1.JACKSONVILLE-TEDDY BRIDGEWATER-QB-NFL COMP-LOUISVILLE-AARON RODGERS-GB-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. They even lost to the downtrodden raiders. Bridgewater has all the elite tools you can want ,he loves to throw the ball down field , he is a natural leader , he is mobile when necessary, he makes his reads smoothly, and he is extremely poised in the pocket. If Teddy can pull an RG3 and add 15-20 pounds of muscle between the end of the season and the draft then he should be the first QB taken . No matter what anyone else thinks he is an elite prospect and the CLEAR cut # 1 player on our board. All traits Gabbert lacks and that a franchise QB needs.
2.VIKINGS-JADAVIAN CLOWNEY-DE/OLB-S.CAROLINA-NFL COMP-MARIO WILLIAMS-. Clowney is a ridiculously awesome consolation prize.Jared Allen is a free agent this off season. The Vikings recently resigned the younger Brian Robinson and likely won't be willing to pay Allen whay he thinks he deserves. Add that Allen has already made plenty of money ,and might want to take less to get a ring somewhere else making it even more unlikely he returns. Enter the massively talented Clowney. Lately he has been showing his true talents after a slow start, and barring injury I would be stunned if he got out of the top five .They can still get a QB later or through trade/ free agency, but I doubt they pass on Clowney unless Bridgewater is on the board .
3.HOUSTON-JOHNNY MANZIEL-QB-TEXAS A&M-NFL COMP-FRAN TARKENTON-(ret)-Matt 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 . "Johnny Football" would help narrow the gap in home sate fan base with the cowboys and would give the Texans offense a whole new dimension. 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.
4.RAMS-(wash)-JAKE MATHEWS-OT-TEX A&M-NFL COMP-DUANE BROWN-HOU-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. Matthews can fill that void ,and he has the feet to move to LT if Jake Longs injury woes continue, and 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
5.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 thats 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 would also fill a big need. Or they could play him a Von Miller role .
6.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 beleive ,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 .
7.BROWNS-DEREK CARR-QB-FRESNO ST-NFL COMP-TONY ROMO-DALL-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. Carr has continued to improve and he has a bigger frame than the 2 QB's above him. He is a good athlete with a great arm ,but he has happy feet .If he can show improved mechanics and good poise at the Senior Bowl he could go as high as #2. Think Romo with more foot speed and a stronger arm.
8.OAKLAND-SAMMY WATKINS-WR-CLEMSON-NFL COMP-JOE HORN-(ret)-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 . However the raiders are so far behind in overall talent that they will probably just go best player available and hope Pryor keeps improving as a passer. The raiders lack any WR who profiles as a #1 receiver . Watkins fits the bill and also helps out in the return game.
9.TITANS-CJ MOSLEY-ILB-ALABAMA-NFL COMP-DERRICK JOHNSON-KC- Mosley is an elite .athletic .3 down LB. with high level instincts. He is also a disruptive force all over the field that would probably be even better when protected in a 4-3 in the middle or on the weak side . 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.
10..NYJ-MARQUISE LEE-WR-USC-NFL COMP-TORRY HOLT-(ret)-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 . Lee is the best WR in this class 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. Lee would save them from all that crap and give Geno another long term playmaker to grow with.
11.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 litte suspension for taking a short term loan will hurt him with NFL teams.
12.NYG-CYRUS KOUANDJIO-OT-ALABAMA-NFL COMP-JASON PETERS-PHILLY-The giants O-line has been abysmal this year . After a good 2012 and getting a new contract this off season LT William Beatty has been bad. LG Kevin Boothe has also played some center and has just been OK. Center David Bass has been inn and out of the lineup due to injuries . Once perennial pro bowler Chris Snee tried to play hurt , was really bad and is now out for the year. Throw in short armed 1rst round pick Justin Pugh being thrown in at RT, when he probably should be a guard in the pros, and you have a recipe for disaster. Kouandjio isn't as technical as Mathews or Lewan , but his upside is a little higher.
13.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.
14.CHARGERS-IKO EKPRE-OLOMU-CB-OREGON-NFL COMP-BRANDON FLOWERS-I believe the Chargers top 4 corners are the worst set in the league. Olumu is the best corner in the pass happy PAC-12. IKO plays bigger than he is against the run or pass and would give the Chargers the chance to have 1 corner play decent man to man against Denver.
15.CHICAGO-KHALIL MACK-OLB-BUFFALO-NFL COMP-BRIAN ORAPKO-WASH-
-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 -KCTampa 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. Lynch 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.
16.EAGLES-LOUIS NIX-NT-N.DAME-NFL COMP-VINCE WILFORK-NE-The eagles have switched to a 3-4 defense under Chip Kelly , but they lack a nose tackle that can stay on the field on every play . The rarest species of player is the 3 down nose tackle , but Nix fits that bill . Louis is a special talent that could lead their D-line for years.
17.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.
18.MIAMI-CAMERON ERVING-OT-FLA.ST-NFL COMP-TYRON SMITH-DALL-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. Miami was already getting subpar play from their OT's before the Richie Incognito scandal. Now they need a guard too. Cameron can anchor this O-line for a long time.
19.STEELERS-ANTONIO RICHARDSON-OT-TENNESEE-NFL COMP-ANDRE WHITWORTH-CINC -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. Enter the massive but quick Richardson . He can definitely play the right side , but in his second shot at Clowney last weekend he had a tougher time. How teams view that game will say a lot about his possible NFL future as a LT. At least he played him pretty well last year. He would be a better LT than anyone they have now. Some teams will admit that everyone struggles against the best pass rushers. Adding TINY" to Pouncey , Decastro , and Bell would also go a long way towards bringing the power running game to Steeltown.
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.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.
22.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 could go higher.
22.DALLAS-TIMMY JERNIGAN-DT-FLA.ST-NFL COMP-JURRELL CASEY-TENN-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.
24.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.
25.CLEV-(indy)-DAVID YANKEY-T/G-STANFORD-NFL COMP- MARSHALL YANDA-BALT-The browns have gotten poor play from both guards this year. That means an upgrade at both guard spots 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-JORDAN MATTHEWS-WR-VANDY-NFL COMP-JORDY NELSON-GB-Bill Belichicks ego has bitten him in the ass so far this season. His refusal to pay Wes Welker ( or even Brandon Llyod)and the injuries/ incarceration of his tight ends has left Tom Brady with an inexperienced receiving core. Now Aaron Dobson may fulfill his potential, and undrafted FA Kenbrell Tompkins may end up as a keeper too. ,Gronk. Amendola/Edelman may get and stay healthy. That's a lot of mays, if's ,ands & buts there. Brady has lacked a true #1 WR since Randy Moss went off the reservation. Matthews is the ,big, strong , polished receiver that can win the downfield jump balls Brady loves to throw.
29.CHIEFS-DEVANTE PARKER-WR-LVILLE-NFL COMP-MICHAEL CRABTREE-SF-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. Enter Parker who has the ability , size and hands to 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 unersized pass rusher that translates best to a role as a 3-4 OLB.
31.DENVER-CHRIS SMITH-DE-ARK-NFL COMP-TRENT COLE-PHIL-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 they are sorely lacking in this area right now. 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-CYRIL RICHARDSON-G-BAYLOR-NFL COMP-CARL NICKS-TB-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. Cyril has played both tackle and guard but he has looked dominant at guard.