There's no two ways about it, this is a depressing morning for football fans in America. Even if you're heading to the postseason, Week 17 is always tough. Nonetheless, it's Black Monday (hi, Rex Ryan) which means teams are looking to September already. We'll check-in on coaching moves later in the week, but today we're going to take a look at the upcoming NFL draft order.
1. "With the first pick in the 2015 NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select..." Marcus Mariota? Jameis Winston? I'm guessing we'll see the Bucs take one of these two since I can't imagine they're committed to Mike Glennon under center next season. I feel strongly that Mariota will be the better pro (Winston exudes shades of Manziel), but we'll see.
2. The Tennessee Titans have the No. 2 pick in April. They have needs across the board, but I'm inclined to think Ken Whisenhunt and Co. will make an effort to draft a QB who can truly turn the franchise around. Locker, Mettenberger, and Whitehurst don't seem to be the answer in Nashvegas.
3. Remaining in my rather dismal AFC South, the No. 3 pick belongs to the Jacksonville Jaguars (who perennially enjoy top ten draft picks.) The Jags are, despite their 3-13 record, pretty solid at QB, WR, and D line, so I wouldn't be shocked to see them attempt to shore-up their offensive line with this selection.
4. The Oakland Raiders looked better (relatively speaking) this season, credit to Coach Sparano, rookie QB Derek Carr, and defensive powerhouse Khalil Mack. However, they're still sitting at the No. 4 spot in the draft. The best thing the Raiders could do is select a wideout so Carr (and his arm) actually has a target downfield.
5. The Washington Redskins have more QBs than you can shake a stick at, so let's hope they don't waste this draft pick in that department. The 'Skins could really stand to bolster their practically nonexistent D with a playmaking pass rusher or a solid defensive back.
6. The New York Jets need new playmakers at just about every position on their roster. Bringing in WR Percy Harvin (drama in Seattle aside) was a good move and C Nick Mangold is a solid player, but other than that the situation is pretty bad. Who knows if the J-E-T-S are committed to Geno Smith again in 2015, but if I were them, I'd snag a QB or an OT with this pick.
7. The Chicago Bears were a hot mess for most of the 2014 season (and then there was the Cutler, Clausen, Cutler again debacle.) I'm hoping they'll use this pick for a defensive player, perhaps a quality pass rusher, but there's a part of me that fears they'll try to replace Jay Cutler with a younger model, leaving their struggling D in the lurch.
8. The Atlanta Falcons (who nearly won the NFC South and still wound-up with the No. 8 overall pick...ouch) didn't play well this year at most positions, but I think the best move they could make here is drafting a top-notch TE. Losing Tony Gonzales has obviously taken a toll and getting another playmaker at that position would serve the Falcons well.
9. The New York Giants essentially don't have a defense at this point. They let teams run (and pass) all over them for the entire 2014 season. A decent pass rusher or a Clay Matthews-esque LB would be the smartest play with their first-round pick.
10. The St. Louis Rams struggled in a very tough NFC West again this year. They lacked a solid QB and had next to no running game. While I'm not a big proponent of taking RBs in the first round, it might behoove the Rams in this one instance, especially if there aren't any QBs they want still on the board by this point in the draft.