(Note: All picks in this mock draft based on team needs, as opposed to who teams might actually pick.)
17) Cincinnati Bengals: Dre' Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Obvious need, even after the Terence Newman acquisition, and an obvious player to fill that need.
18) San Diego Chargers: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
Roll, tide, roll! The Chargers are a hard team to pick for because they could use an upgrade at most positions but aren't in deep trouble at any. They have been slowly leaking talent for years, so let's give them a system fit who can also be an impact run defender and pass rusher. Hightower takes over for Takeo Spikes at inside linebacker, providing much more size, athleticism, and thump, with only a minor temporary drop-off in field awareness.
19) Chicago Bears: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
The Bears have 33-year-old converted guard Roberto Garza starting ahead of 30-year-old journeyman Chris Spencer at center. It may be time for them to start looking forward at the position. As an added bonus, Mike Tice can then shuffle Garza and Spencer all over the offensive line during training camp. It's how he gets his jollies.
[ Les Carpenter: RG3 learned early he was destined to 'change the world of sports' ]
20) Tennessee Titans: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Coples will not last this long, folks. If he does, the Titans will do a happy dance. (Bud Adams' happy dance is rated PG-13 and known to cause nightmares). Kamerion Wimbley was a fine acquisition to a defense that recorded just 28 sacks last year, but you can never have too much help on the defensive line.
21) Cincinnati Bengals: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
The Bengals get a fine complement to A.J. Green, and Floyd gets an ideal fit: a role as a possession receiver who is not expected to burn opponents deep. This has turned out to be a heck of a mock draft for the Bengals, who walk away with two impact starters. Alas, teams don't draft exclusively for need, and it is unlikely that both Kirkpatrick and Floyd will fall to them.
22) Cleveland Browns: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Another weapon for Colt McCoy. Yes, it feels funny typing that. But think of the possibilities: Wright running tunnel screens and bombs, Trent Richardson grinding it out, Greg Little with a JUGGS machine installed in every room in the house, even the bathrooms. Add a solid young defense, and it could work.
23) Detroit Lions: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
A safe pick at an obvious position of need. Gillmore is a great tackler at cornerback, which the Lions will love, and he is not a raving lunatic, which they will learn to get used to.
24) Pittsburgh Steelers: Courtney Upshaw, DE-OLB, Alabama
The Steelers need an inside linebacker more than an outside linebacker. They also need offensive linemen, though they never seem to know what to do with one after they draft them. But c'mon: This scenario has Upshaw on the board at No. 24! No way that happens! No way the Steelers pass him up if it does happen! The Steelers need to be the Steelers, and that means making sure that they are extra-loaded with unstoppable sack specialists.
25) Denver Broncos: Reuben Randle, WR, LSU
The Broncos need wide receivers now that they are scrapping the Single Wing, and Randle looks a little more like a Peyton Manning-type receiver than Rutgers' Mohamed Sanu.
26) Houston Texans: Nick Perry, DE, USC
The Texans have suffered some heavy losses in free agency, and they need to restock with Wade Phillips building blocks. Nick Perry has the athletic ability to assume a Mario Williams-type role in the Texans defense. If you don't like Perry with this pick, replace him with Luke Kuechly, who would form a fine 1-2 punch at 3-4 inside linebacker with Brian Cushing.
Bill Belichick loves his super-talented, mistake-prone cornerbacks. Though if we are really talking about "needs" here, the Patriots compulsively need to trade down, and some team trapped in the middle of the second round (Raiders) will suddenly need Jenkins or Brandon Weeden or somebody. The Patriots will end up with an extra first-round pick in 2017. And they will still pick 31st.
28) Green Bay Packers: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
The Packers do not need an edge rusher to start opposite Clay Matthews: They are great at finding those guys in late rounds or on other teams' practice squads. What they need is a defensive lineman who can hold the point of attack against the run in a 2-4-5 formation and can beat his blocker while staying in his pass rush lane. That is Jones: a guy who beats blockers and gums up interior lanes. He can provide the Packers with 10 extra sacks: five of his own, and five he helped create for Matthews.
[ Roundtable: Who will live up to their draft hype — and who won't? ]
29) Baltimore Ravens: Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
The Ravens are another team with no outstanding needs that could use a boost at most positions. They have stated that they are drafting for depth, and no position is more critical for them, depth-wise, than running back. If anything happened to Ray Rice, they would become a 5-11 team. Martin has a Rice-like skill set and would help insulate them from a catastrophe.
30) San Francisco 49ers: Johnathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Jim Harbaugh gets a Jim Harbaugh-style offensive lineman for his complex blocking schemes.
31) New England Patriots: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
More reinforcements for the Patriots defense: Vince Wilfork, and there is not a lot of other talent on the interior of the Patriots line right now. Let's face it: When it comes to assessing needs, what we think Bill Belichick needs and what Belichick thinks he needs are two totally different things.
32) New York Giants: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen would also be a fine option here, but the Giants appear to be sold on free agent Martellus Bennett, and the tape shows he is their kind of player (pretty good, kind of dull). Sanu gives them a big receiver to play on the outside so Victor Cruz can work the slot.
Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
• Position U: South Carolina is No. 1 at CB | 2012 draft peek at CB
• Metta World Peace throws anything but a peaceful elbow at James Harden's head
• Youth girls hockey match ends in dramatic shootout after 15 periods
• Shine: Beware of inadvertently insulting moms with these statements
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Cincinnati Bengals
- San Diego Chargers