1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney DE South Carolina
For most of the season, I’ve argued that Manziel should go to the first team that needs a QB; however, Clowney is a Lawrence Taylor/Reggie White/Bruce Smith caliber prospect. If the Texans pair him with Watt (arguably the best defensive player in the NFL), they have a chance to construct a young D that rivals the Seahawks and 49ers. I think they’d be justified in drafting Clowney, Manziel, or Bridgewater, but I think this move sets Houston on the most prudent path.
2. St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson OT Auburn
I think you can argue that the Rams should consider moving on from Bradford, but they won’t. The Rams found their RB in Zac Stacy, and he’s helped the to establish the offensive identity Fisher wants. You can make a case for Sammy Watkins here, but Austin and Bailey are very good. Robinson is the best run blocking OT I’ve seen at the college level. He’s a perfect fit for what they’re trying to establish on offense.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M
I expect Gust Bradley to establish a very good D within the next couple of seasons, and I expect him to try to replicate an offense that compliments that defense much like the system they have in Seattle. Manziel has the skillset to extend drives by converting 3rd downs, and he’s the best QB in the draft at connecting on deep passes. They still need to facilitate the running game, but this is a great fit for both parties.
4. Cleveland Browns – Teddy Bridgewater QB Louisville
The Browns miss out on Manziel, but they get Bridgewater. Bridgewater compares favorably to Matt Ryan; Bridgewater has more upside. I rate Bridgewater higher than most of the #1 QB’s in recent seasons (Newton and Luck being the exceptions).
5. Oakland Raiders – Sammy Watkins WR Clemson
Oakland still needs a QB, but if I’m them, I’m not passing up a player like Watkins for a guy with as many concerns as Bortles. Denarius Moore has struggled to stay healthy, but if he can, he’d be a high-end 2nd option. This is a case of Watkins being too good to pass as much as need, but it does fill a need.
6. Atlanta Falcons – Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M
As Bridgewater was the preseason #1 QB and would be the #1 QB in most drafts, Matthews was the #1 OT and would be the #1 OT in most drafts. His pass pro is near flawless (perfect for an Atlanta team that wants to utilize the talents of Jones and White).
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Khalil Mack DE/OLB Buffalo
Tampa Bay is close to having a very good D. McCoy and David should kill it for Smith. Mack is an ideal candidate for SOLB on base downs, and he can kick down to DE for passing situations. Outstanding COD and balance.
8. Minnesota Vikings – Blake Bortles QB UCF
Bortles has his concerns, but given the talent at their other positions of need, this is as good a spot as any to go QB, and Bortles does bring a lot to the table. I see the Big Ben comparisons – much more than the Andrew Luck comparisons. Not the most precise QB in the world, but he makes plays, and he has the size and athleticism to excel. Slight but warranted reach here.
9. Buffalo Bills – Mike Evans WR Texas A&M
The Bills would ideally go D here, but I’m not liking the DE’s or CB’s at this point. You can make a case for Mosley, but I think you give your 2nd year QB a weapon that compliments his other WR’s. In Evans, you get an extremely physical WR with a big frame. He’s hard to press, and he uses his body well. Brandon Marshall would be my pro comparison.
10. Detroit Lions – Kyle Van Noy OLB BYU
The Lions need help at DE, LB, and in the secondary. Van Noy is a play maker. He’s scored a TD in every season at BYU (two in 2013). In his last three seasons, he has seven interceptions (at least two interceptions in each of those seasons). He has 11 forced fumbles in four seasons (none in his senior season but six during his junior season). Since his sophomore season, he has posted TFL totals of 15, 22, and 17.5. He also had 13 sacks as a junior, and he blocked three kicks during his time at BYU.
11. Tennessee Titans – Anthony Barr OLB UCLA
I have mixed feelings on Barr, but I think he’ll be a good fit for a Ray Horton D. Should be a very productive 3-4 OLB, and I see a significant drop off after Barr. 20+ TFL in each of the last two seasons.
12. New York Giants – Taylor Lewan OT Michigan
The Giants need help at OT. That’s no secret. Lewan didn’t allow a sack during his Senior season, and I view him as underrated as an athlete and as a run blocker.
13. St. Louis Rams – Jimmie Ward FS Northern Illinois
The Rams need to get serious about their secondary, and Ward is the most sound FS prospect since Earl Thomas. His angles are perfect; he can cover WR’s (some said better than any of the CB’s on the North Squad during the Senior Bowl); he’s a sure tackler; and he excels in single-high looks. This is much higher than most mocks will have him, but if you look at the criticisms, they all boil down to size. He’s the closest thing to Earl Thomas since Earl Thomas, and there isn’t a more valuable non-QB in the NFL than ET.
14. Chicago Bears – Aaron Donald DT Pittsburgh
The Geno Atkins comparisons are legit. If you need a 3-technique, Donald is the terror you want.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Allen Robinson WR Penn State
I see Robinson as perfect for Pittsburgh. His size and his ability to high point the ball make him a legitimate RZ threat, but Robinson’s YAC ability is perfectly suited for Haley’s offense. Maybe the best YAC WR in this class – save for Watkins.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix S Alabama
Baltimore would like to address O-line here, but I don’t like the value available, and Dix and Elam would give them one of the most physical safety tandems in the league.
17. Dallas Cowboys – Timmy Jernigan DT Florida State
Dallas needs help all over the defensive side of the ball. Jernigan isn’t as disruptive as Donald, but he’s plenty disruptive, and he’s very stout for a DT under 300 lbs. Had a strong game against a great Auburn running attack.
18. New York Jets – Marqise Lee WR USC
The Jets WR unit is as bad as any in the NFL. Before a bad junior season, Marqise Lee was seen by most as an even better prospect than Sammy Watkins. He’s not blazing fast, but he looks like the fastest guy on the field, and his COD is up there with the best. Concerns about his personality and work ethic drop him some, but he’s too talented for a team as WR needy as the Jets to pass.
19. Miami Dolphins – Jeremy Hill RB LSU
Jeremy Hill is a top-10 talent. He runs with remarkable burst – especially for a guy who weighs 230. Pad level, vision, quick feet, and physicality are all pluses. He’s the only player in SEC history to average 6.9 YPC. He’s a guy like Lynch or Peterson who demands extra defenders in the box, because you can’t expect to tackle him with one guy. He’ll also take it to the house. I expect his 40 to be right around 4.5 flat. Miami needs to improve their pass protection, but even more, they need to establish a running game. Also, bypassing Hill here would mean taking a lesser prospect.
20. Arizona Cardinals – Eric Ebron TE North Carolina
The Cardinals are in a situation similar to Miami. They can use O-line help, but their offense can also use a dynamic threat at TE, and Ebron is too good to pass – even if it’s a lesser need.
21. Green Bay Packers – Calvin Pryor S Louisville
Green Bay’s offense is good enough to compete with anyone. Their D is littered with liabilities. Pryor can play either safety position. He hits hard and has good range and ball skills. Doesn’t always react as quick as you’d like, and his angles are solid but not on par with a guy like Ward. But the Packers would welcome his playmaking and physicality.
22. Philadelphia Eagles – Justin Gilbert CB Oklahoma State
Another team that needs some help in the secondary, the Eagles might be unhappy to see the top three safeties off the board, but they get the best CB prospect. Gilbert has good size and length, and he’s a fluid athlete. Can play press or off. His intensity can lapse at times, but he goes before Dennard because of physical tools.
23. Kansas City Chiefs – Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan State
Speaking of Dennard, the Chiefs have a turnstile at CB, and they like to blitz. Dennard is used to playing press coverage, which should suit KC’s demands. Dennard was the best college CB last season, but lack of upside sees him take a slight hit and fall to #2 CB.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – C. J Mosley LB Alabama
Might seem like Mosley is going to low, but I think he’s been somewhat overrated. He’s outstanding in coverage, and he can fly to the ball, but he’s not a guy who will excel taking on O-linemen or big TE’s. The Bengals outstanding D-line, coupled with an extremely physical Burfict, should free up Mosley to do what he does best. Obviously, they would like secondary help. But the S’s and CB’s left don’t offer proper value.
25. San Diego Chargers – Antonio Richardson LT Tennessee
The Chargers set their line for the next 10 years pairing the big, physical Fluker with the big, physical Tiny Richardson. Tiny is an underrated pass blocker, and he’d give SD two ways to run to strength (with Fluker on the other side). Fits what McCoy is implementing in SD.
26. Cleveland Browns – Jarvis Landry WR LSU
Cleveland has its QB of the future. The next step is establishing a running game, but there aren’t any RB’s here that separate from the pack, so they wait for RD 2 or RD 3. They do add a WR who is a QB’s best friend and who perfectly complements Josh Gordon. Gordon is one of the best big-play WR’s in the league (none of the top WR’s had a better yards per target). Landry can beat you deep, but he excels doing the dirty work. Making tough catches to move the chains, making key blocks. My favorite WR in the draft.
27. New Orleans Saints – Louis Nix NT Notre Dame
The Saints much-improved D gets another shot in the arm. Their pass D was much better than their run D in 2013 (2nd compared to 19th). Nix could be a pick that takes them to that next level – the way the Carolina DT’s did this season. They have to account for teams like Carolina, SF, and Seattle, who all love to run the ball.
28. Carolina Panthers – Donte Moncrief WR Mississippi
Speaking of Carolina, get Cam some weapons. Moncrief should see his stock rise in the coming months. He’s too talented to ignore. Can beat you deep, can beat you with RAC, can go up and take the ball away from the defender. His physical style is a great fit for Carolina.
29. New England Patriots – Ra’Shede Hageman DT Minnesota
Hageman might be the most talented DT in the class. He can play in multiple fronts, and he has outstanding burst and length. Inconsistent motor is the major knock, and New England believes that they can “positively influence” this talent. Not to mention, they need help at DT.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Odell Beckham Jr. WR LSU
SF gets a deep threat to pair with Crabtree. This pairing should remind some of Michael Irvin and Alvin Harper. Kaepernick has the arm to test any area of the field, and with the attention that Crabtree and Davis require, Beckham should cause D’s headaches. I’d compare him to a stronger , longer Desean Jackson.
31. Denver Broncos – Kony Ealy DE Missouri
Ealy gives Denver ‘s pass rush some help. Miller’s coming back, but apart from him, they have guys who are long in the tooth or just adequate on the edge. They know the importance of getting after the QB, or they should (after the SB).
32. Seattle Seahawks – Cyrus Kouandjio OT Alabama
Kouandjio is overrated by many. Based on performance, he’s not a 1st RD pick. Based on talent, he’s the 2nd best OT in the class (more talented than Matthews), and who develops players better than Seattle? Perfect storm for Seattle. If they can get him to play to his talent, they significantly improved their line.