TNH selects the top 10 picks
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
Cleveland could also go with Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but why force the issue now? Tannehill won’t be an elite passer for at least several years – if at all – unlike Luck and Griffin. If the Browns stick it out for one more year with McCoy, they could be the top candidate for Matt Barkley in 2013.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Morris Claiborne - CB, LSU
The Bucs did a solid job adding offensive talent (and breaking the bank) this offseason with the addition of Vincent Jackson. Now it’s time to look at the defensive side. Corner Aqib Talib – a potential top choice for the Patriots a few years back – could be in jail come the start of training camp, and Ronde Barber is, well, old. Claiborne stood out on a defense that was seen as NFL-caliber at LSU, and would be reunited with Ron Cooper, his secondary coach at LSU who was just hired as defensive backs coach in Tampa. Claiborne has a 6-foot-0 frame with spectacular hands and speed at the edge. The Bucs had an off year in 2011, and this will be a step in the right direction to get back to that coveted Tampa Bay defense fans were used to seeing.
6. St. Louis Rams
Justin Blackmon - WR, Oklahoma State
I put Blackmon in a category with Luck, Griffin and Richardson as the top athletes at their skill positions. A lot of mock drafts have Blackmon falling from the top eight, but I think St. Louis would be wise to grab him here. The loss of Brandon Lloyd (to New England) leaves a void for a downfield receiver, and the 6-foot-1, 211-pound Blackmon has all the intangibles to be a top receiver in the NFC West. Poor Sam Bradford was put in an awkward position with not much offensive talent in St. Louis when he was drafted a few years ago, and I think his numbers would immediately increase with a speedy, versatile pass catcher. Blackmon’s 18 receiving touchdowns in 2011 with Oklahoma State helped him into this year’s top-10, along with his reputation of being a physical receiver. Although Riley Reiff makes a lot of sense on the O-line for the Rams, having a solid #1 receiver is better.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Melvin Ingram - DE/OLB, South Carolina
Like the Browns, I think the Jaguars are another team that needs a lot of help, albeit in fewer places. The Blaine Gabbert experiment is still ongoing, with a Chad Henne-like twist added. So right now the Jaguars need a ton of help at wide receiver, but are forced to go with Michael Floyd too soon if and when Blackmon leaves the big board. I think the Jags will try like crazy to move up a spot or two to get him, but as I said earlier, no trade predictions here.
Off the top of your head, name the last noteworthy front-seven defensive player the Jaguars had. No? Well by adding Ingram to the mix, the Jags can focus more on the mid-rounds, where plenty of receiving talent can be picked up. Management should be able to sleep easy on Thursday night knowing a quality defensive player will likely be wearing a Jacksonville uniform come camp.
8. Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill - QB, Texas A&M
Remember when I said Tannehill wouldn’t be an elite passer for at least a few years? The Dolphins don’t care. Right now I think they’ll count themselves lucky if Tannehill winds up in South Beach after the failure to pick up a (decent) signal caller in the offseason. No Peyton Manning. No Matt Flynn. No more Chad Henne. Just David Garrard – that guy who was cut for Blaine Gabbert.
I don’t mean to make a mockery out of Tannehill; truth is the biggest question regarding the 6-foot-4, 221-pound quarterback is his lack of experience. Tannehill played only 20 games behind center for the Aggies in his career. In his senior season, he completed 62 percent of his throws for 3,744 yards and 29 touchdowns – not too shabby. But his big-game potential fell after he threw three interceptions apiece in games against Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas, and the fact that he had foot surgery forcing him to miss the college Senior Bowl doesn’t help his chances either. The good news is that in Miami, he’ll be able to see a sufficient amount of playing time alongside Garrard.