Posted: 10:00 a.m. Saturday, April 27, 2013
By James Dator
The most surprising move on day two of the NFL draft was the Arizona Cardinals selecting Tyrann Mathieu (aka 'The Honey Badger) with their third-round pick. He has Reportedly agreed to weekly drug tests, so the team was comfortable rolling the dice on his upside and defensive versatility. While Mathieu will be reunited with former teammate Patrick Peterson, the St. Louis Rams made a bold move to reunite teammates also, selecting West Virginia wide receiver Stedman Bailey, locking up Geno Smith's two top targets after taking Tavon Austin in the first round.
Tank Carradine was one of the biggest names on the board entering the second round, falling out of the first round due to rumors of medical red flags. Ultimately it was the San Francisco 49ers who took advantage, as they have the flexibility to take a risk on an immense talent without the need to guarantee the success of the pick. When a team has so few needs it allows them to gamble, and nobody did it better on day two than the 49ers.
The talented inside linebacker from LSU was pegged to be selected by the Baltimore Ravens at the end of the first round, but instead the Cardinals were able to wait and take him with their second-round selection. Arizona's incumbent starter Daryl Washington will begin the season on suspension, so Minter fills a bigger need early than he otherwise would.
Tyrann Mathieu was one of the biggest questions entering the draft. An immensely talented defender, it was unclear what his role would be in the NFL. When paired with his storied history of drug use, it became a risky proposition taking him early. Mathieu will reunite with former teammate Patrick Peterson, who was selected by the Cardinals in 2011. Pegged to be a factor on special teams as well as defense, this could be a great pick, provided Arizona can give him some much-needed structure.
Prisco: B/ B-
Waiting until the 40th pick to select Carradine was a coup. The immensely talented pass rusher figured to go to needy teams at the bottom of the first round. The Niners waited, and added a very good player to their already fearsome defense. Chris Burke echoed this, saying the selection represented 'excellent value.' Now it's up to Jim Harbaugh to find snaps for his cadre of great defenders.
Vance McDonald can be plugged in and immediately replace Delanie Walker, who left for the Tennessee Titans via free agency. It's unclear whether McDonald could be an elite tight end on his own, but when paired with Vernon Davis he allows the team to use multiple two-tight end sets and give Colin Kaepernick even more weapons.
Rounding out their second day, the 49ers took another falling defensive player in Corey Lemonier. The pass rusher from Auburn will translate as an outside linebacker in the 3-4 and can be an impact player, especially when he won't be asked to step in an contribute from day one.
Prisco: A-/ B/ A
The Rams second day mirrored their first round, looking to add equal help to their offense and defense. Free safety T.J. McDonald wasn't the most highly-rated prospect when he was selected with the 71st pick, but fits the mold of what Jeff Fisher likes to do on defense.
Getting Stedman Bailey with the 92nd pick was huge. The Rams now have both of Geno Smith's top receivers, and the former teammates work well in small spaces, displaying an excellent ability to make defenders miss after the catch. They entered the draft in dire need of adding more weapons, and through two rounds they've executed this plan perfectly.
Prisco: D+/ A-
Much like the 49ers, Seattle has very few needs. At this point they're adding depth and looking forward to their future needs. Christine Michael is a powerful, bruising runner in the mold of Marshawn Lynch, and they'll find a way to use him on offense. One of the more talented backs in the draft, he fell due to off-field concerns and run-ins with coaches at Texas A&M.; With a solid locker room surrounding him, Michael could be one of this draft's steals.
Unlike Michael, defensive tackle Jordan Hill is lauded for his character. One of Penn State's leaders during a difficult time, what he lacks in size he makes up for with effort. A penetrating 4-3 under tackle, he could be a player we look at in three years wondering why it took so long. He will get upfield and add excellent depth on third-down situations.
Prisco: B+/ B+