1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M (Scouting Report)
The Chiefs moved quickly to address QB with Alex Smith and to lock up Dwayne Bowe before the league year began. The biggest remaining open question is the contract status of Brandon Albert, who is being shopped to either the Dolphins or Cardinals. Luke Joeckel would move right in to his LT spot if he is traded. Fisher is another OT option, but Joeckel is a perfect fit.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Dion Jordan Oregon
The Jaguars may look at Geno Smith, but may still try to take one more season to try and salvage Gabbert. Even if they decide to go QB, it would be the wise move to wait until the 2nd round and grab a playmaking defender. Jordan is an explosive edge rusher who would fill a huge hole on the Jags defense.
3. Oakland Raiders: Ezekial Ansah, DE, BYU (Scouting Report)
In the Raider tradition of Al Davis, the Raiders go with the physical freak with upside potential. There is no more intriguing prospect in this draft than Ansah given his raw natural ability. His tantalizing ability will be too much for the Raiders to resist and the pass up on the safer pick in Fisher.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Coach Chip Kelly may be hoping to be reunited with Dion Jordan as a center piece of his defense, but they will not hesitate to get the card to the podium if Fisher slips to them. Fisher is an extremely athletic big man who will be a perfect fit in Kelly’s ZBS. Look for them to address QB in the 2nd or 3rd round.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Millner, CB Alabama (Scouting Notes)
The Lions need to bolster their secondary and Millner showed at the combine he has the straight line speed to match his impressive coverage skills. Some teams have Xavier Rhodes on top of their CB board but Lions go with the safer pick of the two.
6. Cleveland Browns: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Flordia
The Browns are quietly building a formidable young team and adding an interior pass rusher to the defense would help them take the next step. The Browns may receive a flood of trade offers for this spot if things fall this way with OT Lane Johnson being the target.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
This would be a dream scenario for the Cardinals who have perhaps the worst o-line in the league. Adding a true franchise LT prospect like Johnson would be a huge upgrade. Teams will definitely try to leap frog the Cardinals to scoop up Johnson. If the Cards do miss out, don’t be surprised to see OG Cooper or Warmack go here.
8. Buffalo Bills: Ryan Nassib QB, Syracuse (Scouting Notes)
Although Nassib is a slight reach here, it is painfully obvious the Bills need to swing for the fences at QB. I believe Nassib will come in and compete with Kevin Kolb day 1 to be the starter but even if he sits and waits for a while eventually he could develop into a franchise QB. Marrone and Hacket will need a QB with a high football IQ to run their complex offense and their familiarity with Nassib will be a huge advantage. His 41 on the wonderlic, tops among the QB prospects, is a clear indication that will be able to quickly learn any playbook. The Bills likely are putting out feelers to move down a few spots to get better value here, but with the Jets having an extra pick from the Revis trade, if the Bills are truly focused on Nassib over Barkley and Smith, they may need to pull the trigger at 8.
However, Nix is a value drafter so the Bills could look to add a much needed piece for their defense. Word is that Pettine is particularly high on adding Dion Jordan, Ziggy Ansah or Safety Kenny Vaccaro to anchor his defense. Vaccaro is the most likely to be there, so it would not be a huge surprise if they went in that direction and hoped to snare QB with their second round pick. However, I believe they have been frustrated in the past few years by that strategy and missed out on prospects they had targeted in the 2nd round. Personally I rate Ryan Nassib at the top of my QB board and have him as a legit top 10 pick. However, Barkley would also be a good fit in Marrone’s West Coast attack, but I question his ability to drive the ball in the winds of Ralph Wilson Stadium. I think Geno Smith will struggle to read NFL defenses and Marrone, having witnessed firsthand some of his worst performances, knows this.
9. New York Jets: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah (Scouting Report)
The Jets have holes all over the roster and would be best served by going best player available. There is a strong chance whatever QB they have targeted will still be there at 13, so Lotulelei makes sense. Star was on his way to being a top 3 – 5 pick but some health questions were detected at the combine that may scare teams off enough to have him slip slightly, even though word is his condition is manageable.
10. Tennessee Titans: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU (Scouting Report)
The Titans signed Kamerion Wimbley last season to improve their pass rush but still need help. LSU’s Mingo is an explosive athlete who would be great value at this point in the draft.
11. San Diego Chargers: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
The Chargers look to sure up the interior of their o-line. While Warmack is the more popular name across draft sites, Cooper has quietly risen to the top of many team’s draft board at Guard. He is a safer, long term pick. The drop in River’s play may be directly related to the drop in quality of the offensive line.
12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Dolphins have been the most aggressive team in free agency but the secondary remains a major need. Rhodes is actually on top of many team’s draft board at CB ahead of the more heralded Milliner. Having him slip here would make for an easy decision for the Fins.
13. New York Jets (from Tampa Bay) : Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia (Scouting Report)
The Jets officially turn the page on a new chapter as they use the pick obtained by trading their best player in Darelle Revis for a new hope at QB. If the Jets pass on Smith here, he could be in for a long day.
14. Carolina Panthers: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
As mentioned above, it would not be a surprise if Vaccaro is the Bills pick at 8, but if he gets past them the Panthers would likely scoop him up here. The versatile Vaccaro could line up at multiple positions in the secondary and will soon become the anchor to the Panther D.
15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia (Scouting Report)
if you believe the tape, Jones is a top 5 pick but he has had a disastrous pre-draft period with questions about his health and athletic ability being raised. High risk, high reward pick here.
16. St. Louis Rams: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia (Scouting Report)
Visions of the fastest show on turf will be running through the Rams front offices head as the make the call to bring in possibly the most dynamic offensive weapon in the draft. The only question is will Austin’s 5’9” 175lb frame be able to endure a 16 game NFL season. The ever increasing new rules intended to protect players make this a safer pick than a few years ago.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State (Scouting Notes):
Perhaps better than any other team the Steelers will get the maximum out of the athletic and talented but undersized Brown. He matured greatly and emerged as a team leader at K State this season.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Chance Warmack G, Alabama (Scouting Notes)
The Cowboys would be happy to see Warmack fall to them here. The mauler was the anchor of the Tide’s dominant line that paved the way for yet another National Championship this season.
The Giants look to replace departed DE’s Osi Umenyiora with a prospect with a similar skill set. Werner would be a good fit on the Giants Defense and locker room.
20. Chicago Bears: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame (Scouting Notes),
Value meets need here as Eifert will quickly become a favorite target for Cutler. His ridiculous catch radius will be a huge asset in the red zone from day one.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
Ogletree is as talented as any defensive prospect in the draft but comes with some off the field baggage and questions about maturity. The Bengals have never shied away from taking talent with off the field issues.
22. St. Louis Rams (From Washington): Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington:
The league as transitioned from run and stop the run to pass and stop the pass. The Rams first two picks in this draft address both sides of the ball. Trufant is a true blue chip corner in this draft, but don’t be surprised if fast rising DJ Hayden is the pick ahead of Trufant.
23. Minnesota Vikings: DeAndre Hopkins WR, Clemson (Scouting Notes)
In his 3rd year, Ponder will need to step up to justify the Vikings high draft pick used on him. Adding weapons for him is critical to give him the best chance to succeed. While flashier prospects like Patterson and Austin have grabbed more of the pre-draft buzz, Hopkins sits on top of my board at WR and I suspect more than a few team’s also have him on top as well.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
The Colts look to replace long time DE Dwight Freeney. Jones has prototypical size and proved at the Senior Bowl he can be a disruptive force as an edge rusher.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle): D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama;
Besides finding weapons for Ponder, the Vikes need to find him more protection up front and help open up more holes for Peterson. We are hearing Fluker is much higher up team’s draft boards than is the consensus among draft sites so don’t be surprised if he is already off the board here.
The Packers look to replace departed WR Greg Jennings. If Matt Barkley does make it into the first round it will be in no small way directly related to the talent at receiver he had. Woods is a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hand and can turn a short route into a long TD every time. It won’t be long before he becomes a primary target for Rogers.
27. Houston Texans: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee (Scouting Notes)
This is the year the Texans may finally add a second wide receiver opposite Johnson. This is one of the deeper drafts at WR and the sweet spot for value is right here at the bottom of round 1. Hunter has great size and speed.
28. Denver Broncos: Cornellius “Tank” Carradine, DE, Florida State: The costly mishandling of the Elvis Dummervil contract forces Denver to address the hole at DE. Carradine is coming off an injury that forced him out all last season but has the upside potential to be a steal if he proves to be fully healthy.
29. New England Patriots: Keenan Allen, WR, California (Scouting Report)
A who along with FA acquisition Danny Amendola will help ease the pain of losing Brady’s long time security blanket in Wes Welker.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
Falcons address their secondary with a physical strong safety who loves to make contact and has a knack for making big plays in big spots.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri (Scouting Notes)
While this draft may lack flash on top, the quality depth of the meat and potato prospects is evident here that a player like Richardson could be available at the bottom of the round. 49ers, armed with multiple picks, can afford to go best player available.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Kevin Minter, LB, LSU (Scouting Notes)
The gaping hole at LB left by the retirement of Ray Lewis will be capably filled by thumper Minter, who emerged as a physical force in the middle of LSU’s defense. Minter has the ability to work through trash using his physical hands and instincts to track down the ball carrier from sideline to sideline.