2012 NFL Draft: Picks 17-32, 12/19
17. Tennessee Titans- ILB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State:
The Titans have a major hole at middle linebacker that they should look to address early in this draft. While there are a couple of really good prospects, Burfict has the highest upside of the bunch and could develop into a true stud MLB.
18. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland)- WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina:
AJ Green has been a stud so far, but the Bengals receiving options behind him are average at best (and impending free agents), meaning adding another top level guy would be huge for Dalton’s development.
19. Cincinnati Bengals- DT Brandon Thompson, Clemson:
This is a bit of a luxury pick, but unless they want to reach a bit for a CB or guard, I think they take the BPA, and nab Thompson. Adding Thompson to that defensive line could be scary for opposing offenses.
20. New York Giants- ILB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame:
There is some strong talk that Te’o will head back to school, but until it is past the deadline I have a hard time taking a player like him off the board. He could be the Giants starting MLB next year, or he could look to kick outside. Either way he’s a good fit here and the kinda leader the Giants like on defense.
21. Detroit Lions- OT Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin:
The Lions play has fallen off of late, and a large part of that has to do with the inability of the offensive line to protect Matt Stafford. Wagner is a really talented LT prospect and if he comes out he should be able to protect Stafford’s blindside.
22. Denver Broncos- CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama:
The Broncos could go a couple different ways here, but I think they need another top corner for Bailey to teach. The Broncos defense is improved, but when they start facing better QB play they will be in trouble. Jenkins can help neutralize that.
23. New York Jets- OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama:
Aaron Maybin has been a nice find, but the Jets still need to improve their pass rush. Upshaw is one of the better pass rushers in this class and should be a great fit in New York.
24. Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta)- WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame:
This is a great value pick here for the Browns and is ironic since I think Floyd could be a better pro than Julio Jones. Adding another big, tall receiver to go along with Greg Little should really help boost this passing attack.
25. Dallas Cowboys- C Peter Konz, Wisconsin:
The Cowboys have had issues at center all year, and grabbing a plug and play guy like Konz would be huge. Konz has Pro Bowl potential, and could really turn this line into a quality unit.
26. Houston Texans- NT Dontari Poe, Memphis:
The Texans one big weakness on defense is a lack of a true NT, which is where Poe comes in. He should really continue to strengthen that run defense.
27. Baltimore Ravens- ILB Donta Hightower, Alabama:
The Ravens have to think about the future here with Ray Lewis on the downside of his career. With McClain a free agent, Hightower can start next year, and learn from Lewis, while he is groomed to be the future of that defense.
28. San Francisco 49ers- G Cordy Glenn, Georgia:
The 49ers need some help along the interior of their line, and considering how important the running game is to their offense they need to make this a priority. Glenn might not project well at OT, but he should be a good power guard.
29. New England Patriots- CB Chase Minnifield, UVA:
The Pats secondary is still the weak point of their defense, and adding another high draft pick is probably going to be the Pats best solution. Minnifield’s father played for Belicheck in Cleveland, so there are some ties there as well.
30. New England Patriots (via Saints)- DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State:
The Patriots need to keep improving this defense, and adding another presence in the middle to go along with Wilfork is key. Worthy is a penetrating tackle, who should really help improve their interior pass rush.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers- G Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State:
The Steelers still need to improve the interior of their offensive line. And while Gilbert might move inside if Colon comes back healthy, their other guard spot could use upgrading as well. Osemele, can help out some at tackle as well giving him the versatility the Steelers need.
32. Green Bay Packers- OLB Whitney Mercilus, Illinois:
The Packers top target should be a pass rusher to bookend Clay Matthews. Mercilus is moving up draft boards and should be an excellent value at this pick.