33. Patriots: Brooks Reed, linebacker, Arizona.
The Pats might swing this pick for a future first-rounder, but we’re not projecting trades. Reed is a relentless, explosive pass rusher. New England could use a double-digit sack threat across from 2010 second-round pick Jermaine Cunningham.
34. Bills: Colin Kaepernick, quarterback, Nevada.
Of the quarterbacks left after day one, Kaepernick is the best fit for coach Chan Gailey’s offense. Likely fall-back options include UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers, Pittsburgh’s Jabaal Sheard, and perhaps Illinois’ Martez Wilson.
35. Bengals: Andy Dalton, quarterback, TCU.
Cincinnati’s draft strategy was pretty much made public over the past two weeks: Take A.J. Green at four and pray a passable quarterback prospect falls to 35. Dalton would probably be the Bengals’ Week One starter.
36. Broncos: Marvin Austin, defensive tackle, North Carolina.
The Broncos passed on Marcell Dareus at No. 2 overall, eying defensive tackles at the top of round two. In terms of sheer talent, Austin isn’t an obvious step down from Dareus and would be an immediate starter.
37. Browns: Da’Quan Bowers, defensive end, Clemson.
The Browns have two massive cloggers inside, having paired No. 21 pick Phil Taylor with 330-pounder Ahtyba Rubin. Cleveland remains desperate for defensive playmakers, and Bowers has reportedly passed the team’s medical checks.
38: Cardinals: Jabaal Sheard, linebacker, Pittsburgh.
The Arizona coaching staff has several connections to the Pitt program, including alumnus Russ Grimm. Sheard fell a bit due to character concerns, but the 2010 Big East Defensive Player of the Year can get after the quarterback.
39: Titans: Randall Cobb, wide receiver, Kentucky.
A versatile, explosive slot receiver prospect, Cobb would give Tennessee some insurance for trouble-prone No. 1 wideout Kenny Britt. After taking a first-round quarterback, the Titans get Jake Locker another weapon.
40. Cowboys: Aaron Williams, safety, Texas.
Williams likely received strong consideration from both Pittsburgh and Green Bay at the back end of round one. In Dallas, he’d start at free safety with incumbent Alan Ball moving to dime packages at cornerback.
41: Redskins: Torrey Smith, wide receiver, Maryland.
The Skins were strongly linked to Julio Jones at No. 10, and traded out when the draft’s second-best receiver didn’t fall to them. Smith is a local favorite and helps solve one of Washington’s many glaring needs.
42. Texans: Akeem Ayers, linebacker, UCLA.
Houston surprisingly passed on some of the draft’s best pass rushers at 11 in favor of rotational end J.J. Watt. Watt will be a fine player, but more pass rush is needed as Wade Phillips installs his 3-4.
43. Vikings: Ben Ijalana, tackle/guard, Villanova.
Ijalana is durable, having started every game of his college career, and projects to either guard or right tackle. In Minnesota, the dominant small-school prospect would be a day-one starter at right guard.
44. Lions: Ras-I Dowling, cornerback, Virginia.
The Lions smartly went with value over need in round one, stealing top-ten talent Nick Fairley at No. 13. Holes remain on the offensive line and in the defensive secondary. Dowling would’ve been a first-round pick if not for some injuries.
45: 49ers: Stephen Paea, defensive tackle, Oregon State.
The Niners are implementing a “multiple” defense under new coordinator Vic Fangio. Paea can be an up-field, one-gap interior penetrator in 3-4 sets, and play the nose when San Francisco goes 4-3.
46: Broncos: Kyle Rudolph, tight end, Notre Dame.
Rudolph is the best available player at this point. After releasing Daniel Graham, the Broncos’ tight end depth chart consists of blocking specialist Richard Quinn, middling talent Dan Gronkowski, and fullback Daniel Coats.
47: Rams: Mikel Leshoure, running back, Illinois.
This is a guarantee: St. Louis will emerge from day two with a running back. Many NFL teams were divided on whether Leshoure or Mark Ingram was the top back in the 2011 class. Leshoure would lessen some of Steven Jackson’s load on early downs, allowing the Rams’ starter to elongate his career and play more in the passing game.
48: Raiders: Rodney Hudson, center/guard, Florida State.
Hudson is a terrific athlete and made All-ACC all four years at FSU. Raiders owner Al Davis would start him at center after Hudson played mostly left guard for the Seminoles.
49: Redskins: Ryan Mallett, quarterback, Arkansas.
Pre-draft rumors linked Washington to Mallett as high as No. 10 overall. We doubt that was ever a serious consideration, but Mike Shanahan will find it difficult to pass on perhaps the draft’s most gifted pure passer with such a terrible quarterback situation on the roster.
50: Chargers: Justin Houston, linebacker, Georgia.
Houston fell down boards after testing positive for marijuana at the Combine. He’s still one of the draft’s most naturally explosive players. Houston would probably beat out Larry English to start in year one.
51. Buccaneers: Chris Carter, defensive end, Fresno State.
The Bucs got a power end in Adrian Clayborn at No. 20 overall. Carter has exceptional burst, and would be a dangerous Clayborn complement rushing off the wide side.
52. Giants: Stefen Wisniewski, center/guard, Penn State.
Wisniewski has the offensive line versatility G.M. Jerry Reese covets, and he’s NFL-ready at a position of need. With incumbent center Shaun O’Hara coming off Achilles’ tendon surgery, Wisniewski could be an immediate starter.
53: Colts: Kenrick Ellis, defensive tackle, Hampton.
It’s no secret that Indianapolis can’t stop the run. Ellis, at 6-foot-5, 336, is a man child on the interior. The Colts also showed quite a bit of interest in him leading up to the draft.
54: Eagles: Mason Foster, linebacker, Washington.
Philadelphia has two likely starters at linebacker, Stewart Bradley and Jamar Chaney, but the other spot is up in the air. Foster is the most productive non-rush linebacker in the 2011 class, and he can cover.
55: Chiefs: Dontay Moch, linebacker, Nevada.
Moch isn’t just a workout freak. He was the 2009 WAC Defensive Player of the Year, before narrowly losing out to the aforementioned Carter as a senior. Moch could make franchise player Tamba Hali that much more dangerous.
56: Patriots: Ryan Williams, running back, Virginia Tech.
Williams’ stock has slipped a bit after an injury-ruined redshirt sophomore season, but it’s fair to wonder if he’d be getting talked up as the draft’s No. 1 running back had he stayed healthy. As a between-the-tackles ball carrier, he’s an upgrade on BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
57: Seahawks: Brandon Harris, cornerback, Miami.
This is probably the most talented corner left, and Seattle has a big need at the position. Harris would be the Seahawks’ nickel back in his first year, joining Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond III on the field for obvious passing downs.
58: Ravens: Edmond Gates, wide receiver, Abilene Christian.
Baltimore gets its much needed field-stretching wideout. Gates is 25 years old and ready to play with the big boys after a dominant D-2 college career that saw him score 27 touchdowns with an 18.26 yards-per-catch average.
59: Browns: Greg Little, wide receiver, North Carolina.
Little draws comparisons to Brandon Marshall and Anquan Boldin for his physical, run-after-catch skills. The Browns need to get Colt McCoy weapons or he’ll have no chance to establish himself as a franchise quarterback. Little is a picturesque fit for Pat Shurmur’s West Coast offense.
60: Patriots: Marcus Gilchrist, defensive back, Clemson.
New England loves versatility in the back end, and Gilchrist can play corner, both safety positions, and cover the slot. Gilchrist’s draft stock was heading north in a hurry leading up to the draft.
61: Chargers: Leonard Hankerson, wide receiver, Miami.
Chargers G.M. A.J. Smith loves big-bodied receivers. Hankerson possesses the biggest hands of any wideout that will be drafted, and the 6-foot-2, 209-pound prospect has a knack for scoring touchdowns. Both Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd are unsigned for 2011.
62: Bears: Jerrel Jernigan, wide receiver, Troy.
Chicago may struggle to find a “three-technique” replacement for Tommie Harris after passing on Marvin Austin in the first. Jernigan fits the Mike Martz profile as a lithe, fluid route runner who gets quickly in and out of his breaks. He can play the slot and “Z” receiver in Martz’s system.
63. Steelers: Taiwan Jones, running back, Eastern Washington.
Speed like Jones’ is very hard to come by. Coach Mike Tomlin is willing to run Rashard Mendenhall into the ground, but needs a third-down, change-of-pace back with free agent Mewelde Moore likely to depart. Jones is a natural receiver out of the backfield, and a homerun hitter on kick and punt returns.
64: Packers: Denarius Moore, wide receiver, Tennessee.
Moore has flown under the radar among draftniks, but has some Santonio Holmes to his game. A silky smooth deep threat, Moore averaged a ridiculous 20.9 yards per catch with nine touchdowns as a senior. Moore is also a former track star and could help right away on kickoff returns.