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Nathan Sharrocks

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New England Patriots’ Defensive Transition

The standout criticism of the New England Patriots the last few years has been the lack of a pass rush on the 3-4 defensive scheme that they have been running. Countless times they have tried to address this by picking up players to fit that scheme but have so far failed.

Can the Patriots improve their pass rush and make the playoffs yet again?

 

Well head coach Bill Belichick has called time on his hybrid 3-4 and looks set to bring about a transition to a 4-3 under scheme this offseason. Although not a sure thing for the regular season, the Patriots ran a basic vanilla version of the defence against the Jacksonville Jaguars in their first preseason game.

 

Some Patriots fans will have seen a version of this defence before. The 4-3 under originated with Monte Kiffin at the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the 1970’s, a time period where the Cornhuskers were formidable and won a National Championship. Pete Carroll, former HC of the Patriots and now at the Seattle Seahawks, learnt this scheme from Kiffin and has used it his whole career.

 

The advantages of the 4-3 under scheme is that there are only two bulky defensive linemen and five more athletic linebacker-type players, increasing the speed on the pass rush, something the Patriots have been looking to improve.

 

Furthermore the weak side defensive end will be used as a pass rusher on every down, improving the Patriots’ weakest point almost immediately.

 

With the addition of Albert Haynesworth to the defensive line, teams will find it hard to double team both Haynesworth and Patriots’ stalwart Vince Wilfork. This means that at least one of them will have a one-on-one match-up on every play, which will result in a massive improvement on rushing the quarterback and on sack numbers.

Albert Haynesworth must rediscover his best form to be effective in the 4-3 Under scheme at the Patriots

 

If the scheme that was run against the Jaguars is used in the regular season, as expected, then linebacker Jerod Mayo will probably be used as the weak side linebacker, where he’ll be sheltered from blockers and will have the ability to clock up tackle numbers.

 

Brandon Spikes will probably step into the middle linebacker spot that Dane Fletcher was playing in against the Jaguars. Fletcher was impressive. Spikes will be even more so. He will need to step up and learn to read the play action and drop into coverage at times though, as the 4-3 under is a scheme that can be vulnerable against passes to the middle zone.

 

The strong side linebacker spot will probably be saved for the competition between Gary Guyton and Rob Ninkovich. It’s an important position for this scheme as they will more often than not be taking on the tight ends every down.

 

Jermaine Cunningham will probably come in as the strong side defensive end, meaning he will come up against a tackle and will have to contend with the threat of a down block from a tight end. This goes along with the four-point stance that Cunningham was seen executing against the Jaguars, as he’ll have to stay low and be strong at the point of attack.

 

Cunningham will be a key part of the scheme if he does play at this position and if this scheme is used. He won’t be a major pass rusher but will get the opportunity to do so if the offense goes strong to the weak side. This is probably why the Patriots chose him over keeping Ty Warren.

 

Physical corners will be used effectively in this scheme, meaning Devin McCourty and Leigh Bodden will come in handy, as will this year’s drafted corner Ras-l Dowling.

 

A big challenge in running this defensive scheme will be stuffing the run, meaning Wilfork and Haynesworth will have to be up to their best and disrupt the offensive line. Furthermore it’s a possibility that bigger and bulkier defensive ends could be used against teams that pound the ball.

 

All in all it could be a gamble from the Patriots. It is a scheme that not a lot of the players will be familiar with and, with the lockout, they’ve had even less time to learn it in the offseason. Only time will tell but if any man can make it work, it’s Bill Belichick.

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The Madness of Free Agency and the Race for Andrew Luck

The National Football League lockout is over. Breathe freely knowing that football will resume on time and as scheduled.

So last week the free agency wire began with a bang, with drafted and undrafted rookies being signed, players being traded and free agents being snapped up by teams across the League.

The Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots have made possibly the biggest waves in the League. The Eagles are assembling a squad already being labelled ‘The Dream Team,’ granted by their newly acquisitioned backup quarterback, Vince Young, with Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin, Johnnie Lee Higgins and Donald Lee all signing for the franchise alongside Young.

The Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots have made splashes into free agency

The Patriots in the meantime are finally splashing out their massive collection of draft picks, albeit on high reward, low risk targets. They signed Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco and Washington Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to bolster their already strong team.

Some teams on the other hand seem to have made strange moves. The Washington Redskins, a side known for their reckless free agency spending, were widely expected to pick up a quarterback to lead the franchise at least for a short while. However they are still heading into the season with just John Beck and Rex Grossman as their only senior quarterbacks.

Despite picking up some solid weapons on offense, including receiver Donte Stallworth and running back Tim Hightower, the Redskins haven’t got a solid signal caller to hit the targets. In the first training session of the new season Beck threw two interceptions straight to DeAngelo Hall in a game of 7-on-7 and horrendously overthrew Jabar Gaffney.

Grossman has proved competent before but he isn’t the kind of quarterback that is going to construct a game winning drive down field with two minutes left on the clock.

The Buffalo Bills are another team to make few improvements to a depleted squad, with quarterback Tyler Thigpen and wide receiver Brad Smith the only real additions offensively. These signings aren’t going to turn around the team that were 28th overall on points per game in 2010.

Let’s look at the future though. Andrew Luck is a one in a generation quarterback coming out of Stanford University next year. He’ll come into the NFL and is widely regarded to go first overall in the 2012 draft and make an immediate impact upon the team who drafts him. He’s that good.

Andrew Luck (12) will likely be the number one draft pick in 2012

So is this offseason being treated as a race to sign Luck? Would teams really be so unprofessional as to trade badly and play poorly just so as to draft first overall and pick up a stellar quarterback? Maybe so.

In a few months time we’ll know who’ll draft first and, barring a nightmare season from him at Stanford, who’ll be drafting Andrew Luck. In the meantime though, enjoy the rollercoaster ride that is an National Football League season.

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Rookie Quarterbacks – the Outlook

Now we’re a bit closer to the season being opened, pending the Lockout of course, it’s time for another close look at the all important rookie quarterbacks:

Cameron Newton – Carolina Panthers

Picked first overall with a whirlwind of hype surrounding him, Newton is the man the Panthers have selected to turn their fortunes around. A year after getting excited about picking Jimmy Clausen, who threw three interceptions to every touchdown, Carolina looks set to move forward with the Heisman Trophy winning Newton.

Cam Newton has the potential to be a great quarterback, or a draft bust

Although he has all the talent and potential, Newton has an arrogance surrounding him that hasn’t yet been earned. It’s worrying. The quarterback is meant to be the leader and, with uncertain times like during the current NFL lockout, is supposed to set an example to the rest of his team.

However, if the Panthers can keep Newton grounded, and if he can learn to adapt to the professional game where he can’t just scramble if his first read is not open as he did in college, then he could be the face of the Panthers’ franchise for years to come.

 

Jake Locker – Tennessee Titans

A massive shock in the draft, since Locker’s stock had dropped to a projected late first round/early second round pick, when Locker was picked 8thoverall.

Locker (10) will likely start for Tennessee when the Lockout is lifted

With the same problem as Newton, in that he has all the talent but has off-field issues and potential character flaws, Locker is one of the favourites to bust in this class.

He has the arm strength and the intelligence to make all the plays but whether the work rate is there, to be able to knuckle down and train hard both on the field and in the classroom, remains to be seen.

 

Christian Ponder – Minnesota Vikings

Picked 12thoverall, this was possibly the shock of the quarterback side of the draft. Projected to be a second rounder, Ponder was snapped up by Minnesota ahead of other, more favourable quarterbacks.

Christian Ponder (7) could be the pick of the draft

However, NFL Digest repeated on more than one occasion that Ponder had the best skill set amongst the quarterback class, with a high intelligence and a true football brain. His footwork is impeccable and his main fault, his lacking arm strength, can be built up with some hours in the gym.

This could turn out to be a bust pick or one that makes the Vikings’ organisation look absolutely brilliant.

 

Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals

With the Carson Palmer situation so up in the air in Cincinnati, it looks as if Dalton will be thrown in the deep end as starting quarterback once the season gets underway.

Andy Dalton was touted as a potential backup pre-draft. Now it looks like he could start.

Being undersized and a scrambler of sorts, it will remain to be seen whether he can take off and run in the NFL if things get nasty.

His throwing accuracy is average but he has yet to be tested on whether he can throw into tight coverage, as he often played in schemes where his wide receivers were in a lot of space.

The Bengals jumped at Dalton when he was still available in the early second round but whether he has the talent to make it at the next level remains to be seen.

 

Colin Kaepernick – San Francisco 49ers

Kaepernick has great physical aspects. He is tall, built well but can rush and has the toughness to take a tackle, something he will need behind the 49ers offensive line.

Kaepernick has the size and athleticism to become a great QB

His short pass accuracy is lacking though, and his read against the blitz is too slow. Kaepernick struggles to hit his hot receiver and has a slow release, meaning he will be punished by the speed of blitz package defences in the NFL.

Furthermore he lacks experience playing under centre and he hasn’t been tested on NFL reads, making him a massive risk.

With time in the classroom, the gym and out on the practice field though, Kaepernick could turn into a solid NFL starting quarterback.

 

Ryan Mallett – New England Patriots

With Bill Belichick’s past experience at picking up talent in later rounds of the draft, look for Mallett to be an exceptional quarterback in the next few years. With Belichick and elite NFL QB Tom Brady to sit behind and learn from Mallett has the potential to be a great playmaker.

Mallett has immense arm strength and a big frame, and could become an elite QB

He has arm strength to burn, exceptional throwing mechanics and his huge frame will be tough to bring down. He also boasts experience in the pro-style pass game and can fit the ball into tight spots.

However he needs to train on his footwork as it effects his throwing when it gets erratic. Furthermore if he cannot make the pass he does not possess the athleticism to rush out of dangerous situations.

Mallett could be the steal of the draft, and could become the best quarterback to come out of this class with a few years of training and learning from the League’s best.

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Players Risk it all to Stay Competitive – the Lockout Continues

National Football League players are amongst the most competitive athletes on the planet. Year upon year they put their bodies on the line to not only entertain us, the fans, but to win. Normally injury is part of the game. A bad part of the game, yes, but players are used to it, and if the worst should happen their medical insurance at their respective franchises would cover costs.

The NFL is currently in a lockout state with players unable to contact coaches or use team facilities

And this is where the NFL lockout begins to endanger players’ careers. Under lockout rules, the players are not covered by insurance. And yet players are still eager to stay competitive in the League by organising workouts amongst themselves.

Getting injured at one of these player-organised workouts would mean the player covering all medical costs, a grim prospect.

You could argue that the workouts are not like official team workouts. They wont be as intense and therefore the risk of injury is lessened. But without proper coaches and medical staff present the danger of a player being harmed could be significantly higher.

Fred Jackson is one of 37 Buffalo Bills players currently undergoing an organised workout at Sahlen’s Sports Park. He performed an elementary streak to catch a Ryan Fitzpatrick long throw but ended up being stranded in netting that surrounds the sidelines. Jackson began to slip and slide on the slick concrete and almost took a nasty tumble, grabbing hold of the net to prevent himself doing so.

It was an uncomfortable scene to watch for the other 36 players. Uncomfortable enough to end training that day. Now the question is, what if Jackson had injured himself? Put himself out of the NFL season if and when the lockout is lifted?

The only solution is for the lockout to be resolved, but with a group of ruthless businessmen going up against a group of competitive players, it could be wishful thinking that it is lifted sooner rather than later.

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2012 NFL Draft Quarterback Prospects

So Cameron Newton went first overall to the Carolina Panthers in the 2011 NFL Draft and a rush of quarterbacks followed, with seven going off the board in the first three rounds. Last year NFL Digest looked at potential quarterbacks for this past draft (find that here) so here are the potential 2012 draft class quarterbacks:

Andrew Luck – Stanford

Undoubtedly the greatest quarterback prospect in a long time. With his remarkable efficiency and ability to scramble there’ll be a rush to grab up Luck by any quarterback needy teams at number one overall next year. If he declares for the draft and barring any injury or him caving under the pressure of working without Jim Harbaugh and being an almost dead cert for the Heisman Trophy, he should be a lock for the number one pick come next April.

Andrew Luck (12) will likely be the number one draft pick in 2012

Landry Jones – Oklahoma

As with all players, this depends on whether Jones declares for the draft, as he will only be in his junior year this coming year. However he has already put up some immense numbers with tough competition, so if he can capture the Heisman or a National Championship, he should declare. He may struggle without DeMarco Murray in the backfield but this could also help increase his numbers further.

Landry Jones preparing to have the ball snapped to him

Kellen Moore – Boise State

Moore is short for a quarterback, at just 6’0”, so he will probably fall further than his talent deserves. He has a cannon arm and is exciting to watch but he has just lost his two star wide receivers in Titus Young and Austin Pettis, so it will have to be seen whether he can reproduce the numbers.

Nick Foles – Arizona

Nick Foles is a big quarterback, 6’5”, and has put up some decent statistics at Arizona. He’s a solid clutch quarterback and has looked great during victories. However he seems to let his head duck when in a troubled spot on the field and needs to win more games and show mental toughness if he wants to remain a first round selection. Foles needs to show leadership qualities, but in a tougher Pac-10, it’ll remain to be seen whether he can.

Nick Foles needs to have a good year if he is to be drafted high next year

Matt Barkley – USC

It is doubtful that Barkley will enter the draft in 2012. Many have him down to return and build his reputation further. He has continued to improve each year and if he does so again he will receive praise similarly to how Luck and Jones are receiving this year entering the 2012 season. He is average in stature but powerful and should be a starting quarterback in the NFL if he continues to develop.

If he declares for the draft, Barkley should be drafted high in the 2012 draft

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2011 NFL Mock Draft

1. Carolina Panthers – Cameron Newton, QB – Auburn

A new regime, a new quarterback. Apparently Ron Rivera is smitten with the Heisman Trophy winning Newton and sees him as the face of his new franchise and, although the Panthers say they haven’t locked a player down as their number one guy, it’s looking more and more likely that the former Auburn star will end up with Carolina.

Previous Pick – Nick Fairley

The Carolina Panthers could have a new signal caller after the draft

 2. Denver Broncos – Marcell Dareus, DT – Alabama

The Broncos need to upgrade the pass rush with just 23 sacks registered last year, enough to be last in the NFL. Dareus is bulkier than Nick Fairley and less of a risk of busting in the NFL, due to Fairley’s status as a ‘one-year wonder.’ At 319lbs who ran a faster ten yard split than Fairley in the forty yard dash, Denver would be picking up a defensive behemoth in Dareus.

Previous Pick – Patrick Peterson

3. Buffalo Bills –Von Miller, DE/OLB – Texas A&M

The Bills look like they’re putting their faith behind quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. If this is so then Chan Gailey is going to pick Von Miller who he coached at the Senior Bowl. He’s big, athletic and capable of racking up tackles and sacks and being a game changer for the defense.

Previous Pick – Cameron Newton

4. Cincinnati Bengals – AJ Green, WR – Georgia

Mike Brown is delusional to think that Carson Palmer is heading back to Cincinnati but they’ve got holes all over the offense that they need to address. With no clear franchise quarterback in this year’s draft however, they’ll head to the real blue chip wide receiver in this draft to add real talent.

Previous Pick – Da’Quan Bowers

5. Arizona Cardinals – Patrick Peterson, CB – LSU

If this scenario comes true and Peterson is available here the Cardinals won’t waste time in snatching him up. He’s the most athletic and possibly the best player in this class and fills a need in Arizona.

Previous Pick – Von Miller

 6. Cleveland Browns – Julio Jones, WR – Alabama

With AJ Green off the board, the Browns head to the next best thing. They need a wide receiver to give Colt McCoy somebody to throw to and Jones excelled at both the combine and his pro day despite a broken foot.

Previous Pick – AJ Green

7. San Francisco 49ers – Blaine Gabbert, QB – Missouri

Despite knowing Jim Harbaugh said he’s going to give Alex Smith another chance, recent reports that they have had a heated exchange and the fact that this could be a smokescreen and they could be tempted to pick up Gabbert if he’s available at number 7.

Previous Pick – Robert Quinn

Gabbert (11) is being eyed as one of the top quarterback prospects this year

8.    Tennessee Titans – Nick Fairley, DT – Auburn

Fairley was everybody’s number one pick just weeks ago but has been sliding down with experts looking back at tape and realising his status as a potential one year wonder. However if he bulks up more, which he has been doing since the combine, he could easily be the larger DT the Titans need to partner Jason Jones.

Previous Pick – Blaine Gabbert

9. Dallas Cowboys – Tyron Smith, OT – USC

The Cowboys have a few glaring needs, no more than in the defensive backfield, but Jerry Jones must realise that their season was over as soon as Tony Romo was knocked out for the year against the New York Giants. To protect his quarterback he must draft an offensive lineman who can fill in for Marc Colombo at right tackle and develop into a left tackle in the future. With athleticism and bulk, Smith has the ability to be a leading offensive lineman for years.

Previous Pick – Cameron Jordan

 10.  Washington Redskins – Robert Quinn, DE – North Carolina

With Julio Jones off the board and the San Francisco 49ers now grabbing a quarterback, it leaves the Redskins to pick up an elite pass rusher in Robert Quinn. If this is the scenario the Redskins won’t be on the clock long unless they receive decent offers to move down and recoup more draft picks.

Previous Pick – Aldon Smith

11. Houston Texans – Aldon Smith, DE – Missouri

With Wade Phillips new 3-4 defensive system this will be a defensive draft by Houston. Look for them to immediately upgrade the defensive end position with the mass of talent that will be available in the first round including Aldon Smith who has been likened to DeMarcus Ware.

Previous Pick – Marcell Dareus

 12.  Minnesota Vikings – trades pick to Philadelphia Eagles who select Prince Amukamara, CB – Nebraska

The Vikings could recoup a third round pick whilst picking up an extra second round pick and still be able to select a quarterback with the late first round pick they get from the Eagles. Philadelphia has the clout with three second day picks to move up ahead of Detroit and select a cornerback they are smitten with. Andy Reid often picks a single draft day target and goes all out to get his man. Amukamara is his man.

Previous Pick – Minnesota Vikings selected Ryan Mallett

13.  Detroit Lions – Anthony Castonzo, OT – Boston College

With the top two cornerbacks off the board the Lions mustn’t reach for Jimmy Smith, even though several Lions’ scouts were said to be ‘unconcerned’ by his noted character flaws. They should address another need in the offensive line and draft a defensive back in the second round as talent is still available. Castonzo has talent and flexibility to play across the line, exactly what Detroit needs to protect the investment they have in star quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Previous Pick – Prince Amukamara

14.   St. Louis Rams – Corey Liuget, DT – Illinois

Corey Liuget is a nice sized defensive tackle to partner Fred Robbins on the front line and apparently the Rams really rate him after his visit. With their two favoured players, Aldon Smith and Julio Jones, gone, St. Louis could plum for the former Illinois man.

Previous Pick – Julio Jones

15.  Miami Dolphins trade to Tampa Bay Buccaneers who select Cameron Jordan, DE – California

The Dolphins must look to trade down out of this position to recoup draft picks lost in trades. Tampa Bay will look to move ahead of the Patriots and Chargers to select one of the more blue chip defensive ends in the draft.

Previous Pick – Miami Dolphins selected Mark Ingram

16.  Jacksonville Jaguars – Ryan Kerrigan, DE – Purdue

Gene Smith loves three things when drafting a player; team captains, no personality issues and a non-stop motor. Kerrigan ticks all three and fills a need. They’ll snap him up.

Previous Pick – Brandon Harris

17.  New England Patriots – JJ Watt, DE – Wisconsin

The Patriots could look to trade down out of this position but, with JJ Watt on the board and a pass rush that desperately needs upgrading, Bill Belichick should take up the former Wisconsin man.

Previous Pick – Tyron Smith

18.  San Diego Chargers – Adrian Clayborn, DE – Iowa

The Chargers could do with some help on the offensive line but AJ Smith’s reluctance to upgrade so far makes it seem unlikely that he’ll spend a first round draft pick on one. This could be a straight out tussle between Clayborn and Cameron Heyward but if San Diego are willing to put aside Clayborn’s character flaws then they’ll be selecting a really talented end.

Previous Pick – Adrian Clayborn

19.  New York Giants – Gabe Carimi, OT – Wisconsin

With the top two offensive tackles off the board the Giants look to the third. With Will Beatty looking lost in the NFL at left tackle, New York needs help on the offensive line to give Eli Manning time to make plays.

Previous Pick – Anthony Castonzo

20.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade to Miami Dolphins who select Mike Pouncey, G – Florida

Many will have Miami to select Mark Ingram in the first round but with injury concerns he’ll be pushed down into the second round. Instead the Dolphins fill another need, selecting a Florida favourite in Mike Pouncey at guard.

Previous Pick – Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected JJ Watt

21.  Kansas City Chiefs – Phil Taylor, NT – Baylor

Scott Pioli, an ex-New England Patriot, wants his big, run stuffing nose tackle like he had in Vince Wilfork in Boston. He could make the reach for Taylor to fill that need here. Worries about an inoperable foot condition have been alleviated.

Previous Pick – Akeem Ayers

22.  Indianapolis Colts – Nate Solder, OT – Colorado

Last season the Indianapolis offensive line showed its weaknesses against the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers, allowing Peyton Manning to be rushed time and again. They need to upgrade but with three offensive linemen already off the board they have to look for the next best in Nate Solder.

Previous Pick – Gabe Carimi

23.  Philadelphia Eagles trade to Minnesota Vikings who select Jake Locker, QB – Washington

The Vikings move down, garner more draft picks to use in day two and still get their man and new franchise quarterback in Jake Locker. Forget about his personality issues, this signal caller has talent and Leslie Frazier is the man to keep his feet on the ground in Minnesota.

Previous Pick – Philadelphia Eagles selected Derek Sherrod

Jake Locker could be headed to Minnesota after the draft

24.  New Orleans Saints – DaQuan Bowers, DE – Clemson

A huge plummet for Bowers but with a terrible close season and major concerns about his troublesome knee and it’s a justified fall. However the Saints do not need talent right away, giving Bowers the time he needs to develop. The Saints can also afford to take the risk on a player who could potentially develop into a real game changer.

Previous Pick – Christian Ballard

25.  Seattle Seahawks – Muhammad Wilkerson, DT – Temple

With Jake Locker off the board the Seahawks may look at Ryan Mallett but, with their hearts set on the former, they’ll look to fill another need with Brandon Mebane a free agent. Wilkerson is a big defensive tackle that will fill the hole Mebane could leave straight from the off.

Previous Pick – Nate Solder

26.  Baltimore Ravens – Cameron Heyward, DE – Ohio State

Brian Baldinger said on Path to the Draft, “I know for a fact that if Cameron Heyward’s there at 26, the Ravens are not passing him up.” With Cory Redding having a poor year at left end Heyward not only fills a need but is probably the best available player.

Previous Pick – Titus Young

27.  Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Rudolph, TE – Notre Dame

Rudolph is the top tight end in the draft. With Tony Gonzalez on the downturn of his career, and possibly not returning anyway depending on the lockout, the Falcons can fill a need with a talented blocker and a tight end that can make catches down field.

Previous Pick – Jon Baldwin

28.  New England Patriots trade to Tennessee Titans who select Ryan Mallett, QB – Arkansas

The Patriots once again trade out of the first round to pick up more future picks. The Titans could look to the board and fear that quarterbacks are coming off quicker than they expected. With three gone already they move up to grab Ryan Mallett. With concerns over his off-field life, the Titans could be put off, likening Mallett to Vince Young but with Jeff Fisher leaving and a new regime on the way in, they could put this aside to draft arguably the quarterback with the most upside in the draft.

Previous Pick – New England Patriots selected Justin Houston

Will Tennessee move up to snatch Mallett?

29.  Chicago Bears – Derek Sherrod, OT – Mississippi State

The Bears need to keep their quarterback, whoever that may be next season, on his feet. Their offensive line is shot and needs an immediate upgrade. If their first round pick is not an offensive lineman it’ll be a surprise.

Previous Pick – Benjamin Ijalana

30.  New York Jets – Justin Houston, DE/OLB – Georgia

The New York Jets need to add some kind of pass rush, whether at five-technique or rush linebacker. If Justin Houston falls to number 30 then they should snatch him off the board to fulfil the latter.

Previous Pick – Danny Watkins

31.   Pittsburgh Steelers – Danny Watkins, OG – Baylor

The Steelers can afford to strengthen with players that may need time to develop. They don’t really have any glaring holes but their offensive guard position could do with upgrading. Watkins is a player on the rise. He’s 26 and only played football for three years but the Canadian, former fire fighter has serious talent and could potentially be better than Mike Pouncey.

Previous Pick – Mike Pouncey

32.  Green Bay Packers – Brooks Reed, DE/OLB – Arizona

Reed ran the fastest 10-yard split of all defensive linemen in the draft. The Green Bay Packers need an upgrade opposite Clay Matthews. This pick selects itself.

Previous Pick – Ryan Kerrigan

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