17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU, Junior: The Steelers’ historically aggressive defense lacked consistent bite in 2012 and part of that was due to James Harrison and Lamarr Woodley not playing at the same level as in years past. This leads the Steelers to take a gamble on perhaps the most physically gifted pass rusher in the Draft who falls to them because there are questions about his production and consistency.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama, Senior: It seems that in nearly every big game quarterback Tony Romo is under constant pressure, which leads to mistakes and losses. Warmack is the rare guard who has the athleticism to block effectively out in space, while still possessing the strength to be a dominant in-line run blocker and pass protector.
19. New York Giants: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida, Junior: Chris Canty was released because he did not provide the impact plays to justify his high salary, to General Manager Jerry Reese jumps at the chance to select Floyd. Although Floyd is regarded as raw and still developing, he has the explosiveness off the ball to threaten gaps and the strength to control blockers at the POA, which could lead to him being a Pro Bowl DT early in his career.
20. Chicago Bears: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama, Junior: If Coach Trestman is going to be successful as the Bears Head Coach, which I have no doubt he will, then their offensive line much protect Jay Cutler much better. Fluker is a massive man who will immediately upgrade the right tackle position and will likely be given a chance to win the left tackle spot.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech, Senior: A.J. Green has developed into a premier receiver, but the Bengals need to find other weapons for Andy Dalton to throw to if their offense is going to take the next step. Patton has rare acceleration and speed for a 6’0 receiver and after his display at the Senior Bowl I do not think anyone questions his hands and ability to play at a high level in the NFL.
22. St. Louis Rams (From Washington): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia, Senior: By claiming receiver Titus Young the Rams showed they are going to take risks in order to find some weapons for Sam Bradford to throw to. That leads me to believe they would be willing to gamble on Austin who has all talent to be a game changing receiver along the lines of DeSean Jackson, but at under 5’9 lacks the height that most NFL teams want in a first round receiver.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State, Junior: Long time defensive tackle Kevin Williams cannot last forever and the Vikings know this. So the chance to draft his eventual replacement in Jonathan Hankins, who also possesses the rare combination of great size, elite strength and shocking quickness and athleticism, makes way too much sense.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, OLB, Florida State, Senior: The Colts not only improved a ton on offense in 2012, but their switch to a 34 defense was much more successful in its first year than many expected. While Dwight Freeney has had a great career in Indianapolis, he is a free agent and likely will not return. So the Colts take a gamble on Carradine who would have been a top ten pick if he had not injured his knee late in the 2012 season.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor, Senior: After Russell Wilson’s incredible rookie season, the Seahawks make a wise move by providing him with another weapon so that he can continue to develop. Williams combination of height and playing speed is tough to find and could help the Seahawks’ offense by taking the top off the defense.
26. Green Bay Packers: Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia, Junior: After drafting Nick Perry in the first round last year, the Packers continue upgrading their defensive speed and play-making ability by selecting Ogletree. Although not as well known nationally as Manti Te’o or Kevin Minter, Ogletree is the most explosive and athletic inside linebacker available in the 2013 NFL Draft and would add a dimension to the Packers defense that they have been lacking from their inside linebackers.
27. Houston Texans: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU, Junior: When inside linebacker Brian Cushing was lost for the season with a knee injury, the Texans defense struggled to play at the high level it had been. So even though Cushing is expected to be 100% for the 2013 season, the Texans grab Minter to start next to him and hopefully provide the playmaking ability to allow their defense to continue playing at a high level if Cushing gets hurt again.
28. Denver Broncos: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington, Senior: No one denies that Champ Bailey will be elected to the Hall of Fame in time, but he is no longer a premier cornerback and is nearing the end of his great career. Coach Fox has a history of drafting aggressive cornerbacks who are not afraid to gamble to make a play and Trufant fits that mold perfectly.
29. New England Patriots: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU, Senior: While Hunt is no doubt raw, his rare combination of great height, long arms, good playing strength and hip snap/explosiveness make him too enticing for Coach Belichick to pass up. At the Senior Bowl it was clear that Hunt could easily add 20+ pounds and at close to 300 pounds with his height and arm length he would be an ideal versatile defensive end in the Patriots defense.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama, Junior: Michael Turner has been an excellent player for the Falcons since he signed as a free agent, but he is no longer the same back and lacks the burst through the hole and big play speed that their offense needs. Lacy is a huge back with the power to run through contact and the deceptive speed to make big plays. He would be an excellent complement to Jacquizz Rodgers and could be the power back the Falcons will need to replace Turner.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama, Senior: While Justin Smith battled through pain to stay in the starting lineup after his injury, he was not the same player and the 49ers defense struggled to consistently pressure the quarterback. Williams is a powerful man with the quick hands and athleticism to jolt and defeat blockers easily. He also has the playing strength to dominate blockers at the point of attack. He would provide great depth as a rookie and eventually will be a productive starting defensive end for them.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame, Senior: With Ray Lewis riding off into the sunset after the Ravens won the Super Bowl, they must a replacement. While Te’o lacks Lewis elite physical tools, he is a similarly sized linebacker with great football instincts and despite this recent controversy excellent leadership skills. He would be a good fit starting next to Dannell Ellerbe and would upgrade the Ravens pass coverage as Lewis was no longer a high level pass defender.
Email Russ at Russelllande@yahoo.com and Follow Russ on Twitter @RUSSLANDE
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