1. (TSB) Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
2. (Swagstein) St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.
3. (TSB) Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
4. (Swag) Cleveland Browns: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
5. (TSB) Tampa Bay Bucs: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
6. (Swag) Washington Redskins: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
7. (TSB) Jacksonville Jaguars: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
8. (Swag) Carolina Panthers: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
9. (TSB) Miami Dolphins: David DeCastro, G, Stanford
10. (Swag) Buffalo Bills: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
11. (TSB) Kansas City Chiefs: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
12. (Swag) Seattle Seahawks: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Note: Even though my 11th pick (Morris Claiborne) won’t be correct, I feel even better with the rationale now that the Chiefs have signed Stanford Routt.
13. (TSB) Arizona Cardinals: Michael Brockers, DL, LSU - Here’s another team in desperate need of a quarterback. Unfortunately, no one in this year’s class seems worthy of being selected this high so they should focus on either of their lines. At this spot, I think Brockers offers the best value. He’s a versatile defensive lineman that could be paired nicely with Darnell Dockett to clog the interior. If the Cardinals can re-sign free agent Calais Campbell, this becomes a strength for Arizona.
Commentary (Swag): I like Brockers, think he’s top 10 talent but think this is around where he should go. Defensive tackles have been going pretty high over the last couple years, most falling flat, this seems like a perfect spot for Brocker. And not only on the board but the team as well. If Arizona can control the line of scrimmage in the NFC West, there isn’t a passing offense to be scared of, could make them an immediate threat in the division, see: 2011, 49ers, San Francisco.
14. (Swag) Dallas Cowboys: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama - The Cowboys have options here, could go with the taller, more physical, and safer pick with Dre Kirkpatrick out of Alabama, but we’re talking about the Cowboys and Jerry Jones here, so they’ll obviously go with the flashier pick and the player with the most off the field issues. Jenkins was a standout corner at Florida and a lock top-10 pick, but even though he majored in Social and Behavioral Sciences, he couldn’t figure out how to behave in society. He was arrested three times while at Florida, twice for drug related matters. This makes this a great pick for the Cowboys. Seriously though, they are in dire need of help in the secondary which has been getting shredded for a couple years now. Terrence Newman gave up almost 10 yards per attempt last season, and after getting absolutely embarrassed by Victor Cruz in the Cowboys finale last season, it’s obvious he is no longer a starter in the NFL. And since he is inexplicably signed through 2014 it is all but assured he’ll be released. The Cowboys need someone that can come in and challenge Orlando Scandrick for the starting CB spot opposite Mike Jenkins.
Commentary (TSB): Bold pick. I like the research into Jenkins’ major too. Corner is the obvious need here. Hard to argue the talent, but like you mentioned this dude has plenty of off-the-field issues. Approved.
15. (TSB) Philadelphia Eagles: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama - This guy is just too good to pass up here. Asante Samuel has had one foot out the door for about the last three years. Nnamdi (Nigerian for “overrated”) Asomugha has not lived up to the billing, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been a bit of a bust as well. In this division, teams need to stop the passing game, and Kirkpatrick would help do just that. The Eagles also need some linebacking help, but with Kuechly off the board I’m not convinced the gap between someone they could get here with the 15th pick and someone they could get a round or two later is that large.
Commentary (Swag): Like was mentioned by TSB, LB is the need here, but value-wise that will have to be targeted in the second round. I agree with the sense a CB makes, but with the money they’ve invested in that area I can’t see them also burning a first rounder on it. It’s like admitting they made a huge mistake, and if they haven’t fired Juan Castillo on the more glaring mistake of making him DC, they won’t use this pick on a CB. I think besides LB, an area of need would be DT. For a team running a 3-4, this position is almost as important as QB, you need to find a nose tackle that you can plug in and rely on for years (ex: Haloti Ngata, Vince Wilfork, Casey Hampton), and I think a player like Dontari Poe out of Memphis is exactly that. A 6’4” 350 pounder that will anchor that line and eat up blockers. It will shore up a defense that is perennially poor in short yardage situations.
16. (Swag) New York Jets: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis – Because the Eagles let this big man stay on the board, the Jets scoop him up to fit right into their defensive scheme. Even though the Jets spent their first two picks of the 2011 draft on the D-line, guys this massive are rare, and when you have a chance to grab one you do it. The Jets once dominant defense has become pretty average. Since Rex Ryan took over, the Jets have never given up over 98 yards/game on the ground. They gave up over 110 yards/game on the ground in 2011. A presence like Poe in the middle can be a game changer, he’s still raw, but in the right system (IMO the Jets have it) and with the right coach (IMO the Jets have it), this guy can thrive and become a game changer. And with the dominant LB corps the Jets have, this kind of guy can make a huge difference. Jets could also look along the OL, either way they need help along the line of scrimmage.
Commentary (TSB): Analysis of this pick will come in a future post.
17. (TSB) Cincinnati Bengals: Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia - The Bengals need a running back badly to form a nice trifecta with last year’s top two picks, AJ Green and Andy Dalton. However, none is worthy of a pick this high. For reasons unbeknownst to me, this franchise refuses to trade up in the draft. If ever there was a year to do it, I think this would be it with the target being Trent Richardson. We aren’t forecasting trades though so I’m going conservative with Glenn, a guard that might be able to contribute from day one especially since Cincy is staring at a number of free agents along their o-line. Protect the QB.
Commentary (Swag): Again, I just can’t picture teams drafting guards in the first round, that’s just a personal thing. Like I know it’s been done before and all, I just can’t predict it, my mind won’t let me. If you’re in the bottom 5 of the first round and your rushing offense is THAT terrible, maybe…. But I don’t care how good you are as a guard, if you were that good you’d be a tackle, otherwise wait until the second round. That said, I think Cincinnati has two bigger holes, one is at CB where Leon Hall is coming back off injury and very likely won’t be ready by week 1. Nate Clements, 32 years old, and Pacman Jones are what’s left. With Kirkpatrick and Jenkins off the board, anyone else here would be a reach at this point, and they have another pick at 21. I can see them filling the other need with this pick, RB Lamar Miller from Miami. He just had shoulder surgery which has hurt his stock a little bit, but he’s a RB from the U and is an absolute homerun threat, something Cincinnati is lacking.
18. (Swag) San Diego Chargers: Jonathon Martin, OT, Stanford - Protect Philip Rivers. This is a top priority for SD, who (according to The San Diego Union-Tribune) will likely release LT Marcus McNeill to give them even more cap room. If they opt not to resign Jared Gaither they could take Martin here. If Martin can do it with all the pressure of protecting future #1 pick Andrew Luck, he’ll be ready to do it for Philip Rivers. I do think the Chargers need help at WR, but that’s pending on what happens with Vincent Jackson, we’ll know more in a couple of weeks.
Commentary (TSB): Another pick that makes sense here. Martin has been rumored to come off the board anywhere from third overall down into this area of the first round. Seems like a very good value pick to me.
19. (TSB) Chicago Bears: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor - This pick should take 0.004 seconds to happen. Perfect match between team need / player skill / draft value here. Jay Cutler would love this guy. If RGIII couldn’t overthrow this guy, no way Jay Cutler can. He’ll fit in nicely replacing Johnny Knox who got snapped in two late last season against the Seahawks (see below). Absolute no brainer.
Commentary (Swag): Can’t argue this pick, like you said it hit the trifecta. Just covers everything the Bears need right now. Some outlets are saying there are team execs that have this guy rated higher than Blackmon on their boards, so this is a tremendous value at #19.
20. (Swag) Tennessee Titans: Mark Barron, S, Alabama - I think their biggest need is the interior of the offensive line, but as I’ve made clear I hate wasting picks on that position in the first round, plus no one really fits here with the better prospects off the board already…. They do need help in their secondary, though. Aging veterans, lack of depth and free agent questions are all swirling. He’s by far the top safety in this draft and very good against the run with the size to do it (6’2”, 225 pounds). Fills a need and is a real good value at #20. Again, if I was Tennessee and could trade out of this pick I probably would. Wouldn’t mind some extra picks while targeting a CB or an interior lineman later in the round or even into the second round.
Commentary (TSB): I had my eye on Barron for the Lions pick at #23 so I think this is an appropriate range for this guy, but I’m not sold on the Titans actually needing a safety unless Michael Griffin bolts in free agency which seems unlikely at this point. Corner will be a need if Cortland Finnegan jets from Nashville, but this team was decimated by the run last year giving up almost 130 yards per game. I would have gone with one of the DT’s still on the board like Penn State’s Devon Still or Michigan State’s Jerel Worthy.
21. (TSB) Cincinnati Bengals: Alshon Jeffrey, WR, South Carolina - Four spots after they last picked, I still don’t see a running back on the board that is far superior to the rest. Lamar Miller has some pedigree, but I’m lukewarm on him as a player. If the Bengals add Jeffrey here, they could add someone like Boise State RB Doug Martin in the second round. With Jerome Simpson possibly going to Sam Hurd State Penitentiary for the foreseeable future, Jeffrey slots in nicely as the number two receiver behind AJG giving Dalton even more weapons. AJ Green, Jeffrey, Jermaine Gresham, Whiteboy Shipley, second round RB… fireworks in Ohio.
Commentary (Swag): If I had a real ratings system, Jeffrey wouldn’t be that high on it. Something about him screams “Mike Williams with the Lions”. He’s gained a good amount of weight and is playing heavy for a WR. It’s noticeable when you watch him, just no explosiveness, lack of acceleration and just slow in and out of breaks. Only balls you see him come down with seem to be jump balls, not him beating a defender or getting over the top of a defense. He just doesn’t fit for me in the first round. I also don’t see the pressing need for a WR right now, there’s more desperation in the backfield IMO. I do see your reasoning here if there was value that couldn’t be passed up, I just don’t see the need to reach for a WR over reaching for a more pressing need at RB. If Cincinnati is going to reach I’d also look at CB Alfonzo Dennard out of Nebraska who I think may be a better value pick here.
22. (Swag) Cleveland Browns: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami - Cleveland has a much bigger need area at WR, but with how this draft has transpired they’re going to have to wait to address that need. They still have a serious problem at RB, and with RG3 locked up it’s time to get him a weapon in the backfield. Miller was the first RB to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season since Willis McGahee in ’02, and he’s a burner. Wouldn’t shock me if he has the fastest time at the combine of any RB. He’s got Chris Johnson type of speed for a RB and can score from anywhere on the field. His ability to make plays in the passing game is still a question due to the small sample size, but if he can excel in that area he could be the steal of the draft.
Commentary (TSB): What about Peyton Hillis? I’m not sure why everyone is so sure he’s leaving town. He’s a year removed from a monster 1,177 yard / 11 TD season. It’s the year-after the Madden curse season. Why are the Browns so desperate for a running back when they have him as an internal option? Yes, he’s a free agent, but if they retain him they can give RGIII some more weapons, like one of the top tight ends in the draft. None has been taken so far so they can have their pick. Also, if Miller puts up Chris Johnson-type speed numbers at the Combine, I will be shocked.
23. (TSB) Detroit Lions: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State - We finally got to see what a healthy Matthew Stafford could do. The Lions need to do everything in their power to make sure he stays healthy, and that means keeping him upright. Adams ran into some off-the-field issues at Ohio State (selling memorabilia), but the reports I’ve been reading have all been positive in reference to his character. It’s not like he committed some crime. If he wasn’t a college athlete, and he sold some stuff on eBay, no one would have blinked. Plus, this year’s starting LT Jeff Backus is a free agent, and rumors have him fleeing for greener pastures. Wouldn’t be the worst thing to get younger at the position.
Commentary (Swag): The Lions need all the help they can get protecting Mr. Glass behind center. If they can keep him healthy they’re in every game, it’s just too bad most games are shootouts due to their horrendous secondary. I agree offensive line is their top priority, but wouldn’t be shocked if they considered taking Alfonzo Dennard here for some secondary help. Stafford needs all the help he can get to stay healthy, though.
24. (Swag) Pittsburgh Steelers: Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State - Torn ACL’s are the theme of the offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers: DT Casey Hampton, RB Rashard Mendenhall and OT Max Starks all went down with season ending ACL tears. The last two are the most significant as Mendenhall’s happened Week 17 and Starks blew his in the playoff loss to Denver. Barring miracle rehabs, neither will be ready by opening day. With depth at RB the Steelers aren’t desperate, but an aging and fragile offensive line before Starks’ injury makes this a serious need. Pittsburgh may not address it if they seek value over need with the pick, possibly opting for a versatile TE in Dwayne Allen out of Clemson, but investing in the protection of you oft-hit quarterback is never a bad move. If Dontari Poe falls to them here, he’d be the sure fit to replace Hampton at the nose, but the way this plays out this is the immediate need.
Commentary (TSB): I agree the Steelers need help on both their offensive and defensive lines, but Sanders doesn’t excite me at all as a prospect. I think the Steelers would be better off getting one of the top DT prospects (Still or Worthy) here and addressing the o-line later.
Part III will be posted by Friday.
Part III will be posted by Friday.