Round 2 Cont.
48. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kevin Minter ILB (Louisiana State)
Pittsburgh has zero experienced depth behind Larry Foote and Lawrence Timmons, and neither player has a “future starter” waiting in the wings to take over for them. Minter was a force in the middle for the Tigers over the last two seasons, and registered 130 tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss, and 4.0 sacks in 2012. The squat-framed, yet athletic former Bayou Bengal (6′ 246 lbs.) packs a wallop as a tackler, has enough agility to potentially hold his own in pass-coverage, and projects well to develop into a ”Buck/Strongside” inside linebacker in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 scheme.
49. New York Giants: Zach Ertz TE (Stanford)
The Giants need to find a tight end who can stay healthy enough for Eli Manning, and Zach Ertz could be a perfect fit in Round 2. After he played second-fiddle to Coby Fleener, Ertz stepped up huge in 2012 as he racked up 69 catches for 898 yards and 6 touchdowns for the Cardinal. Ertz (6’5″ 249 lbs.) is a versatile prospect who has the potential to line up along the line of scrimmage, in the slot, or even in an h-back role. If the former Cardinal tight end can improve his blocking, he should be a terrific all-around player at the professional level.
50. Chicago Bears: Larry Warford OG (Kentucky)
The combination of James Brown, Lance Louis, Gabe Carimi, and Chilo Rachal did not cut the mustard this year, plus center Roberto Garza will be a Free Agent in 2014. Chicago’s pass-protectors gave up 44.0 sacks last year, and it would be wise to protect their franchise quarterback in the form of Jay Cutler. Warford, a 6’3″ 332 lb. road-grader, was a three-year starter with the Wildcats and emerged as one of the S.E.C.’s best interior offensive linemen in addition to Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack, and Dallas Thomas.
51. Washington Redskins: David Amerson CB/FS (North Carolina State)
Washington’s pass defense ranked 30th overall last year in passing yards allowed per game, and they should probably try to shore up their secondary early on Day 2. I like David Amerson as a physical specimen (6’1″ 205 lbs.), a ball-hawk, and as someone who is unafraid to mix it up in the run game. Yet his ability to cover of quicker and more fleet-footed pass-catchers, leaves much to be desired, and a transition to free safety would be beneficial to him and the team who selects him.
52. Minnesota Vikings: Manti Te’o ILB (Notre Dame)
Minnesota must find some sort of competent answer at the middle linebacker position. Manti Te’o's 4.8 40 time certainly did not help his draft stock rise. Plus, the issues about his speed and his “fake girlfriend” could linger until Draft Weekend and inevitably drive him into Round 2. To his credit, Manti (6’1″ 241 lbs.) did log over 100 tackles in each of his final three years in South Bend, and improved his skills in pass coverage last year to boot. Selecting Te’o near the end of Round 2 would be a “low-risk/high-reward” move for a team like Minnesota with extra picks at their disposal.
53. Cincinnati Bengals: Giovani Bernard RB (North Carolina)
Bernard (5’8″ 202 lbs.) was not only awesome on the ground for the Tar Heels over his career (2011-2012: 2,481 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns), but he was also a weapon in the passing game too (2011-2012: 92 catches for 852 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2011 and 2012). “Every-down backs” are not easy to find, and although the position has been devalued somewhat in recent seasons, Bernard should not last on the draft board for very long on Day 2 and he could be a solid fit with the Bengals.
54. Miami Dolphins: Johnathan Hankins DT (Ohio State)
The Dolphins might have “franchised” Randy Starks, but Paul Soliai will be a UFA after this season ends. To hedge their bets, the team might want to consider adding a defensive tackle for insurance purposes. A wide-bodied gap-clogger, Hankins (6’3″ 320 lbs.) shined during his Junior season with the Buckeyes as he logged 55 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, and earned All-Big 10 honors. The former Buckeye’s stock could slip due to issues regarding his weight and his “motor,” but it is unlikely he will fall any lower than the middle of the 2nd Round.
55. Green Bay Packers: Justin Pugh OG/OT (Syracuse)
If Justin Pugh did not have “T-Rex” arms (32″), he likely would have been a Top 40 pick. The 6’4″ 307 lb. tackle started for three years for the Orange in college, and was named 1st team All-Big East during his final two years at Syracuse. While Pugh’s arms and frame project him to be a better fit at the guard position at the pro-level. Regardless of whether or not he switches positions, Pugh has the athletic ability and the foot speed of a pro-caliber tackle, and he would definitely provide value as a “swing guy” on game-days if he needs to kick to the outside from his guard spot.
56. Seattle Seahawks: Terron Armstead OT (Arkansas Pine Bluff)
Breno Giocamini will be a UFA in 2014, so the Seahawks might be in the market for a developmental upgrade at Right Tackle if they elect not to sign him. Armstead (6’5″ 306 lbs.) had an amazing workout session at The Combine (4.71 40 yard dash, 34.5 vertical jump, 31 bench press reps), and put his athleticism on full display. Pete Carroll is no stranger to taking raw players with fantastic upside, and a player like Armstead could be a terrific selection from a value standpoint at the end of Round 2.
57. Houston Texans: Robert Woods WR (Southern Cal)
The Texans could definitely use another play-making threat opposite Andre Johnson, and Robert Woods might be just the player Houston needs to make their offense and even more formidable force. The 6′ 201 lb. Woods was assumed to have a monster 2012 season after he caught 111 passes for 1,292 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2011. Unfortunately for Woods, the Trojans were inconsistent this past year, and Woods was relegated to the #2 wide receiver role behind the explosive Marqise Lee. Down year aside, Woods still caught 76 balls for 846 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012, and he could be a real steal in Round 2 if he can recover from his ankle injury.
58. Denver Broncos: Khaseem Greene ILB (Rutgers)
D.J. Williams is gone, Joe Mays is a liability in pass-coverage, and Denver needs help at middle linebacker. I like Khaseem Greene’s skill-set, and I believe the athletic former safety (6’1″ 236 lbs.) would be a great fit with the Broncos. A hard-nosed “Tackling Machine,” Greene registered 141 and 136 Tackles during his two years as an inside linebacker after he transitioned from safety, and 26.0 tackles for loss over that span too. Greene might be a bit small, but he does a solid job in pass coverage and can hold his own enough at the point of attack to develop into a good player at the professional level.
59. New England Patriots: Terrance Williams WR (Baylor)
The Patriots might want to find Tom Brady a valid “deep-threat” via the Draft. Brady will need weapons to work with outside the numbers, and a player like Terrance Williams could make New England’s talented tight ends even more difficult to deal with in the future. Williams has good size (6’2″ 208 lbs.) and emerged as Baylor’s big-play wide receiver after Kendall Wright departed last year (97 catches, 1,832 yards, and 12 touchdowns). While his route-running could use some work, Terrance could be a dangerous field-stretching weapon for New England.
60. Atlanta Falcons: Darius Slay CB (Mississippi State)
Dunta Robinson is in Kansas City, and Asante Samuel will be entering his 11th season in 2013. The Falcons must improve their 23rd Ranked (Yards Allowed) Pass Defense, and they could target a Defensive Back on Day 2 like Darius Slay of Mississippi State. Although Slay was a bit overshadowed by his teammate Johnthan Banks, the 6′ 192 lb. cornerback played well opposite the Jim Thorpe Award winner. On the season, Slay led the Bulldogs in interceptions (5) and totaled 40 tackles and 1.0 sack to boot.
61. San Francisco 49ers: Tyrann Mathieu FS/CB/KR (Louisiana State)
Because Dashon Goldson is gone, and Donte Whitner will be a UFA next spring, the 49ers need depth and a future starter at safety. Furthermore, the 49ers might want to invest in some cornerback depth and a kick returner as well. If they are not fazed by his “off-field issues,” San Francisco’s brass might want to take Tyrann Mathieu (5’9″ 186 lbs.). A quick and scrappy defensive back, Mathieu’s ball-skills (2010-2011: 4 interceptions, 11 forced fumbles, and 8 fumble recoveries) and big play ability (2010-2011: 6.0 sacks, 16.0 tackles for loss, 2 fumble return touchdowns, and 2 punt return touchdowns) are what will make some team take a chance on him on Day 2 of the Draft.
62. Baltimore Ravens: Quinton Patton WR (Louisiana Tech)
If Baltimore wants their “money’s worth” out of Joe Flacco, then they had better find another talented target for him to throw to as he enters his prime like Quinton Patton. After he starred at Coffeyville CC in Kansas as a wide receiver and punter, Patton really came into his own at Louisiana Tech over the last two years. In 25 games, Patton made 100 catches, racked up 2,592 receiving yards, and caught 24 touchdowns with the Bulldogs! Although Patton does not possess immense size (6′ 204 lbs.) for a pass-catcher, he reminds me of a slightly-larger Emmanuel Sanders with more big-play and downfield receiving ability.