2012 NFL Draft Preview: 1st Round Mock Draft 17-32
17. Bengals – OG David DeCastro – Stanford - The Bengals will need new starters at both OG positions. DeCastro is the best OG prospect. DeCastro is strong in both pass and run blocking and plays angry.
18. Chargers – OT Jonathan Martin – Stanford – Former OT Marcus McNeill is gone, so Martin makes a lot of sense here. OG Kris Dielman retired as well so DeCastro or OT/OG Cordy Glenn could be picked here.
19. Bears – DE Whitney Mercilus – Illinois -Following the NY Giants blueprint teams are loading up on pass rushers. Whitney will make a nice complement to DEs Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije. Mercilus is a high energy guy, but only a 1 year starter in college which sometimes scares teams off.
20. Titans – CB Dre Kirpatrick – Alabama -The Titans need to replace CB Corland Finnegan (Rams) Kirkpatrick is a physical man corner, who is strong against the run and plays with a swagger he often backs up.
21. Bengals – DT Dontari Poe – Memphis - Not a huge need for the Bengals but taking Poe will give Cinci a strong interior duo of Poe and Demato Peko. Poe is stout against the run and if a bench press contest breaks out this is your guy (44 reps of 225 lbs at the combine)
22. Browns – WR Kendall Wright – Baylor - As I mentioned for the Browns #4 pick they need to surround QB Colt McCoy with some offensive talent before they can decide if he is their QB of the future. Wright has seen his stock fluctuate this draft season, he disappointed by showing up at the combine overweight and running a slow 40. At his pro day he ran much better and appeared lighter. He was a 4 year starter at Baylor and his game tapes don’t lie, Wright is a solid pick here.
23. Lions – OT – Cordy Glenn – Georgia -Glenn can play OT or OG, he will offer the Lions some versatility along the OL and an eventual replacement for OT Jeff Backus. Lions could really use a CB but with the top 3 off the board will they take a chance on problem child Janoris Jenkins this early?
24. Steelers – ILB – Donta Hightower – Alabama - Hightower is a great fit for one of the Steelers 3-4 ILB spots. He is a solid run stuffer, with good size to shed blockers, he is considered to be slow but game tape still shows him as a play-maker.
25. Broncos – DT – Jerel Worthy – Michigan St. – The Broncos took some heat for passing on DT Marcell Darius to take OLB Von Miller, but Miller turned out to be a sack machine. The Broncos can grab a DT for their 4-3 system this year. Worthy can take on blockers and play the run which the Broncos need in a division that boasts RBs D. MacFadden, R. Matthews and J. Charles.
26. Texans – WR Rueben Randle – LSU - The Texans have been looking for a WR to play opposite of Andre Johnson for awhile now.. Randle is a big 6-3 WR who would force match-up problems across from Johnson. Kendall Wright would be a nice fit if he falls this far.
27. Patriots – OLB – Shea McClellin – Boise St. – Nobody ever knows what the Patriots are thinking, and often they are content trading away their picks. The Patriots like players who are versatile, McClellin got snaps at OLB, ILB and DE at Boise St. The Patriots need a boost in the pass rush after losing Mark Anderson (Bills) and unsure of the health/return of DE Andre Carter.
28. Packers – S – Harrison Smith – Notre Dame - The Packers had the worst pass defense in the NFL last season (see Hakeem Nicks Hail Mary playoff grab). S Nick Collins suffered a neck injury and his career is in jeopardy. Smith is an aggressive tackler who also saw some time at LB in college. DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw is an option here as well.
29. Ravens – OG Kevin Zeitler – Wisconsin - The Ravens would love ILB Donta Hightower to fall this far so they could pair him in the middle with Ray Lewis. After losing OG Ben Grubbs (Saints) Zeitler is a nasty OG who some teammates didn’t like but opponents disliked even more. College teammate C Peter Konz also makes sense here, as current C Matt Birk is nearing the end of his career.
30. 49ers – WR-Stephen Hill – Georgia Tech - The 49ers will be disappointed to see OG Zeitler go one pick ahead of them. With no glaring needs they should take a chance on raw WR Stephen Hill or TE Coby Fleener. Hill is a 6-4 WR with 4.3 speed, he needs some time to develop, although I’m not sure Moss, Crabtree or Manningham are the right type of players to mentor Hill. Flleener a 6-6 TE will allow the 49ers to pair him with Vernon Davis to cause matchup problems for defenses much like the Patriots.
31. Patriots – CB – Janoris Jenkins – North Alabama - As mentioned above, I can see the Patriots trading this pick to a team willing to take a chance on Jenkins or perhaps Oklahoma St. QB Brandon Wheeden. Jenkins is considered a top 10 talent on the field with a list of off-field problems, if any team needs a secondary upgrade besides the Packers it’s the Patriots. I could see Bill Belichick taking the chance.
32. Giants – TE Coby Fleener – Stanford – After losing 2 TEs in the Super Bowl, TE is a need for the Giants. They signed former Cowboy backup TE M. Bennett but Fleener would give them an athletic player to stretch the middle of the field. OT Mike Adams is also an option here.
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