17.) Pittsburgh Steelers: Cordalle Patterson WR (Tennessee)
Cal WR Keenan Allen may also be a possibility here, but I’m sticking with Patterson who adds an extra dimension in the return game. Yes, he is raw and needs coaching but the explosiveness is there and he will finally give Ben Roethlisberger the big WR he has sought. While I love either of the Florida State bookends (Bjorn Werner or Tank Carradine) here as well, I’ve been touting Patterson for a while so I’m sticking with him. I’m just crossing my fingers that this won’t be another Limas Sweed.
18.) Dallas Cowboys: DJ Fluker T (Alabama)
I’m trying to think of the last time the Steelers and Cowboys drafted in successive picks, but it’s a sign of how much the NFL changes. While the Cowboys are changing defensive schemes and a lineman here would make sense, I think they shake things up and grab the mammoth tackle from Alabama to bookend with Tyron Smith. I still don’t think Jerry Jones has any clue on how to run a draft and I could even envision a different Crimson Tide player in this spot in RB Eddie Lacy. In an unpredictable draft I see the Cowboys being as unpredictable as anyone. Besides, Fluker has been linked to their NFC east rival New York Giants and Jones would love to add another log to that rivalry’s fire.
19.) New York Giants: Bjorn Werner DE (Florida State)
After the Giants war room calms down watching the Cowboys grab Fluker, I think big blue passes on draft darling Ziggy Ansah and chose the low-risk Florida State product whom Coach Tom Coughlin will fall immediately in love with. Werner has a non –stop motor and will play his tail off .The fun will be watching Werner go up against Fluker twice a year and see which team made the right pick.
20.) Chicago Bears: Arthur Brown LB (Kansas State)
Yes, the Bears could address their always needy OL with North Carolina G Jonathan Cooper, but their LB corps needs attention as well. Stalwart Brian Urlacher has departed and Lance Briggs isn’t getting younger. Brown lacks ideal height but I see the next London Fletcher in the former Kansas State star who may be one of several reaches in this round.
21.) Cincinnati Bengals: Ziggy Ansah DE (BYU)
Picks 16-25 are usually where trades become numerous as a couple of players see their draft stock drop and some team swoops in to grab them. I believe that happens with Ansah whom I have serious reservations about. Yes, the athletic ability is there, but the resume is short. While the Bengals could deal down and take a WR, I think the temptation to grab the slipping Ansah is too great to pass on. The Bengals defense was good but not elite and if Ansah is the real deal everyone says he is, he may help raise them to that level.
22.) St.Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper G (North Carolina)
Even with Vaccaro and Elam gone, the Rams could address safety with either LSU’S Eric Reid or FIUs Jonathan Cyprien. But Sam Bradford needs all the help he can get and after addressing defense with their last few first rounders, the offense finally gets some love. Cooper will be a day one starter and can help both in the run game and in pass defense.
23.) Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen WR (Cal)
Viewed by some as the top receiver in the draft the draft, the 6-2 Allen left school a year early which is perfect for the Vikings who will look to Allen to replace the traded Percy Harvin. Allen runs good routes and is not afraid of contact. While is best work in college came from the slot, Allen is big with good hands and he will be a very productive no 2 receiver.
24.) Indianapolis Colts: DJ Hayden CB (Houston)
Hayden is one of the fastest rising players in many experts’ eyes, even being ranked ahead of Milliner by some. That is a reach for me, but you have to love Hayden’s story, returning to the field after a life threatening injury last fall. At the time the Houston product was one of the top players at his position and picking him here wouldn’t be too much of a reach.
25.) Houston Texans: Justin Hunter WR (Tennessee) (trade with Vikings)
Yes, Hunter would probably be there two spots later for the Texans, but I think the Ravens are looking at him to replace Anquan Boldin, so Houston jumps up to grab the Tennessee stud. Hunter can be a poor man’s AJ Green with serious pro bowl potential. The Texans are dangerously thin at receiver and Andre Johnson isn’t getting younger. Hunter has some injury concerns but he’s too good to pass up here.
26.) Green Bay Packers: Eddie Lacy RB (Alabama)
If the Packers offense is to ever gain balance, they must address the running back spot which has for years been manned by pedestrian, off the street free agents. Lacy is the only back worthy of first round consideration. Yes he has some post season injury concerns and may not have the passion for contact that his former Crimson Tide running mate Trent Richardson has, but he still will have every chance to be a productive NFL back.
27.) Minnesota Vikings: Desmond Trufant CB (Washington) (trade with Texans)
Quite simply, Trufant fills the void left by the departure of Antoine Winfield and he’s the last top rated CB on the board at this point. The Vikes will have to wait to address their DL and LB depth in later rounds.
28.) Philadelphia Eagles: EJ Manuel QB (Florida State) (trade with Broncos)
With all the top corners gone, the Broncos will have to wait to find help at that spot and they find a willing trade partner in the Eagles who need to find the eventual (if not sooner) replacement for Michael Vick. Manuel is another who finds his name rising on draft boards, becoming the second QB picked after Geno Smith. MVP of the Senior Bowl, the strong armed former Seminole will need some time to adjust to the pro game, but Chip Kelly’s high octane offense suits Manuel well.
29.) Buffalo Bills: Ryan Nassib QB (Syracuse) (trade with Patriots)
Bill Belichick is the Fred Astaire of the draft, dancing through rounds, acquiring picks as fast as Lindsay Lohan acquires arrests. However, he has very few picks to play with in 2013, so he picks up a few from the Bills and new head coach Doug Marrone who knows Nassib from their days at Syracuse. I think both teams put their division rivalry aside to make the deal happen and trader Bill keeps dancing through the draft.
30.) Atlanta Falcons: Tank Carradine DE (Florida State)
The Falcons could go in a few directions, but I think they look to replace their aging pass rush and take a flier on the Florida State end whose season was cut short by a knee injury. Some have Carradine graded as a third or fourth round pick, but he’s one of those guys who always seem to sneak into the bottom of the first round and push higher rated players into the second. Carradine has great push off the line and creates separation with his long arms and much like his Seminole teammate Werner, gives all out effort. He can play on both ends of the line and his coaches will love his work ethic and motor.
31.) Miami Dolphins: Tyler Eifert TE (Notre Dame) (trade with 49ers)
Forgot about them, didn’t you? The Dolphins have dedicated this offseason to providing QB Ryan Tannehill with more weapons and without a bona fide tight end on the roster, the ‘Fins grab the former golden domer who will provide the team with an immediate impact. Eifert’s elite skills will give Coach Joe Philbin all kinds of possibilities from his position and is a future pro bowler. While his game isn’t complete, Eifert’s impact will make everyone else around him better.
32.) Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te’o LB (Notre Dame)
No, I don’t think he’s first round material (even at this spot), but nearly every mock draft at one time or another had the Ravens taking him so that’s why he’s here. Clemson WR De Andre Hopkins is another possibility as are safeties Reid or Cyprien who could be looked on to replace Anquan Boldin and Ed Reed respectively.