17. Pittsburgh Steelers Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The Steelers lost wide receiver Mike Wallace to free agency and there is no secret that the franchise wants to stay on the ground more offensively. However, guys like Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson don’t come along very often and might not only be the best available player at this slot, but meets a need as well. Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Plaxico Burress will contribute to this team through the air, but they are not No. 1 receivers. Patterson isn’t the fastest receiver in this class, but displays impressive quickness for a taller receiver.
18. Dallas Cowboys Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Arguably one of the more impressive guards to come out of the college game in recent memory, North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper has the athleticism and toughness to fill in nicely for a lackluster Cowboys offensive line. Jerry Jones is very high on Cooper and moved up last year in the draft to get the player he wanted in cornerback Morris Claiborne. Cooper has a high ceiling in this draft, which may force the Cowboys to give up a little to get a lot at a position they so desperately need.
19. New York Giants D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
It’s no secret that the Giants had offensive line issues last season and there are needs across the board with this position group. It makes sense to get the biggest and baddest lineman of them all in Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker. Fluker is raw, but his physicality is something that is a force to be reckoned with. While the Giants could also look to the linebacker position at this spot, there is enough depth at that position to snag someone in either the second or third round. At this spot in the draft, Fluker is probably the best available lineman.
20. Chicago Bears Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
With Brian Urlacher done in Chicago, the Bears will have to get younger on that side of the ball. D.J. Williams was acquired by the Bears, but there is uncertainty with his health and longevity with the franchise. Yes, this could be a landing spot for Manti Te’o, but the better player is Alec Ogletree. Ogletree brings a lot of off-the-field baggage with him, but he packs the instincts and run-stopping ability needed in the NFL. His maturity is a cause for concern and with Urlacher no longer in Chicago, who is the leader of that team? It’s a risky move, but the Bears have to go with it.
21. Cincinnati Bengals Eric Reid, S, LSU
The Bengals know that their defense was a strength of their team at times throughout the 2012 season. The secondary did struggle at times and appears to be only a few holes away from taking the next step as a contender. What better way to take that next step than with one of the more aggressive defensive backs in the draft in LSU safety Eric Reid. Reid was a stud at the back end of that LSU defense where he took a lot of chances on plays. His gambling nature may hurt his stock somewhat, but his physicality and ability to make up ground is something that has been turning scouts heads. It also helps that he had a phenomenal workout at LSU’s Pro Day. Safety is a hard position to come by in the NFL and Reid could be a starter in this league for at least a decade. Matt Elam could also be on the Bengals’ eye or they could look to the tackle position as Andre Smith’s status with the team remains uncertain.
22. St. Louis Rams Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
This is one of those picks that can be high-risk, high-reward. Lacy is a workhorse running back that has a trademark spin move that has kept college defenders off-balance and unable to bring down his solid frame. The way he holds the ball in the spin move is somewhat concerning, but he still has the strength and ability to be a reliable every down back in the NFL. While he isn’t Steven Jackson completely, he has shown some flashes of being involved in the pass game. His lackluster 40 time is a cause for concern, as well as his durability. The Rams could also look to the safety position or inside linebacker at this spot.
23. Minnesota Vikings Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Minnesota Vikings have few needs if they want to take the next step as a football need. Their passing game needs serious help as Adrian Peterson cannot carry quarterback Christian Ponder much longer alone. Their defensive line is getting older though and with Kevin Williams aging, this might be the next best guy for the job. Richardson has the ability to move all over the defensive line and would be a steal at this point of the draft. He has the ability to play as a 3 or 5-technique defensive lineman and has a relentless motor when it comes to rushing the passer. He generates good push in the middle and would be a great grab for the Vikings with their first first round pick.
24. Indianapolis Colts Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Sylvester Williams is a defensive tackle that a lot of teams are starting to gain interest on. Williams is a big tackle that has impressive burst and athleticism for his size. The criticisms he has garnered have been his long-term durability as he tires often and he also tends to overrun a lot of plays. If he can stand his ground on blocks and be more disruptive, rather than trying to make the big play all the time, Williams will fit in great in Indianapolis.