As things get closer to the NFL Draft and once free agency starts there will be a lot of players shuffling around the draft board. It was thought for a while that West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith would go #1 overall to the Kansas City Chiefs, but after their recent addition of Alex Smith, that will no longer happen. More moves will change things, but here is our first take on this year’s NFL Draft.
1. Kansas City Chiefs- Luke Joeckel, LT, Texas A&M
You can guarantee that the Kansas City Chiefs will be selecting a left tackle with the first overall pick, but I’m no so certain Joeckel is a lock anymore. Joeckel had a very good season at Texas A&M and turned in a decent workout at the Combine. He would be a solid fit and is definitely able to play right away. The only reason he isn’t a lock anymore is because of the rise of Central Michigan LT Eric Fisher. Fisher was a beast at the Senior Bowl and had a great Combine. Teams are very high on him right and he is definitely going to challenge Joeckel for the top spot. Joeckel has to have a solid pro day to go #1 and for the moment, I see him ending up with the Chiefs.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars- Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Jaguars have all sorts of needs and their defense is pretty much in shambles at the moment. They had the fewest sacks in the NFL and could use a pass rusher. That being said, I think they will go best defensive player available and in my mind, that is Sharrif Floyd. Floyd was a monster at Florida and had a great Combine. He showed that he is a quick twitch athlete and gets off the ball very well. Having a monster in the middle will make their defensive ends job easier rushing the passer.
3. Oakland Raiders- Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Like the Jaguars, the Raiders have a lot of needs on the defensive side of the ball, and in typical Raiders fashion, I see them selecting an athletic freak. Jordan weighed in at 6’6″ 248 lbs and ran a 4.6 40-yard-dash. They’re in need of a pass rusher, and Jordan is a playmaker that can help out their terrible pass rush. There have been rumors that the Raiders love Geno Smith, but I don’t see it happening at the moment with the amount of draft picks they spent to acquire Carson Palmer and Terrelle Pryor.
4. Philadelphia Eagles- Eric Fisher, LT, Central Michigan
The Philadelphia Eagles had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL last year, and if they are going to protect Michael Vick and move the ball on offense, they need to fix that. Fisher has been a monster since the season ended and his stock is going through the roof. It’s possible, though, that the Eagles would look at Lane Johnson (LT, Oklahoma) because of his rare athleticism. Johnson’s athleticism would make him a better fit in the high-tempo offense Chip Kelly likes, but Fisher’s potential and ability to block anyone makes him a can’t miss pick.
5. Detroit Lions- Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Lions have major needs on the defensive side of the ball. With Cliff Avril likely leaving, they could select a defensive end, but there is simply too much depth in the draft at that position to take a DE here. The Lions can target the defensive line later in the draft, and take the only elite cornerback in the draft. They need a #1 cornerback and Milliner proved that he can be that guy.
6. Cleveland Browns- Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Browns are in a very interesting position. They took a quarterback last year under a regime that is no longer in charge and it is rumored that the new guys aren’t a fan of Brandon Weeden. I don’t see them taking a quarterback in the first round again though. They have too many needs to worry about quarterback at the moment, especially with this weak of a class. Bjoern Werner would provide a high-motor pass rusher on the defensive side of the ball that would greatly help out the rest of their defense. Weeden can be the quarterback for another year while they try to fix the franchise before moving onto a new guy.
7. Arizona Cardinals- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Arizona Cardinals are in dire need of a quarterback and Geno is the best available QB this year. Their carousel of horrible quarterbacks has to stop and they need a guy that can get the ball to Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Target an offensive lineman at the top of the second round, and the Cardinals can turn things around in no time.
8. Buffalo Bills- Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU
The Bills are in need of a franchise quarterback, but none of them on the board after Smith are worth taking in the Top 10. If they can’t trade down, then they’ll look to help out the defensive side of the ball and then draft a guy like EJ Manuel or Ryan Nassib later on. Defensive end isn’t as much of a need as inside linebacker, particularly because they just let Nick Barnett go, but with no elite inside linebacker or quarterback available, it would be wise to take the best player available here. Ansah is a physical specimen and tore up the Senior Bowl and Combine. Pair him with Mario Williams and Marcel Dareus in the middle and you will have one of the best defensive lines in the league.
9. New York Jets- Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
The Jets franchise is in shambles currently. They don’t have a quarterback and they have cut some key defensive players in the past few weeks. With the possibility of trading Darrelle Revis on the table, they’re practically blowing up the franchise. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them trade out of this pick, but like the Browns, they need to take the best player available. After taking Stephen Hill, a risky receiver in the first round last year, they can’t possibly do it again by selecting Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson. Jarvis has some injury concerns with the spinal stenosis and it is possible for him to drop out of the first round all together. But he is a perfect fit in Rex Ryan’s 3-4 defense and would add some much needed pass rushing ability.
10. Tennessee Titans- Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Tennesee Titans have a ton of playmakers on offense, but they don’t have a solid offensive line to open the run game or give Jake Locker time to throw the ball. Warmack would provide immediate help at guard, and would be a perfect road grader to help Chris Johnson get back to being a 2,000 yard rusher.
11. San Diego Chargers- Lane Johnson, LT, Oklahoma
The Chargers are reportedly in love with Lane Johnson and they would sprint to turn in their draft card if he is there at #11. Johnson is a rare athlete for his size, 6’6” 302 pounds, and would be able to protect Philip Rivers blind side. He would immediately inject some life into a horrific offense and give Rivers confidence again passing the ball.
12. Miami Dolphins- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
There are plenty of questions about Patterson and whether or not he is the real deal or just a one-year JUCO transfer wonder. Patterson had a decent combine, and the Dolphins are in major need of a wide receiver for Ryan Tannehill to throw to. This pick could change though if the Dolphins sign Greg Jennings or Mike Wallace in free agency.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
They did a good job last year revamping their defense, but they need a cornerback to replace the aging Ronde Barber, who doesn’t have many seasons left in the NFL. Xavier Rhodes is thought by many to be the 2nd best corner behind Milliner, and he would provide youth and athleticism in the secondary.
14. Carolina Panthers- Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Panthers need help on the defensive line and Richardson is the best defensive tackle left on the board (since Star Lotulelei’s health is up in the air). Richardson would be a beast in the middle that would help Charles Johnson rush the passer better and allow their secondary to not have as much pressure on them. They had a lot of defensive players injured last year (Jon Beason, Chris Gamble) and adding them back plus Richardson would help them out greatly.
15. New Orleans Saints- Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
With a shift to a new 3-4 defense, the Saints will have to revamp their front seven. Mingo would provide a great stand up, rush linebacker in their system, and they would be ecstatic to see him fall to them at #15.
16. St. Louis Rams- Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
The Rams have had plenty of offensive line issues. With the Top three tackles off the board, the Rams will take the next best thing and take the best offensive lineman still on the board and target a tackle later in the draft. Cooper would provide great help to the left side of the line and get Sam Bradford much needed protection.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers- Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
Moore has struggled through the draft process, but with an aging linebacker core, the Steelers will take the best pass rusher left on the board and be happy for his poor Combine performance (4.95 40–yard dash & 12 reps on bench). Moore doesn’t have elite speed or strength, but pair him with Lamarr Woodley and that shouldn’t be an issue.
18. Dallas Cowboys- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Cowboys are in dire need of a safety to help out their solid group of corners and Vaccaro is by far the best safety in this draft. Put Vaccaro in with Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr and their secondary is looking very good and quite young.
19. New York Giants- Tank Carradine, DE/OLB, Florida State
The Giants have some needs at linebacker/defensive end and Tank Carradine can help with that. The only reason Carradine hasn’t been considered a first rounder by most is because he’s coming off a torn ACL. At the combine he showed off his athleticism and that he is back on track with his development. He’s a polished pass rusher that would greatly help out the Giants defense.
20. Chicago Bears- D.J. Fluker, RT, Alabama
Fluker might not make it past the Rams if they decide to reach a bit on a tackle, but the Bears have almost no choice but to draft Fluker. Jay Cutler gets hit far too often and if he has more time, the Bears offense will be far more efficient.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- Matt Elam, S, Florida
Just missing out on Fluker and Vaccaro will frustrate the Bengals here and I wouldn’t be surprised if they even tried to trade down if this happens. It would be a bit of a reach here to take Elam, but he’s a good player and the Bengals need help in the secondary.
22. St. Louis Rams- Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The St. Louis Rams need to give Bradford another weapon as well as protect him and Tavon Austin is just that. He is arguably the most explosive players in the draft and would provide a huge shot of life into their offense.
23. Minnesota Vikings- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
The Vikings are in dire need of a #2 receiving option to pair with Percy Harvin. Hopkins is the best available receiver and should be a virtual no-brainer for Minnesota. Hopkins has fantastic hands and will provide a reliable receiving option for Christian Ponder.
24. Indianapolis Colts- Datone Jones, DE/OLB, UCLA
The Colts releasing Dwight Freeney means they are in the market for some pass rushing help. Jones had a superb Senior Bowl and a solid week at the Combine and would be a good fit for the Colts.
25. Seattle Seahawks- Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Jesse Williams is widely considered to be a nose tackle destined for a 3-4 defensive scheme, but he did play some in the 4-3 in college. Williams is a very strong in the middle and would be great at penetrating the offensive line when paired with a guy like Bruce Irvin lining up on the outside.
26. Green Bay Packers- Jonathan Cyprien, S, FIU
The Packers are in need of a lot of help in the secondary and with the release of Charles Woodson, they need a safety to replace him. Cyprien is a reliable tackler and very good in coverage and could help alleviate any concerns about the secondary.
27. Houston Texans- Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State
The Texans would love another wide receiver to pair with Andre Johnson, but if they wait until the second round there will be more value there for them. With Brian Cushing coming off a knee injury, help at inside linebacker will be a great boost to their defense. Brown may not have perfect measurables but he’s a good football player with solid speed and tackling ability.
28. Denver Broncos- Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
The Broncos, like the Texans, could use help at inside linebacker and despite not having elite size, Minter is the best available option for them. Minter would be very good next to Von Miller or Elvis Dumervil.
29. New England Patriots- Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The 29th ranked pass defense is in huge need of help and Trufant will bring some elite speed to the back end. It’s not a certainty that the Patriots will re-sign Aqib Talib, and so Trufant makes sense here.
30. Atlanta Falcons- Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
With the release of Michael Turner, the Falcons need some life brought back to their running game. Jaquizz Rodgers is a good back, but he’s not an every down back. Lacy is a big, strong running back that would be a great addition to their offense. Lacy and Rodgers would provide a solid “Thunder and Lightning” combo and both are used to splitting carries.
31. San Francisco 49ers- Margus Hunt, DE/DT, SMU
With 15 picks in the draft and an already very solid young team, the San Francisco have the luxury of reaching on a player that is raw, but a physical freak. Hunt blew the doors of the Combine and would be an absolute force on the 49ers front seven. With the amount of talent they have, Hunt can take his time developing, and won’t be exposed.
32. Baltimore Ravens- Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
A big body player that can play the nose and replace Terrance Cody, who certainly seems like a bust at this point. Hankins will eat up space at 6’3,” 320 and be good rotating with perennial Pro-Bowler Haloti Ngata.