Which team might not go in the direction we all think it will?
What is your team's biggest pre-draft question?
The opening of the great college marketplace is a few days away, and every club is addressing its roster, whether that means dealing with malcontents (hello, Vikings) or quarterback issues (the Bucs, the Titans and about five other teams that may or may not include the Rams). Philip Rivers' fate looms over two fan bases -- and, really, a dozen more. A deal between Tennessee and San Diego would affect every team eyeing a quarterback, as well as the teams that already have theirs -- the Jags, Raiders and Falcons -- and stand to benefit the most from teams trying to trade up to get one.
If you want to know the 45-second version of each club's draft agenda, what follows is a straightforward, no B.S. take. As always, discussion and debate are welcome; @HarrisonNFL is your destination. Now, let's get to it!
Yes, we are fully cognizant of the Richie Incognito acquisition. We're not fired up enough to say Buffalo shouldn't center this draft on getting a solid interior offensive-line prospect, someone who'll give LeSean McCoy and Fred Jackson bigger running lanes. Remember, the Billshave no first-round pick this year. Of course, they could also spend a high-value pick on a big defensive end who fits what Rex Ryan wants to do. If Ryan runs some classic 3-4, he'll need a 300-pound DE. Drafting an impact safety could turn a disruptive defense into a dominant one. The problem with that strategy is, this certainly doesn't look like the most talented safety class.
I'm saying corner. Both areas are major needs, and at 14th overall, Miami should have some interesting options. Of course, this all depends on how far certain prospects drop. Iowa guard Brandon Scherff would be a wonderful addition -- for the sake of both Ryan Tannehill's livelihood and Lamar Miller's next contract -- but he might not get past the Giants at No. 9 or the Saints at No. 13. My feeling is that the Dolphins will land a top corner to pair with Brent Grimes, maybe Michigan State's Trae Waynes or Washington's Marcus Peters.
Obviously, with Darrelle Revis and Vince Wilfork gone, this isn't the same team as last year. That said, many draftniks have the Patriots targeting offense, i.e., picking up a wide receiver at the end of the first round. Perhaps that's what they'll do, but I like Bill Belichick and Co. to trade the 32nd pick to a team desperate to get back into the first round, like the Vikings last year (grabbing Teddy Bridgewater after dealing for the last pick of Round 1). Belichick has consulted with former Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson many times, and that is precisely what Johnson would do -- obtain more picks, more talent, more chances to fail. If not, how about Oklahoma nose tackle Jordan Phillips?
I say Shane Ray here. Making any play for Mariota would signal bailing on the Geno Smith project awfully fast. Whether Mariota even makes it past the first two picks is another deal. How much does new general manager Mike Maccagnan want a new quarterback? Would he be willing to trade up? Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey will let his bosses know whether he can develop an offense for Smith, Mariota or both. Running back might have been an option, but any small chance Gang Green would have drafted Todd Gurley was eliminated when the Jetssigned Stevan Ridley.
The Ravens' front seven lost some bodies during free agency. Is Baltimore cool with Timmy Jernigan (second-round pick in 2014), Brandon Williams (third-rounder in '13) and DeAngelo Tyson (seventh-rounder in '12) up front? The team did re-sign Chris Canty, but he'll turn 33 this season. With Le'Veon Bell and Jeremy Hill suiting up for Baltimore's rivals in the AFC North, this area is key. Another need: The Ravens must add a wide receiver early -- unless Gordon is sitting there at No. 26, in which case I think they take him.
More than any other club in the AFC, the Bengals are in the best position to take the best college player who lands in their lap. Even after winning a race against the Vikingsfor Michael Johnson's services, drafting another pass rusher could be just what the doctor ordered. Or maybe they should snag a cornerback. Or a defensive tackle. The point is, Cincinnati is as talented as any team in the conference. (We can have the Andy Dalton conversation another day.) Being able to take the top player -- irrespective of position -- is a luxury, not an issue.
Marcus Mariota will not drop to the 12th spot. Yet, with the 19th pick in their hip pocket (thank you, Sammy Watkins trade), Cleveland has the firepower to fly up the board. One possibility: making a deal with Atlanta, which obviously already has a franchise QB (Matt Ryan), at No. 8. If that's not high enough, the Browns could try to swap with Oakland at No. 4. If Cleveland doesn't go QB, I like the Browns to draft a wideout -- Louisville's DeVante Parker could be there at 12 -- and hit the front seven in some capacity.
Sure, Pittsburgh must get an outside rush linebacker. Then what? Next up: a safety. Then probably a corner (or two) after that. The retirements of Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor leave some personnel holes, even if those two weren't the same players they used to be. Nose tackle Steve McLendon is 29, and obtaining another solid player who can man the inside would be desirable. At some point, drafting another tight end makes sense. Heath Miller has been at it for a decade now.
With veteran receiver Andre Johnson gone, I would like to see Houston grab one of the first-round talents at the position. Problem is, the guy they want might not be there. Corners will. There would also be some logic to the team taking someone like Todd Gurley, as Arian Foster -- who is seemingly never fully healthy -- enters Year 7.
Jacksonville has been linked Fowler so many times it's beginning to seem like a foregone conclusion that the third overall pick will be spent on the pass rusher from Florida. Well, maybe not if a team like the Browns offers GM David Caldwell a sweetheart deal to leapfrog the Redskins and Jets, both of whom could be looking to replace their young, disappointing quarterbacks. Would love to see Jacksonville acquire as many talented players as possible, so the team can stop picking in the top five. If Fowler isn't the guy, I'm sure Gus Bradley wouldn't mind having Williams, the best defensive lineman in the draft.
GM Ruston Webster and head coach Ken Whisenhunt got a nice look at Mettenberger last season, as he played in seven games (starting six). Picking second overall, Tennessee will have the opportunity to draft either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota (whichever QB Tampa doesn't select). The Titans also have the ammunition to at least inquire about what it would take to acquire Philip Rivers. Of course, Tennessee will want to make sure he gets an extension; the worst-case scenario would be renting a player for a year. Perhaps most importantly, the Titans could trade out of the No. 2 spot for a bunch of picks.
While Brock Osweiler might be the heir apparent to Peyton Manning, he's failed to impress on the field plenty of times. To be fair, many of the guys he's played with in the preseason haven't had even a puncher's chance at making the team. And he gets virtually no regular-season action. After the first-round guys, this draft gets thin at quarterback. Still, right now it seems like a longshot Manning plays beyond 2015. Does this team need to readdress the position in this draft? As far as the first round goes, I see Denver taking an offensive tackle.
At No. 18, Kansas City should have an outside chance at Louisville receiver DeVante Parker. If not -- and with Kevin White and Amari Cooper likely long gone by the time the Chiefs pick -- I would expect the front office to zero in on safety Landon Collins. He's clearly the top safety in the draft, and no one knows if or when Eric Berry will make it back on the field (although everyone in the NFL is rooting for that to happen sooner than later). The club re-signed Ron Parker; still, adding a player like Collins could be worthwhile. Beyond that, center Cameron Erving is a very real possibility. Yep, we're talking safety and center. We're not sexy here at NFL.com.
No. Oakland is picking fourth overall, with wide receiver being a need regardless of the Michael Crabtree signing. Not to mention -- but we'll mention -- the Raiders don't need a quarterback for the first time in a long time. That gives the club incredible flexibility. The Raiders could take Kevin White or Amari Cooper, or potentially deal down to a team that is in need of a quarterback and still get a stud in a loaded WR class. This is an important draft for GM Reggie McKenzie, that's for certain.
The Chargers GM has said the club wants Philip Rivers to retire with the team. I think the Bolts eventually get a long-term deal done with Rivers. And, since it's been mentioned as a factor in Rivers' decision, I also think the team stays in San Diego. Now, there always exists the possibility Tennessee could swing a deal, especially considering the Titans have the second overall pick in the draft, as well as the always-coveted top pick in Day 2. They also have the cap space to take on Rivers' contract. Question is, will Tennessee want significantly more than the veteran quarterback for the second overall pick?