11. Minnesota Vikings: OT/G La’el Collins, LSU
Starting left guard Charlie Johnson has not been able to be a powerful run blocker, and the former LSU product would be a nice upgrade over the veteran guard. Collins fits perfectly in offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s downfield passing and power run game offense, and I think Collins could also provide the Vikings with some nice versatility and flexibility along the offensive line, as he started at left tackle in college. He projects best at guard at the professional level, and Collins has the potential to be a solid starter, especially in Minnesota, where he could use his remarkable strength and persistence to finish each block to overpower opponents at the point of attack. He could become the Vikings’ best offensive lineman within his first few years with the franchise, and prove to be one of the better power run-blocking guards the NFL has to offer.
12. Cleveland Browns: WR DeVante Parker, Louisville
The Cleveland Browns have two first round selections this year, so they can knock out two big needs and grab the best wide receiver still on the board here in DeVante Parker. Parker has great size at 6-3 and 209 pounds and possesses magnificent speed. He has the ability to work as an X receiver on the edges of the field, as well as providing solid production from the slot. With continued uncertainty revolving the very talented Josh Gordon, and with the rest of the Browns’ receivers being undersized and not that talented, this pick makes all the sense in the world. Bring in a remarkable athlete like Parker, whose catch radius and knowledge of the game will elevate the Browns offensive production and the confidence of whichever quarterback starts in Week 1.
13. New Orleans Saints: DE/OLB Bud Dupree, Kentucky
Bud Dupree led all SEC defensive linemen in tackles last season with 74 takedowns, and the pass-rushing artist left Kentucky with 24.5 career sacks, a remarkable number given the talent that the rest of the SEC had compared to a rather dubious Kentucky defensive unit. The Saints had one of the most pedestrian pass rushes in the league last year, and Junior Galette and Cameron Jordan were responsible for over half of the entire teams’ sack output last season. The Saints desperately need a versatile pass rusher that they can line up on the edge who can bring pressure from either side of the line. Dupree fits that need perfectly, and can use his length and superb pass-rushing moves to close in on the quarterback, even at the next level.
14. Miami Dolphins: OLB Vic Beasley, Clemson
With the Saints picking the sleek and versatile Bud Dupree, the Dolphins can go out and grab beast outside linebacker Vic Beasley. It is music to the Dolphins’ front office’s ears, as Beasley would provide the team with a great pass rusher opposite of Cameron Wake. Beasley works very fast off the edge, and often kicks tackles off-balance, giving him quick alleys straight to the passer. One reason the Saints may like Dupree more than Beasley is the fact that Beasley may only be able to thrive in the NFL as a 3-4 outside linebacker, while Dupree can work as a 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker. He doesn’t have the best length-strength combination in the draft, however he is like Von Miller in that sense, and with great hands and awareness, he will excel as an edge rusher in the NFL. I think that Beasley has the proper amount of strength and beef to make the switch to defensive end if his name is ever called for that job.
15. San Francisco 49ers: CB Trae Waynes, Michigan State
Trae Waynes is the best cornerback in a deep class for the position, and showed off his top notch speed at the Combine, running for a quick 4.31. He possesses the length, instincts and confidence to be a great corner in today’s NFL. He also had worked in a defense at Michigan State that didn’t offer their corners much help over the top, so Waynes has a lot of experience with one-on-one coverage. The 49ers have never really had elite cornerbacks, and with a top-notch front seven (for the most part!), they could use a great corner to match up against the top wideouts currently playing in the NFC. Waynes will use his lanky build and experience leading the ‘No Fly Zone’ at Michigan State to carve out a productive career at the next level.
16. Houston Texans: SS Landon Collins, Alabama
D.J. Swearinger has been quite a thumper in his short career as a Texan, however he has been horrendous in pass coverage, and the Texans seriously need to improve in that category. Houston is building quite a defense with the presence of J.J. Watt, Jadaveon Clowney and Brian Cushing manning the front seven, although adding a ball-hawk strong safety like Landon Collins could take the defense to the elite level, which would scare quarterbacks like Andrew Luck, who has to play the Texans twice a year. Collins is head and shoulders above the second best safety in this weak class, so this is a great value selection as well. He uses his fluid hip movement and solid coverage skills to exploit bad passes and to keep up with lengthy, quick receivers.
17. San Diego Chargers: OT Andrus Peat, Stanford
I can see the Chargers choosing between either Peat or T.J. Clemmings from Pittsburgh, here, as these will most likely be the two best offensive tackle prospects left on the board with Scherff and Collins already off the board. Peat stands at a monstrous 6-7 and has the strength and agility to really thrive in the NFL. With the upcoming free agency of left tackle King Dunlap, and with former first round pick D.J. Fluker struggling and sticking on the right side, the Chargers need a tackle with the experience and skill to jump right in and protect the aging Phillip Rivers. Peat has the required skill to complete the task at hand, and possesses the balance and stamina to not get knocked around by powerful edge rushers and to stay in the game for the full 60 minutes.
18. Kansas City Chiefs: WR Jaelen Strong, Arizona State
The Chiefs were absolutely miserable in regards to wide receiver production last season, as the outside pass catchers failed to post a single touchdown catch, and that includes the entire unit! Strong caught ten touchdowns for the Sun Devils last season, and amounted a solid 1,165 yards in 82 receptions. He possesses great size and strength for the position, and some consider him to own the best hands in the entire draft, as the 6-3, 212 pound receiver doesn’t drop the open pass often. He boasts solid speed and is an excellent target in the red zone, something the Chiefs need more than any other franchise in football right now.
19. Cleveland Browns: DT Eddie Goldman, Florida State
Eddie Goldman owns incredible speed given his size and the position that he mans, which is why this will be a great value pick for the Cleveland Browns, especially after grabbing a talented receiver earlier in the first round. He is powerful and extra strong at the point of attack, and shows solid moves in the trenches to wrap ball carriers up and get to the quarterback rather quickly. He also disrupts plays, and always seems to be around the ball. The Browns were one of the worst rush defenses in the NFL, so grabbing a powerful defensive tackle like Goldman would be great help.
20. Philadelphia Eagles: CB Marcus Peters, Washington
Marcus Peters has some off the field issues, but his overall talent and great football IQ and awareness far outweighs the potential trouble he may get into in the future. The Eagles failed to field a good enough secondary to play with the big boy quarterbacks of the NFC, and missed the playoffs because of it. The Eagles need help, and an influx of talent at every level of the defense. However, the void at corner far overshadows any other current need on defense. Peters’ speed, man to man coverage ability, and intelligence will allow the former Huskie to enter his first NFL season as the Eagles number one corner, and potentially supply talented stability to the position for years to come.
*Section Photo credit to Tyler Smith, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Mark Zerof, USA Today Sports