First, as always, the playoff picture
1. NY Jets
3. Kansas City
5. New England
4. St. Louis
5. New Orleans
6. NY Giants
In the AFC, Miami, Indy, and San Diego sit at 6-5, two games back of the last Wild Card spot. For the NFC, Tampa loses the tiebreaker for the 6 seed based on strength of victory. Other than them, Green Bay is close and Seattle is tied for the division lead with St. Louis.
On to the draft
1. Carolina Panthers select Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
No way they take Andrew Luck one year after taking Jimmy Clausen. They need someone on the defensive line. I'm not sure if Marcell Dareus is #1 pick material. If he has a crazy pro day or great combine, he could be taken here. Defensive line is the issue regardless
2. Buffalo Bills select Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Again, clearly the problem is stopping the run. They allow 167 yards a game on the ground, 20 more yards on average than any other team. Adding a 6'2, 330 pound lineman should start solving that problem. I don't think Luck goes here because Ryan Fitzpatrick has simply been too impressive. Patrick Peterson, however, could go here
3. Cincinnati Bengals select Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
Well, the only thing that keeps Luck from going here is the massive extension that he signed recently. And while Cincy fans say it's the offensive coordinator and head coach that are the issue, Palmer is simply not making good throws. But drafting a QB 3rd overall after Palmer's extension would handicap them far too much. Drafting Quinn will address their league worst 12 sacks this year
4. Detroit Lions select Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
I thought the Lions pass defense was good enough that they didn't need to take Peterson. Then I watched Tom Brady absolutely shred the Lions defense for 4 TDs. That and Peterson is too good of a talent to pass up. Pairing him with Suh gives you stability on the defensive line and secondary that would make teams jealous of for many years to come
5. Denver Broncos select Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Two CBs in a row? I must be crazy. Not quite Kimo Sabe. Amukamara had 5 INTs last year. While he's had a "down" year this year, he's only defended 12 passes in 12 games. Darrelle Revis much? He's also a solid tackler with 78 tackles this season. He can add life to a lifeless secondary
6. Dallas Cowboys select Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Dallas has just 9 sacks this year, 7th in the NFL. Add in their 19th ranked rush offense and this seems like the best pick. If Amukamara and/or Peterson are there, they'll take them without hesitation. Their secondary is among one of the worst in the league, led by Mike "Mr. Toasted" Jenkins.
7. Arizona Cardinals select Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Well, the QB carousel in 'Zona has been entertaining at least. After releasing Leinart, giving Anderson the job, giving Hall the job, giving Anderson the job, then watching Anderson blow up Monday, the QB position is in a state of disarray. Despite having Max Hall on the roster, he still has a while to go. Luck can contribute immediately. You can't just waste a talent like Larry Fitzgerald while letting a QB develop
8. Cleveland Browns select A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Imagine actually giving Cleveland some type of pass game and then seeing what Hillis could do? Right now, the Browns rank 28th in passing yards, 30th in TDs, 25th in averaging QB rating. Green provides immediately help to that offense. He can take over the #1 spot, moving Cribbs to a more comfortable slot role and make Mohamed Massaquoi the #2 guy.
9. San Francisco 49ers select Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
The offense seems to be fixed with Troy Smith at QB. The defense is the issue now. Ayers provides some support in the linebacking core. He is on pace for 80 tackles, 2 INTs, and 4 sacks this year. Giving Willis a mate to stop the run game and force the QB to make decisions passing the ball can really help this team.
10. Minnesota Vikings Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Well, it's hard to determine much from the Vikings last performance. Is it just inspired performance after a long awaited coaching change? Or is Leslie Frazier for real? Right now, they need a CB. Janoris Jenkins could go here, but his height doesn't help the issue much. A DT to replace retiring Pat Williams could also be in order here. However, with neither really convenient right here and with franchise QBs few and far between, Locker is the pick.
11. New England Patriots select Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
The wheeling and dealing we also see the Patriots do on draft day could start this early. Without a big need they can address, they may trade the pick. If they do draft, they do have the 8th fewest sacks on the year and give up 16th most rush yards. Janoris Jenkins could be taken here, but they have enough young guns in the secondary.
12. Tennessee Titans select Ryan Mallet, QB, Arkansas
I don't expect Vince Young to stay in Tennessee this off-season. It's either Young or Fisher leaving and I don't expect Fisher to be fired over something like this. With him gone and Kerry Collins nearing retirement, they need to find a QB for the future. Mallet, in my opinion, is very highly underrated. Giving him a year or two behind Collins would be very beneficial and allow him to develop.
13. Houston Texans select Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida
To say the pass defense is bad is like saying Brett Favre is indecisive. It's a massive understatement. They are 31st in the pass and 7th worst in INTs. Jenkins is a playmaker, which is exactly what they need. He has 3 INTs this season, 1 for a TD. Despite his size (5'11, 184 lbs), he makes plays.
14. Washington Redskins select Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
Washington has given up 32 sacks this year (27th) and need help protecting McNabb. If McNabb leaves, they may be able to get Mallett if he's available. This is really a hard pick to determine as the Redskins are a hard team to figure out
15. Seattle Seahawks select Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Seattle is dead last in the run. Ingram would be their ideal pick, I would imagine. He gives them a tough-nosed runner and a receiver out of the backfield. He basically gives the entire offense a spark in general, which is exactly what the Seahawks need
16. St. Louis Rams select Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
I'm honestly surprised that this Rams team has done as good as they have. Defensively, they are 13th against the run and 21st against the pass. It's tough to figure who they should draft. They don't need a pass rusher, which are abundant in the draft. And they just rebuilt the offensive line. If Julio Jones impresses them at the draft, they could take him
17. Indianapolis Colts select Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
I think they should give up Bob Sanders this year. Regardless of Sanders or not, this secondary is weak to say the least. While not flashy, Williams is a solid player that the Colts need. Injuries have really depleted this team. Offensive line may also be addressed here too.
18. Miami Dolphins select Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
Their biggest weakness will be the RB position. And this defensive heavy draft doesn't help that problem. Despite the Dolphins being one of the top half teams in sacks, I think they need to take the best available player here. According to Scout's Inc.'s rankings, Clayborn is just that
19. Jacksonville Jaguars select Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
The Jags have a solid offense, but they could use another pass rusher. They could really use some secondary help too, but that isn't available. Kerrigan led the nation in sacks this year and I'm surprised at how low he's ranked. I watched him play IU and was impressed with his play. I think the Jags would be luck to get him this low
20. San Diego Chargers select Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
They'll take the best player available. With the best offense and best defense, I'm not sure where their weakness is. Why not take a lineman and build from there?
21. Tampa Bay Bucs select Allen Bailey, DE, Miami
The one biggest weakness for this Bucs team is getting to the quarterback. They are 30th in sacks this year with just 18. Outside of that, this team is pretty solid. Obviously, they are the surprise of the year. If they can get a legit pass rusher, this could really put them over the top.
22. New York Giants select Drake Nevis, DT, LSU
Another confusing pick. I couldn't tell you who they need. They are top 10 in rushing and passing offense and defense. It's a well rounded team. Therefore, I think they also take the best player available. Defensive tackle is typically an issue every team has, so I think they take one here as they are abundant in this very defensive heavy draft
23. Kansas City Chiefs select Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
The Chiefs have the #1 run game, but have just the 23rd pass game. They need a consistent player to run across the middle and open up the sidelines for Dwayne Bowe. Tony Moeaki is too injured and inconsistent right now. And despite having a weak pass defense, they have a young secondary that's developing
24. Philadelphia Eagles select Nate Soldier, OT, Colorado
The problem is still there. If not for Vick's escapability, they would have far higher than the 32 sacks they've already given up. There's really only one pick that could be made here. You might look at cornerback, but Brandon Burton from Utah might be too much of a stretch here. Nate Soldier is a much more "ready to play now" talent, which the Eagles need
25. Green Bay Packers select Brandon Burton, CB, Utah
I know, I know. He was too much of a stretch at 24, so I'll take him at 25, right? Not quite. The Green Bay secondary is getting awfully old. Burton won't be required to play immediately (at least not as the #1 or #2 CB) and can learn from two of the best in Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson. And with the 3-4 defense scheme and B.J. Raji being drafted just a few years ago, I can't see them going for another DT, despite their average run game.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers select Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
It always seems to be a problem in Pittsburgh. For the last 2 or 3 years, Big Ben has to run for his life more than not and try to create plays with his feet because the offensive line can't block anyone. And with an already stellar defense, a solid RB, and good WRs, I don't think they have a choice but to take an OT here.
27. Chicago Bears select Demarcus Love, OT, Arkansas
It's not rocket science. The Bears offensive line sucks, to say the least. Love is apart of an Arkansas offensive line that has let Ryan Mallet get sacked 21 times in 12 games. It's not stellar, but it's certainly better than what Chicago has right now. One other way the Bears might go is taking Julio Jones to give them a true WR, but I don't think they'll have sign/draft a WR.
28. Baltimore Ravens select Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
It's time to start planning for life without Ed Reed. He missed half the year this year and contemplated retirement. If he doesn't retire this year, then Rahim Moore gets to learn from arguably the greatest ball hawk of all-time. And if he does retire, I think Moore could step right in and contribute. It's a win-win situation for the Ravens.
29. New Orleans Saints select Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
The Saints really don't have someone who can get them sacks when they need it. They are a blitz happy team and like to force the issue. Giving them a DE that can get to the QB could make them that much dangerous. If Moore falls here, I could see them taking him to prepare with life after Darren Sharper.
30. New England Patriots select Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
I don't know why he isn't getting mentioned as a first round selection because he is. And the Patriots have issues with finding a tall WR and a deep threat. Jones is 6'4 and averages 15 yards a catch. Well, that was easy.
31. Atlanta Falcons select Cameron Jordan, DE, California
Another team lacking a pass rusher benefits from this draft. Jordan has 6 sacks this year at DT and 20 for his career. But at 6'4, 280 lbs, he could play DE in the bigs. The Falcons have just 19 sacks on the season. Man, it's fun how these picks all line up perfectly.
32. New York Jets select Rodney Hudson, C, Florida State
They let Kevin Mawae go this offseason. It was a bigger deal than people made of it. Finding someone young to anchor that line for many years to come would be great for the Jets. Hudson can give them that luxury.
Thanks for reading. See ya next week