NFL draft lacking depth

Published 4:14 am Thursday, April 30, 2015

Jim Walker


The NFL draft has moved to Chicago. But the change of scenery hasn’t changed the talent pool.

Local sports enthusiast Bart Burcham said there aren’t any major impact players in this year’s NFL draft that begins with the first round on Thursday.

“There aren’t any franchise turners. There are players who can help teams, but no one to make anyone remarkably better like last year with the receivers,” said Burcham.

It’s easy to believe Burcham who has had more correct first round picks and more players with the right teams than any of the so-called experts including Mel Kiper and Todd McShay.

Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper and Southern Cal defensive lineman Leonard Williams are the top two players in the draft, according to Burcham.

“Unless Tampa Bay is just totally convinced about Winston, I’d take Cooper,” said Burcham.

Barring trades, here is how Burcham sees the first round.

1. Tampa Bay: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State. They have a couple of good receivers, so they have to find a quarterback.

2. Tennessee: This will be Marcus Mariotta, QB, Oregon. He’ll go in the No. 2 pick whether it’s Tennessee, Philadelphia, Cleveland or whoever.

3. Jacksonville: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama. They have a bunch of No. 2 receivers. They need a No. 1 receiver. They could go with a DE/OLB type guy, but I’d get all the weapons I could.

4. Oakland: Leonard Williams, DL, Southern Cal. He’s the most safe pick on the board.

5. Washington: Dante Fowler, DE, Florida. He’s the best pass rusher on the whole board. Someone might trade into this spot.

6. New York Jets: In today’s game you need pass rushers and corners, so this will be Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky.

7. Chicago: They lost Brandon Marshall, so they go with Kevin White, WR, West Virginia. He had a breakout year this past season.

8. Atlanta: Vic Beasley, LB, Clemson. They have to re-do the defense. They have to amp up their pass rush that was the worst in the league last year.

9. New York Giants: This could be a bunch of players, but they go with Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa.

10. St. Louis: Since they traded for Nick Foles, they take DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville. He’s a big guy but he can get down field and stretch a defense.

11. Minnesota: If they trade Peterson, they’ll get a first round pick. But their corners are the worst in the league, so they go for Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State.

12. Cleveland: Who knows? Forget Manziel, they wasted the No. 9 pick on Justin Gilbert. They need to take Danny Shelton, DT, Washington.

13. New Orleans: They have two picks. They have to go defense first and they take a chance on Randy Gregory, LB-DE, Nebraska.

14. Miami: They take Shaq Thompson, LB-S, Washington. He’s like Troy Paulumala. He’ll play safety in the pros. This could be a receiver, too.

15. San Francisco: Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon. He was Oregon’s best pass rusher and 49ers need to start rebuilding the defensive line.

16. Houston: They lost Andre Johnson, so they go Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida.

17. San Diego: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia. They have a void at running back. Even though he’s had knee trouble, one team has him listed as No. 1 on their board. If he’s healthy, he’s great. Regardless, they should go for a running back.

18. Kansas City: They had zero touchdowns from a wide receiver, so they take a wide receiver and it could be Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State.

19. Cleveland: They take Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford. They have Joe Thomas, so this would give them two mammoth tackles.

20. Philadelphia: This could be anything. Chip Kelly wants everyone to believe he’s the smartest guy in the room. They need secondary help, but he takes Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon. He’d really like to trade up and get Mariotta.

21. Cincinnati: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami, Fla. They’ll take the best lineman they can get because both their tackles are in the last year of their contracts and they won’t pay top dollar for both of them.

22. Pittsburgh: They have to do something on defense. They need an outside linebacker, but they need a corner, too. They have William Gay on one side, so the pick is Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest.

23. Detroit: If this guy falls this far, Malcom Brown, DT, Texas. They lost Suh and Fairley so they need someone. Brown’s an excellent run defender.

24. Arizona: They need a quarterback desperately, but this guy is one of the top five picks. They go with Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin.

25. Carolina: This is either wide receiver or offensive line. It could be D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida, but I think it is Nelson Agholor, WR, Southern Cal.

26. Baltimore: This has to be secondary. This guy is extremely talented but his character is questionable. Still, the pick is Marcus Peters, CB, Washington.

27. Dallas: The offense is good, so they go defense after all of the injuries last year. Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA, is the best pass coverage linebacker in the draft.

28. Denver: They take Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State. He played outside to start with but was moved inside to center. He can play anywhere on the line.

29. Indianapolis: Landon Collins, S, Alabama. Their offense is in good shape. They need to make the back end of their secondary better. Great tackler.

30. Green Bay: Denzel Perriman, ILB, Miami, Fla. They have to get more on the inside so they don’t have to move Clay Mathews in there all the time.

31. New Orleans: They traded Jimmy Graham to get this pick, so they get Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State, to give them two good receivers.

32. New England: Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota. He’s going to be a great player. He’s the steal of the draft.