17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
The Steelers won’t have a choice but to start to rebuild their aging defense this off-season. There are going to be cap and age casualties, making the linebacker position a clear area of need. Out of all the teams in the first round I think the Steelers are the best fit for Te’o. He can fill the 3-4 ILB position that will be vacated by Larry Foote and play that downhill attacking style that Steeler linebackers are asked to play.
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8)
Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Maybe the Cowboys should pick a QB like Tyler Wilson right here, but I still think Jerry Jones sticks with Tony Romo and tries to help him. The offensive line in Dallas was a sieve all season, especially on the interior. I’m sure Dallas would love to get Warmack who is more powerful, but Cooper is a more athletic and mobile guard who will give the OL a boost.
19. New York Giants (9-7)
Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
The Giants just continue to stockpile pass rushers and there is nothing wrong with that. With Osi Umenyiora likely gone, the Giants are able to find his replacement by tabbing the powerful and explosive Jones. Jones commented that his favorite player of all-time was Michael Strahan and I see a lot of Justin Tuck in his current game. This would be a great pick for the Giants both for now and the future.
20. Chicago Bears (10-6)
Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
Urlacher is becoming unreliable due to injury and age. It’s time for the Bears to find a replacement for him and Ogletree is a good one. He is an athletic freak who can play inside and outside. He’s not a finished product and needs technique, discipline and instinctual refinement, so playing a year behind Urlacher would be great for him. With his frame and athletic ability the sky is the limit.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Adding a wide receiver with as much upside and ability as Patterson would be huge. When you factor in that he will get to play opposite of AJ Green it’s downright scary for opposing defenses. This past season teams were able to roll coverages towards Green with no real big play receiving threat opposite him. With Patterson teams would have to respect his size and vertical speed, which would help AJ Green and QB Andy Dalton big time.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Wash) (10-6)
Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
After getting their LT six picks earlier the Rams are able to fill their second biggest need with the most versatile safety in the draft. Vaccaro is sure to be a hot commodity when the draft rolls around due to his ability to play CB, SS, FS and slot CB. He has some off the field questions, but putting Vaccaro in a secondary with Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan would be fun to watch.
23. Minnesota Vikings
Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The Vikings would love to get one of the top wide receivers to give Christian Ponder some more weapons, take some of the pressure off the running game and give them someone opposite Percy Harvin. However, with the top two receivers off the board the Vikings opt to address their run defense. Hankins is a versatile 320 pound DT who can play multiple positions in multiple schemes. Even though he had a bit of a down season compared to the other top Defensive Linemen, he offers plenty of long term upside and talent.
24. Indianapolis Colts
Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Colts traded their second round pick for Vonte Davis and now have the opportunity to add the big, physical and athletic Florida State corner. Rhodes is 6’2″ and is one of the best cover corners in the draft. While Rhodes can be too aggressive at times, the Colts need to add talent to their secondary and do so with one of the top corners in this draft.
25. Seattle Seahawks
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Someone is going to get a steal with the best tight end in the draft. The Seahawks priority this off-season should be to add receiving weapons for QB Russell Wilson. With some of the top WRs off the board, the Seahawks add a big, athletic receiving target who will open up the middle of the field.
26. Green Bay Packers
Barrett Jones, OC/OG, Alabama
The Packers still gave up way too many sacks last season and a lot of them came from the poor interior play. Jones’ position versatility combined with his off the charts measurables make him a likely late first round pick. The Packers have a hole at center with the retirement of Jeff Saturday and the sub-par play of EDS, Jones would fill that need for a long time to come.
27. Houston Texans
Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
The biggest need on the Texans is at the ILB spot in my opinion. Once Brian Cushing went down that defense was completely different and even when he is healthy they don’t have anyone to play next to him. Minter would sure up the middle of the Texans defense and allow them to focus on WR and NT later on in the draft.
28. Denver Broncos
Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
The Derek Wolfe pick looks like it worked out well for the Broncos, but they still need another tackle to play next to him and take up blockers. Williams would be perfect because he is so big and so strong. Williams could eat up blocks, penetrate and allow the edge rushers more one on one opportunities. Williams can also play NT in a three man front, offering some versatility if Coach John Fox wants to change up fronts.
29. New England Patriots
Robert Woods, WR, USC
My top two needs for the Patriots this off-season is to add speed and physicality to their team. This pick came down to a defensive back or Woods. The Patriots have lacked another outside WR over the last three seasons and it has hurt them in big game situations. They need another receiver who will demand attention, as they don’t have one that can make things happen after the catch. Woods is the best fit because of his ability with the ball in his hands. He’s great on screens, quick passes, will work the middle of the field and is very good coming out of motion. He should be able to play all three receiver positions and will force defenses to respect him. Woods can also stretch the field vertically and has a history of making big plays.
If his ankle is fully healthy he is one of the most dynamic players in the draft. In terms of Special Teams ability, Woods has a ton of experience returning kicks which is another area of need for the Patriots heading into the off-season. In the next couple rounds the Patriots can focus on the secondary, where there is great value at both CB and Safety.
30. Atlanta Falcons
Ezekial Ansah, DE, BYU
John Abraham is on his final legs as a pass rusher and the team needs to find a way to get a more consistent pass rush. When he went down in the playoffs the Falcons pass rush really struggled. Ansah is a big, long and athletic edge presence. He’s still developing into a football player, but he has shown that he can be a factor in the run game, while possessing the tools to become a dangerous 4-3 DE. Ansah has the ability to stand up or kick inside depending on formation and scheme. At this point in the draft it’s great value, with a potential great payoff.
31. San Francisco 49ers
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The 49ers don’t have many needs. What they do need to add is depth among their key defensive positions. It’s almost unheard of how healthy they have been over the last two years, but they can’t expect that to keep up. Trufant was the best CB at the Senior Bowl, showing scouts an aggressive coverage style that would fit in nicely with the 49ers brand of football.
32. Baltimore Ravens
Eric Reid, FS, LSU
Ed Reed is a FA and even if he comes back, he has maybe one more season on those legs. Reid is the best pure FS in this year’s draft showcasing very good range, coverage skills and explosive closing burst. Reid would give the Ravens a long term replacement for one of their key defensive figures.