17. Baltimore Ravens – Marqise Lee – WR – USC – Scouting Report
I’m extremely down on Lee compared to many others, and would not spend a first-round pick on him. But I can’t ignore the fact that he’s a consensus first-round prospect. The Ravens need someone to complement Torrey Smith. Lee excels on screens and other short routes, while Smith is the pure deep threat and the two could work well together in Baltimore.
18. New York Jets – Odell Beckham Jr. – WR – LSU – Scouting Report
This is the perfect scenario for the Jets. They have their pick of all the second-tier receiver, and Beckham probably makes the most sense. With Beckham and Decker, the Jets could quickly establish a quick-strike offensive scheme taking a ton of pressure off Geno Smith (or Vick, if he wins the job).
19. Miami Dolphins – Zach Martin – OT/OG – Notre Dame – Scouting Report
This is the best case scenario for Miami. They’ll have to trade up for any of the top three tackles, but Martin is the next best lineman in the draft and would be an immediate starter in Miami. If he’s gone, there isn’t an obvious next best choice, so they should strongly consider trading up a few slots to make this happen. If he’s gone, a wide receiver or a trade down might be the next option.
20. Arizona Cardinals – Bradley Roby – CB – Ohio State
From a talent standpoint, Roby is an obvious first rounder. But does he have the maturity and work ethic to put it all together at the next level? The Cardinals are one of the teams that should consider gambling on him due to the potential dominant secondary he would give them. Peterson, Mathieu and Roby in the same secondary could be a dangerous group. And they’ve seen within their own division what an elite secondary can accomplish.
21. Green Bay Packers – Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina – Scouting Report
I’d be willing to bet that Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy are comfortable moving forward with their current tight end situation, otherwise they wouldn’t have let it get to this point. But if Ebron falls into their lap, he may be tough to pass up. By no means is he as polished as a healthy Jermichael Finley, but he has the potential to play the same role and will make a few game-changing plays throughout the course of the season.
22. Philadelphia Eagles – Brandin Cooks – WR – Oregon State – Scouting Report
It may not be a perfectly smooth transition from Jackson to Cooks, but there’s nothing Jackson could do for the Eagles that Cooks isn’t capable of duplicating. Cooks is an elite playmaker and is ready to step into a starting role. Philly is the ideal situation for him, and he’s the ideal playmaker for Chip Kelly’s offense.
23. Kansas City Chiefs – Joel Bitonio – OT/OG – Nevada - Scouting Report
The Chiefs need a starting guard, and Bitonio is one of the most NFL-ready prospects in this class. He can play either guard or tackle, giving the Chiefs some long-term versatility for their offensive line which is an added bonus. It’s not the huge splash that many Chiefs fans are hoping for, but this pick is a nice combination of value in the short and long term.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Ryan Shazier – LB – Ohio State
Everything the Bengals love about Vontaze Burfict, they’ll also get from Shazier. He’s a talent playmaker, capable of flying around on defense. Rey Maualuga’s long-term future isn’t right in Cincy (actually, it should probably be ended sooner rather than later). Shazier may not crack the starting lineup immediately, but when Mauluga’s contract is up next year, Shazier gives them an instant replacement.
25. San Diego Chargers – Jason Verrett – CB – TCU
Verrett is undersized, but his performance was consistently impressive throughout his college career. He’s type of corner that has the combination of field awareness and athleticism to stay with any receiver in man coverage. Yes, you can take advantage of his size in certain matchups, but he’s still a guy I’d want to bet on and the Chargers desperately need this type of playmaker in the secondary.
26. Cleveland Browns – Teddy Bridgewater – QB – Louisville – Scouting Report
(from IND) At least one of the top three quarterbacks is going to fall outside the top 10. I don’t know who, but I’m betting on Bridgewater for now. If the Browns pass on a quarterback at No. 4, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be comfortable taking one in the late first, but the risk of failing drops considerably. Pairing Bridgewater, or even Derek Carr, with Watkins and Gordon would put them in a great position is succeed.
27. New Orleans Saints – Dee Ford – DE – Auburn – Scouting Report
There are obvious flaws in Ford’s game and I wouldn’t advocate for him as a first round pick for just any team, but I think it makes sense for the Saints. He’s a pure pass-rusher which is exactly what the Saints need right now, and Rob Ryan will find a way to put him in a position to be successful even if it’s only as a situational pass-rusher.
28. Carolina Panthers - Darqueze Dennard – CB – Michigan State
There have been some reports that NFL teams don’t view Dennard as an elite prospect because of his style of play, and I tend to think there’s something to that. He’s limited athletically, and made up for it in college with plays that will frequently be called for penalties in the pros. But as teams search for the next Richard Sherman, someone is likely to gamble on Dennard. The Panthers are desperate for talent in the secondary, making them a good bet.
29. New England Patriots – Louis Nix – DT – Notre Dame – Scouting Report
Nix could be a top-15 pick but based on the scenarios I came up with in this mock I just couldn’t find a spot for him any higher. I think he’s a candidate to fall, and it’s not his fault at all. He’s an ideal fit for New England who needs to replace Vince Wilfork (if not this year, soon) and needs to immediately upgrade the depth on the interior defensive line.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Demarcus Lawrence – DE/LB – Boise State – Scouting Report
The Aldon Smith drama could shake things up in San Francisco. Normally teams don’t draft strictly for need, but when you’re a legitimate Super Bowl contender you play by a different set of rules on Draft Day. I’m not personally sold on Lawrence, but some are and he’s legitimately in the first round conversation. If the 49ers want to add a pass-rusher, he’s definitely in the mix here.
31. Denver Broncos - Kony Ealy – DE – Missouri – Scouting Report
Ealy’s performance was hit or miss at times this past season, but when he’s at his best he is among the best pass-rushers in this class. I don’t see him playing a starting role immediate in Denver, but he definitely has the tools to make an impact as a situational pass-rusher, while the coaching staff develops him into a more well-rounded defender.
32. Seattle Seahawks – Timmy Jernigan – DT – Florida State – Scouting Report
The Seahawks seem to believe that you can never have too many defensive lineman, and I think that philosophy may carry over to draft day. Jernigan is vastly overrated due to his athleticism, and his production in college fell well short of his potential. But a team like the Seahawks can afford to gamble on a high upside prospect. They have the locker room to take in a guy like Jernigan and hope to motivate him to reach his ceiling.