Friday, April 19, 2013
Eight in the Box: Ideal first rounds
By James Walker
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What's the ideal first-round scenario for each team?
Buffalo Bills: The Bills hold the No. 8 overall pick. It’s a tricky spot to be in for Buffalo, which is why the ideal first-round scenario is to trade down for more draft selections. The Bills have just six picks this year. They could pick up an additional pick or two by moving into the middle or end of the first round. Some projections have Buffalo taking a guard (Chance Warmack?) or a quarterback (Geno Smith?) at No. 8. The Bills do not need to force either scenario so high in the draft. It would make more sense to find a trade partner in the teens and get a player like receiver Cordarrelle Patterson or safety Kenny Vaccaro who could make an immediate impact and fill a need. The Bills also would be very happy if they could land a quarterback prospect in the second round such as Ryan Nassib, who fits their offensive system and was coached by new Buffalo head coach Doug Marrone.
New York Jets: Let's start with a disclaimer: The Jets usually draft defense. Therefore, what I think is ideal probably doesn't match up with what New York aims to do. However, it would be smart for the Jets to find offensive talent in the first round with the No. 9 overall pick. That could be a receiver (Patterson), tight end (Tyler Eifert) or even a quarterback (Smith). But New York usually drafts defense, which is why no one would be surprised if the Jets picked another first-round defensive end for the third year in a row. LSU’s Barkevious Mingo is a potential target, and I think he's a great prospect. Mingo would improve the Jets' pass rush. New York also could fill needs at linebacker or safety. But ideally the Jets should get players on offense who could help New York's starting quarterback in 2013, whether it's Mark Sanchez or David Garrard.
Miami Dolphins: Finding the ideal scenario for the Dolphins is easy. They need one of the top left tackles. Since there is little chance Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher makes it down to No. 12, Miami would be fortunate if Lane Johnson is available. Johnson is a plug-and-play left tackle who can start in Miami in Week 1 and replace former left tackle Jake Long, who bolted to the St. Louis Rams in free agency. Second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill needs proper protection to continue his development. The Dolphins may be willing to trade up to get a left tackle. They have five picks in the first three rounds. This week Miami also entered discussions with the agent of Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Branden Albert. If that need is filled before next week's draft, cornerback is the next-best target.
New England Patriots: The Patriots are not a team with a lot of needs. But they have one well-defined need at wide receiver. New England lost two starters from last season: Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd. Those two combined to account for 192 receptions, 2,265 yards and 10 touchdowns. That is a lot of lost production. Fortunately for New England, there should be several quality receivers available at the bottom of the first round. Two ideal prospects for New England would be Tennessee's Justin Hunter and Robert Woods of USC. Both could add an element to the Patriots' offense on the outside that they currently do not have on their roster.