Upshaw's stock is said to be dropping, but we're sticking with our pick. 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 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 once 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, but as everyone knows by now, isn't as great one-on-one as Stephon Gilmore. There is more to being a corner in the NFL than just one-on-one coverage, though. Overall, we still think he's the better player. 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.
Another pick we're sticking with. 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 led the country in sacks and forced fumbles in 2011, and generally made eating Big Ten offenses for lunch into a regular thing over his time in Illinois. He’d be a welcome addition to a group of defensive ends that has been really unimpressive in recent years.
WR, Notre Dame
Next 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 will 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 coming year, though, he could legitimately put up the best totals of his career. There are obvious character concerns with Floyd, but seeing as they traded for Marshall earlier in the offseason, how serious could the Bears really be about that sort of thing?
Sticking with what we had last time here as well. 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 won’t go away any time soon. 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).
Sticking with what we had last time here too. We once 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 once 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 more porous wide receiving groups you see in the NFL, every little bit can only improve McCoy’s chances at turning his career around.
CB, North Alabama
So the fact that Jenkins has a lot of kids will cost him a first round spot? Get outta here, ESPN. We once had the Lions taking Gilmore here, but Kirkpatrick falling to Cincinnati means that the third best corner in this draft (maybe second, even) 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.