Well, let me just say before anything else that I'm glad I wanted until today to publish this, else I wouldn't have heard about the Jason Peters trade from Buffalo to Philly....wonder what else is gonna happen in the next week that's gonna render all my predictions null and void.
Also, in the title of my last post, I forgot to add that this is just the first round....anyway....
17. NEW YORK JETS--Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State
I know, I know. Coles is gone, they need a WR. Favre is gone, they need a QB. Well, then can get a WR later and they already have 3 young, promising quarterbacks to choose from. Nope, what they need is someone to help and eventually replace the aging Thomas Jones. Wells fills the bill.
18. DENVER BRONCOS--Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
This could be Josh Freeman, but when you look at the Denver secondary, you see a rapidly aging Champ Bailey and...that's about it. They need serious help in the defensive backfield and Davis will provide it.
19. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS--Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State
By all accounts, the new head coach of the Bucs has a serious man-crush on Freeman. If he's available, they're taking him.
20. DETROIT LIONS--Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
Okay, so they've got the franchise drafted in Stafford. Now they need to keep him alive and moving. I have Britton rated somewhat higher than some other folks. I think the kid has all the physical tools, plus he's a great character guy and could be a leader on a team desperately in need of them. With him and Gosder Cherlius, Detroit will win the award for "Most Bizarrely Named Tackle Duo."
21. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES--Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
A lot of draftniks have rejected the idea that the Eagles will be looking to bring in relief for and an eventual successor to Brian Westbrook. Maybe they're right, but I don't know. Surely last season convinced the Eagles that Westbrook is, functionally, their entire offense. He's been oft-injured and they need someone able to take over on short notice, especially now that Correll Buckhalter is a Bronco. I think Moreno is too good to pass up after falling this far and right into Philly's lap. Most years, he would've been a top-15 pick.
22. MINNESOTA VIKINGS--Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut
The Vikings secondary sucks. Butler will make it better. Not much else to say, really.
23. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS--Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
With the drafting of Jerod Mayo last year and the trade of Mike Vrabel this year, it's clear the Patriots have finally decided to start letting youth be served in their linebacking corps. Tedy Bruschi is, what, 700 or so? :-) Seriously, though, he's getting up there and ReyMa is an excellent fit. I've read of some off-the-field issues, but as the Patriots have shown before, they can take controversial players and turn them into model citizens, so there's no worries there.
24. ATLANTA FALCONS--Clay Matthews, LB, USC
The Falcons lost Keith Brooking this off-season and that hole needs filling pronto. Matthews is a Brooking-type player who will do nicely.
25. MIAMI DOLPHINS--Brian Cushing, LB, USC
The Dolphins need someone to play opposite Joey Porter and Cushing is the perfect complement. I wonder if three players of the same position from the same school have ever been drafted in a row before? ( Probably won't happen this time, either....this is all just semi-educated guesswork after all!)
26. BALTIMORE RAVENS--Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
Not only is he the best receiver on the board right now, he's the speedy, deep threat playmaker that the Ravens want for Joe Flacco's big arm to throw to.
27. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS--Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi
Some drafts have this pick as a running back, which I frankly don't get. The Colts' Achilles heel has been their run defense for waaaayyy too long. All their solutions seem to fail... Booger McFarland is retired and Ed Johnson was shown the door after his drug scandal. Hopefully for them, Jerry will be the solution.
28. BUFFALO BILLS--William Beatty, OT, Connecticut
Having let problem child Jason Peters go, Buffalo needs a replacement. Enter Beatty, a 6'6", 310 lb. giant who could conceivably still add 20 or 30 pounds if he needs to.
29. NEW YORK GIANTS--Connor Barwin, DE/LB, Cincinnati
This kid is a beast whose motor never stops. The Giants could use a little bump up at OLB and he could also join the pass-rushing DE rotation the Giants use. Most people I've seen have Barwin projected into the second round, but the Giants are so solid everywhere else that a little reach won't hurt them. They could be looking for a receiver in the wake of Burress' departure, so don't rule out Rutgers' Kenny Britt here.
30. TENNESSEE TITANS--Evander Hood, DT, Missouri
I originally had a receiver penciled in here, but with the departure of Albert Haynesworth, the Titans will once again bypass the receiver position in the first round. Hood is obviously no Haynesworth, but the Titans defense depends on clogging the middle, and he's the best option available for them at this point.
31. ARIZONA CARDINALS--LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh
Full disclosure: I live in Pittsburgh and love Panthers football, so some biases are probably getting in the way here. I've read about McCoy dropping down into the mid-to-late second round and that's probably true. But oh, well. Here's my reasoning: The Cardinals need a step up in the run game and with Wells and Moreno gone, McCoy is my choice as the best available option. They can afford to reach a bit here. Caveat: If Anquan Boldin is traded, this will be a receiver.
32. PITTSBURGH STEELERS--Alex Mack, C, California
I'm still amazed the Steelers managed to overcome that awful offensive line to win the Super Bowl last season. Center is where the most urgent upgrade is needed. Mack is a great, great talent.