17. Pittsburgh Steelers-Ezekiel Ansah, DE BYU (Scouting Report)
The Steelers are another team that is in desperate need of a left tackle that will find the lack of top end talent frustrating. Instead, they can turn to helping an aging defense. Ansah is exactly the type of young, athletic, explosive talent that could help move Pittsburgh’s defense back up to their aggressive best.
18. Dallas Cowboys-Jesse Williams, DT Alabama (Scouting Notes)
The Cowboys would have really wanted Warmack at this spot, but need to adjust. They could really use offensive tackle help, but there is nobody with the exception of DJ Fluker or Lane Johnston, both of which I believe are reaches. Drafting Jesse Williams is less likely if they re-sign Jay Ratliff, but the Cowboys could really use somebody inside to punch up the run defense. Williams can play over the center in either a 3-4 or 4-3 front, depending on what Kiffin brings.
19. New York Giants-Dion Jordan, DE Oregon (Scouting Report)
The Giants always like to load up on their defensive line; that’s even when their line is strong. This year has been a real down year for the Giants defense in terms of production in both the run and pass game. Jordan is an athletic, physical pass-rusher who has room to put on plenty of weight and could turn into a dynamic player at the end of his first season, similar to the type of production the Giants got from Jason Pierre-Paul when he was a raw specimen.
20. Chicago Bears-Jonathan Cooper, OG North Carolina (Scouting Notes)
The Bears are another team that are continuously failed to address their offensive line issues. With Jay Culter, Matt Forte, and Brandon Marshall, they have the skill players who put together a dynamic offense. They just need to give them time to make plays. Cooper isn’t a household name, but he’d a quick, technically sound guard who can block in-line or pull out in front. He could do wonders for the Bears offense.
21. Cincinnati Bengals-Alec Ogletree, LB Georgia (Scouting Notes)
The Bengals could really use some help in their linebacker corps or take a pass-rushing talent like Montgomery. However, I think that Ogletree will be the selection here once workouts are over. He’s versatile and a sure tackler. He hits like a truck and has really improved his coverage ability. He could be a great addition to a Bengals linebacker corps that has many high-profile college players who have yet to really produce in the NFL.
22. St. Louis Rams-Kenny Vaccaro, S Texas (Scouting Report)
The Rams could also use an offensive tackle and could use this pick on DJ Fluker, but I think that if Cordy Glenn fell to the second round, Fluker is likely to do the same. If they turn their attention to the defense, the safety position is the one that jumps out. Finnegan has helped the pass defense, but he needs some help over the top. Kenny Vaccaro should be the next in the line of talented Longhorn defensive backs.
23. Minnesota Vikings-DeAndre Hopkins, WR Clemson (Scouting Notes)
Christian Ponder has had a subpar sophomore season, but I think a lot of that has to do with his lack of receiving options. Percy Harvin was constantly hurt, and he’s not a number one wide receiver to begin with. DeAndre Hopkins is a big receiver who can make plays downfield. I think he’ll separate himself from the pack once offseason workouts begin.
24. Indianapolis Colts-Lane Johnson, OT Oklahoma (Scouting Notes)
The Colts identity has really changed under Chuck Pagano, but he needs more talent on the defensive side of the ball to take their performance up a notch. Running a 3-4 scheme, they could take a big nose tackle prospect like John Jenkins, or a more athletic lineman, like Sharrif Floyd. However, the Colts franchise rests on Andrew Luck’s shoulders, and he was hit more than any other QB in the NFL. Johnson is a large, strong lineman who could become a very solid right tackle.
25. Seattle Seahawks-Sharrif Floyd, DT Florida (Scouting Notes)
The Seahawks have a pretty fearsome defense already, but they could use another body in the middle to help occupy blockers and stop up the run. Floyd is a borderline first round pick right now, but I love the way he uses his hands to keep blockers off of him, and I think he has the explosion to be a real playmaker at the next level. I know the Seahawks want a pass-rusher, so Sam Montgomery is an option, but I think you can find a guy to rush the passer later in drafts.
26. Green Bay Packers-Barrett Jones, OG Alabama (Scouting Notes)
The Packers could go with a tight end here if they let Finely go, like many expect. However, I still think that they have some glaring holes on the offensive line. Jones is a versatile lineman who can plug and play at a number of positions along the interior of the line. It will help the Green Bay offense more than a first round tight end would.
27. Houston Texans-Kevin Minter, ILB LSU (Scouting Notes)
For years I’ve been saying that the Texans could use a slot receiver to help take some pressure off of Andre Johnson. However, they don’t appear willing to take one in the first round. So Minter is the next best thing. He’s an instinctual linebacker and the kind of solid presence that allows playmakers to take chances off the edge, knowing that the middle is under control. After watching the Patriots running game carve up Houston, this may be the smartest pick they can make.
28. Denver Broncos-Tyler Eifert, TE Notre Dame (Scouting Notes)
Peyton Manning has completely changed the Broncos offense, but everybody knows that he loves having a tight end to throw to. Jacob Tamme and Joel Dressen were fine this year, but not good enough to be true assets. Eifert is a well-rounded player who can give Manning a security blanket underneath while also helping in the running game.
29. Baltimore Ravens-Cordarelle Patterson, WR Tennessee (Scouting Notes)
This pick might not make a lot of sense on the surface, but I don’t see the Ravens bringing back Boldin. If they don’t franchise Joe Flacco than this pick could also be Matt Barkley or Mike Glennon. As it stands, I think the Ravens will really need another weapon out wide to help get more out of Flacco if Boldin leaves. Patterson is very raw, but is quite possibly the most explosive receiver in this draft.
30. New England Patriots-Xavier Rhodes, CB Florida State (Scouting Notes)
The Patriots acquired Talib, but their pass defense still needs some work. Rhodes is the type of large, physical corner that teams love. He plays full out on every play, loving to blow up runners in the backfield. Similarly, he has the footspeed to stay with receivers in the open field. He could turn into a very solid player for the Pats.
31. San Francisco 49ers-Sam Montgomery, DE LSU (Scouting Notes)
The 49ers have a strong defense, but every team that builds a strong defense always loads up early in the draft. If the 49ers don’t re-sign Goldson, they are going to have a massive hole at safety, but if a guy like Montgomery falls here than I find it hard to believe that Harbaugh won’t jump. Just another dynamic piece on a strong defense.
32. Atlanta Falcons-Zach Ertz, TE Stanford (Scouting Notes)
The Falcons don’t get a lot of pressure off the edge and could use a player like Alex Okafor, but Tony Gonzalez is such a huge part of the offense and will absolutely need to be replaced.
Rest of the Bills Draft
Round 2 EJ Manuel, QB Florida State (Scouting Notes)
I’ve been touting Manuel for a long time and truly think that his offseason will make him a first round pick. However, right now this is good value for him. He’s a big quarterback who can make plays with his legs, but has underrated accuracy. He’s never completed under 60% of his passes in a season. He may need another year to truly hit his potential, but he has all the tools to become a strong quarterback in the NFL.
Round 3 Aaron Dobson, WR Marshall (Scouting Report)
Buddy Nix keeps talking about wanting a big receiver who is open even when he’s covered. Dobson might just fit that bill. At 6’2” 205 pounds, Dobson is a strong receiver. However, he also possesses 4.4 speed and the production to back up the tools. With a good performance at the Senior Bowl, he could really shoot up draft boards.
Round 4 Kwaeme Geathers, NT Georgia (Scouting Notes)
A gigantic body, who might actually be better than John Jenkins. He’s athletic for his size and very powerful. He may never be more than a rotational player because he would likely only be used when the Bills go to a three-man front, but he can be extremely effective in that role.
Round 5 AJ Klein, ILB Iowa State (Scouting Report)
Klein is not a flashy player or a big name, but he’s an instinctual linebacker that could be very effective in a hybrid defense. He’s faster than people think and he is a sure tackler. Solid in coverage, but not exceptional, Klein is simply a player that does everything pretty well. To me that spells a perfect back-up, rotational player in the NFL. However, that’s his floor. There’s not much risk with him.
Round 6 Terry Hawthorne, CB Illinois (Scouting Notes)
For some reason, people keep saying that Hawthorne is a third day draft pick. I know injuries have been a concern for him, but when he’s on the field, Hawthorne is a real player. He has skills when the ball is in the air and he’s physical in all aspects of the game. With Williams slipping and McGee on the way out, he could provide real CB depth for the Bills.