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Recent posts by Nolan Nawrocki
1 (132) Carolina Panthers: WR Kealoha Pilares, Hawaii
After adding a trio of receivers in last year's draft, the Panthers went back to the well again with Pilares, whose big production as a senior elevated his stock. With Steve Smith possibly wanting out of Carolina, the Panthers are being proactive in an effort to surround the QB position with capable receivers. Pilares is quicker than fast and will be most effective working out of the slot.
2 (133) Buffalo Bills: RB Johnny White, North Carolina
White is a tough, competitive, angry runner whose biggest challenge in the pros will be staying healthy given the violence with which he runs. He stood out as a gunner on special teams and fit a niche role for the Bills as a No. 3 back.
3 (134) Cincinnati Bengals: FS Robert Sands, West Virginia
GM Mike Brown has long been enticed by intriguing measurables and upside. The Bengals continued that trend with the pick of Sands, who addresses a need at safety and possesses starter-potential if he's able to get stronger and adjust to a more disciplined pro scheme after roaming in West Virginia's 4-2-5 defense. An explosive athlete with closing speed and striking ability, Sands borders on being too tall for the back end, could require patience and has boom-or-bust potential.
4 (135) Kansas City (from Denver through Tampa Bay): QB Ricky Stanzi, Iowa
Concerns about Stanzi's lack of arm strength pushed him to the fifth round, where the Chiefs landed excellent value. Stanzi has outstanding intangibles, work habits and character and has eventual starter potential. GM Scott Pioli helped find Tom Brady and Matt Cassel in New England and might have found another steal in Stanzi.
5 (136) Arizona Cardinals: FB Anthony Sherman, Connecticut
The Cardinals' running game was the worst in the league last season, and they took steps to improve it in this draft, landing Ryan Williams early in the second round and pairing him with a solid lead blocker in Sherman. He is a tough competitor who leaves everything on the field and could help clear the way for Williams.
6 (137) Cleveland Browns: CB Buster Skrine, Tennessee-Chattanooga
Thin at cornerback, the Browns added depth in Skrine, who lacks ideal height but has terrific speed and should contribute readily on special teams given his experience as a return man and "gunner." Skrine rose steadily throughout the season, impressed at the Combine and made the most of his opportunities against better competition, inspiring confidence he could develop into a sub-package contributor.
7 (138) New England Patriots (from Houston): OG Marcus Cannon, TCU
An excellent value pick in the fifth round, Cannon was warranting strong consideration at the back of the first round and at worst would have been a mid-second-round selection had he not been diagnosed with cancer. He might not be ready to play this season, but the Patriots could wind up with a solid starter once he recovers. The risk was well worth the reward in the fifth round and was another great value pick by Bill Belichick.
8 (139) Minnesota Vikings: CB Brandon Burton, Utah
Burton was continually exposed in coverage and beat much too often in college. He is best rolled up in press coverage the way Leslie Frazier likes to play his cornerbacks and could offer more depth at a position of need for the Vikings.
9 (140) Kansas City Chiefs (from Detroit): OLB Gabe Miller, Oregon
A collegiate defensive end and converted tight end, Miller plays with intensity and is a developmental outside linebacker in a similar mold as Andy Studebaker. His instincts are still developing, but he shows the competitiveness and athletic ability to intrigue.
10 (141) Green Bay Packers (from San Francisco through Denver): TE D.J. Williams, Arkansas
Williams was functional, underneath target for the Razorbacks and could fill a need as a pass-catching fullback / H-back for the Packers, with John Kuhn and Korey Hall both having unsettled contract situations. Williams has outstanding intangibles and work habits to fight for a roster spot.
11 (142) Tennessee Titans: DL Karl Klug, Iowa
Klug is a classic tweener who might lack ideal size for the inside in the pros and ideal foot speed to play on the edge, but wherever the Titans line him up, he will fight hard and leave everything on the field. He plays with the type of temperament that will endear him to any coaching staff, especially a throwback former offensive lineman like Mike Munchak.
12 (143) Dallas Cowboys: CB Josh Thomas, Buffalo
Thomas has raw cover skills and too often was beaten down the field against lesser competition. The strength of his game is his physicality in run support. If he can bulk up, he might wind up being a better safety than corner in the pros.
13 (144) Houston Texans (from Washington): SS Shiloh Keo, Idaho
The Texans are thin at safety with Eugene Wilson unsigned and a decision needed to be made on Bernard Pollard. Keo is a box player who can help on special teams.
14 (145) Atlanta Falcons (from St. Louis): RB Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State
With Jason Snelling and Jerious Norwood facing uncertain contract situations, the Falcons had a need in their backfield and found solid value in the fifth round with the selection of Rodgers. What he lacks in height and foot speed he compensates for with outstanding toughness and competitiveness. He could become a very solid complement to Michael Turner.
15 (146) Washington Redskins (from Miami): SS Dejon Gomes, Nebraska
A bit of a tweener, Gomes is quick to support the run and has experience as a "gunner" but is not big enough to be used as a linebacker and is a liability in man coverage. He will fit in Washington as a hybrid-type box player and will bring the most utility as a core special-teams player. This pick shows that the Redskins are proactively are targeting their special-teams coverage for coordinator Danny Smith.
16 (147) Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Rod Isaac, Middle Tennessee
Seemingly always on the lookout for cornerbacks, the Jaguars tabbed another small-school prospect with an intriguing size-speed ratio, measuring 5-10 3/4, 196 pounds and clocking in the low 4.4s at his pro day. He is an experienced corner and self-motivated, football junkie who shows willingness to support the run and be physical as a tackler. While not high on the radar of many teams, Isaac has developmental potential and may turn out to be the type of late find that has become a staple of GM Gene Smith's drafts.
17 (148) Oakland Raiders: WR Denarius Moore, Tennessee
The Raiders continue to load up on speedy receivers. Moore salvaged his pro hopes with a productive senior season under a new coaching staff, showing speed, competitiveness and big-play ability. Is slot-sized but does not have ideal quickness, though he projects best in a vertical offense like the Raiders'.
18 (149) Philadelphia Eagles (from San Diego): RB Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh
A very good value in the fifth round, Lewis is a poor man's Brian Westbrook and runs with good base, balance and vision. He lacks ideal height, but he is by no means small and could fit a niche role for the Eagles as a change-of-pace back. His lack of size and durability issues were most concerning to NFL teams and allowed him to slide.
19 (150) Cleveland Browns (from N.Y. Giants through Minnesota): OT Jason Pinkston, Pittsburgh
Pinkston has the mass desired on the Browns' offensive line and could provide depth at tackle or even compete for action given the release of starting ORT John St. Clair. Pinkston could even warrant some looks inside.
20 (151) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: SS Ahmad Black, Florida
An excellent fit in Raheem Morris' defense, Black could make a living as a nickel safety and might be best as a short-area, zone corner in a similar mold as Ronde Barber. Black never will impress in workouts, lacking size and long speed to carry receivers, but on the field, his instincts pop out, and he grades more highly on tape as a football player than his fifth-round draft status.
21 (152) Houston Texans (from Indianapolis through Washington): QB T.J. Yates, North Carolina
With Dan Orlovsky and Matt Leinart currently behind starter Matt Schaub, Yates walks into an opportunity to compete for a backup job and learn underneath one of the finest developers of quarterbacks in Gary Kubiak. The Texans likely will have a veteran in place, but Yates profiles as a classic West Coast passer capable of making quick decisions.
22 (153) New York Jets (from Houston via Philadelphia): WR Jeremy Kerley, TCU
Kerley could have a legitimate chance to contribute in the slot for the Jets, with very good short-area quickness and agility. He fits a tough, instinctive mold and also could contend for time as a returner.
23 (154) Seattle Seahawks (from Kansas City through Detroit): CB Richard Sherman, Stanford
The Seahawks did not tap into the Pac-10 until the fifth round with Sherman, a converted receiver who possesses unquestionable athletic ability but was disappointingly inconsistent and undisciplined at Stanford. Will be a project for head coach Pete Carroll and defensive backs coach Kris Richard to bring the best out of him, but does possess the length, speed and press skills desired in Carroll's defense.
24 (155) Washington Redskins (from New Orleans): WR Niles Paul, Nebraska
Some teams had removed Paul off their draft boards because of concerns about his alcohol-related history, but the big, physical receiver has the strength and run-after-the-catch skill to be effective in Mike Shanahan's offense if he can remain focused and handle the trappings of the game. He can doubly bring value as a gunner on special teams, an area of focus for the Redskins in the later rounds.
25 (156) Seattle Seahawks: FS Mark LeGree, Appalachian State
LeGree is a natural interceptor with the range and ball skills to play center field. However, he shies from contact, does not show the toughness to run the alley and could be limited to the back half as a developmental prospect.
26 (157) Detroit Lions (from Baltimore through Seattle): WLB Doug Hogue, Syracuse
A former running back, Hogue has the run-and-hit skills the Lions desire in their linebackers and possesses a comparable set of traits to DeAndre Levy. With jobs available at outside linebacker in Detroit, Hogue's athletic ability should allow him to contribute readily on special teams and push for increased playing time, having potential to unseat Zack Follett.
27 (158) St. Louis Rams (from Atlanta): SS Jermale Hines, Ohio State
Hines did not take the next step scouts were looking for as a senior and he lacks ideal speed but after playing the deep wide side as a senior at OSU, he should look more comfortable playing forward as a box defender with the type of physicality Steve Spagnuolo seeks.
28 (159) New England Patriots: TE Lee Smith, Marshall
Alge Crumpler appeared to find a fountain of youth last season in New England and performed well as an in-line blocker. Smith will have a chance to compete for a job in that same role and also could bring value as a rehabilitated, vocal locker-room leader.
29 (160) Chicago Bears: QB Nathan Enderle, Idaho
Enderle is a big, smart stationary passer who too often overthinks the game. He has the mental capacity to handle all the demands of Mike Martz's complex offense. The key to Enderle's development will be how much Martz can hone his instincts and teach him to cut it loose and trust what he sees.
30 (161) Philadelphia Eagles (from N.Y. Jets): OG Julian Vandervelde, Iowa
A developmental zone blocker who could provide depth on the interior of the Eagles' offensive line, Vandervelde has short arms and has been injury-prone, but he is smart, hardworking and technically sound and could battle for a roster spot.
31 (162) Pittsburgh Steelers: OLB Chris Carter, Fresno State
The Steelers have had a knack for identifying rush-linebacking talent in the later rounds or even after the draft, and Carter could be a solid find in the back of the fifth round. He lined up as an end in college and still needs to bulk up and play stronger, but he possesses intriguing developmental potential that could be maximized by Dick LeBeau's creative scheme.
32 (163) San Francisco 49ers (from Green Bay): OG Daniel Kilgore, Appalachian State
Kilgore rose to the occasion against Florida late in the season and has developmental potential. He lined up at left tackle in college but projects inside in the pros and possesses intriguing upside to mold.
33 (164) Baltimore Ravens (compensatory selection): CB Chykie Brown, Texas
Texas' third cornerback off the board, Brown's press skills suit the Ravens' defense despite his marginal ball skills. Ozzie Newsome follows up the first-round selection of Jimmy Smith with another character risk in Brown, who is reunited with UT teammate Sergio Kindle, which might not be beneficial for either player and could invite trouble.
34 (165) Baltimore Ravens (compensatory selection): DE Pernell McPhee, Mississippi State
McPhee possesses the power and strength to have been drafted much earlier. He has a passion for the game and will work hard to improve, but he slid down draft boards because of concerns about his mental acumen, raw instincts and character.
Nolan Nawrocki will have grades for each team's draft late Sunday.