We're nearing the end – in fact, we're hoping this is it – on the mock draft revisions. We present…
VikingUpdate.com mock draft, Rnd 2, v. 3.0
1. New England Patriots (from Carolina) – Danny Watkins, G, Baylor. The rich just get richer. Having addressed defensive end and running back, an offensive line in flux gets a first-round talent to bring youth to the position.
2. Buffalo Bills – Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas. The Bills passed on Blaine Gabbert in the first round, but need a developmental prospect and, while the jury is out on Mallett as a pro passer, his stock is high enough at this point to make it a relative bargain.
3. Cincinnati Bengals – Andy Dalton, QB, TCU. While we believe the Bengals and Carson Palmer are going to kiss and make up, he is entering his ninth season and, given his injury history, now may be the time to start grooming a replacement. Given a year or two, Dalton could thrive here.
4. Denver Broncos – Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State. John Fox means business when it comes to improving his defense. After taking DT Marcell Dareus in the first round, he backs it up with Heyward, who would be a steal at this point after drawing a lot of first-round draft grades – he was just the victim of the depth of the position.
5. Cleveland Browns – Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT, Temple. The Browns would love this scenario playing itself out. In the first round, the biggest question was whether the Browns would address glaring needs on the defensive line or go after a go-to wide receiver. If Wilkerson, who many grade out as a first-round talent, is still on the board, the Browns won't regret the decision they made on Draft Thursday.
6. Arizona Cardinals – Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame. The team needs a lot of help on defense, but the Cards, despite numerous attempts, have never developed a pass-catching TE. Ken Whisenhunt's offenses have always had a TE component and Rudolph can bring that to Arizona.
7. Tennessee Titans – Colin Kaeperinick, QB, Nevada.
8. Dallas Cowboys – Christian Ballard, DE, Iowa. The Cowboys will be thrilled if he is still on the board at this point, but the ‘Boys aren't that far from being a Super Bowl contender. Addressing both lines is the fast track to getting them closer and getting experienced, durable players like Tyron Smith and Ballard will immediately vault them back into the discussion for a playoff spot.
9. Washington Redskins – Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State. It's clear than Donovan McNabb isn't a glove fit in Washington. Given the current labor strife, getting a young QB who can jump in if forced, but ideally get a year to get ready would be ideal. Mike Shanahan is said to be interested in him, so the future may come sooner than later.
10. Houston Texans – Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State. The Texans continue to give Mario Williams (there are no regrets in Houston for passing on Reggie Bush) another playmate who is going to help get them over the non-playoff hump.
11. Minnesota Vikings – Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina. The talk around Minnesota is centered on quarterback and defensive end, but if Pat Williams leaves via free agency as expected, it will leave a hole in the middle of the defensive line that will need addressing. If the Vikings are convinced Brian Robison can be the answer (or Ray Edwards can be re-signed), a disruptive DT like Austin would make the most sense for a defense looking to regain its 2009 form. WR Leonard Hankerson could also get serious consideration if the team doesn't believe it can re-sign Sidney Rice.
12. Detroit Lions – Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina. The Lions are an up-and-coming team and have solidified themselves offensively. With starting OLBs Julian Peterson and Landon Johnson both free agents likely to hit the open market, this becomes a position of need, even though the Lions can play the "best player available" card on this pick.
13. San Francisco 49ers – Dontay Moch, OLB, Nevada. The Niners had to make this pick before the Raiders came on the board, given his unconscious Combine numbers. Between Moch and Patrick Peterson, the Niners defense just got a lot better.
14. Denver Broncos (from Miami) – Rahim Moore, S, UCLA. The draft theme for Denver is on the defensive side. If the picks fall as we predict, it will be made clear that John Fox is large and in charge in Denver.
15. St. Louis Rams – Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami. The Rams missed out on A.J. Green and Julio Jones in the first round, but don't come up completely empty. Hankerson is a rising prospect who showed a lot at the Combine and in individual workouts that he has the intangibles needed to become a top-rate receiver. It will take more time for him to develop than it likely will for Green or Jones, but he could become a big contributor early on and develop into a go-to guy in a couple of years.
16. Oakland Raiders – Ben Ijalana, OT/G, Villanova. The Raiders are always a wild card when it comes to draft weekend, but they have established one of the NFL's top running games and need to make sure that facet of their game remains strong. Ijalana's versatility to step in where needed is a positive step in that direction.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars – Martez Wilson, LB, Ilinois. Kirk Morrison isn't the answer, but he's what the Jags got at MLB right now. Because the Class of 2011 isn't very deep, they can still get the top inside linebacker on most draft boards this late.
18. San Diego Chargers – Titus Young, WR, Boise State. Given the volatile relationship between Vincent Jackson and A.J. Smith, the Chargers have to be prepared to move forward even if he signs his franchise tender this year. Young is a speed receiver who will give the Chargers an extra offensive weapon they need to return to the top of the AFC West.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland. The Bucs struck gold with Mike Williams last year, but still need more help at the wide receiver position. Smith has good speed and strength and should be able to contribute almost immediately.
20. New York Giants – Jurrell Casey, DT, USC. The G-Men got as much from veteran DT Fred Robbins as they could, but he needs replacing and Casey is a solid run-stuffing DT that can collapse the pocket and make the Giants defense more potent.
21. Indianapolis Colts – Drake Nevis, DT, LSU. Having solidified the offensive line in the first round, the Colts address another screaming need – adding talent in the middle of their defensive front to stop the bleeding for a defense that allows too many rushing yards.
22. Philadelphia Eagles – Clint Boling, G/C, Georgia. The Eagles have issues on their offensive line and need to protect Michael Vick, who took too many clean shots at the end of the 2010 season. Boling offers position flexibility, which is always a plus.
23. Kansas City Chiefs – Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky. Offensive line help remains a possibility, but, if the Chiefs are to take the next step in their ascent in the AFC, they need to get Matt Cassel more weapons. Cobb is a slot receiver that needs a little refinement, but the former Patriots offensive geniuses hope he can develop into a poor man's Wes Welker.
24. New Orleans Saints – Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech. The Saints have succeeded with a committee at running back, but with Pierre Thomas expected to be a free agent and the team not likely to pay Reggie Bush what he is due in 2011, the need for a running back takes center stage here and Williams can step in immediately and be a contributor, if not potentially a starter.
25. Seattle Seahawks – Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona. The Seahawks have multiple needs despite being a division champ and one of them is to create a more consistent pass rush. Reed is something of a 'tweener, but can rush the passer, which fills the need the Seahawks are looking to address.
26. Baltimore Ravens – Jabaal Sheard, DE/OLB, Pitt. The Ravens defense is aging on the outside and need to bring in some young talent to help out. Sheard would project to be an outside linebacker in the Ravens' 3-4 defense and would likely be used as a passing-down specialist to start.
27. Atlanta Falcons – Curtis Brown, CB, Texas. The Falcons add another potential defensive starter as they continue to address defense in hopes of becoming the dominant team in the NFC after finishing 14-2 last year.
28. New England Patriots – Jon Baldwin, WR, Pitt. The Patriots struggled without a big receiver to replace Randy Moss when he was traded to the Vikings. There are other wide receivers we have rated higher than Baldwin, but he brings the size and the red zone skills needed by the Patriots in 2011.
29. San Diego Chargers (from N.Y. Jets) – Quan Sturdivant, ILB, North Carolina. The Chargers continue to address defense with the pick obtained in the Antonio Cromartie trade. Sturdivant is one of the top-rated inside linebackers in the draft and will have a good chance to become an immediate starter.
30. Chicago Bears – Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson. The Bears have always been a stout run defense, but their defensive line was suspect at times last year. Jenkins may have to wait a bit to work his way into the starting lineup, but should be a part of the DT rotation early on.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers – Orlando Franklin, G/T, Miami. Franklin struggled at left tackle left year, but has the skills to start off at guard with the hope of grooming him and eventually moving him out to the edge. Seeing as the Steelers have depth issues at both positions, Franklin is a value pick that can help out both.
32. Green Bay Packers – James Brewer, OT, Indiana. Last year the Packers found a replacement for Mark Tauscher in Bryan Bulaga. This time around, they draft the eventual replacement for Chad Clifton, who has been hit by both age and injuries on the back side of his career.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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