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Re: ESPN Insider Mock Draft
17. Minnesota Vikings (9-7)
Top five needs: QB, MLB, S, CB, DE
The pick: Tye Hill, CB, Clemson
If Cutler or Young were to free-fall this far, the Vikings likely would pull the trigger. Otherwise, the team is expected to draft for defense with this pick. Hill is the best value at this point, and he would help solidify a secondary that boasts talented starting cornerbacks in Antoine Winfield and Fred Smoot, but lacks depth after losing free agent Brian Williams (Jaguars).
18. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)
Top five needs: OT, WR, FS, ILB, OG
The pick: +Santonio Holmes, WR, Ohio State
Coach Bill Parcells doesn't like to draft wide receivers in the first round, but the last time one of his teams used a top pick on an Ohio State wide receiver (Terry Glenn, Patriots) it worked out well. If the team signs free agent Terrell Owens, this projection likely would change. However, if the Cowboys are unable to get a deal done with Owens, Holmes would be the best fit here.
19. San Diego Chargers (9-7)
Top five needs: WR, S, OT, OG, CB
The pick: +Jonathan Joseph, CB, South Carolina
The Chargers would like to draft a playmaking wide receiver with this pick, but they won't reach for Sinorice Moss if Jackson and Holmes are off the board. Despite spending three high draft picks in recent years on CBs Quentin Jammer, Sammy Davis and Drayton Florence, the team's pass defense remains a major issue. Joseph is an excellent athlete with the speed and natural man-to-man cover skills to help upgrade this unit.
20. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)
Top five needs: WR, CB, DT, DE, QB
The pick: +Ashton Youboty, CB, Ohio State
Much like the Chargers, the Chiefs want a wide receiver with this pick, but the supply does not match the demand. Instead, expect the Chiefs to take advantage of a deep crop of young cornerbacks by taking the best available at pick No. 20. Youboty gambles too much and needs some polishing, but he has the natural physical tools of a top-10 pick. He could help right away as a sub-package cover corner and eventually could take over at the spot opposite Patrick Surtain.
21. New England Patriots (10-6)
Top five needs: OLB, WR, CB, RB, OT
The pick: DeAngelo Williams, RB, Memphis
The Patriots have several needs on defense, especially at outside linebacker and cornerback. To that end, OLB Chad Greenway would be a great fit, especially since he played under former Bill Belichick prot?g? Kirk Ferentz at Iowa. However, if Williams slips this far, the Patriots won't hesitate to draft him. Corey Dillon was unable to stay healthy last season and has a lot of mileage on his legs, which is why drafting a premier running back prospect is wise for both the future and the present.
22. Denver Broncos (10-6)
Pick acquired from Redskins
Top five needs: WR, DE, TE, RB, DT
The pick: +Laurence Maroney, RB, Minnesota
With the other three elite running back talents from this year's class already off the board, the Broncos would be hard-pressed to pass on Maroney with this pick. Making Maroney even more enticing is his experience playing in a similar zone-blocking scheme at Minnesota.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5)
Top five needs: OT, WR, DE, LB, CB
The pick: Marcus McNeill, OT, Auburn
This might be a bit of a reach for McNeill. However, the Buccaneers are in dire straits at the offensive tackle position, and the lack of offensive line depth in this year's class could force the team's hand. McNeill does not possess elite physical tools, but he is a massive right tackle prospect who always seems to execute his blocking assignment.
24. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5)
Top five needs: DT, TE, DE, CB, QB
The pick: Gabe Watson, DT, Michigan
The Bengals will continue to target defense early in this year's draft. There are concerns regarding Watson's inconsistent motor while at Michigan, but if anyone can get the most out of him, it is head coach Marvin Lewis. Watson has the size and strength to help beef up an undersized defensive front that got pushed around entirely too much last season.
25. New York Giants (11-5)
Top five needs: WR, OLB, DT, CB, OT
The pick: Chad Greenway, OLB, Iowa
Even if the Giants land free agent OLB LaVar Arrington, they still will be in the market for a linebacker in the first few rounds of the draft. Greenway could slip due to his less-than-impressive showing at the combine, but he is an instinctive football player who will make an impact immediately for the team that takes a chance on him in the second half of the first round.
26. Chicago Bears (11-5)
Top five needs: CB, TE, S, OLB, PK
The pick: +Leonard Pope, TE, Georgia
There were four tight ends in the NFL last season who caught 70 or more passes. In comparison, Bears TE Desmond Clark has just 48 catches in the last two seasons. Simply put, the Bears are in need of a difference-maker at tight end. In what is a strong group of prospects at this position, Pope is the second-best behind Davis.
27. Carolina Panthers (11-5)
Top five needs: SS/OLB, WR, TE, OG, RB
The pick: Kamerion Wimbley, DE/OLB, Florida State
Wimbley is building steam at just the right time. He built on a strong senior campaign by turning in an impressive combine workout. At just 248 pounds, Wimbley could emerge as a future starter at outside linebacker for the Panthers. In the meantime, he is ready to contribute immediately as a situational pass-rusher.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (12-4)
Top five needs: OLB, TE, DE, OT, CB
The pick: Tamba Hali, DE, Penn State
The Jaguars have needs at outside linebacker and tight end, but they have shown they will draft the best available player, regardless of position. In this scenario, Hali would be a great value late in the first round, and he also could improve the depth of the Jaguars' defensive end position by playing in a rotation with Reggie Hayward, Paul Spicer and Marcellus Wiley.
29. Denver Broncos (13-3)
Top five needs: WR, DE, TE, RB, DT
The pick: Sinorice Moss, WR, Miami
After snagging Maroney with their initial pick in the first round, the Broncos will be in the market for the best available wide receiver, tight end or defensive end. In this case, Moss would have to be the choice. His lack of size will scare some teams, but his explosive speed and quickness will make him an immediate threat as a slot receiver in the NFL.
30. Indianapolis Colts (14-2)
Top five needs: RB, OLB, OG, ILB, PK
The pick: Demeco Ryans, OLB, Alabama
The Colts want desperately for one of the aforementioned top-four running backs to fall to them at pick No. 30. If that doesn't happen, though, do not expect GM Bill Polian to reach for a second-round prospect such as Joseph Addai or Brian Calhoun. One option would be to trade out of the first round to stockpile picks and get a better value at the running back position later on. A second option would be to package picks to move up for Williams or Maroney. A final option would be to sit tight and draft the best available linebacker or offensive lineman. In this case, Ryans would be a great value and potentially could take over right away for departed OLB David Thornton.
31. Seattle Seahawks (13-3)
Top five needs: OG, DS, WR, CB, OLB
The pick: Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, Boston College
The Seahawks will have bigger needs at offensive guard if they don't match the Vikings' offer sheet for transition free agent Steve Hutchinson, as well as at safety and wide receiver. However, the team also needs to improve its depth at defensive end, and Kiwanuka would be a steal this late in the first round. He is a developmental prospect who could serve as a situational pass-rusher while attempting to improve his bulk, strength and technique versus the run.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
Top five needs: WR, FS, DE, C/OG, OLB
The pick: Nick Mangold, C, Ohio State
The Super Bowl champs are obviously void of many pressing positional needs. That's why they have the luxury of drafting the best available prospect with the final pick of the first round. Mangold, the clear-cut No. 1 center prospect in this year's class, would make a lot of sense as the heir apparent to aging starter Jeff Hartings. Other options could include OLB Bobby Carpenter, DT Rodrique Wright, DS Ko Simpson, OLB Thomas Howard and CB Alan Zemaitis.
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