OVERVIEW: In the first round of a typical draft, teams target the best athletes available regardless of position, unless they’ve made a major investment in a position like quarterback. In the second round, however, teams are often forced to address need areas before the top college talent pool dries up at given positions. It isn’t always the case, but more times than not, in the second round you often find the marriage of talent and need.
1. Cleveland Browns – John Ross, WR, Washington. The Browns got the best pass rusher and their choice of QBs in the first round. Now they add the darling of the Combine, who set the all-time record for the 40-yard dash (4.22 seconds).
2. San Francisco 49ers – DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame. With all the moves the 49ers have made in free agency, they haven’t addressed the future of the QB position for the long-term. Kizer has a future in the NFL and, with Brian Hoyer to hold the job short-term, Kizer can ease into being a long-term answer.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss. The Jaguars traded away Julius Thomas and have a need here if the offense is going to rebound in 2017. Engram will give the Jaguars a new element to an offense in need of a rebound as they double-down on offensive draft talent.
4. Chicago – Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri. The Bears are addressing defense in this draft. They’ve already added a stud safety. Now they double down with one of the most dynamic playmakers in the draft, a player capable of making big plays off the edge as an edge-rushing OLB.
5. Los Angeles Rams – JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC. Rams wide receivers have consistently been weak and they got weaker when they lost Kenny Britt and Brian Quick. If Jared Goff is ever going to succeed, he needs weapons and a local kid from USC can help that cause.
6. Los Angeles Chargers – Dorian Johnson, G, Pitt. The offensive line was problematic before they cut King Dunlap and D.J. Fluker. It was worse after. They got Russell Okung to fill in at the left tackle spot. Johnson fills the need as Fluker’s replacement.
7. New York Jets – Davis Webb, QB, Cal. We have the Jets biting down hard and not taking their choice of QB in the first round, but they go after a sleeper candidate as the numbers start thinning. Maybe a bit of an over-shoot, but the Jets need to have a young QB to develop sooner than later.
8. Carolina – Taylor Moton, T/G, Western Kentucky. The Panthers signed Matt Kalil to a big contract, but he has an injury history and, having lost RT Mike Remmers, they need depth. Moton can play either tackle or guard, which provides depth at a minimum and a starter in a pinch.
9. Cincinnati – Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy. The Bengals lost Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler in free agency and all they added was returning retread Andre Smith. Garcia will need some time given his small-college-to-the-pros jump, but there is clearly going to be a problem here and Garcia’s versatility will be a need plus – even if as a key backup.
10. New Orleans – Tim Williams, DE, Alabama. Wide receiver is an option here, but the Saints have addressed two of the three levels of the defense and now complete the trifecta. Defensive line wasn’t a strength and Paul Kruger hasn’t been re-signed. Williams could slide right into his spot.
11. Philadelphia – Curtis Samuel, RB/WR, Ohio State. The Eagles always seem to have a multi-faceted player and there may be no more a dynamic jack of all trades than Samuel, who can be a running back, a slot receiver and a return man, letting his blazing speed be his calling card.
12. Buffalo – Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt. The Bills lost Zach Brown in free agency and need to get a replacement. In Buffalo’s system, Cunningham can have position versatility and there is a need to keep the middle of the defense strong.
13. Arizona – Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC. The Cardinals have a lot of the pieces in place to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender, but Patrick Peterson needs a running partner at corner, a problem that got worse with the free agent loss of Marcus Cooper.
14. Indianapolis – Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma. He’s the pariah of the draft, but his talent is going to get him off the board at some point – whether here or somewhere else. He’s a first-round talent and Jim Irsay may be suited to sell the idea to the fan base to give Mixon a second chance (in the second round).
15. Baltimore – T.J. Watt, OLB/DE, Wisconsin. The Ravens have a history of drafting players who play the game the right way. Watt is clearly the lesser brother in the family and has an injury history, but he is a tireless worker and, in Baltimore’s scheme, he can fill in immediately and contribute.
16. Minnesota – Obi Melifonwu, S, UConn. This is the Vikings’ first pick, so the rules of immediate need don’t apply. There may be a bigger immediate need on the offensive line. He is a ’tweener of sorts in that he can play like a huge safety or a small linebacker, but his value to Minnesota will be that, paired up with Pro Bowler Harrison Smith, Melifonwu will give the Vikings a menacing presence over the deep middle of the field and open things up for the Vikings defense as a whole, which is how Minnesota is going to win games.
17. Washington – Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma. The Redskins have cobbled together a running game with Rob Kelly, Matt Jones and Chris Thompson, but Perine is a power back that can be a three-down back in this system and be a focal point of the Washington offense.
18. Tampa Bay – Budda Baker, S, Washington. The Bucs have added talent at key spots, but J.J. Wilcox isn’t the answer as a starting safety and Baker can push immediately for a starting spot in a weakened secondary.
19. Denver – Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland. A small-college tight end who can add a layer to the Broncos offense that has been missing. John Elway had Shannon Sharpe and the two did wonderful things together. While Shaheen is no Sharpe, he adds an element to the passing game sorely lacking last year.
20. Cleveland (from Tennessee) – Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado. If the draft falls the way we have projected it, the Browns have added a dynamic player at QB, DE and WR. Awuzie is a big, physical corner who could play cornerback or safety and would add some big hitting talent to the Browns secondary.
21. Detroit – Tyus Bowser, OLB, Houston. The Lions addressed the defensive line in the first round and now go about the daunting task of replacing veteran DeAndre Levy. Bowser is admittedly raw, but has the skill set to become a dominating player from the outside if coached up properly.
22. Miami – Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State. The Dolphins cut Mario Williams and Dion Jordan and, while they still have Cameron Wake and Andre Branch, depth has been depleted and Willis can step in to fill that void and keep the position strong even if one of the starters gets injured.
23. New York Giants – Chris Wormley, DT, Michigan. The Giants had a need at the D-line prior to losing Johnathan Hankins in free agency. Wormley is space-eater who could help fill the void left behind by Hankins’ departure.
24. Oakland – Raekwon McMillan, ILB, Ohio State. Oakland doesn’t have too many holes, but one of them is at middle linebacker. McMillan is a big thumper and a tackling machine who can be the missing piece to Oakland making a legitimate title run.
25. Houston – Julie'n Davenport, OT, Bucknell. The Texans spent their first-round pick trying to fix their problem at quarterback. Now they attempt to improve an offensive line that has struggled to protect recent previous quarterbacks for the Texans.
26. Seattle – Zach Banner, OT, USC. The Seahawks’ biggest weakness last year was not properly addressing growing deficiencies on the offensive line. They’ve signed a couple of guards during the offseason but need to help bolster the tackle position, where they signed the Trojan giant.
27. Kansas City – Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee. The Chiefs have become accustomed to life after Jamaal Charles because he has missed time due to injury. But Kamara provides a speed element and explosiveness that will remind coaches of the type of big-play ability that Charles used to provide and what Kamara can provide.
28. Dallas – Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina. The Cowboys have the firm belief that giving the offense other options to protect Dez Bryant from constant double coverage is imperative. Jones may be the best route-runner in the draft and will do a better job of letting Dak Prescott have alternate options, which can only open things up for Bryant.
29. Green Bay – Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida. The Packers secondary was a mess last season and got worse with the offseason departures of Sam Shields and Micah Hyde. Help is needed and, unlike the next two picks, the Packers don’t have the luxury of swinging for the fences on question marks.
30. Pittsburgh – Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State. His stock took a nosedive when word got out that he’s being investigated on a rape charge. He has declared his innocence, but with the cloud hanging over his head on draft day, a middle first-round talent drops to the end of the second round. If the Steelers believe his story, he could be a steal at this point, but he’s a giant risk for the organization if the allegations are corroborated.
31. Atlanta – Sidney Jones, CB, Washington. A big risk pick here because he ruptured his Achilles and likely won’t be available this year, but big-picture-thinking teams know that elite players recover from injuries with work ethic. He’s a gamble, but, after re-signing Desmond Trufant long-term, they can afford a redshirt year for a guy ranked as a top cornerback pre-injury.
32. Carolina (from New England – Marcus Maye, S, Florida. The Panthers have injury issues opposite Kurt Coleman and, after bolstering their offense with their first two picks, they add a solid impact player at the end of the second round that can push to be a Week 1 starter.