17. Philadelphia Eagles- ILB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame.-
The Eagles could go a number of different areas, but right now their biggest question marks are at LB and DT. With no tackle here worthy of a top 20 selection the Eagles would be wise to turn their attention to middle linebacker. Manti Te’o would be an excellent pick here for the Eagles. He’s a smart football player with good athleticism, and should start from day 1.
18. New York Giants– CB Alonzo Dennard, Nebraska
I know it would be rare to draft Prince Amukamara’s Nebraska teammate, but it could very well happen. The Giants CB situation is really up in the air going forward, as both Terrell Thomas and Aaron Ross are impending free agents, and Corey Webster has been just average of late. Dennard has slid down the draft board somewhat, but he’s easily a top 20 pick, and would really strengthen that secondary.
19. New York Jets–OLB Brandon Jenkins, FSU-
Jets could miss the playoffs unless Mark Sanchez really steps up this season, and if that is the case I’d look at two main culprits (outside of Sanchez). The offensive line and their rush linebackers. While they could go after an offensive lineman, they have more depth and talent there than at OLB. Both Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas are good pass rushers, but neither is great, and both are starting to get up there in age. Adding a young pass rush specialist like Jenkins could be huge for the Jets and give them the sack artist to go along with the rest of that elite defense.
20. Buffalo Bills OT Reilly Reiff, Iowa-
Although, the Bills so far are doing a good job of keeping Ryan Fitzpatrick upright, they could use a true bookend tackle that they don’t have to worry about for the next decade. Reiff fits that bill, and should provide a boost to both Fred Jackson and the passing game. It might be a stretch for him to last this long, but he could fall to them.
21. Dallas Cowboys- OLB Donte Paige-Moss, UNC-
The Anthony Spencer experiment hasn’t worked out too well, and the Cowboys could use a top notch bookend to Ware. Paige-Moss could be that guy as he has excellent pass rushing skills, and is just scratching the surface of his talent. With Dallas getting that bookend, their defense could become very scary going forward. A defensive back could also be the pick here.
22. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland): G David DeCastro, Stanford–
The Bengals held out and they were rewarded with the Raiders desperation for a new quarterback. The Bengals would be quite lucky to land DeCastro here, as he is a day one starter at guard, and could help improve their young offense. DeCastro fills a big need as the Bengals interior line is in shambles right now
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- CB Stephen Gilmore, South Carolina-
Between Barber’s likely retirement and legal troubles for Talib, adding a 1st round corner sounds like a very wise decision for the Buccaneers. Gilmore is a physical corner, and very advanced for his age. He should be a year a year one starter for them.
24. Houston Texans- DT Alameda Ta’amu, Washington-
I really like what the Texans have done this offseason and I think this new defense will take them pretty far. They will still need some help though going forward and I think their primary need will be at NT. Ta’amu is a fantastic run defender and profiles to be a starting NT in the NFL. He’d be a great pickup here late in round 1, and should start right away.
25. San Diego Chargers- DT Josh Chapman, Alabama-
The Chargers front three is suspect even after the addition of Corey Liguet. Chapman gives SD another big man, and one who is capable of helping out at NT, their weakest position. Chapman has the versatility to play anywhere on the line and should be a great addition for the Chargers.
26. Detroit Lions- CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama-
The former Florida star, has absolutely dominated the Division II level. He is an elite playmaker every time he touches the ball, and displays good ball skills. He looks to be a real ball hawk going forward, and fits in perfectly for Detroit.
27. San Francisco 49ers- DE Billy Winn, Boise State-
The 49ers don’t have a major need at defensive end, but it is an area they could improve. Winn is shooting up draft boards and looks to be a prototypical 3-4 end. He will make that formidable 49ers defense even better. While the 49ers could look towards the offensive side of the ball it wouldn’t surprise me to see them continue to build up that defense.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers- ILB Luke Kuechly, Boston College-
Pittsburgh’s James Farrior still plays at an extremely high level, but he is likely winding down his career in the next year or so. Adding Kuechly, keeps the Steelers defense in tact, and will continue to make them a formidable force to stop any offense.
29. New England Patriots (via New Orleans) OLB Bruce Irvin, WVU-
The Patriots likely won’t keep both picks, but if they do they should look to add an OLB pass rusher. It looks like they will run more of a hybrid defense, but Irvin could even play OLB in the 4-3 giving them some versatility. Irvin would give the Patriots the best natural stand-up pass rusher that they have had in years.
30. New England Patriots-DE Jared Crick, Nebraska-
The Patriots aren’t likely to keep both picks, but if they do they are likely to add a defensive player. Crick profiles best as a 5-tech DE, but he can help out in other formations as well. Crick was likely a top 15 pick, but a recent injury should knock him down to the end of the round. This is a good value pick for New England if they choose to make it.
31. Baltimore Ravens- ILB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama-
With Ray Lewis getting up there in age, and R. McClain a free agent, the Ravens would be wise to address their ILB needs with this pick. Now they do have some other big name free agents to worry about, but if their defense isn’t right this team won’t win. This has to be their top priority, and Upshaw is a smart, active LB who can be the guy in Baltimore. Upshaw is also a very versatile LB who can rush the passer, and should allow the Ravens defense to get creative in the future. I could see him moving inside in this system and be a Chad Brown type of player.
32. Green Bay Packers- CB Chase Minnifield, UVA-
Charles Woodson is in the twilight of his illustrious career, and the Packers shouldn’t be left unprepared for when he is done. Minnifield continues a strong tradition of UVA corners and would be a nice addition to the Packers defense. His father was a Hall of Fame corner in this league in the 80’s, playing on the same defense as Clay Matthew’s Jr.’s father.