Steelers look defense in first round of three-round Mock Draft

James Lang-US PRESSWIRE

An early look at the 2013 NFL Draft

1. Kansas City Chiefs – Geno Smith QB, West Virginia

Notable 2012 draft picks: Dontari Poe NT, Memphis; Jeff Allen OG, Illinois

Team needs: QB/WR/DE/S/ILB

Looking up and down the Chiefs roster they definitely have the talent to win in the NFL, all they are lacking is a competent quarterback. Matt Cassel is terrible. It’s time to draft his replacement and move on. At this point West Virginia’s Geno Smith is the only option. He’s not the highest rated prospect but as of now he’s the only quarterback worth taking this high. Smith’s draft stock was on fire earlier in the season after he lit up Baylor to the tune of 45 of 51 for 656 yards, 8 touchdowns with zero interceptions. But shortly after that his stock took a bit of a nose dive following a three game skid, although he did finish up the year nicely. Smith has a strong arm, good accuracy and decision making, and great mobility and could be the next Russell Wilson. In the later rounds K.C. will have to address a few areas by replacing some free agents who are not likely to be resigned. Dwayne Bowe reported wants out and the Chiefs are unlikely to franchise him a second time. They drafted Jon Baldwin from Pitt in the first round last year but don’t have much in the way of depth behind him. In addition to that when most teams use a first round pick on a quarterback they usually draft him some help within the next couple of rounds. Another free agent most likely to leave is DE Glenn Dorsey. Drafted in the first round, Dorsey has been a poor fit for a 3-4 defense and will likely want to go somewhere that he can use his skillset to flourish. And lastly the Chiefs have got to be concerned about Eric Berry. The injury and poor play after the fact are definitely not what the Chiefs expected when they took him with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 draft. As previously stated, while Geno Smith is the top quarterback in the draft he is not the top prospect. Given the rookie wage scale, which no longer hamstrings a team into taking a skill position player early in the first round, the Chiefs could simply go for who they feel is best overall player. It’s an outside shot but they could take Notre Dame ILB Manti Te’o to replace the tragic Jovan Belcher.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jarvis Jones OLB, Georgia

Notable 2012 draft picks: Justin Blackmon WR, OSU; Andre Branch DE, Clemson; Bryan Anger P, Cal

Team needs: QB/CB/S/OT/OC

Where to start with the Jags? This team is a mess. Starting with the quarterback, Blaine Gabbert has been an utter failure since being drafted with the tenth pick of the 2011 draft. So far he has no redeeming qualities. New owner Shahid Khan and head coach Mike Mularkey did not draft Gabbert so neither will have any ties to him, plus GM Gene Smith was just fired. Unfortunately with WVU’s Geno Smith off of the board and USC’s Matt Barkley stock on a down slope the Jags will have to wait until the second round to address the quarterback position. The other big area of need for the Jags is at cornerback. A majority of the current CB’s on the roster will be free agents following the season and most should be replaced anyway. The only cornerback worth being taken this high would be Alabama’s DeMarcus Millner. Another issue, one that does contribute to Blaine Gabbert’s ineffectiveness, is a very porous offensive line. And it’ll get even worse with left guard Eben Britton and 36 year old center Brad Meester both being free agents at the end of the season. Jarvis Jones is possibly the best defensive player in the best conference in all of college football. He’s a relentless pass rusher who almost singlehandedly beat the number two team in the nation in Florida. Once he adds a few more moves to his pass rushing repertoire there’s no limit to his talent. In my 2011 mock draft I described AJ Green as "Randy Moss without the baggage", well Jarvis Jones is James Harrison without the baggage.

3. Oakland Raiders – Star Lotulelei NT, Utah

Notable 2012 draft picks: Tony Bergstrom OG, Utah; Juron Criner WR, Arizona

Team needs: QB/CB/RDE/DT

Unfortunately for Oakland it’s unlikely that they’ll find Carson Palmer’s replacement here. He’ll be 33 years old by the time the draft rolls around but with Barkley’s recent issues he’s no longer worthy of a top 5 pick. They have two big needs on defense at end and tackle At end Matt Shaughnessy can’t pressure anyone which is putting pressure on a secondary which isn’t very good to begin with. Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore would make a lot of sense here. At tackle Richard Seymour is no longer the player he once was and will probably be cut this offseason. This should also be the last season for Tommy Kelly as well. Utah nose tackle Star Lotulelei is very gifted athletically with great size at 6’4", 325 lbs. and is extremely quick. Between Moore and Lotulelei it’s a tossup and should hinge on what the team does with Seymour and Kelly. If they both go it should be Star, and if not it may very well be Damontre Moore.

4. Philadelphia Eagles – Luke Joeckel OT, Texas A&M

Notable 2012 draft picks: Fletcher Cox DT, MSU; Mychal Kendricks ILB, Cal; Vinny Curry DE, Marshall

Team needs: SS/CB/OG/OT

With head coach Andy Reid out after 14 years we should see a shift in drafting philosophy. Any new head coach could be looking to draft "their guy" at quarterback but Nick Foles showed enough his few starts this year to warrant retaining him as the starter for 2013. In addition to all sorts of injury and performance issues at tackle, 2011 first round pick OG Danny Watkins is looking like a complete bust. Defensively Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been a big disappointment and will be a free agent at the end of this season. Alabama’s DeMarcus Millner would have been a prime target for Andy Reid and could still be for his replacement. The big issues though on defense are at safety. The Eagles have spent a bunch of mid-to-late round picks on safeties in recent years and none of them have panned out. The only pick that makes since at this point is Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel. He did a phenomenal job protecting Heisman winner Johnny Manziel’s blindside.

5. Detroit Lions – Damontre Moore DE, Texas A&M

Notable 2012 draft picks: Riley Reiff OT, Iowa; Dwight Bentley CB, ULL; Ronnell Lewis OLB, Oklahoma

Team needs: CB/DE/SS/OC/RT

The Lions pass defense is a sieve. They could easily use two cornerbacks in addition to a strong safety to replace Amari Spievey. The player who would make the most sense is Alabama CB Dee Millner. Along the defensive front Lawrence Jackson and Cliff Avril will both be free agents. Avril was franchised last offseason but is having a down year so he may not be resigned. Plus thanks to multiple top 10 picks in previous years of the draft before the rookie wage scale was put in place the Lions are going to have cap issues this offseason. They may lose a third defensive end by cutting the aging Kyle Vanden Bosch to save cap space. The Lions typically go with the best player available, particularly defensive linemen, so while drafting Millner would be the better overall choice to help a woeful secondary it’s likely the Lions will take Damontre Moore to replace Cliff Avril.

6. Cleveland Browns – Manti Te’o ILB Notre Dame

Notable 2012 draft picks: Trent Richardson RB, Alabama; Brandon Weeden QB, OSU; Mitchell Schwartz RT, Cal

Team needs: SLB/RDE/OG/CB/WR

It’s unfortunate what happened to SLB Scott Fujita. A terrible neck injury might cut short his playing career. He was set to be a free agent anyway so Cleveland will have to draft his replacement. If he’s available I don’t think there’s any doubt that the Browns would take Notre Dame ILB Manti Te’o. Elsewhere on defense the Browns could use another end to pair with Jabaal Sheard. On offense Cleveland will only go as far as Trent Richardson will take them so it’s imperative that they give him the best blocking they can and as such they’ll need upgrades at both guard positions. At wide receiver the Browns have a great collection of number two’s but still lack that true number one, although rookie Josh Gordon is showing glimmers of being that player. I’m sure that Cleveland’s draft board would look something like this: 1. Jarvis Jones, 2. Manti Te’o, 3. Damontre Moore, 4. Bjoern Werner. Given that Cleveland doesn’t have a second round pick, thanks to taking Josh Gordon in the second round of the supplemental draft, they may look to trade back with someone looking to take someone like Manti Te’o or Dee Millner to reacquire a second round pick.

7. Arizona Cardinals – Matt Barkley QB, USC

Notable 2012 draft picks: Michael Floyd WR, Notre Dame; Bob Massie OT, Ole Miss

Team needs: QB/LT/OG/OC/OLB

Different draft, same needs for the Arizona Cardinals. They still need a left tackle to protect Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, or whoever is playing quarterback, and really could use upgrades all over the offensive line. I say this every time for the last few years but if the Cardinals use this pick for anything other than the highest rated offensive lineman then they don’t deserve to win. Luke Joeckel is the highest rated offensive lineman in the draft and the only one who is projected as a surefire left tackle prospect. If he’s available it should be a no brainer. They could also target Michigan’s Taylor Lewan. Defensively this team is pretty solid all-around but could definitely take the best player available that can play OLB in a 3-4 defense. Arizona may be iffy on taking another USC quarterback but they are almost forced to reach for one after having such an abysmal year at the position all though they would be much better served drafting Taylor Lewan here and targeting someone like Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson or NC State’s Mike Glennon in the second round.

8. Buffalo Bills – Bjoern Werner DE, Florida State

Notable 2012 draft picks: Stephen Gilmore CB, South Carolina; Cordy Glenn OT, UGA

Team needs: QB/WR/RDE

The Bills definitely have one clear cut need, and that is to replace Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. The Fitz is a decent player but not good enough in a starting role to take this team anywhere. Unfortunately for the Bills this is still too early to take any of the available QB’s. Perhaps the Bills could trade back, acquire some more picks, and get him later on in the first round. In addition to a quarterback the Bills also need to add some talent to the wide receiving corps to take the pressure off of Steve Johnson. But as with quarterbacks there aren’t any wide receivers worthy of a pick this high either, and certainly not with so much talent at other positions available. They could take a defensive end to upgrade over Mark Anderson who has been a big disappointment in his first season in Buffalo. If he’s available I’m sure the Bills would pounce on Damontre Moore and could take FSU’s Bjoern Werner here. Given the needs of the team and the talent available the Bills could trade back and get their QB in either Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson or a WR like Cal’s Keenan Allen or one of the Tennessee duo Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson.

9. New York Jets – Dion Jordan DE/OLB, Oregon

Notable 2012 draft picks: Quinton Coples DE, UNC; Stephen Hill WR, GT; Demario Davis OLB, Arkansas State

Team needs: RT/OLB/QB/S/ILB

Unless everyone in the front office is fired this offseason Mark Sanchez will be given at least one more year at quarterback. There are rumors that the Jets are looking for a trade partner but that’s unlikely to happen. What the Jets need to do is to build more around him if he is to have any chance of success. There has been a huge hole at right tackle for the last few seasons and at wide receiver Santonio Holmes is skating on thin ice. They did draft Stephen Hill last year to be the vertical threat but he hasn’t done much so far. The only wide receiver option at this point would be Cal’s Keenan Allen but the Jets have much bigger needs defensively. Safety have been big issues for the Jets for a while now. It’s too early to take any of the available one’s right now but they could certainly target one in the second round. At linebacker the Jets need to upgrade their pass rush. Calvin Pace is not the player he once was and they aren’t generating any kind of rush from the other linebackers as well. Bart Scott is most likely going to be cut this offseason. The Jets will most likely take the highest rated 3-4 OLB here.

10. Tennessee Titans – DeMarcus Millner CB, Alabama

Notable 2012 draft picks: Kendall Wright WR, Baylor; Zach Brown OLB, UNC; Mike Martin DT, Michigan

Team needs: OC/OG/CB/DE

Tennessee is in a bad spot because the talent available doesn’t really match up with any of their needs. Offensively they simply have to upgrade the interior of their line. They gave that massive contract to running back Chris Johnson are not getting any return on their investment. Unfortunately this is far too early to draft either of Alabama’s Chance Warmack or Barrett Jones. At cornerback they need to find a replacement for Cortland Finnegan who left this past offseason. Their secondary has been absolutely torched this season so if he’s available Alabama’s Dee Millner would be the obvious choice. They also need to upgrade their pass rush. Their need for an end is much bigger than at tackle, Derrick Morgan is very inconsistent and they have no depth behind him, but Jonathan Hankins is the best overall defensive line prospect at this point. I have him rated only a shade below Star Lotulelei and likewise is a nightmare matchup for opposing offensive linemen. As long as Millner is available he’ll be the pick with Jon Hankins being the second choice.

11. San Diego Chargers – Taylor Lewan OT, Michigan

Notable 2012 draft picks: Melvin Ingram OLB, South Carolina; Kendall Reyes DE, UConn; Brandon Taylor SS, LSU

Team needs: WR/CB/OT/RB/OLB

I don’t think that anyone could’ve predicted how much this offense would hurt after losing WR Vincent Jackson to free agency. Not only was he a vital target for QB Phillip Rivers to throw to but he also took pressure off of the rest of the offense. If the Chargers were to get to a Super Bowl while Rivers is in his prime they need to find him another weapon. Cal’s Keenan Allen is the complete package at wide receiver. He has the size at 6’3", 205lbs combined with speed to burn. If he had a better quarterback to throw to him it’s possible the Allen might be considered a top 5 pick so he’s definitely going to get some consideration. Another issue is protection. If Phillip Rivers had more time to throw to the WR’s he does have it would help. Defensively this team is going to have a conundrum at cornerback as both Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason will be free agents this offseason. One issue that’s unlikely to be addressed this offseason is at running back. I think it’s safe to say that at this point Ryan Matthews has been a huge disappointment. He was supposed to be the every down back to replace LaDainian Tomlinson but cannot stay healthy or productive. San Diego has a history of taking cornerbacks in the first round but with Dee Millner gone it’ll come down to WR Keenan Allen or OT Taylor Lewan, or possibly even an OLB to upgrade over Shaun Phillips.

12. Miami Dolphins – Keenan Allen WR, Cal

Notable 2012 draft picks: Ryan Tannehill QB, Texas A&M; Jon Martin RT, Stanford; Lamar Miller RB, Miami

Team needs: WR/RG/LDE/S/TE

The Dolphins desperately need a solid number one wide receiver to help out their young quarterback Ryan Tannehill and to take the pressure off of the running game. A logical choice would be for the Dolphins to take Keenan Allen here. Also on the offense the Dolphins could upgrade the right side of their offensive line. They drafted Jonathan Martin in the second round last year and will give him time to develop but they could certainly use an upgrade over John Jerry. They could also be looking at a serious issue at left tackle. Jake Long is going to be a free agent and it would cost 15 million dollars to franchise him. Miami’s defense is pretty stout but they could definitely use a better pass-rushing option across from Cameron Wake than Jared Odrick who is a better fit at tackle. They also traded away cornerback Vontae Davis to Indy and could try to replace him. Safety has been a big issue for Miami in recent years so they could reach for Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro but will most likely wait until the second round to address it. If they fail to resign Jake Long the Dolphins may be forced to try and trade up for Taylor Lewan or reach for Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher unless they view Jonathan Martin as the future at left tackle. They could take either LSU defensive end to upgrade over Jared Odrick. Most likely the Dolphins will do everything they can to aide young QB Ryan Tannehill and the future of the franchise hinges on his development and that means either a lineman or a wide receiver.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jonathan Banks CB, Mississippi State

Notable 2012 draft picks: Mark Barron SS, Alabama; Doug Martin RB, Boise State; Lavonte David OLB, Nebraska

Team needs: CB/DT/SLB/OT

Tampa Bay’s pick should be fairly easy. They had a big need for an upgrade at cornerback even before they traded Aqib Talib to the Patriots. They’ve already shifted an aging Rhonde Barber to safety and E.J. Biggers will be a free agent at the end of the season. Here they’ll have the chance to pick MSU’s Jonathan Banks. Also on defense the Bucs have spent multiple early picks on tackle but most of which haven’t panned out, as such they have no depth and that could get worse as nose tackle Roy Miller is a free agent. Tampa won’t likely spend a first round pick on another DT but may invest their second or third round pick on one if Miller leaves. If they were to do so a great option would be Ohio State’s Jon Hankins. They could also use an upgrade over Quincy Black at strong side linebacker to go with the young tandem of Mason Foster and Lavonte David, and a good option but a reach would be Georgia’s Alec Ogletree. Offensively they are pretty solid but could use an upgrade at right tackle over the tandem of Jeremy Trueblood and Demar Dotson. This pick should come down to Banks or Hankins, and if Dee Millner is available it’ll be a no brainer.

14. Carolina Panthers – Jonathan Hankins NT, Ohio State

Notable 2012 draft picks: Luke Kuechly LB, Boston College; Amini Silatolu OG, Midwestern State; Joe Adams WR, Arkansas

Team needs: DT/CB/RT/WR/S

This is really the first pick that can’t be entirely telegraphed. Carolina has a lot of needs and could go in several directions based on the talent available. The best player on the board is Jonathan Hankins. He’s an absolute beast who has completely dominated most opposing offensive lines this season. He would be the logical choice as Carolina’s DT’s have been dreadful, but as they’ve ignored the position in the past they may instead take the highest rated cornerback. The Panthers cornerbacks have been almost as bad as their defensive tackles and Captain Munnerlyn will be a free agent this offseason. In the later rounds Carolina will have to address their hole at right tackle, replacing injury-prone Jeff Otah, and at some point they’ve good to find more talent at wide receiver to allow Cam Newton to flourish. Steve Smith isn’t going to play forever so they could use this pick to take whoever they feel is the highest rated wide receiver. For now Hankins should be the pick but Carolina may opt to continue to build the franchise around Cam Newton by taking Cal WR Keenan Allen or OT Eric Fisher.

15. New Orleans Saints – Sheldon Richardson DT, Missouri

Notable 2012 draft picks: Akiem Hicks DT, Canada; Nick Toon WR, Wisconsin

Team needs: DE/DT/WR/SS

New Orleans is a loaded team but they have trouble generating a consistent pass rush. Most of their defensive linemen are stout against the run but do not get up field all that well so drafting the top available pass-rusher is the likely scenario here. With not having a second round pick due to the Bountygate scandal it’s imperative that they make this pick count, although because they do not have that pick they also might look to trade back to replace it. Regardless of where they draft in the first round it’s highly probable that they take the highest rated defensive lineman with their first pick. Here they would have their choice between LSU DE’s Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo or Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson. Montgomery and Mingo are local products who would replace an aging Will Smith who is not the player he used to be. New Orleans need to replace first round bust Sedrick Ellis who only has 12.5 sacks in his 5 years in the league, including only a half sack in the last 2 years.

16. St. Louis Rams – Eric Fisher OT, Central Michigan

Notable 2012 draft picks: Michael Brockers DT, LSU; Brian Quick WR, Appalachian State; Janoris Jenkins CB, North Alabama

Team needs: OT/OG/OLB/FS/TE

The Rams need to do a better job of surrounding QB Sam Bradford with talent, both by adding talent to the wide receiving corps and along the offensive line. They currently have discarded Jets right tackle Wayne Hunter protecting Bradford’s blindside which is just unacceptable. At wide receiver 2012 second round pick Brian Quick hasn’t shown much so far but will be given more opportunities before the Rams draft another WR so early. St. Louis’ biggest issues on defense are at both outside linebacker spots. Rocky McIntosh and especially Jo-Lonn Dunbar both need to be replaced. A good pick would be Georgia’s Alec Ogletree. The Rams also need an upgrade at safety. While the Rams could go in any number of directions from Alec Ogletree to Keenan Allen their number one priority should be to draft the highest rated offensive lineman to protect Sam Bradford. They could take either of the Bama boys but Eric Fisher has the length and agility to turn into a solid left tackle. If he played against better competition it’s likely Fisher could’ve gone much higher than this.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers – John Jenkins NT, Georgia

Notable 2012 draft picks: David DeCastro OG, Stanford; Mike Adams OT, OSU; Alameda Ta’amu NT, Washington

Team needs: S/ROLB/WR/LG/CB/NT

The biggest issue facing the Steelers in the 2013 offseason will be the salary cap yet again. They are projected to be about 29 million dollars over the cap and that means cuts. We could see the likes of James Harrison, Ike Taylor, Larry Foote, Ryan Clark, Willie Colon, and Max Starks all on the chopping block to make room under the cap, and that’s not counting Casey Hampton who is in the final year of his deal and likely to retire this offseason. Now it’s unlikely that all of those names will be gone from the 2013 roster. Some players will restructure their deals. I do believe that Harrison will be gone unless he takes a massive pay cut. He makes way too much and at this point in his career he’s usually injured for more games than he actually plays, and when he does play he just doesn’t have the same kind of impact. Going forward will the front office be happy with Jason Worilds and Chris Carter battling it out to replace him? If not they can try to take a rusher like either LSU’s Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo, or Oregon’s Dion Jordan if he falls this far. At ILB they drafted Sean Spence but unless he hits another growth spurt I don’t think he’ll be an every down player, probably only coming in on obvious passing downs, so if Larry Foote is not resigned and they are still not completely sold on Stevenson Sylvester the Steelers could draft Georgia’s Alec Ogletree. He’s extremely athletic, can play sideline-to-sideline, and with his 6’3" frame he can easily bulk up from his current 235 lbs. At this point he has the same potential as Lawrence Timmons had when he came out of FSU in the 2007 draft. He is also versatile enough that he could be used at OLB. Willie Colon has turned into a pretty good guard but he’s missed a handful of games this season as well missing just about the entirety of the last 2 seasons so if he’s cut the Steelers could take either of the Alabama boys Barrett Jones or Chance Warmack. Warmack has the size of a road grader but the agility to hold up against the pass. I know the Steelers are high on Ramon Foster’s potential but Warmack is someone who can lock down the left guard position from day one. Barrett Jones is special because he can play all three offensive line positions and play them well. Given the Steelers long injury history with offensive linemen someone of Jones’ skill set would come in handy. This season we caught a glimpse of life after Ike Taylor. Without him in the lineup our defense has struggled mightily. Keenan Lewis is starting to come into his own as a starter, but he’s a free agent, and Cortez Allen is showing glimmers of starting potential as well especially in the final 2 games of the season. In today’s passing NFL you can never have enough good corners so if Jonathan Banks, and especially DeMarcus Millner were to be available the Steelers could pounce on either. This will be Casey Hampton’s last season in Black and Gold, do the Steelers see Alameda Ta’amu as the heir apparent to Mighty Casey’s oversized throne? He hasn’t dressed for a single game this season and in light of his drunk driving episode it’s entirely possible that the Steelers may make an example out of him and cut him at some point. That would leave Steve McLendon as the only nose tackle on the roster and while he’s been a solid rotational player on passing downs I don’t see him as the full time starter. This draft class will be thick with quality nose tackle prospects but they’ll all be gone by the end of the second round. Georgia’s John Jenkins would be an excellent fit for the Steelers. Jenkins is 6’3", 360 lbs. and very strong at the point of attack. While he doesn’t wear down quite as fast as the typical big man he will still need a little conditioning when he gets to the pros. With all of that and we still haven’t gotten to the Mike Wallace contract situation. Can the two sides come to an agreement, and even if they could will the Steelers even have the cap space to sign him? With Emanuel Sanders starting to come into his own, despite the fumbling issues, it’s likely that the Steelers could wave goodbye to Wallace and his reportedly large contract demands. Even if that’s the case I think the Steelers have had such a good track record recently with finding wide receiver talent in the middle rounds that I doubt they would use this pick on one even though at this point they would have their pick of the litter with the likes of Cal’s Keenan Allen and both of Tennessee’s WR’s Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson on the board. Keenan Allen would be the Mike Wallace clone, with a slightly better route running ability, while Hunter is the big-bodied Vincent Jackson-type clone that Steelers fans have been craving ever since Plaxico Burress left for free agency. Patterson might be the best combination of the two but he doesn’t have a lot of starting experience. Maybe the biggest issue besides the cap that is currently facing the Steelers is at safety. Both Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu are getting older and are starting to have injury issues. Will Allen, also a free agent, has been good when filling in for one of them but Ryan Mundy has been a huge liability who has cost the Steelers multiple games. It would be smart of the Steelers to draft a replacement now so that they can sit and learn from the masters. Unfortunately while this draft class has a solid crop of safeties none of them are currently rated to go this high in the draft. Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro will be the first one taken and his draft ceiling is in the early 20’s. With Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman both free agents, Redman should be resigned, the Steelers may pick up a running back in the later rounds. The RB class of 2013 is deep but not very top heavy. The Steelers should be able to pick up a quality back somewhere in rounds four through seven. At this juncture the player who makes the most sense is John Jenkins to replace Casey Hampton. A real prize would be if Ohio State’s Jonathan Hankins were to fall to the Steelers. While Jenkins is a stone wall, able to eat up double teams, he does not offer much in the way of a pass rush. Hankins is not quite as big as Jenkins, measuring 6’4" and 322lbs., but is just as every bit as affective at stopping the run but also has the added athleticism to penetrate the pocket and make plays in the backfield.

18. Dallas Cowboys – Barkevious Mingo DE/OLB, LSU

Notable 2012 draft picks: Morris Claiborne CB, LSU; Tyrone Crawford DE, Boise State

Team needs: OC/OG/NT/DE

The big issue for the Cowboys is the interior of their offensive line. QB Tony Romo wouldn’t have so many issue if he weren’t under a constant barrage of pressure up the middle. Upgrades at both guard and center would also help the running game, further alleviating Romo’s issues. This is the point where both of Alabama’s Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack will garner heavy consideration. Barrett Jones is the ideal pick because he has already proven that he can successfully play guard, center, and even tackle so Dallas can line him up anywhere they choose. If they want a bigger, more powerful lineman than they could go for Warmack. On the other side of the ball Dallas needs to upgrade the defensive line. Current nose tackle Jay Ratliff is a beast but would be far more effective playing end. If they choose to following through with that play then Dallas could draft Georgia’s John Jenkins who at 6’3", 360lbs. is more than up to the task. A big question for the Cowboys this offseason is the pending free agency of Anthony Spencer. After being wildly inconsistent for much of his career he finally turned it on and had a great season. Will Dallas pony up and pay him, or will they let him walk? Assuming they let him walk because it’s unlikely that they have the cap room to afford him Dallas should pick the best outside rusher available. If he is resigned the likely choice will be either Barrett Jones or Chance Warmack.

19. New York Giants – Chance Warmack OG, Alabama

Notable 2012 draft picks: David Wilson RB, VA Tech; Reuben Randle WR, LSU; Brandon Mosley OT, Auburn

Team needs: RT/OG/S/ILB/DE

The Giants have had issues on the offensive lines for a while now. William Beatty has really come on at left tackle but David Diehl is a mess at right tackle. On defense their biggest issues are at safety but it’s still too early to draft one here. They could slightly reach for Texas Kenny Vaccaro but would be better served waiting until the second or third round to find better value at the position. New York loves taking pass-rushers and with Osi Umenyiora being a free agent at the end of the season it’s likely possible that the Giants would draft a replacement for him, especially if the best player available happens to be one. The Giants have had issues at linebacker for a while now too but chose to ignore the position in the early rounds. Drafting Georgia’s Alec Ogletree would also make a lot of sense. Ezekiel Ansah is raw but has a ton of potential just like Jason Pierre-Paul was when he came into the draft so he may be the likely pick but with all of the O-line issues I just can’t see the Giants passing on Chance Warmack if he’s available. Warmack is a top 10 prospect who only falls because of the position he plays.

20. Chicago Bears – Alec Ogletree ILB, Georgia

Notable 2012 draft picks: Shea McClellin DE, Boise State; Alshon Jeffery WR, South Carolina

Team needs: DT/CB/LT/RG/LB

Moving forward Chicago will have to do something about their offensive line. J’Marcus Webb should not be a starting left tackle and Robert Garza is a terrible center. If it weren’t for all the pressure Jay Cutler faced all season this team would probably be in the playoffs right now. Chicago has to do everything they can to remedy that. Unfortunately this late in the first round the Bears are out of luck unless Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher is still on the board. They could draft Barrett Jones but there’s better talent available elsewhere. Defensively Chicago need to find an heir for Brian Urlacher and an upgrade over Nick Roach and as such they’ll be a candidate to draft Georgia’s Alec Ogletree. Given that he’s a former safety converted into an ILB the Bears could see the next Urlacher in him. The big issue will be at cornerback and tackle. Charles Tillman is having an exceptional season but he’ll be 32 years old next season. At tackle both Amobi Okoye and Henry Melton will be free agents.

21. Minnesota Vikings – Cordarrelle Patterson WR, Tennessee

Notable 2012 draft picks: Matt Kalil LT, USC; Harrison Smith SS, Notre Dame; Josh Robinson CB, UCF

Team needs: DT/WR/OG/CB/ILB

Minnesota has a fairly solid core of offensive players to build around with a strong running game, a young quarterback, and a young franchise left tackle but what they lack is another receiving weapon for QB Christian Ponder. Here they have the option to grab whomever they feel is the highest rated wide receiver in the draft. With the Alabama’s Chance Warmack gone they’ll also have to wait to upgrade their deficiencies at guard in the later rounds. Defensively their biggest need is at tackle. Kevin Williams is still playing good football but at 33 years old how much does he have left in the tank? Letroy Guyton is marginally good as a rotational player but should definitely not be the team’s starting nose tackle. An excellent upgrade over Guyton would be Georgia’s John Jenkins if he’s available or the Vikings could reach for Purdue’s Kawann Short or UNC’s Sylvester Williams. The other issue on defense is at cornerback. Chris Cook is always in trouble and Antoine Winfield is 35 years old and can’t play forever. They also need an upgrade at ILB over Jasper Brinkley and as such will be another team that could draft Alec Ogletree.

22. Cincinnati Bengals – Sam Montgomery DE, LSU

Notable 2012 draft picks: Dre Kirkpatrick CB, Alabama; Kevin Zeitler OG, Wisconsin; Devon Still DT, PSU; Mohamed Sanu WR, Rutgers

Team needs: RB/RDE/S/ILB

Current ILB Rey Maualuga had an awful season and will most likely be cut before the 2013 draft rolls around. Even though "The Law Firm" BenJarvis Green-Ellis is having a good season he also developed a fumbling issue and does not look like anything more than a stopgap for the Bengals finally draft a franchise back. Unfortunately there isn’t a running back with a first round grade but they should be able to find a starter in the second round. Safety is another big issue as Taylor Mays has been benched for poor play multiple times and they are using cornerback Nate Clements at strong safety. At defensive end Michael Johnson is a good rotational player but they could definitely use an upgrade. With LSU’s Sam Montgomery on the board he should garner some consideration. Alec Ogletree would make a lot sense here to replace Maualuga and the Bengals seem to have an affinity for drafting Georgia players with so many taken during Marvin Lewis’ tenure with the team.

23. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) – Kenny Vaccaro S, Texas

Notable 2012 draft picks: Michael Brockers DT, LSU; Brian Quick WR, Appalachian State; Janoris Jenkins CB, North Alabama

Team needs: OT/OG/OLB/FS

Having drafted a potential franchise left tackle to protect Sam Bradford’s blindside for the foreseeable future it’s time to look at some of the Rams other needs. They should use this pick on defense either at outside linebacker or safety. With Georgia’s Alec Ogletree off of the board there aren’t any other linebackers worthy of this pick. They could target Rutgers’s Khaseem Greene in the second round. The highest rated safety in this draft class is Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro. He’s versatile enough to play either safety position and would be considered an upgrade at both spots for the Rams as well.

24. Indianapolis Colts – Ezekiel Ansah DE/OLB, BYU

Notable 2012 draft picks: Andrew Luck QB, Stanford; Coby Fleener TE, Stanford; Josh Chapman NT, Alabama

Team needs: NT/OLB/S/RT/WR

This is definitely Andrew Luck’s team so the Colts could easily take 34 year old Reggie Wayne’s heir here with Baylor’s Terrence Williams or either Tennessee’s Justin Hunter or Cordarrelle Patterson. But head coach Chuck Pagano is a defensive minded coach and this team also needs to focus on that side of the ball after spending most of the 2012 draft taking Andrew Luck and drafting multiple toys for him to throw to. They still need an anchor for their 3-4 defense. Alabama’s Jesse Williams would be a good option. At outside linebacker both Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are playing out of position and are in the twilight of their careers. Jerry Hughes has been a complete bust since being drafted in the first round three years ago. Ezekiel Ansah is extremely raw but has a ton of potential due to his athleticism just like Jason Pierre-Paul was when he came into the draft.

25. Baltimore Ravens – Matt Elam S, Florida

Notable 2012 draft picks: Courtney Upshaw OLB, Alabama; Kelechi Osemele OG, Iowa State

Team needs: ILB/S/OC/OG/WR

Most draft pundits have been saying this for the last few years but the Ravens definitely need to start drafting heirs for both insider linebacker Ray Lewis and free safety Ed Reed. Lewis is currently out of the rest of the season and could possibly be contemplating retirement. Ed Reed has battled numerous injuries the last few years, including serious issues with the nerves in his neck, and if Ray Lewis does decide to hang it up then Reed may be out right behind him. On offense most of the Ravens issues stem from the line. At center it’s time for Matt Birk to retire. They lost guard Ben Grubbs to free agency last offseason and were forced to replace him with 36 year old Bobbie Williams. And at tackle Michael Oher has had an inconsistent career thus far. Behind them the Ravens have a lot of largely unproven players. At wide receiver Anquan Boldin is 32 years old and seems to have lost his ability to separate from DB’s. If they were available players like Alec Ogletree and Cordarrelle Patterson would be great options. The Ravens could take Barrett Jones to solve a lot of their offensive line woes. Matt Elam could be the heir to Ed Reed that the Ravens really need.

26. Seattle Seahawks – Terrence Williams WR, Baylor

Notable 2012 draft picks: Bruce Irvin OLB, WVU; Bobby Wagner ILB, Utah State

Team needs: RT/WR/DE/TE

Seattle is definitely a team on the rise. They found a steal in 2012 third round of the 2012 draft in Russell Wilson. It would be nice if he had a better wide receiver’s corps. Sidney Rice is too injury prone and Golden Tate is wildly inconsistent. As such it’s likely that head coach Pete Carroll will take the best wide receiver available which in this case happens to be Baylor’s Terrence Williams. Seattle also has a dire need at right tackle but having whiffed previously in the first round by taking James Carpenter in 2011 they will probably wait to take his replacement. Defensively they don’t need much but could use another defensive end. They drafted Bruce Irvin in the first round last year but to this point he’s only a situational pass rusher. If LSU’s Sam Montgomery were to slip this far I would expect him to be the pick.

27. Green Bay Packers – Barrett Jones OC/OG/OT, Alabama

Notable 2012 draft picks: Nick Perry OLB, USC; Jerel Worthy DE, MSU; Casey Hayward CB, Vanderbilt

Team needs: OC/S/RB/WR

The Packers roster is pretty solid as a whole but they do have a few issues. They’ve needed a replacement at center ever since Scott Wells left in free agency. Another big issue has been at safety, especially with Nick Collins’ neck injury. If Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro were available they would get a lot of consideration. At running back the Packers have a string of inconsistent performers and could benefit from finally getting a someone who can be a three down back but it’s still early for Oklahoma State’s Joseph Randle or UNC’s Giovani Bernard. One position that isn’t too pressing but could still be addressed is at wide receiver. Greg Jennings will be a free agent and Donald Driver will actually turn 38 years old the day before Super Bowl XLVII. With the way that Green Bay likes to open up the passing game it would behoove them to replenish the ranks. Also look out for the Packers to target Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert if he’s available. Jermichael Finley is very inconsistent and considering how much he’ll make next season the Packers may look to save the cap space. Barrett Jones is the ultimate Swiss army knife of an offensive lineman. He can play every position on the offensive line and play them well.

28. Houston Texans Justin Hunter WR, Tennessee

Notable 2012 draft picks: Whitney Mercilus OLB, Illinois; DeVier Posey WR, OSU; Brandon Brooks OG/OT, Miami of Ohio

Team needs: NT/WR/OG/ILB/S

Houston just doesn’t have any pressing needs. They are a team built to win for the long haul. Offensively they need to get younger at wide receiver. They drafted a few receivers in the middle rounds in the 2012 draft but if a first round talent falls this far they just might scoop him up. They also need an upgrade at left guard over Wade Smith. Defensively they are pretty stacked but could use a true nose tackle for their 3-4 defense. The optimal pick for the Texans would be if Georgia’s John Jenkins or they could take Alabama’s Jesse Williams here. At safety Glover Quin will be a free agent. Inside linebacker is something of an issue. Brain Cushing gets hurt too much, they traded away DeMeco Ryans to Philly, and they signed a bunch of castoffs like Bradie James, Barrett Ruud, and Tim Dobbins. Without any true needs the Texans can simply go with the best available player. Justin Hunter has top 10 talent but falls because he still hasn’t fully recovered from the ACL tear he had the season before.

29. San Francisco 49ers – Tony Jefferson S, Oklahoma

Notable 2012 draft picks: A.J. Jenkins WR, Illinois; LaMichael James RB, Oregon

Team needs: FS/OC/DE/RT/OLB

San Fran has a pretty loaded roster with only a few needs. The biggest is at safety. Donte Whitner hasn’t been good this season and Dashon Goldson is currently playing under the franchise tag. They could also use a successor to center Jonathan Goodwin who will be 34 years old this season. At defensive end Justin Smith will be 34 years old next season. They could also use another wide receiver. Randy Moss is a stop-gap, Mario Manningham isn’t a long-term option, and 2011 first round pick A.J. Jenkins hasn’t shown much so far. If Terrence Williams makes it this far he would be the probable pick.

30. Denver Broncos – Jonathan Cooper OG, North Carolina

Notable 2012 draft picks: Derek Wolfe DT, Cincinnati; Ronnie Hillman RB, San Diego State

Team needs: LG/CB/DT/WR/OC

There isn’t much that can be done to upgrade this offense. The Broncos could always add another toy for Peyton Manning to play with. They do need an upgrade at both guard positions. Zane Beadles isn’t very good and neither is Manuel Ramirez who is subbing for the injury-prone Chris Kuper. Overall the Broncos biggest issue is at defensive tackle. They drafted Derek Wolfe last year but they moved him to end, shifting him to tackle only on passing downs. They need three down DT’s, especially since both current starting tackles Justin Bannan and Kevin Vickerson will be free agents. Cornerback is another potential issue. Tracy Porter was only signed to a one-year deal last offseason so he’ll be a free agent and even though Champ Bailey is still playing at a high level now he’ll be 35 years old next summer. Purdue’s Kawann Short would be the obvious and popular pick but the Broncos have ignored the defensive tackle position enough times to think they’ll value another position instead. Jonathan Cooper is an extremely athletic interior lineman and would be a great fit for Denver’s blocking scheme.

31. Atlanta Falcons – Tyler Eifert TE, Notre Dame

Notable 2012 draft picks: Peter Konz OC, Wisconsin; Jon Massaquoi DE, Troy

Team needs: OC/LB/TE/DE/RB

If he’s available I don’t see the Falcons taking anyone other than Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert. Tony Gonzalez is such a critical part of Atlanta’s offense so with him nearing retirement they need to draft his replacement now. This is a team that traded most of their early picks the last two years to trade up for another wide receiver so they will do whatever it takes to keep talent around their young star QB Matt Ryan, even it’s a detriment to their defense. Elsewhere on offense running back Michael Turner has been resurgent this season but at 30 years old how much gas can be left in the tank? Depending on where the Falcons play 2012 second round pick Peter Konz after current starting center Todd McClure retires they will be in the market for either a guard or center. Defensively John Abraham is still getting it done but he’ll be 35 years old next season, and on the other side left end Ray Edwards has been a bust signing. And the Falcons middle and strong side linebacking spots can both also be upgraded. If not Tyler Eifert the most likely picks would be defense as there aren’t any running backs worthy of a first round pick to this point and both of the Alabama boys Chance Warmack and Barrett Jones are already gone.

32. New England Patriots – Tavon Austin WR, West Virginia

Notable 2012 draft picks: Chandler Jones OLB, Syracuse; Dont’a Hightower ILB, Alabama; Alfonzo Dennard CB, Nebraska

Team needs: WR/S/CB

The Patriots seem to have two very clear cut needs. The first is at wide receiver. It’s quite ridiculous that Deion Branch is one of their top wide receivers. It’s also unlikely that New England will give an aging Wes Welker the contract he desires. New England is usually very active on draft day so they could easily move up for someone they target like Terrence Williams or they could move back and go for DeAndre Hopkins in the second round. The other clear need is in the secondary, that’s why they took a chance on troublemaker Aqib Talib, because they are desperate for help. Coach Belichick has never been scared to draft for the secondary both early and often. The best fit is N.C. State’s David Amerson. Early in the season he was pegged as a potential top ten pick but he stock has fallen due to some bad games. He’s plays the ball in the air like a wide receiver but gets burned on occasion because he can’t flip his hips and run with faster receiver’s due to his 6’3", 195lbs. frame. It’s possible that he might be a better fit at safety. With 13 interceptions in his sophomore year he can definitely be a ballhawk.

Round 2:

33. Jacksonville Jaguars – Tyler Wilson QB, Arkansas

With Gene Smith’s firing that will just about signal the end of the Blaine Gabbert era in Jacksonville. Chad Henne played decent when given his chance to start but neither QB is the future of the franchise. If not for being on a dreadful Arkansas team it’s likely that Tyler Wilson would be the second quarterback taken in this draft class and still may be which would mean that he’s a steal atop the second round. If the Jags go in any other direction it would probably be for either a cornerback or an offensive lineman. The likely pick would be either FSU’s CB Xavier Rhodes or Tennessee OG/OT Dallas Thomas.

34. Kansas City Chiefs – DeAndre Hopkins WR, Clemson

When teams draft a quarterback in the first round they usually follow that up by drafting him some help with their next pick. Dwayne Bowe is a free agent that seems unlikely to resign with the Chiefs therefore they should draft the highest rated wide receiver. Other options would be to draft an upgrade at free safety if Matt Elam or Tony Jefferson are available, or possibly take LSU’s Eric Reid even though he’s a much better fit at strong safety.

35. Philadelphia Eagles – Kawann Short DT, Purdue

At this juncture the Eagles could go in a few different direction depending on the talent available. They still need upgrades at safety but like the Chiefs they should bypass the position with Matt Elam and Tony Jefferson both gone. Cornerback is a big possibility with Xavier Rhodes available. The top prospect though is Kawann Short. Cullen Jenkins is likely to be cut this offseason and the Eagles need a young DT to pair with Fletcher Cox.

36. Detroit Lions – Xavier Rhodes CB, Florida State

The Lions biggest issues are in the secondary. After bypassing Dee Millner in the first round they luck out by having Xavier Rhodes available in the second. He has solid size at 6’2", 217lbs. and excels in both zone and man coverage. It’ll be especially important for the Lions to draft a cornerback if they do not retain Chris Houston this offseason.

37. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland Raiders) – Giovani Bernard RB, North Carolina

Cincy should be taking either a safety or a running back here. They need serious help at both positions so it’ll come down to Giovani Bernard or whoever they have as the highest rated safety available. Eric Reid would be a great fit for Cincy’s defense but it’s unlikely they would bypass the top rated running back should he be available.

38. Arizona Cardinals – Robert Woods WR, USC

Having drafted their quarterback in the first round the Cardinals find him a weapon here that can take some of the pressure off of Larry Fitzgerald. There are better wide receivers available than Robert Woods but given his rapport with Matt Barkley it makes sense to draft him. Given their need for offensive line help they could also take Alabama OT D.J. Fluker or Tennessee OG Dallas Thomas.

Cleveland Browns

Selected Josh Gordon in the second round of the supplemental draft

39. New York Jets – D.J. Fluker OT, Alabama

The Jets could easily take a quarterback here. They will cut Tim Tebow this offseason and look for a trade partner for Mark Sanchez but won’t find one. Rex Ryan will be given at least another year and his fate is just about tied to Sanchez at this point. Drafting a quarterback this early will only mess with Sanchez’ head even further. The best thing that Ryan can do to protect his own future is to give Sanchez all the help he can get. Right tackle has been a problem for the Jets for a few years now. D.J. Fluker’s stock has taken a hit this year but he’s still a powerful road grader and would be a huge upgrade over Austin Howard and Jason Smith. If the Jets did take a QB here it would probably be N.C. State’s Mike Glennon, Tennessee’s Tyler Bray, or possibly Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib.

40. Tennessee Titans – Dallas Thomas OG/OT, Tennessee

Plain and simple the Titans need to improve the interior of their offensive line both to protect their young quarterback Jake Locker and to get a return on their investment in Chris Johnson. After bypassing offensive line help in the first round it’s unlikely they would look at any other position especially with local product Dallas Thomas on the board.

41. Buffalo Bills – Mike Glennon QB, North Carolina State

Buffalo will be another team to make a mad scramble to find their quarterback in the second round. Mike Glennon is big with a strong arm and would’ve put up better numbers with a better supporting cast. If the Bills are fine going forward with Ryan Fitzpatrick then this pick should be the highest rated wide receiver to pair with Steve Johnson.

42. Miami Dolphins – Zach Ertz, TE Stanford

Defensively the Dolphins have a couple of needs like an end to pair with Cameron Wake so they could take Auburn’s Corey Lemonier or Texas’ Alex Okafor, or they could take any number of cornerbacks to replace Vontae Davis. Randy Starks is a free agent so they could also take Florida’s Sharif Floyd or Alabama’s Jesse Williams. Overall though this defense is pretty strong and what Miami really needs is to build around Ryan Tannehill. If they fail to resign Jake Long and don’t draft a tackle in the first round they could draft OU’s Lane Johnson. One issue the Dolphins have had since before the Ryan Tannehill era is the lack of a legitimate receiving weapon at tight end. They’ve used a couple of mid to late rounds picks on Charles Clay and Michael Egnew but neither of them offer what Zach Ertz can do. He’s a 6’6", 252lbs. nightmare matchup for any linebacker.

43. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Logan Ryan CB, Rutgers

Tampa Bay has never been shy about doubling up on a position early in the draft and they could definitely use it at cornerback. Logan Ryan has been lights-out this season and is someone that former Rutgers and current Bucs coach Greg Schiano should know well. If he’s not available the Bucs could look at OSU’s Jordan Poyer or N.C. State’s David Amerson but may instead go for a DT like Florida’s Sharrif Floyd or Alabama’s Jesse Williams.

44. Carolina Panthers – Cobi Hamilton WR, Arkansas

Franchise QB Cam Newton had a bit of a sophomore slump this season. To make sure that doesn’t happen again the Panthers need to get him some linemen and some weapons. At this point Cobi Hamilton is better than any of the available linemen. If they fail to resign Captain Munnerlyn the Panthers could draft OSU’s Jordan Poyer or N.C. State’s David Amerson.

New Orleans Saints

Forfeited due to Bountygate

45. San Diego Chargers – David Amerson CB North Carolina State

Both Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer will be free agents this offseason. Now that both HC Norv Turner and GM A.J. Smith are gone the Chargers may not be so enamored by size and may prefer Jordan Poyer to David Amerson. With both Turner and Smith gone the new regime that didn’t draft Ryan Matthews may opt to take his replacement and as such could draft OSU’s Joseph Randle, Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor, or Alabama’s Eddie Lacy.

46. St. Louis Rams – Khaseem Greene LB, Rutgers

Having taken care of two big needs in the first round the Rams could make another impact move here by taking Khaseem Greene as an upgrade over either Jo-Lonn Dunbar or Rocky McIntosh. If he’s available Stanford tight end Zach Ertz would be a very valuable weapon for QB Sam Bradford.

47. Dallas Cowboys – Jesse Williams DT, Alabama

The Cowboys could have very easily taken Georgia’s John Jenkins in the first round. Taking Jesse Williams here would allow them to move Jay Ratliff to end and better utilize his pass-rushing ability. So far Dallas has failed to address their biggest need for interior offensive line help and could take Kentucky guard Larry Warford. He’s the best offensive line prospect to come from Kentucky since Dermontti Dawson and is very underrated while playing for the bottom of the SEC barrel Wildcats.

48. Pittsburgh Steelers – Eric Reid S, LSU

The Steelers could go in any number of directions with this pick. A lot of it will depend on the coming veteran cap shed this offseason. The offensive line, even with as many early picks as the team has used on it in recent years, still have a number of problems manly dealing with injury. Unless he takes a significant pay cut Willie Colon will likely be gone. A good replacement if the front office isn’t secure with Ramon Foster would be Kentucky’s Larry Warford. He’s highly underrated and as I’ve mentioned he’s the best Kentucky O-line prospect since Dermontti Dawson. Depending on the team’s faith in Jason Worilds the Steelers could take Auburn’s Corey Lemonier. He was the lone bright spot on an abysmal Auburn defense this season. If the Steelers are tired of running back by committee and fail to resign both Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman they could draft OSU’s Joseph Randle, but a more intriguing option would be Alabama’s Eddie Lacy. He pounded his way through Georgia’s defense in the SEC championship and while his size (6’0", 220lbs) pales in comparison to Jerome Bettis’ you can definitely see shades of the Buses running style in him. Perhaps the biggest issue the Steelers faced this season, besides injuries on the offensive line, was the injuries at safety. Mighty Troy’s body is starting to break down and Ryan Clark is 33 years old and going into a contract year. When either of them were out of the lineup the Steelers defense struggled. Ryan Mundy is responsible for at least a couple of the teams early losses this season. LSU’s Eric Reid is a beast and a head hunter. He looks like a carbon copy of former LSU alum Ryan Clark. His only issue, which is why he’s no longer considered a first round pick, is that he tends to bite on the play action fake. But that’s easily something that can be corrected with the proper coaching as Polamalu had the same issues his first year in the NFL. One player that will have to intrigue the Steelers here is SMU DE/DT Margus Hunt. He’s from Estonia and stands 6’8", 280lbs. He is a field goal blocking machine and a difficult matchup for opposing linemen. With his measurables he’ll likely test off of the charts at the combine and could see his stock rise like Dontari Poe’s in 2012. The only difference is that Hunt has the stats to back himself up. The Steelers don’t necessarily need another defensive end after drating Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward in the first rounds in the last few years, but Hood is bordering on bust status and Brett Keisel might possibly be a cap casualty which would leave open a spot in the rotation. It would be like when the Steelers drafted Jason Worilds in the second round a year after James Harrison won NFL defensive player of the year, and only 3 years after taking Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley in the first and second rounds. In any event Margus Hunt is a player worth keeping an eye on.

49. New York Giants – Alex Okafor DE, Texas

Alex Okafor falls only because he is a 4-3 defensive end only and because of the needs of other teams. He could just as easily go at the end of the first round so he is a steal here for the Giants who love collecting pass-rushers. If the gift of Okafor does not fall into their laps the Giants could take another offensive lineman to continue the youth movement or take an upgrade for their woeful linebacking corps.

50. Chicago Bears – Oday Aboushi OT, Virginia

Chicago has to do something about their offensive line. If they bypass a lineman in the first round they practically have to take one here. If they continue to ignore the O-line they could take a defensive lineman line Sharif Floyd or Sylvester Williams.

51. Minnesota Vikings – Sylvester Williams DT, North Carolina

Kevin Williams is 33 years old and Leroy Guyton shouldn’t not be the starting nose tackle. If Minnesota were to take the best player available that fit any kind of need it would have to be Jordan Poyer to replace 35 year old Antoine Winfield.

52. Cincinnati Bengals – T.J. McDonald S, USC

Having taken care of their two biggest needs with their first two picks the Bengals can go three-for-three by taking the best available safety here. T.J. McDonald is a perfect fit for defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer’s scheme. Cincy could also take a replacement for Rey Maualuga like either Stanford’s Chase Thomas or Shane Skov.

53. Washington Redskins – Jordan Poyer CB, Oregon State

Washington’s has a lot of issues in the secondary. While a safety would help more there is better value in Oklahoma State’s Jordan Poyer. DeAngelo Hall hasn’t played up to par this season and is due a lot of money so the Redskins may cut him. If T.J. McDonald or Eric Reid fall this far either of them could be the likely pick. Washington doesn’t have a first round pick this season or in 2014 so if someone wants to move up this high and is willing to sacrifice their 2014 1st rounder to do so I would expect Washington to do so.

54. Miami Dolphins (via Indianapolis Colts) – Corey Lemonier DE/OLB, Auburn

If Randy Starks isn’t retained I would expect this pick to be Florida’s Sharrif Floyd. If he is, and I would suspect that he’ll be resigned, then the Dolphins should be looking at either Larry Warford to upgrade over John Jerry at RG or Corey Lemonier to upgrade the pass-rush from the LDE spot over Jared Odrick who should be playing tackle anyway. Having spent their first two picks on upgrades for the offense Miami should use this pick on defense.

55. Baltimore Ravens – Da’Rick Rogers WR, Tennessee

The Ravens should be looking to add to their wide receiving corps early in the 2013 draft. Anquan Boldin is still a sure-handed pass catcher but no longer has the speed to separate from defenders. If any team were willing to take a chance on Da’Rick Rodgers it’s Baltimore. He has first round talent, having been graded by many as the top wide receiver in the draft during the preseason, but a lot of off the field issues have plagued him. A stong veteran laden locker room like the Ravens should be able to keep him in line.

56. Seattle Seahawks – Sharrif Floyd DT, Florida

Seattle is an incredibly solid team all around. At this point really all they are lacking is a right tackle, a better pass-rushing option at defensive tackle, and an outside linebacker to complete their youth overhaul. The best player available that fits any three of those needs is Sharrif Floyd but the Seahawks could also draft Penn State LB Gerald Hodges, Stanford LB, Chase Thomas, UNC OT Brennan Williams, or Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson.

57. Green Bay Packers – Joseph Randle RB, Oklahoma State

The Packers need a more consistent threat at running back than Ryan Grant, James Starks, or Alex Green. Randle is a do-it-all type back who has size, speed, shiftiness, can catch, and is a very good blocker. Getting him at the end of the second round is a big coup. Green Bay could also look to bolster their wide receiver depth given that Donald Driver is 38 years old and Greg Jennings is a free agent. The best wide receiver available at this point would be West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey.

58. Houston Texans – Larry Warford OG, Kentucky

I’m not sure what Houston’s plan is for 2012 rookie Brandon Brooks, whether he’ll play LG or RT, but in any event they need at least one more offensive lineman. For someone who checks in at 6’3". 340lbs. Larry Warford is a pretty good athlete and could be the player that Houston thought Brandon Brooks was when they drafted him in the third round.

59. San Francisco 49ers – Margus Hunt DE, SMU

San Fran has such a loaded roster that they really do not have any pressing need. They could definitely use someone to develop behind 33 year old Justin Smith. Margus Hunt is a truly interesting prospect. He’s from Estonia and stands 6’8", 280lbs. He is a field goal blocking machine. With his measurables he’ll likely test off of the charts at the combine and could see his stock rise like Dontari Poe’s in 2012. The only difference is that Hunt has the stats to back himself up.

60. Denver Broncos – Chase Thomas LB, Stanford

Denver still needs to upgrade the defensive tackle position but there is better value to be had here. Overall this Broncos team doesn’t have very many holes to fill and could just take the best player available that fits any sort of need. 37 year old Keith Brooking should not be the starting inside linebacker. Chase Thomas is versatile enough to play any of the linebacker positions and is a very intelligent leader.

61. Atlanta Falcons – Eddie Lacy RB, Alabama

This pick fit almost too well as Eddie Lacy would be the perfect replacement for Michael Turner at running back as they are very similar style runners. They still need an interior offensive lineman but with Larry Warford now gone Atlanta may have to wait until the later rounds. Defensively the only prospect who makes sense is Penn State linebacker Gerald Hodges or Stanford’s Shane Skov to upgrade at inside linebacker.

62. New England Patriots – Stedman Bailey WR, West Virginia

The Patriots have never been shy about double-dipping when they lack depth at a position, so why not double-dip from the same school? While they are in a much bigger need for a safety to replace Steve Gregory at his point a drafting a second wide receiver like Stedman Bailey is a much better option. This way they can replace both Deion Branch and Wes Welker.

Round 3:

63. Kansas City Chiefs – Desmond Trufant CB, Washington

This pick will most likely trump need for value. The Chiefs could definitely use a replacement for the departed Brandon Carr, especially after cutting his original replacement Stanford Routt. A greater need would be a safety, inside linebacker, and possibly a defensive end if they do not retain Glenn Dorsey although if that happens they could use Dontari Poe at end instead of nose tackle.

64. Jacksonville Jaguars – Brennan Williams OT, North Carolina

"And with their first pick in the third round the Jacksonville Jaguars select a punter from…" oh that’s right, the Jags already took a punter in the third round of the 2012 draft. Getting past that huge reach and looking ahead the Jags still have several clear cuts needs that should be addressed. As usual when a team drafts a quarterback they tend to get him some help with their next pick. What any quarterback who starts for the Jags needs is better offensive linemen.

65. Detroit Lions – Bacarri Rambo S, Georgia

The Lions are all about taking the best player available, even if that means taking one with possible off the field issues. Bacarri Rambo has first round talent but was suspended the first four games of the season for a second failed drug test. If the Lions can keep him off of the chronic they’ll land themselves a real steal. Rambo is a tenacious player that never gives up on a play and has a knack for causing turnovers. He would be a huge upgrade over Amari Spievey.

66. Oakland Raiders – Tank Carradine DE, Florida State

Oakland’s very lucky to be able to address their two biggest issues with what they’ve gotten so far out of this draft. Tank Carradine would’ve been a possible first round pick had he not tore his ACL towards the end of the season. He would be a big upgrade over Matt Shaughnessy.

67. Philadelphia Eagles – Carrington Byndom CB, Texas

Even with Andy Reid being fired the Eagles may still spend an early round pick on a cornerback. DRC is a free agent who may not be resigned and Nnamdi Asomugha was so bad this season that he may be cut to save money on the massive contract they gave him. If that happens it would leave 2012 fourth round pick Brandon Boykin as the number one cornerback on the roster.

68. Cleveland Browns – John Simon DE, Ohio State

Cleveland has needs at both guard positions, right defensive end, and at cornerback opposite of Joe Haden. The best player available who fills any of those needs is Ohio State defensive end John Simon.

69. Arizona Cardinals – Lane Johnson OT, Oklahoma

After bypassing any offensive line help with their first two picks the Cardinals are on the hook to take one here. Lane Johnson is just about the last offensive tackle prospect who has the skill set to protect the quarterbacks blindside.

70. Tennessee Titans – Brandon Jenkins DE, Florida State

Even after already taking a guard in the second round the Titans could definitely use another one here but will find better value at defensive end which is another position of need. They have no depth at end and Derrick Morgan is very inconsistent. Like his FSU teammate Tank Carradine, Brandon Jenkins had a shot at being a first round pick had he not been injured.

71. Buffalo Bills – Ryan Swope WR, Texas A&M

Buffalo is another team who needs a compliment to their new quarterback. They need someone to share the load with Steve Johnson. They could also use an upgrade over Nick Barnett and a perfect option would be Gerald Hodges.

72. New York Jets – Ryan Nassib QB, Syracuse

Spending a third round pick on a quarterback hopefully won’t mess with Mark Sanchez’s psyche too much. Ryan Nassib is very smart and accurate with the football but because he plays on a terrible team and doesn’t have the ideal measurables (he’s only 6’2") he falls into the third round.

73. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Gerald Hodges LB, Penn State

Here Tampa Bay can complete the overhaul of their linebacking corps. Gerald Hodges is a tackling machine and would fit in nicely with Mason Foster and Lavonte David.

74. San Francisco 49ers (via Carolina Panthers) – Terry Hawthorne CB, Illinois

San Francisco didn’t have many needs coming into the draft and have even less at this point. They could still use a successor to groom at center behind Jon Goodwin and some depth at outside linebacker but in today’s NFL you can never have enough cornerbacks. If not for a serious concussion against Wisconsin Terry Hawthorne could’ve been a second round pick.

75. New Orleans Saints – Quanterus Smith DE, Western Kentucky

The Saints need to spend their early picks bolstering their pass rush. Quanterus Smith is a true diamond in the rough who isn’t well known nationally because of the small school he plays for. But that didn’t stop him from posting a three sack game against Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker and ending the season with an impressive stat line of 12.5 sacks, 18.5 tackles for loss, and 3 forced fumbles. At 6’5", 249lbs. he’s a tweener type in the mold of Bruce Irvin and Von Miller and would probably be a better fit for a 3-4 defense.

76. San Diego Chargers – Stepfan Taylor RB, Stanford

Whether or not the Chargers choose to replace Ryan Matthews they still need to draft another running back for depth purposes given all of Matthews’ injury issues.

77. Miami Dolphins – Travis Fredrick OG, Wisconsin

Excluding free agent issues at defensive and offensive tackle the Dolphins biggest issues to address at this point are at right guard and cornerback. Travis Fredrick is another in a long line of big, quality, road grading offensive linemen from Wisconsin.

78. St. Louis Rams – Ricky Wagner OT, Wisconsin

The Rams could really use two starting tackles out of this draft. In the first round they took Eric Fisher who would play on the left side, shifting Rodger Saffold to left guard, and Rickey Wagner would play on the right side and end the terror that is Wayne Hunter and Barry Richardson.

79. Pittsburgh Steelers – Shane Skov ILB, Stanford

After having drafted a nose tackle and a safety their remaining needs are possibly at cornerback, left guard, inside linebacker, and outside linebacker. A lot of it will depend on who’s left standing after the purge to get under the cap. With the players available and the need of the team Stanford linebacker Shane Skov makes the most sense. He has the size at 6’3", 250lbs., has experience in the 3-4 defense, is intelligent, and can play either inside or outside linebacker. Given that Larry Foote is a free agent who probably won’t be resigned, rookie third round pick Sean Spence will be coming off of on ACL tear and due to his size will probably never be anything more than a third down coverage linebacker and special teams standout, and Stevenson Sylvester doesn’t seem to be progressing like he should the Steelers will definitely be looking to take a linebacker at some point. And none of that takes into account the situation at outside linebacker where James Harrison may be a cap casualty and while Jason Worilds has shown glimmers of talent he’s not a sure thing to claim the starting job. The Steelers could also look into bolstering their depth on the offensive line given their injury issues with someone like Arkansas guard Alvin Bailey or especially Travis Fredrick if he’s available, or their depth at cornerback given Keenan Lewis’ free agency and Ike Taylor’s age with someone like Iowa’s Micah Hyde. An outside possibility would be to find the eventual successor to Heath Miller at tight end. UCLA’s Joseph Fauria has great size (6’7", 258lbs.) and is an excellent red zone weapon.

80. Dallas Cowboys – Alvin Bailey OG, Arkansas

At this point Dallas has still not addressed their primary need for interior offensive line help. Alvin Bailey was one of the few bright spots on a terrible Arkansas team this season.

81. New York Giants – Arthur Brown LB, Kansas State

Martellus Bennett will be a free agent this offseason and if he isn’t resigned the Giants could use this pick to draft his replacement either in UCLA’s Joseph Fauria or Florida’s Jordan Reed. Otherwise this pick should be used to upgrade the linebacking corps.

82. Miami Dolphins (via Chicago Bears) – Leon McFadden CB, San Diego State

Miami traded Vontae Davis to the Colts and need to use one of their early picks to replace him.

83. Minnesota Vikings – Kevin Reddick ILB, North Carolina

Minnesota needs an upgrade over Jasper Brinkley at inside linebacker.

84. Cincinnati Bengals – Micah Hyde CB, Iowa

Cincy’s biggest issue to address at this point would be at inside linebacker but unfortunately with Shane Skov and Kevin Reddick both off of the board they’ll have to look at another position. The Bengals could use some youthful depth at cornerback over Adam Jones and Terrence Newman.

85. Washington Redskins – Shawn Williams S, Georgia

The Redskins continue to rebuild their secondary. While not as flashy as his teammate Bacarri Rambo, Shawn Williams is a tough, physical defender with some ball skills.

86. Indianapolis Colts – Robert Lester S, Alabama

Indy needs to continue rebuilding their defense, especially in the secondary. Robert Lester come from a complex 3-4 defense at Alabama and should transition well to the NFL game.

87. Baltimore Ravens – Tyrann Mathieu CB, LSU

As usual the Ravens go with the best player available. Tyrann "The Honey Badger" Mathieu has first round talent but also has a knack for getting into trouble off of the field. As with Da’Rick Rodgers he’ll have to be watched but if he pans out the Ravens will have another steal in the draft.

88. Seattle Seahawks – Joseph Fauria TE, UCLA

Seattle’s offense is already pretty good but they still need to add playmakers for Russell Wilson. Getting Terrence Williams was a great start in the first round and drafting Joseph Fauria here would put the finishing touches on the skills positions for Seattle. Here they could also look at drafting an outside linebacker like Connecticut’s Trevardo Williams.

89. Green Bay Packers – Jordan Reed TE, Florida

At this point the Packers only real needs are at safety and wide receiver. There’s been a run on safeties, although they could draft Nevada’s Duke Williams, and the next best wide receiver available would be Oklahoma’s Kenny Stills or Louisiana Tech’s Quinton Patton. Another route would be to replace Jermichael Finley at tight end. He’s very inconsistent and due to make around 8 million dollars this coming season.

90. Houston Texans – Mike Gillislee RB, Florida

Houston’s only real need at this point is for an upgrade at nose tackle. Unfortunately for them by this point there are only late round projects available at the position. Here they should go with the best player available. Taking a running back seems like a luxury pick but Ben Tate will be a free agent next offseason and Houston won’t be able to afford the contact he’ll want given how much they are paying Arian Foster already. Right now Mike Gillislee has flown largely under the radar but he had a great season for Florida and has three down capabilities at the next level.

91. San Francisco 49ers – Trevardo Williams OLB, Connecticut

San Fran has such a loaded roster that they really do not have any pressing needs. They can afford to take the best player available. The 49ers lack depth at outside linebacker.

92. Denver Broncos – Jordan Hill DT, Penn State

Denver finally addresses their biggest issue which is at defensive tackle.

93. Atlanta Falcons – Sean Porter OLB, Texas A&M

Here Atlanta goes with the best player available to upgrade at linebacker.

94. New England Patriots – Duke Williams S, Nevada

The Patriots biggest issue gets addressed here with Duke Williams. Steve Gregory is terrible at free safety and should be replaced immediately and Williams is an excellent coverage safety.

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