Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dolphins draft for need on day two, for value on day three

After taking quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the first round of the draft, many of us expected offensive line and defensive end to be among the team's top priorities on day two.

The Dolphins certainly did not disappoint, as they took Stanford offensive tackle Jonathan Martin in the second round with the 42nd overall pick. They followed that with defensive end Olivier Vernon from the University of Miami and then traded down from No. 73 to No. 78, where they selected dynamic Missouri tight end Michael Egnew.

After not taking a single Miami Hurricanes player since Vernon Carey in 2004 coming into this year's draft, the Dolphins took one in back-to-back rounds this weekend as Vernon was followed by running back Lamar Miller in the fourth round.

Before the third and final day of the draft was in the books, the Dolphins would also add Oregon linebacker Josh Kaddu in the fifth round; Michigan State wide receiver B. J. Cunningham in the sixth round; and Texas defensive tackle Kheeston Randall and Nevade wideout Rishard Matthews in the seventh round.

Once signed, these nine draft picks will join the 64 players already under contract with the Dolphins, as well as a handful of undrafted rookie free agents, on the Dolphins' 90-man offseason roster.


OT Jonathan Martin

Martin turned down the opportunity to go to Harvard (as three generations in his family had before him) to play football at Stanford, where he protected the blind side of No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck. Earning first-team all-conference honors each of the past two seasons, Martin started 37 of 39 career games on the blind side.

Considered by some to be a potential first-round pick, the consensus on Martin seems to be that he lacks ideal power. However, his experience in a zone-blocking scheme and a pro-style offense should help his transition to the Dolphins' new offense and he seems to be a solid right tackle prospect.

Although the Dolphins signed veteran journeyman Artis Hicks and some fans remain high on Lydon Murtha, I have to believe Martin is going to get every chance to earn the starting right tackle job as a rookie. I do not for one second believe the Dolphins would consider parting with Jake Long and keeping Martin at left tackle, as has been suggested by a member of the local media.


DE Olivier Vernon

A Miami native, Vernon was ranked as a top 10-15 defensive end coming out of American High School. After a six-sack season as a junior at the University of Miami, Vernon was suspended the first six games of the 2011 season for taking improper benefits from former Canes' booster Nevin Shapiro. He opted to enter the NFL Draft following his junior season, finishing his career with 82 tackles and nine sacks in 30 games.

Vernon is a bit of a project, as he never really lived up to his potential in college and his best tape came as a sophomore in 2010. However, he's a tough, physical hitter with natural pass-rush ability and the physical tools to grow into a productive player.

The Dolphins figure to go with a rotation at defensive end opposite Cameron Wake this season, including free-agent addition Jamaal Westerman. While I wouldn't expect Vernon to start uncontested as a rookie, he should figure into a situational role early on.


TE Michael Egnew

A high school wide receiver, Egnew played sparingly during his first two seasons at Missouri after converting to tight end. He broke out with a career year in 2010, catching 90 passes for 762 yards and five touchdowns as one of Blaine Gabbert's favorite targets. While his numbers fell to just 50 catches and 523 yards as a senior in 2011, he did post a career-best 10.5 yards per catch.

Egnew is certainly one of the new-age tight ends, as he offers little as a blocker but combined good size (6-5, 252) with elite speed for the position. While Mizzou has a poor track record of pro tight ends, Egnew certainly has the appeal of an Aaron Hernandez-type that could develop as a seam threat.


RB Lamar Miller

After leading Dade County in rushing as Miami Killian Senior High School senior with 1,749 yards and 22 touchdowns, Miller redshirted his first season with the Hurricanes in 2009. As a redshirt freshman, led the team with six rushing touchdowns and totaled 646 yards. Miller became the Canes' feature back in 2011, earning second-team All-ACC honors with 1,272 yards—the third-highest rushing total in school history.

While many of us were expecting a receiver here, Miller represented a good value as a consensus second- or third-round talent. Not only does Miller have little wear and tear with only one year of starting, but he also posted impressive acceleration to the hole and good vision.

A poor man's Darren McFadden, Miller joins a crowded Miami backfield but could end up pushing Steve Slaton off the roster entirely but likely would focus on special teams as a rookie. However, if Reggie Bush walks in free agency next ofseason, Miller could be the lightning to Daniel Thomas' thunder in a two-back offense.


WR B. J. Cunningham

After totaling 1,780 receiving yards during his first three seasons with the Spartans, Cunningham nearly doubled that number as a senior with a career-high 1,306 yards and 12 touchdowns as the eventual team MVP as voted by his teammates. He leaves Michigan State as the school's all-time leader in receptions (218) and receiving yards (3,086) while also ranks second in touchdown receptions (25).

It took a little longer than expected, but the Dolphins did draft a receiver and they certainly found one with an impressive track record. Cunningham isn't a good athlete and doesn't have great burst, but he normally has solid hands. He's a guy that will have to make his mark on special teams initially, but is also someone that could develop into a rotational receiver.


DT Kheeston Randall

The No. 3 defensive tackle prospect in the state of Texas, Randall appeared in eight games as a true freshman with the Longhorns in 2008. He went on to start 35 of his last 39 games for the team, finishing his career with 98 tackles (21 for a loss) and four sacks on his way to a second-team All-Big 12 selection.

Randall is regarded as a good student and active member of the community off the field and as an impact nose tackle on it. At 6-foot-5 and 293 pounds, I'm not sure he has the bulk for that position in the pros, but he should fit in nicely at defensive tackle in Miami's new 4-3 scheme. He'll be buried on the depth chart, however, and may need a good camp to crack the active roster as a rookie.


WR Rishard Matthews

After transferring from Bakersfield (Calif.) College, Matthews posted two impressive seasons for the Wolfpack with 879 yards and five touchdowns in 2010 and 1,364 yards and eight touchdowns during his senior season.

A good natural athlete, Matthews is still a work-in-progress as a receiver and needs to improve his technique and route-running before contributing at the pro level. He's probably a long shot to make the active roster out of camp unless he makes an impact on special teams, but he's a logical practice squad choice.

Be sure to check out the updated projected depth chart including all these draft picks here!


Discuss this article in the commens below or on the forum here, and don't forget to follow me on twitter @phinsspotlight for all the latest analysis and info on undrafted rookie signings!

Friday, April 27, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: First-Round Analysis

I always think it's silly each year with NFL Draft "experts" try to assign grades to teams' draft selections before any of those players have even set foot on an NFL uniform. But I don't see any harm in throwing out my initial two cents on each of last night's first-round picks. I mean it's only two cents. That's not even a nickel. It's nothing.

But it's also something that you should read, and then re-read to fully take in, then forward along to loved ones so they can share in the splendor of my analysis.


1. Indianapolis Colts select QB Andrew Luck, Stanford

The Colts made the obvious choice and the best one here. There are obviously no guarantees, but Luck has everything you look for in a pro quarterback and this franchise could not be more lucky to be able to transition from arguably the best ever in Peyton Manning to a very similar prospect in Luck.


2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis) select QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor

Another great pick, RG3 has premiere athleticism and scrambling ability coupled with smarts and accuracy. He's a bit riskier than Luck due to playing style and the kind of offense he ran at Baylor, but he has the tools to be a franchise quarterback.


3. Cleveland Browns (from Minnesota) select RB Trent Richardson, Alabama

Richardson is certainly the best running back in this class and he fills a need for the Browns. That being said, I would have disliked this pick at No. 4 and I certainly hate it with the trade up. The Browns gave up three picks (a 4th, a 5th and a 7th) to the Vikings to move up on spot and select Richardson. I personally do not believe anyone else would have moved up to No. 3, which means the Browns got had and the Vikings' smoke-screening was executed beautifully. Combined the traded picks with the fact that running backs simply aren't worth top-five picks, and you have a boneheaded move by the Browns.


4. Minnesota Vikings (from Cleveland) select OT Matt Kalil, USC

Brilliant move by the Vikings, moving down one spot, gaining three picks, and getting the guy they wanted all along. I could have seen Claiborne here but Kalil is a good move and should start at left tackle as a rookie.


5. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Tampa Bay) select WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State

Blackmon was an obvious target for the Jaguars and is good insurance with Laurent Robinson, who is iffy as  true No. 1 receiver. I like Blackmon a lot and he should be a nice weapon for whoever ends up at quarterback in Jacksonville.


6. Dallas Cowboys (from Washington via St. Louis) select CB Morris Claiborne, LSU

It took quite a move up to do it, but I can't fault a team for landing the best shutdown corner in the draft. Teamed with Brandon Carr, the Cowboys now have quite the corner tandem.


7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Jacksonville) select S Mark Barron, Alabama

I'm a little surprised the Buccaneers opted to miss out on Claiborne, because that would have been a better pick. Safety was a need too, however, and he should do well in Tampa.


8. Miami Dolphins select QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M

Only time will tell if this was the right move, but I'm glad the Dolphins took the risk of a first-round quarterback. If they truly believe he's the guy, then I'm on-board.


9. Carolina Panthers select LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College

I'm surprised they didn't go with Cox here, but you can't fault them for taking the safest defender in the draft class. Kuechly is an excellent linebacker and should be an anchor for that defense for years.


10. Buffalo Bills select CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina

It wasn't their most glaring need, but I applaud the Bills for landing a quality corner, and they are still in position to address offensive tackle in Round 2 with a handful of big names at that position still on the board.


11. Kansas City Chiefs select NT Dontari Poe, Memphis

One of my mocked picks, Poe gives the Chiefs the nose tackle they've been lacking since moving to the 3-4 scheme. If they develop him right, he's going to be a huge factor for them.


12. Philadelphia Eagles (from Seattle) select DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State

The Eagles coveted this guy all along and didn't have to move up into the top 10 to get him. The team tends to stockpile linemen, but Cox should be featured from the start.



13. Arizona Cardinals select WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame

An offensive lineman like Reiff or DeCastro would have filled a bigger need, but Floyd gives the Cardinals another weapon and he'll have a great mentor in Larry Fitzgerald. Not what I would have done, but not bad either.


14. St. Louis Rams (from Dallas) select DT Michael Brockers, LSU

The Rams beefed up their defensive line in free agency with Kendall Langford, but Brockers will give them two legitimate starters in the middle while clearing room for James Laurinaitis to make plays.


15. Seattle Seahawks (from Philadelphia) select DE/OLB Bruce Irvin, West Virginia

The surprise of the first round, I'm not going to pan this pick because it seems a number of team had a first-round grade on Irvin and NFL Draft boards are typically much different than mockers expect. They think he's a Von Miller-type, but I have a hard time seeing it right now.


16. New York Jets select DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina

A controversial prospect due to elite physical tools and a questionable motor, I don't like Coples for the Jets because I think it limits his ability to rush the passer as an end in the 3-4 scheme. Coples was already risky, but wasting his best talents will just make things worse.


17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland) select CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama

The Bengals needed a second corner to pair with Leon Hall and Kirkpatrick was a potential top-10 prospect before the marijuana incident. It's a good value pick for them and fills a need.


18. San Diego Chargers select OLB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina

A mocked selection of mine, Ingram fits perfectly as a 3-4 outside linebacker and fills a hole they've had for a few years now.


19. Chicago Bears select DE Shea McClellin, Boise State

McClellin had reportedly been on the rise for a while now, but it's still surprising to see him go top 20 before Perry, Mercilus, Jones and Upshaw. He should do well opposite Julius Peppers, however.


20. Tennessee Titans select WR Kendall Wright, Baylor

A bit of a surprise with their needs at corner and on the defensive line, but Wright is a quality receiver and should solidify a group of underachievers.


21. New England Patriots (from Cincinnati) select DE Chandler Jones, Syracuse

The Patriots needs to address the pass rush with Mark Anderson departing in free agency and Jones is a fantastic addition to that line.


22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta) select QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State

Weeden was an obvious pick for the Browns and I had him mocked there at No. 37. He'll be 29 years old this season and that's a concern, but he's a much better prospect than Colt McCoy.


23. Detroit Lions select OT Riley Reiff, Iowa

The Lions needed a long-term tackle to replace Jeff Backus. Reiff is a good value here and could start on the right side before moving over to the left.


24. Pittsburgh Steelers select OG David DeCastro, Stanford

The rich get richer and this is a great pick for the Steelers. They've had some trouble keeping their line healthy and DeCastro should slide right next to Maurkice Pouncey and provide a powerful tandem.


25. New England Patriots (from Denver) select LB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama

I don't particularly like this move, especially trading up to do it. Hightower might not be a three-down linebacker and they already have Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo. If their goal is the create the slowest linebacker corps in the league, they might have succeeded.


26. Houston Texans select OLB Whitney Mercilus, Illinois

The Texans' defense really turned a corner last year and Mercilus is an excellent 3-4 linebacker prospect that will help replace Mario Williams.


27. Cincinnati Bengals (from New Orleans via New England) select OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin

I would've expected Courtney Upshaw or Cordy Glenn here, but guard was a need and this is a good move for the Bengals. Zeitler is sound and should be a rookie starter.


28. Green Bay Packers select OLB Nick Perry, USC

A pass rusher opposite Clay Matthews III was the Packers' biggest need, and Perry is an excellent fit. He has all the tools to stand up and get to the passer.


29. Minnesota Vikings (from Baltimore) select S Harrison Smith, Notre Dame

The Vikings basically moved up for free with the robbery of the Browns earlier, so you can't fault them for this. Smith is a good addition as the Vikes have had little luck with safeties lately.


30. San Francisco 49ers select WR A. J. Jenkins, Illinois

Another guy that most people didn't see this high, I was surprised the Niners took Jenkins with Randle and Hill on the board. But receiver was a need and Jenkins has the tools to be a good one.


31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from New England via Denver) select RB Doug Martin, Boise State

The Bucs were clearly looking to come out of this draft with a back and they got my second-favorite one in Martin here. Martin should start immediately and be a big producer.


32. New York Giants select RB David Wilson, Virginia Tech

The Giants have the luxury of being good enough to take any position they want. It wouldn't be my first choice, but Wilson is a good prospect and should team with Ahmad Bradshaw nicely.


Discuss this article in the comments below or on the forum here!

2012 NFL Draft: Friday Night Chat

Dolphins select QB Ryan Tannehill in first round of 2012 NFL Draft

For the first time since yours truly was negative four years old and some guy out of Pittsburgh took his talents ot South Beach, the Miami Dolphins selected a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft.

As many expected since the hiring of ex-Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman as offensive coordinator in late January, the Dolphins selected former Aggies quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the eighth overall pick on the opening night of the draft Thursday.

Tannehill will become the fourth quarterback on the Dolphins' roster, joining incumbent starter Matt Moore, who led the team to a 6-3 record to close out the 2011 season; veteran free agent addition David Garrard; and 2011 undrafted free agent Pat Devlin, who spent much of his rookie season on the practice squad.


Background

A Big Spring, Tex. native, Tannehill was rated as a three-star dual-threat quarterback by both Scout.com and Rivals.com. A lifetime Texas Tech fan whose father played football for the Red Raiders, Tannehill did not receive a scholarship offer from dad's alma matter. He chose to attend Texas A&M in lieu of offers from Houston, TCU, Tulsa and UTEP.

After redshirting in 2007, Tannehill finished third in a quarterback competition behind Stephen McGee (currently the Cowboys' third-string quarterback) and Jerrod Johnson (currently under contract with the Steelers). He was moved to receiver as a redshirt freshman, where he set freshman record for receiving yards (844) and touchdowns (five).

In 2009, Tannehill played all 13 games for the Aggies at wide receiver and totaled 46 receptions for 609 yards and four touchdowns to earn honorable mention All-Big 12 honors. He appeared in six more games as a receiver in 2010 before moving back to quarterback, throwing for 1,638 yards and 13 touchdowns with six interceptions.

Tannehill was the unquestioned starting quarteback for the Aggies as a redshirt senior in 2011, completing nearly 62 percent of his passes for 3,744 yards and 29 touchdowns against 15 interceptions. Using the athleticism that helped him excel as a receiver, Tannehill also rushed for 306 yards and four scores in his final season.

The first Aggies' quarterback ever selected in the draft's first round, Tannehill is currently the only player in NCAA Division I FBS history to throw for 4,000 yards and gain more than 1,500 receiving yards in his career. He's also the only FBS player to have single games of 400-plus passing yards and 200-plus receiving yards.

Prior to the 2012 NFL Draft, Tannehill posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.62 seconds at his school's pro day. He also scored a 34 on the Wonderlic test—second at his position behind Stanford's Andrew Luck. Tannehill was commonly ranked as the third best quarterback in this year's class behind Luck and Baylor's Robert Griffin III.


Analysis

There were many routes the Dolphins could have taken with this pick, but in the end they did the most predictable thing. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

I've said time and time again this offseason that I wasn't opposed to drafting Tannehill if it was for the right reasons. If you were doing it solely to add a warm body at quarterback and/or to appease the unreasonable fan base (Matt Flynn sets you off, really?) then you're not making a good decision.

If, however, you truly feel like this guy can be your franchise quarterback down the line, then you should absolutely take him. There's no telling at this point what kind of pro Tannehill will become, but recent history has shown that most elite teams have a first-round quarterback at the helm and it was time for the Dolphins to role the dice on one.

Tannehill isn't a perfect prospect and some of the complaints and criticisms surrounding him are legitimate. He's fairly inexperienced for an incoming rookie quarterback, and I understand the worry or perception that he "wasn't good enough" to play quarterback his entire career. I would point out, however, that both the quarterbacks that preceded him did go on to have pro careers of some kind. I would also say that there is often a sort of seniority involved in these situations, so a freshman Tannehill not beating out a senior Stephen McGee doesn't concern me.

While his mechanics, footwork and decision-making all need to be fine-tuned, the raw materials are there for a successful NFL starter. Tannehill has all the smarts and understanding of the game you look for in a signal-caller, and the fact that he'll be reunited with his college head coach in Mike Sherman can only facilitate his adjustment to the pros. His above-average athleticism, arm and accuracy (especially on the move) are all pluses as well.

That is not to say I see Tannehill starting as a rookie, however. I think the Dolphins are obviously in rebuilding mode, and it makes the most sense to start a veteran like Moore or Garrard in 2012 while Tannehill develops and learns on the bench. The team will have a boatload of cap space in 2013 and can build a team around Tannehill then, when he should be ready to take the reins.


Day Two Outlook

General manager Jeff Ireland was quoted Thursday night as saying the team had multiple discussions with other teams about trading back into the first round, but nothing ever materialized. That being the case, the Dolphins' next pick remains No. 42 overall in the second round, and they will also have back-to-back third-rounders at No. 72 and 73 thanks to the Brandon Marshall deal.

As always with the second round of the draft, there are a handful of surprising players that are no longer on the board, and there are also many players that remain available despite first-round projections. There are a handful of players at need positions for the Dolphins still on the board, like offensive tackle (Cordy Glenn, Bobby Massie, Jonathan Martin, Mike Adams), wide receiver (Rueben Randle, Stephen Hill, Alshon JefferyChris Givens) and defensive end (Vinny Curry, Courtney Upshaw, Andre Branch).

If I were to mock from the pick No. 33 to the Dolphins' No. 42 pick, I'd do it like this:
33. St. Louis Rams — OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford
34. Indianapolis Colts — OLB Andre Branch, Clemson
35. Baltimore Ravens (from Minnesota) — C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
36. Denver Broncos (from Tampa Bay) — DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
37. Cleveland Browns — WR Rueben Randle, LSU
38. Jacksonville Jaguars — WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
39. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) — CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
40. Carolina Panthers — DT Devon Still, Penn State
41. Buffalo Bills — TE Coby Fleener, Stanford

If that happens, the Dolphins will have a number of offensive line prospects to pursue, as well as my mocked second-rounder in Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry. I'd expect them to go with a pass rusher first, but if a top receiver like Hill or Randle is still on the board, or perhaps an offensive tackle like Massie or Glenn, then you'd have to strongly consider going one of those directions.

Needless to say, it's going to be another exciting day for the Dolphins as they will potentially add at least three more rookies to the mix for 2012 and beyond!

As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


Discuss this article in the comments below or on the forum here!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Final 2012 NFL Two-Round Mock Draft

Well, today is the day. The first round of the 2012 NFL Draft will kick off in less than eight hours, and there has been a much smoke-screening. Will the Vikings go with Matt Kalil as expected or pull a surprise? Is someone really going to trade up for Fletcher Cox or Mark Barron? How far will Mr. Questionable Motor a.k.a. Quinton Coples fall?

For reference, you can check out my Jan. 15 mock heremy March 13 mock here, my March 30 mock here. and my April 19th mock here.


1. Indianapolis Colts — QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
The Colts themselves have confirmed this is there pick, and it's been assumed for months. It's the right call.


2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis) — QB Robert Griffin III
With Luck to the Colts, RG3 is free to go to Washington. This has to be the pick.

3. Minnesota Vikings — OT Matt Kalil, USC
I'm not buying the smoke-screening. I think the Vikings stick with Kalil and find someone to protect Christian Ponder's blind side.
4. Cleveland Browns — RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
Richardson is the best back in the draft, and though I don't value running backs this high myself, he seems like the Browns' pick.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
The Bucs have a big need at corner and Claiborne is the best one in this draft. It's a fit.

6. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) — WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Fletcher Cox is a possibility, but I think in the end they'll pick up a weapon for Sam Bradford in Blackmon.

7. Philadelphia Eagles (projected trade from Jacksonville) — DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
Brian Catanzaro projected this deal in our radio mock yesterday, and I've been sold on it. Cox would be a great fit for the Eagles and is definitely someone Andy Reid could move up for.

8. Miami Dolphins — QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
There are so many options to go here, but if Tannehill is on the board, I think he's the pick. 

9. Carolina Panthers — DT Michael Brockers, LSU
Carolina used a handful of inexperienced linemen with limited ability last season and it didn't work. Brockers has intriguing physical tools and would be a monster in the middle for the Panthers.

10. Buffalo Bills — OT Riley Reiff, Iowa
The Bills filled their pass rush need in free agency, so they fill their other need here with Reiff.

11. Kansas City Chiefs — DT Dontari Poe, Memphis
Poe is all over the board in mock drafts, but I think KC gets its anchor nose tackle here.

12. Seattle Seahawks — LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
David Hawthorne left in free agency and Kuechly might be the safest pick in the whole draft. He's a Day 1 starter and great prospect.

13. Arizona Cardinals — OG David DeCastro, Stanford
The Cardinals' offensive line has needed help for years and DeCastro is a potential perennial Pro Bowler at guard.

14. Dallas Cowboys — S Mark Barron, Alabama
A lot of people don't think Barron falls this far, but I'm not buying the hype. I think he's here and I think Dallas lands him.

15. Jacksonville Jaguars (projected trade from Philadelphia) — CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
In a projected win-win deal, the Eagles get Cox at No. 7 and the Jaguars get a top corner prospect they desperately need in Gilmore.


16. New York Jets — WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
Santonio Holmes is not long for this team and there is little depth. Floyd would give Mark Sanchez (or the next guy) a legit receiving option.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland) — OT Cordy Glenn, Georgia
A potential starting guard or tackle for a team that lacks talent up front aside from Andrew Whitworth.

18. San Diego Chargers — LB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
A versatile pass rusher, Ingram could give the Chargers the impact outside linebacker they've been lacking for years.

19. Chicago Bears — DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
The Bears could use another pass rusher to complement Julius Peppers, and the local Illinois product Mercilus would be an great addition.

20. Tennessee Titans — CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
A potential top-5 pick before a rough pre-draft season, Kirkpatrick would be  nice value here and could help replace the departed Cortland Finnegan.

21. Cincinnati Bengals — DE Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
Word is the Bengals love this guy, so they should have no problem securing his services here.

22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta) — WR Rueben Randle, LSU
I've often had Kendall Wright mocked here, but I worry he's more of a slot guy than a true No. 1. That's why I have them going with Randle, who has all the tools to succeed.

23. Detroit Lions — OT Bobby Massie, Mississippi
Perhaps a bit of a reach, but Massie is a rising prospect and would be Jeff Backus' long-term replacement at left tackle.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers — OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
Aside from center Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers have had trouble finding talent and health on the offensive line. Zeitler could help solidify that.

25. Denver Broncos — DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
One of the biggest holes on the Broncos' roster remains its defensive line, and Worthy would go a long way into shoring up that unit.

26. Houston Texans — WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
A perfect complement for Andre Johnson, the in-state product Wright seems like a natural fit here.

27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans) — DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
A tremendous fall for a top-10 talent, Coples could be a great pass rusher if Bill Belichick can get him on track.

28. Green Bay Packers — LB Chandler Jones, Syracuse
The Packers have struggled to find another edge rusher to bookend Clay Matthews III. Jones is a well-rounded prospect with his stock on the rise, so he could be a fit here if he doesn't go earlier.

29. Baltimore Ravens — LB Shea McClellin, Boise State
Aside from Terrell Suggs, the Ravens lack any impact rushers. McClellin has been shooting up draft boards and could be a replacement for the departed Jarret Johnson.

30. San Francisco 49ers — WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
Word is it's down to the Hill and the top guard in the Niners' board. I think they'll go with Hill, who has a lot of upside despite playing in the triple option in college.

31. New England Patriots — S Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
The Patriots clearly need secondary help and there is a big drop-off at safety after Smith.

32. New York Giants — OG Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State
A small school product with some big hype, Silatolu would project as a nice starter down the road for the defending Super Bowl champs.

33. St. Louis Rams — RB Doug Martin, Boise State
The Rams take Steven Jackson's heir apparent here in Martin, who is a do-it-all workhorse that should be a successful starter down the line.

34. Indianapolis Colts — DT Alameda Ta'amu, Washington
The Colts get the nose tackle they desperately need for their new 3-4 scheme.

35. Minnesota Vikings — WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
People question his motivation and conditioning, but Jeffery can flat-out play. He'd be a nice target for Ponder.

36. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — RB David Wilson, Virginia Tech
I don't expect LeGarrette Blount to be the starter long-term and there is no depth in Tampa. Wilson would project as the long-term workhorse.

37. Cleveland Browns — QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
They pass on Tannehill in he first round, but get their man here in the second in Weeden, who could beat out Colt McCoy as a rookie.

38. Jacksonville Jaguars — DE Nick Perry, USC
After going corner in the first, the Jags address their pass rush with a nice value pick in Perry.

39. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) — OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford
Rodger Saffold had a rough 2011 and Jason Smith can't stay healthy, so it's time to add another tackle.

40. Carolina Panthers — CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
A first-round talent marred by off-the-field woes, Jenkins would be a nice value if you can get him under control.

41. Buffalo Bills — TE Coby Fleener, Stanford
Scott Chandler had his moments in 2011, but the Bills lack a true play-making tight end. Fleener is the best pure receiver at his position and would be a nice target for Ryan Fitzpatrick.

42. Miami Dolphins — DE Vinny Curry, Marshall
After going Tannehill in the first round, the Dolphins need to turn their attention to a pass rusher to complement Cameron Wake. Curry's production at Marshall is quite impressive and he'd be a nice choice here.

43. Seattle Seahawks — DE Andre Branch, Clemson
The Seahawks could use a little more pass rush opposite Chris Clemons, so Branch would slot in nicely.

44. Kansas City Chiefs — LB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
The best 3-4 inside linebacker in the draft, Hightower should fit nicely inside next to Derrick Johnson.

45. Dallas Cowboys — DE Devon Still, Penn State
A potential first-round pick, Still would be a nice value here and would move to end in the Cowboys' 3-4 scheme.

46. Jacksonvile Jaguars (projected trade from Philadelphia) — WR Chris Givens, Wake Forest
Even with the signing of Laurent Robinson, receiver is still an issue and Givens is the best route-runner in the class.

47. New York Jets — OT Mike Adams, Ohio State
Adams may fall this far thanks to a positive marijuana test at the NFL Scouting Combine and some inconsistent tape from his college days. However, he has the tools to be an elite tackle and could help replace the busted Vladimir Ducasse down the line.

48. New England Patriots (from Oakland) — C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
Dan Koppen was re-signed to a minimal deal and his career may be winding down nearing age 33. Konz is the best center in the draft and would be an excellent long-term replacement.

49. San Diego Chargers —  OT Mitchell Schwartz, California
The Chargers' offensive line has been decimated in recent years so it's time to rebuild.

50. Chicago Bears — WR A. J. Jenkins, Illinois
The Bears take their second Fighting Illini player in as many picks. Jenkins is a fast-rising prospect and would be a nice target for Jay Cutler, especially when Brandon Marshall burns this bridge too.

51. Philadelphia Eagles (from Arizona) — CB Josh Robinson, Central Florida 
The Eagles add a quality corner prospect to develop behind Nnamdi Asomugha.

52. Tennessee Titans — DT Kendall Reyes, Connecticut
The Titans don't have much talent at defensive tackle and Reyes is a good value here.

53. Cincinnati Bengals — CB Trumaine Johnson, Montana
It's a year late, but the Bengals need a long-term replacement for Johnathan Joseph (Texans) opposite Leon Hall. Johnson has a lot of upside and would be a nice choice for them.

54. Detroit Lions — CB Brandon Boykin, Georgia
The Lions get a quality corner prospect they desperately need and a dynamic athlete that could help out in other areas.


55. Atlanta Falcons — DT Brandon Thompson, Clemson
There is little talent at the defensive tackle position for the Falcons, so Thompson would help shore up the unit.


56. Pittsburgh Steelers — DE Jared Crick, Nebraska
A prototypical 3-4 end for the Steelers in need of some youth at the position.

57. Denver Broncos — QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona State
The Broncos are now instant contenders with the addition of Peyton Manning, but they have no depth and a high-upside project like Osweiler might be a nice addition to sit for a while and learn under one of the game's best ever.

58. New Orleans Saints — Pick Forfeited

59. Houston Texans — OT Jeff Allen, Illinois
With Eric Winston departing as a cap casualty, the Texans could use new blood at offensive tackle.

60. Green Bay Packers — DE Billy Winn, Boise State
The Packers have missed on a few defensive ends in the draft, so it's time to go back to the drawing board again. Winn is a perfect schematic fit.

61. Baltimore Ravens — RB Lamar Miller, Miami (Fla.)
A Darren McFadden type, Miller would be a nice complement and backup to Ray Rice.

62. San Francisco 49ers — OG Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State
After grabbing a receiver in the first round, the Niners take a much-needed interior lineman in Osemele.

63. New England Patriots — LB Bruce Irvin, West Virginia
A great athlete and versatile linebacker that Belichick would love.

64. New York Giants — TE Dwayne Allen, Clemson
After losing two tight ends to torn ACLs late in the season, the Giants might need to add a body here despite the addition of Martellus Bennett. Allen might be the most well-rounded tight end in the draft and should appeal to the Giant's offense.


Discuss this article in the comments below or on the forum here!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

On The Fin Side 04/25 by Fins Radio | Blog Talk Radio

On Wednesday, I mocked the first round of the draft with Brian Catanzaro of On The Fins side radio. Take a listen!


Listen to internet radio with Fins Radio on Blog Talk Radio

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dolphins work out two linebackers; uniform numbers updated

Despite the signing of free agent Gary Guyton a week ago, the Dolphins' search for linebacker help continues. Reports Monday indicated the team hosted workouts with free agents Omar Gaither and Ernie Sims.

The ninth overall pick by the Detroit Lions in 2006, Sims seemed to be one of Matt Millen's better first-round picks early in his career after starting all 48 possible games and racking up 371 tackles during his first three seasons.

Ernie Sims

Those numbers were a bit deceiving, however, as Sims ranked fifth in the NFL among 4-3 outside linebackers with 20 missed tackles while allowing the fourth-most receptions, second-most receiving yards and the most yards after the catch.

In 2009, Sims started only eight of 11 games played but ranked as Pro Football Focus' worst 4-3 outside linebacker for the second consecutive year. He again struggled in coverage and had seven missed tackles on the season despite playing just 490 snaps.

Shipped to the Eagles prior to the 2010 season, Sims started 15 games and played 884 defensive snaps but incomprehensibly recorded just 55 tackles. He again struggled in coverage, although he did "improve" to grading out as just the third-worst linebacker in PFF's rankings.

After signing with the Indianapolis Colts as an unrestricted free agent in 2011, Sims started four of 13 games (406 snaps) and totaled 61 tackles. He graded out as PFF's second-worst 4-3 outside linebacker, marking the fourth consecutive year (which is the length of PFF's existence) he has ranked in the bottom three at his position.

Sims entered the league with a lot of hype out of FSU, but he's been a massive letdown thus far and I'm not sure there is anything to salvage. The 6-foot, 230-pounder is now 27 years old and has pretty much proved he can't be an NFL starter, and at this point I'm not sure you'd even want him as a backup. He's also pretty much a pure weakside linebacker and doesn't really play special teams.


Omar Gaither

A fifth-round pick out of Tennessee in 2006, Gaither spent five seasons with the Eagles (including 2010 with Sims) and was an on-an-off starter. He opened all 16 games in 2007 and totaled 102 tackles, but he saw his playing time and production each of the next three seasons. In 2011, Gaither signed with the Carolina Panthers and opened four of 10 contests, recording 31 tackles and a sack.

Gaither would come without the perceived "upside" Sims had, but has comparable starting experience in this league. The 28-year-old also does not project as a starter, but would certainly be a better depth signing than Sims because he's played all three linebacker positions and has more special-teams experience.

While no signing is imminent and the Dolphins may have just been kicking the tires on a few free agents, it's possible the team could sign one of these guys for depth at some point after the NFL Draft.


New Dolphins' receive jersey numbers, some players take new ones at Dolphins' minicamp

Here's a recap of the new/updated jersey numbers revealed today at the Dolphins' voluntary offseason minicamp, along with some notes:

  • Quarterback Pat Devlin switched from No. 9 to No. 7 and free-agent addition David Garrard takes No. 9, which he wore with the Jaguars. Devlin's new No. 7 was worn by Chad Henne (Jaguars) for the past four seasons. Devlin wore No. 17 at Delaware so this is a little closer to that.
  • Fullback/tight end Charles Clay takes No. 42 and new cornerback Richard Marshall takes No. 31, which he wore in both Carolina and Arizona.
  • New numbers for imported CFL running backs are No. 35 for Jerome Messam and No. 34 for Marcus Thigpen.
  • Newly-signed wide receiver Legedu Naanee takes No. 19, so get out those duct tape rolls and sharpies, owners of Brandon Marshall jerseys!
  • Basketball player-turned-accountant-turned-tight end Les Brown will wear No. 87.
  • Verteran lineman Artis Hicks, who is unfortunately projected to start at right tackle in 2012, is wearing No. 73.
  • Jamaal Westerman might need to change his twitter handle of @JWesterman55 because he's wearing No. 52 for the Dolphins. Although he could just be waiting for Koa Misi to get released for his battery charge/being terrible at football. Also as expected, Westerman is working at defensive end in the Dolphins' new 4-3 after playing as a 3-4 outside linebacker with the Jets.
  • Linebacker Gary Guyton is wearing the same No. 59 he did with the Patriots.
  • Safety Tyrell Johnson is donning No. 26 for the Dolphins after wearing No. 25 in Minnesota. How No. 26 isn't retired in Miami for Lamar Smith is beyond me.
  • Cornerback/kick returner Quinten Lawrence (a former receiver) has No. 36.
  • Corner Jonathan Wade is wearing Will Allen's old No. 25. Wade initially wore No. 32 in a stint with the Dolphins in 2011, but that's fellow corner Marcus Brown's number, which he took on the practice squad last year when Wade was cut.

Discuss this article in the comments below or on the forum here!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dolphins release former second-rounder Phillip Merling

Despite being re-signed to a one-year contract as a restricted free agent just two weeks ago, former second-round defensive lineman Phillip Merling was released by the Dolphins on Monday after four seasons with the team.

Originally a second-round pick (32nd overall) out of Clemson in 2008, Merling appeared in 47 games for the Dolphins but started only seven of them, totaling 66 tackles, 3.5 sacks and an interception returned for a touchdown.

Aside from being outplayed and overshadowed by Kendall Langford, who was chosen a round after him in 2008, Merling also dealt with issues off the field ranging from an arrest for aggravated battery against his pregnant girlfriend in May of 2010 (though the charges were later dropped) to a torn Achilles' tendon suffered later that same offseason.

The injury seemed to sap some of Merling's athleticism and he returned to the field bigger and less agile than before. It also caused him to spend much of the 2010 season on the non-football injury list, which prevented him from earning an accrued season and eventually caused him to be a restricted, rather than unrestricted, free agent in the 2012 offseason.

However, it seems the Dolphins were merely hoping to net a draft pick when they tendered the now 27-year-old Merling a contract this offseason. The team found no one willing to sign Merling to an offer sheet and give up a second-round pick for his serves, and he signed the Dolphins' tender on April 11 (though it was originally reported back in March).

Merling's release saves the Dolphins the full $1.26 million against their 2012 salary cap, as none of the contract was guaranteed. The team also doesn't lose much in the way of defensive tackle depth, as the position remains stacked with Paul Soliai, Randy Starks, Jared Odrick and Tony McDaniel all currently under contract.

However, it's natural to reflect on the Dolphins' recent draft struggles when you see the departure of Merling, especially when it comes to second-round picks. Since Jeff Ireland arrived along with Bill Parcells in 2008, the team has only produced one respectable starter (cornerback Sean Smith) in the second round, and even he has been wildly inconsistent.

Quarterback Pat White (2009) remains one of the worst draft picks in franchise history and certainly the worst of the Parcells era in Miami. Chad Henne (2008) failed to pan out as a starting quarterback and is now with the Jaguars, while Koa Misi (2010) has offered next to nothing as a pass rusher and was arrested for battery last month. The jury is still out in 2011 second-rounder Daniel Thomas and I personally have high hopes for him, but he totaled just 581 rushing yards while missing time with nagging hamstring injuries.

While finding a franchise quarterback would solve all of the Dolphins' problems, it's clear that Ireland needs to do a better job of scouting draft prospects and using his high selections more wisely, or he's not going to be around for much longer.

Check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


Discuss this article in the comments below or on the forum here!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Miami Dolphins 2012 NFL Draft Player Interest Tracker


Just as I did last year, I will be keeping track of all draft prospects that have drawn interest from the Dolphins. In 2011, my list included running back Daniel Thomas, who was taken by the Dolphins in the second round, and tight end Brett Brackett, who was signed as an undrafted free agent.

Below is a list of players that have drawn pre-draft interest from the Dolphins in some form or another. Details about the Dolphins' contact with each player can be found in parentheses on the right, and clicking on  any player takes you to the detailed article on the Dolphins' contact with that player.

(Last updated: April 22, 2012)


Defensive Backs

Defensive Linemen

Linebackers

Offensive Linemen

Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Tight Ends

Wide Receivers

Thursday, April 19, 2012

2012 NFL Two-Round Mock Draft 4.0

The 2012 NFL Draft is just a week away, and as always thing have changed a ton since the offseason ended. Free agency reshaped team needs while prospects have risen and fallen on draft boards for various reasons. It's impossible to know what to believe at this point, but as always I'm trying to sift through the reports, gauge team needs, and figure out how the early rounds of the draft will unfold.

For reference, you can check out my Jan. 15 mock heremy March 13 mock here and my March 30 mock here. I will be posting on final mock draft a week from today on Wednesday, April 25th—a day before the draft begins.


1. Indianapolis Colts — QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
Reports today indicate Luck has been told by the Colts he will be their pick, and it's what everyone has expected for months now. It's the right call as Luck is a potential once-in-a-decade prospect at the position.


2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis) — QB Robert Griffin III
With Luck now entrenched at the No. 1 pick, the Redskins now have the man they traded up for in RG3. He's a bit riskier than Luck as a prospect, but he's still got a ton of talent and is the right pick.


3. Minnesota Vikings — OT Matt Kalil, USC
There is talk about the Vikings going another route here, but I think it'd be a mistake to take a receiver when they have such a hole on Christian Ponder's bind side. They'd be much better off taking Kalil here and looking for a receiver later.


4. Cleveland Browns — RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
I'm absolutely not a fan of taking running backs this high, but Richardson is easily the best of the bunch and this seems to be the most likely pick for a Browns team that needs a workhorse.


5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
With Ronde Barber all but finished and Aqib Talib reportedly on the block, the Bucs desperately need a shutdown corner. Wonderlic score aside, Claiborne fits the bill and would be the perfect addition.


6. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) — WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
The Rams reportedly love Richardson, but with him already off the board here I have them taking a more natural need. Blackmon has the makings of a No. 1 receiver and would be a nice weapon for Sam Bradford.


7. Jacksonville Jaguars — DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
There are a lot of uncertainties with this pick, because Coples may very well plummet beyond this point and the Jaguars would probably love to trade out, but I don't project trades. Coples is a boom-or-bust type but could be the pass rusher Jacksonville needs.


8. Miami Dolphins — QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
I've gone back and forth so many times on this pick, and I don't think the Dolphins would do it simply to add a quarterback. But Tannehill is impressive and would have a smooth transition into the Dolphins' offense, so I think they'll end up taking him if he's on the board here.


9. Carolina Panthers — DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
Carolina used a handful of inexperienced linemen with limited ability last season and it didn't work. Cox has been rising up draft boards for a while now and the likely top-10 pick would be a monster in the middle for the Panthers.


10. Buffalo Bills — OT Riley Reiff, Iowa
The Bills need to revamp their pass protection after losing Demetress Bell in free agency. Reiff is a sound technician and is the best tackle available on the board, so he'd be a logical choice for Buffalo.


11. Kansas City Chiefs — DT Dontari Poe, Memphis
There is talk the Chiefs might make a move for Jacksonville's No. 7 pick to take Tannehill, but assuming they stay put, I assume they'll take a defender like Luke Kuechly or Poe. They've been lacking an elite nose tackle since they installed the 3-4 under Scott Pioli, so they might not be able to pass on the draft's best one here.


12. Seattle Seahawks — LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
David Hawthorne has departed for the Big Easy, so it's time to find a new middle linebacker in Seattle. Kuechly might be the best linebacker to come out since Patrick Willis in 2007, making him an excellent fit.


13. Arizona Cardinals — WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
I personally would take David DeCastro here, but word is the Cardinals would opt for Floyd if he's on the board and indeed have him available. Floyd would give Kevin Kolb another offensive weapon and would have a chance to learn from the best in Larry Fitzgerald.


14. Dallas Cowboys — OG David DeCastro, Stanford
The Cowboys' interior line has been aging for the last few years, but DeCastro has the potential to be a perennial Pro Bowler at guard and would solidify Dallas up front for years to come.


15. Philadelphia Eagles — DT Michael Brockers, LSU
Andy Reid loves him some defensive lineman, and unless he trades up to land Fletcher Cox, he might have to settle for a good consolation prize in Brockers.


16. New York Jets — LB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
The Jets could use an upgrade in their pass rush, and aside from being a little short, Ingram fits the bill perfectly. He's a tremendous athlete for his size and could excel as a stand-up rusher in Rex Ryan's 3-4 scheme.


17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland) — DE Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
I could see Upshaw falling quite a bit farther than this, but I hear Marvin Lewis likes him and he might be better off with his hand in the ground as an edge rusher in the 4-3.


18. San Diego Chargers — OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford
It wouldn't surprise me to see Martin fall to the second round, but the Chargers really need to revamp their offensive line and Martin might be the best tackle on the board.


19. Chicago Bears — DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
The Bears could use another pass rusher to complement Julius Peppers, and the local Illinois product Mercilus would be an absolutely great addition.


20. Tennessee Titans — CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina

Gilmore's stock has been rapidly rising over the last few months and he could go even higher than this. If he falls to Tennessee, he'd make an excellent replacement for the departed Cortland Finnegan.


21. Cincinnati Bengals — S Mark Barron, Alabama
The Bengals have been using washed-up veteran safeties for a few years now, so it's time to inject some youth into the secondary. The Bengals could take their second member of the Crimson Tide in five picks if they choose Barron here.


22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta) — WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
Recent word is that Wright might be out of shape and has a third-round grade by some teams, but it's hard to know what's true. From what I've seen, Wright plays faster than his workout times and would be a nice weapon in Cleveland.


23. Detroit Lions — CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
The Lions need to upgrade their secondary in a bad way, and Kirkpatrick's off-field problems could allow them to get a top-10 talent here at No. 23.


24. Pittsburgh Steelers — OT Cordy Glenn, Georgia
After hitting on former Florida center Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers go back to the SEC with a nice tackle or guard prospect in Glenn.


25. Denver Broncos — DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
One of the biggest holes on the Broncos' roster remains its defensive line, and Worthy would go a long way into shoring up that unit.


26. Houston Texans — WR Rueben Randle, LSU
The Texans need another receiver to team with Andre Johnson. While not a true complement, Randle is the best player at his position on the board here.


27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans) — DE Nick Perry, USC
Perry has had some impressive pre-draft workouts and has all the talent to be the impact pass rusher the Patriots need after losing Mark Anderson (Bills) in free agency.


28. Green Bay Packers — LB Chandler Jones, Syracuse
The Packers have struggled to find another edge rusher to bookend Clay Matthews III. Jonesis a well-rounded prospect with his stock on the rise, so he could be a fit here.


29. Baltimore Ravens — LB Shea McClellin, Boise State
Aside from Terrell Suggs, the Ravens lack any impact rushers. McClellin has been shooting up draft boards and could be a replacement for the departed Jarret Johnson.


30. San Francisco 49ers — WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
Word is it's down to the Hill and the top guard in the Niners' board. I think they'll go with Hill, who has a lot of upside despite playing in the triple option in college.


31. New England Patriots — OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
The Patriots are making do with veteran Brian Waters and free agent Robert Gallery at guard, but it's time to start thinking long-term and Zeitler could be their next Logan Mankins.


32. New York Giants — OT Bobby Massie, Ole Miss
Massie's impressive pre-draft workouts have made him a potential first-round pick, and he could eventually provide a serious upgrade over David Diehl at left tackle.


33. St. Louis Rams — RB Doug Martin, Boise State
After missing out on Trent Richardson in the first round, the Rams take Steven Jackson's heir apparent here. Martin is a do-it-all workhorse that should be a successful starter down the line.


34. Indianapolis Colts — DT Alameda Ta'amu, Washington
Perhaps no team entering the offseason was less equipped to run the 3-4, but that's exactly what the Colts are doing under new management. That means they'll need an impact nose tackle and Ta'amu is the best available.


35. Minnesota Vikings — WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
If the Vikes do indeed go with Matt Kalil at No. 3, they may target a receiver for Christian Ponder. Word is they like Jeffery, who plays better than his pre-draft workouts would indicate and is a good red-zone target.


36. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — RB David Wilson, Virginia Tech
LeGarrette Blount doesn't seem to have the new head coach's confidence and I have to imagine they'll bring in competition/a replacement in the draft. If they don't get Richardson in the first, Wilson would be a nice add here.


37. Cleveland Browns — QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
Colt McCoy isn't the answer, but the soon-to-be 29-year-old Weeden at least looks like a potential franchise quarterback. He's someone that could push for the starting job as a rookie.


38. Jacksonville Jaguars — WR Chris Givens, Wake Forest
They signed Laurent Robinson to a big-money deal, but Blaine Gabbert needs more weapons and Givens is one of the more sound receiver prospects in this class.


39. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) — CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
Jenkins has the talent of a top-20 pick for sure, but off-the-field concerns have caused his stock to fall. That being said, he could be a nice value for the corner-needy Rams here if they can keep him in line.


40. Carolina Panthers — CB Josh Robinson, Central Florida
Robinson has tremendous speed and the potential to be a No. 1 corner. He'd be an excellent fit opposite Chris Gamble in Carolina.


41. Buffalo Bills — TE Coby Fleener, Stanford
Scott Chandler had his moments in 2011, but the Bills lack a true play-making tight end. Fleener is the best pure receiver at his position and would be a nice target for Ryan Fitzpatrick.


42. Miami Dolphins — DE Vinny Curry, Marshall
After going Tannehill in the first round, the Dolphins need to turn their attention to a pass rusher to complement Cameron Wake. Curry's production at Marshall is quite impressive and he'd be a nice choice here.


43. Seattle Seahawks — DT Devon Still, Penn State
The Seahawks could use a little more help on the defensive line and the potential first-rounder Still would be a nice value if he were on the board here.


44. Kansas City Chiefs — LB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
A potential first-round pick, Hightower has plenty of experience in the 3-4 scheme and would be a nice thumper for the Chiefs inside next to Derrick Johnson.


45. Dallas Cowboys — S Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
The Cowboys seem to be going with Brodney Pool at strong safety, but he's had serious concussion issues in his career and may not be a long-term solution. Smith would be a nice addition to the secondary in Big D.


46. Philadelphia Eagles — WR Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers
DeSean Jackson is a risky long-term receiver and there is little talent here beyond Jeremy Maclin. Sanu has some good physical tools to be developed slowly with the Eagles.


47. New York Jets — OT Mike Adams, Ohio State
Adams may fall this far thanks to a positive marijuana test at the NFL Scouting Combine and some inconsistent tape from his college days. However, he has the tools to be an elite tackle and could help replace the busted Vladimir Ducasse down the line.


48. New England Patriots (from Oakland) — C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
Dan Koppen was re-signed to a minimal deal and his career may be winding down nearing age 33. Konz is the best center in the draft and would be an excellent long-term replacement.


49. San Diego Chargers — LB Andre Branch, Clemson
The Chargers haven't had a dominant pass rusher since Shawne Merriman was in his prime, but Branch could be a nice starter for them as a converted defensive end.


50. Chicago Bears — CB Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska
Dennard's stock has fallen due to injuries, but he's an ideal Cover 2 corner and would be a nice fit in Lovie Smith's scheme opposite Charles Tillman.


51. Philadelphia Eagles (from Arizona) — LB Zach Brown, North Carolina
The Eagles have taken steps to shore up their linebacker corps, but more youth would help. Brown is a risky prospect but has rare athleticism for the position and could do well if developed properly.


52. Tennessee Titans — DE Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma
The Titans inked Kamerion Wimbley to shore up the pass rush, but they still have no No. 2 rusher and Lewis could fill that role.


53. Cincinnati Bengals — CB Trumaine Johnson, Montana
It's a year late, but the Bengals need a long-term replacement for Johnathan Joseph (Texans) opposite Leon Hall. Johnson has a lot of upside and would be a nice choice for them.


54. Detroit Lions — RB Lamar Miller, Miami (Fla.)
With Jahvid Best's lingering concussion issues, the Lions might need a new dynamic, change-of-pace back. Miller fits the bill perfectly and could excel in the Lions' new-found offense.


55. Atlanta Falcons — CB Brandon Boykin, Georgia
Dunta Robinson has been a free-agent bust, so the Falcons need someone to work opposite Brent Grimes. Boykin is a tremendous athlete with a lot of talent and could also help replace Eric Weems in the return game.


56. Pittsburgh Steelers — DT Josh Chapman, Alabama
The Steelers haven't had much youth along their defensive line in quite some time. Chapman has durability issues but compares well to long-time Steelers' nose tackle Casey Hamptona guy Chapman could replace down the line.


57. Denver Broncos — QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona State
The Broncos are now instant contenders with the addition of Peyton Manning, but they have no depth and a high-upside project like Osweiler might be a nice addition to sit for a while and learn under one of the game's best ever.


58. New Orleans Saints — Pick Forfeited


59. Houston Texans — OT James Brown, Troy
With Eric Winston departing as a cap casualty, the Texans could use new blood at offensive tackle.


60. Green Bay Packers — DE Jared Crick, Nebraska
The Packers have missed on a few defensive ends in the draft, so it's time to go back to the drawing board again. Crick is a perfect schematic fit.


61. Baltimore Ravens — WR Brian Quick, Appalachian State
Despite taking Torrey Smith in the first round last year, word is the Ravens are still looking for receivers and Quick has an intriguing skill set.


62. San Francisco 49ers — OG Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State
After grabbing a receiver in the first round, the Niners take a much-needed interior lineman in this underrated small-school prospect.


63. New England Patriots — S Georga Iloka, Boise State
The Patriots desperately need safety help alongside Patrick Chung. Iloka is a great athlete for his size and could be a nice project for Bill Belichick.


64. New York Giants — TE Dwayne Allen, Clemson
After losing two tight ends to torn ACLs late in the season, the Giants might need to add a body here despite the addition of Martellus Bennett. Allen might be the most well-rounded tight end in the draft and should appeal to the Giant's offense.


Discuss this article in the comments below or on the forum here!