Over the past eight seasons, 30 second-round picks have gone on to become Pro Bowlers. Here are my predictions of who will be drafted in the second round this year:
(This is only the second round of my mock draft. For the first round, click here)
33. Jacksonville Jaguars: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Despite the fact that new general manager David Caldwell has stated that he's not ready to give up on Blaine Gabbert, you simply can't sit around hoping for magic from your quarterback position in this league. Caldwell wants to enter camp with a four-man battle for the starting quarterback position, and I think it would serve him well to select the best available quarterback at this spot. Right now, I have Smith as my top rated quarterback.
34. Kansas City Chiefs: Mike Glennon, QB, NC State
Keep this in mind - while I don't have any quarterbacks being selected in the first round, I think there is a good chance that one of the teams selecting early in the second round get their heart set on a certain quarterback, and trades up into the late-first to lock him up. I think the Chiefs are more likely to do this than the Jaguars, who apparently want to see how the Gabbert situation pans out. Glennon is Mel Kiper's top rated quarterback, and he fills a huge need for the Chiefs.
35. Philadelphia Eagles: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
As I noted earlier, Johnson's stock is on the rise and there is a good chance he's selected well before 35th if that trend continues. As of now, however, he has a shot at falling down to this spot, where the Eagles - who have hoards of problems on their offensive line - would love to snag him.
36. Detroit Lions: Alex Okafor, DE/OLB, Texas
The Lions just cut Kyle Vanden Bosch, and they may not be willing to pay the price of Cliff Avril, who will test the open market as free agency's top defensive end. The Lions were already in the bottom half of the league in sacks, and will likely be without their leader (Avril) and fourth leader in that category (Vanden Bosch). The Lions are in dire need of an outside presence who can rush the passer, and Okafor can fill that void.
37. Cincinnati Bengals (from OAK): Giovani Bernard, RB, UNC
BenJarvus Green-Ellis just had a thousand-yard season for the Bengals, but that says more about the Bengals' offensive line than it does about the Law Firm. Averaging only 3.9 yards per carry, Green-Ellis is a mediocre talent and the Bengals will look into throwing another runner into the mix this offseason. Bernard is considered by some to be the best running back in this draft class, and he can provide a boost in both the Bengals' ground attack and passing game (where Green-Ellis is essentially useless).
38. Arizona Cardinals: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
I was considering Matt Barkley in this spot, but his average arm strength isn't the best fit for the vertical passing attack that new head coach Bruce Arians is expected to bring to the Cardinals. It's a near certainty that the Cardinals will be drafting a quarterback in the first two rounds, and whoever they get has a very realistic shot at starting next season.
39. New York Jets: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
The Jets need skill position players, and they need them badly. They'd be reaching a little too much by drafting a running back or wide receiver with their first pick, but now is the time to pounce on the best available offensive weapon. Shonn Greene's impending departure being considered a "loss" is all you need to know about the Jets' running back situation, and Lacy is an absolute beast of a runner. I think Lacy could be the best running back in this draft class.
40. Tennessee Titans: Barrett Jones, C/OG/OT, Alabama
The Titans badly need some help on their offensive line. I watched a good amount of Titans games in 2012, and it seemed like every time I flipped to their game I was seeing Chris Johnson get swallowed up in the backfield. Jones' versatility could be the deciding factor for a team like the Titans. By drafting Jones, the Titans could continue to look for the best available offensive linemen - regardless of position - and let Jones fill in wherever he's needed.
41. Buffalo Bills: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
Bills owner Bud Adams wants a new quarterback, and new head coach Doug Marrone may have a shot at drafting his signal caller from when he was running the Syracuse football program. Russ Lande, a former NFL scout, ranks Nassib as the best player in the entire draft. While that may be a bit bold, it suggests that the Bills could be more than happy to take him here.
42. Miami Dolphins: Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse
I have the Dolphins giving young signal caller Ryan Tannehill some help in the first round by adding Cordarrelle Patterson, but now they need to give Tannehill some help on the offensive line, especially considering the very possible departure of Jake Long. At 6'6'' and 292 pounds, Pugh has the potential to bulk up to a great size for a tackle. Though he may end up having to move inside to guard, he still projects to be a starting-caliber lineman.
43. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
The Bucs' 32nd ranked pass defense wasn't just a result of bad play in the secondary - they also struggled to get to the quarterback. Tied for 29th in the league with only 27 sacks, the Bucs had only one player register more than five. With Adrian Clayborn coming off a torn ACL, and Michael Bennett signed to a one-year deal, defensive end is a position that needs to be addressed. Hunt, who had 8.0 sacks at SMU last season, should give the pass rush a boost.
44. Carolina Panthers: Robert Woods, WR, USC
As I said in the first round, the Panthers' biggest need is at receiver, but there were simply no receivers good enough to take with the 14th overall pick (assuming Patterson was selected already). Now, however, would be a good time to fill that void, and Woods - who has scored double-digit touchdowns for USC the past two seasons - could be their man.
45. San Diego Chargers: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Nope - not a typo. That's how you spell his name. The Chargers run defense was incredibly strong in 2012, but their pass defense was very mediocre. Both starting cornerbacks are now free agents, so the position is pretty much a mess right now. Banks recorded 3+ interceptions in each of his four years at school, and is ranked by some as the second best corner in the draft.
46. St. Louis Rams: Eric Reid, S, LSU
The Rams' defense was much improved last season, thanks in large part to a great group of young cornerbacks. The Rams also have a strong defensive line and a great middle linebacker, but there is a hole in the center of their secondary. The Rams will be in search of starters for both safety positions this offseason, and Reid can fill one of them. Reid is a versatile player who is strong against both the pass and run, and could become a useful defensive playmaker in the middle of the field.
47. Dallas Cowboys: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
The Cowboys are transitioning to a 4-3 base defense, which is a natural fit for Short, who profiles as a strong three-technique interior pass rusher. The Cowboys need another defensive tackle to pair with Jay Ratliff - that is, if they even keep Ratliff. After a DUI capped off his injury-plagued season, Ratliff is considered to be on shaky ground in Dallas. If the Cowboys were to cut him, it would only increase the chances that they go after a player like Short early in the draft.
48. Pittsburgh Steelers: Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State
Mike Wallace is not returning to the Steelers - it's as simple as that. Kevin Weidl of Scouts Inc. has compared Wheaton to Mike Wallace. "Speed, speed, speed," Weidl said. Wheaton is an electrifying player who can take the top right off a defense at any time, and he could be a great replacement to seamlessly adapt to life without Wallace. The Steelers are going to want a solid running back in this draft, but unless Lacy, Bernard, or Ball fall to them, they won't take one with this pick.
49. New York Giants: Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers
The Giants, who just cut starting linebacker Michael Boley, gave up a ton of yards in 2012, both on the ground and through the air. They managed to keep teams from putting many points on the board thanks to the third most takeaways in the league. What they need now is a player who can plug up opposing ground attacks and help out in the passing game. Greene, who will likely be a weak-side linebacker in the NFL, is a great fit. Mel Kiper thinks "he's the kind of guy who's going to make 150 tackles for an NFL team at some point."
50. Chicago Bears: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
This draft for the Bears will likely be all about helping out Jay Cutler. I have them getting him some help on the offensive line in the first round, and here I have them giving him a reliable pass catcher. The Bears' receiving core was a one-man show in 2012 - Brandon Marshall was the only player who topped 375 yards receiving. Ertz has the pass catching ability of a wide receiver with the size of a tight end. He'd be a huge upgrade over Kellen Davis, who had 19 catches for 229 yards in 15 starts.
51. Washington Redskins: Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State
I was tempted to give the Redskins a much-needed receiver in this spot, but pass defense was definitely their biggest weakness in 2012. Thomas' eight interceptions and three defensive touchdowns both led the FBS, and he also added 12 tackles for loss and four sacks. He's a versatile defender who would likely start immediately in Washington.
52. Minnesota Vikings: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
Remember Bryce Brown? The short lived fantasy football waiver wire pickup of the year? This is his brother. Not only was he the best player on the K-State defense, he was also the first player to intercept Geno Smith, nearly two months into the season. He's athletic with a ton of range and can blow up plays between the tackles. The Vikings need to upgrade their middle and weak-side linebacker positions, with starters Jasper Brinkley and Erin Henderson becoming undesirable free agents in March. The Vikings would love to get Brown here, but I have a feeling his stock will be on the rise once the Combine is underway.
53. Cincinnati Bengals: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
Both of the Bengals' starting defensive ends are scheduled to become free agents in March. Though they're expected to retain Michael Johnson at one end position, Robert Geathers will probably walk. I'm not sure if the Bengals want 2012 backup Carlos Dunlap being the every-down defensive end opposite of Johnson. Jones has a good combination of size and speed that allows him to line up anywhere on the defensive line, and he could be a useful player for a Bengals team that is likely to lose at least one starter from that unit.
54. Miami Dolphins (from IND): Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
This is under the assumption that the Dolphins can't bring back free agent Randy Starks. Without Starks, the Dolphins will have to find a new nose tackle for their 3-4 base defense. They would have the option of moving Jared Odrick to the middle and finding a new defensive end, but I think that drafting Williams here would be a great way to address the void left by Starks.
55. Green Bay Packers: Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
Patton spent some time at community college before attending Louisiana Tech, but immediately became a stud at the FBS level. He totaled 183 catches, 2594 yards, and 24 touchdowns in his two years at Louisiana Tech. The Packers, who will likely let Greg Jennings (and possibly Jermichael Finley) leave via free agency, could use a boost to their receiving core. Donald Driver just retired, and Jordy Nelson was plagued by nagging injuries in 2012. Patton could make an immediate impact in an offense that loves to spread the ball around.
56. Seattle Seahawks: Bennie Logan, DT, LSU
Though free agent defensive tackle Alan Branch has clearly expressed that he would like to re-sign with the Seahawks, he very well may get some lucrative contract offers that lure him out of Seattle. Logan could be a great fit in Branch's place if he were to leave. I think head coach Pete Carroll will have a strong appreciation for a player like Logan, who has above average speed and quickness for such a big guy. He also has the tools to develop into a pass rushing threat, which could help on a team whose leader in sacks, Chris Clemons, recently tore his ACL.
57. Houston Texans: Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall
The Texans were strong on both sides of the ball in 2012, and with them addressing their linebackers in the first round, I think it's time for them to try to improve their offense with this pick. No matter what they do, it seems that the Texans can never find a good weapon to catch passes opposite of Andre Johnson. Johnson will turn 32 before the start of next season, so if the Texans want to pair him with a decent receiver before he retires, they'll have to address that very soon. Dobson is a raw talent who's got great physical tools, which could boost his stock significantly during the Combine.
58. Denver Broncos: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The Broncos were the best team in the league against the pass per attempt last season, which is why I don't have them addressing their cornerbacks in the first round as many others do. However, Champ Bailey showed his age in the playoffs when attempting to defend Torrey Smith, and it has been suggested that he could even be a cap casualty. This would be a good time for the Broncos to grab the best corner on the board.
59. New England Patriots: Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers
Pass defense was very obviously the Patriots' biggest weakness in 2012, and top cornerback Aqib Talib is set to be a free agent who will attract big offers from multiple teams. Ryan is a dynamic player from the cornerback position, as he can shadow opposing receivers, effectively defend in zones, and jam up opponents at the line of scrimmage. He even gets a lot of great jumps on running plays and makes tackles in the backfield. He's the type of versatile defender that Bill Belichick loves, and I may bump him up this list if I see more outstanding tape of him.
60. Atlanta Falcons: Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
It's possible that Michael Turner's aging body wasn't the only reason that he had such a disappointing season running the ball. The middle of the Falcons' offensive line could use some help, and Warford was very impressive at the Senior Bowl. With the Falcons seeming likely to cut Michael Turner and pick up a younger between-the-tackles runner, they should upgrade the interior of their line to help whoever the new backfield man is.
61. San Francisco 49ers: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Coming up just short of a victory in the Super Bowl, the 49ers don't really have many areas to upgrade. One thing that stands out on the stat sheet is that receivers not named Michael Crabtree failed to produce in 2012. Mario Manningham was the Niners' second leading wide receiver with only 449 yards. The Randy Moss experiment failed, and 2012 first-round pick AJ Jenkins played in only three games and had no catches. Hunter is a tall speedster who could be the deep threat to compliment Crabtree's possession receiver skill set.
62. Baltimore Ravens: Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia
The Ravens found a diamond in the rough when they started a slimmed-down Bryant McKinnie at left tackle in the playoffs and he played at an incredibly high level. McKinnie is now a free agent and will turn 34 at the beginning of next season, so it's probably time for the Ravens to look for a left tackle of the future. Aboushi is a very talented, athletic player who is a few pounds of muscle away from being an ideal size for a left tackle. With physical tools that will likely show at the Combine, Aboushi is another player whose stock could rise quite a bit between now and the draft.