Round 3 Cont.
80. Arizona Cardinals: Nick Toon WR (Wisconsin)
Arizona will be looking to find a WR to compliment Larry Fitzgerald this offseason, and might be looking to acquire one early on Draft day. While Toon may not have game-breaking speed, he is a smart Receiver that can run polished routes and has good body control for somebody his size (6’2″ 215 lbs.). Putting him in an Offense with Larry Fitzgerald would give Skelton and/or Kolb another big target in the Red Zone to throw to, and a reliable set of hands to work on the outside.
(Previous Selection: Mychal Kendricks, ILB, California)
81. Dallas Cowboys: Ben Jones C/OG (Georgia)
Regardless of whether or not the Cowboys take David DeCastro in Round 1, Dallas should look to upgrade the Interior of their Offensive Line more than once this offseason. If Dallas is unable to replace the inconsistent Phil Costa, they could be in for a long season. Dallas could look for help along their Offensive Line by selecting Rimington Award Finalist Ben Jones of Georgia. While Jones will not awe anybody with his athleticism, he is a consistent player that logged 49 starts at Georgia during his 4 seasons there, and the 6’2″ 302 lb. Jones uses what weight and leverage he does have well. It will be interesting to see where Jones does go and if he is able to hold up against some of the bigger Nose Tackles as a Center. If not, Jones will likely have to move to Guard at the next level.
82. Tennessee Titans: Brandon Washington OG/OT (Miami FL)
Tennessee will be looking to acquire some help on the Interior of their Offensive Line if Cordy Glenn from Georgia does not fall to them at pick #20. Luckily for the Titans, because this Guard draft class is so deep and talented, Tennessee should not have a problem selecting a solid player to shore up one of their Guard spots. That being said, they should take a long look at the road-grading 6’3″ 325 lb. Washington in the 3rd Round. In addition to playing Guard, Washington also played some Left Tackle this past season and helped Lamar Miller gain almost 1,300 yards on the ground for the Hurricanes. Helping both Chris Johnson and young Jake Locker will be of the utmost importance as the Titans attempt to take “the next step” and improve on the Offensive side of the ball.
(Previous Selection: Josh Kaddu, OLB, Oregon)
83. Cincinnati Bengals: Leonard Johnson CB (Iowa State)
Cincinnati will likely select more than one CB next month, and Leonard Johnson could be one player that they might pick to upgrade the position. Johnson (5’10 202 lbs.) fits the mold of what the 49ers want in a CB: scrappy, physical, and he can tackle well. In fact, one of Johnson’s best games last season came against Justin Blackmon in the Cyclone’s upset win over Oklahoma State. Pairing Johnson with a guy like Janoris Jenkins and Leon Hall would give the Bengals an enormous boost at Cornerback into the next decade.
(Previous Selection: Brandon Brooks, OG, Miami OH)
84. Detroit Lions: Chris Polk RB (Washington)
While it seems like a luxury pick for Detroit to take a RB this early, they actually need help at that position more than people think. The RB by Committee of Maurice Morris, Kevin Smith, Keiland Williams and Jahvid Best needs to be upgraded, as none of the Four had more than 84 Carries last season. And yes, I understand that Mikel LeShoure will be coming back from his Achilles injury. Yet I must question how effective he will be upon his return in 2012. Adding a bruiser like Chris Polk (5’11” 215 lbs.) that can take advantage of other teams being spread out by the Lions’ potent passing attack will only strike more fear into the hearts’ of Detroit’s opponents. Polk is a tough guy in between the Tackles and can shoulder the load of a running game if need be. Detroit should think long and hard about selecting Polk in Round 3, because he could definitely solve a lot of the Lions’ running issues.
85. Atlanta Falcons: Dwight Bentley CB (Louisiana-Lafayette)
Atlanta is going to need help in the Secondary in the coming years. Dunta Robinson has only been decent since arriving in 2010, and the Falcons ranked 20th in YPG against the Pass in 2012. Changes and upgrades are in order and if Dwight Bentley falls to them, I believe that the Falcons will be thrilled. A bit undersized (5’10” 182 lbs.), Bentley has nice closing speed and is really a tough guy. He understands how to break down and tackle a ball carrier and he isn’t afraid to mix it up at the line of scrimmage. I watched two games of his last season (vs. Arizona and vs. San Diego State), and Bentley was all over the field making tackles in both contests. While he could lose his share of matchups against bigger WR’s in man coverage, Bentley at worst is a solid Nickel option in the slot.
86. Pittsburgh Steelers: Brandon Brooks OG (Miami OH)
Let’s face it Steeler Nation, the play at both Guard spots since Alan Faneca left in 2008 and Kendall Simmons was hurt in October of that season has been dreadful to put it best. Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster, bless their hearts, are solid backups and #6 and #7 swing guys (C/OG and OG/OT), but that’s about it. If the Steelers want to shore up at least one of their Guard spots this offseason, they should take a long look at the road-grading 6’5″ 353 lb. Brooks in the 3rd Round. Adding Brooks to the mix of Marcus Gilbert, Maurkice Pouncey, and a hopefully healthy Willie Colon would give the Steelers actually something to work with along the Offensive Line heading into the 2012 season. If Colbert can draft another competent Guard in the later Rounds, Pittsburgh’s Offense could be lethal in the coming seasons.
(Previous Selection: Brandon Washington, OG/OT, Miami FL)
87. Denver Broncos: T.Y. Hilton WR (Florida International)
Without Eddie Royal, Denver will be looking to acquire a speedy pass-catcher that can eat teams alive on underneath routes. Peyton Manning would love to have a play-maker in the mold of Royal added to the Offense, and T.Y. Hilton of Florida International could be a player Denver tries might be wise to select. Hilton is a tad on the small side at 5’10” and 183 lbs., but he proved at his Pro Day what his best attribute is: his speed. Hilton ran a 4.34 40 Yard Dash at his Pro Day earlier this month, and with a bit more experience could emerge as a terrific Slot Receiver in the N.F.L.. Hilton also has value as a Kick/Punt Returner, and could see some time there before he assumes a starting role.
(Previous Selection: Marcus Fortson, DT, Miami FL)
88. Philadelphia Eagles: Kirk Cousins QB (Michigan State)
Philadelphia could be leaning QB in Rounds 2-3 in 2012 because if Michael Vick gets hurt, Mike Kafka might not be a viable option to replace him. If Philadelphia does decide to draft a QB in 2012, they could look at Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins, a guy whose stock has risen after The Combine. Cousins did the best he could to silence his critics in Indianapolis by having a terrific throwing session and showed off arm strength and velocity which many scouts didn’t think he had (because he didn’t show it all that often) at Michigan State. The 6’3″ 214 lb. Cousins is an intelligent QB that makes good reads and throws an accurate ball. While he isn’t the most athletic QB in this Draft Class, and won’t wow anybody by making something out of nothing on plays, Cousins is an efficient player that could do well in a West Coast system that Philadelphia runs.
89. New Orleans Saints: Mike Martin NT (Michigan)
I’m being nice here, but that performance by New Orleans’ Defense in the closing minutes of the N.F.C. Divisional Playoff was terrible. I don’t care how good Drew Brees is, if that Defense cannot force turnovers it’s the Achilles Heel of the entire franchise. The Saints will be looking to upgrade their Defensive Line under new Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and Mike Martin could be the choice for the Saints at #89. Martin had a strong Senior Bowl week and projects to be a 4-3 DT that can play either the 1 or 3-Techniques after playing mostly NT in Michigan’s 3-4 alignment in college. The 6’1″ 304 lbs. prospect’s high motor will be valued by Spagnuolo as well because the Saints will look to create pressure whenever possible with their Front 4.
(Previous Selection: Nigel Bradham, OLB, Florida State)
90. Green Bay Packers: Jonathan Massaquoi DE/OLB (Troy)
I had been saying it all season long, but the Giants finally exposed the Packers’ Defense as the fraudulent bunch they were/are when they cannot effectively rush the passer/cause turnovers. Green Bay found out this season that having one All-Pro OLB in the form of Clay Matthews is not enough, and they could thus be looking to upgrade in the pass rushing department. Jonathan Massaquoi could be a good steal/find for the Packers if he falls to them. Masaquoi has a nice frame at 6’2″ and 264 lbs., but his speed (4.89 in 40) and overall raw strength (20 reps) displayed at The Combine and on tape leave much to be desired. Nevertheless, if Massaquoi given time to develop and work on his strength and leverage, Green Bay could reap the benefits of a pass rusher who knows how to use 34.125 inch arms in an effective manner and take advantage of single-team matchups on passing downs.
(Previous Selection: Antonio Allen, S, South Carolina)
91. Baltimore Ravens: Bobby Massie OT (Ole Miss)
Baltimore could use another Tackle on their roster, and selecting a player like Bobby Massie at #91 would be a solid value pick. Massie is an early entry guy from Ole Miss that has played against top competition in the S.E.C. and started 2.5 of the 3 years he was with the Rebels. Massie could use some work with honing his athleticism and using his height to his advantage, and it wouldn’t hurt if he added a bit more weight to his already imposing frame (6’6” 318 lbs.). Nevertheless, Massie should develop into a solid Tackle (Right or Left) if developed for a year or two, and could eventually replace Bryant McKinnie whose career is starting to wind down.
(Previous Selection: Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State)
92. San Francisco 49ers: Tyrone Crawford DE/DT (Boise State)
San Francisco could use some depth along their Defensive Line, and they will probably look to select a Defensive End in the middle Rounds next month. A JUCO Transfer with only one season of starting experience at Boise State, Tyrone Crawford had a terrific 2011 season and led the Broncos with 13.5 TFL’s and accumulated 6.5 Sacks. At 6’4″ 275 lbs. Crawford has tremendous athleticism and upside, but he extremely raw and has only played two seasons in the Mountain West Conference. But with a bit of coaching and some development, the 49ers could get some serious value with a player like Crawford in the 3rd or 4th Round.
(Previous Selection: George Iloka, S, Boise State)
93. New England Patriots: Antonio Allen S (South Carolina)
Antonio Allen could be a guy that the Patriots take a chance on in the 3rd Round this year. While not an overly big guy by any means (6’1″ 210 lbs.), Allen did establish himself as one of the Gamecocks better tacklers during his college career. With the Gamecocks, Allen played the versatile “Spur” position, where the Safety is in the box a lot and has to cover Backs and Ends, as well as defend the run. I believe that a player with Allen’s matchup versatility and tackling ability should help a team that had the League’s 2nd worst Defense’s against the pass.
(Previous Selection: Tommy Streeter, WR, Miami FL)
94. New York Giants: Robert Turbin RB (Utah State)
It wouldn’t hurt if New York acquired a bigger Back to compliment Amahd Bradshaw for future seasons. Robert Turbin is a big athletic runner that could spell Rice and keep him fresh as he enters his prime. Turbin is a tough inside runner and uses his size (5’10” 222 lbs.) effectively to push the pile and even broke long runs in college with his 4.5 speed. He had a very productive 2011 season for the Aggies and ran for 1,517 Yards and 19 TD’s as he helped lead Utah State to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl game.
95. Oakland Raiders: Casey Hayward CB (Vanderbilt)
Oakland’s Secondary sure could use some help. Last season the Raiders ranked 31st in Passing TD’s allowed, and 27th in Passing Yards allowed, and that was with Stanford Routt in their lineup. With Routt gone, Oakland sure could use a replacement for him and Nnamdi Asomugha who they lost last season. Hayward was a three year starter for the Commodores and seemed to only get better throughout his collegiate career. In addition, Hayward displayed a penchant for big plays and notched 15 INT’s and 20 Tackles For Loss in his final three seasons in college. Hayward is a solid tackler and uses his 5’11” 185 lb. frame well to wrap up the ball carrier and make plays in the open field. His speed on tape looks a bit faster than the 4.57 he ran at The Combine, but it still could be a concern to some teams.