17. New England Patriots: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
The Patriots need better players up front in their 3-4 defense to play next to Vince Wilfork. J.J. Watt is the type of player that I can see Bill Belichick developing into a star by allowing him to play to his strengths.
18. San Diego Chargers: Cameron Jordan, DE, California
There has been a buzz that San Diego is looking to move up in the draft to secure a top 5 technique. That’s not necessary here as Cameron Jordan falls to them. He is a talented player who has extensive experience playing in a 3-4.
19. New York Giants: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
I’ve been mocking offensive linemen to the Giants recently, but if Akeem Ayers is still on the board here, he’s probably the pick. The Giants have decent linebackers, but no true difference makers. Ayers could change that.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
Tampa Bay desperately needs to upgrade their pass rush, and 20th overall is a perfect spot for one in this draft. Somebody will fall to them, but the only question is who that player will be. It could be Ryan Kerrigan or Aldon Smith, but I have Adrian Clayborn here because of a slightly underwhelming senior season.
21. Kansas City Chiefs: Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor
Scott Pioli takes defensive linemen when he needs them. He took Tyson Jackson third overall two seasons ago, and now needs a nose tackle. Phil Taylor is the best one out there and should be the pick.
22. Indianapolis Colts: Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Amazingly, Tyron Smith is still on the board as Dallas, Minnesota, San Diego, and New York all passed on offensive tackles. Expect the Colts to happily snatch him up if he is still on the board by some miracle come draft day.
23. Philadelphia Eagles: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
The Eagles love taking linemen early in the draft, and with a gaping hole on the right side of their offensive line, Andy Reid won’t hesitate to pull the trigger on Anthony Castonzo, a towering player who can start at right tackle immediately.
24. New Orleans Saints: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
Right now, it’s looking as though the 20-25 overall range is a pretty good place to draft because so many good players are falling. The Saints would love to welcome Corey Liuget to the gold and black as they need an upgrade next to Sedrick Ellis.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Mike Pouncey, C/G, Florida
The Seahawks haven’t been relevant since their offensive line was dominant. Pete Carroll seems to recognize that as he drafted Russell Okung last year, and he should give serious consideration to Mike Pouncey should he still be on the board this late. Seattle would love the top guard in 2011 to pair with the top tackle of 2010.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Every time Ozzie Newsome mails in a pick, he makes you scratch your head wondering why that player was still on the board. Gabe Carimi is the best player available and could be inserted into the starting line-up assuming Jared Gaither skips town. Carimi would be playing across from Michael Oher, who slid into the 20s in the 2009 draft.
27. Atlanta Falcons: Justin Houston, DE, Georgia
The Falcons need a pass rusher to complement, and eventually replace, John Abraham. Justin Houston is an explosive local product who was heavier than expected at the combine, which means he will be considered more as a 4-3 player than a 3-4 guy.
28. New England Patriots: Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
Bill Belichick loves high character guys who can stretch the field. Check. Check.
29. New York Jets: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
The Jets took care of David Harris. Next in line is Santonio Holmes. Then Braylon Edwards. It appears as though gang green won’t have enough green to go around for Antonio Cromartie. Rex Ryan will fall in love with Brandon Harris and the swagger he brings to the table.
30. Chicago Bears: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
Tim Jennings isn’t terrible, but he was picked on an awful lot by Aaron Rodgers and is best suited as a nickel guy. The Bears could stand to add another cover man to team with Charles Tillman to further solidify their defense.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
The Steelers have a messy situation at offensive tackle on their hands with all their players being either too old, too injury-prone, or free agents. Derek Sherrod isn’t a great player, but can hold up in pass protection.
32. Green Bay Packers: Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
Cullen Jenkins is as good as gone, and Green Bay will be in the market for another starting caliber defensive lineman. Muhammad Wilkerson definitely looks the part of a great 5 technique and has a lot of potential for a small school prospect.