1.JACKSONVILLE-TEDDY BRIDGEWATER-QB-LOUISVILLE-I no longer have any faith in Blaine Gabbert to be a NFL starter. If they brought in Tebow they would have at least won games and sold tickets. This year I doubt they do much of either. Bridgewater has all the elite tools you can want ,he loves to throw the ball down field , he is a natural leader , and he is extremely poised in the pocket. All traits Gabbert lacks.
2.NYJ-JADAVIAN CLOWNEY-DE/OLB-S.CAROLINA-Next year is shaping up to be a great year for QB's, and Geno Smith should get at least a couple years to see if he's the right guy long term for them . Clowney is a once a decade prospect who would have been the first pick in last years draft and in most years without a franchise QB.
3.OAKLAND-BRETT HUNDLEY-QB-UCLA-Thanks to years of Al Davis mismanaging the team the raiders have the least talented roster in the NFL . New GM Reggie McKenzie finally got a chance to start rebuilding the roster in this draft , and even after a draft where young fresh bodies were provided we expect it's at least one more year until they are on the way up . Nothing against Tyler Wilson or Matt Flynn , but there is a reason they were both available (4th round and a FA for the second straight year)to the raiders . After watching week 1 it's pretty obvious that syrprise starter Terrelle Pryor has enough athlectism & skill to win a few games. That might also cost them the #1 pick and Teddy Bridgewater. Unless he improves a ton though his best fit is still as a WR or TE. Hundley is actually more talented than Teddy but not as polished right now.
4.VIKINGS-TAJH BOYD-QB-CLEMSON-Christian Ponders injury history and psyche worries me. If he misses significant time, the Vikes miss the playoffs, or he doesn't play well I think Minnesota will be looking for a new QB. Boyd has a lot of the same abilities as Locker. However Boyd is also an accurate passer , a proven winner in college, and he doesn't turn the ball over. Boyd's lack of height (reportedly 6 foot 1 ) is the only reason we drop him down.
5.BROWNS-AJ McCARRON-QB-ALABAMA- Norv Turner is one of the all time great O Coordinators and QB whisperers. So Brandon Weeden may break through this year. If he doesn't McCarron is a proven winner with the tools and leadership to be the guy long term in Cleveland. I still have them as a last place team in their division though.
6.PANTHERS-MARQUISE LEE-WR-USC- Like the Houston Texans before them the panthers seem destined to wait far too long to draft a top receiver. Steve Smith is past his prime & undersized, but he is still the best WR on this team . You would think they would want to do everything they can to help their young franchise QB succeed, but they sure are going about it in a weird way. Lee is the best WR in this class class right now. The only other option I can see for them is a LT. Jordan Gross is nearing the end of a stellar career and his replacement could learn a thing from Gross and play with him a year or 2.
7.BUFFALO -ANTHONY BARR-DE/OLB-UCLA-After spending a lot of money on Mario Williams to rush the passer he spent a injury plauged season being double teamed. The signing of Mark Anderson to play the other side was supposed to cut down on the double teams, but he was also hurt and has been cut. The recently acquired Jerry Hughes and Manny Lawson are more the situational pass rusher/3-4 OLB body types. Barr is a freakish athlete that has already added 20 pounds since last year ,and would be the first defender off the board in almost any other non-Jadavian Clowney-year.
8.LIONS-JAKE MATHEWS-OT-TEX A&M-2012 first rounder Reilly Reiff is probably going to be the LT for the Lions this season . I think he can handle it, but that he would be an even better fit at RT. Either way Matt Stafford's new contract means protecting him is the top priority and having good bookend offensive tackles is the best way to do that.This son of a Hall of Famer was better than any of the tackles in this years draft in our opinion, and they went 1rst, 2nd and 4th in the entire draft.
9.EAGLES-AARON LYNCH-DE/OLB-S.FLORIDA-The eagles have switched to a 3-4 defense under Chip Kelly but lack anyone among their plethora of edge rushers who is a good fit in that system. Lynch is a former Notre Dame freshman who looked like a future star before his transfer. The news coming out of Florida is that he has added 20 pounds and is still just as quick. Sounds like a perfect fit as 3-4 OLB..
10.ARIZONA-TAYLOR LEWAN-OT-MICHIGAN-While I expect the cardinals offense to be much improved ,with Carson Palmer , a improved O-line, the loss of DC Ray Horton, and the lack of pressure I expect them to get on the QB means their defense should be a problem. Even then they are a solid team... but the NFC west is now the most talented division in football. The 49ers and Seahawks are legitimate super bowl contenders this season and the young and talented rams would be a playoff favorite in every other division in my opinion. Unless they are running the ball a LOT Levi Brown is just a serviceable left tackle who would be a better fit at guard . Coming off a major injury and with a high price tag I would expect they would prefer a cheaper long term upgrade . Lewan gives them that and with the other recent upgrades ( Bobbie Massie and the recently drafted/injured Johnathan Cooper) at O-line it can be a plus group for a long time.
11.TAMPA BAY-CJ MOSLEY-ILB-ALABAMA-In a division with Drew Brees , Matt Ryan, and Cam Newton a 3 down middle linebacker is a must. Mosley could not only be their long term QB of the defense on the inside, he would be an even better fit in a full time 4-3 where he can be better protected to run to the ball. Tampa Bay is internally imploding . Their talented roster and once promising season is about to go down the drain . Unless they right the ship and come toghether soon they could be picking much higher, and that could be bad for Josh Freeman if they are.
12.CHARGERS-CYRUS KOUANDJIO-OT-ALABAMA- King Dunlap probably isn't the long term answer at LT for the chargers . Drafting Cyrus means former Alabama national championship line-mates could once again team up (with 2013 1rst rounder DJ Fluker )as bookend offensive tackles.This move would go a long way toward returning Phillip Rivers to his former elite franchise QB form. Cyrus has immense upside and the ability to be the first tackle taken in this draft so don't be surprised if he surpasses the more polished Jake Mathews on some draft boards.
14.RAMS(wash)-ANTONIO RICHARDSON-OT-TENNESEE-Roger Saffold will be a free agent this off season. We are betting somebody else will pay him to play left tackle and he leaves the rams because of it. Richardson could fill that void and he has the feet to move to LT if Jake Longs injury woes continue.
15. TITANS-MARCUS MARIOTA-QB-OREGON-I have never believed Jake Locker can be a NFL starting QB because he lacks accuracy, but I hope I am wrong because he is reportedly a heck of guy and teammate . This years O-line should be elite in Tennessee and the run game should be able to take a lot of pressure off him. He has also had 2 years to learn & improve, and has a lot weapons around him.However, I still think he fails as a passer. If the Titans run the read option and take advantage of Jake's mobility he might buy himself a bonus season but I doubt it. Bottom line is he needs to complete 60% of his passes and show significant improvement as a passer to stick around. Mariota is an elite talent that could go much higher if he adds some more muscle to his lean frame. Marcus also possesses the mobility that Titans fans have come to expect from their QB's.
16.RAMS-ED REYNOLDS-S-STANFORD-In the last 2 years under Jeff Fisher the rams have made a large jump in talent thanks to the RG3 trade and a few free agent deals. The area they have neglected is safety.Why they cut Quintin Mikel is beyond me and this will probably be a need . Reynolds is a born ball hawk that would give their defense what it's missing.
17.MIAMI-BRADLEY ROBY-CB-OHIO ST-Vontae Davis was traded and Sean Smith is a chief. Throw in newly acquired Brent Grimes coming off a torn Achilles and a infusion is probably needed at corner. If Grimes is OK and resigns and Rookie Jamar Taylor plays well they would still need another young corner. Interior D-line is also a need with Paul Soliai and Randy Starks around 30 , and having big cap numbers.
18.SAINTS-TRENT MURPHY-DE/OLB-STANFORD-The saints switched to a 3-4 this season and the out-for-the-year Victor Butler was their best fit as an OLB. It should be a big need next year and Murphy has been playing the position at a high level for years at Stanford. The lack of needing to learn the position (unlike most guys coming from college)should help him in Rob Ryan's complicated scheme.
19.NYG-RYAN SHAZIER-OLB-OHIO ST-The giants have gotten by with low draft picks and veteran retread tri-hard guys at LB for the most part this last decade. Shazier is an elite athletic 3 down LB with high level instincts. He is also a disruptive force all over the field in the run and passing games . They need a playmaker at LB somehwere and GM Jerry Reese is a best player available guy .
20.RAVENS-CAMERON ERVING-OT-FLORIDA ST-Bryant Mckinnie is near the end and Michael Oher is a better fit at RT( although guard would be his best position). They need a young guy who is skilled in pass protection at LT.Erving could be Flacco's long term blindside protector if he comes out early .
21.CHIEFS-SAMMY WATKINS-WR-CLEMSON-The best thing about Dwayne Bowe is his blocking. His hands are suspect and he is getting slower by the year. As a #2 in a run first offense he is a good fit though. Watkins has the ability of a number one WR and Andy Reid has shown a willingness to draft WR's high.
22.FALCONS-JAMES HURST -OT-N.CAROLINA-The Falcons are replacing the entire right side of their line . RT Tyson Clabo was their best lineman and he is one of the guys being replaced. LT Sam Baker is inconsistent and injury prone. Add the fact that 2 rookie corners are being counted on to be key players this year and I wouldn't be surprised if they actually missed the playoffs because of these 2 areas. If those players grow into their roles they may squeak in , but I don't see them as Superbowl threat at all this year. and wonder if Matt Ryan will survive the year .Hurst may be able to play LT, but he can defintely play RT or guard. He played decent in his high profile match-up against Clowney, although he didn't do as good a job when they were one on one . Clowney looked gassed and claimed sickness. If Hurst can continue to play well and show he can play LT he could rise into the top 10.
23.COLTS-STEPHON TUITT-DE/DT-N.DAME-To properly run the 3-4 you need big 5 technique ends that can set the edge against the double team, but still provide a pass rush. Tuitt can do both and the colts lack even 1 above average D-lineman on their entire roster.
24.CHICAGO-ANTHONY JOHNSON-DT-LSU- Henry Melton is playing this year under the franchise tag and will cost a lot if he repeats his performance this season. Even if he is resigned they are still running the Tampa 2 ,and front four pass rush is crucial to that defense. Another pass rushing DT next to Melton is a huge need even if they can keep him. If Jermon Bushrod bombs at left tackle , or Jay Cutler leaves those positions could also be in play.
25.SEATTLE-KHALIL MACK-OLB-BUFFALO-Pass rush is the entire key to the Seahawks defensive scheme . Mack has the athleticism to play a similar role to the one Von Miller does in Denver. He has the size and speed to play the strong-side in a 4-3 and move down as a DE in obvious passing roles. If they are in a odd front he can play either rush linebacker spot. When a guy from a smaller school is the best player on the field against a powerhouse like Ohio St. everyone takes notice.
26.PATRIOTS-HA'HA CLINTON DIX-S-ALABAMA-The Patriots go through more high drafted DB's than anyone in the league , Belichick is always on the lookout for playmakers on defense. This season their biggest weakness on defense is the safety next to Devin McCourty. Dix has been a great player, in a great conference, against top competition.
Also NIck Saban is a Belichick disciple and Bill loves his players.
27.PACKERS-COLT LYERIA-TE-OREGON- An elite athlete to replace the elite athleticism of Jermichael Finley. Finley is as talented as they come but his mental errors. inconsistent hands, and lack of blocking make him expendable Someone will pay him for his upside but unless he puts it;' all together this season we doubt it's the packers. Lyeria has the same type of ability but he sure looks like he's trying a lot harder than Finley.
28.HOUSTON-STEPHEN MORRIS-QB-MIAMI- Matt Schaub's guaranteed portion of his contract is about done. If the Texans don't win big this season I expect them to put some pressure on him by drafting a QB. The Strong armed Morris makes throws that few can , and Schaub's lack of arm strength is part of his problem.
29.SAN FRANCISCO-DEVANTE PARKER-WR-LVILLE-Between Michael Crabtree's injury , Anquan Boldins age, the AJ jenkins/Johnathan Baldwin debacle, and a tight salary cap the 49ers are going to need to hit on a receiver in the draft very soon. Even if Quinton Patton gets a shot this season( and comes through) he is a lot like Boldin. They will still need a downfield threat. Teddy Bridgewaters number 1 guy is going to be seen by a lot of scouts this season. He is a reliable pass catcher with a wide catch radius , a nice vertical, and the body control to find a way to come down with the ball.
30.DENVER-CHRIS BORLAND-ILB-WISC-With DJ Williams gone, the underwhelming Joe Mays cut, and Denver failing to address MLB in the draft . Borland is a well rounded LB who can QB the defense in Denver for a long time.
31.BENGALS-LAMARCUS JOYNER-CB/S-FLORIDA ST-The Bengals are one of the leagues most talented teams and safety is one of the few areas of weaknesses on their squad . Joyner can also play corner when needed. Having a safety who can move down and cover the slot is one of the most valued skills in the NFL these days, with so many spread formations being used.
32. DALLAS-DAVID YANKEY-T/G-STANFORD- Dallas has gone quantity over quality at the guard position the last 2 years, and the results haven't been pretty . Even if the injury prone Ronald Leary or Mackenzy Bernadeau work out this season an upgrade at one guard spot will be needed . Also the out for the year 31 year old Nate Livings is getting a salary bump next year, and we just don't see his level of play being worth what he is already being payed before the injury . Throw in the fact that they dragged Brian Waters out of retirement after a year off and it just goes to show you how little faith they have in their current guards . Yankey is an ideal fit for the new Dallas zone blocking scheme , and he can also play tackle if Doug Free forgets how to extend his arms again.