Evan Silva

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Draft 2011: NFL Mock 3.0

Monday, March 28, 2011

13. Lions: Prince Amukamara, cornerback, Nebraska.

Offensive tackle tops the Lions' list of needs with Gosder Cherilus coming off microfracture knee surgery, but G.M. Martin Mayhew can't pass on an elite cornerback. Amukamara has experience as a press corner, making him a terrific fit in Gunther Cunningham's aggressive defense.

14. Rams: Julio Jones, wide receiver, Alabama.

We know for sure Jones isn't getting past the Rams; the question is whether he'll make it to them. February foot surgery made it a bit more likely, and the chances will increase dramatically if the Redskins don't draft Jones with the No. 10 overall pick.

15. Dolphins: Christian Ponder, quarterback, Florida State.

The Fins seem to swing and miss on second-round quarterbacks every offseason, so it's time to get serious. Ponder would be an upgrade over Chad Henne in terms of accuracy, smarts, athleticism, consistency, and touch. He'd take over as the starter at some point in year one.

16. Jaguars: Aldon Smith, defensive end, Missouri.

The Jags are known to be high on Ponder, but he may be out of G.M. Gene Smith's reach after putting together the best spring by a draft-eligible quarterback. With freakish length and pluses for character and production, Smith is right down Smith's alley at a trouble spot on defense.

17. Patriots: Brooks Reed, linebacker, Arizona.

The Pats have been searching for a difference-making outside linebacker since Willie McGinest ran out of steam. Reed, whose stock soared with the top ten-yard split by a pass rusher at the Combine, could immediately help as a bookend for 2010 second-rounder Jermaine Cunningham.

18. Chargers: J.J. Watt, defensive end, Wisconsin.

The Chargers are also in the market for linebackers, but their biggest need area is five-technique defensive end. Watt is the best in this class. At 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds, he's a bigger, harder-to-move run plugger than Cameron Jordan and a superior rusher from both the inside and out.

19. Giants: Anthony Castonzo, offensive tackle, Boston College.

Castonzo needs to improve his strength, but he's an NFL-ready pass protector after 54 starts in Boston College's pro-style offense. Offensive line is a position that G.M. Jerry Reese would be smart to address with multiple high-round picks. The Giants are aging and injury-riddled up front.

20. Buccaneers: Cameron Jordan, defensive end, Cal.

The Bucs have glaring holes at both defensive end positions. G.M. Mark Dominik will likely target a more natural pass rusher entering the draft, but he can settle for a "safe" prospect in Jordan after Kerrigan, Bowers, and Aldon Smith go in the teens. Jordan would start at left end in Week 1.

21. Chiefs: Phil Taylor, nose tackle, Baylor.

Taylor doesn't project as a pass rusher, but he'll be coveted by 3-4 teams as an immovable "zero-technique" nose tackle at 337 pounds. The Chiefs need a youth injection inside, and may lose veteran starters Ron Edwards (315 pounds) and Shaun Smith (325 pounds) to free agency.

22. Colts: Derek Sherrod, offensive tackle, Mississippi State.

Left tackle Charlie Johnson isn't signed for 2011, and aging right tackle Ryan Diem is due a hefty $5.4 million salary coming off a career-worst season. Indianapolis needs to get serious about protecting Peyton Manning or risk missing what's left of the 35-year-old quarterback's "window."

23. Eagles: Jimmy Smith, cornerback, Colorado.

Some teams have removed Smith from their boards due to character concerns, but the Eagles can't afford to overlook the draft's third most talented cornerback. A true size corner at 6-foot-2 and 211 pounds, Smith would solidify the longtime trouble spot opposite Asante Samuel.

24. Saints: Muhammad Wilkerson, defensive tackle, Temple.

Wilkerson is another red-hot pre-draft riser, even earning the tenth overall player spot on Mel Kiper's Big Board. While we're not quite buying what Kiper is doing his absolute best to sell, Wilkerson certainly is a first-round pick. He'd help form a dynamic duo adjacent Sedrick Ellis.

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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva

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