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NFL Mock Draft - Midseason Edition Part 2

Michael Katz |
November 3, 2011 | 9:52 a.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Jerel Worthy could make an immediate impact in Houston. (Matt Radick via Creative Commons)
Jerel Worthy could make an immediate impact in Houston. (Matt Radick via Creative Commons)
Having predicted the way the first half of Round 1 will go in 2012, we bring you the teams projected to draft in the latter part.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Manti Te’o, Linebacker, Notre Dame 

The Bucs are really close to being winners, in my opinion. They have a great offensive core, built around Josh Freeman and Mike Williams, but that defense could use a boost. Mason Foster is okay, but let’s be honest: he’s not Manti Te’o. Te’o has been a beast since his first year in South Bend, and scouts think that will continue into the league.

18. Atlanta Falcons –Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma

The Falcons have been kind of disappointing thus far into the season. They have a nice young core on defense, but they could use a player younger than Mike Peterson at outside backer. Travis Lewis is a good player who has kind of fallen this year because of injury; however, I think he could be taken high come draft day.

19. San Diego Chargers-David DeCastro, G, Stanford

Every year, seems like the Chargers are supposed to win the Super Bowl (or so Las Vegas tells me). Their running game has been subpar the past few years, and Philip Rivers has struggled. The reason? Offensive line issues. A new guard would help the Chargers a lot. 

20. Cincinnati Bengals- Riley Reiff, tackle, Iowa

The Andre Smith experiment didn’t rally pan out for the Bengals. Andy Dalton needs to be protected, and Reiff is a really good player. He’s the opposite of Smith; he works hard!

21. Chicago Bears- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

The secondary for the Bears is pretty bad; Tim Jennings, Charles Tillman, Major Wright, and Chris Conte are not going to get it done. I’d give them a safety, but I think this is too high for any on the board. I have them taking Gilmore here, because he’s an upgrade over both current corners. Plus, with the Megatron and Greg Jennings in their division, a new cornerback wouldn’t hurt. 

22. Texans- Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State

The Texans' defense is way better than it was last year, and that is because of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme. However, to be even better, they need a legitimate nose tackle to fill up the middle. Worthy would be a big upgrade over Shaun Cody.

23. Saints- T.J. McDonald, S, USC

I think this is too high for McDonald to go, but given the state of Roman Harper, it’s really not that much of a reach. Harper became an internet sensation when he failed to tackle Marshawn Lynch twice on the same play during the playoffs. I don’t think that’s what the Saints want their secondary to be known for. 

24. Patriots- Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama

Rob Ninkovich is a starting outside linebacker for the Patriots. I really don’t need to say anything else, but I will anyway: Upshaw would be a huge upgrade. To have him, Jerod Mayo, and Brandon Spikes leading that backer core would be ridiculous.

25. Ravens- Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama and Florida

I don’t like taking FCS players in the first round, but Jenkins is an exception: he was a star at Florida and had to finish his career elsewhere when he was kicked off the team. He’s really good; everyone has just forgotten about him since he was forced out of Gainesville.

26. Bengals- Chris Polk, RB, Washington

This is the first big surprise of my mock draft, but I really don’t think it’s so unrealistic. Cedric Benson can’t stay on the field, and they need to give Andy Dalton help. Polk, who most people think of as a shifty back, weighs 220 lbs. this year and has over 1,000 yards on the season already. He’s a great receiver too; he’d be an excellent late first round pick.

27. Bills- Juron Criner, WR, Arizona

As with many of these picks, I think there are some reaches going on here. However, Criner is a great player and would form a nice complement to Stevie Johnson. The Bills gave Ryan Fitzpatrick a big contract extension, so they need to give him another receiver. 

28. Giants- Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

Don’t get me wrong: Greg Jones is a good player, but Kuechly is probably better. Plus, giving Kuechly the starting job would provide depth on the bench, as that is where Jones would end up. It’s a win-win situation. 

29. Steelers- Nate Potter, OT, Boise State

The Steelers are really good; everyone knows that. However, they need a new left tackle. Flozell Adams didn’t work out, and Chris Scott probably isn't going to be a franchise player. Potter is a good pick at 29.

30. Lions-Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina

I can’t believe the Lions are picking here, but lo and behold, here they are. They're pretty solid all around, but could use an upgrade over Bobby Carpenter/Deandre Levy. Brown is a really good value this late in the first round.

31. 49ers- Ronnell Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma

I don't think the 49ers won’t end up drafting here, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Parys Harlason is apparently a starter for San Francisco, and Lewis would definitely add some pass rushing from the OLB position.

32. Packers- Mike Brewster, Center, Ohio State

The Packers really don’t need any help. Let’s be honest. However, Scott Wells is not that great, and Brewster is the best center in the draft. Sounds like a solid combination.

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