11. Texans: Aldon Smith, linebacker, Missouri.
Draftniks question Smith's ability to drop into coverage, but the Texans won't be picking him to shut down tight ends. Drawing comparisons to DeMarcus Ware
, Missouri's single-season sack record holder can be new Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' next big-time pass rusher.12. Vikings: Prince Amukamara, cornerback, Nebraska.
The Vikes are enamored by Locker, but he won't get by Washington as Mike Shanahan's coveted quarterback in this draft. A safe pick at a need position, Amukamara could allow Minnesota to consider sliding Cedric Griffin
to safety and upgrade a porous secondary save Antoine Winfield
.13. Lions: Anthony Castonzo, tackle, Boston College.
Detroit must draft the best lineman available to keep Matthew Stafford
healthy. Castonzo draws comparisons to Jake Long
as a rock-solid pass protector with ample run-blocking upside. He'd start at right tackle in year one, and eventually replace Jeff Backus
on Stafford's blind side.14. Rams: Julio Jones, wide receiver, Alabama.
Jones could conceivably go earlier than 14, but the odds on that happening diminish greatly once Washington passes. And we're convinced Shanahan is smitten with Locker. While St. Louis isn't "one player away," Jones instantly makes Josh McDaniels' offense considerably more lethal.15. Dolphins: Christian Ponder, quarterback, Florida State.
Ponder was a consensus first-round prospect entering the 2010 college season. After three arm surgeries in his final two years, his stock has come full circle with perhaps the finest offseason of any draft-eligible quarterback. Sorry mock drafters: The Dolphins aren't taking Mark Ingram
at 15.16. Jaguars: Mike Pouncey, guard, Florida.
The Jags are rumored to be targeting quarterbacks, but Locker won't fall to them, and they're drafting behind another passer-needy team. It isn't a great position for Jacksonville. They can fall back with an NFL-ready guard in Pouncey to shore up a weakness in the front five.17. Patriots: Ryan Kerrigan, linebacker, Purdue.
Kerrigan had more career sacks (33.5), tackles for loss (57), and forced fumbles (14) in college than Von Miller
, and faced better offensive lines in the Big Ten. While he isn't quite as explosive off the snap, Kerrigan fits the Pats' mold as a versatile, Mike Vrabel
type who just makes plays.18. Chargers: J.J. Watt, defensive end, Wisconsin.
Watt could go earlier if 4-3 teams believe he's capable of affecting the quarterback as a left end, but he may lack the first-step burst that all four-man front clubs crave in linemen. San Diego's biggest weakness is at "five technique" end, and Watt is a perfect fit for the Chargers' system.19. Giants: Corey Liuget, defensive tackle, Illinois.
Has any player's stock risen as quickly as Liuget's since the end of the college season? Drawing comparisons to Tommie Harris
and Gerald McCoy
, the interior pass rusher is a legitimate top-20 prospect after receiving a third-round grade from the Draft Advisory Committee in January.20. Buccaneers: Da'Quan Bowers, defensive end, Clemson.
Bowers' camp has done its best to downplay the knee concerns, but last year's NCAA sacks leader is dealing with degenerative arthritis in the joint. Teams will be extremely wary of a pass rusher who already wore a one-year wonder label, and is now nursing an explosion-sapping injury.21. Chiefs: Gabe Carimi, tackle, Wisconsin.
We've admittedly had Carimi lasting too long in our first three mocks; this is a premier offensive lineman who would be picked in the teens if not for the abundance of difference-making, first-round pass rushers. In Kansas City, Carimi could book end Branden Albert
for the next ten years.22. Colts: Derek Sherrod, tackle, Mississippi State.
Colts president Bill Polian has been publicly clobbering his offensive line for two years, so it's probably time he does something about it. A 6-foot-6, 312-pounder with smarts (second team Academic All American) and ideal length (84-inch wingspan), Sherrod is ready to play in the NFL.