Nov 2, 2013; Fresno, CA, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr (4) calls an audible during the second quarter of the game against the Nevada Wolf Pack at Bulldog Stadium. Fresno State won 41-23. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
#16 – Tennessee Titans – C.J. Mosley – OLB – Alabama
It seems Jake Locker has a handle on how to run the Tennessee Titans offense, but it requires that the defense stay strong. The unit could use help up front. C.J. Mosley is perhaps the best all-around linebacker in this class. He can drop into coverage and play the run with equal success. He’s fast, instinctive and a leader on the field.
#17 – Arizona Cardinals – Zach Mettenberger – QB – LSU
Carson Palmer is better than what the Arizona Cardinals had in 2012 but he’s also 33-years old. The team has to think about their future. Dipping into a talented 2014 NFL draft class is as good a time as any. Zach Mettenberger is a big, strong passer from LSU who can make any throw on the field. His mechanics and decision-making have improved considerably.
#18 – San Diego Chargers – Vic Beasley – DE – Clemson
The failure to stop Washington in overtime proved the San Diego Chargers defense isn’t where it needs to be if they want to make a run. A huge part of that is improving the pass rush. Vic Beasley is an explosive, speedy pass rusher for Clemson. He comes hard off the edge but also can turn inside and drive offensive linemen back. A natural outside linebacker.
#19 – New York Jets – Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina
It is so hard to figure out the New York Jets. One game they seem great, the next they can’t do anything right. If anything is clear it’s that if they plan to committ to Geno Smith long-term, they must arm him with every weapon possible. Eric Ebron could lend them huge help at tight. Big, fast and boasting soft hands he can exploits mismatches down the middle of the field.
#20 – Dallas Cowboys – Jason Verrett – CB – TCU
Monte Kiffin has to figure out what ails the Dallas Cowboys pass defense. It has been their Achilles heel in 2013. They must improve it however they can. Bringing in help at corner is a start. Jason Verrett isn’t the biggest player at his position but he is an ideal fit for a zone defense. He is tough, tenacious, can tackle and plays the football better than almost any other corner in this class.
#21 – Chicago Bears – Stephon Tuitt – DE – Notre Dame
Defensive success is what drove the Chicago Bears and while it is new era under Marc Trestman on offense, they still need to bolster their aging and beleaguered pass rush to stay relevant. Stephon Tuitt may not seem like an ideal fit, playing in a 3-4 at Notre Dame. However, his size, strength and highly underrated speed make him viable at end or tackle for the Bears.
#22 – Detroit Lions – Marqise Lee – WR – USC
They’ve wanted a second receiver next to Calvin Johnson for the longest time. It seems like the Detroit Lions finally get one. Despite his injury concerns, Marqise Lee is probably the most explosive receiver in the 2014 NFL draft. Nobody can get vertical and test defenses deep better. He’s also got good size, great athleticism and the ability to make plays after the catch.
#23 – Carolina Panthers – Ryan Shazier – OLB – Ohio State
Having just missed out on Lee, the Carolina Panther are forced to shuffle their board. Instead of reaching for a receiver they decide to give their defense more firepower. This is done by putting Ryan Shazier next to Luke Kuechly. His speed, athleticism and instincts makes him a huge benefit in coverage and pursuing against the run.
#24 – Cincinnati Bengals – Bradley Roby – CB – Ohio State
Losing Leon Hall hasn’t completely derailed the Cincinnati Bengals but it has certainly had an effect on their defense. Adding some help at corner could ensure that doesn’t happen again. Bradley Roby is a more natural man corner but his size and incredible speed is more than enough for veteran defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to work with.
#25 – Green Bay Packers – Cameron Erving – OT – Florida State
Protecting Aaron Rodgers continues to be a problem for the Green Bay Packers. Running the ball has helped but they need better depth up front. They may get that and more from Cameron Erving. The left tackle for FloridaState has thrived as a sophomore, showcasing his superior athleticism and improved technique as the Seminoles dominate their 2013 schedule.
#26 – New Orleans Saints – Lache Seastrunk – RB – Baylor
The days of making offense seem effortless are far away for the New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees still executes his offense but the glaring lack of help on the ground continues to hamper their ability to score. To that end they go for a quick fix. Lache Seastrunk is low to the ground, tough and possesses a strong lower body that allows him to break tackles and then accelerate for big plays down the field.
#27 – San Francisco 49ers – Antonio Richardson – OT – Tennessee
Dominant offensive line play has keyed the success for the San Francisco 49ers. They must make sure that doesn’t change. Antonio Richardson is their kind of player coming out of Tennessee: big, powerful and surprisingly nimble for his size. He’s another potential starter for them down the road.
#28 – Cleveland Browns (from IND) – David Yankey – OG – Stanford
Guard has become an issue for the Cleveland Browns and is one of the reasons they struggle on the ground and protecting their quarterbacks. So it makes sense to take one from this position. David Yankey has the body of a guard but enough agility to play tackle. His mechanics are good and he plays with an edge.
#29 – New England Patriots – Loucheiz Purifoy – CB – Florida
Bill Belichick loves big cornerbacks. With Aqib Talib a free agent next year there is no question the New England Patriots may want to look at adding a replacement. Loucheiz Purifoy is not the most consistent or experienced in his class, but he may be the most physically gifted. Tall, strong and fast he is a perfect project for Belichick.
#30 – Denver Broncos – Lamarcus Joyner – FS – Florida State
Finding a playmaker in the secondary must become a top priority for the Denver Broncos. Lamarcus Joyner may not seem like the ideal choice at 5’8″ but there is no denying his natural ability. Certain players just have a knack for finding the football and Joyner has proven that time and time again for FloridaState.
#31 – Seattle Seahawks – Gabe Jackson – OG – Mississippi State
Russell Wilson has survived 2013 by making plays with his legs, but it’s only a matter of time before the hits start to pile up on him if his offensive line can’t protect better. To that end they make MississippiState guard Gabe Jackson their first pick. Not only is he a fit in their run-oriented offense but his pass protection has come a long way and still has room to get far better.
#32 – Kansas City Chiefs – Derek Carr – QB – Fresno State
Alex Smith deserves all the credit in the world for getting the Kansas City Chiefs to 9-0. At the very least he’s earned the starting job for next season but that doesn’t mean Andy Reid should shrink from adding a quarterback for the future. Derek Carr is a football junky, has the intelligence to play a game right but isn’t afraid to lacking the talent to chuck the football repeatedly.