OG MIke Pouncey
The New York GIants hold the nineteenth overall pick in this year’s draft, and it should give them an opportunity to find a solid, young prospect to try and cement their personnel on either side of the ball.
On the defense their biggest needs seem to be in their back seven. That group was beat quite a bit in games last season. The explosive young receivers that they will likely face in Philadelphia and Dallas, and now Washington (with their potential to select Julio Jones) means that getting better in the secondary is going to have to be a priority. They also need some help at linebacker.
On the offensive side of the ball, they’ve spent a few draft picks on solidifying their receiver corps in recent years, but probably need to start looking to get back to basics by addressing their running game.
With that said, age and injuries up front on the offensive line will probably be the weaker area for the Giants, and they’ll wind up taking Florida’s Mike Pouncey to bolster their depth. Keep reading to find out why and see other options the Giants are potentially looking at with this pick.
LB Martez Wilson
Despite picking in the middle of the first round, the San Diego Chargers had a relatively strong 2010 season. By most accounts their disappointing record was on account of horrendous special teams play, not really anything that was wrong with their offense or defense.
That means that the Chargers unlike a few teams picking after them, don’t have any real pressing needs. There of course are several areas of the roster that should be address in the draft, but they don’t have one or two positions that are screaming for help right now. Which means that the Chargers can probably afford to take the best player available with their top pick, as well as being in the market to trade back in the first round. The latter possibility increases if some teams at the top of the second round are trying to trade back into the first round to get one of the quarterbacks.
But at the end of the day, I suspect the Chargers will shore up their linebacker corps with Illinois’ Martez Wilson. Keep reading for a full explanation.
DE Cameron Jordan
The Patriots are the lone team so far this year that has two first round picks, having received the seventeenth overall pick in a trade with the Oakland Raiders before the 2009 season in exchange for defensive end Richard Seymour. The Patriots also hold the twenty-eighth overall selection as well as the top selection (thirty-third) in the second round.
The Patriots are notorious for moving back in the first round of the draft, and could choose to do so again with this pick if the play they don’t love is there. But considering the team’s many defensive needs, it’s probable that the Pats will stand pat with this pick and take Cal’s Cameron Jordan.
The absence of Seymour on the roster the past two seasons has been felt by the Patriots, due to their limited pass rush and weak run defense. In 2008, their run defense ranked 9th in the league according to Football Outsiders DVOA-based efficiency rankings, but dropped to 23rd this past year. Injuries to other end stalwarts like Ty Warren and Mike Wright certainly didn’t help matters this year as well.
DE J.J. Watt
The Jaguars are stuck in the middle of the first round with several needs on the defensive side of the ball. But the good thing is that have several options to address those areas.
Their pass defense was one of the worst in the league a year ago. According to Football Outsiders DVOA-based rankings, they were dead last in overall defensive efficiency with the 30th ranked pass defense. Their biggest flaws are in the secondary, but if they can improve their pass rush that can help as well. But they also have some needs on the offensive side of the ball that they could use help on. With all that said, I think the Jaguars tab Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt as their top pick this year. Continue to read on for the explanation of why.
In such a deep defensive line class it would make sense for the Jaguars to add a pass rusher up front to help out there defense. While J.J. Watt and Cameron Jordan are probably the best ends on the board, they are better fits in a 3-4 than a 4-3, although both are good enough to play there. But they may prefer a speed rusher off the corner. Someone like Ryan Kerrigan or Justin Houston make a lot of sense. But the 16th overall pick seems a bit high for both prospects. They do have some young ends on their roster that might be worth further development, but none of them are quite as good as that pair. If Aldon Smith falls to this point in the draft, he would be a good pick.
RB Mark Ingram
The Dolphins are stuck in the middle of the first round and despite their disappointing record in 2010, but they aren’t a bad team. Most of their problems stemmed from the fact that they have inconsistency at the quarterback position. And that’s something that the team is going to want to address in this year’s draft. But it’s something that the team may not be able to do given where they are picking. In the end, I think they will draft a running back in Alabama’s Mark Ingram.
Bill Parcells is no longer the godfather of the Dolphins, although his imprint is still on the organization. He’s more like Vito Corleone than Michael. It’s likely that they will adhere to his influence and style when it comes to making decisions this April. And the biggest issue will be as previously mentioned the quarterback. Parcells has four rules when it comes to drafting and evaluating quarterbacks. And when those rules are applied to this year’s draft class, TCU’s Andy Dalton is the only one of the top passers that meets those requirements. Christian Ponder fails the fourth criteria because he only won 22 games at Florida State instead of 23. But the question remains will the Dolphins look at this quarterback crop and have Dalton and Ponder at the top of their lists? They passed on Matt Ryan in 2008 not because he didn’t meet these requirements but presumably because his arm wasn’t as strong as they liked, which is why they settled for Chad Henne in the second round. Well, Dalton and Ponder aren’t known for their big arms either.
One wonders if the Dolphins adhere to the Parcells Standards at quarterback, they may be caught out in the cold once more. They’ve missed on two straight second round picks in John Beck and Chad Henne, so maybe it’s time to take a swing on a first round talent. Which means that while he doesn’t mean their standards, a player like Auburn’s Cam Newton could be in the cards. But they’d have to move up to get Newton, and it’s unlikely the Dolphins are going to roll the dice on a Jake Locker (inaccurate) or Ryan Mallett (character concerns) with the 15th overall pick.
DE Aldon Smith
As was the case last weekend, since it’s the weekend you will get a double dose of mock draft analysis. Earlier today, I posted what I think the Detroit Lions will do at No. 13, and now it’s time to see what the St. Louis Rams will do with the next pick, No. 14.
The addition of Sam Bradford pushed the Rams in 2010 from a team that many thought would be among the league’s worst to one that almost made the playoffs. They still have a long way to go before they make any waves leaguewide, but at least they have the benefit of playing in a horrid NFC West, where mediocrity reigns supreme.
The Rams would love to walk away from this draft by adding another offensive playmaker to employ beside Sam Bradford. But with potentially limited options, I think they may wind up taking a quality defender like Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith with their top pick.
OT Tyron Smith
Since they dumped GM Matt Millen two years ago, the Lions have done a good job of adding young pieces to build for the future. Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and Ndamukong Suh form the core of their team and they need to continue to add more pieces and playmakers to supplement those guys going forward.
They have several areas on their roster that need addressing, but I think they wind up shoring up their offensive line with a player like USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith with their top selection. But the Lions should have a variety of options to look at when the thirteenth pick rolls around.
DT Corey Liuget
The Minnesota Vikings can thank Brett Favre for them having such a high pick, but for a team that was only a year ago in the NFC Championship game, this may prove to be a saving grace for them. As they may be able to snag the caliber of playmaker with the twelfth overall pick that they wouldn’t normally get with a late first round pick. And I think that playmaker will be Illinois defensive tackle Corey LIuget.
Now picking twelfth in the draft means that the Vikings are likely to be the first team in this draft that cannot count on any of the “Big 11″ players being available to them. If you don’t know what I’m referring to with that term, I’m talking about the eleven players in this draft that I see as being locks to go in the Top 15. They are essentially the eleven premier players in this draft that a consensus has formed and solidified that they are all excellent values at the top of this draft. Those eleven players are the two quarterbacks (Newton & Gabbert), wideouts (Green & Jones), defensive ends (Bowers & Quinn), defensive tackles (Dareus & Fairley), linebacker (Miller), and pair of corners (Amukamara & Peterson).
If any of those Big 11 have the potential to slip to Minnesota it will likely be Cam Newton, Prince Amukamara, or Julio Jones. If that were the case, in all three instances I think the Vikings would jump on them. Especially Newton.
CB Prince Amukamara
The top ten picks are done, and it’s time to move onto the Houston Texans, who pick eleventh in this draft.
Houston is looking for those final pieces than can turn them from an also ran into a playoff team for the first time in franchise history. They came off what was a promising 2009 season, and struggled in 2010 namely because their defense tanked.
The main reason for that tank was because of atrocious secondary play. They thought they wouldn’t lose much by not re-signing Dunta Robinson, and they were wrong. And to make up for that mistake, I think they will select Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara with their top selection.
WR Julio Jones
With the tenth pick, the Washington Redskins are now on the clock and have some decisions to make.
The Redskins are in a tough situation under Mike Shanahan. Clearly the talent level on the team suggests they should be undergoing a rebuilding process, but the ownership has absolutely no patience for that. So Shanahan is stuck between a rock and hard place, where he needs to make significant and sweeping upgrades to the talent of the roster, but also maintain a level of competition that keeps the team in the playoff hunt.
It’s going to be tough sledding for the Redskins to do with this top pick and other choices in this draft, since arguably this pick and draft class that the Redskins add will make or break whether Shanahan is a two-year wonder in D.C. or whether he can finally get that team turned around in the Snyder Era. I think that pick that they will sell to Redskins fan base is Alabama’s Julio Jones.