NPC Mock Draft 6.0 (3 Full Rounds, and Steelers Picks in Rounds 4-7)

6 of 7

Round 3 Cont.

80. Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Jones WR (California)

Arizona will be looking to find a WR to compliment Larry Fitzgerald this offseason, and might be looking to select one early on Draft day.  Acquiring more weapons for the winner of the Kolb/Skelton battle will be of the utmost importance, and giving them other targets to work with besides Fitzgerald will allow him to get more open.  The 6’2″ 199 lb. Jones had an under-the-radar yet solid career at California.  And despite the issues that the Golden Bears had at the QB position during his tenure, Jones still produced at a high level and made 155 Catches for 2,270 Yards and 13 TD’s in his three years as a starter.

(Previous Selection: Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin)

81. Dallas Cowboys: Brandon Brooks OG (Miami OH)

Regardless of whether or not the Cowboys take David DeCastro in Round 1, Dallas should look to upgrade the Interior of their Offensive Line more than once this offseason.  A sleeper prospect which the Steelers might take, could be on the Cowboys’ radars as well: Brandon Brooks.  A smash-mouth, in the trenches Guard, Brooks (6’5″ 346 lbs.) can blow holes open for Felix Jones and DeMarco Murray in the run game, and also has the ability to keep Tony Romo upright whenever he drops back to pass.

(Previous Selection: Ben Jones, C/OG, Georgia)

82. Tennessee Titans: Dwight Bentley CB (Louisiana-Lafayette)

Now that Cortland Finnegan is gone, the Titans are going to need to acquire some depth at the Cornerback position.  One player which they could select is Louisiana-Lafayette’s Dwight Bentley.  While he might be bit undersized (5’10” 182 lbs.), Bentley has nice closing speed and is really a tough guy around the line of scrimmage.  Bentley understands how to break down and tackle a ball carrier and he isn’t afraid to mix it up with anybody.  I watched two games of his last season (vs. Arizona and vs. San Diego State), and Bentley was all over the field making tackles in both contests.  While he could lose his share of matchups against bigger WR’s in man coverage, Bentley at worst is a solid Nickel option in the slot.

(Previous Selection: Brandon Washington, OG/OT, Miami FL)

83. Cincinnati Bengals: Nick Toon WR (Wisconsin)

When Cincinnati selected A.J. Green last season, I was immediately worried, and my worst fears came true as Green lit up the Steelers and torched the rest of the League during his Rookie campaign.  Cincinnati however, needs a legitimate outside threat to pair on the other side of Green if teams decide to take him away.  Nick Toon of Wisconsin might not possess blazing speed, but he is a big (6’2″ 215 lbs.), physical, and smart pass-catcher which would be a solid #2 option at the pro level.  Having a WR corps of Green, Toon, Jordan Shipley, and Jermaine Gresham would make the Bengals a formidable Offense which could contend to be one of the Conference’s best in the coming seasons.

(Previous Selection: Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State)

84. Detroit Lions: Chris Polk RB (Washington)

While it seems like a luxury pick for Detroit to take a RB this early, they actually need help at that position more than people think.  The RB by Committee of Maurice Morris, Kevin Smith, Keiland Williams and Jahvid Best needs to be upgraded, as none of the Four had more than 84 Carries last season.  And yes, I understand that Mikel LeShoure will be coming back from his Achilles injury.  Yet I must question how effective he will be upon his return in 2012.  Adding a bruiser like Chris Polk (5’11” 215 lbs.) that can take advantage of other teams being spread out by the Lions’ potent passing attack will only strike more fear into the hearts’ of Detroit’s opponents.  Polk is a tough guy in between the Tackles and can shoulder the load of a running game if need be.  Detroit should think long and hard about selecting Polk in Round 3, because he could definitely solve a lot of the Lions’ running issues.

85. Atlanta Falcons: Brandon Washington OG/OT (Miami FL)

Luckily for the Falcons, because this Guard draft class is so deep and talented, Atlanta should not have a problem selecting a solid player to shore up one of their Guard spots.  That being said, they should take a long look at the road-grading 6’3″ 325 lb. Washington in the 3rd Round.  In addition to playing Guard, Washington also played some Left Tackle this past season and helped Lamar Miller gain almost 1,300 yards on the ground for the Hurricanes.  Helping both Michael Turner and protecting Matt Ryan will be of the utmost importance as Atlanta attempts to take “the next step” and improve on the Offensive side of the ball.

(Previous Selection: Dwight Bentley, CB, Louisiana-Lafayette)

86. Pittsburgh Steelers: Josh Chapman NT (Alabama)

Pittsburgh must find a Nose Tackle of the future in the coming months, and thankfully for them this is a pretty deep Draft Class when it comes to that position.  The 6’1″ 316 lb. Chapman would give Dick LeBeau a 3-4 scheme experienced Nose Tackle to insert into the Defense recently installed.  Chapman is a good player that uses his leverage well, and talent-wise should be rated much higher than he is.  The big reason I have Chapman falling this far is that he is coming off of recent ACL surgery, and he could potentially be an injury risk.  Still, experience in a 3-4 system and in the S.E.C., plus a clean bill of health could make Chapman a viable option for the Steelers come the 3rd Round in a couple weeks.

(Previous Selection: Brandon Brooks, OG, Miami OH)

87. Denver Broncos: T.Y. Hilton WR (Florida International)

Without Eddie Royal, Denver will be looking to acquire a speedy pass-catcher that can eat teams alive on underneath routes.  Peyton Manning would love to have a play-maker in the mold of Royal added to the Offense, and T.Y. Hilton of Florida International could be a player Denver tries might be wise to select.  Hilton is a tad on the small side at 5’10” and 183 lbs., but he proved at his Pro Day what his best attribute is: his speed.  Hilton ran a 4.34 40 Yard Dash at his Pro Day earlier this month, and with a bit more experience could emerge as a terrific Slot Receiver in the N.F.L..  Hilton also has value as a Kick/Punt Returner, and could see some time there before he assumes a starting role.

88. Philadelphia Eagles: Kirk Cousins QB (Michigan State)

Philadelphia could be leaning QB in Rounds 2-3 in 2012 because if Michael Vick gets hurt, Mike Kafka might not be a viable option to replace him.  If Philadelphia does decide to draft a QB in 2012, they could look at Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins, a guy whose stock has risen after The Combine.  Cousins did the best he could to silence his critics in Indianapolis by having a terrific throwing session and showed off arm strength and velocity which many scouts didn’t think he had (because he didn’t show it all that often) at Michigan State.  The 6’3″ 214 lb. Cousins is an intelligent QB that makes good reads and throws an accurate ball.  While he isn’t the most athletic QB in this Draft Class, and won’t wow anybody by making something out of nothing on plays, Cousins is an efficient player that could do well in a West Coast system that Philadelphia runs.

89. New Orleans Saints: Mike Martin NT (Michigan)

I’m being nice here, but that performance by New Orleans’ Defense in the closing minutes of the N.F.C. Divisional Playoff was terrible.  I don’t care how good Drew Brees is, if that Defense cannot force turnovers it’s the Achilles Heel of the entire franchise.  The Saints will be looking to upgrade their Defensive Line under new Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and Mike Martin could be the choice for the Saints at #89.  Martin had a strong Senior Bowl week and projects to be a 4-3 DT that can play either the 1 or 3-Techniques after playing mostly NT in Michigan’s 3-4 alignment in college.  The 6’1″ 304 lbs. prospect’s high motor will be valued by Spagnuolo as well because the Saints will look to create pressure whenever possible with their Front 4.

90. Green Bay Packers: Derek Wolfe DE/DT (Cincinnati)

With Cullen Jenkins’ departure last season, and Ryan Pickett beginning to show his age, Green Bay is in need of some depth along the Defensive Line, especially some young depth.  In the event Green Bay decides to acquire a 5-Techinique Defensive End in the middle Rounds, one guy that they could target is Derek Wolfe of Cincinnati to fill said void.  Wolfe started 38 games during his career with the Bearcats, and has loads of experience, but did not really emerge as a stand-out player until last season.  In 2011, Wolfe posted career best numbers in Tackles: 70, Sacks: 9.5, and Tackles For Loss: 21.5, and emerged as one of the Top Interior Defensive Linemen in the country.  Sporting an ideal frame to fit a 3-4 scheme at Defensive End (6’5″ 295 lbs.), if Wolfe can consistently prove that he can hold his own against double-teams, he will be in a pro rotation along a Defensive Line in the middle of this season.

(Previous Selection: Jonathan Massaquoi, DE/OLB, Troy)

91. Baltimore Ravens: James Brown OG/OT (Troy)

Baltimore could use another Tackle on their roster, and selecting a player like James Brown at #91 would make for a solid pick.  Ben Grubbs has gone on to New Orleans, and the Ravens should be looking for someone to fill in at his old spot.  While Brown (6’3″ 306 lbs.) did not play Guard in college, he projects as one at the pro level.  Still, Brown’s experience at Tackle (25 starts in college) should make him a valuable backup at the position if Bryant McKinnie goes down with an injury/retires, or Michael Oher is inconsistent.

(Previous Selection: Bobby Massie, OT, Mississippi)

92. San Francisco 49ers: Tyrone Crawford DE/DT (Boise State)

San Francisco could use some depth along their Defensive Line, and they will probably look to select a Defensive End in the middle Rounds next month.  A JUCO Transfer with only one season of starting experience at Boise State, Tyrone Crawford had a terrific 2011 season and led the Broncos with 13.5 TFL’s and accumulated 6.5 Sacks.  At 6’4″ 275 lbs. Crawford has tremendous athleticism and upside, but he extremely raw and has only played two seasons in the Mountain West Conference.  But with a bit of coaching and some development, the 49ers could get some serious value with a player like Crawford in the 3rd or 4th Round.

93. New England Patriots: Antonio Allen S (South Carolina)

Antonio Allen could be a guy that the Patriots take a chance on in the 3rd Round this year.  While not an overly big guy by any means (6’1″ 210 lbs.), Allen did establish himself as one of the Gamecocks better tacklers during his college career.  With the Gamecocks, Allen played the versatile “Spur” position, where the Safety is in the box a lot and has to cover Backs and Ends, as well as defend the run.  I believe that a player with Allen’s matchup versatility and tackling ability should help a team that had the League’s 2nd worst Defense’s against the pass.

94. New York Giants: Nigel Bradham ILB (Florida State)

The Giants could use some depth at the Inside and Outside Linebacker spots, and Nigel Bradham could be a player which they target in Round 3.  Bradham started for three years at Florida State and saw action in each of the four years he played in Tallahassee.  Bradham notched 277 Tackles, 20.5 TFL, and 3 INT’s in his three years as a starter and usually could be found near the ball as a Seminole.  Bradham has terrific tackling skills, and should be coveted by a team that takes so much pride in their Defense and it’s ability to dominate.

(Previous Selection: Robert Turbin, RB, Utah State)

95. Oakland Raiders: Josh Norman CB (Coastal Carolina)

Oakland’s Secondary sure could use some help.  Last season the Raiders ranked 31st in Passing TD’s allowed, and 27th in Passing Yards allowed, and that was with Stanford Routt in their lineup.  With Routt gone, Oakland sure could use a replacement for him and Nnamdi Asomugha who they lost last season.  Luckily, one player in particular they could select is the developmental prospect Josh Norman.  While big CB at 6’0 197 lbs., Norman is still a bit raw technique-wise, and did not play against the most stellar competition while attending Coastal Carolina for college.  Still, Norman did a terrific job at The East-West Game and could really be a sleeper pick for any team that considers him in the 3rd or 4th Rounds this season.

(Previous Selection: Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt)