Well, it's starting to be pretty clear where our weaknesses are. There have been plenty of conversations lately about who we might be losing in free agency. I see us retaining everyone on our defensive line except Robert Geathers, re-signing Reggie Nelson, Adam Jones, and Manny Lawson. On offense, I can't imagine Simpson coming back and Benson should also be done. So where does that leave us?
1st round -
Morris Claiborne, CB
People are going to argue with me here, but I think we need to package our two first round picks (and potentially one later round pick) and move up into the top 10 to get Claiborne. We need to walk away from this draft with a top CB. That narrows it down to Claiborne, Dre Kirkpatrick, or Janoris Jenkins. Claiborne and Kirkpatrick will likely both be gone in the top 15, ahead of our top pick. Jenkins is too much of a character risk (and let's be honest, we're still not 100% sold on Jones). So we would likely have to move up to get either Claiborne or Kirkpatrick. Might as well go for the best and shoot for a guy who could be a true shutdown corner. He has all the coverage skills of JJo with a lot more physicality. It would allow Leon to move back to his natural role as a #2 corner (which is a major improvement all on its own) and, with Mays hopefully getting a chance to replace Crocker, you have a VASTLY improved secondary. To me, including moving Leon, this could be like adding 3 first round picks to the secondary.
2nd round -
Cordy Glenn, OG
It might be wishful thinking to hope he's still around this far down, but if he is he would be a perfect successor to Bobbie Williams at RG. Assuming Clint Boling is able to step up and compete for the starting spot at LG next year, Glenn would be an amazing force in the run game next to Andre Smith and the upgrade at both interior spots would make for a dramatically improved offense all around. I like this route over keeping our other 1st round pick to use on DeCastro because DeCastro is a more natural pass blocking LG, and I'm hoping we already have that in Boling.
3rd round -
Kendall Wright, WR
Read projections for Wright and see what word appears the most often: "Burner." He doesn't have Chris Henry's height or jumping ability, but he's basically a sure-handed version of Jerome Simpson with more speed. He's only listed as a 4.43 forty, but he plays a LOT faster than that, routinely gets behind secondaries, and already shows great body control on the sidelines. Get Jordan Shipley back in the slot and that is a scary good YOUNG receiving corp. I think we also keep Andre Caldwell on a league minimum 2-year contract as depth and to help ease Wright into the starting lineup. Send AJ and Wright on deep crossing patterns and watch safeties spin out of their cleats.
3rd round (compensatory) -
Derek Wolfe, DT
Oh boy...If Wolfe is somehow still around at the end of the 3rd round then he could end up being the steal of the draft. I think you could draft this guy in the 2nd and it would still be a value pick. He's that good. If he played for a bigger school he'd easily be a first round pick. He's just unstoppable. He's like a nastier Justin Smith who routinely sheds double-teams. He leads the Big East in tackles for a loss and leads the BCS in sacks from a defensive tackle. I can't say enough about him. If we find a way to land him this late, I'll be ecstatic. Dunlap/Atkins/Wolfe/MJ could absolutely shred offensive lines for years.
4th round -
Isaiah Pead, RB
Two Bearcats in a row? There might be a hint of homerism here, but only in the sense that I'm comfortable waiting until the 4th round for Pead instead of going after a Monte Ball or a LaMichael James in the 3rd and I think Pead has slipped on draft boards after slowing down a bit towards the end of the season. Pead is not going to be a feature back most likely. But I do think he could be a great complement to Bernard Scott, splitting the runs almost 40/40 with the rest going to Brian Leonard. He has tremendous hands out of the backfield and can split out into the slot. Shows great patience on waiting for screens and delays to develop, and has a burst when he sees a hole. He's a great fit for Gruden's offense that will hopefully be relying on Scott to be more of the homerun threat next year while allowing Pead to become more of a prototypical WCO back. Worst case scenario, he's a 4th round pick and with our extra picks in 2013 you look for a true feature back in the top rounds (I'm still looking at you, Trent Richardson...)
I'll stop there since it's likely BPA from that point on. I still think we should address depth at LB, OT, probably another CB or a S, and you can never have too many pass rushers, so if there's a project DE in there somewhere I'll never complain about that. Anyway, feel free to discuss. Anything but dissecting that nightmare of a "game" last Sunday...