As the NFL Season grows closer and closer, NFL teams are starting to show their cards in the preseason in terms of the talent they are bring to the table. Obviously, while pre-season does not tell all, it gives the world a good look at rookies and depth. From what is known about the teams thus far as well as a bit of speculation, it is time to predict where and whom they will be picking in next years draft.
1) Oakland Raiders- Jadeveon Clowney (DE- South Carolina): The Raiders look to have an interesting QB option in Terrell Pryor so they have the opportunity to pull the trigger on the best defensive prospect of our generation. Not only will Clowney finally give this team its nasty identity back, but he brings an enticing blend of size, speed and strength to a young defensive line.
2nd Rounder: Jeff Mathews (QB-Cornell)
2) New York Jets- Marquise Lee (WR-USC): Geno Smith, while a bit green, looks like he could be the answer at Quarterback. It is of the utmost importance to do something that New York failed to do with Mark Sanchez and surround their young QB with talent. Lee is a very balanced receiver with game breaking ability after the catch. Even the shortest dump off pass could be turned into a 40-yard gain and Geno needs a target like that to instill confidence.
2nd Rounder: Craig Loston (S-LSU)
3) Jacksonville Jaguars- Teddy Bridgewater (QB- Louisville): While Blaine Gabbert has flashed in the pre-season; he has yet to prove to be effective during the regular season. If that trend continue, look for the Jaguars to get a major upgrade at QB in Bridgewater. Teddy’s ability to stand in the pocket and make every throw with poise is truly a thing of beauty and Jaguars fans would love that level of toughness from their Quarterback.
2nd Rounder: Jeremiah Attaochu (LEO- Georgia Tech)
4) San Diego Chargers- Jake Matthews (OT- TAMU): The Chargers have had serious issues protecting their quarterback the past few years. Matthews is a physically impressive, technically sound pass protector and run blocker who would allow DJ Fluker to move to the right side and finally give the Chargers solid edge protection.
2nd Rounder: Brett Hundley (QB-UCLA)
5) Tennessee Titans- David Fales (QB- SJSU): Despite having a ton of talent at the offensive skill positions, the Titans have been consistently mediocre due to the ineptness from Jake Locker at quarterback. Fales offers a sound decision maker with pinpoint accuracy that could make teams honor the pass, establish balance on offense and get the ball into the hands of the young playmakers.
2nd Rounder: Antone Exum (CB-Virginia Tech)
6) Buffalo Bills- Anthony Barr (OLB- UCLA): Switching to a 3-4 defense, the Bills are going to need to add some more pieces before the unit is whole. While they have Mario Williams at one outside position, the Bills should go with the value pick here and get a dominating pairing. Barr is a hyper athletic pass rusher who dominated in his first year of playing defense in college. If he refines his game, there is a damn good chance he is not available here.
2nd Rounder: David Yankey (OG-Stanford)
7) Arizona Cardinals- Taylor Lewan (OT-Michigan): The Cardinals have a lot of talent on their team: Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Andre Ellington, Jonathan Cooper, Patrick Peterson, etc. The issue has been protecting the quarterback in order to keep the team afloat. Lewan is a great athlete and a stalwart pass protector who would server as a phenomenal blindside option for whoever is under center.
2nd Rounder: Stephen Morris (QB-Miami)
8) Detroit Lions- Antonio Richardson (OT- Tennessee): Matt Stafford to Calvin Johnson has the potential to be a connection for the ages, but in a division with Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Shea McClellan and other young pass rushers, you need to be able to protect your quarterback. Richardson has the tools of an elite pass protector and could serve well on Stafford’s blind side for years.
2nd Rounder: Khalil Mack (LB-Buffalo)
9) Philadelphia Eagles- Jason Verrett (CB-TCU): While Verrett is not the best pure cover corner in the class, he offers a complete package at the position; He can man up, play in zone, creat turnovers, play the run and is a solid tackler. His physical nature will be a welcomed presence in a Philadelphia secondary that has lacked that since Brian Dawkins.
2nd Rounder: Marcus Mariota (QB- Oregon)
10) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- CJ Mosley (LB-Alabama): A value pick, Mosley is one of the best players in the draft. He is an instinctive, athletic linebacker who can cover and come up and play the run. Adding him to a group of Mason Foster and Lavonte David would make this unit one of the best in the game.
2nd Rounder: Austin Sefarian Jenkins (TE-Washington)
11) Pittsburgh Steelers- Sentreal Henderson (OT-Miami): The Steelers have lacked consistent protection for Big Ben for a long time. With the addition of Henderson, the Steelers get a big, athletic pass protector who will finally gives Roethlisberger a way to fall asleep at night knowing that he will not be pummeled from his blind side for a long time.
2nd Rounder: Dominique Easley (DL- Florida)
12) Kansas City Chiefs- Louis Nix (DT- Notre Dame): Andy Reid loves drafting the big boys up front and Nix gives him just that. Nix is a very big man with surprising athletic ability who could play all along a 3 man front and give defensive coordinator, Bob Sutton, a new toy to play with.
2nd Rounder: Ty Zimmerman (SS-Kansas State)
13) Miami Dolphins- Daniel McCullers (DT- Tennessee): With the likes of Cameron Wake and Dion Jordan, Miami has a phenomenal pair of defensive ends. McCullers could step in with his 6-8, 350 pound frame and take over at nose guard for Paul Soliai. McCullers is very athletic for his size and will literally gobble up blocks to allow Dion Jordan and Cam Wake to come free on the edges.
2nd Rounder: Cyrus Kouandjio (OT- Alabama)
14)New Orleans Saints- Bradley Roby (CB- Ohio State): As good as that offense is, the Saints need a lot of work on the defense in order to start competing in a division chock full of offensive firepower. Roby is a great athlete and an instinctive cover man who has the potential to blanket one half of the field.
2nd Rounder: Kyle Van Noy (LB- BYU)
15) St. Louis Rams- Ha’Sean Clinton Dix (S- Alabama): With Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins, the Rams are gifted with two very physical corners to compliment their monster defensive front. However, the team lacks decent safety play and rookie TJ McDonald is better suited to playing closer to the line of scrimmage. Dix is a versatile cover safety that has the ability to play and stop the run. He could be the finishing piece to one hell of a defense in St. Louis.
2nd Rounder: Timmy Jernigan (DT- FSU)
16) Cleveland Browns- Ifo Ekpre Olomu (CB- Oregon): The Browns, as a team, are loaded with young talent all over the place. Ifo gives the team a scrappy, physical corner who loves getting in the receivers face to pair with the already talented Joe Haden. This would allow former 3rd round pick, Leon McFadden to move to a slot corner, which suits him more. Ifo would be the cherry on top of a young, emerging defense.
2nd Rounder: Tre Boston (FS- UNC)
17) Carolina Panthers- Donte Moncrief (WR- Ole Miss): The Panthers finally upgraded their defensive tackle position and now their front 7 could be among the nation’s elite this year. However, this is a team that needs to give Cam Newton weapons. He is one of the most physically gifted players in the country but needs talent around him. Steve Smith, while still producing, is 34 years old and the Panthers need his heir. Moncrief is a big bodied, physical receiver who can create after the catch and emabarrass in the red zone. His size combined with Cam’s arm could be a quite a treat to watch for the next decade.
2nd Rounder: Lache Seastrunke (RB- Baylor)
18) Minnesota Vikings- Aaron Lynch (DE- USF): The Vikings have 4 defensive lineman set to be free agents after the 2013 season, including Jared Allen and Kevin Williams. Lynch is as physically gifted as they come and, when it is all said and done, could go much higher than this. He may not be the biggest need for the team, but in a division with Aaron Rodgers, you need pass rushers.
2nd Rounder: AJ Johnson (LB- Tennessee
19) New York Giants- Ryan Shazier (LB- Ohio State): The Giants have not had a good linebacker for a long time and that really needs to change. As good as their defensive lines have been, a good linebacker corps is pivotal to defensive successes. A former safety, Shazier is an elite athlete with great coverage skills and an ability to track down the ball carrier. He is basically a more polished Alec Ogletree, and that would bode well for a struggling Giants unit.
2nd Rounder: Jace Amaro (TE- Texas Tech)
20) Chicago Bears- Derek Carr (QB- Fresno State): Cutler is in the final year of his contract and as the new coach in town, Trestman may want “his” guy at quarterback. In terms of physical tools, Carr is pretty similar to Cutler as he is a good athlete and a cannon arm. Carr has some questions about the mental aspect of his game, but those are overblown and he has all the physical talent in the world to propel Chicago into the future
2nd Rounder: Louchiez Purifoy (CB- Florida)
21) St. Louis Rams (From Redskins)- Gabe Jackson (OG- Miss. St): The Rams are in the process of building around Sam Bradford and keeping him protected is the key to that. Jackson is a great interior pass blocker and would allow Bradford to step up in the pocket in a division full of elite pass rushers.
Redskins 2nd Rounder: Kasen Williams (WR- Washington)
22) Indianapolis Colts- Cyril Richardson (OG- Baylor): The run on guards continue! The Colts are a team built around Andrew Luck, but if he spends most of his career on his back, it defeats the purpose. Richardson is a versatile lineman could theoretically be moved around, but is best suited inside, trying to make sure JJ Watt doesn’t tear down Cyril’s quarterback.
2nd Rounder: De’Andre Coleman (DL- California)
23) Dallas Cowboys- Will Sutton (DT-ASU): With Demarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer manning the edges and Sean Lee, Bruce Carter and Devonte Holloman playing the back end, the Cowboys defensive front is on the brink of something great. With Jay Ratliff getting up in age, the ‘Boys need someone to pair inside with the underrated Jason Hatcher. Sutton is a dominant pass rusher from the defensive tackle position and putting him in a Tampa-Two defense would allow him to get up field and make plays in the backfield. People will knock Sutton’s size, but there is now doubt that he is technical and athletic enough to overcome it.
2nd Rounder: Ed Reynolds (FS-Stanford)
24) Baltimore Ravens- Colt Lyerla (TE- Oregon): With Dennis Pitta injured and a free agent after this year, the Ravens may want an upgrade at the tight end position. Lyerla is a big man who moves in the open field like a big runningback. He physically dominates as a runner, receiver and blocker and could end up being the number one guy in Baltimore.
2nd Rounder: Jordan Matthews (WR- Vanderbilt)
25) Houston Texans- Tajh Boyd (QB-Clemson): After years of above average play, the Texans need a dynamic player at quarterback. Boyd has a great arm, great athletic ability and phenomenal work ethic. Even if he sits for a year, Boyd could bring the Texans to the next level.
2nd Rounder: Adrian Hubbard (OLB-Alabam)
26) Green Bay Packers- Cornelius Lucas (OT-Kansas St.): It is actually shameful how much Aaron Rodgers is sacked. He is the best quarterback in the country and has to be protected like one. Lucas, while maybe not the best run blocker, has dominant size (6-9) and is a stalwart pass protector. Aaron Rodgers will be pleased.
2nd Rounder: Eric Ebron (TE- UNC)
27) Cincinnati Bengals- Christian Jones (LB-FSU): The Bengals have one of the best defensive lines, if not the best, in the NFL. However, they lack consistency at linebacker outside of star, Vontaze Burfict. Jones gives the Bengals a versatile defender who has the size and ability to not only be a run stopper, but cover athletic tight ends as well.
2nd Rounder: Lemarcus Joyner (S-FSU)
28) Seattle Seahawks- Davante Adams (WR- Fresno State): It is hard to find a weakness on Seattle’s roster that they’d fill with this pick outside of a reach at guard, so they go best player available. Adams is a physically gifted receiver with a great belnd of size, speed and body control. While guys like Golden Tate and Sidney Rice are solid, a pairing of Davante Adams, Percy Harvin and Russell Wilson would dominate secondaries for years to come.
2nd Rounder: Xavier Su’a-Filo (OG-UCLA)
29) Atlanta Falcons- Stephon Tuitt (DT- Notre Dame): The Atlanta defensive line lacks star power. While there are a few decent pieces in place, they lack a true stud. Tuitt is a big body who wreak havoc inside and be a factor as a run defender or a pass rusher, a must in a highly offensive division.
2nd Rounder: James Wilder Jr. (RB-FSU)
30) New England Patriots- Sammy Watkins (WR- Clemson): Many will be shocked that Watkins fell this far, but the truth is that this is a very talented crop of receivers. Watkins, while not a complete receiver, has game breaking speed and is incredibly dynamic after the catch. Pairing him with Tom Brady could give the Patriots a great last hurrah for their legendary gunslinger.
2nd Rounder: Anthony Johnson (DT- LSU)
31) Denver Broncos- Yarwin Smallwood (LB- UConn): The Broncos have a great pair of linebackers in Von Miller and Wesley Woodyard, but lack a true answer inside. Smallwood is an instinctive linebacker who does a great job of coming down and punishing against the run. His ability to get off of blocks and seal up the middle of the field in the running game will be a big part of a great Denver defense in 2014.
2nd Rounder: Ra’Shede Hageman (DT- Minnesota)
32) San Francisco 49ers- Sean Parker (SS- Washington): With Donte Whitner a free agent, the 49ers are lucky to get such a passionate player as Parker. While he does not have elite measurables, he flies around the field in coverage and is one of the best tacklers in the class. He would be a great addition to a fantastic defense.
2nd Rounder: Jalen Saunders (WR- Oklahoma)
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