17. Pittsburgh Steelers – SS Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
Vaccaro has a similar skillset to current Steelers starter Troy Polamalu; the former is an aggressive run supporter with some coverage limitations. The Steelers don’t need to find an immediate replacement, but could opt for a good fit in Vaccaro.
18. Dallas Cowboys – WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee*
Derek Dooley, who served Tennessee’s head coach from 2010-2012, has taken over as Dallas’ wide receivers coach. Consequently, a pick such as Patterson makes sense considering Miles Austin’s expensive contract, which could cost him his job.
19. New York Giants – DE Ezekiel Ansah, Brigham Young
Ansah impressed during Senior Bowl week, helping to alleviate concerns that he will not be an immediate contributor in the NFL next season. Ansah’s length, quickness, and versatility would make him a perfect fit in Perry Fewell’s Giants defense.
20. Chicago Bears – LB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
Te’o’s character concerns have destroyed his public imagine; however, he should still appeal to teams as a potential long-term starting option at inside linebacker. Brian Urlacher is nearing the end of his career, which should open the door for Te’o.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – DE Alex Okafor, Texas
Michael Johnson is set to become a free agent; despite finishing the season with an impressive 11.5 sacks, he was not a consistent pass rush option. Okafor would fit in well opposite Carlos Dunlap in defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer’s four-man front.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Redskins) – OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama*
After drafting Warmack earlier, St. Louis could potentially finish their offensive line with a right tackle such as Fluker. Along with left tackle Rodger Saffold, center Scott Wells, and right guard Harvey Dahl, St. Louis would have a formidable unit.
23. Minnesota Vikings – LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia*
Middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley is a free agent who has struggled throughout his career, playing in just the 2009 and 2012 seasons. The Vikings would be wise to investigate alternative options such as Ogletree, an athletic specimen.
24. Indianapolis Colts – DE Sam Montgomery, Louisiana St.*
Dwight Freeney is likely headed elsewhere this offseason after struggling in his transition to outside linebacker; the Colts must find a legitimate rusher opposite Robert Mathis, which could lead them towards the 6’5”, 260-pound Montgomery.
25. Seattle Seahawks – WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Tavon Austin could remind Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell of Percy Harvin, a player Bevell coached in Minnesota. Seattle already has two talented options at receiver in Sidney Rice and Golden Tate, but could use a slot option.
26. Green Bay Packers – DT Kawann Short, Purdue
Green Bay may opt to finish their defensive line this season, replacing 33 year-old lineman Ryan Pickett with a more effective pass rusher. Pickett is owed $6.1 million in 2013; he may be a cap casualty, but either way it’s time to groom a replacement.
27. Houston Texans – OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
Jonathan Cooper’s natural left guard spot has been a bit of a problem area for Houston this season; the Texans are currently starting Wade Smith at the position, who will turn 32 this April. Cooper is a fantastic fit in Houston’s zone scheme.
28. Denver Broncos – DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida*
Both of Denver’s starting defensive tackles, Justin Bannan and Kevin Vickerson, are effective run defenders, but neither of the two offers pressure in the passing game. Floyd has been on the rise lately; he has an intriguing mix of bulk and versatility.
29. New England Patriots – SS Eric Reid, Louisiana St.*
This pick may be somewhat alarming considering New England’s inability to develop defensive backs recently, but Reid’s well-rounded skillset makes him an excellent value here. He could provide the physical presence the secondary currently lacks.
30. Atlanta Falcons – TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame*
Tony Gonzalez has been contemplating retirement for years, meaning the Falcons would be wise to begin searching for potential successors. Eifert, a massive weapon with some schematic versatility, would fit in well alongside Atlanta’s other weapons.
31. Baltimore Ravens – DT Jesse Williams, Alabama
Williams is the type of big-bodied defender Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees looks for in the front seven; he could fit at nose tackle and additionally has the versatility to play some defensive end in Baltimore’s odd defensive fronts.
32. San Francisco 49ers – CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida St.*
Rhodes remains a solid option for San Francisco should they opt to look for an upgrade over Carlos Rogers, who declined this season and slid inside at times; the Florida State product’s size and physicality should appeal to Jim Harbaugh.