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 should develop into a solid strongside-inside linebacker at the professional level. Moore possesses some pass-rushing ability too, 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: Kawann Short DT (Purdue)
New York lost Chris Canty during offseason, and it would not hurt if they found an athletic defensive tackle to take his place. The 6’3″ 299 lb. Short had a terrific year on an otherwise mediocre Boilermaker defense, and he definitely made his presence felt in opposing backfields. Overall, Kawann registered 42 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, and 6.0 sacks from the interior of the defensive line. Short has the short-area quickness to make plays and gap-shoot, and would be a solid value pick in the middle of the 2nd round.
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: Johnthan Banks CB/FS (Mississippi State)
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 of the draft. Banks, The 2012 Jim Thorpe Award winner, possesses a tall and lanky frame (6’2″ 185 lbs.), and has shown the ability to make plays on the football even as a zone-scheme guy (16 career interceptions). The former Bulldog can also mix it up in the run-game (125 tackles the last two seasons), and even has the skill-set to play the free safety position (he started at the position as a freshman in college). Johnthan’s 40 time at The Combine though (4.62) could drop him into Round 2, but I’m sure the Redskins would be thrilled to add him to their roster.
52. Minnesota Vikings: Manti Te’o ILB (Notre Dame)
The Vikings need help at middle linebacker, and G.M. Rick Spielman might be willing to gamble on infamous Notre Dame prospect Manti Te’o. 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. While Te’o was a highly productive college player, one must wonder if his success was contingent upon the stellar play of Louis Nix, Stephon Tuitt, and Kapron Lewis-Moore over the last two years. Although the questions are numerous, selecting Te’o near the end of Round 2 would be a “low-risk/high-reward” move for a team like Minnesota.
53. Cincinnati Bengals: Terron Armstead OT/OG (Arkansas Pine Bluff)
It definitely helps the Bengals that the free agent market is littered with right tackles, because there is still a chance that veteran Andre Smith could return to the team. If Smith does in fact leave before the draft, then Cincinnati will need a new right tackle. The offensive tackle burst on the scene earlier this spring, and had an amazing workout session at The Combine (4.71 40 yard dash, 34.5 vertical jump, 31 bench press reps). While it will likely take a year or two for Armstead (6’5″ 306 lbs.) to develop, the athletic tools are there for him to develop into a solid guard or right tackle at the professional level.
54. Miami Dolphins: Damontre Moore DE (Texas A&M)
Even after their free agent spending splurge, the Dolphins still need to find an outside pass-rusher to pair with pro bowler Cameron Wake (15.0 sacks in 2012) and help on passing-downs. 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 is there with Moore, as well as the talent, and he did a fine job as a defensive end and at the “joker” (defensive end/outside linebacker) position at Texas A&M. While Moore’s off-field issues and poor workouts however might drive him down draft boards around the league, his value at the end of Round 2 is tremendous.
55. Green Bay Packers: Quinton Patton WR (Louisiana Tech)
The Packers lost Donald Driver and Greg Jennings this offseason, and Aaron Rodgers could stand to use another wide receiver to team with Jordy Nelson and James Jones. 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.
56. Seattle Seahawks: Kyle Long OG/OT (Oregon)
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. Long (6’6″ 304 lbs.) should be able to transition well as a right tackle at the pro level, and would definitely help to bolster Seattle’s 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.
57. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gavin Escobar TE (San Diego State)
(Trade w/Houston: Swap 2nd Round picks (#43 overall) and (#57 overall), Houston sends one 3rd Round pick (#89) to Tampa Bay to complete deal)
Tampa Bay could look to acquire more picks if they trade back in Round 2, and they should still be in range to take a very talented tight end like Gavin Escobar. The former Aztec has a pair of soft hands, a big frame (6’6″ 254 lbs.), and possesses the ability to make tough catches (2011-2012: 93 catches, 1,323 yards, and 13 touchdowns) in traffic and in the red zone. Escobar has the type of speed to stretch teams vertically, and his presence would definitely help Doug Martin and the rest of the Buccaneers’ running game.
58. Denver Broncos: David Amerson CB/FS (North Carolina State)
The Broncos need depth at cornerback and free safety, and David Amerson could be a solid option for them in Round 2 or Round 3. Amerson is a tall and lanky (6’1″ 205 lbs.) ball-hawk who has the size and ball-skills to match up with some of the league’s taller pass-catchers. If Amerson does struggle to keep up with the foot-speed of shiftier receivers, he could be move to free safety where he could show off his proficient tackling skills (2010-2012: 50+ tackles per season) and shine as a “centerfielder” (2011-2012: 18 interceptions) on the back end.
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. Atlanta Falcons: Cornelius Washington DE (Georgia)
Although the Falcons signed Osi Umenyiora, they could still stand to acquire another defensive end to replace John Abraham. Although Washington (6’4″ 265 lbs.) was not highly productive in Georgia’s defensive scheme (22 tackles, 0.5 sack, 3.0 tackles for loss), his combination of strength (36 bench press reps at The Combine), athleticism (39″ vertical jump), and explosiveness (4.55 40 yard dash) off of the edge should make him a late Day 2 or early Day 3 selection for any team in need of a 4-3 defensive end.
61. Pittsburgh Steelers: Giovani Bernard RB (North Carolina)
(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)
If Giovani Bernard’s frame knocks him down into the end of the 2nd Round, I really hope that Colbert & Co. would jump at the chance to acquire him. 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). Heck, Giovani was so versatile that he even returned 2 punts for touchdowns last season. Although the running back position has been somewhat “devalued” in recent years, Bernard would form a nice “thunder & lightning” duo with Jonathan Dwyer in Pittsburgh.
62. Baltimore Ravens: Markus Wheaton WR (Oregon State)
The Ravens will need somebody to replace Anquan Boldin, and the speedy Markus Wheaton would be a great addition to their wide receiver corps. Wheaton (5’11” 183 lbs.) reminds me a little of Antonio Brown, and I am sure that the Ravens 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 he rushed for 2 touchdowns as well. Markus can stretch the field both vertically and horizontally, and he has the potential to be a tremendous addition to Baltimore’s already speedy wide receiver corps.