The NFL free agency frenzy has, for the most part, passed, and now football fans are looking forward to the next big event on the calendar- the NFL draft. Here are the best fits for each of my three favorite teams, by pick in the draft.
1. Dallas Cowboys (16th pick)- The Cowboys need to start drafting well. They have not had good drafts for the past few years and have a lot to work on. The big hole is on defense, where the unit ranks as one of the league's worst. There should be plenty of defensive players available, but Jerry Jones's problem has been knowing which to choose (see Morris Claiborne).
Draft Picks that would Help- Because of the departure of DeMarcus Ware, the defense only has one proven player- Sean Lee, who is often injured. The defense needs great athletes, and two of the best are linebacker CJ Mosley out of Alabama and safety Calvin Pryor out of Louisville. Mosley would complement Lee as an inside linebacker and would be starting most of the time given Lee's injury history. Pryor would shore up one of the worst pass defending teams in the NFL and can be a leader. The defensive line is also an issue, as Ware, Jay Ratliff, and Jason Hatcher have left. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald would be the best fit for the Dallas defense, as he is the best interior player in the draft and can also be a leader.
Best Draft Pick: Given the Cowboys do not trade up or down, Pryor would have to be the best pick. Mosley will almost definitely be off the board by the time the Cowboys pick, so he will probably not be a Cowboy. Pryor has been desired by many teams so he could also go off the board, but if he is available he would help the worst part of the defense- the secondary. If he is off the board, Dallas should opt for Aaron Donald.
2. Baltimore Ravens (17th pick)- After a poor offseason in 2013, Ozzie Newsome made had one of the best in recent memory this year. The Ravens had multiple free agents but were able to resign a few major players, such as Dennis Pitta, Jacoby Jones, Daryl Smith, Terrell Suggs, and Eugene Monroe. Those resignings should help fill some holes, but there are still others made by the losses of other players.
Draft Picks that would Help- The offensive line definitely needs more help, so Taylor Lewan from Michigan or Zack Martin from Notre Dame would be solid picks if they are still available. Baltimore also has a need in the receiving core despite the signing of Steve Smith and would benefit from the addition of tight end Eric Ebron, wide receiver Marqise Lee, or wide receiver Mike Evans. The Ravens have traditionally had a stout defense but have a need in the secondary. Safeties Ha-Ha Clinton Dix or Calvin Pryor would be great picks for the secondary. Newsome has been known for picking the best available player, so if linebacker CJ Mosley falls to the 17th pick the Ravens could snatch him up.
Best Draft Pick: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame- The Ravens are trying to find an offensive identity. After the loss of Michael Oher, Baltimore needs a tackle to be a leader and a great blocker in pass and run. Martin has all of those qualities and should be available when the Ravens pick.
3. San Diego Chargers (25th pick)- Of the three teams that are included in this article, the Chargers went the farthest in the postseason, making it to the divisional round. Their needs are mainly on the offensive line, linebacking core, and secondary. The latter is the biggest need, but San Diego should be able to fix that even with the late 1st round pick.
Draft Picks that would Help- This draft is one of the best, and Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, Bradley Roby, Lamarcus Joyner, Jason Verrett, Kyle Fuller and Darqueze Dennard should all be available. Defensive tackle Louis Nix would also be a popular pick and would help stop the run game on a defensive line that is improving. On the offensive side of the ball, San Diego could pick receiver Marqise Lee or tackle Cyrus Kouandjio.
Roby, a former Ohio State corner, would be the best fit. He is projected to go in the late first round and is the aggresive corner that the Chargers need. Roby would also be able to make plays in the secondary, which already has ball-hawk safety Eric Weddle.
NFL RUSH Kid Reporter