1. Miami Dolphins– QB Andrew Luck, Stanford-
The Dolphins weren’t exactly on fire this season before Chad Henne went down, so now their season looks even more grim. The only positive is they get to land the ‘next great quarterback’ in Andrew Luck. Given their need and pursuit of a signal caller of late, this is the easiest selection they will ever make.
2. Indianapolis Colts– QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma–
Curtis Painter has been adequate (prior to the Saints game), but they are still losing games. The Colts need to highly consider drafting Manning’s replacement here, and I think if any of the top three guys are still on the board here, Indy goes with the QB. This is probably the best fit for Jones, as he gets to learn under Peyton Manning, and he goes to one of the few offenses that is pass heavy with a lot of shotgun and spread formations. Jones should me more comfortable in those sets, quickening the time it takes for him to become a viable starter.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars– WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St.-
The Jaguars receivers have been pathetic this year, and they desperately need to add some weapons for Blaine Gabbert, for him to have any chance of being successful. Blackmon is a huge target and looks to be a number one receiver going forward. I think he’s more advanced than Dez Bryant was at this point two years ago, and he’d be an excellent pick for Jacksonville.
4. St. Louis Rams– OT Matt Kalil, USC-
Sam Bradford and the Rams are struggling this season, but it has little to do with Sam Bradford. The Rams receivers are dropping balls left and right, while the offensive line has allowed Bradford to be the most pressured quarterback in the league. He’s taking far too many hits this year, which is just not acceptable if the Rams are ever to become a serious contender. Kalil could lineup from day one at LT shifting Roger Saffold over to the right side and Jason Smith to the interior.
5. Seattle Seahawks- QB Matt Barkley, USC–
Pete Carroll wasn’t able to trade for his first QB at USC, Carson Palmer, this offseason, but that should allow him to draft his last, Matt Barkley. Carroll only had one year with Barkley, but he did recruit him so he knows his strengths and weaknesses. Barkley gives Seattle their QB of the future and if he develops a very bright future. I think he is more of a risk than some, but if anyone can get him to succeed it should be Carroll.
6. Denver Broncos- WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina-
Brandon Lloyd is now a Ram, and Eddie Royal is likely to follow him out the door this offseason.While Denver has some other interesting young receivers, they could use a weapon like Jeffery for Tebow to grow with (hopefully). Jeffery is arguably the best receiver to come out since Calvin Johnson, and should be a major weapon for the Broncos.
7. Minnesota Vikings- OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford–
This could be a rough year for the Vikings, but the good news is it should put them in prime position to draft a LT to protect their QB of the future in Ponder. Martin is an absolute stud LT and a great option here for Minnesota. Adding him will make Adrian Peterson’s job a whole lot easier and that is exactly what the Vikings need.
8. Arizona Cardinals- ILB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona St. –
The Cards need to shore up their defense, and while they have a good basis they need another impact player, which is exactly what Burfict projects to be. He’s a local product, which always helps, who has made a name for himself as the next great inside linebacker. Burfict has the tools to become an All-Pro, and is a great pick here for the Cards.
9. Carolina Panthers- DT Brandon Thompson, Clemson
The Panthers are a team on the rise, but they still have some major needs going forward. One of their biggest needs is getting more talent in the middle of that defensive line. Thompson is quickly separating himself among defensive tackles, and has shown the talent that makes him a potential top 10 pick. He would be a huge upgrade in the middle of the Panthers defense and make their pass rush that much more effective.
10. Cleveland Browns- OLB Zach Brown, UNC-
It is odd to draft a non-pass rushing OLB in the top 15, but not unprecedented. Brown is a guy who deserves to be drafted this high, and the Browns are a team with zero talent in their outside linebacking corps. This seems like a great fit and can help make the Browns defense become a force in the AFC North.
11. Kansas City Chiefs– DE Quinton Coples, UNC-
The Chiefs could use a pass rusher, and Coples is an absolute steal at this spot. He is probably a top 5 player in this class, but given team’s needs or their preference for QB’s and WR’s he could fall. He’d be a huge addition for the Chiefs and could team up with Hali to give them a great pass rush. Coples gets a knock in the consistency department, but overall I think it is overblown.
12. Washington Redskins- QB Robert Giffin III, Baylor-
I’ve long resisted putting a quarterback at this spot for the Redskins, but if they have a shot at Robert Griffin, I think they might take it. While this might be slightly high for him, Giffin’s upside is ridiculous. He is an incredibly smart, cerebral quarterback, with incredible accuracy, and an extremely strong arm. On top of all of that, he is a track star (literally, and if he doesn’t come out this year he plans on trying out for the Olympic track team), and could be as dangerous as Michael Vick running the ball. Now trading back could also be an option as the Redskins have numerous needs, but if Griffin is on the board and he continues to trend upwards he’d be a nice pick here for Washington.
13. Cincinnati Bengals– CB Dre Kirkpatick, Alabama-
I’m not yet ready to put the Bengals in the playoff hunt despite their 4-2 record, but they are also no longer looking like a bottom 10 team either. Cincinnati has a need going forward for a shut down corner, and should be quite happy nabbing Kirkpatrick at this spot. They could look to add some help upfront on offense, but Kirkpatrick is the top corner on the board making him a good value pick.
14. Chicago Bears- CB Morris Claiborne, LSU-
The Bears could (and probably should) go for an offensive lineman here, but they also have a serious need at cornerback as well. Right now Chicago has been torched by just about every quarterback they’ve faced this season, and that is a big problem when you have four games against the Packers and Lions every year. Claiborne is arguably as good as Patrick Peterson last year and he was a top 5 selection.
15. Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta)– RB Trent Richardson, Alabama-
The Falcons are reeling right now, which isn’t good considering they have already given up their 1st and 4th rounders to the Browns. The Browns could go a number of ways here, but Richardson might be too good to pass up. The Browns look to be in the middle of a bad contract battle with Peyton Hillis, which means they are likely in the market for a running back. Richardson has established himself as the best of the bunch and a smart pick here for Cleveland.
16. Tennessee Titans– WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame-
The Titans need to find another viable starting receiver opposite Kenny Britt, and Floyd is a good value pick at this spot. He’s a nice big target with deceptive speed, and good hands. He gives Jake Locker another weapon to grow with, and Tennessee insurance in case Kenny Britt isn’t a long term fit (given either the injury issues or the trouble with the law).