11 OG David DeCastro Stanford Sr. 6-5 310
I wouldn't dismiss the possibility that the first-round trading game starts with the Chiefs slot, but if K.C. sticks, DeCastro represents the kind of solid, no-brainer selection that will never come back to haunt general manager Scott Pioli. I keep hearing the Chiefs could move down and target Dontari Poe, but I'm not buying that theory because Poe remains someone who will require some patience in terms of his NFL development.
12 DE/OLB Melvin Ingram South Carolina Sr. 6-2 276
The pass rush and linebacking help is where the need is the greatest in Seattle, and Ingram would address and upgrade both areas. But I could also see Seattle vacating this slot, trading down with a team eager to come up to get Michael Floyd, Michael Brockers or Mark Barron.
13 WR Michael Floyd Notre Dame Sr. 6-3 224
While the Cardinals would go for a Cordy Glenn or a Riley Reiff if they were drafting by a need-first approach, they'll be instead pleasantly surprised that a playmaker like Floyd has fallen to them. That'll make Larry Fitzgerald happy, and if you think Ken Whisenhunt and the Cardinals front office don't care about that, you haven't been paying attention.
14 DT Michael Brockers LSU Soph. 6-6 306
I feel strangely confident that Brockers, Mark Barron and Dontari Poe will be the next three players off the board in some order, but I can't quite decide the order. In the end, the Cowboys' need for a disruptive front seven player nudged me away from Barron, and while Dallas is said to love the potential-laden Poe, Brockers is more NFL-ready from day one.
15 S Mark Barron Alabama Sr. 6-2 218
Having just moved to the Philly area earlier this year, I'd love to nail this pick and impress the new neighbors. I think the Eagles lean toward Barron over Poe, but I'm pretty sure they'd be content with either. If it comes down to a choice between Brockers and Barron, that's where it gets sticky. But I believe I'd still have Andy Reid taking Barron in that scenario.
16 DT Dontari Poe Memphis Sr. 6-5 350
I could see where the Jets might be easily convinced to take Alabama defensive end-outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw in this scenario. New York needs his 3-4 edge rush ability in its front seven. But Rex Ryan is intrigued with Poe's vast potential and you get the sense some team is going to fall in love with him right here in the middle of the teens.
17 CB Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama Jr. 6-3 192
(From Oakland). The Bengals feel like they've neglected their defense to some degree in recent drafts, but they've got some good choices here to correct that trend. We're going with Kirkpatrick given Cincy's need at cornerback, but pass rushers Quinton Coples and Chandler Jones probably look very tempting to Marvin Lewis and Mike Zimmer.
18 DE/OLB Chandler Jones Syracuse Sr. 6-5 265
This is right about where I see a mini-run on pass rushers starting, and Jones may be the hottest name among them. Though he didn't crack my first round until the 4.0 version, in the first week of April, scouts say his game tapes have marked him a first-rounder all along. The Chargers are desperate for some edge pass-rush production in their front seven.
19 DE Quinton Coples North Carolina Sr. 6-6 285
Everybody seems to think the Bears are in the market for another pass rusher to help lighten the load on Julius Peppers, so why not go out and land his fellow Tar Heel? He's the most accomplished sack artist at North Carolina since Peppers went second overall in 2002.
20 DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus Illinois Jr. 6-4 254
I'm not convinced the Titans are in love with the one-year wonder of a pass rusher from Illinois, so maybe they're a candidate to trade down and out of this spot. But if they stand pat and take the pick, pass rush and cornerback are their two needs, and the top three cover men are all gone. Mercilus has potential, but because he hasn't proven more over the span of his collegiate career, he comes with a boom-bust warning.
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