I tried this last year and was pretty uninformed in regards to college football. Hopefully, as a a result of writing the Big Ten and Next Best 3 article, my increased knowledge of college football will help me look smarter. If not, I'll blame it on something else. In the future, I might expand it to two rounds, but not anytime soon.
For reference, I'm simply transferring the league standings from ESPN over here. That means, for now, teams like St. Louis and Miami, who've had byes, are going to rank ahead of Indianapolis based solely on fewer losses.
1. St. Louis Rams - Matt Kalil, T, USC
With the acquisition of Brandon Lloyd, I really think that'll help this incredibly stagnant offense and get them out of the cellar. However, if things continue going wrong, protecting Sam Bradford, who's been sacked a league-high 22 times, HAS to be priority number 1.
Secondary picks - Justin Blackmon, Jonathan Martin
2. Miami Dolphins - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Anyone who just watched the train wreck of an offense the Dolphins had on MNF shouldn't question this pick at all. Luck is the best available QB and Miami is in the biggest need for a QB. They have the weapons (Marshall, Bess, Harline, Bush) to be a good offense. They'll soon have the QB to make them explosive.
Secondary picks - Matt Kalil, Matt Barkley
3. Indianapolis Colts - Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford
While drafting the heir apparent to Manning here could be a very big possibility, I think the Colts are leaning more towards protecting Manning for the future and finding a QB later in the draft. This is mainly due to the fact that, as of right now, I don't think Matt Barkley or Landry Jones are #3 pick material. With Manning already suffering a possibly career threatening injury, protecting his blindside will keep Colts fans and Manning happy for the rest of his career.
Secondary picks - Matt Barkley
4. Carolina Panthers - Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
Each year we see a WR that could be the "heir apparent" to Steve Smith and each year the Panthers pass on him. If available, it's hard to think that the Panthers would pass on Blackmon, but the defense is far worse than the offense. Coples gives them a pass rusher to help their abysmal 9 sack-defense so far this year.
Secondary picks - Justin Blackmon, Dre Kirkpatrick
5. Minnesota Vikings - Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
With both game-changing tackles off the board, the Vikings are forced to go elsewhere. While they've demonstrated that they aren't afraid to reach for a player, they've also demonstrated that they'll take the best available player, regardless of need (see Peterson, Adrian or Harvin, Percy). Putting Blackmon in an offense with AP and Harvin and giving Ponder a WR to grow with would, by no means, be a bad pick.
Secondary picks - Dre Kirkpatrick, Alshon Jeffrey
6. Jacksonville Jaguars - Alshon Jeffrey, WR, South Carolina
As of now, this will be an interesting pick. The Jaguars offense is anemic, but how much value do they put in protecting Gabbert for his career verse improving the offense. The choice may be taken out of their hand as their really isn't an offensive lineman worthy of taking this high up, for now. With the draft still 6 months away, an offensive lineman could play his way into the top 10. But having 3 "franchise" offensive lineman like this in the same draft is rare.
Secondary picks - Dre Kirkpatrick, Riley Reiff
7. Arizona Cardinals - Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
As I said last pick, it's a bit of a stretch at this point for Reiff to be taken here, but this is more a product of how bad the Cardinals need an offensive lineman more than Reiff's value. The Cardinals have let Kolb get sacked 16 times. If they think he's the future, they need to protect him. There's a slim chance they could take Jeffrey to complement Fitzgerald as they saw how it worked with Boldin/Fitz, but I can't imagine them skipping over an OL.
Secondary picks - Dre Kirkpatrick, Ashlon Jeffrey
8. Denver Broncos - Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
With Champ Bailey most certainly on the back-end of his career, the Broncos need to take advantage of the few years he has left to mentor a new CB. Kirkpatrick is a big boy (6'2) and uses his size to his advantage. He doesn't have great speed, but you can help teach speed. You can't teach size.
Secondary picks - Trent Richardson, Matt Barkley
9. Philadelphia Eagles - Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
I think, as most teams, their biggest need is offensive line. With no one worth that pick this high, LB is certainly the next biggest need. With a "dream team" defense, a solid LB is an absolute necessity. Burfict is the best LB available. While I'm not sure if they'll fail this hard for the rest of the year, if they do, taking the best LB available would be great for them.
Secondary picks - Cordy Glenn, Devin Taylor
10. Kansas City Chiefs - Matt Barkley, QB, USC
From one USC QB to the other, I don't think Cassell will be the starter next year. If he does, it won't be long. This team is going down fast and, while Cassell may not necessarily be the problem, he isn't the answer right now. If Jamaal Charles comes back, that gives them a great backfield for the future.
Secondary picks - Devin Taylor, Jared Crick
11. Cleveland Browns - Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska
The Browns are an interesting team. They actually have the 31st run offense, but Hillis, when healthy, seems to be the answer. The defensive line needs to be addressed and either Crick or Devin Taylor are the answer here. It's basically a 50/50 coin flip.
Secondary picks - Devin Taylor, Michael Floyd
12. Seattle Seahawks - Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
Surprisingly, the Tarvaris Jackson Era didn't go as planned. With some young talent like Sidney Rice and Golden Tate, getting a QB to get these guys the ball has GOT to be their priority. However, judging by Carroll's last off-season, they'll probably stick with Jackson and draft someone in secondary.
Secondary picks - Alfonzo Dennard, Morris Claiborne
13. Dallas Cowboys - Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
The Cowboys still don't have a good secondary player and haven't had one in a long time. With Rob Ryan seemingly turning around the defense, picking one of the top tier CBs in the draft has to be where they go with this pick. Giving Ryan more weapons at his disposal and improving the team is a win-win for them
Secondary picks - Morris Claiborne, Devin Taylor
14. NY Jets - Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
Worthy's stock is consistently rising as Michigan State's defense is making a name for themselves. The Jets are an interesting team as, really, because they'll go as far as Sanchez takes them. The offense is set, the defense is great, and by taking Worthy, you're adding another great weapon to an already great defense.
Secondary picks - Courtney Upshaw, Brandon Thompson
15. Cleveland Browns - Brandon Jenkins, LB, Florida
Getting two studs for your defense within the first 15 picks? Consider it a success. Jenkins is another LB on the rise and can provide some more toughness on the field for the team on the rise. The other possibility is that they go after a WR to help McCoy, but it's hard to pass up on a player like this.
Secondary picks - Michael Floyd, Brandon Thompson
16. Houston Texans - Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
The secondary has improved with Jonathan Joseph, but this still needs to be the biggest priority. Luckily for them, this draft is very CB heavy and they can't pass on this opportunity. With the offense set and the defensive lines pretty solid, secondary is just their glaring weakness.
Secondary picks - Luke Kuechly, T.J. McDonald
17. Chicago Bears - Mike Brewster, C, Ohio State
If they draft anyone but an offensive lineman, the front office needs to be fired. All of them. The offensive line is in shambles and has been. You're not going to make Jay Cutler happier or better if he's running for his life and chucking the ball downfield. The center position might not be the biggest need, but anyone would be an upgrade over anyone they have.
Secondary picks - Ryan Broyles, David DeCastro
18. Tennessee Titans - Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma
With CJ running the ball, the Titans need a better air attack. Britt hasn't proven he's too durable so far, so adding someone like Broyles to the roster really bolsters the offense and gives Locker a target to grow with. Tennessee's defense is more than solid, so I can't imagine them going elsewhere with this pick.
Secondary picks - Michael Floyd, Alameda Ta'amu
19. Washington Redskins - Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
They need a QB more than anything, but no one is first round material here. The offense is awful through the air, ranked 23rd. At 6'3, Michael Floyd can add a completely new dimension to this team, regardless of who the QB is.
Secondary picks - Luke Kuechly, Brandon Thompson
20. Pittsburgh Steelers - David DeCastro, G, Stanford
The Steelers offensive line has gotten Roethlisberger hurt numerous times and that's impressive considering how well Roethlisberger extends plays and moves out of the pocket. Offensive line is about the only thing I can imagine them addressing here as they have solid, young players everywhere else.
Secondary picks - Cordy Glenn, Levy Adcock
21. New England Patriots - Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
The Patriots get this pick because of the Mark Ingram trade. While the popular pick may be someone in the secondary, they have some young players back there. Instead, the Patriots need someone who can get to the QB and rush him, which they don't have.
Secondary picks - Luke Kuechly, Manti Te'o
22. Cincinnati Bengals - Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Alabama
Your up-to-the-minute update. This pick comes from Oakland in the Palmer trade. Ta'amu is a HUGE man in the middle. At 6'3, 335 lbs, he'll be a huge cog in the middle of Cincy's defense. They will likely look defense with this pick and they have a solid secondary anchored by Leon Hall.
Secondary picks - Billy Winn, Luke Kuechly
23. NY Giants - Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
The Giants have been riddle with injuries this year. The offense isn't too bad and the defense could be good when healthy. Adding a LB like Kuechly to this defense would bring them a lot closer to the Super Bowl winning defense they had.
Secondary picks - Zach Brown, Manti Te'o
24. Buffalo Bills - Billy Winn, DE, Boise State
The Bills have a weird pass defense. While they lead the league in interceptions, they are 30th in pass yards allowed. This is probably most attributed to the 4 sacks they have this year. Getting Winn, who can play DE or DT, will help the defensive line.
Secondary picks - Zach Brown, Josh Chapman
25. Tampa Bay Bucs - Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia
The Bucs are 27th in the league in pass defense. As I've mentioned before, luckily for teams like Tampa, this is an incredibly CB heavy draft. Minnifield has decent size at 6'0, but he's ranked as high as the 3rd best DB by some big boards. The team can also use Ronde Barber to help mentor a young gun.
Secondary picks - Mark Barron, Janoris Jenkins
26. Cincinnati Bengals - Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Two defensive players really aid this defense. The Bengals do have some solid LBs, but Te'o is a stud at Notre Dame and would be very hard to pass up. At 6'2, 255 lbs he has good size for a LB and can contribute to this defense right away.
Secondary picks - Janoris Jenkins, Zach Brown
27. San Diego - Zach Brown, OLB, UNC
Since the days of Shawn Merriman, this team hasn't had a stud OLB. I'm not saying Brown will be that man, but they could use someone like Brown, who has 46 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and an INT, on this team to really help this defense.
Secondary picks - Donta Hightower, Mark Barron
28. Baltimore Ravens - T.J. McDonald, S, USC
Ed Reed is getting closer and closer to retirement each year and the Ravens would be hurting themselves if they didn't take advantage of his skills and use him as a mentor. McDonald has 2 INTs on the year, 5 for his career, and could sit behind Reed and learn the ropes for the first year or so.
Secondary picks - Mark Barron, Donte Paige-Moss
29. Detroit Lions - Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
The Lions surprised me this year. They don't have much of a secondary, but their defensive line is wreaking enough havoc to cover them up. That won't be the case forever and might not even be the case the rest of the year. The Lions need to address the secondary with this draft and can't afford to take the best available player like they did last year.
Secondary picks - Mark Barron, Ray Ray Armstrong
30. San Francisco 49ers - Andrew Datko, OT, Florida State
Harbaugh did what no one thought was possible - fix Alex Smith. He has him playing well enough for the team to be 5-1 and leading the NFC West. However, protecting him needs to become the issue now. Datko has the size to be a stud, but still needs to develop.
Secondary picks - Mark Barron, Josh Chapman
31. New England Patriots - Mark Barron, S, Alabama
While it's obvious they need to address the secondary, I wouldn't be surprised if they went elsewhere here. For some reason, I just am not sure they'll take someone to help the young secondary as they just need time to develop. That being said, it's hard to imagine them passing twice on a DB in this draft.
Secondary picks - Cordy Glenn, Zebrie Sanders
32. Green Bay Packers - Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon
Another team that needs help in the secondary. Losing Collins hurt them this year, but they still had an aging secondary and need to help them. Drafting a project CB could be their option as they have some solid guys like Woodson to mentor him and help him learn the ropes.
Secondary picks - Markelle Martin, Cordy Glenn