State of The Teams Early Round One - First FIVE
To really get a sense of where teams may go in the draft this early, first one must examine what the other teams besides the Rams are expected to do with their roster, and if free agency, rather than the draft for key spots may be the way they go.
So here is my synopsis of the teams drafting top 15 and where they stand right now.
The Texans are expected to cut Matt Schaub loose, mainly because they would have to pay him so much the next three years, and also because they have their pick of all the rookie QBs in a strong draft there, icluding one, Johnnie Manziel, from their home state.
Unfortunately for the Texans, they have ton of cap money tied up in nine players, and cutting Schaub this year only saves $4.5 million in cap space.
Even after cutting Schaub , the Texans sit only $115 million in cap, leaving just $11 million to sign free agents, including their own, which includes RB Ben Tate, OL Wade Smith, and DL Antonio Smith.
Even more pressing however, is that JJ Watt, arguably their best player, will be an unrestricted free agent in 2015, as will TE Owen Daniels and DB Daneal Manning.
It may be time to start looking at that huge deal Andre Johnson is playing under, with cap hits of $12 ,illion $16 million and $15 million the next three years. However, they just restructured his deal in 2013, so there isn't much they can do but keep him this year, and take a look in 2015, when they save considerable cap ($8.8 million) by cutting him loose.
When Houston hired an offensive coach, Bill O'Brien, to lead them into the future, it certainly would lead one to believe that's where the new coach will concentrate in his first draft.
With no way to add a free agent passer, and with none really available anyway now that Cutler is signed, and with that cap strapped situation as it is almost forcing Schaub to get cut, it seems likely that the Texans will stay put and take a QB on draft day.
They will no doubt look to bolster their pass defense as well, to combat what Indy, their top rival for the division, brings to the table . They could also use another receiver, though they did take one in round one last year.
Gus Bradfley is a defensive coach, and the Jaguars, horrible early, did show some improvement over the last half of the season.
The good news is that high draft slot, and the second most dollars available to spend.
Basically, the Jags can sign anyone who wants to go there, and overpay them for doing so, if that is their plan.
Offensively, the Jags are starting over, with their Bell Cow for years, Maurice Jones Drew, not in their plans now. The Jags have no free agents of their own that need signed.
I could see owner Shad Khan looking at that weak division, and maybe using some big bucks to try to win now.
Most everyone thinks the Jaguars have given up on Blaine Gabbert, and will surely take a QB first, while some think the best move would be to try to deal down and add more picks.
However, how hard will it be to sell the fans some hope with no new QB?
In the end, I think the Jags are quite satisfied staying put for the second best QB.
The Browns are the first big wild card, not counting the Rams of course, a team without a coach at this point, in turmoil, with a loopy owner and GM.
Clearly, in trading Richardson, they plan on retooling, and it would surprise no one if they deal down from #4 to acquire more picks rather than take the passer they so desperately need, with either Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater probably available.
The Browns also have some money to spend in free agency if they choose, but my guess is they won't use it. They have one of their own, OL Alex Mack to re-sign.
I can't see the Browns dealing up from 4th, as they seldom deal up in the recent past.
They could surprise with another defensive player , but the smart money is on a QB here.
I could se them dealing down from Indy's Rd 1 pick they own to add more picks.
Another big wild card for a team looking up at a very tough division. I don't look for any quick fixes, but the Raiders have by far the most cap room of any team.
Do they want to keep Darrin McFadden, a UFA?
They have a dozen other mid level guys who are UFA as well.
So what will Oakland do on draft day? Chances are the top 3 QBs may be gone by pick 5, which leaves them with WR, OT, and DE as the best available players probably.
DO they go big play threat with Sammie Watkins that early? If Al Davis were alive, probably.
Seems to me it will be either Watkins or Anthony Barr, or an OT as a long shot, at that spot, but I would guess Oakland would also be a trade down candidate if someone is interested.