17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jesse Williams, NT, Alabama
The Pittsburgh Steelers need reinforcement at the nose tackle position. 35-year-old nose tackle 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 and explosive defensive lineman who is a perfect fit to anchor the Steelers’ three-man defensive front as its next nose tackle.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Robert Woods, WR, USC (Jr.) (SCOUTING REPORT)
Outside of Percy Harvin, the rest of the Minnesota Vikings’ wide receivers may not even be good enough to make the rosters of some NFL teams. The Vikings desperately need to add playmakers at the position, and among the wide receivers available in the 2013 NFL draft, the best all-around prospect is USC’s Robert Woods.
A terrific route-runner with great hands and open-field playmaking ability, Woods would give the Vikings the playmaker on the outside they desperately need.
19. 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 positions: left tackle as a junior, and center as a senior. He has played all five spots on the offensive line while at Alabama, and can be an immediate fix for the Cowboys at either right guard, center or even at right tackle.
20. Chicago Bears: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
The Chicago Bears could truly use an upgrade at any and every position on their offensive line. Alabama guard Chance Warmack is the best offensive lineman available in this scenario, and would be great value at the end of the top 20 draft picks.
Warmack could be an immediate upgrade for the Bears at either guard spot. He is a massive, powerful guard who is dominant in the ground game, and does a terrific job of using his foot quickness to move and pick up blitzers as both a run and pass blocker.
21. Baltimore Ravens: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
The Baltimore Ravens have stumbled down the stretch this season, and a big reason for that has been the subpar play of quarterback Joe Flacco. Flacco’s contract expires at the end of this season, and even if the Ravens sign Flacco to a franchise tag for the 2013 season, the Ravens would be smart to draft a potential successor at the quarterback position rather than making a long-term commitment to Flacco.
Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson is a fringe first-round pick after a disappointing senior season, but he has the potential to be the upgrade the Ravens could search for at quarterback. He is a skilled pocket passer with a strong arm and good feet, and would be a perfect choice as a developmental quarterback to learn behind Flacco and potentially take over in 2014.
22. New York Giants: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State (R-So.)
New York Giants cornerbacks have been burned too often this season, so even with numerous draft picks invested in the position over the past two years, the Giants still need to upgrade at the position.
Ohio State’s Bradley Roby is a very athletic playmaker with great ball skills and tackling ability, would be very good value outside of the top 20 and could be the true No. 1 cornerback that the Giants have struggled to find.
23. Cincinnati Bengals: David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State (Jr.)
The Cincinnati Bengals need to add playmakers to their secondary. A big cornerback with great athleticism and ball skills, North Carolina State’s David Amerson would fit the bill.
Amerson tends to be overaggressive in coverage, but he has a tremendous nose for the ball. His game resembles that of Devin McCourty, and if he could make the transition to free safety, he could fill the Bengals’ need for a safety who can line up alongside Reggie Nelson in their starting lineup.
24. Seattle Seahawks: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson (Jr.)
The Seahawks need to add another weapon to the passing offense, specifically a wide receiver who can stretch the field and make plays downfield to take advantage of Russell Wilson’s deep throwing ability.
A wideout with dynamic speed and downfield receiving ability, Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins may be the best deep-threat receiver in the draft class.
25. Indianapolis Colts: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
The Indianapolis Colts desperately need to upgrade their interior offensive line, which has really struggled to protect Andrew Luck this season. Drafting North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper, who could be an immediate upgrade at either guard spot, would be a great strat.
Cooper has great size and power, combined with the best feet of any guard prospect in the draft class. For an interior offensive line that has struggled consistently, the addition of Cooper could pay huge dividends.
26. 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.
27. Green Bay Packers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri (Jr.)
The Green Bay Packers have a solid group of interior defensive linemen, but what the group lacks is an interior pass-rusher to line up alongside B.J. Raji.
Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson is the best pass-rushing defensive tackle in the draft class, and would be great value late in the first round. The offensive line is the Packers’ biggest need for the 2013 NFL draft, but any available lineman would be a reach at this point, while Richardson could be a steal.
28. Denver Broncos: John Jenkins, NT, Georgia
The Denver Broncos need to upgrade at defensive tackle. Specifically, they need a big, powerful nose tackle who can be both a sound run-stopper and have the quickness to line up alongside Derek Wolfe inside on pass-rushing downs.
Even at more than 350 pounds, Georgia’s John Jenkins has that quickness. He has the potential to be the force and difference-maker the Broncos have lacked on their interior defensive line.
29. Houston Texans: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee (Jr.)
The Houston Texans need a wide receiver with size and athleticism who can draw double coverages away from Andre Johnson and give Matt Schaub a second downfield playmaking weapon.
Tennessee’s Justin Hunter would be a great choice as a late first-round pick, as he has huge upside as a downfield receiver. Hunter has some issues with drops, but is a potential standout with the most downfield receiving potential of any prospect in the 2013 draft class.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
The Atlanta Falcons are likely to be in the market for another pass-rushing defensive end, a player who can bring athleticism onto the field and rotate with John Abraham and Kroy Biermann, having released Ray Edwards earlier this season.
Texas’ Alex Okafor does not have elite athleticism, but he is a very well-rounded defensive end who is a skilled pass-rusher and is also strong against the run. Adding him to the defensive line rotation could improve the Falcons’ defense on all three downs.
31. New England Patriots: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia (SCOUTING REPORT)
The New England Patriots are already thin on depth at wide receiver. If Wes Welker leaves this offseason as an unrestricted free agent, a new slot receiver will be needed.
With terrific speed, quickness and route-running, West Virginia’s Tavon Austin is a terrific playmaker and would be a perfect fit to replace Welker. The Patriots already have the NFL’s most explosive passing offense, and Austin’s dynamic speed and elusiveness could give them yet another dimension.
32. San Francisco 49ers: Sylvester Williams, DT/DE, North Carolina
The San Francisco 49ers have an elite defensive front seven, but the one piece they lack is a true anchoring nose tackle in the middle. Sylvester Williams isn’t a true nose tackle, but the 49ers could make a strong defensive front stronger by adding him into the mix.
At 320 pounds, Williams has enough size to line up as a nose tackle, while he also has explosive quickness and interior pass-rush ability that would make him an option to come in playing a rotational role at defensive end.