1. Indianapolis- QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
- After releasing Pro Bowl QB Peyton Manning, no surprise here that the Colts took the top quarterback in the draft to build their franchise around. Luck is considered to be the best quarterback prospect since John Elway, and I fully expect to see him as a future Pro Bowler.
2. Washington- QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
- The Redskins want a franchise quarterback and think Griffin is the answer, so they traded up four spots with St. Louis to secure this pick. Griffin has a strong arm and great accuracy, and he is an excellent athlete…he should finally give the Redskins some consistency at quarterback.
3. Cleveland- RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
- The Browns were worried that someone else was going to move up to this spot to take Richardson, so they traded up one spot with Minnesota to guarantee they got their man. Richardson is a strong runner with good speed, nice hands out of the backfield, and excellent ball security.
4. Minnesota- OT Matt Kalil, USC
- The Vikings traded down one pick, gained three extra picks, and still got their man. Kalil should give last season’s 1st Round pick, QB Christian Ponder, some much needed protection while also giving Pro Bowl RB Adrian Peterson some room to run.
5. Jacksonville- WR Justin Blackmon- Oklahoma St.
- The Jaguars traded up two spots with Tampa Bay to jump ahead of St. Louis to grab the top wide receiver in the draft. While not a speed burner, Blackmon has the work ethic and the all-round game to give the Jaguars a quality wideout for the first time in a while.
6. Dallas- CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
- After missing out on Blackmon, St. Louis was more than happy to trade this pick to Dallas. The Cowboys knew they need to jump ahead of Tampa Bay to grab the top cornerback in the draft. Claiborne has excellent ball skills, anticipation, and cover skills and should give the Cowboys a quality corner for many years.
7. Tampa Bay- S Mark Barron, Alabama
- The Bucs were hoping that Claiborne would drop to them with this pick. They still addressed their defensive secondary by taking the top safety. Barron does a fantastic job in coverage, but he can also come up a lay a big hit.
8. Miami- QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
- With a need at quarterback, the Dolphins selected Tannehill as many expected. Tannehill has a lot of talent with a strong arm and nice intelligence, but he is a little inexperienced having only started 19 games at quarterback in college…it wouldn’t hurt for him to sit and learn for a year.
9. Carolina- LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
- The Panthers had other needs at defensive tackle and cornerback that they could have addressed here, but Kuechly is the top linebacker in the draft and also fits a need. Kuechly is talented enough to play inside or outside linebacker and brings a great work ethic, great awareness, and excellent form to a defense that needs help.
10. Buffalo- CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
- I expected the Bills to address offensive tackle or possibly wide receiver with this pick, but they can’t go wrong taking Gilmore. Gilmore’s draft stock was rising as much or more than any other player in the draft. Gilmore has nice technique, good speed, nice cover skills, and is a solid tackler…he should be a nice addition to the Bills defense.
11. Kansas City- DT Dontari Poe, Memphis
- The Chiefs would have liked Kuechly to still be on the board, but they needed a nose tackle just as much. Poe at 345-pounds will do a nice job clogging the middle of that defense and occasionally getting some pressure on the quarterback for the Chiefs.
12. Philadelphia- DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi St.
- The Eagles traded up three picks with Seattle to ensure they got one of the more explosive defensive tackles in the draft. Cox is a real disruptive force on the defensive line getting nice penetration against the run and the pass. The Eagles had trouble stopping the run last season, and Cox could help fix that problem.
13. Arizona- WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
- The Cardinals maybe would have taken Cox here if he was still on the board, but they can’t go wrong with Floyd. Floyd has the size, speed, and ability to be a quality secondary option opposite Pro Bowl WR Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald’s work ethic should rub off on Floyd, which will only make the duo that much more dangerous.
14. St. Louis- DT Michael Brockers, LSU
- For the second time in this draft, the Rams have moved down in the draft only to have the wide receiver they were hoping for taken the pick before them. The Rams could have still addressed wide receiver or looked at needs on the offensive line or at cornerback, but they decided to draft an explosive defensive tackle in Brockers. Brockers uses his quickness and athleticism to get excellent penetration against both the run and pass, which the Rams desperately can use.
15. Seattle- DE/LB Bruce Irvin, West Virginia
- The Seahawks made a surprise pick here going with Irvin. There were plenty of pass rushers that seemed to make more sense as Irvin was considered more of a 3rd Round prospect. Irvin does have great pass rush skills, but he saw his production decrease this season as teams paid more attention to him.
16. NY Jets- DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
- The Jets defense wasn’t as effective last season…one of the big reasons was the lack of pressure they got on the opposing quarterback. Coples makes a lot of sense with this pick. Coples has the size, athleticism, and pass rush ability to make plays and get pressure on the quarterback as a defensive end in the 3-4 defense.
17. Cincinnati- CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
- The Bengals needed help at the cornerback position with Leon Hall recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, and Kirkpatrick was the best one on the board. Kirkpatrick can be a little inconsistent at times, but he has the size, speed, and ball skills to be an excellent addition and should be able to start from Day One.
18. San Diego- DE/LB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
- The area the Chargers need to address most was their pass rush. Ingram should have no problem providing that for his new team. Ingram is an undersized defensive end with fantastic pass rush skills, great speed, and impressive strength, and he should have no problem making the transition to outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense.
19. Chicago- LB Shea McClellin, Boise St.
- The Bears were looking for help at defensive end. While McClellin (6’4”, 260-pounds) will be a little undersized as a defensive end, he is an outstanding pass rusher and should be a nightmare for opposing tackles due to his speed and relentless attitude.
20. Tennessee- WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
- Cornerback was the Titan’s biggest need, but the top three corners are already off the board. They could’ve looked to defensive end at this point like I expected them to do, but Wright could be a nice receiving option for last season’s 1st Round pick, QB Jake Locker. Wright is an explosive vertical threat with good hands that should turn into a nice secondary option behind WR Kenny Britt.
21. New England- DE/LB Chandler Jones, Syracuse
- The Patriots were delighted to still see Jones on the board and traded up six picks with Cincinnati to address their biggest need of a pass rushing outside linebacker. Jones has the talent to make the switch to outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense and has the size, athleticism, and pass rush ability to make a big impact for the Patriots.
22. Cleveland- QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma St.
- Quarterback is an area the Browns were looking to address in the draft. They have not been satisfied with QB Colt McCoy as the starter, and they possibly didn’t want to chance losing out on Weeden by waiting till the 2nd Round. Weeden has outstanding arm strength being an ex-pitcher and brings good leadership skills and maturity to the Browns.
23. Detroit- OT Riley Reiff, Iowa
- Like Tennessee, the Lions would have liked one of the top three cornerbacks to drop to them here. They cannot believe their luck that Reiff, a Top-10 talent, was still on the board for them to address their aging offensive line. Reiff has the ability to step in right away as a right tackle or to be groomed to take over at left tackle. He uses excellent athleticism and fundamentals in pass protection and is a strong and aggressive mauler in the run game. The Lions got great value with this pick.
24. Pittsburgh- OG David DeCastro, Stanford
- The Steelers addressed one of their biggest needs with this pick. DeCastro is smart, tough, strong, aggressive, athletic, and has great fundamentals, and he fits the Pittsburgh offensive line perfectly. He will form a nice interior anchor with C Maurkice Pouncey.
25. New England- LB Donta Hightower, Alabama
- For the second time in this draft, the Patriots moved up six picks to select the player they desired- this time with Denver. Hightower is the perfect fit as an inside linebacker in the 3-4 defense. He does a nice job getting after the quarterback on a blitz but is still solid enough to drop back in pass coverage. Hightower really does a nice job finding the ball and stuffing the run, and he moves quite well from sideline to sideline for a player at 265-pounds.
26. Houston- DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
- The Texans lost two starting linebackers- one in free agency and one in a trade. Mercilus burst onto the scene last season and led all of college football in sacks (16) and forced fumbles (9). Mercilus certainly has the size, strength, ability, and athleticism to make the move to outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense and still have an impact as a pass rusher.
27. Cincinnati- OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
- The Bengals had a need along the interior of their offensive and were even able to move down in the draft and still get a quality guard in Zeitler. Zeitler is tough, well coached, has good fundamentals, and does a nice job in both run blocking and pass protection.
28. Green Bay- DE/LB Nick Perry, USC
- The Packers needed a pass rushing outside linebacker to play opposite Pro Bowl LB Clay Matthews, so they decided to take his former college teammate. Perry could be used as an undersized defensive end for the Packers, but they will most likely use him as a big outside linebacker in their 3-4 defense. He certainly has the size, speed, strength, and athleticism to be an outstanding pass rush threat from the linebacker position.
29. Minnesota- S Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
- The Vikings moved up six picks with Baltimore to get back into the 1st Round to address a need in their defensive secondary. Minnesota did not want to miss out on Smith, who was the second best safety in a weak safety class and provides great value with this pick. Smith is a great leader from the safety position and has nice size, range, and savvy to be a quality starter.
30. San Francisco- WR A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
- The 49ers could have looked at the offensive guard position with this pick, but they decided to grab a vertical threat in Jenkins. Jenkins has very good hands and is very explosive when he has the ball in them. And on a team that had trouble moving the ball in the passing game, a vertical threat like Jenkins could be a valuable piece.
31. Tampa Bay- RB Doug Martin, Boise St.
- While the Bucs do already have LaGarrette Blount on the roster, he had some fumbling problems and was relatively ineffectively as a receiver out of the backfield. Martin is tough to bring to the ground, runs with a determined style, has good hands out of the backfield, can pick up the blitz in pass coverage, and rarely fumbles the ball. He’s a nice addition for Tampa whether as a starter or as a backup.
32. NY Giants- RB David Wilson, Virginia Tech
- The Giants lost RB Brandon Jacobs in free agency, and starting RB Ahmad Bradshaw has only played an entire 16-game season once in his four years as a pro due to injuries. While ball security is an issue Wilson will have to shore up, he has excellent speed, vision, receiving ability, athleticism, and moves to avoid tacklers to be a great combination with Bradshaw.
Five Best Value Picks:
- DE/LB Melvin Ingram- Ingram was a Top-10 talent that dropped to the Chargers with the 18th pick. Ingram will provide a much needed pass rush to the Charger defense.
- OT Riley Reiff- Reiff is another Top-10 talent that dropped to the Lions with the 23rd pick. The Lions offensive line are aging, and Detroit couldn’t be happier to have the 2nd best offensive tackle in the draft drop all the way down to them here to a the very least be groomed to take over at left tackle or start now at right tackle.
- OG David DeCastro- DeCastro dropped to the Steelers with the 24th pick. The Steelers needed some help along their offensive line, and DeCastro will form a solid anchor with C Maurkice Pouncey.
- DE/LB Chandler Jones- The Patriots traded up six picks to get Jones with the 21st pick, but Jones will help provide a much needed pass rush from the outside linebacker position.
- S Harrison Smith- The Vikings traded up six picks to get back into the 1st Round to select Smith with the 29th pick. Smith was the 2nd best safety in a weak safety class and gives Minnesota some much needed help in their defensive secondary
Five Biggest Surprises/Reaches:
- DE/LB Bruce Irvin- Irvin was picked by the Seattle Seahawks with the 15th pick. Irvin has plenty of talent, but off-the-field issues and a decrease in production last season had him rated as more of a 3rd Rounder rather than a mid-1st Rounder. I thought DE/LB Melvin Ingram or DE/LB Chandler Jones would have been a better selection with this pick.
- WR A.J. Jenkins- Jenkins was selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the 30th pick. Jenkins is a great vertical threat, but I thought that WR Stephen Hill, who has just as much speed but also has the size at 6’4”, 215-pounds to go with it, would have been a better choice.
- LB Shea McClellin- McClellin was drafted by the Chicago Bears with the 19th pick. I like McClellin as a player and don’t have a problem with him being drafted in the 1st Round or even in this area of the 1st Round. I view McClellin more as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense than as a defensive end in a 4-3 defense. I thought that DE Whitney Mercilus or maybe even LB/DE Courtney Upshaw would have made more sense.
- QB Brandon Weeden- Weeden was picked by the Cleveland Browns with the 22nd pick. Weeden has great arm strength and is a born leader, and Cleveland is obviously not satisfied with QB Colt McCoy as the starter. I can understand the thinking that Weeden potentially wouldn’t be on the board when the Browns pick early in the 2nd Round, so they grabbed him early. I think he would’ve still been on the board with the 5th pick of the 2nd Round, and I would’ve to wide receiver with Stephen Hill or offensive tackle with Riley Reiff.
- RB David Wilson- Wilson was selected by the New York Giants with the 32nd pick. I may be picking at straws here because a run on running backs could have been starting, but I thought the running back position could’ve been addressed in the 2nd Round- potentially still getting Wilson then. Wilson is a great athlete, but he has some ball security issues. Offensive tackle would have been the position I addressed with this pick- Bobby Massie, Cordy Glenn, Jonathan Martin, or Mike Adams.
Top Ten Players Available in Round Two:
- LB/DE Courtney Upshaw
- LB Lavonte David
- OG/OT Cordy Glenn
- TE Coby Fleener
- OT Bobby Massie
- WR Stephen Hill
- DT Jerel Worthy
- OT Jonathan Martin
- CB Janoris Jenkins
- C Peter Konz
*Underlined denotes a top five value pick.
*Italicized denotes a top five reach or surprise pick.