What is starting to look more and more like a given is the cut of Quintin Mikell. I love the player, but a $9 million cap hit hurts. Also, Wayne Hunter is as good as gone. Eugene Sims, set to make a $1.2 million hit as a 4th string DE, is expendable. Danny Amendola, if resigned, will likely max out at $4 millions/year if he wants to stay here. As for Steven Jackson, if he wants to stay, I can see no more than 3 years at about $2.25 million a year. One player who can make more money is William Hayes. He, to me, was our 3rd best defensive player last year behind only Courtland Finnegan and Chris Long in terms of impacting a game as a constant. His deal, as he's stated he wants to stay, should be for about 4 years and $12 million. All these contracts should be and equal amount each year. With front-loaded contracts like Long's and Laurinaitis', we will have more money to spend in the next few years.
TRADE First (16) and Third to Tennessee for #10 overall - Eric Fisher OT CMU
With Fisher being one of two elite tackle prospects coming out this year, we really need to make a play for him. He is a LT stud who plays extremely similarly to Joe Thomas (CLE). With Rodger Saffold being on his last year of his contract, this may be a must. If Saffold is not resigned after this year and we do not address this in the way that we land a great player, our luck may run out.
Also, I feel that Fisher will drop to at most #11, so jumping the Chargers can help out immensely. With teams like KC, PHIL, and SD all looking for offensive line help, at least one of the teams will make a free agent pickup and at least one will make their pick a different need.
TRADE First (22) to Cincinnati for #37 and #52 overall
#37 overall - Alec Ogletree OLB UGA
The need for a 4-3 strong side outside linebacker is large for us. As a former safety, Ogletree has the speed and body control to help with run support as well as pass coverage. As we all know, the Rams like to play a lot in the Nickel Package and Ogletree will help fill a void in coverage over the middle. Pairing with either Dunbar or Laurinaitis, a healthy 3-man swap will do good for us. Also, on some pass rush downs, moving him to MLB and having Dunbar and Sammy Brown blitz will set up a new dimension for the defense.
#47 overall - Larry Warford OG UK
Grading out as more of a RG with his strength and power, Warford can easily man the LG position for a year. With Harvey Dahl looking older and his body starting to ware down, grooming Warford's speed and agility for a year on the left side will benefit him greatly for the move to RG the following year. He's a bruiser like Fisher likes and will help out the run game whether Steven Jackson comes back or not. (Although, I hope he does.)
#52 overall - Eric Reid FS LSU
Les Snead hinted at finding a safety, or two, who can start later on in the draft. Eric Reid has the size, knowledge, and big-play ability to fit the bill. With safety emergences such as Matt Elam, Kenny Vaccaro, and Jonathan Cyprien, Reid will more than likely fall to us in the second round in this scenario.
#111 overall - Justin Hunter WR TENN
I know, #111 overall seems kind of low for Hunter, who was a 1st round projection in the beginning of the year, but, with his knee injury, he wasn't as dynamic as last year. After a full year of being injury free, he will be 100% when we draft him. With their being around 10-12 WRs that could be drafted before him, we could find him, or a player like Da'rick Rogers or Markus Wheaton in a Chris Givens-like fashion. (He was a projected 2nd round pick).
#143 overall - Robert Lester SS BAMA
Lester had a down year this year compared to 2011. But, he had an elite FS beside him in Mark Barron. I believe if put next to Reid, he could become that player again. Not to mention how many defensive back oriented coaches that are on the staff. He would be in a win-win situation. But, if he cannot start, a player like Matt Daniels can get a shot to play SS as well before, if needed, addressing this early on next draft.
#174 overall - Tharold Simon CB LSU
If theres one thing Jeff Fisher likes, it's a solid cornerback. They are always in abundance in the draft and a few always fall. Take Trumaine Johnson for example, he has the size and ability to of been a late 1st rounder last year. But, he fell to the 3rd round. Being graded as a 4-5 round selection, I think the possibility of being there in the 6th round is good for us. He's a large CB and would be a good 4th in case something happens.
#206 overall - Graham Pocic OC ILL
The need for a backup center is always in play. We saw Scott Wells go down for the first time in his career and Pocic is one of the best in the nation. He would also be a much cheaper replacement to Rob Turner and would also let Rok Watkins play the backup guard role to Warford and Dahl.