Round 1 Cont.
17. San Francisco 49ers: Tyler Eifert TE (Notre Dame)
(Trade w/Pittsburgh: Swap 1st Round picks (#17 overall) and (#31 overall), San Francisco sends one 2nd Round pick (#61), one 4th Round pick (#128), and one 5th Round pick (#157) to Pittsburgh to complete deal)
The 49ers have 13 draft picks, and are primed to make a move up into Round 1 this weekend. If the Steelers are not interested in Tyler Eifert, I would look for San Francisco to pull off a trade to get in front of teams like the Giants and the Bears to take him. Although Eifert’s 2012 stats were not particularly mind-blowing (50 catches, 685 yards, 4 touchdowns), anyone who watched him could see that Notre Dame’s quarterback situation was less-than helpful. Teaming Eifert (6’5″ 250 lbs.) with Vernon Davis would make San Francisco’s offense downright lethal.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Chance Warmack OG (Alabama)
Dallas could stand to use an upgrade at center and guard, and Chance Warmack could be a perfect player to fill at least one of those needs. In fact, unless Kenny Vaccaro or Sheldon Richardson are available, I would have a hard time believing that Jerry Jones and the rest of his underlings would pass on him. Warmack (6’2″ 317 lbs.) started 40 games during his collegiate career with the Crimson Tide, and is a fantastic road-grading mauler with some nice pass-protection skills to boot.
19. New York Giants: Alec Ogletree ILB/OLB (Georgia)
The Giants have issues at the weakside and middle linebacker positions, and G.M. Jerry Reese could make his team’s defense even more lethal with the addition of Alec Ogletree. A former safety, Ogletree possesses an incredible mix of size and speed (6’2″ 242 lbs.), and led the Bulldogs this past year in tackles with 111, and registered 11.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks to go along with 1 interception. At least to me, Ogletree is worthy of a Top 12-15 selection based on his talent, but his stock will likely fall due to his off-field issues.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Geno Smith QB (West Virginia)
(Trade w/Chicago: Jacksonville sends 2nd Round pick (#33 overall) and 3rd Round pick (#63) to Chicago for 1st Round pick (#20 overall) to complete deal )
While I do not believe that Jacksonville will take a quarterback at #2 overall, I can definitely see the Jaguars’ brass trading back into Round 1 if Geno Smith falls past the Jets. Any sane franchise would cut ties with the “Blaine Gabbert Experience,” and it would really benefit Jacksonville’s brass to take a chance on the strong-armed, accurate, and athletic former Mountaineer (2012: 369 for 518 (71.2%), 4,205 yards, 42 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions) so they can solve their team’s biggest issue.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Johnathan Cyprien SS (Florida International)
Although Reggie Nelson is signed long term, Chris Crocker (2013), Nate Clements (2013), and Taylor Mays (2014) will all be reaching UFA status soon. The Bengals have taken a keen interest in Jonathan Cyprien as of late, and they might have to take him in Round 1 if they fear he will not fall to them early in Round 2. The former Florida International strong safety shined during Senior Bowl week, and enjoyed a solid 2012 season with the Golden Panthers (93 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and 4 interceptions). Although Cyprien is not as agile as Matt Elam is in pass-coverage, he does possess decent size (6′ 217 lbs.), and can definitely hold his own near the line of scrimmage in run support.
22. St. Louis Rams: DeAndre Hopkins WR (Clemson)
The Rams could decide to add a wide receiver in the 1st Round, and DeAndre Hopkins would be a solid choice. While some “hotel mess-capades” back in February could hurt Hopkins’ draft stock, his play at Clemson will likely make him a 1st/2nd Round pick. After he put up 72 catches for 978 yards and 5 touchdowns as a sophomore, Hopkins improved to the tune of 82 catches for 1,405 yards and 9 touchdowns this past year as the Tigers won the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Hopkins is well-built (6’1″ 200 lbs.), possesses solid hands, is a good route-runner, and would definitely help to fill the void left by Amendola.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Sylvester Williams DT (North Carolina)
Minnesota should be in the market to find veteran Kevin Williams’ replacement, and the Vikings are lucky because this year’s draft class is very deep at the defensive tackle position. A former junior college transfer, the massive Sylvester Williams (6’3″ 313 lbs.) was a two-year starter with the Tar Heels, and finished last season with 42 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, and 6.0 sacks. For a big guy, Williams possesses some deceptive speed, and he could help the Vikings as a gap-shooter and a gap-clogger in the trenches.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Cornellius “Tank” Carradine DE/OLB (Florida State)
Indianapolis will need to bolster their pass-rush over the coming seasons, and it might make sense for them to look for one early on “Draft Weekend.” If Jarvis Jones does not fall to them at #24, the Colts could take a chance on “Tank” Carradine of Florida State. After one year as a rotational defensive end alongside Bjoern Werner and Brandon Jenkins, Carradine burst on the scene last fall and racked up 80 tackles, 11.0 sacks, and 13.0 tackles for loss until he went down with an ACL tear against Florida late last season. Knee injury aside, the Colts would be wise to take Carradine if he fell to them at #24 overall.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson WR (Tennessee)
In spite of the fact that the Vikings signed Greg Jennings, their offense still needs another weapon for Christian Ponder to throw to next year. The 6’2″ 216 lb. junior was a phenomenal kick returner and wide receiver at the junior college level before he came to Knoxville last fall, and Cordarrelle definitely made a splash in 2012. Over 12 games, Patterson caught 46 passes for 778 yards and 5 touchdowns, rushed for 308 Yards and 3 touchdowns, and returned 1 kickoff and 1 punt for touchdowns. Although his skill-set is still developing, Patterson’s upside will undoubtedly be too high for some team in the top 25 to pass on him.
26. Green Bay Packers: Datone Jones DE (UCLA)
The Packers could stand to acquire an athletic 5-technique to help their defense in the trenches. Jerel Worthy is coming off of a knee injury, and the team could not sign Steve McLendon. Thus it certainly appears that Green Bay could be in the market for a defensive end. A three-year starter with the Bruins, Datone Jones (6’4″ 283 lbs.) registered career highs in tackles (62), sacks (6.5), and tackles for loss (19.5) as the Bruins captured the Pac-12 South title. Armed with experience in 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, Datone would make the Packers’ defense even more dangerous against the run and the pass.
27. Houston Texans: Robert Woods WR (Southern California)
The Texans need to find a pass-catcher to compliment Andre Johnson, and Robert Woods might very well be that player. 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, injuries struck and Woods was relegated to the #2 wide receiver role behind the explosive Marqise Lee as the season continued. Woods still caught 76 balls for 846 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012, and he could definitely be a real steal late in Round 1 or early in Round 2 if he can stay healthy.
28. Denver Broncos: Bjoern Werner DE (Florida State)
Denver is in “win now” mode with veteran Peyton Manning at the helm, and the Broncos probably want to bolster their pass-rush now that Elvis Dumervil is in Baltimore. Although the German-born Werner (6’3″ 266 lbs.) is relatively new to the game football, he continued to improve his pass-rushing skills as he logged 18.0 tackles for loss and 13.0 sacks from his defensive end position last season. Werner is a 3-down player who has the tools to be a solid defensive end at the professional level, and also a terrific compliment opposite of Von Miller.
29. New England Patriots: D.J. Hayden CB (Houston)
Aqib Talib is only signed through this season, and the Patriots might want to find an insurance policy if he leaves. 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 shine. 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.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Desmond Trufant CB (Washington)
The Falcons lost Dunta Robinson this past offseason, and are in definite need of a starting cornerback. Although Atlanta could make a trade for Dee Milliner, they might be best served to wait at #30 for a talented prospect to fall to them like Desmond Trufant. The former Washington Husky (5’11” 190 lbs.) was a three-year starter during his college career, and Trufant emerged as the program’s “shut-down” guy during his time in Seattle as well. A quick cornerback who can make plays on the football (2009-2013: 4 interceptions and 23 passes defended), Trufant would be a solid addition to Atlanta’s secondary.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Justin Hunter WR (Tennessee)
(Trade w/San Francisco: Swap 1st Round picks (#17 overall) and (#31 overall), San Francisco sends one 2nd Round pick (#61), one 4th Round pick (#128), and one 5th Round pick (#157) to Pittsburgh to complete deal)
Although Pittsburgh matched New England’s offer for Emmanuel Sanders earlier this month, their offense still needs depth and a play-maker at the wide receiver position. While there is a ridiculous amount of buzz surrounding Cordarrelle Patterson, the Steelers might be wise to take his teammate Justin Hunter instead. Hunter was primed for a breakout season in 2011 until a knee injury derailed him three games into the year. I guess the injury did not faze Hunter too much, because the 6’4″ 196 lb. pass-catcher recorded 73 catches for 1,083 yards and 9 Touchdowns in 2012. Hunter would give Ben Roethlisberger a much needed weapon to stretch the field with and a big target for him to find in the red zone.
32. Buffalo Bills: Ryan Nassib QB (Syracuse)
(Trade w/Baltimore: Buffalo sends 2nd Round pick (#41 overall), one 4th Round pick (#105), and one 5th Round pick (#143) to Baltimore for 1st Round pick (#32 overall) to complete deal)
Even though the franchise signed Kevin Kolb, I am sure that Buffalo’s brass does not view him as the team’s long-term answer at the position. If the Bills want to try to fix their quarterback woes, they should try to find a willing trading partner in the back-half of the 1st Round to acquire Ryan Nassib or another signal-caller of their choice. Nassib (6’2″ 227 lbs.) was Doug Marrone’s starting signal-caller at Syracuse for three years, and he improved each and every season with the Orange in the areas of: completions, completion percentage, passing yards, and passing touchdowns. Last year was Nassib’s most productive, and he threw for 3,753 yards and 26 touchdowns as Syracuse won the Pinstripe Bowl to cap off the 2012 campaign.