No. 17 – Pittsburgh Steelers select: Jarvis Jones, LB Georgia (Grade: B+)
This is a good year to need a linebacker. Jarvis Jones has the speed and instincts to be a stud NFL linebacker. He’ll fit perfectly on the Steelers and will likely learn fast playing with guys like Lawrence Timmons and Lamar Woodley. Jones has the potential to be better than both of them.
No. 18 – San Francisco 49ers (f/ DAL) select: Eric Reid, S LSU (Grade: C+)
A lot of trades going on – the Niners target their guy, and move up to get him. After Kenny Vaccaro, the rest of the safety pack was given a second round grade. They lose some points for reaching, but Eric Reid’s experiences in the SEC should lend heavily to making a quick impact for San Francisco.
No. 19 – New York Giants select: Justin Pugh, OT Syracuse (Grade: B)
Protecting Eli Manning became the Giants #1 need heading into the offseason. Justin Pugh can fit in anywhere on the line. They’ll be able to play him on the right side or in at guard, he’ll be comfortable at either position. Good foot work and a very intellectual player, he makes a good addition to an already good New York offense.
No. 20 – Chicago Bears select: Kyle Long, OG Oregon (Grade: D-)
Did I say E.J. Manuel was the biggest reach in the draft so far? Well, that still might be true. This becomes the instant contender for the title. The Bears desperately wanted one of the top offensive tackles to fall to them here at 20. After that didn’t happen, they went to their next best guy on the board, but they should’ve traded down. Kyle Long would’ve been available much later in the first, and likely into the second.
No. 21 – Cincinnati Bengals select: Tyler Eifert, TE Notre Dame (Grade: B)
Smart pick for the Bengals. Eifert may very well be the best receiver in this year’s draft. Tavon Austin has the speed and play-making ability, but Eifert is big, versatile, can catch with the best TE’s around and can play a big role in blocking. The already dangerous Bengals receiving corps just got a little bit deadlier. Andy Dalton’s a happy man tonight.
No. 22 – Atlanta Falcons (f/ STL, WSH) select: Desmond Trufant, CB Washington (Grade: B+)
I really like this pick. Atlanta is one of the most complete teams in the NFL. They have very few needs on either side of the ball, but adding corner depth is always a smart move. Desmond Trufant, when all is said and done, could be the most successful corner to come out of this year’s draft class. He lands in a good destination with the Falcons, He won’t be asked to be a No. 1 or No. 2 corner right away like the other CB’s. He’ll have time to develop and won’t be put in many no-win situations.
No. 23 – Minnesota Vikings select: Sharrif Floyd, DT Florida (Grade: A+)
Much like the Lotulelei pick to the Panthers, this is another monumental steal. The Vikings played this year’s draft like champions. Moving around, and staying put at the perfect time(s). Sharrif Floyd was Mike Mayock’s No. 2 overall rated player, and while some other experts didn’t have him ranked as high. It’s really hard to argue against this type of value.
No. 24 – Indianapolis Colts select: Bjoern Werner, DE Florida St. (Grade: B+)
Indy really needed to add some defensive players this offseason. Last season they rebuilt the offensive side of the ball, and now they’ve elected to address the defensive side. Werner should fill in at OLB in their defense and will likely be asked to start right away. It’s always solid to get a potential starter at the bottom of the first round.
No. 25 – Minnesota Vikings (f/ SEA) select: Xavier Rhodes, CB Florida St. (Grade: B)
Vikings continue to find success in this draft. Set on addressing their defense, adding Xavier Rhodes to Sharrif Floyd is just icing on the cake. Rhodes is a solid corner, who will likely find time at the nickel for them this season. Another corner finding himself in a good situation, set up to succeed in the long run.
No. 26 – Green Bay Packers select: Datone Jones, DE UCLA (Grade: B-)
Green Bay went into this draft looking to address their pass rush and they may have succeeded in taking Datone Jones. He’s a bit raw and will need to really find where he really fits in an NFL lineup… but the Packers are betting on his physical talents, and that the rest will develop with time.
No. 27 – Houston Texans select: DeAndre Hopkins, WR Clemson (Grade: B+)
The pick we’ve all been waiting for. The Texans had been hoping to tie up a potential No. 2 receiver in this draft, and they did so by taking DeAndre Hopkins at No. 27. Hopkins possesses solid speed, but his real talent lies in his route-running and ability to be quick, yet physical. Given time to develop, he should be a key contributor for the Texans for years to come.
No. 28 – Denver Broncos select: Sylvester Williams, DT UNC (Grade: B+)
Another defensive tackle falling to a team thrilled to take him without moving up. The Broncos are another team that didn’t enter the draft with too many needs, enabling them to take the best player available. Williams should find time on the field quickly in the Broncos 4-3, and that makes this pick a steal for them.
No. 29 – Minnesota Vikings (f/ NE) select: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Tennessee (Grade: B+)
Vikings fans must be thrilled at this point. Not only did they address their two biggest concerns on defense, but now they add the WR that many had as the most “complete” on the board. After losing Percy Harvin this offseason, Minnesota’s need at receiver had never been greater. The only fear with Patterson here is that they will likely need to rely on him early and often in his rookie season.
No. 30 – St. Louis Rams (f/ ATL) select: Alec Ogletree, LB Georgia (Grade: A-)
Rams are another team having a really great first round. First, taking the best offensive weapon available in Tavon Austin, and then they take Alec Ogletree, the top ILB. It’ll be interesting to see where they fit him in with James Laurinaitis already in the middle – he’ll likely play on the weakside. Regardless though, grabbing another guy who can make an immediate impact is a win at this point in the 1st round.
No. 31 – Dallas Cowboys (f/ SF) select: Travis Frederick, C Wisconsin (Grade: D)
So… the Cowboys trade down, adding a 3rd round pick, and they draft a center they likely could’ve grabbed in the third round. They obviously really liked what they saw in Frederick, but it’s the value in the pick that gives it a rough grade. Frederick should start for them in his rookie season, but it’s this sort of thing that worries you about your owner also being your general manager.
No. 32 – Baltimore Ravens select: Matt Elam, S Florida (Grade: B-)
You can’t fault the Ravens for taking a need here. Most Texans fans are aware of the Ravens immediate need for a safety, particularly after signing away Ed Reed. Matt Elam is the epitome of solid. He should be able to come in and vie for the starting job right away. A very solid pick to end a crazy first day of 2013 NFL draft festivities.