17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
Ezekial Ansah, DE, BYU
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. Ansah is new to the game and inexperienced, but offers a combination or size and athleticism that is rare to find. Ansah can play OLB or 5-Tech in Dick LeBeau’s defense and will help to re-energize a slowing pass rush.
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8)
Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
Moore is coming off a brutally bad combine and might end up falling much further than this. This scenario would be the worst for the Cowboys. All the top defensive tackles and offensive linemen are off the board. In this scenario they get Damontre Moore who can play End in their new 4-3 defense. Moore has talent and had a great season at A&M, but has raised some major red flags. It probably wouldn’t hurt for him to learn from and be tutored by DeMarcus Ware.
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)
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The Bears can add another dimension to their offense by adding a legitimate TE. Eifert has always been the best TE in the draft, but proved that he is worth a first round pick at the combine. He can be split out wide or come off the line. While he isn’t a great in-line blocker he has the frame and strength to develop into an every down tight end at the NFL level.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
Keenan Allen, WR, California
The Bengals have a legit #1 WR and perhaps the best receiver in football. Finding a complement to AJ Green should be one of the top priorities in the draft. Allen is polished possession receiver with good hands and good route running instincts, Allen gives QB Andy Dalton another reliable target when AJ Green draws double coverage.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Wash) (10-6)
DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama
After filling their biggest defensive need with pick #16 the Rams come back and fill their top offensive need. Fluker is a mountain of a man and can be plugged into the Rams right tackle position. He’s a powerful run blocker and uses his extreme length to keep pass rushers at bay. With two picks in the top 25 the Rams have the luxury of rebuilding their offensive line to give QB Sam Bradford the protection he needs.
23. Minnesota Vikings
Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Head Coach Leslie Frazier recently said one of the goals of the off-season was to improve the teams run defense. There’s no better way to do that than to add the massive and powerful Alabama defender. Williams isn’t flashy, but he is stout against the run and can play in multiple shades to provide a big body in the middle of the Vikings front seven. If the Vikings move Percy Harvin before the draft Wide Receiver becomes the likely pick.
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. He turned a lot of heads at the combine running in the low 4.4s which answered any question people had about his speed. 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
Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
The Seahawks need another DT who can provide some interior pass rush. Red Bryant is a great run stopper at one end, but doesn’t provide any rush. Chris Clemons is coming off an ACL injury and Alan Branch is a UFA. Short is a versatile and athletic tackle, who can push the pocket and get into the backfield to disrupt run plays.
26. Green Bay Packers
Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
The Packers lack an all-around safety who can be on the field in all situations. The loss of Charles Woodson takes away a play-maker on the back-end of the defense. Last year’s 4th round pick Jerron McMillian looks like a player, but Cyprien has the ability to play both safety spots, be a leader on the field and will never have to come off the field.
27. Houston Texans
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
There’s no doubt that the Houston Texans need another play-making wide receiver. Andre Johnson was their only consistent pass catcher down the stretch last year and it really hurt them. By putting a dynamic game breaker like Austin in the slot, it will open up the offense for everyone. Kubiak can find ways to get Austin the ball and he is they type of player other teams need to scheme for.
28. Denver Broncos
Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
The Broncos ILB position was a mess last season. It got so bad that they had to employ Keith Brooking their in vital games. Ogletree is an athletic ILB who can move around and chase down ball-carries. He has loads of off the field issues, so the Broncos would have to get comfortable with him, but if they are it’s a good fit for both the player and team.
29. New England Patriots
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The Patriots secondary is going to look vastly different next season, even if Aqib Talib is back. The Patriots need an athletic corner who can play both outside and in the slot, which Trufant can do. The top two corners, Rhodes and Milliner, are off the board meaning the Patirots have their choice of any other corner in the draft. Based on their drafting history, Trufant fits the mold of what the Patriots look for in a cornerback prospect. He tested extremely well at the combine and is a four year college players. After adding an impact corner with their first draft pick, the Patriots can turn their attention to the Wide Receiver and Defensive Line positions in the next two rounds.
30. Atlanta Falcons
Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
Carradine is one of the best pure pass rushers in the draft. Unfortunately, Carradine tore his ACL in a late November game vs. Florida. The Falcons need pass rush help badly, but also have the luxury of waiting half the season until Carradine is healthy. If Tank checks out medically, this is one of the steals of the draft. If fully healthy a player with the pass rush upside of Carradine is a top 15 pick.
31. San Francisco 49ers
Matt Elam, S, Florida
The 49ers are blessed with a bunch of draft picks and not many holes to fill. The team lacks depth in a number of positions, especially on defense. If Dashon Goldson leaves via free agency, this need is magnified. Elam is a 49er type player, athletic, physical and hard hitting. He can play both safety positions and plays with a recklessness.
32. Baltimore Ravens
Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
Te’o to Baltimore is the cliche pick right now and it does make sense. With Ray Lewis retiring and Ellerbe being a free agent there is a large hole on in the middle of their defense. Regardless of his test numbers or his “catfishing” situation Te’o can play football. He’s a has leadership qualities and can play right away. This pick makes a lot of sense.