2011 NFL Mock Draft: Latest First and Second Round Predictions

Wes ODonnell@wesodonnellFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2011

2011 NFL Mock Draft: Latest First and Second Round Predictions

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Cam Newton passes the ball during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The 2011 NFL Scouting Combine is still rolling through Indianapolis, but we have plenty of developments to analyze and take forward with us as the draft draws closer.

    With majority of the workouts in the books, players have started to separate themselves from their peers, and draft boards are starting to become a bit clearer.

    Big names, small names and all shapes and sizes have made an impression on the turf inside Lucas Oil Stadium, and a fair amount of players have really helped themselves.

    The mock drafts will certainly change with the completion of the combine, but that does not mean we cannot take a look at how thing sit as of now.

    Here is a look at the first two rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft as we see it right now.

1. Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27:  Cam Newton passes the ball during a drill at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The nation's best player, Cam Newton, makes his debut at the top of my mock draft for the first time this year. We know all there is to know about Cam; his arm, athleticism, playmaking ability and sheer will to win have made him an extremely difficult prospect to pass up.

    The long and short of the situation lies with the debate on franchise quarterbacks and whether or not you believe in the man you have under center.

    Eight of the last 10 drafts have seen a quarterback taken No. 1 overall, and while the success is not always there (David Carr, Alex Smith, JaMarcus Russell), it is a chance that teams have been willing to take.

    Carolina has a young player in Jimmy Clausen that they took last season in the second round, but we are unsure how they feel about him. If he is not their franchise quarterback, then they cannot pass on one here.

    Newton has plenty of question marks, but he also has incredible upside. With history on our side, there is no ruling out the Panthers taking a quarterback with the first overall pick.

2. Denver Broncos: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Defensive lineman Da'Quan Bowers of Clemson looks on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Bowers is one of the best pass rushers in entire draft, led the nation in sacks in 2010 and can still get a lot better.

    He did not get the opportunity to work out at the combine due to injury, but his tape speaks for itself.

    He measured in at 6'3 3/8", 280 pounds, has a good combination of size/speed/strength and put up 22 reps of 225 pounds in Indianapolis (only workout he did).

    The former Clemson Tiger does a great job of using speed and power off the edge to gain an advantage against his competition and could be a double-digit sack artist in the NFL.

    Denver has not truly invested in a defensive lineman in quite some time, and the new 4-3 defense headed up by new coach John Fox makes Bowers an easy choice; he's the top 4-3 end in this draft and could easily be taken by the Panthers at No. 1 overall.

3. Buffalo Bills: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Defensive lineman Nick Fairley of Auburn looks on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Nick Fairley was the most disruptive player in the nation in 2010. 

    The defensive tackle came into the combine at 6'3 7/8" and 291 pounds.

    He posted a 4.82 40-yard dash time, has great quickness, agility and strength inside and can change the flow of a game on any given play.

    The Bills could very easily be interested in a quarterback with this pick, but I feel that Newton would be their choice if they decided to go with a quarterback.

    Buffalo had the worst rush defense in the league last season and could use more than one impact defensive lineman in this draft.

4. Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Wide receiver A.J. Green of Georgia runs with the ball during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The top wide receiver in the draft comes in at 6'3 5/8", 211 pounds, ran a 4.5 40-yard dash and is simply a playmaker on the outside.

    He runs solid routes for such a young player, can elevate above his competitors and is willing to go over the middle.

    The Bengals may be experiencing a major overhaul offensively this season when we finally get to free agency but Green will be a major addition either way.

    The outside chance Carson Palmer is not the Bengals quarterback for 2010 could make them a dark horse for a quarterback here at No. 4 overall.

5. Arizona Cardinals: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M

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    ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  Jordan Jefferson #9 of the Louisiana State University Tigers throws under pressure from Von Miller #40 of the Texas A&M Aggies during the AT&T Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium on January 7, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by C
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Arguably the best pure pass rusher in the draft, Miller will face a position change in the NFL but has shown the ability to make the transition smoothly.

    He came into the combine at 6'2 5/8", 247 pounds, and ran a 4.53 40-yard dash. Miller has incredible athleticism and explosion and continues to look like a complete prospect worthy of a top-10 selection.

    The Cardinals have needs all over the field and a pass rushing outside linebacker off the edge certainly heads up one of the most important.

    He can come in and do everything necessary to make this a better defense right away.

6. Cleveland Browns: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

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    BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 20:  Patrick Peterson #7 of the Louisiana State University Tigers reacts after their 43-36 win over the Ole Miss Rebels at Tiger Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Peterson is arguably the most physically gifted player in Indianapolis this week.

    The cornerback showed up at the Combine weighing 219 pounds and measuring 6'0" tall.

    Some have argued he may be a better safety prospect rather than corner, but he can excel anywhere you put him on the field. He told reporters in Indy that he ran a sub-4.3 40 as recent as last week.

    The Browns have the luxury of sitting in a BPA scenario (best player available).

    With Cam Newton sneaking into the top five, someone has to fall down and right now that is Peterson; the Browns cannot argue.

    Cleveland is getting better, and the addition of Peterson will only speed things up for their secondary.

7. San Francisco 49ers: Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, UNC

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28:  Defensive lineman Robert Quinn of North Carolina runs through a drill during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The UNC defensive end prospect is a special breed off the edge. He has not played football in a year and showed up at the combine weighing 265 pounds and measuring 6'4" tall. 

    He put up a solid workout (not as gaudy as some people anticipated) but still ran a 4.7 40, put up 22 reps at 225 pounds and jumped 34" in the vertical jump.

    San Francisco is in an interesting situation here, and while new coach Jim Harbaugh maintains the 49ers will give Alex Smith a shot as the quarterback, we cannot rule out Blaine Gabbert or Jake Locker here.

    Quinn gives the 49ers good value here, though, and can be an impact player for years off the edge.

8. Tennessee Titans: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 25:  Missouri Tigers quarterback Blaine Gabbert answers questions during a media session at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 25, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The Missouri quarterback did not throw in Indianapolis but still made an impressive showing with his above-average athleticism (4.62 40) and very much looks the part of a franchise quarterback.

    I am not completely sold on him being special, but he can certainly be a good player in the NFL if he continues to develop as a quarterback transitioning from a spread offense to a pro-style offense.

    The Titans have no quarterback to speak of at this point, and while there are other needs they may go after, they certainly will not win a lot of football games without a quarterback.

    They could wait for the second round, but that will be an interesting game of chicken to see who else jumps at a quarterback in the first round.

9. Dallas Cowboys: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 02:  Marcell Dareus #57 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Florida Gators at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 2, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Marcell Dareus put on a big show at the combine in Indianapolis and gave teams something to think about heading into the month of March.

    The big man has fantastic agility and top-end speed for his size, can make plays in the backfield or stretch them to the sideline and has versatility enough to play inside or outside.

    Dallas is always a candidate to make a move up or down the board, and in this scenario, they will get really lucky if they stay put.

    Dareus has experience in the 3-4 that the Cowboys run and would be an immediate impact-type player for them.

10. Washington Redskins: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after a long reception against the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Julio Jones really impressed people at the combine. His scouting report has always read, "big, strong playmaker", but he has now put numbers to it and looked awfully impressive doing so.

    The junior receiver showed better than anticipated 40 speed at 4.39, broad jumped his way to another state with an 11'3" leap and also launched himself 38.5" in the air.

    He did not overtake A.J. Green, but he certainly closed the gap a bit in my book and made himself some money.

    The Redskins will be still be looking for a quarterback, but coach Mike Shanahan could choose to wait if Newton and Gabbert are already off the board, and in this scenario, they're already gone.

    Jones could be the new weapon for whoever lines up under center. 

11. Houston Texans: Cameron Jordan, DE, California

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    MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 29:Defensive lineman Cameron Jordan #97 of the North Team during  the Under Armour Senior Bowl on January 29, 2011 at Ladd-Pebbles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images for Under Armour)
    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    Cameron Jordan has been really impressive since the season ended.

    He still needs work on things as a pass rusher, but he has demonstrated the ability to be unblockable at times, and he put on a very good show in Indianapolis.

    Jordan is a big, long athletic defense end prospect who can help a team against the run and the pass.

    The Texans had the worst secondary in football, but part of the problem was the lack of any semblance of a pass rush from someone other than Mario Williams; Jordan can help him there.

12. Minnesota Vikings: Jake Locker, QB, Washington

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27:  Quarterback Jake Locker of Washington runs a passing drill during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    I am still extremely impressed with Jake Locker and his potential in the NFL. As NFL Network's Mike Mayock said, "this is still the same kid people liked to go No. 1 overall last year."

    Locker has elite athleticism for the position, has the the arm strength necessary to make all the throws and has incredible leadership qualities.

    His accuracy issues are obviously a cause for concern, but the Vikings simply cannot go into next season with only Tarvaris Jackson and Joe Webb as their potential starters.

    The senior quarterback is a playmaker that could really be a tremendous player in the NFL with the right coaching.

13. Detroit Lions: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

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    LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 26: Prince Amukamara #21 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers misses a chance at an interception from Scotty McKnight #21 of the Colorado Buffaloes during the second half of their game at Memorial Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Lincoln, Neb
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Prince Amukamara is easily a top-10 talent, but the board did not play out favorably for him here.

    He has a ton of experience against top-level talent out of the Big 12, is a willing supporter in the run game and has the ability to become a shutdown corner in the NFL.

    Detroit was desperately hoping for him to fall down the board, and in this scenario, they get very lucky.

    Amukamara can step in from day one and be a player in this secondary with former college teammate Ndamukong Suh wreaking havoc up front.

14. St. Louis Rams: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA

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    PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Linebacker Akeem Ayers #10 of the UCLA Bruins in the game with the Houston Cougars at the Rose Bowl on September 18, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  UCLA won 31-13.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Akeem Ayers did not put up the numbers we expected to see from him in Indianapolis, but he has a lot of solid tape behind him and seems to be a better football player than he is track star.

    The UCLA Bruin showed the ability to make plays in every phase of the game and has good instincts for the position.

    He fits nicely with coach Steve Spagnuolo, as he likes to move his linebackers and have them do a variety of things, including rushing the passer and dropping into coverage.

    The Rams get banged up bad by waiting for a receiver at this spot, but reaching for another player is mistake at this spot, and they should be able to find good value in the second round.

15. Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Running back Mark Ingram of Alabama looks on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Mark Ingram is the top running back in this draft and the only one worthy of a first-round selection.

    His drive, balance, vision and patience as a running back are fantastic, and he is a willing competitor as a receiver and pass protector.

    Miami will likely be sporting an entirely new backfield, and if they truly are committed to Chad Henne at quarterback, then there is no other option if Ingram is on the board here.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Purdue

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    WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - SEPTEMBER 20:  Quarterback Dan LeFevour #13 of the Central Michigan Chippewas is tackled by Ryan Kerrigan #94 of the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium on September 20, 2008 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The undersized defensive end prospect is a relentless competitor that showcased better than anticipated athleticism at the combine.

    He ran a 4.71 40-yard dash, broad jumped 10'2" and put up 31 reps on the bench press. Kerrigan has great explosion and strength for a player his size.

    The Jaguars need help getting after the passer, and this is the type of player that Jack Del Rio could use instantly.

    Kerrigan has shown no indication of being a disappointment and would be a solid addition to any team beyond the 15th pick.

17. New England Patriots (via Oak): J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

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    PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Defensive lineman J.J. Watt #99 of the Wisconsin Badgers defends a pass by quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the TCU Horned Frogs during the 97th Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2011 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansez
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    The Wisconsin Badger put up a very nice performance in Indianapolis, and for a man his size, he showed tremendous athleticism.

    On tape, we see a non-stop motor on a player that uses his ability to play both inside and outside with exceptional disruptive skill.

    The Patriots acquired this pick in exchange for Richard Seymour and now get a guy who may be playing that very position.

    This one of two first-round selections for them, and he is a great fit here.

18. San Diego Chargers: Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri

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    COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 23: Aldon Smith #85 of the Missouri Tigers in action against the Oklahoma Sooners at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Columbia, Missouri.  The Tigers beat the Sooners 36-27.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Image
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Aldon Smith is a long, athletic pass rusher with a lot of raw ability and upside. He will have to learn how to be successful as a 3-4 edge linebacker, but his considerable amount of potential along with a slight frame with room to grow are all good signs.

    The Chargers and Smith fit together nicely, especially at this spot in the draft, and would make each other very happy.

    Smith will get the opportunity to be a situational pass rusher early, and the Chargers add another weapon to their defense that has some potential free agents skipping town.

19. New York Giants: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - OCTOBER 03:  Anthony Castonzo #74 of the Boston College Eagles congratulates teammate Montel Harris #2 after Harris scored a touchdown in the first quarter against the Florida State Seminoles on October 3, 2009 at Alumni Stadium in Che
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Anthony Castonzo is a special player and looked very fluid during the offensive lineman portion of the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

    He is an extremely polished player, does a great job of getting in position, understands the game and how/what he needs to do to get better and succeed.

    Coach Tom Coughlin and the Giants are no strangers to Boston College big men, and Castonzo has the ability to play multiple positions in a good unit that has been decimated by injuries as of late.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa

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    TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Defensive end Adrian Clayborn #94 of the Iowa Hawkeyes in action during the Insight Bowl against the Missouri Tigers at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona. The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers 27-24.  (Photo by
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The relentless Iowa Hawkeye was rated much higher in the beginning of the season but still has too much talent to stay on the board for a long period of time.

    He looked solid in Indianapolis and had a very good 20-yard shuttle, and his nasty streak on film is enough to get any team interested.

    The Bucs are a quickly improving team that needs to continue making the right decisions on draft day. They have a lot of offensive weapons (could use one or two more) but also need to get after the opposing quarterback more if they want their secondary to survive; Clayborn does just that.

21. Kansas City Chiefs: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia

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    ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 27:  Justin Houston #42 of the Georgia Bulldogs sacks quarterback Tevin Washington #13 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Sanford Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    A college defensive end that got some time this season standing up is still tapping into his overall potential.

    Houston was a very disruptive force throughout the SEC this season and is a natural pass rusher off the edge.

    The Chiefs are a solid team that will be hard-pressed to repeat as the AFC West champs next season if they do not keep moving forward. 

    Houston has the ability to be a solid contributor opposite Tamba Hali in the KC 3-4 defense and could be a double-digit sack player.

22. Indianapolis Colts: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

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    BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 04:  Brian Orakpo #98 of the Texas Longhorns rushes against Nate Solder #78 the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on October 4, 2008 in Boulder, Colorado. Texas defeated Colorado 38-14.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Nate Solder came into the combine expecting to be a very athletic force, and he did not disappoint.

    He looked very fluid in his movements for a man his size and showed every team that he can be an elite left tackle. Still, there are some concerns to his game, and I do not think he is a finished product or sure thing at this point.

    The Colts could always use more help keeping the face of their franchise standing, and Solder has the potential to be a very, very good left tackle in time.

    It may not happen right away, but he could be the best of this class.

23. Philadelphia Eagles: Tyron Smith, OT, USC

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 26:   Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans throws a pass as Tyron Smith #70 blocks Jesse Feagin #98 of  the Washington State Cougars during the second quarter of the college football game at the Los Angeles Memorial C
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    The USC Trojan was also supposed to be a good-looking prospect in Indy, and he also did not disappoint. 

    He is certainly an extremely talented player with a ton of upside, and he added good weight to a frame that had a few question marks in terms of his overall size.

    The Eagles love to build up their lines early in the draft, and Smith has as much potential as Solder in my mind.

    He spent his career at USC on the right but could move over to the left with some coaching.

24. New Orleans Saints: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois

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    The underclassman went to the combine looking to prove that he was truly "legit", and he put up a solid all-around performance.

    Liuget is part of a defensive tackle class that demonstrated a tremendous amount of speed and athleticism, and his showing backed up some of what we saw from him throughout the season.

    The Saints want help getting after the quarterback, and while Liuget is not a defensive end, he could line up alongside Sedrick Ellis and help collapse the pocket quickly from the inside.

25. Seattle Seahawks: Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida

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    GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 17: Quarterback Tim Tebow #15  and lineman Mike Pouncey #55 of the Florida Gators celebrate a win against the University of Arkansas Razorbacks October 17, 2009 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al M
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    A solid all-around interior lineman with very little likelihood of disappointing, Pouncey is ready to come in from day one and be a player.

    The Florida Gator is not his brother (All-Pro rookie center for the Steelers Maurkice Pouncey), but he can certainly play some football of his own. He is very instinctive and can play any position on the interior.

    Seattle has a long way to go if they think they are going to repeat as champs of a very weak division, but fortifying the interior is definitely a good start.

26. Baltimore Ravens: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

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    COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 13:  Cameron Heyward #97 of the Ohio State Buckeyes chases after quarterback Matt McGloin #11 of the Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    The Ohio State Buckeye flashed the ability to take over games at times during his career and has a lot to love about him. He plays with a nasty streak, can play multiple positions along the defensive front and has direct NFL bloodlines.

    Baltimore is one of the best drafting franchises in the league, and they often do a good job of taking high-value players in good spots.

    Heyward would be a solid get for them at this stage in the first round and could be a player along the Ravens defensive front.

27. Atlanta Falcons: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

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    BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 07:  Wide receiver Jeff Fuller #8 of the Texas A&M Aggies makes a reception against the defense of Jimmy Smith #3 of the Colorado Buffaloes during NCAA college football action at Folsom Field on November 7, 2009 in Boulder, Colorado
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Jimmy Smith is a very physical, rising cornerback prospect that has some riding him all the way up to the mid-first round. He has good overall athleticism, very good size/speed ratio and can play the football in addition to making tackles.

    Cornerbacks are a highly debated position in this year's draft, but Smith is easily amongst the top five.

    Atlanta was a good team last season but could stand to upgrade more than a few positions. They have free-agent concerns in their secondary with the possible departure of Brent Grimes, and either way, Smith would be a solid get at this stage in the draft.

28. New England Patriots: Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor

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    The Baylor offensive lineman is one of the more intriguing prospects in the class and has catapulted up boards since the Senior Bowl.

    Watkins will be a 27-year-old rookie but only has a few years of football on his body, is continuing to learn the game and possesses good natural ability overall.

    New England is obviously a candidate to bounce around the board, but there is certainly a need for some talent up front in the early portion of this draft, wherever they end up making a selection.

29. Chicago Bears: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

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    IOWA CITY, IA - OCTOBER 23: Offensive lineman Gabe Carimi #68 for the Wisconsin Badger holds the Heartland Trophy with his teammates as they celebrate their victory of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Iowa City, Io
    David Purdy/Getty Images

    Carimi put on a nice showing at combine and actually surprised some people with his athletic ability.

    He is a very polished player with a ton of experience, good versatility and nasty streak necessary to succeed as a NFL lineman.

    The Bears are in need of help on the front line if they want their franchise quarterback to survive another season, and Carimi brings that aboard.

    He has the ability to play almost any position on the line and would a great value for the Bears at this pick.

30. New York Jets: Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor

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    COLUMBIA, MO - NOVEMBER 07:  Defensive tackle Phil Taylor #11 of the Baylor Bears watches from the bench during the game against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Get
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Phil Taylor is the top-rated nose tackle prospect in this draft and has the potential to be a very solid all-around player.

    He has good feet for a man his size, carries his weight well and can clog up lanes for the linebackers behind him.

    The Jets would have loved to get a shot at pass-rushing outside linebacker here, but unfortunately, the board did not play out that way.

    Taylor gives New York some insurance for whatever happens with Kris Jenkins in the future.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami

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    DURHAM, NC - OCTOBER 18:  Receiver Eron Riley #15 of the Duke Blue Devils pulls in this reception against Brandon Harris #1 of the Miami Hurricanes during the game at Wallace Wade Stadium on October 18, 2008 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C.
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Harris is a gifted all-around cornerback prospect with great instincts, good ball skills, top-end speed and tackling ability.

    He comes from a program known for playmaking defensive backs, can stick with receivers short and long, and knows football.

    The Steelers would have liked to grab an offensive lineman here, but I was not crazy with the value at this pick and the available players.

    Pittsburgh needs some help in the secondary regardless, and Harris is one of the top five corners in the draft.

32. Green Bay Packers: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 15:  J.C. Brignone #70 and Derek Sherrod #79of the Mississippi State Bulldogs get ready on the line of scrimmage during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 15, 2008 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Sherrod is an impressive offensive line prospect that can do everything you ask of him. He is not the best athlete of the class and does not excel in one particular area, but he can do everything well.

    He looked good in Indianapolis, competed in everything and is a dependable player.

    The Packers are in a good position here with not a lot of holes but could benefit from some younger talent on an offensive line that will get old sooner than later.

    (This concludes the first round.)


33. New England Patriots (via Carolina): Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

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    MIAMI - NOVEMBER 20: Leonard Hankerson #85 of the Miami Hurricanes catches a touchdown over Davon Morgan #2 of the Virginia Tech Hokies at Sun Life Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    New England has the fortunate position of having three picks in the top 33 and get a big playmaker here at wide receiver.

    Hankerson had some question marks surrounding his deep speed and he answered nicely, posting a 4.43 40 in Indy.

    He made himself some money this "draft season" and might the answer the Patriots need for a playmaking receiver that can get downfield.

34. Buffalo Bills: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame

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    SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 03: Kyle Rudolph #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs onto the field with teammates before a game against the Washington Huskies on October 3, 2009 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Washington 3
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Bills seem ready to move on from the short-lived Shawn Nelson era at tight end and get the luxury of a first-round talent early in the second round.

    Rudolph is a huge, 6'6", pass-catching target with good athletic ability and a willingness to get better as a blocker as well.

    He is coming off an injury this season but could be a steal for the Bills at this spot.

35. Cincinnati Bengals: Allen Bailey, DE, Miami

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    FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - OCTOBER 03: Quarterback Landry Jones #12 of the Oklahoma Sooners is sacked by defensive lineman Allen Bailey #57 of the Miami Hurricanes knocked down a pass attempt at Land Shark Stadium on October 3, 2009 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    The Bengals nabbed themselves a fantastic receiver in the first round and now they can turn their sights to the defensive side of the ball.

    Bailey is a very raw, but physically gifted defensive end prospect that could be a big-time player if he takes his time. 

    His size/speed/strength will make him a tough player to block.

36. Denver Broncos: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas

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    DALLAS - OCTOBER 02:  Cornerback Aaron Williams #4 of the Texas Longhorns drops a pass intended for Ryan Broyles #85 of the Oklahoma Sooners in the second quarter at the Cotton Bowl on October 2, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Ima
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Broncos re-signed Champ Bailey but could still use some insurance on the back end.

    Williams is a potential first-round corner in some people's minds and he is a brilliant special teams players.

    He will get the opportunity to learn from one of the best and still make a contribution; Denver also has another pick this round.

37. Cleveland Browns: Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple

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    The Browns get a steal at No. 6 with Patrick Peterson and now pick up one of the more intriguing small-school prospects on the board.

    Wilkerson dominated the opposition at Temple, can play inside or outside and showed great athleticism and burst for a guy who is 6'4", 315 pounds.

    Cleveland can use him in a number of ways and he is another great value here early in the second round.

38. Arizona Cardinals: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Quarterback Ryan Mallett #15 of the Arkansas Razorbacks looks to pass against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Matthew
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    This pick bothers me but Ryan Mallett is too talented to last much longer and it would not shock me to see him wind up in the first round somewhere.

    Arizona will now have a logjam of young quarterbacks with Mallett, John Skelton and Max Hall, but I still like Mallett the best of all of them.

    The Cardinals tried both young guys last season and it did not seem to work out; Mallett has a lot of things to work on but he has an arm that you cannot coach.

39. Tennessee Titans: Rodney Hudson, OG/C, Florida State

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    TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 27: Rodney Hudson #62 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates a touchdown during a game against the Florida Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The Titans went ahead and got their quarterback early in the first round and now it is time to give him some help.

    Rodney Hudson looked great in Indianapolis in my eyes, moved extremely well and drew rave reviews more than once from the NFL Network telecast; he's also a really smart, high-character guy.

    He can play guard or tackle and will help keep Gabbert standing up and can help get Chris Johnson get back on track in 2011.

40. Dallas Cowboys: Rahim Moore, S, UCLA

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    KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 12: Rahim Moore #3 and Alterraun Verner #1 of the UCLA Bruins celebrate at the end of the game against the Tennessee Volunteers on September 12, 2009 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Bruins beat the Volunteers 19-1
    Joe Murphy/Getty Images

    If this scenario actually plays out I think the Cowboys would end up with the best combination of first- and second-round picks.

    Rahim Moore is the only safety in the class with the potential to crack the first round, is a natural playmaker at centerfield that works at his craft, and has gotten better every year at UCLA.

    The Cowboys desperately need a playmaker at the safety position and it has been far too long since they have had one.

    Moore and Dareus is a heck of snag in the early part of the draft.

41. Washington Redskins: Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Quarterback Christian Ponder of Florida State looks on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Jumping on the Christian Ponder bandwagon seems to be a popular trend as of late but there is no denying the kid's talent.

    He puts very nice touch on the ball, can make all the throws, has some athleticism and, most importantly, has experience in an offense not called the spread.

    Ponder still has his question marks but has done a tremendous job resurrecting his stock since the season ended.

    I am not sure he'll be ready for coach Shanahan right away but he is definitely a coachable kid that could be a player.

42. Houston Texans: Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 01:  Danny Amendola #20 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders is tackled by  Ras-I Dowling #19 of the Virginia Cavaliers during the Gator Bowl at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on January 1, 2008 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    The worst secondary in football cannot be ignored completely, and after adding a pass rusher early they can get to work on upgrading those positions.

    Ras-I Dowling is a tremendous talent who battled injuries throughout the 2010 season at Virginia.

    He was rated much higher going into the season and his combination of size and speed will catch the eyes of a lot of teams.

43. Minnesota Vikings: Quinton Carter, S, Oklahoma

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    DALLAS - OCTOBER 17:  Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin #84 of the Texas Longhorns runs for a touchdown against Quinton Carter #20 of the Oklahoma Sooners at Cotton Bowl on October 17, 2009 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    This is a bit early for Quinton Carter in my opinion but with no certainty of free agency teams will have to chase down needs more we have seen in recent years.

    The Vikings nabbed their quarterback of the future in the first round, there is not much talent at the defensive end position, and if they let any safeties slip away there is a chance they could miss out altogether.

    Carter fills a position of need for a team that could lose both its starters in free agency.

44. Detroit Lions: Ben Ijalana, OT, Villanova

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    The Lions have themselves a fantastic draft going in this scenario and Ijalana is a prospect that could wind up in the latter portion of Round 1.

    He was a very talented player at Villanova, is athletic enough to play multiple positions, and does a good job of moving defenders.

    The Lions could use him in a number of ways early to find out where he fits best, and he has the talent to be a starter for a long time.

45. San Francisco 49ers: Brandon Burton, CB, Utah

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    SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 20:  Wide receiver Dominique Sandifer #18 of the San Diego State Aztecs carries the ball against cornerback Brandon Burton #27 of the Utah Utes at Qualcomm Stadium on November 20, 2010 in San Diego, California.  Utah won 38-34.  (Phot
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    A little bit a reach here, but like Minnesota, the 49ers need themselves a cornerback badly and their other positions of need do not stand out nearly as much.

    Burton is a solid corner that can play the deep ball as well as get in your face on the line of scrimmage and disrupt plays.

    He is a willing tackler, has seen action against some top receivers and could be a name to watch in the future.

46. Denver Broncos (from Mia): Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State

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    EUGENE, OR - DECEMBER 03:  Running back LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks rushes with the ball past tackle Stephen Paea #54 of the Oregon State Beavers at Autzen Stadium on December 3, 2009 in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
    Tom Hauck/Getty Images

    This is Denver's second pick of the round and, like all their other selections, they will focus on bolstering coach Fox's new defense.

    Stephen Paea set the bench press record at the combine with 49 reps and would likely be a lot higher if not for the injury he suffered at the Senior Bowl.

    He's a short, stout run-stuffing defender with incredible strength—exactly the type of player the Broncos need.

47. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh

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    PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 05:  Jonathan Baldwin #82 of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers catches a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats on December 5, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Ge
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    The Rams were unlucky in the first round with a few receivers getting chosen before their turn, but patience could help them here.

    Jon Baldwin is a fantastic physical specimen that simply lacks the production you would like to see.

    He has big-play ability and can make plays on the ball downfield and in traffic, but he still needs to learn how to separate if he wants to succeed.

    Still, he's a big target and a good value for the Rams and Sam Bradford here.

48. Oakland Raiders: Stefen Wisniewski, C, Penn State

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    TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 1:  Guard Stefan Wisniewski #61 of the Penn State Nittany Lions blocks against the Florida Gators January 1, 2010 in the 25th Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    The Raiders are looking for some interior line help and Wisniewski gives them fantastic value at this spot.

    He's a tough-nosed, hard-working player that may be limited athletically but makes up for it with instincts, hustle and a competitive nature.

    He is the first true center off the board (Pouncey and Hudson could move to guard) and fits a need for Oakland.

49. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ahmad Black, S, Florida

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 30:  Ahmad Black #35 of the Florida Gators breaks up a pass to Kris Durham #16 of the Georgia Bulldogsduring the game at EverBank Field on October 30, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    The Jaguars crumpled down the stretch last season and needed some help in the back seven for much of that time.

    Ahmad Black is an intriguing prospect with physical limitations at 5'9", but his hustle and big-play ability seem to pop on tape.

    He takes chances and will need to be more disciplined in the NFL but will work his way onto the field and be a player.

50. San Diego Chargers: Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

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    San Diego could lose more than one playmaker this offseason and finding a young replacement has to be on the top of the list for a quarterback that throws the football as much as Philip Rivers.

    Torrey Smith is an interesting receiver who looks great going straight down the field but needs to time to develop as an all-around receiver.

    That said, he's very talented and could become a special player with the right quarterback and opportunity.

51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 04:  Ryan Williams #34 of the Virginia Tech Hokies against the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Tampa Bay seems to have found their big gun in the backfield and could now use a little dash to big LeGarrette Blount's punch.

    Ryan Williams is a patient, tough and instinctive runner than can also take the rock in between the tackles.

    I like the pair of them together because he's not a complete scat back at all and teams will be forced to stay honest with each of them in the game, much like Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs on the Giants.

    Williams has the potential to go higher than this.

52. New York Giants: Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 13:  Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Virginia Tech Hokies is tackled by Bruce Carter #54 and teammate Jared McAdoo #97 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Kenan Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Speaking of the Giants, they always seem to have linebacker problems no matter how many times they add players in the later rounds.

    Bruce Carter is a tremendous competitor has exceptional special teams skills (big bonus for NYG), can play the run and the pass and has great intangibles.

    He will a bring a lot of good things to a linebacking unit that has very few good things.

53. Indianapolis Colts: Christian Ballard, DT, Iowa

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    STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Broderick Binns #91 of the Iowa Hawkeye's celebrates a second quarter safty with Christian Ballard #46 in front of Dennis Landolt #73 of the Penn State Nittnay Lions on September 26, 2009 at Beaver Stadium in State Colle
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The Colts went after their offensive line in the first round and they could still use some help stuffing the opposing run as well.

    Christian Ballard is a great athlete for his size and moves really well.

    He will able to line up on the inside for the Colts and give them a presence against the run and the pass.

54. Philadelphia Eagles: Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville

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    LOUISVILLE, KY - OCTOBER 18:  Head Coach Steve Kragthorpe of the Louisville Cardinals discusses play with Johnny Patrick #19 during the game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on October 18, 2008 in Louisville, Kentu
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The Eagles would have liked a cornerback earlier but came away with one of the more talented offensive tackles.

    Johnny Patrick is a physical presence who can also get downfield with receivers.

    Philadelphia needs some help opposite Asante Samuel, and even if they make a run Nnamdi Asomugha they could still use more talented depth.

55. Kansas City Chiefs: Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton

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    Kenrick Ellis was going to be a player at South Carolina before getting dismissed. He wound up at Hampton and still played tough football and kept his name on the radar.

    Ellis is big (346 pounds) but can move well and make plays in the backfield.

    The Chiefs are looking for some interior defensive line help and this guy can provide it.

56. New Orleans Saints: Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois

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    CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 20: Mikel Leshoure #5 of the Illinois Fighting Illini runs as Brian Peters #10 of the Northwestern Wildcats closes in during a game played at Wrigley Field on November 20, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Illinois defeated Northwestern 48-27.
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    This is a bit later than some would think for Leshoure but the fact is there are not too many teams looking for running backs.

    He did not put up a great 40 time at the combine but it certainly was not bad, either (4.59).

    Leshoure proved he can handle the rock this season and the Saints seem to run into injury problems at this position more than any other team.

    He's got the ability to make an impact early, provides a good value here and could be the inside runner the Saints need.

57. Seattle Seahawks: Jurrell Casey, DT, USC

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    BERKELEY, CA - OCTOBER 3: Everson Griffen #93 of the USC Trojans celebratres with teammate Jurrell Casey #91 after a sack against the California Golden Bears at Memorial Stadium on October 3, 2009 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Im
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Seattle needed help on the interior of both their lines and with the selection of one coach Pete Carroll's old players they get just that.

    Jurrell Casey moved really well during drills at the combine in my eyes and despite the big midsection has the ability to make some disruptive plays.

    Who better to get the most of the young man than the coach who had him in college?

58. Baltimore Ravens: Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky

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    LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 13:  Randall Cobb #18 of the Kentucky Wildcats runs with the ball during the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Commonwealth Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 38-20.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Get
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Randall Cobb did everything at Kentucky and his value at this stage in the draft could intrigue the Ravens.

    He may not be a complete burner, but he can score from anywhere on the field, runs disciplined routes and is willing to make the tough catch.

    Baltimore needs more weapons on the outside for Joe Flacco and he grades out the highest of the receivers for me at this spot.

59. Atlanta Falcons: Martez Wilson, OLB, Illinois

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    COLUMBUS - NOVEMBER 10: Martez Wilson #2 of the Illinois Fighting Illini walks on the field during the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium November 10, 2007 in Columbus, Ohio.  Illinois defeated Ohio State 28-21.  (Photo by David Maxwell/
    David Maxwell/Getty Images

    If you haven't heard, Martez Wilson just blew up the combine in Indianapolis (he was a second- to third-round prospect prior, anyway).

    The Fighting Illini linebacker is 6'3 5/8", 250 pounds, ran a 4.49 40 and broad jumped 10'4".

    He has the athletic ability to play any linebacker position, and if Sean Weatherspoon can stay healthy the two of them could be a force in Atlanta.

60. New England Patriots: Taiwan Jones, RB, Eastern Washington

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    This one may be a bit of a reach but Taiwan Jones is a football player that could burst onto boards once he gets a chance to work out.

    He is a former defensive back with a ton explosion and playmaking ability. Jones is 6', 200 pounds, can return kicks and will be a player in the NFL.

    The Patriots are the type of team that can get the most of these kids, and with the running backs available, I think he could be a solid sleeper pick here even in the second round.

61. San Diego Chargers (via NYJ): Drake Nevis, DT, LSU

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    BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 06:  Drake Nevis #92 of the Louisiana State University Tigers in action during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide  at Tiger Stadium on November 6, 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    This the Chargers' third pick in the draft, second in the round, and one of the nation's most disruptive forces is still on the board.

    Drake Nevis is short, but not short on ability, and can make a ton of plays in opposing backfields with quickness and tenacity.

    The Chargers are in need of a playmaker of his caliber and he brings great value at this pick.

62. Chicago Bears: Marvin Austin, DT, UNC

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Former North Carolina teammates Marvin Austin (L) and Bruce Carter look on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Marvin Austin did not play football this season and there are hefty concerns about his maturity and character.

    That said, he is a fantastic athlete, has incredible quickness and explosion of the ball and posted a 4.9 40 at 309 pounds.

    Austin is a football player and a veteran-laden defense like the Bears should be able to help him grow up the right way while excelling on the football field.

63. Pittsburgh Steelers: DeMarcus Love, OT, Arkansas

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    The Steelers had to wait to get their hands on an offensive lineman but they end up with a battle-tested SEC veteran from Arkansas.

    He is 6'4 3/8", 315 pounds, can play can play tackle or guard and could be the type of player that excels with the right coaching.

    Pittsburgh needs help all over the line and he grades out the highest at this point.

64. Green Bay Packers: Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State

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    STILLWATER, OK - SEPTEMBER 5:  Running back Kendall Hunter #24 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys rushes for a nine yards during the third quarter of the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Boone Pickens Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    End of the second and the Packers make a pick that I really like.

    They found themselves a running back in James Starks but he is 6'2", 215 pounds, alongside their injured starter Ryan Grant, who is 6'1", 221-pounds.

    Kendall Hunter is 5'7", 199 pounds, and was extremely productive in college. He can carry the rock a few times but, more importantly, can make plays out of the backfield; he is the type of change-of-pace back that the Packers could use.