23. Eagles: Jimmy Smith, cornerback, Colorado.
A legitimate top-15 talent with shutdown ability, Smith's character concerns won't cause him to slip past an Eagles defense that may be one right cornerback away from a Super Bowl appearance. Smith is a true man-to-man, "press" corner with enough physicality to also fill hard in run support.24. Saints: Jabaal Sheard, defensive end, Pittsburgh.
Many draftniks wrote off Sheard after a relatively under-the-radar college career that included one negative off-the-field incident. The character concerns are overblown, however, and the 2010 Big East Defensive Player of the Year will be an impact player in Gregg Williams' defense.25. Seahawks: Muhammad Wilkerson, defensive tackle, Temple.
Seattle has shown minimal interest in retaining free agent Brandon Mebane
, potentially leaving a gaping hole next to Colin Cole
at defensive tackle. Wilkerson can play both five-technique end and "three-technique" as a long, lean pocket pusher at 6-foot-4, 315 with nearly 36-inch arms.26. Ravens: Brooks Reed, linebacker, Arizona.
Reed pushed himself into round one with a Clay Matthews
-like 10-yard split in Indianapolis, and the Ravens confirmed their interest during a March 28 private workout. Jarret Johnson
is entering a contract year at age 30, so Reed could help on nickel downs before replacing him in 2012.27. Falcons: Danny Watkins, guard, Baylor.
Both Falcons starting guards are free agents, and so too is right tackle Tyson Clabo
. Perhaps the draft's nastiest offensive lineman, Watkins could play any of the three positions in Atlanta. Though he's only 6-foot-3, 312, Watkins has plenty of length (34-inch arms) to replace Clabo if needed.28. Patriots: Cameron Jordan, defensive end, Cal.
The media overrated Jordan after a sensational Senior Bowl; he just isn't a natural rushing the passer. Steve's son still offers value as a late first-rounder for 3-4 teams. Jordan played in a three-man front scheme at Cal, and he has long arms and massive hands to occupy blocks.29. Bears: Marvin Austin, defensive tackle, North Carolina.
Austin's college career left lots to be desired (nine career sacks), but talent will keep him in round one. The nation's former top defensive tackle recruit has rehabbed his stock with an exceptional offseason, dominating at the East-West Shrine and standing out at the Combine and NC Pro Day.30. Jets: Akeem Ayers, linebacker, UCLA.
Coach Rex Ryan values linebackers that can both rush and drop, and Ayers was a playmaker in coverage with six interceptions at UCLA, two of which he ran back for scores as a sophomore. The Jets have a great defense, but their outside 'backers are mediocre getting to the quarterback.31. Steelers: Phil Taylor, defensive tackle, Baylor.
Taylor has rare movement skills for a 6-foot-4, 337-pounder and could project as 34-year-old nose tackle Casey Hampton
's eventual successor in Pittsburgh. The Steelers would probably prefer an offensive lineman or cornerback, but may struggle to find one with enough value to draft here.32. Packers: Torrey Smith, wide receiver, Maryland.
Smith is the ACC's all-time leader in kick return yards, an area he'd immediately add an explosive element to Green Bay's pedestrian special teams. Raw as a wideout, Smith could develop as a fourth or fifth receiver early before taking on a more prominent role in the Packers' five-wide sets.Just missed:
Alabama running back Mark Ingram
, Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick
, Georgia linebacker Justin Houston
, Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph
, Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn
, Alabama tackle James Carpenter
, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett
, Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward
, Virginia defensive back Ras-I Dowling
, Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea
, Colorado tackle Nate Solder
, TCU quarterback Andy Dalton
, Villanova tackle Ben Ijalana
, Texas safety Aaron Williams
, Miami guard Orlando Franklin