32. Philadelphia Eagles: Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan
Jason Peters has long been a premier left tackle in the NFL. The 9-time Pro Bowl selection has solidified the left side of the Eagles’ offensive line dating back to the 2009 season. This year, the 35-year-old was lost due to ACL and MCL injuries. There’s no guarantee how Peters will be when – or if – he returns from injury. One could see Lane Johnson bouncing over to man the spot in the future, and this is where Okorafor comes in.
Though a bit raw when it comes to technique, the Western Michigan product is wonderfully gifted from a physical standpoint. At 6’6”, 330 pounds, he’s played both tackle spots during his career. With a bit more polish, Okorafor could turn into an All-Pro type player. He’s only scratching the surface of his considerable potential.
31. New England Patriots: Derwin James, S, Florida State
Prior to the start of the season, James was pegged as a potential top-five draft choice. The freaky athlete has experience literally on all three levels – as a defensive back, an outside linebacker, and even as a rush end. This sort of positional flexibility makes him an absolute dream for any defensive coordinator.
James suffered a knee injury during his sophomore campaign which robbed him of all but two games. He came back this season to the tune of 84 tackles, 5.5 tackles-for-loss, 11 pass break-ups, and two interceptions. Statistically, he had a fine year – though he appears to not be the same sort of athlete he was pre-injury. Regardless, New England will gladly take James and plug him in at a multitude of spots. If there’s any head coach that appreciates versatility, it’s Bill Belichick.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
In recent years, Pittsburgh has lacked the bite that the vaunted ‘Steel Curtain’ was known for. Harrison represents a player reminiscent of the golden age. At 6’3”, 215 pounds, he’s huge for the safety spot. One might think of Harrison as a lumbering type – though he’s a legitimate athlete both in coverage and in the run game.
His large stature could even allow for Harrison to operate as a hybrid outside linebacker/safety in certain packages. There’s tremendous value in Harrison being able to function in multiple schematic deviations – particularly with the recent expansion of spread principles into NFL offenses. With starting safety Mike Mitchell approaching his 31st birthday, Harrison looks like a nice fit here.
29. Minnesota Vikings: Billy Price, OG, Ohio State
Price just looks like a Minnesota player. Tough and hard-nosed, Price’s game is rooted in being technically elite for the position. He was named as an All-American at center for Ohio State – though he’s equally as dynamic when playing the guard position. With 35-year-old starting guard Joe Berger currently in his 13th season, Price would be a great fit alongside fellow OSU alum Pat Elflein in the middle of the Vikings’ offensive front.
28. New Orleans Saints: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
While the Saints’ defense has taken a big leap forward this season, depth at linebacker remains an area of concern. Jefferson is an elite athlete – which is further punctuated by the fact he can play in the middle or on the outside. The second team All-American led UT with 110 tackles, 10.0 tackles-for-loss, and 4.0 sacks. Simply put, Jefferson’s nose for the football makes him a very attractive prospect towards the latter part of the first round. He’d represent an upgrade over incumbent starters Manti Te’o and A.J. Klein.
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