Here are the players who have already been selected: QB: Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton; RB: Mark Ingram; WR: A.J. Green, Julio Jones; OL: Tyron Smith; DL: Nick Fairley, Da’Quan Bowers, Marcell Dareus, Robert Quinn, Stephen Paea, Ryan Kerrigan; LB: Von Miller, Akeem Ayers; DB: Patrick Peterson, Prince Amukamara. The Patriots (from Oakland) are now on the clock.
17. New England Patriots: Cameron Jordan, DE, California
The Patriots will always be competitive with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, but they really have a surprising number of holes to fill. They need a deep threat to replace Randy Moss as well as a bunch of defensive linemen. Without Richard Seymour, the Patriots are getting pushed around too much, and Cameron Jordan is an ideal 3-4 defensive end who is not as talented as Seymour, but is very sound in his technique.
18. San Diego Chargers: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
As usual, you’d be hard pressed to find a roster more talented than San Diego’s. However, they could use an upgrade at left defensive end, a bookend rusher across from Shaun Phillips, and an offensive tackle. This pick really comes down to Missouri’s Aldon Smith and Nate Solder. Solder gets the nod because he will protect the most important Charger (Philip Rivers) and his stock seems to be higher than Smith’s right now.
19. New York Giants: Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida
Today is left guard Chris Snee’s birthday, so now all five starting offensive linemen for the Giants are over the age of 30. They had some issues when all five were not starting together, so it’s time to add a new piece to the puzzle. Pouncey could replace Shaun O’Hara at center or upgrade Rich Seubert at left guard and should keep this Giant offensive line humming into the forseeable future.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
Tampa Bay nearly made the playoffs and had NO players total 5 or more sacks on the season. That’s a shocking statistic, and it needs to change. The Bucs did a good job bolstering the interior of their defensive line, but they need a feared edge rusher to slow down the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Michael Vick, and Matt Ryan in the playoffs.
21. Kansas City Chiefs: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
The Chiefs don’t have a lot of glaring holes. They need somebody opposite Dwayne Bowe, a potential upgrade over Brandon Carr, but I think they will address the right side of their offensive line. Jamaal Charles had almost all of his success running behind Brian Waters and Branden Albert, and right tackle Ryan O’Callaghan needs to be replaced or at least pushed. Gabe Carimi should be an effective right tackle who can get the job done in run blocking and in pass pro.
22. Indianapolis Colts: Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
Peyton Manning will get a bunch of weapons back next season, but their absence should not have resulted in an early playoff exit for the Colts. They simply could not stop the Jet ground game and consequently lost control of the game. Their revolving door at defensive tackle must end, and look for them to select Jurrell Casey, a high energy player in the mold of Anthony “Booger” McFarland who is tough to move.
23. Philadelphia Eagles: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
With the best offensive linemen off the board, the Eagles must look to patch up a suspect defensive unit. No position was more problematic than right cornerback, which saw Dimitri Patterson fail miserably. Aaron Williams has the raw athleticism and speed that the Eagles demand of their defensive backs but struggles in run support.
24. New Orleans Saints: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
The Saints had trouble generating sacks this year as their team leader, DT Sedrick Ellis, led the way with only 6. Lucky for them, Adrian Clayborn is still on the board and is very much in the mold of a Saints defensive end; big, physical, and willing to play the run. He really reminds me of Charles Grant, who used to wear the Black and Gold.