After the first round is over, teams now have about 18 hours to reassess their boards and target the players that they had viewed as first-round talents that remain on the board. Historically, there has been a lot of movement with the early picks of the round, which could be good news for the Vikings – unless, of course, there is a player they covet that they can’t believe is still hanging out on the board.
1. St. Louis Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State. The Rams have two of the first seven picks in the round and, having addressed their need at wide receiver, they address their next biggest need. Having cut both of their 2011 starters (Fred Robbins and Justin Bannan), it’s clear help is needed.
2. Indianapolis – Kendall Reyes, DT, U-Conn. The Colts are in complete Ground Zero rebuilding mode. Andrew Luck is the key to it all, but the Colts defense, especially interior line play, needs to be improved. He has the speed and agility to play DT or DE, helping in two spots rather than just one.
3. Minnesota – Rueben Randle, WR, LSU. The Vikings have one of the game’s premier slot receivers in Percy Harvin and need a player who can play outside the numbers and be a deep threat. Jerome Simpson signed a one-year deal, but that offers no long-term solution if he flames out. Alshon Jeffery is a possibility here, but Randle is the big-play threat the Vikings can use to take a safety with him and open things short and over the middle for Harvin, Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson. There may be a push to take CB Janoris Jenkins, but, given his mea culpa admissions of ongoing marijuana use, the Vikings may pass on his talent, which is getting close to the point of being worth the risk.
4. Tampa Bay – Doug Martin, RB, Boise State. The Bucs running game suffered when LaGarrette Blount got banged up last year. Martin is undersized, but is fearless and gives the Bucs a dual rushing/receiving threat they need.
5. Cleveland – Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State. The Browns opted out of reaching for Ryan Tannehill with the fourth pick of the draft, but they make their move to get some immediate competition for Colt McCoy. Weeden is over-aged at 29, but has the ability to be a decent NFL QB and, while McCoy will enter camp with the job, it may not be for long.
6. Jacksonville – Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina. Blaine Gabbert was brutal in his rookie season because he didn’t have playmaking receivers. While Jeffery and Laurent Robinson won’t be confused with Randy Moss and Wes Welker, they will provide an upgrade – at least enough to take the eighth man out of the box for Maurice Jones-Drew.
7. St. Louis (from Washington) – Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama. The draft harvest is only beginning for the Rams, who came away with the go-to receiver they needed in Justin Blackmon, a pocket-collapsing DT in Jerel Worthy and now one of the most physically gifted CBs in the draft. Jenkins has more than his share of baggage with drug use and multiple children out of wedlock, but, at this point, he is worth the risk on greatness.
8. Carolina – Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC. The Panthers’ rebuilding of the defense continues. Perry is a versatile player who has the skills to play outside or be a designated pass rusher – both needs for a Panthers team that appears to have a bright future with the maturation of Cam Newton as the offensive leader.
9. Buffalo – Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State. Ryan Fitzpatrick has done a solid job as the Bills’ starting QB, but Osweiler has the upside to become immediate competition and, if Fitzpatrick goes down like he did last year, the drop-off won’t be so pronounced. He will be a backup to start, but could end up competing for (and winning) the job as early as 2013.
10. Miami – Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska. The Dolphins lost Jason Taylor to retirement and, even though he was long in the tooth, he was invaluable as a speed rusher from the outside. David has the skill to cover backs and tight ends and the pure speed to be a difference-making pass rusher – a void that sorely needs to be filled.
11. Seattle – Orson Charles, TE, Georgia. The Seahawks lost John Carlson in free agency and need to replace him in the offensive game plan. Charles is undersized, but, like RB Marshawn Lynch, is capable of getting in beast mode himself and will likely become an impact player quickly in the Seattle offense.
12. Kansas City – Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin. The Chiefs offense struggled badly in the middle of the O-line last year. With Jamaal Charles coming back and Matt Cassel needing to rebound from a brutal 2011 season, Zeitler will provide some much-needed improvement.
13. Dallas – Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina. Jerry Jones loves athletes and few linebackers have the pure speed Brown has. He will likely be able to step in immediately and provide a blitz presence from the outside, as well as the skill to take backs in coverage. Given the playmaking QBs in the division (Michael Vick, Eli Manning and RG3), having a player with the speed to stick with a receiver for a long period of time will be needed.
14. Philadelphia – Ronnell Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma. The Eagles defense needs a severe makeover and, after taking a pass-rushing DE in the first round, they address their biggest defensive need here. Lewis will be given every chance to win a starting job from Day 1 and has the athleticism to be a playmaker the Eagles so sorely lacked last season when the Dream Team came crashing down into a nightmare.
15. New York Jets – Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers. Mark Sanchez has caught a lot of heat for not elevating his game, but much of the problem has been not having playmaking receivers around him. Sanu is a solid possession receiver who should help open up Santonio Holmes by taking over the intermediate middle passing game that was so lacking last season.
16. New England (from Oakland) – Devon Still, DT, Penn State. The Patriots have already found an outside pass rusher and a safety. Still is a value pick at this point and would provide some pass-rush ability on third downs from the DT position and spell an aging Vince Wilfork when needed.
17. San Diego – Alameda Ta’amu, NT, Washington. The Chargers need a pure nose tackle in the middle of their own 3-4 and Ta’amu is the best option available at this point, as the DT crop begins to thin out quickly.
18. Chicago – Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson. The Bears cleared the decks of tight end talent when Mike Martz was the offensive coordinator. Now that Mike Tice has the job, you can bet the tight end is going to return to the Bears’ offensive game plan.
19. Philadelphia (from Arizona) –Lamar Miller, RB, Miami. Shady McCoy was the only show in town last year and needs a running mate. Miller is a one-cut slasher like former Hurricane Clinton Portis and could be an ideal change-of-pace type runner to keep McCoy fresh and give the Eagles another big-play threat in the offense.
20. Tennessee – Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall. Fifth-round rookie Karl Klug led the Titans in sacks last year with five. If that isn’t reason enough to address DE in the draft, what is?
21. Cincinnati – David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech. The Bengals haven’t re-signed Cedric Benson and, even if he does come back, he won’t be a long-term solution. Wilson has the home-run capability Benson doesn’t and will be in the lineup one way or another. Wilson will make an ideal change of pace to the recently signed Benjarvus Green-Ellis in a two-headed backfield.
22. Detroit – Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana. The Lions secondary got torched far too often last yearn and cornerback is arguably their most pressing need. Johnson is a value pick at this point.
23. Atlanta – Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss. The Falcons didn’t have a first-round pick, so this is their first chance to address their needs. The O-line took a big step backward last year and Massie has the opportunity to compete for a starting job immediately and, at the very least, provide much needed depth, whether it be at tackle or guard. His potential versatility makes this pick a no-brainer for a team that, despite having playmaking wide receivers, are still a run-first offense.
24. Pittsburgh – Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State. If one of the running backs we have going in this round falls, he will get strong consideration. But the Steelers build from within and Sanders is a versatile OT that can be groomed to become a starter down the line.
25. Denver – Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida. The fastest player at the Combine would be coming into an ideal situation, being able to be brought along and learn at the feet of Hall of Famer Champ Bailey while being groomed as his eventual replacement.
26. Houston – Mychal Kendricks, MLB, Cal. The Texans created a need by trading away DeMeco Ryans and, with only two inside LBs off the board, they can get a value pick that fills a need.
27. Green Bay – LaMichael James, RB, Oregon. The Packers have gotten by with Ryan Grant and James Starks the last couple of seasons with little in the way of results. 2011 rookie Alex Green went down to injury and James is the type of explosive back that the Packers currently don’t have. Nothing will take the pressure off Aaron Rodgers more than a breakaway threat at the running back position, where James is a value pick at this point.
28. Baltimore – Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State. An aggressive chase-down defender with excellent tackling skills, he seems like a glove fit in a Ravens offense that is starting to age at key spots and in need of replacement parts. He is a rising prospect who may end up going higher than we have him rated.
29. San Francisco – Amini Silatolu, G, Midwestern State. The 49ers succeeded last year despite their offense, not because of it. Having loaded up on free agent talent in the offseason (Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs), the only missing ingredient is an upgrade interior O-line that struggled at times last year. Silatolu will compete immediately for a starting job.
30. New England – Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia. A perfect player for the Pats system, not only does he bring speed to the table as a much-needed D-back, he is an elite return man who can serve multiple roles – a staple of the Bill Belichick scheme.
31. New York Giants – Jeff Allen, OT, Illinois. The Giants need upgrading on the offensive line and, while not an elite prospect, Allen gives them a boost at a position they need most if they intend to defend their Super Bowl title.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.