State of the TEams Drafting Early: Part TWO
ATLANTA FALCONS Pick 6th
Unlike some other top 10 teams, the Falcons are a team full of talent, and have no need for a QB, WR or other "skill player" early.
With a continuing coaching and GM group in place, the Falcons won't be tearing stuff up and starting over.
The Falcons lack cap room for big free agent additions, but may look for a TE to replace Tony Gonzales.
They have a ton of cap invested in a handful of top players, especially Matt Ryan and OT Sam Baker, and may have to make some decisions on doing things there to save some cap, though Ryan and Baker's deals don't have much there to halp.
I see the Falcons looking to try as hard as possible to get a DE, their top need, over OT.
Will they deal to get the Rams pick as they did last year?
Seems like the most likley scenario for a Rams deal down, if Clowney is there at #2.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS Pick 7
Like the Falcons, the Buccaneers were supposed to compete, but unlike the Falcons, the failure could be laid right ion their QB. However, Mike Glennon, a third rounder, played well enough to probably warrant a look with Lovie Smith.
With some real talent in place , especially at WR, OL, and RB, Smith will likely look for defensive players who fit his defense, especially LBs CJ Mosley, and DE Khalil Mack, Anthony Barr, or any DE who rises up draft boards this off-season.
A speedy WR like Sammie Watkins may also be something the Bucs might like.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS Pic 8
The Vikings have some great players all over, and will probably open things up now with Norv Turner as OC. WHat killed the Vikings is t he lack of an NFL quality passer, and they wil, do everything they can to get one this off-season. Will that be from a trade up, possibly with the Rams? Could be, but there isn't a QB out there in free agency or via trade.
Unless the Vikings are convinced that McCarron or Carr is close to the big three QBs in this draft, they will be looking hard to deal up. If they like that second tier, they may deal down instead.
Salary cap wise, the Vikings appear to be well under, but that's BEFORE they have t o sign or tag DE Jared Allen and DT Kevin Smith. So don't look for more big money deals from Minny, not with their new stadium deal on hold.
BUFFALO BILLS Pick 9
The Bills have their QB, their RB, and at least solid receivers, if they re-sign TE Scott Chandler. They have $19 million in cap tied up in Mario Williams for three more years, with very little lee-way there till 2015. They have $7 million in "dead" money this year from former QB Ryan Fitzpatricks deal.
Their top free agent safety Jairus Byrd, wants the moon and seems unlikely to r turn.
Cap wise, the Bills are not in very good ahpe, not enough to go out and make another big signing splash, so they will be using the draft to add talent mostly.
The biggest needs seem to be linebacker, defensive end, and safety if Byrd goes.
Do they go with local kid Khalil Mack as many predict, or a traditional LB like Mosely, or do they go with an offensive tackle at pick 9? A trade down is always possible as well, though Buffalo has not done a lot of that recently.
DETROIT LIONS PICK 10
The Lions are possibly the biggest disappointment of all in 2013, after adding Reggie Bush to give them some big play potential. For a lot of reasons it didn't work, even in a division they could have easily taken.
Now they start over with a new HC, with still lots of talent in place, especially on offense.
Unfortunatlely, some of that talent may be let go, as the lions are $7 million of so OVER the cap right now. And that doesn't count the half dozen of their own free agents they need to re-sign.
The Lions have $50 million cap hit this year from Suh, Stafford and Johnson, and another $7.5 million for lifetime overpaid WR Nate Burleson, who has probably made more money per catch than any WR in NFL history. No doubt Burlson will be cut loose.
Suh will be a free agent in 2015, so a new deal seems a must tobreduce his huge cap number.
At pick 10, the Lions seem likely to replace Burlson with a top receiver. If Watkins is gone, they may decide they like the faster Marquise Lee over ike Evans. The Lions may lso look to deal down to add picks to help their cap situation after veterans are cut loose.
The Lions also need help at OLB, DB, and OT, but the need for another WR and the talent available may make that position their first pick.