I’m back on Christmas eve with the second part of my “way too early” mock draft….but for draftniks (yes I just created a word) it is never too early when it comes to the almighty NFL draft. Today we have picks 17-32….you will also notice that I have Philadelphia and San Diego picking 31st and 32nd respectively because I believe they will be Super Bowl runner-up and champion respectively. Enjoy disagreeing with my picks and HAVE A HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!
17. Tennessee – Ras-I Dowling, Cornerback, Virginia
The Titans have a Pro Bowl caliber corner in Courtland Finnegan but they have nothing opposite him. Nick Harper is old (36) and simply can’t keep up with younger, faster wide receivers anymore….I also contemplated giving Tennessee a rush end here but I think they go ahead and solidify their secondary.
Dowling is tall at 6’2” but he also possesses great speed and has an excellent closing burst. Dowling should be able to be just contribute in both zone and man coverage and he is an aggressive corner that will come up and make an impact in run support (something that won’t be lost on head coach Jeff Fischer).
18. Trevard Lindley, Cornerback, Kentucky
Few teams are in need of a No.1 corner more than the Atlanta Falcons; teams seem to be able to throw on them at will. Drafting a true cover corner will go along way in beginning to build a defense to go along with what should be a very high powered offense.
Lindley has good height at an even 6’ and has room to add bulk onto his frame. He also possesses excellent ball skills and should be a major playmaker in the secondary for whatever team drafts him.
19. Seattle (From Denver) – C.J. Spiller, Running Back, Clemson
I personally think if given the chance Justin Forsett could be a pretty good back for the Seahawks but Jim Mora seems to disagree. As for Julius Jones is a soft player that I have never been a fan of…I think at 19 they see the most dynamic offensive player on the board at a position of need and pounce.
Spiller is an electric athlete that is beginning to draw comparisons to Tennessee’s all world back Chris Johnson. Spiller doesn’t have the pure speed that Johnson has (but who does) but he is blazing fast and has moves on top of moves. Spiller also projects as an every down back that has soft hands and is a pretty god blocker. To add even more value Spiller will immediately be one of the most feared return men in the NFL.
20. New York Giants – Brandon Spikes, MLB, Florida
The Giants really need help at safety but I just don’t see anyone in this spot that wouldn’t be a total reach. Don’t be surprised if they trade back and pick up a safety later in the round or early in the second. Without a viable option at safety available I think they replace Antonio Pierce with one the second best linebacker in the draft.
Brandon Spikes is a tenacious, beast of a middle linebacker. He flows well sideline to sideline and has excellent play recognition. Spikes also has good ball skills for a linebacker and should come up with his fair share of interceptions.
21. Pittsburgh – Donovan Warren, Cornerback, Michigan
Yes, I have the Steelers winning their last two games and making the payoffs but I think their secondary will prevent them from making a serious run in January. Ike Taylor is flat-out garbage and the Steelers will be looking to add a player that can actually cover an NFL receiver.
Donovan Warren struggled in 2008 under Rich Rod but he has come back with an impressive junior season. Warren has good size at 6’ and could play either corer or safety at the next level.
22. Baltimore – Damian Williams, Wide Receiver, USC
Demetrius Williams has looked good since coming out of John Harbaugh’s ridiculous doghouse but I think Derrick Mason will retire for real this off season and Joe Flacco needs a playmaker that he can continue to grow and develop with.
Williams has good size at 6’1” and has outstanding quickness for his size. Williams is probably quicker than fast but runs great routes and is slippery in the open field. He also has the softest hands in the draft and should be a reliable possession target while also having the ability to go up and get the ball at its highest point.
Williams should develop into a No.1 receiver in the NFL and could have the ability to combine with Joe to perform at a Pro Bowl level within his third year.
23. Dallas – Trent Williams, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma
Flozell “Dirtbag” Adams is slow, old, and unreliable. He is a penalty machine and the Cowboys must draft an upgrade.
Trent Williams is a prototypical left tackle prospect that must get more stout against the run if he wants to reach a Pro Bowl level.
24. Arizona – Charles Brown, Offensive Tackle, USC
The fact that Kurt Warner is still alive throwing behind his offensive line is a frigging miracle. Mike Gandy is the worst left tackle in the NFL and Levi Brown has been a major disappointment on the opposite side. I think the Cardinals could use a tight end here to really open up their offense but without an upgrade at tackle whoever their quarterback is in 2010 won’t last long enough to get the ball to anyone.
Charles Brown has elevated his stock with an outstanding senior season. A former tight end Brown is exceptionally athletic and should shine at the combine. I beginning to believe that his stock could rise to the point that he is a borderline top ten pick by April but right now I have him in the mid-twenties.
25. Cincinnati – Jermaine Gresham, Tight End, Oklahoma
Arizona’s loss is Cincinnati’s gain as they allow for a game breaking tight end to fall into the lap of a team that may have the biggest hole at tight end in the league. The Bengals are having a great season but they are getting absolutely nothing out of their tight ends and the addition of a tight end that can expose the seams of a defense could really make this an even more dangerous offense in 2010.
Like his teammate Sam Bradford, Gresham came back to school and it was a major mistake. He may have been a top fifteen pick last year but he injured his knee in the Sooners first game and missed the entire season.
Gresham is perhaps the most physically gifted tight end prospect since Vernon Davis and if his knee is healthy he has Pro Bowl potential.
26. New England – Jerry Hughes, Defensive End, TCU
The days of New England’s dominant defense are in the rearview and the Patriots will need to add more depth and talent this off season. Adalius Thomas’ days as a Patriot are coming to an end so I think the Patriots will look to add a dynamic edge pass rusher in the first round.
Mark my word, “Jerry Hughes will be the steal of the first round”…if he falls this low it is an absolute travesty. Hughes is a highly productive player that should be able to play as a hybrid defensive end/linebacker. I could see Hughes becoming a Pro Bowl player and a dominant mainstay for the next decade no matter where he is drafted.
27. Green Bay – Anthony Davis, Offensive Tackle, Rutgers
Aaron Rodgers is a stud quarterback and has one of the three best receiving corps in football…the only thing holding this team back from becoming elite is the horrible offensive line.
Anthony Davis could be a bit of steal here…he is a very aggressive tackle that should be one of the best run blockers in the league. He will have to improve his pass blocking skills if he wants to develop into a complete, dominant tackle in the NFL.
28. Minnesota – Ryan Mallett, Quarterback, Arizona
Brett Favre will come back for one more year but after that they will need someone to take the reigns on what should remain one of the complete teams in the NFL. I think Tavares Jackson’s confidence was thrown out the window once the Vikings made a full court press for Favre so I think they draft the franchise quarterback of the future now and let him grow for a year under No.4.
Mallett is a massive quarterback 6’7” and doesn’t have any mobility what so ever….what he does have is one of the strongest arms to come along in a few years. Unlike some other recent strong armed QB’s (paging JaMarcus Russell) Mallet is pretty accurate and does a good job of protecting the ball.
29. New Orleans – Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri
The Saints really have no holes; I think one place they could use an upgrade is at strong side linebacker.
Weatherspoon is a highly productive player that always seems to be around the ball. His blend of power and athleticism should lead to a very good NFL career. Weatherspoon is a three year starter that is very durable and an outstanding on the field leader…I think he is a great fit with the Saints.
30. Indianapolis – Golden Tate, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
I think the Colts would like to add a defensive tackle here but I just don’t see one worth taking that would fit into their scheme. With that said I think they go off the reservation a bit and take another weapon to add to Peyton’s stockpile.
Golden Tate has a great blend of speed and quickness and has been a productive player in a pro style offense. Tate has very soft hands and runs excellent routes. He will also be an immediate impact player in the return game.
31. Philadelphia – Mike Iupati, Offensive Guard, Idaho
The Eagles will need to add depth to an offensive line that seems to be depleted by injury every season.
Iupati is a huge prospect at 6’5” 330lbs. but has the skill and athletic ability to play four of the five positions on the offensive line. Iupati has been dominant in both run and pass blocking this season and I think that combined with his level of versatility will push him into the first round….don’t be surprised to see him sky rocket up draft board after the combine!
32. San Diego – Dan Williams, Nose Tackle, Tennessee
Jamal Williams will turn 34 years old in April and was placed on the IR earlier this season. For a team that seems to be as complete as any in the NFL it would be nice to add a younger, more athletic player at Nose Tackle.
Williams had a great senior season recording 61 tackles including a team high 8.5 for loss all from the nose guard position. Williams will fit nicely into any 3-4 defense and could move ahead of “Mount” Cody with a good combine.