There are a few strategies to drafting. Obviously need is factored into the final grade teams give, along with talent, medicals, and character concerns. However, the one thing that may alter a prospect’s grade from team to team, more than anything, is scheme and fit. The proverbial darts are still being thrown at this time, but hopefully more information on teams' interests in certain prospects will trickle out as the process moves along. Also, consider that many teams select prospects in the hopes of them taking over for a declining, name-brand player, usually ones that are on the down slope of their career. It might not be a popular tactic, but it makes sense when keeping future success and salary cap in mind.
1. Kansas City Chiefs -- LT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
The Alex Smith trade, Chase Daniel signing, Mike DeVito addition, and retaining Tyson Jackson likely means this pick is a left tackle or corner. I slightly prefer Fisher over Joeckel due to comfort, having more exposure to the consistent left tackle throughout the process thanks to the Senior Bowl.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars -- QB Geno Smith, WVU
Jaguar decision makers are either putting forth an excellent acting job or they are seriously considering adding a quarterback in this draft, specifically Geno Smith. As they should, but obviously there is plenty of time for this recent buzz to die down.
3. Oakland Raiders -- DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
With the loss of Richard Seymour, Desmond Bryant, and likely release of Tommy Kelly, GM Reggie McKenzie needs someone to start, and many consider Floyd a top five player. If Geno remains on the board, I think he will definitely draw consideration.
4. Philadelphia Eagles -- LT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
The Eagles can go a variety of different routes after filling immediate needs in free agency, with mostly young players. The most inconsistent group last season was the team’s offensive line, albeit due to injuries, but Joeckel is an athletic blocker and is a future, or current, starter depending on Jason Peters’ health.
5. Detroit Lions -- DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
Willie Young is a situational player, and Ronnell Lewis might have a similar role. Ansah is inexperienced but he is already a dependable run defender and can generate immediate pressure from a wide technique. He only needs to learn how to create separation and space to work with.
6. Cleveland Browns -- CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
The Browns certainly filled a variety of needs in their front seven via free agency, therefore a corner or additional pass rusher is possible. Another very possible option is to trade down, but it is too early to mock trades.
7. Arizona Cardinals -- T Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
I think Bruce Arians will be content with Drew Stanton and will target the Cardinals’ biggest need for many years, left tackle. I actually could see this as a best player available selection as well, since Johnson has a chance of improving into the best tackle from this class.
8. Buffalo Bills -- OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
Sure, the Bills signed Manny Lawson to play strong side linebacker. He is adequate, at best, and that role is perfect for Jordan. The Oregon product could be what Lawson and Mathias Kiwanuka were supposed to be due to comfort and fluidity in coverage while possessing pass rushing upside.
9. NY Jets -- OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU
Mingo is an excellent athlete but has failed to turn tools into a finished product. I question how much he was asked to contain this season rather than freely rush, but there’s no doubting his ceiling. I’m sure Jets fans are sick of that word, however.
10. Tennessee Titans -- G Chance Warmack, Alabama
I have been mocking Kenny Vaccaro here, but now I doubt that happens. The Titans paid a large price tag for Andy Levitre, but why stop there? Warmack could be the pick but Jonathan Cooper is another option, due to the buzz building that he might be moved to center.
11. San Diego Chargers -- NT Star Lotulelei, Utah
An offensive tackle, or even guard, could definitely be the pick here. But Lotulelei would solidify the nose tackle spot for the Chargers, giving them a young front three. Star isn’t just a space eater, since he makes an impact getting upfield and played in over 91 percent of Utah’s defensive snaps in 2012.
12. Miami Dolphins -- WR Tavon Austin, WVU
Signing Brandon Gibson would not stop me from drafting Tavon Austin, and neither would Davone Bess’ contract situation. Austin is the premier playmaker in this class and should be a top 15 pick. Some will point to his size, but the slot receiver and electric ball carrier never missed a practice during his WVU career.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- DE Cornellius Carradine, FSU
I understand that Carradine is coming off of a knee injury, but he is expected to work out in full on April 20, five days before the NFL Draft. If healthy, Carradine is the top pass rusher left on the board, which the Bucs desperately need.
14. Carolina Panthers -- CB Xavier Rhodes, FSU
The Panthers asked their corners to play a lot of off man and zone coverage last year, giving up a large amount of cushion. That is not Rhodes’ game, but I will chalk up last year’s scheme to poor talent at the position.
15. New Orleans Saints -- OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Jones has the ability to win on the edge as a pass rusher is undeniable and a solid motor only helps him attack from the back side. The Saints could go with a bigger pass rusher, but Jones has experience at the position.
16. St. Louis Rams -- G Jonathan Cooper, UNC
Cooper is a very talented blocker who shines at the second level and in space. Stick him in at guard, or possibly center, and he instantly makes the interior of your offensive line more athletic and talented.