2010 NFL Mock Draft Part III (picks 11-21)
11.) Denver Broncos (From Chicago) - Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
The Broncos have recently switched to a 3-4 defense last season and the transition went surprisingly well . . . at first. Elvis Dumervil had the most successful switch to a 3-4 outside linebacker, finishing the season first in the league in sacks at 17.5. They could use some more players who fit in a 3-4, and that player would be Rolando McClain.
McClain is a perfect prospect as a 3-4 inside linebacker. He is not the fastest or strongest linebacker ever, but he is extremely smart and he is a great leader. He lead the nation's best defense in the NCAA last season and was a leader on the field since his first year starting. McClain will be able to step in right away and take the starting spot away from Andra Davis. He is the best linebacker in this draft.
12.) Miami Dolphins - Dan Williams, NT, Tennessee
"Oh, but they resigned Jason Ferguson!"
Yeah, they resigned a thirty-five year old nose tackle who has played in twenty-six games in the last three years. Nose tackle is definitely a need for them, and Dan Williams is the best nose tackle in the draft. If the Broncos don't take Williams at #11, he may be taken here, one pick later.
"Hello? Dez Bryant???"
Bill Parcells has taken one wide receiver in the first round - EVER!! That would be Terry Glenn. Did Parcells take Glenn because he thought he was a great receiver? No. He took Glenn because Kraft demanded it. Don't expect Parcells to take a receiver her.
13.) San Francisco 49ers - Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
The San Francisco need a right tackle. If either Trent Williams or Anthony Davis are available here (which they both are in this mock draft), I would be surprised if the 49ers didn't take one of them. They could have also used Dan Williams, Earl Thomas, or even CJ Spiller to prevent him from going to the Seahawks with the next pick.
Williams had a very surprising Combine, but I saw him get abused multiple times in the positional drills, trying to block offensive linemen on his left side. He is most likely better suited to play right tackle, which is what the 49ers need. Williams could be taken earlier than this (somehow, I don't think a right tackle deserves to be taken even this early). The 49ers have a tough decision here between Williams and Spiller.
14.) Seattle Seahawks - CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson
Hey, if all these mock drafts say it will happen . . . Just kidding, that isn't my reasoning. Well, kind of. There has to be something behind this if almost every mock draft has him going here. Personally, I think the Seahawks have bigger needs, especially defensively. They could take Earl Thomas here. Forsett showed some playmaking ability last season. Forsett and Spiller could prove to be quite formidable.
Spiller is very versatile. He can run, catch, and return kicks. His biggest weakness is blocking, like most running backs. Spiller is the best running back in this draft in my opinion, but I think Ryan Mathews of Fresno State is pretty underrated. After taking Bulaga with their first pick, Spiller and Dez Bryant are the only two options here. If this is how it plays out, the pick will be Spiller.
15.) New York Giants -Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
The Giants do very well in the draft and that is a testament to Jerry Reese's drafting ability. Right now Osi Umenyiora is being a big baby. A big one. WAH WAH WAH! Be quiet, Osi. If Osi is gone, the Giants need another pass rusher, and some have seen Morgan as a top ten pick (going to the Jaguars at #10). The Giants also could have used a safety before they signed Antrel Rolle, they also could use an inside linebacker, but Rolando McClain is off the board and Brandon Spikes isn't worthy of this pick.
Derrick Morgan falls down this far to no fault of his own. He could have been drafted much earlier than this if there weren't so many teams with 3-4 defenses picking before this. The Jaguars could have been an option, but they have signed Aaron Kampman. Other than that, most of the teams that need pass-rushers are looking for 3-4 outside linebackers. Morgan would be a very good pick, both for positional value as well as the value of the player at this spot.
16.) Tennessee Titans - Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
With Dez Bryant available at 16, who else are the Titans going to take? They could take Carlos Dunlap or Brandon Graham, but Dunlap has even more character and effort issues than Bryant and Graham, with his short stature and short arms, isn't a top-half-of-the-draft prospect. Bryant was projected to go sixth-overall at one point, and this is sixteen. Ten spots later. That is value.
Vince Young has shown that he can play in the NFL, hopefully he can keep it up next season. With his strong performance last season, the Titans should start building their offense around the budding star by taking a new wide receiver. They did take Kenny Britt last season and he had a successful year with 701 receiving yards. Dez Bryant and Kenny Britt lined up across the field from each other could be a very strong tandem at wide receiver.
17.) San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina) - Earl Thomas, S, Texas
The 49ers need to improve their secondary badly. A perfect example is the game when the Falcons absolutely tore them apart in the passing game. Their starting strong safety is Michael Lewis, who suffered multiple concussions last season and their free safety looks like Dashon Goldson at the moment. Earl Thomas would be a good upgrade and a good pick here at #17. Another option is Taylor Mays; it could be either depending on who San Francisco likes more. I think Thomas is the better prospect, personally.
Thomas is very fast and had ten interceptions in just two seasons at Texas. He also had a good amount of tackles. He did everything at Texas from roaming the field at free safety, covering corners as a defensive back, or even being the eighth man in the box as a strong safety. He is extremely physical, especially for his size, and this is leading some to believe that his career will be shortened. However, he is an excellent prospect and could very well be taken much earlier than this.
18.) Pittsburgh Steelers - Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
The Steelers could use a good inside linebacker with Farrior losing a step, a good safety or corner since, after Polamalu, they are weak in the secondary, running back, and a nose tackle. Taylor Mays, Kyle Wilson, Jahvid Best, and Mike Iupati is a bit of a sleeper pick here at guard. However, I went with Wilson here.
Wilson seems like a Steelers-type corner. He is very physical and excellent in press coverage. He showed that he was the second best corner in the draft at the Senior Bowl, where he was the best corner participating. He was a leader for Boise State's defense and always played through the whistle. He has done nothing but improve since his freshman year. He has good size and athleticism. This seems like a good place in the draft for him to be taken to me.
19.) Atlanta Falcons - Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri
I love Sean Weatherspoon. I think he is a great prospect. What outside linebacker did I love last year? Brian Cushing. He turned out okay, I guess. Weatherspoon played outside linebacker in a 4-3 at Missouri last season, but firmly states that he is capable of playing inside as well. He is not a great pass-rusher, but he has great athleticism. He would be best as an outside linebacker in a 4-3, or as an inside linebacker in a 3-4.
Mike Peterson was very good for the Falcons as a weak-side linebacker, but he declined as the season progressed. This is to be expected of him because he is 34 years old. The Falcons need to get younger at outside linebacker and Weatherspoon is a great way to do just that. He was a vocal leader for both Missouri and the North team during the Senior Bowl. The Falcons would be lucky to build their linebacker corps around him.
20.) Houston Texans - Taylor Mays, S, USC
The Texans' two biggest needs lie in their secondary. They lost #1 cornerback Dunta Robinson, which is a pretty big blow to their team. If Kyle Wilson is available here, expect him to be taken. If Earl Thomas is available, he is another option because of their need at safety. Ever since Coleman left, the Texans have lacked a play-maker at safety. They need a good safety when they are playing against Peyton Manning twice a year.
Mays might scare them off because of his poor coverage skills, but his speed and hard-hitting ability has kept him in the first round. Mays is not a ball-hawk by any means. His athleticism and size are incredible. His strength is unmatched among corners. However, he has no ball skills, takes bad angles and is often out of position. Coach him up a bit. Teach him the right way to cover and fix his tackling technique and he could be a great safety in the NFL.
21.) Cincinnati Bengals - Everson Griffen, DE, USC
The Bengals have a few needs, including tight end, safety and defensive end. Carson Palmer could use another good receiving option, and Gresham certainly fits the bill. He is very possible here. If either Mays or Thomas is available, expect them to be taken before Gresham or Griffen. However, another need is a pass-rush. Antwan Odom is an underrated defensive end, but Geathers should not be a starter.
The reason I went with Griffen over Gresham is based on Marvin Lewis' draft history. Since 2003, when Lewis took over, the Bengals have drafted four USC players in the first three rounds of the draft. Griffen has great size and athleticism, plus he has an impressive spin move ala Dwight Freeney (not quite as good, though). Griffen is better against the run than the pass and he could be perfect at left end opposite Odom for the Bengals.
Here is the final installment, Part IV.