Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, Quarterback, Florida State:
Tampa Bay has been a team in need of an identity for the past several years. This season Tampa had the raw talent at receiver with Mike Evans, Tight End Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and veteran receiver Vincent Jackson to turn some heads in the putrid NFC South. Instead Tampa failed to average 21 points per game or open up rushing lanes consistently.
With the lack of identity or direction evident in everything Tampa Bay tries to do the team needs a change. The combined 58% completion percentage and barely 1/1 Touchdown to interception ratio by the combined efforts of Quarterbacks Josh McCown and Mike Glennon make this pick the easiest in the draft. Jameis Winston has done what he has needed to do so far this offseason by keeping his head down and nose clean. If he impresses with the interview process and continues to prove he can stay out of the spotlight he will most likely be drafted with the first pick.
Previous Selection: Marcus Mariota, Quarterback
Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota, Quarterback, Oregon:
Tennessee is a team that needs talent everywhere on the field. Tennessee is 29th in points per game, 30th in total yards, 27th in rushing yards, 31st in points against, 30th in yards against, 17th in sacks, and last in rushing yards against. While Tennessee could use a quarterback. Tennessee has said it wants to develop Zach Mettenberger but I don't see it.
Marcus Mariota took home all of the gold, or bronze in this case, at the 2014 College Football Awards Ceremony winning the Walter Camp Player of The Year award, the Maxwell Award for the nation’s most outstanding player, and the Davey O’Brien Award for the nation’s best Quarterback. Mariota is 6’4, 220 pounds, has accumulated 53 total touchdowns, a 68% Completion percentage through the 2014 regular season. Mariota also has a career 8.4 to 1 career Touchdown to interception ratio. As a quiet kid from Hawaii, Mariota is also a humble leader that will put on a strong face for Tennessee.
Jacksonville is dead last in points per game, 31st in yards per game, and have surrendered over 55 sacks. The Jacksonville offensive line has been nothing short of offensive this season leading to a putrid rushing attack and wasted season for a talented receiving core of Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Cecil Shorts, and Marqise Lee. The front five’s inability to protect has led to a disastrous rookie season for Quarterback Blake Bortles who had a .64 Touchdown to Interception ratio while being grounded by defenses 55 times.
Brandon Scherff is a strong run blocker and can hold his own in pass protection making him an upgrade at either Right or Left Tackle. he has strong fundamentals and a strong hand punch at the point of attack. Getting a left tackle capable of protecting blake Bortles should be Jacksonville's #1 priority.
The Raiders are devoid of talent both offensively and defensively. Oakland is ranked last in the NFL in Rushing yards per game, and total yards per game while being 26th in passing yards and 31st in points per game.
Quarterback Derek Carr needs help offensively and Amari Cooper is the best offensive weapon in this draft. Amari Cooper is a Heisman Trophy finalist, the SEC Offensive Player of the year, and shattered Iron Bowl records with 13 catches and 224 yards. Cooper is a notoriously hard worker from the Southern Florida area that has churned out stars such as Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders; a diamond trove for football talent in the 1980’s. Cooper also amassed 1,656 yards and 14 touchdowns as a Junior, and 29 touchdowns in his career.
Previous Selection: Leonard Williams, Defensive Tackle
Washington Redskins: Leonard Williams, Defensive Tackle, University of Southern California
The Washington Redskins are a team that has systematic issues starting from a meddling owner who knows little about football to their marketing practices which have been seen as counterproductive to campaign ads for an agenda. Despite that Washington is a talented team with a strong head coach that is constantly battling a terrible owner and a lack of identity due to a quarterback situation that is less than desirable. However due to military esq tactics by Head Coach Jay Gruden, it appears that Robert Griffen may be poised for his best season as a professional.
That being said, Washington can take the best player available. Leonard Williams is a strong, athletic, big body that gets a lot of penetration with both a bull rush and speed. Williams is also the best player at a position of need at this juncture.
Previous Selection: Brett Hundley, Quarterback
New York Jets: Danny Shelton, Nose Tackle/Defensive Tackle, Washington
The New York Jets are one of the teams in this year’s NFL Draft that lack talent everywhere. Quarterback is a disaster, receivers are underwhelming, pass rushers are docile, it’s a mess. The Jets need an infusion of talent, of energy.
The first thing new head coach Todd Bowles and General Manager Mike Maccagnan need to do is infuse the team with not only talent but a winning attitude on the field. Danny Shelton is a 340 pound athlete who can stop the run, run well in pursuit, and rush the passer. He has the ability to play the Nose or the 3-Technique in a defense making his value rise for a team like the Jets. This pick will make even more sense if the Jets land Suh from Detroit.
Previous Selection: Amari Cooper, Wide Receiver
Chicago Bears: PJ Williams, Cornerback, Florida State University:
The Chicago Bears are a mess defensively with a severe depletion of talent and identity. The bears are last in points allowed, 31st in passing yards against, and 29th in yards against. Rookie Cornerback Kyle Fuller is second on the team in tackles, first in forced fumbles, and first in interceptions, yet no other Corner has more than one interception.
PJ Williams is excellent in press coverage and has the height (6’1) and length to cover bigger receivers. The 5’11 Fuller and 6’1 Williams are both aggressive Corners and could combine to give the Bears an edge that they have not had since the heyday of Brian Urlacher.
Atlanta Falcons: Randy Gregory, Defensive End, Nebraska
Atlanta's pass rush was horrendous last year only garnering 22 Sacks all season. Randy Gregory has trouble getting off blocks from bigger blockers but is fast, uses the rip move well, and has a non-stop motor when pursuing a player. Against Rutgers Gregory was pancaked by two offensive players, sprang to his feet, and still made the tackle from behind, showing his amazing recovery to acceleration rate. If Gregory can learn to use his hands better he can be a force for Atlanta.
Previous Selection: Eric Kendricks, Middle Linebacker
New York Giants: Shane Ray, WHEEL, Missouri
Spencer Paysinger, James Davidson, and Devon Kennard are three names most people have never heard, all played games for the New York Giants at outside linebacker during the regular season, and all combined for a total of 68 Tackles on the season.
This being said, Shane Ray is a versatile, athletic, 245 pound linebacker that has been a disruptive force for Missouri for the past three years. Ray has recorded 14 sacks, 61 Tackles, -45 solo tackles- and has done this while dealing with constant double teams. Not only that but Ray is a pass rushing force off the edge that would make giants fans excited.
Previous Selection: Brandon Scherff, Left Tackle
St. Louis Rams: DeVante Parker, Wide Receiver, Louisville
The Rams are a team on the edge of a breakout season. Their defense is a piece or two away from becoming dominating and the offense is good enough to compete. However the Rams' offense has a glaring hole at receiver where the Travon Austin expirement has failed. Brian Quick has shown a great deal of promise but only played in seven games in 2014.
DeVante Parker is a strong route runner, has good size, good hands, and is exceedingly athletic. If not for a foot injury early in the season we would be looking at Parker much more highly than most do. Pairing Parker with Quick would give the Rams a pair of dynamic young receivers to build around.
The Minnesota Vikings were always at their best when they had a dominating defense and a powerful running game. Defensive End Everson Griffen, SAM Anthony Barr, and Defensive Tackle Linval Joseph create a strong base to rebuild the team’s front seven.
Dante Fowler is a workhorse pass rusher who is extremely athletic, and disruptive. Fowler is a finesse pass rusher who often has to deal with double teams, uses his hands well, flows to the ball fluidly, and can line up all over the field in the Joker position. Adding Fowler to the young core of defenders the Vikings have would create a fearsome front seven.
The Browns have been left in a difficult position at Rush Linebacker. Barkevious Mingo has been absent most of his career with only seven career sacks in two years while, -two in 2014- while Jabaal Sheard has been used primarily as a run stuffer and pass defender.
Vic Beasley makes me think of what Mingo was supposed to be in the Browns’ new defense. Beasley uses his hands better as a pass rusher allowing him to use the rip and spin moves more effectively and that despite his size. Beasley also has surprising strength in his legs as he showed against Florida State. Adding Beasley as a potential LEO/Joker could add a needed dimension to the Mike Pettine defense.
Previous Selection: DeVante Parker, Wide Receiver
New Orleans Saints: Trae Waynes, Cornerback, Michigan State University:
The Saints cut Champ Bailey last off-season because he had lost a couple steps. Bailey may have lost a couple steps but would still have been a couple steps faster than what they have currently. The New Orleans defense is worse than it has ever been with poor coaching, a lack of talent, and no leadership.
New Orleans was 25th in passing yards against in 2014 and gave up a whopping 384 yards per game. Trae Waynes is tall, strong in coverage, and has nearly as many interceptions -3- as all of New Orleans’ Cornerbacks combined. Waynes is a finesse corner, using his superior athleticism to make plays on the ball.
Miami Dolphins: La’El Collins, Left Guard, Louisiana State University (LSU):
The Miami offensive line was shaky coming into the 2014 season and is currently as leaky as Swiss cheese. Left Tackle Brandon Albert was placed on the injured reserve, Right Tackle Ja’ Wuan James was moved to Left Tackle after already having an unspectacular rookie season on the right side, and Dallas Thomas who was a good backup was forced into the Right Tackle spot.
La’El Collins found his niche at Left Guard at the Senior Bowl, having a very good week there at practice. Collins plays Left Tackle at LSU but has played Right Tackle, and at times at Guard. Collins can play four positions but hasn’t excelled at either Tackle spots. With Albert and James at Tackle Collins can bring solid pass protection and good run blocking to a Dolphins interior offensive line that has been nothing short of offensive this year, giving up 38 sacks.
San Francisco 49ers: Jaelen Strong, Wide Receiver, Arizona State University:
The 49ers are ranked 27th in passing yards per game, and only have two players with over forty receptions. Adding to this leading receiver Anquan Boldin is 34 years old.
Jaelen Strong has the biggest body of any top receiver in this draft -6'3, 215 pounds- and emmense athletic ability. Strong needs refinement on his technique but could ultimately learn from and replace Bolden when he decides to hang up the cleats.
Previous Selection: Rashad Greene, Wide Receiver
Houston Texans: Eric Kendricks, Inside Linebacker, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA):
Houston is in need of upgrades in the middle of their defensive front seven. Inside Linebacker Justin Tuggle is a placeholder who has amassed a putrid 38 tackles on the season.
Eric Kendricks combines many of the attributes needed to play linebacker in any scheme as he flows to the ball well, has good anticipation, and can play strong zone coverage. Houston needs better linebackers if it is to ever win another division crown.
Previous Selection: AJ Johnson, Inside Linebacker
San Diego Chargers: Andrus Peat, Left Tackle, Stanford:
San Diego has one of the best passing offenses in the NFL led by quarterback Philip Rivers. On the flip side the running game is a disaster with Donald Brown and Brandon Oliver averaging a paltry 3.08 yards per carry and Ryan Matthews has been useless again due to injuries. While competition at running back is an option Oliver is only 23 years old and has shown in flashes, and the Chargers offensive line has not run blocked well this season.
While I’m not sure what the Chargers’ plans are for DJ Fluker, I know that King Dunlap has never excelled in the NFL. Dunlap was an underwhelming disappointment in Philadelphia and hasn't lived up to expectations in San Diego. Dunlap is a serviceable player but can and should be upgraded. Andrus Peat is a very good offensive tackle who can excel both as a pass protector in San Diego's offense.
Previous Selection: Cedric Ogbuehi
Kansas City Chiefs: Rashad Greene, Wide Receiver, Florida State:
Kansas City is ranked 30th in the NFL in passing yards and while some of that has to go on the shoulders of Quarterback Alex Smith’s seven yards per attempt average. Tight End Travis Kelce is the team’s leading receiver with 56 catches followed by receiver Dwayne Bowe with 51.
I’ve never seen Dwayne Bowe as a true number one guy, he drops far too many passes to be seen as a reliable go-to receiver. Rashad Greene has shown great hands and body control this season and has a knack for getting open deep. Green's ability to catch the ball in tight spots and control his body in the air makes him a good fit for the Kansas City offense.
The only two players that I see Cleveland keeping long term on the defensive line are Billy Wynn and Paul Kruger -34 Under-. Ahtyba Rubin is an eight year veteran and free agent that seems to be losing a step, Desmond Bryant looked healthier but took a step back this year, and Phil Taylor has been inconsistent and needs to step up in year three.
Malcom Brown has excellent knee bend, staying low and getting the most out of his lower body strength. He also has good lateral movement off the line and can clog running lanes well. If Brown can learn to use his hands more consistently he could develop into a strong pass rusher in the NFL.
Previous Selection: Vic Beasley, Rush Linebacker
Philadelphia Eagles: Ronald Darby, Cornerback, Florida State:
Philadelphia is ranked 28th in the NFL in pass defense. The Cornerback position has underwhelmed, causing only three turnovers this season and being torched against Washington. Ronald Darby has good ball skills and is aggressive at the line of scrimmage, a needed trait on the Eagles defense.
Previous Selection: Jalen Collins, Cornerback
Cincinnati Bengals: Marcus Golden, Defensive End, Missouri:
The Bengals have had difficulty getting to the quarterback this season from the right defensive end position. Wallace Gilberry is thirty years old and only has one and a half sacks this season. Gilberry has been underwhelming at best this season and needs upgraded.
Marcus Golden is a turnover magnet who is always around the quarterback and running backs in the backfield. Golden has 7.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, and a couple fumble recoveries. Golden is a potential star in the making and would create a great tandem with Carlos Dunlap at defensive end.
Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J Clemmings, Left Tackle, Pittsburgh:
The woesa of the Steelers' offensive line have been mounting for years, and they have slowly been trying to fix them. This year should be the year they go after a Left Tackle and hometown boy T.J Clemmings should be that Tackle. Like many offensive tackles this year Clemmings has difficulty with body control in space, but the athletic ability to get to the second level and dominate the three foot line.
Previous Selection: Ronald Darby, Cornerback
Detroit Lions: Landon Collins, Strong Safety, Alabama:
Detroit has had a terrible history at the Safety position, even when they get it right it seems to go wrong for them -See Louis Delmas-. In this instance it is with Strong Safety James Ihedigbo, not because of his play which has been spectacular, but because of his age as he just turned 31 years old. Ihedigbo may be a good player, but he is not long for Detroit at his age.
Landon Collins is an athletic, hard hitting Safety that needs refinement in his game. Collins is a star in the making, but must improve his tackling and the angles he takes while pursuing a play. If the Lions are confident he can do those two things he would make an excellent pick here.
The Arizona Cardinals rank 29th in passing yards allowed. Shaq Thompson is a ball hawk and can fly to the ball as well if not better than anyone in this draft. He is strong in coverageand adept at closing down outside running lanes.
The Carolina Panthers have a couple huge defensive problems, one of which is Free Safety. Gerod Holliman has great ball skills, is strong, and pretty good in run support. holliman is a smart player who thrives over the middle of the field, but can traverse the distance of the field without much effort.
The Ravens need a major upgrade at Left Tackle but none are available at this juncture. Ereck Flowers is the next best thing, someone who can start at Right Tackle and due to experience at Left Tackle slide over after he fixes his technique issues. Baltimore could have a steal if Flowers can learn to stay on his feet.
Previous Selection: Danny Shelton, Defensive Tackle
Dallas Cowboys: Eddie Goldman, Defensive Tackle, Florida State:
Dallas has had issues with their pass rush as well as stopping the run consistently since the departure of DeMarcus Ware and a few other key pieces. While there have been players that have stepped up and played well the defensive line still needs improvement. Eddie Goldman is an athletic lineman who uses his hands well and will be able to get pressure on quarterbacks.
Denver’s offensive line is a disaster. Denver has a backup guard starting at right tackle and a backup center starting at right guard for them this season. Laken Tomlinson is someone who is on the rise after a stellar senior season and highly impressive Senior Bowl.
Previous Selection: Austin Shephard, Right Tackle
Indianapolis Colts: Marcus Peters, Cornerback, Washington:
The Colts were abused by Tom Brady in the AFC Championship game and clearly need an upgrade. Marcus Peters is as physically talented as any other Corner in this draft but character concerns make him fall. I expect Chuck Pagano will be able to fix that.
Previous Selection: Melvin Engram, Running Back
Green Bay Packers: Maxx Williams, Tight End, Minnesota:
I suspect the Packers would have gone to the Super Bowl if they had a little more help out of the tight end position. Maxx Williams was perhaps the most under-utilized talent in college football in 2014 and is the perfect complement to the guys on the outside for Green Bay.
Seattle Seahawks: Kevin White, Wide Receiver, West Virginia:
Seattle has a problem at receiver as none are the quality of a proper "X". I am not sold on Kevin White as the guy, but White has shown the athleticism and hands to be a potential starter. White also has the size (6’3, 210) to be a potential difference maker with a career average of over thirteen yards per catch.
Previous Selection: Duke Johnson, Running Back
New England Patriots:Todd Gurley, Running Back, Georgia
This is a value pick for New England. Todd Gurley is probably the best running back in this class when healthy, but a torn ACL after coming back from a four game suspension has ended that dream. Gurley has a career total of 3285 rushing yards, on 510 carries, for an average of 6.4 yards per carry. If Gurley can come back 100% his burst and power would make New England the favorites to win the 2016 Super Bowl.