It's awfully early to project draft picks since the combine isn't even here yet, but based on projections I wanted to name some potential prospects for our early selections that I like. I also wanted to include some potential free agents.
RB - A big name signing at RB is nonsense (Ray Rice, Matt Forte, Peyton Hillis). Obviously Rice and Forte aren't going anywhere and can probably include Marshawn Lynch as well. Wouldn't mind Mike Tolbert but I think he stays so I'd enjoy a modest signing of Tim Hightower who does everything good but nothing great.
WR - If we keep this group intact, I think we are fine. DT is shaping up to be a good #1 and I think Decker fills in nicely as a #2 with Royal and Willis working as #3 and #4. I think we'd have to overpay for Vincent Jackson or DeSean Jackson and don't like the fit.
TE - Like to keep our same unit going forward. Hopefully Thomas can become a legitimate pass catcher with Green being such a great blocker.
OL - Address depth through the draft. Would love to add a true RT and kick Orlando Franklin inside to guard where I feel he can be a Pro Bowler.
DL - Some big names available. Wouldn't mind reeling in one but not getting my hopes up. Calais Campbell is out there and would be a nice addition but I don't like him with a large contract over Ayers. Obviously would love to add Mario Williams if the Texans let him walk. Jason Jones has injury issues but would be a great addition for an interior pass rush.
LB - Curtis Lofton is at the top of my list but will probably be the most sought-after LB on the market. Would be a great, although probably unrealistic, addition to our defense. E.J. Henderson would be a nice backup plan if he came at the right price.
DB - Love Brent Grimes. Plays a lot bigger than his frame. I've been against Goodman forever so an upgrade across from Champ (and an eventual replacement for Champ) is necessary. I think we address at least one CB in the draft as well. I want no part of Cortland Finnegan. I dont think he's worth the contract he'll demand. I believe Carlos Rogers will remain a '9er, Carr will remain a Chief, and Terrell Thomas will remain a Giant. Obviously if B-Dawk is done we'll need help at SS. I hope Rahim comes around this offseason. Quinton Carter has been really good for us and I like him going forward. The big get will be LaRon Landry. Awesome player and if we were going to get one big FA, my choice would be Landry. Full disclosure, big Landry fan.
In my perfect world we sign Mario Williams, Curtis Lofton, and LaRon Landry. But this isn't Madden so I'll project us to sign: Josh Johnson, Tim Hightower, LaRon Landry.
Early Draft Possibilities
Love Kirkpatrick if he ends up falling to us. Arrested for drug possession could make his stock fall. I know a potential Top 10 pick slipping to #25 is a bit of a reach but stranger things have happened. EFX shouldn't hesitate to select this kid. He's tall at about 6'2", that's elite size for a CB. Proved he can stop the run routinely at Bama. Would be a great addition opposite Champ for the next few years.
Top 10 talent again. But character concerns have teams worried, but not me (easy for me to say with nothing on the line right?). Love Burfict as our MLB for years to come. Plays super aggressive, almost to a fault at times. Does get an alarming number of personal fouls at ASU but watching some tape, I feel like he got shafted on a few and he got flagged from reputation. Superb athlete for his size. Runs sideline to sideline with great speed and hits like a mack truck. One of those 'backers who would hit his mother if she was carrying the ball for the opponent. Love him as a prospect but he has some growing up to do. I think he will but that's the risk NFL owners will have to take. If Burfict can nail the interview process at the combine and private workouts, with Kirkpatrick already off the board, This guy will be a major upgrade to our defense. I like Dont'a Hightower better as a person, but he's much more a 2 down ILB in a 3-4. Imagine Doom and Von on the outside, Burfict in the middle, and Landry roaming at safety! But again, not getting my hopes up.
Will probably be selected before #25 but I believe it's for a lack of top tier DT's in the class than his individual talents. I would like Still at #25 if EFX didn't want the potential headache of Burfict and Kirkpatrick likely gone. Still showed the potential to be a dominant DT in some games this year. But during the Wisconsin game he was completely dominated by Kevin Zeitler, one of the better guard prospects in the nation. I see him going earlier but a pocket-pushing DT is a need for the Broncos. Another DT I like, who also will likely be gone is Michael Brockers from LSU.
Stephon Gilmore - CB
Brandon Thompson - DT
Kevin Zeitler - OG
Jeff Fuller - WR
Again it's difficult to project where these prospects will be slated with so much evaluation time left. I would prefer to continue to address the defense early in the draft with holes on the DL, LB, and DB positions.
Let me know what you think.