With Super Bowl 51 (which was epic) out of the way, it’s time for the NFL offseason, which means months of mock drafts and people telling you who they think will end up playing for your favorite team. Well, I’m just going to preface this by saying, if these five teams take these players, they could very well end up winning the draft when all is said and done.
5. Dallas Cowboys
Last season, the Dallas Cowboys were one street-ball type play from possibly hosting the NFC Championship. They ended the regular season with an impressive 13-3 record. When I say impressive, I mean really impressive. They ran roughshod over the division (with the exception of the Giants), and they beat some pretty darn good teams.
The Cowboys have a pretty big need for an outside pass rusher, which is a position they have gambled on before, but I don’t think it would be a gamble to take another edge rusher here. They have the 28th overall pick, and I think they can probably get Taco Charlton, a very big, very speedy defensive end out of Michigan at the end of the first round. Couple that with some secondary help in the second round, and the Cowboys could end up with a very good first couple of rounds.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
2016 started out with so much promise for the Eagles before stumbling down the stretch. In the first round last year, the Eagles took Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State, and he started all 16 games for the Eagles last year. While they could use this pick to help Wentz out, the defensive needs more help in the secondary.
The Eagles will pick either 14th or 15th, depending on if they win a coin toss. Either way, Philadelphia can get a steal. I imagine Sidney Jones, a corner from Washington, will still be available at either pick. With great ball skills and recovery speed, Jones could very easily end up playing the nickel this season, before becoming a breakout player in the future.
3. Carolina Panthers
Two seasons ago, the Carolina Panthers went into Super Bowl 50 with a 17-1 record, the league MVP, and an impressive pass rush. Then they met the Broncos, and it seemed like they lost their mojo heading into this past season. A mere year later, the Panthers were watching the playoffs from home with a 6-10 record, and wondering where the season went wrong.
The only silver lining for the Panthers, is that they get a Top-10 pick this draft. For the past couple of seasons, the Panthers have needed to draft an offensive tackle, and they have neglected to do so. This year, they would have to reach to take one that early, but if they don’t reach, I can see them taking Leonard Fournette from LSU. The pre-season Heisman Trophy favorite the past couple of years, could find his way into the starting lineup, replacing Jonathon Stewart.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2016 was a resurgent season for the Bucs, as they finished 9-7. The offense was explosive at points last year, but the defense lacked any real firepower. The lack of pressure they put on quarterbacks makes it even more impressive that they ended with a winning record.
Fast forward to April, and I think the Bucs address the need for an edge rusher, and the draft Derek Barnett from Tennessee. He has size and speed, and also has the ability to move inside on passing downs. He is a pretty good pickup at the 19th overall pick.
1. Tennessee Titans
The Titans were the surprise of the AFC last year, finishing with a 9-7 record, and a shot at the playoffs going into Week 14. What makes it even better, is they traded away there first round pick last season for one this season, all while keeping there original pick.
Not only do the Titans pick 5th overall, but they also pick 18th. I think the Titans can continue to play the number-of-picks game, and trade away the 18th pick to a team that doesn’t have a first round pick this season. With the 5th overall pick, I think they take maybe the best athlete on the board, and draft Jabrill Peppers out of Michigan. A safety by trade, Peppers is also very reliable in the return game. The Titans could use a defensive playmaker to put them over the top.