With the NFL draft’s first round just four days away, Husker Corner will break down the first round and discuss some needs for your favorite NFL teams. With no Nebraska players projected in the first round, we will list where we have Lavonte David, Alfonzo Dennard and Jared Crick will be picked.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: It’s been painfully obvious that Andrew Luck was going to be the number one pick in the draft since the beginning of the college football season. With Payton Manning going to Denver, the pick is even more obvious.
2. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin, QB Baylor: The Redskins traded up to get the 2nd overall pick from the St. Louis Rams. There is no doubt that Griffin will be the second pick. The Heisman trophy winner will be picked to be the face of the Redskins franchise for years to come.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Justin Blackmon, WR Oklahoma State: Most people have USC left tackle Matt Kalil in this spot. In my opinion the Vikings need to get Christian Ponder a big target to help him develop. The deep threat of Blackmon could free up the running game for Adrian Peterson. There should be a few good linemen available in the 2nd and 3rd round.
4. Cleveland Browns: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina: The Browns need help at almost every position. A talented rush end like Ingram could be a staple in the Browns defense for years to come. A lot of mock drafts have Alabama running back, Trent Richardson going to the Browns, while others have him going in the early, to mid 2nd round. Cleveland also has the 22nd pick in this years draft. I think Richardson will still be available at that spot. There is no point wasting a top 10 pick on him.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU: If Claiborne is still availible at 4, the Bucs will have no choice but to pick him. Starting cornerback Aqib Talib is headed to jail, and future hall of famer Ronde Barber has retired. Caliborne is the most polished defensive back in this draft, and is the most likely to fall to the Bucs of the top 10 prospects.
6. St. Louis Ram: Matt Kalil, OT USC: If the Rams get lucky enough to have Kalil fall to them, they have to pick him. He is a 10 year starter at left tackle in the NFL. Sam Bradford has shown that he can’t hold up in a NFL season with out the proper protection. At 6-foot-6, 305 lb.s Kalil is exactly what they need. There will be enough fire power in the second round to get Bradford a big time weapon. Look for the Rams to trade up if possible for Kalil.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Quinton Couples, DE North Carolina: There is always a “top 10” type player that shoots himself in the foot every year before the draft. Couples is that guy. He has all the upside in the world, but told reporters that in his last season at UNC he gave a “c effort” The Tar Heels were going through a coaching change and recruiting scandal, and Couples just seemed to fold up. Couples could be an all NFL caliber rush end, or move inside and play tackle. Wherever he falls he could be a major contributor early, if he gives his best effort.
8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB Texas A&M: The Dolphins have seem pretty set on picking the A&M quarterback. Tannehill moved from wide receiver to quarterback in his last two seasons in College Station. Tannehill is not NFL ready yet, but could be in a couple years. The Dolphins recently signed NFL journeymen David Garrard, the former Jacksonville quarterback. With Garrard in Miami, Tannehill can sit and learn. It will be interesting to see if the Dolphins want to use a top 10 pick on a project quarterback.
9. Carolina Panthers: Fletcher Cox, DE Mississippi State: Carolina’s run defense was atrocious in 2011. They spent two picks on defensive tackles last season in Sione Fua and Terrell McClain. Fua showed some flashes of being an NFL talent, but McClain had a horrible rookie season. Fletcher was the SEC defensive linemen of the year in 2011.
10. Buffalo Bills: Stephon Gilmore, CB South Carolina: Bill’s head coach Chan Gailey has been very verbal about addressing the need at the corner spot. There is no way Claiborne will be available at 10, so Gilmore will be the second best corner available. He will be a near lock at the tenth spot.
11. Kansas City, David DeCastro, OG Stanford: It is rare to see a guard taken this high, but offensive line will be a need for the Chiefs in this draft, and DeCastro will be the best linemen available.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Luke Kuechly, LB Boston College: Kuechly was one of the best stories at the NFL combine. He showed off amazing athleticism, and ability to be both a run stopper, and a pass rusher. The Seahawks could also entertain the idea of drafting Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright, or Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd to help newly aquired quarterback Matt Flynn.
13. Arizona Cardinals, Riley Reiff, OT Iowa: Arizona could go Reiff, Richardson, or Floyd here. I think you have to build around the offensive line, and possibly take a Floyd, or Wright if they are available later, and maybe a Kurt Cousins in the 3rd round. Reiff is not the prototypical tackle, and could move inside to guard, but could be a huge contributor.
14. Dallas Cowboys, Mark Barron, SS Alabama: Mark Barron is the top player on Dallas’ board according to Mel Kiper Jr. Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones has always been high on any talent out of Alabama, and strong safety has been a need the Cowboys have attempted to address a few times. I t just hasn’t worked out.
15. Philadelphia Eagles, Chandler Jones, DE Syracuse: What more could the dream team use? Oh ya a rush end, and playoff win. Jones has been one of those players who’s name has just caught fire. Originally projected as a late 2nd round pick, his name has been brough up by several NFL general managers.
16. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, DE Alabama: Upshaw is not the prototypcal defensive end for the Jets scheme, but he maybe the best player available. It wouldn’t surprise me if Trent Richardson goes here. Rex Ryan loves to run the ball, and Richardson could be an interesting fit in New York.
17. Cincinnati Bengals: Dre Kirkpatrcik, CB Alabama: Kirkpatrick will fit right in with Cincinnati. The Bengals have had more team arrests than any other team in the NFL since 2001. Kirkpatrick was recently arrested for marijuana possession, and some teams have him falling off their big board for a first round pick. The Bengals have such a huge need at corner this won’t be an option for them. Nate Clemetns did not pan out the way they thought he would, and Kirkpatrick can contribute right away.
18. San Diego Chargers: Whitney Mercilus, OLB/DE Illinois: The Chargers need a pass rusher. They haven’t had a great, or even decent one since Shawne Merriman’s breakout season. Obviously Upshaw or Jones would be better options, but Mercilus would be a perfect fit in San Diego’s defense.
19. Chicago Bears: Michael Brockers, DT LSU: Defensive line is a huge need for the Bears. They addressed the wide receiver needs by picking up Brandon Marshall in the off season. Brockers is apparently the guy Chicago is eyeing, and if available at this spot they will pick him, unless something crazy happens like Upshaw being available here.
20. Tennessee Titans, Michael Floyd, WR Notre Dame: Tennessee attempted to make a big offensive splash by landing Peyton Manning. They did not do so, but they still have NFL veteran Matthew Hasselbeck, and they drafted former Washington quarterback Jake Locker. If Locker is the future they need to build around him, and Floyd would be a great start.
21. Cincinnati Bengals. Dontari Poe, DT Memphis: The Bengals could use a pass rusher, but adding Poe to the inside could open up some opportunities for current ends on the roster. With all the eleite pass rushers off the board in this draft, Poe will be the best player available.
22. Cleveland Browns, Trent Richardson, RB Alabama: If Richardson is still on the board at 22, Cleveland has to to take him. Colt McCoy needs a running game now that Peytn Hillis has left for the Kansas City Chiefs. Richardson’s pass catching ability is perfect for Mike Holmgren’s west coast offense.
23. Detroit Lions, Cordy Glenn, OL Georgia: This is the most interesting pick of the first round. What will the Lions do? They obviously don’t take Quarterback, wide receiver, left tackle, runninback or defensive end. I guess they could attempt to take Kendall Wright if he is still on the board to go opposite of Megatron. If the Lions stick to their “we will take the best player available,” approach to the draft, that they have always taken, they will take Glen. He will more than likely play guard at the NFL level, or maybe right tackle.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers, Dont’a Hightower, LB Alabama: Pittsburgh Steelers, hard hitting linebacker. Do we need to explain anything else? Look for Pittsburgh to go pass rusher in the second round.
25. Denver Broncos: Kendall Wright, WR Baylor: With the addition of Peyton Manning the Broncos need to install a wide receiver core. At 5-foot-11, 200 lb.s Wright could be a shifty slot receiver for Manning to get the ball to quickly.
26. Houston Texas: Nick Perry, DE USC: With the loss of Mario Williams to the Buffalo Bills in free agency, defensive end is a huge need for the Texans. Perry is 6-foot-3, 250 lbs. and is as quick off the ball as any end in this draft.
27. New England Patriots: Harrison Smith, SS Notre Dame: The Patriots need help in the defensive back field. Smith is a smart kid, who fits Bellichick’s system to a tee. It’s a perfect fit
28. Green Bay Packers: Shea McClellin, DE Boise State: McClellin’s draft stock raises every day. By Thursday’s draft he could be in the to 15. Pass rusher is a need for the Packers if they even have one. They may be the most complete team in the NFL for the second year in a row. They should take either a pass rusher or left tackle at this spot. If McClellin is still at 28, it will be a steal.
29. Baltimore Raves, Alshon Jeffery, WR South Carolina: At 6-foot-4, 190 lbs., Jeffery will, and should be a first round pick. Finding a team with a need for wide receiver will be the problem. Jeffery will help with the development of Joe Flacco, who struggled at times last season. Jeffery can go up and get the ball at the highest point, and that’s something that the Ravens have been missing for a long time.
30. San Francisco 49ers, Janoris Jenkins, CB North Alabama: Jenkins was one of the top recruits in the 2008 recruiting class. He attended Florida, and then was later dismissed from the team, and finished his college career at North Alabama University. Jim Harbaugh is the right guy to help this kid reach his full potential on and off the field.
31. New England Patriots: Jerel Worthy, DT Michigan State: Worthy will be the best player left on the board and can help an average defensive line in New England.
32. New York Giants: Doug Martin, RB, Boise State: The giants are looking to replace Brandon Jacobs after losing him to San Fransisco in free agency. Martin is 5-foot-10, 215 lbs., and could be a younger version of Jacobs.
39. St. Louis Rams, Lavonte David, LB Nebraska: The Rams need help at several positions. David would help sure up a very pathetic run defense.
99. Houston Texasns, Alfonzo Dennard, CB Nebraska: The Texans have tried fixing their problem at corner in free agency. Getting Dennard in the 4th round would be a steal for Houston.
160. Cleveland Browns, Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska: Crick will more than likely play defensive end in the NFL. His pectoral muscle will hurt his draft stock, but he could be a steal in the 5th round.
By Jimmie Allen
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