Welcome to the middle part of the 1st round. The place where mediocre teams who all feel their one hit away try to find that player who takes them over the top. To be fair every year a team succeeds in doing so. Here are the picks 11-20.
11. Bears – Leonard Floyd (OLB – Georgia)
The Chicago Bears want to get back to glory and their best teams always had a good defense. Adding the versatile Leonard Floyd to the mix would definitely be a good start. One of the most gifted athletes in the draft Floyd played a variety of positions on the Georgia defense. Long and quick will he will be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. Will need to bulk up a little if he is going to play defensive end every down but huge talent that will help the Bears.
12. Saints – Sheldon Rankins (DT – Louisville)
The Saints have a lot of needs and really can’t go wrong picking any position. Sean Payton and company will take DT Sheldon Rankins from Louisville. Rankins will improve the Saints lackluster pass rush.
13. Dolphins – Joey Bosa (DE – Ohio State)
Miami will not believe that Joey Bosa will be available at this slot and will have to take him. With the offseason loss of Olivier Vernon, the team will need an upgrade on the edge rush. They signed the aging Mario Williams but not sure how much he has left in the tank and not a long term solution. A 2nd generation player Bosa has solid technique and should be able to help the Dolphins.
14. Raiders – Robert Nkemdiche (DT – Ole Miss)
The Raiders will cash in on teams being afraid to take the uber talented Robert Nkemdiche. The Ole Miss lineman would be a nice fit to that already tough Raider defense. With no nonsense head coach like Jack Del Rio the organization will feel confident that they can get the most out of Nkemdiche.
15. Titans – Taylor Decker (OT – Ohio State)
The Titans got huge haul of picks from the Rams and still will get a quality tackle to protect new franchise quarterback Marcus Mariotta. Taylor Decker from Ohio State will be start of the young line that will carry this team into the future.
16. Lions – Jarran Reed (DT – Alabama)
Jarran Reed will help bolster a Lions line that hadn’t replaced Suh since he bolted for Miami. The Alabama product would be nice fit in the defensive line rotation in Detroit.
17. Falcons – Darron Lee (OLB – Ohio State)
The Falcons in year 2 under Dan Quinn are looking to improve on the defensive side of the ball. They need more speed at the linebacker position and Ohio State’s Darron Lee definitely fits the bill. Will probably be the weak side linebacker in a 4-3 scheme he has loads of potential and one of the purer athletes in the draft.
18. Colts – Eli Apple (CB – Ohio State)
The Colts will try to rebound from a disappointing year for Andrew Luck and the rest of the team. Coach Pagano will get back to his roots and help bolster his defense. The 2nd straight Buckeye will come off the board in Eli Apple. With good size and nice footwork Apple will be a steal this late in the 1st round.
19. Bills – Shaq Lawson (DE – Clemson)
Buffalo will almost trip trying to get this card in on time. Shaq Lawson should be gone by now but other teams sleeping could be Rex Ryan’s gain. With the departure of Mario Williams the team will be in the market for an edge rusher. Lawson is athletic enough to play at the OLB and DE.
20. Jets – Paxton Lynch (QB – Memphis)
With the Jets not meeting Ryan Fitzpatrick’s asking price they will probably be in the quarterback market. Being smart by not over spending they will get good value with Lynch. Not convinced either guy is even better than the signal caller from Memphis this can work out really well for New York. Geno will keep the seat warm for the young man so doesn’t have to rush right in and have some time to adjust to the NFL.
Keith B. Holt
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