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11. Buffalo Bills: DE Everette Brown. While some think the Bills will look to add an offensive lineman to replace OT Jason Peters with this pick, the Bills are in need of a solid pass rusher off the edge. And this is what Brown brings to the table.
A quality offensive lineman can be found later in the draft and we think the Bills could target one at pick No. 28 or in the second round.
12. Denver Broncos: DE Tyson Jackson. HC Josh McDaniels now finds himself with even more holes to fill than when he was hired, but the most pressing area is still on defense.
It’s the main reason why Shanahan and Cutler are gone. Had Denver been able to stop anyone, they’d have been a playoff team in 2008 and their entire outlook would be different. So look for them to scoop up Jackson, who will provide pressure off the edge and be stout against the run.
13. Washington Redskins: OT Michael Oher. The Skins are looking to beef up their line and will be happy to find Oher on the board with their pick. They run the football first, pass it second. And finding a complement to LT Chris Samuels will help them execute their offensive game plan more effectively. He’ll also be groomed as Samuels eventual replacement.
14. New Orleans Saints: CB Malcolm Jenkins. Although some mocks have Chris “Beanie” Wells going at this pick to replace the departed Deuce McAllister, the Saints need help on defense. It’s the reason why they’ve missed the postseason the last two seasons.
Jenkins provides excellent value at this point and will provide the Saints with a young, talented secondary. Last year’s second round pick, CB Tracy Porter, was playing extremely well before an injury put him out for the year.
15. Houston Texans: LB Brian Cushing. The Texans need to get better defensively if they are going to compete in the AFC South. Offensively, they’re strong; it’s the defense that needs an upgrade. After building up its defensive line over the past few years, it’s time to solidify the linebacker position. Cushing is a nice fit and will make his presence felt early on.
16. San Diego Chargers: LB Ray Maualuga. The Chargers still have a deep and talented roster but are a bit thin at the line backing position. Maualuga is a big-time talent and will provide a boost to a unit that was banged up last year after Shawne Merriman was placed on IR. This move should turn a weakness into a strength.
17. New York Jets: QB Josh Freeman. The Jets are apparently in love with Freeman’s athleticism and he is set to become this year’s Joe Flacco—the guy who rises out of nowhere to be a first round pick. And with the QBs currently on the roster can you blame them?
New York’s not the best place to throw a kid “into the fire,” but if they bring him along slowly and let him adapt to the speed of the game, this might be a pick that pays huge dividends in 2010 and beyond.
18. Denver Broncos: LB Robert Ayers. The Broncos could go running back at this pick, but defense should be the theme in round one. Ayers provides a big body at the LB position and will help boost a unit that performed poorly in 2008.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Peria Jerry. The Bucs’ defense is still the team’s backbone, but they’re lacking a big body in the middle of the defensive line. Jerry would solve this problem.
And after watching the Panthers’ impressive RB tandem tear this unit apart last December, stopping the run is of utmost importance.
20. Detroit Lions: DE Aaron Maybin. After taking Stafford at No. 1, look for the defensive minded Schwartz to turn to his roots: defense. And landing Maybin with the 20th selection would be a steal for the Lions.
It’s virtually impossible to be successful in today’s NFL without having pass rushers who can get to the QB, and Schwartz addresses a problem area here at pick No. 20.