NFL Mock Draft 3.0: Final Mock

The 2011 NFL Draft is only days away.  Thursday, around 8 PM, the Carolina Panthers will officially go on the clock.  What follows is our final mock draft.  There’s been a lot of shake-up at the top since our last mock.  Players continue to rise and fall and will probably do so right up until Draft Day.  We’ll have draft grades for each team next week.  Happy Draft Day everyone!

1.  Carolina Panthers

Would I pick Cam Newton if I were running the Panthers?  No.  Do I think that is going to happen anyways?  Yes.  Quarterback fever has caught the Panthers, just like it seems to catch every team drafting #1 each year.  While the importance and value of the quarterback position cannot be overstated, the Panthers invested a 2nd round pick in QB Jimmy Claussen just last year and he was thought to be a top-5 talent.  If Stanford’s Andrew Luck were available, I would be all for a QB here, but with Newton as the top option, the variables are too many.

With all that said, I think Newton is the pick.  His athletic ability, arm strength and projectability have clearly masked the obvious concerns about his character, accuracy and ability to run and lead a pro-style offense.  Make no mistake, Newton’s tools are off the charts.  However with so many sure-fire impact players available, it’s hard for me to endorse this pick.

Prediction: QB Cam Newton, Auburn

Last Mock: DT Nick Fairley, Auburn

2.  Denver Broncos

The Broncos have thrown up smoke screens saying that they might be interested in a quarterback (probably Blaine Gabbert), but I think this pick is and always has been Alabama DL Marcel Dareus.  He had an excellent senior season and has shown well through every part of the draft process.  Denver desperately needs pieces for its new four-man front and Dareus will solidify the middle while DE Elvis Dumervil terrorizes QB’s from the outside.

I don’t see any way this pick is a quarterback.  Denver just signed Kyle Orton to an extension and they need to eventually give Tim Tebow a shot after investing a first round pick in him (unless they can extract a high pick from another team for him in a trade).

Prediction: DL Marcel Dareus, Alabama

Last Mock: Dareus

3.  Buffalo Bills

While Ryan Fitzpatrick stabilized the quarterback position for them to some degree last season, he’s not the long-term answer here.  Head Coach Chan Gailey needs to find himself a horse to hitch to his wagon to and Blaine Gabbert could be that horse.  He’s probably not a top-5 talent in the truest sense of the word, but again the need for quarterbacks pushes him up the board.

Still Gabbert is a very capable signal caller who has all the tools you look for.  He’s a true pocket passer with the arm strength and accuracy to make all the throws.  He’s got good size and I think his athleticism is somewhat underrated because he’s being shown side by side with Newton so much.  His two biggest challenges are going to be learning a pro-style offense and avoiding the occasional bonehead mistake.

Prediction: QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri

Last Mock: CB Patrick Peterson, LSU

4.  Cincinnati Bengals

Without knowing the final word on the Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson (yes he changed his name back) situations, this pick is quite hard to peg.  However, with both the top quarterbacks off the board in this scenario, the Bengals’ options are somewhat lessened and they would probably take the highest rated player on their board.

I have a hard time envisioning them passing on AJ Green.  He’s a top-level talent at the wide receiver position and should be able to aptly replace Johnson if/when they trade/release him.  Don’t be fooled by the forty time, Green has vertical speed.  He’s also got the size, hands, leaping ability and route running to be a top-level wide receiver in the NFL.

Prediction: WR AJ Green, Georgia

Last Mock: Green

5.  Arizona Cardinals

I’m not sure whether the Cardinals would target one of the QB’s if they dropped here, but again that question is moot in this scenario.  Still, this would be a great situation for Ken Whisenhunt and his staff with OLB Von Miller and CB Patrick Peterson still available.  Both are surely ranked very high on their draft board and both would fill areas of need.

In this mock, Von Miller is the pick.  If the Cardinals are going to commit to a 3-4 defense (and judging by their personnel, they should), they need an edge rusher to put pressure on the quarterback.  Building defenses from the front back works much better than the other way around.  Miller would slot in perfectly across from last year’s fourth round pick O’Brien Schofield, who I think has a lot of potential.  Miller has shown better than most thought he would in linebacker drills and looks healthy after struggling through nagging injuries most of last season.  He could provide an immediate impact player coming off the edge.

Prediction: OLB Von Miller, Texas A

Last Mock: Miller

6.  Cleveland Browns

The Browns are in an interesting spot here.  On one hand, they could use a top playmaker to catch passes from second-year QB Colt McCoy.  On the other hand, they desperately need pieces for their front-seven after deciding to transition back to the 4-3.  With Alabama WR Julio Jones still on the board, it’s tempting to go with option #1.  However, the smart move would be option #2.  Brian Robiskie and Mohammed Massaquoi aren’t game breakers, but they are competent receivers and both were second round picks not too long ago.  Also, TE Ben Watson had a nice first season in Cleveland last year.  Those three should be solid targets for McCoy and give GM Mike Holmgren the flexibility to upgrade his defense.

If defense is the call, Robert Quinn could be their man.  Quinn had a lot of questions to answer after sitting out all of 2010 because of suspension, but he’s answered almost all of them.  He’s extremely athletic and has an excellent first step to get around the corner.  Unfortunately, he’s also very inexperienced, so expecting him to start from Day 1 might be a little ambitious.  He should form a nice end combo with Matt Roth in time.

Prediction: DE/OLB Robert Quinn, North Carolina

Last Mock: WR Julio Jones, Alabama

7.  San Francisco 49ers

If this scenario plays out, expect the Niners to be running to the podium as soon as Cleveland makes their pick.  They have far more questions than answers in their secondary and LSU CB Patrick Peterson is considered by many to be the top talent in this draft.  I’m not quite as high on him as they are, but Peterson is an impressive talent.  He’s got top-level athleticism and speed, and all in a freakish body (6’, 220 lbs).

I have concerns about his technique and ability to remain at corner long-term, but this pick makes a lot of sense.  Peterson can slot in across from veteran corner Nate Clements and learn hone his craft.  He’s also an excellent return man and should contribute on special teams.

Prediction: CB Patrick Peterson, LSU

Last Mock: CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska

8.  Tennessee Titans

Considered a strong option for the Panthers at #1 by many draft experts for a time, Auburn DT Nick Fairley has started to tumble a bit.  Scouts have concerns about his character, work ethic and motor.  His status as something of a “one year wonder” also seems to scare some teams a bit.

With all that said, he’s exactly what the Titans’ defense has been lacking since Albert Haynesworth left town.  Fairly has the ability to penetrate and make plays in the backfield.  He took over games at time last season and the raw ability is undeniable.  He’s a very solid value at this point and should be part of a very strong tackle rotation in Tennessee.

Prediction: DT Nick Fairley, Auburn

Last Mock: DE Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson

9.  Dallas Cowboys

A lot of people are pegging an offensive lineman here and that makes sense to some degree.  The Cowboys line is old and RT Alex Barron struggled last season.  However, I think people are forgetting just how bad their secondary was.  Mike Jenkins looked lost last season and Terence Newman, 32, is getting up there in age.

In that light, Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara makes a ton of sense to me.  He and Peterson are far and away the best corners in this draft and if the Cowboys are going to get secondary help, there’s probably not going to be much available after this.  Amukamara has good size (6’, 206 lbs) and strong technique.  He might not be the “shutdown corner” that teams covet, but he’s very good.  A very solid pick.

Prediction: CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska

Last Mock: DE Cameron Jordan, California

10.  Washington Redskins

The Redskins have so many needs that it’s almost impossible for them to screw this pick up.  Other than tight end and safety, they couldn’t really go wrong selecting a player at any other position.  However, there have been rumors about them reaching for one of the second tier quarterbacks (read someone other than Newton or Gabbert) here.  That would be a mistake as quarterbacks like Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett, Christian Ponder and Andy Dalton would all be huge reaches here.

Washington would be best served helping their sieve of a defense.  They really couldn’t go wrong selecting a player for any of the three levels of the unit as all of them need help.  Cal DE Cameron Jordan would be a nice fit at end.  He’s got the size and strength to play in a three-man front and be a two-gap player.  However, he’s not just a grunt.  He’s got good athleticism and closing ability and could be a terror moving inside on passing downs.  Skins fans should welcome picks that would be viewed as “boring”.

Prediction: DE Cameron Jordan, California

Last Mock: DE/OLB Justin Houston, Georgia

11.  Houston Texans

Why are so many teams moving to the 3-4 these days?  Easy answer: personnel is easier to find for that scheme.  The hardest position to fill in a 4-3 is the power end spot.  You need a guy who has the strength to hold the strong side against the run as well as the quickness and athleticism to rush the passer.  Those guys are few and far between.  Houston has that guy in Mario Williams.  And yet, for some reason, they are switching to a 3-4 scheme that will turn Williams basically into a block eater.  It’s moments like this I’m convinced I could work in an NFL front office.

Regardless, if the Texans insist on running Wade Phillips’ 3-4, they will need another edge rusher to pair with the unproven Connor Barwin.  Missouri DE/OLB Aldon Smith is probably the best pass rusher on the board.  He’s very raw, but he’s oozing with athleticism.  He’ll probably take some time to develop, but his talent definitely makes him worthy of being selected this high.

Prediction: DE/OLB Aldon Smith, Missouri

Last Mock: DE/OLB Robert Quinn, North Carolina

12.  Minnesota Vikings

Teams have apparently soured on Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers for one of two reasons.  If that reason is a knee injury, then that is acceptable and I can completely understand their concern.  If that reason is his combine/pro day performance, NFL executives are in need of some perspective.  Bowers is a 6’4’’, 280 pound defensive end.  He’s not a linebacker.  If teams were expecting him to put up similar combine numbers to the hybrid DE/OLB guys, they’re out of their minds.  This guy has the tools to be an absolute stud at the NFL level.  His skill set is on par with guys like Julius Peppers and Mario Williams.  Those players are incredibly rare.

In this scenario Minnesota decides to either wait for the second round or trade for a quarterback and select Bowers here.  He’d be an excellent complement to Jared Allen and would help add some youth to a defensive line that is getting up there in age.

Prediction: DE Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson

Last Mock: DE/OLB Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue

13.  Detroit Lions

Detroit is in dire need of two players: a shutdown corner and a lineman to keep Matthew Stafford off the ground.  With the top corners off the board, the Lions opt for Tyron Smith, the fast rising offensive tackle from USC.  Smith is an athletic freak and has everything you look for in an elite blindside protector.  He’s got great feet, long arms and excellent athleticism.  Questions about his size and strength were answered to some degree at the combine when he showed weighed in at a chiseled 307 lbs.

He might not be an immediate starter as he’s somewhat inexperienced (played the right side in college) and needs to refine his technique a bit.  That shouldn’t be a problem as Jeff Backus can man the left side for one more season while Smith either starts at right tackle or sits on the bench and learns from there.  Anthony Castonzo might be the safer option, but I think Detroit goes with potential over production.

Prediction: OT Tyron Smith, Southern California

Last Mock: Smith

14.  St. Louis Rams

The Rams will be absolutely thrilled if Julio Jones is still sitting here at #14.  I didn’t think so until recently, but that is a real possibility.  If he gets by the Redskins at #10, I don’t see any other team taking him before St. Louis here.

Jones would be a great pick for the Rams.  He would immediately be the best receiver on the team and would provide Sam Bradford a go-to receiver.  Jones is big (6’3’’, 220 lbs), fast and tough.  He’s also an exceptional leaper and is very good in the open-field after making the catch.  His hands are somewhat suspect, though he’s made strides in that area.  There are some injury concerns, but I don’t think that stops the Rams from getting Bradford a #1 receiver.

Prediction: WR Julio Jones, Alabama

Last Mock: DT Corey Liuget, Illinois

15.  Miami Dolphins

There’s still a ton of buzz about the Dolphins targeting Alabama RB Mark Ingram here.  If the Dolphins actually make that pick, they are nuts.  Runningbacks are a dime a dozen.  They age quickly and are easily found later in the draft.  Mark Ingram is a good player, but he’s not an elite back that’s worth a mid-first round pick.

I’m not a huge Jake Locker fan either, but it’s clear to me that Chad Henne is not the answer at quarterback for this team.  He’s got a solid line and plenty of weapons around him and he simply cannot get it done.  Locker is the next quarterback on most teams’ boards, so he’s the logical pick here.  There are questions about his accuracy and ability to beat teams from the pocket, but he’s a great athlete, has good arm strength and all the intangibles you look for.  He’ll need some time to develop, but a year behind Chad Pennington (assuming health) would be fine.

Prediction: QB Jake Locker, Washington

Last Mock: QB Cam Newton, Auburn

16.  Jacksonville Jaguars

It’s time for the Jags to admit they made a mistake when they took DE Derrick Harvey 8th overall in the 2008 Draft.  In three years he’s amassed 8.5 sacks.  For a guy who is supposed to be providing a much-needed pass rush, that is unacceptable.

Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan might not be a 12 sack per year guy, but he’s got a great motor, is a hard worker and knows how to get around the corner.  He’s also much better against the run than people think.  He would provide an excellent complement to Aaron Kampman (assuming health) and, along with DT’s Tyson Alualu and Terrance Knighton, would give Jacksonville a very good front four.

Prediction: DE/OLB Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue

Last Mock: DE/OLB Aldon Smith, Missouri

17.  New England Patriots (via Oakland)

New England has a few very well-defined needs (OL, DL, pass rush) and plenty of picks to fill them (six picks in the first three rounds).  They could go either offensive or defensive line here, but I believe the need on the defensive side of the ball is greater.  With Richard Seymour gone and Ty Warren struggling with injuries, the Patriots need a young end to step in alongside NT Vince Wilfork and help hold the fort.

Wisconsin DL JJ Watt just screams Patriot to me.  He’s a hard worker with top-notch intangibles and great character.  However, I think most are doing him a disservice by typecasting him like that.  He’s very athletic for his size, has extremely long arms and is exceptionally strong.  He’s a perfect fit for the 5-technique defensive end spot.  I also think he’ll be an asset sliding inside on passing downs.

Prediction: DL JJ Watt, Wisconsin

Last Mock: Watt

18.  San Diego Chargers

San Diego’s needs mirror those of the Patriots (OL, DL, pass rush).  However, their need at tackle is a bit more immediate.  Jeromey Clary is simply not cutting it at right tackle anymore and San Diego has struggled a bit in the running game because of it.  Luckily for them, Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi is still on the board.

Carimi is huge (6’7’’, 315 lbs) and is exactly the kind of drive blocker that the Chargers desire for their power running game.  He’s not the most athletic guy, but he held his own at left tackle in college and showed well enough at the combine to convince some that he could play the position in the NFL.  I don’t know if I’d go that far, but he should have enough agility to stick outside at right tackle.  He’ll be a starter from Day 1.

Prediction: OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin

Last Mock: Carimi

19.  New York Giants

The Giants are a tough team to peg in the draft.  Every time you think they are going to address a need, they take another defensive lineman.  There is a serious lack of talent at linebacker, but I don’t see a 4-3 ‘backer they would take this early.  The next logical spot to address is the offensive line where LT David Diehl should probably be moved inside and RT Kareem McKenzie is aging.  It’s tough to tell what they think of young tackles Will Beatty and Jamon Meredith, but the fact that they were desperate enough last season to try Shawn Andrews at left tackle should be something of an indication.

Colorado OT Nate Solder would be a quality addition to the line.  He’s a great athlete with excellent measurable.  His technique needs a lot of work and he could probably stand to add some weight, but with Diehl and McKenzie still around, the Giants should be able to afford him a year on the bench.

Prediction: OT Nate Solder, Colorado

Last Mock: Solder

20.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs used their first two picks last year on two young defensive tackles in Gerald McCoy and Brian Price.  Those two should be starting in the middle for quite some time, but those guys need some help on the outside.  Their leader in sacks last season was Stylez G. White with five.  That is simply not going to cut it.

Luckily for them, Georgia DE/OLB Justin Houston is still on the board.  Houston played a hybrid position at Georgia, but would play with his hand on the ground most of the time with Tampa.  He’s got very good athleticism and an excellent first step to get around the corner.  There are concerns about his ability to play the run, but he added some pounds before the combine, which should help.  There are some minor character concerns (he was suspended for 2 games in ’09 for a “violation of team rules”), but nothing major.

Prediction: DE/OLB Justin Houston, Georgia

Last Mock: OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College

21.  Kansas City Chiefs

I’ve had Baylor NT Phil Taylor going here for some time now, but I’m starting to think his chances of going in round 1 are decreasing.  A medical report has surfaced that says he has bones growing together in his feet.  This is something that cannot be corrected and could physically hinder him in a big way.  There’s really no other good option at the nose tackle position here, so the Chiefs would do well to look at a linebacker or offensive lineman.

UCLA OLB Akeem Ayers makes a lot of sense to me at this pick.  His stock has dropped a lot because of his combine performance, but the tape doesn’t lie.  He’s a very talented player who can cover, play the run and flashes some pass rush ability.  He’s got great size and a lot of room to grow.  His stock drop reminds me a bit of the one experienced last year by Browns CB Joe Haden.  Haden ran a bad forty at the combine, but it was clear that his game speed was much better than his timed speed.  Chiefs’ GM Scott Pioli isn’t one to be fooled by combine numbers.

Prediction: OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA

Last Mock: NT Phil Taylor, Baylor

22.  Indianapolis Colts

When you have an all-world quarterback, you’ve got three objectives:

1) Get him weapons to throw to.

2) Get him a defense to help.

3) Protect him so he doesn’t get killed.

The Colts would be wise to invest a little more in #3.  Without Peyton Manning this team is in the cellar.  If I’m Bill Polian, I’m thinking I’d like to have someone a little more talented than Charlie Johnson protecting my most prized commodity.

Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo is the perfect fit here.  He’s an excellent pass protector and his weakness in the run game can be masked by the Colts’ blocking scheme.  Castonzo has great agility and is excellent in space.  He’s also battle tested with a ton of experience.  He’ll be the starter on the left side from Day 1.

Prediction: OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College

Last Mock: DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State

23.  Philadelphia Eagles

When you blitz as much as the Eagles do, you need some good corners on the back-end that can hold up in man-coverage.  Other than Asante Samuel, they really don’t have anyone capable of doing that.  Colorado CB Jimmy Smith would be an excellent fit.

Smith is big (6’2’’, 210 lbs), fast and very physical.  His size makes him a great complement to the other Eagle corners like Samuel, Joselio Hanson and Ellis Hobbs who are all less than 5’10’’ tall.  His ability to jam receivers at the line fits right in with what the Eagles are trying to do on defense.  There are some character concerns, but the Eagles have taken on those types of players before.

Prediction: CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado

Last Mock: G/C Marcus Pouncey, Florida

24.  New Orleans Saints

Left Tackle Jermon Bushrod is a free-agent and right tackle Jon Stinchcomb is aging and underperforming.  Backup Charles Brown has the pedigree (2nd rounder in 2010), but he’s completely inexperienced.  Following along with the methodology we used in the case of the Colts, the Saints could use some offensive line help.

Mississippi State OT Derek Sherrod would be an excellent fit here.  He’s athletic and has good measurables and great intangibles.  His ability to play both right and left tackle makes him a superb fit for the Saints.  He probably won’t be a Pro Bowler, but he’s got all the tools to be a very effective player at the next level.

Prediction: OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State

Last Mock: OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA

25.  Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks need a replacement for Matt Hasselbeck sooner rather than later, so taking a quarterback in this spot makes sense.  I’m just not sure which quarterback it will be.  If they are going on talent alone, Ryan Mallett is the easy call.  Unfortunately, there are serious concerns about Mallett’s character.  The rumors of rampant drug use were bad enough, but the way he has handled questions about those rumors has been even worse.  If Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll gets righteous on us, we could see TCU’s Andy Dalton or Florida State’s Christian Ponder here (which could be the right choice considering how important leadership and intelligence are at the quarterback position).

I don’t see that being the case though.  Carroll has never shied away from questionable character, especially when that questionable character has great talent and Mallett certainly has that.  He’s got great size, the best arm of any quarterback in the draft and I think his accuracy has been a little undersold as well.  He’s got serious limitations in terms of athleticism and mobility, but he’s got all the other tools you look for.

Prediction: QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas

Last Mock: QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri

26.  Baltimore Ravens

I don’t think the Ravens are as concerned about the cornerback position as every is making them out to be.  I’d like to peg an offensive tackle or wide receiver here, but all the first round level tackles are off the board and Baltimore has apparently decided to go with underperforming veteran receivers for now.  With those two positions out, cornerback becomes their greatest need.

Miami (FL) CB Brandon Harris is a bit on the small side (5’9’’, 190 lbs), but he’s got excellent coverage skills.  He’s much faster than he times and he’s also got great toughness which makes me less concerned about his size.  He’s not going to blanket anyone, but he’d be a welcome addition to a Baltimore secondary that doesn’t really have a ton of certainty at corner.

Prediction: CB Brandon Harris, Miami (FL)

Last Mock: CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado

27.  Atlanta Falcons

This is another pick that I’ve been wrestling with since our first mock.  They could use an offensive tackle and an edge rusher, but there’s not a ton of value here at either spot.  I could see them taking a wide receiver here to pair with Roddy White, but Pitt’s Jon Baldwin and Maryland’s Torrey Smith don’t really seem to fit well.

I’m thinking value here and in that sense Illinois DT Corey Liuget is a great pick.  He’s not a sack artist and he’s not big enough to command constant double teams, but he can play the run well and push the pocket in passing situations.  Second-year tackle Peria Jerry was a bit of a disappointment last season, but even if he turns it around, there’s not much else at the position.

Prediction: DT Corey Liuget, Illinois

Last Mock: OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State

28.  New England Patriots

With defensive line reinforcements on board, the Patriots set their sights on the offensive line and pass rush.  With the elite tackles all gone, they have an opportunity to upgrade a pass rush that really doesn’t have much punch.  Arizona DE/OLB Brooks Reed is another guy that just screams Patriots when you look at the scouting reports.

Reed has a great motor, an outstanding work ethic, top level football IQ and is extremely versatile.  He’s not the biggest, the fastest or the strongest, but he gets to the quarterback.  He’s been creeping up draft boards in recent weeks and this looks like the perfect landing spot for him.

Prediction: DE/OLB Brooks Reed, Arizona

Last Mock: G Danny Watkins, Baylor

29.  Chicago Bears.

The Bears would love to grab a talented offensive tackle, but in this scenario the ones worthy of first round consideration are off the board.  They could use offensive line help almost everywhere though and Florida G Marcus Pouncey is a quality prospect.

A lot of people are projecting him to center, but he struggled some replacing his brother, Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey, at that position last season.  He should be fine at guard though.  He’s big, strong, and athletic.  He should be able to slot in from the get-go and hold down one of the guard spots for the Bears.

Prediction: G Marcus Pouncey, Florida

Last Mock: OT Ben Ijalana, Villanova

30.  New York Jets

Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan is a defensive wizard, but there’s only so much you can do without top-level talent.  The offense has received most of the attention lately in terms of player acquisition, and as such the defense could use some help.  Defensive ends Shaun Ellis and Trevor Pryce are nearing the end of their careers and DT Kris Jenkins was let go early in the offseason.  Clearly the defensive line is in need of some young blood.

Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn would be a good value here.  He’s not a great pass rusher, but he’s got the size (6’3’’, 285 lbs) and strength to be a two-gap defender in the Jets’ 3-4 defense.  A lot of experts are projecting him higher in the first round, some to 4-3 teams, but I think this is a better fit for him.

Prediction: DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa

Last Mock: DL Cameron Heyward, Ohio State

31.  Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers are another offensive line starved team will have to wait to address that issue.  Outside of the O-line there aren’t a ton of issues to address, but the secondary could use an upgrade.  The corners are inconsistent and the safety spot next to Troy Polamalu could stand to be upgraded.

Texas CB/S Aaron Williams could be a bit of a ‘tweener, but whether he ends up at safety or corner, he can help the Steelers’ leaky secondary.  He can play man and zone coverage and is good in press coverage.  If he has to move to safety, he’s clearly got the cover ability.  He’s also tough and a good tackler, so that would translate well to safety.  Either way, he should help against pass-happy AFC teams like the Patriots and Colts.

Prediction: CB/S Aaron Williams, Texas

Last Mock: CB Brandon Harris, Miami (FL)

32.  Green Bay Packers

Green Bay is your quintessential “best player available” team.  They’ve really perfected this strategy lately and last season’s rash of injuries showed why this approach can be so valuable.  Temple DL Muhammad Wilkerson has been moving up draft boards recently and has the type of versatility that would fit well in Dom Capers’ 3-4 defense.  Wilkerson can line up outside at end on rushing downs and inside on passing downs.

He’s got excellent measurables and is very athletic for his size.  He does a good job anchoring against the run and is a leader and hard worker.  He’ll fit right in alongside young NT BJ Raji.

Prediction: DL Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple

Last Mock: LB Martez Wilson, Illinois

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