QB, Texas A&M
Well, it seems to be official at this point. Ownership is really behind getting a new franchise QB here, so Tannehill is apparently going come off the board to the Dolphins despite everyone's doubts. We don't fault Tannehill for his purely hype-driven rise up the charts. We just find it funny. 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. Either that, or this is the world's greatest bluff. 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.
DT, Mississippi State
We previously had Dontari Poe here, but Fletcher Cox's stock is too hot to ignore right now. We all know that the Panthers will take a defensive tackle (they ranked in the mid-20s against both the pass and run last year), so it's just a matter of which one they're feeling best about when it's their turn to bat. Cox moves well, plays strong, is great at reading screens and has a ton of energy. Solid pick, no doubt about it.
Once upon a time, we 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 O-line 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 a linebacker, per se, but management will likely be scouting for best player available here. Kuechly is clearly the top linebacker available in this draft, a tackling machine and will instantly upgrade any defense he becomes a part of. Could be the best player in the first round that nobody is talking about.
DE, South Carolina
Once again: 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 David DeCastro going here, but Levi Brown being a questionable left tackle makes that a more pressing need. 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 once 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. (In the long-term.) 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 1, and then not have to worry about this portion of the offensive line for the next decade.
We previously had Poe going in the top 10 after his ridiculous Combine showing, but his stock has cooled since then. The fact that he didn't blow anyone away while playing at Memphis, against subpar competition, is really making some folks second-guess his pro prospects. Still, you can't teach being a 6-foot-3, 346-pounder who can run the 40 in 4.98. He'll go high, just not as high as we originally figured.