Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Injury concerns are always a big deal but just how much attention should we give to certain injuries? In the NFL just about the worst concern you can have are knee issues, particularly ACL tears. It's why South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore probably won't be drafted until the fifth round at the earliest event though he has first round talent. But what about non-serious, nagging injuries or health conditions that may not even affect a player? The first few picks for the Steelers could be players whose stock has fallen because of these issues and in my humble opinion the Steelers should jump on them.
1. Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Joeckel OT, Texas A&M
Team needs: QB/WR/DE/S/ILB
The Chiefs traded for Alex Smith which means that Geno Smith is no longer an option. Star Lotulelei has a heart condition which should take him out of contention. Even though they franchised Brandon Albert this pick should still be Joeckel unless they sign Albert to a long-term contract.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Sharrif Floyd DT, Florida
Team needs: QB/CB/S/OT/OC
Because of his condition Star Lotulelei has been overtaken as the highest rated DT.
3. Oakland Raiders - Star Lotulelei NT, Utah
Team needs: QB/CB/RDE/DT
Oakland will take a DT, DE, Dee Millner, or Geno Smith with this pick. Star Lotulelei could fall a lot farther depending on his medical examinations.
4. Philadelphia Eagles - Eric Fisher OT, Central Michigan
Team needs: SS/CB/OC/OT
This pick should be Eric Fisher or Dee Millner depending on what the Eagles do in free agency regarding their CB situation.
5. Detroit Lions - DeMarcus Milliner CB, Alabama
Team needs: CB/DE/SS/OC/RT
The Lions always go with the best available player in the first round. Millner had an awesome combine and has leapfrogged the available DE's as the best player available.
6. Cleveland Browns - Ezekiel Ansah DE/OLB, BYU
Ezekiel Ansah made himself a lot of money at the Senior Bowl and with concerns over Jarvis Jones' spinal stenosis Ansah is not the top rated 3-4 OLB. With the Browns switching to a hybird 3-4/4-3 defense they'll need players who can ply both DE and OLB.
7. Arizona Cardinals - Lane Johnson OT, Oklahoma
Team needs: QB/LT/OG/OC/OLB
This should be the easiest pick to predict. Arizona's offensive line is terrible. Even with Geno Smith available they should still take a left tackle as long as one of the top three are available.
8. Buffalo Bills - Geno Smith QB, West Virginia
Team needs: QB/WR/RDE/ILB
Bills GM Buddy Nix has said they will try to land a franchise QB in this draft.
9. New York Jets - Dion Jordan DE/OLB, Oregon
Team needs: QB/RT/OLB/S/ILB
The Jets should take a rush linebacker as long as either Dion Jordan or Ezekiel Ansah are available, otherwise they might take Cordarrelle Patterson.
10. Tennessee Titans - Chance Warmack OG, Alabama
Team needs: OG/OC/CB/DE
Tennessee needs interior offensive line help and a cornerback so this should be Chance Warmack as long as Dee Millner is gone.
11. San Diego Chargers - Jonathan Cooper OG, North Carolina
Team needs: CB/LT/OG/RB/OLB/NT
San Diego needs a lot of offensive line help and may trade up for Eric Fisher or Lane Johnson. Jonathan Cooper is a slight reach so the Chargers could take an OLB or simply trade back to get better value for Cooper.
12. Miami Dolphins - Cordarrelle Patterson WR, Tennessee
Team needs: WR/RG/LDE/S/TE
The Dolphins have an investment in Ryan Tannehill and will most likely use this pick to bolster the offense around him. They have some decent number two WR's but need someone to be the main guy.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Desmond Trufant CB, Washington
Team needs: CB/DT/SLB/RT
Tampa Bay's pick should be fairly easy. They had a big need for a CB even before they traded Aqib Talib to the Patriots.
14. Carolina Panthers - Sheldon Richardson DT, Missouri
Unless an elite talent falls like Dee Millner or Eric Fisher this pick will most likely be used on the highest rated DT. Given the Carolina doesn't have a third round pick they will probably trade back to pick up one and still get someone like Kawann Short.
15. New Orleans Saints - Barkevious Mingo DE/OLB, LSU
Team needs: OLB/NT/OG/SS
The Saints are converting to a 3-4 defense and will need another pass-rushing OLB to pair with Martez Wilson. The Saints have Akiem Hicks to play NT but could also take John Jenkins or Jonathan Hankins.
16. St. Louis Rams - Kenny Vaccaro S, Texas
The Rams are out of luck for offensive lineman and should take Kenny Vaccaro or the highest rated WR here.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - Jarvis Jones OLB, Georgia
Team needs: S/ROLB/WR/LG/CB/NT
If Jarvis Jones falls to the Steelers here they should run to the podium to turn in their card much like they did for David DeCastro in the 2012 draft. He's an elite pass-rusher who falls because of concerns over his spinal stenosis but as long as he checks out from the medical staff it shouldn't be an issue. One thing the Steelers have lacked over the last few seasons are splash plays on defense and anyone who watched Jarvis Jones play this past season knows he has had at least a few in every game.
18. Dallas Cowboys - D.J. Fluker OT, Alabama
Team needs: OC/OG/DT/DE/S
Unless Sheldon Richardson or Kenny Vaccaro are available the Cowboys should try to upgrade their offensive line. I'm not a fan of Fluker this early but he's an athletic monster and reports are that several teams are eying him in the first round.
19. New York Giants - Damontre Moore DE, Texas A&M
Damontre Moore falls because of a terrible combine performance but the Giants won't pass up the opportunity to draft an elite pass-rusher.
20. Chicago Bears - Alec Ogletree ILB, Georgia
Team needs: DT/CB/LT/RG/LB
If he's available this pick should be Lane Johnson but since he's not the Bears will take Alec Ogletree to replace free agent aging icon Brain Urlacher. Nick Roach is also a free agent linebacker as well.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Bjoern Werner DE, Florida State
Team needs: RB/RDE/S/ILB
Like the Giants the Bengals won't pass up the opportunity to draft an elite pass-rusher. They franchised Michael Johnson but may not be able to sign him long-term.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) - Keenan Allen WR, California
Team needs: OT/OG/OLB/FS
As with their first pick the Rams won't be able to fill their need for an offensive lineman and should take the best available WR, OLB, or TE.
23. Minnesota Vikings - Tavon Austin WR, West Virginia
Team needs: DT/WR/OG/CB/ILB
Minnesota has no playmakers at WR outside of injury-plagues Percy Harvin and the rumor mill says the Vikings are looking to trade him. They also released Michael Jenkins. They also need a DT and could take Kawann Short, Jon Hankins, or John Jenkins.
24. Indianapolis Colts - John Jenkins NT, Georgia
Team needs: NT/OLB/FS/CB/RT/OG
Indy spent the 2012 draft upgrading thier offense and now it's the defenses turn. They should go BPA at NT, OLB, CB, or S. Nose tackle is the linchpin of a 3-4 defense.
25. Seattle Seahawks - Kawann Short DT, Purdue
Team needs: RT/WR/DT/DE/TE
Seattle needs a better pass-rush from the DT position. Kawann Short was a nightmare for opposing linemen at the Senior Bowl. If he's gone they could take Tyler Eifert.
26. Green Bay Packers - Tyler Eifert TE, Notre Dame
Team needs: OC/S/RB/WR/TE
If not for his injury issues Barrett Jones would be the pick but Eifert would replace an overpaid and injury-prone Jermichael Finley.
27. Houston Texans - Kevin Minter ILB, LSU
Team needs: NT/WR/OG/ILB/S/RT
28. Denver Broncos - Eddie Lacy RB, Alabama
Team needs: LG/CB/S/DT/OC/ILB
Knowshon Moreno is an injury-prone bust and Willis McGahee is old, plus John Fox likes drafting running backs early.
29. New England Patriots - Johnathan Hankins NT, Ohio State
Team needs: WR/S/CB
New England could take Matt Elam but Jon Hankins would add some much needed youth to their defensive line.
30. Atlanta Falcons - Alex Okafor DE, Texas
Team needs: OC/LB/TE/DE/RB
Tony Gonzalez is retiring and the Falcons just released Dunta Robinson, Michael Turner, and John Abraham so this pick should be Xavier Rhodes, Alex Okafor, or either Eddie Lacy or Tyler Eifert if they are available.
31. San Francisco 49ers - Margus Hunt DE, SMU
Team needs: FS/OC/DE/RT/OLB
DE Justin Smith will be 34 years old next season and Margus Hunt is going to rise up draft boards as we get closer to April.
32. Baltimore Ravens - Matt Elam S, Florida
Team needs: ILB/S/OC/WR
Baltimore will need to replace Ray Lewis and Ed Reed so this pick should be Kevin Minter or Matt Elam. If they are both gone the next options would be a WR to potentially replace Anquan Boldin or an OLB since they will probably lose Paul Kruger to free agency.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars - Xavier Rhodes CB, Florida State
The likely pick will be either FSU CB Xavier Rhodes, Tennessee OG/OT Dallas Thomas, or the best available QB.
34. San Francisco 49ers (via Kansas City Chiefs) - Jonathan Cyprien S, Florida International
Dashson Goldson is a free agent and Donte Whitner was terrible last season.
35. Philadelphia Eagles - Jesse Williams NT, Alabama
The Eagles are switching to a 3-4 defense and will need a true NT.
36. Detroit Lions - Arthur Brown LB, Kansas State
Justin Durant and DeAndre Levy are both free agents.
37. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland Raiders) - Giovani Bernard RB, North Carolina
Cincy should take either a safety or RD here.
38. Arizona Cardinals - E.J. Manuel QB Florida State
The Cardinals will draft a strong-armed QB for new HC Bruce Arians vertical passing game.
Cleveland Browns - Selected Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft
39. New York Jets - Manti Te'o ILB, Notre Dame
The Jets released Bart Scott and David Harris might be a cap casualty.
40. Tennessee Titans - Jonathan Banks CB, Miss. State
The Titans have two clear cut needs in the secondary and offensive line.
41. Buffalo Bills - DeAndre Hopkins WR, Clemson
When teams draft a QB in the first round they usually follow that up with getting him some help in the second round.
42. Miami Dolphins - Zach Ertz TE, Stanford
43. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Datone Jones DE, UCLA
Adrian Clayborn is coming off of an ACL tear and Da'Quan Bowers has legal troubles.
44. Carolina Panthers - Menelik Watson OT, Florida State
The Panthers have a hole at RT because of all of the injury issues with Jeff Otah.
New Orleans Saints - Forfeited due to Bountygate
45. San Diego Chargers - David Amerson CB, North Carolina State
Both Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer are free agents.
46. St. Louis Rams - Larry Warford OG, Kentucky
The Rams missed out on offensive line help in the first round.
47. Dallas Cowboys - Eric Reid S, LSU
The Cowboys are rumored to be infatuated with Eric Reid and they just released Gerald Sensabaugh.
48. Pittsburgh Steelers - Barrett Jones OC/OG/OT, Alabama
The Steelers could easily take a S or a WR here but they have the good fortune of having Barrett Jones fall to them. Over the last few seasons they've encountered a lot of injuries all along the offensive line and having the ultimate Swiss Army knife that is Barrett Jones would help immensely as he can play all five offensive line positions and play them well. Ramon Foster is a free agent and Willie Colon may be cut so Jones could step in right away at LG.
49. New York Giants - Dallas Thomas OG/OT, Tennessee
The Giants have all kinds of age, injury, and free agency issues along the offensive line.
50. Chicago Bears - Kyle Long OG/OT, Oregon
Chicago has to do something about their offensive line.
51. Washington Redskins - Phillip Thomas S, Fresno State
Washington has a lot of issues in the secondary, particularly at safety.
52. Minnesota Vikings - Sylvester Williams DT, North Carolina
Kevin Williams is 33 years old and Leroy Guyton should not be the starting NT.
53. Cincinnati Bengals - Khaseem Greene LB, Rutgers
Manny Lawson is a free agent and Rey Maualuga is going to be cut.
54. Miami Dolphins (via Indianapolis Colts) - Jordan Poyer CB, Oregon State
Miami needs a replacement for Vontae Davis, plus Sean Smith is a free agent.
55. Green Bay Packers - Terrance Williams WR, Baylor
Donald Driver is 38 years old and Greg Jennings is a free agent.
56. Seattle Seahawks - Justin Hunter WR, Tennessee
Seattle should take the best RT, TE, or WR here.
57. Houston Texans - Ryan Swope WR, Texas A&M
Houston needs a solid number two WR plus they have age issues at the position.
58. Denver Broncos - Bennie Logan DT, LSU
Denver Still needs an upgrade at DT and could also take an ILB here.
59. New England Patriots - Logan Ryan CB, Rutgers
Coach Belichick has never been shy about taking DB's early in the draft.
60. Atlanta Falcons - Jamar Taylor CB, Boise State
Brent Grimes is a free agent coming off of an Achilles tear and they released Dunta Robinson.
61. San Francisco 49ers - Blidi Wreh-Wilson CB, Connecticut
62. Baltimore Ravens - Corey Lemonier DE/OLB, Auburn
They will most likely be losing Paul Kruger to free agency.
63. Kansas City Chiefs - Jordan Reed TE, Florida
K.C. needs a speedy, pass-catching TE for Andy Reid's offense.
64. Jacksonville Jaguars - Matt Barkley QB, USC
The Jags must do something about thier QB situation. Barkley falls over concerns about his arm strength and whether or not he's a product of the system.
65. Detroit Lions - Sam Montgomery DE, LSU
Lawrence Jackson and Cliff Avril are free agents and they cut Kyle Vanden Bosch.
66. Oakland Raiders - Tank Carradine DE, Florida State
Oakland needs upgrades at DE and CB.
67. Philadelphia Eagles - Robert Alford CB, Southeastern Lousiana
DRC is a free agent and Nnamdi Asomugha may be cut.
68. Cleveland Browns - Travis Fredrick OG/OC, Wisconsin
Both guards positions need to be upgraded.
69. Arizona Cardinals - Trevardo Williams OLB, Connecticut
O'Brien Schofield cannot stay healthy.
70. Tennessee Titans - Bacarri Rambo S, Georgia
Tennessee continues to upgrade their secondary.
71. Buffalo Bills - Sio Moore LB, Connecticut
Nick Barnett was released and Kelvin Sheppard isn't cutting it either.
72. New York Jets - Joseph Randle RB, Oklahoma State
One thing that might help out Mark Sanchez is a consistent running game. Plus Shonne Greene is a FA.
73. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Gavin Escobar TE, San Diego State
Dallas Clark was only a short-term solution and is a FA.
74. San Francisco 49ers (via Carolina Panthers) - Markus Wheaton WR, Oregon State
75. New Orleans Saints - Brandon Williams NT, Missouri Southern
The Saints need a NT for their 3-4 defense.
76. San Diego Chargers - Terron Armstead OT, Arkansas Pine Bluff
The Chargers need upgrades at both tackle spots.
77. Miami Dolphins - Stedman Bailey WR, West Virginia
This draft should be all about helping Ryan Tannehill. Bailey is better than the available tackles.
78. St. Louis Rams - Brennan Williams OT, North Carolina
The Rams should take the best OT or OLB here.
79. Pittsburgh Steelers - Quinton Patton WR, Louisiana Tech
The Steelers should go for a S or a WR here given the talent that is available. Patton doesn't have blazing speed but he's one of the most complete WR's in this draft class. He had an amazing Senior Bowl and if not for his small school status would probably garner late-first round consideration.
80. Dallas Cowboys - Alvin Bailey OG, Arkansas
Dallas needs multiple upgrades along the O-line.
81. New York Giants - Jamie Collins OLB, Southern Miss
The Giants cut Michael Boley and both Chase Blackburn and Keith Rivers are free agents.
82. Miami Dolphins (via Chicago Bears) - Chris Faulk OT, LSU
It's unlikely that Miami will resign Jake Long.
83. Minnesota Vikings - Kevin Reddick ILB, North Carolina
Minnesota needs an upgrade over Jasper Brinkley.
84. Cincinnati Bengals - T.J. McDonald S, USC
McDonald is a perfect fit for Mike Zimmer's defense.
85. Washington Redskins - David Bakhtiari OT, Colorado
Bakhtiari is a good fit for Shanahan's zone blocking scheme.
86. Indianapolis Colts - Chase Thomas OLB, Stanford
Indy needs to continue building their defense and Dwight Freeny is a free agent.
87. Seattle Seahawks - Travis Kelce TE, Cincinnati
Zach Miller will most likely be cut this offseason.
88. Green Bay Packers - David Quessenberry OC/OG, San Jose State
Jeff Saturday retired.
89. Houston Texans - Justin Pugh OT/OG, Syracuse
Houston has issue at RG and RT.
90. Denver Broncos - J.J. Wilcox S, Georgia Southern
Mike Adams was an embarrassment in Denver's playoff loss.
91. New England Patriots - Cobi Hamilton WR, Arkansas
The Patriots won't have anything besides Brandon Loyd if they fail to resign Wes Welker.
92. Atlanta Falcons - Stepfan Taylor RB, Stanford
Michael Turner has been released.
93. San Francisco 49ers - Will Davis CB, Utah State
San Fran may need two CB's.
94. Baltimore Ravens - Da'Rick Rogers WR, Tennessee Tech
As usual the Ravens go with BPA. Rogers could be a great replacement for Anquan Boldin as long as the Ravens can keep him out of trouble.
95. Jacksonville Jaguars - Brandon Jenkins DE, Florida State
The Jags need to improve their pass-rush.
96. Kansas City Chiefs - Tharold Simon CB, LSU
K.C. needs a solid number two to pair with Brandon Flowers.
97. Oakland Raiders - Darius Slay CB, Mississippi State
Oakland continue to rebuild their defense.
98. Philadelphia Eagles - Shamarko Thomas S, Syracuse
The Eagles have had issues at safety since Brian Dawkins was cut.
99. Minnesota Vikings (via Detroit Lions) - D.J. Swearinger S, South Carolina
The Vikings need someone to pair with Harrison Smith.
100. Arizona Cardinals - Terry Hawthorne CB, Illinois
Greg Toler is a free agent and they cut Willie Gay.
101. Cleveland Browns - Tyler Bray QB, Tennessee
Brandon Weeden will turn 30 years old at the beginning of the upcoming season.
102. Buffalo Bills - John Simon DE, Ohio State
Mark Anderson has been a disappointment.
103. New York Jets - Robert Woods WR, USC
The Jets continue to build up the offense to salvage Mark Sanchez.
104. Tennessee Titans - Nick Kasa TE, Colorado
Jared Cook is a free agent.
105. Carolina Panthers - Tony Jefferson S, Oklahoma
Haruki Nakamura needs to be replaced.
106. New Orleans Saints - William Gholston DE, Michigan State
New Orleans continues to find players for their new 3-4 defense.
107. San Diego Chargers - Johnathan Franklin RB, UCLA
The Chargers need RB depth with all of Ryan Matthews' injury issues.
108. Miami Dolphins - Leon McFadden CB, San Diego State
Miami could use two CB's if they fail to resign Sean Smith.
109. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jordan Hill DT, Penn State
Roy Miller is a free agent.
110. St. Louis Rams - Jelani Jenkins OLB, Florida
The Rams could use upgrades at both OLB spots.
111. Dallas Cowboys - Mike Gillislee RB, Florida
Felix Jones is an injury-plagued free agent.
112. Pittsburgh Steelers - Shawn Williams S, Georgia
Dick LeBeau said recently that he wanted some youth at safety. Shawn Williams didn't make a lot of splash plays like his UGA counterpart Bacarri Rambo but he's a technically sound player who is a vocal leader and a hard hitter, very reminiscent of Ryan Clark.
113. New York Giants - Kiko Alonso LB, Oregon
The Giants have a lot of issues at linebacker.
114. Chicago Bears - Marquise Goodwin WR, Texas
Chicago has said they want to add some deep speed to their WR corps.
115. Cincinnati Bengals - Ricky Wagner OT, Wisconsin
Cincy may not be able to resign Andre Smith.
116. Washington Redskins - Dwayne Gratz CB, Connecticut
Washington has a lot of issues in the secondary.
117. Minnesota Vikings - Oday Aboushi OG/OT, Virginia
The Vikings could use upgrades at both OG positions, plus Phil Loadholt is a free agent.
118. Indianapolis Colts - Devin Taylor DE, South Carolina
Indy continues to build their defense.
119. Green Bay Packers - Stefphon Jefferson RB, Nevada
The Packers have lacked a true starting running back for a while.
120. Seattle Seahawks - Xavier Nixon OT, Florida
Breno Giacomini needs to be replaced at RT.
121. Houston Texans - Michael Buchanan DE/OLB, Illinois
Connor Barwin is a free agent.
122. Denver Broncos - Jonathan Bostic ILB, Florida
Keith Brooking is 37 years old and his backup Joe Mays isn't very good.
123. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via New England Patriots) - Mike Glennon QB, North Carolina State
Josh Freeman has been inconsistent and T.B. could use some competition.
124. Atlanta Falcons - Brian Schwenke OC, California
Todd McClure is 36 years old.
125. San Francisco 49ers - Stansly Maponga DE/OLB, TCU
San Fran needs depth at OLB.
126. Baltimore Ravens - Kwame Geathers NT, Georgia
Ma'ake Kemoeatu is a free agent and Terrence Cody is a bust.