Three Round Mock Draft

Written by Ryan Lownes on February 20, 2012


17. Cincinnati (f/OAK)

 

David DeCastro – OG – Stanford

 

The Carson Palmer mess really turned into a win-win for the Bengals when they traded the disgruntled quarterback to Oakland. While Palmer and the Raiders were Tebow-ed out of the playoff picture, a young Cincinnati team was able to sneak a wild card spot despite an 0-7 record against winning teams. With this pick, value meets and area of need as they nab David DeCastro, a player largely considered the best guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson. The Bengals may look to address their need at safety here instead by taking the draft’s best in Alabama’s Mark Barron.

 

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 and subsequent Senior Bowl, but I still see this as a high risk/reward pick. Offensive line is sure to be a priority for the team and Wisconsin center Peter Konz along with Jonathan Martin provide value here.

 

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. If the Bears instead were seeking size at the position, South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery would be an ideal fit.

 

20. Tennessee Titans

 

Peter Konz – C – Wisconsin

 

There may have not been an offensive line around the NFL whose performance was as disappointing as the Titans’ during the 2011 season. All-Pro running back Chris Johnson was unable to find much in terms of running room as Tennessee finished just 31st in the league in rushing yards. Much of the blame rests on the shoulders of the interior offensive line. Peter Konz is a blue-chip center prospect capable of entering the lineup immediately and providing a substantial upgrade over Eugene Amano. If the Titans pass on offensive line help, safety Mark Barron and linebacker Luke Kuechly also could fill holes.

 

21. Cincinnati Bengals

 

Dontari Poe – DT – Memphis

 

With all of the areas thought to be worth consideration here, few would consider defensive tackle to be among the Bengals’ most pressing needs. Run specialist Pat Sims may not be back in stripes next season and it will be up to Marvin Lewis & Co. to find a replacement capable of pushing Domata Peko at the position. Dontari Poe is a bit of a mystery. Though he did not absolutely dominate lower competition: Poe moves with incredibly light feet for his massive size. Were Cincinnati to look elsewhere here, South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore and Miami running back Lamar Miller are two that would draw consideration.

 

22. Cleveland Browns (f/ATL)

 

Cordy Glenn – OT/OG – Georgia

 

After having missed out on a true franchise quarterback prospect earlier, the Browns may have to turn their attention to helping out the one they have got. While wide receiver appears to be the position most in need of an instant upgrade, their draft history indicates that they are unwilling to reach for one in the opening round. Cordy Glenn is a huge, versatile lineman capable of filling holes at either right guard or tackle in Cleveland. It may not be the sexy pick, but Glenn improves both their running and passing game. The Browns may instead opt for a wide receiver such as LSU’s Rueben Randle or even spring for quarterback Brandon Weeden with this pick.

 

23. Detroit Lions

 

Janoris Jenkins – CB – North Alabama

 

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 roster appears brimming with talent, Detroit is thin in the secondary and their cornerbacks were exposed down the stretch. Though Janoris Jenkins competed at the FCS level this season, he appears to have the ability in man coverage this team so desperately lacks. If they choose to go another direction with this pick, the Lions could be interested in offensive tackle Jonathan Martin or defensive end Andre Branch.

 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Jonathan Martin – OT – Stanford

 

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. Jonathan Martin is an athletically gifted tackle that excels as a pass blocker. While Pittsburgh really is hurting more inside, this pick increases the talent level along their front and will find playing time early. If the Steelers don’t look offensive line, Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard looks to be an excellent fit.

 

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. A running back such as Lamar Miller or David Wilson could also tempt the Broncos in the opening round.

 

26. Houston Texans

 

Mohamed Sanu – WR – Rutgers

 

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. With Andre Johnson missing serious time due to a hamstring injury the Texans got a taste of life without a primary receiver. Mohamed Sanu may not come with the publicity as some others at the position, but he is among this class’ most promising wide receiver prospects. While he may not be a burner, Sanu is tough, reliable, and underrated athletically. As Houston will be looking to go best player available, inside linebackers Luke Kuechly and Don’ta Hightwoer could be considered here.

 

27. New England Patriots (f/NO)

 

Andre Branch – OLB – Clemson

 

The Patriots acquired this pick from the Saints in the 2011 draft as a part of a deal centered around Mark Ingram. With both Andre Carter and Mark Anderson unsigned heading into the offseason, it appears as if New England will look to the draft for pass rushers. Andre Branch is among this draft’s most promising prospects capable of making the switch from college end to NFL outside linebacker. He certainly fits the Patriots mold at the position and possesses the upside to be a terrific edge rusher. Other possibilities here include wide receiver Rueben Randle and inside linebacker Don’ta Hightower.

 

28. Green Bay Packers

 

Orson Charles – TE – Georgia

 

With Jermichael Finley set to become a free agent, the Packers have a huge decision to make. The price tag is sure to be high for the promising young tight end and Green Bay may not be willing to match the offers Finley is sure to receive. Even if they choose not to re-sign him, many feel Andrew Quarless and D.J. Williams can pick up the slack. Orson Charles is an excellent fit however, running the field like a wide receiver. He could be a terror down the seam for Aaron Rodgers. An outside linebacker such as Nick Perry is another possibility with this pick.

 

29. Baltimore Ravens

 

Luke Kuechly – ILB – Boston College

 

For years, the inside linebacker spot next to legend Ray Lewis has been nothing short of a revolving door in Baltimore. Since the team lost Bart Scott years ago, the Ravens have been hurting at the position. The ultra-productive Luke Kuechly may not be the thumper many fans had in mind, but he possesses the instincts and range to be a very effective starter at the next level. Don’ta Hightower is another the team is sure to consider at the position and Mark Barron could fill a hole in the secondary.

 

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. Rueben Randle appears to be another option at the position.

 

31. New England Patriots

 

Mark Barron – S – Alabama

 

A popular pick right now in mock drafts, but for good reason. While the Patriots remain a Super Bowl quality team, the secondary has enormous holes in need of long-term solutions. Mark Barron is not the ball-hawking free safety that New England would ideally like here, but he is a leader on the back end this team has lacked since Rodney Harrison retired. He would immediately upgrade what is a very thin secondary. A defensive end such as Nebraska’s Jared Crick would also fit here.

 

32. New York Giants

 

Lamar Miller – RB – Miami

 

The Super Bowl champs appear to be a well-oiled machine with few areas that must be upgraded this offseason. Many forget, however, that this was a team that barely made the playoffs and finished the regular season with the 32nd ranked rushing offense in the NFL. While they would ideally add an offensive lineman with this pick, the next best option may be to add talent at running back. The explosive Lamar Miller could help energize a running game that averaged a league-worst 3.5 yards per carry a year ago. Other options with this pick include Iowa State offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele and outside linebacker Zach Brown.

 

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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. See all posts by Ryan Lownes.