16. St. Louis Rams – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR/Tennessee
Patterson is projected to be one of the best offensive skill players in the draft, but he’s starting to slip a bit after a stunning Pro Day from Tavon Austin and a general need for help on either offensive or defensive line at the top of the draft. But the Rams have had their eye on Patterson for some time now and he’s exactly what they need moving forward. The defense is one of the best young units in the league, but the trick is getting the offense up to snuff and getting Sam Bradford a tall deep threat is the way to go.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jarvis Jones, OLB/Georgia
Jarvis Jones was falling in the draft due to questions about his health, but he claimed the problem wasn’t that serious and doctors have apparently agreed. After clearing up the issues about his health, Jones is back to being a top prospect and that’s good news for the Steelers. Pittsburgh needs a lot of things and one of those things is a top linebacker moving forward. Jones can step right in and be a much needed breath of fresh air for a defense that is aging and needs injections of youth and talent all over the map.
18. Dallas Cowboys – Kenny Vaccaro, Safety/Texas
Dallas has been high on Vaccaro for a while now, and the Texas standout moving up to a stud rookie for the Cowboys only makes sense. New defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin loves his safeties and loves to mix up things in his secondary. Think back to what Kiffin did with Dexter Jackson, Ronde Barber and John Lynch in Tampa Bay and you have a good idea of the things Kiffin is planning on doing with his new toy in Dallas.
19. New York Giants – Desmond Trufant, CB/Washington
The Giants have flirted with Manti Te’o but much like was the case in 2011, a gem has fallen to the Giants at 19th overall. That year, Prince Amukamara fell to them and they snatched him up without thinking twice. New York has an abysmal situation brewing at cornerback and adding Desmond Trufant and pairing him with Amukamara is a brilliant idea. Trufant is a deadly man-to-man defender and that more than makes up for his struggles in run defense.
20. Chicago Bears –Manti Te’o, ILB/Notre Dame
Someone is going to spend a first round pick on Te’o and each week it’s a different team. But as much fun as it is to hate on his fake girlfriend and his bad 40-time, Te’o isn’t that bad of a prospect. He was slow at the combine, but he’s got football speed and that’s something more valuable than a linebacker being able to quickly run 40-yards. The Bears need to fill the middle of their linebacking corps and Te’o is a guy who fits right in with how Marc Trestman is going to run things and can redeem himself in a leadership role in the Windy City.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – D.J. Fluker, OT/Alabama
I’d love to see the Bengals take a chance on Keenan Allen here and pair him with A.J. Green, but Andy Dalton needs protection before he adds more weapons to his offense. Fluker would be an Alabama lineman replacing an Alabama lineman who ended up being a bust so it’s easy to see why Cincinnati would be hesitant to take Fluker. But there’s not running back worth taking this high and if it’s not Allen, it’s going to be Fluker.
I’ve had Lacy in the first-round before and after meeting with the Rams last week, Lacy’s back in the mix. First thing’s first: if Kenny Vaccaro is available, he’s likely the pick here. But since he’s gone (and even if he’s not), the Rams are leaning towards drafting Steven Jackson’s replacement. The offense is getting overhauled and with a new rookie receiver in town, Jeff Fisher is drafting his running back to round out the offensive trifecta.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Bjoern Werner, DE/Florida State
This is a pick I’ve had here before, and it’s making more sense as we get closer to the draft. Jared Allen isn’t getting any younger and there are still questions about Brian Robison on the outside. If Alec Ogletree or Manti Te’o are here, the Vikings will seriously consider them. But Werner is a guy who doesn’t belong in the 20s, and Minnesota won’t allow the Colts a chance to steal him from them. Werner will be able to step up rotationally in 2013 and eventually take over when either Allen or Robison move on or get too old to hack it. He’s a top-3 talent and Minnesota is getting him at 23rd overall – steal all the way.
24. Indianapolis Colts – Damontre Moore, DE/Texas A&M
The Colts could look at offensive line help here, but the more likely option is taking a defensive end to give Chuck Pagano’s squad a pass rushing presence. But Moore has fallen causality to a terrible combine and some character issues, which has sunk his once top-10 status. He was atrocious in the drills he ran in comparison to how much he’d been talked up leading into the combine. But unlike Star Lotulelei who was a top 3 pick in some mocks, Moore’s bad combine is a fixable project and one that the Colts would love to be in charge of.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle Seahawks) – Alec Ogletree, ILB/Georgia
The Vikings need a wide receiver, but they need to patch up more areas than that one. With the defensive line addressed with a top prospect in Werner, Minnesota can move to filling a giant hole at linebacker. Chad Greenway is a monster but he’s not a middle linebacker — neither is Erin Henderson. But with Ogletree, the Vikings can place him in the middle of those two players and will thusly have one of the fiercest young defensive secondaries in football. His off-field baggage is an issue, but he’s looking to be worth the risk. In terms of a wide receiver, the Vikings can look towards Keenan Allen or Robert Woods in the second round.
26. Green Bay Packers– Tyler Eifert, TE/Notre Dame
Green Bay needs help up front, but another way to help Aaron Rodgers would be to get him a capable tight end for the future. Jermichael Finely is sticking around for now it seems, but he’s not a long term option anymore as animosity grows. Eifert gives Rodgers his Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham, and that makes him even more dangerous than he was before. Menelik Watson and other offensive lineman will be available on the second day for the Packers to flirt with, but Eifert won’t be and if they want to help Rodgers, they’ll get him a giant tight end.
27. Houston Texans - Keenan Allen, WR/Cal
Chad Johnson wants to make an NFL comeback with the Houston Texans so he can provide them with a deep threat compliment to Andre Johnson. Johnson may be insane for assuming that the Texans would want him, but he’s onto something when it comes to getting Andre Johnson a deep threat partner. Allen is big and he’s raw but he could be a guy that pays off for Houston and could even save Matt Schaub’s job is all goes well. His knees are drawing concern, but if they check out he’ll be a steal for the Texans at 27th overall.
28. Denver Broncos – Tank Carradine, DE/Florida State
The kid was a lock for the first-round but suffered a late season ACL tear that threw his NFL future into a tailspin. But according to reports, Carradine’s recovery is ahead of schedule, and advances in medical science have given teams confidence when it comes to leaning on players coming off of ACL injuries. Denver lost Elvis Dumervil and will be looking for a replacement in the draft. If Carradine is indeed ahead of schedule, he’ll be an amazing pick for Denver this late in the first round. Tremendously insane upside is the proper way to describe Carradine’s status.
29. New England Patriots – Sylvester Williams, DT/North Carolina
Sylvester Williams is not only one of the best available players at this point in the draft, but he fits the mind set the Patriots have. New England is built to win now, and while Desmond Trufant would be a brilliant pick (if he was available), Williams gives the Pats depth at defensive tackle and allows them to not have to worry about retaining guys who have contracts running out or who are getting older than they’d like.
30. Atlanta Falcons – Sam Montgomery, DE/LSU
Montgomery has drifted in and out of the first round, but the Falcons may end up taking a chance on him late in the first round just because he does harbor a lot of talent that Atlanta needs at defensive end. John Abraham left in free agency and the Falcons need to get a younger edge rusher to put pressure on passers. Montgomery isn’t a top tier guy, but there are worse options out there and he’s far from being a reach at this point.
31. San Francisco 49ers – Datone Jones, DE/UCLA
Jim Harbaugh loves his defensive players and he likes them raw and mean. Jones is a guy who clearly won’t see a heavy amount of playing time in 2013, but no Niners rookies are simply handed jobs in the Harbaugh era. Jones will play sparingly in 2013, but he’ll learn the ropes and be able to step right in and fill the shoes of Justin Smith when his contract runs out. Rookies are going to be wildly important to the Niners success moving forward, as they’ll soon be strapped for cash and the more rookies they have to insert into roles after they’ve gained experience, the better.
32. Baltimore Ravens – Matt Elam, S/Florida
He hits hard and lets you know it too, he fits right in with Baltimore’s style of defense. Elam was mocked to the Ravens a few times before, but the notion was they’d wait for Ed Reed to retire before drafting a safety like Elam. Well, Reed is as good as retired as a Raven, being that he plays for the Houston Texans now, and Elam is once again a sexy option at the end of the first round. He’ll fit right in with where the Ravens want to go on defense and help make one of the best defenses in the NFL last year even better in 2013.