1. Chiefs- Larry Warford, G, Kentucky: The Chiefs strike gold to open the third round when they find the big guard from Kentucky still on the board. KC saw what Alex Smith could do when he had protection in San Francisco. With the additions of Joeckel and Warford, KC adds two starting offensive lineman for potentially the next decade.
2. Jaguars-Pick Traded to NY Jets; Jets select Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas: The Jets need a quarterback, as do other teams picking around them, so they make the jump up to grab the talented quarterback out of Arkansas. Wilson has a lot of ability, but he will need to be coached to make better decisions because he has a tendency of forcing too many throws.
3. Lions- Dallas Thomas, T, Tennessee: “Chris, didn’t you say the Lions are taking Fisher in the first round?” I’ve heard that question more than ten times after talking about this pick. The Lions throw the ball; they need help up front. Thomas is too good to pass, and no team ever complained about finding bookend tackles in one draft.
4. Raiders- Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall: No, the ghost of Al Davis isn’t making this pick, although with Dobson’ forty time, it would appear that way. 4.3 speed is impossible to ignore, not to mention the fact that he is 6’3. Dobson’ YPC average went up every year in college, which shows he is improving. He may have the highest ceiling of any wide receiver in this draft.
5. Eagles- Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia: The Eagles add a new receiver to their crew, teaming the speedy and productive Mountaineer with Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Bailey has the chance to be special in Chip Kelly’ offense.
6. Browns- Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee: Mike Lombardi is the new sheriff in town, and typically the first thing a new GM will do, unless there is a franchise type guy in place, is find a quarterback. Rumors of Ryan Mallet are flying, but I just don’t see it. Bray is a strong armed kid that can come in and compete with Brandon Weeden.
7. Cardinals- Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson: Yes, the Cardinals signed Rashard Mendenhall, but he is far from the long term answer at running back. Ellington brings burst and has also shown the ability to catch the ball. He does need to add some bulk to his frame, but his talents project well in the NFL.
8. Titans- Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech: The Titans stay in there own back yard to add a playmaker on the outside, an area of inconsistency due to Kenny Britt and his injuries/suspension issues since being drafted. Rogers had his own problems, but seems to have grown since having to transfer to Tennessee Tech. His talent is too hard to pass up for the Titans.
9. Bills- Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech: The Bills have talked lately of being hot for Tavon Austin, but as we know, he went to the Rams in the first round. Patton isn’t as fast, but he still has 4.48 speed, he is 6’0 and is a strong find in the third round. Patience pays off for the Bills.
10. NY Jets- Pick Traded to Jacksonville: Jaguars select Budi Wreh-Wilson, CB, UConn: The Jaguars netted this pick (& a 2014 fourth) in the Wilson trade and they make the move to help the back end of the 29th ranked defense in points allowed. Wreh Wilson could (should) start from day one.
11. Buccaneers- Zac Dysert, QB, Mia (Oh): In the aftermath of the Buddy Nix/Mark Domenik phone call issue, there is one huge subject that was discussed that nobody wants to face- the Bucs aren’t sold on Josh Freeman. Dysert has been climbing the boards, and the Bucs scoop him up in the third round to push the inconsistent Freeman.
12. 49ers (from Car) – Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State: Seems like the Niners make every other pick, and again they make this one count. Harbaugh is familiar with Wheaton from his days in the Pac12, and the Niners add a receiver that can flourish either in the slot or outside due to his game breaking speed and courage to go over the middle, something they don’t currently have on the roster.
13. Saints- Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M: The Mark Ingram story seems to be reaching the point where people know the conclusion, and it looks pretty average. Ingram simply doesn’t look fast enough to be an effective every down back in the NFL. Chris Ivory is rumored to be headed elsewhere, so the Saints take the best available back on the board. Michael is very explosive and has a chance to be an excellent NFL back.
14. Chargers- Kiki Alonso, LB, Oregon: The makeover in San Diego continues as the Chargers add more youth to their defense. Alonso was projected as a fourth or fifth round pick after the season, but with the lack of linebacker depth and strong workouts leading up to the draft, Alonso has vaulted himself into the third round.
15. Dolphins- Menelik Watson, T, Florida State: The Dolphins are the NFL version of “Extreme Makeover”. After adding Jonathan Cooper, the Dolphins continue the trend of protecting their top asset by adding Watson to the offensive line. Jake Long left for greener pastures in St.Louis, and adding Watson helps relieve that loss.
16. Rams- Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State: Although the Rams are solid with their two starters in Finnegan and Jenkins, there is a quick drop off on the depth chart. Slay has been rumored as high as the late first, and the Rams are happy to take him off the board in the mid third. Slay has shown great speed, posting a 4.31 forty time, but this is a deep corner class and that pushes him down the board more than he would in other years.
17. Steelers- Bacarri Rambo, FS, Georgia: The Steelers were recently reported as having the best history in the draft since its inception. The Steelers have the most titles of all time. This is not a coincidence. Rambo is another one of those good players that falls in the Steelers lap and they coach up to eventually become a starter. The aging defense needs an infusion of youth at every level, and with the additions of Werner and Rambo, the Steelers are two-thirds of the way there.
18. Cowboys- Jordan Poyer, CB, Washington State: The Cowboys are another team that has two solid corners and then a drop off that could equal major trouble if an injury occurs. Jordan Poyer isn’t only talented, he is also known as a leader, something that is sorely needed in Dallas. Poyer also is a bigger corner and has historically matched up well with big receivers.
19. NY Giants- Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin: The Giants have a way of replacing running backs without missing a beat, and it looks like they are in mid-transition. David Wilson is not a full time guy, and the Giants have always had multiple backs. Ball fits the Tom Coughlin mold and will be a strong pick for the G-Men.
20. Dolphins (from Chi) – Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State: Dustin Keller signed, but just like 80% of the other free agents in the NFL, he only signed a one year deal. Escobar isn’t the most talked about guy, but his production was fantastic for a tight end (42 catches, 543 yards, six touchdowns). Escobar is a better receiver than blocker, but that won’t deter the Dolphins.
21. Vikings- David Bakhtiari, T-G, Colorado: Although his name has been mentioned with Nate Solder, Bakhtiari is not the same level talent and many were surprised when he announced he was entering the draft. Nevertheless, Bakhtiari has the ability to start at the NFL level, although he may have to move to right tackle due to a lack of quickness with edge rushers. The Vikings continue to add talent to a team that many seem to forget made the playoffs last season.
22. Bengals- Chris Faulk, T, LSU: Faulk and the Bengals make a lot of sense. Andre Smith hasn’t signed, so clearly there is a need on the line. Faulk, minus the injuries, is a first/second round talent. He also has weight concerns, but that didn’t stop the Bengals from selecting Smith. Faulk will start week one.
23. Redskins- Shamarko Thomas, SS, Syracuse: The Redskins second pick helps them in another area of need, safety. Brandon Meriweather, to put it lightly, isn’t good. Thomas, although undersized at 5’9, may be the fastest safety in the draft, checking in with a 4.37 in the 40. Recording 88 tackles his senior season showed that Thomas has a nose for the ball and covers a lot of field. The Skins will welcome him with open arms; just make sure he doesn’t warm up with Meriweather before games.
24. Colts- John Simon, DE, Ohio State: It is impossible to argue Simon’ production: 44 tackles, 14 for losses and nine sacks is legit. Simon was also injured in 2012, appearing in 11 games but dealing with a knee injury all year. Simon might be a little too stiff, and that causes him to struggle in coverage. He may be used as a situational player in the NFL, but he will help the Colts pass rush.
25. Seahawks- Akeem Spence, DT, Illinois: The Seahawks have done some impressive things this offseason, but they still have depth issues up front on defense, especially after losing veteran Alan Branch in free agency. Spence isn’t the best pass rusher yet, but he has shown strong ability in stopping the run and he has upside as an overall player, assuming he can improve his leverage.
26. Packers- David Quessenberry, G-T, San Jose State: Ted Thompson is a smart general manager. A smart general manager realizes that the best chance he has to win another Super Bowl is keeping Aaron Rodgers upright. Drafting a running back and two offensive linemen immediately takes pressure off of Aaron Rodgers and strengthens the Packers in their weakest offensive areas.
27. Texans- Jon Bostic, ILB, Florida: Raise your hand if you think the Texans have a good linebacking core? OK, put your hands down, because all of you are wrong. Brian Cushing is coming off an injury, again, so that is no guarantee, and Daryl Sharpton and Tim Dobbins won’t be getting fit for any mustard colored sport coats anytime soon. Bostic isn’t the fastest linebacker, but he does provide a boost in defending the run. Bostic will need to improve his block shedding ability to become a consistent starter in the NFL.
28. Broncos- Jelani Jenkins, OLB, Florida: Notice a theme here? Yes, the Broncos could use a running back, but they just can’t afford to pass on defense if there is a player they like. Jenkins is one of those players, and with the departure of Elvis Dumervil, Jenkins will get the first shot to replace him in the Denver defense. One thing to watch- Broncos run a 4-3 and Jenkins played in the 3-4 in college. Growing pains are going to happen, but he’ll adjust.
29. Patriots- Tony Jefferson, FS, Oklahoma: The Patriots have had a bad secondary since 2005. They never replaced Ty Law or Rodney Harrison, and the proof is in the stats. Last season was a bit different though, with the steal of Alfonzo Dennard in the seventh round and the trade for Aqib Talib. Adrian Wilson was added in the offseason, and the Patriots still have Devin McCourty at free safety. Jefferson can come in and learn from Wilson and McCourty, and with Tavon Wilson still on the roster, Jefferson could make Steven Gregory expendable.
30. Falcons- Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn: After addressing the tight end and cornerback position, the Falcons look to fill another hole left with the release of defensive end Jon Abraham. Enter Corey Lemonier, defensive end for the Auburn Tigers. There have been reports of the Falcons moving to the 3-4, but that won’t stop them from going after Lemonier, who many forgot about last year as the Tigers sunk into losing oblivion. Lemonier has started for three seasons and was productive for all but five of those games, the final five of 2012.
31. 49ers- Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford: Thomas isn’t the guy that is going to win a footrace or have the best 40 time, but the truth is, that isn’t important if you have the instincts that Thomas possesses. Players like him should go earlier in the draft, but the addiction to athleticism moves him down to the third round, much to the 49ers delight. Thomas is a natural leader and will be a great fit with the Niners.
32. Ravens- Sio Moore, OLB, UConn: Placing the outside linebacker title on Moore may be selling him short considering he played four different positions (LB, S, CB, DT) during his time at UConn. The Ravens were patient in addressing linebacker due to their coups in free agency, focusing on safety and tackle in the first two rounds, and it pays off with the acquisition of Moore in the third round.
33. Chiefs- EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State: I’ve seen Manuel projected as high as top ten and as low as fifth round. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in my eyes, Manuel is a project third round pick. He forces way too many throws and he needs to learn how to improve on his pre-snap reads, which is tough for every rookie signal caller. Manuel has all the talent to become great if he takes the coaching, and Andy Reid is the perfect coach to get the best out of him. I don’t call Reid the “Quarterback Whisperer” for no reason.
34. Titans- DJ Hayden, CB, Houston: The Titans have Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner manning the top two cornerback spots, but after that, there isn’t much to speak of. There are only four cornerbacks on the roster, so expect the Titans to address that. Finding the second round projected DJ Hayden with the final pick of the third round is a steal for the Titans, who up to now have had the best draft, netting Star Lotulelei, Manti Te’o, Da’Rick Rogers in the first three rounds and taking big steps towards competing with the Texans and the Colts in the AFC South.