Sep 28, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; USC Trojans wide receiver Marqise Lee (9) returns a kickoff during the first half against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
#16 – Tennessee Titans – C.J. Mosley – OLB – Alabama
If there were a plan to replace Jake Locker, which would depend heavily on the coaching status of Mike Munchak, the Tennessee Titans can’t find their solution by this point. Instead they look to further fortify their defense. C.J. Mosley is the best linebacker on the board, equally good covering the run and the pass. His leadership could bring an added dimension to an already formidable unit.
#17 – Miami Dolphins – Cameron Erving – OT – Florida State
Protecting Ryan Tannehill is a top priority for the Miami Dolphins. That means they should go after any kind of offensive line help they can find. Cameron Erving is the fifth tackle off the board but he comes from an excellent program at FloridaState and has a ton of athletic upside. His technique needs work, but in the right hands he is a legit left tackle option.
#18 – Carolina Panthers – Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson
Cam Newton has made due for the Carolina Panthers on offense so far in 2013 but the reality is his receiving corps is in serious need of an upgrade with Steve Smith aging. Sammy Watkins is arguably the most talented prospect on the board, boasting good size, plenty of speed and the ability to get open and make defenders miss after the catch.
#19 – Chicago Bears – Stephon Tuitt – DE – Notre Dame
With so many free agents next year, the 2014 NFL mock draft could go several ways for the Chicago Bears. Yet with the quarterback run done for the first round, they feel comfortable addressing a major need on the defensive line. Stephon Tuitt excels in a 3-4 defense at Notre Dame but his size, athleticism and speed hint at a very versatile player who can play end or tackle up front. His relentlessness should make him a handful.
#20 – San Diego Chargers – Vic Beasley – DE – Clemson
Philip Rivers has saved his job at least for another year thanks to Mike McCoy. Now the San Diego Chargers have to think about bolstering their shaky defense. Upgrading the pass rush should help. Vic Beasley out of Clemson has surprised a lot of people, leading the NCAA in sacks so far. He’s an ideal fit for a 3-4 team like San Diego.
#21 – Detroit Lions – Marqise Lee – WR – USC
For what feels like eons the Detroit Lions have been trying to find a second receiver to pair with Calvin Johnson. At last they get lucky and collect Marqise Lee out of USC. Despite injury concerns he is an undeniable game breaker who can get vertical better than anybody in his class. He’s a good route runner too, making him difficult to cover.
#22 – New York Jets – Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina
Missing out on Lee was unfortunate but the New York Jets don’t feel too bad. Instead they give Geno Smith a different kind of weapon in tight end Eric Ebron. In the mold of a Tyler Eifert and Jimmy Graham, the North Carolina product is big and tall but fast and has the leaping ability to cause serious matchup problems for defense.
#23 – Dallas Cowboys – Hasean Clinton-Dix – FS – Alabama
Tony Romo saves his job by making the playoffs but that doesn’t mean the Dallas Cowboys can keep ignoring the idea of taking a young quarterback. Still they have more pressing needs in the secondary, especially at safety. Hasean Clinton-Dix did get suspended at Alabama but that doesn’t change the fact he’s the best in his draft class, able to cover ground quickly, read quarterbacks and make tackles.
#24 – Green Bay Packers – Jace Amaro – TE – Texas Tech
The injury to Jermichael Finley was a troubling one for the Green Bay Packers. It’s brought questions of the depth behind him. In order to give Aaron Rodgers plenty of options, they go for some insurance in Jace Amaro of Texas Tech. Not just tall at 6’5″ but big at 260 lbs he is a favorite target in his offense and able to get open regularly, catching 8-10 passes per game.
#25 – Cleveland Browns (from IND) – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu – CB – Oregon
Having secured a quarterback earlier in the round, the Cleveland Browns choose to bolster their solid defense with another playmaker. Based on their 3-4 concepts, another excellent cornerback alongside Joe Haden could really make them a force. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is all that out of Oregon. Though not tall he is very athletic, physical adept at either playing the ball or making the tackle.
#26 – Cincinnati Bengals – Ryan Shazier – OLB – Ohio State
The talent upgrade on offense served the Cincinnati Bengals well in 2013. Now they must think about keeping their historically sturdy defense on course. Finding an athletic linebacker who can help in coverage is certainly something they could use. Ryan Shazier out of OhioState is fast, agile and flies sideline to sideline. He would fit right in/
#27 – Kansas City Chiefs – David Yankey – G – Stanford
The bread and butter of this Kansas City Chiefs team is about the defense and Jamaal Charles. That means have a powerful offensive line who can pave the way is a must. Stanford guard David Yankey is just such a player. Athletic enough to play tackle, he’s better served inside. Not only can he pass block well, but he has all the strength and drive required to open holes for running backs.
#28 – San Francisco 49ers – Jordan Matthews – WR – Vanderbilt
There is a lot of uncertainty at wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers. Anquan Boldin is a big help but getting older and Mario Manningham is a free agent next year. They have to make sure Colin Kaepernick is properly armed. Jordan Matthews has developed into a big, consistent threat for Vanderbilt with great hands and highly advanced route running skills. He is a perfect choice for Jim Harbaugh.
#29 – New England Patriots – Loucheiz Purifoy – CB – Florida
Bill Belichick likes big cornerbacks who can run. With Aqib Talib a free agent and coming off an injury, the New England Patriots look to supplant him with a younger, cheaper option. Loucheiz Purifoy is exactly what they want. Not only does he boast excellent size, but his speed allows him to cover any receiver and also lend a big hand on special teams. He’s not quite developed yet, but once done he has shutdown potential.
#30 – New Orleans Saints – Lache Seastrunk – RB – Baylor
Running the ball was a major if underappreciated part of why the New Orleans Saints offense has been so hard to defend in the past. They’ve struggled doing so this year. An upgrade is needed to keep Drew Brees properly armed. Lache Seastrunk is an ideal fit. He’s blazing fast, boasts a strong lower body to break tackles and runs to what he sees which would fit the Saints zone blocking style.
#31 – Denver Broncos – Bradley Roby – CB – Ohio State
Champ Bailey is aging and injured. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie looks like a one-year rental. Put simply the Denver Broncos have to do something about their league-worst pass defense and it starts with the secondary. Bradley Roby wasn’t the first off the board because of his inconsistency at OhioState but that belies a very talented corner who has all the tools to cover receivers all day.
#32 – Seattle Seahawks – Gabe Jackson – G – Mississippi State
Though they may win the Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks are not a perfect team. A big problem that could hound them is the protection of Russell Wilson. They can’t afford to keep letting rushers get in his face, especially up the middle. Gabe Jackson out of Mississippi State could help with that. His greatest strength is run blocking, which Pete Carroll will love but he has the quickness and strength to handle pass rushers regularly.