Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Grades: The Joey Harrington Project

Grading Scale:

A = Tremendous value for players who should make an immediate impact.
B = Good value for players who will immediately play a solid role.
C = Decent players who should contribute.
D = Players of questionable value, ability, character, or fit for team's system.
E = Tremendous reach for a players of questionable ability.


Arizona Cardinals

1 (13) Michael Floyd, wr, Notre Dame; 3 (80) Jamell Fleming, db, Oklahoma; 4 (112) Bobby Massie, ot, Mississippi; 5 (151) Senio Kelemete, g, Washington; 6 (177) Justin Bethel, db, Presbyterian; 6 (185) Ryan Lindley, qb, San Diego State; 7 (221) Nate Potter, ot, Boise State.

Comment: The Cardinals grabbed a receiver to play opposite Larry Fitzgerald in Michael Floyd, although for a first round pick he wasn't much of a game changer in college. Fortunately, after passing on a tackle in the 1st round, the Cardinals were able to land Bobby Massie as a bargain in the 3rd. While he may not be able to initially supplant Levi Brown at LT, he should stabilize the right side.

Grade: B-

Atlanta Falcons

2 (55) Peter Konz, g, Wisconsin; 3 (91) Lamar Holmes, ot, Southern Miss; 5 (157) Bradie Ewing, rb, Wisconsin; 5 (164) Jonathan Massaquoi, de, Troy; 6 (192) Charles Mitchell, db, Mississippi State; 7 (249) Travian Robertson, NT, South Carolina.

Comment: The Falcons were playing short-handed in this year's draft after trading their first round pick away last year in the Julio Jones trade. While they received great value at a position of need in 2nd round pick Peter Konz, they did little in the later rounds to help their team.

Grade: D+

Carolina Panthers

1 (9) Luke Kuechly, lb, Boston College; 2 (40) Amini Silatolu, g, Midwestern State; 4 (103) Frank Alexander, de, Oklahoma; 4 (104) Joe Adams, wr, Arkansas; 5 (143) Josh Norman, db, Coastal Carolina; 6 (207) Brad Nortman, p, Wisconsin; 7 (216) D.J. Campbell, db, California.

Comment: Carolina may not have directly addressed their needs at DE and DT, but they landed potential future stars in LB Luke Kuechly and G Amini Silatolu. Additionally, Josh Norman should immediately be an impact player in the return game, while Josh Norman could develop into a reliable corner.

Grade: A-

Chicago Bears

1 (19) Shea McClellin, de, Boise State; 2 (45) Alshon Jeffery, wr, South Carolina; 3 (79) Brandon Hardin, db, Oregon State; 4 (111) Evan Rodriguez, te, Temple; 6 (184) Isaiah Frey, db, Nevada; 7 (220) Greg McCoy, db, TCU.

Comment: I like Shea McClellin, just not as a DE in a 4-3 scheme. Apparently new GM Phil Emery doesn't realize that the Bears run a very traditional 4-3 defensive set. Alshon Jeffery went at about the right spot in the 2nd round, and gives the Bears a much needed receiver to play opposite Brandon Marshall. That should allow Devin Hester to move to more of a flanker back role in the next season or two. Unfortunately, the rest of their draft added little value.

Grade: B-

Dallas Cowboys

1 (6), Morris Claiborne, db, LSU; 3 (81) Tyrone Crawford, de, Boise State; 4 (113) Kyle Wilber, de, Wake Forest; 4 (135) Matt Johnson, db, Eastern Washington; 5 (152) Danny Coale, wr, Virginia Tech; 6 (186) James Hanna, te, Oklahoma; 7 (222) Caleb McSurdy, lb, Montana.

Comment: I love the deal to trade up for Morris Claiboren. Only 3 or 4 corners drafted in the first round since 2007 have become impact players, and you usually know who they are coming in. Claiborne is destined to become the next in that line. Unfortunately, the Cowboys draft after Claiborne was questionable at best. Tyrone Crawford was a reach in the 3rd round, and may not even be match for the Cowboy's 3-4 system.

Grade: B-

Detroit Lions

1 (23) Riley Reiff, ot, Iowa; 2 (54) Ryan Broyles, wr, Oklahoma; 3 (85) Dwight Bentley, db, Louisiana-Lafayette; 4 (125) Ronnell Lewis, de, Oklahoma; 5 (138) Tahir Whitehead, lb, Temple; 5 (148) Chris Greenwood, db, Albion; 6 (196) Jonte Green, db, New Mexico State; 7 (223) Travis Lewis, lb, Oklahoma.

Comment: The Lions filled a huge need at LT when Riley Reiff unexpectedly fell to them at #23. WR Ryan Broyles was a reach in the 2nd round when the Lions desperately needed a corner. However, they filled that position with quantity lead by Dwight Bentley, who could compete with Stephon Gilmore and Dre Kirkpatrick as the 2nd best corner to come out of this year's draft class. Ronnell "The Hammer" Lewis should play an immediate role on special teams and move in to the Lions DE rotation next year.

Grade: B

The Lions have minimized their busts like "Joey Blue-skies" Harrington after firing Matt Millen

Green Bay Packers

1 (28) Nick Perry, lb, Southern Cal; 2 (51) Jerel Worthy, de, Michigan State; 2 (62) Casey Hayward, db, Vanderbilt; 4 (132) Mike Daniels, de, Iowa; 4 (133) Jerron McMillian, db, Maine; 5 (163) Terrell Manning, lb, N.C. State; 7 (241) Andrew Datko, ot, Florida State; 7 (243) B.J. Coleman, qb. Chattanooga.

Comment: The Packers addressed two huge needs with players that weren't expected to be available when they were selected. Nick Perry is a rush threat from the OLB position in the 3-4 scheme who was expected to go in the top 20 picks. Jerel Worthy will be a disruptive force from the DE position in Green Bay's 3-4 defense who was expected to go in the first round. Throw in Vanderbilt Cb Casey Hayward along with strong armed and ultra competitive QB B.J. Coleman from UT-Chattanooga, and Green Bay added some depth with upside at key positions..

Grade: A-

Minnesota Vikings

1 (4) Matt Kalil, ot, Southern Cal; 1 (29) Harrison Smith, db, Notre Dame; 3 (66) Josh Robinson, db, UCF; 4 (118) Jarius Wright, wr, Arkansas; 4 (128) Rhett Ellison, te, Southern Cal; 4 (134) Greg Childs, wr, Arkansas; 5 (139) Robert Blanton, db, Notre Dame; 6 (175) Blair Walsh, k, Georgia; 7 (210) Audie Cole, lb, N.C. State; 7 (219) Trevor Guyton, dt, California.

Comment: I've got to give Rick Speilman props. After doing very little in his NFL front office career, he put the #3 pick up for bid knowing that Tampa and Cleveland were both competing for Alabama RB Trent Richardson...Okay, I don't think Speilman was actually smart enough to realize that Tampa and Cleveland were competing for Richardson considering he kept feigning interest in LSU CB Morris Claiborne, but he ended up getting lucky. Harrison Smith was a bit of a reach to trade up into the first round for considering that they could have drafted the #1 receiver they needed in Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill instead. Josh Robinson was a solid pick in the 3rd round.

Grade: B

New Orleans Saints

2 Forfeited; 3 (89) Akiem Hicks, dt, Regina (Canada); 4 (122) Nick Toon, wr, Wisconsin; 5 (162) Corey White, db, Samford; 6 (179) Andrew Tiller, g, Syracuse; 7 (234) Marcel Jones, ot, Nebraska.

Comment: The Saints foolishly parted with their first round pick for slow RB Mark Ingram in last year's draft, which was a negative draft grade that keeps on giving. They also lost their second round pick as a result of "Bounty-Gate." Akiem Hicks of Regina (Canada) is a boom or bust pick, and Nick Toon's best case hope is to fill the role of WR Devery Henderson several years down the line.

Grade: D

N.Y. Giants

1 (32) David Wilson, rb, Virginia Tech; 2 (63) Rueben Randle, wr, LSU; 3 (94) Jayron Hosley, db, Virginia Tech; 4 (127) Andrien Robinson, te, Cincinnati; 4 (131) Brandon Mosley, ot, Auburn; 6 (201) Matt McCants, ot, UAB; 7 (239) Markus Kuhn, dt, N.C. State.

Comment: The Giants replaced Brandon Jacobs at RB, Mario Manningham at WR, and Aaron Ross at CB. I guess that means they broke even since last year. Coming off of a Super Bowl, that's pretty good. 

Grade: B-

Philadelphia Eagles

1 (12) Fletcher Cox, dt, Mississippi State; 2 (46) Mychal Kendricks, lb, California; 2 (59) Vinny Curry, de, Marshall; 3 (88) Nick Foles, qb, Arizona; 4 (123) Brandon Boykin, db, Georgia; 5 (153) Dennis Kelly, ot, Purdue; 6 (194) Marvin McNutt, wr, Iowa; 6 (200) Brandon Washington, g, Miami; 7 (229) Bryce Brown, rb, Kansas State.

Comment: The Eagles didn't have many needs, but they upgraded at several positions. Fletcher Cox is a nice addition to their DT rotation who will provide them with an added interior pass rusher. Mychal Kendricks will help solidify a weak LB corps from 2011 along with free agent signee DeMeco Ryans. Vinny Curry adds an immediate situational pass rusher ideally suited for their wide-nine scheme, while Nick Foles is a potential starter at QB down the road. On top of all that, Brandon Boykin is one of two playmakers at CB in this year's draft, and should be an immediate starter at the nickle to replace Assante Samuel. Very well done.

Grade: A+

St. Louis Rams

1 (14) Michael Brockers, dt, LSU; 2 (33) Brian Quick, wr, Appalachian State; 2 (39) Janoris Jenkins, db, North Alabama; 2 (50) Isaiah Pead, rb, Cincinnati; 3 (65) Trumaine Johnson, db, Montana; 4 (96) Chris Givens, wr, Wake Forest; 5 (150) Rokevious Watkins, g, South Carolina; 6 (171) Greg Zuerlein, k, Missouri Western; 7 (209) Aaron Brown, lb, Hawaii; 7 (252) Daryl Richardson, rb, Abilene Christian.

Comment: The Rams only had one mission in this draft, to draft Sam Bradford some impact receivers, and they failed miserably in that task. Brian Quick of Appalachian State is a developmental project at best, and was a huge reach in the 2nd round, especially with Stephen Hill still on the board. The more I watch DT Michael Brockers, the more I like him and his ability to blow up the run. Janoris Jenkins could be a good value talent wise, although he reportedly continues to smoke marijuana even after getting kicked out of the University of Florida for weed related offenses. Worse yet, he's said to have an infectious personality, making him less than ideal to bring onto a young team as a potential locker room cancer. Isaiah Peed of Cincinnati is not only an ideal compliment to RB Stephen Jackson, he should also immediately be an impact player in the return game.

Grade: C+

San Francisco 49ers

1 (30) A.J. Jenkins, wr, Illinois; 2 (61) LaMichael James, rb, Oregon; 4 (117) Joe Looney, g, Wake Forest; 5 (165) Darius Fleming, lb, Notre Dame; 6 (180) Trenton Robinson, s, Michigan State; 6 (199) Jason Slowey, ot, Western Oregon; 7 (237) Cam Johnson, lb, Virginia.

A.J. Jenkins of Illinois was a huge reach with Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech still available. LaMichael James has character issues and may not have the size to contribute on more than a situational basis like a 2nd round pick should. Trenton Robinson has great ball skills at safety, he's just not ready to tackle at the NFL level. The rest of the 49ers draft was average at best.

Grade: D+

Seattle Seahawks

1 (15) Bruce Irvin, de, West Virginia; 2 (47) Bobby Wagner, lb, Utah State; 3 (75) Russell Wilson, qb, Wisconsin; 4 (106) Robert Turbin, rb, Utah State; 4 (114) Jaye Howard, dt, Florida; 5 (154) Korey Toomer, lb, Idaho; 6 (172) Jeremy Lane, db, Northwestern State; 6 (181) Winston Guy, db, Kentucky; 7 (225) J.R. Sweezy, ot, N.C. State; 7 (232) Greg Scruggs, de, Louisville.

Comment: While Bruce Irvin was a reach, word on the street is that he would have been drafted in the mid to late first round by another team had Seattle not taken him, so I can't blame them too much if Irvin was rated as their top pass rusher. However, aside from Bobby Wagner, I don't see another player making an impact on this year's team, let alone in the long term future. Seattle GM John Schneider found some diamonds in the rough late in the draft last year, and he better do so again this year or his competency as GM is going to start to come into question, especially if Irvin doesn't immediately produce.

Grade: D-

Tampa Bay Bucanneers

1 (7) Mark Barron, db, Alabama; 1 (31) Doug Martin, rb, Boise State; 2 (58) Lavonte David, lb, Nebraska; 5 (140) Najee Goode, lb, West Virginia; 6 (174) Keith Tandy, db, West Virginia; 7 (212) Michael Smith, rb, Utah State; 7 (233) Drake Dunsmore, te, Northwestern.

Comment: While Tampa Bay got three good players and immediate starters, I think they could have played their cards better. The Bucs would have been better served giving up a third round pick and trading up for Trent Richardson (who would have been the perfect fit for new coach Greg Schiano's running attack), rather than trading back for Mark Barron, who may or may not become an impact player in the NFL. Boise St. RB Dough Martin was a questionable pick, especially when they could have used the pick they gave up to trade back into the 1st round to get him to secure the better back in Richardson. Lavonte David was a solid pick with the Bucs second pick in the 2nd round, as he should develop into an impact player at LB. 

Grade: B

Washington Redskinss

1 (2) Robert Griffin III, qb, Baylor; 3 (71) Josh LeRibeus, g, SMU; 4 (102) Kirk Cousins, qb, Michigan State; 4 (119) Keenan Robinson, lb, Texas; 5 (141) Adam Gettis, g, Iowa; 6 (173) Alfred Morris, rb, Florida Atlantic; 6 (193) Tom Compton, ot, South Dakota; 7 (213) Richard Crawford, db, SMU; 7 (217) Jordan Bernstine, db, Iowa.

Comment: The Redskins gave up the world to pick Robert Griffin, III, and it was probably the right move. They potentially got the best quarterback in the draft in terms of making bread and butter NFL throws like the deep out.  As a Michigan State fan, I think Kirk Cousins was a huge reach in the 4th round even though he was projected to go in the third round. That pick could have been used on another position of need, like safety.

Grade: B


Baltimore Ravens

2 (35) Courtney Upshaw, lb, Alabama; 2 (60) Kelechi Osemele, ot, Iowa State; 3 (84) Bernard Pierce, rb, Temple; 4 (98) Gino Gradkowski, g, Delaware; 4 (130) Christian Thompson, db, South Carolina State; 5 (169) Asa Jackson, db, Cal Poly; 6 (198) Tommy Streeter, wr, Miami; 7 (236) DeAngelo Tyson, de, Georgia.

Comment: The Ravens traded back into the 2nd round where they still landed a potential first round 3-4 LB in Courtney Upshaw. They also solidified a position of need at guard with Kelechi Osemele. However, their draft kind of fell off after that point.

Grade: B

Buffalo Bills

1 (10) Stephon Gilmore, db, South Carolina; 2 (41) Cordy Glenn, ot, Georgia; 3 (69) T.J. Graham, wr, N.C. State; 4 (105) Nigel Bradham, lb, Florida State; 4 (124) Ron Brooks, db, LSU; 5 (144) Zebrie Sanders, ot, Florida State; 5 (147) Tank Carder, lb, TCU; 6 (178) Mark Asper, g, Oregon; 7 (251) John Potter, k, Western Michigan.

Comment: Stephon Gilmore was a huge reach for the 10th pick in the 1st round, as not many first round CB's make an impact in the NFL. While Cordy Glenn was a great pick value wise in the 2nd round, Buddy Nix yet again ignored a a huge need at LT to select him. Fortunately for Nix, Zebrie Sanders fell to the Bills in the 4th round, although it may take a year or two before he's ready to protect the blindside in the NFL.

Grade: B-

Cincinnati Bengals

1 (17) Dre Kirkpatrick, db, Alabama; 1 (27) Kevin Zeitler, g, Wisconsin; 2 (53) Devon Still, dt, Penn State; 3 (83) Mohamed Sanu, wr, Rutgers; 3 (93) Brandon Thompson, dt, Clemson; 4 (116) Orson Charles, te, Georgia; 5 (156) Shaun Prater, db, Iowa; 5 (166) Marvin Jones, wr, California; 5 (167) George Iloka, db, Boise State; 6 (191) Dan Herron, rb, Ohio State.

Comment: The Bengals needed a young corner, and Kirkpatrick is a perfect match for their system. They also plugged a huge need at guard with Kevin Zeitler. The Bengals also solidified their DT position for years to come by drafting Devon Still of Penn State in the 2nd round and Brandon Thompson of Clemson of the 3rd, both of whom were at one point considered potential 1st round picks. However, my favorite pick of value was WR Mohamed Sanu of Rutgers in the 3rd round, who's the perfect possession receiver to play opposite A.J. Green.

Grade: A+

Cleveland Browns

1 (3) Trent Richardson, rb, Alabama; 1 (22) Brandon Weeden, qb, Oklahoma State; 2 (37) Mitchell Schwartz, ot, California; 3 (87) John Hughes, db, Cincinnati; 4 (100) Travis Benjamin, wr, Miami; 4 (120) James-Michael Johnson, lb, Nevada; 5 (160) Ryan Miller, ot, Colorado; 6 (204) Emmanuel Acho, lb, Texas; 6 (205) Billy Winn, dt, Boise St.; 7 (245) Trevin Wade, db, Arizona; 7 (247) Brad Smelley, rb, Alabama.

Comment: I love that the Browns cock-blocked the Bucs by trading up for Trent Richardson. However, they reached for Brandon Weeden in the second round and failed to land the go-to receiver they should have drafted in the first two rounds to complete their 2012 draft "Triplets."  None of their remaining picks appear to be difference makers, although Emmanuel Acho of Texas could develop into a nice player.

Grade: B-

Denver Broncos

2 (36) Derek Wolfe, dt, Cincinnati; 2 (57) Brock Osweiler, qb, Arizona State; 3 (67) Ronnie Hillman, rb, San Diego State; 4 (101) Omar Bolden, db, Arizona State; 4 (108) Philip Blake, c, Baylor; 5 (137) Malik Jackson, de, Tennessee; 6 (188) Danny Trevathan, lb, Kentucky.

Comment: Derek Wolfe is a high motor guy who can immediately contribute, but the Broncos would have been better served staying put at #25 and selecting Jerel Worthy. Osweiler seems to be a decent developmental project behind Peyton Manning, while Ronnie Hillman is a great value in round 3.

Grade: C

Houston Texans

1 (26) Whitney Mercilus, lb, Illinois; 3 (76) Brandon Brooks, g, Miami (Ohio); 3 (68) DeVier Posey, wr, Ohio State; 4 (99) Ben Jones, c, Georgia; 4 (121) Keshawn Martin, wr, Michigan State; 4 (126) Jared Crick, de, Nebraska; 5 (161) Randy Bullock, k, Texas A&M; 6 (195) Nick Mondek, ot, Purdue.

Comment: Whitney Mercilus was a great pick, as was C Ben Jones. DeVier Posey is no upgrade over Jacoby Jones at WR, although Keshawn Martin should immediately replace Jones adequately at KR.

Grade: B-

Indianapolis Colts

1 (1) Andrew Luck, qb, Stanford; 2 (34) Coby Fleener, te, Stanford; 3 (64) Dwayne Allen, te, Clemson; 3 (92) T.Y. Hilton, wr, FIU; 5 (136) Josh Chapman, dt, Alabama; 5 (170) Vick Ballard, rb, Mississippi State; 6 (206) Lavon Brazill, wr, Ohio; 7 (208) Justin Anderson, g, Georgia; 7 (214) Tim Fugger, lb, Vanderbilt; 7 (253) Chandler Harnish, qb, Northern Illinois.

Comment: I'm still not convinced that Andrew Luck and his unclosed mouth was the right pick over RGIII, but I don't think you can go wrong with either. The Colts have future bookends at tackle from last year's draft, plus a star receiver in Reggie Wayne returning. Giving Luck a two tight end attack in Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen provides the Colts with a cutting edge offense that should be able to exploit the NFL's smaller safeties in both the running and the passing game.

Grade: B

Jacksonville Jaguars

1 (5) Justin Blackmon, wr, Oklahoma State; 2 (38) Andre Branch, de, Clemson; 3 (70) Bryan Anger, p, California; 5 (142) Brandon Marshall, lb, Nevada; 6 (176) Mike Harris, db, Florida State; 7 (228) Jeris Pendleton, dt, Ashland.

Comment: The Jags traded up to get the #1 receiver that they desperately needed in Justin Blackmon, and still landed the elite pass rusher they coveted in Andre Branch in the 2nd round. Punter Bryan Anger was a huge reach, but at least the team filled their two biggest needs.

Grade: B+

Kansas City Chiefs

1 (11) Dontari Poe, nt, Memphis; 2 (44) Jeff Allen, g, Illinois; 3 (74) Donald Stephenson, ot, Oklahoma; 4 (107) Devon Wylie, wr, Fresno State; 5 (146) DeQuan Menzie, db, Alabama; 6 (182) Cyrus Gray, rb, Texas A&M; 7 (218) Jerome Long, dt, San Diego State; 7 (238) Junior Hemingway, wr, Michigan.

Comment: If Dontari Poe couldn't play NT at the Conference USA level, I have a hard time believing that he'll be an impact player in the NFL. I don't see an other players from this year's draft class that will help the Chiefs.

Grade: D+

Players were much more receptive to Commissioner Rodger Goodell this year now that the lockout has ended. Plus Dontari Poe just had bitchin' hair at the NFL Draft.

Miami Dolphins

1 (8) Ryan Tannehill, qb, Texas A&M; 2 (42) Jonathan Martin, ot, Stanford; 3 (72) Olivier Vernon, de, Miami; 3 (78) Michael Egnew, te, Missouri; 4 (97) Lamar Miller, rb, Miami; 5 (155) Josh Kaddu, lb, Oregon; 6 (183) B.J. Cunningham, wr, Michigan State; 7 (215) Kheeston Randall, dt, Texas; 7 (227) Rishard Matthews, wr, Nevada.

This was a mixed bag. Ryan Tannehill was taken too early, while Jonathan Martin was a bargain in the 2nd round. Lamar Miller was a nice pick at RB in the 4th round. WR B.J. Cunningham was a steal in the 6th round, and could make Dolphin fans forget about Brandon Marshall with his elite ball skills.

Grade: C

Something tells me that Ryan Tannehill's girlfriend, Lauren Ufer, is going to love South Beach.

New England Patriots

1 (21) Chandler Jones, de, Syracuse; 1 (25) Dont'a Hightower, lb, Alabama; 2 (48) Tavon Wilson, s, Illinois; 3 (90) Jake Bequette, de, Arkansas; 6 (197) Nate Ebner, db, Ohio State; 7 (224) Alfonzo Dennard, db, Nebraska; 7 (235) Jeremy Ebert, wr, Northwestern.

Comment: For all the talk about how well the Patriots do in the draft, I'm not sure they use their picks very wisely. The Patriots used multiple picks to trade up in the first round to trade up for OLB Chandler Jones of Syracuse and Dont'a Hightower at ILB of Alabama. Not only is Jones more of a 4-3 end than a 3-4 OLB, but the Patriots ignored major needs at DE and S.

Grade: B-

N.Y. Jets

1 (16) Quinton Coples, de, North Carolina; 2 (43) Stephen Hill, wr, Georgia Tech; 3 (77) DeMario Davis, lb, Arkansas State; 6 (187) Josh Bush, db, Wake Forest; 6 (202) Terrance Ganaway, rb, Baylor; 6 (203)-x Robert Griffin, g, Baylor; 7 (242) Antonio Allen, db, South Carolina; 7 (244) Jordan White, wr, Western Michigan.

Comment: Even if Coples flames out at OLB in the Jets 3-4 system, I can still see him adding 20 pounds and becoming a disruptive 3-4 DE given that he was at his best playing as an undersized 4-3 DT at North Carlina. Stephen Hill might be the best best WR to come out of the 2012 draft, so like moving up a few spots to select him. Terrance Ganaway just might become the Jets new starter at RB, while Jordan White could be a steal at WR, at least in terms of 7th round value.

Grade: A-

Oakland Raiders

3 (95) Tony Bergstrom, g, Utah; 4 (129) Miles Burris, lb, San Diego State; 5 (158) Jack Crawford, de, Penn State; 5 (168) Juron Criner, wr, Arizona; 6 (189) Christo Bilukidi, dt, Georgia State; 7 (230) Nate Stupar, lb, Penn State.

Comment: I thought things would have gotten better without Al Davis around. Of course, his ghost still haunts the team given that he posthumously robbed the Raiders of their first two draft picks in the Carson Palmer trade.

Grade: D

Pittsburgh Steelers

1 (24) David DeCastro, g, Stanford; 2 (56) Mike Adams, ot, Ohio State; 3 (86) Sean Spence, lb, Miami; 4 (109) Alameda Ta'amu, dt, Washington; 5 (159) Chris Rainey, rb, Florida; 7 (231) Tony Clemons, wr, Colorado; 7 (240) David Paulson, te, Oregon; 7 (246) Terrence Frederick, db, Texas A&M; 7 (248) Kelvin Beachum, ot, SMU.

Comment: The Steelers solidified their offensive line with David DeCastro at G and Mike Adams at T. NT Alameda Ta'amu also was a huge bargain at a position of need in the 4th round. Overall, the Steelers couldn't have hoped for things to go much better in the draft considering that they were faced with the prospect of rebuilding both their offensive and defensive lines.

Grade: A-

San Diego Chargers

1 (18) Melvin Ingram, lb, South Carolina; 2 (49) Kendall Reyes, de, Connecticut; 3 (73) Brandon Taylor, s, LSU; 4 (110) Ladarius Green, te, Louisiana-Lafayette; 5 (149) Johnnie Troutman, g, Penn State; 7 (226) David Molk, c, Michigan; 7 (250) Edwin Baker, rb, Michigan State.

Comment: The Chargers needed an OLB to rush the passer, and landed one of the best in Melvin Ingram. They needed help on their DL, and landed a 2nd round value in Kendall Reyes. They needed a safety, and found one in Brandon Taylor of LSU. They needed help on their OL, and nabbed David Molk at C of Michigan, who has a dirty/mean streak. 7th round pick of Michigan State RB Edwin "Rock" Baker could become Darren Sproles 2.0, as he was a pre-season All-American until fumbling issues cost him his job to another NFL caliber back in LeVeon Bell. It's obvious that A.J. Smith and the Chargers draft for need, and they did one of their best jobs this year..

Grade: A-

Tennessee Titans

1 (20) Kendall Wright, wr, Baylor; 2 (52) Zach Brown, lb, North Carolina; 3 (82) Mike Martin, dt, Michigan; 4 (115) Coty Sensabaugh, db, Clemson; 5 (145) Taylor Thompson, te, SMU; 6 (190) Markelle Martin, db, Oklahoma State; 7 (211) Scott Solomon, de, Rice.

Comment: Kendall Wright will be a great complimentary pick opposite Kenny Britt, but he wasn't necessarily a pick of reason or of need. Zach Brown may or may not pan out on the NFL level, while Mike Martin is undersized at DT. A defensive end in the first round would have raised this grade immensely.  

Grade: C-

Friday, April 27, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft: 2nd Round


33. St. Louis Rams: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech: After finishing as runner's up on Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd in the first round, the Rams almost have to go WR here. Hill could be the best wide receiver in this year's draft.

34. Indianapolis Colts: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford: They say that tight ends are a rookie quarterback's best friend, and none could be better than Andrew Luck's favorite target at Stanford.

35. Baltimore Ravens: Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama: The Ravens love Upshaw, and are hoping that their former defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano passes on him at #34 now that he is the head coach in Indianapolis.

36. Denver Broncos: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State: See Baltimore above, replace offensive line with defensive line, drop the reference to Chuck Pagano...okay, I should have just typed it.

37. Cleveland Browns: Rueben Randle, WR, LSU: Wanting to make sure that they did not lose out on the quarterback they coveted, the Browns grabbed Brandon Weeden with their second pick in the 1st Round. Now is time to complete their 2012 draft class triplet.

38. Jacksonville Jaguars: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina: The Jaguars covet WR Stephen Hill. Since the Rams will be hard pressed to give up the 33rd pick, Jacksonville probably should have traded back into the first round to get him.

39. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford: While he may take a year or so to bulk up, the Rams could find their left tackle, which would allow Rodger Saffold to move to the his natural position on the right.

40. Carolina Panthers: Devon Still, DT, Penn State: After passing on an interior lineman in the first round, Carolina can continue to focus on upgrading their defense.

41. Buffalo Bills: Cordy Glenn, T/G, Georgia: Drafting a left tackle here makes so much sense, I fully expect GM Buddy Nix to pass on Cordy Glenn and select a player at another position instead.

42. Miami Dolphins: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers: Now that the Dolphins have decided on their new quarterback, they need to find him a go-to receiver. Mohamed Sanu of Rutgers projects as Brandon Marshall, but without the baggage.

43. Seattle Seahawks: Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina: Having drafted Bruce Irvin in the first round, Zach Brown would combine with him to significantly upgrade the Seahawks speed on defense. I'm not sure that either one can play football, but at least they can suck fast.

44. Kasas City Chiefs: Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska: Having missed out on Luke Kuechly in the first round, the Chiefs find the next best playmaker at the LB position.

45. St. Louis Rams: LaMichael James, RB, Oregon: The Rams are definitely sniffing running backs, and LaMichael James would be an ideal compliment to power back Steven Jackson. Of course, with his history of domestic violence, St. Louis still might find it too soon after the Lawrence Phillips era.

46. Philadelphia Eagles, Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama: Having traded nickle back Asante Samuel, the Eagles are a strong organization that can gamble on Jenkins' off the field issues given his tremendous cover skills.

47. New York Jets: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State: Assuming the Jets are satisfied with Adams' off the field questions, they find their answer at right tackle for Wayne Hunter.

48. New England Patriots: Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana: The Patriots are said to be very interested in Trumaine Johnson at cornerback. He may even project as an ideal strong safety given his size and ability to tackle.

49. San Diego Chargers: Amini Silatolu, G, Midwestern State: The Chargers need to replace Kris Dielman at guard. While Amini Silatolu of Midwester State is a bit of an unknown commodity, he may end up being the best at his position behind David DeCastro in this year's draft class.

50. Chicago Bears: Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss: Having drafted a pass rusher to play opposite Julius Peppers, the Bears can give Mike Tice another piece to work with on the offensive line.

51. Philadelphia Eagles: Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State: The Eagles are looking for a back-up signal caller, and are said to be enamored with Cousins, who has every intangible that a coach could ever ask for...They almost make up for his propensity to throw interceptions in key situations.

52. Tennessee Titans: Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama: The Titans likely would have considered Upshaw in the first round had they not elected to go with a wide receiver in Kendall Wright.

53. Cincinnati Bengals: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami: Having improved their offensive line by draft guard Kevin Zeitler, the Bengals will look to add some sizzle at the running back position to hit those holes.

54. Detroit Lions: Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia: The Lions filled one need by drafting T Riley Reiff in the first round, now they absolutely have to address the hole they have at cornerback. Boykin may be undersized, but he is an established playmaker who stands out when he's on the football field.

55. Atlanta Falcons: Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State: The Falcons are looking for an upgrade at LT over Sam Baker.

56. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alameda Ta'Amu, NT, Washington: Having grabbed David DeCastro to solidify the interior of their offensive line in the first round, the Steelers grab a NT in Alameda Ta'Amu to solidfy the interior of their defensive line in the second round.

57. Denver Broncos: Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State: While the Broncos now have Peyton Manning, they need to give him the back-up he never had in Indianapolis. Brock Osweiler has the skills to eventually develop into a starter, but needs seasoning, making playing understudy to Manning an ideal situation.

58. Houston Texans: Kelechi Osemele, G, Iowa State: The Texans need help on the right side of their offensive line.

59. Green Bay Packers: Kendall Reyes, DT, UConn: The Packers need a five-technique DE, and would have probably considered Reyes in the first round had they not gone with an outside pass rusher.

60. Baltimore Ravens: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin: The Ravens get their target on the interior of their offensive line even after trading out of the first round.

61. San Francisco 49ers: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson: With Dwayne Allen of Clemson, the 49ers can set up a two-tight end attack that is starting to trend in the NFL to take advantage of undersized safeties.

62. New England Patriots: Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson: Thompson is a disruptive pass rusher who is ideally suited for new England's need at the five-technique.

63. New York Giants: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson: The Giants value pass rushers, and need to consider Osi Umenyiora's replacement.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Final 2012 NFL Mock Draft

Here is my Final 2012 NFL Mock Draft. It will be followed by any late breaking updates up until the NFL Draft on April 26th.

My mock draft has been linked by The Football Fan Spot, Sports Jabber, DC Pro Sports ReportWalter Football, FF Toolbox,, The Football Expert, NFLDraftDog, NFL Mocks, The Phinsider, The Huddle Report and No Limits Sportsline Fantasy Sports in their Mock Draft Databases. If you're a draftnik like me, be sure to click on their hyperlinks and check out all of their extensive NFL Draft related material.

This is not a mock draft where I attempt play general manager and substitute my own judgment for the 32 NFL teams. If you're looking for new insight on your favorite team, you probably won't find it here. If you want to know what every other team is thinking before or after your team picks, it's provided for you below.

I do my best to research what particular players or positions each team may be targeting by searching the internet for tips from reliable beat writers and NFL insiders in order to provide links and analysis as to why that team may be targeting a particular player.


1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: With the Colts unwilling to pay a $28 million roster bonus to a quarterback coming off of four neck surgeries, and with Peyton Manning not wanting to take a pay cut to play through a major rebuilding project, this has been one of the better break-ups between a superstar and a franchise/city in recent history. Now that it’s official, Colts fans can embrace the Andrew Luck era.

2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis) – Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Having given up three first round picks and a second, the Redskins will draft Robert Griffin III. While Griffin doesn't have the command of a pro-style offense that Andrew Luck has, he has superior arm strength and accuracy, especially on the crucial passes in the NFL like the 20-yard out.

3. Cleveland Browns (from Minnesota) – Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama: The Browns are in the position to stay put and select one of the six impact players in this year’s draft. Cleveland would improve their running game with a franchise back in Trent Richardson and still be able to complete the skill position trifecta by targeting a wide receiver and a quarterback with their next two picks. If Cleveland truly values a running back over WR Justin Blackmon and CB Morris Claiborne, they may want to consider striking a deal now to swap picks with Minnesota at #3 to assure that Tampa Bay does not leap-frog over them for Richardson. In the event that happens, look for Claiborne as the Browns fallback pick. (Breaking news, the Browns have traded up with Minnesota for the right to select Richardson).

4. Minnesota Vikings (from Cleveland) – Matt Kalil, OT, USC: Rumors are starting to come out that GM Rick Spielman is not necessarily set on drafting USC T Matt Kalil with the third pick. In actuality, the Vikings are doing everything they can to try and induce the Buccaneers to trade up by feigning an interest in LSU CB Morris Claiborne, which is a trade scenario that would still allow the Vikings to select Kalil at #5. Unless Tampa Bay really wants to trade up and leap-frog Cleveland for the right to select Alabama RB Trent Richardson, the Bucs should be able to stay put at #5 and still get Claiborne, as Minnesota is still likely targeting Kalil as a premier left tackle, they're just trying to play their cards right and gain an extra pick or two in the process. (Breaking news, the Vikinjgs have traded out the #3 spot with Cleveland, and will now likely select Kalil with the 4th pick).;

5. Tampa Bay, Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU: It would be hard to argue with Morris Claiborne or Trent Richardson at the #5 spot talent wise, but if Richardson is gone, do the Bucs really need another cornerback after signing Eric Wright to a big contract as a free agent? If Tampa Bay is feels that Claiborne is rated higher than or equal to Trent Richardson, they should ignore Minnesota's smokescreens that are clearly being made to induce them to trade up. However, in the event that new Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano truly does value a bell-cow back like Richardson over a corner like Claiborne, they should use Minnesota's over eagerness to trade down against them and underpay pursuant to the Trade Value Chart to leap-frog over Cleveland for the top running back in the draft. (Breaking news, Cleveland has traded up with Minnesota, securing them the right to select Richardson).

6. St. Louis Rams - Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State: With the Rams now having traded down from the #2 spot with Washington at #6, they have accumulated a bounty of extra picks and still might have the opportunity to select the elite go to wide receiver they covet for Sam Bradford in Justin Blackmon. While Minnesota and Cleveland have put up weak smokescreens regarding their potential interest in Blackmon to try and induce St. Louis to trade up, the Rams should be able to stand put and land their go-to receiver and keep their picks.

7. New York Jets (predicted trade with Jacksonville) – Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina: The Jets defense suffered last season due to a lack of pass rush from the edge and speed at safety. Melvin Ingram of South Carolina is an ideal 3-4 OLB in the Jet’s defensive scheme, but he no longer projects to last to the middle of the first round. Mark Barron of Alabama could also be a consideration for some much needed speed at safety, but he’s also rising up draft boards as the lone free safety worth drafting early in this year’s draft. The Jets at least appear interested in trying to trade up for either of those two players, with Ingram as their ideal target. Likewise, Jacksonville appears to be equally willing to trade down.

8. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A and M: With Jeff Ireland having missed out on Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn, and every other free agent that they targeted, the Dolphins need to find a quarterback of the future. Ryan Tannehill, who played for Mike Sherman (Miami’s new offensive coordinator) in college, certainly fits the system. In the event that Tannehill has already been selected or they feel he’s not worthy of a top 10 pick, the Dolphins could target an outside 3-4 pass rusher like South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram or Quinton Coples of North Carolina, but it appears that Miami owner Stephen Ross is pushing for Ireland to take Tannehill.

9. Carolina Panthers – Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State: The Panthers have a huge need at defensive tackle. Not only does Marty Hurney takes a best player available philosophy with the draft, but some draft insiders now have Mississippi State DT Fletcher Cox ranked as high as the top six for the entire draft. While DT Dontari Poe of Memphis received the most notoriety for his athleticism at the Scouting Combine, Cox not only nearly matched him in terms of his workout, but he has the better game film to back it up.

10. Buffalo Bills – Mark Barron, S, Alabama: Late breaking reports have the Bills expressing a serious interest in Alabama safety Mark Barron, South Carolina corner Stephon Gilmore, and Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, with Barron and then Gilmore being the preferred players. While a safety like Barron to pair with Jairuss Byrd would help counteract division rival New England’s two tight end attack, it’s hard to believe that the Bills will continue to ignore ongoing needs at left and right tackle.

11. Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College: With the Chiefs having upgraded their offensive line by signing T Eric Winston, they can turn their attention to other areas. A nose tackle would help anchor their 3-4 defense, while Luke Kuechly of Boston College could be a consideration at linebacker. With this draft being deep at defensive tackle and Kuechly having elite zone coverage skills, Kuechly represents the better relative value at pick #11.

12. Seattle Seahawks – Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina: Seattle has needs at defensive end and linebacker, although GM John Schneider will take a best player available within Seattle’s system approach to the draft. If Luke Kuechly is off the board by #12, the Seahawks are said to have exhibited an interest in defensive ends Quinton Coples of North Carolina, Melvin Ingram of South Carolina and Nick Perry of USC. If Ingram is off the board, Coples could be the pick. Otherwise, the Seahawks are reportedly interested in trading down where they would target one of the remaining defensive ends at a better value or Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower.

13. Arizona Cardinals – Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame: The Cardinals need to improve their offensive line, either at tackle or guard. If the Cardinals go with an elite guard like David DeCastro over a developmental tackle like Jonathan Martin, Adam Snyder could move over and man the right tackle position, representing an upgrade at both positions. If Riley Reiff is available, he'd likely be the pick. However, late reports have the Cardinals expressing a strong interest in Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd to play opposite Larry Fitzgerald.;

14. Dallas Cowboys – Michael Brockers, DT, LSU: The Cowboys have improved their secondary with the signings of CB Brandon Carr and Brodney Poole, but they still have holes to fill at both positions. Additionally, they could use either a defensive end or a nose tackle, thereby allowing Jay Ratliff to move to the five-technique. While recent reports have the Cowboys eyeing Mississippi State DT Fletcher Cox, he may not make it to the 14th pick. In that case, look for Dallas to target someone like Alabama safety Mark Barron who can come in and make an immediate impact in their secondary. In the event that Barron and Cox off the board by the time the Cowboys pick, I'm hearing that their fallback plan is DT Michael Brockers of LSU. However, I'd almost be more intrigued with making a play for Quinton Coples of North Carolina and playing him as a 3-4 DE, where he could be the disruptive pass rusher from the interior that the Cowboys are looking for much like when he played DT in a 4-3 defense his junior year at North Carolina.

15. Philadelphia Eagles – Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse: With the Eagles addressing their glaring hole at linebacker by trading for Demeco Ryans, they can turn their attention to other positions. Ideally the Eagles would love for Fletcher Cox or Mark Barron to be available when they pick at #15, but that is looking less and less likely as those two players are moving up draft boards. The Eagles traditionally have invested their first round picks in offensive and defensive linemen, so if a run stuffing defensive tackle like Michael Brockers of LSU is available, he could be their pick. If Buffalo takes Barron as has been recently rumored, that could trigger a chain of events where none of the aforementioned players are available. Barring Philadelphia trading up, that could result in their pick turning into DE Chandler Jones of Syracuse, who is looking more and more like a top 20 pick.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars (predicted trade with New York Jets) – Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina: With only six consensus impact players in the 2012 Draft, Jacksonville would love to trade down, and they may find a willing partner in the Jets, in a deal that would likely cost New York their 2nd and 4th round picks pursuant to the Trade Value Chart. The Jaguars have recently expressed an interest in South Carolina CB Stephon Gilbert, and while he could be the pick for them at #7, he’d be a much better value if they can manage to trade down a few spots.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland) – Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama: The Bengals could look at a guard like David DeCastro of Stanford or Cordy Glenn of Georgia, but I'm hearing they are no longer leaning in that direction. Instead they are looking at defense, and Courtney Upshaw could fill a need on the edge for the Bengals.

18. San Diego Chargers – David DeCastro, G, Stanford: The Chargers could have plenty of needs, including pass rusher and safety. Offensive line is also a concern with the retirement of Kris Dielman. David DeCastro of Stanford would represent a huge windfall at guard in the event that he falls to #18. If DeCastro does not fall to San Diego, a defensive end who can play 3-4 outside linebacker like Whitney Mercilus could be the likely pick. Keep an eye on the Chargers making a play to trade up for Mark Barron of Alabama at safety as well, but as he pushes up the draft boards it looks as if the cost to do so could become too expensive.

19. Chicago Bears – Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois: Improving an aging offensive line would seem to be a priority for the Bears. However, with Mike Martz having been forced into retirement, new offensive coordinator and offensive line guru Mike Tice might be able to make do with the pieces that he currently has. With no true value left on the offensive line when they pick at #19, the Bears can address their outside pass rush with Whitney Mercilus of Illinois, who lead the nation in sacks last year.

20. Tennessee Titans – Nick Perry, OLB/DE, USC: Even after signing Kamerion Wimbley, the Titans appear to be looking for help at defensive end. In the mid to later part of the first round they could find value in edge rushers like Nick Perry of USC or Andre Branch of Clemson, with Perry having received attention from the Titans at the Senior Bowl. A cornerback like Stephon Gilmore of South Carolina could also be a consideration with Courtland Finnegan having signed with the Rams in free agency.

21. Cincinnati Bengals – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama: The Bengals should look to upgrade their secondary at either corner or safety with at least one of their two first round picks. If Dre Kirkpatrick falls, he could join Leon Hall as a starter in what would become an extremely deep Bengals secondary. If Kirkpatrick doesn’t fall, Marvin Lewis is said to have his eye on Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower, or they could look to solidify their offensive line with Cordy Glenn of Georgia at G/T.

22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta) – Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor: While the Browns are definitely kicking the tires on QB Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State, they expressed very little interest in free agent Matt Flynn, who would have fit their West Coast Offense perfectly. Accordingly, it doesn’t look as if they’re going to make a move to replace Colt McCoy in the first round of this year’s draft. If they land RB Trent Richardson with their first pick, a receiver like Kendall Wright of Baylor would give McCoy two explosive playmakers on offense to show whether or not he’s the man going forward.

23. Detroit Lions – Riley Reiff, T, Iowa: Offensive line and the secondary are Detroit's biggest areas of need. However, William Clay Ford, Jr., Martin Mayhew and Tom Lewand have quickly changed the culture in Detroit not by reaching for need, but by taking a best player available approach. Dre Kilpatrick and Janoris Jenkins have the talent at cornerback that the Lions will be looking for, but if Kirkpatrick is not available or Jenkins character concerns do not fit with the Lions organization, they could look at a defensive end like Chandler Jones or a versatile lineman like Cordy Glenn of Georgia, who could plug in at guard or compete with Gosder Cherilus at right tackle. If Riley Reiff of Iowa falls, he could play on the right to begin and ultimately take over for Jeff Backus on the left.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama: With the Steelers having released James Farrior, don’t expect Larry Foote to be able to handle the starting duties at the inside linebacker spot opposite Lawrence Timmons. While Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower may not be explosive, he’s a solid tackler who just makes plays. In other words, he fits the Steelers system perfectly.; 

25. Denver Broncos – Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State: The Broncos have more needs than there is value to them at the #25 pick. Ideally, they'd probably like to trade out of the first round and accumulate more players at positions of need like running back, center, defensive tackle and the secondary. Defensive tackle should be a deep position in the late first or early second round, and Jerel Worthy, Devon Still, Fletcher Cox or Brandon Thompson could all fill a need for the Broncos at that position if they stay put.

26. Houston Texans – Cordy Glenn, T/G, Georgia: While WR has been a popular pick in mock drafts for the Texans, I’m hearing that they definitively will NOT being going in that direction in the first round, although that position would not be out of the question in the second or third round. Instead, the Texans will target a replacement at Eric Winston at right tackle, or an outside linebacker who fits their 3-4 system to given them extra ammunition at pass rusher following the departure of Mario Williams. Cordy Glenn of Georgia would be the idea pick here, but if he is off the board, look for Chandler Jones of Syracuse, Nick Perry of USC, Courtney Upshaw of Alabama, Shea McClellin of Boise State and Andre Branch of Clemson to all receive consideration.

27. New England Patriots - Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame: The Patriots have needs at DE, OLB and their secondary. If the the top hypbrid pass rushers are  gone when they select at #27, they can look to improve their secondary with a safety like Harrison Smith of Notre Dame, with enought depth at DT to find someone to play five-technique in their 3-4 defense.

28. Green Bay Packers – Shea McClellin, OLB/DE, Boise State: Look for Green Bay to take the best defensive player available. A 3-4 defensive end could help free Clay Mathews, Jr. up like Cullen Jenkins did before leaving for Philadelphia a season ago via free agency, as would a pass rushing OLB to play opposite him. Shea McCellin of Boise State, Chandler Jones of Syracuse or Vinny Curry of Marshall all could fit that description. Of those players, the Packers are said have a particular interest in McClellin, who would be an ideal fit at OLB in their 3-4 system given that he has already proven that he can play in coverage in addition to getting to the passer with his high motor.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (predicted trade with Baltimore) – Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech: While the Jaguars have a huge need at wide receiver, they no longer seem to be in the mix for Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon at #7. If they don’t stay at #7 or trade down and select Michael Floyd, whose character does not seem to fit Jacksonville’s draft philosophy, look for the Jaguars to take a receiver with their second pick in this year’s draft. With a growing interest in Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill being reported, the Jags should be able to find a willing trade partner in Houston to trade back into the first round to select him. Moving up from #39 to #27 would likely cost Jacksonville a 3rd Round pick pursuant to the Trade Value Chart.

30. San Francisco 49ers – Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin: The 49ers typical draft philosophy is to take the best player available on their draft board. However, San Francisco GM Trent Baalke recently said that he is targeting one specific player who he believes will be there when the 49ers pick at #30. Assuming he isn’t having fun with the media, that could mean reaching in terms of overall draft rating to fill a specific need for a starter at right guard even though that's not typically a position of value in the NFL. Wide receiver and defensive tackle could also come into play at this pick if San Francisco sticks with a BPA philosophy.

31. New England Patriots (from New Orleans) – Kendall Reyes, DT, UConn: The Patriots need to bolster the front of their 3-4 defense at end. While that position is particularly deep in this year’s draft, the Patriots are said to have their eyes on Kendall Reyes of UConn to play the five-technique.

32. New York Giants – Andre Branch, DE/OLB, Clemson: The Giants will take a best player available approach to the draft. While Doug Martin has been receiving a lot of consideration of late in mock drafts, Giants beat writer Ralph Vacchiano just informed me that New York will likely go in a different direction. In the event that Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill is not available, look for the Giants to target a pass rusher to ultimately replace Osi Umenyiora in the draft. Andre Branch of Clemson would fill that need and give New York some added versatility on their defensive line.