Round 2 Cont.
48. Pittsburgh Steelers: Sio Moore ILB/OLB (Connecticut)
Behind Larry Foote and Lawrence Timmons, the Steelers are bereft of depth at inside linebacker. Moore (6’1″ 245 lbs.) enjoyed a great offseason workout period (4.65 40 yard dash at The Combine, 29 bench press reps, 38″ vertical jump), and is coming off of a solid senior season (72 tackles, 8.0 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss). A tough and physical linebacker, Sio also has the agility to hold his own in pass-coverage, and also has the tools to develop into a solid strongside-inside linebacker at the professional level. Moore possesses some pass-rushing ability as well, and I am sure that Pittsburgh’s defensive brass could find creative ways to the former Husky in a number of different ways.
49. New York Giants: Kevin Minter ILB (Louisiana State)
Chase Blackburn is now a member of the Panthers, and the team might want to bring in some competition for Mark Herzlich. 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 terrific middle linebacker in New York’s 4-3 scheme.
50. Chicago Bears: Zach Ertz TE (Stanford)
Now that Matt Spaeth and Kellen Davis are gone, the Bears need help at the tight end position. After he played second-fiddle to Coby Fleener at Stanford, Ertz stepped up huge in 2012 and racked up 69 catches for 898 yards and 6 touchdowns. 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 will be a versatile and effective player at the professional level.
51. Washington Redskins: Robert Alford CB (Southeastern Louisiana)
Washington’s defense ranked 30th overall last year in passing yards allowed per game, and their front office should try to shore up their secondary early on Day 2. An underrated prospect who has been flying up draft boards recently is Robert Alford of Southeastern Louisiana. Alford enjoyed a terrific career at the FCS level and notched 10 career interceptions. Although Alford is a bit small (5’10″ 188 lbs.), he is a tough defender who at the very least should become a solid performer as a nickelback for many years.
52. Minnesota Vikings: Quinton Patton WR (Louisiana Tech)
The Vikings are sure to select at least one wide receiver on Day 1 or Day 2 of “Draft Weekend,” because Christian Ponder needs more weapons to utilize in the passing game. 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 the pass-catcher does not possess immense size (6′ 204 lbs.), he runs great routes, has terrific awareness, and should be a productive receiver for any team that drafts him.
53. Cincinnati Bengals: Eric Reid FS (Louisiana State)
Although Reggie Nelson is signed long term, Chris Crocker (2013), Nate Clements (2013), and Taylor Mays (2014) will all be reaching UFA status soon. Thus, the Bengals could be looking to take a safety for depth/future starting purposes. A two-year starter with the Bayou Bengals, Reid emerged as another tremendously talented L.S.U. defensive back over the 2011 and 2012 seasons. A big-hitting and larger framed safety (6’1″ 213 lbs.), Eric proved willing to mix things up in the run-game and finished third on the team in tackles last year with 91 to go along with his 2 interceptions. While Reid must prove he is agile enough to stay with more athletic tight ends, he is definitely worth a mid-2nd Round investment for a safety-needy team like Cincinnati.
54. Miami Dolphins: D.J. Hayden CB (Houston)
Although the Dolphins recently signed Brent Grimes, their defense could still stand to acquire a talented cornerback. After a successful two-year stint at Navarro Junior College (2009-2010: 58 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss, 3 interceptions, and 2010 NJCC national championship), Hayden transferred to Houston and continued to play well. After a stellar junior campaign in 2011, Hayden was cruising along last season until he tore a heart valve and almost died during practice. Now medically cleared, Hayden looks primed to use his quick feet, big-play ability (2011-2102: 6 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 6 interceptions, and 2 touchdowns), and physical nature (2011-2012: 127 tackles) to his advantage at the professional level.
55. San Diego Chargers: Kyle Long OT (Oregon)
(Trade w/Green Bay: Swap 2nd Round picks (#45 overall and #55 overall), Green Bay sends 3rd Round pick (#88) to San Diego in exchange for a 5th Round pick (#110) and a 6th Round pick (#179) to complete deal)
Philip Rivers was bludgeoned last season as an assortment of backups did their best to stop the opposing pass-rushers. Unfortunately, San Diego’s offensive line surrendered 49.0 sacks last year (4th most in the entire league). Long (6’6″ 304 lbs.) should be able to transition well as a right tackle at the pro level, and would definitely help the Chargers rebuild their make-shift offensive line. Like most Oregon offensive linemen, Long possesses quick feet, and is a solid down-field blocker. Although he only started 1 season with the Ducks, his athleticism and upside should make him a mid-Day 2 pick, regardless of his past issues as a student at Florida State.
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: Markus Wheaton WR (Oregon State)
The Texans could definitely use another play-making threat opposite Andre Johnson, and Markus Wheaton might be just the player Houston needs to make their offense and even more formidable force. Wheaton (5’11″ 183 lbs.) reminds me a little of Antonio Brown, and I am sure that the Texans would love to add a prospect like him to their roster. The former Beaver enjoyed a career year in 2012 as he not only caught 91 passes for 1,244 yards and 11 touchdowns, but rushed for 2 touchdowns also.
58. Denver Broncos: Damontre Moore DE/OLB (Texas A&M)
At 6’4″ 250 lbs., Moore led the Aggies last year in tackles (85), tackles for loss (21.0), sacks (12.5) as he emerged as one of the S.E.C.’s best pass-rushers. The production and scheme-versatility definitely exist with Moore, as well as the talent, and I am sure that some team will look past his “off-field issues” and poor workout numbers. The Broncos found success with the guy Moore replaced at Texas A&M, and it would not shock me at all to see them try to upgrade their pass-rush in Round 2 or Round 3 of this month’s draft.
59. New England Patriots: Johnathan Hankins DT (Ohio State)
The Patriots have to wonder how much longer Vince Wilfork can play. 2013 will be the Nose Tackle’s 10th season, and New England might want some insurance in case Tommy Kelly does not pan out for them. 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 2nd Round.
60. Pittsburgh Steelers: Phillip Thomas SS (Fresno State)
(Trade w/Atlanta: Swap 1st Round picks (#31 overall and #17 overall), Atlanta sends 2nd Round pick (#60), 5th Round pick (#163), and 7th Round pick (#236) to complete deal)
A dangerous ball-hawk, Thomas (6’1″ 208 lbs.) led the FBS-level last season in interceptions (8), and can hold his own against the run. Although Thomas could fall due to concerns about his deep speed and a leg injury he sustained before the 2011 season began, he is definitely worth a Day 2 selection for a safety-needy team like Pittsburgh. In fact, he could be a terrific player to groom as Troy Polamalu’s replacement. The Steelers have shown interest in the former Bulldog, and I hope that Colbert & Co. look in his direction on “Draft Weekend.”
61. Buffalo Bills: Manti Te’o ILB (Notre Dame)
(Trade w/San Francisco: Swap 1st Round picks (#31 overall) and (#8 overall), San Francisco sends two 2nd Round picks (#34 & #61) to Buffalo in exchange for 5th Round pick (#143) to complete deal)
Buffalo must find some sort of competent answer at the middle linebacker position, and Manti Te’o's would be a solid value pick in Round 2. Imaginary girlfriend and speed questions aside, 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 the Bills who lost Nick Barnett recently and need someone to push Kelvin Sheppard.
62. Baltimore Ravens: D.J. Swearinger SS (South Carolina)
With Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard gone, the Ravens might need to acquire another safety this offseason to pair with Michael Huff. An experienced player, Swearinger started two-and-a-half years (33 Starts) at South Carolina over his career, and emerged as one of college football’s most feared and dangerous hitters (here and here). A tough, in-the-box defender, Swearinger can hold his own in run-support and made 80 tackles during his junior year, and 79 last season. The former Gamecock also had a knack for forcing turnovers and creating big-plays as he racked up 6 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and scored 2 defensive touchdowns in college as well.
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