- I wanted to get one out before free agency. Obviously in the next week and half we are going to know a lot more about team needs.
- I love getting feedback from fans of these teams. Interested to know how you would feel if your draft went this way.
- My next mock will come out about a week or two after free agency has started.
1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
As we move further along in the process, Peyton Manning is no longer a Colt. I really think Luck has been talked about for so long that people are starting to take for granted how good he really is. I'm hearing Luck vs. Griffin debates and talk about how he's not great at this or that: STOP IT NOW. He is that good! Just because we've known it forever doesn't change the fact that this guy is going to lead the franchise as a high-end QB for the next 12+ years. There really are no other options here.
I'll also take this minute to state that I believe the Colts are making a mistake by letting Manning walk as a FA. I believe they should pay the roster bonus and trade Manning to Miami or Washington for their top 10 pick, a 3rd rounder this year, and a 2nd rounder next year. They should also include some cash in that trade to help offset the money paid to Manning. Granted it's not my money and $28 million is a hefty bonus to pay, but he still holds significant value and the return they would receive for him (in terms of building block type of draft picks) would more than offset the money paid in my opinion. However, this won't happen and as a result the Colts only get a money savings in return for his departure.
2. Cleveland Browns (Rams trade the #2 pick in the draft to Browns for the #4 pick, #22 pick, #36 pick, #68 pick and 2013 2nd Rounder) - Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
This is another move that has is becoming a popular opinion among other draft analysts. In fact, I'm actually starting to see projected trades in mock drafts that normally don't do any type of draft projections (just remember where you saw the trades first).
First from the Rams perspective, I believe they will think long and hard about taking Kalil at this spot. However, when the Browns come calling with the #22 pick and only having to slide down 2 slots along with additional early round selections, it's too much for the Rams to pass up. They have too many holes on the team (and one QB isn't one of them) that can be plugged with quality picks to not make this move.
As for the Browns, they have to do something to create a buzz about their football team. At the end of the day, franchises are run with two goals in mind: win football games and make money. This pick makes sense in achieving both of those goals. If you read my first mock draft you understand how pathetic I believe Cleveland has become on the offensive side of the football. And now that Hillis is almost certainly gone, it's only going to get worse. Griffin steps in from day one and becomes the face of a franchise that desperately needs a marquee name. Word out there now is that Browns don't want to give up both of their first round picks to move up; well in my opinion if they are able to land Griffin without giving up a future first round pick they should do it.
3. Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil, OT, USC
If Luck and Griffin III go 1-2, this becomes another no-brainer pick for the Vikings. They have the best RB in the game and a young QB who they feel is their franchise guy; the next step is putting together an O-Line in front of them. Kalil has potential to be a cornerstone guy for a long time to come and the Vikings know that. If the Rams decide to keep the pick and Kalil is off the board at this point, the Vikings will look to trade the pick to the highest bidder and move back in the draft. They would consider Claiborne here as well but I don't see any scenario in which they wouldn't take Kalil or trade the pick to someone looking to land RG3.
4. Chicago Bears (Rams trade the #4 pick to the Bears for #19 pick, #51 pick, #72 pick, and 2013 1st Round Pick) - Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
WHAMMY! The Rams continue their New England Patriots impersonation with this move. I really believe you are going to see a significant increase in trades at the top of the draft beginning with this year. Teams don't have to commit as much guaranteed money to these rookies so franchises are more willing to take a chance to move up and grab their guy.
I'll start with the Rams again. They are going to be in a position to grab their biggest need at #2 (OT Kalil) and their second biggest need at #4 (WR Blackmon) so most would ask why give up the opportunity to take one of them? Because they end up with following as a result: #19 pick, #22 pick, #36 pick, #51 pick, #68, and #72 pick this year and an addition first and second rounder in 2013, all for the #2 pick! Add in their original #34 pick and #66 pick and with good sound drafting you have the recipe to go from pretender to contender quickly. That's worth giving up Kalil or Blackmon!
As for the Bears, they are giving up a lot no question but they are so close to being a Super Bowl favorite that this move could easily put them over the top. Giving up next year's first round pick (likely in the mid to late 20's) along with their first three picks of this year also frees up some cash that can be spent on locking up Forte long-term (which needs to be a priority). The final piece that convinced me this is going to happen is the fact that a new GM could score HUGE bonus points with Bears fans if he was able to do the one thing the previous regime couldn't: land a legitimate #1 receiving threat. The addition of Blackmon allows the Bears to slot their receivers exactly where they belong (Blackmon #1, Knox #2, Bennett #3) and Hester can play a flex position similar that of Percy Harvin with Vikings. It gives Cutler a stud #1 to compliment his safety blanket in Bennett. Also, the Bears have an additional third round pick this year as a result of the Greg Olsen trade so they would still have a pick in the third round. On a side note, it may be a better bet for the Bears to give up their first round pick and make an offer to Mike Wallace of the Steelers. Gives the Bears that same #1 WR that they get here but without giving up more than a single first round pick this year.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
For all the shakeup in the top 5 to this point, there are 3 things I've very sure of and 2 things I'm perhaps reaching a little on. The two trades are a bit of a stretch but Luck to Colts, Kalil to Vikings, and Claiborne to Bucs are the 3 that I'm convinced are all but set in stone. Talib could be in jail and his career in jeopardy due to his off the field issues and Ronde Barber can only play CB for so long. Insert Claiborne and he instantly becomes your #1 CB and has the ability to become a top 10 corner in the NFL in his rookie season. Tampa Bay may not be as good as their 10 wins two years ago but they also aren't as bad as their 4 wins this year. Claiborne would go a long way in shoring up a defense that was dead last in the NFL surrendering 30.9 points per game.
6. Washington Redskins - Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
This is by far my biggest change since my last mock draft. It is becoming increasing clear that the Redskins and Dolphins are going to do something about their QB situations. Since Manning is going to have his choice on where to go, I can't see him wanting to go a franchise (and an owner) that is as unstable as the Redskins. That leaves them with three realistic options: stay put at QB, sign Matt Flynn, or draft one. I'll talk about where I think Flynn is going shortly but it's not to Washington. And since Grossman/Beck combo can't possibly be relied on another year, Snyder and the Redskins decide to reach a bit and take Tannehill. This is the new trend in football. It happened last year with Ponder, Gabbert, and Locker and it will happen again this year. I personally don't believe Tannehill is even a first round talent, let alone worthy of a top 6 pick but recent history tells us that teams will reach for a QB and the Skins do exactly that. He'll get the keys to the kingdom from day one and Snyder will hope he's rewarded for his risky decision.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
The Jaguars showed some fight towards the end of last season and their defense was the main reason for the wins they did get. With this pick they add the best defender left on the board and get themselves an impact rusher that will command double teams. It will also allow them to either let Mincey walk in free agency or re-sign him and have a very nice 3 man rotation of Mincey, Coples, and Roth. The Jags will also strongly consider a WR here and if Blackmon would somehow slip this far, he would be the pick. However, I don't believe any of the other three or four potential first round picks are worthy of the #7 pick: Although, Michael Floyd is making a strong case to be taken here.
8. Miami Dolphins - Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
I believe the Dolphins will solve their QB issue by bringing in Matt Flynn to reunite with this OC. While I'm not 100% sold on Flynn, he certainly has a higher upside than Moore. With the new QB in place and a defense that performed admirably throughout the entire season, the Dolphins have reason to believe they can become competitive again.
Bring in Reiff to play on the right side of the line and you have arguably the best offensive line in football. That means more time for Flynn to throw and any quarterback with time can look very good. With Marshall on the outside to throw to, the emergence of Reggie Bush, a new QB, and a rock solid O-Line, the Dolphins offense could have some real punch.
9. Carolina Panthers - Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Carolina hit a homerun last year in drafting Newton with the number one overall pick. He transformed that offense into one of the league's best. Now they must turn their attention to the defensive side of the football where they ranked 28th in yards per game and 27th in scoring defense. Brockers is the perfect fit. They need a penetrating DT that will push the pocket from the middle. They have one very good DE and another solid one but they are easily double-teamed and chipped because of a lack of middle rush. This pick eliminates the ability for teams to double-team Johnson on the outside all the time. They would also consider Coples and Blackmon if they fell but they prefer Brockers.
10. Buffalo Bills - Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Obviously when you do a mock draft before free agency you have to make some assumptions. One assumption that I made that was wrong was about Stevie Johnson and being back with the team. I was wrong on this one, I thought they'd let him walk. But nonetheless they still have a need for a WR opposite of Johnson. Insert Michael Floyd who would become the team's #1a WR from the first day of camp. I believe he has a chance to be in the same class as Blackmon when all said and done. Throw in the fact that he went to a cold weather school in Notre Dame and you have a perfect fit. Floyd's performance at the combine only increased his draft stock and will make him more attractive to a team in the top 10 picks.
11. Kansas City Chiefs - David Decastro, OG, Stanford
As this process began, I really didn't think Bowe would be back in KC. However, he is being franchised and therefore eliminates the need to take a WR this high. So now the focus becomes on need vs. best available: and fortunately for the Chiefs there are two picks here that make sense to me. Both of the picks are on the offensive line and both are offensive linemen that play for Stanford. Conventional wisdom would say take the offensive tackle in this spot. However, with Albert at the LT position and a need to upgrade the interior line if they want to be a run-first type of offense, they end up going with the guard. I think Decastro becomes a top 5 interior linemen within two years in the league. He has all the tools you would want and showed flashes of a mean streak that you can't teach. The Chiefs would be wise to grab him here and look for a RT early in the second round.
12. Cincinnati Bengals (Seattle trades the #12 pick to Bengals for the #17 pick, #53 pick, and 2013 2nd Round Pick) - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
The problem for Trent Richardson isn't the lack of talent because he has that or the amount of depth at the RB position because I don't see much depth this year, it's simply bad circumstance. A combination of the way teams look at the RB position now, a lack of need in the top 10, and the fact that GM's think they can get quality in later rounds pushes him down to #12 where the Bengals decide to give up two second round picks to jump up 5 spots and grab him. Cincinnati was another team that had a dynamite draft last year. They acquired their franchise QB and a legitimate #1 receiving threat. This year they acquire a dynamic playmaker at the RB position that is the complete package: between the tackles, homerun threat, and pass catcher. If they are able to move up to get him without having to surrender both of their first round picks they should do it.
As for Seattle, they gain two second picks and only have to move back 5 spots. I'm assuming they will re-sign Lynch which eliminates their need for a running back; if they wouldn't re-sign Lynch, they would take Richardson themselves.
13. Arizona Cardinals - Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Let me first say that I believe this is where Peyton Manning is going to end up. This was a team that was among the NFL's elite just a few short years ago with Kurt Warner at the helm. If their front office is able to live with an expensive backup in Kolb, trade him, or find a relatively inexpensive way to release him, the Manning/Arizona match makes a lot of sense for both parties. This isn't to say that Kolb isn't going to be a good NFL QB; but one thing I know for certain he's going to be nowhere near what a healthy Peyton Manning would be even at age 36.
Even if the Cardinals don't land Manning, they need to keep their quarterback on his feet if they want to improve on the offensive side of the football. They gave up 54 sacks last year which was second worst in the NFL. Martin protected the blind side of the #1 pick of this draft and did an outstanding job at it. I see him sliding down draft boards but I personally see him as a better LT prospect than Reiff. And if the Cardinals are able to grab him here at #13 they should be thrilled.
14. Dallas Cowboys - Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
The Cowboys secondary was horrible this past season. They were exposed time and time again and it made their entire defense look inadequate when in reality their front seven is pretty good. Who knows what is going to happen with their current CB's. I assume Newman will be gone as he was one of the worst starting CB's in the NFL last year. Michael Jenkins still has potential to be a solid #2 or a tremendous nickel back but he can't be relied upon as their #1. Enter Janoris Jenkins who everyone knows has the talent to be a true #1 CB at the NFL level. Dre Kirkpatrick will also be strongly considered here but my guess is the Cowboys sign a CB in Free Agency and will be willing to take a chance on a guy like Jenkins even with his baggage. If they can land a guy like Brandon Carr, draft Janoris Jenkins to be the #2, and slide Michael Jenkins to the Nickel back, their secondary becomes a strength as opposed to a weakness.
15. Philadelphia Eagles - Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
The Eagles selection here is easiest pick since the #5 spot. If Kuechly is available at #15, the Eagles will spend about 20 seconds getting their pick in. The BC linebacker is one of the best available players at this point and it fits the Eagles biggest need. The logic here is simple: the Eagles weakest defensive position was MLB and it hurt their defense tremendously. Kuechly will step in from day one and become the leader of that defense; something that has been missing since Brian Dawkins left. Their offense is stacked, their secondary is stacked, and with the addition of Kuechly to their front seven, they can have realistic talks about winning a Super Bowl
16. New York Jets - Courtney Upshaw, OLB/Edge Rusher, Alabama
This pick is going to be spent on someone who can rush the passer. Under this scenario they end up getting the guy they were targeting all along. Much like the Eagles before them, they will spend all of 30 seconds getting this pick to the podium. Unlike failed experiments in the past (Vernon Gholston), Upshaw has the film evidence to back up his physical talents. Much like Kirkpatrick before him, playing in a Nick Saban defense is a huge bonus for this young man. The Jets can get back to their menacing ways lining Upshaw opposite of Calvin Pace; that's a formidable duo on the edge.
17. Seattle Seahawks (from Bengals who got it from Raiders) Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Seattle lands in a great position as the guy they would have taken at #12 slides down to them at #17. The Seahawks ranked 20th in the league last year in sacks and despite Chris Clemons being an above average pass-rusher, they have had trouble finding someone to play opposite of him. Insert Ingram and you have a very potent D-Line that is able to put pressure on the QB from both end positions as well as a push up the middle. I believe without a franchise QB worth the pick here, Pete Carroll will continue to build his defense with the best available player. It's very possible that Ingram won't be here at #17 but the way this scenario has unfolded he slides a bit.
18. San Diego Chargers - Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
This is a tough pick for me. It seems there's a real debate that starts after the top 15 or so guys are off the board. This is the point where teams start to reach 10 or spots for guys that fill needs. And that's exactly what is going to happen here. With the retirement of Dielman, the unknown with Mcneil, and the less than impressive performance of Clary, the Chargers need help on the offensive line. If they want Rivers to return to form, the answer is pretty simple: keep him on his feet. The key is going to be identifying exactly where that help is going to be needed. The reason Glenn is such a perfect for the Chargers is because of his size. While he's a natural guard, he's also 6'5 346 lbs. with good feet. That size and mobility gives him the ability to potentially play RT for this team on a temporary basis or slide right in for Dielman at the guard position. That versatility makes the slight reach (probably 10 spots) well worth it.
19. St. Louis Rams (from Bears) - Mark Barron, S, Alabama
With all the trading back the Rams have done, they end up in a position to take a number of players here that would fit their needs. Their biggest needs heading into the draft are going to be: OT, WR, CB, SS, and OLB. I truly believe there is a player at each of those positions that would make sense for the Rams. However, in the end they must lean towards best player available first and then look to need second. In this case, the safety position isn't as big of a need as OT, WR, or CB but Barron is easily the best player available and he does fit a position of lesser need with the Rams.
St. Louis would be making a huge mistake if they pull off all of these trades, acquire a war chest of picks, and then begin reaching for players that fit needs. They have plenty of picks in the first three rounds of this draft where they can address needs. These first 2 or 3 picks should be made on best available player. Barron has a chance to become a major impact defender in the back end of the defense. Plus, as mentioned with other Alabama defenders, playing for Nick Saban's defense makes him as NFL ready as any other player in this draft.
20. Detroit Lions (Lions trade pick #23 and pick #87 to the Titans for pick #20) - Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Lions have two glaring needs heading into this offseason: OT and CB. And they have spent the past 3 drafts building their team with the best player available strategy. That won't change this year. However, they have also shown they are willing to jump up to take guys they feel will make an impact. In this instance the Titans know they can get their guy at #22 so this is a no brainer for them. For the Lions, they must jump in front of the Bengals if they want a shot at Kirkpatrick so giving up a 3rd Rounder for him is not a huge price to pay.
Fitzpatrick is sliding down draft boards due mostly to his "measurables" and not necessarily for his film. Kirkpatrick looks like an NFL ready CB on film but his arms are a little short and he lacks top end speed. Anyone who takes him in the 15+ range is getting great value. The Lions cornerback situation is in desperate need of an overhaul and Fitzpatrick would be a great place to start. Much like the Cowboys, I can see the Lions signing a top defensive back (perhaps Finnegan reuniting with Schwartz) and drafting another. A defensive backfield with Finnegan as the #1, Fitzpatrick as the #2, and Houston as the Nickel would make a DRASTIC difference for a pathetic pass defense.
21. New England Patriots (Bengals trade pick #21 to the Patriots for pick #31 and pick #49) - Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
The Patriots have shown an aptitude to move on draft day, we're just used to them moving back to stockpile picks. This year they decide to move up 10 spots by trading 2 of their picks in the top 50. The Bengals don't have a player they feel comfortable with at this spot, so they slide back 10 picks and add a 2nd rounder.
Let me first say that I don't like combine warriors either! Guys that go from 3rd round picks to first round picks based on their combine performance (Darius Heyward-Bey) almost never work out. However, there are a couple factors that make this guy different: One, this is a guy who has always been a second round guy so it's like he was a late round grade heading to the combine. And two, when a man that big runs that fast and shows that much agility, you pay attention. The knock on him was he didn't always dominate and consistent effort was a question. Well you've pretty much described every dominate DT in the NFL; including his new teammate Vince Wilfork. I think they will move back to a more traditional 3-4 defense and Poe gives them the versatility and flexibility on the defensive line. Right now their personnel favors a 4-3 defense. However, if you are able to acquire Poe you can now slide Wilfork out to the 3-4 DE position at times or slide Poe out to the 3-4 DE position at times while the other plays NT.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Browns who got it from Falcons) Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
It's becoming increasingly clear that Brandon Lloyd will not be back with the team which would propel the wide receiver position to the top of the wish list for the Rams. But it also may be likely that one of the top Free Agent receivers would love to play indoors in St. Louis with a good young QB in Bradford. Either way, receiver is going to be a need; how big of a need is dependent on how free agency goes. Kendall Wright is an upgrade over anyone they currently have on their roster and would finally give Bradford a legitimate weapon outside of the numbers. If the Rams were able to land one of the big name FA wide receivers, like a Vincent Jackson, and draft a guy like Kendall Wright, their WR core would instantly go from weakness to strength.
23. Tennessee Titans (from Detroit) - Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
After sliding back a few spots and picking up an extra 3rd Round pick, the Titans end up with a pick that hasn't changed since my original mock and with good reason. You have a pricey running back that underperformed greatly this season and a head coach that mostly blames the offensive line for the shortcoming. Konz would be a major upgrade on that interior line and give that O-Line a leader for years to come. Coming from a Wisconsin program that has a history of producing productive O-Lineman, you can expect the Titans to start him from day one.
24. Pittsburg Steelers - Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
Hightower just looks and plays like a Pittsburgh Steeler football player. He was the leader on Alabama's defense that is full of NFL talent and did it by example. Saban will tell you that this two-time captain is a hard worker who also happens to possess the physical tools it requires to be successful. This pick would be huge for that Steelers defense. Pairing him alongside Timmons would give the middle of that defense a nasty duo of linebackers. They may also take a look at Adams at this spot but in the end they take an impact defender.
25. Denver Broncos - Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
The Broncos have a lot of needs on both sides of the football heading into the offseason. However, it's so hard to determine what type of offensive needs they have because of their unique offense and subsequent quarterback situation. He requires different types of offensive personnel and a suffocating defense. In order to ensure a repeat performance by their defense, they must get an impact defensive tackle. Fortunately for them, this area of the draft is going to have plenty of them available. Cox starts from day one with whoever they decide to re-sign or put next to him.
26. Houston Texans - Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
The Texans could really use a #2 receiving threat behind Andre Johnson that would allow Walter to play the slot and use Jones in a hybrid role. Jeffery was once thought of as a top 10 WR but his stock has fallen significantly. In fact, some have him going in the mid-second round. I personally think he's a great value for the Texans here at #26. When Jeffery has solid QB play in 2010, he was widely considered a better receiver than Blackmon and Floyd. Then last year rolls around and the starting QB is booted and he's left with an unproductive replacement. The Texans getting him in this spot gives them one of the best sets of weapons in all of the NFL: Johnson, Foster, Jeffery, and Daniels would be a very good foursome of weapons for Schaub.
27. New England Patriots - Devon Still, DT/DE, Penn State
The Patriots would be wise to keep their two late first round picks and spend them both upgrading their defensive front seven. What was once a strength for the team when they began their run of Super Bowls, has now become a weakness and a talent infusion is needed. A switch to the 3-4 defense would allow for Wilfork, Poe, and Still to start on the line with Carter, Mayo, Spikes, and Ninkovich at the LB position. All of a sudden that front seven is looking pretty good once again. The only question marks in this scenario would be whether Carter and Ninkovich could provide enough heat off the corners; the middle would be on lock down.
28. Green Bay Packers - Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
The Packers seem to have their organization primed to make a number of super bowl runs over the next few years. However, they must restore the pass-rush that led them to the Super Bowl 2 years ago. We all know how dominant Clay Matthews has become; but without a legitimate threat opposite of him teams have been able to constantly chip and double-team his side of the field. Perry would give them another edge rusher opposite of Matthews to disrupt plays in the backfield.
29. Baltimore Ravens - Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
The Ravens are going to need an OLB/Edge Rusher who they can pair with Suggs to wreak havoc from both sides of their defense. Mercilus is the perfect fit for this defense. He's a former college DE who is big enough to help in the run but really will be asked to get after the QB and play RB's and TE's in space.
30. San Francisco 49ers - Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
This guy had a ton of production in college and did it without a top-flight quarterback throwing him the ball. He caught 115 balls in 2011 and that kind of production is hard to ignore. San Francisco has a dominating defense and a ball-control offense but the addition of Sanu would give the 49ers 3 legitimate weapons in the passing game: Crabtree as the #1, Sanu as the #2, and Davis at TE. Williams could be the third receiver with Ginn playing a hybrid role. Sanu is the reliable #2 wide receiver that the 49ers have been looking for since they drafted Crabtree.
31. Cincinnati Bengals (from Patriots) - Alfonzo Denard, CB, Nebraska
The Bengals were left in a tough spot at #21. After getting the best RB by far in this draft with their pick, they would love to have a shot at two guys with their second pick in the first round: Janoris Jenkins or Cordy Glenn. Well as you can see in this scenario they missed out on both. So now it becomes a debate in that war room over reaching to fill need versus best player available. In the end they trade down and grab a CB that has good value here at the end of the first round but would have been a bit of a reach if they took him at #21. Denard can be a very good #2 CB. You can slowly work Denard into the mix next season at the Nickel position and at some point slide him in beside Hall to form a very good cornerback tandem.
32. New York Giants - Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
The Giants made their way to the Super Bowl behind the arm of Eli Manning and the receiving ability of Victor Cruz. Their ground game was almost non-existent during their Super Bowl run and it worked out just fine. However, Coughlin wants to establish a consistent ground game and with Bradshaw's injury history and Jacobs rocky relationship with Coughlin along with him having to take a major pay cut, it's time to bring in a third capable back. And Miller is a solid prospect that at the very least can be a 5-8 carry alternative to Bradshaw and at best can split carries evenly with Bradshaw.
33. Indianapolis Colts - Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
The Colts are going to have their choice of a number of solid value picks here at the top of the 2nd Round. Most of the value left at this spot resides in the defensive line. The Colts have several defensive tackles as well as a defensive end that would upgrade the defense. In the end, the Colts take the DT I have rated highest at this point. Thompson and Jones will be considered but in the end, Worthy is the pick.
34. St. Louis Rams (from Browns) - Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
With the Rams crafty dealings they end up with 4 picks in the top 36 and they are able to take best player available in the first three spots while filling needs. The OT class goes in three distinct tiers as far as guys with grades that put them in the first 3 rounds: The big 3 (Kalil, Reiff, Martin), the high upside/yet to reach potential 1 (Adams) and then everyone else. The Rams know that and they take a guy here that has a realistic shot of starting at LT in their first game next year. If he works out as the LT and Smith settles in at RT, Bradford has a much better chance to have a bounce back season. At this point in the draft the Rams have taken 3 probable starters that all fill a significant need all while sticking very closely to the best player available strategy.
35. Minnesota Vikings - Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
The Vikings shored up their biggest need in Round One and that allows them to focus on best player available that fits their lesser needs. Brown needs to bulk up a bit but he is a speedster on the outside that will give this Vikings defense a much needed speed infusion.
36. St. Louis Rams - Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
The Rams continue their best player available strategy here with Thompson. Thompson is a borderline first round talent that showed good strength and athletic ability at the combine; and that performance gives him the nod here over Reyes as the next DT off the board. If you take out the RB and TE positions, Thompson is certainly in the three best available category. The Rams were 31st against the run last year giving up over 152 yards a game. Obviously, they need some help in the middle of that D-Line. Thompson will at minimum be in the rotation at DT and more than likely becomes a full-time starter from day one.
37. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
Tampa Bay was able to land the top cover corner in this year's draft class with their first pick. With their second pick they snag a hard hitting safety in the John Lynch mode that can help in run support and not be a liability in coverage. With the addition of Claiborne and Smith, Tampa Bay gets a lot younger and more talented at the back end of that defense.
38. Washington Redskins - Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
You know someone is going to fall in love with his combination of size and speed. The guy is 6'4, 210 lbs. and ran a sub 4.4 at the combine; that's impressive. What's not impressive is his game film because there is very little of it. He played in an option system so the tape that's out there isn't even against traditional defense so it's impossible to tell how he'll translate into the NFL. However, the Redskins are banking on the fact that you can't teach height or speed and he has both.
39. Jacksonville Jaguars - Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
The Jaguars need a WR is the worst way. If they expect Gabbert to have any chance at all, they need to get him a WR or two they can team up with Thomas. They will think long and hard in the first round about taking Floyd at the #7 spot but in the end they bolster D in first round, grab very solid #2 type of receiver in Randle here in the second round.
40. Miami Dolphins - Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
The Dolphins are likely to switch to a 4-3 defense and they are going to need to find personnel that fits that defensive scheme. Branch has the size that makes him a great fit for the 4-3 DE position. However, even if they decide to stick to the 3-4, he has the versatility to play the OLB/Edge Rusher position.
41. Carolina Panthers - Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana
Carolina should spend the majority of this draft upgrading their defense. In round one they shore up the middle of that defensive line and here they take a very intriguing CB prospect who I feel has a very good chance of becoming an above-average #2 CB in the NFL. He has the size at 6'2 to defend some of the taller receivers in the league.
42. Buffalo Bills - Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
The Bills are in desperate need of a pass rush regardless of whether they play a 3-4 or 4-3. I believe in the 4-3 defense, Jones would make a nice fit off the edge for the Bills and they must address this need early.
43. Kansas City Chiefs - Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
The Chiefs are going to be conflicted here. They have some needs they could be addressed here but in the end they lean towards best player available and get good value in Fleener here. Moeaki is coming off injury and Pope/Becht are less than impressive as backups. Fleener and Moeaki would allow them to go to two TE's with Baldwin and Bowe on the outside for more of a power look. Fleener's draft stock is going to hinge on how he runs at his pro day. At worst he's a mid-second pick and at best he vaults himself into the late first round conversation.
44. Seattle Seahawks - Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
The Seahawks understand that they are not going to get Griffin or Luck in this draft but they can take an intriguing prospect like Osweiler as a backup to Jackson. In his first year, they will get a good look at him to decide if he has franchise QB type of skills. As long as they feel there's a chance he can become a franchise type of guy, they have to take him here.
45. Philadelphia Eagles (from Arizona) - Ronnell Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma
The Eagles spend their second pick of this draft on another LB that will step in from day one and start. Bringing in 2 or 3 talented linebackers that can compete for starting roles is a must for the Eagles. These first 2 picks fit that bill; and there will be little competition, they will start.
46. Dallas Cowboys - Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
This is not a flashy pick by Cowboys standards but it's a necessary one. They need some talent on the interior of that offensive line and Zeitler is one of those guys who may never be a top 5 guard in the NFL but he will be a solid starter for 10+ years. He comes from an offensive linemen factory in Wisconsin and can help that line immediately.
47. Philadelphia Eagles - Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska
Now this may seem a little far-fetched: three linebackers with their first three picks? Absolutely! They have absolutely no starting-caliber LB's on their roster right now. If they are able to land these three guys with their first three picks, they would potentially have three. David is an undersized former safety but his film is impressive and he showed well at the combine. The strength of Kuechly and Lewis's game is stopping the run while Lewis (with his safety skills) is impressive playing in space; they would make for a dynamic corps of LB's.
48. New York Jets - Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin
I still really like this pick for the Jets. They absolutely have a need at the WR position and this kid would step in from the first day of camp and be the #2 WR behind Holmes. Also, Holmes could learn a little bit from this kid whose dad happened to also be a Wisconsin receiver that played for the Jets.
49. Cincinnati Bengals (from Patriots who got it from Raiders) - Kelechi Osemele, OG, Iowa State
The Bengals have traded up once in this draft and traded down once in this draft; the end result is the same amount of picks this year but they gain an impact RB and two other potential starters including Osemele here. The Bengals offensive line played fairly well this past season but the interior line could see/use some change. Osemele is a mammouth OG in the mold of Carl Nicks (6'6 333lbs.) and he moves well for his size. He also has the versatility to play tackle so he also provides great depth for the line.
50. San Diego Chargers - Vinny Curry, OLB/Edge Rusher, Marshall
The Chargers have lacked a legit playmaker off the edge since Merriman left. They must consider taking a pass rusher with one of their first two picks. Since the retirement of Dielman greatly increased the urgency for an offensive lineman, they went that direction in round one. Here in round two they must focus in on pass rushers.
51. St. Louis Rams (from Chicago) - Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
The Rams continue their outstanding draft by taking one of the best available players who happens to again fit a significant need for the team. Gilmore may not be as close to NFL ready starter as the first four picks but he will certainly be in the mix (depending on free agency) for that #2 CB spot and at the very least be a very good Nickel back option. Has the chance to develop into a very good #2 CB within a season or two.
52. Tennessee Titans - Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State
The Titans should focus their draft on two main areas: interior offensive line and defensive backfield. If one of the second round grade interior linemen would fall down here (Zeitler or Osemele), they may lean that direction to really shore up that interior line.
53. Seattle Seahawks (from Bengals) - Lamichael James, RB, Oregon
This pick is more of a hunch than anything else. With Lynch now firmly entrenched as the starting RB for the next few years, backup RB's Forsett and Washington have yet to prove they can be the compliment to Lynch that is needed. Enter James who is an explosive scat-back that would make a perfect match with Lynch's downhill, bruising style. Not to mention he was a college superstar in the Northwest at Oregon and comes from the Pac-12 where Pete Carroll has people telling him how explosive James can be.
54. Atlanta Falcons - Orson Charles, TE, Georgia
After trading away their first round pick to move up last year to take Julio Jones, the Falcons make their first pick of this draft here at #54. They are going to be in a tough position because their biggest needs don't match best available. In the end, I believe they lean towards the top player on their board (happens to be a Georgia Bulldog) and draft a guy that can be groomed by Gonzalez into his eventual replacement. And can form a very solid 1-2 pass catching duo at TE for the Falcons.
55. Detroit Lions - Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State
The Lions keep their focus on their two areas of concern heading into the draft: defensive backfield and offensive line. I'm operating under the assumption that the Lions bring back Stephen Tulloch and Jeff Backus (obviously Avril is coming back after being tagged). Even with Backus coming back the Lions need to bring in some young talent on that offensive line and begin thinking of who can take over in the near future. Sanders can easily turn himself into a starting caliber offensive lineman in a relatively short amount of time.
56. Pittsburg Steelers - Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Washington
The Steelers are about to have a lot of money tied up on the offensive side of the football and as a result they must find younger, cheaper options on the defensive side of the football. Ta'amu has the ability to start from day one at NT if necessary.
57. Denver Broncos - David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
Wilson is another RB who slides down to the late second round not because of a lack of talent but rather the breaks of the position these days in the NFL. Regardless, the Broncos get themselves great value with Wilson at the end of the second round.
58. Houston Texans - Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia
The Texans did an unbelievable job of turning around a defense that 2 years ago was awful. They were a disruptive, stifling defense at times and they did without their best player for half of the season. I'm going to assume they will find a way to bring back Mario Williams. As a result of that, they are able to focus on adding talent and depth to the defensive backfield. Minnifield is the son of a former NFL CB and has the potential to become a very solid starting CB.
59. New Orleans Saints - Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
Who knows if the Saints will even be allowed to keep this pick once the Commissioner makes his ruling. Nonetheless, I will operate under the assumption that they will make this pick and spend it on the best available defensive lineman. That player at this point is Reyes.
60. Green Bay Packers - Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
The Packers got exposed a little bit on the defensive side of the football towards the end of last year. They must spend the top of their draft upgrading several positions. And I believe that's exactly what they'll do.
61. Baltimore Ravens - Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
With no more Ricky Williams backing up Ray Rice, the Ravens must find a cheaper backup alternative that will help offset the money being used to keep Rice in town. Martin is good value here.
62. San Francisco 49ers - James Brown, OG, Troy
San Francisco is a team that absolutely must be able to run the football consistently and the offensive line is the number one factor in determining the success of their ground game. Adding some youth and talent to the interior line would go a long way towards ensuring continued success.
63. New England Patriots - Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Patriots continue their defensive haul by adding more talent to the defensive backfield. After upgrading their front seven significantly with their first 2 picks, they add a talented CB to the mix in the back four.
64. New York Giants - Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
The Giants end up getting some great value here at the end of the second round. Allen has the potential to be a high-caliber TE in the NFL and certainly become a big-time red zone option. However, a sub-par performance at the combine pushes him down the boards.
65. Indianapolis Colts - Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest
66. St. Louis Rams - Sean Spence, OLB, Miami
67. Minnesota Vikings - Bobby Wagner, ILB, Utah State
68. St. Louis Rams (from Cleveland) - Ben Jones, G/C, Georgia
69. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati
70. Washington Redskins - Bobby Massie, OT, Mississippi
71. Jacksonville Jaguars - Dwight Bentley, CB, Louisiana-Lafayette
72. Miami Dolphins - Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas
73. St. Louis Rams (from Chicago who got it from Carolina) - Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State
74. Buffalo Bills - Jonathan Massaquoi, OLB/Edge Rusher, Troy
75. Kansas City Chiefs - Mitchell Schwartz, OT, California
76. Seattle Seahawks - Mychal Kendricks, ILB, California
77. Arizona Cardinals - Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern State
78. Dallas Cowboys - Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State
79. Philadelphia Eagles - Brandon Taylor, S, LSU
80. New York Jets - Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
81. Oakland Raiders (pick used on Pryor)
82. San Diego Chargers - Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska
83. Chicago Bears - Jeff Allen, OG, Illinois
84. Tennessee Titans - Tyrone Crawford, DE, Boise State
85. Cincinnati Bengals - Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas
86. Atlanta Falcons - Cam Johnson, DE, Virginia
87. Tennessee Titans (from Lions) - Ron Brooks, CB, LSU
88. Pittsburg Steelers - Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina
89. Denver Broncos - Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
90. Houston Texans - Billy Winn, DE/DT, Boise State
91. New Orleans Saints - Nigel Bradham, OLB, Florida State
92. Green Bay Packers - Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
93. Baltimore Ravens - Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State
What a perfect fit this would be. Burfict has been the center of a great deal of controversy at the combine because of character questions, anger issues, and immaturity problems; does that sound like anyone else early in their career? Ray Lewis fought similar demons early in his career. However, he has seemingly overcome those issues to become one of the most productive linebackers in NFL history as well as one of the greatest leaders of men this league has ever seen. Whether you personally like him or not, he has an uncanny ability to inspire others. What better person to help this young man channel his aggression and talent into a long, productive career than a man who has been through the same situation. Besides, if Burfict gets out of line Ray Lewis still has the ability to put the fear of God into any human being he wishes. If there's one locker room in the NFL that can straighten out Burfict it is Baltimore.
94. San Francisco 49ers - Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt
95. New England Patriots - Bruce Irvin, OLB/Edge Rusher, West Virginia
96. New York Giants - Brandon Mosley, OT, Auburn