by Christian Roberts
1. Houston Texans (2-14) – Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater
With new head coach Bill O’Brien, expect the Texans to select their franchise QB in Teddy Bridgewater. Houston’s QB play this season has been miserable, and it’s time for the team to move on from Matt Schaub and Case Keenum. Coach O’Brien will be excited to coach this going man up, and maximize his potential. Bridgewater has all the tools you want in a franchise guy. The Texans will be smiling from ear to ear when they call this pick in.
2. St Louis Rams (via WSH) (3-13) – South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney
Does pairing the most dominant pass rusher in this draft class with Robert Quinn, Chris Long, Alec Ogletree, and Michael Brockers sound good? It does to me and I’m sure it does to coach Jeff Fisher as well. The front 7 would cause havoc year in and year out. There has been some rumbling of the Rams possibly trading out of this spot, but if that does not happen, expect to hear Clowney’s name called.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12) – UCF QB Blake Bortles
Jaguars FINALLY get their guy at QB. Bortles is the safest pick of the QB’s left on the board, and the Jaguars would be happy to have him. Bortles has been one of the fastest rising players in this year’s class. Rightfully so, he possesses great arm strength, accuracy, high football IQ and the mobility to escape pass rushers on the edge. The Blaine Gabbert era is over. I bet that sounds like music to Jags’ fans ears.
4. Cleveland Browns (4-12) – Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
The Texas A&M QB is the most puzzling out of all the quarterback prospects in this draft. On one hand, his playmaking ability and knack for making plays all over the field can’t be denied. On the other, his lack of maturity could pose a big problem in his NFL career. The Browns will have to decide which one out weighs the other. A QB with Manziel’s skill set, may be too hard for Cleveland to pass up though.
5. Oakland Raiders (4-12) – Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews
The Raiders appear to like what they have in young QB Matt McGloin. Why not protect him by going out and getting him the best offensive tackle in this draft. Oakland needs to build depth on that roster. Their o-line play last year was horrible. Pairing Matthews with stud tackle Jared Veldheer would open up lanes for the struggling Darren McFadden and make life a little easier for McGloin.
6. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) – UCLA LB Anthony Barr
Besides Jadeveon Clowney, Barr is probably the most athletically gifted player in this entire draft. With just straight raw ability, Anthony Barr is a terror coming off the edge. He is a bit wet behind the years because he has only played defense for 2 years, but he is this good now, imagine his ceiling. He could be un-blockable at the next level. This is exactly what Atlanta needs. They struggled getting to the passer all year, which played a part in their poor record this season. In 3 years, Barr could be one of the best defensive players in all of the NFL.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12) – Buffalo LB Khalil Mack
New head coach Lovie Smith’s first pick will be a defensive player. What better player to pick than Khalil Mack. A downright playmaker on the football field. Adding him with star LB Lavonte David will give opposing offenses fits. Lovie Smith will have fun coaching up this supremely talented linebacker.
8. Minnesota Vikings (5-10-1) – Fresno State QB Derek Carr
Carr’s last name will probably scare some teams off, seeing that his brother David Carr was a disaster in the NFL. But these brothers couldn’t be more different. Derek Carr has elite arm strength and can make every throw on the football field. His downfall is sloppy mechanics. But that can be fixed with good coaching. If he puts in the work, Minnesota will reap the benefits. Vikings desperately need to hit on a QB, especially after dropping the ball so bad with the Christian Ponder pick.
9. Buffalo Bills (6-10) – Texas A&M WR Mike Evans
This may be a little high for the stud WR, but Buffalo needs playmakers on offense. Yes, Sammy Watkins could go here as well, but I think Buffalo will target the big 6’5″ Evans here. It will give promising young QB EJ Manuel a huge target to throw to, and will attract double teams so Roberts Woods can do some damage. He would also be a terror in the red zone.
10. Detroit Lions (7-9) – Clemson WR Sammy Watkins
The most explosive receiver in this class. Watkins has it all. Elite speed, hands, and route running. He’s only 6’1″ but plays a lot bigger than his height suggests. He’s just a playmaker. With him on the opposite side of Megatron, a lot of offensive coordinators will lose sleep preparing to play the Lions.
11. Tennessee Titans (7-9) – Auburn OT Greg Robinson
Assuming the Titans hang on to RB Chris Johnson, this would be a great pick. Robinson is one of the top tackles in this class, and would immediately upgrade the offensive line for Tennessee. Holes would open for Chris Johnson the moment Robinson steps on the line. Titans could also use a linebacker here, but I think they will continue to try and make their RB happy.
12. New York Giants (7-9) – Alabama LB CJ Mosley
Cornerback and offensive line will be a strong choice here as well, but this class is pretty deep on cornerbacks, and they could sign a couple o-linemen in free agency. Why not add some young talent on that front 7 of the Giants with drafting CJ Mosley. He would be an immediate upgrade to New York’s linebacking core and would pair nicely with Jon Beason. This is the first step in rebuilding that defense.
13. St Louis Rams (7-9) – USC WR Marqise Lee
I expect the Rams to trade down with this pick and eventually select Marqise Lee. While Sam Bradford may not be the answer for the Rams, it seems they are going all in for him, so why not get him some more weapons to help him succeed? Lee is arguably the best route-runner in this NFL draft and will have absolutely no problem getting open in the NFL. He also has a great set of hands and can make the tough catch if needed. We could possibly be looking at the next Torry Holt.
14. Chicago Bears (8-8) – Alabama S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
With Charles Tillman hitting the free agency market, Chicago needs to retool their secondary. Clinton Dix would step in at safety and make plays right away. Clearly the best safety on the board, the Bears can’t go wrong selecting the talented Bama safety.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) – Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard
Steelers are jumping up and down right now with the best cornerback on the board sliding to them at 15. He would bring a physicality the Steelers and Mike Tomlin loves. He plays the run like a safety and is not afraid to stick his nose in there and make a tackle. This would also be a great start in adding some fresh young talent to that aging defense.
16. Baltimore Ravens (Coin Flip)(8-8) – North Carolina TE Eric Ebron
TE Dennis Pitta is coming off of an injury and TE Ed Dickson didn’t exactly have his best year. Eric Ebron is a dynamic tight end and would provide an upgrade for Baltimore and Joe Flacco. The 100 million dollar QB would love this pick. Ebron would come in and help the passing game drastically and give Baltimore the best playmaking TE they have had since Shannon Sharpe.
17. Dallas Cowboys (Coin Flip)(8-8) – Notre Dame DT Louis Nix III
Cowboys need all the help they can get on defense. The huge 340 pound Notre Dame defensive tackle could be that run stuffer Dallas so desperately needs. Safety is also a huge possibility here, but I think they grab Nix to anchor that front seven.
18. New York Jets (8-8) – Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro
New York Jets receiving options are laughable. Outside of the strange Santonio Holmes and injured Dustin Keller, the Jets have absolutely nothing to be impressed about. Getting young talented playmakers in the fold for QB Geno Smith is essential in his growth process. Drafting Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro would be a start. Amaro will be a matchup nightmare for defenders in the NFL, and make the learning curve for Geno a little bit easier.
19. Miami Dolphins (8-8) – Auburn RB Tre Mason
Offensive tackle is a huge need for Miami, but I feel so is the running back position. Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas have basically done nothing since entering the league. Miller has the potential, but for some reason he hasn’t been able to put it all together. They need another RB in the fold. Insert Auburn stud RB Tre Mason here. Mason would bring a toughness both Miller and Thomas lack. He could carry the load for the Dolphins so QB Ryan Tannehill doesn’t have to throw the ball so much every game. This might be a little high for a running back to go in the draft but Mason possesses outstanding vision and breakaway speed coveted by NFL teams today.
20. Arizona Cardinals (10-5) – Michigan OT Taylor Lewan
Arizona led by HC Bruce Arians is going to be a force in the NFC for a long time. They don’t have any gaping holes besides at running back, so why not sure up that offensive line for Carson Palmer? There’s a good chance Lewan doesn’t slide this far, but if he does, Arizona should hop all over the chance to draft him.
21. Green Bay Packers (8-7-1) – Clemson LB Vic Beasley
Vic Beasley is a beast. Him and a healthy Clay Matthews would do damage. His closing speed and burst are what make Beasley a intriguing prospect. Similar to Seahawks Bruce Irvin, he relies on his athleticism a lot to make plays, but if coached up he could be a special edge rusher in the NFL.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) – Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert
Gilbert is exactly what the doctor ordered for Philly. He may not be the shutdown corner Michigan State CB Dennard is, but when it comes to making the big play, Justin Gilbert is your man. TCU CB Jason Verrett is also a possibility here, but I think Gilbert’s playmaking ability and ridiculous athletic ability makes him the pick here. The Eagles’ secondary struggled a lot this year. Adding a talent like this will make coach Kelly a happy man.
23. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) – Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin
The hero of the BCS Championship game is oozing with potential. His 6’5″ frame gives him the ability to make the tough catch and create mismatches for cornerbacks. He’s a bit raw, but the overwhelming potential is there. Alex Smith could use a big WR like this. Benjamin could make the Chiefs offense that much more dangerous next season.
24. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) – TCU CB Jason Verrett
Bengals are thrilled to land Verrett here. Needing more depth in the secondary, the TCU product is a great fit for Cincinnati. Great coverage skills, but is a little undersized. Still, that being said, this kid can play. Bengals already boast one of the best defenses in the NFL, so being able to snatch Verrett here, the rich get richer.
Christian Roberts of Sportz Overtime, for War Room Sports