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Coltzilla First Round Writer’s Mock Draft (picks 17-32)
17) New England Patriots: DE Adrian Clayborn – Iowa
Having a pair of first round picks helps out New England in a big way. While they are one of the best teams in the NFL, they have areas of need like everyone else, and they are able to help bring youth to their aging defense with the addition of Iowa standout Adrian Clayborn. The Patriots need to address offensive line concerns as well as issues at OLB, but the value is best in taking Clayborn with the 17th pick and filling the other needs later.
18) San Diego Chargers: DE J.J. Watt – Wisconsin
San Diego has serious needs everywhere on offense and defense, with particular emphasis on the defensive line and at MLB. As there are no first round ILB prospects, the Chargers will take a look to their defensive line to try and bolster their pass rush. J.J. Watt was yet another spectacular defensive line player in college, and is exceptional value in the middle of the first still. The Chargers could decide to screw with the rest of the draft by selecting an offensive tackle, with Derek Sherrod still available.
19) New York Giants: OT Derek Sherrod – Mississippi St.
The Giants have averaged 25 sacks over the past 4 years and while 2010 was the best year over that span, they continue to have serious questions on the offensive line. Sherrod has slightly disappeared from the conversation at OT a little, but he is still considered one of the most consistent left tackle prospects available. With the Giants running game being one of the most productive in the NFL, while the pass protection continues to be an issue, the Giants will target the better pass protector in Sherrod over Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi.
20) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: RB Mikel LeShoure - Illinois
The Bucs had a major step forward in 2010 with the emergence of QB Josh Freeman as one of the better young passers. While LaGarrette Blount was very effective, Tampa will be looking for a complement to Blount as none of their current options had much of an impact at all. It is possible to still have a singular “every down” back, but more and more, teams are looking for a pair of complementary backs instead of just a single feature back. With Blount being virtually invisible as a receiver, the Bucs will be happy to add a consistent backfield receiver with very good pass blocking skills.
21) Kansas City Chiefs: OT Gabe Carimi – Wisconsin
Kansas City, like Tampa, took big steps forward, but instead of being led by a QB the Chiefs were headlined by a near historic season for a running back. While Matt Cassel wasn’t horrible, he isn’t a common mention for one of the best QBs in the league. As Cassel isn’t going anywhere, the Chiefs will be looking to ensure that their running game continues to be one of the best in the league, and adding an offensive tackle like Gabe Carimi who comes from a similar style college team, will ensure that. Carimi is a spectacular run blocker, and with injury concerns at OT he will provide a reliable option for the Chiefs.
22) Indianapolis Colts: OT Nate Solder – Colorado
The Colts need help on the offensive line. Even though the left side of the line was not even close to being the problem in 2010, the Colts will be looking for a true high potential left tackle, and Solder has probably the highest ceiling of all the OTs in the draft. He plays almost exactly the same style as the Colts and excels in pass blocking while being stout as a run blocker. Solder has gotten beat up in popular opinion after he failed to instantly dominate at the Senior Bowl, but his exceptional work ethic and comparable blocking style to what the Colts already run make him a very good pick for the Colts. Throw in that Solder is essentially the opposite of the failed Tony Ugoh experiment, and fans should feel very hopeful about this pick.
23) Philadelphia Eagles: OLB Akeem Ayers – UCLA
The Eagles run out of luck with their primary need residing at Offensive Tackle. With the Colts taking the last true LT prospect the Eagles have to change their focus and target a new position of need. At this point in the draft the Eagles can take a little reach at prospects projected to go in the top of the second. Ayers is one of these late first, early second options that will probably be high on the Eagles draft board. Other options to improve the secondary include CBs Jimmy Smith, Brandon Harris, and Aaron Williams.
24) New Orleans Saints: DE Ryan Kerrigan – Purdue
The Saints need help across the board on the defensive line and Ryan Kerrigan is exceptional value this late in the draft. With the success of other Purdue grads in New Orleans, the addition of Kerrigan to the Saints defensive line will likely get some good press. Kerrigan is one of the highest effort players in the draft and is especially good against the run, while still being a top tier pass rusher, giving the Saints a major dual threat.
25) Seattle Seahawks: QB Jake Locker – Washington
Last year the Jacksonville Jags were projected to take local hometown favorite Tim Tebow, but that ended up not coming to pass. With the Seahawks desperately needing a replacement for their aging stock of QBs, Locker ends up filling a major need while also reinvigorating the fan base. Locker has fallen out of favor as a top QB in many draft boards but the Seahawks are drafting late enough in the first that selecting hometown favorite Jake Locker is not so much of a reach as to be completely unacceptable.
26) Baltimore Ravens: CB Jimmy Smith – Colorado
The Ravens have had one of the best defenses in the league for a number of years, but their defense is old already and not getting younger. One of the biggest problems the Ravens had last year was their inability to prevent the pass. Given the age of the defense, and the need to improve the secondary across the board, the Ravens end up drafting a big corner who also shows great speed. While he’s not a Patrick Peterson or Prince Amukamara, he is a starting caliber corner with the size to possibly move to safety and the speed to play corner just as easily.
27) Atlanta Falcons: DE Jabaal Sheard – Pittsburgh
At this point, the exceptionally deep first round defensive talent is starting to disappear. Sheard is a bit of a reach at this point, but the Falcons need a DE or OLB, and Sheard is probably the best option at the end of the first round. OLB Akeem Ayers will also get some looks at this point, but Ayers is more of an ILB/OLB tweener than an outside pass rush threat like Sheard.
28) New England Patriots: OT Tyron Smith – USC
With all of the top LT prospects gone, New England will look to bolster their line with a two-year RT starter from USC who played alongside LT Charles Brown who was drafted by the Saints last year in the second round. Smith projects to be a starting RT with the potential of switching to LT. With the offensive line not being a dire necessity, the fantastic coaching in New England will have the time to mold Smith into the player they want.
29) Chicago Bears: WR Jon Baldwin – Pittsburgh
Chicago needs to upgrade their offensive line like everyone else, but they also need a DT and OLB. Almost all of the value at those positions is gone at this point in the first round. If one thing was shown in the NFCCG loss to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Packers, though, the Bears need an actual receiving threat that will help out QB Jay Cutler. Baldwin is a big fast receiver who will not only stretch the field but be a match up nightmare against most corners and safeties.
30) New York Jets: DE Cameron Hayward – Ohio St.
With the Jets secondary being one of the best in the league, New York will look to further improve their defense by adding a highly productive DE prospect who can add pressure on the QB to a stifling secondary. While they need wide receivers, and a replacement for the likely departure of starting center Nick Mangold, the Jets can pick up both in later rounds.
31) Pittsburgh Steelers: OT/OG Marcus Cannon – TCU
With all the injuries to the Steelers’ offensive line, Pittsburgh will look to improve their offensive line by adding a successful college OT who will more than likely be moved inside to guard. Cannon was one of the largest offensive linemen at the combine, but he fits the style of big bruising linemen that characterizes Pittsburgh. The Steelers may also look at adding Mike Pouncey to reunite the twins and keep a highly effective duo together in the pros.
32) Green Bay Packers: DE Christian Ballard – Iowa
It is difficult to get a read on what the Packers really need. With all of their injuries it isn’t straightforward to simply say they need something like a RB since injuries kept a regular rotation from ever forming, and there really aren’t that stellar of options at RB anyway. The Packers’ secondary needs depth, but that can be picked up later. For the final pick in the first round, though, the Packers look to get another Big 10 standout to bolster their defensive line by selecting Iowa DE Christian Ballard.
Aaron Williams, Adrian Clayborn, Akeem Ayers, Brandon Harris, Cameron Hayward, Christian Ballard, Derek Sherrod, Gabe Carimi, J.J. Watt, Jabaal Sheard, Jake Locker, Jay Cutler, Jimmy Smith, Jon Baldwin, LaGarrette Blount, Marcus Cannon, Matt Cassel, Mikel LeShoure, Nate Solder, Nick Mangold, Ryan Kerrigan, Tim Tebow, Tony Ugoh, Tyron Smith
About the author
At the moment, I am just like every other dedicated Colts fan (I'm anxious for the season, and tired of the lack of news). On a personal note though, I am a Purdue student who happens to have a desire to write and a fairly deep passion for the Colts and statistics. As such, I am basically a troll. I have been to 38 U.S. States at least, living in a handful of them, and I've been to 6 other countries, living in England the last two years of High School, and then coming back to the US for University. I'm an introverted person, but on the bright side, that gives me more than enough time to lose myself in random projects, some of which really helps when trying to provide serious content on everyone's favorite NFL team.
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