2011 NFL 2-Round Mock Draft: All You Need to Know, Take 2
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After bringing you the first mock, back in January, I'm back to take another shot. Now that the combine dust has settled and scouts have a better idea of what each player brings to the table, the draft is starting to slowly round into shape.
1.) Carolina Panthers- Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
In the BCS Title game, Fairley showed just why most scouts consider him a top-three pick, constantly getting into Oregon’s backfield to disrupt plays. The Panthers have a lot of needs and as such, could go several ways with this pick (don’t rule out a trade, either). Their current DTs are nothing to write home about, and Fairley represents a significant upgrade. (Other Possibilities : Da’Quan Bowers, AJ Green, Patrick Peterson)
2.) Denver Broncos- Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson (previous mock: Patrick Peterson)
In my first mock, I had Peterson going to Denver. However, since then, the Broncos have re-signed Champ Bailey, no longer making cornerback such a pressing need. With that in mind, Bowers is the pick here.
A rare blend of speed and size, Bowers will provide an enormous boost to an often dormant Denver pass rush. Couple Bowers with the return of Elvis Dumervil and suddenly Denver’s ability to get to the opposing QB becomes significantly more formidable. (Other Possibilities: Patrick Peterson, Prince Amukamara, Marcell Dareus)
3.) Buffalo Bills- Marcel Dareus, DE/DT, Alabama (previous mock: Da’Quan Bowers)
The Bills will be crossing their fingers that one of the top two defensive line prospects falls into their lap. In this scenario, they aren’t so fortunate. While the Bills sorely need a pass rusher, they could also use help stuffing the run.
The player left on the board who can most competently fit both those needs is Dareus. He’s well suited to the 3-4 and Dareus would begin the necessary revamping of the Buffalo line. (Other Possibilities: Blaine Gabbert, Patrick Peterson, Cam Newton)
4.) Cincinnati Bengals- AJ Green, WR, Georgia
The Bengals could go one of several ways with this pick, but if Green is still on the board when they pick, it’ll be tough to pass him up. With Cincinnati parting ways with both Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco this offseason, Green will represent a new age in the Cincinnati passing game.
It’s arguable that Green is the safest pick in this draft, and any time you have a chance to jump at grabbing perhaps the next Larry Fitzgerald, you don’t pass it up. (Other Possibilities: Prince Amukamara, Patrick Peterson, Robert Quinn)
5.) Arizona Cardinals- Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri (previous mock: Robert Quinn)
Arizona could use help in several different areas, and while they’d haggle long and hard over taking Peterson, the franchise’s No. 1 goal has to be to placate Larry Fitzgerald. While Gabbert was very inconsistent in college and still has his doubters, he has all the physical tools to succeed in the NFL, something that was on display in the combine.
While Gabbert’s impact might not be immediate, it’d signal to Fitzgerald that the team has him in mind and drafting this strong-armed kid could very feasibly be preferable to many of the mediocre veteran QBs that figure to be on the market. (Other Possibilities: Prince Amukamara, Robert Quinn, Patrick Peterson)
6.) Cleveland Browns- Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU (previous mock: Marcel Dareus)
While Cleveland took a corner in last year’s first round, they can’t pass up Peterson’s value at six. Having two lock down corners might seem like a luxury that a mediocre team can’t afford, but Peterson is one of the best CB prospects to come out of the draft in a while.
That, plus the boost he’ll give the return game (interspersed with Josh Cribbs), make this a no-brainer pick for the Browns. (Other Possibilities: Prince Amukamara, Robert Quinn, Von Miller)
7.) San Francisco 49ers- Cam Newton, QB, Auburn (previous mock: Prince Amukamara)
The Niners clearly need a new signal-caller. Whether or not he comes in the draft or through free agency is the question. While San Fran could go one of several ways with this pick, Newton has shown enough that a team desperate for a QB should take a shot on him.
He reminds me most of the late Steve McNair, although he clearly will need some experience and coaching before he can approach McNair’s level. He’s got worlds of potential, and his ability as a double threat makes him a worthwhile gamble for the Niners. (Other Possibilities: Corey Liuget, Prince Amukamara, Robert Quinn)
8.) Tennessee Titans- Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois (previous mock: Cam Newton)
Since Tennessee lost Albert Haynesworth, their run defense has suffered greatly. Picking Liuget would certainly help shore up that area. Liuget is flying up the draft boards after stellar workouts, and although this might be a bit of a reach, he’s an incredibly safe pick for the Titans.
Tennessee is also looking for a QB, but with Newton off the board, no one else fits the bill this early. (Other Possibilities: Robert Quinn, Von Miller, Prince Amukumara)
9.) Dallas Cowboys- Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska (previous mock: Nate Solder)
This scenario plays out perfectly for Dallas, who can certainly use the heir apparent to Terrence Newman. Amukamara is not far behind Peterson as the top corner in this draft and will provide a huge boost to a Dallas secondary that struggled often last season. If Dallas doesn’t end up with one of their top needs, a trade down is certainly a possibility. (Other Possibilities: Nate Solder, Von Miller, Jimmy Smith)
10.) Washington Redskins- Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M (previous mock: Blaine Gabbert)
Having cut Andre Carter, the Redskins need a pass rushing LB, opposite Brian Orakpo. Miller is one of the more talented players in this draft and could very easily go top 10, but Mike Shanahan and Co. would be thrilled to see him here at this spot.
Miller is best suited to rush the QB out of a 3-4 scheme, which the Redskins employ. With Miller and Orakpo coming off the edges, that should take some pressure off of the often maligned Redskins secondary. (Other Possibilities: Jake Locker, Julio Jones, Robert Quinn)
11.) Houston Texans- Robert Quinn, DE/OLB , North Carolina (previous mock: Von Miller)
With the Texans switching to a 3-4 under new DC Wade Phillips, they’re going to need a pass-rush presence off the end to complement Mario Williams. Even though Quinn was kicked off UNC’s team after his junior season for accepting jewelry, he is an athletic freak who had a tremendous combine showing.
Houston would love to improve their secondary, but there’s no one available who’s worth taking with this pick. It’s possible Quinn doesn’t even make it here, but if he does, Houston would be silly not to jump at him. (Other Possibilities: Ryan Kerrigan, Jimmy Smith, Aldon Smith)
12.) Minnesota Vikings- Jake Locker, QB, Washington (previous mock: Stephen Paea)
For a team only one year removed from a NFC title game appearance, the Vikings sure have a lot of holes to fill. They could use help at QB, OL, CB and LB (with Ben Leber and Chad Greenway both FAs). In this case, they roll the dice on Locker, who up until this season, was being mentioned as a top pick.
While Locker’s senior season was uninspiring, he’s still got all the tools that made NFL scouts fawn over him just a season ago. Tarvaris Jackson isn’t the answer in Minnesota and Locker should be helped greatly by the presence of Adrian Peterson, although this might be a bit high for him. A trade down is also a possibility. (Other Possibilities: Ryan Kerrigan, Mike Pouncey, Jimmy Smith)
13.) Detroit Lions- Nate Solder, T, Colorado (previous mock: Tyron Smith)
Detroit could serve to upgrade their defense, however, their offensive tackles leave a lot to be desired. With franchise QB Matthew Stafford seemingly one drive into the turf from his arm disconnecting from his shoulder, it’d behoove Detroit to surround him with as much protection as possible.
Solder is the consensus top tackle in the draft and at 6’9”, is a massive task for defensive ends to handle. Although he’s got some leverage issues, Detroit would do well to take him here. (Other Possibilities: Akeem Ayers, Tyron Smith, Anthony Castonzo)
14.) St. Louis Rams- Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
The Rams surprised quite a few people this year, vaulting from the worst record in football to having a chance at winning the division on the last day of the season. Franchise QB Sam Bradford had quite the year, even after losing top target Mark Clayton in the season’s early weeks.
Who will be the best player to come out of the 2011 draft?
While Danny Amendola is solid enough, the Rams need a true No. 1 target to help Bradford reach his optimal performance level. Jones isn’t as fast as you’d like your top wideout to be, but he’s not afraid to go across the middle, and he’s always capable of the big play. (Other Possibilities: Mike Pouncey, Akeem Ayers, Cameron Heyward)
15.) Miami Dolphins- Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama (previous mock: Ryan Kerrigan)
The Dolphins let go of Ricky Williams and may let Ronnie Brown walk as a free agent, too. Even if they elect to bring back Brown, they’re still going to need some help in the backfield, which is where Ingram comes in.
The former Heisman Trophy winner would liven a rushing attack that looked very ordinary last season and was previously the lifeblood of the Dolphins offense. (Other Possibilities: Ryan Kerrigan, JJ Watt, Akeem Ayers)
16.) Jacksonville Jaguars- Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
The Jaguars are another team that could look at a QB, but with David Garrard still around, they don’t have the luxury of selecting one with many other holes still to fill.
With the Jags’ 2008 first-round pick Derrick Harvey looking like a bust, the Jaguars might want to try again on another young, athletic pass-rusher. Smith is coming off a 2010 season hampered by a broken leg but is a fast-rising prospect.
With no shutdown corners available here, Jacksonville could certainly use a reinvigorated pass rush to help their beleaguered secondary. (Other Possibilities: Akeem Ayers, Cameron Heyward, JJ Watt)
17.) New England Patriots- JJ Watt, DE, Wisconsin (previous mock: Adrian Clayborn)
Watt is a guy who is shooting up draft boards thanks to his non-stop motor. While starring at Wisconsin, Watt proved he was more than capable of both stuffing the run and rushing the passer. His energy can be infectious and he’d be a welcome addition in Foxboro, where the Pats are desperate for an end to plug in next to Vince Wilfork. (Other Possibilities: Adrian Clayborn, Cameron Heyward, Mike Pouncey)
18.) San Diego Chargers- Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
The Chargers could go a few different ways here, but they badly need a replacement at DE for Jacques Cesaire. After an up and down season, Heyward displayed why scouts were so high on him with a terrific game in the Sugar Bowl. He’s got the size to play end in a 3-4 and would represent a significant upgrade to the defensive front. (Other Possibilities: Gabe Carimi, Adrian Clayborn, Cameron Jordan)
19.) New York Giants- Mike Pouncey, C/G, Florida (previous mock: Akeem Ayers)
After years of consistency at the center position, the Giants will likely part ways with Shaun O’Hara this offseason. Pouncey is the best interior lineman in the draft and much like his pro-bowler brother Maurkice, should make an immediate impact wherever he ends up.
Even if Rich Seubert is healthy enough to start at center next season, Pouncey will be the heir apparent, providing the line with much needed flexibility, as well (Other Possibilities: Akeem Ayers, Gabe Carimi, Anthony Castonzo)
20.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado (previous mock: Mike Pouncey)
It’s been a great run for Ronde Barber, but the lifelong Buccaneeer has just about run his course. With Aqib Talib on the other side, the Bucs could use Smith’s speed and quickness, especially in a division with the Saints and Falcons. Smith is a player on the rise and could very easily go even earlier than this. (Other Possibilities- Cameron Jordan, Akeem Ayers, Brandon Harris)
21.) Kansas City Chiefs- Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
Kansas City could definitely use another edge rusher opposite Tamba Hali and Houston seems like a perfect fit here. Houston was second in the SEC in sacks last season and brings an explosive rush off the edge. He excelled in the 3-4 in college, so adding him to the pro-bowler Hali could make Kansas City lethal to opposing QBs. (Other Possibilities: Gabe Carimi, Corey Liuget, Anthony Castonzo)
22.) Indianapolis Colts- Tyron Smith, OT, USC (previous mock: Corey Liuget)
The Colts desperately need help protecting Peyton Manning’s blind side, which was left exposed far too many times last season. Although the early momentum Smith had among scouts has cooled a bit, he’s still a great fit for Indianapolis at this point in the draft. In this case, protecting your franchise QB takes precedence over some other areas of need. (Other Possibilities: Gabe Carimi, Anthony Castonzo, Brandon Harris)
23.) Philadelphia Eagles- Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
Eagle fans have just about had it with Winston Justice and understandably so. The Eagles would like to bring in another bookend tackle to flank Jason Peters and Castonzo's the best of the bunch.
He's arguably the second best tackle in this class, so getting him at this juncture could be quite a coup. This pick would serve to make Michael Vick all the more dangerous. (Other Possibilities: Gabe Carimi, Brandon Harris, Cameron Jordan)
24.) New Orleans Saints- Cameron Jordan, DE, California
New Orleans could look running back here, depending on whether or not they plan on bringing back Reggie Bush, but they need to start by getting someone to replace Alex Brown opposite Will Smith.
Jordan is not only the best value left on the board, but he also happens to play DE. The Saints need to spend the offseason beefing up their defense, and this is a good start. (Other Possibilities: Muhammad Wilkerson, Mikel LeShoure, Ryan Kerrigan)
25.) Seattle Seahawks- Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas (previous mock: Jake Locker)
Pete Carroll has come out and said that re-signing Matt Hasselbeck is the team’s No. 1 priority. Whether he’s telling the truth or not, the Seahawks are going to need to make a switch at QB in the very near future and Charlie Whitehurst is not the answer.
Mallett has plenty of question marks but greatly helped his stock with a good showing at the combine. Although he needs to speed up his release time, his 6’7” frame and cannon arm make him a worthy heir apparent in the Great Northwest. (Other Possibilities: Ryan Kerrigan, Gabe Carimi, Allen Bailey)
26.) Baltimore Ravens- Gabe Carimi, T, Wisconsin (previous mock: Jonathan Baldwin)
With Michael Oher anchoring the left side, the Ravens need to address the right side of their line this offseason. Carimi is a mauler and profiles as a right tackle in the NFL, making him a perfect fit here in Baltimore.
The Ravens could look to boost their secondary with this pick, but Carimi’s value here is far greater than that of any corner or safety. He’ll keep the heat off Joe Flacco and open running lanes for Ray Rice. (Other Possibilities: Brandon Harris, Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Baldwin)
27.) Atlanta Falcons- Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Purdue (previous mock: JJ Watt)
What was readily apparent this year was that, other than John Abraham, Atlanta has no other consistent threats to get to the QB. In the playoffs, Aaron Rodgers summarily picked apart the Atlanta secondary because he had all day to throw.
Scouts are split on whether Kerrigan’s best fit is as a 4-3 DE or a 3-4 OLB, but one thing is certain - he can get to the quarterback. With an improved defense, next year’s Falcons could be very dangerous. (Other Possibilities: Torrey Smith, Rahim Moore, Allen Bailey)
28.) New England Patriots- Brandon Harris, CB, Miami (FL) (previous mock: Mark Ingram)
The Patriots struck gold drafting Devin McCourty with their first-round pick last year (he went to the Pro Bowl in his rookie year), but their pass defense still struggled, thanks in large part to those other than McCourty.
Harris is an extremely solid cover corner who could be a big upgrade the Pats' secondary. With these two youngsters headlining the defensive backfield, Coach Belichick's defense could be back up to speed in no time. (Other Possibiltiies: Torrey Smith, Bruce Carter, Ras-I Dowling)
28.) Chicago Bears- Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State (previous mock: Gabe Carimi)
While Chicago would love to upgrade its offensive line, they also have a significant need in the middle of their defensive line after releasing former first-rounder Tommie Harris.
Paea wowed onlookers at the combine by setting a record with 49 reps of 225 lbs. on the bench press. He’s very adept in the trenches and poses large problems for opposing interior linemen, making him a solid fit next to Julius Peppers (Other Possibilities: Torrey Smith, Derek Sherrod, DeMarcus Love)
29.) New York Jets- Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT, Temple (previous mock: Jeremy Beal)
The one thing the Jets defense is missing is a consistent pass-rushing presence. While they’d love for a hybrid LB/DE like Kerrigan to fall to them, in this scenario, they settle for an improvement at end, albeit one who also brings QB pressure.
Wilkerson went largely unnoticed playing for Temple, but his combination of superb run-stopping and pass-rushing skills could make him the next weapon in Rex Ryan’s defensive arsenal. (Other Possibilities: Allen Bailey, Rahim Moore, Drake Nevis)
31.) Pittsburgh Steelers- Ben Ijalana, T/G, Villanova (previous mock: Derek Sherrod)
The Steelers have plugged several holes on their offensive line admirably, but the time has come to pick up a long-term solution who can protect Ben Roethlisberger. Ijalana doesn’t grade out that far below the other tackle prospects, but he’s not as polished as some of the others above him. He does, however, possess good versatility, which should help Pittsburgh.
The Steelers can afford to let Flozell Adams start one more season while they fine-tune Ijalana to be his replacement. (Other Possibilities: DeMarcus Love, Ras-I Dowling, Mikel LeShoure)
32.) Green Bay Packers- Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa (previous mock: Allen Bailey)
The Packers are another team that doesn’t look to need help in too many areas. However, they could certainly use an upgrade for end Cullen Jenkins. Clayborn has the size and ability to play a 3-4 end and he would be a terrific complement to BJ Raji along what would be a significantly revamped defensive line.
While Clayborn can be mercurial at times, that shouldn’t be an issue playing for the World Champs. (Other Possibilities: Mikel LeShoure, Rahim Moore, Bruce Carter)
33.) New England Patriots- Danny Watkins, G, Baylor (previous mock: Brandon Harris)
The Pats don’t have many holes, especially after filling two of them with their first two picks. While this pick is more of a luxury and could be spent on a downfield receiver, Watkins would be a very safe pick, especially with Logan Mankins’ long-term future in New England in doubt.
He’s one of the top interior lineman in the draft and would, at the very least, provide the Pats with good depth on the line.
34.) Buffalo Bills- Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA (previous mock: Drake Nevis)
This would be a dream come true for the Bills. Ayers grades out as a first-rounder, but after a relatively poor showing at the combine, he could find himself falling into the early second. He’d be a great fit for the Bills 3-4 scheme and would significantly upgrade an area that gave Buffalo fits last season.
35.) Cincinnati Bengals- Rahim Moore, S, UCLA (previous mock: Rodney Hudson)
The Bengals are another team only one year removed from winning their division and yet, it seems like there’s a need to scrap a lot of things and start from scratch. Roy Williams is great against the run, but he remains a tremendous liability in coverage, something you can’t have from a starting safety.
Moore is the best safety in this draft and should beef up a Cincinnati pass defense that was already one of this team’s strengths.
36.) Denver Broncos- Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor (previous mock: Marvin Austin)
After taking Bowers in the first round, Denver continues to revamp their line by grabbing Taylor. At nearly 340 lbs., Taylor would be a perfect anchor for the middle of Denver’s scheme. Plugging him in the middle, next to Bowers, should greatly improve Denver’s run defense, which was such a problem last season.
37.) Cleveland Browns- Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
The Browns need to give young QB Colt McCoy some weapons to throw to because Ben Watson as your No. 1 receiving option just isn’t going to cut it. Smith is the best available wideout left on the board and would immediately vault to the No. 1 or No. 2 receiver on Cleveland’s depth chart the minute he signed his contract.
38.) Arizona Cardinals- Aaron Williams, CB, Texas (previous mock: Ryan Mallett)
With their QB in tow, the Cardinals can turn their attention to providing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with some help on the opposite side of the field. Williams has terrific speed and would form a dynamic duo of corners for Arizona, hopefully masking their anemic pass rush.
39.) Tennessee Titans- Christian Ballard, DE/DT, Iowa (previous mock: Phil Taylor)
Taking Liuget in the first round addresses some of Tennessee’s front line deficiencies, but they could also use some line depth, in the event Jason Babin walks this offseason.
Lining Ballard up across from Derrick Morgan will provide the Titans line with some very good, young bookends. He can play both positions on the line, although he’s a bit small to be a DT in the NFL.
40.) Dallas Cowboys- Derek Sherrod, T, Mississippi State (previous mock: Aaron Williams)
Having snagged their corner in the first, at some point in this draft Dallas should look to upgrade their line. Tony Romo was under siege far too often last season, ultimately leading to his season-ending injury.
Sherrod has a few more deficiencies than the top tackles in this class, but he’s got good size and footwork and should provide Dallas with some much needed help.
41.) Washington Redskins- Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech (previous mock: Ras-I Dowling)
The Redskins went running back by committee last season, seemingly burning through a new one every few weeks. While Ryan Torain was effective when healthy, Clinton Portis has been shown the door and the ‘Skins need someone else to shoulder the load in the backfield.
Williams was terrific at not so distant Virginia Tech, and although Mike Shanahan doesn’t traditionally draft running backs this high, the youngster may be too good to pass up here.
42.) Houston Texans- Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky (previous mock: Jimmy Smith)
While Houston will eventually need to address their secondary, they could opt to help their offense and find a replacement for oft-injured Kevin Walter.
Cobb has quietly been shooting up the boards, and although he doesn’t possess ideal size, his speed and route running ability should draw attention from Andre Johnson.
43.) Minnesota Vikings- Rodney Hudson, C, Florida State (previous mock: Ben Ijalana)
The Vikings could certainly use some help along their interior offensive line. There were quite a few errant snaps last season and this team misses the stability of Matt Birk, who left for Baltimore. Hudson is the best center not named Pouncey in this draft and would help to re-establish the solid ground game that Minnesota is so reliant upon.
44.) Detroit Lions- Bruce Carter, LB, North Carolina
The Lions need help in multiple areas on defense, with OLB certainly being one. Carter was talked about as a first-round pick had he stayed in last year’s draft, and a so-so senior season caused his stock to drop. However, he still represents a significant improvement over Landon Johnson.
45.) San Francisco 49ers- Allen Bailey, DE, Miami (FL) (previous pick: Rahim Moore)
Bailey’s got the size to play end in a 3-4 scheme, which is what he’d be asked to do in San Fran. The Niners could use someone who can consistently get to the QB, and while his momentum seems to have slowed a bit, Bailey can fit the bill for the San Francisco defense.
46.) Denver Broncos- Quinton Carter, S, Oklahoma (previous mock: Pernell McPhee)
Having addressed their line with the first two picks, Denver is going to need to find the heir apparent to Brian Dawkins at safety. Carter is the best remaining safety on the board, has good size, and is a hard hitter. If he can serve as apprentice under Dawkins, this could work out nicely.
47.) St. Louis Rams- Mikel LeShoure, RB, Illinois (previous mock: Ryan Williams)
The Rams continue to surround Sam Bradford with more weapons by taking LeShoure, who could very well be a late first-rounder. LeShoure was one of the best backs in the NCAA last season and with Steven Jackson breaking down, seemingly every year, the Rams need to start thinking about how to limit his carries and keep him fresh.
Platooning Jackson with LeShoure could give coach Steve Spagnuolo something similar to what he saw in New York with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.
48.) Oakland Raiders- Clint Boling, G, Georgia (previous mock: DeMarcus Love)
The Raiders are the one team in this draft without a first-round pick, and they could definitely use some help at guard with Robert Gallery moving on. Boling was very solid against difficult SEC competition and would create more running lanes for Darren McFadden to run through.
49.) Jacksonville Jaguars- Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia (previous mock: Brandon Burton)
The Jaguars were among the worst teams in the league against the pass, and after drafting a pass-rusher in the first, they address their secondary with their next pick. Dowling has good size (6’2”) and would fit in very nicely across from Rashean Mathis, about the only above-average player the Jaguars currently boast in their secondary.
Although he didn’t have the best showing at the combine, he’d still be a significant improvement over some of the other corners the Jags ran out last season.
50.) San Diego Chargers- Tandon Doss, WR, Indiana (previous mock: Jason Pinkston)
With a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Chargers top two wideouts, Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd, San Diego would be wise to draft some depth at the position that can actually play (no offense to Legadu Naanee, Patrick Crayton, or Seyi Ajirotutu).
While Philip Rivers succeeds with seemingly anyone at receiver, Doss’ big frame and solid hands would be a welcome addition in San Diego.
51.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State (previous mock: Mikel LeShoure)
Although Tampa got a breakout season from LeGarrette Blount last year, there’s not much in the way of depth behind him, what with Cadillac Williams and Earnest Graham seemingly on the outs . Thomas was a stud for the Wildcats last season and would add another dimension to what is becoming a pretty solid offense.
52.) New York Giants- Martez Wilson, OLB, Illinois
The Giants need to find an eventual replacement for Keith Bulluck, and Wilson, after a strong combine showing, is quickly making his way into the second round. He’s also polished enough where he could probably step in and start from day one, providing the Giants with linebacking help that they’ve needed seemingly forever.
53.) Indianapolis Colts- Jurrell Casey, DT, USC (previous mock: Quinton Carter)
The middle of the Colts defensive line seems to consistently be a revolving door. Indianapolis has always preferred their d-tackles to be nimble and quick, as opposed to road graders, which could explain their struggles against the run.
Adding Casey allows Indy to have the best of both worlds, as Casey has good speed and size and would be a great value pick here.
54.) Philadelphia Eagles- Jeremy Beal, OLB, Oklahoma (previous mock: Curtis Brown)
Ernie Sims wasn’t the solution at outside LB for Philly, so they’ll need to look for a replacement. While Beal’s stock has slipped a bit, he’s still a good rusher off the edge, which would provide aid to Philadelphia’s typically blitz-heavy defense.
54.) Kansas City Chiefs- Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh (previous mock: Jerrell Jernigan)
The Kansas City Chiefs have a tremendous top wideout in Dwayne Bowe but not much else to speak of behind him. Baldwin was terrific at Pitt and has all the tools to be an elite receiver, if he can put them together. If he figures it out, putting him across from Bowe could make Kansas City’s offense downright scary.
55.) New Orleans Saints- Robert Sands, S, West Virginia
The Saints safeties this year left a lot to be desired as veterans Darren Sharper and Roman Harper were either frequently injured or frequently getting burned. Sands has tremendous size, at 6’4” and is a big-time hitter who will make defenders think twice about crossing the middle.
56.) Seattle Seahawks- Marcus Cannon, G, TCU (previous mock: Orlando Franklin)
The Seahawks need some help on their interior line and will probably have to replace one, if not both, of Chester Pitts and Stacy Andrews. Cannon is a behemoth on the interior and with a new QB in their pocket, Seattle will certainly do whatever they can to adequately protect him.
57.) Baltimore Ravens- Jordan Todman, RB, Connecticut (previous mock: Daniel Thomas)
Willis McGahee mulled over retirement last offseason, and even when he decided to play, he wasn’t very effective. It’s very possible that he’ll either actually retire this time or Baltimore will move on to find a better complement to Ray Rice. Todman had a tremendous combine, really helping his stock and should be a good change of pace from Rice.
58.) Atlanta Falcons- Terrell McClain, DT, South Florida (previous mock: Jarvis Jenkins)
The Falcons could also use some help with depth along the interior defensive line. Jonathan Babineaux has been a fixture in Atlanta for quite some time, but his production has dropped.
On the other side, Peria Jerry hasn’t displayed much of what caused Atlanta to make him a first-round pick in ’09. McClain is a big time run stuffer, who toiled in relative obscurity. He could slot right into the DT rotation in Atlanta.
59.) New England Patriots- Titus Young, WR, Boise State (previous mock: Clint Boling)
The Patriots, already with their fourth pick in the draft, have filled most of their needs. Young was incredibly productive in college, developing quite the big-play rapport with his QB, Kellen Moore. Now, there should be no doubt that he could serve as Brady’s new deep threat.
60.) San Diego Chargers- Quan Sturdivant, ILB, North Carolina
With every one of the Chargers’ inside LBs becoming free agents, San Diego has to guard against possible defections by improving their depth. Sturdivant is a bit small, but very rangy and a solid tackler. Even if San Diego chooses to bring back Brandon Siler and Kevin Burnett, there will still be a place for Sturdivant.
61.) Chicago Bears- Chris Hairston, T, Clemson (previous mock: Greg Little)
The Bears really need to upgrade their protection of Jay Cutler, as he was running for his life for much of last season. Hairston is still a bit raw but is a monster who steadily improved over his career at Clemson and would help keep Cutler upright.
62.) Pittsburgh Steelers- Curtis Brown, CB, Texas (previous pick: Marcus Cannon)
The Steelers corners were lit up in the Super Bowl, exposing what seems to be a glaring weakness. William Gay was thrown at all night. Brown has great speed and would provide an extra weapon for the Pittsburgh defense.
63.) Green Bay Packers- DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson (previous pick: Mark Herzlich)
The Packers don’t have many weaknesses to address, but they could use an upgrade at the safety position, alongside Nick Collins. McDaniel has good size and speed and, were it not for some character issues, could go even higher. He also plays the run very well, which should endear him to Dom Capers.
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