National Football League Draft
National Football League Draft (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Jameis Winston- QB Florida State

This still appears to be the pick here. Mariota didn’t do enough in his pro day to make the Bucs consider him over Winston. He is probably the better fit for Tampa’s offense, and is a local kid, which the fans will love. Winston should be throwing touchdowns to Mike Evans for the Bucs next year.

  1. Tennessee Titans- Marcus Mariota- QB Oregon

After improving their pass rush in free agency, bringing in Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan, it seems like they are gearing up to address offense in the draft. They say they have faith in Mettenberger for now, but teams always say that. Truth is he is not a franchise QB. They will take Mariota here. Also important is that head coach Ken Whisenhunt seemed to be one of the only people impressed with Mariota’s pro day.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars- Leonard Williams- DT USC

Jaguars have a young offense in the making between QB Blake Bortles, and wide receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson. They also recently added TE Julius Thomas in free agency. Now they just have to be patient. Meanwhile, they pick the best defensive player in the draft in Williams. He will have an immediate impact, and will serve as both a run stuffer, and a pass rusher from the middle of the Jaguars line.

  1. Oakland Raiders- Kevin White- WR West Virgina

Amari Cooper is probably the better overall WR. He is more polished, and has the better resume. After a great combine, and an impressive pro day though, Kevin White is going to be the first WR off the board. His potential is probably higher than Cooper’s and will probably pair with the big arm of Derrick Carr a little better. Raiders can’t really go wrong here though, as both Cooper and White are going to be studs at the next level.

  1. Washington-Dante Fowler- DE/OLB Florida

With Orakpo signing with the Titans, Washington needs to find a young replacement. Fowler would be the best pass rusher on the board. He needs to bulk up, but coming out of college, he draws comparisons to Von Miller, which is a very good thing. This would give the Redskins a dangerous pass rush, and between Fowler and Ryan Kerrigan, QB’s would have a tough time to deciding whom to run from.

  1. New York Jets- Amari Cooper- WR Alabama

After signing almost every free agent defensive back, the Jets defense is set. They have a strong front seven, and a very expensive secondary. After that, their other needs would be QB, RB, and OL. No one at any of those positions are worth picking here though. Because of that, they may as well just go with best offensive player available, which would be Cooper. The pick would turn what was once their biggest weakness, into perhaps their biggest strength. A WR group of Cooper, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and Jeremy Kerley would be formidable enough that even Ryan Fitzpatrick could score points.

  1. Chicago Bears- Vic Beasley- OLB Clemson

Sticking with Beasley as the pick here. Again, the bears need players who can fir the 3-4 scheme, and Beasley is perfect for it. Taking Beasley would be the first step in rebuilding that once formidable Bears defense. He is an amazing athlete, and will help the Bears create a better pass rush.

  1. Atlanta Falcons- Brandon Scherff- OL Iowa

Falcons spent a lot of money addressing the defense in free agency. While they still need a legit pass rusher, the focus on defense in free agency seems to show they intend to go offense in the draft. They are set at wide receiver, and it’s too early to take a RB. What they do need though is some protection for Matt Ryan. The offensive line showed improvement last year, but could still use a boost. Scherff could slide in almost anywhere on the line except center and give Matt Ryan more time to find Julio Jones and Roddy White down the field.

  1. New York Giants- Arik Armstead- DE Oregon

The Giants struck out big time in free agency. They failed to address almost any of their needs, including a pass rusher. Armstead may be a bit of a reach here, but he is the type of high potential pass rusher the Giants love to take a risk on. Most of the other pass rushers remaining on the board are a better fir for the 3-4 at this point anyway.

  1. 10. St Louis Rams- Andrus Peat- OL Stanford

The Rams have to positions they need to address if they want to give new QB Nick Foles a better chance than they ever gave Sam Bradford. They need to solidify the o line, and they need to give him a WR. With the two best WR’s off the board, the best choice would be to take an o lineman, and to get the WR in the second round. Peat may have the highest ceiling of any linemen in the draft. He needs to improve his technique, but with a little work, he could be an anchor for the Rams offensive line.

  1. Minnesota Vikings- Trae Waynes- CB Michigan State

Bringing in Mike Wallace through a trade gives the Vikings the ability to wait to add another WR. This allows the Vikings to address the biggest need on their team, which is at the cornerback position. Their secondary remains a mess after free agency. Adding the best corner in the draft would be a good first step in fixing that.

  1. Cleveland Browns- Davante Parker- WR Louisville

This pick here makes even more sense after they lost TE Jordan Cameron in free agency. Now with Cameron in Miami, and Josh Gordon suspended for at least a year, they are left with no legit threats on offense. If they want Johnny Manziel, or whomever is their QB this year, to have any chance, they have to get some weapons. Parker is the best receiver on the board, and is an necessary pick for the Browns

  1. New Orleans Saints- Randy Gregory- DE/OLB Nebraska

The Saints have begun to overhaul their team, trading Kenny Stills, Ben Grubbs, and Jimmy Graham. In return, they got a 1st round pick and Max Unger for Graham, a 3rd and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe for Stills, and a 5th round pick for Grubbs. They now need some playmakers on offense, some offensive line help, and a good 3-4 pass rusher. Rangy Gregory is the best player available that fits one of those needs. Like Fowler he needs to bulk up a little, but he should be able to rack up a handful of sacks right out of the gate for the Saints.

  1. Miami Dolphins- Marcus Peters- CB Washington

The Dolphins made a handful of big splashes in free agency, the biggest of which was bringing in Ndamukong Suh. They haven’t addressed the cornerback position though, and it is their biggest need going into the draft. Marcus Peters is probably the best available, and while he comes with some off the field issues after being dismissed from Washington, Dolphins haven’t shied away from taking players with issues in the past. If you disagree, I will remind you again that they signed Suh this off season, who is consistently ranked among the most disliked athletes because of his reputation as a dirty player, and a hothead.

  1. San Francisco 49ers- Jalen Collins- CB LSU

This off season has not been kind to the 49ers. First off, they lose both of their cornerbacks to free agency, Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox. Then Frank Gore leaves as well. To make matters worse, ILB Patrick Willis announces he will retire, and DE Justin Smith has been considering retirement. They have gone from having one of the deepest rosters in the league a few years ago, to having a roster with more holes than. Collins would fill one of the bigger holes at corner, but they will have a lot more work to do. At least they brought in Torrey Smith, and paired him up once again with Anquan Boldin.

  1. Houston Texans- Jaelen Strong- WR Arizona State

After losing Andre Johnson, the Texans need to find someone to take his place. The remaining options in free agency are not very appealing, so they would be wise to look in the draft. Strong is probably the safest pick left on the board. He doesn’t have elite speed, but he is a smart route runner, has good hands, and will be a good red zone target in the NFL. Paired with Deandre Hopkins, the two would make a great duo for whomever ends up behind center for the Texans.

  1. San Diego Chargers- Danny Shelton- NT Washington

Chargers end up getting the steal of the draft. Shelton is by far the best Nose Tackle in the draft. The problem with NT, is that is a position that doesn’t exist on many NFL rosters who run the 4-3. The Chargers, who run the 3-4, lack a good NT. He is everything you want a NT to be. He is big and mobile, and if allowed to only work downhill, he will clog up the inside of the Chargers line, forcing opposing running backs to either bounce outside, or find a way to slip past his massive frame.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs- T.J. Clemmings- OT Pittsburgh

Bringing in Jeremy Maclin makes the Chiefs biggest need OL. They could definitely upgrade at QB, but taking any of the QB’s left on the board would be a reach. OL would be the best position to address here, and T.J. Clemmings is the best available. He is still learning the position after switching sports from basketball, but he has all the attributes necessary to be a dominate lineman. With a little work, he could be an all-star.

  1. Cleveland Browns- Malcom Brown- DT Texas (Pick acquired from the Bills)

The Browns addressed wide receiver with their first pick, now they need to address their other big weakness, run defense. They ranked 32nd in the league last year in stopping the run, so it is definitely a place they need help. Brown would make a big difference in that area. This pick would make it a strong first round for the Browns. They get two of the best players in their biggest areas of need.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles- Dorial Green-Beckham- WR Oklahoma

Eagles have had one of the wildest off-seasons in a long time. They traded Lesean Mccoy for Kiko Alsonso, brought in Byron Maxwell, traded Nick Foles for Sam Bradford, and then stole Demarco Murray from their rival the Cowboys. They also lost Jeremy Maclin to the Chiefs though, making Wide receiver a major position of need. Green-Beckham has had some issues, but he is as talented as almost any receiver in this class. He would make a position of weakness into a strength. Eagles would pair him up with last year’s 2nd round pick Jordan Matthews, with Josh Huff in the slot, and Zack Ertz at TE. Not to mention Murray, Ryan Matthews, and Darren Sproles rotating at RB. That’s a better group of weapons than Bradford ever had in St Louis.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals- Shane Ray- DE/OLB Missouri

Bengals probably wouldn’t be able to call the pick in soon enough if Ray fell all the way to 21. If ray had performed in the combine, he could have easily been ranked as one of the top pass rushers in the class. The draft is deep enough that any of the pass rushers could fall this far. Unlike pass rushers from Missouri in the past who failed to live up to their college production, Ray has attributes fitting what an NFL pass rusher looks like. He has great speed for the position, and has a high motor, playing each snap as hard as the last.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers- Landon Collins- S Alabama

The Steelers need to find a Safety to take over for the aging Troy Polamalu. Collins isn’t a great cover safety, but he can wreak havoc in the box. It will be hard to match the production of a legend like Troy Polamalu, but Collins should be good enough to fill the void.

  1. Detroit Lions- Jordan Phillips- DT Oklahoma

Trading for Haloti Ngata will go a long way in replacing Ndamukong Suh, but DT is still a major hole after also losing Nick Fairley to the Rams. Phillips played NT in college, but would still probably fit nicely in a 4-3 front. He is not only big, but he can use his size to his advantage. He is also surprisingly quick for his size. He won’t be as good as Suh was, but he will at least make running backs think twice before running down the middle.

  1. Arizona Cardinals- Melvin Gordon- RB Wisconsin

The Cardinals problem last year was their offense. While that had a lot to do with the injuries at the QB position, it also was because of a lack of production from the running backs. Andre Ellington hasn’t lived up to his potential, as the Cardinals ranked 31st in rushing last year. No running backs have gone in the first round for two years, but Gordon is talented enough to break that streak.

  1. Carolina Panthers- D.J. Humphries- OT Florida

Offensive Line remains the biggest need for the Panthers, even after almost a week of free agency. If you had any doubts, whether O-line is a need or not, check out this tweet from Adam Schefter. Cam newton has taken a beating in his time in Carolina, and while some of that is attributed to his play style, it has a lot to do with the offensive line. Humphries has the potential to be a stellar tackle.  He is the best available tackle on the board, and this is a rare instance where picking for need is more important than just going best available in general.

  1. Baltimore Ravens- Devin Smith- WR Ohio State

Who exactly is Joe Flacco supposed to throw to next year? There is an aging Steve Smith, and there is Dennis Pitta, that is it. With Torrey Smith going to San Francisco, getting another weapon for Joe Flacco is a priority. Devin Smith is the best deep threat in the draft. Not only does he have blazing speed, but he knows how to use it. He is the perfect target for the big arm of Flacco.

  1. Dallas Cowboys- Shaq Thompson- OLB Washington

Lost in all the talk about losing Demarco Murray to Philadelphia, is the loss of two linebackers as well. Bruce Carter and Justin Durant both walked in free agency. Shaq Thompson made a name for himself in college creating turnovers. He isn’t going to be as good as the top linebackers in the class, and may be just a bit of a reach here, but the pick makes sense. The Cowboys have reached to fit a need in the past, and it has worked, as it did with Travis Frederick. They will wait to the second round to find a replacement for Murray.

  1. Denver Broncos- Benardrick McKinney- ILB Mississippi State

Like the Bears, the Broncos are making the switch to a 3-4 defense. Whenever a team makes that move, it serves them well to stack up on talent with experience in the 3-4. McKinney isn’t going to be a star, but the Broncos already have Von Miller and Demarcus Ware to be the stars of the defense. What they need is someone down the middle willing to do the dirty work. McKinney will be a thumper up the middle of their defense, and will help ease the transition to the new defense.

  1. Indianapolis Colts- Eric Kendricks- ILB UCLA

The Colts addressed many of their needs in free agency. They needed a running back, they brought in Frank Gore. Needed a WR to replace Reggie Wayne, they got Andre Johnson. In addition, they brought in Trent Cole to help the pass rush, and Todd Herremans to help the o-line. None of these are permanent solutions, but they will help. They still need an ILB though, and they will get a great one in Kendricks. Colts fans will have fun watching Kendricks run sideline to sideline to make plays. 

  1. Green Bay Packers- Denzell Perryman- ILB Miami

The Packers were ecstatic when they saw that both of the top inside linebackers were on the board two picks before them. Unfortunately, both will be taken at picks 28 and 29, leaving them having to reach a little bit for Perryman. He isn’t a bad catch as far as consolation prizes go. While his ceiling isn’t as high as Kendricks, and he isn’t as polished coming out of college as McKinney, he is still a solid pick. Like McKinney, he is someone who will be willing to do the dirty work down the middle. This will let Clay Matthews get back to being a playmaker, and get after the QB.

  1. New Orleans Saints- Devin Funchess- WR Michigan (Pick Acquired from Seahawks)

After trading both Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills, the Saints need to find another weapon for Drew Brees, assuming he isn’t traded as well. Funchess is a big body that Drew Brees should have no trouble finding across the field. He started out as a TE at Michigan, but made the switch to receiver in his last season. The great thing about players who make the switch from TE to Receiver, is it means they usually have the speed to outrun quicker corners, and the strength to overpower the bigger corners.

  1. New England Patriots- PJ Williams- CB Florida State

With Derrelle Revis going back to the Jets, and Brandon Browner signing in New Orleans, there is a need for the Patriots at corner. They do have Logan Ryan, who may be ready to step up as a starter, but after that, there is no one left who could hold their own as a starter. Williams is talented enough to be able to put a receiver on an island. He would be a great pickup at pick 32.