The Kansas City Chiefs select:
Geno Smith | QB | West Virginia
I wrote on twitter about the opportunity costs of each option that faces Kansas City in the aftermath of their recent hirings. Unless you’re holding out hope that Andy Reid’s offense can mask Matt Cassel’s deficiencies, you’ve probably came to the conclusion that Kansas City must acquire a Quarterback, with the popular opinion being that it’s too risky to take a Quarterback with the #1 overall pick because Geno Smith is not the best player on the board.
However, the opportunity cost for not taking a Quarterback here is a lack of leverage on the open market. If the Chiefs are not going to draft a Quarterback, they must be committed to winning the bidding on the Free Agent of their choice. Without leverage, that contract is likely to be more expensive than the deal the #1 pick will receive, and could end up nearing the contract Matt Cassel signed. The remaining option being accepting a stop-gap Quarterback and hoping to find the “Franchise” guy next year, which is the popular option amongst fans. The risks for that are enormous and aren’t likely to be seriously considered.
I’ve heard the rumors that Kansas City might be interested in Alex Smith or Nick Foles. I still believe very strongly that Geno Smith is the best option for Kansas City both in the long and in the short term. A General Manager that passes on an opportunity to get a Franchise Quarterback very rarely gets a second chance. Geno Smith is in that discussion, and I believe coming out of the combine that will be painfully obvious.
The Jacksonville Jaguars select:
Star Lotulelei | 3DT or SDE | Utah
I’ve had three different picks in this slot, but I think I feel the most comfortable with Star Lotulelei here. Some media outlets have him slipping down the board, but he’s solidly in my top five with almost no chance of him sliding down, short of a freak injury. Lotulelei fits Gus Bradley’s defensive scheme and is the best selection here for that very reason.
The Oakland Raiders select:
Bjoern Werner | RDE | Florida State
Bjoern Werner is one of the two best players in this draft class, I think Oakland will value the long-term value of Werner over the short-term benefit of taking a player at their biggest position of need, Cornerback. Werner, as a Junior, was the best pass rusher in the country. That’s incredibly indicative of his abilities, considering he was even more impressive as a Sophomore at a higher weight. Werner will be able to be booked in at Right Defensive End for years to come.
The Philadelphia Eagles select:
Sharrif Floyd | DL | Florida
The selection of Sharrif Floyd would allow the Eagles flexibility along the defensive line. Chip Kelly wants the defense to be versatile and all signs point to the defense being a combination of the 4-3 Under and a 3-4. In the 4-3 Under Fletcher Cox would play the 3-Technique while Sharrif Floyd plays Defensive End on the strong side of the formation. In the 3-4, both players would play Defensive End. This leaves Cullen Jenkins without a position
The Detroit Lions select
Eric Fisher | LT or RT | Central Michigan
I think Detroit is moving toward a more traditional offense. Luke Joeckel would be a perfect fit for the Lions if they want to continue to throw 700 times a year, but I think they’re moving toward a more balanced attack. The selection of Fisher would likely cause a one-year Offensive Line of
Jeff Backus | Rob Sims | Raiola/Nagy/Austin | Reiff | Fisher
Until Jeff Backus’ contract expires following the season, when Fisher would shift to Left Tackle, Reiff, who many believe is a Guard could stay at Right Guard or slide out to Right Tackle depending on whom is added as a starter next offseason.
The Cleveland Browns select:
Barkevious Mingo | OLB | LSU
I know he’s not a popular name amongst the Brown fans I know, but Barkevious Mingo’s upside as a pass rusher, especially as a Rush Linebacker in the 3-4, is unquestionable. Mingo showed from the Defensive End position at LSU that he had range to the sideline, and, with the kind of athlete I know he is, I wouldn’t be surprised if he shows the ability to drop into coverage as well.
The Arizona Cardinals select:
Luke Joeckel | LT | Texas A&M
Arizona doesn’t have a lot of talent on the Offensive Line and I imagine they’d relish the opportunity to take a player that many have as the top prospect in the class. Joeckel has some strength issues and I think he’ll struggle to some extent against stronger competition, but the talent to be one of the five or six best pass protectors in the left side is there.
The Buffalo Bills select:
Alec Ogletree | MLB | Georgia
The first “reach,” although he’s a popular name in the 8-16 range. He has elite upside and with another year of development could have been in Kuechly territory. Buffalo has a huge need at every Linebacker position, and if they don’t get better the defense will continue to suffer.
The New York Jets select:
Damontre Moore | RLB | Texas A&M
Rex Ryan is on the hot-seat because he’s allowed his defense to decline while he and Mike Tannenbaum tried to evolve the offense around Mark Sanchez. I can’t imagine them sticking with that plan. I have to believe the Jets add an outside pass rusher to build on their strong foundation of Corners and Defensive Lineman.
The Tennessee Titans select:
Kenny Vaccaro | SS | Texas
I’m not a huge Kenny Vaccaro fan, but if you’re a team with a good Free Safety that can play single-high, Vaccaro offers a lot of value. He’s exceptional in man-coverage both against bigger Tight Ends and quick Slot Receivers.
The San Diego Chargers select:
Cordarrelle Patterson | WR | Tennessee
San Diego has a need at Left Tackle, but they also have a big need at Wide Receiver. Robert Meachum looks like a bust, and Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander are nice secondary targets, but Phillip Rivers looked absolutely lost without Vincent Jackson. If the opportunity to acquire a number one presents itself, I have to think San Diego cashes in.
The Miami Dolphins select:
Lane Johnson | LT | Oklahoma
I do really like the Stedman Bailey pick I had here last time, but Jake Long is as good as gone and Jonathan Martin didn’t look like a Left Tackle prospect last season. If Lane Johnson is on the board, I think that is the route Miami will choose to take.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select:
Xavier Rhodes | CB | Florida State
I think the majority of people will have Xavier Rhodes as their top Corner following the combine. I think there are legitimate questions about Dee Milliner’s speed translating to man-coverage at the next level.
The Carolina Panthers select:
Keenan Allen | WR | California
Carolina has a couple of glaring needs on the defensive side of the ball, primarily at the 1-Technique and at either Safety position. However, continuing to improve the offense has to be a priority. Keenan Allen is my #1 rated Wide Receiver and is vastly underrated and underused because there was so little talent around him at California. It helps he’s arguably the best run-blocking Wide Receiver in the class.
The New Orleans Saints select:
Dee Milliner | CB | Alabama
New Orleans is shifting to a 3-4 defense so it stands to reason they’ll take a Rush Linebacker considering they likely only have one on roster in Martez Wilson. However, they also have the worst starting Cornerback in football in Patrick Robinson. They’ll take whomever they believe gives them better value.
The St. Louis Rams select:
Chance Warmack | OG | Alabama
As I wrote on Twitter, I actually really like the possibility of St. Louis taking Chance Warmack at 16 and then Jonathan Cooper at 22. (Spoiler: Don’t expect Jon Cooper at 22.) I think, with the cap situation the Rams are in, they have to draft multiple starters on the Offensive Line. If they take Warmack here they’ll either take another Guard and move Harvey Dahl back to Right Tackle, or they’ll take a Right Tackle. (Spoiler: Expect a Right Tackle.)