New Two Round Mock Draft

Written by Ryan Lownes on January 29, 2012

17. Cincinnati (f/OAK)


Dre Kirkpatrick – CB – Alabama


It became painfully clear through the Bengals season that speed in the secondary was sorely lacking. While many point to free safety as the most glaring need in the defensive backfield, the play at cornerback dropped off with the loss of Johnathan Joseph to Houston. Nate Clements played admirably in his first year in Cincinnati, but the team’s lack of speed was evident every game this season. Dre Kirkpatrick falls here after a recent arrest for marijuana, but there is to much value here for Mike Brown to ignore. Kirkpatrick is a physical, rangy corner with the size and athleticism to matchup against anyone.

18. San Diego Chargers


Melvin Ingram – OLB – South Carolina


While the Chargers could look to fill a number of holes on the defensive side with this selection, they are sure to be tempted by the opportunity to land a quality pass rusher here. While Melvin Ingram lacks the height and length of some, his versatility, athleticism, and array of pass-rush moves should make him a solid fit standing up in a 3-4. Some became enamored with Ingram during his 2011 campaign, but I still see this as a high risk/reward pick.

19. Chicago Bears


Kendall Wright – WR – Baylor


It seems as if the Bears are in desperate need of a primary receiver every year when I sit down to type up mock drafts. After addressing holes in the trenches early in the 2011 draft, Chicago may actually be able to focus on adding weapons to Jay Cutler’s arsenal. Kendall Wright may have missed the chance to impress scouts at the Senior Bowl, but his tape speaks for itself. He brings both speed and reliability outside.

20. Tennessee Titans


Whitney Mercilus – DE – Illinois


When the Titans lost Jason Babin in free agency, they were left without a true pass rush presence. In a giant step backwards, Tennessee finished 31st in the NFL with just 28 sacks. Whitney Mercilus led the nation in sacks this past season and projects as one of this class’ top pass-rushing talents. Mercilus steps in across from 2010 first round pick Derrick Morgan and could give the Titans one of the league’s most talented young duos at defensive end.

21. Cincinnati Bengals


Mark Barron – S – Alabama


As I mentioned earlier, the Bengals’ first priority this offseason will be to solidify the defensive backfield. For years the team has been content combing the free agency bargain bin to find starting safeties. This year’s playoff matchup, in which starter Chris Crocker made some crucial mistakes, will serve as a wake-up call in Cincinnati. Mark Barron is not the center fielder many fans are asking for, but he plays the position with physicality and tremendous instincts. He projects as an instant starter for a team that prefers not to differentiate a free and strong safety.

22. Cleveland Browns (f/ATL)


Zach Brown – OLB – North Carolina


While the defense is certainly coming along in Cleveland, there are still holes created from the shift from a 3-4 to 4-3 scheme in 2011. They are fortunate to land a playmaking linebacker here with exceptional athletic ability. Brown may not have the best instincts, but he possesses sideline-to-sideline speed and is an improvement over current weak-side ‘backer Kaluka Maiava.

23. Detroit Lions


Mike Adams – OT – Ohio State


The Lions have the distinct look of a young team ready to compete for years to come, but they must continue to build through the draft to ensure improvement and growth. While the Detroit offensive line did not exactly struggle this past season, an injection of young talent would be a welcome change. Whether or not the team chooses to re-sign long time left tackle Jeff Backus, Mike Adams looks to be an excellent fit with this pick. A bit of an underachiever at Ohio State, Adams has ideal size, length, and more than adequate athleticism to play at the NFL level.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers


Cordy Glenn – OG/OT – Georgia


It has become clear over the past few seasons that the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger could use all the help they can get on the offensive line. This season, they were unable to keep their quarterback upright despite new milestones in passing for the team. Cordy Glenn is a massive, versatile lineman that is capable of playing as many as three positions on the line in the NFL. For Pittsburgh, Glenn steps into the left guard spot which has not seen much since the departure of Alan Faneca years ago.

25. Denver Broncos


Devon Still – DT – Penn State


While many credit Tim Tebow for the Broncos quick turnaround, the defense also experienced an unexpected improvement. Though Denver switched from a 3-4 to 4-3 scheme during a condensed offseason, the pick of Von Miller was a slam-dunk. Devon Still, one of this class’ premier 3-tech prospects, is a steal at the bottom of the first round. While he lacks elite pass-rushing ability, Still helps solidify an improving defensive front.

26. Houston Texans


Dontari Poe – NT – Memphis


Coming off the franchise’s first trip to the NFL playoffs, Houston appears to be a perennial AFC South power capable of making a serious Super Bowl run at some point. The Texans hit the jackpot when they selected J.J. Watt a year ago and here they have the opportunity to continue adding pieces to an improving defense. Dontari Poe is not your typical nose tackle; he is more of a penetrator and will need to improve his anchor strength and defend the run with greater leverage. Houston can afford to roll the dice here and grab a potential difference maker in the middle.

27. New England Patriots (f/NO)


Fletcher Cox – DL – Mississippi State

Another year and another batch of first round picks for the Patriots. This selection was acquired as a part of a draft day trade with New Orleans involving Mark Ingram. Though the offense is nearly unstoppable, the New England defense leaves a lot to be desired. Fletcher Cox is among this class’ top down-linemen and appears a natural fit playing the 5-Tech position in a 3-4 scheme. In a 4-3, Cox shifts inside to 3-Tech where he would be playing along-side All-Pro Vince Wilfork.

28. Green Bay Packers


Peter Konz – C – Wisconsin


The Packers’ playoff loss certainly was extremely deflating; Ted Thompson now much look to the offseason to make his team even better in 2012. Starting center Scott Wells, 31, is set to hit free agency and is far from a lock to be brought back. Peter Konz may not be the sexy choice, but he is among the safest picks in this draft. While the Badgers have a reputation for churning out big, road-grading linemen, Konz is far from one dimensional. Green Bay is fortunate to land a long-time starter with this pick.

29. Baltimore Ravens


Dont’a Hightower – ILB – Alabama


The Ravens continued a legacy of stinginess this year, finishing 3rd in total defense during the regular season. However effective that defense may be, age is starting to catch up in some areas and changes will have to be made. The fact that Ray Lewis turns 37 before the start of next season is an unavoidable truth for Baltimore. Don’ta Hightower is an ideal heir to the sure Hall-of-Famer. A big, thumping backer with a downhill playing style, Hightower fits the Ravens physical defense.

30. San Francisco 49ers


Alshon Jeffery – WR – South Carolina


You simply cannot say enough about the job Jim Harbaugh has done with this defense and quarterback Alex Smith. The 49ers have gone from an after-thought in the mediocre NFC West to a Super Bowl contender. Moving forward, the team will be looking to add a big-bodied target at wide receiver to help out Alex Smith. A year ago it would have been ludicrous to think Alshon Jeffery could stay on the board to this point, but after a disappointing season the Gamecocks star could be in for a draft day slide. Jeffery projects as an immediate starter opposite Michael Crabtree and offers the team a vertical & red-zone option.

31. New England Patriots


Nick Perry – DE/OLB – USC


Despite finishing 31st in total defense during the regular season, New England was not actually as horrendous as statistics would lead you to believe. Still, the team is sure to emphasize defense in the first round of the upcoming draft. With starting linebacker Rob Ninkovich set to hit free agency, the Patriots are sure to be on the prowl for young pass rushing talent. Nick Perry is not especially flashy, but he is among this class’ best edge rushers and should be able to play with a hand on the ground or standing up.

32. New York Giants


Kevin Zeitler – OG – Wisconsin


New York shocked the football world by topping the 15-1 Packers in Lambeau and making a Super Bowl run. While Eli Manning is coming into his own as a star quarterback, the once proud Giants offensive line has been reduced to a generally mediocre unit. The team finished at the bottom of the league during the regular season in terms of yards per carry and big plays were scarce in the run game. Kevin Zeitler is a powerful and intelligent interior lineman capable of holding down a spot on the line for years to come. While offensive guard is his more natural position, Zeitler also appears to be capable of moving to center if needed.

Ryan Lownes

Ryan is currently an undergraduate student at Ohio University pursuing a degree in Sport Management. He has been attending the NFL Draft in New York City since 2005 and has aspirations of a career in scouting. He is currently a draft writer and analyst on the Draft Breakdown team, posting his latest rankings, mock drafts, scouting reports, and more. Be sure to follow Ryan on twitter for year-round NFL Draft analysis.

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