In yesterday’s post, I examined some of the biggest weaknesses the Houston Texans have in their roster. Linebacker and wide receiver are the biggest needs and should be the primary focus within the first three rounds. The general consensus in reputable mock drafts have the Texans drafting a wide receiver or linebacker in the first round. Here is the updated first round mock draft with each teams analysis below:
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- Bottom line, the Bucs are taking a quarterback. As of now, it is Jameis Winston.
- Opposed to my last mock draft posted over three weeks ago, Marcus Mariota is now a top-2 pick. Reports indicate the Titans will not trade their pick. There is not a skill position player capable of taking the 2-14 Titans to becoming a competitive NFL team. At least the ex-Duck gives them some upside.
- The Jaguars are in contact with Leonard Williams, Vic Beasley, Dante Fowler Jr, Kevin White, and Amari Cooper. Blake Bortles has lots of young weapons that need to develop on the perimeter, but all signs lead towards improving the pass rush. Dante Fowler Jr is the best scheme fit for Gus Bradley.
- Amari Cooper and Kevin White are the most popular selections at fourth overall to the Raiders, but if the best prospect in the draft is still available they will be happy to take him. Leonard Williams elevates the Raiders youthful defense to another level by bringing pressure and stuffing the run.
- Despite all the Redskins’ front 7 offseason moves, Vic Beasley is their best option to replacing Brian Orakpo. However, the Redskins are in a prime spot to trade out of their draft slot if a wide receiver needy team wants to solidify getting Amari Cooper or Kevin White.
- The Jets can go with numerous options here including wide receiver, offensive line, or pass rush. Todd Bowles’ is now in charge in New York and could find his ideal pass rusher in the SEC Defensive Player of the Year Shane Ray.
- The Chicago Bears traded Brandon Marshall to the Jets, but it is unclear if the Bears truly need a replacement in this draft. Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte, and Martellus Bennett are major contributors in the pass game for Jay Cutler. On top of that, young receiver Marquess Wilson showed some potential last year while Brandon Marshall sat out with injuries. If the Bears aren’t comfortable with their weapons, Amari Cooper is the guy they want. He is the better fit over Kevin White.
- Falcons new offensive coordinator Kyle Shannanan uses a zone blocking scheme. Brandon Scherff can play guard or tackle and is athletic enough to pass protect and be an upgrade in the zone blocking scheme. The Falcons are still needy of star offensive linemen despite using a first round pick in Jake Matthews last season.
- The Giants have been pegged to take an offensive lineman with their pick all draft season. Brandon Scherff has been their ideal guy but there is a lot of buzz coming from the Falcons camp that Scherff will be their selection. Andrus Peat can go in and start year one for Eli Manning and their West Coast offense. It is important to keep their aging quarterback upright to keep him healthy.
- Kevin White is a true difference maker and my number one rated wide receiver in this draft. He plays like Alshon Jeffery and would be very valuable on the Rams who lack any play makers outside of recent bust Tavon Austin. Nick Foles needs a true WR1 in order to make a playoff run behind a great defense.
- Trae Waynes shocked scouts at the NFL Combine with his impressive 40-yard dash. The Vikings need a cornerback in a pass oriented division. DeVante Parker would be an interesting fit because he played with Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville.
- The Browns are rumored to trading their picks to move up in the draft, but I did not want to try to predict trades. With the 12th and 19th picks, the Browns are in need of a OT, WR, and DT. Danny Shelton is huge and will stuff running lanes as the top rated defensive tackle in the draft.
- The Saints offseason was the busiest of all teams in the NFL outside of the Eagles. WIth major cap space problems, they cut multiple defensive players, traded Kenny Stills, and signed CJ Spiller to spell Mark Ingram… Am I forgetting something? Oh yeah, they trade Jimmy Graham for C Max Unger and a first round pick. With the extra first round pick and a new look, the Saints are a tough team to predict because they need another wide receiver, a linebacker, and secondary help. Bud Dupree would be excellent to bring some pressure on the outside.
- The Dolphins have shaken up their wide receiving core in the last month. Mike Wallace was traded to the Vikings but acquired Kenny Stills from the Saints. They also signed pass catching tight end Jordan Cameron to help emerging star Ryan Tannehill. Adding DeVante Parker would boost the young Dolphins offense into the top half of the league.
- After failing a drug test, Randy Gregory is now the single biggest wild card in the entire draft. He has the talent to be a top 3 selection but there are reports calling Gregory lazy. The 49ers have been a team filled with wild card talents like Aldon Smith. With the sudden retirements of Patrick Willis, Chris Borland, and Justin Smith, the 49ers absolutely need to find players to apply pressure. Randy Gregory is the best available man to do the job but he will come with a lot of risk.
- With the top three wide receivers already off the board, the texans are forced to either take the best player available, reach for a questionable wide receiver with upside, or select a linebacker. Unless the Texans are completely sold on the talents of Dorial Green-Beckham, Breshad Perriman, or Jaelen Strong, the Texans should not reach for a wide receiver given the depth at the position in this draft. Eric Kendricks is the best pass covering linebacker in this class and would be a great fit in the middle of the 4-3 defense. Last year Brooks Reed was the main pass covering linebacker but he is now on the Atlanta Falcons. Eric Kendricks would be an upgrade to last years Brooks Reed and would solidify the Texans top 3 defense.
- The San Diego Chargers are rumored to do a lot of different things during the draft, including trading Phillip Rivers for a first round pick. This seems unlikely given his long career in San Diego but nobody could be sure on draft day. One thing without question is that the Chargers need a new running back. Melvin Gordon is the safer pick compared to Todd Gurley because he is currently healthy.
- Landon Collins is a player that could be a top 10 selection or find himself falling deep in the first round. Without question, he is the best safety in the class and lots of teams are in need of his position. The Chiefs really don’t need to spend a first round pick on wide receiver because Alex Smith doesn’t make enough long throws to use Jeremy Maclin and another first round talent.
- The Browns would absolutely go crazy if La’el Collins would fall to the 19th pick. His draft stock continues to rise and some people consider him as the top offensive tackle in the draft. The Browns landing Danny Shelton and La’el Collins would be a dream come true.
- Rotoworld.com reports that the Eagles are very interested in Nelson Agholor. He can spread the field with his track speed, return punts and kick offs, and Chip Kelly is best suited to utilize him in different ways. Agholor is a play maker and could give the Eagles some explosiveness after losing Shady McCoy and Jeremy Maclin.
- The Bengals have been a defensive minded team for a long time and there offense is as good as its been in the last decade. Surprisingly, they have some major holes to fill on the front end. In a division that runs the ball aggressively, Malcolm Brown would be an excellent fit for the Bengals.
- The Steelers defense last year was awful compared to what their organization is used to. Ike Taylor was repeatedly being burned by receivers and Troy Polamalu has retired. The secondary needs a complete fixing and Marcus Peters seems to be their guy at cornerback for now.
- Losing Suh to the Dolphins is a tough pill to swallow. Shortly after, Nick Fairley signs with the Rams. Double whammy. The Lions are almost forced to choose the best available defensive tackles after losing two super stars in the middle of the line. Eddie Goldman is a powerful player and exactly what the Lions hope for as they look to replace Suh and Fairley.
- Andre Ellington was surrounded by high hopes in fantasy football and for the Arizona Cardinals. His size gives him explosiveness but he is not designed for a three down role like what the Cardinals gave him. He was often injured and proved to be better suited as a passing downs back or used in a Darren Sproles way. Todd Gurley is the best running back in the draft and is now considered the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson. When Gurley gets his knee strengthened, the Cardinals 1-2 punch will be formidable in the NFC West.
- The Panthers have hosted visits for Eric Kendricks, Denzel Perryiman, Eddie Goldman, Paul Dawson, Randy Gregory, Landon Collins, and Kevin Johnson. It is very clear that a defensive player will be selected. Many of these prospects will be taken by their pick. If Kevin Johnson‘s stock doesn’t keep rising, he should be available and could be the best corner in this draft.
- The Ravens don’t think they need wide receiver help, but they surely do. The loss of Torrey Smith will hurt the team because nobody on their current roster can stretch the field. Steve Smith doesn’t appear to age, but at some point he will. I think this is the year we see a decline in production and his aging becomes clear (I really hope Steve Smith doesn’t read this article). Jaelen Strong could use the veteran guidance of Steve Smith and Steve Smith could use a play maker to ease coverages.
- The Dallas Cowboys have been disciplined in their draft selections in the past view seasons by selecting offensive lineman to bolster a great offensive. This year, Jerry Jones will go back to his old ways and select combine god Byron Jones. The Cowboys need a corner and Byron Jones’ combine results are mouth watering for Jerry Jones.
- A popular pick for the Broncos is tight end Maxx Williams. This sounds like a sexy pick and the obvious replacement for Julius Thomas. However, Peyton Manning cares about his health more than his weapons. TJ Clemmings can start this year and try to keep Peyton Manning standing upright. The Broncos also will be more balanced this year and rookie right ends very rarely produce.
- Same goes for the Indianapolis Colts. Andrew Luck has proven himself as a top 5 quarterback at least. Franchises with top quarterbacks tend to draft lineman because they do not want to risk having their golden child being thrown around. The Texans scary front 7 will force the Colts to select center Cameron Erving.
- The Packers could use the talents of Maxx Williams in this pick but defense is the priority after they were able to re-sign Randall Cobb with a hometown discount. Benardrick McKinney is a strong tackler and a force as the mike linebacker.
- The Saints acquired this pick in the Jimmy Graham trade. Drew Brees is going to need new targets after losing Kenny Stills as well. Breshad Perriman killed during his pro-day and shot up draft boards. This is a good spot for Perriman and the Saints.
- The New England Patriots are expected to draft a defensive tackle or corner with their first pick. However, if the draft goes this way, there isn’t a first round talent at either of those positions. The Patriots are disciplined and would rather get another need, inside linebacker, than reach for a DT or CB. Paul Dawson is the man.