OVERVIEW: It's pretty accepted that the first round of the draft can allow teams to ignore pressing needs when an elite athlete is available at another position and is too hard to pass up. However, when you get to the second round, it's a different story. The pool is starting to get shallower all the time and many believe if you don't go after a position of grave need here, it's going to remain a grave need when the next season begins. As a result, numerous trades are not only possible, but expected. Expect to see a lot of teams moving around at the start of Day 2 on April 26. The trades will be coming hot and heavy as need and talent start heading in opposite directions.
1. Jacksonville – Matt Barkley, QB, USC. It was much too high to take Geno Smith at No. 2 overall. But Barkley is much less a risk this deep into the draft. If someone doesn't trade into the end of the first round to get him, Blaine Gabbert is put on notice to put up or get out.
2. San Francisco (from Kansas City) – Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International. This may be a little high for Cyprien, but the 49ers have addressed almost all of their most pressing needs in the offseason with the exception of replacing safety Dashon Goldson, who left via free agency. Cyprien helps fill that need.
3. Philadelphia – Kawann Short, DT, Purdue. The Eagles need to have more of a presence in the middle of the defense and Short is a starter with a wealth of experience that can help upgrade that deficiency almost immediately.
4. Detroit – Margus Hunt, DE, SMU. The Lions don't have either of their primary starters at defensive end from 2012 – Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch – and desperately need help to flank Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in the middle. At 6-foot-8, 280 pounds, Hunt is a giant that can do some immediate damage.
5. Cincinnati (from Oakland) –DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson. The Bengals have a bona fide star in A.J. Green but need to upgrade at their No. 2 receiver. Hopkins is a first-round talent who could make the Bengals even more lethal on offense.
6. Arizona – E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State. A lot depends on which quarterback the Cardinals like the most, but this could be the ideal landing spot for Manuel. He could pull a Daunte Culpepper and spend a year learning the game behind Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton and take over the job next year.
7. Cleveland – NO PICK. The Browns tendered a second-round draft pick in last year's supplemental draft and were awarded WR Josh Gordon.
8. New York Jets – Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State. A lot depends on what the Jets can get for Darrelle Revis, but if nobody is willing to give up a premium pick this year it still seems obvious Revis Island is moving somewhere (a first-rounder next year?). He needs to be replaced and Taylor is a value pick here.
9. Tennessee – Datone Jones, DE, UCLA. The Titans used to be defined by the play of their pass-rushing defensive ends. That has gone away in recent years and an infusion of young talent is needed. Jones should be able to compete for a starting job from Day 1 and, at a minimum, could be part of a DE rotation that will help solidify the their defensive front.
10. Buffalo – Robert Woods, WR, USC. The Bills have changed the face of their offense at QB, but they need a complement to Stevie Johnson. Woods is a smooth-as-silk receiver who doesn't have great speed but is the chain-mover every offense needs, much less one that will (sooner than later) turn the offense over to a young QB.
11. Miami – Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, UConn. The Dolphins upgraded a lot of positions on their team in the offseason, but a long-term solution is needed. Brent Grimes is a great signing, but it was only a one-year deal and he replaces Sean Smith. Depth is still needed and Miami gets it here, continuing an impressive offseason rebuilding.
12. Tampa Bay – John Jenkins, DT, Georgia. Having already addressed its most pressing need at cornerback, the Bucs get a massive run-clogger in the middle who can be a dominating two-down tackle that the defense needs to be more successful against teams like Carolina and Atlanta that like to run to control the tempo of games.
13. Carolina – Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee. The Panthers are eventually going to have to replace Steve Smith. In the meantime, he needs a running buddy to play opposite him to take off the heat. Many believe Hunter is more NFL-ready than teammate Cordarrelle Patterson, who is long-since gone. A value pick.
14. New Orleans – NO PICK. This pick was taken away in a punitive action by the NFL for the presumption of guilt in the Bountygate scandal.
15. San Diego – Justin Pugh, G/OT, Syracuse. The Chargers missed out one of the Big 3 offensive tackles in the first round and took a guard instead. Philip Rivers smiles as they add another offensive lineman to keep down his beating. Pugh may not be the left tackle they need, but he will be an improvement, especially if he ends up eventually moving inside.
16. St. Louis – Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin. For Rams fans who have been spoiled over the last 15 years by Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson, another 'Sconny running back will have big shoes to fill. But a need is a need and this is a definite need.
17. Dallas – Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M. A free-faller, one thing that can be said about Jerry Jones and the Cowboys draft staff is that they watch a lot of film. Being from Texas, they know what Moore can (and can't) do. A first-round prospect who has slipped farther than he should, this is a value pick for the heart of Texas.
18. Pittsburgh – Arthur Brown, OLB, Kansas State. The Steelers have been defined by their linebacker play and Brown fits into the mold of active Pittsburgh linebackers. He is the kind of athlete Dick LeBeau can do a lot with and he makes sense both in terms of value and need at this point, despite being better suited on the weak side of a 4-3 defense.
19. New York Giants – Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State. The Giants let Osi Umenyiora go and need to replace him badly. Carradine is a fast-rising prospect who has red flags (coming off a significant ACL injury last November), but the Giants have the ability to wait for him to heal and the prospect of having him and Jason Pierre-Paul in the long-term could be a critical piece of their defensive puzzle.
20. Chicago – Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State. The Bears are still paying for naming Dr. Emmett Brown (a.k.a. Mike Martz) as their offensive coordinator. He gutted the team of tight ends because he had no use for them in his offense. The rebuilding at Ground Zero continues.
21. Washington – D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina. The Redskins didn't have a first-round pick (and won't next year) due to the RG3 trade, so they need to address their most pressing need. Having parted ways with LaRon Landry, who was drafted ahead of Adrian Peterson, safety is a huge need and Swearinger has the intangibles needed to replace a local legend.
22. Minnesota – Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State. While more of a press corner than a glove fit in a Tampa-2 defense, Banks has many of the same qualities that enamored the Vikings with Chris Cook, who is entering the last year of his contract. While I have this coming down to a choice between Banks or whatever wide receiver they prefer, one position has to take a back seat. Given the choice, the Vikings make this selection for three reasons – Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler.
23. Cincinnati – Shamarko Thomas, S, Syracuse. The Bengals address their biggest need and, for the first time in a long time, can look the Steelers and Ravens in the eye and say, "Let's get it on!" Thomas is yet another young athlete that will be a part of the Bengals' future, which is looking as bright as it has since Boomer Esiason was running the show.
24. Miami (from Indianapolis) – Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He may not be ready for prime time, but after standout showings at the Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl he's a diamond in the rough. He won't make Dolphins fans immediately forget Jake Long, but in a year or two he might.
25. Green Bay – Eric Reid, S, LSU. The Packers' primary need is at safety and any safety with two years experience in the SEC is NFL-ready. I've said it before, but there are three conferences in the NFL – the AFC, the NFC and the SEC. The last thing Packers haters want is for them to add an SEC jewel to their crown, but Reid does just that.
26. Seattle – Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State. The only weakness on the Seattle roster, thanks to trades and free agency, is in the middle of the defensive line. Hankins is viewed by some scouts as a first-round prospect – clearly most don't share that opinion. But at this point for a team that gave up its first-rounder for Pro Bowl talent Percy Harvin, this is almost an embarrassment of riches.
27. Houston – Kevin Reddick, ILB, North Carolina. An ideal fit in a 3-4 defense, much less an aggressive 3-4 like Houston operates, Reddick can accentuate the positives while the coaches minimize the negatives and make this a glove-fit pick late in the second round. In the Super Bowl picture in the AFC, the Texans aren't going anywhere.
28. Denver – Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU. His skills are there, but he reportedly came off as a bit arrogant in interviews at the combine. Nothing slaps respect in a cocky young man's face than having Peyton Manning as a teammate and John Elway as a boss. In our last mock, we had the Honey Badger in this spot, but given that marijuana is legal in Colorado, we opted out of that scenario and brought a different style of high risk to Denver.
29. New England (projected trade to team unknown) – Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse. Nassib will go in the first two rounds. Chances are it won't be to the Patriots, but they are in position in both the first and second rounds to use their pick as a bargaining chip for future (higher) draft picks. It's what they do. Someone will bite.
30. Atlanta – Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State. A rising draft prospect, the Falcons have a Super Bowl team in place and, combined with the loss of Brent Grimes to free agency and the release of Dunta Robinson, this pick makes as much sense as any to date in the draft.
31. San Francisco – Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati. He has some growing up to do and Vernon Davis may not be the prototypical role model, but the 49ers have a way of harnessing talent to buy into the system. If Kelce is willing to accept the "49er way," he could be a steal at this point and give the 49ers their own Gronk-Hernandez tandem.
32. Baltimore – Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin. The Ravens went to Minnesota to get a center to take them to the next level. They go to Wisconsin this time. It might be a little early to draft a center, but Ozzie Newsome is who he is because he matches talent and need like few others and this pick makes a ton of sense from that perspective.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
VU mock draft, round 2, version 3.0
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