17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
With James Harrison gone, this pick makes a lot of sense. I think this is a major steal in the first round, a player who is going to provide the Steelers an excellent pass rush complement for LaMarr Woodley. Jones was arguably the top defensive player in the draft, so getting him here is a big time get for the Steelers.
18. San Francisco 49ers – Eric Reid, S, LSU
This is a really intriguing trade up with the Dallas Cowboys. Obviously safety was the most glaring need on the 49ers’ roster with Dashon Goldson bolting for the Buccaneers, and they got a guy who was very productive for the LSU Tigers. Reid has great size and athletic ability, and should step in and start right away for them.
19. New York Giants – Justin Pugh, OL, Syracuse
This is a little bit of a surprising pick for the Giants given some of the other players on the board, but you can’t deny the need they have on the offensive line. Pugh can play all over, and is projected as a guard or center because of his shorter arms. He can also play tackle.
20. Chicago Bears – Kyle Long, OL, Oregon
The Bears’ top need was on the offensive line, and they got probably the best offensive lineman available at this point. Long was a fringe first round pick (32nd in my final mock) but he wasn’t going to last past the early portion of the 2nd round. I think this is a solid pick for the Bears though they probably could have gotten a better talent in Tyler Eifert here.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
This is a crazy selection…and I love it. Eifert is a freaky athlete who is a red zone nightmare, giving the Bengals a plethora of options for Andy Dalton to throw to. Their skill positions are enviable around the league with this addition. They can now run two TE sets that will make opposing teams go insane. This is a really fun pick.
22. Atlanta Falcons – Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The Falcons traded up with the St. Louis Rams to make this selection, and they filled arguably their top need. Many thought they’d be trading up for a player, and it turned out that Trufant was the guy they wanted and they feared the Vikings or Colts would take him. Speedy, bigger corner who has a lot of upside in the NFL.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Vikings shore up an area of need next to Kevin Williams with Sharrif Floyd, who was easily one of the top players available at this point. He’s got shorter arms, but a very solid ability to make plays from the DT position. I think he’s a solid, not spectacular player, but he’s explosive off the line. He should be a solid pro for them. Great value here.
24. Indianapolis Colts – Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
This is a great pick for the Colts. I think Werner is a guy who can cause a lot of problems off the edge standing up or with his hand in the dirt. He is a high effort player and easily the best player available on my board at this point. This could be a huge steal for the Colts.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle) — Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Vikings surprisingly passed on Manti Te’o, but you can’t really blame them with a freak athlete at CB like Xavier Rhodes on the board. They have a need in the defensive backfield with Antoine Winfield off to Seattle, and Rhodes is great value here. The Vikings came away with my 8th and 12th ranked players at 23 and 25, so I’m impressed.
26. Green Bay Packers – Datone Jones, DL, UCLA
Very solid pick for the Packers’ scheme. I think Jones is a versatile player who will upgrade a defensive front that really struggled last year. This guy is a prospect really on the rise who I couldn’t quite figure out where to put in my final mock. Solid selection here, but nothing flashy.
27. Houston Texans – DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
The Texans got arguably the best receiver in the draft here, a guy who absolutely dominated last season at Clemson. He has drawn comparisons to Roddy White, and while he will take time to develop, I think this is a good pick to play alongside Andre Johnson. This guy was capable of taking games over.
28. Denver Broncos – Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
This is a great pick for the Broncos. They get a three-down defensive tackle who can explode off the ball, and a guy who is going to come into work every day with a chip on his shoulder. I think John Fox and John Elway nailed it with this one, though they could have gone a number of directions. They need to keep building in the trenches, and I think adding Williams at this point is a great pickup for them. He could have been a top 20 pick.
29. Minnesota Vikings – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The Vikings continue to get good value in the first round. They replace Percy Harvin with a guy who has a very similar game to the former Viking, but he’s a boom or bust pick in every sense of the cliche. Patterson has all the talent in the world, but only one year of D-1 experience in which he proved at Tennessee he can be a playmaker from anywhere on the field. This is a solid pick, but everyone and their dog thought it was going to be Manti Te’o.
30. St. Louis Rams – Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
The Rams steal one here, filling arguably their top defensive need with the top player available on my board. Ogletree is a guy who has great athletic ability and will tackle anything that moves. I think he is phenomenal value at the bottom of the first round.
31. Dallas Cowboys – Travis Frederick, OL, Wisconsin
The Cowboys have officially picked the lowest ranked player of the first round, but it fills a major need for them. Frederick is a guy who can play guard or center, but the Cowboys really reached for him here. Shocking pick.
32. Baltimore Ravens – Matt Elam, S, Florida
Well, Manti Te’o has officially dropped out of the first round. The Ravens opt for a replacement at safety for Ed Reed rather than a replacement for Ray Lewis up the middle of their defense. This is a solid pick for Baltimore, who also added Michael Huff to their secondary. Elam is a guy I liked a lot coming into the draft, and was my third ranked safety overall.