If you missed the analysis on picks 1-10, click here. On with the show...
11. Taylor Lewan, OL, Tennessee Titans
While I believe Lewan will be a solid NFL starter for years to come, this is a curious choice for the Titans. They have invested heavily in the position as of late, handing a massive contract to Andy Levitre last offseason and spending last year's top draft choice on Chance Warmack. Warmack's struggles last season may have contributed to this pick. I believe the Titans should have taken Aaron Donald or Darqueze Dennard to replace the departed Alterraun Verner. A mediocre team can't afford to dedicate this many resources to the offensive line or keep whiffing on 1st round picks. Warmack deserved a sophomore season to prove himself.
12. Odell Beckham Jr, WR, New York Giants
This one comes as a bit of a shock, but it fills a huge need for the Giants. Beckham is undersized at 5-11, but has great hands and is a proven play maker. Some scouts even had Beckham rated above Mike Evans. With the loss of Hakeem Nicks and the Giants' apparent distrust in Reuben Randle, this is a choice that makes a ton of sense for the Giants. Eli Manning is coming off a terrible season and can use all the help he can get. Beckham had 26 receptions on passes thrown 15 yards or more last season, which led all of college football.
13. Aaron Donald, DT, St. Louis Rams
The Rams are my early choice for team with the best overall draft. Robinson was an A+ as their first selection and Donald is an absolute steal at #13. Aaron Donald was a top 10 talent who inexplicably slid down the board due to some head scratching choices by the teams above them. The Rams' defensive line was already a nightmare for opponents with Robert Quinn and Chris Long. Now, with the addition of Donald, they become borderline impossible to block. You can't dedicate a double team to any one player and Quinn especially should have every opportunity for a 20 sack season. The NFC West was already the toughest division in football and just got even tougher.
14. Kyle Fuller, CB, Chicago Bears
Chicago was always a safe bet to use this pick on a defensive player, as they struggled in every aspect on that side of the ball last season, forcing Jay Cutler and Josh McCown to try to outscore opponents. However, I think they would have been better served addressing their front seven, as every team they faced was able to run on them with impunity. The Bears had the single worst rushing defense in the NFL, giving up 2,583 yards. This was a staggering 410 yards more than the next worst rushing defense and the Bears should have selected CJ Mosley, the best remaining front seven player on the board. If they were set on getting a contributor for the secondary, Dennard or Clinton-Dix would have also been better choices. A puzzling decision for the Bears, picking an undersized corner in a division with Calvin Johnson.
15. Ryan Shazier, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers
The once formidable Steel Curtain has fallen on hard times, but the Steelers always seem to reload, with a constant pipeline of youthful talent. This is especially true at the LB position, as you can think of no better team for a young stud LB to go and learn. Shazier was a tad underrated on draft boards and the Steelers did a good job of pinpointing his value. He's got a nose for the ball, and lives in opposing backfields. Shazier led FBS with 22.5 tackles for a loss, and had 143 tackles last season. For an aging defense, Shazier will provide a much needed shot in the arm.
16. Zack Martin, OL, Dallas Cowboys
And the Cowboys shock the world by avoiding the splashier Manziel choice and going with the sensible decision! Martin is a great pick for a team that struggled to protect Tony Romo, getting him injured last season. With the selection of Martin, the Cowboys will now be able to field a competent line at all positions. What stands out on tape with Zack Martin is his consistent effort and the fact that he always seems to be in the right place at the right time. The Cowboys wisely realized that any good team is built from the lines out and acted accordingly. This pick has the coaching staff (read: not Jerry Jones) written all over it.
17. CJ Mosley, LB, Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens have a proven track record of drafting well and this year is no different. Mosley was a borderline top 10 prospect, who like Aaron Donald, fell due to other teams making foolish choices. He's the first LB selected in the 1st round by the Ravens since Ray Lewis, which worked out pretty well for them. He's a 3 down linebacker, a natural leader who plays with toughness, discipline and rarely makes mistakes. He should make for a great tandem with Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata. A no brainer choice once you factor in Ozzie Newsome's connections to the Alabama program.
18. Calvin Pryor, S, New York Jets
Color me puzzled that the Jets didn't address the WR position here, with Brandin Cooks still on the board. But Rex Ryan is a defensive coach and Pryor was one of the best safeties still available. Dennard and Clinton-Dix are starting to slide, I thought both of them would be gone by now. Pryor is a ballhawk, who's very adept at baiting QBs into throws. He's a big, physical safety and the NFL is a copycat league. Teams have watched Seattle's success with Earl Thomas and are now on the hunt for their own version. Pryor forced 7 fumbles over the last 2 seasons and for a Jets team that has struggled to force turnovers as of late, he fills a definite need.
19. Ja'Wuan James, OL, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins were certainly OL deficient with the loss of Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, but this choice is somewhat of a reach. Morgan Moses graded higher than James, but it's clear to see that the Dolphins were seduced by James' durability and track record of protecting the passer. He set a record at Tennessee, starting all 49 games of his career. It's easy to see that the Dolphins' hand was forced by the beating Ryan Tannehill took last season, as their prized young passer suffered 58 sacks. Scouts were split on James, some giving him a 1st round grade, others giving him a 2nd. Either way, he will be a Day 1 starter in South Beach.
20. Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints (acquired pick from Arizona)
As soon as the news broke that the Saints traded up to #20, the writing was on the wall. Cooks was one of the most talented receivers in the draft and I believe the Saints moved up to keep him away from Chip Kelly. At Oregon State, Cooks was a demon in producing yards after the catch and despite having less than prototypical size, he regularly beat opponents to jump balls, displaying impressive physicality. Having Drew Brees to get him the ball is a dream come true and look for him to go off the board early in your fantasy draft. The Saints lose Darren Sproles and immediately find a way to get better.
21. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Green Bay Packers
The Packers get one of the best value picks in the 1st round. Clinton-Dix could have and should have gone in the top 15, and for a team that had a glaring need at the safety slot, this was an easy call. The Packers were the only team in the league not to record an interception from the safety position, and Clinton-Dix will provide an elixir to a secondary that couldn't stop the pass or force turnovers. This choice made too much sense for the Packers not to make. Clinton-Dix has a high football IQ and will fill a huge void for the Packers' defense.
Stay tuned for Part 3, where picks 22-32 are broken down, coming very soon.