Mel Kiper's 2010 NFL Mock Draft 2.0: A Pick By Pick Critique
NFL fans across the country know that when Mel Kiper's updated mock drafts are released, the late-April bonanza is right around the corner.
With his most recent first-round predictions, some will take it as gospel and assume the prospects forecast for their respective teams are almost a sure thing.
However, a handful of players are slotted out of position or don't rationally match up with a team need. A few other players are inconspicuously absent from his newest draft.
The following is a review of the hits and misses of this mock draft. Quite a few of these picks don't look right and deserve a subsequent challenge.
Upon further review......
1.) St. Louis: Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska)
Hard to argue with the first three picks even if Suh and McCoy ultimately reverse spots.
2.) Detroit : Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma)
Detroit Lions fans can rest assured one of the two best defensive tackles prospects to come out in the last 10 years will be playing in Ford Field in 2010.
3.) Tampa Bay: Eric Berry (S, Tennessee)
Berry has been on everyone's radar throughout his career in Knoxville. Comparisons to Sean Taylor and Ed Reed are legit. Tampa Bay can finally start fielding a defense that has turned into a shell of its former self.
After this pick, however, Kiper's newest mock draft misses the mark on several occasions.
4.) Washington: Russell Okung (OT, Oklahoma State)
Kiper's pick: Jimmy Clausen (QB, Notre Dame)
Apparently the Jason Campbell experience is over. Give the poor kid some time to actually set his feet and make throws and he just might surprise people. The Redskins need to build in the trenches first and it starts on the offensive side of the ball.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Personal feelings aside, in reality Mike Shanahan will want a quarterback either fourth overall or wait if he thinks Dan LeFevour (Central Michigan) or Tony Pike (Cincinnati) will be available in the second round.
The thought of locking down the quarterbacks’ blind side for the next 10 years is an excellent way to start the next phase of Shanahan's remarkable career. Russell Okung is the best tackle in the draft, despite the excitement surrounding the intriguing, yet unproven, Anthony Davis.
My pick: Russell Okung
5.) Kansas City : Joe Haden (CB, Florida)
Kiper's pick: Anthony Davis (OT, Rutgers)
I have no problem with Davis, arguably the fastest-rising offensive lineman in this draft, going in the first round. However, the more logical spot for the relatively inexperienced early-entry prospect is in the bottom five picks of the opening round, not the top five.
It’s no secret the Chiefs offense is a disaster on many levels. While Dwayne Bowe is progressing nicely, the team is severely hindered by the worst offensive line in the NFL. Jamaal Charles was one of the better surprises in 2009; not so much with his speed and production (5.9 YPC) but the fact that he proved those wrong who had delegated him to nothing more than a third-down back.
There’s no arguing Davis' potential, but taking a player at this point in the draft whose scouting reports usually include the word “Raw” in any fashion doesn’t add up. At 6’7” and 310 pounds, Davis could stand to add some more weight. Chances are good he will still be available at least ten picks later.
I have Russell Okung and Bryan Bulaga both ranked higher than him as they are both safer picks. With the regression of Brandon Albert at tackle, a move back to his natural position (Guard) is possible.
His career in Piscataway wasn’t an exhibit in durability either. Davis only started 17 games in his three-year career. Can they really afford to absorb unnecessary risk this early?
UNDER FURTHER REVIEW: With new Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis joining old-friends Scott Pioli and Todd Haley, the Chiefs have an excellent front-office team in place. I’m not certain Matt Cassel (16 TD/16 INT) will ever be the quarterback Pioli thinks he will be, but the team is committed to him for the foreseeable future.
So all of this leads to the Chiefs grabbing a franchise tackle, right? Not so fast. Charles ran the ball extremely well, so the line must have done some things right. Kansas City needs playmakers on defense, and Joe Haden is by far the best cornerback prospect to come out in two or three years. If I have one pick in this draft that I willingly admit defies conventional wisdom, it’s Haden going to the Chiefs.
My pick: Joe Haden
6.) Seattle Seahawks: Sam Bradford (QB, Oklahoma)
Former USC coach Pete Carroll needs a quarterback to replace the 34-year-old Matt Hasselback to begin his second go-around as an NFL coach.
Two things of note which work in favor of Bradford’s selection: Carroll will relate better to, for all practical purposes, a college kid, and Hasselbeck is a pretty good guy and should take the former Heisman trophy-winner under his wing from the beginning.
7.) Cleveland: Derrick Morgan (DE, Georgia Tech)
Kiper's pick: Joe Haden (CB, Florida)
No qualms here, even though the Dawg Pound appears to be calling for Dez Bryant. As talented as he is, the Browns invested heavily last year at the position, though. The team spent both second-round picks on Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi out of Ohio State and Georgia, respectively. But I think Haden might be gone already.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Since I have Haden slated to go two spots ahead to Kansas City, I can see new President Mike Holmgren building up the trenches.
Players like Georgia Tech’s Derrick Morgan are rare. An excellent pass-rusher and stout against the run, Morgan is an excellent building block for the Browns' defense.
My pick: Derrick Morgan
8.) Oakland: Brandon Spikes (LB, Florida)
Kiper's pick: Jason Pierre-Paul (DE, South Florida)
If it was any other team making this selection, I would vehemently disagree taking JPP this high. But, Kiper is right on so many levels with this prediction.
With 80-year-old Al Davis still calling the shots and defying conventional wisdom as he’s done so many times before, this pick makes perfect sense. What with the draft picks likes of Robert Gallery, Jamarcus Russell, Rickey Dudley, and Todd Marinovich...shall I continue?
To a certain extent, last year’s first round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey was a reach of epic proportions as well.
Besides his reputation as one of the more cantankerous owners in NFL history, Davis can’t help but overstep his boundaries and not let his actual front office make the pick if he’s infatuated with a player.
JPP has certain character traits and tricks which don’t really translate to success in the NFL. A 6’6” 260 pound person, let alone college football player, that can flawlessly execute a standing back flip in pads is cute. Combine that with the fact he didn’t even begin playing football until his junior year in high school.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Despite a "perferct storm" scenario as far as Al Davis' standards are considered, I think the Raiders would be wise to find a fiery linebacker to continue improving their defense around. One name that comes to mind is Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes (6-3, 255).
Spikes is an intense competitor with a take-no-prisoners approach to the game. He would instantly become a fan favorite of Raider Nation.
9.) Buffalo: Anthony Davis (OT, Rutgers)
Kiper's pick: Russell Okung (OT, Oklahoma State)
Fans in Buffalo have been disappointed in the team’s last two supposed franchise quarterbacks. Trent Edwards seems to have the makeup of an upper echelon quarterback, but for whatever reason (maybe a porous offensive line) he hasn’t put it together.
While a quarterback may be a prime target in the mid-to-later rounds, the first priority is finding a long-term offensive tackle to protect their quarterback’s blindside.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: If Okung falls this far, the Bills can’t pass him up, but I don’t see how he will. I think Anthony Davis, despite all the recent hype, is more realistic at this spot. However, Marshawn Lynch has worn out his welcome in Buffalo even with a new regime in place under Chan Gailey.
My pick: Anthony Davis
10.) Denver: Jimmy Clausen (QB, Notre Dame)
Kiper's pick: Dez Bryant (WR, Oklahoma State)
Of any of these picks, none will receive more disagreements than my feeling the Broncos do not have a permanent solution at quarterback. Kyle Orton had his best season in the NFL with 21 touchdowns against 12 interceptions last year.
After leading his team to an unexpected 7-0 start, the Broncos and Josh McDaniels were on their way to being the story of the year. In those games, Orton had an outstanding touchdown-to-interception ratio of 9:1.
However, he resorted back to his normal career averages for the remainder of the season, winning only two more games and dropping eight. His stat line over those 10 games was 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The end result is the former Chicago Bear and Purdue Boilermaker is a nice backup, but nothing more.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Josh McDaniels is able to land a smart, strong-armed signal caller in Jimmy Clausen. Clausen's a very tough kid and is already familiar with a pro-style offense during his time playing for Charlie Weis.
My pick: Jimmy Clausen
11.) Jacksonville: Brian Price (DT, UCLA)
Kiper's pick: Derrick Morgan (DE, Georgia Tech)
Logical? Yes, especially when you consider the league-worst pass-rush from a statistical measure (14 sacks). But it’s a bit premature, despite Jags fans clamoring for an instant upgrade in the pass rush.
It seems like they, along with Kiper, forget the team spent its first two picks last year on defensive ends Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves. It’s way too early to even consider taking another defensive end this high with two young players like those two. If neither of those two fail to make a significant jump in their third year, then maybe it’s time to start considering another end.
The team is serviceable at cornerback. If Gene Smith really wants to wake-up an underachieving defense, he’s better off grabbing a linebacker or a big tackle that demands double-teams to free up the young ends.
While the secondary in general was actually a major weakness last year, Reggie Nelson still deserves one more year and the team acquired an underrated strong safety in former Detroit Lion and Boise State product Gerald Alexander. So where does this leave Smith and his staff heading into the combine?
Now that owner Wayne Weaver has demanded his underpinnings establish a more relative identity on defense, Smith wasted little time announcing the team’s experimentation with the 3-4 is a distant memory. As they transition to the typical 4-3 base, don’t be surprised if Harvey and Groves drastically improve simply because of the extra support received along the line.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Defensive ends are without question an integral part of the 4-3, but if the Jaguars are looking to inject some energy and playmaking ability in the middle, Brian Price is a terrific and disruptive force. He will free up the two ends to make plays—when he’s not making them himself.
My pick: Brian Price
12.) Miami Dolphins: Dez Bryant (WR, Oklahoma State)
Kiper's pick: Rolando McClain (LB, Alabama)
This pick would look a lot better if Miami didn’t recently release Joey Porter, and apparently re-,sign or somehow retain him only hours later. As strange as that move was, it may be nothing more than the team’s realization they’re better off trading him and gaining something of value instead of letting him walk.
No one really knows but Bill Parcells and his inner circle. Regardless, the Dolphins need firepower on offense.
Even so, Porter is up there in age, as is Jason Taylor, so a new outside linebacker is a definite need. But the Dolphins could be a possible playoff team if they had a true number one receiver for Chad Henne to throw to.
There’s no question Miami will be a run-oriented team with the two-headed attack of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. But that’s no reason to pretend Brian Hartline, Greg Camarillo, Ted Ginn or Davone Bess are suitable first-stringers.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: One player eager to step back on the field for some real game action is former Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant. At 6’2” and 225 pounds, Bryant is an excellent route runner with sticky hands and elusive open field ability.
He would provide an instant upgrade over the current corps of receivers. He’s capable of making acrobatic catches that no other Dolphin could, and Bryant’s also dependable enough to make the routine catches too. He’s been compared in many scouting reports to a young Terrell Owens but with better mitts.
My pick: Dez Bryant
13.) San Francisco: Kyle Wilson (CB, Boise State)
(These next two picks are two that I strongly disagree with Kiper's choice)
Kiper's pick: C.J. Spiller (RB, Clemson)
With Frank Gore and even the speedy Glen Coffee in their backfield, I’m not sure why the 49ers would even consider taking a running back.
As a team, they averaged 4.3 yards per carry in 2009, which puts them in the upper tier of teams. A closer look reveals the team was third from last in terms of rushing attempts (371) on the year.
My third grade math skills determine quite a revelation; if they would’ve run more with the talent already on the roster, a running back would not even enter the war room discussions. San Francisco knows that, and Scot McCloughan will not draft Spiller.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: A big, disruptive defensive tackle would be better. Another option would be a shut-down coverage corner like Boise State’s Kyle Wilson. Mr. RV Mural would also boost the team’s return game. This might be the highest Wilson appears in a first round mock unless he's off the charts at the combine.
My pick: Kyle Wilson
14.) Seattle: Golden Tate (WR, Notre Dame)
Kiper's pick: Everson Griffen (DE, USC)
While defense needs attention at some point in this draft, the Seahawks need playmakers on offense in the worst way.
I’m not too enamored with Griffen to begin with, and I question whether he even belongs in the first round. Last season was nice but far from “great”, as the one-time high profile recruit finished the year with eight sacks for an underachieving Trojans team.
Griffen’s career in southern California was spotty, including bouts with inconsistency and character concerns. He’s a one-trick pony with alleged issues about his effort and work ethic.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: The offensive-minded coach inherits a team with all kinds of issues on his side of the ball. By this point in the draft he should already have his franchise quarterback and begins adding playmaking weapons to breath some life into a very average group of receivers.
T.J. Houshmanzadeh is a personal favorite of mine, but he’s not a number one. He lacks the top-end speed and elusiveness NFL teams usually deploy with that role. Adding a player like Golden Tate makes more sense.
Tate is the most dangerous after-the-catch receiver, and possibly even player, in this class. His open-field vision and moves were groomed during his All-American high school career as a running back. By all accounts, he’s a First-Team All American and was one of the lone bright spots in a disappointing Irish season.
Tate finished last season with 93 receptions, 15 touchdowns and almost 1,500 yards. He proved to be a dangerous threat out of the backfield as well, averaging over seven yards per carry and scoring twice, along with another score on a punt return.
My pick: Golden Tate
15.) New York Giants: Sergio Kindle (LB, Texas)
The G-Men need a linebacker capable of pressuring the quarterback, so this pick makes sense.
16.) San Francisco: Trent Williams (OT, Oklahoma)
I like this pick too, and I could see it happening unless San Francisco trades one of their two first round-picks.
The 49ers have a big-time need at right tackle, so the big Sooner lineman is an ideal pick to solidify both the run and pass games.
17.) Tennessee: Jason Pierre-Paul (DE, South Florida)
Kiper's pick: Carolos Dunlap (DE, Florida)
No denying the speed of Dunlap but I like a different Florida-native prospect instead for the Titans.
Tennessee's defense felt like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: they surrendered over 25 points per game, bad enough to rank in the bottom five of the league. The primary culprit was one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL, giving up almost 259 yards through the air (only the Lions fared worse).
The secondary isn’t above reproach, but a lack of the defensive line’s ability to generate or disrupt opposing quarterback’s timing deserves just as much blame.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: While Dunlap may turn out to be a prominent pass-rush specialist, JPP is a more tantalizing prospect and doesn't come with anything Jeff Fisher and his crew might consider as too much baggage.
My pick: Jason Pierre-Paul
18.) Pittsburgh: Patrick Robinson (CB, Florida State)
Kiper's pick: Mike Iupati (G, Idaho)
It’s not so much that I disagree the Steelers offensive line was pretty bad in 2009. It's more that I think an aggressive, yet fast, cornerback would help a bit more. Losing Troy Polamalu for a significant portion of the year obviously had something to do with the Steelers poor pass defense.
DeShea Townsend is going to be 35 when the season begins, and he’s averaged less than two interceptions the past three seasons. On the other side, the same can be said about Ike Taylor’s production-level, or lack thereof.
While William Gay has pretty much supplanted Townsend, he’s better suited as a nice part of nickel packages or depth at either corner spot. Joe Burnett and Anthony Madison are both 5’9” and more suited for third-string or practice squad roles.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Pittsburgh may consider waiting until their next pick before addressing the offensive line. But in the first round they will strongly consider a cornerback such as Patrick Robinson who can perform double-duty roles as a kick returner or punt returner.
My pick: Patrick Robinson
19.) Atlanta: Earl Thomas (S/CB, Texas)
Kiper's pick: Kyle Wilson (CB, Boise State)
The Falcons had a pretty good season, finishing in the upper-half of most offensive statistical categories. Overall their defense improved, especially against the run.
Areas the team needs to address to start turning 9-7 seasons into 11-5 division-contending ones are a better pass rush and playmaking in the secondary. I have Wilson going six picks ahead of Atlanta.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Whether General Manager Thomas Dimitroff wants to improve his secondary or front four, each should have a positive impact on the other in addition to itself.
An explosive speed-rusher will hurry quarterbacks into making mistakes and better coverage in the secondary will allow the front four more time to find the quarterback. Somebody like Earl Thomas from Texas is a terrific prospect with top-notch speed, athleticism and ball-hawking skills. He can play either free safety or corner and would instantly upgrade a suspect Falcons secondary.
My pick: Earl Thomas
20.) Houston: Mike Iupati (G, Idaho)
Kiper's pick: Brian Price (DT, UCLA)
This pick makes sense from many different aspects. With the underwhelming Shaun Cody listed as a possible starter, it’s an obvious sign Rick Smith needs to bolster the interior defensive line.
Price is one of my favorite players in this draft and provides tremendous value at this spot for the Texans. After the combine, Price will continue creeping up draft boards, so I think he will actually be off the board by now. Therefore, the Texans grab a promising player in Idaho's Iupati.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: With Mike Iupati still available, Smith should be ecstatic he can drastically improve a weak left guard spot for the foreseeable future. Big, tough, mean, and incredibly strong, the Vandals lineman is an exciting prospect—at least from offensive lineman standards.
My pick: Mike Iupati
21. Cincinnati: C.J. Spiller (RB, Clemson)
Kiper's pick: Demaryius Thomas (WR, Georgia Tech)
Here's a pick I simply don't see Cincinnati making on another receiver.
The Bengals were the surprise team of the NFL for a good part of the season. A key to that early success was an attacking and stout defense. While Carson Palmer proved he’s fully recovered from his injury-riddled past, it must have made the Brown clan (Mike, Pete and Paul) afraid anytime protection broke down.
Any Cincy fan may need a brown paper bag in tote during the draft for possible hyperventilation after the team grabs another offensive lineman in the first round, considering the situation of their 2009 first round pick.
However, incumbent Bobbie Williams is an average offensive guard at best, and turns 34 shortly after the season starts. Fans in the Queen City are due for a playoff game, and if things go right this offseason, I think the Bengals prove last season’s partial success can carry out throughout the entire year.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Even before Thomas broke his foot a week before the NFL combine while training in Scottsdale, Arizona, the early-entry receiver projected more towards the middle of round two. But when you’re his size (6'3", 225 pounds) and allegedly ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.3 range, mock drafts have a tendency to over-exaggerate the hype.
Teams know the Bengals can grind out yards, but they lack a true backfield threat to loosen up the field for Chad Ochocinco. C.J. Spiller is the best running back in this draft and features NFL-caliber elusiveness to go with his elite track speed and versatility as a runner and receiver. He set several NCAA and ACC records during his impressive career in Death Valley.
My pick: C.J. Spiller
22.) New England: Brandon Graham (DE, Michigan)
Credit Kiper for making some very insightful predictions, such as Graham going to the Patriots.
I like this pick for the Patriots. Is he a player some scouts will pass over because he doesn’t fit a prototypical mold by NFL standards? Check.
But is he also a smart, passionate prospect from the University of Michigan? Check. If any player’s personality fits that of his potential team, it’s Graham and the Patriots.
The next four picks (No.23-No.26) are a string of consecutive selections I think are very possible scenarios. Mel Kiper might be on to something...
23. - 26. Green Bay, Philadelphia, Baltimore & Arizona
23.) Green Bay: Bryan Bulaga (OT, Iowa)
Perfect fit in terms of skill-set and personality.
24.) Philadelphia: Taylor Mays (S, USC)
The hard-hitting safety is the most volatile player in terms of projected pick. He's been anywhere from fourth overall to the end of round one. He would be a great choice for Philly.
25.) Baltimore: Arrelious Benn (WR, Illinois)
It's time to supply Joe Flacco with the weapons he deserves.
26.) Arizona: Dan Williams (DT, Tennessee)
The Cardinals need to become more stout against the run, and Williams is just the guy.
27.) Dallas: Rolando McClain (LB, Alabama)
Kiper's pick: Bruce Campbell (OT, Maryland)
Cowboys’ fans and media often focus exclusively on Tony Romo and his spastic Cowboys offense before anything else. Romo did spend a considerable amount of time on his backside, but the ‘Boys need to begin retooling a suddenly aged and underachieving defensive unit. There's enough offensive line talent to address any position in the group next round.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Keith Brooking is still one of the better wrap-up tacklers at his position and emotional sparkplug for any team. He turns 35 this year, so it’s time to bring in his eventual replacement that can learn alongside him in the 3-4 to ease into the rotation.
I hate to say it, but Cowboys fans might be onto something when they associate inside linebacker Bobby Carpenter (2006 first round pick) with the dreaded “B” word. At this point in the draft, Jerry Jones should be thrilled to pick Alabama’s all-everything linebacker Rolando McClain.
My pick: Rolando McClain
28.) San Diego: Jonathan Dwyer (RB, Georgia Tech)
Kiper's pick: Terrance Cody (DT, Alabama)
Mt. Cody is as big a player as we’ve seen in a while, but I’m not sure his future role in the NFL isn’t that of a two-down lineman whose knees must be a concern after supporting that frame. He's one of the higher risk-reward players available in the 2010 draft.
However, the Bolts need a new running back.
With whispers becoming audible conversations about how LaDainian Tomlinson is likely on his way out, while Darren Sproles' size and skill-set are better suited for a complementary role, the Chargers should be in the market for some fresh legs in the backfield.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: One player noticeably absent from the first round of Kiper’s updated mock draft is the quick, powerful Jonathon Dwyer. At 5’11” and 230 pounds, Dwyer is built to withstand the rigors of the NFL, and his 40-yard dash at the combine will be a telling sign of where he ends up.
If he proves his reported times in the 4.4 range are legit, he may end up going much higher. If it’s closer to 4.6 (which I don’t think it will be) he may fade back into the second round.
My pick: Jonathon Dwyer (RB, Georgia Tech)
29.) New York Jets: Terrence Cody (DT, Alabama)
Kiper's pick: Devin McCourty (CB, Rutgers)
The Rutgers corner back is a fine prospect, but not in the first round. This seems to be a bit high. With the league’s best cornerback already shutting down one side of the field, the Jets have more pressing needs besides another cornerback.
With a young quarterback, the team may want to think about contingency plans along their offensive and defensive lines. Alan Faneca and Damien Woody had nice seasons, but their swan song will be here sooner than we know it.
Marques Daniels and Shaun Ellis aren’t exactly spring chickens and the fact that neither was overly impressive this season indicates an infusion of talent may be in order.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: The prototypical 3-4 nose tackle is somebody like the Steelers Casey Hampton or current-Jet Kris Jenkins. Terrance Cody is a good fit to learn the position under one of the game’s other ideal defensive tackles in Jenkins. Jenkins is still a very good player, but he’s almost 31-years-old and there’s no telling how well he will bounce back on a surgically-repaired knee.
Not only will Cody learn from Jenkins, they will also spell each other effectively allowing defensive coordinator Mike Pittine the ability to keep the center of his defense fresh for four quarters. This is a win-win for both Cody and Jenkins, as one adapts to NFL conditioning requirements and the other eases back in from season-ending surgery.
J-E-T-S fans should cheer this pick as the big fella (6’4”, 375 pounds) makes his way up to the podium.
My pick: Terrance Cody
30.) Minnesota: Maurkice Pouncey (C/G, Florida)
No problem with this pick at all.
When you have the game’s most explosive back and he has even one down year, something’s amiss and it’s probably not the explosion or skill of Adrian Peterson.
Common sense tells us that it’s time to inject some talent into a once-dominant unit of the Purple Pride. Despite how many times Brett Favre UN-retires this offseason, the Vikings would be wise to grab Pouncey anyways, to help anchor a line for Minnesota’s next quarterback and to open up holes for A.P.
Pouncey is one of the better center prospects to come out in a few years, and Kiper seems to have nailed this one. The early-entry Gator is very quick, strong and plays with a nasty streak suitable for the Black-and-Blue division of the NFC North.
31.) Indianapolis: Charles Brown (OL, USC)
Kiper's pick: Jared Odrick (DT/DE, Penn State University)
The Colts need to do something to stimulate a better pass rush if they expect to be back in the Super Bowl next year. Odrick is a great pick and will instantly add an attitude and identity to a front four that’s lacking. Otherwise, the Colts need a serious change in philosophy about running the football.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: I like Odrick quite a bit and if he ends up here to the Colts I wouldn’t be shocked. However, Bill Polian was speaking with a level of frustrated clarity after he expressed disappointment with the performance of the offensive line during the Colts Super Bowl loss.
When you finish the season with 80.9 rushing yards per game and churn out a paltry 3.5 yards per carry (good for worst and second worst in the NFL, respectively) it’s time to reconsider your strategy, even if you have Peyton Manning.
Taking a closer look also reveals why these two league averages should be alarming to Coach Jim Caldwell and his staff. Among all 32 teams, Indianapolis’ time-of-possession average was 27:40 per game. With a talented backfield of Joseph Addai and Donald Brown, Colts fans should hope offseason plans include the implementation of a more balanced attack.
If Iupati or Pouncey were to fall, the Colts would likely consider either player as an upgrade over Kyle DeVan at guard. Kurt Warner may have been toting the Arena league and stocking shelves at a grocery store prior to NFL stardom, but DeVan was enduring squirrely spit-ball shootin’ teenagers as a substitute teacher while living in his parents’ house.
By chance, he was asked to fill in for somebody on the Boise Burn of arena2 minor league football. One year later he’s starting in the Super Bowl. Sorry Warner, this might be the ultimate rags-to-riches story.
Charles Brown, a standout USC offensive lineman was originally a tight end for Pete Carroll, but he proved to be a very quick study and filled out nicely into his 6’5”, 295 pound frame. He could eventually play tackle but some initial time at Guard with DeVan backing him up, or Mike Pollak if he snaps out his funk. Fast-rising Vladimir Ducasse is another option.
My pick: Charles Brown, or Vladimir Ducasse (OL, Massachusetts)
32.) New Orleans: Sean Weatherspoon (LB, Missouri)
Kiper made a pretty solid pick with the final selection in the first round and I tend to agree with it.
Their offense is fine, so if the Saints are thinking about repeating as World Champions, an upgrade on defense is the smartest choice.
To describe the Saints defense could be a fine case-study in the art of “opportunistic”. While their point total and total yards per game allowed were each in the bottom half of the league, the secondary and defensive line created turnovers: 26 interceptions, 35 sacks and an unheard-of eight defensive touchdowns.
A steady, sure-tackler like Weatherspoon is the kind of talent they need in the middle of the field. Kiper’s last three picks of the first round are spot-on.