Rex Ryan has always had a certain love for harassing opposing quarterbacks, and that’s going to make a marriage between him and Upshaw perfect from the very beginning. Upshaw would instantly make New York’s defense (one that’s surprisingly lacking in the pass rushing department as of late) much more formidable, and his championship college pedigree will serve him well on a squad in the hunt for its first Super Bowl in a long, long time.
We previously had the Bengals taking Jenkins here, but the Cowboys’ decision to not address their secondary means that the second best corner in this draft will still be available at this point. Kirkpatrick has top 10 talent, and given the fact that Cincinnati clearly needs to address this position (moreso for the future than anything else), this seems like a common sense move for all involved.
The Chargers couldn’t get after opposing quarterbacks to save their lives last season (23rd in the NFL), so adding a pass rusher is obviously a priority heading into this year’s draft. Mercilus made eating Big Ten offenses for lunch into a regular thing over his time in Illinois, and he’d be a welcome addition to a defense that desperately needs a little ferociousness.
WR, Notre Dame
After years of suffering, this season Jay Cutler will trot out the best group of wide receivers he’s ever played with. Between Brandon Marshall, Devin Hester, Floyd and the rest of the guys that Chicago can line up, the fact that Cutler’s protection is still weak won’t even matter because he'll be able to get rid of the ball so quickly. If Cutler gets any semblance of solid protection this year, he could legitimately have a career year.
The Titans have some very notable issues when it comes to getting after opposing quarterbacks. With Luck replacing a hobbled Peyton Manning at the helm of the Colts’ offense this year, that problem needs to be addressed. Perry was a beast at the Combine with top-tier speed, strength and athleticism, and he’s a proven talent from his days at USC (led the Pac-12 in sacks). This pick makes sense, any which way you want to look at it.
We previously had Cincinnati going skill position here, but the team currently has a giant hole at right tackle that needs to be addressed. As great as getting a wide receiver or running back for Andy Dalton at this point would be, the quickest way to turn a promising quarterback into an injury-riddled non-factor is by ignoring offensive line woes. Skill positions can be addressed later.
We previously had Cleveland upgrading the offensive line here, but the decision to take Richardson over Blackmon with the first selection will mean that the squad still has need a wide receiver. Wright has all of the tools necessary to succeed at the next level, and seeing as the Browns have traditionally had one of the NFL's more porous wide receiving groups, every little bit can only improve McCoy’s chances of turning his career around.
CB, North Alabama
We previously had the Lions taking Gilmore here, but Kirkpatrick falling to Cincinnati means that the third best corner in this draft will still be available by the time Detroit is up to bat. Jenkins’ off-the-field issues and attitude concerns are well documented, but the Lions’ locker room is strong enough to handle and, more importantly, mold a guy like that into a pro – on and off the field.