17. New England Patriots – Cameron Jordan, DE, California
It’s sad for me to see Cameron Jordan fall this far. He’s an elite 3-4 defensive end who should have a nice productive career similar to Trevor Pryce. He’s got a lot of experience in the 3-4 defensive scheme playing at Cal, so he ought to be able to step in to play day 1. I do think New England will trade up, so this pick might be a quarterback for whomever they trade down with. I would guess they’ll use a 2nd round or a couple later round picks to move up and just keep this pick to get their choice of defensive end prospects to replace Richard Seymour.
18. San Diego Chargers – J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
This is probably a little low for Watt. He’s a good talent and productive throughout his college career. He’s another blue-collar guy who works had without the elite physical talents. He won’t make mistakes on the field though. I think San Diego will address their front seven heavily in this draft. With the best defensive ends in the top of the draft, it’ll come down to a pass rushing linebacker or a five technique defensive end.
19. New York Giants – Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
The Giants have made little secret that they’re looking to get more physical in the trenches. They’ve got a good group of defensive linemen, but always seem an elite defensive tackle away from a complete line. On the offensive line, they’ve held the same group for several years, but age has worn away some of the talent there. They’ve spent a few picks on it but they’ll jump on the best guy available. Pouncey is the best pick for them, but if he continues to climb Castonzo’s a good fall back.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Justin Houston, DE, Georgia
The Bucs will most likely target the best defensive end on the board at this spot. A lot of reports have them enamored with Aldon Smith, but the odds seem against them finding him at 20. I don’t see a lot of potential for them to trade with a quarterback hungry team here, but their GM has been talking up the number of quarterbacks that will go in round one, so it appears they’re trying to draw some interest from those teams looking for a late 1st quarterback.
21. Kansas City Chiefs – Gabe Camiri, OT, Wisconsin
The Chiefs have a couple of places they could look with this pick. Nose tackle “Land” Phil Taylor is on the board and would only be a mild reach here, as well as some stout defensive ends for their 3-4 scheme (Tyson Jackson appears to need to be replaced). They’ll look towards their offense however, having spent so many picks on defense the last few years. Branden Albert is their left tackle, but he would shine as a LG and with Camiri on his wing the should feature a running game like they used to have with Larry Johnson in his prime.
22. Indianapolis Colts – Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
The Colts seem set on signing Peyton for a couple more wonder years and you can’t blame them, he’s earned the right to leave them when he wants to. Still, he’s 35 and as healthy as he’s been, there is potential for a season to derail should he take a couple bad blows. Their line has become suspect and they need to retool it. The Colts have also been kicking the tires on a couple late first – 2nd round prospects (Andy Dalton, Kaepernick to name a few). They could be looking to begin grooming a replacement, and this would be the best time to start (ie like Aaron Rodgers of a few years back), but I think they have more pressing needs than a quarterback round 1.
23. Philadelphia Eagles – Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
The Eagles might just be desperate enough at corner to take a fly at Jimmy Smith. He’s not handled the red flag issues around him well, but his talent is incredible. He might be the next Pacman Jones, in both cases. The Eagles might also look offensive line or defensive line if the values right. There’s the distinct possibility that they’ll move down or up with New England (who they’ve trade a pick with every draft since Bilichek came to New England), or some other team that’s looking for some value at this spot – Philly is a big mover on draft day.
24. New Orleans Saints – Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
The Saints need to start addressing their defensive line. Greg Williams can blitz with the best of them, but he’d have an easier time of it if he could just send four. That being said they also need run support help. Whichever has more value for them here will be their pick and as things shape out, Liuget is here for the taking. He’ll be a nice 1-2 with Sedrick Ellis similar to how the Vikings have run Kevin and Pat Williams for several years (sadly they won’t have the awesomeness of the dual names for extra cred).
25. Seattle Seahawks – Muhammed Wilkerson, DT, Temple
The Seahawks are a quarterback option here as they struggled to resign Hasselback before the Lockout and are not guaranteed bringing him in after. I think they’ll get him under contract, which makes their quarterback need less pressing, and means they can look towards some other weaknesses (secondary and defensive line) first.
26. Baltimore Ravens – Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
Personally I’m not a fan of this pick, but the rumors are flying that Heyward is the man the Ravens covet. Several outlets have reported that if he’s available here, they will take him. I like a Brandon Harris (cornerback) or Akeem Ayers (linebacker) if they’re here, but as Ravens fans are want to say – “In Ozzie We Trust”.
27. Atlanta Falcons – Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
Another pick I don’t have a good feel on. They’ve done a good job hiding their interest. I do know they need a play maker to compliment Roddy White, and Torrey Smith fits the bill. He’s also a Mike Smith kind of player – hard-working. Other options could be Kyle Rudolph (tight end) or Brooks Reed (Defensive end), both of which fill some important needs.
28. New England Patriots – Akeem Ayers, DE, UCLA
I really can’t see a way the Patriots hang on to this selection. With so many teams trying to get a quarterback, and the consensus that there’ll be a short run on them late in the 1st, any pick between 26 and 33 are viable trade places. The Pats happen to have two of them (28 and 33). Some team will be duped by the draft day trade master and move up to select a Kaepernick, Dalton, Mallett, Ponder, etc, etc. But for the sake of this mock draft, we’ll have the Patriots addressing a big need on defense, pass rush. Ayers is a great rush linebacker, who already has experience dropping into coverage.
29. Chicago Bears – Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
The Bears won’t get a ready to play tackle, but with a little work, Solder has the highest upside of the offensive tackles in this class. He’s got prototypical size and decent quickness, but needs to stop defenders from getting into his body. If they can groom him he’ll be a great asset to Cutler down the road. I don’t see too many other options here for them, their line simply has to be addressed.
30. New York Jets – Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona
The Jets like Ayers and Reed and both have a shot at slipping to 30. The Jets pass rush consists of the mind of Rex Ryan and the ways he can get his players free strikes at the quarterback. If he can’t do that, it seems like no one can win a 1 v 1 battle. Reed shouldn’t have that problem. Other areas to address might be Wide receiver (if they lose Holmes or Edwards), Defensive end (they could use an upgrade to Trevor Pryce), or defensive tackle (they recently cut Kris Jenkins so “Land” Phil Taylor could work).
31. Pittsburgh Steelers – Aaron Williams CB/FS, Texas
The Steelers tend to avoid 1st round corners, but if they have the fallback option of getting a safety, it looks like a smart play. Williams will get a shot with Lebeau to play corner, but could replace Ryan Clark if he can’t hang with the wideouts on the line of scrimmage. They may also look towards Defensive line or Offensive line, where both units need some fresh blood.
32. Green Bay Packers – Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
If Ingram falls this far the Packers should take him. They’ve lacked a dominant running game for a while, and he’d be perfect for those late season games in the wind and snow. He’s a power house runner-up the middle and they can split him with their present corp of running back (I’ll just assume at least 1 is injured). They might also continue to bolster their offensive line, or snag wide receiver or linebacker if the value is there.
There you are, feel free to tear me a new one.