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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 21-25
As you get further and further into the latter stages of the first round, you begin to see some really interesting picks being made. Teams that may not need additional depth at a given position might start adding it if a player they deem an underrated talent is still on the board. Teams figure that they can experiment and take players that nobody had rated very high around this point too. Most importantly, though, this is where you begin to see picks get traded away -- or at the very least shopped around -- as teams position themselves for the coming rounds.
Because four of these next five teams made the postseason this season, these picks do carry a little extra weight in terms of what they'll mean for the rest of the league. That's just something worth considering when someone tells you that the draft doesn't matter.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Lamar Miller, RB, Miami. Andy Dalton showed one and all that he is a very, very capable NFL-level passer. With that need filled, now the Bengals can shift their focus on the other half of the offensive equation – the rush attack. Miller is a hard-nosed runner and he’ll provide the perfect balance to a Dalton-A.J. Green aerial assault that will spearhead Cincinnati’s offense for years to come.
22. Cleveland Browns – Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor. The Browns may or may not find a way to upgrade the quarterback position before the start of next season. Either way, a speedy and talented wide receiver with excellent hands like Wright will be an absolute steal for Cleveland at this late juncture of the draft. The Browns would be wise to look into bolstering up their line too, but nabbing Wright at No. 22 is too good an opportunity to pass up.
23. Detroit Lions – Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin. GM Martin Mayhew has been pretty adamant as far as his intention to take the best player available at this point. In that spirit, he may ultimately have to settle for the best center available. This team has slowly rebuilt itself from a laughing stock into a powerhouse by stocking up on key defensive pieces. It’s high time for the squad to now start doing that very same thing on the other side of the ball.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis. The Steelers really need offensive line improvement, unfortunately there won’t be any first round-caliber talent available at this point. Because of that, Pittsburgh will shift the focus to defense. Out of all the talent available, the absolutely massive Poe makes more sense than anyone else with this pick. He’s the perfect piece to install smack dab in the middle of a 3-4, he’ll serve as an ideal heir apparent to Casey Hampton, and he allows the Steelers to squeeze maximum value out of a pretty decent pick. Makes sense any way you look at it.
25. Denver Broncos – Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson. Now that Tim Tebow has officially been dubbed next year’s starting quarterback, the Broncos need to surround him with some talent. Even though the squad has some defensive holes that they could probably shore up here, look for them to get a big, easy-to-spot tight end for their much-maligned passer to throw to. Allen is a huge target, has great hands and would immediately take some pressure off Tebow by finally giving him a non-Demaryius Thomas person to pass the ball to.