22. Miami Dolphins – Gareon Conley (Cornerback, Ohio State)
Conley is a name which has been rising up draft boards in the recent month even garnering praise from Eagles draft head Joe Douglas. Miami would be foolish to pass up on Conley if he was still on the board at pick 22. Truth be told I think he will go top 15, but at this point I’m not restructuring my mock draft I simply won’t do it folks. Conley has the ability to play press-man while also fitting into other coverage techniques at the next level. He’s got the size at 6 foot nearly 200 pounds which NFL teams are looking for in any corner entering the league. Some scouts believe offenses will target Conley earlier to see if he can turn and run with receivers after playing press coverage. Missed tackles was an issue for Conley while at Ohio State, and teams will most certainly target his side in the ground game if he continues to struggle in that area. The Dolphins definitely can use the help at the corner position with former Eagle, Byron Maxwell, and Xavien Howard penciled in as the starters. Conley has the opportunity to challenge early in his NFL career for a starting spot.
23. New York Giants – Malik McDowell (Defensive Tackle, Michigan State)
The Giants lost defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins to the Colts during free agency leaving a void next to Snacks Harrison up front. New York has the edge rushers under contract with Olivier Vernon and JPP, however generating a pass rush from the defensive tackle spot is important to Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme as well. As is the case with many draft prospects the scouts are in awe of the skillset for McDowell. The word raw has been attached to him, though, which can be a scary though for NFL front offices. He has the size and quickness you’re looking for in an NFL defensive linemen. The main question is whether the light switch will fully go on for McDowell once he’s drafted or if he’ll always leave the coaching staff wondering what if. His footwork and technique as a pass rusher have specifically been pinpointed as areas where he needs to drastically improve. Steve Spagnuolo combined with the Giants veteran defensive line core could prove to be the perfect landing spot for McDowell.
24. Oakland Raiders – Kevin King (Cornerback, Washington)
King has unusual size for even the growing trend of taller NFL cornerbacks as he stands at 6 foot 3. He originally came to Washington as a safety where he played during his freshmen season before making the transition to full time corner. The upside for King was the fact he showed improved ball skills during this past season including an increased number of pass breakups. King also has played the slot corner as well should his defensive coordinator opt to move him around based on formations. One of the knocks on King is his lack of physicality in terms of being a tackler on the edge. His size is ideal for playing press coverage although scouts are considered whether King has the recovery speed to mirror receivers down the field. Oakland is thin at the cornerback position, and veteran Sean Smith is coming off a season where he struggled in his first as a Raider. Interestingly enough King actually played high school football in Oakland for former NFL linebacker Hardy Nickerson.