The NIT Nati Mock Draft 2014

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21.  Green Bay Packers – Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State.  The Packers have to get faster on defense, and Ryan Shazier should have an immediate impact in that regard.  As physically gifted as any in this class, Shazier will be able to compliment the recently acquired Julius Peppers in blitzing schemes, but do not expect him to contribute much in run defense as Shazier got bullied when offensive lines reached to the second level against the Buck Eyes last season.  Not a huge indictment in the pass-happy NFC North though.  Expect the Pack to address needs at safety and tight end in rounds two and three.

Jan 6, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (1) catches a touchdown pass over Auburn Tigers cornerback Chris Davis (11) during the second half of the 2014 BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

22.  Philadelphia Eagles – Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State.  The recent departure of DeSean Jackson leaves a more significant gap on offense then Philly’s weak secondary.  Kelvin Benjamin looks to be a rare dirty-bird and with a 6’5”, 240 frame he figures to be an osprey in Head Coach Chip Kelly’s offensive scheme.  Though he is only a sophomore, Benjamin is already 23 years old, and had he returned to Florida State catching long-balls from Jameis Winston, Benjamin would likely have been a top-10 pick in 2015.  While more raw than someone like Marquise Lee whom Coach Kelly is familiar with, Benjamin’s size and athleticism adds a residual dimension to Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper.  After this lone splurge, the Eagles should stay a defensive draft track for the next several rounds.

23.  Kansas City Chiefs – Marqise Lee, WR, USC.  On the one hand, the Chiefs need to find themselves a guard, but there is no value for that at twenty-three.  On the other, Kansas City needs a second receiver and additionally needs to start thinking about an eventual replacement for Dwayne Bowe.  Marqise Lee is a dynamic, play-making receiver whose 2013 season was plagued by injuries as well as three head coaching shifts.  Notably, Lee’s stats from 2012 look nearly identical to Sammy Watkins’ numbers this year.  Ironic enough, Watkins’ 2012 season was equally discardable when a drug arrest hobbled his season behind DeAndre Hopkins.  So if Lee was Walkins in 2012, and Walkins is Lee in 2013, then Chiefs should be running to the podium with this pick.

24.  Cincinnati Bengals – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State.  The Bengals cornerbacks are all on the wrong side of 30 years old.  Only Dre Kirkpatrick, the Bengals first round pick two years ago, shows a spark of youth, but he has also seen limited field time.  With Leon Hall returning from a second achilles tendon tear, the Bengals seem to be picking for need, but Darqueze Dennard is not a bad selection at number twenty-four.  Teams are going to try to exploit him in off-man coverage where Dennard has shown weakness, but between him and Brady Roby, the Bengals will take the clean-cut rookie verses a hot-head with off the field issues.  Indeed, Head Coach Marvin Lewis and company have come too far since the T.Ocho house cleaning of 2010 to start packing in miscreants at this point.