After the dust has settled on the first round, who should teams target on Day Two?
The beauty of the NFL Draft lies in its unpredictability.
Teams move up in the draft to nab a player they particularly covet. Others move back in the process because the guy they have targeted can be selected later. Some teams reach on a player who didn’t expect to hear his name called in the first round. The result can be excellent prospects — who felt great about going in the first round — actually drop into the middle rounds for one reason or another.
Last year’s second round featured linebackers Lavonte David, Bobby Wagner and Mychal Kendricks. The trio combined for 353 total tackles in 2012 as rookies for Tampa Bay, Seattle and Philadelphia respectively. Others like Janoris Jenkins (64 tackles), Zach Brown (5.5 sacks) or defensive tackles Jerel Worthy and Kendall Reyes also made instant impacts for their teams.
The dust has settled on another wild first round and it’s time for NFL front offices to reevaluate their draft boards and get back to work. The second round starts at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Here are Athlon’s Best Available Players on Day Two:
1. Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
There are very few sure-things in any NFL Draft much less after the first 32 picks. Warford is a plug-and-play stud at guard who isn't far behind both first-round studs Chance Warmack (TEN) and Jonathan Cooper (ARI). He was widely considered by opposing coaches as clearly the best player on a team with little to no support. And he still produced at an All-SEC level despite the struggle of his team. He is productive, powerful, game-ready and a steal in Round 2.
2. Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
Matt Taibbi said it best, "take the weed guy." Allen is a superstar in the making. He has elite ball skills, plays physical football, understands the game and is ready to play right away (unlike one first round "athlete" headed to Minnesota). He was extremely productive and led a wide receiver-rich Pac-12 in yards two years ago with little to no support from his half-brother, Golden Bears quarterback Zach Maynard. Think a slightly smaller Larry Fitzgerald. Watch.
3. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
Both Brown and Manti Te'o were considered the best linebackers in the nation in 2008 and '09 as five-star recruits. Brown took much longer to realize his potential after making a poor decision to sign with Miami. After returning home to Kansas, he blossomed into a consistent superstar and Big 12 champion with the Wildcats. He is a bit undersized but has more than enough speed, physicality and instincts to start right away on the next level. The second round last year featured more than one undersized stat-stuffing tackler — Lavonte David, Bobby Wagner, Mychal Kendricks — and those selections worked out pretty well.
4. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
The physical measurables at the combine have never been and will never be an accurate depiction of NFL potential. Never does a linebacker run in a straight line for 40 yards in shorts. Te'o is a leader, an incredibly productive player, a tremendous member of the community and will be a starter in the NFL. His work ethic is unquestioned and his off the field story is one of naiveté rather than evil genius — which is both positive and negative.
5. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
The Tar Heels star can do it all. He has speed to burn, great vision, burst, explosiveness and versatility. He will be a big part of the passing game and, unlike most rookies, is excellent against the blitz. At his best, Bernard isn't as talented as fellow back Marcus Lattimore, but Bernard has loads of tread left on the tires as he departed Chapel Hill as a redshirt sophomore. In a very talented, very deep running back class, Bernard is the most complete and most game-ready of the bunch and fantasy players should take note. He is a more mature LeSean McCoy — which is a scary thought.
6. Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Few corners bring as much length and experience at an elite level like Banks. He is tall and long and matches up with the bigger, more physical modern NFL wide receivers. He can play in any scheme and will be a physical player around the line of scrimmage. Against the best competition in the nation, Banks was a highly respected and decorated player at a premium position. Sign me up.
7. Robert Woods, WR, USC
Few players have the combination of big-play talent, toughness and football IQ like Woods. Despite his smaller stature, he shouldn't be considered a finesse player. This, actually, is probably the only thing that kept him from being taken in the first round. If he was two inches taller and 15 pounds heavier, his durability wouldn't be an issue and he would have pressed Tavon Austin for top wide receiver status. He produced at an elite level and has been a proven commodity for years since being named the National High School Player of the Year as a prep senior.
8. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Thursday night was an obviously painful experience for the West Virginia gunslinger. Whether one particularly scathing pre-draft scouting report was accurate or not, the bottom line is Smith isn't a first-round quarterback. That said, he posted too many numbers, won too many games and has too many physical skills not be worth a risk at the beginning of the second round. Look for someone to jump up and snag the Mountaineers signal caller early in Day Two.
9. Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
Big, physical, handsy and versatile. Few programs coach the tight end position as well as Stanford. Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw develop true tight ends with the ability to be inline blockers as well as flexed out wide receivers. Ertz is a slightly less athletic, more physical version of Coby Fleener from a year ago. There is a chance he is the better of the two.
10. Jonathan Cyprien, S, FIU
He didn't play against elite competition in the Sun Belt but he makes highlight-reel plays. A big hitter with great speed and range, Cyprien has all the tools to excel at the next level. He may take some time to refine and polish his game but there is loads of upside with this heavy-hitting safety. He is a slightly smaller version of Bernard Pollard.
Related: Sharrif Floyd's amazing journey to the NFL
11. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
A steal once he returns to full health. Durability a concern, talent isn't.
12. Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Position and scheme changes stunted overall production but gets to the quarterback.
13. Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
Likely the top tackle left on the board after a deep run in the first round.
14. Kawaan Short, DL, Purdue
Heart and soul leader of the defense in West Lafayette. Very productive.
15. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
A complete player on and off the field who is game-ready and talented enough to start.
16. Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
If he can prove he will be aggressive and dependable like he was pre-knee injury, he will be a star.
17. Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
Aggressive player who consistently made big plays for a team that expected to win every Saturday.
18. Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
Stop me if you have heard this: undersized, productive, physical, instinctual second-round middle linebacker.
19. Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Isn't flashy or overly explosive but is extremely dependable, well-coached and physical.
20. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
Big, burly physical runner who dealt with constant injury concerns. Riskier pick with big-time upside.
Related: Grading the First Round of the 2013 NFL Draft
21. Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
22. Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
23. Brian Winters, OG, Kent State
24. Sio Moore, LB, UConn
25. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
26. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
27. Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
28. Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
29. Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State
31. John Simon, OLB/DE, Ohio State
32. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee