The 49ers and the Saints will probably improve their defenses in the first round, while there are teams whose first steps in the draft are really hard to forecast.
After analyzing the teams possessing the first eight picks last week, we continue with franchises with draft choices from number nine to sixteen. Many of the teams might have strategies with varying options, while a few of the clubs have a characteristic need that can indicate their first round pick quite accurately.
• Bradford moves again?
• Dolphins are a mystery
• Teams have to think twice
There are a few teams with basically unpredictable intentions, and possible trades also add some layers to the draft picture. Anyway, this is the most exciting moment of the NFL offseason, and with US gambling laws varying from state to state, for those who live in a place with legalized sports betting, this event can be the highlight before the 2015 regular season.
9. New York Giants
The Giants should take Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper, if he is on the table, as he would be the best available player then, but it is quite unlikely that no one will draft him earlier. So, John Mara’s staff can decide whether to give Eli Manning some shelter and pick up Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff or to develop their defensive line and choose Washington Huskies nose tackle Danny Shelton.
10. St. Louis Rams
The Rams offense needs some tinkering badly. Their offensive line is weak and if Nick Foles will escape sacking somehow, he won’t have the best targets to choose from either. Therefore if any receiver with magic hands will drop this far, thinking of Amari Cooper (Alabama) or Kevin White (West Virginia), the St. Louis franchise would go for him surely, and if not, they even might look for Louisville wideout DeVante Parker. If they decide to draft a lineman instead, any of Brandon Scherff (Iowa), Ereck Flowers (Miami), Latel Collins (LSU) or Andrus Peat (Stanford) will do for them.
11. Minnesota Vikings
Many experts and gamblers who bet on sports in the US think that Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes is a sure thing for 11th, especially after the Minnesota-based club invited him for a private visit. However, as there are many useful defensive backs in this year’s class, they might take one later, and in this case they could go for a wide receiver with their top pick. Rumor has it that they really like DeVante Parker…
12. Cleveland Browns
The Browns can choose Danny Shelton easily to patch their defensive line that was so vulnerable against the run last year, but the Ohio franchise could use a talented receiver as well, like DeVante Parker. Since they have problems regarding the quarterback position too, there are many speculations about a trade involving Marcus Mariota from Oregon and/or former NFL offensive rookie of the year, Sam Bradford who recently joined the Philadelphia Eagles.
13. New Orleans Saints
There were big changes in New Orleans in this offseason and after a shock trade that saw superstar tight end Jimmy Graham moving to Seattle in exchange for center Max Unger and the Seahawks’ first round pick, it looks like the Saints’ run game will be all right for this year. Sean Payton stated that their defense also needs major improvements to challenge for the Super Bowl, and it is almost certain that the Louisiana franchise will take a defensive player with its first pick. Nebraska linebacker/defensive end Randy Gregory, who had a positive drug test, is a favorite, according to online betting trends. Arik Armstead from Oregon, Vic Beasley from Clemson and Bud Dupree from Kentucky are in contention too, all playing in a similar position.
14. Miami Dolphins
If you ask a few experts about the Dolphins’ possible plans for this draft, you will get a wide range of suggestions. The Miami draft strategy is a mystery so far, they could find a lot of ways to improve their team, so picking up the best player available seems as possible for them as arranging a trade. Georgia running back Todd Gurley could be an excellent choice, but their biggest need might be at the cornerback position, so Trae Waynes if he is still unattached.
15. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers will look for either a defensive lineman or a cornerback in the first round, according to online sportsbooks in the US. If no one else drops this far, Arik Armstead from Oregon, who fits naturally to a 3-4 system, seems the most obvious choice, especially after LSU cornerback Jalen Collins had a positive drug test.
16. Houston Texans
The biggest problem in Houston is the lack of a franchise quarterback, so it seems obvious that they will continue to rely on a run-heavy offense and a rigorous defense. They might bring in some targets for Ryan Mallett or whoever the starting quarterback will eventually be, but improving the depth chart regarding running backs, particularly if Todd Gurley is still on the table, might be an even better option. Missouri linebacker Shane Ray would make sense too, who could bolster the Texans pass-rush.
In the next part we will meet three of the four AFC North franchises as the Cleveland Browns acquired another first round choice when the Buffalo Bills traded for their pick last year. The analysis of the Philadelphia Eagles also comes in the following sequence, a team having five quarterbacks and a bunch of excellent running backs on their roster at the moment.