Round 2
PICK(OVR)PLAYER/SCHOOLPOSDRAFTED BYNOTES
  • What he brings 

    Dowling has great size and range, and he is a physical corner who is at his best in press coverage. In addition, he plays the ball well and is physical setting the edge against the run, although he needs to do a better job wrapping up in space. Dowling dealt with nagging injuries in 2010 before a broken ankle ended his season, but he has first-round tools.

    How he fits 

    He is a physically gifted cover corner who will join a secondary that started out poorly last year but really showed improvement without a legitimate pass rush. Devin McCourty is solid at one corner with seven interceptions last season, and veteran Leigh Bodden returns from injury. Dowling should be able to contribute immediately in the nickel package, but he likely will line up on the outside with one of the others moving inside in nickel schemes.
  • What he brings 

    Williams is a 'tweener corner/safety with good short-area man-to-man skills and enough speed. He's tough against the run as well, but he might be better at safety and is not a playmaker when the ball is in the air. He's a good value at this point, though, because of his versatility and skill set.

    How he fits 

    The perception is that this was a very gifted secondary last season, but the reality is that it allowed 28 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions, and as many as five DBs could leave in free agency. Williams has the versatility to play outside at corner or inside at safety, and he certainly could fill one of these slots if someone leaves. He also should be excellent on special teams.
  • What he brings 

    Dalton doesn't excel in any one area but he is a smart decision-maker and displays tremendous poise in pressure-cooker situations. We like his quick release, timing and accuracy, which help make up for his average arm strength. He's a good leader and played his best in the biggest games.

    How he fits 

    With Carson Palmer continuing to be very firm in his decision to not play for the Bengals, they are left with his brother Jordan Palmer and Dan LeFevour, and that's not good enough. Dalton is a guy the Bengals can build around, and he will fit in very well in Jay Gruden's West Coast offense. The Bengals will emphasize the power run game, which could make it a little easier on Dalton, who will likely play immediately, and he has to love his new target, A.J. Green.
  • What he brings 

    Kaepernick has a great frame, strong arm and excellent athletic ability. And while he will have to adjust from the Pistol formation to a pro-style offense, he has excellent work ethic and improved every year at Nevada. There are concerns about his herky-jerky throwing motion, but it's not a project on the same level as Tim Tebow a year ago.

    How he fits 

    The QB position at San Francisco is probably the most wasted in the NFL in recent years. Of the 49ers' three QBs a year ago, Alex Smith, Troy Smith and David Carr, only Carr is under contract in 2011. Kaepernick has a great upside, although like Alex Smith, he has to make a huge transition from an unorthodox college offense to a pro-style offense. The 49ers will run a West Coast style, but the huge question is do they talk Alex Smith into coming back to develop Kaepernick or cut ties and throw the rookie into the fire? But this selection could make it a little tougher to talk Smith into staying.
  • What he brings 

    Sheard has elite toughness. He has great strength and power at the point of attack against the run and is underrated as a pass-rusher, where he does a good job using his hands on quick swim and rip moves. This is a great pick because the Browns are going to a 4-3 defense and Sheard is a bit tight in space to play OLB in a 3-4.

    How he fits 

    Under new coordinator Dick Jauron, the Browns will switch to a 4-3 defense after six years of unsuccessfully utilizing the 3-4 front. However, they are painfully thin on the defensive line and they don't have the personnel they need, especially on the outside. Sheard can line up at LDE and anchor versus right-handed run offenses and he is a tough, hard-nosed player who will provide underrated pass rushing.
  • What he brings 

    Williams has the best overall physical skills of any back in this class. He is a determined runner with above-average vision and lateral quickness to get in and out of traffic near the line of scrimmage. He is also an underrated receiver with reliable hands out of the backfield. Williams is a durability risk but has the potential to be the best back from this class if he remains healthy.

    How he fits 

    The Cardinals have tried to upgrade their running game for several seasons now with little success, even though coach Ken Whisenhunt wants a run-first offense. The Beanie Wells experiment might be over with this pick because injuries and inconsistency have really curtailed his production. Tim Hightower has been their best back, but he's not good enough. This offense wants to look like the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Williams has the potential to be a 20-carry back and underrated receiver out of the backfield.
  • What he brings 

    Some project Ayers as a 3-4 OLB, but he has the prototypical frame for a strong side linebacker in a 4-3. He can line up over tight ends and use his long arms and strong upper body to set the edge against the run. He does an adequate job locating the ball and getting off blocks, and though he's not an elite athlete and has limitations in coverage, there is a lot to like about the burst and determination he shows as a pass rusher.

    How he fits 

    The only really stable linebacker that the Titans have is MLB Stephen Tulloch and he could leave in free agency. Both OLBs Gerald McRath and Will Witherspoon are decent but not explosive playmakers and there is virtually no depth here. Ayers can line up at SOLB and not only solidify the run defense, but also give the Titans a pass rush with sack potential, as well as help on special teams.
  • What he brings 

    Carter has had problems holding ground when teams run at him but he has the quick feet and lateral agility to slip blocks. He is a sideline-to-sideline run defender and has potential in coverage, and he could become a valuable special teams contributor. He is coming off a season-ending knee injury, but the fact that Dallas took him this early is an indication that they are comfortable with him.

    How he fits 

    This looks like an excellent need selection. Both inside starters, Bradie James and Keith Brooking, were just average last year and Carter should be able to step in at RILB as Brooking is near the end of a great career. Young Sean Lee looks like a developing player and the future duo of Carter and Lee at ILB really makes this position look good.
  • What he brings 

    Jenkins has excellent size and his greatest strength is defending the run, where he gets good hand placement and can shed blocks, but he needs a more violent punch. He flashes as a pass rusher but still needs development in the area. He could eventually become a pressure guy who hurries quarterbacks but does not bring them to the ground.

    How he fits 

    As we know, NT is critical in the 3-4 defense, which was a disaster in 2010. Albert Haynesworth will likely be gone, Ma'ake Kemoeatu has never really recovered from an injury and that leaves backup Anthony Bryant as a potential starter. Coordinator Jim Haslett can play a lot of different fronts and Jenkins can play on the nose, over the guard or even shaded, and with a group of DEs that are pedestrian at best, he could also settle at that position. The Redskins are quietly really strengthening their front seven.
  • What he brings 

    Reed lined up at end in college but will be an OLB in Houston's new 3-4 scheme, a transition that should benefit him because he is somewhat undersized for a 4-3 end and would get engulfed at times by NFL tackles. As an OLB he can use his elite first step to gain momentum in those situations. He will be used primarily as a pass-rusher early on, which is where he excels. He has the burst and flexibility to bend the edge as well as the violent hands to prevent pass blockers from locking on.

    How he fits 

    This will be a 3-4 defense under new coordinator Wade Phillips and they have been desperate for pass rush off the edge. Reed will make the transition from a 4-3 DE to a standup 3-4 OLB. The only quality edge rusher they have at LB is Connor Barwin, and Reed should step in immediately and the coaches will expect double digit sacks out of him.
  • What he brings 

    Rudolph has an excellent combination of size and athleticism to become an every-down tight end in the NFL. His strength is catching passes. Rudolph has the speed and route-running ability to separate and he shows above-average ball skills to bring in balls outside his frame. He is an effective run blocker but could get better in that area. Durability issues kept him out of the first round.

    How he fits 

    This is a pure value pick because on paper it is not a glaring need for the Vikings. Backup Jimmy Kleinsasser is primarily a blocker and Visanthe Shiancoe is an excellent pass catcher but his production dropped last year to two touchdowns in 2010. Rudolph is the most versatile TE coming into the draft and would have gone much higher, if not for injury. In an offense that loves to use the TE in the passing game it becomes even more important to give rookie QB Christian Ponder another target. Watch the Vikings use a lot more two tight end sets this year, much like the Patriots.
  • What he brings 

    Young brings immediate big-play threat with his above-average run-after-catch ability. He is unpolished as a route-runner but does show excellent burst out of breaks to create separation, and he has reliable hands. In addition, he brings added value on special teams as a returner, where he averaged more than 10 yards per punt return in 2010.

    How he fits 

    This is a perfect fit for the Lions' improving pass offense. Starters Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson are solid with good production, but there is virtually no depth with the exception of versatile Stefan Logan. Young looks like the perfect guy to line up in the slot in the Lions' three-wide package, and his quickness and yards after the catch could give them added versatility.
  • What he brings 

    Moore has excellent instincts and recognition skills in coverage. He reads quarterbacks, gets good jumps, attacks the ball and shows good ball skills. He is undersized but solid against the run, taking sound angles and wrapping up well in space. He was much more productive in 2009 than 2010. He is not an elite prospect but projects as a solid starter.

    How he fits 

    Safety was a huge need for the Broncos entering the draft. Offenses have really attacked this defense in the deep middle of the field and veteran Brian Dawkins lacks range at this stage of his career, while Renaldo Hill doesn't make enough plays and young Darcel McBath always seems to be hurt. Moore will hopefully be the ball-hawking player who can sit in the middle of the field and make game-changing plays.
  • What he brings 

    Franklin has a massive frame, excellent strength and a nasty disposition. He has experience at both guard and tackle, but he was exposed at times by quicker rushers off the edge because of a lack of elite athleticism. He is a better fit at guard, where he can use his short-area quickness and strong inline power base to his advantage. His versatility is also an asset in the NFL.

    How he fits 

    His versatility may be his biggest asset because he can play inside or outside, as he did in college. RT Ryan Harris is a potential free agent and both starting OGs Zane Beadles and Chris Kuper are decent but Beadles was really up and down as a rookie, while Kuper was very steady. Depth is nonexistent on this OL and Franklin could get a shot as a starter at RT or LG in all likelihood.
  • What he brings 

    Kendricks is an H-back type who doesn't offer much as a blocker and will never be dominant in that area, but he has the skill set to become a productive receiving option. He is quick enough to separate underneath and runs well after the catch, and he also has the speed to stretch the middle and tracks the deep ball well.

    How he fits 

    QB Sam Bradford loves to have a TE as a safety blanket, but right now he has an overrated starter in Daniel Fells, and a promising but raw young guy in Michael Hoomanawanui. With Josh McDaniels running the offense, the TE position needed to be much more productive and Kendricks is that guy.
  • What he brings 

    Wisniewski is a limited athlete but has enough short-area quickness and takes good enough angles to excel on the interior. His strength is in his lower body, allowing him to root defenders off the ball when in phone-booth situations. His lack of overall balance and inability to sustain blocks are concerns.



    How he fits 

    LG Robert Gallery is on his way out and C Samson Satele could leave in free agency, which leaves a big hole inside. This is a pretty good run blocking group that struggles in pass protection and while Wisniewski is not a gifted athlete, he can really solidify the interior of a unit that really needs a makeover and he will bring toughness.
  • What he brings 

    He is only 6-foot-3 but has long arms and moves his feet well. He can line up at guard or tackle, and there is a lot to like about his overall balance. He can cover defenders in the run game and shuffle to stay in front of pass rushers. A sports hernia kept him out of the Senior Bowl and the NFL combine, and there are concerns about the level of competition he faced, but he showed well against FBS opponents and there is reason to be optimistic.

    How he fits 

    As the Colts quietly retool their offensive line, Ijalana is a good pick because he can play inside or outside. With LT Anthony Castonzo being picked in the first round, the Colts could move Charlie Johnson inside, although he could be a free agent and keep in mind that RT Ryan Diem has a lot of age and lacks consistency. OG was a revolving door in 2010 and Mike Pollak never developed and they could just not find any consistency. This is a unit that could have two new starters in 2011.
  • What he brings 

    He has experience on the outside, over the slot and at free safety. He is not overly explosive but changes directions well and is at his best when facing the line in a zone look, where he can read the play and use his strong tackling to limit production.

    How he fits 

    His versatility is probably his best asset. He can play outside at CB, over the slot and he can even play at safety, but he's not really elite at any of them. He is not a turn-and-run guy and is more of a zone defender, which is really not what San Diego prefers to play. He could probably be the Chargers' third corner behind Quentin Jammer or Antoine Cason, and he can even back up safeties Bob Sanders and Eric Weddle. Keep in mind, he can contribute on special teams, which was a major problem last year.
  • What he brings 

    Bowers is a top-10 talent who fell because of concerns about a knee injury, but when healthy he is both stout against the run and a determined pass-rusher who showed a much better motor in 2010. He does not have elite explosiveness but never stops working to get to the quarterback. If he remains healthy, he could become one of the best 4-3 LDEs ends in the NFL.

    How he fits 

    Defensive end was the No. 1 pre-draft need for this team and it more than filled it by drafting two guys in the first two rounds after drafting two guys early at DT last year. That gives them four young quality players in their 4-3 front. Bowers will likely line up at LDE, and while he's not an explosive pass rusher, he should be a solid player and give this defensive front a chance to pressure QBs without blitzing, which is the design of their defense.
  • What he brings 

    Austin's off-field issues and concerns about his maturity pushed him down the board, but as a football player he has rare initial quickness for his size. He can get into the backfield and has the lateral mobility to make plays when he gets there, though he could show better gap discipline at times as a run defender. Austin has all the physical tools to become a good interior pass-rusher as well.

    How he fits 

    This looks a little bit like a luxury pick because the Giants have quality players at DT but Austin's upside is very intriguing. Barry Cofield could leave in free agency, but Chris Canty Rocky Bernard have signed new deals, so there is not a huge need. However, the Giants love a deep rotation on their DL and they look for matchups along the line that favor them, and Austin is an excellent one-gap penetrator. Any off-the-field issues will be addressed by a group of teammates that have very high character.
  • What he brings 

    Paea's best football is ahead of him. He played only one year in high school and spent a year in junior college before coming to Oregon State, and he progressed every year. He is an unpolished pass rusher but has the first step to improve in that area, and Paea is stout against the run who does not give ground one-on-one. When he plays at his best Paea looks like a first-rounder, and the 2010 USC game is evidence of that.

    How he fits 

    The Bears have been very thin at DT with the departure of Tommie Harris with his big contract and Anthony Adams is a pending free agent. There is little help and depth behind them, and in the Bears' Cover 2 defense, a three-technique DT who can hold up versus the run and also penetrate is imperative. Paea will also fit when they play over and under 4-3 looks, where he can play over the center and use his strength and power.
  • What he brings 

    Jarrett is a strong run defender, where he makes a quick diagnosis and fills downhill. He is a solid tackler who can deliver violent strikes on occasoin, and he has adequate instincts in coverage but his overall skills are just average. He will have issues against quicker No. 3 receivers in man coverage.

    How he fits 

    He should fill a significant need for the Eagles as starting SS Quintin Mikell is aging with a salary that may be too much, while young Nate Allen has a nice future but is coming off a knee injury. This is a secondary that gave up 31 TD passes a year ago, which was third most in the NFL, and they must tighten up the middle of the field. Jarrett is not necessarily a game-changer but could be a solid SS, good in run support and decent in zone coverages.
  • What he brings 

    Hudson is instinctive and does a good job with angles and technique. He can be counted on to handle his assignment in the running game, but he shows stiffness in the lower half and does not have a strong power base. He does a good job sliding and sustaining as a pass blocker and does a good job sinking his hips against the bull rush.

    How he fits 

    The Chiefs really have some concerns inside on their OL, primarily because they have so much age at OG and C and they need a good, young player to develop. Hudson is an excellent technician who can play C or OG and he is a smart guy who should be able to step right in and play.
  • What he brings 

    Vereen's best quality is his versatility. He can contribute as a runner and receiver and is instinctive and patient in the running game. He doesn't have blazing top-end speed but does a good job setting up blocks and fits well in New England's scheme.

    How he fits 

    This looks like a little bit of a luxury pick because he doesn't fill a need as a workhorse back and while he has some similarities to aging Kevin Faulk, the Patriots are getting that production from Danny Woodhead. Vereen can catch the ball out of the backfield and be effective on screens and draws but he is not a 20-carry back between the tackles, which still appears to be somewhat of a need.
  • What he brings 

    Leshoure is a bigger back who shows excellent lateral mobility and quick feet for his size. He flashes the ability to hit cutback lanes but is not naturally instinctive and leaves yards on the field at times. On the other hand, he is a workhorse back who did not put the ball on the ground even once in 461 career touches in college.

    How he fits 

    What looked like a solid position entering the 2010 season had its challenges, as rookie Jahvid Best was slowed by a turf toe injury and Kevin Smith continues to stay hurt and probably won't be back. That leaves aging Maurice Morris as the only backup. The Lions wanted to find a big, power back who could help them finish games, and Leshoure should fit the bill perfectly.
  • What he brings 

    Smith brings a nice combination of size and top-end speed to be a big-play threat, and he flashes the ability to track the deep ball and time leaps to play passes down the field. He also has added value as a kick returner, but there are concerns about his unpolished routes and inconsistency catching the ball.

    How he fits 

    At the beginning of the 2010 season, this looked like an upgraded and loaded position with a lot of versatility, but it became apparent there is a lack of speed and big plays. Anquan Boldin is an underneath guy, and they haven't found the guy who can stretch the field. Smith has vertical speed and size and he can also help in the return game. He should help open things up underneath for QB Joe Flacco. This was a tremendous need.
  • What he brings 

    Little is a former running back and comes with character concerns after being suspended for all of 2010 due to NCAA violations, but he has impressive tools. He has great size and speed, strong hands and plays the ball well. He is a raw route-runner and needs to learn to better control his emotions, but you have to like his competitive nature.

    How he fits 

    Little has a very interesting skill set. The Browns have several young WRs but there are no dynamic playmakers for Colt McCoy to grow with. They drop too many balls and don't make enough big plays. Little will be asked to be a big, physical receiver who can make plays on third down.
  • What he brings 

    Harris doesn't have great size and is not elite in any one area, but he is a well-rounded player. He has above-average movement skills and is a tough competitor who does not back down. In addition, he is also reliable in run support. The concerns we have are his lack of instincts and the fact that he can get pushed around by bigger receivers, especially when turning quickly and playing the ball.

    How he fits 

    The Texans have two young corners Glover Quin and Kareem Jackson and both are getting valuable experience but also give up a lot of big plays and must play with more consistency. Harris could play in the nickel position but the Texans could also move Quin inside and keep Harris outside, but it remains to be seen if he is much of a playmaker to upgrade them on the outside.
  • What he brings 

    Mouton showed better instincts as a senior, and is a rangy run defender who uses his foot speed to get off blocks rather than stacking and shedding blockers. He can stay on the field on third down, can hold his own in underneath coverage and flashes the ability to get to the quarterback.

    How he fits 

    Linebacker used to be a position of strength for the Chargers but it wasn't last year. Mouton has experience as an OLB in the 4-3 front on the college level, but that's not where he's projected to play because they need more explosiveness in their edge pass rush. All three of their ILBs are potential free agents and they can't keep them all, so Mouton will likely line up inside, but his versatility is a luxury. He can also help upgrade the Chargers' special teams.
  • What he brings 

    He's a big back with quick feet and good lateral movement skills, and he is an above-average athlete who can be effective catching the ball. He needs to work on lowering his pad level, widening his base and protecting the ball.

    How he fits 

    This is the No. 1 need for the Dolphins because Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are aging and potential free agents. The dropoff at this position was dramatic as the running game last year had only five plays of 20 yards or more. With instability at QB, they need more out of the run game and Thomas is a big back who can be a little bit of a bell cow if he can hold onto the ball as the Dolphins remake this position.
  • What he brings 

    Gilbert has a massive frame and quick feet for his size and good lateral movement when setting the edge. Problem is, he has shorter arms and needs to be more consistent as a run blocker. He has the versatility to play guard or tackle, though.

    How he fits 

    Two of the Steelers' biggest needs are OT and OG, and Gilbert can play either. He could likely step in at RT as well because Willie Colon is a free agent and coming off an injury, as is Max Starks, and Flozell Adams is nearing the end of his career. OG has also been a revolving door and they just don't have enough stability in their run game.
  • What he brings 

    The first thing that jumps out about Cobb is his versatility. Cobb might not have elite size or speed but he is a great athlete who can contribute in many areas on offense. He has the quickness to separate underneath and the toughness and ball skills to do the dirty work over the middle. He is also perhaps the best overall return man in the 2011 class.

    How he fits 

    The Packers do a great job of anticipating needs and filling them before they become a problem and this is a great example. Donald Driver is aging and James Jones is too inconsistent in a pass offense that needs multiple receivers. This is a young player who can probably play inside in the Packers' four-receiver sets and he can also be a returner, for a team that wasn't that good in this area a year ago. This allows them to not have to use Tramon Williams in this role.