end. This mock is no different. The only serious hole in their defense right now is at the defensive end position. In this scenario, Cameron Heyward falls down the board a bit further than expected, so he’s hard to pass up. He’s better against the rush than the pass, but he’ll still make his presence known on the defense.

26. San Diego Chargers

Jerrell Powe – DT – Ole Miss

I’m sure the Chargers would hope that a top flight wide receiver would be available in this position, but not in this scenario. Instead, they grab a versatile defensive tackle that could line up at a few spots for the Chargers defense, which seems to be a weak point for the team right now.

27. Philadelphia Eagles

Akeem Ayers – OLB – UCLA*

The Eagles haven’t seriously addressed their linebacker positions for some time now. Their defensive line is solid and has some youth. They have talent in their secondary. However, their linebacking corp is struggling. Ayers is shooting up draft boards and could wind up going even higher than this.

28. Cincinnati Bengals

Rahim Moore – S – UCLA*

Cincy has one of the best cornerback duos in football, but there’s not a lot of talent over the top. Moore is probably the best safety in this class and can cover a tremendous amount of ground. He’d be an excellent fit with the young Bengals defense.

29. New Orleans Saints

Ryan Kerrigan – DE – Purdue

The Saints love those blue-collar defenders that give 100% on every play, and that’s exactly what Kerrigan is. The defensive ends for the Saints defense are starting to rack up the years on their careers, so youth at this position is essential.

30. Houston Texans

Marvin Austin – DT – North Carolina

The suspension of Austin drops his down this far, but he’s still probably the most talented interior defensive lineman in the draft. By plugging Austin in a defensive line with Amobi Okoye and Mario Williams, the speed of the Texans pass rush could give Peyton Manning nightmares.

31. Indianapolis Colts

Stephen Paea – DT – Oregon State

This is another spot where every year, you see the Colts taking a defensive tackle in the first round of a mock draft. Then every year, the Colts take a player at a different position. The defense is stacked with pass rushers but there’s nothing much along the interior. Paea actually falls in this scenario, so he’d be an excellent pick up for the Colts.

32. Green Bay Packers

Von Miller – DE/OLB – Texas A&M

The Packers defense seems to have a new leader in Clay Matthews and he’s already racked up 6 sacks in two games. However, teams are going to do everything in their power to take Clay out of the game. The Packers will need to bring in another legitimate pass rushing threat in order to keep their defense at the top of the league in sacks. Miller is the best 3-4 OLB prospect in this draft and could certainly go higher than #32. In this scenario, the Packers make an easy decision by making their best defensive player even better by giving him help.

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.

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