by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The first wave of free agents signings have come and gone, leaving significant changes to how things shape up heading into the draft. There are going to be a lot more changes to come, as there continued to be offseason maneuvering, but let’s take a look at how things currently shake out:
1. Tennessee Titans – OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
Ideally the Titans are going to trade this pick to a team desperate for a quarterback, but if they can’t do that they will likely select a rock for the offensive line to help protect Marcus Mariota.
2. Cleveland Browns – QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
With the team ready to move on from Johnny Manziel, there’s little doubt that the Browns are going to look for a new franchise QB. Who they put the highest grade on, between Wentz, Jared Goff and Paxton Lynch, should ultimately be the selection here. For now it looks like Wentz tops the list of available QB.
3. San Diego Chargers – CB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
We all knew that Eric Weddle wasn’t going to return, but the safety has officially signed with the Ravens leaving a hole in the Chargers’ secondary. Whether you view Ramsey as a corner back or safety long-term, he fills a significant need for the team. That said, if the Titans trade out of the top spot it’s very possible Laremy Tunsil falls in their lap (a scenario that’s not unrealistic and would make the Chargers a big winner on draft day).
(Previous Pick – DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon)
4. Dallas Cowboys –DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
It’s easy for the attention to be drawn to the Cowboys offense, but with Dez Bryant and Tony Romo each missing significant time the issues there shouldn’t be a surprise and should correct themselves. While there have been rumblings of potential character concerns for Bosa, we all know that’s not something that concerns Jerry Jones and company. Dallas needs help with their pass rush, so it makes sense to address it here.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars – DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon
The Jaguars desperately needed help in the secondary, allowing the fourth most passing yards in the league (268.2/game) and mustering just 9 INT. The addressed that hole in free agency, adding CB Prince Amukamara on a prove it deal and S Tashaun Gipson. They also added Malik Jackson for the defensive line, though it’s easy to argue that they can use even more pressure.
(Previous Pick – CB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State)
6. Baltimore Ravens – OLB Myles Jack, UCLA
The team’s biggest need may be in the secondary (6 INT in ’15), but with Ramsey off the board and with Shareece Wright resigned it makes sense for the team to wait on further addressing the position. Instead the bulk up their pass rush by adding a dynamic talent at linebacker (something they need with Terrell Suggs now 34-years old), this is a perfect fit.
(Previous Pick – CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida)
7. San Francisco 49ers – QB Jared Goff, California
Blaine Gaebbert? Colin Kapernick? Who knows what to expect from Chip Kelly, but at this point it’s obvious that the 49ers need to bolster their QB play and it makes sense for the new coach to target a new franchise QB.
8. Philadelphia Eagles – CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
The fact that they resigned Sam Bradford makes it less likely that they use their first round pick on a QB (not that they don’t need one, but it’s more likely that they address the position later in the draft). Instead, by trading into the Top 10 they give themselves a chance to land one of the top two secondary prospects in the draft. With that being one of their biggest needs, especially after they jettisoned the disappointing Byron Maxwell.
(Previous Pick – WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss)
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia
The Buccaneers need help getting pressure on the QB and Floyd should slide in and help. That said, it’s easy to argue that the secondary is a bigger need, so if either Ramsey or Hargreaves fall it’s easy to imagine one of them landing in Tampa Bay.
10. New York Giants – OT Ronnie Staley, Notre Dame
The Giants needed to upgrade their defense and while that could still be the focus, their free agent spending spree (resigning Jason Pierre-Paul while adding DE Olivier Vernon, DT Damon Harrison and CB Janoris Jenkins) should change that (unless Myles Jack falls in their lap). They need to add another young piece to the offensive line, with Staley being a perfect fit to slot in with 2015 first round pick Ereck Flowers.
(Previous Pick – OLB Myles Jack, UCLA)
11. Chicago Bears – DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
Getting a pass rusher is the biggest need for the Bears, after managing just 35 sacks a year ago. Who the top pass rusher available is at this point of the draft could be debated a little bit, but for now we’ll go with Ogbah for the spot.
(Previous Pick – OT Ronnie Staley, Notre Dame)
12. New Orleans Saints – DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
The Saints allowed the second most rushing yards per game (129.4) and desperately need help plugging the hole up the middle. They also need help in the secondary, but with the top two options already off the board this makes the most sense.
13. Miami Dolphins – DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
The Dolphins traded down a few spots, but there should be ample prospects available to fill their needs on the defensive line (despite the Mario Williams signing) and in the secondary.
(Previous Pick – DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State)
14. Oakland Raiders – RB Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State
The suspension of Aldon Smith, lost for all of ’16, makes pass rush a need for the Raiders. You could argue that under this scenario there isn’t a good fit for that spot, though, and the team also has a need at linebacker. While they could simply take the top name off their board, could the allure of adding Elliot to the offensive core with Derek Carr and Amari Cooper be too much to ignore?
(Previous Pick – DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson)
15. Los Angeles Rams – QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis
New city so it’s time for a new franchise quarterback. They already have Todd Gurley, who will help take the pressure off, and if they look to add a weapon or two on the outside the offense would have the potential to be dynamic.
16. Detroit Lions – WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
The Lions allowed 44 sacks last season and managed just 83.4 rushing yards per game (the worst in the league). They need to bolster the offensive line so they can open some holes and have time to throw the football. That said, does anyone truly believe that Marvin Jones and Golden Tate will be able to combine and replace the retired Calvin Johnson?
(Previous Pick – OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State)
17. Atlanta Falcons – ILB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
Is linebacker the biggest need for the Falcons? Probably not, but there isn’t a wide receiver or tight end who makes sense. The price is right for Ragland, though, and it helps to bolster a unit that needs it.
18. Indianapolis Colts – OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State
It’s hard to think the Colts bypass an opportunity to fill their need at RB, but under this scenario they get an opportunity to add a lineman who is going to help protect Andrew Luck. Keeping their quarterback upright and on the field is by far more important than anything else.
(Previous Pick – RB Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State)
19. Buffalo Bills – DE Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
The Bills cut ties with Mario Williams and are going to need help with their pass rush in Rex Ryan’s defense. Help on the offensive line is another option, but given their head coach it makes sense to expect them to go defense first.
(Previous Pick – DE Jonathan Bullard, Florida)
20. New York Jets – OLB Darron Lee, Alabama
The biggest need for New York is at linebacker, the offensive line and running back. If Elliot does fall it’s easy to envision him being the pick, but under this scenario that doesn’t happen.
21. Washington Redskins – CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
Fuller’s draft day value is dropping due to his 2015 season ending with an injury, but he’s the next best option and the Redskins have a significant need. This could ultimately prove to be a steal.
22. Houston Texans – OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State
They need a franchise QB, but with the top three already off the board they are going to have to wait until the second round. They also need a RB, but with Elliot gone they aren’t going to go in that direction either. Maybe they trade up to fill one of those needs, but instead we’ll have them look to bolster the offensive line.
23. Minnesota Vikings – WR Josh Doctson, TCU
This pick could easily change, as there is a debate as to who the second best receiver in the class is (William Fuller and Corey Coleman are also in the mix). For now we’ll go Doctson, as the Vikings desperately need to find a go to receiver for Teddy Bridgewater.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
Another wide receiver needy team, thanks to the potential departure of Marvin Jones & Mohamed Sanu plus A.J. Green is no spring chicken. They also need help on the defensive line, and there are a few intriguing names available for that position.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers – CB Eli Apple, Ohio State
They could use help in the secondary and up front, so it’s going to depend on which direction they opt to go. If it’s the secondary Eli Apple is the best available, and it’s possible they go that direction given the depth of defensive line prospects available.
(Previous Pick – DT Kenny Clark, UCLA)
26. Seattle Seahawks – OT Jason Spriggs, Indiana
They need help on the offensive line, so look for them to address that spot with whomever they deem the best prospect at the time.
(Previous Pick – CB Eli Apple, Ohio State)
27. Green Bay Packers – OLB/DE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky
They need to get a pass rusher from the linebacker spot and Spence is likely considered the top option on draft boards at this point in the draft.
28. Kansas City Chiefs – DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson
They need help on both lines, so it really will come down to who they view as the top name available. For now we’ll have them adding a pass rusher, but that could easily change depending on how things fall.
(Previous Pick – OT Jason Spriggs, Indiana)
29. Arizona Cardinals – S Keanu Neal, Florida
They need help at safety, so at the end of the first round look for them to grab the top name on draft boards.
30. Carolina Panthers – CB Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
They desperately need help on the offensive line (most notably a tackle), but there isn’t an obvious fit. ook for them to address that on Day 2, instead finding a long-term solution across from Josh Norman.
31. Denver Broncos – OT Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M
It’s possible that the Broncos go after help on the defensive line, after losing Malik Jackson in free agency, but they also need help on the offensive line in order to protect whoever ultimately emerges as the starting QB. Ifedi certainly fits the bill, potentially fitting in at tackle or guard.
(Previous Pick – DE Jarran Reed, Alabama)
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