OVERVIEW: As the story goes on draft weekend, in the first round of the draft, many teams claim they simply draft the best player available, regardless of position. Reality says that isn't the case because it seems like every time a team needs a new starting quarterback, the elite pickings get harvested in a hurry. But when it comes to the second round, the players viewed as being elite quickly start drying up – not that there isn't plenty of talent available, but as the players keep going and needs aren't addressed, teams get a little more desperate and are much more likely to draft a need position. As a result, there may be plenty of trades in the round as teams jockey for position to get a player they covet before the well runs dry.
1. Houston Texans – Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri. If the Texans pass on Jadeveon Clowney in the first round, they can't afford to ignore D-line any longer. They lost starters Earl Mitchell and Antonio Smith in free agency and need a big-time player to line up opposite J.J. Watt and, at the current time, they don't have one.
2. Washington Redskins – Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin. The Redskins didn't have their first-round pick (final payment for the RG3 trade in 2011) and need an impact player. This may be a bit of a reach, but with age finally taking down ironman London Fletcher, the Redskins need a long-term replacement at middle linebacker and Borland is a tackling machine who stands out on tape in every game he plays.
3. Cleveland Browns – Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida State. The Browns have Joe Haden as one of the best corners in the league on one side. All they did in free agency was bring in Jets backup Isaiah Trufant. Cleveland has made some significant offseason signings, but cornerback hasn't been one of them … yet.
4. Oakland Raiders – Victor Hampton, CB, South Carolina. Last year's starters – Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins – both signed away in free agency, creating a big hole that will need to be filled by younger players. There have been a slew of corners coming off the board in the last 20 or so picks. If the Raiders don't move now, the opportunity for a potential immediate starter will be gone.
5. Atlanta Falcons – Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona. The Falcons have all the pieces in place to have a potent offense, but the running game has been in slow motion for years. Carey will give the Falcons a back capable of breaking a run longer than 10 yards – typically the limit for Michael Turner and Steven Jackson. If TE Jace Amaro falls, he will land here, but the offense needs a talent infusion and the draft's best running back does that.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia. The Bucs released starting left tackle Donald Penn and the top two offensive tackles were gone by the time Tampa Bay was on the clock. Moses needs to refine his run-blocking skills, but will not only be an upgrade over what the Bucs currently have, but a "Steal of the Draft" candidate.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Xavier Su'a Filo, G, UCLA. Last season, the Jags had three different starters at guard and none of them did a serviceable job. Having yet to sign a veteran in free agency, this may lock down a starter for years to come.
8. Minnesota Vikings – Dee Ford, DE/OLB, Auburn. A lot like Everson Griffen when the Vikings drafted him, Ford is a college defensive end who has the speed and athleticism to be an outside linebacker, as well as a third-down pass rush specialist, depending on the situation. There was a time when Griffen was splitting time between DE and OLB and it wouldn't be out of the question to see Ford get time at linebacker as well as being part of the new-look defensive end rotation post-Jared Allen.
9. Buffalo Bills – Deone Buccanon, S, Washington State. The Bills lost Jairus Byrd to free agency and haven't signed a replacement yet. Byrd's consistency and playmaking ability will be missed and Buccanon will have some very big shoes to fill.
10. Tennessee Titans – Stephon Tuitt, DE/DT, Notre Dame. The Titans have struggled on the defensive front and Tuitt has the skill and athleticism to play either defensive tackle or defensive end. At 6-6, 312, he is a handful and will immediately help upgrade Tennessee's D-line.
11. New York Giants – Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota. The Giants lost Justin Tuck and Linval Joseph in free agency and the line was struggling with them. Hageman could end up going in the first round. He doesn't have an elite specialty that makes him stand out, but he does a lot of things at a high level. He's the kind of player the Giants have consistently developed and accentuated his strong suits.
12. St. Louis Rams – Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State. Bringing in Kenny Britt should dissuade the Rams from taking a member of the deep Class of 2014 wide receiver group. It may seem like overkill, but Tavon Austin needs outside receivers to take the heat off the short zone and Robinson is as tough as they come at wide receiver and a younger version of Anquan Boldin.
13. Detroit Lions – Trent Murphy, DE, Stanford. The Lions have perhaps the most dominant defensive tackle duo in the league, but lost Kyle Vanden Bosch in free agency last year and Willie Young in the offseason. He's a lean big man and, in a lot of ways, reminds you of a young Jared Allen on tape. He may need some time, but the skill is there.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers – Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama. Viewed as a first-round pick before a brutal Combine performance left some shaking their heads, his pedigree is impressive and, in a no-nonsense organization like the Steelers have, he could live up to his enormous potential.
15. Dallas Cowboys – Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina. The Cowboys suffered some huge losses on the defensive line in the offseason, and because of their cap situation couldn't adequately replace them. After going defensive tackle in the first round, Jerry Jones doubles down and takes an inconsistent player, but with limitless upside. He wants his own Jason Pierre-Paul. Martin may be that prospect.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Cyril Richardson, G, Baylor. The Ravens made a point to solidify their critical offensive line struggles from last year. The team traded for Eugene Monroe and locked him down prior to free agency, as well as trading with Tampa Bay for center Jerry Zuttah. With Pro Bowler Marshall Yanda on the right side, adding Richardson to the left side could make the transformation of the Ravens' O-line from the Super Bowl year complete.
17. New York Jets – Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt. Matthews is a big receiver (6-3, 210) who can give the offense an alternate target to recently signed Eric Decker. Decker has never been a go-to receiver target before. Unless the Jets can add a viable second option to keep defenses honest, Decker will get double-deckered. Matthews is a solid route runner who can be Decker's best friend – along with Geno Smith and/or Mike Vick.
18. Miami Dolphins – David Yankey, G, Stanford. The Dolphins have done a lot in free agency to be able to make a season-specific saturation draft. Miami's O-line was a complete mess last year. Bullygate only made it worse. They made a splash with the Brandon Albert signing and used their first-round pick on right tackle Zack Martin. Yankey is another piece that could turn a weakness into a strength overnight.
19. Chicago Bears – Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU. The clock on Lance Briggs' career is hitting the point where the wrong wire is cut and the clock starts spinning down five times as fast. The Bears have put together a group for a one- or two-year run at a title and need to have young replacement help at OLB. Van Noy can give them a solid backup option as Briggs gets closer to reuniting with Brian Urlacher in retirement.
20. Arizona Cardinals – Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State. The Cardinals have the misfortune of having a ground game so bad it has been typified by retreads like Emmitt Smith, Edgerrin James and Rashard Mendenhall – players beyond their prime looking to cash another check. Hyde could be Beast Mode Jr.
21. Green Bay Packers – Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington. Jermichael Finley's future remains in serious doubt and the Packers need someone who can provide a field-stretching presence. He is a red zone disaster who could have the receiving production of Finley and the touchdown prowess of Bubba Franks.
22. Philadelphia Eagles – Gabe Jackson, G, Michigan State. This pick may not make sense on face value because the Eagles' O-line was a strength last year. But starters Todd Herremanns and Evan Mathis are both entering their 10th season. They're on borrowed time in NFL terms. Having a Plan B that becomes Plan A is vital and Jackson can fill that role. Given time to develop, he could become another long-term Eagles guard starter.
23. Cincinnati Bengals – Marcus Smith, DE/OLB, Louisville. The Bengals have been quiet in free agency, losing DE Michael Johnson to free agency and releasing James Harrison. They need a player who can fill one of those two important roles in the defense. Smith gives Cincinnati the flexibility it needs in plugging defensive holes.
24. San Francisco (from Kansas City) – Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State. The 49ers have Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree. One has taken two career's worth of big hits and is one more away from being sidelined (Boldin) and the other has limitless potential but a growing injury history that could render him moot. Another option is needed.
25. San Diego Chargers – Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado. The Chargers have always tried to create a slot receiver that can zip through gaps in defenses, but it has typically been a recycled receiver. Richardson is the type of guy that safeties look forward to lighting up, but Philip Rivers could make him a star.
26. New Orleans Saints – Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee. Ideally, the plan will be to move recently re-signed Zach Streif back to left tackle and plug in Richardson on the right side. He has the mass and size to become an elite left tackle, but his job for now is keeping Drew Brees clean – as important a job as there is in the NFL.
27. Indianapolis Colts – Lamarcus Joyner, S/CB, Florida State. The Colts secondary has struggled. Indy has always had the persona of being a finesse defense. Joyner is undersized but brings the Antoine Winfield mindset to a secondary in need of such an influence. Watch his highlight tapes. He'll get receivers to tighten their chin straps.
28. Carolina Panthers – Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State. The Panthers had a first-round bye last year. It would seem natural that, despite a bad ending to the season, Carolina would keep the band together. Instead, three primary starters retired within a week. The team got Cam Newton a receiver in the first round. Now they give him some needed protection.
29. San Francisco – Travis Swanson, C/G, Arkansas. Center Jonathan Goodwin is 35 and the Niners are in an arms race with the Seahawks. They can't allow a position of eventual need to become a position of need today. A chess move on draft day.
30. New England Patriots – Yawin Smallwood, ILB, UConn. The Pats let Brandon Spikes go and don't have a center rock for their defense. Smallwood isn't a second-rounder in every defensive scheme, but he reeks of the type that thrives in the Patriots' system. They'll find a niche for him in which he dominates.
31. Denver Broncos – Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford. Parys Lennon was a finger in the dike last year. If nothing else, Skov will be an immediate upgrade to one of the few positions on the roster that is a weak link. How many points did Seattle score? Skov will remain when the Manning Circus pulls up stakes. Until then, stardom awaits.
32. Seattle Seahawks – Joe Bitonio, G/T, Nevada. Right tackle Breno Giacomini signed away, as have no less than a dozen players who got championship rings and will get them delivered posthumously. Under an ideal circumstance, Bitonio gets some seasoning, but he gives the option of becoming an immediate starter, which isn't too shabby for the last pick of the second round. Just ask Seattle QB Tarvaris Jackson.
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.
Mock draft: Round 2, Version 1
Viking Update Top Stories
Pass protection fails Bradford, VikingsThe Minnesota Vikings still haven’t been able to solve their offensive line issues, a theme going back to last year, but Mike Zimmer and the players aren’t denying it. They have to…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 5:23 PM
Notebook: Bradford-Wentz duel fizzlesSunday's game between the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles was supposed to be a marquee battle of quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Carson Wentz. Instead, it was a long day…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 3:39 PM
Vikings record-seekers vs. EaglesThe Minnesota Vikings’ loss was littered with mistakes, but a few players worked their way up in the franchise record book.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 3:14 PM
WATCH: Vikings vs. Eagles highlightsHighlights, or really lowlights for Minnesota Vikings fans, as they drop their first game of the season, 21-10, to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 2:57 PM
Zimmer on Vikings loss: ‘Embarrassing’The Minnesota Vikings’ undefeated season came to an abrupt end in a overwhelming 21-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 2:33 PM