Bucs Nation has spoken and the Titans get Nick Fairley, a very talented but raw defensive tackle who could turn into a destructive force to add to their defense. They pass on a quarterback, though, and will stick with Kerry Collins or draft one later in the draft. Hardly an ideal situation, and they'll likely have to rely on Chris Johnson again in 2011.
Today the Dallas Cowboys are up. Jerry Jones' band of merry men collapsed last season, and he fired Wade Phillips midway through the season. Former OC Jason Garrett is the new Head Coach, and they attracted Browns DC Rob Ryan (son of, brother of) to come coach their defense. This should be quite a shift from Wade Phillips' scheme, especially on the D-Line. While some people scream for Tony Romo's head, I don't think the Cowboys really need a QB. Romo's performed at a high level for years, and Kitna turned out to be a competent replacement too. Their biggest needs are on the offensive line, which is one of the oldest lines in the NFL. It fell apart last year and needs new blood across the board. So who do you think the Cowboys will draft, Bucs Nation?
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 - Prince Amukamara
8. Tennessee Titans - Nick Fairley
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 Ryan Mallett, Arkansas: A monster of an arm, but a lot of questions. Mallett can make every single throw an NFL coach would want, but his biggest problem is dealing with pressure. When pressured he starts to make questionable decisions, and when he can't set his feet he gets a lot less accurate. Still, he could do wonders behind a good offensive line in a system where he won't be asked to be very mobile. The bigger questions may revolve around his personality, though. There are a lot of rumors about his leadership skills and off-field behavior, but everyone at Arkansas says any concerns are unwarranted. He has the raw talent to go very high, but the team interviews will decide where he will really land.
DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson: Bowers is perhaps the best talent at defensive end in this draft. He had a ridiculous junior year with 15.5 sacks and 25 tackles for loss. He's a strong run defender and a potent pass-rusher. But there are two concerns about Da'Quan Bowers: his junior year was his first strong year, and he could be a one-year wonder. Second, a knee injury has prevented him from working out and he still wasn't fully healthy at his pro day. if his knee doesn't check out at the Combine Re-check, he could fall a long way on draft day. If he does check out he doesn't really fit the Cowboys, though, who don't really need extra pass rushers.
DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina: Robert Quinn was one of several North Carolina players who were suspended for the 2010 season for receiving improper benefits from agents. Then add to that some minor medical concerns over a benign brain tumor, and it would be easy to understand if Quinn dropped a long way on draft day. But Quinn is a unique defensive end talent, with great speed off the edge and good strength. He kept in shape during his time away from the game and performed well at the scouting combine and his pro day. Overall there are no questions about his commitment to football, and he may be even better than Bowers.
WR Julio Jones, Alabama: Julio Jones is a lot like A.J. Green, perhaps a bit more physical and intimidating but a little less reliable, as he'll drop some easy catches at times. But he's a terrific route runner and should make an immediate impact for whoever drafts him. There are no character concerns with Julio Jones and he's certainly in the running for a top pick. But the Cowboys aren't going to draft him. They already have Roy Williams, Miles Austin and Dez Bryant - all with big, fat contracts.
OT Tyron Smith, USC: An incredibly talented offensive tackle who could step in immediately at right tackle but would need time to become a starter at left tackle. He's only played right tackle at USC, but he is the perfect athlete for the left tackle position. At age 20 he's only going to get better from here on out, and if he was more skilled he could've been in play for the 1st overall pick this draft. He definitely fits the Cowboys' needs who desperately need offensive line help, especially at tackle.
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 Cowboys took a risk on Dez Bryant last year, though, and may do it again with Jimmy Smith. Whether they need a cornerback depends on Mike Jenkins, who had a terrific 2009 but a really poor 2010 where he seemed to quit on his team.
DT Corey Liuget, Illinois: Liuget is a polished and versatile defensive tackle who can do it all. Not an elite talent but a good player who could plug a hole on defense. He could function as anything from a 3-4 nose tackle to a 4-3 3-technique or even a 3-4 5-technique. He would certainly fit the Cowboys' needs who need to add some competent down linemen next to Jay Ratliff to function in Rob Ryan's scheme.