1.HOUSTON-TEDDY BRIDGEWATER-QB-NFL COMP-LOUISVILLE-AARON RODGERS-GB- yep... they lost twice to the jags...okay? Anyway, it helps them a ton so their fans should be happy .They are now getting the clear cut #1 QB in the draft and a guy who has what Matt doesn't . Schaub's guaranteed portion of his contract is about done. The Texans didn't win this season, and I now see his time as a Texan coming to an end . Bridgewater not only has the high football IQ and accuracy that Schaub showed in his prime, but he also has the strong arm, quick release, pocket presence, poise, and foot speed that Schaub has always lacked. If this happens I expect the talented Texans to get healthy and make a quick turnaround like the Chiefs did this year. Bridgewater is younger and has a higher upside than Alex Smith though. This could be the pick that finally puts their franchise over the top.
2.JACKSONVILLE-JADAVIAN CLOWNEY-DE/OLB-S.CAROLINA-NFL COMP-MARIO WILLIAMS-I no longer have any faith in Blaine Gabbert to be a NFL starter. If you brought in Tebow they would have at least won games and sold tickets. This year they had a golden chance at the #1 pick and the franchise QB they needed, but they beat the Texans twice so my guess is they pass on a QB this high, and take the once a decade DE for coach Bradley's defense. With Jason Babin having a down year this season, turning 34 next year, and having a 6 million dollar salary as well, this makes even more sense.
3.RAMS-(wash)-JAKE MATHEWS-OT-TEX A&M-NFL COMP-DUANE BROWN-HOU-Roger Saffold will be a free agent this off season and its unclear if the Rams will want to meet his price. Matthews can fill that void and he has the feet to move to LT if Jake Long isn't fully healed from his torn ACL by next season , and hen slide over when Long is done. This son of a Hall of Famer was better than any of the tackles in last years draft in our opinion, and they went 1rst, 2nd and 4th in the overall. He would be an upgrade at either tackle spot and would help stabilize the line . Taking Mathews would also give them 2 fierce run blockers on the outside . With Sam Bradford out for the season (and the rams giving up on winning) by going with the QB trio of Kellen Clemens,Brady Quinn, and Austin Davis, they will earn this pick or a higher one
4.BROWNS-BLAKE BORTLES-QB-UCF-NFL COMP-STEVE McNAIR-retired-Norv Turner is one of the all time great O Coordinators and QB whisperers. So Brandon Weeden ( or even the out for the year Brian Hoyer)had to make it this year, but we doubt it. If Jacksonville wasn't so bad I would think the Browns trade of Trent Richardson to get extra picks ,and go after the top QB might have worked, but I don't see the Jags trading out if the top spot. In this case they wait and take the best QB available. I admit I had never even heard of Blake until they played S. Carolina , and while he was OK on that day, it was more his tools that impressed me. I have watched every game since. He is built like a LB and because of that you won't worry about him so much when he takes off running. In addition to his scrambling ability he also has a strong arm and was the main reason UCF beat Bridgewater-lead Louisville. He needs work in some areas but his skill set could make him a top 10 pick if he plays well against Baylor and does well in the pre-draft testing. If Brett Hundley does come out he goes here instead. Even if he doesn't we would take Manziel over Blake , but GM Mike Lombardi has shown a preference for tall, big, strong armed QB's in the past.
5.OAKLAND-JOHNNY MANZIEL-QB-TEXAS A&M-NFL COMP-FRAN TARKENTON-(ret)- Hopefully by now the raiders have realized Terrell Pryor is a great athlete that could be the next MEGATRON with some coaching, time, and effort. Love him or hate him (and I have found myself feeling both from time to time) Manziel makes big plays at the best times . "JOHNNY FOOTBALL" is a proven winner in big games in college, and he doesn't turn the ball over. His lack of height (reportedly (6 foot 1 or 6 feet ) and potential off the field troubles make it a certainty he goes behind the reliable Bridgewater . If he stays out of trouble his leadership, poise, almost supernatural ability to extend plays & avoid the rush make me think he could be a winner in the NFL too. That was before this seasons improvements. Already this year he has shown improved mechanics, an improved ability at reading defenses , and a stronger arm . Even more surprising is his new willingness to buy time with his feet, and then throw the ball, instead of just taking off running like last season. His outlaw attitude will ignite the fan base as much as his play on the field will.
6.TAMPA BAY-ANTHONY BARR-DE/OLB-UCLA-NFL COMP-DeMARCUS WARE-DALL-Tampa Bay is internally imploding now that all the pre-season positive vibes are done . Their talented roster and once promising season has gone down the drain . Josh Freeman seems to have lost it and was let go. Now rookie 3rd rounder Mike Glennon is getting a shot to start. Glennon has a strong arm , but he is also thin and immobile . Right now he may be better than Freeman but that's not saying a lot. He has played a lot better than Freeman though. Now that the team seems resigned to being stuck with Schiano as their coach and Glennon is playing better they may be out of the over drafting a QB game. The best player available is Barr. Since the bucs have gotten nothing but subpar to horrible play from their DE's this season a bulked up Barr would also fill a big need. Or they could play him a Von Miller role .
7.ATLANTA-(clev)-TAYLOR LEWAN-OT-MICHIGAN-NFL COMP-JAKE LONG-RAMS-The Falcons were replacing the entire right side of their line at the start of the season . RT Tyson Clabo was their best lineman and he is one of the guys being replaced. LT Sam Baker is inconsistent, injury prone, and after week 10 he was put on season ending IR. Hard as it is to believe ,Baker's replacement Lamar Holmes is even worse. Add the fact that 2 rookie corners are being counted on to be key players this year and the falcons aren't too good right now. I now wonder if Matt Ryan will survive the year .
8.VIKINGS-DARQUEZE DENNARD-CB-MICH.ST-NFL COMP-JASON McCOURTY-The Vikings entire secondary seemed to be hurt , playing bad, or playing hurt & bad this season .At least 2013 first rounder Xavier Rhodes started to come on late in the season. Dennard would give them a second young healthy physical corner to combat the packers and lions passing attacks.
9.BUFFALO-JACE AMARO-TE-TEXAS TECH -NFL COMP-JEREMY SHOCKEY-(ret)-Scott Chandlers return from injury hasn't looked as good as the bills would like. Amaro would give them an elite athlete that would be a mismatch for opposing defenses ,and also a young TE who shown the willingness to block in those rare snaps when he is lined up as an inline blocker. Sky's the limit for the kid if he wants it and EJ Manuel needs more weapons.
10.NYJ-SAMMY WATKINS-WR-CLEM-NFL COMP-JOE HORN-(retired)-If you want Geno Smith to succeed it stands to reason that he will need better receivers. While young Stephen Hill is immensely talented he is still raw . Watkins is the most explosive WR in this class right now. The only dependable receiver the Jets currently have is the injury prone, soon to be 30, high priced ,one more failed drug test away from a long suspension Santonio Holmes. Sammy would save them from all that crap and give Geno another long term playmaker to grow with.
11.NYG-IKO EKPRE-OLOMU-CB-OREGON-NFL COMP-BRANDON FLOWERS-There is no DE or guard currently worth this high a pick GM Jerry Reese has a tendency to go best player available. Luckily for him corner is also a definite need. Iko is the best corner in the pass happy PAC-12 and his speed and swagger are needed in the faints secondary.
12.TITANS-CJ MOSLEY-ILB-ALABAMA-NFL COMP-DERRICK JOHNSON-KC- . Between often injured Colin McCarthy & subpar Moisee Fokou the titans have a gaping hole at ILB that CJ can fill. LB's that can cover or rush the passer are the only ones worth drafting in the 1rst round in todays pass happy NFL. While I am not a big fan of Jake Locker as a QB, they were winning before Jake got hurt and that probably buys him another season. Although they are one of the teams that could pursue Jay Cutler if he isn't franchised.
13.RAMS-HA'HA CLINTON DIX-S-ALABAMA-NFL COMP-HARRISON SMITH-S-MINN-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 with only the injured TJ McDonald being brought in through the draft. Why they cut Quintin Mikel is beyond me and this will probably be a need . Dix has been a great player, in a great conference, against top competition. We doubt his little suspension for taking a short term loan will hurt him with NFL teams.
14.STEELERS-CAMERON ERVING-OT-FLA.ST-NFL COMP-TYRON SMITH-DALL-Left Tackle Mike Adams was so bad that the Steelers actually traded for Levi Brown, and he was a bad LT for the cards. Even a giant like Big Ben has trouble throwing with people draped all over him. . Adding Erving to Pouncey , Decastro , and Bell would also go a long way towards bringing the power running game to Steel town. This former D-lineman is an elite athlete on the O-line who's upside is only outshone by how amazed we all are how smooth the transition has gone.
15.LIONS-BRADLEY ROBY-CB-OHIO ST-NFL COMP-LEON HALL-CINC-The lions have relied on Veterans Rashean Mathis and the overrated Chris Houston to play significant minutes this year. Mathis is already near the end and cheap , but Houston will be 30 next season and his salaries from his new contract are going to keep getting more expensive. The lions drafted a corner in the 3rd in 2012, and in the second round this year. Neither has played that well so far ,so maybe its time they got one in the first round. Roby is possibly the fastest man in this draft ,and to win a division with Aaron Rodgers in it you can always use more talented corners.
16.CHARGERS-JUSTIN GILBERT-CB-OKLA.ST-NFL COMP-PATRICK PETERSEN-AZ-I believe the Chargers top 4 corners are the worst set in the league. Gilbert is a big strong physical corner and would give the Chargers the chance to have one corner play decent man to man against Denver. He's a playmaker that has played his best ball in the biggest games , is also an ace return man, and when his speed finally goes he has the toughness to move to safety.
17.*DALLAS-LOUIS NIX-NT-N.DAME-NFL COMP-VINCE WILFORK-NE-With the injury prone and bitter Jay Ratliff finally cut & free agent to be Jason Hatcher over thirty ,and Dallas now running the Tampa 2 defense, DT is a huge need. Pressure from the front 4 is essential in this defense . A replacement for Anthony Spencer might also be a possibility , or a high level safety if one is worth this pick. DT/DE should be priorities because it's on the D-Line where the cowboys have had an unprecedented rash of injuries. Nix is a better fit as a 3-4 nose tackle but I wouldn't be surprised if Dallas goes back to the 3-4 after a hysterically bad defensive year in the 4-3. Even if Dallas sticks with the Tampa 2 Nix gets enough of a pass rush to play the one technique , and after watching Nick Hayden get pushed around in that spot all year, I am sure Dallas has a group of linebackers who would love a one technique who can hold his ground and keep them clean. If his knee is healed up and he is in shape for the combine he could go a lot higher.
18.PACKERS-ERIC EBRON-TE-N.CAR-NFL COMP-DWAYNE ALLEN-INDY- The pack needs an elite athlete to replace the elite athleticism of Jermichael Finley. Finley is as talented as they come but his mental errors. inconsistent hands, injury history, and lack of will to help out blocking make him expendable . Throw in a possibly career threatening neck injury and we wonder if he plays anywhere next year. Ebron has the same type of ability but he looks like he's trying a lot harder than Finley.
19.RAVENS-MIKE EVANS-WR-TEXAS A&M-NFL COMP-VINCENT JACKSON-TB-It's obvious that the ravens offense really misses Anquan Boldin. Evans can give Flacco a new big possession WR that can win jump balls, move the chains, and team with deep threat Torrey Smith to spread out the defense.
20.ARIZONA-CEDRICK OGBUEHI-T-TEXAS A&M-NFL COMP-TRENT WILLIAMS-WASH-While I expect the cardinals offense to be much improved with Carson Palmer and a improved O-line, the loss of DC Ray Horton & 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 contender in every other division in my opinion. The cards finally gave up on former LT Levi Brown early in the year, and turned the blindside over to preseason waiver wire pickup Bradley Sowell. . That hasn't gone very well either. Cedrick is next up on the A&M OT carousel after Joeckel and Mathews. There is talk that the RT could follow in Matthews footsteps and return to play LT next year. However right now I think he has demonstrated that he is already a 1rst round pick and he would be a huge upgrade in the desert.
21.MIAMI-CYRUS KOUANDJIO-OT-ALABAMA-NFL COMP-JASON PETERS-PHILLY- Miami was already getting subpar play from their OT's before the Richie Incognito scandal. Now they need a guard too. Cyrus can anchor this O-line for a long time if he can fulfill his potential .Kouandjio isn't as technically sound as Mathews or Lewan , but his upside is a little higher.
22.CHICAGO-TRENT MURPHY-DE/OLB-STAN-NFL COMP-PAUL KRUGER-CLEV-
-Henry Melton was playing this year under the franchise tag before an ACL tear, and who knows if he will be brought back next year . 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 do keep him, If Jermon Bushrod bombs at left tackle , or Jay Cutler leaves those positions could also be in play . However, Julius Peppers will be in his mid 30's next season with a really high cap number. So a DE makes the most sense. Murphy is a well rounded player who is a better fit as a 4-3 end in the pros.
23.CAROLINA-MARQUISE LEE-WR-USC-NFL COMP-TORRY HOLT-(ret)-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 IMO ,although I believe Watkins, and possibly Evans, will go higher.
24.EAGLES-KHALIL MACK-OLB-BUFFALO-NFL COMP-BRIAN ORAPKO-WASH-The eagles have switched to a 3-4 defense under Chip Kelly , but their linebacker core isn't a great fit for that defense.Khalil is an elite athlete who has the strength, frame, and agility to play in either 4-3 or 3-4. Mack also 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 downs. When a guy from a smaller school is the best player on the field against a powerhouse like Ohio St. everyone takes notice.
25.CLEV-(indy)-DAVID YANKEY-T/G-STANFORD-NFL COMP- MARSHALL YANDA-BALT-The browns have gotten poor play from both right guards this year. That means an upgrade at would be welcome. Yankey can play both tackle and guard to help keep their new QB upright.
26.BENGALS-RYAN SHAZIER-OLB-OHIO ST-NFL COMP-LANCE BRIGGS-CHI-Rey Maualuga needs to be replaced. Drafting an elite playmaker like Shazier would help 2 positions. Vontaze Burfict could move to the middle full time and Shazier could play outside. The affect on their pass defense alone would be tremendous.
27.SAN FRANCISCO-STEPHON TUITT-DE/DT-N.DAME-NFL COMP-RICHARD SEYMOUR-(fa)-Justin Smith and Ray Mcdonald have been great bookends in the 49er 3-4 for awhile, but age catches up to us all. With injuries to both in recent years a infusion of youth is needed at the 5 technique. Tuitt is that rare player that can set the edge against the double team, but still provide a pass rush.
28.PATRIOTS-RA'SHEDE HAGEMAN-MINN-NFL COMP-JASON HATCHER-DALL-Bill Belichick has always preferred to run a 3-4 defense but has lacked the personnel to do so for the last couple of years. Hageman has the size , length, and strength to make the move. He also can slide inside and do the job when they go to nickel.
29.CHIEFS-JORDAN MATTHEWS-WR-VANDY-NFL COMP-JORDY NELSON-GB-The best thing about Dwayne Bowe is his blocking. His hands are suspect ,he is getting slower by the year, and he just got arrested with weed this season. As a #2 in a run first offense he is a good fit though. Donnie Avery is injury prone and his best roll would be as a #3. Matthews is the ,big, strong , polished receiver with good hands that can be a true # 1 in this offense .Add that Andy Reid has shown a willingness to draft WR's high and this is a good fit .
30.SAINTS-VICTOR BEASLEY-DE/OLB-CLEMSON-NFL COMP-CHRIS CLEMMONS-SEA-The saints switched to a 3-4 this season and the out-for-the-year Victor Butler was their best fit as an OLB. Pass rush is the entire key to the Saints defensive scheme and Beasley is the kind of undersized pass rusher that translates best to a role as a 3-4 OLB.
31.DENVER-KONY EALY-DE-MIZZOU-NFL COMP-GREG HARDY-CAR-The 2 best pass rushers in Denver last season were Elvis Dumervill and Von Miller. Between Dumervill's agent making a mistake that cost him his spot in Denver and Von Miller's drug suspension , and now Millers tore up knee they have very little they can count on in this area. Will Miller be the same guy without the chemical help? Don't know but even if he is they need someone else that can rush the passer off the edge.
32.SEATTLE-GABE JACKSON-G-MISS.ST-NFL COMP-LARRY WARFORD-DET-Russell Wilson's mobility and pocket awareness save him from a lot of bad blocking. To really take their offense to the next level they are going to need to get better up front . As of now only Okung and Unger are above average blockers. Jackson is a longtime starter in the SEC that has improved each year .