The 2013-2014 is officially over and done with. The Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos in convincing fashion to win the Super Bowl. Teams have been studying film and evaluating talent at the bowl games. The off-season is under way and this is where everything gets exciting. It’s almost draft time.
1. Houston Texans – Johnny Manziel QB/Texas A&M
As attractive as lining up Jadeveon Clowney next to J.J. Watt is, the Texans need a franchise quarterback. Matt Schaub has fell out of favor and Case Keenum isn’t a #1 guy. Manziel will bring excitement wherever he goes. If I was a GM, I’m personally running the opposite direction. He has all the talent in the world on the field, but is a liability off the field.
2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins) – Jake Matthews OT/Texas A&M
I have a strong feeling that the Rams will make another trade this season for another team in need of a QB. But for this scenario, I’ll just have them picking the best player available and at a position of need. Jake Long is coming off an injury and Rodger Saffold is a free agent. Their line needs to be upgraded and Matthews is the guy. A&M goes 1-2 in the draft.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Derek Carr QB/Fresno State
Call me crazy, which I’m sure a lot of people are doing at the moment. Personally, I’m not sold on Blake Bortles and I have a crazy feeling they’re going to pass over Teddy Bridgewater. The Jaguars need a QB and I think they go out on a limb and draft Carr. If Justin Blackmon can stay out of trouble, there is a lot of potential here.
4. Cleveland Browns – Teddy Bridgewater QB/Louisville
It’s no secret that the Browns desperately need a QB and if Bridgewater is available, it’s an easy decision. To me, Bridgewater is the #1 QB in this draft, but he slips to the 4th spot. I can also see either the Browns or another team trading up with St. Louis to grab Bridgewater. Bridgewater throwing to Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron is a great thought.
5. Oakland Raiders – Greg Robinson OT/Auburn
The Raiders are another team with a QB need, but that’s only if they aren’t high on Terrelle Pryor. I take head to the rumors that they are high on Tajh Boyd and can see them taking him early in the third round. They may have found a gem in Menelik Watson last season, but with Khalif Barnes, Jared Veldheer and Tony Pashos heading into free agency I can see them addressing the second most important position on the team.
6. Atlanta Falcons – Jadeveon Clowney DE/South Carolina
The Falcons desperately need help with their pass rush. This past season was a complete disaster. They still have weapons on offense, but their defense needs to do a better job. Clowney is one of the most explosive players in this draft, regardless of his past season.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sammy Watkins WR/Clemson
With a new coaching staff, the Bucs could be looking at another “franchise” QB, but I think Glennon is the guy for this team. He was up and down last season, but I think he just needs more weapons. He is a perfect fit opposite Vincent Jackson with Doug Martin on the ground.
8. Minnesota Vikings – Blake Bortles QB/UCF
With the same scenario as the Bucs, a new coaching staff and a possible need at QB. The Vikings have Christian Ponder, who is not the answer on the roster. Both Josh Freeman and Matt Cassel are headed into free agency, so the Vikings must address the situation.
9. Buffalo Bills – Eric Ebron TE/North Carolina
This could be a reach at this point, but with Scott Chandler heading into free agency Ebron fills a big need. Both of their starting safeties are heading into free agency as well, but I feel that Duke Williams, who plays the same position as Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix is a good fit.
10. Detroit Lions – Mike Evans WR/Texas A&M
Evans gives A&M 3 of the top 10 picks and the Lions head back to drafting WR’s in the first round. Megatron needs help and Stafford needs someone else to throw the ball up for grab’s too. Evans is just as big as Calvin Johnson and gives Stafford another option in the passing game. They could also look at CB here as well.
11. Tennessee Titans – Taylor Lewan OT/Michigan
This is tough pick. The Titans need help with their pass rush, but they also need help on their offensive line. Ken Whisenhunt is the new head coach and he’ll look to upgrade his side of the ball early. Lewan is the top OL on the board and he’ll help the offensive line.
12. New York Giants – Khalil Mack OLB/Buffalo
The Giants need help all across the board on the defensive side of the ball. They have Keith Rivers and Jon Beason going into free agency and they need to upgrade the position. He’s the best player available on the board and must be taken by a bad defense.
13. St. Louis Rams – Hasean Clinton-Dix FS/Alabama
The Rams have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. They went offense with their first pick, so they look to upgrade a very good secondary. Clinton-Dix is the best safety in the draft and easily bolster’s the Rams secondary.
14. Chicago Bears – Darqueze Dennard CB/Michigan State
The Bears have a big whole to fill in Charles Tillman who’s heading into free agency. Dennard is my #1 CB and he quickly upgrades the roster. Their secondary is weak and the pass rushers need help behind them.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Anthony Barr OLB/UCLA
Yes, I know the Steelers drafted Jarvis Jones last season. I also understand that Barr is too good to pass up at this point in the draft. The Steelers have holes, but the guys in charge aren’t afraid to go BPA. Opposite Jones is no proven guy, so I see nothing wrong with this pick.
16. Dallas Cowboys – Timmy Jernigan DT/Florida State
With Jason Hatcher headed to free agency and a big whole at DT, Jernigan would be a great fit. Last year, Jerry Jones surprised everyone by taking a C early on. As we saw, it was a great pick. Jernigan would help DeMarcus Ware and George Selvie attack the QB.
17. Baltimore Ravens – Marqise Lee WR/USC
With all the holes the Ravens have forming on a yearly basis, this is the easiest pick I’ve done. Flacco is garbage without a top WR on the field. Torrey Smith is a great deep threat, but that’s about it. Lee is easily the best WR on their team and gives Flacco a security blanket.
18. New York Jets – Kelvin Benjamin WR/Florida State
The Jets need just about every position on offense. They drafted Geno Smith last year, but it was obvious early that he had no weapons. Benjamin gives him a big target opposite a “healthy” Santonio Holmes. Their upgrades on defense last season and surprise play this year could vault them into the playoffs next season.
19. Miami Dolphins – Zack Martin OT/Notre Dame
The Dolphins let Jake Long walk last season and another starter is headed out as well, possibly. The Dolphins need to allow Ryan Tannehill to continue his growth by giving him more protection. The bulk of the news coming out of Miami about their offensive line was negative. This is a positive move.
20. Arizona Cardinals – C.J. Mosley ILB/Alabama
Mosley is the #1 ILB on the board and fits a huge need for the Cardinals. Karlos Dansby is in his 30’s and a free agent, so the Cardinals may look for the new guy. Mosley will fit in perfectly on a strong defense.
21. Green Bay Packers – Louis Nix DT/Notre Dame
With Ryan Pickett going into free agency and his age, Nix comes in and takes over at the NT position immediately. If the Packers can re-sign B.J. Raji, he and Nix would form a scary front. They have quite a few guys on the defensive line going into free agency, so it must be addressed.
22. Philadelphia Eagles – Dee Ford OLB/Auburn
You can never have too many pass rushers. After strong showings in bowl games, Ford has catapulted himself up many draft boards, including mine. He would fit in perfectly with a rotation of Trent Cole and Connor Barwin.
23. Kansas City Chiefs – Calvin Pryor FS/Louisville
The Chiefs don’t have many needs after a great season under Andy Reid. The defense floundered down the stretch. Pryor fills a position of need with both players heading into free agency. Pryor would be a great fit next to Eric Berry. I can also look at their offensive line as well, even though they added Eric Fisher last season.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Cyrus Kouandjio OT/Alabama
The Bengals need to upgrade one of their most important positions. Andy Dalton is possibly on his last straw as the “franchise” QB. They need to make sure he has no excuses on getting the job done. Kouandjio makes a lot of sense with Anthony Collins going to free agency.
25. San Diego Chargers – Justin Gilbert CB/Oklahoma State
The Chargers had a breakout season. They were one of the worst teams in passing defense ad Gilbert would quickly help that out. He fills a position of need and gives Phillip Rivers some much needed help on the defensive side.
26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis Colts) – David Yankey OG/Stanford
This is not the sexy pick, but this could potentially be the best player needed to fit what is needed. They already have a very good defense and no one else really fits a need that I’d draft at this point. Also, in a lot of cases, teams normally grab another offensive player to fit in with the QB.
27. New Orleans Saints – Odell Beckham, Jr. WR/LSU
The Saints have Drew Brees, who’s getting older and a WR corps that was ok last season. Beckham gives Brees another option to take pressure of Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham (if they can re-sign him). They could look defense here as well, but under first year DC Rob Ryan, the defense was much improved and surprising.
28. Carolina Panthers – Jordan Matthews WR/Vanderbilt
Some may think this is a reach. But Matthews is #4 on my draft board at WR and he fits the Panthers biggest need. Steve Smith is slowing down and Cam Newton has no other WR to throw the ball to. Matthews will help this team drastically right away.
29. New England Patriots – Jason Verrett CB/TCU
Aqib Talib is a free agent and Bill Belichick doesn’t normally pay his players. He’ll most likely let him get paid elsewhere and bring in the next guy. Verrett is that next guy, but he isn’t just any guy. He has a lot of talent and could fit in well in New England.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Aaron Donald DT/Pittsburgh
Donald cracks the first round after a strong bowl showing. Justin Smith is getting up there in age and could be groomed to be the replacement. It’s so much talent on the defense that he’ll slide in under the radar and produce when given the time.
31. Denver Broncos – Kony Ealy DE/Missouri
Shaun Phillips had a strong season this past year with Von Miller missing time. Ealy gives the Broncos another pass rusher if Phillips leaves through free agency. The Broncos have so many holes to fill on a defense that will be losing a lot of players to free agency.
32. Seattle Seahawks – Stephon Tuitt DT/Notre Dame
The Super Bowl champions have the luxury of picking the best guy they feel is available or reaching. The could look to add more weapons to the offense, but Tuitt won’t be there in the second round so I love this pick. Added to that defense, he can only help make them better.