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Recent posts by Nolan Nawrocki
1 (96) St. Louis Rams: WR Chris Givens, Wake Forest
Givens has explosive, big-play vertical speed and can stretch the field and help open up the passing game. However, he came with baggage as a classic "list" guy in college and will require considerable maintenance, having been known to be late to meetings and having been the subject of discipline in high school and college. Jeff Fisher is one of the better coaches at dealing with problem children and already took a chance on Janoris Jenkins in the second round. Fisher may be inviting some trouble, but if he can manage Givens, he could hit with this pick.
2 (97) Miami Dolphins (from San Francisco): RB Lamar Miller, Miami (Fla.)
Miller slid to the fourth round because of concerns about his durability, having struggled to stay healthy in college and having had to play hurt for much of his junior season. He is a straight-linish, crease runner who struggles avoiding direct contact and could always be troubled by injuries in the pros. Despite not having a strong need in the backfield, Miller is an ideal scheme fit for Joe Philbin's stretch-zone running game and could prove to be a solid value pick.
3 (98) Baltimore Ravens (from Minnesota): C Gino Gradkowski, Delaware
Gradkowski, the younger brother of Bengals QB Bruce Gradkowski, has center-guard versatility and gained momentum in the spring with a solid pro-day showing. He is smart, tough and competitive and could be groomed to eventually take over for the 35-year-old, injury-stricken center Matt Birk.
4 (99) Houston Texans (from Tampa Bay through Philadelphia): C Ben Jones, Georgia
Jones is extremely smart and efficient and takes good angles, but he is a limited athlete and could be overwhelmed by mass. He should fit very well in Gary Kubiak's slide-protection blocking scheme. Chris Myers has been one of the most underrated centers in the game and Jones could provide immediate help at guard, where the Texans are more in need.
5 (100) Cleveland Browns: WR Travis Benjamin, Miami (Fla.)
Benjamin is slight-framed at barely 170 pounds and must prove he can stay healthy, but he could bring flair to the punt-return game and stretch the field from the outside.
6 (101) Denver Broncos (from Jacksonville through Tampa Bay): CB Omar Bolden, Arizona State
Denver signed Tracy Porter in free agency, but Champ Bailey is entering his 15th season and more depth is needed in the Broncos' secondary. If not for durability concerns, Bolden would have warranted second-round consideration and has starter-caliber talent with good zone instincts, toughness and leadership ability.
7 (102) Washington Redskins: QB Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
Cousins is a perfect scheme fit for Mike Shanahan's offense, possessing outstanding intelligence and leadership ability. After not having a true backup-quality quarterback on the roster a year ago, Shanahan has completely overhauled the position by drafting Robert Griffin and Cousins. Although Cousins does not have a rifle arm, the biggest reason he slipped to the fourth round and tends to overthink the game, he landed in the perfect place to develop and might come in to play as a rookie given Griffin's straight-line running style and injury history. This was a tremendous value pick for Shanahan, who could get Brian Griese-type production out of Cousins down the road.
8 (103) Carolina Panthers (from Miami through San Francisco: DE Frank Alexander, Oklahoma
The Panthers were seriously entertaining a defensive end in the first round, but instead went with the draft's safest player, Luke Kuechly. Alexander could provide the energy and strength desired on the left side, where Greg Hardy has been inconsistent. Alexander's 35-inch arms and consistent effort could help him develop into a starter.
9 (104) Carolina Panthers: WR Joe Adams, Arkansas
Adams could immediately provide a spark in the return game, where he has shown playmaking ability. His hands have been inconsistent throughout his career and he lacks strength to beat the jam and work inside, but he's dynamic with the ball in his hands and could bring a playmaking threat to Rob Chudzinski's offense.
10 (105) Buffalo Bills: LB Nigel Bradham, Florida State
Bradham is an explosive striker with average instincts and eventual starter potential as a strong-side linebacker. He is a strong fit for Dave Wannstedt's fast-flowing defense and could provide an immediate return on special teams, where he profiles as a blowup hitter.
11 (106) Seattle Seahawks: RB Robert Turbin, Utah State
Turbin warranted some second-round grades from evaluators. However, he is very stiff, straight-linish and injury-prone and could struggle to stay in one piece. When healthy, he can bring a hammering presence to Darrell Bevell's offense.
12 (107) Kansas City Chiefs: WR Devon Wylie, Fresno State
The Chiefs have a lot of question marks at the receiver position with Dwayne Bowe and Jonathan Baldwin. Wylie has big-play ability as a punt returner and could run provide run-after-catch production from the slot. His biggest drawback in college was an inability to stay healthy.
13 (108) Denver Broncos (from New York Jets): C Philip Blake, Baylor
John Fox prefers a very big, physical, powerfully built offensive line and Blake brings the mass to match up against mammoth nose tackles such as Antonio Garay and new arrival Dontari Poe. Blake warranted comparisons to former Seahawks first-rounder Chris Spencer and has eventual starter potential.
14 (109) Pittsburgh Steelers (from Washington through Oakland): NT Alameda Ta'amu, Washington
The Steelers needed to find a replacement for 34-year-old NT Casey Hampton, who has begun to show his age. Ta'amu was undisciplined early in his career and his weight tended to fluctuate. Plus, there were questions about his makeup which caused him to slide, but he could be an outstanding value pick for the Steelers. No nose tackle better collapsed the pocket than the thick-bodied, naturally strong Samoan.
15 (110) San Diego Chargers: TE Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette
Green was inconsistent on tape and too frequently dropped the ball, but he lit up the Combine with an outstanding workout and caught the ball much more naturally in Indianapolis, driving up his draft status. He shows receiver-like qualities with vine-like arms and could benefit from learning from Pro Bowl TE Antonio Gates.
16 (111) Chicago Bears: TE Evan Rodriguez, Temple
Mike Tice's offense sorely needed a playmaking talent at the TE position after Mike Martz had no use for Greg Olsen and he was shipped out for a mere third-round pick. Rodriguez has legitimate mid-round talent and could emerge as a Delanie Walker-type producer in Tice's system. Character concerns have been an issue in the past, but Rodriguez enters a strong, veteran locker room that can help keep him in check.
17 (112) Arizona Cardinals: OT Bobby Massie, Mississippi
Immaturity and intelligence issues pushed down the draft status of Massie, who could benefit from the slide and plug in at right tackle ready for OL coach Russ Grimm. Massie has excellent body and arm length, regularly matched up well against SEC competition and has starter-caliber traits at right tackle.
18 (113) Dallas Cowboys: OLB Kyle Wilber, Wake Forest
Anthony Spencer signed a franchise tender, but still must strike a long-term deal. Wilber is a good, functional football player who lacked ideal bulk and play strength, but has clear starter potential and could be groomed to take over for Spencer next season.
19 (114) Seattle Seahawks (from Philadelphia: DT Jaye Howard, Florida
Gus Bradley's defense is predicated on speed and movement skill up front. The Seahawks added the draft's most explosive edge rusher (Bruce Irvin) despite some issues in his past and took another chance an explosively quick underachiever who could wreak havoc inside if he matures. Jason Jones was signed to a one-year deal in free agency, but concerns about his durability led Seattle to add inside reinforcement.
20 (115) Tennessee Titans: CB Coty Sensabaugh, Clemson
The Titans lost Cortland Finnegan in free agency and needed to add some more depth to their secondary. Sensabaugh could bring immediate value as a "gunner" and jammer on special teams and has the strength and short-area quickness that Jerry Gray desires for his zone-based cover scheme.
21 (116) Cincinnati Bengals: TE Orson Charles, Georgia
Concerns about Charles' intelligence and maturity level and an average pro-day workout forced his draft status to descend. He is very tightly wound, but he is aggressive as a blocker, can wheel his hips around and function as a solid, all-around performer. With Jermaine Gresham established, Charles could be used situationally and provide backup depth.
22 (117) San Francisco (from Detroit): OG Joe Looney, Wake Forest
If not for a foot injury at the Senior Bowl, Looney, who graded out as a late-second/third-round talent before getting hurt, would have been drafted more highly. No offensive line in football has more depth than the 49ers and they just added another tough, smart, competitive, big-bodied, eventual starter with whom they can afford to be patient with.
23 (118) Minnesota Vikings (from Atlanta through Cleveland): WR Jarius Wright, Arkansas
The Vikings recently signed Jerome Simpson to bolster their receiving corps and after parting ways with Bernard Berrian, still needed to bring more electricity to the slot position for Bill Musgrave's West Coast offense. Wright is undersized, but tough and explosive and could contribute in spread packages as a rookie.
24 (119) Washington Redskins (from Pittsburgh): OLB Keenan Robinson, Texas
With 36-year-old London Fletcher re-signed, the middle of the Redskins' defense remains in trusted hands, but they needed to add some more youth to the their linebacking unit. Robinson has the quickness to contribute in nickel coverage and with good coaching, can potentially develop into a starter down the road. He is raw, undisciplined and will require some time to acclimate to the demands of the NFL game.
25 (120) Cleveland Browns (from Denver): LB James-Michael Johnson, Nevada
D'Qwell Jackson really benefited from the scheme change last season, but has battled a lot of injuries throughout his career. The Browns could use some more depth on the outside, where Scott Fujita is beginning to slow down. Johnson could compete for a job as a rookie with inside-outside capability and contribute on special teams.
26 (121) Houston Texans: WR Keshawn Martin, Michigan State
Jacoby Jones is on the trading block and Gary Kubiak could use more playmaking talent in the slot to complement Andre Johnson. Martin could provide more production than third-rounder DeVier Posey if he can stay focused. Martin was an unsung playmaker for the Spartans' offense and offers kick-return ability.
27 (122) New Orleans Saints: WR Nick Toon, Wisconsin
Toon is an alert, instinctive, dependable receiver with NFL pedigree. However, he creates little after the catch, lacks elite twitch and could struggle to be more than a possession receiver. He could be a solid fit for Pete Carmichael's offense.
28 (123) Philadelphia Eagles (from Green Bay): CB Brandon Boykin, Georgia
Concerns about Boykin's durability, having not worked out prior to the draft, and toughness questions pushed down his draft status. When he touched the ball offensively or in the return game, he clearly showed playmaking potential. If he proves that he can stay healthy, he can bring value as a nickel coverman and kick returner. Don't rule out Andy Reid converting him to receiver.
29 (124) Buffalo Bills (from Baltimore): CB Ron Brooks, LSU
After landing Stephon Gilmore in the first round, the Bills continued to upgrade the size-speed ratio at the cornerback position with one of the draft's fastest players. Despite starting only two games at LSU, Brooks was very effective on special teams and if he can grasp Dave Wannstedt's defense, might eventually earn a greater role.
30 (125) Detroit Lions (fromSan Francisco): DE Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma
With the Lions still needing to work out a long-term deal with franchise DE Cliff Avril, they landed another edge-rushing dyamo in Lewis. Concerns about his intelligence, character and durability, given sickle trait and stamina issues, affected his draft standing. However, he is one of the most explosive hitters in this year's draft and can crash the corner and fit well into Jim Schwartz's aggressive front. He also brings immediate special-teams value.
31 (126) Houston Texans (from New England through Denver and Tampa Bay): DE Jared Crick, Nebraska
Crick is a peculiar fit for Wade Phillips' defense, as he lacks ideal arm length and strength to fill the five-technique position. He has a good motor, is tough and is the type of player that coaches tend to appreciate, but durability questions might always relegate him to a backup role.
32 (127) New York Giants: TE Adrien Robinson, Cincinnati
The Giants signed TE Martellus Bennett in free agency to upgrade an average group. Travis Beckum blew out his knee in the Super Bowl and position coach Mike Pope could use more raw talent to develop. Robinson blew up his pro day with a sub-4.6 40-time and is a much better athlete than football player at this stage of his development. He entered a rich learning environment.
33 (128) Minnesota Vikings (compensatory selection): TE Rhett Ellison, USC
Visanthe Shiancoe and Jim Kleinsasser both departed and the Vikings could use another, tough, smart, dependable presence to complement Kyle Rudolph and the recently added John Carlson.
34 (129) Oakland Raiders (compensatory selection): OLB Miles Burris, San Diego State
The long-held draft philosophy of Al Davis is clearly changing under the guidance of new GM Reggie McKenzie, who selected two good football players with his first two picks and valued more what shows up on the field than in workouts. Burris plays the game with great urgency and toughness and could bring a physical temperament to Dennis Allen's defense.
35 (130) Baltimore Ravens (compensatory selection): FS Christian Thompson, South Carolina State
With the departures of Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura, the Ravens needed more depth at the safety position, even after signing Sean Considine. Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard are one of the best tandems in the league and should be able to take a raw, physically gifted center fielder like Thompson and help show him the ropes.
36 (131) New York Giants (compensatory selection): OT Brandon Mosley, Auburn
Mosley has the type of toughness and temperament that an old-school O-line coach like Pat Flaherty can fully appreciate. Mosley is a converted tight end who struggled on the left side and is too tightly wound to unlock his hips and function well on the inside. He profiles as a right tackle only, but has eventual starter potential at a position where the Giants could use some more depth.
37 (132) Green Bay Packers (compensatory selection): DT Mike Daniels, Iowa
Daniels is an odd fit for a 3-4 front, but he is very quick and active and likely will be trusted to make an impact on the inside as a nickel rusher.
38 (133) Green Bay Packers (compensatory selection): SS Jeron McMillian, Maine
With Nick Collins recently being let go and Charlie Peprah being an average starter, the Packers had a need at the safety position. McMillian tested very well at the Combine and has special-teams ability.
39 (134) Minnesota Vikings (compensatory selection): WR Greg Childs, Arkansas
Childs graded out as a third-round talent as a junior and fell off the radar among a very talented group of receivers at Arkansas after suffering an injury. However, he rebounded as his pro day, where he tested very well. And if he proves he can stay healthy, could turn out to be a very solid addition.
40 (135) Dallas Cowboys (compensatory selection): SS Matt Johnson, Eastern Washington
Rob Ryan's defense is receiving a lot of extra help with all four of the Cowboys' top picks landing on the defensive side of the ball. Johnson was a very productive, four-year starter with a strong makeup and if he can stay healthy, will find a way to contribute.