Is Tyrod Taylor the long term answer for the Buffalo Bills at quarterback?
After the Buffalo Bills went 8-8 during the 2015 National Football League season, the level of expectations for them increased here in 2016. But the Bills have been unable to get over the hump as after a 37-31 loss this past Thursday night to the New York Jets, Buffalo is now 0-2 and the odds are against them of ending the longest current playoff drought in the NFL which dates back to 1999. When Rex Ryan was hired to be the Bills head coach last year, he brought optimism with him to Western New York. Prior to joining the Bills, Ryan was the head coach of the Jets for six seasons as he compiled a record of 46-50 with a pair of appearances in the AFC Championship Game. But Ryan’s last four years with the Jets saw him fail to post a winning record which led to him being fired. And once you factor in the Bills record last season, it’s been five years since Ryan has posted a winning record as it looks like it is going to be very hard for him to reverse the tide here in 2016.
After the Bills offense was limited to just 160 total yards in their Week 1 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, they were able to show signs of life against the Jets. In the game the Bills were able to amass 393 total yards of offense which was highlighted by quarterback Tyrod Taylor connecting with wide receiver Marquise Goodwin on an 84-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, and then finding wide receiver Greg Salas on a 71-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter.
But it was the Bills defense that let down the team as they allowed 493 yards of offense which included Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick passing for 374 yards, along with wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker each gaining at least 100 yards receiving.
But when it came time for Ryan to re-assess the Bills after their loss to the Jets, he decided to fire offensive coordinator Greg Roman in what screams of a desperate move. Ryan is attempting to shake things up for Buffalo, but he overlooked the obvious problem which is the Bills defense. Buffalo’s defensive coordinator is Ryan’s twin brother Rob who is attached at the hip with in more ways that one with Rex as the duo will ride it out together in Western New York, but for how long?
Heading into the 2016 National Football League season, Ryan didn’t appear to have that much wiggle room with the Bills and his time with the team could be coming to an end soon.
The Bills are 0-2 and they are fighting a huge uphill battle. This was supposed to be the year where teams such as the Bills could make a run at the AFC East Title since New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been suspended by the National Football League for the first four games. But after two games the Bills are 0-2, while the Patriots are 2-0, and any thought of Buffalo winning the division this year is remote as New England will be even more tougher to deal with when Brady returns to the lineup in a few weeks. Elsewhere in the AFC, teams such as the Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Ravens have the look of playoff contenders which puts the Bills in a bind as there are only six available postseason spots in the conference and Buffalo will have to find a way to contend for a wild card.
But Ryan’s hiring in Buffalo is simply another case of “buyer beware” that the Bills front office overlooked. In Ryan, the Bills hired a head coach who was just fired from his last gig which is typically a recipe for disaster; not to mention that his last four years with the Jets saw him fail to make the postseason. Ryan’s pedigree is defensive football, but he has been unable to put his stamp on Buffalo’s defense. In 2014, the Bills defense registered 54 sacks. However last year under Ryan, the Bills only managed 21 sacks. Through two games here in 2016, Buffalo has 5 sacks, but the unit has been unable to make game changing plays.
Ryan has gone from a master motivator that nearly helped the Jets reach the Super Bowl, to a guy that now simply believes his own press clippings. When the Jets were good, Ryan was the best thing since sliced bread. But when things went bad, Ryan couldn’t find a friend in the media. The same can be said for Ryan now with the Bills who will focus more on his team’s heart and determination, as opposed to the offense’s inability to execute on third down, the fact that his defense cannot stop anybody, or the reality that under him Buffalo has been one of the most penalized teams in the National Football League which is clearly a lack of discipline.
I do believe that Ryan was born to wear a whistle around his neck, but the time might be right for him to go back to doing what he does best which is to coach defensive football. Defensive coordinators don’t have to worry about having microphones in front of them each day, and they can also focus on one side of the football as opposed to being responsible for each aspect of the team.
All hasn’t been bad for Ryan in Buffalo as he has proven that Taylor can be a starting quarterback in the National Football League. But the downside on Ryan is that his first, two draft picks of 2016 in defensive end Shaq Lawson and linebacker Reggie Ragland won’t be able to contribute this year due to injuries. Ragland suffered a knee injury in training camp, but Ryan knew what he was getting with Lawson who required shoulder surgery which led to many teams taking him off of their respective draft boards heading into the NFL Draft. Pro Bowl wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been slowed recently by foot and knee injuries which has also led to the notion that the Bills appear to be a sinking ship.
It’s late September and the Bills already have their backs against the wall. And if the Bills are unable to win at home this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, you can expect the boos to reign down on Ryan at New Era Field at a more powerful rate than the water goes over Niagara Falls. Bills owner Terry Pegula wanted to make a splash when he hired Ryan, but right about now he appears ready to go belly up.
X-New England Patriots 12-4
There are two opinions on the New England Patriots as they are an organization that you either love or hate. Since 2001, the Patriots have not had a losing season and they’ve only had two seasons over that stretch which have ended without them making the postseason. The Pats have won four Super Bowl Championships as they’ve become the epitome of success in the National Football League. But life isn’t a bed of roses for New England as they’ve dealt with their fair share of controversy which included “Spygate” in 2007, and now “Deflategate”. The most recent controversy has seen NFL commissioner Roger Goodell drop the hammer on the Patriots which included a $1 million fine, a loss of draft picks, and a four-game suspension of quarterback Tom Brady. Now as the Patriots are preparing four life without Brady for the first four games here in 2016, head coach Bill Belichick will once again put on his thinking cap.
Patriots fans need to get used to hearing the name Jimmy Garoppolo as he will be the Patriots starting quarterback while Brady serves his suspension. In Garoppolo’s two years with the Patriots, he has seen some brief mop up duty behind Brady. But now Garoppolo will be charged with keeping Brady’s seat warm until he comes back.
There are still plenty of explosive play makers on the Patriots offense that features the likes of tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman. At 6’6″, Gronkowski is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses as his height and pass catching ability keeps opposing secondaries honest. And it will be much tougher for Patriots opponents to double Gronkowski this season due to the fact that the team acquired tight end Martellus Bennett from the Chicago Bears.
Bennett has spent eight years in the National Football League with stints with the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, and the Bears. The majority of Bennett’s career has seen him underutilized in the passing game which could change this year. I expect the Patriots to employ more two tight end packages in the mode of the early 2010’s when New England would create matchup problems for opponents with Gronkowski and former tight end Aaron Hernandez.
Edelman is looking to bounce back after injuries slowed him down in 2015. And once the maestro at quarterback in Brady returns from his suspension the Patriots passing game should really take flight.
Last year the Pats were 30th in the National Football League in rushing and they are one of the few teams that can get away with that due to the ability of Brady. Under offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, the Patriots tend to use screen passes, along with short passes to their running backs such as Dion Lewis and James White which turn out to be de facto runs.
The Patriots have a solid offensive line and if left tackle Nate Solder and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer are able to remain healthy, both Garoppolo and Brady should enjoy plenty of time in the pocket. It never worked out for guard Jonathan Cooper in three years with the Arizona Cardinals, but after the Patriots acquired him during the off-season, maybe a change of scenery is just what he needs after being a first-round pick in 2013.
It was shocking when Belichick decided to trade defensive end/outside linebacker Chandler Jones to the Cardinals this off-season, but he did pick up a veteran to replace him in defensive end Chris Long. Long was the second overall pick of the 2008 National Football League Draft by the St. Louis Rams, but injuries have taken away from his effectiveness over the last two years as he has missed 14 games. However Long finally gets the chance to play for a winner and suiting up for the Patriots typically tends to allow veteran players to find the fountain of youth.
Aside from Long on the Patriots defensive line, there are a ton of veterans that includes defensive tackle Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton and defensive end Rob Ninkovich, while second year defensive tackle Malcolm Brown could be ready to take on bigger role in New England’s defense.
The Pats still have a strong group of linebackers which includes middle linebacker Donta Hightower and outside linebacker Jamie Collins, while the secondary is home to some quality veterans in cornerback Malcolm Butler, strong safety Patrick Chung, and free safety Devin McCourty.
If the Patriots are able to weather the storm without Brady, this team should once again be poised to make another run at winning the Super Bowl.
New York Jets 10-6
2015 saw much improvement for the New York Jets, but they fell just short of making the playoffs. After the Jets defeated their arch rival in the New England Patriots in Week 16, they only needed a victory over the Buffalo Bills in Week 17 to advance to the postseason for the first time since 2010. However things fell apart for the Jets as they lost to the Bills which was a bittersweet ending to what had the makings of a storybook season. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick fell 95 yards short of becoming the first Jets quarterback since Joe Namath in 1967 when the team still played in the American Football League to pass for 4,000 yards in a season. Wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker become the first duo of Jets pass catchers since Keyshawn Johnson and Wayne Chrebet in 1998 to each gain 1,000 yards receiving and New York also had one of the fiercest defensive lines in the National Football League that featured defensive ends Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Leonard Williams. And as all of this should be building blocks for the Jets heading into the 2016 NFL season, this team has a laundry list of question marks that are surrounding them.
After Fitzpatrick’s strong season he became a free agent as he and the Jets had a long dance around the floor before they came to an agreement on a new one-year deal for $12 million. Fitzpatrick has been a journeyman as he has suited up for six different clubs in his 11-year National Football League career. Many folks see Fitzpatrick as a backup quarterback which is one of the reasons why the Jets are not willing to commit on a long-term deal to a 33-year old player that has only made all 16 starts in a season three times in his career. Heading into the 2016 NFL season, the main thing for Fitzpatrick is to do exactly what he did last year which is to simply get the football to the play makers around him such as Marshall and Decker.
After running back Chris Ivory gained 1,070 yards on the ground for the Jets last year, he was allowed to leave in free agency as he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. But as one door closed for the Jets, another opened as the team signed veteran running back Matt Forte. In eight years with the Chicago Bears, Forte was a very durable running back as only Walter Payton gained more yards on the ground than him while wearing a Bears uniform.
Forte has also been solid in providing pass protection for quarterbacks, while also being a strong receiver coming out of the backfield which should pay dividends in the Jets offense.
After 11 years of protecting the blindside for Jet quarterbacks, offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson decided to retire. But Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan didn’t waste any time in replacing Ferguson as he acquired offensive tackle Ryan Clady from the Denver Broncos. Ferguson was extremely durable during his career, but the same cannot be said about Clady who after helping the Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl last year must show his worth on the big stage in the shadow of New York City.
As previously mentioned the Jets do have a strong defensive line which sets the tone for the rest of the defense. And if Wilkerson, Richardson, and Williams are able to consistently put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, it could make life much easier for players such as cornerback Darrelle Revis.
For Jets head coach Todd Bowles, he knows that his team won’t be able to sneak up anybody here in 2016. And with road games against the Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers,and Arizona Cardinals, along with divisional tilts against the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots, the Jets are going to have their hands full in they intend on making it to the postseason.
Buffalo Bills 8-8
The Buffalo Bills and head coach Rex Ryan are a match made in heaven. The Bills have not won more than 9 games in a season during this millennium, and Ryan is a head coach that tends to hover around .500 each year. Staying true to form for Ryan and the Bills in 2015, Buffalo went 8-8 as they were a team that competed, but they were an undisciplined team that simply found ways to lose. Ryan has always been known as a player’s coach with teams that shoot themselves in the foot, and we could be looking at the same blueprint for the Bills here in 2016.
Last year Ryan gave Tyrod Taylor the opportunity to be the Bills starting quarterback and he made the most of it by throwing 20 touchdown passes to just 6 interceptions. Taylor began to shed the label of him simply being a scrambler and now it will be interesting to see if he can take the next step and become an elite quarterback in 2016. But if Taylor is going to be able to take the next step as a quarterback, he has the players around him to make it happen.
It hasn’t taken wide receiver Sammy Watkins that long to show that he indeed is a play maker. In just two years, Watkins has displayed the rare combination of blazing speed and pass catching ability which makes him a logical candidate to make the Pro Bowl this season. And if the Bills passing game is going to improve, wide receiver Robert Woods must become consistent as well.
The Bills were the top rushing team last year in the National Football League, and this was without the benefit of having a healthy LeSean McCoy at running back for the entire season. But if McCoy is able to remain healthy and show the explosiveness that made him the Philadelphia Eagles all-time leading rusher, then the Bills offense should be a force to be reckoned with.
Ryan is known as an aggressive defensive coach, but the Bills only managed to muster up 21 sacks last year after having 54 in 2014. The defense could once again be a point of frustration for the Bills due to suspensions of players such as defensive tackle Marcel Dareus which could rob them off a chance to improve and that’ll more than likely hamper their chances of ending the longest current playoff drought in the National Football League.
Suspensions to players such as Dareus’ show that the Bills are still a very undisciplined team. Last year the Bills had 143 accepted penalties against them which was tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for tops in the National Football League, and if Ryan doesn’t get this pattern tempered, Buffalo will once again be stuck in the mud.
More than likely the Bills will be an up and down team again in 2016, and you have to wonder if anything short than a trip to the postseason will mean the end for Ryan in Western New York.
Miami Dolphins 5-11
From 1970-1995, the Miami Dolphins only employed one head coach in Don Shula. But since Shula’s retirement, the Dolphins have had a revolving door at head coach. Adam Gase is set to begin his first season as Dolphins head coach, and he represents the tenth different head coach that the Dolphins have employed since Shula stepped down. The Dolphins coaching carousel is reflective in the team’s record as they have not had a winning record since 2008, while failing to win a playoff game since 2000.
Aside from head coaching issues, the quarterback position has also been a problem for the Dolphins. As Ryan Tannehill is set to begin his fifth year as the Dolphins starting quarterback, it marks the first time since the early 2000’s that Miami will have the same starting quarterback five years in a row.
In four years as the Dolphins starting quarterback, Tannehill has put up impressive numbers which would make a fantasy football owner happy, but he has come up short in the most important category that defines a National Football League quarterback which is victories. Tannehill has a career record of 29-35 and the Dolphins have never finished a season with a winning record with him under center. In May 2015, Tannehill and the Dolphins agreed on a six-year, $96 million extension, and if he’s unable to begin to deliver, the folks in South Florida that follow this team will begin to want another franchise quarterback.
In 2015, the Fins struggled to run the football as they were 23rd in the National Football League in rushing. The Dolphins leading returning rusher is Jay Ajayi who gained just 187 yards on the ground last season. The Dolphins did sign former Houston Texans running back Arian Foster. But Foster has a ton of miles on his legs along with injuries, and it is difficult to expect him to be the play maker that he was a few seasons ago.
The Dolphins lack of a running game will put more pressure on Tannehill and wide receiver Jarvis Landry to carry the offense, and although that the duo will pad their stats, it more than likely won’t lead to that many wins in Miami.
Defensively the Dolphins lost defensive end Olivier Vernon in free agency as he signed with the New York Giants. But Miami is hopeful that veteran defensive end Mario Williams will be able to fill the void. Williams will join a veteran defensive line that includes defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and defensive end Cameron Wake, but there are plenty of issues in the back seven of the Dolphins defense that will stress the mental of first-year defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.
It’s going to be another long year in Miami, but I expect Gase to use this time to assess the talent there as he is hopeful to build a solid foundation.
New England Patriots
First Round Pick: None
Best Pick: Round Six-Elandon Roberts-Inside Linebacker-Houston
The New England Patriots entered the 2016 National Football League with a deck that was stacked against them. The Patriots lost their first-round selection after Deflategate which changed their draft strategy. 59 picks went by before the Patriots got started and they would use their first selection on Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Cyrus Jones. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick loves versatile players, and what Jones provides New England with is an athlete that can return kicks while also being able to contribute defensively in nickel packages.
Surprisingly in the third round, the Pats would select North Carolina State Wolfpack quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Brissett had an up and down collegiate career which saw spend his first two years of eligibility with the Florida Gators before transferring to N.C. State. At 6’4″, 231 lbs., Brissett has great size to be a quarterback in the National Football League, but he is a project at best while he more than likely he would have been available much later in the draft for the Pats.
But in the sixth round, Belichick found his kind of player when he pegged Houston Cougars middle linebacker Elandon Roberts. In 2015, Roberts was a member of the American Athletic Conference’s All-Defensive first team as he tallied 142 tackles. Roberts is a very smart football player and Belichick will definitely find a roster spot for him.
New York Jets
First Round Pick: Darron Lee-Outside Linebacker-Ohio State
Best Pick: Round Two-Christian Hackenburg-Quarterback-Penn State
After being on the cusp making the National Football League Playoffs in 2015, the New York Jets don’t want to take a step back this year. The Jets entered the National Football League Draft last month appearing to be at an impasse as they and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick are still far apart on contract negotiations. In the first round of the draft, the Jets had the opportunity to select Memphis Tigers quarterback Paxton Lynch which would have signaled the end of Fitzpatrick’s time with the team. Instead the Jets opted for Ohio State Buckeyes outside linebacker Darron Lee. At 6’1″, 238 lbs., Lee is undersized to be an outside linebacker in the Jets 3-4 defensive scheme which makes you wonder if a move to safety for him could be in the works.
The second round did see the Jets dip into the quarterback pool when they tabbed Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenburg. A few months ago Hackenburg appeared to be a top-five pick until his 2015 college football season unraveled for him. Hackenburg didn’t have the best season at Penn State due to a coaching change along with the fact that the Nittany Lions didn’t have a talented team around him due to NCAA sanctions. But coming out of high school, Hackenburg was a highly touted prospect who could flourish in a pro-style offense. At 6’4″, 228 lbs., Hackenburg has the size and arm strength to flourish in the National Football League; now it’s just a matter of him getting familiar with the Jets playbook. In Florham Park, Hackenburg will be under the tutelage of Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey who has a history of developing quarterbacks in the NFL.
First Round Pick: Shaq Lawson-Defensive End-Outside Linebacker-Clemson
Best Pick: Round Two-Reggie Ragland-Inside Linebacker-Alabama
After the Buffalo Bills finished the 2015 National Football League season ranked 19th in total defense while only amassing 21 team sacks, you knew that Rex Ryan wanted to remedy that as defensive football is his specialty. At the 2016 NFL Draft, the Bills began by owning the 19th overall pick of the draft. And in typical Ryan fashion, he took a chance on a defensive player that was slipping in the draft.
In the first round the Bills would select Clemson Tigers defensive end Shaq Lawson. Last year Lawson was on the Atlantic Coast Conference’s first-team All-Defense after totaling 12.5 sacks. Lawson gutted out the season with a shoulder injury which will eventually require surgery, but the Bills are hopeful that he’ll have enough to give them a solid impact this year.
In the second round the Bills got themselves a value pick in Alabama Crimson Tide middle linebacker Reggie Ragland. Ragland was talented enough to be a first-round pick, but he fell to the second round where the Bills decided to make a deal with the Chicago Bears in order to secure the 41st overall selection which they used on him. At 6’1″, 247 lbs., Ragland is a football player’s football player. And on top of that, Ragland is a leader which is exactly what the Bills need on defense.
The Bills continued to stockpile talent as they selected Ohio State Buckeyes defensive tackle Adolphus Washington in the third round, while they picked his college teammate in quarterback Cardale Jones in the fourth round.
Jones is an anomaly as he had the potential to have been a first-round pick last year had he decided to leave school early even though he only made three starts in college. But when Jones decided to return to school, he found that his draft stock dropped. Jones is 6’5″, 253 lbs., and he is extremely athletic, but the best way to describe him is that he still “raw”. However if there is a coach that can motivate Jones to practice each day with a chip on his shoulder, it is Ryan.
In the fifth round, the Bills selected Arkansas Razorbacks running back Jonathan Williams in what I deem as a low risk, high reward move. In 2014, Williams led the Razorbacks in rushing with 1,190 yards, but a foot injury put him on the shelf for the entire 2015 college football season. However after carrying the football 211 times in 2014, Williams should be fresh which will be a welcome sight as he could take some carries away from Bills running back LeSean McCoy who is recovering from a knee injury.
First Round Pick: Laremy Tunsil-Offensive Tackle-Ole Miss
Best Pick: Round Three-Kenyon Drake-Running Back-Alabama
Since 2004, the Miami Dolphins have only have had one winning season, and a big reason for that is their struggles in the National Football League Draft. The Dolphins have consistently failed to find impact players early on the NFL Draft which is also a solid implication as to why they only have one postseason appearance over that stretch, and they’re still searching for their first playoff victory since 1999.
Originally, the Dolphins entered the 2016 National Football League Draft in possession of the eighth overall selection. But prior to the draft, the Dolphins would engage in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles that would see Miami receive the 13th overall selection. The Dolphins did receive offers for the choice, but instead they opted to select Mississippi Rebels offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
Dark clouds hung over Tunsil’s head at the draft after a questionable photo of him surfaced on Twitter on April 28th. And as some people had Tunsil pegged as the best prospect entering the draft, he found himself falling. There’s no question that Tunsil has the talent to become an impact player for the Dolphins; it’s just a matter of whether or not that his head will be screwed on properly. And unfortunately, I don’t see any leadership within the Dolphins locker room that is going to hold Tunsil accountable.
Aside from selecting Tunsil, the rest of the Dolphins time at the 2016 National Football League Draft was sketchy at best as they didn’t find enough impact players that are going to help them end their playoff drought in 2016, or build a solid core of players for the future.
Sources: Pro-football-reference, Cfbstats.com
1. Los Angeles Rams-Jared Goff-Quarterback-California
This is a make or break pick for Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher.
2. Philadelphia Eagles-Carson Wentz-Quarterback-Nortk Dakota State
Regardless of who the Philadelphia Eagles select here, the fans in Philly will boo the choice.
3. San Diego Chargers-Laremy Tunsil-Offensive Tackle-Ole Miss
Here the San Diego Chargers will find a player than can anchor their offensive line for the next decade.
4. Dallas Cowboys-Joey Bosa-Defensive End-Ohio State
The Dallas Cowboys could go in several directions here, but they need to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars-Jalen Ramsey-Free Safety-Florida State
Jalen Ramsey will be a starter from his first day in Jacksonville and his playmaking ability will put fear into opposing offenses.
6. Baltimore Ravens-Ronnie Stanley-Offensive Tackle-Notre Dame
With quarterback Joe Flacco returning from a knee injury, the Baltimore Ravens must protect him up front.
7. San Francisco 49ers-Laquon Treadwell-Wide Receiver-Ole Miss
San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly loves speed, and he’ll get a wealth of it here with Laquon Treadwell.
8. Cleveland Browns-Ezekiel Elliot-Running Back-Ohio State
The Cleveland Browns could have one of the fastest backfield tandems in the National Football League with Ezekiel Elliot and quarterback Robert Griffin III.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Jack Conklin-Offensive Tackle-Michigan State
Last year the Tampa Bay Buccaneers found their franchise quarterback in Jameis Winston, and now they’ll find a left tackle that will protect his blindside.
10. New York Giants-Leonard Floyd-Outside Linebacker-Georgia
It will come down to Shaq Lawson or Leonard Floyd here for the New York Giants. But right now Floyd is trending upwards.
11. Chicago Bears-Taylor Decker-Offensive Tackle-Ohio State
Jay Cutler is still the guy for the Chicago Bears at quarterback. And being that Cutler loves to throw the deep ball, Chicago must provide protection for him.
12. New Orleans Saints-Vernon Hargreaves III-Cornerback-Florida
Last year saw the New Orleans Saints secondary cooked by opposing offenses which makes the selection of Vernon Hargreaves III here a no-brainer.
13. Miami Dolphins-Eli Apple-Cornerback-Ohio State
The Miami Dolphins will get a cornerback in Eli Apple that isn’t afraid to play press coverage as he’ll bring some swagger to South Florida.
14. Oakland Raiders-Reggie Ragland-Inside Linebacker-Alabama
Very quietly the Oakland Raiders could have one of the best linebacker units in the National Football League.
15. Tennessee Titans-DeForest Bucker-Defensive End-Oregon
The Tennessee Titans could go with Shaq Lawson here, but DeForest Buckner possesses a little more versatility.
16. Detroit Lions-A’Shawn Robinson-Defensive Tackle-Alabama
The Detroit Lions need help in the trenches on both sides of the football, and A’Shawn Robinson is too talented to pass up on.
17. Atlanta Falcons-Sheldon Rankins-Defensive Tackle-Louisville
Brick by brick the Atlanta Falcons are building a solid defensive line.
18. Indianapolis Colts-Shaq Lawson-Defensive End-Clemson
Plain and simple the Indianapolis Colts need younger and more athletic players that can rush the quarterback.
19. Buffalo Bills-Myles Jack-Outside Linebacker-UCLA
Myles Jack has top five talent, but concerns about his knee will see him fall in the draft.
20. New York Jets-Noah Spence-Defensive End-Eastern Kentucky
The New York Jets could go with quarterback Paxton Lynch here, but Noah Spence gives them another versatile edge rusher.
21. Washington Redskins-Corey Coleman-Wide Receiver-Baylor
The Washington Redskins have made it known that Kirk Cousins is their guy at quarterback which means that they need to give him more options at quarterback to get the football to.
22. Houston Texans-Jason Spirggs-Offensive Tackle-Indiana
The Houston Texans found their franchise quarterback in free agency when they signed Brock Osweiler; now it is time to protect him.
23. Minnesota Vikings-Will Fuller-Wide Receiver-Notre Dame
Speed is the name of the game in the National Football League, and wide receiver Will Fuller has a wealth of it.
24. Cincinnati Bengals-Keanu Neal-Strong Safety-Florida
The Cincinnati Bengals enter the National Football League Draft with needs on the defensive line and secondary and Keanu Neal fills one of those voids.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers-William Jackson III-Cornerback-Houston
The Pittsburgh Steelers need help on their defensive line, but they also need a cornerback to compliment William Gay.
26. Seattle Seahawks-Jarran Reed-Defensive Tackle-Alabama
The last two years have seen the Seattle Seahawks decimated in the trenches through free agency and trades as the rebuild begins here with Jarran Reed.
27. Green Bay Packers-Vernon Butler-Defensive Tackle-Louisiana Tech
With the surprising retirement of defensive tackle B.J. Raji, the Green Bay Packers need to find a new nose tackle that can plug up the middle.
28. Kansas City Chiefs-Josh Docston-Wide Receiver-TCU
During the Kansas City Chiefs playoff loss to the New England Patriots, their lack of production at the wide receiver position finally caught up to them.
29. Arizona Cardinals-Mackensie Alexander-Cornerback-Clemson
The Arizona Cardinals already have one of the best cornerbacks in the National Football League in Patrick Peterson, and the youngster Mackensie Alexander could learn from one of the best in the business.
30. Carolina Panthers-Germain Ifedi-Offensive Tackle-Texas A&M
The Carolina Panthers need more play makers at the wide receiver position, but they also need to provide more protection for quarterback Cam Newton.
31. Denver Broncos-Derrick Henry-Running Back-Alabama
The Denver Broncos could go quarterback here, but the talent of Derrick Henry is too good to pass on.