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Recent posts by Nolan Nawrocki
1 (65) St. Louis: CB Jerome Murphy, South Florida
The Rams concentrated on the two most premium positions on offense with their first two picks and turned their attention in the third round to defense. Jerome Murphy is big, physical and will be an enforcer on the defense. His lack of discipline creates cause for concern, and defensive coordinator Kent Flajole might have his hands full getting him to play consistently week in and week out.
2 (66) Detroit: CB Amari Spievey, Iowa
The Lions traded for Chris Houston, whom the rest of the division is looking forward to playing twice a year. Spievey has the size and physicality to excel in zone coverage. There were some concerns about his makeup, but he has the toughness Jim Schwartz seeks in his defense.
3 (67) Tampa Bay: CB Myron Lewis, Vanderbilt
The third round began with a run on corners, with three coming off the board right away. Myron Lewis is ideally suited for Raheem Morris' prevalent cover-2 scheme. He provides needed youth for the Buccaneers' secondary with Ronde Barber 35 years old and past his prime.
4 (68) Kansas City: OG Jon Asamoah, Illinois
Asamoah will likely be groomed to take over for Brian Waters, who could move to center. Asamoah is very tough, smart and hardworking and fits the profile of a Scott Pioli offensive lineman, but he does have some limitations with short arms and too much body stiffness.
5 (69) Oakland: OT Jared Veldheer, Hillsdale (Mich.)
The Raiders surprised everyone by passing on Bruce Campbell and selecting Jared Veldheer, a small-school talent with developmental left tackle potential. He is raw and tends to play too upright and might require some time adjusting to the pro game, but he does have upside.
6 (70) Baltimore (from Seattle through Philadelphia and Denver): TE Ed Dickson, Oregon
The Ravens continued to benefit from red-flagged talent, as there were some concerns about Dickson's ability to adapt to an NFL offense and handle complex assignments. But, if the game is kept simple for him, he could be a terrific downfield threat. He has natural receiving skills and could be groomed to replace Todd Heap.
7 (71) Green Bay (from Cleveland through Philadelphia): FS Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech
Burnett gained steam on the scouting trails after an outstanding pro-day workout, and he has good coverage instincts, ball skills and hands. He could benefit from playing alongside Nick Collins and could compete with Atari Bigby for a starting job in the box, while allowing the Packers more flexibility to interchange their safeties.
8 (72) Buffalo: DE Alex Carrington, Arkansas State
With the Bills converting to an odd front, Carrington will fit as a five-technique. He flashed great power at the Senior Bowl and has all the physical tools to be a great pro, but it might take a lot of coaching to maximize his talent, as he tends to overthink the game. The addition of Torell Troup and Carrington are two very critical additions for the Bills' defensive transition.
9 (73) Miami: OG John Jerry, Mississippi
The Dolphins signed Richie Inognito in free agency to add depth along the interior offensive line, and Jerry should provide additional power on the inside for the Dolphins' massive, road-grading unit. He is big, strong and powerful, but he might frustrate the coaching staff with too many missed assignments. Nonetheless, he fits the prototype of a Bill Parcells power offensive lineman.
10 (74) Jacksonville: DT D'Anthony Smith, Louisiana Tech
If the top-10 selection of Tyson Alualu weren't enough of a sign of things to come for John Henderson, the addition of D'Anthony Smith should be. Similar to Alualu, the value of Smith is his versatility, as he played everywhere on the line in college. He is very active, plays on his feet and has the tools to develop into a solid pro.
11 (75) Chicago: SS Major Wright, Florida
The Bears were fortunate to find a safety as talented as Major Wright in the third round. He has some tightness in his movement and was difficult to evaluate in Florida's defense considering the way he was deployed so deep off the ball. He will, however, strike and has enough range to cover ground on the back end. With Danieal Manning having yet to sign his tender or progress the way the Bears would have liked, Wright provides needed insurance at a position the team has struggled to address.
12 (76) New York Giants: SS Chad Jones, LSU
The Giants took a gamble on a luxury strong safety with considerable questions about his passion and commitment to the game. Kenny Phillips could not finish last season due to a chronic knee injury that originated during his days in college. After the signings of Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant in free agency, the selection of Jones would appear to be a value pick that replenishes the middle of the Giants' defense.
13 (77) Tennessee: WR Damian Williams, USC
With Vince Young back in the saddle, Mike Reinfeldt added a very safe slot receiver who can also contribute in the return game. He has dependable hands, and his work habits should aid the development of Young.
14 (78) Carolina: WR Brandon LaFell, LSU
Steve Smith has been crying out for a complementary receiver. Brandon LaFell has small hands and has been too inconsistent catching the ball, but he is big, physical and could provide a boost to the run game with his aggressive blocking temperament. In many ways, he is similar to Muhsin Muhammad.
15 (79) San Diego (from San Francisco): ILB Donald Butler, Washington
Butler is big, strong and hard-hitting and should be able to compete for a job inside with Brandon Siler and Stephen Cooper. He is limited in coverage but could be very solid defending the run on first and second downs.
16 (80) Denver: C J.D. Walton, Baylor
The Broncos continued to fortify the middle of their offensive line after selecting Zane Beadles in the second round. The loss of Casey Wiegmann, coupled with the limited availability of quality centers, might have forced the Broncos to act sooner than they would have liked. Walton is tough, hardworking and tries hard, but his athletic limitations show up consistently on tape.
17 (81) Houston: DT Earl Mitchell, Arizona
The Texans have not received the consistent production that was expected out of first-round pick Amobi Okoye. Earl Mitchell really opened some eyes at the Combine when he clocked sub-4.9 40-times and has physical talent to be molded. He could provide an immediate return as an inside nickel rusher and develop into an every-down contributor in time.
18 (82) Pittsburgh: WR Emmanuel Sanders, SMU
With the abrupt departure of Santonio Holmes, the Steelers had a void to fill. Hines Ward is on his last legs, and Sanders could benefit from learning from one of the game's best and toughest inside receivers.
19 (83) Atlanta: DT Corey Peters, Kentucky
The Falcons concentrated on shoring up the the middle of their defense with the selections of Sean Weatherspoon and Peters. Peters is a developmental three-technique with the quickness to add some value on third downs. With the injuries that struck the interior defensive line last season, depth was much needed.
20 (84) Cincinnati: WR Jordan Shipley, Texas
The Bengals added Antonio Bryant to the roster in free agency, and Jordan Shipley should be able to work the inside to better open up the field for Chad Ochocinco. The big question about Shipley is whether he will be able to stay healthy and survive the pounding working the middle, but he is a good college football player who understands how to beat coverages and could add another reliable target for Carson Palmer.
21 (85) Cleveland (from New England through Oakland): QB Colt McCoy, Texas
The Browns needed to find a quarterback of the future after shipping out Brady Quinn and signing the aged Jake Delhomme. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Mike Holmgren get involved in the development of a four-year starter who is coming from a very unorthodox offense. McCoy isn't likely to be forced into action readily, which will only help his cause. He finished his career as one of the more accurate passers in college football, but he is on the short side and could be challenged by the quickness of the NFL.
22 (86) Philadelphia (from Green Bay): DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Washington
Te'o-Nesheim became a favorite of the coaching community in the evaluation process because his motor never stops and his intangibles are strong. However, he is not a great athlete and could struggle to match up with the athletic ability of NFL blockers. He might struggle to develop into a starter but gives the Eagles more depth at a position of need.
23 (87) Denver (from Philadelphia): WR Eric Decker, Minnesota
After dealing Bradon Marshall, the Broncos not only added Demaryius Thomas but added another solid possession receiver in Eric Decker, who might remind Broncos fans of Ed McCaffrey. Like Thomas, Decker is coming off a season-ending injury and was not able to run before the draft, but the Broncos clearly felt comfortable with their film work on both pass catchers, and they should upgrade the receiving corps.
24 (88) Arizona (from Baltimore): WR Andre Roberts, The Citadel
After dealing Anquan Boldin to the Ravens, the Cardinals could use another underneath receiver with run-after-catch ability. Roberts is nowhere near as strong as Boldin, but he is more dynamic with the ball in his hands and potentially could contribute in the return game. The addition of another receiver should ease the transition under center for Matt Leinart.
25 (89) Carolina (from Arizona through New England): WR Armanti Edwards, Appalachian State
With questions under center, Edwards could provide dual value as a developmental quarterback while providing more immediate value as a receiver, where he worked out exceptionally well at his pro day and snagged the ball easily with his big hands. He could make Antwaan Randle-El-type impact as a "slash" player if the Panthers want to get creative with their offense. He could also prove to be a weapon in the return game.
26 (90) New England (from Dallas): WR Taylor Price, Ohio
The run of receivers continues, as the fourth in a row comes off the board to the Patriots. With Randy Moss showing signs of being disgruntled late in the season and Wes Welker coming off a season-ending injury, the Patriots could use another target who can take the top off a defense and open up the short passing game.
27 (91) San Francisco (from San Diego): ILB Navorro Bowman, Penn State
Similar to Anthony Davis and Taylor Mays, Bowman was regarded by some teams as a first-round talent, but he slipped in large part due to concerns about his character. With Mike Singletary demanding the most out of his players and holding them fully accountable for their actions, the risk involved with selecting rough-around-the-edges talent diminishes. Bowman could be paired with Patrick Willis to give the Niners great speed in the middle of their defense, and he should benefit from the presence of Takeo Spikes.
28 (92) Cleveland (from New York Jets): OG Shawn Lauvao, Arizona State
The Browns focused on defense early in the draft but still have concerns on the offensive line to address. The left side of the line is as good as any in football, but the right side could use some help, and Lauvao could project there, potentially competing with Pork Chop Womack.
29 (93) Kansas City (from Minnesota through Houston): TE Tony Moeaki, Iowa
Moeaki's injury history is all that kept him from being drafted a round sooner. Despite weighing only 246 pounds, he is an effective blocker on the move and a very natural receiving talent. If he can remain healthy, he could potentially wrest a starting job away from Leonard Pope and help replace the production of Tony Gonzalez.
30 (94) Indianapolis: CB Kevin Thomas, USC
The Colts managed to survive last season starting an undrafted free-agent cornerback (Jacob Lacey), but they allowed Marlin Jackson to depart to Philadelphia and could use another cornerback for nickel situations. Thomas elevated his stock with a solid senior season and is well-suited for the Colts' zone coverage defense.
31 (95) New Orleans: TE Jimmy Graham, Miami (Fla.)
With Jeremy Shockey on the roster in New Orleans, Jimmy Graham will have the benefit of learning from a fellow Hurricane. While he played only one year of football for Miami, he has tremendous upside to develop, and Sean Payton should be able to work him down the middle of the field, threaten the seam and help keep defenses honest.
32 (96) Cincinnati (compensatory selection): CB Brandon Ghee, Wake Forest
The Bengals have one of the finest cornerback tandems in the league in Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall, but they could still use a No. 3 corner to deploy in sub packages. Ghee has the physical talent of a first-rounder and looked like an absolute physical marvel in shorts at his pro day, but his tape leaves much to be desired. He technique will require refinement, and if he's ever to be great, he needs to become more confident in his abilities.
33 (97) Tennessee (compensatory selection): OLB Rennie Curran, Georgia
The Titans signed Will Witherspoon in free agency to replace Keith Bulluck, but youth is still needed at the position. The Titans' defensive front does an excellent job of holding up the line and allowing the undersized linebackers to clean up behind it. Curran is not explosive for an undersized linebacker, but he does have great instincts, is always around the ball and could have a better chance to succeed in Tennessee than he would elsewhere.
34 (98) Atlanta (compensatory selection): OG Mike Johnson, Alabama
With Harvey Dahl and Tyson Clabo restricted free agents and Justin Blalock entering a contract year, the Falcons needed some depth on the right side of their line, and Mike Johnson could provide it. He was a versatile performer on a national championship line and has the toughness and competitiveness to function ably in the NFL's trenches.
Nolan Nawrocki will provide observations on the picks in the final four rounds Saturday, and he'll have grades for each team's draft late Sunday.