1No, it's never too early for a mock draft. The 2010 college football season
is 10 weeks old and we at Scouts Inc. have had plenty of time to watch film
and shuffle our board, so why not take a stab at a first-round projection?
Stanford QB Andrew Luck has established himself as the top prospect on the
board and looks like a slam-dunk for the quarterback-starved Buffalo Bills,
but after Luck, defensive prospects dominate the top of the board with four
defensive linemen and two cornerbacks filling out the next six spots.
The rest of the top 10 features an offensive tackle, another quaterback and
the rare early-first-round wide receiver.
Here's how it all shakes out at this very early point in the pre-draft
process. Things will change a lot between now and April, but based on what
we've seen so far in 2010, this is our best early projection. The order is
based on the inverse NFL standings. Ties between teams with the same record
are broken using opponents' winning percentage, with teams with the lower
percentage getting the earlier pick.
Andrew Luck*, QB, Stanford
Luck is the complete package. He would quickly provide Buffalo with the most
efficient quarterback play it has seen since the Jim Kelly era.
Marcell Dareus*, DT, Alabama
The Panthers once-vaunted defensive front seven is a mess. The good news is
that Dareus is one of several defensive linemen worthy of top-20
consideration in this year's draft.
Da'Quan Bowers*, DE, Clemson
Marcus Spears might not be long for Dallas but the Cowboys need to figure
out their defensive scheme before locking in their personnel. However,
Bowers is a stud and can fit in any defensive scheme. He leads the FBS in
sacks and is blessed with a rare combination of size and athleticism.
San Francisco 49ers
Patrick Peterson*, CB, LSU
Peterson is the closest thing you will find to a shutdown cover corner in
college football. He's also shown remarkable return skills in 2010 in his
first year on the job.
Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Denver needs a stud defensive lineman more than it needs a cornerback but
Amukamara is more talented than any available prospect who would fit the
team's three-man front. Champ Bailey's days with the Broncos could be
numbered so bringing in a young talent like Amukamara would make sense.
Robert Quinn*, DE, North Carolina
Quinn is a naturally gifted pass-rusher with an enormously high ceiling but
he will enter the NFL having not played football in more than a year. The
Bengals have never shied away from risk, though, so why start now?
Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
This might be a bit high for Clayborn, but the top two cornerbacks (Peterson
and Amukamara) are off the board and it's never a bad idea to stockpile
young talent along the defensive front.
Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Tough call here. Locker's stock is clearly dropping but it will ascend again
between now and April. A quarterback with his natural tools, work ethic and
competitiveness rarely lasts beyond the top 20 picks. If it's not the
Vikings who pull the trigger, the Cardinals and Jaguars are the next two
quarterback-needy teams in line.
Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
The Cardinals could be gun shy about spending first-round money on a
quarterback so soon after the Matt Leinart debacle. If Luck and Locker are
off the board, it would be a no-brainer to look in a different direction.
Solder is the most complete talent in a pedestrian group of 2011 offensive
A.J. Green*, WR, Georgia
The Browns have needs along the defensive front but at this spot they cannot
pass up on the most complete wide receiver prospect to enter the NFL draft
since Calvin Johnson (Lions).
San Diego Chargers
Akeem Ayers*, OLB, UCLA
Ayers is a great fit as an outside linebacker in the Chargers' 3-4 scheme.
He's not quite a young Shawne Merriman but he's a talented pass-rusher
Ryan Mallett*, QB, Arkansas
Taking Mallett here would be too rich for my blood, but the Jaguars are in
dire need of an upgrade at quarterback and Mallett's riffle arm will be
St. Louis Rams
Stephen Paea, D, Oregon State
There is not another receiver worth drafting in the top 25 picks, so the
Rams can use this pick to continue rebuilding the defense. Paea's nonstop
motor, quickness and power would fit nicely along one of the league's most
improved defensive fronts.
Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
There's no Eric Berry- or Earl Thomas-like safety prospect in the 2011 class
, so the Seahawks might need to settle for one of the top offensive linemen.
Castonzo is a good athlete for a player with his long frame and he
continues to add bulk and strength.
Janoris Jenkins*, CB, Florida
There's no wide receiver or quarterback worth drafting at this spot. Running
back is another need area, but do not expect a Mike Shanahan-coached squad
to use a first-round pick on one. Jenkins is the most underrated defensive
back in the 2011 draft and his smooth cover skills and ball-hawking ability
would be welcome additions to the Redskins' secondary.
Allen Bailey, DE, Miami
It's entirely too early to press the panic button on 2010 first-round CB
Kareem Jackson, but the Texans still wouldn't mind seeing Jenkins fall this
far. With him off the board, why not take the best available talent on the
board? Bailey's versatility and interior pass-rushing skills could help
Houston's underachieving defensive line finally turn the corner.
Mark Ingram*, RB, Alabama
It's never easy pulling the trigger on a running back in Round 1, but given
Ronnie Brown's struggles and Ricky Williams' age -- and the fact that both
hit free agency after this season -- the Dolphins would have to consider
Ingram in this scenario.
New England Patriots (via 5-4 Oakland)
Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
Kerrigan is probably higher on our board than on most others, but very few
players with his toughness, pass-rushing savvy, nonstop motor and passion
for the game fail to contribute in the NFL. Something tells us coach Bill
Belichick would find a place for him to fit.
Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Julio Jones might be the popular pick here, but it's too early to draft a
second-tier wide receiver prospect. The Bears would be better served to
draft a right tackle who can help keep QB Jay Cutler upright.
Kansas City Chiefs
Jeremy Beal, OLB, Oklahoma
The Chiefs need a legitimate edge rusher and Beal has the type of size and
versatility that they look for in an outside linebacker.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
Miller has a freakish combination of size, speed and athletic ability.
Strongside linebacker in a 4-3 defense could be the right fit for him.
Regardless, Miller can get after the quarterback and the Bucs are in the
market for that exact skill.
Aaron Williams*, CB, Texas
Williams is one of many talented underclass cornerbacks who could be
jockeying for position in the bottom half of the first round. His instincts
in coverage and his experience playing both inside and outside will only
help his cause.
Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
Sherrod is a big and strong right tackle prospect who could also move inside
to guard in the NFL. His feet and consistency in pass pro are still works
Nick Fairley*, DT, Auburn
No player in the country has improved his stock more this season than
Fairley. He is a bit light in the lower body but that doesn't bother the
Colts, who are far more focused on his explosive first step and
relentlessness as a pass-rusher.
Green Bay Packers**
Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
Some teams view Heyward as a good fit at the five-technique in a three-man
front. Others think he's best suited to play a three-technique for a Tampa 2
style defense. He has the natural ability to warrant Round 1 consideration
but it will be interesting to see which team likes him enough in their
scheme to pull the trigger.
New Orleans Saints**
Drake Nevis, DT, LSU
Nevis struggles to get off of blocks, which ultimately could prevent him
from being a first-round pick. However, few defensive tackles in the country
have his first-step quickness and ability to disrupt plays in the opposing
New York Giants
Demarcus Love, OT, Arkansas
The Giants are looking for the toughest, most NFL-ready offensive lineman
available at their spot and Love fits the description.
New England Patrtiots
Cameron Jordan, DE, California
Jordan is a perfect fit as a five-technique in a three-man front and has
experience playing that role. He's not as quick as former college teammate
Tyson Alualu, but Jordan is a good athlete for his size and he can anchor
versus the run.
New York Jets
Julio Jones*, WR, Alabama
Receiver is not a top priority at the moment, but Braylon Edwards, Santonio
Holmes and Brad Smith are all free agents after this season. Providing QB
Mark Sanchez with a young weapon like Jones would be a difficult decision to
Rahim Moore*, S, UCLA
If Moore elects to leave school early, he could be the top safety off the
board. While he's not an elite talent like Berry or Thomas, Moore does have
excellent range and ball skills in deep-zone coverage. The time has come for
the Ravens to plan for life after Ed Reed.
Brandon Burton, CB, Utah
Burton is an under-the-radar cover corner who is rumored to be eyeing the
2011 NFL draft. Burton will be competing with the likes of Williams,
Virginia's Ras-I Dowling, Miami's Brandon Harris and Texas' Curtis Brown for
a few spots near the bottom of the first round.
Mike Pouncey, G, Florida
The Pouncey twins won a national title together at Florida, so who says they
can't win a Super Bowl together in Pittsburgh? Mike has a similar skill set
to that of his brother Maurkice, a 2010 first-rounder who is currently the
starting center for the Steelers.