The Houston Texans fail to address their holes at defensive back, instead hoping that an elite pass rush will help their pass defense. At least, that's what Bucs Nation thinks they will do. By picking Robert Quinn the Texans instantly have one of the best pass-rushing combinations, as Mario Williams will continue to destroy offensive lines. Of course if QBs can just continue to complete passes before the pass rush has a chance to get anywhere that won't matter much, and the Texans will have to find help for their secondary later in the draft.
Today we move to the Minnesota Vikings at #12. Their biggest need has to be quarterback. The only one they have under contract for next year is Joe Webb, a former college quarterback they originally drafted to play wide receiver. While he wasn't horrible in three games at the end of the season, he's not going to be the future of any franchise. In addition to their needs at quarterback, they need help along the offensive line, in the secondary, on the defensive line and even at wide receiver as Sidney Rice is a free agent. Their offensive line used to be one of the strongest in the NFL, but age has sapped its strength and it was a real liability last year. The defensive line used to be one of the strongest in the NFL, but age has sapped its strength and it was....still pretty good last year. Pat Williams is likely to retire, though, and Kevin Williams will be suspended to start the season because of the StarCaps case. Jared Allen had a down year and that may be the start of a longer decline, and Ray Edwards is a free agent. So who do you think they'll 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 - CB Prince Amukamara
8. Tennessee Titans - DT Nick Fairley
9. Dallas Cowboys - OT Tyron Smith
10. Washington Redskins - WR Julio Jones
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. The Vikings also need to find a replacement for Ray Edwards, but they still have Jared Allen as premium defensive end.
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 Vikings have some depth at cornerback, and a press-man corner doesn't really fit their Tampa 2 defense.
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 Vikings' needs and could step in as a replacement for Pat Williams.
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 Vikings defense, who need a replacement for Ray Edwards. 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.
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 Vikings could definitely use this kind of player, as their offensive line is old and declining quickly.
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 Vikings need to shore up their offensive line, and Pouncey could be just the player they need.