Here is the 20th edition of the Monday Morning Draft - a column that delves into the past weekend's action from an NFL Draft perspective. As the season goes on, the draft picture and slotting will become more clear, but every Sunday will provide a few hints for next April.
This section will look at some of the top talent in college football and match those prospects up with the losing teams from the conference championships.
Baltimore Ravens: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
Baltimore was abused by New England defensive tackle Vince Wilfork in the AFC Championship Game. Center Matt Birk has had an excellent career, but the Ravens need a young center to control the middle of the offensive line. If Baltimore can't re-sign Ben Grubbs, adding a young center is even more critical.
Konz is the best center in the draft and looks like a sure-fire first-round pick. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Konz is a powerful run blocker who was a massive force in opening up holes for running back Montee Ball. Konz did a fabulous job in pass protection for quarterback Russell Wilson. With his size and strength, Konz has no problems anchoring against bull rushes. He is athletic and mobile to get to linebackers on the second level of the defense and pull around the edge. The Ravens might need to trade up in the first round to land Konz.
San Francisco 49ers: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
The 49ers' defense played well, but San Francisco couldn't produce enough points to support its defense. The 49ers' offense didn't have one of its receivers total three receptions in the NFC Championship Game. San Francisco could use a wide receiver capable of producing some big plays downfield and take advantage of safeties focusing on tight end Vernon Davis and running back Frank Gore. Wright totaled 127 receptions for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdown in 2011. The speedy wide out consistently raced through coverage to get open in the deep part of the field for the Bears. While Wright (5-10, 190) is smaller, he would be a good fit in the 49ers' receiving corps.
Let's Play Coaching Matchmaker:
This section will look at some of the available head coaching and coordinator positions and who could be a good fit for a given position.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jon Hoke
Assuming the Buccaneers hire Chip Kelly to be their head coach and run the offense, the team will still need an experienced NFL coach to lead its defense. Hoke has done a solid job leading the Chicago Bears' secondary ,and he would be a good fit in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have drafted four defensive linemen with first and second-round picks in the past two drafts who fit a Tampa 2-style defense. Hoke has worked in that system in Chicago for the past three seasons. Previously, he was the defensive backs coach with the Houston Texans (2002-2008) and defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach of the Florida Gators (1999-2001). The Bears would not let Hoke interview for the Vikings defensive coordinator position, but Minnesota is a division rival. Tampa Bay's owners, the Glazers, let Lovie Smith leave Tampa Bay to be the defensive coordinator in St. Louis after serving as the Buccaneers linebackers coach under Tony Dungy. So Smith could return the favor by letting Hoke have a shot at running the Tampa Bay defense.
Miami Dolphins: Todd Bowles
Miami would be smart to retain Bowles as its defensive coordinator. Bowles is extremely popular in the locker room, and he could help the players buy into their new head coach Joe Philbin. The Dolphins responded to Bowles when he was made the head coach to finish out the season. Bowles is a young, promising coach who has already earned the respect of his veterans. He is one of the top young assistants in the league, so retaining him to lead the defense would be a good idea for Philbin.
Kansas City Chiefs: Hue Jackson
Kansas City needs to find an offensive coordinator who can handle a murky quarterback situation. The Chiefs will have veteran Matt Cassel returning next season, and, allegedly, would like to re-sign Kyle Orton. In Oakland, the Raiders improved with Jackson from where they were previously. Jason Campbell and Carson Palmer weren't All-Pro quarterbacks by any means, but Oakland had more success under Jackson than before he arrived. Jackson knows the division's defenses well from coaching the Raiders, so that would give him a schematic head-start over other coordinator candidates. He will be highly motivated to get Kansas City's offense humming after getting fired by Oakland.
Oakland Raiders: Winston Moss
The Raiders are an organization that could use a good working relationship between the front office and the coaching staff. With Reggie McKenzie leaving Green Bay to take over as Oakland's general manager, it makes sense for him to bring in a head coach with whom he has a background. Moss has been the Packers linebackers coach and assistant head coach since 2006. Since he played for the Raiders, he more than likely understands some of Oakland's franchise identity. Moss and McKenzie saw how Green Bay grew into a Super Bowl champion, and they could implement that blue print for the Raiders.
Indianapolis Colts: Jerry Gray
Gray is a hot coordinator candidate who is very popular with his players. Over 14 years, he has served as a defensive coordinator and secondary coach. Gray also has Pro Bowl pedigree, having made four during the nine NFL seasons he played. Gray could take over the Colts' defense and hire an experienced offensive coach to work with future first-round pick Andrew Luck. That pattern worked for Indianapolis with head coach Tony Dungy, offensive coordinator Tom Moore and quarterback Peyton Manning.
For the Vikings it doesn't matter who our RB is if we don't improve the line first. Our first pick HAS to be an offensive lineman. Preferably an OT where we have nobody who should be starting, but it could also be an interior lineman if that's what's available. Obviously the Vikings could spend in FA and improve the line to a point where our first pick can be BPA, but the line is by far and away the number one priority.
I'm not sure why but that diagram made me uncomfortable when skeletor was too close at the end. Not super uncomfortable, but uncomfortable like that feeling you get when you know the ghosts have you cornered and you're out of those super pellets and they're just about to kill you.