Pittsburgh Steelers (Round 1, Pick 25):
Andrew Billings – Defensive Tackle, Baylor
There’s no doubt the Steelers have one of, if not, the most dynamic offenses in the NFL. Pittsburgh’s defense on the other hand needs as much help as it can get, as it has a glaring needs at both nose tackle and cornerback. Although it would be extremely enticing to grab one of the cornerbacks still available at this time, the Steelers opt to select the best available 3-down nose tackle, Andrew Billings. Billings has exceptional strength, evidenced by his run-stuffing ability; with the right coaching and scheme Billings can blossom into a truly disruptive force up the middle. Traditionally the Steelers have tended to build from inside out with their premium picks.
NFL Player Comparison: Brandon Mebane
Seattle Seahawks (Round 1, Pick 26):
Jason Spriggs – Offensive Tackle, Indiana
The Seahawks’ offensive line this past year was absolutely abysmal and to make matters worse starting left tackle Russell Okung left for Denver in free agency. Clearly the Seahawks do not value the offensive line as highly as many of the other teams in the league do, a notion further evidenced by the league lowest allocation of 5.59% of total 2016 cap obligations to its offensive line. Although the aforementioned figure can be used as a counter-argument to the Seahawks taking Spriggs (or any offensive lineman) with this pick, the fact of the matter is the unit is totally devoid of talent. Expect the Seahawks to pick up an outside linebacker and a defensive tackle with their future picks.
NFL Player Comparison: Eric Winston
Green Bay Packers (Round 1, Pick 27):
Jarran Reed – Defensive Tackle, Alabama
The Packers are in a similar situation to Pittsburgh, in that they have multiple areas of need on defense but will go for the best available 3-4 defensive tackle. The Packers lost B.J. Raji to retirement this past offseason and Reed will be able to contribute as a disruptive force in the run-game right away. Look for the Packers to be targeting an inside linebacker and a 3-4 defensive end with later round selections. Its also worth noting that the Packers could very well trade this pick with a team who wants Paxton Lynch, as the Chiefs are unlikely to pass on him if he is still available.
NFL Player Comparison: Johnathan Hankins
Kansas City Chiefs (Round 1, Pick 28):
Paxton Lynch – Quarterback, Memphis
At a true 6’ 7” and with the mobility to roll out and use his feet as a weapon in the passing game, Paxton Lynch could very well develop into the best NFL QB taken in this draft. I personally do not believe he will but the raw tools are there. Lynch will likely need to sit for several years behind an already established QB, while he adds bulk to his frame and learns the nuances of a pro-style offense. Andy Reid is a risk-taker who is not afraid to pull the trigger on a QB he covets even while he already has one, remember he did take Kevin Kolb in the 2nd round in 2007. Chan Gailey (Jets’ OC) and Gary Kubiak’s (Broncos’ HC) systems are perfect fits for Lynch; so don’t be surprised if one of those teams tries to leapfrog the Chiefs.
NFL Player Comparison: Brock Osweiler
Arizona Cardinals (Round 1, Pick 29):
William Jackson III – Cornerback, Houston
Jackson is a phenomenal value pick here, as many of the teams in front of Arizona that have a need at cornerback instead opted to take one of the many defensive linemen. Checking off all of the boxes (height, speed & production), Jackson will make a nice addition to the Cardinals’ secondary which already features the likes of Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. Arizona will certainly look to bolster its offensive line, pass-rush and don’t be surprised if Arians takes a flier on QB Cardale Jones in the later rounds.
NFL Player Comparison: Darius Slay
Carolina Panthers (Round 1, Pick 30):
Eli Apple – Cornerback, Ohio St.
With Josh Norman’s franchise tag rescinded and now a member of the Washington Redskins, the Panthers now find themselves in dire need of secondary help. Apple is another value pick, with the Panthers benefitting from the deep defensive lineman class. At 6’ 1” 200 lbs., with precise mechanics and 4.4 speed; Apple has all of the physical tools necessary to match-up with NFC South receivers Mike Evans, Julio Jones and Brandin Cooks.
NFL Player Comparison: Quentin Jammer & Antrel Rolle
Denver Broncos (Round 1, Pick 31):
Cody Whitehair – Offensive Guard, Kansas St.
It is well publicized that the Broncos are in need of a starting quarterback but with the top three prospects at that position already off the board, Denver instead addresses the hole left when offensive guard Evan Mathis joined the Arizona Cardinals this off-season. The Broncos are definitely in play to trade up to select Paxton Lynch but the more likely scenario is that general manager John Elway opts to wait until the teams’ 2nd round selection to address the quarterback position.
NFL Player Comparison: Xavier Su’a-Filo
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