The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

April 23, 2013

Predicting the 1st round of NFL draft

(Continued)

LANE JOHNSON, OT, OKLAHOMA

12. MIAMI (7-9)

Yet another team needing blocking help. After the Dolphins made so many splashes in free agency, they can afford to fill a void, especially when one of the better offensive linemen still is available.

JONATHAN COOPER, G, NORTH CAROLINA

13. NEW YORK JETS (6-10)

They didn't miss on Rhodes, but they will consider an offensive playmaker here such as Tavon Austin or DeAndre Hopkins. In the end, the back end on defense will be the target, and because this seems too high to take a safety, New York grabs ...

XAVIER RHODES, CB, FLORIDA STATE

14. CAROLINA (7-9)

The Panthers will be tempted to go back to the big guys. Then they will spot the little guy with the game-breaking skills on kick returns, as a receiver and even perhaps in a version of the wildcat. They can't resist ...

TAVON AUSTIN, WR, WEST VIRGINIA

15. NEW ORLEANS (7-9)

The Saints will take about 10 seconds of their allotted time to write down their pick, instantly improving their pass rush with a guy with good feel for getting to the quarterback and plenty of upside.

BJOERN WERNER, DE, FLORIDA STATE

16. ST. LOUIS (7-8-1)

St. Louis would have liked a shot at Austin — receiver definitely is a need — and could go for one here. But with another pick coming up soon where they can get a pass catcher, the Rams opt for the best safety in this draft.

KENNY VACCARO, S, TEXAS

17. PITTSBURGH (8-8)

As the Steelers keep insisting they are not a team in transition, one look at the roster says otherwise. Free agency losses hurt them, and they lack the depth they've had in their contending seasons. The first upgrade this year is ...

STAR LOTULELEI, DT, UTAH

18. DALLAS (8-8)

They would have loved Vaccaro in their secondary. The Rams spoiled that, and the Cowboys consider bolstering their backfield and offensive line before taking the best man still unclaimed.

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