Big Jay's Preliminary 2012 NFL Mock Draft for Behind the Steel Curtain

Turns out Jay had this puppy completed several weeks ago, but I opted to hold off on inundating you all with more mock drafts for at least a small window in the wake of the 2011 NFL Draft. But with me hard at work trying to get this preseason publication ready to go, now seems like a solid time to throw it up. Many thanks to Jay for the great work this past draft season. Hopefully we can expect something similarly outstanding in the future. Let's see what he's got to say for his preliminary 2012 mock. - Michael B. -

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It's never too early to think about the future. Even though the Steelers are perennial powers in the NFL they always have a couple of well defined needs heading into each and every draft season. Heading into the 2012 draft season the Steelers will be looking for a replacement for Casey Hampton and could still need to address the offensive guard and cornerback positions. In addition to that we may be bidding farewell to Hines Ward, and even though it appears as though Emanuel Sanders or Antonio Brown should be able to step up neither one of them may be able to truly fill Ward's shoes.

Please try not to focus too much on the draft position of the Steelers or any other team. I tried not to be a homer and give the Steelers the 32nd pick. While they did a lot in the 2011 draft to fill their needs so did the Packers.

1. Washington Redskins – Andrew Luck QB, Stanford

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Ryan Kerrigan DE, Purdue
Team Needs: QB/RT/CB/RG/OC

For all the picks Washington had in the 2011 NFL draft they still have a huge hole left to fill. They failed to secure a quarterback which means they’ll enter the season with Rex Grossman or John Beck as the likely starter. All aboard the Andrew Luck train. Now if Luck follows the same path as Jake Locker, where as he was projected to go first overall but decided to stay for his senior season and has a sub par year, he may not be the first QB taken. Luck’s head coach and a majority of his starting offense are gone. As a result it may be USC’s Matt Barkley or Oklahoma’s Landry Jones going first overall.

 

2. Arizona Cardinals – Matt Barkley QB, USC

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Patrick Peterson CB, LSU
Team Needs: QB/LT/OLB/OG

As with the Redskins the Cardinals failed to take a QB in the 2011 draft. Now it’s likely that once the lockout is lifted they’ll aggressively pursue a trade of Kevin Kolb but it’s a huge gamble. Their fallback option will be to sign Marc Bulger and if I were a Cardinals fan that wouldn’t instill a lot of hope. And if they are picking in the top five yet again it may also be the end of the Ken Whisenhunt era, and new regimes means new quarterbacks. If they pick this high but do aquire Kolb then it’ll be the highest rated offensive tackle which would be Barkley’s teammate Matt Kalil.

 

3. Cincinnati Bengals – Matt Kalil OT, USC

2011 NFL Mock Draft Pick: A.J. Green WR, UGA
Team Needs: DE/RB/ILB

Cincy got their franchise wide receiver and supposed franchise quarterback in the first two rounds of the 2011 NFL draft. But in the AFC North any rookie QB is going to have some growing pains when facing the Ravens and Steelers defense each twice a year. As such they’ll likely have another early pick in 2012. I gave serious thought to giving them UNC DE Quinton Coples but a cornerstone left tackle should trump a defensive lineman every time.

 

4. Tennessee Titans – Quinton Coples DE, UNC

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Jake Locker QB, Washington
Team Needs: LG/OC/DE

As with most of the teams drafting in the top half of the 2012 draft the Titans will have experienced some growing pains breaking in a rookie QB. Combing their need plus the talent available Coples makes the most sense. Once the 2011 free agency period begins they’ll probably be out bid to retain the services of Jason Babin. Coples stepped in with all of the suspensions to the Tar Heels players and registered 10 sacks with 15.5 tackles for loss.

 

5. Carolina Panthers – Alshon Jeffery WR, South Carolina

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Cam Newton QB, Auburn
Team Needs: WR/DE/TE

The Panthers drafted Cam Newton but he’s a huge work in progress but because they want to avoid a QB controversy he’ll probably be given the starting job by week one. As such they are going to struggle. The only dependable wide receiver on the Panthers roster is Steve Smith, likely to be traded or released before the start of the season, and who would be 33 years old shortly after the 2012 NFL draft. Jeffery is a monster at 6’3", 234lbs. who presents a nightmare match up against any secondary.

 

6. Denver Broncos – Dre Kirkpatrick CB, Alabama

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Von Miller DE/OLB, Texas A&M
Team Needs: DT/CB/RT

Heading into the 2011 draft Denver’s biggest need was at defensive tackle and they failed miserably to address it, so coming into 2012 it has to be given some consideration. However they also have a need a cornerback. Champ Bailey is still playing at a high level now but he’ll turn 34 years old the summer after the 2012 draft and Perrish Cox may be going to prison at some time in the near future. Kirkpatrick will be this drafts version of Patrick Peterson. He’s 6’3", 185lbs. and runs a 4.4 40.

 

7. Minnesota Vikings – Jonathan Martin OT, Stanford

2011 1st Draft Pick: Christian Ponder QB, FSU
Team Needs: RG/SS/FS/DT

At this stage of his career Bryant McKinnie is no longer a viable option to anchor the left side of the line. He’ll probably be moved to right tackle and Phil Loadholt to right guard. Young QB Chris Ponder will need a franchise left tackle to protect him and prolong his career.

 

8. Seattle Seahawks – Landry Jones QB, Oklahoma

2011 1st round Draft Pick: James Carpenter OG/OT, Alabama
Team Needs: QB/CB/OC

As with the Cardinals and Redskins the Seahawks failed to secure a quarterback in the 2011 NFL draft. 35 year old Matt Hasselbeck is a free agent and unlikely to be resigned. That means heading into the 2011 season career-clipboard holder Charlie Whitehurst will be the only option to start. And of course that means come the 2012 NFL draft the Seattle Seahawks will have a top ten pick. Last season Jones threw 38 TD passes to only 12 interceptions and had a completion percentage of 65%.

 

9. Buffalo Bills – Donte Paige-Moss DE/OLB, UNC

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Marcell Dareus DE/DT, Alabama
Team Needs: OT/OLB/WR

The Bills had a very solid 2011 NFL draft, getting great value for a majority of their picks. However they did fail to upgrade an anemic pass-rush from the OLB spot. Donte Paige-Moss is going to be the 2012 version of Von Miller. He’s a very undersized defensive end who’s got good quickness and a non-stop motor.

  

 10. Cleveland Browns – Justin Blackmon WR, Oklahoma State

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Phil Taylor NT, Baylor
Team Needs: RT/DT/OLB

Cleveland drafted Greg Little in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft and he’ll be a nice addition to a very underachieving WR core but they still need a legitimate number one WR. Blackmon would’ve been a top 20 pick had he decided to forgo his senior season and has a chance to be the first WR off of the board in 2012.

 

11. Oakland Raiders – Riley Reiff OT, Iowa

2011 1st Draft Pick: Stefen Wisniewski OC/OG, Penn State
Team Needs
: QB/LG/TE

Mocking for Oakland is extremely difficult. Al Davis is crazy and unpredictable. The Raiders really need to upgrade their offensive line and the athletic Reiff would make a great addition but if anyone would hold a grudge against prospects that play the same position and went to the same school as a previous high bust it would be Al Davis. He may see Reiff and compare him to Robert Gallery.

 

12. San Francisco 49ers – Alfonzo Dennard CB, Nebraska

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Aldon Smith DE/OLB, Missouri
Team Needs: CB/DE

Heading into 2012 the 49ers biggest need will definitely be a cornerback. Nate Clements will be 32 years old and has been on the decline for some time. And Shawntae Spencer has been wildly inconsistent as well. Dennard is finally out of the shadow of Prince Amukamara and will get his time in the spotlight.

  

13. Detroit Lions – Vontaze Burflict LB, ASU

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Nick Fairley DT/DE, Auburn
Team Needs: CB/LT/OLB/OC/SS

By taking Nick Fairley over Prince Amukamara the Lions showed that they really will draft talent over need. Heading into the 2012 draft cornerback will still be the Lions primary need. However I seriously doubt they will pass-up on a talent like Burflict. He’s an absolute stud and one of the best ILB prospects since Patrick Willis. He’s also athletic enough to play either the Sam or Will linebacker spots. It would also fill one of Detroit’s needs seeing how they released Julian Peterson and didn’t do much in the 2011 draft to replace him.

 

14. Jacksonville Jaguars – Stephon Gilmore CB, South Carolina

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Blaine Gabbert QB, Missouri
Team Needs: DE/FS/SS/CB

With the exception of Rashean Mathis, who’ll be a 32 year old free agent in 2012, the Jaguars have one of the worst secondaries in all of football. And if they lose Mathis this pick will absolutely have to be a cornerback.

 

15. Miami Dolphins – Trent Richardson RB, Alabama

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Mike Pouncey OG/OC, Florida
Team Needs: QB/FS/OG/TE

If they’re at pick 15 again it will signal the end of the Chad Henne era in Miami, and maybe even the end of the Tony Sparano era as well. Unfortunately the top three QB’s are already off the board at this point and it’s way too early to draft Arizona’s Nick Foles. Trent Richardson makes the most sense with the talent available. Richardson’s former teammate Mark Ingram was mocked to the Dolphins through most of the whole draft season because Rickey Williams and Ronnie Brown are both free agents. They drafted Daniel Thomas in the second round but will need someone to compliment him. Trent Richardson is a better prospect than Ingram; combining size and speed he had a 6.5 YPC in 2010.

 

16. Dallas Cowboys – Cliff Harris CB, Oregon

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Tyron Smith OT, USC
Team Needs: CB/FS/DE/SS/OT

Dallas did a good job of filling their offensive line needs in the 2011 NFL draft but they still have big needs in the secondary. Terrence Newman will be 34 years old before the start of the 2012 season, Mike Jenkins is an absent-minded pass-interference machine, Alan Ball was routinely burned this past season, and Gerald Sensabaugh is a 2011 free agent. Fortunately for Dallas the 2012 crop of cornerbacks is very top heavy so they’ll be able to get a quality CB in the middle of the first round, even with three of them already off of the board.

 

17. Houston Texans – Janzen Jackson, FS, Tennessee

2011 1st round Draft Pick: J.J. Watt DT/DE, Wisconsin
Team Needs: NT/FS/WR

Houston did a great job picking players for their new 3-4 defense in the 2011 draft but they still having nothing at free safety, especially after cutting Eugene Wilson. Jackson has fallen off of a lot of big board’s because he withdrew from Tennessee in February for personal reasons which have not yet come to light, but apparently he left in good standing and is scheduled to return to campus at some point in 2011. As long as he comes back to play the season he should be a first round pick.

 

18. San Diego Chargers – Courtney Upshaw DE/OLB, Alabama

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Corey Liuget DT, Illinois
Team Needs: OLB/ILB/RT

Personally I thought that the Chargers had a poor 2011 draft. Corey Liuget is not a good fit as a five technique defensive end and they over reached for their two second round picks. Heading into 2012 maybe GM A.J. Smith will finally admit that Larry English is a bust because they really need to upgrade their pass-rush. Upshaw is a 260lbs defensive end who will probably convert to 3-4 OLB. He had 7 sacks and 14 tackles for loss in 2010.

 

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers –  Jayron Hosley CB, Virginia Tech

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Adrian Clayborn DE, Iowa
Team Needs: ILB/CB/RT/OG

Tampa Bay has finally solidified their defensive line spending first and second round picks in back to back years on defensive tackles and ends, now hopefully they can turn their attention elsewhere. Going into 2012 the cornerback position is going to be a huge area of need for them. Rhonde Barber will be 37 years old by the time the 2012 draft rolls around and who knows what’s going to happen to Aqib Talib this season as he may be going to jail at some point.

  

20. Chicago Bears – Jerel Worthy DT, Michigan State

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Gabe Carimi OT, Wisconsin
Team Needs: OG/OC/WR

Chicago did a good job of addressing their needs on both the offensive and defensive lines in the 2010 draft but there’s still work to be done. Offensively they still need a guard and center, and on the other side Anthony Adams is a free agent and Israel Idonije will be a free agent in 2012. Worthy will probably be a top ten pick come draft day but I just had a hard time finding a place for him to fit earlier than this as so many teams now employ a 3-4 defense.

 

21. St. Louis Rams – Marcus Forston DT, Miami

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Robert Quinn DE/OLB, UNC
Team Needs: RG/FS/DT/RB

St. Louis’ biggest needs heading into 2012 will be at weakside linebacker to upgrade over Chris Chamberlain and Larry Grant, at free safety to replace the released O.J. Atogwe, at right guard to replace a horrible Adam Goldberg, and at defensive tackle to replace Gary Gibson who is too undersized and can’t hold up against the run. Forston is the best available prospect who fits any of those needs. He’s a very athletic 310lbs. and will probably be a better prospect come draft day than was Corey Liuget whom the Rams were reportedly very interested in during the 2011 draft.

 

22. New York Giants Travis Lewis OLB, Oklahoma

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Prince Amukamara CB, Nebraska
Team Needs: OC/RB/OLB/OG

The Giants got a steal when Prince Amukamara fell to them in the 2011 draft but they failed to address a majority of their needs. They still need a left tackle because William Beatty hasn’t worked out, Shaun O’Hara will be a 34 year old free agent next year, and their linebacking corps still needs an overhaul. They’ve tended to ignore their needs at linebacker so I was hesitant to mock them Lewis but he’s a much better prospect than the available offensive lineman.

 

23. Indianapolis Colts – Ryan Broyles WR, Oklahoma

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Anthony Castonzo OT, Boston College
Team Needs: OC/WR/SS

Indy did a phenomenal job filling their offensive line needs in the 2011 draft but depending on whether they play Ben Ijalana at right guard or tackle they’ll still have one more hole to fill there. Plus Jeff Saturday will be a 36 year old free agent in 2012. At wide receiver Reggie Wayne will be 33 years old this coming season, Anthony Gonzalez can’t seem to stay healthy, and Austin Collie may be forced to retire if he gets another concussion. As is tradition the Colts will almost assuredly take an offensive player in the first round of the draft. Broyles seems to fit the type of WR the Colts like to have.

 

24. Kansas City Chiefs – Nate Potter OT, Boise State

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Jonathan Baldwin WR, Pittsburgh
Team Needs: OT/RB

Kansas City fans can defend Brandon Albert all they want but the fact remains that he would be a better fit at guard or right tackle. There were plenty of rumors going around that the Chiefs were very interested in taking Nate Solder, so they’ve got to feel the same way I do. And in any event they need an upgrade at right tackle over Barry Richardson anyway. Potter had his ups and downs in 2010 but if he can bounce back he would certainly be worth a first round pick.

 

25. New York Jets – Devin Taylor DE/OLB, South Carolina

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Muhammed Wilkerson DE, Temple
Team Needs: OLB/RT

Adding Muhammed Wilkerson and Kendrick Ellis will certainly help with their pass-rushing issues but the Jets still need upgrades at OLB. Taylor terrorized opponents in the SEC last season accumulating 7.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss.

 

26. Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta Falcons) – Andre Branch DE, Clemson

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Phil Taylor NT, Baylor
Team Needs: RT/DT/OLB

Having taken care of their biggest offensive need with their first pick, now the Browns can focus on continuing to add player to their new 4-3 defense. In 2010 they beefed up the defensive line by adding Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard but still have some holes left to fill. If Eric Wright doesn’t bounce back from a poor season the Browns will be looking to replace him. Branch represents the best prospect available that fits any sort of need and would help solidify a young defensive front.

 

27. Philadelphia Eagles – Chase Minnifield CB, Virginia

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Danny Watkins OG, Baylor
Team Needs: CB/RT

Personally I was stunned when the Eagles passed on Jimmy Smith for Danny Watkins. Unless they sign Nnamdi Asomugha when free agency begins, which they are rumored to do, then they will definitely be looking for cornerback help in the 2012 draft.

 

 28. New England Patriots – Mohamed Sanu WR, Rutgers

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Nate Solder OT, Colorado
Team Needs: OLB/DE/WR

The Patriots still need a true number one wide receiver. They also need a five technique defensive and a pass-rushing outside linebacker but they need both of those before coming into the 2011 draft and bypassed both needs. The top wide receiver on the board would be Sanu or Texas A&M’s Jeff Fuller, but Sanu is a better fit.

 

29. Baltimore Ravens – Michael Brewster OC, Ohio State

2011 1st Draft Pick: Jimmy Smith CB, Colorado
Team Needs: OC/RG/ILB

I was really torn about this pick. As far as immediate need goes it would definitely have to be offensive center. When the 2012 draft rolls around current center Matt Birk will be a 36 year old free agent. But as we’ve seen for a while now the Ravens do not draft for need, even if at this point Brewster is by far the best center in the draft. It’s likely they may go defense, needing an heir to Ray Lewis and possibly a replacement for Sergio Kindle if he can’t rebound from a serious head injury. If they do go that route it’ll be Notre Dame ILB Manti Te’o.

 

30. New England Patriots (via New Orleans Saints) – Jared Crick DT/DE, Nebraska

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Nate Solder OT, Colorado
Team Needs: OLB/DE/WR

There’s almost no chance the Patriots use both for their 2012 first round picks. If they do they just have to address their pass-rush after taking a wide receiver with the first pick, either at defensive end or outside linebacker. Belichick has a history of not taking defensive ends to convert to linebacker because of their high bust rate so I’ll have to assume that they will target a five technique defensive end. Currently I have Crick as the highest rated 3-4 DE but he’s was somewhat inconsistent after losing Ndamukong Suh to the draft last year, so he’ll definitely need to step it up this coming season.

 

31. Pittsburgh Steelers – Kerry Murphy NT, Alabama

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Cameron Heyward DE, OSU
Team Needs: NT/RG/ILB/P

The Steelers had a very typical 2011 draft. It wasn’t sexy but very solid. In 2012 they could still find themselves needing an offensive guard and a cornerback though. I imagine that in 2012 Flozell Adams will be retired, Willie Colon will probably be moving on to another team that’s willing to pay him a fat contract, and 2011 rookie Marcus Gilbert will be manning the right tackle spot. The usual suspects will still be trying to prove themselves at right guard such as Essex, Legursky, and Foster in addition to rookie Keith Williams. At cornerback we should have a much better understanding as to how Keenan Lewis and Crezdon Butler will work on the defense, as well as a glimmer of Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen’s ability. Given that fact that they were all picked in the third round or later it may be that the Steelers will again need to consider taking a cornerback in the first round. If they were so inclined to do so it would have to be Washington’s Desmond Trufant, little brother of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant. If they go for a guard it’ll be Iowa State’s Kelechi Osemele. But seeing how the Steelers rarely go for immediate need and instead go for the best talent available that fits a need within the next couple of years I think they’ll go for a nose tackle to replace Casey Hampton. He’ll be 35 years old at the start of the 2012 season and in the final year of his current contract. Finding his replacement would solidify the defensive front for the next decade when including Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward. At this point I have Kerry Murphy as my highest rated nose tackle. He’s 6’4", 330lbs. and is going to be the next big thing (figuratively and literally) at Alabama after Marcell Dareus and Terrence Cody. But another nose tackle that will probably gain some steam is Washington’s Alameda Ta’amu who goes about 6’3", 330lbs.

 

32. Green Bay Packers – Manti Te'o ILB, Notre Dame

2011 1st round Draft Pick: Derek Sherrod OT, Miss. State
Team Needs: OLB/LG/DE

Green Bay really doesn’t have any major needs going into the 2012 draft. They are pretty fairly loaded on both offense and defense so they can afford to go with the best player available. Te’o was one of the top rated players coming from high school and will be one of the highest rated going into the 2012 draft as well. The only thing that causes him to fall this far is the position he plays. After the whole team picture incident leading up to the Super Bowl the Packers may consider replacing the injury-plagued Nick Barnett who will be 30 years old and in the final year of his contract.

 

 

33. Washington Redskins – Kelechi Osemele OG/OT, Iowa State
Regardless if Washington takes Luck number one overall they will still need to take the best available offensive lineman here. Jammal Brown is a 2011 free agent, Artis Hicks was benched last season, and Casey Rabach will be 35 years old at the start of the 2012 season.

 

34. Arizona Cardinals – Jeff Fuller WR, Texas A&M
I really wanted to give the Cardinals an offensive lineman here but at this point Fuller is too good to pass up. Early Doucet and Steve Breaston are currently free agents and in 2012 Larry Fitzgerald will be one as well.

 

35. Cincinnati Bengals – Knile Davis RB, Arkansas
Cincy’s two biggest needs at this point are defensive end and running back. Cedric Benson is currently a free agent and will be 29 years old before the end of next season.

 

36. Tennessee Titans – Dwayne Allen TE, Clemson
Bo Scaife is a 30 year old free agent and Jared Cook has been a disappointment.

 

37. Carolina Panthers – Zach Brown OLB, UNC
James Anderson, Jamar Williams, and Thomas Davis are all free agents with Davis being very injury-prone.

 

38. Denver Broncos – Tydreke Powell DT, UNC
Denver has to get some defensive tackle help from somewhere.

 

39. Minnesota Vikings – Alameda Ta'amu NT, Washington
Pat Williams will be gone at some point and they’ll need someone who can step in from day one.

 

40. Seattle Seahawks – Robert Lester S, Alabama
I spent a late-round flyer on Mark LeGree but he’s not going to be the answer to their strong safety woes.

 

41. Buffalo Bills – Mike Adams OT, Ohio State
Buffalo has to get serious at some point about the issues along their offensive line.

  

42. Cleveland Browns – Desmond Trufant CB, Washington
Eric Wright could be upgraded and GM Mike Holmgren likes to spend early picks on the secondary.

 

43. New England Patriots (via Oakland Raiders) – Cordy Glenn OG/OT, UGA
They drafted Marcus Cannon who’s still a year away from being able to play but who knows how quickly he’ll be re-acclimated to football. In addition to that Stephen Neal retired and Logan Mankins will probably be traded at some point. Glenn has the sort of versatility that’ll appeal to coach Belichick.

 

44. San Francisco 49ers – Kheeston Randall DE/DT, Texas
San Fran needs an upgrade at defensive end opposite of Justin Smith. 

  

45. Detroit Lions – Bobby Massie OT, Ole’ Miss.
For Matt Stafford’s sake I really hope Detroit picks an offensive lineman at some point early in the 2012 draft.

 

46. Jacksonville Jaguars – Luke Kuechly LB, Boston College  
Kirk Morrison and Justin Durant are both 2011 free agents ad Durant is injury-plagued.

 

47. Miami Dolphins – Nick Foles QB, Arizona
If Miami has another .500 season it’ll be the end of the Chad Henne era.

 

48. Dallas Cowboys – T.J. McDonald S, USC
Alan Ball is a terrible free safety and Gerald Sensabaugh is a 2011 free agent.

 

49. Houston Texans – Greg Childs WR, Arkansas
With a strong defensive draft in 2011 and a free safety taken in the first round the Texans can turn their focus to the offense. Childs is a big, athletic WR who will draw double-teams away from Andre Johnson.

 

50. San Diego Chargers – Dwight Jones WR, UNC
Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd, and, Legedu Naanee are all 2011 free agents. Jackson was franchised but will probably be traded at some point. Jones is 6’5", 210lbs. and fits the mold of the type of WR’s the Chargers covet.

 

51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Kevin Zeitler OG, Wisconsin
Now that the Bucs have one of the best and youngest defensive lines in all of football they can now focus on upgrading their counterparts. They have deficiencies at right tackle, guard, and center.

  

52. Chicago Bears – Ryan Miller OG/OT, Colorado
Much like the 2011 draft the Bears spend their first two picks upgrading their offensive and defensive lines. Ryan Miller is very Nate Solder-like in that he’s a very lean and athletic lineman at 6’8", 312lbs. He currently plays guard but would probably be better served playing tackle where his abilities would be better utilized. They drafted Gabe Carimi and adding Miller would give them a great set of bookends to keep Jay Cutler upright.

 

53. St. Louis Rams – Cyrus Gray RB, Texas A&M
St. Louis has been riding Steven Jackson hard his entire career. If they want him to last as long as possible they really need to get another back capable of shouldering the load.

 

54. New York Giants Chris Polk RB, Washington
Ahmad Bradshaw is a fumble and injury-prone 2011 free agent, and Brandon Jacobs big body is breaking down.

 

55. Indianapolis Colts – Matt Reynolds OT, BYU
Indy continues to rebuild their offensive line. Ben Ijalana will probably play right guard to replace Mike Pollack, and they draft Reynolds to replace Ryan Diem.

 

56. Kansas City Chiefs – Dont'a Hightower ILB, Alabama
I thought the Chiefs had one of the better 2011 drafts in terms of filling needs with quality players. One of their biggest needs on defense in 2012 will be at ILB. They could definitely use an upgrade over Jovan Belcher.

 

57. New York Jets – Levy Adcock OT, Oklahoma State
Going into the 2012 draft the Jets shouldn’t have too many pressing needs except for a pass-rushing OLB and at right tackle to replace Damien Woody.

 

58. Atlanta Falcons – Orson Charles TE, UGA
In 2012 Tony Gonzalez will be gone. Charles is a local product who can step in right away as a pure pass-catching tight end.

 

59. Philadelphia Eagles – Blake DeChristopher OT, Virginia Tech
Philly needs an upgrade over Winston Justice at right tackle and DeChristopher is a good fit for Andy Reid’s blocking scheme.

 

60. New England Patriots – Brandon Lindsey DE/OLB, Pittsburgh
I have to believe that the Patriots will upgrade their pass-rush at some point.

 

61. Baltimore Ravens – Ray Ray Armstrong S, Miami
Baltimore has to find replacements for defensive stalwarts Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. With the run on ILB’s already leaving the cupboard bare they draft Armstrong to be the heir to Reed. Drafting player from "The U" seems to have worked out for them so far.  

 

62. New Orleans Saints – Eddie Whitley S, Virginia Tech
Roman Harper and Darren Sharper are both 2011 free agents. They could definitely use an upgrade over Harper and Sharper is currently 35 years old.

 

63. Pittsburgh Steelers – Kenny Tate FS/LB, Maryland
Kenny Tate is a 6’4, 220lbs. All-ACC free safety that is making the move to linebacker. Changing positions is probably going to cause him some growing pains which why he’s still on the board here but that experience at linebacker is going to be invaluable to the Steelers. He could eventually take the reins from Ryan Clark OR James Farrior and that sort of versatility is hard to find. If he does make a permanent switch to linebacker he’ll definitely need to bulk up a bit but he’s well worth a second round pick.

 

64. Green Bay Packers – Baker Steinkuhler DE/DT, Nebraska
Cullen Jenkins is a 2011 free agent and Johnny Jolly is a 2012 free agent.

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