Thank you Indianapolis for confirming what all NFL fans have considered doctrine since the Colts skydived into the first overall pick. Earlier this week, the Colts outspoken and avid twitter user, Jim Irsay, confirmed with the media that they will draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. Thanks Jim, but I think we could of figured that out when ESPN declared him to be the best quarterback in the history of the NFL. Luck and Griffin will go one and two, its the thirty other picks that are undecided. Lets take an in-depth look at the first round, 1-10…..
3. Minnesota Vikings
Team Needs: LT, CB, WR, DT, S
After surprisingly drafting Christian Ponder at the number seven pick last year, the Vikings are in the top ten again after a disappointing season. The Vikings truly believe in Ponder and are hoping to add the necessary protection and weapons to make him the best quarterback for their team. Longtime LT, Bryant McKinnie, was the “blind side” protector for the Vikings, until he was cut after the lockout. A left tackle is needed in order for the growth and development of Ponder in the future. USC LT Matt Kalil, is head, shoulder, knees and toes above the other LT’s in the draft. He will provide the necessary athleticism to take on speed rushing ends. He also provides a solid, physical run blocking tenacity and will bring along a potential long and successful career in Minnesota.
4. Cleveland Browns
Team Needs: QB, OL, RB, WR, CB
Cleveland has two picks in the first round, which makes this selection at number three even more interesting. The rise of Ryan Tannehill will have the entire league on their toes. Cleveland has lately said they will entertain trades up to the draft. However I look for them to keep their pick and NOT select Tannehill. I believe Colt McCoy, even when concussed and unaware of his surroundings, is a better quarterback and football player than Ryan Tannehill. If the organization believes McCoy will be a liability, Cleveland has been a notorious place for old veterans to continue their career. If they do not reach for Tannehill with pick number three, I expect them to use their pick on Alabama RB, Trent Richardson. He will provide stability in the backfield and could do damage with a pretty decent offensive line.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Team Needs: CB, WR, RB, S
The Bucs spent big in free agency this offseason to land receiver Vincent Jackson, guard Carl Nicks and corner Eric Wright to shore up three weak spots. Greg Schiano come in and replace Raheem Morris and improve from a disappointing year last year. Morris Claiborne looks to be the best corner in the draft and maybe the best athlete in the draft. Though he is not as great of an athlete at Patrick Peterson from last years draft, but he provides a physical but still a quick presence on the edge. If Trent Richardson slips past the Browns, don’t be surprised if they take him over Claiborne.
6. St. Louis Rams
Team Needs: WR,, OT, CB, DT
The Rams struggles at quarterback was not always because the pass was not there on time. The receiving core struggled immensely as the season went on. They currently have no go to threat for Sam Bradford to go to when he needs that third down conversion. It is likely they will select Oklahoma St. WR Justin Blackmon who will provide a big time receiver for Bradford. Though he is not a in the same class as A.J. Green and Julio Jones of the previous class, Blackmon is a solid go to guy.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Teams Needs: WR, DE, OT, FS, CB
The Jaguars grabbed hopeful future starting quarterback in Blaine Gabbert, slightly earlier than most expected in last years draft. Now they look to provide a solid infrastructure to support his growth and development. The team signed Laurent Robinson and Lee Evans to help improve the current receiving corp but could look to go get WR Michael Floyd out of Notre Dame. Though he had numerous incidents in South Bend, his talent and athleticism can not be over looked. He is a big, physical receiver and moves well in and out of his cuts. However, don’t be surprised if Jacksonville goes defensive with the selection of Melvin Ingram or North Carolina’s Quinton Coples.
8. Miami Dolphins
Team Needs: QB, WR, DE/LB, RT/RG, S
Tony Sparono is out and in comes former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator, Joe Philbin, to help recover the Dolphins franchise. With the Philbin taking the helm, everyone almost guaranteed that his former backup quarterback, Matt Flynn, would be taking his talents to South Beach. However, he opted for the rainy days in Seattle with Pete Carroll, so now they are scrambling to find a franchise quarterback. Or are they? Matt Moore did not look to bad last year but can he truly be trusted with the franchise? With the number eight pick, this where Ryan Tannehill should not necessarily be taken, but is a better fit than any higher than this pick. The Dolphins may end up trading up to get him, but I think they will be the team to take the risk on Tannehill.
9. Carolina Panthers
Team Needs: DT, DE, CB, WR
Cam Newton was a hit in his rookie season, as he managed to bring some excitement to Panther fans that has not been seen since Vinetari kicked away their Super Bowl aspirations They are again back in the top then of the draft, but now at the number nine pick, PROGRESS!!!! Even with super Cam, the defense will have to improve just as much as the offense did a year ago. Their run defense was one of the worst in the league last year and they need major help. Mississippi St. defensive tackle, Fletcher Cox, looks to be the best defensive tackle in the draft. Many scouts say he is ready to play once training camp begins. He will provide a big body at nose but as well an athletic guy that can sparingly give you tackle for losses and sacks.
10. Buffalo Bills
Team Needs: LT, WR, CB, LB
The Bills were “busy bees” in the off season, adding former Houston Texan DE, Mario Williams to improve their pass rushing. They also went out and got former Chicago Bear and Patriot, Mark Anderson to go along side Williams. The biggest move was keeping young, talented receiver, Stevie Johnson in a Buffalo uniform. However, Demetrius Bell is gone, which leaves a massive hole on the left side of the line. The Bills have no choice but to stick with Fitzpatrick, after giving him a lengthy deal after a pretty decent season. Riley Reiff is the second best left tackle in the draft and should replace Bell on Fitzpatrick’s blind side. It would shock me if they did not take Reiff, but the next best guy at the position is Jonathan Martin from Stanford. Most have him however, going later on in the first round.
Many times after I have heard about any Chiefs front office moves, the end result is always me quoting the great Vince Lombardi, “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON OUT THERE!” To actually hear legitimate reports that the Chiefs may draft (waste) their first round pick on former receiver turned quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, makes me won’t to disregard myself as a Chiefs fan. With some of the many issues under the watch of Pioli in Kansas City, I often wonder how int the world were the Patriots so successful. The talk of the Chiefs drafting Tannehill have heated up as the NFL Draft nears closer and closer, which could means two things:
1) The Chiefs are bluffing and trying to entice a team that wants Tannehill later, to trade multiple picks for his services. I like this if this is what Pioli and the front office are truly doing. Though Chiefs fans are so optimistic the Chiefs are Super Bowl bound, there are many needs on the team that make me question that optimism. I believe the whole defensive line needs to be upgraded. Yes there are guys that have played decent, I REPEAT decent, but no one currently on the roster will make Peyton Manning lose sleep because of the intense pressure they bring. Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey are both in contract years, which means they will probably have their most productive season yet so they can get a new contract from either the Chiefs or increase their value in the free agent market. Last years sixth round draft, Jerrell Powe, can be a plugger at nose tackle. Standing in at 6’2″ 335 lbs, Powe’s growth will be intricate because of the 3-4 defense the Chiefs play. If the Chiefs do not believe fully in Powe, I believe there are two guys in this years draft that will bring a disruptive force at the nose tackle position just like Vince Wilfork has done for many years in New England. Michigan St. defensive Tackle Jerell Worthy and combine king, Dontari Poe, look to fit the bill as far as being quality nose tackles who can handle double sometimes triple teams and keep the offensive line off of Derrick Johnson. Both of these guys are well over 300 lbs, maybe even closer to 350, but there is a slight difference. When looking at Worthy, there is actual film of dominating games and creating havoc. He is a very explosive player off the ball and shows great strength when engaging sometimes multiple blockers. However for Poe, film does not reveal the amazing athleticism that he displayed at the NFL combine. This worries many NFL teams, but this has not stopped many GM’s from interviewing Poe. His combine alone will make him a first round pick.
Along with the defensive line, I would love for the Chiefs to pick up linebacker Luke Kuechly out of Boston College. A relentless, intelligent player, Kuechly almost had 200 tackles…. FOUR YEARS IN A ROW!!! If the Chiefs do give up that pick, and Kuechly is gone, Utah St. Bobby Wagener would not be a bad pick up. He literally kept the Utah St. defense in the game against Auburn while making plays all over the field. He is going to be a good linebacker for many years to come in the NFL. He has the size, speed, athleticism, and intelligence to perform well in Romeo’s defense along with Derrick Johnson.
2) I hate to say it, but I think the second option probably the road the Chiefs will take. They will actually draft Tannehill and believe Todd McShay when he says he can be a franchise quarterback. I don’t see it, he had an average college career after playing wide receiver before Texas A&M, as only they can, under achieved and then placed him at quarterback. The Chiefs just drafted Ricky Stanzi last year in the third round, and from reports they want Stanzi to be the guy. If that is the case, then Tannehill being drafted sounds insane to me. If they keep the pick, I truly believe they should get Stanford’s guard David DeCastro. Many scouts have said he is by far the best offensive guard in the draft. With the addition of Eric Winston, this would allow the Chiefs to form chemistry and consistency at the offensive line that has not been seen since Priest Holmes was in the back field. If the Chiefs are so committed to drafting a quarterback, why not wait and pick up Kirk Cousins? I believe Kirk Cousins maybe the second most ready quarterback to run a pro-style offense in this years draft. He has not been talked about being drafted in the first round of the draft, which means he could be picked up in the second and possibly third round. I just am not sold on Tannehill being the starting quarterback for the Chiefs. If we don’t draft any quarterback, hey we still have Brady Quinn and Matt Cassel. All jokes aside I thinking drafting Tannehill would not improve the quarterback position. I pray to the football gods that the Chiefs hold on to that pick or at least trade it and get a later first round and possible second or third round pick. The many people I have talked to about the possible Tannehill pick, leads me to advise Pioli to watch out for a riot on Arrowhead Drive.