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Recent posts by Nolan Nawrocki
1 (33) St. Louis Rams: WR Brian Quick, Appalachian State
The Rams' most pressing need was receiver, where the roster lacks a true No. 1 or No. 2 for Sam Bradford to take the next step in his development and rebound from a sophomore slump. The Rams needed to add a playmaking talent. Head coach Jeff Fisher knows how to keep the offense simple which will be a requirement for Quick to realize his potential. He is an outstanding acrobat who can make phenomenal catches, but there could be a learning curve.
2 (34) Indianapolis Colts: TE Coby Fleener, Stanford
The key to the development of a young quarterback is a security-blanket tight end. Fleener was Andrew Luck's top target at Stanford and his addition should ease the transition for both players, already having established a strong rapport. Fleener can bring a seam-stretching threat and big-play ability to an offense that will be without Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme. Back concerns might have pushed him out of the first round, but he has instant-starter potential and was a very sound selection.
3 (35) Baltimore Ravens (from Minnesota): OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
Upshaw slid out of the first round because of a past domestic issue, along with concerns about his intelligence and weight fluctuations. However, he is a tenacious, energetic, power-leverage rusher well-suited for Dean Pees' aggressive front. He can take over the departed Jarret Johnson and provide an infusion of youth with Terrell Suggs set to turn 30. GM Ozzie Newsome has a knack for landing value and took a similar chance on Terrence Cody, another Alabama defender who slid for similar issues. Upshaw should pan out the same way and prove to be a value pick.
4 (36) Denver Broncos (from Tampa Bay): DT Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati
The Big East co-Defensive Player of the Year really emerged as a senior and continued to climb draft boards in the postseason with a solid showing at the Senior Bowl and an even better performance at the Combine, where he tested very well in every area. Head coach John Fox really improved the defense upon his arrival, but still needed to add a disruptive interior penetrator. Ty Warren is returning, and the addition of Wolfe should improve the pass rush considerably.
5 (37) Cleveland Browns: ORT Mitchell Schwartz, California
With injuries forcing Tony Pashos to retire and slow-processing Oniel Cousins, the Browns needed to address the right tackle position. Schwartz is a steady, reliable four-year starter with NFL pedigree. He's extremely smart and efficient and should plug immediately into the tackle position and help protect the front side of rookie QB Brandon Weeden and pave the way for franchise RB Trent Richardson. The Browns have given their offense a makeover with their first three picks and it should pay off readily.
6 (38) Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Andre Branch, Clemson
The Jaguars were able to keep Jeremy Mincey in free agency, but Aaron Kampman cannot be counted on to stay healthy. Branch lacked first-round instincts, but possesses all the physical traits to emerge as a legitimate pass rusher. He can be a new toy for defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.
7 (39) St. Louis Rams (from Washington): CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
Jenkins earned the distinction as the draft's biggest "issues" guy, but similar to former Tennessee Titans sixth-overall pick Pacman Jones, he has elite coverage instincts, twitch and ball skills. Jeff Fisher has done a good job in the past of mentoring low-character talent and could wind up with a steal by landing an instant starter in the slot in nickel coverage.
8 (40) Carolina Panthers: OG Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State (Texas)
The Panthers lost Travelle Wharton and Mackenzy Bernadeau in free agency. They signed Colts castoff Mike Pollack, but Silatolu is one of the most enjoyable evaluations in this year's draft class with the brute strength, power and nasty temperament to pave the way in the run game and fits the physical style preferred by offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, who will need to keep things simple for the rookie lineman.
9 (41) Buffalo Bills: OT Cordy Glenn, Georgia
The Bills had a glaring need at left tackle with Demetress Bell signing with the Eagles and Chris Hairston slated to take over the post. Glenn could be asked to handle the edges, but he bends at the waist too offten and lacks the football intelligence desired to match up with NFL pass rushers. Questions about his competitiveness, work ethic and discipline pushed him down to the second round and make this selection risky. However, he has sheer mass and anchor strength to function inside, especially in a system that places an emphasis on getting rid of the ball quickly.
10 (42) Miami Dolphins: ORT Jonathan Martin, Stanford
Martin lined up on the left side at Stanford, but projects to the right side opposite Jake Long in Miami, where he could be forced to start sooner than he is ready. With a glaring strength deficiency, Martin was really exposed this season against the speed of USC's Nick Perry and could be challenged by edge speed and power.
11 (43) N.Y. Jets (from Seattle): WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
Questions about Hill's maturity and work habits kept him out of the first round despite possessing freakish, first-round-type measurables. With Plaxico Burress unsigned and a vertical threat needed opposite Santonio Holmes, Hill could be thrust into action readily. He's an explosive athlete with unique length, but having played in a simplified, spread-option offense, it will take some time to learn how to diagnose coverages and he must figure out what it means to be a professional to realize his immense potential.
12 (44) Kansas City Chiefs: OG Jeff Allen, Illinois
With Ryan Lilja showing his age last season, Allen could be plugged in at left guard opposite fellow Illini Jon Asamoah, a Scott Pioli favorite. Allen brings a similar approach to the game, having never missed a practice the past four years and having been a very productive performer. He might not look pretty, but he consistently gets the job done and could even kick outside in a pinch if Branden Albert continues to underachieve.
13 (45) Chicago Bears (from Dallas through St. Louis): WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
After weighing in the mid-230s in the fall, Jeffery continued to refine his body and ran better at his pro day when he clocked sub-4.5 times in the 40-yard dash at 213 pounds. However, he did not show any burst at the top of his routes and lacks speed and quickness to separate. He could struggle beating the jam in the pros, but he has drawn some comparisons to Brandon Marshall, who could be suspended to begin the season. Jeffery gives Jay Cutler another big, jumpball receiver who might have been the best attacking the ball in the air in this year's draft.
14 (46) Philadelphia Eagles: LB Mychal Kendricks, California
The Eagles' LB corps was a liability last season and was continually gashed in the run game. By trading for DeMeco Ryans, the Eagles shored up the middle of their defense. Kendricks has the explosion desired on the weak side or over the tight end and could relegate Brian Rolle to a core special-teams roll. Kendricks is a big-time hitter with outstanding range.
15 (47) Seattle Seahawks (from N.Y. Jets): SLB Bobby Wagner, Utah State
The Seahawks continue to make defense a priority after adding the draft's most explosive edge rusher in the first round. They bolstered their linebacking group with a versatile performer likely to plug in on the strong side, where Leroy Hill has been unreliable. Wagner performed well at the Senior Bowl, cementing his second-round status. He is layered with muscle, has starter-caliber physical traits and was very productive against lesser competition.
16 (48) New England Patriots (from Oakland): FS Tavon Wilson, Illinois
A surprise second-round selection after the safety board was wiped clean, Wilson has corner-safety versatility and the type of intangibles to lead in the secondary. He has overcome a lot of adversity in his life and has the mental and physical toughness desired on the back end. He has outstanding size for the cornerback position, plays the ball well in front of him and could prove to be best as a press cornerback in the Patriots defense.
17 (49) San Diego Chargers: DE Kendall Reyes, Connecticut
Reyes possesses prototype size for the five-technique position and could provide much-needed youth with Luis Castillo beginning to show signs of declining. Reyes is a two-time captain with vocal leadership traits and is a good, solid football player with no glaring negatives.
18 (50) St. Louis Rams (from Chicago): RB Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati
Jeff Fisher is quickly overhauling his roster and found a strong complement to Steven Jackson. Pead is a very competitive, hard-charging space player. A strong Senior Bowl performance and punt-return capability elevated his draft status.
19 (51) Green Bay (from Arizona through Philadelphia: DE Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
Worthy slid out of the first-round because of concerns about his maturity, having shown poorly during the interview process. When he wants to play, he can be dominant, but his motor too often throttles and he hard-earned a reputation as an underachiever in college. He will compete for a job as a five-technique in Green Bay, with ideal size, length and agility to disrupt in Dom Capers' defense.
20 (52) Tennessee Titans: WLB Zach Brown, North Carolina
WLB Will Witherspoon is an 11-year veteran on the wrong side of 30 and soon will need to be replaced. He can prove to be a strong mentor for the undisciplined Zach Brown, who possessed first-round athletic talent and elite speed but slid to the second because of a tendency to freelance and concerns about his focus, work habits and makeup. He fits Jerry Gray's fast-flowing defense very well and could prove to be solid value pick if he matures.
21 (53) Cincinnati Bengals: DT Devon Still, Penn State
The Bengals have found great value on the defensive line in recent years, selecting college underachievers. Defensive line coach Jay Hayes is a demanding, hard-nosed coach who gets the most out of his players and should be able to light a fire under the inconsistent Still, who flashed game-changing potential but too often didn’t play up to his ability.
22 (54) Detroit Lions: WR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
Broyles worked out several weeks before the draft and ran in the high 4.5s less than six months removed from a torn ACL injury. He's a very quick, instinctive slot receiver who finished his receiver among the most productive receivers in NCAA history and could provide a spark in the short-to-intermediate passing game.
23 (55) Atlanta Falcons: C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
C Todd McClure has been one of the most underrated pivots in the game the last decade, but he's 35 years old and entering his 15th season. Konz did not work out prior to the Combine, nor show ideal strength, bench-pressing 225 pounds just 18 times, a low for centers. However, he has outstanding size, knows how to play angles and could open up the running game for Michael Turner. Konz is a smart, steady, solid pick.
24 (56) Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Mike Adams, Ohio State
The Steelers continue to upgrade a marginal offensive line. After landing one of the draft's safest picks (David DeCastro) in the first round, GM Kevin Colbert took much greater risk by selecting Adams, who tested positive for drugs at the Combine and has a history of issues. His work habits and passion for the game remain question marks and could overshadow his talent. Despite playing left tackle at Ohio State, he's better suited for the right side in the pros.
25 (57) Denver Broncos: QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona State
The Broncos' front office was very familiar with the talent of Osweiler, who beat out John Elway's son for a job at Arizona State. Although still very young, raw and developing, Osweiler enters a perfect situation with the opportunity to learn from Peyton Manning. He has good arm talent, nifty feet and physical tools to blossom with good coaching.
26 (58) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Houston): OLB Lavonte David, Nebraska
GM Mark Dominik has filled his three most pressing needs with starter-caliber talent. David has outstanding instincts, urgency and tempo and should bring a leadership presence to the Buccaneers' defense.
27 (59) Philadelphia Eagles (from Green Bay): DE Vinny Curry, Marshall
With Trent Cole and Jason Babin in place, not to mention the return of 2010 first-rounder Brandon Graham, Curry is clearly a value selection. He has outstanding football instincts and is well-suited for defensive line coach Jim Washburn's aggressive, fly-at-the-snap scheme.
28 (60) Baltimore Ravens: OT Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State
Osemele looks every bit the part with nearly 36-inch arms and natural girth. However, he has been a very inconsistent performer with marginal eyes, raw blocking instincts and a soft playing temperament. He could require a lot of maintenance and is the second high-risk selection the Ravens have made in this draft.
29 (61) San Francisco 49ers: RB LaMichael James, Oregon
The 49ers added a second playmaker to their offense after landing A.J. Jenkins in the first round. James might have the best vision of any back in this draft and has legitimate big-play ability. He joins a talented backfield that recently added Brandon Jacobs and could provide a spark.
30 (62) Green Bay (from New England): CB Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt
Charles Woodson is nearing the end and the Packers could use more depth at the cornerback position. Hayward possesses superb ball skills and coverage instincts and should be able to contribute readily. He is a strong fit in Dom Capers' defense and could provide a playmaking presence.
31 (63) New York Giants: WR Rueben Randle, LSU
Randle's stock slid after an average workout at the Combine, where he displayed a 31-inch vertical jump. Concerns about his work habits and approach to the game were factors, too. On tape, Randle profiles as a big-play vertical threat and could help fill the void left by the departed Mario Manningham. Is a better football player than athlete and showed improvement every season.