This is the final installment of my One Month Away Mock Draft Bonanza. Thanks for all your insightful commentary. I go back and forth every 10 minutes with who I think the Ravens will pick, and I've already changed my mind 10 times since I settled on the "Gresham or Trade Down" approach. But either way, it's something fun to talk about until the draft gets here.
If you missed the previous installments, you can read them here:
26. Arizona Cardinals -- Charles Brown, USC, offensive tackle
For a team that has finally established itself as a winner after decades of losing, the Cardinals have a lot of need. Offensive tackle, pass rusher, linebacker, cornerback, tight end and maybe even quarterback. Jerry Hughes of TCU is a real possibility. He's a former running back turned defensive end who led the nation in sacks as a junior. But Brown is too good to pass up, assuming he falls this far. (The Cardinals would probably grab Gresham if for some reason the Ravens trade down or pass on him.) Florida's Maurkice Pouncey is probably more versatile, and could probably play a number of different positions on the line, but as a center in college who played in the spread offense, I don't know that you can truly evaluate how well he can run block or pass block. Brown has excellent technique and great feet (he's a former tight end) and will help Matt Leinart stay off his back.
(Insert your own Paris Hilton-on-her-back joke here.)
27. Dallas Cowboys -- Bruce Campbell, Maryland, offensive tackle
Every year, it seems like there is a player who could go in the top 10 picks, or he could fall all the way to the bottom of the first round. What's strange about the last two years is that both of them played for Maryland. Maybe Campbell does end up in Oakland and it sets off a chain of dominoes all the way through the first round. He'd get paid a lot of money up front, but in terms of long-term stability for his career, he might be better off slipping this far and getting picked by an NFL franchise with more credibility. Campbell is one of the most physically jaw-dropping people you'll ever see. He literally doesn't look like he has an ounce of fat on him, and he's 315 pounds. But when most teams watch him on film, they're going to ultimately conclude he's just too raw. Mike Mayock, the NFL Network's version of Mel Kiper, was asked at the combine if Campbell was overlooked in college when he wasn't named to the all-ACC team after his junior season with the Terps, and he responded without so much as a pause, "He didn't deserve to be all-ACC." The Cowboys will figure they can mold him into an all-Pro, and they might be right. This late in the first round, he's worth the gamble. But not in the top 10.
28. San Diego Chargers -- Ryan Mathews, Fresno State, running back
Darren Sproles is a fun player to watch, but Ray Lewis proved last year that you can't have him as your feature back. He's simply not big enough or strong enough to get you tough yards. Mathews, who led the country in rushing with 1,808 yards and a 6.6 yards per carry average, would be a nice compliment to Sproles. He's 5-foot-11, 220 pounds, and he knows how to find the end zone. He scored 19 touchdowns last year. There are some injury concerns, but that's why the Chargers are a good fit for him because he doesn't have to carry the load on his own. He's also not an experienced pass catcher, which is why he could come off the field and give way to Sproles on third downs without complaint. The Chargers might have Jahvid Best of California rated higher here, but I doubt it. A pairing of Sproles and Mathews makes more sense.
29. New York Jets -- Jared Odrick, Penn State, defensive end
Odrick seems like the kind of player Rex Ryan could get a lot out of. It's tough to find good five-technique defensive ends to play in a 3-4 defense because you really do have to be able to rush the passer, but also "hold the point" as the saying goes and make plays in the running game. I'm not particularly enamored with Odrick's production, but he doesn't seem like the kind of player who will be a bust. He's a hard worker who will do whatever is asked of him. The Jets could look at Alabama nose tackle Terrence Cody, but there are so many concerns about his weight that it's hard to see him in the first round. It would be a serious reach. Arrelious Benn should also get a long, hard look. The Jets need to give Sanchez some weapons to work with, and Braylon Edwards isn't a long-term answer.
30. Minnesota Vikings -- Devin McCourty, Rutgers, cornerback
I don't see how the Vikings can pass on McCourty, unless Odrick is still there, or they're really in love with UCLA's Brian Price. That will be a bummer for Ravens fans, because I think McCourty is a little better than Patrick Robinson and Kareem Jackson, the other two corners the Ravens might target. McCourty is a really good special teams player and his stock is on the rise after a good performance at the combine.
31. Indianapolis Colts -- Maurkice Pouncey, Florida, center/guard
Jeff Saturday is getting old, and even though Peyton Manning can probably play until he's 40 years old, Saturday can't. The good thing about Pouncey is scouts seem to think he's versatile, so while Saturday hangs on for a few more seasons, Pouncey can play guard and adjust to playing for one of the most demanding quarterbacks in the league. The Colts could probably use some help in their interior defensive line, which is why UCLA's Brian Price is a popular projection here, too.
32. New Orleans Saints -- Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri, outside linebacker
The final pick is another one that makes a little too much sense for it not to happen, although this late in the first round, anything is possible. But it would be a surprise if the Saints passed on Weatherspoon -- assuming he's there -- considering they just lost Scott Fujita to the Browns in free agency. The Saints could add a linebacker prior to the draft, however, which would then free them up to take a chance on a defensive tackle or a tight end like Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski.