17. Dallas Cowboys: Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
The Dallas Cowboys seriously need to get better on the interior offensive line. Alabama’s Barrett Jones, a very good offensive lineman who has the polish and skill to start right away at any interior line spot, would be a perfect fit.
Jones has earned All-American status as an offensive lineman two years in a row, but at two different position: left tackle as a junior, and center as a senior. Jones has played all five spots on the offensive line while at Alabama, and is a starting-caliber NFL interior line prospect.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Robert Woods, WR, USC (Jr.)
Outside of Percy Harvin, the Minnesota Vikings have a complete lack of talent at the wide receiver position. The Vikings need to find a reliable downfield target to complement the dynamic game of Harvin, and could get that player with the draft class’ best all-around receiver, USC’s Robert Woods.
Woods does not have game-breaking speed or terrific size, but he is an outstanding route-runner with great hands, and does a great job gaining yards after catch in the open field.
19. Cincinnati Bengals: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State (R-So.)
The Cincinnati Bengals’ biggest need is at safety, but they could use cornerback help as well.
Without any safeties on the board worth a top-20 selection, a very good selection here would be talented Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby.
Roby is a tremendous athlete with great ball skills, and is one of the best cover cornerbacks and playmakers in the draft class. Should they draft Roby, they could shift 2012 first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick to safety, a position where his size and physicality would serve him well.
20. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame (Jr.)
The St. Louis Rams still need to add more weapons to their offense, and if they have a chance to select the draft’s best offensive playmaker with their second first-round pick, it would make perfect sense. That player is Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert, a prototype tight end with great size and athleticism combined with outstanding receiving ability and adequate blocking ability.
Drafting a tight end would be a value pick over a need pick, but it makes sense for an offense that needs more explosiveness.
21. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jesse Williams, NT, Alabama
The Pittsburgh Steelers could really use some reinforcement at the nose tackle position. At 35, Casey Hampton’s best years are behind him, and his heir apparent, Alameda Ta’amu, was cut earlier this season after being arrested on felony charges.
Alabama’s Jesse Williams is a strong, powerful nose tackle who is a perfect fit to anchor a three-man NFL front as a nose tackle, and would be great value as a late first-round pick.
22. Chicago Bears: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
The Chicago Bears could use upgrades at literally every position on their offensive line, so drafting the best offensive lineman available would certainly be a smart choice for the Bears. In this scenario, with Alabama guard Chance Warmack still available, his value is far too good to pass up, and he could be an immediate upgrade for the Bears at either guard spot.
Warmack is a massive and powerful guard who also has terrific feet. He is a dominant run blocker, and does a terrific job of moving around to pick up blitzers as both a run and pass blocker.
23. Seattle Seahawks: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee (Jr.)
The Seahawks have a blossoming rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson, but could help him continue to thrive by adding a deep threat at the wide receiver to take advantage of Wilson’s ability to throw the deep ball.
Tennessee’s Justin Hunter is the best true deep-threat among wide receivers in the 2013 draft class. He has some issues with consistency and drops, but has the potential to be a superstar.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
The Indianapolis Colts drafted quarterback Andrew Luck and a bunch of skill-position players to go around him in the 2012 draft, but in 2013, they must rebuild the offensive line to better protect Luck.
The area that especially needs work is the interior offensive line. While the top offensive lineman are off the board in this scenario, the Colts could turn to quickly-rising North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper to fill that area of need.
25. Green Bay Packers: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Green Bay Packers’ biggest need is to find an upgrade at left tackle, as the Packers have struggled mightily in pass protection this season.
The board is thin on top offensive tackles at this point, but one sleeper with the potential to be a quality starter at left tackle is Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher. He is a reach as a first-round pick, so the Packers could look for a value pick such as Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, but their need for offensive linemen cannot be ignored for too long in this draft.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU (Jr.)
With Ray Lewis’ career nearing its end at 37 years old, and not much talent at the inside linebacker position aside from him, reinforcing the position is their biggest need for the 2013 NFL draft.
LSU’s Kevin Minter is an athletic linebacker with great tackling range, and one of the best players available at this point. He would fit the Ravens’ defense as a 3-4 inside linebacker well.
27. Atlanta Falcons: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU (Jr.)
Having released Ray Edwards earlier this season, the Atlanta Falcons are likely to be in the market for a defensive end in the 2013 NFL draft. In this scenario, the value of LSU’s Sam Montgomery would be very tough to pass up.
Montgomery is an athletic difference-maker at defensive end who could add explosive pass-rushing ability, as well as the ability to be a solid stopper on rushing downs as well.
28. Houston Texans: David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State (Jr.)
The New England Patriots certainly exposed the Houston Texans’ secondary on Monday night, and they aren’t the only team that has done so. The Texans have given up too many big plays through the air, and could benefit greatly by adding a playmaker like North Carolina State’s David Amerson to their secondary.
Amerson is a big, athletic cornerback with great ball skills, and has Devin McCourty-like measurables and skill set that could give the Texans the flexibility to play him at free safety in addition to cornerback.
29. New York Giants: Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia (Jr.)
Chase Blackburn has come up big for the New York Giants at times, including a memorable interception in last year’s Super Bowl victory, but he is not the run-stopping force that the Giants need at middle linebacker. The Giants could get a better athlete and more physical presence at the position by upgrading with Georgia’s Alec Ogletree in the first round of the 2013 draft.
Ogletree has had a breakout junior season for the Bulldogs, as both a hard-hitting physical run stopper, and as a former safety with a tremendous playmaking range and ability to drop back into coverage.
30. Denver Broncos: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida (Jr.)
The Denver Broncos’ biggest position of need is to upgrade at defensive tackle, and luckily for them, there are still a few first-round talents available at that position in this scenario.
Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson and Georgia’s John Jenkins would also be great choices for the Broncos, but the highest-rated available on my board is Florida’s Sharrif Floyd, an explosive athlete who could be both a consistent run-stopper and give the Broncos a terrific interior pass-rush combination alongside Derek Wolfe.
31. New England Patriots: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia (SCOUTING REPORT)
If the Patriots lose Wes Welker as an unrestricted free agent, they are going to need to find another slot receiver with quickness and great route-running ability to replace him. West Virginia’s Tavon Austin, a slot receiver with outstanding speed, elusiveness, and playmaking ability, would be a great addition to the Patriots’ offense.
The Patriots will need to draft wide receiver whether Welker returns or not, because they are thin at the position, but if they need a replacement for Welker, Austin is the perfect fit.
32. San Francisco 49ers: John Jenkins, NT, Georgia
The San Francisco 49ers already have the NFL’s best defensive front seven, and they don’t even have a great nose tackle for their base defense. If the 49ers could fill that need with a massive, powerful and still quick nose tackle in Georgia’s John Jenkins, the best front seven will get even better.
Jenkins is a load to move at more than 350 pounds, and he has more than just size: with surprising athletic ability for his size, he can split blockers and draws consistent double-teams.