17. Cincinnati Bengals- WR Michael Floyd (Notre Dame)
Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati enquirer named Michael Floyd, Mark Barron, Melvin Ingram, Quinton Coples, and Michael Brockers as the possibilities for the Bengals here. Reedy knows his stuff. He reported before the draft last year that the Bengals’ targets would be AJ Green and Andy Dalton. Floyd is the only one of those 5 still available. He gives them a much needed compliment opposite AJ Green and will make their young, explosive offense even more explosive.
DE Courtney Upshaw (Alabama): Reedy didn’t mention him, but Tony Pauline thinks the Bengals will use one of their 2 picks on Upshaw because they love him.
CB Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama): Reedy didn’t name Kirkpatrick as an option here, but he still makes a lot of sense. He’s probably a better fit for them 21 though.
18. Arizona Cardinals- OT Cordy Glenn (Georgia)
The Cardinals moved down feeling that one of Reiff, Floyd, and Glenn would still be available at 18 and they were right. Cordy Glenn is someone they’re infatuated with. He’s an excellent fit for their blocking scheme and they desperately need offensive line help. They have a former Steelers’ offensive coach as their offensive line coach and the Steelers have always loved big offensive linemen. In fact, Mayock mocked Glenn to the Steelers at 24. Glenn goes 18 here to Arizona and would give them an upgrade at either guard or tackle, depending on where they want to use him and free agent acquisition Adam Snyder.
RLB Chandler Jones (Syracuse): If the Chargers stay here, rush linebacker is the most likely position. I think Jones is the most likely of all pass rushers available here.
RLB Whitney Mercilus (Illinois): Another rush linebacker option.
RLB Courtney Upshaw (Alabama): A 3rd rush linebacker option.
CB Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama): Straight from the Chargers’ “what the fuck” files, which they love accessing. The Chargers love big, tall receivers and defensive backs and often draft those early. Kirkpatrick would move Quentin Jammer to safety, upgrading two positions. He’d also give them a short term upgrade at safety in a year where there aren’t a lot of good safeties to go around.
S Harrison Smith (Notre Dame): Another “what the fuck” pick. The safety class falls off a cliff after Barron and Smith so, if they can’t trade up, they may reach for Smith just to make sure they can get one of the two. Smith would fill their safety need long term.
19. Chicago Bears- DE Chandler Jones (Syracuse)
The Bears are expected to pick the best defensive lineman available. They need help at both defensive end and defensive tackle and they’re picking in a good spot for defensive linemen. Quinton Coples and Michael Brockers are options here, but both are unavailable in this mock. That leaves them with a choice between Whitney Mercilus and Chandler Jones. Jones is a rising prospect and I have reason to believe he’ll be the pick in this situation over Mercilus.
DE Whitney Mercilus (Illinois): Mercilus is the other defensive line option for the Bears.
20. Tennessee Titans- DE Whitney Mercilus (Illinois)
The Titans don’t really have any pressing needs (aside from interior offensive line, which I’ll discuss later) and could address a number of different positions at this spot. They could use another defensive end because Kamerion Wimbley has never been a full time end in a 4-3 and Derrick Morgan is verging on becoming a bust so players like Nick Perry, Shea McClellin, and Whitney Mercilus are in play.
They could use another defensive tackle in the rotation with Karl Klug and Jurrell Casey so players like Dontari Poe and Jerel Worthy are in play. They lost Cortland Finnegan in free agency and, while Alterraun Verner seems capable of taking his spot in the starting lineup, Dre Kirkpatrick is still in play.
On the offensive side of the ball, they desperately need offensive line help. While Mike Munchak has insisted they won’t use a first round pick on an offensive lineman, that could prove to be untrue. Munchak was incredibly frustrated with their interior offensive line during the season, so a player like Peter Konz is in play. Meanwhile, their lack of wide receiver depth was exposed when they lost Kenny Britt last season. They could use a wide receiver like Stephen Hill or Kendall Wright to go with Nate Washington and a hopefully healthy Kenny Britt.
The player they will take at this spot is probably going to be whoever is atop their draft board, which makes this pick so tough. We obviously don’t know exactly what their draft board is going to look like, but they’re known to be interested in Whitney Mercilus. I have reason to believe he won’t get out of the top 20 and the Titans are certainly an option for him.
WR Stephen Hill (Georgia Tech): I’ve had Hill here in recent weeks because they’ve shown a lot of interest in him, but Mercilus wasn’t available here those weeks. Mike Mayock had Hill at 20 in his mock, but Mercilus was unavailable there too. If Mercilus is gone, Hill is the most likely option.
WR Kendall Wright (Baylor): Wright is another player they’ve shown a lot of interest in.
C Peter Konz (Wisconsin): Mike Munchak said he won’t use a first round pick on an offensive lineman. That could have been a smokescreen. They did work out Konz privately.
MLB Dont’a Hightower (Alabama): An interesting name from their private visits list, they do need a 3rd young linebacker.
DT Dontari Poe (Memphis): Poe would fill a need, but they haven’t worked him out so maybe they don’t see him as a good scheme fit. Also possible they just didn’t think he’d be available.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- CB Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama)
I mentioned some of the players the Bengals are supposedly interested in at 17. Dre Kirkpatrick was noticeably absent. It’s possible they may just be saving their 21st overall pick on him. The Bengals typically target one position with each pick, unless someone falls. It sounds like 17 will be a defensive lineman unless someone like Michael Floyd or Mark Barron falls. That means 21 will likely be a defensive back, likely Kirkpatrick, but worst case scenario someone like Harrison Smith.
Kirkpatrick was arrested for marijuana possession earlier this year. While the charges were dropped, teams didn’t like how he addressed the situation in interviews at The Combine and some said they didn’t feel they could trust him, which is more damaging to his stock than the arrest.
The Bengals are notorious for giving 2nd chances to guys with off the field concerns or other character red flags. Neither Jason Allen nor Nate Clements is a long term solution at cornerback and Leon Hall will be coming off of season ending surgery heading into next season. They’ve really shown a lack of depth at the position without Hall so with two first round picks, expect them to target cornerbacks fairly early.
Besides, the Bengals seem to highly value the cornerback position. They’ve spent two first round picks on cornerbacks under Marvin Lewis (Leon Hall, Jonathan Joseph) and worked out both Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara last season as potential replacements for Johnathan Joseph, though ultimately ended up going in another direction and trying to resign Joseph. They did not so it’s likely they take their cornerback this year fairly early.
DE Courtney Upshaw (Alabama): Again, Pauline says they’ll use one of their picks on him, but it would be really weird if they didn’t take a cornerback in the first round.
S Harrison Smith (Notre Dame): The Bengals may not want to get out of the first round without one of the top 2 safeties, even if it means passing on a cornerback. This is a much deeper cornerback class than safety class.
22. Cleveland Browns- WR Kendall Wright (Baylor)
I’ve had Brandon Weeden here in recent weeks, but reports are saying that it’ll be a running back and a wide receiver in the first for the Browns. I’m not done with Weeden to the Browns. More on that later. However, if they take a running back at 4, it sounds like it’ll be a wide receiver here. Kendall Wright would be an excellent compliment, as a deep threat and slot receiver, to Greg Little, a possession, outside the numbers receivers.
OT Jonathan Martin (Stanford): Another young complimentary piece.
QB Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State): They may not want to wait for Weeden.
23. Baltimore Ravens (TRADE)- MLB Dont’a Hightower (Alabama)
I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have Hightower to the Steelers. However, the Ravens are very interested in him too. I’m sure they’d love to be able to steal him away from division rival Steelers. The Lions, meanwhile, need an offensive lineman badly, but there’s better value with an offensive lineman at 29 than at 23. The Ravens surrender a 3rd round pick and grab Hightower ahead of the Steelers as a successor for Ray Lewis.
OT Jonathan Martin (Stanford): If Detroit stays put, Jonathan Martin makes a lot of sense with the top 3 cornerbacks off the board.
DE Shea McClellin (Boise State): Defensive end is not an obvious need for the Lions, but neither was defensive tackle last year.
DE Courtney Upshaw (Alabama): Copy and paste what’s above.
DE Nick Perry (USC): Copy and paste a 3rd time
WR Stephen Hill (Georgia Tech): An interesting option for the Ravens if they trade up. Hightower is way more likely, but I’ve heard they like Hill too and may take him as the future successor for Anquan Boldin opposite Torrey Smith.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers- NT Dontari Poe (Memphis)
The Steelers miss out on Dont’a Hightower. However, they do have Dontari Poe fall to them. He slips because he’s a project whose tape doesn’t match up to his measurables. He’s someone who is reportedly overrated by the media and could fall on draft day. The Steelers are confident in their ability to coach up players like Poe, and rightfully so given their track record. They’ll fall in love with his upside and bring him along as their nose tackle of the future behind Casey Hampton, who will be coming off a torn ACL next season. He’ll be a 35 year old free agent next offseason as well.
OT Jonathan Martin (Stanford): Martin is a long shot option for Pittsburgh. They need offensive line help badly, but they don’t put a high value on the offensive line and Martin isn’t an ideal fit for what they look for in an offensive lineman.
G Kevin Zeitler (Wisconsin): Again a long shot, but he’d be a better scheme fit than Martin, albeit at a position of lesser value. He’s also probably an inferior prospect.
25. Denver Broncos- DT Jerel Worthy (Michigan State)
Defensive tackle is their biggest need by far, but I’ve had other positions here at some points in the past. I’ve had a wide receiver here because Peyton Manning always had a strong say in drafts in Indianapolis and that could be the case in Denver. However, with Kendall Wright off the board, I can’t see that. Manning won’t want to wait on a project like Stephen Hill or an inferior prospect like Rueben Randle. He’s also a big fan of Eric Decker, who he asked the Colts to draft in the 3rd round in 2010. Denver snatched him up a few spots earlier.
I’ve had Dre Kirkpatrick here as well, but I can’t see him falling here anymore. If he does somehow, he’ll be snatched up in a heartbeat. The Denver Post has reported they love him. However, with Wright and Kirkpatrick gone, defensive tackle does make the most sense. The Denver Post has reported multiple times that the Broncos would love a defensive tackle at 25. They lost both of their starters at the position this offseason and neither of those two starters had a single sack last season.
The question is which defensive tackle? I see 3 options, Jerel Worthy, Kendall Reyes, and Devon Still. I’ll eliminate Still. A report said the Broncos were interested in 3 defensive tackles at 25, Brockers, Worthy, and Reyes. Still might have once been a smart pick to mock here, but his stock is falling of late. He’s a long shot for the first round now.
That leaves Reyes and Worthy. I have Worthy as a consensus better player, but it’s worth noting that they brought in Reyes for a workout and not Worthy. However, they only had 8 documented workouts so it’s possible that they either don’t put a lot of stock into private workouts or they did work out Worthy privately, but it wasn’t reported. Gun to my head, Worthy is the pick here.
DT Kendall Reyes (Connecticut): Another defensive tackle option. An NFL network report named Brockers, Worthy, and Reyes as the 3 options for the Broncos here in terms of defensive tackles.
DT Devon Still (Penn State): Another defensive tackle option. He wasn’t named, but he’s worth mentioning as an option.
RB Doug Martin (Boise State): John Fox has never shied away from using premium picks on running backs. The need is certainly there, but Martin is a minor reach at this point for a team with bigger needs.
26. Houston Texans- WR Stephen Hill (Georgia Tech)
Andre Johnson is on the wrong side of 30 so they need to start thinking of potential long term #1 options 3-4 years out, as well as a complimentary receiver opposite him. Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones aren’t very good and their lack of wide receiver depth was exposed when Andre Johnson missed significant time with injury last season. I see 3 options here for the Texans, Hill, Wright, and Fleener. Wright is gone and I think they take Hill over Fleener as he is a consensus better player.
TE Coby Fleener (Stanford): As I just mentioned, Fleener is another option here.
OT Jonathan Martin (Stanford): They need a right tackle, but they’ve had success with mid to late round offensive linemen before. I think they believe in their scheme too much to use a first round pick on an offensive lineman.
RLB Bruce Irvin (West Virginia): Irvin is drawing some late first round buzz. Houston could be an interested team.
27. New England Patriots- DE Nick Perry (USC)
Marc Anderson and Andre Carter were both great one year signings this offseason, but they were also just one year signings. Anderson signed in Buffalo and the Patriots haven’t seemed too eager to resign Carter. Besides, Carter is on the wrong side of 30, coming off a major injury, and played awful in a 3-4 in Washington, a scheme that the Patriots could switch to, at least in some form, in 2012. Perry is a great pass rusher with the ability to play both the 4-3 and the 3-4. I have him over guys like Upshaw and McClellin because a source close to the Patriots named both Chandler Jones and Nick Perry as the two pass rushing options here.
DE Shea McClellin (Boise State): Not ruling out McClellin. Belichick will like his versatility.
DE Courtney Upshaw (Alabama): Another pass rushing option.
28. Green Bay Packers- RLB Shea McClellin (Boise State)
No playoff team had fewer sacks than the Packers, who had a mere 29. Clay Matthews is a great pass rusher, but had a poor statistical season last year because he was consistently double and triple teamed. They need someone opposite him that defenses will fear. The Packers are reportedly infatuated with Shea McClellin.
RLB Courtney Upshaw (Alabama): Another pass rushing option.
S Harrison Smith (Notre Dame): Nick Collins was cut for medical reasons. Harrison Smith will help them a lot at safety.
RB Doug Martin (Boise State): The Packers draft straight from their board, so you can’t count out an offensive player like Doug Martin, even with all of their needs defensively.
29. Detroit Lions (TRADE)- OT Jonathan Martin (Stanford)
The Lions had no problem trading down because they could get a solid offensive lineman at 29. I had Martin to the Lions at 23 in a previous mock so I’m sure they’ll be very happy with him here at 29. Jeff Backus is no longer a capable left tackle and, the way his contract is set up, he’ll probably be a 35 year old free agent next offseason. Backus can play right tackle or guard next season with Martin as their long term left tackle of the future.
G Amini Silatolu (Midwestern State): The only other player I could think of for Detroit. Martin is such a good fit at this point, but the Lions do love Silatolu. I doubt they’d take him ahead of Martin, however. He’d also be an option for the Ravens should they stay put.
G Kevin Zeitler (Wisconsin): If the Ravens stay put and don’t take Martin themselves, Zeitler makes a lot of sense since they reportedly don’t see Konz as a fit.
C Peter Konz (Wisconsin): I’ll still list Konz as an option.
S Harrison Smith (Notre Dame): Smith is the sleeper. Both of their safeties will be free agents in a year and Ed Reed is 34 in September. They’re rumored to be interested in safeties early.
30. San Francisco 49ers- G Amini Silatolu (Midwestern State)
Tony Pauline said the 49ers will use this pick on an offensive lineman unless Stephen Hill falls. Trent Baalke, the San Francisco 49ers’ GM, has said that his team really loves one player so I think that’s Hill, but he’s not here. Instead they’ll take an offensive lineman. Which one? Well Pauline thinks it’ll be Amini Silatolu so I’m going off that. He’d be an immediate upgrade at guard and help fix an offensive line that let Alex Smith be the most sacked quarterback in the league last year.
G Kevin Zeitler (Wisconsin): Another guard option.
C Peter Konz (Wisconsin): Konz could play guard or move Goodwin to guard and play center. Either way, he’d be a long term solution at guard.
WR Reuben Randle (LSU): Interestingly enough, the 49ers have worked out only 3 first round prospects, all of whom were receivers. Randle is an option.
31. Cleveland Browns (TRADE)- QB Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State)
I said I wasn’t done with Weeden and the Browns. The Patriots love to trade down and will likely move out of one of their two 1st round picks, especially since they don’t have any picks after the 4th round. They’ve worked out a lot of late round guys so expect them to try to pick up another late round pick and probably another mid round pick, maybe even a mid-late round pick in 2013 (when they only have 5 picks). The Browns give up a combination of that to come up from 37 and grab Brandon Weeden, who they are really interested in, before another team can do the same.
S Harrison Smith (Notre Dame): I wanted to put Smith in the first round in some form, but couldn’t fit him. If New England stays put, he makes a lot of sense. A team like Minnesota, Carolina, or Dallas could also trade up for him.
RB Doug Martin (Boise State): Another trade up option: St. Louis and Tampa Bay could be interested.
DT Kendall Reyes (Connecticut): The Patriots could also take Reyes if they stay. Carolina and St. Louis could be interested in him in a trade up.
32. New York Giants- G Kevin Zeitler (Wisconsin)
David Diehl was one of the worst offensive tackles and one of the worst guards in the league last season. He played 10 games at guard, ranking 76th among ProFootballFocus’ 77 guards, allowing 5 sacks and 28 pressures, while committing 3 penalties. He played 6 games at tackle, ranking 64th out of 76, allowing 4 sacks and 20 pressures, while committing 2 penalties. That was just the regular season. In 20 total games, he allowed 13 sacks, 61 pressures, and committed 6 penalties, good for an overall rating of -58.1.
Right tackle Kareem McKenzie was only slightly worse, allowing 9 sacks and 58 pressures in 20 games, while committing 4 penalties, good for a -33.2 rating. McKenzie is a free agent and not expected back so they are probably moving Diehl to right tackle to compete with 2011 4th round pick James Brewer. They’ll need a new long term left guard. Zeitler is a rising prospect. Some expect him to go higher than teammate Peter Konz.
C Peter Konz (Wisconsin): Konz could still be the pick.
RB Doug Martin (Boise State): The Giants take best available straight from their board. Martin would also fill a need at running back.
DE Courtney Upshaw (Alabama): As I just said, they love BPA. They also never shy away from taking pass rushers. Osi Umenyiora could be traded on draft day and he’s in a contract year anyway. They’ve already lost Dave Tollefson, who played significant snaps on the defensive line, this offseason.
DE Bruce Irvin (West Virginia): Copy and paste what’s above.