The final 2013 NFL Mock Draft (4.0) (Picks 17-32)
The Steelers are looking for someone to replace James Harrison as their edge presence, and Jones could be the right man for the job. A below average athlete in workouts, Jones' ferocious style of play and high motor allows him to win on the football field, and I believe that's something the Steelers organization can get on board with. I was considering the idea of Eddie Lacy here for a number of reasons, but had to drop him after he was forced to end a workout early in front of scouts due to stamina issues.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cooper, OG, UNC
I believe there are two directions the Cowboys could go with this pick - the first would be a defensive player to stick in the trenches, the second being a player to bolster the offensive line. The Cowboys struggled mightily to run the ball effectively last season, and with a running back they like (DeMarco Murray), you can assume that they'll blame the offensive line. Cooper is considered by some to be an elite prospect, and the Cowboys could give the interior of their offensive line a serious boost by drafting Cooper. If they then decide to sign a free agent right tackle such as Eric Winston or Tyson Clabo, they could cut Doug Free, who is refusing to take a pay cut.
19. New York Giants: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
Serious character concerns have made a significant impact on Ogletree's draft stock, but I think this is the right spot for him. After cutting Michael Boley and letting Chase Blackburn walk, the Giants have holes at linebacker. Ogletree's tape will tell you that he's one of the top prospects in that area. The former safety covers a ton of ground and is able to make plays all over the field. He is strong dropping back into coverage. He can improve the Giants' 31st ranked defense in multiple areas. The Giants tend to take high character players in the draft, but the talent level at this spot may be too tempting. They could stick Ogletree in their strong locker room and bank on him maturing with the help of experienced veterans. As far as talent and need, this pick makes plenty of sense.
20. Chicago Bears: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
I'm sticking with this pick from my last mock draft. The Bears need someone to help out Brandon Marshall in the passing game. Aside from Marshall, the Bears' leading wide receiver in catches was Earl Bennett with 29. Kellen Davis - who started 15 games at tight end - caught 19 passes all season. I know that the Bears added tight end Martellus Bennett in free agency, but that doesn't deter me from putting Eifert here. Eifert is more than a tight end - he is an Aaron Hernandez type who can line up all over the formation. I imagine offensive-minded head coach Marc Trestman would be thrilled to have a player like Eifert who would allow creativity in formations and play-calling.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The Bengals have a need at safety, but their defense was still very strong in 2012, and top safety Kenny Vaccaro is off the board in this scenario. Like the Bears, the Bengals need to help out AJ Green in the passing game. The team's second leading receiver was Andrew Hawkins with 533 yards, and he is more of a gadget player than a pure receiver. Patterson could be a nice compliment to AJ Green, as Patterson wins with sensational athleticism, while Green wins with precise route running and strong hands. It could almost be like a thunder-and-lightning combination at the wide receiver position. You could have Green on one side running a double-move, with Patterson running a drag route that he could turn into a big gain after the catch. I like the value and the fit here. The main concern is that some scouts are questioning Patterson's ability to learn the intricacies of an NFL offense.
22. St. Louis Rams (from WAS): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
As I said earlier, I have the Rams targeting a safety and a receiver in the first round. Having already drafted top safety Kenny Vaccaro, I like the Rams grabbing a versatile receiver in Hopkins with this pick. Hopkins worked out privately for the Rams today (Monday) and had already met with them before that. He's a physical receiver who is a threat to snag any ball that's near him, which will likely make him a favorite target of quarterback Sam Bradford. The Rams' leading receiver last year was Chris Givens, who had 698 yards. The Rams need a playmaker for Bradford to throw to.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, California
Despite the lingering injury, the slow forty time, and the possibly failed drug test, I think this is a good spot for Allen. Considered by many to be the top receiver prospect at the beginning of the pre-draft process, grabbing Allen here could end up being a steal. He is a big possession receiver who knows how to get open and secure the ball. He'd be a nice compliment to Greg Jennings, who wins more often with long speed. Much like the Rams, the Vikings need to give former first-round pick Christian Ponder some help in the passing game. Grabbing Allen would give Ponder two weapons that would compliment each other nicely.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Tank Carradine, DE/OLB, Florida State
Carradine's stock has been on the rise ever since he recovered from a torn ACL. Though he played 4-3 defensive end in college, he would play outside linebacker in Chuck Pagano's 3-4 defensive scheme. He ran a 4.75 forty at his pro day, and he isn't even a hundred percent healthy yet. He's a great athlete and could wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks coming from the edge. Moving Dwight Freeney to outside linebacker last season didn't work out, and the Colts are now in search of a player who can threaten opponents regularly on passing downs. The Colts' 2012 leader in sacks was 32-year-old Robert Mathis with 8.0, then Freeney with 5.0 (he's no longer on the team), then Jerry Hughes with 4.0. Cornerback is in play here, but if the Colts believe that Carradine can be the rush linebacker that they need, I think they'll jump on him.