When you're in a division where Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub do business, you have to generate pass rush. The Jaguars certainly haven't gotten enough rush from defensive ends Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves -- their first two picks in 2008 -- and that's why they're back in the market for some pressure off the edge. Morgan could go anywhere from sixth to mid-teens, and it's possible a talent like USF defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul might offer more impact. Given the Jags' needs, I just can't see the fans' choice -- Tim Tebow -- happening in Jacksonville.
The recent track record for inside linebackers walking off a campus into a major role with their NFL team is impressive: Patrick Willis, Jon Beason, DeMeco Ryans, James Laurinaitis, etc. McClain looks like the next in that line. He's tough, smart and can play on all three downs. And in Miami, he'll fill a crying need at a position that requires an infusion of youth.
The 49ers have two picks in the teens to play with, and if they come away with a right offensive tackle and a safety in those slots, there will be much rejoicing in Niner-land. Given Seattle's need at offensive tackle, Williams looks like the more likely pick for San Francisco's higher first-round slot. But Texas safety Earl Thomas could be to tempting to pass on here as well.
(SEAHAWKS ACQUIRED PICK FROM BRONCOS) As noted earlier, the Seahawks need to upgrade at offensive tackle, and this round is deep in them. But Spiller is the consensus No. 1 back in the draft and Seattle's offense needs some play-makers. In our scenario, the Seahawks just miss out on Okung at No. 6, and Trent Williams at No. 13, prompting them to think running back here and take their offensive tackle in the second round (No. 40).
The myth that New York's defensive line was the best and deepest in the NFL got exposed last season, and the Giants pass rush fell off to an embarrassing low. Pierre-Paul isn't a finished product by any means, but his potential is vast and he's probably the best edge rusher available. And did I mention he played for my alma mater?
I watched Thomas play in the national championship game and I saw a guy who can both cover and fly up and deliver a blow on run defense. I'm not saying I foresee the second coming of Ronnie Lott, but the 49ers could use someone in the secondary who opposing quarterbacks have to keep track of. *Panthers (who traded pick to 49ers) and Titans tied for this spot. A coin-flip will determine order.
The Titans didn't get the production out of their defensive line they had hoped for last season, and Griffen gives them a young pass rushing talent who fits well in their 4-3 scheme. Linebacker is another need spot for Tennessee, and prospects like Brandon Spikes of Florida and Navarro Bowman of Penn State could be possibilities.
The Steelers have expressed their intention to re-focus somewhat on their power running game, and that requires an infusion of talent at offensive line. Besides having a last name that sounds like it fits in Pittsburgh, Bulaga is solid enough to play right away in the NFL.
The search for the draft's No. 2-rated cornerback behind Florida's Joe Haden at this week's Senior Bowl turned up a surprising name, that of the former Bronco defensive back, Wilson. He has blanketed receivers on behalf of the North squad, and has made play after play on the ball. There's no team that needs cornerback help more than Atlanta, and look for Wilson to continue to climb up teams' draft boards. *Falcons and Texans tied for this spot. A coin-flip will determine order.
On the flip side, Mays, the celebrated ex-Trojans safety, hasn't been impressive at all in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, and some scouts believe he's overrated and could fall into the second round. We'll give him to Houston for now, because of its need at safety, but keep an eye on Mays' stock for further devaluation.
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