QB, Texas A&M
To be clear, once again: we do not fault Tannehill himself for his purely hype-driven rise up the charts. We just find it funny. That being said, even though Miami would be better served picking up a pass rusher (Melvin Ingram), wide receiver (Michael Floyd) or offensive tackle (Riley Reiff) here, management selecting the best available quarterback seems inevitable. Sometimes when you pick a questionable quarterback you end up with a Joe Flacco, other times you end up with a Blaine Gabbert. Time will tell what the Dolphins will get out of Tannehill.
Everyone seems to agree that Ron Rivera and Co. take a defensive tackle here, the question is just about who specifically that defensive tackle will be. As we’ve drifted further and further away from the Combine, folks have started to question and re-examine Poe’s monster performance and what it really means. While that’s probably actually a good thing, we still see a top 10 team being enamored with that now infamous showing and taking a chance at the top of the first round. All signs, at the moment, point to Carolina being that team.
We previously had the Bills taking Coples here and teaming him up with Mario Williams to form one of the fiercest pass rushing units in the NFL, but the Jaguars killed that dream. With Demetrius Bell gone, adequately protecting Ryan Fitzpatrick will become priority No. 1 now. Reiff will smoothly slide into the left tackle spot and ensure that Buddy Nix and Co. don’t have to worry about their new high priced quarterback becoming the next Jay Cutler.
LB, Boston College
The Chiefs don’t need another linebacker at the moment, but management will likely be scouting for best player available here. Kuechly is the top linebacker available in this draft, and while he’s not exactly a threat to get after the quarterback, his instinct and smarts make him a top-10 talent that K.C. will happily nab up at No. 11.
DE, South Carolina
We’ll just stick to what we said last time: The Seahawks had two really major weaknesses heading into the offseason, and they addressed one of those weaknesses by picking up Matt Flynn. Now, it’s time to focus on nabbing a pass rusher. Certain physical qualities make Ingram a less desirable pick than Coples, but Ingram may actually end up being the more reliable player when it’s all said and done.
We previously had DeCastro here, but Arizona’s hole at left tackle makes that a more pressing need to fill. Given the year he had in 2011 (and the team’s failure to procure Peyton Manning), protecting Kevin Kolb will be priority No. 1 for the Cardinals. Martin has pro-level athleticism and smarts, and while there are some legitimate questions about NFL defenses pushing him around, the assumption (read: hope) is that he will be able to adjust if given the opportunity.
We previously had the Cowboys taking Kirkpatrick here, but the release of Kyle Kosier suddenly leaves the team with a 6-5, 309-pound hole at guard. DeCastro has good feet, moves well and is the best guard prospect we’ve seen in years. Dallas management will be able to pluck him into position in Year One, and then not have to worry about this portion of the offensive line for the next decade.
DT, Mississippi State
This pick remains unchanged from our last projection. It was originally assumed that Philadelphia would take a linebacker here, but the addition of DeMeco Ryans obviously changed that. Andy Reid will unquestionably go defense with this selection, though, and Cox would seemingly be the best not-completely-unnecessary defensive player that the Eagles could nab at this spot.