1. Kansas City- OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
- Offensive tackle is probably one of the biggest needs for the Chiefs, and there were two upper echelon tackles on the board to choose from. While OT Luke Joeckel had more experience against top competition, the Chiefs decided to go with the athleticism and upside of Fisher.
2. Jacksonville- OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
- The Jaguars have many holes to fill and could have gone in a number of different directions with this pick. They won’t complain drafting Joeckel to protect QB Blaine Gabbert, especially since Joeckel was the top player on their wish list.
3. Miami- DE Dion Jordan, Oregon
- The Dolphins feared that Chip Kelly (Jordan’s college coach) and the Eagles would take Jordan with the next pick, so they gave up their 1st Round pick (#13) and 2nd Round pick (#42) to move up to take him. As the Dolphins continue to transition their defense back to a 4-3, they needed another pass rusher to play opposite DE Cameron Wake. The biggest question I have here is: will his speed and athleticism be enough for him to succeed as an undersized defensive end (248-pounds)?
4. Philadelphia- OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
- The Eagles’ offensive line is getting old and banged up, so why not take a youthful offensive tackle with a lot of athleticism and upside. Johnson has only played offensive tackle for two years and still needs to work on his technique, but he just might have more potential than any tackle in this draft.
5. Detroit- DE Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, BYU
- Heading into the draft, the question for the Lions was: do we take the guy who can get after the opposing quarterback or the guy that can protect our quarterback? As the draft played out, the answer became quite obvious. The top three offensive tackles were taken in the first four picks, so the Lions drafted the defensive end that they were very high on. Ansah has only played two years of football, so he is inexperienced and raw. His athleticism and potential are off the charts however. If the Lions can develop his technique and skills, he could easily be a Pro Bowler next to DT Ndamukong Suh and DT Nick Fairley.
6. Cleveland- LB/DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU
- I was a little surprised that with CB Dee Milliner still on the board that the Brown didn’t run up to the podium to take him. They instead added another pass-rushing linebacker. Mingo played more defensive end in college, but he’s a much better fit as a linebacker in the 3-4 defense. He has a lot of talent and knows how to use his speed to get to the quarterback or chase down a play from behind. He’ll give the Browns defensive coordinator a lot of options.
7. Arizona- OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
- The Cardinals might have looked at one of the top pass-rushers or one of the top offensive tackles with this pick, but all of those players are already off the board. They instead addressed the interior of their offense line, which gave up a league-worst 58 sacks last season. Cooper is the best offensive guard to come out of college in a long time. He is very good at locking onto a defender and stay between him and his quarterback pass protection and also driving defensive lineman back and getting to the second level in the rushing game. He will be a big piece of shoring up that line and protecting new QB Carson Palmer.
8. St. Louis- WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
- The Rams were afraid the Jets would take Austin with the next pick, so they gave up one of their 1st Round picks (#16), their 2nd Round pick (#46), and their 7th Round pick (#222) to move up and take him here. Wide receiver became a position of need when WR Danny Amendola signed a free agent contract with New England. Even with Amendola on the team, St. Louis needed an explosive receiver for QB Sam Bradford. Austin is the explosive game-changer the Rams are looking for. The only question with him is how well he’ll hold up at 5’9”, 175-pounds.
9. NY Jets- CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
- The Jets traded Pro Bowl CB Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 1st Round pick (#13) and a conditional pick in next year’s draft. With WR Tavon Austin and the top pass rushers (Dion Jordan, Ezekiel Ansah, and Barkevious Mingo) off the board already, it makes sense for the Jets to replace Revis with the top cornerback on the board. Milliner’s stock may have dropped a little due to some durability issues (he’s had five surgeries already) and questions about his ball skills (not enough interceptions). While Milliner will not be Revis, he will do a nice job from Day One as a starter for the Jets.
10. Tennessee- OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
- After signing free agent OG Andy Levitre in the offseason, the Titans drafted OG Chance Warmack to fill the other guard position. Warmack does a decent job in pass protection, but his forte is as a run-blocker. This couldn’t be a better fit for the Titans, who like to run the ball. Warmack should easily lock down the starting spot at right guard and help the Titans rushing attack.
11. San Diego- OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama
- The Chargers’ biggest needs are on the offensive line. Unfortunately, the top offensive tackles and offensive guards were off the board by the time their pick came around. In any case, they needed to add a piece to this offensive line and they did by drafting Fluker. Fluker is a big man (340-pounds) that doesn’t quite have the foot speed or agility to play at left tackle. Like Warmack, his forte is as a run-blocker and he should fit in nicely as a right tackle for the Chargers.
12. Oakland- CB D.J. Hayden, Houston
- The Raiders needed picks to fill a lot of holes on their team, and they gained a 2nd Round pick from Miami by trading down to this pick. With so many holes to fill, the Raiders chose to take a cornerback with this pick. Hayden is one of the best stories of this draft. After taking a knee to the chest in practice, it was discovered that the vein leading to his heart was torn. Normally, this type of incident has a fatality rate of 95%, so you see how serious of an injury this was. Hayden is back on the field however and is now a 1st Round pick. While he could still use some improvement against the run, Hayden is excellent in coverage and is rarely out of position. He will be a big improvement for the Raiders at corner.
13. NY Jets- DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
- The Jets received this pick along with a conditional pick in next year’s draft from Tampa Bay, who received CB Darrelle Revis. After taking Milliner with their first 1st Round pick, they chose to focus on the defensive line with this pick. This was a little surprising to me. I figured the Jets would look at possibly bringing in a quarterback to compete with QB Mark Sanchez or bring in an offensive weapon like TE Tyler Eifert. Regardless, Richardson is quick, strong, and very athletic for a guy his size. The thought is that the Jets will move him to defensive end when they’re in the 3-4 and play him at defensive tackle any times they play in the 4-3.
14. Carolina- DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
- The Panthers could have looked at the defensive secondary (corner or safety) with this pick but taking a defensive tackle like Lotulelei makes a little more sense here. Lotutelei does a great job clogging up the middle and occupying blockers. His better at stuffing the run than getting pressure on the quarterback, but his presence alone should help Carolina’s defensive ends receive less attention and LB Luke Kuechly the freedom to fly to the ball and make plays.
15. New Orleans- S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
- With the Saints switching to a 3-4 defense, I expected them to draft LB Jarvis Jones with this pick. Whether Jones’ medical concern scared them off or that just didn’t have him rated as highly as I did, the Saints chose to address their defensive secondary with Vaccaro. Vaccaro has the coverage skills of a cornerback, but he’ll still come up in run support and deliver a big hit. He has the ability to play either safety position or play some corner in obvious passing downs if needed. And when you play in the NFC South, having guys that can cover is not a bad thing.
16. Buffalo- QB E.J. Manuel, Florida State
- The Bills made a nice move by trading down and adding two picks from St. Louis- in the 2nd and a 7th Round. With quarterback being one of the biggest needs for Buffalo, it didn’t surprise me that they took a quarterback with this pick. Drafting Manuel however did surprise me a little. Manueal is a very athletic quarterback that can extend plays with his feet and has a powerful arm to make all the throws he needs to. He can be a little inaccurate at times, will force some balls into coverage sometimes, and doesn’t seem to go throw his progressions as well as she should. With Geno Smith and Ryan Nassib (the starter for Bills head coach Doug Marone at Syracuse) still on the board, I expected to hear one of their names. The Bills must have been worried that Manuel wouldn’t last till they picked in the 2nd Round.
17. Pittsburgh- LB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
- The Steelers could look in a lot of directions with this pick, but they need another linebacker that can get pressure on the quarterback after LB James Harrison left in free agency. Jones has the talent to be a Top Ten pick, but he has a medical concern (Spinal Stenosis- a narrowing of the neck canal) that scared some teams off. There were also some concerns about his speed after a poor 40-time at his pro day. If there is one thing Jones has shown through his collegiate career, it’s that he can get pressure on the opposing quarterback. He should be a great addition to the Steelers playing opposite LB LaMarr Woodley.
18. San Francisco- S Eric Reid, LSU
- After All-Pro S Dashon Goldson signed a free agent contract with Tampa Bay, the safety position became one of the biggest needs for the 49ers. After Vaccaro was taken by the Saints a couple picks earlier, San Francisco might have been worried that there would be a run one safeties and would miss out on Reid. Reid has great athleticism and is solid in both pass coverage and in run support. He should fill in nicely in the starting lineup from Day One.
19. NY Giants- OT/OG Justin Pugh, Syracuse
- I really expected the Giants to go with a linebacker or a cornerback with this pick, so I was a little surprised when Pugh was the selection. There was some uncertainty about the Giants offensive line last season, and they chose to address it with this pick. Pugh has the versatility to play at offensive guard or at right tackle, which are both positions that could use some help. Pugh has the potential to jump into either one of those spots right away.
20. Chicago- OT/OG Kyle Long, Oregon
- As with the Giants, I really expected linebacker to be the pick here for the Bears. They lost two starters at linebacker from last season, and either Alec Ogletree or Manti Te’o would have fit in nicely at this pick. They instead decided to address their offensive line, which needs to do a better job at giving QB Jay Cutler enough time to throw. Long has the versatility to play at offensive guard or at right tackle and could step into any one of those positions as the starter or as the backup…we’ll see which one he is.
21. Cincinnati- TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
- As the Bengals continue to try to negotiate a deal with their free agent OT Andre Smith, they could have look to take OT Menelik Watson for insurance, but the safety position was their top need. They decided to go in a different direction by taking Eifert. Tight end was not necessarily a need position with Jermaine Gresham and Alex Smith already on the roster. While this may look like a luxury pick, it does fit a particular need. The Bengals continue to look for ways to take attention off of WR A.J. Green and adding another tall, quick receiving option is another way of doing that. Eifert is not a great blocker, but he does a good enough job to play at the end of the line. He can also play in the slot or flexed out wide, and he is a great option in the red zone.
22. Atlanta- CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
- With Trufant being on the board and cornerback being the top need for Atlanta, they could wait any longer and traded up eight spots to get him. Trufant is a ball-hawking corner that can play on the outside or move inside against the slot receiver. He is not however great in run support and needs to improve in that area. In the NFC South, it’s always good to have good coverage corners though.
23. Minnesota- DT Shariff Floyd, Florida
- The Vikings could have looked in a number of different directions with this pick. Either a linebacker or a wide receiver wouldn’t have surprised me with this pick, but the Vikings saw a Top Ten talent at a need area fall to them and pulled the trigger. Floyd’s stock going into the draft was sky high, and he was at one point predicted to be the 2nd pick overall to the Oakland Raiders. I’m not sure what really caused his stock to slip this far, but the Vikings got a steal here. Floyd is very quick at the snap and does a nice job of getting penetration. He does an equally good job against the run as he does getting after the quarterback, and he brings the versatility of being able to play defensive end at times. His quickness and youth will be a welcome addition to the Vikings’ aging defensive line.
24. Indianapolis- DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
- The Colts needed an outside linebacker to play in their new 3-4 defense, and they choose to hopefully fill that need with Werner here. Werner had a ton of production at Florida State- 13 sacks and 18 tackles for loss just last season. Werner is more of your prototypical defensive end in the 4-3, but the Colts intend to use him as an outside linebacker in the 3-4. He should be interesting to see how well he adjusts to the position change.
25. Minnesota- CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
- I figured that the Vikings again would add a wide receiver or a linebacker with this pick, but they again looked elsewhere. Rhodes is a big corner (6’1”, 210-pounds) with good quickness and long arms. He does a very good job in man-to-man coverage as well as coming up in run support. He needs to improve his instincts and anticipation skills to be better when playing zone coverage, but he is a good enough athlete to still play well in zone. He also does a nice job on corner blitzes, which the Vikings like to use sometimes. He should be able to step into one of the starting positions, especially with CB Antoine Winfield no longer in Minnesota.
26. Green Bay- DE Datone Jones, UCLA
- I really expected the Packers to take either RB Eddie Lacy or S Matt Elam here, but they surprised me by picking Jones. Jones is a great fit for what the Packers want to do. He can play defensive end in the 3-4 and can move inside to defensive tackle when they play in the 4-3 scheme. Jones has great size and the strength to hold up against the run, and he uses that strength and his quickness to get after the quarterback. He was also one of the best defensive ends at the Senior Bowl, which improved his stock even more. He should fit in very nicely on the Packers’ defensive front.
27. Houston- WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
- The Texans wanted to add another receiving weapon for QB Matt Schaub to play opposite of All-Pro WR Andre Johnson, and they found one in Hopkins. While Hopkins has good speed, he’s not necessarily a deep threat. He runs good routes and has experience as the go-to guy as well as the 2nd option. His best attribute however are his hands. Hopkins has some of the best hands of any receiver in this draft. He snatches balls out of the air and does a good job of adjusting to poorly thrown balls. If the ball is anywhere near him, he will catch it. He should fit in nicely in Houston to help take pressure off of Johnson.
28. Denver- DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
- The Broncos could look to fill a need a defensive end with this pick, but they won’t be able to turn down a dominant defensive tackle like Williams. Williams is quick for his size and does a good job getting into the backfield. He will most likely play in a rotation at defensive end and defensive tackle for the Broncos.
29. Minnesota- WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
- The Vikings felt they needed to get one more pick in the 1st Round and traded their 2nd Round pick (#52), 3rd Round pick (#83), one of their 4th Round picks (#102), and one their 7th Round picks (#229- they got this one back in a later trade) to the Patriots to draft Patterson. Patterson is one of the most electric players in this draft with the ball in his hands. He has the speed, quickness, and shiftiness to make defenders miss him in the open field. He is not a great route runner however, and his hands can be a little inconsistent. But when the ball is in his hands, look out.
30. St. Louis- LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
- The Rams moved down and were still able to get Ogletree. While I somewhat expected them to possibly go with RB Eddie Lacy or S Jonathan Cyprien here, adding Ogletree is a very nice linebacker and fit a need. Ogletree is a big-time hitter with great range. While he’s not necessarily a guy that will take on a block, shed it, and make the tackle, he is at his best in space and pursuing the ball. As a former safety, he also does an excellent job in pass coverage. He should fit in as the starting weakside linebacker for the Rams very nicely.
31. Dallas- C Travis Frederick, Wisconsin
- The Cowboys had two big needs- one on offense and one on defense. And while they filled one of those needs with this pick, it wasn’t the need I expected them to fill first. Frederick has the versatility to play center or guard for the Cowboys, who needed someone to help shore up their line. He is very smart and has good footwork. He will easily step into one of the starting positions for the Cowboys from Day One.
32. Baltimore- S Matt Elam, Florida
- No team was hit harder in free agency and with retirements than the Ravens. Baltimore lost a number of starters from their defense, so you can expect that many of their draft selections will be on the defensive side of the ball. After losing both of their starting safeties in free agency, the Ravens pounced on the opportunity to take a safety of Elam’s ability. While not very tall, Elam flies around the field and makes a lot of big plays. He will be inserted into the starting lineup immediately.
Top Ten Players Available in Round Two:
- LB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
- RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama
- QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
- S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International
- TE Zach Ertz, Stanford
- RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin
- LB Kevin Minter, LSU
- QB Matt Barkley, USC
- WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee