26. Houston Texans – Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech. All signs have pointed to the Texans coming away from the first round with a monster complement for Andre Johnson. Not surprisingly, this was confirmed by the Houston Chronicle not too long ago. The fact that Stephen Hill falls in their lap is straight Draft Day banditry. With Matt Schaub back in the line-up and a stacked defensive unit, Hill will make Houston the team to beat in the AFC.
27. Green Bay Packers – Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama. Green Bay is going to find ways to get to the quarterback as well, and they are going to do it all throughout this year’s Draft. By the numbers, the Pack finished with a four-way tie for 27th in the NFL in sacks with just 29; that’s just six more than the last place Tampa Bay Buccaneers and just one more than the 31st placed Tennessee Titans. Compare that to 2010 when Green Bay won the Super Bowl and were second in the League with 47 sacks. Courtney Upshaw stops slipping here, and he will get plugged into the Green Bay’s defense right away. He’s a powerful, NFL-ready product.
28. New England Patriots – Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State. In case you missed it, offense wasn’t New England’s problem last year. Bill Belichick must to mold his opportunistic defense into something a bit more consistent, and the Pats could really start anywhere other than Vince Wilfolk. Shea McClellin has been flying up people’s draft boards in the past two weeks and is a highly versatile pass-rusher, something Bellichick will note because with the departure of Andre Carter and Mark Anderson, someone in Foxboro has to get to the quarterback.
29. Baltimore Ravens – Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama. Peter King has maintained a fairly adamant stance that Baltimore isn’t thrilled with Peter Konz should he fall to them. Doesn’t matter; in this mock, he doesn’t anyway. The Ravens catch a huge break with Dont’a Hightower falling to them. Ozzie Newsome has made it very clear that he wants to draft Ray Lewis’s successor this year while he still has time to be groomed. Vontaze Burfict was being mocked here frequently early on, but he talked himself out of the first round with multiple scouts through reportedly highly unprofessional interviews at the Combine. Hightower was a better prospect even before that and could play day-one between Ray-Ray and T-Sizzle as middle linebacker. While some black bird fans would argue this isn’t the biggest need of the team, it does insure that what is strong in Baltimore, stays strong in Baltimore.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin. No one is really sure what Jim Harbaugh is going to do with his pick. Last season, he had us scratching our heads with his enthusiasm for Alex Smith, and now he’s done it again by signing Randy Moss. The Niners could snag Coby Fleener and create the Fleener/Davis version of Gronk/Hernadez or trade up to get David DeCastro or Jonathan Martin who Harbaugh recruited out of high school and coached in Stanford. For the sake of ease, let’s just say they keep it simple and take a top value that fills a need. Kevin Zeitler can come in and take some pressure young Anthony Davis to see if he can be salvaged at tackle, which will provide Smith with more time to find Moss’s old ass. The real test of discipline for San Francisco is going to be if Kendall Wright baits them into selecting a player at a position that the 49ers have already acquired more than a few names for.
31. New England Patriots – Harrison Smith, FS, Notre Dame. Word is circulating that the Patriots WILL TRADE this pick. Nonetheless, if the Patriots address the defensive line with their first pick, expect them to address their secondary with the second. Harrison Smith could come in and help keeping interceptions high while allowing the front seven to get more pressure on the quarterbacks.
32. New York Giants – Coby Fleener – TE, Stanford. Unquestionably New York needs to bolster its offensive line and could do so with Mike Adams if he’s on the board, but it is going to be tough to turn down the top tight end in the draft, especially when you pick last. Coby Fleener not only replaces Mario Manningham as Eli Manning’s third weapon but also checks in as a huge blocker. Losing Jake Ballard and Travis Beckham wasn’t completely solved by picking up Martellus Bennett either, so the G-Men get lucky with one of the top guys on the board that fills a huge need at the same time.