1) Indianapolis – The top QB in college football for the past two years, Stanford’s Andrew Luck gets the nod as the top pick in the draft based on sustained excellence over that time frame. Some say Luck is the most complete NFL QB prospect since Peyton Manning. Look for the Colts to draft the best player on the board with each subsequent pick as they need help everywhere.
2) Washington – The Skins opted to move up to this draft spot and dropped out of the Peyton Manning derby because the truth is QB Robert Griffin III from Baylor is a better fit in the offensive scheme in place than Manning would be. Griffin offers tremendous mobility in and out of the pocket along with a great deep ball. Look for defensive line, offensive line and linebacker selections when they get back on the clock.
3) Minnesota – The Vikings have options here but due to the depth at other positions of need in this draft, they go with OT Matt Kalil out of USC. He’s easily the best OT prospect in this draft in a class that does not offer a lot of depth at this position. The Vikings will be looking for cornerbacks and wide receivers later.
4) Cleveland – The Browns choose the best player on the board and take Alabama RB Trent Richardson. Richardson runs with power and vision while being the best prospect at his position since Adrian Peterson. The Browns will look for quarterback, receiver, pass rush and offensive line help later.
5) Tampa Bay – The Bucs would have loved Richardson but in this scenario, the clear choice for them is CB Morris Claiborne out of LSU. Claiborne fills a position of need and he is likely also the best player on the board at this time with extremely strong cover skills. Tampa will go running back shopping later as well as addressing their offensive line and tight end.
6) St. Louis – The Rams trade down from No. 2 means they don’t get OT Matt Kalil, but they are more than happy to select Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon. Blackmon has a very solid set of tools with great hands perhaps being the one that should be listed first. The Rams continue to look at upgrading the talent around Sam Bradford via running back depth and offensive line upgrades as well as needing help at defensive tackle and cornerback.
7) Jacksonville – The Jaguars added Laurent Robinson to the receiver mix this offseason and now appear to be signing Lee Evans as well. I have them continuing in that vein with the selection of Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd who brings size and speed to the field. Floyd has some character issues but he has good long speed and can pluck the ball in traffic. The pass rush and offensive line will see some attention later along with more depth at receiver.
8) Miami – If the board falls this way, the Dolphins jump up to a take a shot at Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill. A bit of a reach at this point in the draft, Tannehill has a lot going for him but a lack of experience will be the primary challenge for him to overcome at the next level. Look for the Phins to seek out wide receivers, linebackers and defensive backs as the draft progresses.
9) Carolina – The Panthers have a lot of needs but the cross-section of need and talent seems to conjoin and suggest Mississippi St DT Fletcher Cox as being the pick here. Cox is the top 4-3 DT in this draft and he’ll help a defense that will get plenty of attention during this time. Help is required at all three levels of the defense and more depth at receiver would be a good thing.
10) Buffalo – The Bills need help on both sides of the ball so in a draft where the talent is going to quickly drop off at offensive tackle, the Bills select Iowa OT Riley Reiff. Owning good feet, solid technique and intelligence, Reiff will need to get stronger. Cornerback and wide receiver will be their other primary concerns in the draft.
11) Kansas City – One of the toughest positions to fill on an NFL team is nose tackle, so I have the Chiefs taking Memphis DT Dontari Poe. Poe fits the description of a mammoth space eater who will occupy multiple blockers and allow his teammates to be more effective. Look for offensive line and defensive backs to be chosen later in the draft.
12) Seattle – The Seahawks could go pass rush here, but I think they want to help new quarterback Matt Flynn and choose to do so by taking OG David DeCastro from Stanford. DeCastro is solid or better in all phases of the game and will be an immediate upgrade for the offense. Look for pass rush and depth at running back to be added later in their draft.
13) Arizona – The Cardinals would have loved to add DeCastro themselves but with that no longer an option, I have them taking Ohio State OT Mike Adams. Adams has the tools to become a dominant player, but he’ll need to be coached up to get him motivated to do so. Look for the team to address linebackers and wide receiver as the draft continues.
14) Dallas – The Cowboys add a playmaker to their sub-par defensive secondary with the selection of CB Stephon Gilmore from South Carolina. He has the speed and the size to matchup against the elite receivers in the NFC East. More help in the secondary and along the offensive line will be priorities for this team as well.
15) Philadelphia – The Eagles could always choose to support either line with this pick, but I’m going to give them SS Mark Barron from Alabama. Barron is extremely solid around the line of scrimmage but he can be exposed at times in the open field. The team will look at linebackers and offensive linemen as the draft moves forward.
16) NY Jets – The Jets have several options that make sense for them here, but I’m going to give them Alabama OLB Courtney Upshaw. While his measurables won’t blow you away, Upshaw is a player who produces on the field and who seems to be a great fit in this defense. Look for the Jets to address offensive line and wide receiver down the road.