The first running back comes off the board with the Miami Dolphins' pick, so says Bucs Nation. The Dolphins are decent at a lot of positions and don't have much needs outside of running back, so this pick made sense, even though it may be a bit of a reach. The Dolphins want to make the ground game the focal point of the offense, and Mark Ingram would be the perfect back for that purpose. They just have to hope that Chad Henne can develop a little more.
Today we move on to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The team from North Florida has plenty of needs, as they've been treading water for the last couple of years. For being in a division with the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans they have a really bad pass rush and a really bad secondary. To survive in that division, or in the NFL at all, they have to upgrade those aspects of their team. They have other needs, too. David Garrard is adequate as a QB, but nothing more than that. He's not going to get them to the big game, and they need to find someone who can. They have very little at wide receiver as well, and need to upgrade that. They could stand to upgrade their linebacking corps, too. They did hit on defensive tackles in the past two years, and they have a solid young offensive line coupled with one of the best running backs in the league, so they can skip those positions at least.
The draft so far:
1. Carolina Panthers - QB Cam Newton
2. Denver Broncos - DT Marcell Dareus
3. Buffalo Bills - DE Von Miller
4. Cincinnati Bengals - WR A.J. Green
5. Arizona Cardinals - QB Blaine Gabbert
6. Cleveland Browns - CB Patrick Peterson
7. San Francisco 49ers - CB Prince Amukamara
8. Tennessee Titans - DT Nick Fairley
9. Dallas Cowboys - OT Tyron Smith
10. Washington Redskins - WR Julio Jones
11. Houston Texans - DE Robert Quinn
12. Minnesota Vikings - QB Ryan Mallett
13. Detroit Lions - DE Da'Quan Bowers
14. St. Louis Rams - DT Corey Liuget
15. Miami Dolphins - RB Mark Ingram
QB Jake Locker, Washington: A supremely talented quarterback with some really bad accuracy issues. Jake Locker was hyped badly coming into this year with the expectation that he'd get much better, but that improvement never occurred. Instead, he remained inaccurate and inconsistent. But Locker really reminds me of Josh Freeman - both were inaccurate coming out of college, they weren't big winners, they had trouble reading defenses, but they also had supreme talent at the quarterback position, a great work ethic and good leadership skills.
QB Christian Ponder, Florida State: Christian Ponder is an interesting prospect. He's had a decent career at Florida State, but his senior season was marred by injury leading to some concerns about his arm strengths that are, in my view, unjustified. Ponder is an accurate, smart quarterback who has a lot of attributes of an NFL passer. Honestly, I think this is the most consistent quarterback in the draft whose biggest question mark is whether his injuries have sapped some physical skills.
DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue: Ryan Kerrigan is probably the defensive end with the highest floor in this draft, but he also has a fairly low ceiling. He's always hustling, always playing hard, he was a team captain in college and he's a student of the game. He was also amazingly productive in college. Unfortunately he's not the greatest athlete at the position and he lacks some strength, but he's able to do all things at a high level. Kerrigan is the defensive end you pick when you value production over potential.
DE Aldon Smith, Missouri: A defensive end with tons of potential. Smith has a lanky frame and huge arms, and looks like the kind of pass rusher the New York Giants love to hoard. He can bend around the edge, but looks best when making inside moves. He can control linemen and shed to make plays with his long arms, although he isn't the strongest lineman. He has plenty of room in his frame to grow and add weight, and should be even more impressive in a couple of years. Unfortunately he's also very raw and will likely take a while to get used to the NFL. Great potential, but don't expect early returns.
CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado: Jimmy Smith could actually challenge Patrick Peterson as the most talented cornerback in the draft. He's a terrific player who would excel in press-man coverage, and isn't all that different from Darrelle Revis. There are very few negatives about Jimmy Smith on the field. The only problem is that he has some significant questions about his off-field behavior and will drop in the draft because of that. Whoever takes a risk on him will end up with a great cornerback, but will have to worry about keeping him on the field. The Jaguars really need a cornerback, though.
DE Cameron Jordan, California: A powerful, polished and very versatile defensive end. He has experience playing in a 3-4 defense and could be a great pawn for the Lions defense, who could use a 3-4 end. He's strong against the run and an effective pass rusher as a 5-technique, though he isn't the most explosive pass rusher in the draft. But he dominated the Senior Bowl, had a very productive college career, always hustles and is a high-character kid.
DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin: A prototypical 5-technique who should flourish in a 3-4 defense. He plays hard, has impressive speed around the edge for his size and has a very high floor. He's a better pass rusher than you'd think at first sight, and is already well-developed. He's powerful enough to hold up in the run game and shed blockers. He should do very well in any scheme, but 3-4 teams will covet him most.
OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College: Another good, polished lineman from Boston College. Castonzo is a very solid offensive tackle whose physical upside maybe isn't that great, but who can be a very good tackle for years on end. He does need to add some strength physically, but he has the ability to be a good left tackle for years to come. Doesn't have the upside of Tyron Smith, but could still anchor an offensive line. The Jaguars have spent high picks on offensive tackles in recent years, though, and don't really need one, though.
C/OG Mike Pouncey, Florida: The top interior lineman in the draft, very similar to his brother except he's not that good at snapping the ball. He will likely be a premium lineman for years to come and should provide immediate returns for the team that drafts him. The Jaguars have a decent offensive line, though, and don't have a big need for a guard or center.
WR Jon Baldwin, Pittsburgh: Jonathan Baldwin is huge. At 6'5" 230lbs he could be the new Mike Williams (USC/Lions/Seahawks version), except hopefully without all the problems. He isn't real explosive and doesn't seem to generate a lot of separation from defensive backs, but because of his size he doesn't really need to do that to catch passes. His wide catching radius would really help out a mediocre QB like David Garrard, but he may not be able to be a real number one receiver at the next level. He'd certainly fit the Jaguars needs, though.