1. Houston Texans
Quarterback, Texas A&M
Although the idea of pairing Jadeveon Clowney with J.J. Watt is tempting, the Texans need a quarterback. The pieces are in place to make a playoff run in Houston. The Texans have one of the league’s best secondaries and one of the best receivers in the NFL in Andre Johnson. The Texans do not have a quarterback though. Matt Schaub and Case Keenum were both below-average quarterbacks. By drafting Manziel, the Texans immediately get one of the most hyped prospects in recent memory. Manziel was a stud in college. But, some believe he will not make it in the NFL. With offensive weapons in Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, and Arian Foster, Manziel has a lot of tools around him to succeed.
2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington)
Left Tackle, Texas A&M
If there is one team that is most likely to move down, it is the St. Louis Rams. The Rams have needs all over the place. Also, it may be a good idea for the Rams to draft a quarterback. Sam Bradford has been underachieving his entire NFL career. Because of this, the Rams may want to move on from the ex-Sooner. The Rams have a need at the tackle position. With the uncertainty of Jake Long‘s health, drafting a tackle will benefit this team in many ways. Drafting Matthews is a step forward for this franchise.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Like the Texans, the Jaguars need a player that can put fans in the stands. By drafting a local product in Bortles, the Jaguars can do that. Bortles has drawn comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger, and with good reason. Both quarterbacks have a rocket for an arm and both are hard to take down. The Jaguars could also elect to draft Jadeveon Clowney. Head coach Gus Bradley was the defensive coordinator for the Seahawks a few years ago, and many know he would love to get this year’s top defensive player. But, a quarterback is a much-higher need. Bortles shined in his junior season for the Knights. If he is drafted by the Jaguars, it will be interesting how he does with barely any weapons surrounding him.
4. Cleveland Browns
It has been reported that the Browns are going all-in on Johnny Manziel. For the past 20 or so years, the quarterback position in Cleveland has been a revolving door. In my mock, I have the Browns selecting Teddy Bridgewater. In my opinion, Blake Bortles is the best quarterback in this draft. But, I see Houston taking Manizel instead of Bortles. Bridgewater is a guy who can make all of the throws at any level. Although he is a little thin, Bridgewater has an above-average arm. The biggest flaw with Bridgewater is his planting when he throws. Bridgewater has the tools to be a good NFL quarterback, but he must improve his throwing technique.
5. Oakland Raiders
Defensive End, South Carolina
I think there is no better prospect in this draft than Jadeveon Clowney. Despite having an awful junior season, Clowney is still projected to go in the top 5 of this year’s draft. Clowney has been tabbed as a once-in-a-decade type of player. At 6’6″, 275 pounds, Clowney has the perfect blend to be a stud at the next level. Clowney has all of the tools to become the best pass-rusher in the NFL. But, he has to limit his off-the-field concerns.
6. Atlanta Falcons
Left Tackle, Auburn
Many would think that Falcons would go defense here. But if they stay put at the sixth spot, I believe the Falcons will upgrade their offensive line. The Falcons could move up and draft Clowney, as it would give them a pass-rusher. The Falcons were not able to get after the quarterback that well in 2013. By moving up and drafting Clowney, the Falcons would get a good pass-rusher. Trading up and down in the draft has been something Falcons fans have been used to under Thomas Dimitroff. If they stay put at six, they go in the direction of selecting Greg Robinson. The Auburn left tackle displayed a dominant year in 2013. Much of the Tigers’ success running the ball came because of the play of Robinson.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Outside Linebacker, UCLA
By addressing the defense the past few years, the Buccaneers have a really young and improving defense. Players like Adrian Clayborn, Mark Barron and Lavonte David have really become play-makers for this Tampa Bay defense. The Buccaneers could also select a quarterback here. But, Mike Glennon exceeded expectations in his first year under center. Barr is an intriguing prospect because there isn’t much he can’t do. Even though he is an outside linebacker, Barr can get after the quarterback and defend against the pass. Barr is a player who makes plays all across the field. The Buccaneers would be getting one of the best defensive players in this draft in Barr.
8. Minnesota Vikings
Quarterback, Fresno State
There have been rumors that the Vikings should just wait until 2014 to draft their quarterback going forward in the future. But, the Vikings cannot wait Adrian Peterson‘s prime years any longer. Derek Carr improved his draft stock tremendously throughout Senior Bowl Week. While many say his good stats come against a bad competition, it is no secret that Carr can throw the football all over the field. The Vikings were a bit of a mess in 2013. But with Mike Zimmer taking over as head coach, I have no doubts that this team will be as bad as they were in 2013. Carr has a good arm and he has a high football-IQ. Derek Carr is much more talented than his brother, David, when he came out of Fresno State.
9. Buffalo Bills
Wide Receiver, Clemson
By drafting E.J. Manuel in 2013, the Bills made it clear that he is the guy going forward. To get the most out of Manuel, Buffalo must load this offense with more talent. The Bills can do that by selecting Sammy Watkins. Many cornerbacks will not be able to match the combination of size and speed that Watkins has. The Bills haven’t had a consistent receiver outside of Stevie Johnson in years. By drafting Watkins, the Bills can fill that #2 receiver hole that they have had for so long.
10. Detroit Lions
Cornerback, Michigan State
While many will want the Lions to draft a receiver opposite of Calvin Johnson, the Lions should address their need in the secondary. Darqueze Dennard is a local product, and he was one of the nation’s top cornerbacks. Although he is not that fast, Dennard is extremely physical. If there is a Richard Sherman to come out of this draft, it is Dennard. A man defense will benefit Dennard in the NFL. By drafting Dennard, the Lions will get a cornerback who could become a #1 as early as 2015.