With the Super Bowl out of the way it’s now time to focus on the next biggest event: The NFL Draft.
1. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford (QB, Georgia)
-Stafford is the only player that makes sense here for the Lions. As crazy as it sounds the Lions do have some weapons on offense. Now they need a long term signal caller.
2. St. Louis Rams: Andre Smith (OT, Alabama)
-With Orlando Pace’s career coming to an end, the Rams will be looking for his replacement at the number 2 spot. While Smith may have some issue with his pass blocking, he is an absolute road grader with a ton of upside.
3. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry (LB, Wake Forest)
-Curry is an absolute stud and would be a huge upgrade to a very young defense. Not only can he play the middle or outside linebacker positions, he also makes the most sense for the Chiefs.
4. Seattle Seahawks: Michael Crabtree (WR, Texas Tech)
-The Seahawks are in dire need of a playmaker on offense, and Crabtree is just the player. He’s a consistent receiver who would give Matt Hasselback a much needed weapon.
5. Cleveland Browns: Malcolm Jenkins (CB, Ohio St.)
-While the Browns were one of the biggest disappointments this season, they have an offense that has the potential to put up a ton of points. With that said, they’ll be looking for a defensive upgrade. Jenkins has the size, and skill to play both corner or safety and would be a very nice addition to the Browns secondary.
6. Cincinnati Bengals: Eugene Monroe ( OT, Virginia)
-There was a point not so long ago when the tackle position was a strength of the Bengals. Well, that’s no longer the case. Monroe, is athletic and a superb pass blocker. The Bengals main priority is to keep Carson Palmer healthy.
7. Oakland Raiders: Jason Smith (OT, Baylor)
-While Smith may not be the Al Davis type of pick, he knows it all starts with the offensive line. The Raiders have weapons on offense, they now need to fix that dismal offensive line of theirs.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jeremy Maclin (WR, Missouri)
-While the Jags have one of the top running games in the NFL, they sorely miss a playmaking wide receiver. Not only can Maclin help the offense, but he would also improve their special teams.
9. Green Bay Packers: Brian Orakpo (DE, Texas)
-Orakpo, or O-Sack-Po is a defensive freak. He combines an explosive burst with tremendous strength, and would be a very nice addition opposite Aaron Kampman.
10. San Francisco 49ers: Mark Sanchez (QB, USC)
-Sanchez may not have the experience most teams covet, but he does have great accuracy and presence in the pocket. The 49ers desperately need a constant at the quarterback position and he would be a nice pick at the 10 spot.
11. Buffalo Bills: Brandon Pettigrew ( TE, Oklahoma St.)
-The Bills have very quietly built a very nice offense around quarterback Trent Edwards. The one missing piece is a playmaking tight end. Pettigrew, would be a great selection for the Bills and can really open up the offense.
12. Denver Broncos: B.J Raji (DT, B.C)
-This is without a doubt the wild card pick of the first round. With a new head coach, a new defensive coordinator, and a new defensive scheme coming, the Broncos can go in numerous directions. They can go defensive end, outside linebacker, middle linebacker, running back or nose tackle. With that said, I believe nose tackle is the pick here for it’s arguably the most important position in a 3-4 defense.
13. Washington Redskins: Michael Oher (OT, Ole Mis)
-Jon Jansen and Chris Samuels are nearing the end of their careers and its time to add some depth along their offensive line. Oher is one of the top lineman in the draft and could sure up the tackle position for years to come.
14. New Orleans Saints: James Laurinaitis (LB, Ohio St.)
-A few years ago the Saints almost took A.J Hawk at number 2. This time around they have the chance to grab Laurinaitis at 14 and won’t pass him up. Their defense needs athletes and Laurinaitis would be a very nice upgrade at the linebacker position.
15. Houston Texans: Everette Brown (DE, FSU)
-People thought the Texans were crazy when they selected Mario Williams number 1 a few years ago. Well, Super Mario is a stud and now its time to find someone opposite him to rush the passer. Brown may be the best pure pass-rusher in the draft and would be a great pick here for the Texans. This may be the best value pick of the 1st round.
16. San Diego Chargers: Rey Maualuga (LB, USC)
-The Chargers defense was not their typical defense of the past. While losing Merriman was a huge set back, adding a big, mean body in the middle like Maualuga could go a long way to bringing back that smash mouth style defense.
17. New York Jets: Percy Harvin (WR, Florida)
-This is one of the more difficult selections in this draft. While I think Tyson Jackson makes a lot of sense, I believe the Jets will have a new Qb next season and will look to add as many weapons as possible. Harvin can make plays in the slot, in the backfield and as a returner. Overall, I believe his intagables make him a New York Jet.
18. Chicago Bears: Tyson Jackson (DE, LSU)
-The Bears seemed to take a step back from the physical, intimidating defense they are so used to having. Jackson, is a big physical end who would really improve the Bears run defense.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Aaron Maybin (DE, Penn St.)
-While Maybin may be viewed as a pass-rusher in a 3-4 scheme, he would be a nice compliment to standout Gaines Adams. Maybin is a great athlete and has a knack for getting to the quarterback.
20. Detroit Lions: Vontae Davis (CB, Illinois)
-The Lions may have the worst secondary in the NFL, and adding a big, physical corner like Davis would be the ideal situation for the Lions. Finally, the Lions can walk out of the first round with their heads held high.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Chris Wells (RB, Ohio St.)
-The Eagles will be thrilled if Wells falls to them. Not only is he the best back in the draft, the Eagles sorely need that bruising running back to take pressure off of Brian Westbrook. If Everette Brown to the Texans isn’t the value pick of the 1st round Wells to the Eagles certainly is.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR, Maryland)
-I love this guy and receiver is really the only impact position the Vikings can grab here. While quarterback is a position of question, drafting Josh Freeman is not the answer. Heyward-Bey would make a decent receiver corp. only that much better.
23. New England Patriots: Brian Cushing (LB, USC)
-Cushing would be a great pickup for the depleted Patriots defense. Their linebackers aren’t getting any younger and Cushing is a perfect fit in a 3-4 defense.
24. Atlanta Falcons: Jerry Peria (DT, Ole Miss)
-To my surprise the Falcons come into this draft in great shape. The Falcons can go defensive tackle or secondary here but Peria would be the value pick at 24. He’s a strong, quick tackle who can open things up in the middle.
25. Miami Dolphins: Hakeem Nicks (WR, UNC)
-While the Dolphins were another pleasant surprise they could use an upgrade at the wide receiver position. Nicks is a big, strong receiver who would be a very nice addition for Mr. Reliable, Chad Pennington.
26. Baltimore: D.J Moore (CB, Vandy)
-The Ravens secondary has been banged up the past few seasons and McAlister and Rolle are getting up there in age. Moore is a playmaking corner who would add much needed depth at this position.
27. Indianapolis: Alphonso Smith (CB, Wake Forest)
-Smith is the highest graded player remaining and with some free agents in their secondary this pick makes a lot of sense for the Colts. Though, ideally they would like to add a big body on the defensive line.
28. Philadelphia: Eben Britton (OT, Arizona)
-The Eagles find themselves in the same situation as the Redskins at this pick. Runyan and Tra Thomas are aging fast and it won’t be long until the Eagles will need to replace them.
29. New York Giants: Larry English (LB/DE, NIU)
-The G-Men could use help at linebacker or wide receiver, but at this point there may not be a receiver worth taking. English is a tweener, he can play end or linebacker and the Giants love players like for their defense.
30. Tennessee: Derrick Williams (WR, Penn St.)
-The Titans need receivers plain and simple. They have needed a receiver for sometime now, and while Williams may be a reach, he’s a playmaker. Last season the leading receivers for the Titans were a running back and a tight end.
31. Arizona: Knowshon Moreno (RB, Georgia)
-I think it’s fair to say Edge has talked his way out of Arizona. With that said Moreno makes a ton of sense here at 31. He’s a strong, flashy runner who when teaming with Hightower and Arrington would make a nice little trio. I would even go as far as saying as he’s an upgrade over James.
32. Pittsburgh: Alex Mack (C, Cal)
-Yes, the Steelers are Super Bowl champs, but they really need to sure up that offensive line. Mack is the top center in this draft and would be the first step to improving a decent offensive line.