As the 2012 NFL draft inches closer, all that remains to do is wait...impatiently. The Scouting Combine is over, pro days have concluded and now the NFL is currently in the timetable of smoke and mirrors from all 32 teams.
Each team is trying to mislead the others in the hopes that no one will truly know who they are selecting come draft day. It’s not hard to tell which team is targeting which prospects, upon close examination of team weaknesses from a year ago.
The first two picks are set in stone, but after that, one must be observant to decipher exactly what the gurus in the front office of each franchise are truly plotting for draft day.
Mock drafts are, of course, the most entertaining part of the NFL offseason. Every fan has wish lists of players for their favorite team. Every team is going to turn over a new leaf with the addition of an amazing prospect.
So, NFL fans, enjoy it while it lasts. Here are first- and second-round predictions for the 2012 NFL draft.
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
There won't be any drama this year concerning the first overall pick. Indianapolis is fully engaged in rebuilding mode, and that process starts with Andrew Luck.
Luck is the best quarterback to enter the draft since Peyton Manning—ironic. The Colts are in such a great position to begin the rebuilding process that it's almost unfair to the rest of the league.
Some think the Colts may be considering Baylor's Robert Griffin III here, but that won't happen. Luck is a once-in-a-lifetime prospect with more starting experience than Griffin.
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
The Washington Redskins gave up a ridiculous amount to move up to this spot, so they better truly believe the guy they are planning on picking is a franchise player for the next decade or more.
Robert Griffin III is that guy. He's a phenomenal athlete with a strong arm and can start immediately for the Redskins. There's a chance he could have an impact close to what Cam Newton had for the Carolina Panthers last year.
Griffin's a lovable guy and model franchise QB. There is no other pick the Redskins would consider making here. Griffin is their guy, for better or worse.
Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Matt Kalil is the most talented player in the draft outside of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, so he's a natural fit here. He'll lock down the Vikings' left tackle position for more than a decade.
A team with as many holes as Minnesota currently has can't afford to gamble at this spot. It has to keep this pick and take the best player available. Cornerback Morris Claiborne is also an option, but Cover 2 teams don't typically take a corner very high in the draft.
Kalil is a no-brainer. Football is still won in the trenches and Kalil is a good start for a struggling franchise. Quarterback Christian Ponder needs better protection to succeed, so Kalil is a smart way to protect the young QB.
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Cleveland holds one of the most controversial picks in the draft, considering it could go a variety of different ways with the pick.
The Browns could consider a wide receiver, but Mike Holmgren's draft history says otherwise. They could go with cornerback Morris Claiborne, but the team already had an elite defense last year. Finally, they could go with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but that seems unlikely as the team has yet to discover what it truly has in Colt McCoy.
The only pick remaining is Trent Richardson, and it's a great one. He's the best back to enter the draft since Adrian Peterson and will immediately provide a massive boost to Cleveland's offense. An elite rushing attack will do wonders for McCoy's development.
Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The Buccaneers are disappointed that Trent Richardson didn't fall, but get an amazing consolation prize in Morris Claiborne. He fits a massive hole on the Bucs defense and becomes a starter right away.
The corner position for the Bucs isn't exactly impressive as currently constituted. Who knows what's really going on with Aqib Talib and his legal issues? He's likely out of the picture with the addition of Claiborne. Ronde Barber is back on a one-year deal but is now 37, while Eric Wright is horrendous.
With all that being said, Claiborne is the only legitimate choice here. He'll be a great player for years.
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
The Rams seriously need to give their franchise quarterback Sam Bradford some legit weapons or his career is going to be over sooner rather than later. Trent Richardson didn't drop, which is fine since it's hard to imagine Steven Jackson will fall off anytime soon.
What the Rams truly need is a game-changing receiver, and that would be Michael Floyd. Floyd is an amazing talent, one who is bigger and faster than most NFL corners. He's elite when it comes to going up and making the highlight catch, as well as a ridiculously good option in the red zone.
Some will argue Justin Blackmon will be the first receiver off the board, but he's shorter and slower than Floyd. Floyd is the elite physical specimen the Rams need if they are to compete at all next season.
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
The Jaguars took Blaine Gabbert last year and promptly threw him to the wolves without any weapons. Gabbert did what he could with little to work with.
That has to change this year. The Jags need an elite wide receiver to take pressure off Gabbert, and Justin Blackmon can do just that. Blackmon is typically slated to go higher than this pick, so Gabbert and Company are ecstatic to see him taking his talents to Jacksonville.
Blackmon is a solid first step in giving Gabbert what he needs to succeed. The duo can grow together and potentially turn into a formidable combination down the road.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Where to start?
Peyton Manning shunned the Dolphins. Matt Flynn decided Seattle was a better culture in terms of competitiveness. Alex Smith used Miami as a bargaining chip so that he could get a bigger deal from the San Francisco 49ers. There's no chance the Dolphins will be able to move up for Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III.
That leaves Ryan Tannehill as the quarterback of the future for the Miami Dolphins. Tannehill is a project that has been overhyped by the media recently, but he could turn into something special in the future.
This is quite possibly the only pick the Dolphins can make now—or the fanbase might riot. Tannehill isn't worthy of a top-10 selection, but he's the pick here. He needs to send a fourth of his signing bonus to USC's Matt Barkley.
Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
The Panthers have a pretty big need on the interior of the defensive line, but the draft is simply littered with talent at that position. They can address that need later, and they should because they would be stupid to pass on a rare talent like Melvin Ingram.
Ingram is a freak of nature and he simply wasn't supposed to drop to the Panthers. He's an elite pass-rushing prospect that will immensely improve the Panthers rush.
With Ingram applying pressure from multiple positions, the Panthers should improve their conference record easily. Putting more pressure on Drew Brees and Matt Ryan can only be a good thing moving forward.
Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
The Bills would have liked to see one of the top receivers fall to them at this spot, but upgrading the offensive line is very important as well.
After Demetress Bell bolted for the Philadelphia Eagles, Riley Reiff became the obvious choice for the Bills here. Buffalo has to do a better job of protecting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Reiff could be a starter from day one.
There's been some criticism of of Reiff's game recently, especially when it comes to his short arms. On film, however, Reiff shines as a force in the trenches—and that's what matters the most.
Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
A surprise pick here given the prospects still available, but Luke Kuechly is the best at his position and can join the steadily improving Kansas City defense right away.
The Chiefs could use help in the trenches on both sides of the ball, but it would be hard to justify drafting a guard this high or an unproven defensive tackle like Dontari Poe over Kuechly.
Kuechly is a ridiculously productive player who will come in and provide a boost to the defense. His talents and work ethic are things every locker room could use, so he's a great selection here.
Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
The Seahawks are stunned that Luck Kuechly is already off the board, and there aren't any other inside linebacker prospects worthy of such a high selection here. The Seattle brass recover quickly when they realize Quinton Coples is still available.
The Seahawks need to boost their lackadaisical pass rush in a hurry, and Coples does just that. There's talk of him not giving enough effort, but it's hard to imagine he'll get away with anything less than 100 percent in a healthy locker room like Seattle's.
Coples is a player that can change the fortunes of a team quickly. The Seahawks defense was quietly one of the better units last season, but they get much better with an elite pass-rusher like Coples.
Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
The Cardinals are developing a habit of drafting players that don't necessarily fill their biggest need, and the trend continues here with the selection of Dontari Poe. Defensive tackle isn't the biggest need for Arizona, but it's a solid upgrade nonetheless.
From a potential and value standpoint, Poe may be the best player left. He's an absolute freak of nature who could excel at pass rushing at the next level. A man of his size isn't supposed to be as quick or strong as Poe, so he should be able to catch opposing linemen off guard.
There are concerns about Poe's competition at the collegiate level, but he should put those to rest quickly when he hits the field for the Cardinals.
Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
Mark Barron has been one of the hardest prospects to predict a landing spot for thanks to his checkered injury history. With that being said, Dallas has a major hole at starting strong safety, and it's hard to imagine Barron would fall to Dallas' pick in the second round.
Barron is a prototypical strong safety who excels against the run but has issues against the pass. Luckily for him, defending against the pass is something that can be coached.
The Cowboys would have liked to see Dontari Poe slide to their pick but Barron will do. Corner was also an option, but it's hard to pass on a player who will be a starter from day one.
Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
The easy decision for the Philadelphia Eagles here was nailing down which position they would take. It's a no-brainer to pick up a defensive tackle here, after the position was so mediocre last year.
Exactly which tackle to take is a bigger issue. It boils down to Fletcher Cox and Michael Brockers, but the Eagles make the smart decision here and go with Cox.
Cox has more starting experience. He will come in and immediately be a starter on the defensive line. He's a freak athlete who can do it all, so he'll fit right in to the formidable Eagles front seven.
Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
The Jets have so many needs it's hard to tell which way they could go with this pick, but the obvious choice is addressing their horrendous pass rush form a year ago.
Nick Perry is a great way to improve in that area. He's a dynamic pass-rusher who typically got to the quarterback in college with relative ease. He won't find the NFL as easy to dominate, but he'll find success early.
The Jets pride themselves on defense and running the ball. Perry joins an average unit and makes them better quickly.
David DeCastro, G, Stanford
The Bengals came into the draft with three obvious needs, and they fill the most pressing one here with the best player at his specific position in David DeCastro.
DeCastro is being billed as potentially the best guard to enter the draft since Steve Hutchinson. He was dominant at the collegiate level and there's nothing that says that trend won't continue at the next level.
DeCastro comes in and starts at right guard for the Bengals immediately. The Bengals struggled to run the ball last year, but it's a safe bet running to the right side will be much easier next season with DeCastro and Andre Smith leading the way.
Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
The San Diego Chargers are a lot like the New York Jets were a few picks ago in that they have had issues putting pressure on the quarterback. Taking a highly rated rushing linebacker here would make the most sense.
Courtney Upshaw is the best player available that fits the bill. He's an elite pass-rusher who finds his way to the quarterback through tenacity and ferociousness.
Some feel Upshaw doesn't truly have a position at the next level, but that could be more of a good thing than bad. Upshaw will be able to line up in a different spot throughout the course of a game and wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
The Chicago Bears added Brandon Marshall via trade this offseason, but that doesn't mean they are done upgrading their putrid passing attack from a year ago. Quarterback Jay Cutler could still use some more options, and Kendall Wright is the best receiver available at this point.
Wright is a bit on the short side, but will still have a massive impact for the Bears. He's a dynamic receiver who can run deep or across the middle and make any catch.
With Marshall and Wright catching passes and Matt Forte running the ball, the Bears could easily find themselves with one of the best offensive units in the league next season.
Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Despite spending a couple draft picks on defensive tackles last year, the Titans still struggled at that position. Outside linebacker would have been an option here had the team not recently signed Kamerion Wimbley, so tackle is the way to go.
Michael Brockers is the man in the trenches for the Titans. He immediately tops the depth chart and provides not only solid run defense but an effective pass rush as well.
Brockers is slated all over the place in various mocks, but here seems like a solid spot for his talent. He's a bit of an unknown, but that won't last long as he becomes the focal point of the Titans defense.
Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Cornerback is another painfully obvious need for the Bengals heading into the draft. They signed Jason Allen and Terence Newman, as well as re-signed Adam Jones. That doesn't mean they are done upgrading the secondary.
Stephon Gilmore is the best corner left on the board, and that's not a bad thing in any way. Gilmore is an aggressive player who matches up well with most receivers and has a knack for breaking up passes. He also seeks out contact in the run game and is known as a vocal leader.
Gilmore won't see drastic playing time in 2012 unless there is an injury, but he'll be a main cog of the Cincinnati defense in 2013. In the meantime, he can learn from veterans like Nate Clements and Leon Hall.
Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
The Browns need to keep building around quarterback Colt McCoy. Trent Richardson was a good start, but why not go out and find a prospect that helps out both McCoy and Richardson?
Enter: Jonathan Martin, the best tackle left on the board. Martin is a physically overpowering tackle who will be able to start right away. He'll not only provide massive running lanes for Richardson, but give McCoy time to get passes off without being concussed.
The Browns had issues all around the offensive line last year, but Martin can provide some instant stability.
Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
Cordy Glenn probably should have been off the board a while ago but the Lions and quarterback Matthew Stafford won't complain. Cornerback was an option here, but Glenn is the best player available.
Glenn is a mammoth of an offensive lineman who can play multiple positions along the line. For a man his size he is extremely athletic, which allows him to physically dominate most opposing players.
The Lions are getting a bit old along the offensive line, but Glenn changes that by adding some talented youth to the unit. He will start right away while learning from some veterans. Somewhere Stafford is grinning from ear to ear.
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Many Steelers fans are adamant that the team will pick a linebacker here, but that's simply not the case. If there's one thing the city of Pittsburgh is never short on, it's quality linebackers, whether they are big names or not.
Cornerback, on the other hand, is a different story. The Steelers weren't horrible at the position last year, but it wouldn't hurt to add a sure-fire starter by the name of Dre Kirkpatrick.
Kirkpatrick is a lanky, aggressive corner that fits perfectly into the Steelers' defensive schemes. He'll rotate in while gaining invaluable experience before taking over as the No. 1 corner in the next few years.
Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
Far and away Denver's biggest need is help on the interior of the defensive line. Brodrick Bunkley just bolted for the New Orleans Saints, so the line is in desperate need of any kind of talent at this point.
Luckily for the Broncos, defensive tackle is arguably the deepest position in the draft. Jerel Worthy has slipped to this point thanks to the depth, so the Broncos will be getting a top-15 talent 10 spots lower. Not bad.
Worthy will come in and immediately have no trouble helping to stuff the run, which is something the Broncos struggled to do a year ago. He's a solid addition to a rotation that isn't quite complete.
Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
This is a scary thought. The Houston Texans could have a 6'4", 215-pound receiver who can run a 4.3 40-yard dash, and his name isn't Andre Johnson. He's playing with Johnson.
The Texans have made it extremely obvious that the pick here will be a wide receiver, and the best receiver available happens to be Stephen Hill.
Hill was an unknown commodity entering the draft because he played in a run-heavy collegiate offense, but blew up thanks to the aforementioned 40-yard dash. Now he'll have the chance to terrorize the league with Andre Johnson and Arian Foster.
Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
The Patriots really need to address their lack of pass rush after the departures of Mark Anderson and Andre Carter. Whitney Mercilus is a great way to make up for some of that loss right away.
Mercilus is the kind of player the Patriots love. He's a versatile pass-rusher who can get to the quarterback in a variety of ways from a variety of positions.
This is simply one pick in a string of selections where the Pats will be upgrading their defense, but it could be the most important.
Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State
Shea McClellin has seen his stock rise astronomically over the past couple of weeks, and deservedly so. He's a very solid player who excels in all facets of his position, which is attractive to a team like the Green Bay Packers.
It's no secret the Packers need serious help rushing the passer. Across from Clay Matthews, the team really has no one to speak of in terms of pressuring the quarterback, a hole which has allowed opposing teams to focus on stuffing Matthews.
That all changes with the addition of McClellin. One way or another, with both these guys on the field, the Pack's pass rush will be back in 2012.
Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
The Ravens were going to do one of two things with this pick: find a center of the future or find an inside linebacker of the future. The smart play here would be to go with the linebacker position since Dont'a Hightower is still on the board.
Hightower is the typical tough-nosed linebacker that fits perfectly into the rough AFC North. He'll have the opportunity to learn from future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis while seeing time in a rotation.
It may not be a popular pick with fans now, but it will be in a few years.
Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
The 49ers need to improve on the offensive line at a few positions, but significantly upgrading one of the guard spots seems like a good way to get things rolling.
Kevin Zeitler is a very good prospect who has finally reached the height of his stock. A few months ago, most wouldn't have even recognized his name, but now he fits perfectly in with the San Francisco 49ers in the bottom of the first round.
Zeitler is the kind of player that can start right away if he needs to, so he's a great value pick here. He's the type of prospect that could easily be the main cog of an offensive line for a very long time.
Devon Still, DT/DE, Penn State
Devon Still is an amazing value here for the Pats. As stated earlier, defensive tackle is ridiculously deep in this class, so the Patriots make a very smart move here by picking Still.
Still instantly upgrades the aging front seven of the Patriots. He fills running lanes efficiently and will occasionally put some heat on opposing quarterbacks.
The Patriots aren't quite done just yet in terms of upgrading the defensive unit as a whole, but they have had a heck of a start with smart picks in the first round.
Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
The Giants make a selection here that is indicative of why they won the Super Bowl last season—they pick the best player available no matter the position.
Peter Konz is the best player available, and he happens to fit a big need for the Giants as well. Konz can play center or guard, which could allow someone else to move to either tackle position.
There wasn't really a standout for the Giants last year on the offensive line, but Konz will provide just that next season.
Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
The Rams did a massive favor for their quarterback Sam Bradford in the first round by grabbing Michael Floyd. However, Floyd won't stop Bradford from getting his head knocked off with regularity. Mike Adams will.
Adams is the best player on the board at the tackle position and will slide into a starting role with relative ease for St. Louis. He's a massive player with a tremendous amount of upside. Adams is an upgrade over a disappointing 2011 unit.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
It's no secret that football teams love to draft their franchise quarterback early, only to go out and get him a shiny new toy later in the draft. That's where Alshon Jeffery comes in for Andrew Luck.
Luck is going to need more weapons to throw to besides an aging Reggie Wayne and—well, Reggie Wayne. Jeffery is an amazing physical talent as long as he stays in shape. If he had stayed in shape all offseason, he would have been selected much earlier than this, but it's hard to imagine Luck is complaining.
Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
It's very hard to decipher what the Minnesota Vikings are going to do with their draft picks, as the team is just so atrocious all around. It's a safe bet that at some point they are going to have to address their horrible secondary.
Alfonzo Dennard is a start. Dennard is a talented corner who used to be projected as a first-rounder, but failed to live up to the hype. He needs some time to develop, but he'll have all the time in the world to learn from mistakes as he joins the Vikings.
Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
The Buccaneers need to find a nice complement to starting running back LeGarrette Blount, so Doug Martin is a smart pick here. Martin is the best back in the draft not named Trent Richardson, so the Bucs are happy to have him land here.
Martin is a dual-threat running back that can run effectively but is also very good at catching passes out of the backfield. That minuscule wrinkle to the Bucs offense could be the spark it needs to make it one of the better units in football.
Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
Notice a trend in Cleveland? It really wants to beef up the team around Colt McCoy. For those keeping track, that's a starting running back, a starting offensive tackle and now a starting wide receiver.
The Browns need a spark in the receiving corps, and Rueben Randle is as good as any. Greg Little has the chance to be a special player, but not when he is the only thing opposing defenses are worried about. Randle has the chance to score on any play and can be a nice safety outlet for McCoy.
Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
The Jaguars did nothing in the first round and miraculously had Justin Blackmon fall in their laps. The original pick was going to be Melvin Ingram to upgrade the defensive end position and pass rush, but they can do that here as well.
Andre Branch is a talented all-around defensive end who can join the Jags' rotation and contribute right away. No, he's not Melvin Ingram, but he's a heck of a value here. The Jags had an under-the-radar defensive unit last year and Branch only makes them younger and better.
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
The Rams, like the Browns, are using their massive amount of picks to build around their supposed franchise quarterback. That's typically a good strategy. The Rams got a No. 1 receiver in the first and a starting tackle as well.
This time the Rams want to find a nice complement to incumbent starting running back Steven Jackson. Lamar Miller is an all-purpose back who will provide relief to Jackson's ridiculous snap counts over the past few years. Eventually Miller will take the reins of the offense, but that's still a while off.
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
The Panthers didn't get the big-play receiver they needed in the first. Instead, they got the best defensive end in the draft, which seems fair. Now the Panthers get a big-play receiver in the second round anyway.
Mohamed Sanu has been a hard prospect to gauge in terms of draft positioning, but he's a natural fit in Carolina. The Panthers need a solid No. 2 across from veteran Steve Smith; Sanu can be just that and so much more.
Josh Robinson, CB, UCF
The Bills need to quickly find some depth at the cornerback position. Terrence McGee is getting old and no one else on the roster had a particularity amazing season last year. Josh Robinson is a good remedy for the ailing secondary.
Robinson, the Scouting Combine's fastest man with a 4.33 40-yard dash, is a solid corner who has room to improve. He's a nice nickel corner that can learn the game for a few years before stepping in to a more starting role.
Chandler Jones, DE/OLB, Syracuse
The Dolphins run a hybrid-style defense that requires its players to be extremely versatile—just ask Cameron Wake. Speaking of Wake, the Dolphins could really use an upgrade to complement him in pursuit of opposing players.
That's where Chandler Jones comes in for Miami. He's versatile enough to fit the defense nicely and has an endless motor that allows him to reach the quarterback. Wake and Jones will cause quarterbacks to lose sleep at night.
Vinny Curry, OLB/DE, Marshall
The Seahawks are taking the upgrading of their front seven very seriously in the draft. They need versatile players who do a better job of getting to the quarterback than the guys they had last year.
With that, the selection of Vinny Curry makes a lot of sense here. Curry is predominantly a defensive end but can rush the passer while standing up as well. Curry will wreak havoc while allowing those around him to make plays as well. At a second-round value, Curry is a steal.
Bobby Massie, OT, Mississippi
The Chiefs neglected the offensive line in the first round in favor of taking the best linebacker available. Here, they can't afford to ignore the need any longer.
Bobby Massie is an underrated prospect who could play tackle for the Chiefs or slide inside to guard, depending on where they need him. He has a lot of room for growth, but can still come in and make immediate contributions right away.
Kendall Reyes, DT/DE, Connecticut
The Cowboys need depth along the defensive line and could use more pass rush from the linebackers as well. Here, they elect to add to their defensive line rotation with the addition of Kendall Reyes.
Reyes is an under-the-radar prospect who can get to the quarterback from either the defensive end or tackle position. He's efficient against the run as well, and his versatility will allow the Cowboys to do some very interesting things defensively moving forward.
Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
Eagles fans won't like it, but Michael Vick's time with the team is running out fast. A good way to soften the blow of his departure is to take a young quarterback and groom him into a starter a few years down the road.
Brock Osweiler is as good of a candidate for the job as any. He's a massive quarterback at 6'7" who can make the majority of NFL throws already. He could use some work in the anticipation department, but he's been labeled as a developmental project for a reason.
David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
The Jets are going to run more than ever next season, so they'll need more than one competent running back on the roster. LaDainian Tomlinson's days with the team are over and Shonn Greene was mediocre last season.
David Wilson is a good way to quickly boost the run game for the Jets. His straight-line speed is impressive, but so is the fact that he doesn't lose much speed while making cuts. Wilson and Greene could combine to form a reliable duo as soon as the season begins.
Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame
The Patriots had one thing in mind going into the draft, and that was to upgrade the defense at a variety of positions. Last year's unit gave up a ridiculous amount of yards, but didn't allow teams to score often. That's fine, but eventually the unit needs to be upgraded or teams will start to score more.
Harrison Smith can join the unit and take over as the starting strong safety right away. He won't make many highlight-worthy plays, but he will provide quality pass coverage and run support consistently.
Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern State
The Chargers' other biggest hole on the roster comes at the guard position. San Diego needs to potentially find a starter here in the second round, and may do just that in the form of Amini Silatolu.
Silatolu isn't a familiar name to most fans because he attended such a small school. That also happens to be the biggest knock against him. However, Silatolu was absolutely dominant in college, and has both the frame and versatility to succeed quickly at the next level.
Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Bears did a good job of upgrading the offensive side of the ball in the first round, but now they must turn their attention to the defensive side. Chicago's corners were mediocre last year, and they aren't getting any younger to boot.
Jayron Hosley is the best corner left on the board so he is the obvious choice for the Bears. Hosley is a solid cover corner who still needs some polish, but he will be able to make the unit better as a whole right away.
Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska
The next biggest need for the Eagles, besides defensive tackle and finding Michael Vick's successor, is the entirety of the linebacking unit. The unit was easily the worst in all of football last season, so any addition could be considered an upgrade at this point.
Lavonte David is a hybrid linebacker who excels at rushing the passer, but is agile enough to defend against the pass as well. He upgrades an atrocious unit, and that's all the Eagles can really ask for at this point.
Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska
The Titans got their stud defensive tackle in the first, but aren't done upgrading the defensive line just yet. A big reason for that is because Jared Crick is still on the board.
Crick is a solid player who has an endless motor. He can put consistent pressure on the quarterback and also effectively cut off running plays. He'll join a suddenly very deep line rotation in Tennessee.
Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati
The final glaring need on the Bengals' depth chart is at running back. The team added BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the offseason but he isn't the answer as a starter.
The team is looking to move toward a committee approach at the position, and there isn't a better option available to head the committee than Isaiah Pead. Pead is a local product who can break a game open any time he touches the ball. He runs effectively between the tackles and catches passes with ease as well.
Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
The Lions elect to not address their ailing secondary in the first round, but it will be hard to ignore the problem area now with the majority of the talented cornerbacks starting to fly off the board.
Luckily for Detroit, Brandon Boykin is still around. Boykin is one of the more talented corners in the draft, but injuries have hurt his stock. When he is ready to go, he will be a situational player that can easily be molded into an every-down starter a few years down the road.
Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
It's time to start thinking about life after Tony Gonzalez in Atlanta. Coby Fleener is the best tight end available in the draft and is a massive steal at this point.
Fleener will be able to come in and start right away. More importantly, he'll get to learn from a future Hall of Famer before taking over for him entirely after next season concludes.
Kelechi Osemele, OT, Iowa State
The Steelers could go a couple different ways here, but when in doubt, make a move to help or protect your franchise quarterback. A good way to ensure Ben Roethlisberger stays healthy next season is to upgrade the offensive line.
Kelechi Osemele is a smart play here for Pittsburgh. He immediately provides quality depth while having the potential to start. He'll be a starter in a few years anyway, but it never hurts to have too many players available to protect the face of the franchise.
Juron Criner, WR, Arizona
The Broncos can now turn their attention to the offensive side of the ball and begin to find some more weapons for Peyton Manning. The Broncos need a second receiver and Juron Criner could easily be that.
Criner is a good prospect who will benefit massively from playing with Manning. Even after Manning retires in a few years, Criner should still be around because his talent and frame project him to be a solid contributor in an NFL offense for a long time.
Bobby Wagner, LB, Utah State
There's a saying that is blowing up around the NFL: You can never have too many good pass-rushers. It's a very true statement in what is becoming a very pass-oriented league.
With that in mind, the Texans should have no qualms about adding another pass-rusher to their already excellent defensive unit. Wagner won't start every down, but he'll wreak havoc while playing alongside some elite talent.
LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
The Packers already have one of the better offenses in the league, and that's without an effective running game. That changes with the addition of LaMichael James.
James is the most explosive running back in the draft—every time he touches the ball he could score. He can run between the tackles, but he'll mostly be catching passes from Aaron Rodgers. James can also contribute on special teams.
Ben Jones, C, Georgia
The Ravens found the player who will replace Ray Lewis in the first round, and now they have to turn their attention to the hole at the center position.
Ben Jones is the best center left and he projects to be a solid pro. His frame consistently allows him to gain leverage so he doesn't typically have many issues in the running or passing game.
Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest
The 49ers need a true threat at the receiver position—and no, Randy Moss isn't the answer. Chris Givens could be what they are looking for, though.
Givens could be a solid option across from Michael Crabtree. Alex Smith needs more options and Givens can consistently open up the game for those around him, including Crabtree and Vernon Davis.
Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is known to make some eyebrow-raising moves at times, and now is no different. The Patriots want to upgrade the secondary, and why not do it with a top-20 talent?
Janoris Jenkins has a plethora of red flags, including getting kicked off the Florida Gators for three marijuana incidents.
Still, this just reeks of a Belichick gamble, and a successful one at that. If anyone can get the most out of Jenkins, it's Belichick.
Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia
The rich get richer here. The Giants won the Super Bowl in large part because of their elite pass rush, and now they simply add another piece to that unit with Bruce Irvin.
Irvin is an animal when it comes to rushing the quarterback. He should have a seamless transition to the NFL while surrounded by the elite members of this team. Irvin will fit right in and only cause more frustration for the fans of the remaining 31 teams.