Biggest Draft Buzz for Every Team from the 2015 NFL Combine

Ian Wharton@NFLFilmStudyContributor IFebruary 25, 2015

Biggest Draft Buzz for Every Team from the 2015 NFL Combine

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    The NFL offseason is often referred to as “silly season” because there is a lot of chatter coming from voices that may or may not know what they’re talking about. Misinformation is spewed at times to see what reaction will come out of it, and it can be hard to navigate what is real and what isn’t when sifting through NFL draft buzz.

    One of the biggest offseason events that generates a lot of hot takes is the NFL combine. Coming off of the combine, it’s time to look at some of the most recent whispers across the league from credible writers. These tidbits can help give an idea of which direction teams are looking to go when the draft rolls around in late April.

    Let’s dig in and see what your favorite team is rumored to do. And don’t forget to leave your thoughts on what they should do in the upcoming draft.

Arizona Cardinals

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    Eric Kendricks (UCLA)
    Eric Kendricks (UCLA)Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    As the Arizona Cardinals are scrambling to open more cap space to work with this offseason, roster cuts and contract adjustments abound. The team already released kick returner Ted Ginn Jr. and restructured receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s contract to open up around $15 million.

    #AZCardinals cut WR Ted Ginn. Not a surprise. Clears up $2.5M of cap space.

    — Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) February 23, 2015

    The big news for the Cardinals at the NFL combine is that linebacker Daryl Washington’s future is out of the Cardinals’ hands. There is no definite timetable for his return to the team, and that leaves Arizona looking at other options at linebacker this offseason.

    Keim wants to get more aggressive on the interior of offensive line and at linebacker. @AZCardinals #birdgang

    — Edward Cole (@edcole43) February 18, 2015

    With this in mind, expect the Cardinals to be looking to upgrade their linebacker corps via the NFL draft. Former second-round pick Kevin Minter has been disappointing thus far, and the uncertainty with Washington could lead to the team looking at UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks or Clemson’s Stephone Anthony in the first round.

Atlanta Falcons

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    Landon Collins (Alabama)
    Landon Collins (Alabama)Associated Press

    Armed with $25 million to spend in cap space and a new head coach who needs to revamp the defense, expect the Atlanta Falcons to be aggressive this offseason. The offensive talent already on the roster is a strong start for Dan Quinn’s rebuilding project, and now it is time to give quarterback Matt Ryan a defense he can win with.

    The buzz from the combine has created speculation that the Falcons will be very active in free agency. Veterans like defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, linebacker David Harris, tight end Julius Thomas and running back Justin Forsett have all been linked to the Falcons’ offseason plan to upgrade their roster.

    If the Falcons are as aggressive as it seems they might be in free agency, they won’t have many major holes to fill. The most notable meeting the Falcons had at the combine was with Alabama safety Landon Collins. With Dwight Lowery hitting free agency, Collins is an interesting fit in a secondary with talented cornerbacks like Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford.

Baltimore Ravens

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    Marcus Peters (Washington)
    Marcus Peters (Washington)Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has a tough task this offseason. He has just $5 million to work with in cap space as of now, but he has to retain or replace Torrey Smith, Pernell McPhee, Haloti Ngata and Justin Forsett.

    Source says #Ravens have made "very good offer'' to prospective UFA NT Haloti Ngata, who is 31 and was suspended 4 games last season.

    — Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) February 24, 2015

    Newsome is one of the best, if not the best, general manager in the NFL. He’ll be proactive in the draft to help fill immediate needs with quality talent, but he has a bevy of positions to look at.

    Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com named cornerbacks Marcus Peters (Washington), Jalen Collins (LSU) and P.J. Williams (Florida State) as options at the 26th overall pick for the Ravens. Ravens’ Insider Clifton Brown of CSN Baltimore has speculated that Georgia running back Todd Gurley is on the Ravens’ radar as well.

Buffalo Bills

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    Ameer Abdullah (Nebraska)
    Ameer Abdullah (Nebraska)David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Although the Buffalo Bills are without a first-round pick in the 2015 draft, they have a good nucleus of talent and a strong head coach presence in Rex Ryan. According to John Murphy of BuffaloBills.com, Ryan’s message to the Bills’ scouts has been simple: find the best players, and we will make it work.

    Great coaches can make talent work because they’ll build their scheme around that talent. The Bills already have some great talent, and they have the chance to use their $31 million in cap space to retain key pieces like Jerry Hughes, Da’Norris Searcy and 2016 free agent Marcell Dareus. Each should be considered a priority because of their ability to impact the game.

    Running back C.J. Spiller seems unlikely to return in 2015, and according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com, general manager Doug Whaley has already expressed that the Bills will need to rely on their running game.

    Regarding the 2015 class of running backs, Whaley told Sal Maiorana of the Democrat and Chronicle, "It's deep, it's one of those classes that we're excited about. There's some value in rounds 2-5 that you're gonna get some guys who will make an impact in this league."

    Some of the best options in the middle rounds include Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, Minnesota’s David Cobb, Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon and Boise State’s Jay Ajayi, among others. The Bills seem determined to add a solid back who can lead their offense despite a less-than-stellar quarterback situation. Expect them to address the position in the middle rounds of the draft, based off of this buzz.

Carolina Panthers

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    T.J. Clemmings (Pittsburgh)
    T.J. Clemmings (Pittsburgh)David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    For the first time in a few years, the Carolina Panthers have enough cap space to add significant talent to their roster. Starting with nearly $16 million will allow general manager Dave Gettleman to be more aggressive and find some offensive talent to put around Cam Newton.

    The Panthers must figure out how to replace defensive end Greg Hardy and offensive tackle Byron Bell. Hardy isn’t expected back after his assault charges last year, and Bell has been informed he won’t be returning, either. The release of DeAngelo Williams opens up another spot that will require additional resources.

    GM Dave Gettleman likes depth of receiving, offensive tackle talent available in draft [http://t.co/4OrQJQ8khg] pic.twitter.com/7j5rH9UM6M

    — Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) February 20, 2015

    Chris Wesseling of NFL.com forecast that the Panthers will try to address their roster by selecting the best player available at wide receiver or offensive tackle with their first-round pick. That would be wise, as both positions are deep with talent that can help the Panthers become more explosive and consistent on offense.

Chicago Bears

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    Dante Fowler (Florida)
    Dante Fowler (Florida)David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Faced with an offseason likely filled with change, the Chicago Bears have almost $30 million to overhaul a roster that has grown old and mediocre. Former stalwarts Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman will be hitting unrestricted free agency, and wide receiver Brandon Marshall could be on the outs as well.

    Should the #Bears draft Washington DT Danny Shelton at No. 7 if he's there? He meets with them tonight: http://t.co/CyCXq9ZUeX

    — Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) February 21, 2015

    New head coach John Fox is a defensive-minded leader, so it’s unsurprising that the team has been linked to high-caliber defensive prospects early in the draft process. The Bears met with Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton at the combine. Shelton would be able to step in and start along a defensive line that desperately needs fresh legs.

    Another potential front-seven star has received Chicago’s attention. Florida’s Dante Fowler is a fierce pass-rusher who fits in either a 3-4 or 4-3 alignment, and he has been linked to the Bears.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Alvin Dupree (Kentucky)
    Alvin Dupree (Kentucky)Wade Payne/Associated Press

    The Cincinnati Bengals have done a great job of building a deep roster that can withstand losing quality starters on a yearly basis. Even with $37 million in cap space, the team is expected to allow guard Clint Boling and linebacker Rey Maualuga to hit free agency.

    Replacing Maualuga will likely be a top priority for the Bengals, as their linebacker corps isn’t as strong as it used to be. Backup Nico Johnson isn’t starter-quality, so the draft is the likely destination for the Bengals to add more talent.

    RT @CBotts513: @pauldehnerjr What are Bengals top 3 position needs to fill this offseason - via draft, FA, etc? // DL, LB, TE. WR depth 4th

    — Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) February 19, 2015

    According to Coley Harvey of ESPN.com, the Bengals are also going to be searching for another receiver. This time, they need one with return ability as Brandon Tate hits free agency. Potential fits could include Maryland’s Stefon Diggs or Baylor’s Antwan Goodley.

Cleveland Browns

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    Malcom Brown (Texas)
    Malcom Brown (Texas)Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Despite entering the offseason with over $50 million to play with and free agents like Jabaal Sheard, Jordan Cameron and Buster Skrine, the Browns won’t be active in free agency, per owner Jimmy Haslam. The Browns ended up with a solid 7-9 record in coach Mike Pettine’s first season, but without adding major talent in free agency, there will be a big push on getting contributors from the draft.

    Cleveland has some good foundational pieces to work with, and if Johnny Manziel and cornerback Justin Gilbert can get their acts together, this isn’t a job that features a major overhaul. It is key for the Browns to add some legitimate beef in their defensive front seven and playmakers on offense. Josh Gordon’s newest suspension brings the Browns receiver corps to the bottom of the NFL once again, and that’s not acceptable with so many good young receivers in the draft.

    Is Malcom (Brown) in the middle of Cleveland Browns' draft plans on defense? http://t.co/dUClgNKTCH via @clevelanddotcom //i like this pick

    — Ross Major (@sargent3) February 24, 2015

    Tom Reed of Cleveland.com detailed why the time is now for the Browns to invest and get a playmaker early. Adding a solid receiver, and a defensive tackle like Malcom Brown of Texas, would be a quick way to improve the team.

Dallas Cowboys

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    Stephone Anthony (Clemson)
    Stephone Anthony (Clemson)David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    It figures that once the Dallas Cowboys have some room to breathe under the salary cap, they have to make room for receiver Dez Bryant, and they still could lose in-house free agents like Rolando McClain, DeMarco Murray and Justin Durant. The $16 million Dallas currently has will only stretch so far, and the Cowboys will have to again nail the draft to stay competitive.

    With potential holes at right tackle, middle linebacker, strong-side linebacker, safety and running back, the Cowboys must keep their options open. One way to check off their need for a running back is to go with a running back by committee. ESPN.com’s Todd Archer reported that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sounds ready to make that move.

    I think that generally we are in two-back systems across the league if you look at the practical way it shakes out," Jerry Jones said. "Most of these teams split a running game that approaches the number of rushes we have. They split it. But there are more backs. There are more backs. That adds to what happens. That adds to the answer: how do you address your running game? OK. You don't necessarily expect to have a back carry that kind of load and still have a very successful running game.

    The Cowboys will need to go for the top overall player available, and they've done well with this strategy the past few drafts. At the end of the first round, Clemson's Stephone Anthony would look great in Dallas.

Denver Broncos

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    Maxx Williams (Minnesota)
    Maxx Williams (Minnesota)David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    What an offseason of change for the Denver Broncos. Amid speculation that Peyton Manning was thinking of retiring, the team fired head coach John Fox, and it could be dealing with an exodus of free agents. According to Brandon Spano of BSN Denver, the Broncos expect to lose key free agents Terrance Knighton and Orlando Franklin.

    OFFICIAL REPORT: Terrance Knighton confirms he’s out; Orlando Franklin gone unless Broncos work “miracle” - http://t.co/acqwR2eVzf

    — Brandon Spano Show (@BrandonSpano) February 24, 2015

    To help stop the hemorrhaging, the Broncos will be looking to reload with some playmakers. Tight end Julius Thomas is also a free agent who is expected to leave, and Denver interviewed his potential replacement, Maxx Williams. The former Gophers tight end has great potential, and he would fit nicely into the Broncos offense.

Detroit Lions

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    The Senior Bowl is a great place to overhear what NFL executives are talking about, and one of the best tidbits I heard was that the Detroit Lions are looking hard at offensive tackles in the first round. This makes perfect sense, as the Lions have just $17 million to re-sign both all-world defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and cornerback Rashean Mathis.

    If Detroit can retain both players, it’ll be strapped for cash and still need offensive line upgrades. Luckily for the Lions, the 2015 class is filled with quality offensive tackles. Potential fits include Pittsburgh’s T.J. Clemmings, Florida’s D.J. Humphries and Miami’s Ereck Flowers.

    General manager Martin Mayhew recently told Justin Rogers of MLive.com that he plans on taking the best available player with his first-round selection. That very well may be what happens, but don’t be surprised if the best player available happens to be an offensive lineman.

Green Bay Packers

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    Denzel Perryman (Miami)
    Denzel Perryman (Miami)David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    After the release of Brad Jones, the Green Bay Packers will continue to overhaul a mediocre defense by upgrading their middle linebacker spot. The move for Clay Matthews from outside rush linebacker to the inside position shouldn’t be permanent, and if the Packers can get an impact inside linebacker in the draft, he won’t have to be.

    Green Bay Packers high on #Clemson LB Stephone Anthony http://t.co/3urYfSL7YI

    — Clemson247 (@Clemson247) February 24, 2015

    The Packers have been heavily linked to linebackers this offseason. Paul Imig of Fox Sports reported they’re looking for their next man in the middle in this draft class, noting UCLA’s Eric Kendricks and Clemson’s Stephone Anthony as options.

    Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the team interviewed Denzel Perryman from Miami and Mississippi State’s Benardrick McKinney at the combine. Clearly, this is a position that will be addressed early by the Packers.

Houston Texans

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    Trae Waynes (Michigan State)
    Trae Waynes (Michigan State)Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    A year after passing on franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, the Houston Texans have a much more difficult task as they continue their search for a quarterback. Unfortunately, this is a difficult year to be looking for a Year 1 starter, with only Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota projected as big-time talents.

    Still, the Texans are doing their due diligence in case they can trade up. According to Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com, Houston is also looking at Baylor’s Bryce Petty as a mid-round option. But Petty has a history of back injuries and on-field issues with accuracy and poise, so he’s probably not the answer long-term.

    If Houston can’t land one of the top two quarterbacks, they may address the secondary. Free-agent cornerback Kareem Jackson is set for a big payday from someone, whether it is the Texans or someone else. Whether he’s back or not, Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle reported that Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes could be in the mix for the Texans' first-round pick.

Indianapolis Colts

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    Eli Harold (Virginia)
    Eli Harold (Virginia)Associated Press

    Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson has to prove once again that he’s capable of upgrading a very average roster this offseason. The Colts haven’t acquired nearly enough impact players in the trenches on either side of the ball, and their quest for a decent running back continues.

    With so many holes on the roster, the Colts are looking all over for talent. When asked about Indiana running back Tevin Coleman, Grigson said that the team is looking closely at local products and that they cannot afford to miss on them.

    When it comes to local draft prospects, Ryan Grigson tells @Colts scouts: “We better not miss in our backyard." http://t.co/2KkxFgrdeS

    — Kevin Bowen (@KBowenColts) February 24, 2015

    He also said that pass-rushers are always in demand, even if the team has good starters. Unless Robert Mathis returns 100 percent from his torn Achilles injury, the Colts don’t have any reliable and proven pass-rushers that will scare offenses.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Leonard Williams (USC)
    Leonard Williams (USC)Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    This could be a great offseason for the Jacksonville Jaguars, as they have $64 million in cap space and again have a top-three draft pick. Expect the team to be very active in free agency to help improve the roster around 2014 first-round pick Blake Bortles.

    According to ESPN’s Todd McShay, getting a pass-rusher early is the most logical move. Either defensive tackle Leonard Williams from USC or Florida’s Dante Fowler would be an ideal fit in the first round, and running back Todd Gurley should be a target if he lasts to the second round.

    The Jaguars need impact players across the roster, so landing an elite pass-rusher and getting a major offensive talent should be at the top of their wish list. At some point, the heat will turn up on head coach Gus Bradley and his staff.

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Donovan Smith (Penn State)
    Donovan Smith (Penn State)Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Another team with less than $10 million to work with in free agency, the Kansas City Chiefs have to inject some playmakers through the draft to help them reach the playoffs again. If they can’t retain edge-rusher Justin Houston, reaching that goal will be very difficult since Houston is arguably the best at his position in the NFL.

    6-foot-6, 338-pound Donovan Smith is primed to make an impact. Will it be with the #Chiefs? http://t.co/339YVMLmpH pic.twitter.com/q7c7pJDRBD

    — Kansas City Chiefs (@KCChiefs) February 24, 2015

    To help improve its woeful passing game, the team has been linked to former Penn State tackle Donovan Smith as a developmental prospect in the middle rounds. Smith is a bulldozer who struggles in pass protection right now, but investing in him could pay off incredibly well down the road.

    Chiefs general manager John Dorsey made it clear to Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star that he’s going take the best player available. That seems to be the go-to for many executives, but the Chiefs have a lot of needs, so this makes sense.

Miami Dolphins

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    Vic Beasley (Clemson)
    Vic Beasley (Clemson)David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    The Miami Dolphins will be cleaning out cap room from their bad free-agent signings in the past few years, and they’ll create some space to fill needs. When the draft comes, their shopping list shouldn’t be as long as it reads today.

    Considering the lack of available linebacker and cornerback options on the market, Miami very well could add an inside or outside linebacker. An inside guy would allow the team to move Koa Misi back to the strong side, and an outside player would be an improvement over Philip Wheeler. It just depends on who is available at the 14th pick.

    Standout edge-rusher Vic Beasley from Clemson has expressed desire to go to the Dolphins, and that would be a major coup for the team. Beasley is an incredibly talented pass-rusher who is coming off of a great combine performance. It’s not likely he drops that far.

    Mississippi State’s Benardrick McKinney is another noted player of interest. Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post reported that McKinney is a player on the Dolphins’ radar after the combine.

Minnesota Vikings

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    Shaq Thompson (Washington)
    Shaq Thompson (Washington)David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    One year after hitting two home runs with two first-round picks, general manager Rick Spielman is looking to follow up with another stellar draft class. The Minnesota Vikings have been clear winners thus far in the aftermath of the 2014 draft after Teddy Bridgewater and Anthony Barr were breakout studs as rookies.

    Now Spielman will need to augment his offense to help Bridgewater succeed. Regardless of what happens with Adrian Peterson, the Vikings need to remake their offensive line and receiver corps. Both are amongst the NFL’s worst as a supporting cast.

    Despite the need for an infusion of offensive talent, the Vikings have been linked heavily to Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson. Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press called Thompson a “strong draft candidate” after the former Husky met with Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer at the combine.

    Thompson would fill a need for the Vikings, and he’s a versatile piece that Zimmer would surely get the best out of. But unless the Vikings add some offensive playmakers in free agency, it would be unwise to allow Bridgewater to be pummeled again next season behind their porous offensive line.

New England Patriots

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    Laken Tomlinson (Duke)
    Laken Tomlinson (Duke)Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    The reigning Super Bowl champions are facing a salary-cap crunch and have a bevy of free agents who were key to their run. They currently sit in the red before roster cuts, and will realistically need around $15 million in space to sign rookies and bring Darrelle Revis and Devin McCourty back.

    Once the in-house free agents are taken care of, New England figures to be active in trading around again. This is a good year to move around, as there is going to be similar value between the middle of the first round and the third round. The Patriots’ ability to manipulate the draft by getting extra picks is unrivaled across the league.

    Significant OL/RB/TE contact with Patriots at the combine: http://t.co/AzMgWr1OHZ

    — PatriotsSB50 (@PatriotsSB49) February 24, 2015

    New England thus far has shown interest in the trench positions. Their interior line play was shaky all season long, and a guard such as Ali Marpet from Hobart or Laken Tomlinson of Duke would be excellent fits.

New Orleans Saints

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    Paul Dawson (TCU)
    Paul Dawson (TCU)David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    The years of restructuring contracts and pushing back cap penalties has caught up to the New Orleans Saints. The Saints currently sit $21 million over the cap limit, and major cuts or restructures must be on the way. In other words, they’re going to be heavily reliant on the draft to improve.

    New Orleans has holes all over that need to be plugged with quality players. The Saints are in a position to go with the best player available to either fill an offensive guard spot if Jahri Evans is released, or an outside linebacker or cornerback.

    Gary Estwick of the Sun Herald reported that the Saints are looking at defensive playmakers at linebacker and cornerback. Top options that could be available include Virginia’s Eli Harold, TCU’s Paul Dawson and Utah’s Eric Rowe.

New York Giants

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    Brandon Scherff (Iowa)
    Brandon Scherff (Iowa)David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    The New York Giants haven’t been able to recapture the magic that engulfed the franchise twice in 2007 and 2011, suffering from key injuries and erratic play from their best players quite often. After an excellent 2014 draft, the Giants could be getting back to their winning ways, but they must repeat their success this time around.

    The Giants will likely be looking for talent in the trenches to replace Mathias Kiwanuka and possibly Jason-Pierre Paul. On offense, Eli Manning needs protection, so general manager Jerry Reese will likely be eyeing the top lineman in the draft as well.

    Brandon Scherff Headed to Giants in Mel Kiper 2.0 Mock Draft http://t.co/1fY7TxzzPA #BrandonScherff #NYGiants

    — Luis Tirado Jr. (@LTJ81) February 24, 2015

    Iowa’s Brandon Scherff might not become a franchise left tackle, but he can be an outstanding guard for the next decade. His mean streak and natural movement ability would look great along the Giants offensive line.

New York Jets

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    Shane Ray (Missouri)
    Shane Ray (Missouri)Wade Payne/Associated Press

    The latest New York Jets head coach, Todd Bowles, has to remake a roster that was left barren by the previous regime. Luckily for him, he has $50 million and the sixth pick in the draft to get off to a good start. Expect the Jets to be very active in building their defense up.

    In the draft, Bowles must decide whether or not he likes Geno Smith as a potential franchise quarterback. Smith has struggled in his first two seasons with the Jets, and if the team can land either Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston, they must consider that quite an upgrade.

    ESPN’s Rich Cimini noted that Alabama’s Amari Cooper, Missouri’s Shane Ray and West Virginia’s Kevin White are realistic options for the Jets if the quarterbacks are gone. Whichever direction the Jets decide to go, they have the chance to add an instant impact player.

Oakland Raiders

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    Kevin White (West Virginia)
    Kevin White (West Virginia)Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Another team that could spend major dough in free agency is the Oakland Raiders. They have more than $50 million to spend, and they have the fourth overall pick in the draft. If both are spent wisely, this franchise can quickly reboot, no matter where they’re playing in 2015.

    Williams would love to play for #Raiders, his favorite team growing up, but is “shooting for No. 1 spot” in draft

    — Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) February 20, 2015

    The Raiders aren’t far from being a competitive team, but they also have enough holes that they should take the best overall player. If USC’s Leonard Williams is available, he should be the pick. He’s a dynamic defender who has few flaws, and he can be a stalwart for the next decade.

    Another option for the Raiders is to select one of the top receivers. Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area reported that Kevin White and Amari Cooper are very interested in the Raiders franchise, and both would be huge upgrades on the roster.

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Brett Hundley (UCLA)
    Brett Hundley (UCLA)Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Chip Kelly’s first offseason as the main decision-maker on personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles certainly will bring challenges. He needs to add a quarterback to challenge Nick Foles, a cornerback, a receiver in case Jeremy Maclin departs and an inside linebacker. That’s a lot of premium positions to fill, even with $24 million to spend.

    There have been rumors of the Eagles trading up for Marcus Mariota, but that seems to be a long shot unless Kelly is willing to give up the next few draft classes to get into the top five picks for him. If Kelly stays put and misses on Mariota, UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley should be in the conversation. He’s raw and needs some time to develop his mental processing and footwork technique, but his upside is worthy of the third quarterback slot.

    The Eagles have also been linked to defensive backs. Phil Sheridan of ESPN reported that Kelly was paying close attention to Trae Waynes, Marcus Peters, Quinten Rollins and P.J. Williams at the combine. All could immediately play for Kelly’s defense in a variety of roles.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Jalen Collins (LSU)
    Jalen Collins (LSU)David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    It seems that the Pittsburgh Steelers have had little to no cap room for years, and that trend is continuing this season. Fortunately, the Steelers have been good enough at drafting for this to barely hurt their winning ways. As the defense continues to age, though, changes are needed.

    Adding a physical cornerback who can play right away and still develop would be ideal for the Steelers. Length, height and a tough mindset in the run game are all musts for the Steelers defense, and there is a good fit in this class that they’ve been eyeing. According to Scott Brown of ESPN, the Steelers are interested in Jalen Collins of LSU.

    Collins is coming off of a solid 2014 season, but he has just 10 games of starting experience. His strong combine play will help his case for first-round merit, but the fit is very important for him. There are no better fits for Collins than the Steelers, who can offer him a platform to succeed.

San Diego Chargers

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    Jake Fisher (Oregon)
    Jake Fisher (Oregon)David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    As the Denver Broncos’ grip on the AFC West loosens, the San Diego Chargers are in a position to strike after a good offseason. Not only will the Chargers have $27 million to play with, but they also could have a new stadium to sell free agents as well.

    San Diego will need to add significant talent at key spots with its available resources. The talent gap has shrunk in the division, but there’s still room for the Chargers to improve. That starts in the trenches.

    Adding an offensive tackle would help solidify a running game that dropped off in a big way the past few years, as well as keep quarterback Philip Rivers on his feet. ESPN’s Eric Williams named several offensive tackles that Chargers offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris worked with at the combine. Those names include Oregon’s Jake Fisher, Miami’s Ereck Flowers and Stanford’s Andrus Peat.

San Francisco 49ers

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    Dorial Green-Beckham (Missouri)
    Dorial Green-Beckham (Missouri)David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    The Jim Harbaugh era came to an abrupt end after a season devastated by injuries, but the cupboard is far from bare as talented players return from injuries. If the San Francisco 49ers can add a big-time talent with the 15th overall pick, their transition to the Jim Tomsula era shouldn’t be too rough.

    The 49ers are aging at some key positions, including receiver, offensive line and defensive line. To help quarterback Colin Kaepernick get back to his winning formula, he’s going to need a more dominant receiver instead of the group filled with No. 2 types.

    What do the #49ers want out of a potential WR draft pick? http://t.co/zdg7crjDn0 pic.twitter.com/YWVKmL9szF

    — San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) February 22, 2015

    West Virginia’s Kevin White is almost sure to be gone by their pick, but former Missouri and Oklahoma receiver Dorial Green-Beckham or Louisville’s Devante Parker would look quite good in the classic 49ers jersey. Parker is considered the “cleaner” prospect off the field, but he also has a lower ceiling than Green-Beckham, who is similar to Brandon Marshall on the field.

Seattle Seahawks

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    Henry Anderson (Stanford)
    Henry Anderson (Stanford)David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    As much as anything else, the Seattle Seahawks need to get healthy. They’ve faced a multitude of injuries to their roster and to key players like Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas. When those guys are back 100 percent, the Seahawks may very well be the best team in the NFL once again.

    The two areas that could use an injection of talent are the wide receiver spot and interior defensive line. Seattle’s wide receivers are very inconsistent, and overall their talent level is limited. Giving quarterback Russell Wilson a legitimate receiving threat would help transform the Seattle offense from good to great.

    Seattle, though, has been linked to interior defensive linemen. Stanford’s Henry Anderson and Iowa’s Carl Davis each headline the list that Seattle PI’s Rob Staton has given as options that the Seahawks are likely to look at.

St. Louis Rams

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    Marcus Mariota (Oregon)
    Marcus Mariota (Oregon)Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    For years the St. Louis Rams have tried to fill their offensive line with highly touted players, but the positional group still has major holes, as Jake Long’s career is in question. The Rams also have to figure out what to do at quarterback if one falls to them at the 10th overall pick. Short of Mariota or Winston falling that far, they don’t have much of a backup option besides keeping Sam Bradford.

    Giving Bradford one more year isn’t a bad option. When healthy, he’s a solid quarterback. His accuracy and decision-making are underrated, but he’s been unable to prove himself due to all of the injuries. It’s hard to have great faith in him, despite the talent.

    The Rams seem to understand their quarterback situation, and they have been looking at their offensive line once again. According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Iowa’s Brandon Scherff is the apple of their eye. The versatile lineman could join Greg Robinson to form one of the nastiest tandems in the NFL.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Jameis Winston (Florida State)
    Jameis Winston (Florida State)Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    From @Rapsheet: "I have not talked to one person who does not think the Bucs won't draft Jameis Winston." #PathToTheDraft

    — NFL Network (@nflnetwork) February 24, 2015

    Everything seems to be pointing toward the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selecting Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston with the top overall pick in the 2015 draft. Adding Winston to an offense with Doug Martin, Charles Sims, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson is a great decision for the Buccaneers.

    Teams say Winston outstanding in combine interviews: http://t.co/TU9rImd5T5

    — mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) February 21, 2015

Tennessee Titans

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    Randy Gregory (Nebraska)
    Randy Gregory (Nebraska)David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    The Tennessee Titans are in a precarious position, as they like what they saw from rookie Zach Mettenberger in 2014, but they’re going to have a shot at either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota. If they decide to go with a new quarterback, no one should blame them. But, they could trade down or select perhaps a better prospect than whichever quarterback falls to them.

    Tennessee needs talent all over its roster. Adding a pass-rusher like Randy Gregory, Dante Fowler or Vic Beasley should be in the conversation. But the best selection would be Leonard Williams. Pairing Williams with Jurrell Casey would create an incredible tandem to build around for the next decade.

    NFL experts across the league were mostly split between the Titans selecting a quarterback or Williams. It all really depends on their opinion of Mettenberger. Entering 2015 with a quarterback they lack confidence in would be foolish.

Washington Redskins

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    Danny Shelton (Washington)
    Danny Shelton (Washington)Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Now that the Washington Redskins have named Robert Griffin III the starting quarterback for 2015, it’s easier to predict how they’ll approach the draft. Washington has finally gotten to the point where they have a first-round pick, and they desperately need to add impact talent.

    After years of missing out on top-tier talent, Todd McShay of ESPN recommends the Redskins trade down if Marcus Mariota is on the board with the sixth pick. That would allow the team to recoup lost picks in past years and add more talent. This is a smart decision if they have the chance.

    If they cannot move down, taking a front-seven defender to help their porous run defense has to be a priority. Washington’s Danny Shelton would be able to come in from day one and help fill that assignment, and he could open up opportunities for Trent Murphy and Ryan Kerrigan.

    All salary-cap information is from Over the Cap.

    Ian Wharton is a NFL Draft Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, contributor for Optimum Scouting and analyst for eDraft. 

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