141.) Texans: Justin Ellis, Louisiana Tech (6’1, 334): The Texans lost DT Earl Mitchell in the off-season and are thin at DT. Ellis was a good run-stuffer as a NT in college and flashed some pass rush skill at the Shrine game and again at the Senior Bowl, but hasn’t done it consistently enough to be a sure thing. Ellis has plenty of talent though and is moving up most draft boards. He could provide depth at NT initially and eventually move into the starting role as his technique improves. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ellis goes a round or two earlier than this.
142.) Redskins: CB Chris Davis, Auburn (5’10, 202) - As I mentioned last round, all of the Redskins defensive backs graded negatively last year. They need help. Davis will always be famous for his 109-yard TD return that shocked #1 ranked Alabama and for giving up the winning touchdown in the NCAA championship game, but if he ever wants to be known for anything in the NFL, Davis will need to clean up his technique in coverage. Davis is way too handsy and over aggressive in coverage, but does have elite speed and better strength then you would expect from his small frame. He can run with anybody but is consistently out of position and his aggression can be easily taken advantage of with double moves. Davis’ best chance to stick in the league is as a kick/punt returner and with his explosiveness he could be a great one, but he will have to drastically improve his coverage technique if he is going to see the field on defense.
143.) Buccaneers: WR Kevin Norwood, Alabama (6’2, 198) – After trading Mike Williams, the Bucs need some depth at wide receiver. A late riser this off-season, Norwood was a long shot to get drafted after not being utilized much during his senior year at Alabama (38, 568, 7). Norwood’s route running skills stood out during the Senior Bowl practices and then again in the position drill portion of the combine. He also is a solid blocker and has reliable hands. Norwood earned a spot in the draft and as a 25 year-old rookie should be able to contribute right away.
144.) Jaguars: DE Aaron Lynch, South Florida (6’5, 258): The Jags had one of the worst pass rushes in the league last year. They brought in some free agents to help, but they still need more talent on the edges. Lynch is extremely talented, but might have the worst work ethic in the draft. His stock is plummeting due to attitude concerns and reports from his former teammates calling him selfish, lazy, immature, self-centered, and a handful of other negative adjectives. Lynch looked like a lock for the first round as a freshman at Notre Dame, but looked like a completely different player by his junior year at South Florida. He has lost about 20 pounds since his freshman year and some of his strength with it. Lynch showed glimmers of his old pass rush ability, but was very inconsistent last season and most of the time he looked apathetic. Lynch did turn it on the last few games of the season, but is that enough to convince a team that he’s serious about football? He still has a high ceiling but his odds of getting there are slim.
145.) Browns: DE Ben Gardner, Stanford (6’4, 272) – His senior season was cut short by injury but Gardner was productive when he played with 4.5 sacks, 7.5 TFLs, and 9 QB hurries in just 8 games. He was a surprise snub from the combine, but made up for it at his pro day by posting a 39.5″ vertical leap, 10.2″ broad jump, and a 6.78 3-cone time. Gardner’s results in all three workouts would have been in the top 5 of the defensive lineman at the combine. He’s a bit small for a 3-4 DE, but he should be able to contribute at the position right away on passing downs until he gets strong enough to be a 3-down DE.
146.) Seahawks: CB Walt Aikens, Liberty (6’0, 205) – Made the freshmen all Big 10 team for Illinois before being kicked off the squad due to an arrest for theft. After a couple of weeks of jail time, Aikens ended up at Liberty where he dominated inferior competition. Aikens eased some competition concern at the Senior Bowl where he was one of the better corners in practice. Aikens has the height teams are looking for now, the strength to play press coverage, and the fluidity to play off-man. Aikens wasn’t invited to the combine but ran a 4.46 40-time at his pro day. After proving he has the straight-line speed to play in the league, the biggest concern is the jump from Liberty to the NFL. It may take him some time to adjust, but I think Aikens will end up being a solid NFL corner and he’s a perfect fit for the Seahawks scheme.
147.) Falcons: CB Ross Cockrell, Duke (6’0, 191) – The Falcons could use some depth in their secondary after the release of CB Asante Samuel. Cockrell is underrated because he played at a non-traditional football school, but Duke was a pretty darn good football team last tear. Cockrell is a three-year starter with good speed and solid coverage skills. He’s not a big time play-maker but he has the fluidity to stick with receivers and the height to match up with the taller ones. Cockrell should have value right away as a 3rd or 4th corner in sub packages and could eventually develop into a solid #2 CB.
148.) Vikings: S Ahmad Dixon, Baylor (6’0, 205) - The Vikings could use an upgrade over Jamarca Sanford at strong safety. Dixon’s stock has dropped due to a poor Senior Bowl performance and mediocre combine, but is a good value pick in the mid-rounds. He’s a sure tackler and has the speed and instincts to eventually be solid in coverage. Dixon likes to hit and with a little refinement of both his tackling and coverage techniques, he could be a solid NFL starter at strong safety. In the short-term he should excel on special teams.