“Way Too Early” Mock Draft – Nov. 1st

Written by Wes Stueve on November 3, 2010

17. Miami Dolphins

Kyle Rudolph – TE – Notre Dame*

Anthony Fasano is a decent player, but he is probably better suited in a backup role. The Dolphins have put together some decent weapons for Chad Henne with Brandon Marshall, Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, and Rudolph adds a nice safety net. Rudolph has great size at 6’6” 265, but also has the speed to bet a vertical threat. Though not a great blocker, Rudolph puts in the effort desired and should develop. However, similar to Jermaine Gresham in 2009, Rudolph will miss the rest of 2010 after having surgery on his right hamstring, and it remains to be seen how he will bounce back.

18. Chicago Bears

Derek Sherrod – OT – Mississippi State

Nothing in the NFL is more obvious than the Bears’ offensive line woes. Jay Cutler was on the verge of stardom prior to being traded to Chicago, but has faltered since, in part to his porous offensive line. Sherrod is not a great prospect by any means, but he is a solid player worthy of a first round pick, especially for a team with as huge of a need as the Bears. Sherrod isn’t very big and can be bull rushed, but he is an athletic pass rusher who could help to keep Cutler off of his back.

19. New Orleans Saints

Bruce Carter – OLB – North Carolina

Outside linebacker Scott Fujita left in free agency a year ago, and both Scott Shanle and Jo-Lonn Dunbar are more than replaceable. Having struggled against the run in 2010, it would be surprising to see the Saints neglect the front seven in the first round. Carter is a great athlete, and terrific in coverage. Though he doesn’t have great size, Carter is capable of playing the run and should be an immediate upgrade next to Jonathan Vilma.

20. Washington Redskins

Jonathan Baldwin – WR – Pittsburgh*

Santana Moss is aging, and 2008 second round draft picks Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas both appear to be busts. Baldwin is a great athlete with deep threat ability. His route running definitely needs work, but Baldwin’s ability makes him a first round pick, and a possible star.

21. Kansas City Chiefs

Dont’a Hightower – ILB – Alabama

After being linked to Rolando McClain in the 2010 draft, the Chiefs nab his former teammate Don’ta Hightower. Hightower is a good athlete, capable of rushing the passer and dropping back in coverage. Though he isn’t an especially explosive athlete, Hightower has good instincts and does a good job stopping the run. He could play either linebacker spot in Kansas City’s 3-4 due to his ability to rush the passer and play in coverage.

22. Houston Texans

Ras-I Dowling – CB – Virginia

After the team lost Dunta Robinson to the Atlanta Falcons in Free Agency, they went out and drafted Kareem Jackson to eventually take Robinson’s pot. However, cornerback and safety remain concerns, and Ras-I Dowling could be an answer. A big, physical corner with concerns about his speed, Dowling may end up at safety in the NFL, which wouldn’t necessarily displease Houston. With needs at both safety and cornerback, Dowling makes sense for the Texans.

23. Tennessee Titans

Akeem Ayers – OLB – UCLA*

David Thornton is aging and is currently on the PUP. Will Weatherspoon is also getting up there in years, and Rennie Curran has yet to prove anything. Ayers is a big, physical linebacker with excellent versatility. Ayers can play defensive end or any linebacker spot. Though he isn’t great in coverage, his run stopping and pass rushing abilities make up for it.

24. Indianapolis Colts

Anthony Castonzo – OT – Boston College

After neglecting the offensive line for so long, Bill Polian finally decides to draft an offensive tackle in the first round. It is not a secret that Indianapolis’s offensive line is less than stellar, and the worst unit on an otherwise spotless offense. Despite having two capable running backs, the team’s run game has struggled. Costanzo has good physical ability, but doesn’t really excel in anyone aspect. He likely will become a solid, if unspectacular, player for the Colts.

25. Green Bay Packers

Aldon Smith – DE/OLB – Missouri*

Clay Matthews III is onward to be coming one of the best pass rushers in the game, if he already isn’t. However, prior to being injured Brad Jones was unspectacular at best, and there was talk of upgrading the spot. Smith has great size, and can develop into both an elite pass rusher and run stopper. At 6’5” 260, Smith is much bigger than Matthews, and should handle the strong side of the defense. With 11 sacks already in 2010, he has the playmaking ability to help provide the Packers a dominant pass rush.

26. Baltimore Ravens

Aaron Williams – CB – Texas*

It is widely known that the only dander on an otherwise flawless Ravens defense is the defensive backfield, and more specifically its cornerbacks. Fabian Washington and Chris Carr is far from a fearsome unit, and can easily be taken advantage of. Dominique Foxworth should be back in 2011 after recovering from a torn ACL. A good value at the end of the first, Williams has virtually everything wanted in a cornerback, but is not elite in any aspect.

27. Philadelphia Eagles

Marcus Cannon – OG – TCU

Shawn Andrews is no longer an Eagle despite having a couple incredible seasons at right guard. Max Jean-Gilles is not a particularly good player, and can definitely be upgraded. Cannon is a perfect fit for the Eagles’ massive, run blocking offensive line. The 6’6” 350 pound tackle is capable of playing either guard or right tackle, though he may be a better fit on the inside.

28. New England Patriots

Justin Houston – DE/OLB – Georgia*

For years, draft niks have been mocking a pass rusher to the Patriots in the first round. It hasn’t happened, however, largely due to Bill Belichick’s specific requirements in his outside linebackers. To play in Belichick’s scheme, Linebackers must be equally adept in all facets of the game incluiding coverage. Houston already has experience in a 3-4 defense after playing at California, and has already dropped back into coverage numerous times Though he is capable against the run and in coverage, what makes Houston stand out is his pass rushing ability. With 9 sacks in 2010, look for Houston’s stock to rise, possibly past this point.

29. Atlanta Falcons

Justin Blackmon – WR – Oklahoma State

Roddy White is among the best wide receivers in the NFL, and is a superstar in the making. However, Michael Jenkins opposite of White is well below average, and someone is needed on the other side. Blackmon has great hands, and is capable of making the difficult catch in traffic. He doesn’t have great speed, but he has the ability to gain yards after the catch. Though he will likely never become an elite receiver, Blackmon can take part of a defense’s focus off of Roddy White, while making some plays of his own.

30. New York Jets

Cameron Jordan – DE – California

Shaun Ellis is 33-years-old, and Mike DeVito is nothing special at defensive end. The defensive line is crucial to the success of New York’s defense, and the unit clearly needs some renovating. Jordan has a non-stop motor, and is capable of making plays in the backfield. Though he doesn’t physically dominate, Jordan has the quickness to beat blockers and penetrate. He will probably never be an elite player, but Jordan is the type of player that every team wants to have, and he will likely be a well known figure in New York.

31. New York Giants

Stefen Wisniewski – C – Penn State

Chris Snee is a great right guard, but the rest of the Giants’ offensive line could use some shuffling. Shaun O’Hara has struggled some at center, and at 33, is starting to move past his prime. A tough, instinctive blocker, Wisniewski is a perfect fit with the rest of New York’s offensive line, and shouldn’t have a problem meshing with the others. Though he is technically sound, Wisniewski isn’t particularly big or strong, and can get handled by bigger defensive tackles.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers

DeAndre McDaniel – S – Clemson

Troy Polumalu is obviously the man at strong safety, but the free safety position is very much up for grabs. DeAndre McDaniel has the potential to be a centerfielder in coverage, matching up perfectly with Polumalu. Ryan Clark would likely hold on to the position for a year or two before McDaniel claims the spot as his own. McDaniel has excellent size at 6’1” 215, but is athletic enough to be an asset in coverage while still doing a good job against the run.

Wes Stueve

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