It's the time of year for everyone to start putting out their mock drafts. I generally wait a while before putting out my first official mock draft, as I like to get as much information and listen to as many little birdies as possible. Luckily, I waited just long enough for a draft altering trade or two (see: McNabb to Redskins) and it will be a little easier to place the pieces into their numbered slots. Without further ado, my mock draft version 1.0, Part 2 (picks 17-32).
The 49ers have issues on their offensive line all around. They lost right tackle Tony Pashos who played well until he was injured. Joe Staley isn't a bad left tackle, but it would benefit the 49ers to take another projected left tackle to compete with him, and the lose moving to the right side. This would overall improve the 49ers offensive line.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers- Jared Odrick, DE/DT, Penn State
Kind of a curve ball from the Steelers, but they've done things like this in the past. While most would peg Mike Iupati in this slot, which makes a lot of sense, the heart of the Steelers is getting old. They added Ziggy Hood to their defensive line last year, but Brett Keisel and Travis Kirschke are 31 and 35 respectively. Odrick fits the Steelers defense perfectly. He can hold up against the run and rush the pass from the 3-4 defensive end position.
19. Atlanta Falcons- Brian Price, DT, UCLA
Atlanta now run by former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator has been trying to shore up their defense for quite a while. They drafted Peria Jerrylast season for the interior of their line, but it still needs work. Johnathan Babineaux is a good player, but he can certainly be upgraded. Price fits the Falcons nicely with his ability to rush the passer from the inside.
20. Houston Texans - Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
Most have the Texans taking a runningback in the first round which is entirely possible, but the Texans secondary is in dire straits. The loss of Dunta Robinson hurts and as of right now their starters at the corner spot would likely be Jacques Green and Glover Quin. Wilson would be an instant upgrade and starter on a good defense who lacks secondary playmakers.
21. Cincinatti Bengals - Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
The Bengals have been trying to find Carson Palmer a receiving threat at the tight end position for quite a while. Gresham fits that bill perfectly. He's a big athletic tight end who has soft hands and runs excellent routes. He's not a burner in the mold of Vernon Davis, but he is fast enough to do damage down the seam and after the catch.
22. New England Patriots- Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan
Brandon Graham just feels like a Patriots player. He fits what they want to do defensively at the outside linebacker position, which is rush the passer. Adalius Thomas has been a massive disappointment for the Patriots as a pass rusher, mainly because he's more of a blitzer than a pass rusher. Graham is both and has shown he can be productive standing up or with his hand on the ground.
23. Green Bay Packers- Charles Brown, OT, USC
No real surprise pick here, the Packers need someone to protect Aaron Rodgers blindside. Rodgers was sacked a whopping 50 times last season yet was still wildly productive. If the Packers can draft a left tackle and cut that number down to even 35, their offense will be that much better. Brown has been climbing draft boards and has experience in a pro-style passing offense having played at Southern Cal.
24. Philadelphia Eagles- Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
With the release of Will Witherspoon and the ACL injury to Stewart Bradley last year, the Eagles could certainly use an injection of youth at the linebacker position. Weatherspoon is also a vocal leader on the field, something which Philadelphia has lacked defensively since they lost safety Brian Dawkins. Not to mention Weatherspoon can play all 3 linebacker positions in a 4-3.
25. Baltimore Ravens- Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
Last season the Ravens rolled out Chris Carr and Domonique Foxworth has their starting cornerbacks. McCourty would instantly be a starter at a position of dire need on the Ravens defense. McCourty fits what the Ravens like to do on defense.
26. Arizona Cardinals- Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho
With the loss of Kurt Warner and the emergence of Beanie Wells late in the season it's looking like the Cardinals are going to become more of a run heavy team under Matt Leinart. The current left guard Reggie Wells isn't terrible, but he can certainly be upgraded. Iupati is a massive roadgrader who would fit in well at the guard spot opposite Deuce Lutui.
27. Dallas Cowboys - Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
With the expected release of Flozell Adams, offensive tackle is no doubt the biggest need for the Dallas Cowboys. Bruce Campbell wowed everyone with his athletic ability at the NFL combine, but his actual play on tape leaves a lot to be desired. Jerry Jones has never shied away from a project on the offensive line and with some polishing Campbell could be at the worst a good right tackle in the NFL.
28. San Diego Chargers - Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State
This pick really is a no brainer. While I could argue for nosetackle Terrance Cody with the loss of Jamaal Williams, runnignback is clearly an area of dire concern. Right now the starting runningback for the Chargers would be Darren Sproles, who's not really anything more than a change of pace/3rd down running back. Mathews is a big powerful runner with speed and excellent balance. He should fit right into the Chargers offensive gameplan.
29. New York Jets- Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech
The Jets have a loaded offensive line, a loaded backfield, and their quarterback of the future. Their biggest need on offense is targets for Mark Sanchez to throw to. Braylon Edwards is a good receiver, but his drops prevent him from being a true number 1 receiver. Outside of Edwards, Cotchery and Smith are good secondary options, but neither is a gamebreaker. Demaryius Thomas is a big fast receiver who can get down the field and make catches on the sideline. His broken foot preventing him from running a 40 yard dash, but the kid can move. He's kind of an enigma given the offense he played in at Georgia Tech, but what little you saw of him was excellent.
30. Minnesota Vikings - Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
A little bit of a surprise pick, but the Vikings need to address the position at some point. While Colt McCoy doesn't have the best arm in the world, he's very accurate on the short and intermediate routes. Brett Favre is likely to return to the Vikings, but they need something for the future in place. McCoy would fit nicely into Brad Childress' west coast offense, where his lack of arm strength can be hidden.
31. Indianapolis Colts - Rodger Saffold III, OT, Indiana
The Colts release Ryan Lilja this offseason and have been very unhappy with the progress of former first round pick Tony Ugoh. Ugoh has been a disaster at the left tackle position but there is still hope for him on the right side. Saffold is a versatile lineman, which the Colts love, where if he does not work out at left tackle can realistically play anywhere on the offensive line.
32. New Orleans Saints- Everson Griffen, DE, USC
The Saints are going to need help all over the defense the next season or two, but the quickest way to hide those holes is with a good pass rush. The Saints released Charles Grant this offseason and right now their slated starter opposite Will Smith is Bobby McCray. McCray is a good rotational defensive end, but he's not a legit full-time starter. After that they have ageless wonder Paul Spicer and Jeff Charleston. Griffen would likely be a day one starter for the Saints.
There you have it. Version 1.0 of my first round mock draft. I'm sure there is a glaring omission from the first round I didn't see, so if there is please point it out in the comments.