2 Round “Way Too Early” Mock Draft 5.0

Written by Aaron Aloysius on October 8, 2010

17. Miami Dolphins

Rahim Moore – S – UCLA*

The Dolphins have some promising young corners, but they lack a quality ballhawk in the back end of their secondary. Enter Rahim Moore, who picked off an amazing ten passes in ‘09. That number’s likely to drop this year as quarterbacks avoid him like the plague, but he’ll still bait them into a few picks. More unproven than his ball skills are his run support and tackling toughness, but improvements in those areas will make him a first round lock and a good fit for a Miami team looking for defensive playmakers.

18. New York Giants

Bruce Carter – OLB – North Carolina

The Giants probably could use upgrades at two of their linebacker spots. They also could use some help on the defensive line, but they – along with many other teams – will be intrigued by Bruce Carter’s upside. The freakishly athletic LB should wow NFL decisionmakers at the Combine, and he’s nearly as good on the field. There are some questions about his instincts and maturity, as well as if he’s big enough to hold up at inside linebacker, but he should be a starter very early on and an excellent special teams player — he’s blocked six punts in his time at UNC.

19. Minnesota Vikings

Cameron Jordan – DE – California

If Favre re-retires after this season, the team will be in search for a new franchise QB, but the team will have missed out on the top two quarterback prospects. While the team could reach for a quarterback, Ryan Mallett’s too inaccurate to be a good fit for Minny’s West Coast Offense and Christian Ponder may be too much of a stretch at #19 overall. Instead, the team could opt to bring in an eventual replacement for one cornerstone of the Williams Wall in Cameron Jordan. Perhaps no senior prospect has done more to boost his stock than Jordan, who’s been a dominant presence early on this season. Both a stout run defender in Cal’s a 3-4 and disruptive on passing downs, Jordan could do a nice job as a penetrating three technique in a 4-3, perhaps even bulk up into a nose tackle. Either way, he could help ensure that the Vikes’ defense remains stout against the run, which helped them win games in a pre-Favre world.

20. Washington Redskins

Julio Jones – WR – Alabama*

The Redskins would be thrilled to get Julio Jones this late in the first frame. Considered by many to be a top ten talent, Jones is a big, physical wideout who’s a beast after the catch and as a blocker. However, that physicality fails to translate into attacking the ball over multiple defenders: he consistently fails to assert himself and come down with the ball. His inconsistent hands also could hurt his stock, but he possesses the upside to become a legit #1 wide receiver. With the Redskins in desperate need of legit targets at wide receiver, McNabb certainly would welcome a young target with Jones’ ability. Hopefully, he’ll manage to smooth over the rough edges of his game.

21. New York Jets

Allen Bailey – DE – Miami

Bailey long has been a physical freak — the big man reportedly runs a 4.65 40 — but he’s still learning how to be a very good football player. He still has some rough edges to his game, but Rex Ryan would be effing elated to have a big man like Bailey on his defense. Because of his size and power, Bailey would fit in nicely as a defensive end in the Jets’ defense. He’d also be a great replacement for the aging Shaun Ellis, who’s a free agent after this season.

22. Seattle Seahawks

Jonathan Baldwin – WR – Pittsburgh*

The Seahawks expressed interest in Vincent Jackson, indicating that they’re searching for a new #1 wideout. Fortunately, Jon Baldwin shares some similarities with the veteran receiver they coveted: he’s a big-bodied wideout (6’5”, 230 lbs.) who does his best work when going deep. Unfortunately, Baldwin’s been hamstrung this year by a quarterback who can’t get him the ball, leading to decreased production and a lot of lost opportunities to prove to scouts that he’s just as quick in the short area as he is thirty yards downfield. Those lingering concerns could hurt his draft stock, but he’d be a very good value pick here for the Seahawks.

23. New England Patriots

Derek Sherrod – OT – Mississippi State

With six picks in the top three rounds, the Patriots could use the 2011 draft to restock at key positions and set up a team that can compete now and for the next five to ten years. If that’s the case, Sherrod would be a wise long-term investment in the team’s future. The team already has found one of their future bookend tackles in Sebastian Vollmer, and Sherrod would be a very nice fit on the other side. A very smooth pass protector, Sherrod could eventually replace Nick Kaczur on the right side and provide injury insurance in case one  the team’s over 30 year-old OTs goes down.

24. Dallas Cowboys

DeMarcus Love – OT – Arkansas

The Cowboys learned in the season opener that you can’t win with Alex Barron. While Marc Colombo has since returned to the starting lineup, it may be time for them to invest in an alternative solution. In DeMarcus Love, the Cowboys get a lineman with tremendous physical tools. A bit raw and inconsistent with his technique, Love would be better served beginning his career at guard, but he possesses the upside to become a very good right tackle. Jerry Jones is an Arkansas alum and a longtime supporter of the program, so he’s seen a lot of Love; it wouldn’t be surprising to see him fall for the offensive lineman next April.

25. Baltimore Ravens

Aaron Williams – CB – Texas*

The Ravens were desperately short on cornerbacks earlier this season, which was resolved by bringing in Josh Wilson. However, Wilson’s a free agent after this season and so is starting corner Fabian Washington. If they’d like to bring in a talented rookie replacement, Aaron Williams would be an excellent fit. The Texas corner possesses the speed to run with receivers downfield and the physicality to punish running backs and QBs: just ask Sam Bradford how hard he hits. His toughness would make him a great fit for the AFC North: Williams is one of the rare corners who could tackle Peyton Hillis.

26. Atlanta Falcons

Ryan Kerrigan – DE – Purdue

Since taking over in Atlanta, Tom Dimitroff has placed an emphasis on drafting tough, high character players, and Kerrigan pretty much is the prototype. An Academic All-American who’s also a grinder on the field, Kerrigan fits the Falcons’ team concept. In addition, Kerrigan could fill the team’s void at left defensive end, providing some strength and toughness against the run while also harassing NFC South QBs. Some will question whether Kerrigan’s athletic enough to go in the first round; for that reason, the Combine will be very important for him. However, he’ll also be bolstered by the Chris Long and Aaron Kampman comparisons he’s drawing. The latter one may be most fitting: he’s a good football play who — if he maximizes his athleticism — could be a great one.

27. San Diego Chargers

Tyron Smith – OT – USC*

With the senior tackle class so weak, a few underclassmen will try to step into the void and bank a first round deal. Of the likely candidates, Tyron Smith’s the one who could end up succeeding. Though he plays on the right tackle at USC, Smith has the athleticism to get a shot on the blind side at the next level. At this point, Smith packs a pretty weak punch and could use some more refinement before going pro, but a team like the Chargers could use him in 2011, either having him step in for Marcus McNeill at left tackle or — perhaps more wisely — giving him a chance to learn the ropes at right tackle.

28. New Orleans Saints

Travis Lewis – OLB – Oklahoma*

The Saints long have lacked exceptional talents at their outside linebacker spots. Travis Lewis would help eliminate that problem area. The redshirt junior has been a productive and immensely valuable LB for the Sooners, notching 21.5 tackles for loss in his first two years on the field. Both rangy and explosive in a straight-line, he could handle the weakside job and become a long-term fixture on the Saint’s defense.

29. Houston Texans

Jurrell Casey – DE – USC*

The Texas have added many high-priced players to their defensive line, yet they remained in the middle of the pack against the run in ’09. In order to improve, they need to add a disruptive defensive tackle, which Casey could be in Houston. The USC defensive tackle would be everything the team had hoped for in Amobi Okoye: a disruptive penetrator who can also hold his ground against the run. Casey’s pass rush skills would complement Mario Williams’ work outside, allowing the team to consistently pressure Peyton Manning.

30. Indianapolis Colts

Christian Ballard – DT – Iowa

Like the Texans, the Colts lack a special talent in the middle of their defensive line. They were hoping that Fili Moala would develop, but he’s been more disruptive off the field (DUI) than he’s been on it (zero career sacks). Christian Ballard could rectify the situation by adding some explosiveness at d-tackle: the big man is quick off the snap and reportedly runs a 4.85 40. Because of his athleticism, Ballard could rotate between end and tackle, which could come in handy when the Colts need to get bigger to stop teams from running all over them.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers

Nate Solder – OT – Colorado

In picking Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers finally acknowledged that their offensive line has been a major issue. Unfortunately, their issues at tackle still haven’t been resolved; if they don’t provide Big Ben with a pair of solid pass protectors, his career could be shortened by repeat concussions. In Nate Solder, the Steelers would get a high upside prospect with the potential to eventually start on the blindside. Though Solder hasn’t yet proven that he’s worth a first round pick, a team likely will intrigued enough by his physical tools to pick him in the first frame. If he’s coached up properly, Solder could prove to be a very good selection.

32. Green Bay Packers

DeMarco Murray – RB – Oklahoma

Last year, the Packers flirted with selecting Jahvid Best, and Ryan Grant going on IR has only further highlighted their need for a new dynamic running back. Though DeMarco Murray’s battled his own injury issues, he’s now back to his old explosive self, and he’s shown significant improvement as a between the tackles runner. In addition, he continues to be an excellent receiver out of the backfield, which makes him an especially good fit for the Packers’ pass-happy attack. While the Packers may feel pressed to add a corner here, Murray could provide the final piece to what could be the best offense in the league.

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 more (but not exclusively) on the traits visible on prospects’ tape.

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