Team needs, targets: Picks 11-20

NFL scout Dave-Te’ Thomas breaks down the needs and likely draft targets in the first several rounds for teams picking in the 11-20 slots. Defensive backs and receivers dominate the range.

Picks 1-10 | Picks 21-32

Minnesota Vikings
With 29 picks during the last three drafts, “Trader” Rick Spielman might be at it again this year, as he has “just” seven selections, far too few for his mastery in acquiring multiple first-round choices.The 2012 maneuvers brought safety Harrison Smith and left tackle Matt Kalil into the fold in 2012, followed by defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in a 2013 draft “hat trick,” and then turned their fortunes around with linebacker Anthony Barr, who should have rightfully been the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year instead of the Rams’ Aaron Donald and a franchise quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. While Patterson was a huge success as a rookie, he was a huge flop last year, leaving Minnesota possibly looking to reunite Bridgewater with his favorite target from his college days, Louisville receiver DeVante Parker. The need at receiver is further enhanced after the team dumped veteran Greg Jennings, only to replace him with a “problem child” in Mike Wallace. The bigger issue for the team is to get a solution to the Adrian Peterson problem. His agent has done everything he could to burn bridges in the front office, but the ownership still insists that the enigmatic ball carrier will remain in Minnesota. Right now, he looks like he could command just a second-rounder on the trade market. If they decide to change gears here, Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon could enter the first-round picture as Peterson’s replacement. Another first-round option is cornerback Trae Waynes. Even with the team signing veteran Terence Newman to play opposite Xavier Rhodes, Waynes would give the Vikings the best press coverage cornerback tandem in the league. The offensive line is in desperate need for an upgrade at guard, but the team feels that David Yankey could emerge after a year of understudying at left guard. Keep an eye on the Vikes going the same route by taking a chance on West Virginia’s Mark Glowinski or Louisville’s John Miller in the third-/fourth-round area. A middle linebacker is also on the “want” list to compete vs. Audie Cole. They’ve been keeping tabs on BYU’S Alan Fau, Michigan’s Jake Ryan and Benjamin Heeney of Kansas as possible third-day targets.
RoundsRD1 RD2RD3 RD4RD5 RD6RD7
Selections #11#13 #12#11 #1None #11, 15
Primary Needs WRCB OGMLB SS   
Secondary Needs DERB OTTE     
Depth Needs DT         
Key Veteran Additions Signed: SS Taylor Mays, CB Terrance Newman, ILB Casey Matthews, TB DuJuan Harris.
Possible First Pick TRAE WAYNES-Michigan State-Cornerback (Wallace trade could take the team out of the equation for DeVante Parker)
Cleveland Browns
Having produced nine starters through 38 picks from the last four drafts does not exactly place this team among the more astute organizations and that trend should continue with their current crop of indecisive front office personnel. Perhaps they can text in their 10 selections this season, but one thing is certain – they drastically need a personnel and culture upgrade. First order of business is to admit to last year’s blunder and get rid of the cancer by dumping Johnny Manziel on some other uneducated general manager. With Josh Gordon gone for at least a year, probably longer, multiple selections for a receiver are likely to be used. If the other teams drafting ahead of them leave Louisville’s DeVante Parker still available, look for him to be the Browns’ first pick. If he is gone, they could hope that local product Devin Smith from Ohio State or USC’s Nelson Agholor is available with the 11th pick in round two. They did sign Dwayne Bowe away from the Chiefs, and Brian Hartline from Miami, but both are short-term answers to a long-term problem. They need to address the tight end position also, but with Rob Housler coming over from Arizona, they might not invest their second first-rounder in Maxx Williams and opt instead for either Jeff Heuerman or Miami’s Clive Walford in the third-/fourth-round picture. Finding help for the offensive line, particularly at right tackle, is a prime area of need. There is talk of the team taking LSU’s La'el Collins with the 19th overall pick, but he’s strictly a left-side lineman and with Joe Thomas at tackle and Joel Bitonio at guard, the Browns are pretty set on that side. Jake Fisher could get the call, as he played right tackle for three years, but could be more of a second-round target. If he slides, Danny Shelton could be the answer at nose guard with the 19th choice. They need help along the defensive front seven and that 19th choice could also see Shane Ray (foot) or Randy Gregory (failed drug test) still available.
RoundsRD1 RD2RD3 RD4RD5 RD6RD7
Selections #12, 19#11 #13#12, 16 #11#13, 26 #12
Primary Needs WRQB ROTNG DETE  
Secondary Needs ILBRE OLBFS     
Depth Needs OCCB        
Key Veteran Additions Signed: TE Rob Housler, WR Dwayne Bowe, CB Tramon Williams, DT Randy Starks, QB Josh McCown, WR Brian Hartline
Possible First Pick DeVANTE PARKER-Louisville-Wide Receiver (#12) and DANNY SHELTON-Washington-Nose Guard (#19)
New Orleans Saints
With 10 picks, including five in the first three rounds, it is strange that “rumor central” does not have lots of talk about the Saints possibly trying to move up on draft day. The problem with that idea is the fact that there are plenty of needs for a team that stumbled and fumbled not only on the field, but with their salary cap. The cap issue was the main reason for Jimmy Graham heading to Seattle for just the 31st pick in the draft and an injured center (Max Unger). That leaves a big void at the tight end position, but first the Saints have to get a blue-chip pass rusher before they are all gone in the first round. Vic Beasley is a coveted prospect and could still be available at No. 13, but with the Redskins showing keen interest in the Clemson product, the Saints might have to settle for Shane Ray. The Missouri product could slide out of the top 10 due to a lingering foot issue, but doctors are confident the injury will heal by training camp. The team entertained Randy Gregory, but a failed drug test and his comments on being bored during his meeting with team officials make it unlikely they will consider him to be a potential addition. The team could then target tight end Maxx Williams at No. 31 or wait until the third round to sift through Clive Walford, MyCole Pruitt and Jeff Heureman for their tight end vacancy. The 31st pick could also bring in a much-needed interior blocker. While Brandon Scherff and La'el Collins will probably be drafted by then, Duke’s Laken Tomlinson might be a bit of a reach in round one, but outside of South Carolina’s A.J. Cann as a potential for round two, Ali Marpet and Tre' Jackson could be third-round targets to fill the guard need. With Brandin Cooks a nice find last year, another big play receiver could also be in play at No. 31 (Nelson Agholor, Jaelen Strong, Breshad Perriman), but the best option there might be to roll the dice on Dorial Green-Beckham with that selection. Cornerback was a prime need also, but having signed Brandon Browner to replace Patrick Robinson, the team might put off making the position a priority if they feel they can salvage former Jets first-round bust Kyle Wilson’s career.
RoundsRD1 RD2RD3 RD4RD5 RD6RD7
Selections #13, 31#12 #11, 14None #12, 18#11 #13
Primary Needs REOG WRTE     
Secondary Needs OLBOT ILBCB QB   
Depth Needs OCSS DT      
Key Veteran Additions Trade: OC Max Unger, ILB Dannell Ellerbe…Signed: DE/LB Anthony Spencer, CB Brandon Browner, CB Kyle Wilson, TB C.J. Spiller
Possible First Pick SHANE RAY-Missouri-Defensive Rush End (#13) and NELSON AGHOLOR-Southern California-Wide Receiver (#31)
Miami Dolphins
With just six picks in the draft, the Dolphins are going to have to be specific in addressing their needs first before they can look to add depth. The interior of the offensive line and the secondary are prime areas for upgrades, but whether Ryan Tannehill re-signs with the Dolphins when his deal expires will be determined by the weapons they accordingly bring in. Getting rid of Mike Wallace clears out yet another locker room cancer, as even his own teammate (Mike Pouncey) ripped into the receiver for his performance last season. Kenny Stills for Dannell Ellerbe is a huge upgrade at receiver, but with Mike Hartline also departing, the team has been keeping close tabs to see if Central Florida’s Breshad Perriman or Louisville’s DeVante Parker are still available with the 14th pick. The team has yet to issue a vote of confidence for tailback Lamar Miller, but getting 1,099 yards last year might give the injured ball carrier a chance to develop. They will probably bring in early-round competition like Indiana’s Tevin Coleman or Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, but they can also use the 15th pick in round two on Hurricanes speedster Duke Johnson. Look for multiple picks to be used on interior blockers. With Mike Pouncey shifting back to center after an unspectacular year as a guard, they need two starters to emerge at guard in camp. With early picks needed elsewhere, they will hope that Tre' Jackson, John Miller or Arie-Manuel Kouandjio still is available by round four, as they do not have a third-round selection. If they opt for help earlier than expected, the 14th pick could be where LSU’s La'el Collins gets the call. With Louis Delmas returning from injuries and Reshard Jones nothing more than backup material, look for a mid-round pick on a safety (Clayton Geathers?) to be used. More depth is needed on the defensive line after they lost Randy Starks and Jared Odrick via free agency.
RoundsRD1 RD2RD3 RD4RD5 RD6RD7
Selections #14#15 None#15 #13, 14#15 None
Primary Needs WROG CBRB SS   
Secondary Needs DEOLB ILB      
Depth Needs QBOT DT      
Key Veteran Additions Trade; WR Kenny Stills…Signed: TE Jordan Cameron, WR Greg Jennings, CB Zack Bowman, QB Josh Freeman, OC J.D. Walton
Possible First Pick BRESHAD PERRIMAN-Central Florida-Wide Receiver
San Francisco 49ers
With 48 picks used during the last five combined drafts, the 49ers have just 10 starters to account for that haul, making the front office one of the worst decision-makers in the industry. Retirements and injuries have all but wiped out the inside linebacker unit and the team has yet to give their quarterback the big-play receiver he needs to stretch the field. While Torrey Smith hopes to fill that void, the two Ravens castoff receivers are all the weapons that Colin Kaepernick has at his disposal after the sudden disappearance of tight end Vernon Davis last season. In order to address the inside linebacker situation, the team will probably take one in the first three rounds and then hope to find a steal in the later rounds. Clemson’s Stephone Anthony should be a round-two target, and then in the later rounds Virginia’s Max Valles, Utah State’s Zach Virgil and Michigan State’s Taiwan Jones have all been on the 49ers’ radar. Adding a receiver will likely have to wait until the second round, but USC’s Nelson Agholor is not expected to last that long. Off-field issues could see Dorial Green-Beckham still available, but I suspect the Patriots will scoop him up if he is around with the final pick in round one. Ohio State’s Devin Smith, Tre McBride from William & Mary and Phil Dorsett of Miami are all verified speedsters that are more likely second-round additions. The first-round pick might be better suited as a risk/reward move by taking Washington’s Marcus Peters. A Charles Woodson type, his clashes with his coaches led to his departure before the 2014 season ended in Washington, but he is the best defensive back in this draft and a definite upgrade over Shareece Wright at the boundary position. The defensive line is also a prime need area and Peters' former teammate, Danny Shelton, is a strong candidate to fill nose guard needs for San Francisco if he slips down on draft day. If they decide to go for a 5-tech type, Oregon’s Arik Armstead is a better fit, but he is probably the rawest of all blue-chip prospects in this draft class. Losing Mike Iuputi and the struggles by rookie center Marcus Martin leave gaping holes in the middle of the offensive line, but none of the interior blockers that should be available are worth the 15th pick in the draft.
RoundsRD1 RD2RD3 RD4RD5 RD6RD7
Selections #15#14 #15#27, 33 #15#14 #29, 37
Primary Needs ILBWR CBNG OG   
Secondary Needs DEOC        
Depth Needs TEFS OLB      
Key Veteran Additions Signed: CB Shareece Wright, OG/T Erik Pears, TB Reggie Bush, WR Torrey Smith, WR Jerome Simpson
Possible First Pick MARCUS PETERS-Washington-Cornerback
Houston Texans
Ryan Mallett, Tom Savage and Brian Hoyer do not give Houston fans hope for a Super Bowl appearance one day, but the offense has a few more holes that they might have to address early rather than trying to bring in another passer. While the team parted ways Andre Johnson, who slipped quite a bit last year, getting another big-play receiver opposite DeAndre Hopkins is critical for whoever wins the QB battle. They signed Nate Washington away from Tennessee, but he cannot be viewed as the answer Houston is searching for. The coaches seem to have USC’s Nelson Agholor on their “speed dial” and he is the best route runner in this draft. Some feel he’s not a first rounder, but I tend to see him as a player that will be a perfect complement for Hopkins. They also have to find a center after cutting long-time veteran Chris Myers. If the Texans think that Cody White is Myers’ replacement, it does not matter who is quarterbacking the team, as that passer will need to contact Aflac Insurance. The only center in this draft being considered first-round material is Florida State’s Cameron Erving. A right tackle to challenge Derek Newton will also be a mid-round priority, with Oklahoma’s Daryl Williams the best of this draft class’ right tackles. He could be a nice pick-up in the third round. With Brooks Reed signing with Atlanta, a pass-rushing linebacker should be added, but injuries often put star inside linebacker Brian Cushing on the shelf annually. If Nate Orchard is available in the third round, he’s the best non-first-rounder to fit the outside pass rushing needs for Houston. Shane Ray might drop to No. 15 due to lingering foot issues, but the Saints seem to be zeroing in on the Missouri prospect. While there are holes in his game, Kentucky’s Alvin “Bud” Dupree has caught the attention of defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, who sees a lot of Jason Pierre-Paul (Giants) in the former Wildcat’s game. Look for the team to also consider TCU’s Paul Dawson an ILB option in the second-/third-round area. A free safety to challenge Rahim Moore and some depth at cornerback might have to wait until the draft’s third day, as Houston has six picks to use in the final three rounds.
RoundsRD1 RD2RD3 RD4RD5 RD6RD7
Selections #16#19 #18#17 #16, 39#19, 35, 40 #18
Primary Needs QBWR ILBCB OC   
Secondary Needs TBFS ROT      
Depth Needs TERE        
Key Veteran Additions Signed: WR Nate Washington, WR Cecil Shorts, NG Vince Wilfolk, FS Rahim Moore, QB Brian Hoyer
Possible First Pick NELSON AGHOLOR-Southern California-Wide Receiver
San Diego Chargers
Unless the team trades up for Marcus Mariota using Phillip Rivers as a trade chip, they are expected to bring in some offensive weapons early in the draft, along with shoring up the offensive line. With Ryan Matthews heading to Miami, the team announced they are “comfortable” with Branden Oliver as the starting tailback. That might look good today, but come September I am sure someone else will be toting the pigskin for the Bolts. Logic says that player will be Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, even if Todd Gurley is still available. Gordon brings a speed element to the backfield and has proven to be more durable than the Georgia tailback, even though scouts feel that Gurley has better long-range ability. Whoever is carrying the ball will do so with new interior blockers. The retirement by oft injured Nick Hardwick makes center a pressing need, even before he claimed he was packing it up. Right now, late rounder Chris Watt is manning the pivot, but Oregon’s Hroniss Grasu is a second-round possibility and the team spent a lot of time at South Carolina’s Pro Day putting A.J. Cann through the paces at center. He can also be a nice fit to fill a pressing need at left guard and will likely be around when San Diego picks in the second round. The defensive front needs a true nose guard and Malcolm Brown of Texas will certainly be a first-round target if Gurley and Gordon are already taken. Outside of Brown and Danny Shelton, there are too many holes in the games by Eddie Golman and Jordan Phillips to be considered first-round worthy to fill the nose guard hole, but there is a Corey Luiget clone at Rice in Christian Covington that could be had in the third/fourth round. Look for more attention to be made at outside linebacker. Dwight Freeney was cut loose and Melvin Ingram missed last season due to injuries. Shaq Thompson would look nice opposite Ingram at weak-side linebacker in the second round, but the team also thinks LSU’s Danielle Hunter could offer them a better fit for the “elephant” ’backer role that Freeney was originally supposed to handle.
RoundsRD1 RD2RD3 RD4RD5 RD6RD7
Selections #17#16 #18#18 #17#16 None
Primary Needs TBLOG OLBNG OC   
Secondary Needs DECB WRSS     
Depth Needs OT         
Key Veteran Additions Signed: OT Chris Hairston, CB Patrick Robinson; DE/T Mitch Unrein, WR Stevie Johnson, FS/CB Jimmy Wilson
Possible First Pick MELVIN GORDON-Wisconsin-Tailback
Kansas City Chiefs
If any team has a treasure trove of draft picks to trade up on draft day, it is Kansas City, but unless there is someone that suddenly captures their attention, they could find exactly what they need to fill their needs by standing pat. Center is a prime area for an upgrade after Rodney Hudson bolted. They could go the “safe” route and take Cameron Erving in round one, but they seem to favor a local kid, Kansas State’s B.J. Finney, and think they can get him with one of their pair of third-round choices. They have to upgrade the receiving unit. Even though the signing of Jeremy Maclin gives them the deep threat they covet, he’s spent alternate years visiting the injured reserve lists rather than end zones around the league. Getting more speed from the flanker spot than slow-footed Jason Avant, while DeVante Parker or Nelson Agholor would solve that problem, in all likelihood both could be off the board – more so with Parker than Agholor. Breshad Perriman might be another first-round option, but Chiefs coaches are very concerned about all those dropped balls and that he lacks route development. Jaelen Strong will also be considered, but only if Chiefs brass are confident in the medical reports on the Arizona State receiver’s broken wrist. With Derrick Johnson still hobbled by Achilles tendon problems and Joe Mays leaving via free agency, a big, physical inside linebacker like Stephone Anthony or Benardrick McKinney will get strong second-round attention, but if the team pulls a deal with Philadelphia for disgruntled Mychal Kendricks (asking for a late third-round pick), they could take his baby brother Eric (UCLA) and reunite the siblings in KC. Sean Smith has off-field issues and Phillip Gaines won’t scare any receivers at the cornerback position. The team seems to be making goo-goo eyes at Utah’s Eric Rowe, figuring he can not only excel at corner, but might also be an answer at one of the safety slots. Depth for the defensive line will happen, as the Chiefs have five picks in the last three rounds and finding a third-string quarterback to groom like mobile Cody Fajardo from Nevada could come on board before the draft concludes.
RoundsRD1 RD2RD3 RD4RD5 RD6RD7
Selections #18#17 #16, 34#19 #36, 37#17, 41 #16
Primary Needs OCWR ILBCB     
Secondary Needs SSDT DEOT     
Depth Needs QBCB OLB      
Key Veteran Additions Signed: OG Paul Fanaika, SS Tyvon Branch, WR Jeremy Maclin
Possible First Pick ERIC ROWE-Utah-Cornerback/Safety
NOTE-CLEVELAND BROWNS information for selection number 19 is listed above (see #12).
Philadelphia Eagles
Tim Tebow? Really? Venus de Milo next, Mr. Kelly? With the cap-pistol range Tebow has as a passer, along with an oft-injured quarterback in Sam Bradford, along with slow-footed Matt Barkley, is it any wonder rumors persist that Chip Kelly wants Marcus Mariota in the City of Brotherly love? The problem is, the Eagles have little to offer, outside of a busload of future picks to entice Tennessee into a deal, unless they want to strip their team of some of their better veterans (Pro Bowl linebacker Connor Barwin and center Jason Kelce would have to be included). For Eagles fans, lets hope that Bradford can finally stay healthy for a full season. If he does, he has two capable backs in DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews operating out of the backfield and a promising possession-type receiver in Jordan Matthews, but with Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson leaving the last two years, an infusion of big-play receivers is of dire importance. Kelly has keen interest in USC’s Nelson Agholor, along with Missouri castoff Dorial Green-Beckham as potential round-one candidates. An aging offensive line can use some young blood, as Pro Bowl tackle Jason Peters and guard Evan Mathis are both well north of age 30. Mathis is on the trading block and unlikely to be back with the team if Kelly can find a taker. Look for the Eagles to try and bring in one of Kelly’s boys, Jake Fisher from Oregon in the second round, to groom behind Peters. Later in the draft, Ohio State’s Darryl Baldwin is getting a lot of attention from Philadelphia coaches as a potential guard candidate. Louisville’s John Miller, Missouri’s Mitchell Morse and Arizona State’s Jamil Douglas are versatile blockers who could fit Kelly’s scheme in the mid rounds, but if LSU’s La’el Collins drops to pick No. 20, he could provide immediate answers on the front wall, whether at guard or tackle. Malcolm Jenkins filled the void at free safety, but Nate Allen was allowed to leave after several poor years at the strong safety slot. Alabama’s Landon Collins is hailed as the only first-round safety in this draft class, but Eagles coaches think he is too much like Nate Allen and does not fit their scheme. James Sample of Louisville could come on board as a mid-round find for the secondary. Even with three veterans signed at cornerback, Marcus Peters will certainly entice Kelly, who tried to recruit the Washington product while coaching at Oregon.
RoundsRD1 RD2RD3 RD4RD5 RD6RD7
Selections #20#20 #20#14 #9, 20#20 #20
Primary Needs WRFS OGCB QB   
Secondary Needs OTRE        
Depth Needs DEILB OLB      
Key Veteran Additions Trade: QB Sam Bradford, ILB Kiko Alonso…Signed: WR Miles Austin, TB DeMarco Murray, TB Ryan Matthews, CB Walter Thurmond, CB Byron Maxwell, ILB Brad Jones
Possible First Pick JAELEN STRONG-Arizona State-Wide Receiver

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