Rd. 1, Pk. 7
Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
Washington's defense has been so much better under Joe Barry, who has been an enormous upgrade over Jim Haslett thus far. However, the Redskins could still use an upgrade at cornerback, which Vernon Hargreaves can certainly provide. Washington has struggled at this position since losing DeAngelo Hall, which is a sign of things to come because Hall won't be on the roster for much longer.
The Steelers almost have to make this pick, don't they? The front office has avoided upgrading the cornerback position in the first round for quite some time now, but that could change, given how dreadful the defense looked in the season opener versus Tom Brady.
Pick change; previously Kendall Fuller, CB
Rd. 2, Pk. 1
Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Here's some more help for Tampa's anemic defense. Both Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks were terrible against Marcus Mariota. At least one will need to be upgraded this offseason. The Buccaneers are getting a bargain here, as Kendall Fuller has dropped because of his season-ending injury.
The Broncos have the option of moving Bradley Roby to safety. With that in mind, they're free to find an upgrade at either position in the secondary.
Pick change; previously Zack Sanchez, CB
Rd. 2, Pk. 31
Will Redmond, CB, Mississippi State
Perhaps Bill Belichick will use a second-round pick next year on an actual need, rather than a late-round safety. I don't get how New England failed to find replacements for Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner.
The Saints have signed free agents and used early-round picks, but their pass defense continues to be an issue. Here's a shutdown corner. Having an elite No. 1 cornerback makes it a lot easier for a defensive coordinator to cover the other options.
Hargreaves has played in three games and has 10 tackles with one pass broken up and two interceptions on the season. He missed a game over illness and being banged up. Hargreaves totaled 50 tackles, three interceptions and 13 passes broken up in 2014. He went toe to toe with Amari Cooper and held his own. Both players showcased their elite skills and proved to be top prospects for the NFL. Cooper made some catches over Hargreaves, but unlike other defensive backs, Cooper wasn't getting separation or burning the Gator cover corner.
The 5-foot-11, 192-pound Hargreaves has natural cover skills to run with wideouts and not allow separation. Sources have said that Hargreaves is a star off the field as well as a good teammate, worker and citizen. As a true freshman in 2013, he recorded interceptions in his first three college games while totaling 11 pass breakups and 38 tackles for the year.
Pick change; previously Laquon Treadwell, WR
Rd. 1, Pk. 12
Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU
This is a bit high for White, but there wasn't much else that made sense for Philadelphia. Perhaps a trio of White, Eric Rowe and Byron Maxwell can be the answer for the Eagles' coverage issues.
White has 15 tackles with two passes broken up and a punt returned for a touchdown this season. He had some struggles with a big receiver in Mississippi State's De'Runnya Wilson. The 5-foot-11, 191-pounder is fast with the ability to prevent separation.
White played well in 2013 and 2014 with two picks in each year and solid run support. He had 55 tackles as a freshman and 33 stops as a sophomore. White has shown steady ball skills while batting away seven passes in 2013 and six as a sophomore.
Pick change; previously Cardale Jones, QB
Rd. 1, Pk. 27
Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
After losing Antonio Cromartie in free agency, the Cardinals grab a cornerback to pair with Patrick Peterson.
Fuller had a rough start to 2015 when he was beaten by Michael Thomas for a touchdown, but aside from that play, Fuller was solid against a very talented Ohio State team. He only ended up playing in two games before going out for the year with a knee injury. The junior had seven tackles, one sack and a pass broken up in his shortened season.
Fuller played at a very high level in 2014, racking up 17 passes broken up, two interceptions, 50 tackles and 4.5 tackles for a loss. He shut down East Carolina's Justin Hardy in their matchup. Pittsburgh's Tyler Boyd was a challenge for Fuller, but Fuller held his own.
The younger brother of Bears' 2014 NFL Draft first-round pick Kyle Fuller, Kendall Fuller saw the field immediately as a freshman. He was a Freshman All-American and the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year. Fuller is fast and instinctive, just like his older brother. Kendall Fuller had six interceptions and 58 tackles in 2013.
The Steelers drafted Senquez Golson in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, but he really is just a nickel corner. Pittsburgh will need some difference-makers on the outside.
In 2015, Sutton has 12 tackles and two passes batted. He was excellent for the Volunteers in 2014, recording 37 tackles with three interceptions, 13 passes broken up and four tackles for a loss for the year. Sutton was one of many superb freshman cornerbacks in college football in 2013. He recorded 39 tackles, seven passes broken up and two interceptions.
Sutton has good size and speed for the position. The 5-foot-11, 186-pounder is a very physical defender who plays with a chip on his shoulder.
Pick change; previously Tre'Davious White, CB
Rd. 2, Pk. 1
Chicago's defense is awful and needs a lot of upgrades from the front end to the back end. Here's a badly needed upgrade at safety.
In the 2015, Conner has 10 tackles. He totaled 69 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, an interception and two passes broken up in 2014. Conner was a tough defender for Ole Miss. The Rebels used him all over the field, including as an in-the-box safety, an outside corner, a slot corner, an outside linebacker and an edge rusher.
The Rebels had a phenomenal 2013 recruiting class and one of their star freshmen was Conner. From Week 1 of his first season on, he was all over the field for Ole Miss and impossible to ignore. Conner (6-0, 217) was a Freshman All-American and SEC All-Freshman. He totaled 66 tackles with five tackles for a loss, one sack, one interception and seven passes broken up for the year. Conner has instincts and should only get better.
Many thought the Ravens were going to take a corner early in the 2015 NFL Draft, but they didn't. I wouldn't be surprised if they bring in some competition for Lardarius Webb soon.
In 2015, Russell has 22 tackles, three passes broken up and one sack. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder has some natural ability. He is fast enough to maintain coverage with receivers in and out of their breaks, but also plays bigger than his listed size.
Russell missed 2014 over an academic suspension. In his debut season, he had 58 tackles with two interceptions and two passes broken up. Russell continued his strong play for the Irish in 2013. The sophomore totaled 51 tackles, one interception and eight passes broken up.
Rd. 2, Pk. 15
Miami will need some help in the secondary. The team could use a safety upgrade over Walt Aikens, plus Brent Grimes is aging and Brice McCain shouldn't be starting. Here's that upgrade.
To start the year, Sanchez has 14 tackles, one critical interception and a pass broken up. He was awful in 2013, and teams constantly picked on him for big plays, but was vastly improved in 2014 for the Sooners. Sanchez was an all-conference pick that year and held up well when teams targeted him. He had 43 tackles with six interceptions and eight passes broken up last season. As a freshman, Sanchez picked off two passes and batted away 13. The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder could stand to fill out his frame.
Rd. 2, Pk. 17
Will Redmond, CB, Mississippi State
The Chiefs add a corner to pair with Marcus Peters.
To start 2015, Redmond notched 19 tackles and two interceptions. The 6-foot, 185-pounder was a tough corner for the Bulldogs in 2014. He racked up 51 tackles with five passes broken up and three interceptions. It was his first season as a starter. Redmond is a physical defender who has upside to develop.
The Eagles have long needed help at the corner position. but he’s definitely got close to the same exact skillset that enabled his older brother Kyle Fuller to be the 14th pick in 2014. Byron Maxwell is a good corner, but it’s usually best to have more than one. Kendall Fuller is a cover corner in the making, though he might not be as ready for starting caliber NFL wideouts as his brother was in 2014.
Okay. This is probably another pick that can be labeled as weird, ill-advised, a reach, or downright stupid; I don’t care. Pittsburgh still needs a young, future starting cornerback and I’m making a prediction more so about Cameron Sutton than anything else. His coverage skills are pretty good and will only get better with each game. If he improves his tackling ability too, he’ll be drafted around here come May 2016.
Atlanta is a mess every where.Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are the only reason why this team has hope.The O-Line is getting better,So why not go with a CB a place where there secondary needs improving.William Moore has had a decline recently it seems.With Desmond Trufant as the only real Pro-Bowl caliber player on that Defense at the moment.Vernon Hargreaves is a lock down Conner that you love.With giving up less than 4 Yards Per Reception on him he is the guy that can help bring more attention to that struggling secondary
Tramaine Brock may be solid, but to have just one good cornerback isn’t good enough in today’s passing league. Russell has some decent coverage ability and ball skills, but his extra value is derived from his ability to be a factor in defending against the run.
Detroit currently resides in an intimidating division where Jay Cutler or Jimmy Clausen are the only quarterbacks that look stoppable. The best way to help this defense against tough QBs is bolster the line (done) and add a defensive back. Conner is versatile enough to play cornerback or strong safety. He has first round potential and should make for a great safety. Ironically, some teams might view him as a gadget defensive back without a sure position entering the NFL, but he looks the part of a solid strong safety.