17. New England Patriots: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
The Patriots desperately need to find some players who can thrive in the 5 technique role as Gerard Warren and the youngsters are not getting it done. J.J. Watt seems like a Patriot player as he is very versatile and finds ways to make plays. They may even be able to stand him up as an outside linebacker at times.
18. San Diego Chargers: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
The Chargers will always find success with Philip Rivers at the helm, so their primary concern is to make sure Rivers stays upright. With right tackle Jeromy Clary hitting free agency, the Chargers will be searching for a bookend tackle across from Marcus McNeill. Carimi is a perfect fit.
19. New York Giants: Mike Pouncey, G/C, Florida
All five starters on the Giant offensive line are 3o-years-old or older, so they need to start injecting youth into that group. Pouncey will provide great depth at several positions and will be ready to become the full-time starter at any time.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
The Bucs will never be able to take the next step into the playoffs without upgrading their pass rush. They need a terror off the edge to pair with Gerald McCoy’s disruptive-ness on the inside, and Clayborn is the man for the job.
21. Kansas City Chiefs: Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor
The Pioli-Belichick tree always drafts defensive linemen first when a need is present. Ron Edwards will be 32 before next season and has been very pedestrian at nose tackle. His replacement will be Phil Taylor, who has generated an amazing buzz at the Senior Bowl and one that has been well deserved. Come April, this selection will not be regarded at the reach that it is today.
22. Indianapolis Colts: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
The Colts were knocked out of the playoffs because they could not stop the run if their lives depended on it. This is their number one need and they have a few front seven defenders to choose from here. Akeem Ayers is the best one, so he’ll be the pick, although Stephen Paea will garner strong consideration in the war room.
23. Philadelphia Eagles: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
I’m getting the sense that the Eagles believe that defensive end is one of their biggest needs. I disagree, but then again, I’m not the one making decisions around there. On a side note, this must mean that Brandon Graham is not recovering from his torn ACL very well. Ryan Kerrigan is a steal this late in the first round though, and will work wonders alongside Trent Cole and Darryl Tapp.
24. New Orleans Saints: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
Indications out of New Orleans are that this selection will be used on a front seven defender. The Saints would love to trade up to grab either Akeem Ayers or Adrian Clayborn, but if they stay put, Stephen Paea should be the pick. He’s the squatty type of player they love at that position that can get into the backfield and disrupt plays.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
The Seahawks really need a quarterback of the future, but Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett have seen their stock plummet and Pete Carroll doesn’t really like running threat guys like Cam Newton. So, the Seahawks should add another playmaker to the mix because Mike Williams is all they’ve got right now. Also, Baldwin is a good fit because Pete Carroll loves receivers who are up near 6’4″ and 6’5″ who will win jump ball situations and stretch the defense.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
The Ravens will surely look to target an edge rusher in the early parts of the 2011 draft. Terrell Suggs is very good, but when he can’t get pressure, nobody else steps up and gets to the quarterback. Justin Houston may change that as he is a very effective pass rusher and is a perfect fit at left rush linebacker for the Ravens.
27. Atlanta Falcons: Drake Nevis, DT, LSU
The Falcons can go in any number of directions with this pick, but one area they need to improve is their defensive line. They could go with a seven technique to help out John Abraham or bolster the inside, and the pick will come down to whether they like Cameron Heyward, Allen Bailey, Jurrell Casey, or Nevis the best.
28. New England Patriots: Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
The Patriots have already selected J.J. Watt, and can now turn their attention to replacing Randy Moss. Wes Welker is a great slot receiver and Deion Branch is pretty good on the outside, but New England needs to do a lot better than Brandon Tate as a deep threat. Torrey Smith is a home run hitter who is as explosive and dangerous as any player available outside of A.J. Green and Julio Jones who can also return kicks.
29. New York Jets: Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
The Jets will probably allow either Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes to leave in free agency, so receiver will be a big need for them. However, with four already off the board, they can turn to defensive end, where Shaun Ellis will be 34 and Trevor Pryce will be 36 before next season begins. Wilkerson has extensive experience in a 3-4 scheme as well and has prototypical size for the 5 technique spot.
30. Chicago Bears: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
The Bears have had a ton of issues along their offensive line, especially at tackle. Sherrod would be an enormous upgrade over J’Marcus Webb, who has been absolutely terrible this season. He is also capable of replacing Frank Omiyale at left tackle, allowing him to slide back into guard or over to the other side.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
The Steelers are in very good shape roster-wise, but in this league, you can never have too many cover guys or pass rushers. So, Pittsburgh could stand to add another corner to the mix because Ike Taylor is turning 31 and none of their other corners really impress me. Brandon Harris seems like a good fit in the Steelers’ system because he’s tough, confident, and loves to hit.
32. Green Bay Packers: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
The Packers will have a scary team next season with guys like Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley, and Nick Barnett scheduled to return. However, what’s scary for Green Bay is that Chad Clifton is about to turn 35 and he is their only quality pass protector at this point. Castonzo will push Bryan Bulaga for the left tackle of the future role.