NFL Mock Draft: 17-32 (It’s quick)

Posted: 05/08/2014 by levcohen in Football

For the second half of the first round, I’m just going to list the picks with a short blurb. I’m doing it this way for a few reasons. First, I’m really tired, and don’t want to write a long post. But more practically, as we get farther away from the beginning of the draft, things get more and more muddled. I’m therefore not going to make these picks with the sole intention of making a good prediction of who the team will pick. I’m doing it partially based on who I think they’ll pick, but also largely based on who I would pick if I were in their position based on positions of need and value picks. Think of it as 5o% what I think will happen and 50% what I think should happen. I won’t try to rationalize the picks with the team’s opinion, but rather say why I think it makes sense in a shorter way. Also, no trades this second half. It just gets way too dicey.

#17 Baltimore Ravens: Odell Beckham Jr, WR. It makes a ton of sense. The Ravens need a wide receiver, and I think Beckham Jr. is the best player left on the board. He has a ton of speed and could go in the top 10. This is just the earliest I could slot him in.

#18 New York Jets: Kyle Fuller, CB. This comes down to Fuller and Justin Gilbert, the two top cornerbacks left. I understand the argument that the Jets need another wide receiver, and I agree with it. I just think the Jets are going to sink or swim with their defense. It needs to be among the very best in the league for the team to contend, and they are in need of some secondary help. Fuller and Gilbert are both good choices, but Fuller has been the hotter name recently.

#19 Miami Dolphins: Morgan Moses, OT. It absolutely needs to be an offensive lineman here. I’ll just go with the top one left and hope the Dolphins do the same or trade up to get a better one.

#20 Arizona Cardinals: Anthony Barr, LB. This is a tough pick, because I don’t actually think that the Cardinals will go with an outside linebacker here. I think they have a quarterback in their sights, whether it is Blake Bortles (gone in this scenario) or Derek Carr (still out there). Barr, though, works really well with their system, and I don’t think Carr is a good value here.

#21 Green Bay Packers: Ryan Shazier, LB. The Packers need a linebacker, and seemingly always take a front-seven defender. This year is no exception, as Shazier is the top linebacker left and I think the Packers will pull the trigger on him immediately if he falls to #21.

#22 Philadelphia Eagles: Brandin Cooks, WR. A safety is also an option here, but the top two are gone in this scenario. I think that if either Pryor or Clinton-Dix falls to this spot, the Eagles take that safety in a heartbeat. As it stands here, the top options look to be Cooks and Marqise Lee of USC. Both are Pac-12 guys (cough cough Chip Kelly cough cough), and I just think Cooks is the better player. He’s fast, and he can replace DeSean Jackson. Again, this is who I would choose if I were the Eagles. I think they could look for a bigger receiver like Kelvin Benjamin here, but Cooks is the better player.

#23 Kansas City Chiefs: Marqise Lee, WR. The Chiefs really need a wide receiver, because it looks as if they are going to take a step back next season, especially offensively. The wide receiver corps are meager, and Jamaal Charles isn’t going to have the year he had last year. The Chiefs just need a playmaker, and Lee had a career full of big plays at USC.

#24 Cincinnati Bengals: Justin Gilbert, CB. This is the dream scenario for the Bengals. This is a team that is very close to competing for a Super Bowl. Their roster has very few weaknesses, but their cornerbacks- led by Leon Hall- are definitely on the older side. The main question mark is Andy Dalton at quarterback, but there’s nobody here who’s better than Dalton, and I think the Bengals will give him another year. Gilbert probably should go in the top 15, so this is a huge steal.

#25 San Diego Chargers: Bradley Roby, CB. The Chargers’ secondary stinks. It’s really, really bad. And in a division with Peyton Manning, that’s a killer. Taking a cornerback is a must here. They’ll be upset to see Gilbert go a pick ahead of them, but should not settle for someone at a different position. Roby and Jason Verrett are the two cornerbacks to choose from, and I think Roby is the better plug-and-play guy.

#26 Cleveland Browns: Teddy Bridgewater, QB. If the Browns end up with Sammy Watkins and Bridgewater, as I am predicting, it’s an A+++++ draft. I am honestly baffled at why Bridgewater has fallen so far on draft boards. He had a pro day, but why does a pro day matter? Featuring a quarterback just throwing a ball around to receivers with no defense, it has very little to do with actual football! I think Bridgewater will be a success, especially with Josh Gordon and Watkins to throw to. This is still the Browns, so I won’t predict the playoffs, but this could be a much improved team.

#27 New Orleans Saints: Jason Verrett, CB. That makes three cornerbacks in four picks, and it makes sense: these guys play at one of the most important positions in football. The Saints are another contender, and their defense was much improved last year, but I don’t think relying on Champ Bailey to start is a good idea. Bailey was a good signing, but he should be a third corner on a playoff team. Verrett can challenge for the starting job.

#28 Carolina Panthers: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT. Don’t worry, I can’t pronounce the last name either. The Panthers are a team with way too many holes for someone picking at #28. They need a wide receiver, as their starters at the position are Jason Avant and Jerricho Cotchery. That would have been ok 10 years ago (maybe), but it’s a huge problem now. The need for a tackle is even more glaring, largely because wide receiver is a deep position. I say the Panthers should take a tackle here and wait for their receiver until the second round.

#29 New England Patriots: Stephon Tuitt, DE. The Patriots need either a defensive back or a defensive end here, and I see them going with the latter. Tuitt is a great talent, but underperformed a little bit at Notre Dame. I think Bill Belichick can whip him into shape, and Tuitt is solid value here.

#30 San Francisco 49ers: Cory Latimer, WR. Let me just say this right out: I think the 49ers should and probably will trade into the top 20 to take a better receiver, because that’s a clear need. The 49ers have some good wide receivers, but what they lack is a true field stretcher, which has come back to bite them time after time in the playoffs. Latimer has some speed, and has good hands. He’s the pick if the 49ers stay at 30, but expect them to move this pick. Kelvin Benjamin is also an option, but he’s another big receiver, which makes him an unnecessary luxury for a team with Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin, two of the biggest and most physical WRs around.

#31 Denver Broncos: Kyle Van Noy, LB. Just pick the best defensive player you see (as long as he fits your scheme) and take him, Broncos. Van Noy is solid, but so are a bunch of others. I basically just picked his name out of a hat, because when you get to the end of the first round, it’s basically a crapshoot.

#32 Seattle Seahawks: Gabe Jackson, OG. The value here basically doesn’t matter. The Seahawks are stacked everywhere except offensive guard, where they have a sizable hole. Assuming they don’t trade out of this pick, they have to go with need over value here. So choose your favorite guard and pick him.

By the way: What a sports night we have tonight! The NFL draft, two heated NHL playoff games, and two games of playoff basketball. Oh, there’s also baseball. I don’t think many people will be watching baseball tonight. It’s a great sports night.

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