The NFL Draft is less than a month away, and there is still a huge lack of clarity about what is going to happen at the top of the draft. Because there are no franchise quarterbacks in this draft, the teams in the top five have to look to other areas in order to maximize their value. Kansas City earned the ignominious right to the first overall draft pick after posting a 2-14 record in 2012. Quarterback was the Chiefs’ biggest need going into the offseason, but the trade for Alex Smith takes a little bit of the pressure off the front office to take a signal caller early. Left tackles are generally considered safe options in the first round, and either Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel or Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher would be solid options with the No. 1 overall pick. Blaine Gabbert has been a massive failure in his two seasons in Jacksonville, and the Jaguars could look to add a quarterback with the second pick. However, new head coach Gus Bradley may be willing to give Gabbert one more chance to prove himself with the new staff, and Jacksonville has numerous needs up and down the roster. The Jaguars’ pass rush has long been one of the worst in the NFL, and explosive Oregon DE Dion Jordan has risen dramatically up draft boards.
The Raiders continue to languish away near the bottom of the league standings, and salary cap issues forced them to cut a number of veterans. With the departures of Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour, defensive tackle is a huge need for Oakland, making either Florida’s Sharrif Floyd or Utah’s Star Lotulelei attractive options at No. 3. New Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has quite a few holes to fill on his roster, particularly at cornerback, where both Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have moved on. Dee Milliner out of Alabama has cemented himself as the top CB in the class and would immediately step into the starting lineup for Philly. Detroit took a major step back in 2012 and desperately needs a replacement for departed DE Cliff Avril. Though BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah is incredibly raw, he has the type of physical gifts that you just cannot teach, and could be the next Jason Pierre-Paul. With most pro days now in the books, there is little time for players to prove themselves and change their draft position. Now it is in the hands of each team to decide what direction the franchise will go.
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