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Recent posts by Nolan Nawrocki
1 (98) Carolina Panthers: CB Brandon Hogan, West Virginia
To land Hogan in the fourth round was a solid value for the Panthers. Hogan is one of the best cover men in the draft. He has very good short-area quickness, burst and agility and has clear starter-type traits if Ron Rivera can provide the structure and guidance he needs to succeed. The Panthers have taken some chances in this year's draft, from Cam Newton to Terrell McClain to Hogan, and his locker room will have a lot of personality, yet more potential to spin out of control. Hogan can help replace Richard Marshall, who is expected to depart in free agency.
2 (99) Seattle Seahawks (from Denver through New England): DE K.J. Wright, Mississippi State
Wright is a raw, developmental speed rusher who could fill the elephant end role in Pete Carroll's defense. It will take some time for him to be groomed, but he is best when he is turned loose and allowed to run to the ball and fits very well in the Seahawks' defense.
3 (100) Buffalo Bills: SS Da'Norris Searcy, North Carolina
The Bills expect to lose Donte Whitner in free agency and could use another hammer in the box to play the run. Searcy is a tough, smart, competitive box safety who will be limited in coverage, but can contribute on special teams and contend for a job.
4 (101) Cincinnati Bengals: OG Clint Boling, Georgia
A solid value pick for the Bengals in the fourth round, Boling was a four-year starter at Georgia. He is smart, versatile and capable of playing any position on the line. He gives Bengals OL coach much needed depth on the interior of the line with Nate Livings perhaps not returning next season.
5 (102) Cleveland Browns: TE Jordan Cameron, USC
The Patriots started a trend last season with the addition of two rookie tight ends who opened up the passing game. Explosive tight ends who can scream down the field and threaten the seam are difficult to find. Jordan is raw with very minimal career production, but his upside is through the roof.
6 (103) Arizona Cardinals: DE Sam Acho, Texas
The Cardinals missed out on Von Miller in the first round, but were still were able to land a solid power-leverage rusher well suited for their odd front in the fourth round in Acho, one of the safest picks in the draft from an intangibles perspective. He worked out better than expected at the Combine and has potential to develop into a future starter.
7 (104) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Washington through Philadelphia): TE Luke Stocker, Tennessee
Stocker immediately upgrades the Buccaneers at the tight end position and should help immediately as a No. 2 blocking tight end as a complement to Kellen Winslow. He stands out more as an in-line blocker than he does as a receiver but could help in the short passing game.
8 (105) Washington Redskins (from Houston): RB Roy Helu, Nebraska
Mike Shanahan has done an excellent job of identifying stretch-zone, one-cut runners in the later rounds who fit his zone running game. Helu should be very pleased with his landing spot, and easily could rack up 1,200 yards as a rookie in Shanahan's offense with the Redskins lacking talent in their backfield. Helu does not run big, but he can stick his foot in the dirt and go and has explosive, big-play ability. He could help replace Clinton Portis.
9 (106) Minnesota Vikings: DE Christian Ballard, Iowa
Ballard could turn out to be an excellent value in the fourth round if DL coach Karl Dunbar can light a fire underneath him and keep him focused. He has first-round-type athletic traits and movement skill, but has too often coasted on his natural talent in college and slid to the fourth round only because he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine. He compares somewhat similarly to a young Kevin Williams and has untapped potential to be groomed.
10 (107) Seattle Seahawks (from Detroit): WR Kris Durham, Georgia
At 6-5, 215 pounds, Durham possesses excellent size and tested extremely well at his pro-day workout, clocking in the mid 4.4s in the 40, forcing evaluators to double around and re-evaluate his early tape. He stepped up early in the season when A.J. Green was suspended and could become a solid, dependable possession receiver for the Seahawks. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell prefers big receivers who can attack the ball, and Durham fits his offense well.
11 (108) Denver Broncos (from San Francisco): SS Quinton Carter, Oklahoma
John Fox continues to overhaul his defense and landed a functional box safety in Carter. He was exposed in coverage last season and will need to be protected near the line to excel but has a chance to contend for a starting job and should provide depth on special teams.
12 (109) Tennessee Titans: LB Colin McCarthy, Miami (Fla.)
The Titans have sought to upgrade an average LB unit with the selection of Akeem Ayers in the second round and McCarthy in the fourth. He played out of position on the inside as a senior and would be best suited on the weak side in the pros. If he could stay healthy — a big if — he could become a solid contributor for the Titans and help on special teams.
13 (110) Dallas Cowboys: OG David Arkin, Missouri State
Arkin fits the Cowboys' mashing offensive line very well. He is a physical, agressive blocker who can provide much-needed depth in the middle of the line and even help at right tackle in a pinch.
14 (111) Miami Dolphins: WR Edmond Gates, Abilene Christian
Gates is one of the fastest receivers in the draft and although still relatively raw and developing, can bring a flair to Brian Daboll's offense, stretch the field vertically and help draw double coverage away from Brandon Marshall.
15 (112) St. Louis Rams: WR Greg Salas, Hawaii
A great value pick by the Rams in the fourth round at a key position of need, Salas was extremely productive in Hawaii's spread offense. He is very crafty working through zones, fits very well in Josh McDaniels' offense and should be able to carve out a living working in the slot. Combined with third-round pick Austin Pettis, the Rams found two receivers who can help readily.
16 (113) Oakland Raiders: CB Chimdi Chekwa, Ohio State
Al Davis craves speed and explosion, and after landing the fastest player at the Combine [CB DeMarcus Van Dyke] in the third round, he added another blazing fast but raw corner in Chekwa. He can bring immediate value as a gunner on special teams and help as a No. 4 or No. 5 corner, with solid man-coverage skills.
17 (114) Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Cecil Shorts, Mount Union
Shorts dominated against lesser competition in college and has the football smarts and craftiness to convert his small-school production to the NFL level. The Jaguars have done a fine job of hitting on small-school talent in the past and could wind up with another find in Shorts, who has great work habits and intangibles and will work very hard at his craft.
18 (115) San Francisco 49ers (from San Diego): RB Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State
On pure run instincts and vision, Hunter graded out as one of the best runners in the draft. The reason he was still sitting in the fourth round were concerns about his injury history, pass protection and intelligence. However, if he can stay healthy, he could turn out to be a steal in the fourth round, much like Frank Gore was for the 49ers coming out of Miami (Fla.) with very similar concerns.
19 (116) Philadelphia Eagles (from Tampa Bay): MLB Casey Matthews, Oregon
The Eagles needed to add some depth to the LB position with four of their eight linebackers, including starters Stewart Bradley and Ernie Sims, having contract situations that might need to be addressed depending on the new rules instituted in free agency. Matthews is a tough, throwback, old-school linebacker who lacks ideal size and athletic ability but consistently shows up at the ball a lot and has the type of intangibles that appeal to new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.
20 (117) New York Giants: OT James Brewer, Indiana
With Kareem McKenzie and David Diehl both on the wrong side of 30, the Giants needed to add some depth to the position. Brewer lined up at right tackle in college but could offer swing backup versatility at either OT position, with good length, mass and agility. He will be best sitting and learning for a year and could benefit highly from the tutelage of OL coach Pat Flaherty.
21 (118) Kansas City Chiefs: CB Jalil Brown, Colorado
With the Chiefs potentially needing to make a decision on Brandon Carr in free agency soon, the Chiefs have a clear need at the CB position. Brown tends to clutch and grab too much in coverage, but he has the size and physicality desired in Romeo Crennel's defense and could provide much-needed depth.
22 (119) Indianapolis Colts: RB Delone Carter, Syracuse
An excellent value pick in the fourth round, Carter has starter-type traits if he could round his game and learn to improve catching and blocking. He is a strong, physical inside runner who can churn out chunks of yardage and finish runs.
23 (120) Philadelphia Eagles: PK Alex Henery, Nebraska
The Eagles placed the transition tag on PK David Akers, but needed to begin thinking about a replacement for the 36-year-old. Henery is a confident, poised, soccer-style kicker with very good leg strength and accuracy and positions as the Eagles' kicker of the future.
24 (121) Jacksonville Jaguars (from New Orleans): FS Chris Prosinski, Wyoming
Prosinski really stood out at his pro-day workout, when he clocked sub-4.4 times in the 40 at 6-1, 201 pounds with a 39½-inch vertical jump. He can immediately contribute as a core special-teamer and backup safety and has potential to be groomed.
25 (122) Buffalo Bills (from Seattle): OT Chris Hairston, Clemson
Hairston is very sloppy-bodied with too much baby fat and does not look the part, but as dumpy as he might look on the hoof, he consistently got the job done on tape. He offers swing backup potential at the tackle position, which has been a sore spot on the Bills' roster since they dealt Jason Peters to the Eagles.
26 (123) Baltimore Ravens: WR Tandon Doss, Indiana
Doss graded out on tape like a late second-round talent and slid in this draft because of injury concerns, having had double groin surgery that limited his ability to work out before the draft. He showed great toughness battling through the injury all season and could make a living in the slot as a crafty, zone beater.
27 (124) Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta): FB Owen Marecic, Stanford
Marecic is an old-school, throwback, two-way player with terrific intelligence, work habits and stamina, and could become the lead blocker for Peyton Hillis with uncertainty surrounding Lawrence Vickers' future in Cleveland.
28 (125) Oakland Raiders (from New England): RB Taiwan Jones, Eastern Washington
The Raiders continue to pile up the fastest players in the draft, taking a flier on Jones as a change-of-pace back and return specialist. Al Saunders will need to keep assignments very simple for Jones and employ him in a niche role to maximize his talent. Concerns about his durability, character and ball security, with a tendency to put the ball on the carpet, all affected his draft stock and could be restrictive in the pros.
29 (126) New York Jets: RB Bilal Powell, Louisville
With LaDainian Tomlinson aging, the Jets could use more depth in the backfield. Powell was a one-year wonder who really emerged as a senior and has the raw talent to be continue blossoming. He could become a solid backup for the Jets and has the temperament to fill a role on special teams.
30 (127) Houston Texans (from Chicago through Washington): CB Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech
The Texans have a glaring need for secondary help and Carmichael fits the type of balanced skill set they desire in cornerbacks, as evidenced by the earlier selection of Brandon Harris. Carmichael is solid in zone, could help readily on special teams and potentially contribute in the slot in nickel situations.
31 (128) Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Cortez Allen, The Citadel
Allen's calling card is his size. At roughly 6-1, 200 pounds, he possesses the stature that the Steelers seek in their corners. He's a raw, developmental prospect with upside to be groomed, but could take time to figure it out.
32 (129) Denver Broncos (from Green Bay Packers): TE Julius Thomas, Portland State
The Broncos' offense lacks a seam-stretching threat with TEs Richard Quinn and Dan Gronkowski both bringing the most value as in-line blockers. Thomas, a former hoops standout who only played one year of football at Portland State, is loaded with upside and could become a steal in the fourth round if he continues to adapt. He is smart, hardworking and has outstanding upside.
33 (130) Tennessee Titans (compensatory selection): RB Jamie Harper, Clemson
Chris Johnson is the most explosive runner in the game, but new offensive coordinator Chris Palmer and head coach Mike Munchak like to employ a physical brand of football, and Harper could provide an upgrade over Javon Ringer as a solid complementary back.
34 (131) Green Bay Packers (compensatory selection): CB Davon House, New Mexico
House has intriguing size and press-cover skills to be groomed in Dom Capers' defense. Perhaps no player showed more improvement at cornerback from the preseason until the Super Bowl last season than Sam Shields. House should benefit greatly from the coaching in Green Bay and could turn out to be another find if the light comes on.
Nolan Nawrocki will have grades for each team's draft late Sunday.