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!
Probably not. That's not to say they'll land Adrian Peterson; I simply don't see the Vikings trading Peterson unless they're offered a ton plus some G.I. Joes with the swivel-arm battle grip. While Dallas' upcoming draft should (mostly) revolve around defense, when the Cowboys get on the clock at No. 27 overall, it is possible that top prospect Melvin Gordon will be sitting there -- and I doubt they'd pass on the Wisconsin product, even with Darren McFadden on the payroll.
New York picks ninth -- Brandon Scherff territory. But what if Marcus Mariota is still on the board around No. 6 or 7? Maybe Big Blue attempts to jump a couple of spots to make sure the Rams or Browns don't do the same. Such a move might seem far-fetched, but Eli Manning is heading into his 12th pro season, and many feel -- despite a solid statistical campaign in 2014 -- that his physical skills have already started to decline. Not every QB plays until he is 39. Oh, and this just so happens to be the last year of Eli's current contract.
It seems doubtful. Yet, many draftniks still have Chip Kelly going for help in the back seven in Round 1, while others continue to speculate that Kelly might still make a play for Marcus Mariota. It's hard to believe the Eagles would trade for Sam Bradford without at least trying to upgrade the wide receiver depth chart. At this point, Jordan Matthews is not a WR1 and Riley Cooper is not a WR2. Otherwise, safety Landon Collins could go to the Eagles at No. 20.
Methinks Washington gets an impact player up front, someone who can be Ryan Kerrigan's BFF. Meanwhile, it's all too easy to speculate that Washington will draft one of the top two quarterbacks if available. However, with other QB-hungry teams behind the Redskins, this could be an excellent opportunity to acquire as many names as possible from their top-100 draft board.
That is always a thorny question this time of year. While many fans want to see Jay Cutler gone -- or, at least, riding the pine for Jameis Winston -- the reality is that Chicago does not have the tools to fill its new defense. Switching from the 4-3 to the 3-4 can be quite tricky, resource-wise, at least in that first year. If Nebraska pass rusher Randy Gregory or Washington nose tackle Danny Shelton is there, Chicago can make a solid, need-based selection. Ditto for wide receiver, as Kevin White or Amari Cooper would fit nicely.
Considering the losses of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in free agency, the idea of drafting someone like Malcom Brown or Jordan Phillips makes a whole lot of sense. The defensive line will have to be up to snuff, especially with Adrian Peterson likely playing Detroit twice. Of course, the offensive line could use a first-round talent, too. My colleagues Daniel Jeremiah and Brian Baldinger think Detroit could take a tackle like D.J. Humphries or Ereck Flowers. As for me, while I'm not ready to rule out a defensive back at No. 23, as it seems like you can never have enough quality there, my best guess is the Lions go with a DT.
Green Bay Packers: Can they take the best player available, or do they have to get a top-end corner?
Talk to cheeseheads, and they all want another corner. If only Congress were in such harmony. Well, Green Bay needs help at defensive line, linebacker and in the secondary. The Packersreleased two inside linebackers, and Tramon Williams is now playing in Cleveland. If I had to guess what Green Bay will go with in Round 1, it'd be ILB. But I also could see the Packers trading down. The 30th overall pick is an easy slot to move out of.
Let's make this clear: Minnesota has no reason to deal Adrian Peterson. The Vikings can tell him he can either play or sit; it really is that cut and dried. And what are the chances he'll choose to stay off the field after missing almost all of last year? Yes, Minnesota could, in theory, make a draft-day swap involving the longtime face of the franchise. One wonders if Jerick McKinnon can be a 20-carry-per-game back. On the other hand, why not draft a wide receiver at No. 11? But that might be a tough sell, as you know Mike Zimmer loves him some defensive backs. So, cornerback Trae Waynes, anyone?
If I'm an Atlanta fan, I'm hoping Marcus Mariota's stock suddenly drops as fast as a Falcons pass rusher on third-and-long. That way, the team could trade down from No. 8 overall and pull more value out of this draft. This group could use help on the offensive line, as well as at running back, wide receiver and certainly tight end. Will Atlanta pass up on a talented offensive lineman (like Iowa's Brandon Scherff) or a stud receiver (like Alabama's Amari Cooper) to bolster new coach Dan Quinn's defense? That's another question. At the end of the day, I'm saying linebacker Vic Beasley.
Everyone's convinced GM Dave Gettleman will take an offensive lineman in the first round. But what if Melvin Gordon falls? Jonathan Stewart has not exactly been Cal Ripken the last few years. Nobody was big on the Michael Oher signing -- well, save for Gettleman -- and it seems as though tackle is the position to hit. But with several players available at that spot, like D.J. Humphries and Andrus Peat, perhaps the Panthers could trade down and still get the guy they want -- plus an extra draft pick, to boot.
The Saints seem to be in prime position to get an impact defensive player at No. 13 overall. By landing center Max Unger in the Jimmy Graham trade, re-signing Mark Ingram and adding a speedy change-of-pace back in C.J. Spiller, GM Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton give off the vibe that they're ready to change their offensive approach, or at least tweak it. However, if DeVante Parker is available at No. 13, it might be difficult for Payton to lay off. Do the Saints roll the dice on pass rusher Randy Gregory?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Stake the future of the franchise to a rookie QB with off-field question marks?
There are obviously serious questions about the character of Jameis Winston, who was recently sued by the woman who accused him of sexual assault in 2012. Winston's attorney, David Cornwell, did Winston no favors when he said the highly rated prospect is "not ready to be an NFL player off the field," even if he later said he thinks Winston is likely "more ready than most." I'm not saying Bucs GM Jason Licht won't go for the highly touted quarterback, but perhaps we shouldn't forget Licht's comments about passing on Greg Hardy: "At the end of the day, we didn't feel good about it."
With news that the Rams were working out Marcus Mariota came the whispers about their possible intentions. OK, maybe they aren't whispers. So will St. Louis trade up? Dealing for Nick Foles does not mean the Rams can't draft another quarterback. First of all, we don't know if Foles is the middling guy we saw last year or the player who posted a 27:2 TD-to-INT ratio in 2013. Second, the Rams pick 10th overall, putting them in position to make a move, should one of the quarterbacks fall. Third, Foles will be a free agent after this season. Mariota landing in St. Louis could end up being the surprise of the draft.
Every one of our NFL.com draft analysts has the 49ers taking either Arik Armstead or Danny Shelton. Makes sense; even with the addition of Darnell Dockett, the front line is in desperate need of an impact player, not merely a warm body that can play 500 snaps. On another note: Is tight end Vernon Davis nearing the end? Because if so, the club will be relying on Vance McDonald. And as much as the Niners run two tights, drafting someone else might be appropriate. I think Davis can still play, but given his down season in 2014, and the fact he is entering Year 10, well ...
Seattle has only drafted one starter the past two years. For many teams, that fact would be emblematic of a poor scouting department or a GM going rogue. I was asked about that poor (recent) history on NFL NOW, and my response was this: GM John Schneider has built a whale of a roster poised to compete for a few years. So how many of the potential first-round draftees could start for the Seahawks in Year 1? Not many. Obviously, the trade for tight end Jimmy Graham altered the organizational course. Will Seattle change even more by drafting a wide receiver early, or do the Seahawks believe in the kids they have now? Either way, getting youth on the defensive line is important.