17. Pittsburgh Steelers — Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
The Steelers need help at WR but they aren’t going to panic here. The loss of James Harrison means the Steelers need to bone up their pass rush. Pittsburgh is thrilled that division rival Cleveland passed on Mingo, serving him up to them at No. 17. A steal.
18. Dallas Cowboys — Kenny Vaccaro, SS, Texas
The Cowboys continue to strengthen their defensive backfield by keeping Kenny Vaccaro in Texas. Sheldon Richardson is also a possibility here but Jerry decides to get the best Safety instead.
19. New York Giants — Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
Georgia keeps turning out terrific linebackers and Ogletree is no different. New York takes advantage of their draft position to snag the draft’s best ILB to keep the middle of its defense strong.
20. Chicago Bears — Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Bears could use a wide reviver so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take Patterson here but Richardson presents too much value this late for Chicago to pass. Besides, WRs can be found in later rounds.
21. Cincinnati Bengals — Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Cinci’s defense is pretty solid. They could use an upgrade at the safety position but instead decide to give QB Andy Dalton another weapon so he can win shootouts with Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) – Matt Elam, FS, Florida
Now that the Rams have another target for Sam Bradford to throw to in Tavon Austin, St. Louis turns its attention to defense and grabs the top free asafety available in Elam. Draft pundits salivate.
23. Minnesota Vikings — Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
Manti Te’o and his imaginary girlfriend finally find a home with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikes could also roll with Sylvester Williams here but maybe Te’o tricks them into believing he is the guy they need. Cause, you know, Te’o is good at tricking people. You know what I mean.
24. Indianapolis Colts — Menelik Watson, OT, Florida St.
Andrew Luck has arrived on the NFL scene and now Andrew Luck must be kept safe. Enter Watson. Menelik Watson. The Colts could also go defensive line here but they invest in their franchise QB instead.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle) — Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida St.
The Vikings continue to go defense. After landing Te’o, Minnesota snags Rhodes to help shut down opposing offenses. After all, when Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel are your QB options, you probably won’t be lighting up the scoreboard much so you’d better win with defense.
26. Green Bay Packers — Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
In somewhat of a surprise, Eiferet slides down to the Packers, who are thrilled by the way, at No. 26. Aaron Rodgers is thrilled as well and the Packers take advantage in 2013.
27. Houston Texans — Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Patterson’s slide down to No. 27 sucks for Patterson, especially since he had to watch his teammate Justin Hunter swoop up draft boards at the last minute to supplant him. But it doesn’t suck for the Texans.
28. Denver Broncos — Bjoern Warner, DE, Florida St.
John Elway makes his defense fiercer and helps sooth the loss of OLB Elvis Dumervil. I could also see the Broncos going corner here but Warner seems to make the most sense.
29. New England Patriots — Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
New England screws over the Atlanta Falcons who are drooling at the prospect of replacing Dunta Robinson with Desomind Trufant. Let’s be honest though, the Patriots will probably trade out of the first round completely because that is what the Patriots do.
30. Atlanta Falcons — Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
Tony Gonzalez may be coming back for one more year but at some point, the future Hall of Famer’s luck is going to run out and his time will be up. Gonzo could finally show his age this season or an injury to the remarkably durable veteran could pull down the final curtain. Either way, Atlanta needs to replace Tony G.. Tony will be a great mentor for Ertz, who can take over in 2014.
31. San Francisco 49ers — Eric Reid, Safety, LSU
The 49ers continue to sink energy into their already stellar defense. Reid helps solidify the safety position for San Fran, who has like, a billion picks in this draft. The Niners can do pretty much whatever they want here and they will be picking again in just a couple of picks using the pick they got from the Chiefs for Alex Smith. San Fran could be pretty unpredictable here as a result.
32. Baltimore Ravens — Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
The SEC continues to dominate the NFL Draft, with back to back LSU picks. Sad to say it but Ray Ray is gone for good and the Ravens need to get younger on defense. Minter is battle-tested in College Football’s toughest conference and now he joins one of the NFL’s toughest defenses.