We addressed the first ten picks of the draft here, and now it’s time to look at the next 10 picks. Full disclosure: eight of these ten selections have changed since I did my initial analysis, and as always at this time, the situation remains very fluid. Most teams don’t even know who their “best-case scenario” is at this point, so it’s laughable to think we can hit the nail on the head with mock drafts. However, that doesn’t stop us from trying, does it? We should also see multiple trades during the middle of the first round, which would of course make any mock picks involving those teams moot. That’s why I’ll be live mocking via Twitter @rjwhite1 throughout the first round of the draft. Follow me and supplement your NFL Draft experience!
11. KC Chiefs: OG David DeCastro, Stanford
The Chiefs have long been an organization that acutely focuses on maintaining an elite offensive line. Casey Wiegmann is the last veteran left from Kansas City’s core group of linemen from the early part of the century, and he’s expected to retire this year. The selection of DeCastro, the undisputed top interior lineman in this class, allows the Chiefs to move Rodney Hudson into the starting lineup at center while maintaining excellent depth in the interior. Left guard Ryan Lilja is a free agent at the end of 2012, and the eventual starting duo of Decastro and Jon Asamoah could wind up being the best guard tandem in the league.
12. SEA Seahawks: DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
Ingram has seen his stock rise considerably throughout the off-season process, and he could be a guy that winds up coming off the board in the top ten picks, either due to a trade up or just because teams can never have enough quality pass rushers. Due to his versatility, Ingram projects to be an NFL starter at either defense end, defensive tackle, or outside linebacker in a 3-4 look. The Seahawks are desperate to find a quality pass rusher opposite Chris Clemons, who himself is 30 years old and a free agent after this year. Between the signing of Jason Jones and the drafting of Ingram, the Seahawks could rise to a top-ten team in terms of sacks.
13. ARI Cardinals: OT Cordy Glenn, Georgia
The Kevin Kolb experiment was a failure last year, so much so that the Cardinals threw everything they had at adding Peyton Manning this year. That didn’t work out, so they’ll have to hope Kolb improves drastically in 2012. A halfway-decent offensive tackle would surely help. Levi Brown was released this offseason, which would seem to be a step in the right direction (he’s plan awful), but the team re-signed him to a five-year deal. He could move to the right side of the line if the Cardinals can find a viable left tackle in the draft. Glenn proved he could handle the left tackle spot during his senior year, and he’s had an excellent off-season that has boosted his stock to the point where he’s a surefire top-20 guy.
14. DAL Cowboys: S Mark Barron, Alabama
The secondary has long been a problem in Dallas, one that the Cowboys appear intent on fixing this offseason. The team threw big money at Brandon Carr to replace Terrance Newman, and they also signed Brodney Pool to help at safety. The Cowboys still could do better, which is why three of their six pre-draft visits have been with members of the secondary. Barron projects to be the best defensive back available, and he’s the only safety worth a first-round pick. An excellent in-the-box player, Barron will pair with Gerald Sensabaugh to give the Cowboys a pair of quality safeties for the first time in a very long time.
15. PHI Eagles: CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
The Eagles are a team rumored to be eying a trade up in this draft, so it’s entirely likely they’ll already have a marquee prospect by the time the 15th pick rolls around. After resigning Evan Mathis and DeSean Jackson and adding Demetress Bell, the Eagles should be focusing on defense in the early stages of the draft. For Philadelphia, that generally means pickup up a defensive lineman, but the pick of Gilmore addresses an expected need as well, as Asante Samuel is expected to be traded by the end of the draft. With prototypical size and speed for the position, Gilmore could be drafted even earlier, at which point the Eagles would likely look at a defensive tackle.
16. NY Jets: LB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
The Jets’ three key areas of need involves pass catchers, offensive linemen and pass rushers. The defensive-minded Rex Ryan will likely favor the last of those three needs; in fact, Ryan’s on record as saying he wants to add a “blue-chip rusher.” Aaron Maybin seems to be a good-in-small-doses type of player and Calvin Pace is getting up there in years. Upshaw would be able to rotate with Maybin immediately and likely become a full starter as soon as he proves worthy. Upshaw played against elite competition in the SEC and shouldn’t take long to catch up to the NFL. The Jets defensive scheme is predicated on pressure, which was lacking last year as the team finished in the middle of the pack in terms of sacks.
17. CIN Bengals: CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
This is the third Alabama defender to come off the board in the last four picks, which should be a clear indication of how good that defense was last year. Even after signing Jason Allen, Terrance Newman and Pacman Jones, the team still needs quality youth at the position. Leon Hall could be a very different player when he returns from his torn Achilles, Nate Clements is 32 and a free agent after 2012 and none of the aforementioned signings make for quality long-term starters. Kirkpatrick fills a need while not being the insane character risk of a guy like Janoris Jenkins, though character red flags haven’t slowed the Bengals in the past. If the Bengals have the chance to bring in Kirkpatrick or Stephen Gilmore, which they should, they’re expected to make that move.
18. SD Chargers: DE Michael Brockers, LSU
The Chargers have experienced a steep decline from Luis Castillo in recent years, and he’s coming off a lost season after breaking his leg in Week 1 of last year. A free agent this off-season, Castillo wasn’t able to garner more than a one-year deal from the Chargers, and the addition of a quality defensive end would be a huge boost, allowing Castillo to play a more limited role in 2012 and successive years if he’s retained. Brockers is an elite run defender who would seemingly fit perfectly as a 3-4 defensive end. He should rotate with Castillo immediately in his first year before eventually ascending to starter level in Year 2.
19. CHI Bears: WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
The Bears picked up Brandon Marshall in a trade with the Dolphins, but as a guy with constant off-the-field issues, Marshall isn’t a guy you can depend on long-term. Adding a quality WR to complement Marshall and possibly develop into the team’s top target should Marshall play himself out of the league seems wise. With Johnny Knox recovering from injury and playing the same WR spot as Marshall, the Bears are likely looking at Earl Bennett as the other starter at receiver, but he’s much more suited to the slot role. Wright made a great impression on the Bears at his Pro Day, and the addition of a player of his caliber completes the makeover the Bears’ WR corps so desperately needed.
20. TEN Titans: C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
The Titans have done a great job addressing several of their needs this offseason, adding Steve Hutchinson and Kamerion Wimbley while hanging onto their starting safeties. Even with Hutchinson, who himself is past his prime, the Titans still need help in the interior of the offensive line. Eugene Amano could easily be the league’s worst starting center, and the addition of Konz would go a long way towards solidifying a Titans run-blocking unit that was lacking last season. An elite interior lineman, Konz could be a top-ten center from the moment he steps on the field, strong in both pass and run blocking. This appears to be a perfect match, and the Titans would be very fortunate to land the draft’s best center.
I’ll be back with the remaining 12 picks of my first-round NFL mock on Sunday.
R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and Razzball and has previously written for FanHouse. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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