17. Patriots: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin. The Patriots are expected to take a five-technique defensive end with one of their first two picks. Why not Watt, who can collapse the pocket from inside?
18. Chargers: Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri. With Shawne Merriman gone and Larry English still trying to break out, the Chargers can try to jolt their pass rush with Smith, a raw prospect.
Giants: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College. The Giants need to fortify their aging offensive line with a young tackle, and Tyron Smith, Gabe Carimi, Castonzo are all on New York’s radar.
20. Buccaneers Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa. The Buccaneers look smart for taking Gerald McCoy and Brian Price with their first two picks in 2010. Will they continue to stack the line with an end like Clayborn?
21. Chiefs: Justin Houston, OLB/DE, Georgia. Kansas City is looking for a tag-team partner for Tamba Hali. They might be able to find a good one in Houston, who switched from defensive end to linebacker before his senior season at Georgia and still put up a solid sack total.
22. Colts: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin. Protecting Peyton Manning is always a must in Indianapolis. Adding Carimi, an excellent run blocker, might help the Colts rediscover the running game, too.
23. Eagles: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami. A scorching 40-yard dash from Harris probably means he won’t be on the board when the Ravens pick. The Eagles are a team who could nab him first.
24. Saints: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA. Ayers was a disappointment at the combine as he didn’t show off elite athleticism like scouts had hoped. He can play, though, so he won’t fall too far.
25. Seahawks: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas. With Matt Hasselbeck on the verge of retirement and Charlie Whitehurst being Charlie Whitehurst, the Seahawks must find a QB for the long haul.
26. Ravens: Mike Pouncey, C/G, Florida. The Ravens have the need for a speedy wideout, a physical cornerback and another pass rusher. But if coach John Harbaugh is serious about beefing up the running game, he would be wise to take Pouncey, the top interior lineman in the draft. And no, I’m not just saying that because I want to write a cheesy column about a sibling rivalry with his brother, Maurkice, a Pro Bowl center for the Steelers.
27. Falcons: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue. Another prospect who had a less-than-stellar showing at the combine, Kerrigan was productive at Purdue and should do just fine in the NFL.
28. Patriots: Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland. With speed, athleticism and excellent character, Smith is going to go somewhere in the first round. The Patriots are looking for a speedster to open things up for Wes Welker and their young tight ends, and the former Terp fits the bill.
29. Bears: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State. Jay Cutler took a pounding in 2010, and it wasn’t all the fault of Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz. The offensive line needs to be upgraded.
30. Jets: Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor. Kris Jenkins is gone, so Taylor to the Jets is a no-brainer.
31. Steelers: Cameron Jordan, DE/DT, California. The Steelers’ defensive line is still very good, but outside of Ziggy Hood, they have little youth up front.
32. Packers: Martez Wilson, LB, Illinois. This 6-foot-4 linebacker opened eyes at the combine by running a 4.49 40-yard dash. Is he an inside linebacker or an outside linebacker? The Packers don’t care. They need both.
NFL mock draft 2.0: Ravens snag Florida OL Mike Pouncey
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