My Scouts Inc. colleague Todd McShay posted his updated 2013 mock draft earlier this week and as usual, plenty of talented prospects were squeezed out because of various factors, including lack of perfect fits.
As recent history tells us, the top of the second round produces plenty of good NFL players. Some notables from the last five years:
St. Louis MLB James Laurinaitis (No. 35 in 2009)
With that in mind, here are five prospects who didn't make McShay's first-round cut, but could be good fits for teams picking at the top of the second round this year.
Jacksonville's defense had just 20 sacks last year, five fewer than the next-worst team and the fewest of any team since 2009. So while picking up Joeckel in the first makes sense from a value/need standpoint, the Jags desperately need to upgrade their pass rush as well.
Adding Florida State DE Tank Carradine with this pick would potentially give the Jaguars a talented building block on the other side of the line of scrimmage. In my opinion, Carradine is worth a first-round pick even though he tore the ACL in his right knee late in the 2012 season; reports indicate he will be able to work out for teams ahead of the draft.
Carradine has the quick first step, long arms, ability to bend and closing speed to make life difficult for NFL offensive tackles. Sam Montgomery of LSU is another option if the Jaguars aren't comfortable with the progress of Carradine's rehabilitation and/or long-term prognosis.
34. San Francisco (First round: SMU DE Margus Hunt)
The 49ers need to address a hole at nose tackle, but there's a chance Missouri Southern's Brandon Williams, Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins and/or Alabama's Jesse Williams will still be on the board when the Niners are on the clock again at the end of the second round. They can also risk waiting, because with 15 total picks this year they have the firepower to move up in the second if there is a run on defensive tackles.
Tight end isn't as pressing a need, but with Delanie Walker set to become a free agent and San Francisco's run-heavy offense featuring a lot of two-tight-end sets, the 49ers should be in the market for another weapon for Kaepernick. Enter Stanford's Zach Ertz who played for 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh at Stanford.
Ertz does need to get stronger, but he's an adequate positional blocker and a talented receiver who can stretch the middle of the field and be a nice complement to current Niners TE Vernon Davis.
Philadelphia got to the quarterback just 30 times last year, but Carradine and Montgomery aren't great fits for the Eagles' new hybrid defensive front. Auburn DE/OLB Corey Lemonier might be a better option at the top of the third round.
Offensive tackle is a possibility here, but the value probably won't be there with five tackles likely to be first-round picks. That means safety is an option, with 2010 second-round pick Nate Allen not progressing as much hoped and the Eagles having already cut 2011 second-round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett last year.
There will be value available too. South Carolina's D.J. Swearinger is a physical safety who delivers big hits after the catch and in run support. Swearinger doesn't have elite speed or size, but he is fluid, rarely gets caught out of position and he breaks on the ball well in coverage. He's capable of pushing for immediate playing time as strong safety, where current restricted free agent and 2009 undrafted free agent Colt Anderson started the final four games of 2012.
The Lions have a pressing need at cornerback, but Philadelphia snatching up Milliner one pick ahead of Detroit in the first round may turn into a blessing in disguise. Getting Ansah in the first would fill another big hole on defense, and there will be quality cover corners available early in the second.
Washington's Desmond Trufant is making the most of the offseason evaluation process. After showing quick feet and above-average competitiveness at the Senior Bowl, Trufant ran the 40 in 4.38 seconds at the combine and also posted a 3.85-second 20-yard shuttle. In addition, his film shows a player who is instinctive, fluid and quick enough to blanket receivers.
As the depth chart stands right now, 2011 third-round pick Dontay Moch would be the Bengals' starting weakside linebacker and 2012 undrafted free agent Emmanuel Lamur would be the strongside starter. However, Moch has appeared in one game over the past two seasons, Lamur appeared in nine last season and neither has started a game in his career.
I believe Connecticut's Sio Moore is the top outside linebacker prospect available after McShay's first-round projection, and he's no consolation prize. Moore is a rangy run-defender who needs to improve as a hand fighter and sink his hips better in the phone booth, but he has the toughness and strength to improve in those areas.
He doesn't have to come off the field on third down either, because Moore masks average fluidity with speed and physicality in coverage. And even though Cincinnati finished third in the league with 51 sacks last season, teams can never have enough players who can get to the quarterback, and Moore can help in that area too.