2 Round “Way Too Early” Mock Draft 5.0

Written by Aaron Aloysius on October 8, 2010


Aaron Aloysius takes you through the first two-round mock of our "Way Too Early" series.


1. Buffalo Bills

Andrew Luck – QB – Stanford*

The end of the Captain Checkdown experiment has only further highlighted the Bills’ need for a franchise QB. The team may flirt with drafting an elite receiver (AJ Green) or pass rusher (Robert Quinn), but — like in the last two drafts — the first pick ultimately will be used on a franchise QB. The two most likely candidates are Jake Locker and Andrew Luck. While Locker more closely resembles the type of athletic QB Chan Gailey prefers, questions about his accuracy and pocket presence could damage his draft stock. And while Luck isn’t an athlete on Locker’s level, the Stanford QB is far from a statue, and his combination of physical tools, smarts, and leadership qualities make him an ideal #1 overall QB.

2. Carolina Panthers

AJ Green – WR – Georgia*

The Panthers’ first four games have exposed some glaring weaknesses. Only averaging a sack per game, the team would benefit from adding a dynamic pass rusher. On the other hand, their anemic passing offense could use a boost by adding a capable complement to Steve Smith. While both would be good options, the team would be better off ensuring that Jimmy Clausen has the weapons needed to succeed. Adding AJ Green to the mix would go a long way towards ensuring the former Golden Domer isn’t a major disappointment.

3. Detroit Lions

Patrick Peterson – CB – LSU*

Last year, the Lions were able to select the best defensive prospect in the draft in Ndamukong Suh, and they very well may do the same in selecting Patrick Peterson. Arguably the most impressive size/speed prospect since Mario Williams, the 6’1”, 211-pound defensive back has shutdown corner potential. In addition, he can put points on the board by running in pick sixes or punt returns. The Lions do need to find a blindside protector who can help keep Matt Stafford healthy, but there isn’t an OT prospect worth taking this high, and Peterson is the type of special corner worth a top five pick.

4. New England Patriots (from Oakland)

Robert Quinn – DE – North Carolina*

In another act of Belichickian brilliance, the Patriots managed to flip Richard Seymour for what should be a very early first round pick from the Raiders. The Patriots should have a choice to select one of the elite prospects in this draft, and Robert Quinn should be one of them. At this point, Quinn’s eligibility for the rest of the season is very much in question, but the freakish athlete should turn heads at the Combine and certify his status as an elite prospect. The team instead could go with Bama’s Marcell Dareus, but the depth of this 3-4 end class would allow them to take Quinn here and get a very good five technique later.

5. Arizona Cardinals

Jake Locker – QB – Washington

Unless Max Hall becomes the next Tony Romo, the Cardinals will go into the 2011 Draft in need of a new franchise QB. In Jake Locker, the Cardinals would get the ultimate upside prospect. Possessing exceptional speed and a strong arm, Locker can make plays with his feet and fit the ball into tight windows. Pocket presence and accuracy have been intermittent issues this season, but some improvement over the next couple weeks could certify his status as a top five pick. Coach Whisenhunt may see some Ben Roethlisberger in Locker, and he could do a nice job turning the U-Dub product into a very good NFL QB.

6. Cleveland Browns

Marcell Dareus – DE – Alabama*

Last year, the Browns’ brain trust missed out on the top QB prospect they coveted (Sam Bradford) and passed on the closest substitute in Jimmy Clausen. In this scenario, the team again misses out on the most intriguing QB prospects. The team’s second biggest need is a #1 receiver; unfortunately, the team also misses out on the opportunity to reunite Mohamed Massaquoi with college teammate AJ Green. As a third but still solid choice, the team could bring a promising five technique into the fold in Marcell Dareus. Other than nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin, the Browns lack any promising up-and-comers on their defensive line. Dareus would provide the team a potentially elite 3-4 end, as well as a guy who could help boost their inconsistent pass rush.

7. San Francisco 49ers

Prince Amukamara – CB – Nebraska

The Niners are in an ugly place right now. Firing their offensive coordinator failed to kickstart the team’s offense, and Alex Smith lacks chemistry with his young #1 receiver. Their woes on offense would make drafting a quarterback or receiver here sensible, but the value’s on the other side of the ball. With Nate Clements getting older, the Niners would be wise to bring in a strong replacement, which they’d get in Prince Amukamara. A physical corner who excels in run support, Prince is a great fit for Mike Singletary’s “punch ‘em in the mouth” style of football. Though he won’t help strengthen the Niners’ weak passing game, Amukamara could help move the Niners’ middle of the pack pass defense into the top ten.

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Adrian Clayborn – DE – Iowa

Tampa added two defensive tackles in April, but they didn’t address their need at defensive end. Clayborn’s hard-charging style of play would provide a nice complement to Gerald McCoy and Brian Price’s interior pass rush, providing the Bucs with enough talent to eventually challenge the Vikings’ for the most dominant defensive line in the league. As good in run support as getting after the QB, Clayborn has faced double and even triple teams this year, which won’t happen on a d-line that includes Gerald McCoy. Teams would have to pick their poison and watch as one of Tampa’s beasts gets after the QB.

9. St. Louis Rams

Nick Fairley – DT – Auburn*

Every mock needs a surprise pick, and this certainly would qualify as one. Fairley’s been an absolution sensation so far this season, notching five sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss. Because of his meager resume before this September, many analysts are being conservative when projecting his draft stuff. However, if the Auburn d-lineman keeps up his excellent play, he’ll shoot up draft boards and very well could make his way into the top ten. Both a stout run defender and explosive shooting gaps, Fairley would be a tremendous fit for Steve Spagnuolo’s defense, providing an interior pass rush complement to an improving Chris Long.

10. Kansas City Chiefs

Michael Floyd – WR – Notre Dame*

Dwayne Bowe’s reportedly improved his work ethic and attitude, but his long-term future in Kansas City remains in doubt. If the team wants to replace or just complement the ’07 1st round pick, Michael Floyd would be an obvious choice. There are questions about Floyd’s speed and durability, but the Notre Dame wideout is a powerful receiver who can go up and highpoint the ball. Charlie Weis recruited Floyd and watched him turn into a dominant receiver at the college level, so it would be no surprise if Kansas City’s new offensive coordinator pushed for Floyd to be the pick here. While receivers Julio Jones and Jon Baldwin may be rated higher by some teams, Floyd’s connection to Weis could provide him a fortuitous draft day bump.

11. Jacksonville Jaguars

Brandon Harris – CB – Miami*

Rashean Mathis turns 31 next August and is set to make close to $4.5 miillion in 2011. At this point, the team would be wise to invest in a young corner who can start opposite Derek Cox. With his improved play this season, Harris has shown that he’s worth a top fifteen pick. A speedy corner who likes to blow people up in run support, Harris would help boost a Jaguars passing defense that’s currently ranked last in the league. The team could draft a quarterback or a replacement for the very inconsistent Mike Sims-Walker, but going with Harris here would offer better value.

12. Denver Broncos

Cameron Heyward – DE/DT – Ohio State

The Broncos have added seasoned veterans to their defensive line, but they need to add a potentially dominant youngun’ to keep their 3-4 defense going. In Cameron Heyward, the team would get a prospect who fits the five-technique technique prototype. At 6’5”, Heyward possesses ideal length and is very stout against the run. Because he won’t threaten the edge as a pass rusher, 4-3 teams may rate him less highly, but his ability to take on doubles on running downs and push the pocket against the pass make him a very nice fit for Denver’s defense.

13. Cincinnati Bengals

Mark Ingram – RB – Alabama*

Cedric Benson has been marginally effective thus far this season, gaining only 3.3 yards per carry. Unfortunately, it couldn’t happen at a worse time for Benson, who’s a free agent after this season. If he doesn’t pick up the pace, the Bengals could go to the draft for their feature running back, and Mark Ingram would be a very wise choice. A powerful runner with great feet and vision, Ingram already has a Heisman on his resume and has drawn comparisons to Emmitt Smith. Though it remains to be seen whether Ingram can be as dominant in the NFL, he has the potential to be a TD machine and a smart addition for a team that no longer can rely on Carson Palmer to consistently win games for them.

14. Tennessee Titans

Kyle Rudolph – TE – Notre Dame*

Bo Scaife’s a free agent after this season, which could leave the Titans searching for a better long-term solution at tight end. In Kyle Rudolph, the Titans get a potentially elite receiving TE who could stretch the middle of the field and help Vince Young progress as a passer. If Jared Cook makes good on his potential, the Titans could be set at the position, but Cook’s been a chronic underachiever, so it’s not at all guaranteed that he’ll solidify the spot. Rudolph, on the other hand, looks like the kind of dynamic, sure-handed target that could complement the Titans’ somewhat inconsistent wideouts.

15. Chicago Bears

Anthony Castonzo – OT – Boston College

Jay Cutler’s quickly learned that a Mike Martz offensive without quality offensive lineman is a recipe for disaster. To remedy the situation, the Bears need to bring in upgrades at multiple spots on the offensive line, especially at left tackle. Unfortunately, there’s no Orlando Pace in this draft, which is bereft of any elite OTs. But to keep Cutler healthy, the team could reach for a guy like Anthony Castonzo. A long-limbed tackle with a high IQ, Castonzo should be an above average left tackle at the next level. He still needs to become a better run blocker and will struggle against explosive speed rushers, but he’s good enough to ensure that Cutler’s blindside protection won’t keep him on the sideline.

16. Philadelphia Eagles

Akeem Ayers – OLB – UCLA*

Due to injuries and ineffective play, the Eagles have started a mixed multitude of linebackers over the last few years. Other than Stewart Bradley, the team hasn’t found any standout starters, making the position a possible area of focus in next year’s draft. In Akeem Ayers, the team would get a high upside LB who could help the team in a variety of ways. At 6’4”, 255 lbs., Ayers possess ideal size for a strongside ‘backer, and he moves remarkable well in coverage. In addition, he’s proven to be an effective passing downs speed rusher, putting his hand in the dirt and running around offensive tackles. In order to be successful getting after the quarterback at the next level, Ayers will need to expand his repertoire of rush moves, but his pass rush/blitzing ability makes him a perfect fit for Philly’s attacking defense.

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Aaron Aloysius

Aaron began closely following the draft in 2005. Since then, he’s overcome an Al Davis-like obsession with workout numbers, instead focusing on the qualities and traits visible on prospects’ tape. See all posts by Aaron Aloysius.