Evan Silva

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First Mock Draft of the Year

Monday, January 25, 2010

12. Miami Dolphins - South Florida DE Jason Pierre-Paul

A dominant edge presence who got by on raw athleticism in 2009, Pierre-Paul played just one year in D-I after transferring from JUCO. His impact was immediate. Pierre-Paul severely outplayed more highly-touted DE George Selvie en route to consensus first-team All-Big East honors, pacing the Bulls in tackles for loss, sacks, blocking a kick, and returning an interception for a touchdown. With a massive 81-inch wingspan at 6'6/265, he fits Fins VP of Football Operations Bill Parcells' profile as a monster pass rusher with as high a ceiling as any player in the draft. Pierre-Paul certainly has the skill set to play outside linebacker in Miami's 3-4. The Dolphins are in desperate need of replacements for Joey Porter and perhaps free agent Jason Taylor.

13. San Francisco 49ers - Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen

No passer in the nation improved as much as Clausen from 2007 through 2009. Demonstrating toughness while playing through arm injuries as a true freshman and torn toe ligaments as a junior, Clausen emerged as a first-round prospect by completing 68% of his passes in '09 and posting a 28:4 TD-to-INT ratio in Charlie Weis' pro-style offense despite the injury, loss of explosive wideout Michael Floyd to a broken collarbone, and an average-at-best offensive line. 49ers GM Scot McCloughan believes in Alex Smith, but may fear division-rival Seattle will tab Clausen if he doesn't act. While some question Clausen's arm strength and attitude, there probably wouldn't be a more valuable player left at this point in the draft.

14. Seattle Seahawks - Rutgers LT Anthony Davis

The nation's No. 1 OL recruit out of Piscataway High in New Jersey, Davis entered the Scarlet Knights' starting lineup as a 17-year-old freshman and didn't look back. He moved from guard to left tackle as a sophomore and finished with 32 career starts, earning first-team All-Big East accolades in his final two years. Davis, who won't turn 21 until October, goes 6'6/325 and was dubbed Lindy's "best pass blocker in the Big East" entering '09. Rutgers' line disappointed, and Davis has a history of weight fluctuation that figures to keep him out of the top ten. But talented left tackles come off the board quickly in April, and the Seahawks need one badly.

15. New York Giants - USC S Taylor Mays

Aside from middle linebacker and defensive back, the Giants' roster is set at most positions. They just need to stay healthy. GM Jerry Reese typically adheres to the best-player-available strategy, though this year he figures to lean toward the best inside linebacker, safety, or cornerback left at No. 15. Iowa CB Amari Spievey and Florida MLB Brandon Spikes are worth consideration, but Mays offers more value at this point in the draft process. Though the two-time All-Pac Ten first-teamer finished his senior year with just one interception and no tackles for loss, Mays' range and intimidating hitting ability will appeal to a Giants team that went soft in the secondary in '09. Reese must operate this offseason as if anything SS Kenny Phillips (microfracture surgery) provides next year is a bonus.

16. Tennessee Titans - Florida DE Carlos Dunlap

Dunlap has a big name and big-time talent, but a junior-year production slip coupled with a DUI arrest that resulted in a one-game suspension is likely to cost him some spots on draft day. At 6'6/290, Dunlap is ideally built to play left end in a 4-3 scheme like Tennessee's. The SEC honor roll pick is also no dummy, and showed the ability to overcome adversity by returning from suspension for two sacks in the Gators' Sugar Bowl win. Though his tackles-for-loss total fell from 13.5 to 10.5 as he moved into a full-time role in 2009, Dunlap's potential should keep him in the top 16. The Titans have a hole at LE after 33-year-old Jevon Kearse fell off a cliff last year.

17. San Francisco 49ers - Oklahoma LT Trent Williams

A 40-game starter at OU, Williams moved to the blind side as a senior to replace Phil Loadholt, who is now a starter for the Vikings. Williams, a right tackle in his first three seasons, struggled with edge rushers initially before closing strong to earn first-team All-Big 12 honors for a second straight year. Questions remain about Williams' height and arm length, however, especially after he skipped the Senior Bowl. The Sooners' run-game production also took a huge hit without Williams on the strong side. It's pretty clear that his best position is right tackle, where San Francisco fittingly needs help. Adam Snyder and Barry Sims have proved inadequate options.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers - Clemson RB C.J. Spiller

Owner Art Rooney informed Mike Tomlin following the season that he wants the Steelers to be more run-oriented after finishing with a 536:428 pass-to-run ratio. While the NFL is a passing league and OC Bruce Arians will continue to air it out, drafting a back like Spiller would satisfy Rooney while immediately upgrading Pittsburgh's stagnant return units. Spiller combined for an NCAA-most five return TDs as a senior, including five on kickoffs. Also finishing with a 5.6 YPC average and 36 catches as Clemson's every-down back, Spiller could provide a Felix Jones-like complement to inside runner Rashard Mendenhall. The Steelers have a big hole at No. 2 tailback.

19. Atlanta Falcons - Iowa CB Amari Spievey

Perhaps the most physical corner in the country last season, Spievey was a big hit waiting to happen while often being charged with shadowing No. 1 receivers. Also showing shutdown ability, Spievey helped hold Georgia Tech big-play machine Demaryius Thomas to zero catches in Iowa's Orange Bowl win. Spievey had a modest 56 tackles and two picks in 2009, mostly because quarterbacks didn't dare throw his way after a four-interception sophomore year. The underclassman still earned first-team All-Big Ten honors. The Falcons were awful in the secondary last season, rotating Brent Grimes, Tye Hill, and Christopher Owens opposite Chris Houston with little success.

20. Houston Texans - Georgia Tech RB Jonathan Dwyer

Dwyer didn't repeat as ACC Player of the Year in '09, but the 235-pound bulldozer's stock safely remains in top 20-25 territory. Despite a drop from 7.0 yards per carry to 5.9 in his junior season, Dwyer set a career best with 14 TDs and was named first-team All-ACC alongside C.J. Spiller. Dwyer caught just 15 passes in college and will only be an early-down back initially because he isn't adept in blitz pickup. The third-year junior packs power ala Michael Turner, however, and would add a new dimension to the league's No. 30 rushing offense. Dwyer is also durable and built to carry the ball 25 times a game, which can't be said for any member of Houston's current RB corps.

21. Cincinnati Bengals - UCLA DT Brian Price

Though coordinator Mike Zimmer's defense finished in the top four overall, the Bengals' pass rush fell apart down the stretch, managing just six sacks in the final eight games and none in the last two. DE Antwan Odom's ruptured Achilles' was the primary cause, but Cincinnati also got little push from the inside. Starting three-technique tackle Tank Johnson had two sacks all season and is an unrestricted free agent. The 2009 Pac Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Price ranked third nationally in tackles for loss and paced UCLA with seven sacks. He is the ultimate up-field, pass-rushing interior tackle and a picture-perfect fit for Zimmer's pressure-first scheme.

22. New England Patriots - Texas OLB Sergio Kindle

Bill Belichick places as high an emphasis as any coach on versatility and the ability to play multiple positions. He's sure to be intrigued by Kindle, who started at defensive end, strong-side and rush linebacker, on special teams, and even saw action inside at UT. The 6'4/255-pound swiss-army knife type lived in opposing backfields as a fourth-year senior. 22 tackles for loss tied Kindle for the team lead, earning him third-team All-American honors. He also led Texas in quarterback hurries. The Patriots' biggest 2009 weakness was in the pass-rush department, although they were also worse than usual against the run. Kindle does everything well.

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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva

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