MMQB (page 3)
17. Minnesota. WR Limas Sweed, Texas. The Vikings need a pass-rushing defensive end, stud offensive lineman and big-time receiver, and they'll think long and hard about Vandy tackle Chris Williams. But they take the big target this offense needs to replace mammoth 2005 first-round bust Troy Williamson. Lots of opinions about Sweed, but the one thing all scouts agree on is he's the hardest-working receiver in the draft. He probably plays a little faster than his 4.5 speed.
18. Houston. OT Chris Williams, Vanderbilt. A gimme. The Texans need a long-term left tackle -- and if they don't take this prototypical left tackle prospect, the team picking right behind them will.
19. Philadelphia. WR/KR DeSean Jackson, Cal. After the draft, Andy Reid will call Donovan McNabb and say, "We got you a 4.4-in-the-40 deep threat. He even returns punts. Now you've got to make this offense more vertical.''
20. Baltimore (in a trade with Tampa Bay). QB Chad Henne, Michigan. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if the Ravens trade lower in Round 1 and pick up Joe Flacco, the Delaware wunderkind. The organization likes both the more-polished Henne and the kid with the best arm in the draft, Flacco. My gut feeling is that Henne's the pick, in part because he's prepared to play earlier.
21. Washington. DE Phillip Merling, Clemson. The Redskins would love to get a deep threat like DeSean Jackson for quarterback Jason Campbell, but they need to address both lines first. The best available lineman is Merling, whose sports hernia surgery has scared off a few teams.
22. Dallas. RB Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois. Jerry Jones is dancing in the draft room -- he didn't have to trade into the top of the draft for a back, and he ends up with a guy some in our business think is better and a lower risk than Darren McFadden. One question, though: Why couldn't Mendenhall beat out Pierre Thomas at Illinois two years ago?
23. Pittsburgh. G/T Branden Albert, Virginia. Might have gotten overrated in the predraft media mayhem; I saw him as high as five in one mock draft. The Steelers have to draft two or three offensive lineman to address a position group that lost its best two players (Jeff Hartings, Alan Faneca) the last two offseasons and isn't as good as its reputation right now.
24. Tennessee. LB Jerod Mayo, Tennessee. Not a position of great need -- maybe Calais Campbell of Miami (Fla.) would be smarter -- but the Titans are always looking for defensive playmakers. I have a feeling defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will be standing on his head, begging his bosses to take Mayo if he's there.
25. Seattle. DE Kentwan Balmer, North Carolina. I love what Don Banks wrote about this guy. He said he hoped the Ravens picked him, so he could be Balmer of the Bal'mer Ravens.
26. Carolina (in trade from Jacksonville). QB Brian Brohm, Louisville. The one thing about draft analysis is two or three guys a year invariably get hosed with all the time teams have to play with in February, March and April. This year's prime victim: Brohm, who likely would have been a top-five pick last year had he come out as a junior. Instead, he stayed in school and completed 65 percent of his passes for 30 touchdowns on a college team with a poor defense and a .500 record. So now, he's got the plague all of a sudden. Someone's going to get a great bargain with this kid. I picked Carolina because John Fox and Marty Hurney are smart.
27. San Diego. RB Felix Jones, Arkansas. Some people describe him as Michael Turner II.
28. Dallas. CB Aqib Talib, Kansas. If the Cowboys can get a veteran receiver in exchange for this pick -- Roy Williams would be the preference -- they'll jump at it. If not, they'll solve the cornerback need and hope to get an experienced receiver this summer.
29. San Francisco. OT Gosder Cherilus, Boston College. They need someone to keep the quarterback upright.
30. Green Bay. TE Dustin Keller, Purdue. A Mike Mayock special. And I like the NFL Network draft analyst's reasoning -- Keller's the most athletic and pro-ready package at tight end in the draft, and tight end is a need position for the Pack.
31. New York Giants. S Tyrell Johnson, Arkansas State. Jerry Reese won't shy away from smaller-college guys, and Johnson fits the Giants' mold perfectly. What's not to like about the Sun Belt Conference's all-time sack leader -- weighing 204 pounds with 4.4 40 speed -- who was a starter at ASU the day he walked onto campus (45 games total) and is the strongest defensive back in the draft? One more thing: He has already begun working on his master's degree.