Mike’s Mock Draft – Picks 17-32
17.Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland)
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama (Scouting Report)
The Bengals were unable to make up for the loss of Jonathan Joseph last season and it cost them in the end. Getting Kirkpatrick at pick 17 is a steal. He is a big, long, physical corner, who should make a tremendous CB tandem with Leon Hall. Kirkpatrick’s physical nature would fit in perfectly with Mike Zimmer’s. With another pick later in the first round the Bengals can focus on upgrading the OL or DL.
18.San Diego Chargers
Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois (Scouting Report)
The Chargers added Jarret Johnson in free agency, but he doesn’t provide much of a pass rush. They also have Larry English who has been a disaster and Shaun Phillips who is nearing the end of his career. Mercilus is capable of standing up and playing 3-4 OLB and should be able to provide some much needed pass rush.
Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State (Scouting Report)
The Bears pull off a little surprise and pass on the bigger name in Coples for McClellin. The Bears are said to love McClellin’s motor, effort and ability to rush the passer.
20. Tennessee Titans
Nick Perry, DE, USC (Scouting Report)
The Titans got a very good outside linebacker in free agency with Kamerion Wimbley, but still need to add another defensive end who can rush the passer. Perry has shown the natural ability to get after the passer. If he learns to play the run a little bit better he could develop into quite the player.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama (Scouting Report)
The Bengals would like to get an offensive lineman here, but Upshaw is too good to pass up. The Bengals love big name players from big time college programs and Upshaw is just that. If the Bengals come out of the first round with Kirkpatrick and Upshaw, WOW.
22. Cleveland Browns (via ATL)
Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech (Scouting Report)
The Brown’s gamble to pass on Justin Blackmon at #4 pays off as they are not only able to grab the best RB in the draft but they are also able to get a game breaking WR. Hill will be able to stretch the field vertically, which should open up with teams focusing on Trent Richardson.
23. Detroit Lions
Reilly Reiff, OT, Iowa (Scouting Report)
The Lions are able to steal one here, by selecting the fundamentally sound Iowa OT. The Lions brought back Jeff Backus, but have needs at RT and OG as well. This would be a case of taking the best player available and finding a place to play him later. Reiff’s stock has fallen a little bit, but I still view him as a very good OT prospect and would be a great fit for the Lions.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis (Scouting Report)
The conventional wisdom is that the Steelers will select Alabama’s Hightower here. With Poe falling down the board a little bit the Steelers opt for the massive and athletic defensive lineman. Casey Hampton has been really unreliable health wise the past 2 seasons, Poe can start off at NT and move to 3-4 end as he develops.
25. Denver Broncos
Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt (Scouting Report)
The Broncos have been linked to many of defensive tackles, but with Poe going off the board right in front of them, I get the sense that they aren’t sold on the other DTs in round one. There has been a lot of talk about Hayward coming off the board in the first round and Hayward has been linked to the Broncos. It would be a little bit of a reach, but the Broncos have made some surprising picks the past three years.
26. Houston Texans
Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford (Scouting Report)
The Texans need another outside WR, but with Stephen Hill off the board the team opts for the best tight end in the draft instead. Houston lost Joel Dressen, who had 90 catches the past two seasons in free agency, so bringing in another athletic tight end is a priority. Two tight end sets are becoming critical for offenses in the NFL, getting Fleener will open up things for Andre Johnson as well.
27. New England Patriots (via N.O.)
Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama (Scouting Report)
With the Steelers passing on Hightower, he falls to the Patriots at 27. Hightower can play inside and outside as well as put his hand in the ground. Everyone and their mother is picking Shea McClellin to the Patriots which means it is unlikely to happen. The Patriots really lack depth at inside backer, it got so bad last season that Jeff Tarpinian and Niko Koutivides had to start games. I expect the Patriots to add depth at the position at some point and if they are able to get Hightower, it gives them a starting OLB who can rotate inside if need be.
28. Green Bay Packers
Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame (Scouting Report)
The Packers released Nick Collins the day before the draft, which makes the safety position an even bigger area of need. Smith is the second best safety in the draft and will allow Morgan Burnett to slide over to his more natural FS position. If the Packers decide to go in a different direction it will likely be to address the pass rush opposite Clay Matthews.
29. Baltimore Ravens
Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina (Scouting Report)
Ozzie Newsome is known to take some chances on talent guys who might have some question marks. Coples poor senior season really devestates his draft stock as the one time top ten pick tumbles down to the end of round one. The Ravens would likely use Coples in a hybrid role and as a replacement for Jarret Johnson.
30. San Francisco 49ers
Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern State (Scouting Report)
The 49ers only have one majore hole on the offense and that is at OG. Silatolu is a player who has drawn comparisons to current 49er Mike Iupati. Silatolu is rising up draft boards and if the 49ers don’t take him here, he will be gone so after their pick.
31. New England Patriots
Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall (Scouting Report)
The Patriots really like Chandler Jones, but with him long gone the Patriots opt for a similar player in Vinny Curry. Curry is a high character, high motor, high production player. The Patriots would likely deploy him in the elephant role which was occupied by Mark Anderson last year. Curry doesn’t have the most explosive first step but, he did post one of the best 3 cone and short shuttle times of any DE. Almost everyone projects the Patriots to trade this pick, but with only a few teams in need of a QB they Patriots can’t find a taker.
32. New York Giants
Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia (Scouting Notes)
The Giants get a steal here with the massive but athletically talented Glenn slipping into their laps at the end of the first round. Glenn can play RT for the Giants and can also slide inside to play guard if the Giants need him to.
Continue to James Christensen’s 2012 NFL Mock Draft.
Return to picks 1-16 of Mike’s Mock Draft.