By Coden Mruk
MORGANTOWN, WV – In part 1 of this 3 part look in to the first round of the NFL Draft we saw a shake up at the top with the Rams selecting QB Sam Bradford over DL Ndamukong Suh with the first overall pick. With the rest of the top 10 picks we saw another quarterback go, a wide receiver, linebacker, and a safety.The majority of the top picks were used on the offensive and defensive line. Not much of a surprise considering it would be a lineman with the best opportunity to step in immediately for his team. In Part 2 of this series I predict, and analyze draft selections 11-20. I credit ESPN.com, draftdaddy.com, profootballweekly.com, footballdraftanalysis.com, Men’s Fitness, Scout.com, and draftboardinsider.com for the majority of my research.
For an in-depth look at picks 1-10 check out part 1 of this 3 part series by clicking the link below.
#11 Jacksonville Jaguars - Derrick Morgan DE Georgia Tech - The Jacksonville Jaguars somehow managed to record only 14 sacks through 16 games last season making them the team with the lowest sack total in the league. Jacksonville missed two years ago on Derrick Harvey, who played the same position as Morgan but at Florida. Harvey has managed to record only 5.5 sacks over his disappointing two year career. Because of this I look for the Jacksonville Jaguars to pass on my #1 rated DE Carlos Dunlap (out of Florida), and select the leaner, more athletic Morgan who recorded 12 sacks last season for the Yellow Jackets. Generating a pass rush should be the #1 priority for the Jaguars and they address that with this pick.
#12 Miami Dolphins – Jerry Hughes DE/OLB Texas Christian U - Look, Miami is not too far off from being a good team. They have an effective offense led by Ronnie Brown and a recharged Ricky Williams. The defense wasn’t half bad either recording 44 sacks on the season. However, 9 of those came from Joey Porter who was released this off season. Another 7 from Jason Taylor who will be 36 years old by seasons start. By drafting Jerry Hughes you immediately fill the void left by Joey Porter and the need for a pass rusher off the edge. Hughes recorded 26 sacks over the last two seasons, making him the definitive leader on an outstanding defense. Scouts love the versatility of Hughes who is listed at 6’3 260lbs and can be down on the end or standing up on the outside.
#13 San Francisco 49ers – Bruce Campbell OT Maryland – The San Francisco 49ers made a late season switch this past year to a more pass oriented spread style offense and it paid dividends to the growth of Alex Smith. This being said, they still rely heavily on the success of Frank Gore. They want to get him back to producing numbers similar in terms of yards as 2006 and to continue finding the end zone at a higher rate. From everything I’ve read and heard Bruce Campbell is a freak. Bruce Feldman did a feature on Campbell back in May on just how much of a freak. He reported that Campbell bench pressed 490lbs and ran a 4.8 40. If this was back in May I can only imagine where those numbers will be come the NFL combine. You team him up with Joe Staley and you have bookends for the next decade.
#14 – Seattle Seahawks – Taylor Mays S USC – Lets not forget that Pete Carroll only agreed to the Seahawks job If he had full control of the team, and he got it. Taylor Mays played 4 years under Pete Carroll at USC and showed signs of greatness throughout his career. Mays could be the player who is helped most by his combine showing. He’s probably the best overall athlete in this year’s draft. He stands 6’3 and weighs in at 230lbs. Nate Millado wrote an article for Mens Fitness where he says that in high school, while running track, Mays was consistently times in the 40 in the neighborhood of 4.25 seconds. Everyone is aware of his work ethic in the weight room. With his combination of size and speed as well as his familiarity with Carroll, I expect the Seahawks to waste no time taking Mays at 14.
#15 - New York Giants – Joe Haden CB Florida – Joe Haden has the potential of a top 10 pick and some mock drafts I have seen project him going as high as #7 to Cleveland. It’s obvious that the Giants need major help on defense. Their unit gave up 427 total points and that was 110 more than the next highest total in the division. The loss of captain Antonio Pierce needs to be addressed but Haden’s value is too high at this point to pass on. With Haden on one side and Aaron Ross or Corey Webster the other, it should lessen the need for double teams and allow the safeties to be looking to stop the run. Haden was a first team All-American for the Gators in 2009.
#16 – Tennessee Titans – Terrence Cody NT Alabama – First of all let me just say that I love this guys name…ha. Ok, Terrance Cody is 6’5 and weighs in at about 355 lbs…on a light day. The Tennessee Titans are still looking to fill the void left by Albert Haynesworth. After seeing how the defense struggled in his absence I’m sure the front office has no problem bringing in a long time replacement. He was the anchor in the middle for that Alabams defense and is has a lot to do with Rolando Mcclain being a first round pick. Plus, Kyle Vanden Bosch is probably gone to free agency and Jevon Kearse is not Jevon Kearse anymore. The line needs the help.
#17 San Francisco 49ers – Earl Thomas S Texas – With their second pick in the first round the 49ers could significantly bolster their already above average defense by drafting Earl Thomas. Having locked down the offensive line earlier the 9ers are free to use this pick by taking a high value guy at this point with potential to start right away. Thomas reminds me a lot like Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed in that he has a nose for the ball, and a nose for the end-zone. he picked off 8 balls last season against a good group of quarterbacks and took two of them to the house. Mike Singletary would love a guy like Thomas on his defense and I think he gets him.
#18 – Pittsburgh Steelers – Bryan Bulaga OL Iowa – The Steelers had an extremely disappointing season last year and right now look like the third best team in that division. For that to change they are going to have to get back to a hard nosed running game like they had when they were winning super bowls. Bryan Bulaga is 6’6 312lbs and was an All-American in what was his junior season. The Big Ten is run heavy conference and Bulaga has proved he can get the job done by winning the award for the top offensive lineman in the conference.
#19 – Atlanta Falcons – Patrick Robinson CB FSU – Atlanta looks pretty good on the offensive side of the ball when everybody’s healthy so look for them to draft defense throughout the entire day. The Falcon’s depth chart at the corner position reads as Chris Owens, Brent Grimes, and Chevis Jackson. They need a lot of help in the secondary and could even be looking to draft a safety if a guy like Mays or Thomas falls to them. Patrick Robinson has decent size at 5’11 190lbs and could run as low as a 4.3 40 at the combine. He led FSU with 6 picks on the year and is considered a good cover corner. Plus, The Falcons like really fast corners from Florida State.
#20 Houston Texans – Sean Weatherspoon OLB Missouri – I know the Texans are not happy with their running back situation right now so I could see them going for C.J. Spiller out of Clemson. However, the offense has proven its self already and they have to get better on defense if they want to finally get in to the playoffs after two straight years of being the sexy pick and failing to get in. Sean Weatherspoon was a three time all conference player and in 2009 led the Big 12 in tackles, averaging over 11 per game. Weatherspoon is big, fast, strong, and plays like he has a chip on his shoulder. He is an outside linebacker by trade and that works perfectly with DeMeco Ryans in the middle and Brian Cushing on the strong side. This young, talented trio would be in consideration for the top linebacking core and maybe be what they need to get to the post season.
The defense dominated picks 11-20 having 8 of those 10 selections going to the defensive side of the ball. I hope you enjoyed my predictions and analysis. Look for the final part of this three part series very soon.