Pick 21: Cincinnati Bengals: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State: The Bengals are one of the teams that have the luxury of getting two selections in the first round in this draft, and they'd be wise to use it on improving their front on both sides of the ball. I think Adams will be one of the better, more versatile tackles available here, though Jonathan Martin and Kevin Zietler could make some sense as well. They really need a young running back, but there just aren't any worthy of being taken this high. Maybe in round two for them.
|WR Stephen Hill|
Pick 23: Detroit Lions: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama: Kirkpatrick isn't quite the specimen that Claiborne is, but he's a terrific cover corner with great size and good speed. He's exactly what the Lions defense was lacking in 2011, as they couldn't stop any one's passing attack. Had they even had a halfway decent secondary last year, with a healthy Stafford and Megatron, the Lions should have been a playoff juggernaut, but their defense was a laughing stock. Rarely do you find a corner with Kirkpatrick's ability and size this late in a draft, so if he makes it this far, the Lions would be fools to pass on him.
Pick 24: Pittsburgh Steelers: Kevin Zietler, G, Wisconsin: The Steelers battled injuries all over last season, but no area was more exposed than their O-line. I remember watching the 49ers play the Steelers in December and Big Ben must have taken at least 15 hits. They have to get that guy protected so he can get back to his 30+TD form and the Steelers can be a true, power-running team as they've always been. Zietler may not have the talent as some of the other O-lineman in this draft, but his physical and nasty, exactly the type of player Pittsburgh targets!
Pick 25: Denver Broncos: Rueben Randle, WR, LSU: The Broncos just gave Peyton Manning $90M to be their long-term answer at QB (or as long as he'll hold up). He's 36 years old, but could easily play into his 40's as long as he stays healthy and that neck problem of his doesn't resurface. Now Denver has to surround him with some talent to throw to, and Randle could be a steal. His 6'4" frame, leaping ability and athleticism have drawn comparisons to Calvin Johnson. Denver could also go after some free agent WR's like Reggie Wayne, but I think they need a young number-one type that they can groom. We all have seen the way Manning can make ordinary recievers look great, and great ones unstoppable.
Pick 26: Houston Texans: Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford: Houston will try and do everything in it's power to move up to ensure they get one of the draft's "elite-5" wideouts (Blackmon, Floyd, Randle, Hill and Wright). Mohamed Sanu is a decent player, but he's a fall-off talnt wise from the latter-5. However, I think the rest of the league knows this as well, and unfortunately for Houston, there won't be any of the projected 1st round wideouts left at 26. Thus, unless they get lucky and one does fall, they move up or take Mohammed Sanu (an underrated talent at WR), they should shift focus to their O-Line, which was vastly outmatched in January against Baltimore's front-7. A smart, talented tackle who could come right in and start right away for them is Martin.
Pick 27: New England Patriots: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama: The Pats need to do big work on their defense, which was sadly exposed in the Super Bowl, and they really had no business even being in that game with that wretched offense. They had a wide receiver (Julian Edleman) out there playing defensive back and linebacker at times, that's how thin they are. Hightower would provide a nice anchor in the center of that defense, and give them a play-making linebacker that could go as high as the middle of the round. If he falls here though, New England can't pass him up.
|Doug Martin Explodes|
Pick 29: Baltimore Ravens: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College: The Ravens feel good about the offensive side of the ball, and likely won't view any offensive players worth taking at this spot unless maybe Coby Fleener or one of the wideouts managed to make it down this far. They will likely look to keep inserting some youth into that defense to help some of their aging stars. Kuechely looks like a sure-fire NFL starting linebacker, and whether or not he starts for the Ravens out of the gate would be irrelevant, as they need depth there for their 3-4 system.They could also go secondary with a guy like Janoris Jenkins or Harrison Smith.
Pick 31: New England Patriots: Stephen Gillmore, CB, South Carolina: The Pats, with their two picks in the first, have a real shot at turning around that defense, and for a team that was in the Super Bowl a few months ago, having two first rounders is like icing on the cake. Gillmore is another combine-killer, who really improved his stock with a nice showing in March. He's had some hype for a few years now though, and as I said earlier, the Pats had WR's covering people in the playoffs last year, and that has to change for them to be a complete team.
Pick 32: New York Giants: Nick Perry, OLB, USC: The Giants won the Super Bowl last year despite having just a 9-7 regular season record. A big reason for that mediocre record was the fact they were running with practice squad linebackers for much of the season. Micheal Foley is a stud, but they need some players around him, and Nick Perry could be an ideal fit. He's more a pass-rush specialist, but can also play the run, and could help give the Giants one of the meaner front-7's in all of football. They could also go O-Line here, but in terms of value, Perry's the guy to pick, especially after witnessing what other USC linebackers have done in recent years.