1. Houston Texans: DE Jadaveon Clowney, South Carolina
This is less about Clowney as it is about the QBs in this draft. None of them strike me as can't miss players, and when you're picking #1 overall you need a can't miss player. I believe Clowney's work ethic could very well be a problem, but the QBs all have their problems too, and none of them have the upside Clowney has. Houston will definitely try to trade out so that they don't have to make this decision, but if they stay put I think they will Clowney and target Derek Carr in the second round or trade back into the first.
2. St. Louis Rams: OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
I think St. Louis would love to trade this pick as well, and they're in good position to do so. If Houston takes Clowney, Oakland or Minnesota would love to have their pick of the QBs. If Houston takes a QB, Atlanta or Tampa Bay would love to have Clowney. My prediction: Minnesota trades up to #2 to take a QB, and the Rams take Mike Evans at #8. Without trades, though, the Rams take Robinson, a great OT with huge upside, to protect Sam Bradford. LT Jake Long can't seem to shake injuries and their RT Roger Saffold is a free agent.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
After the Blaine Gabbert debacle, the Jags will be looking for a QB with poise and playmaking ability. Those are Manziel's best attributes. If he makes it to Jacksonville, I don't see how they pass him up.
4. Cleveland Browns: QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida
Cleveland needs a QB (again), and I wouldn't be surprised to see them trade up to guarantee getting Manziel. Bortles needs a lot of development in his mechanics, but looks like a prototypical QB and has perhaps the highest upside of the group.
5. Oakland Raiders: WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
The Raiders are potentially in a bad situation if they want a QB. They pick fifth in a draft with 3 QBs and Clowney almost sure to make up the top four. If they don't trade up they could get left out. That said, Bridgewater is still on the board here and they're taking Watkins? Well like I said, none of these QBs seem like a can't miss guy, and Watkins clearly is. There are questions about Bridgewater's ability to stay healthy due to his lean frame, and they have a need at WR arguably more dire than QB.
6. Atlanta Falcons: OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
Atlanta has a tough choice here between Matthews and Khalil Mack. I think they go with Matthews because Matt Ryan was sacked a career high 44 times last year. The Falcons have made it clear they're building around Ryan, much like the Colts built around Peyton Manning for years despite an underwhelming defense.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
The Bucs have a phenomenal LB in Lavonte David (the BIGGEST pro bowl snub of 2013, not even close), and pairing him with Mack is almost unfair. Mack could play a role similar to Von Miller in that he's an OLB in a 4-3 but he's really more of a pass rusher. That would improve the pass rush and allow David to roam the field in coverage a bit more, at which he excels.
8. Minnesota Vikings: QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
I fully expect the Vikings to trade up to guarantee one of the top QBs, but with no trades Bridgewater falls into their lap anyway. New HC Mike Zimmer should make the defense better just with coaching, but the offense needs a legit QB. They know they don't have many more years with Adrian Peterson, and they have to get someone to take him to the playoffs. Bridgewater might be the most NFL-ready QB this year, and with explosive options in Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings already in place, this offense could round into form.
9. Buffalo Bills: WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
Buffalo has a couple good receivers in Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods, but neither is a true #1. Evans would push Johnson into a #2 role for a couple years, and Woods into the slot where he could really do some damage. Teams are salivating over Evans's potential, and I think he will make it into the top 10.
10. Detroit Lions: CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
Detroit would love to get Evans to play across Calvin Johnson, but instead they take a potentially great CB to solidify the back end of their defense. They're in for some trouble in trying to pay Johnson, Matt Stafford, and Ndamukong Suh all top dollar, but at least for this year they could make some noise.
11. Tennessee Titans: OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA
The Titans never got the production out of Derrick Morgan that they wanted (he's a free agent after 2014 anyway), and therefore need some help rushing the passer. In switching to a 3-4 defense, that means they need a good OLB. Barr was coached by Lou Spanos at UCLA, who is now the LBs coach with Tennessee. He has great upside as he's only been playing the position for a few years but has already shown a knack for getting after the QB.
12. New York Giants: OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Yea, um, the Giants' offense was a mess last year. They couldn't run the ball, they couldn't protect Eli Manning, Eli didn't know which team he should throw to... Just a mess. Hopefully Lewan will be able to give Eli some more time to figure out that he should pretty much just throw to Victor Cruz or throw it away.
13. St. Louis Rams: ILB CJ Mosley, Alabama
I could see the Rams trading back in this situation as well. With Evans gone there's not a receiver worth taking at 13. Mosley, however, would be a good addition to their defense, even though they took LB Alec Ogletree in the first round last year. James Laurinaitis had a down year, and if Mosley came in at MLB they could see if he improves moving to weak side OLB.
14. Chicago Bears: DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
Donald had one of the most impressive combines and has passed Jernigan at DT in my opinion. With Henry Melton coming off injury and hitting the free agent market, the Bears would love to have a guy with Donald's motor at the position. Chicago needs to retool almost everywhere on defense.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina
The Steelers might trade down in this scenario if they aren't sold on the idea of using two TEs extensively. GM Kevin Colbert has said this is an incredibly deep class, and they could grab a couple extra picks while still having a chance at Clinton Dix or Pryor or getting better value for a WR or CB still on the board. However, Ebron is one of the last elite prospects available in my opinion, and the Steelers are known for always taking the best player available. He would provide Ben Roethlisberger with the type of new-breed TE that guys like Brees, Brady, and Manning have come to love. If he got the chance to learn route running and blocking from a consummate pro like Heath Miller, he could turn into one of the best overall TEs in the game.
16. Dallas Cowboys: DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
Jerry Jones seems intent on proving he made the right move getting rid of Rob Ryan and switching to a 4-3 defense. I don't think that will ever happen, mind you, but he's going to try. If that's the case, they need guys to fit that scheme and Jernigan would be a good fit. He's also one of the best players available, not that Jerry really cares about that...
17. Baltimore Ravens: WR Marquise Lee, USC
Baltimore has to find a way to salvage their offense. It was even worse than the Giants last year. It looks like they will stick with Ray Rice despite his pension for abusing women, and they're also set to resign Dennis Pitta. They might look to upgrade their OL, but Lee is good value here and would fit as a #2 to Torrey Smith.
18. New York Jets: S HaHa Clinton Dix, Alabama
The Jets would love to give Geno Smith more weapons with this pick, but there's good depth at WR later on and Rex Ryan loves to add more pieces to his defense. I think they'll target WRs heavily in free agency anyway. With a dominating front seven, the Jets could use a center fielder on the back end to make QBs think twice before throwing it deep.
19. Miami Dolphins: OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame
We all know that Miami's OL is in shambles. What's great about Martin is that he's very versatile and will be able to find a home somewhere for them. At best he's a decent LT, and at worst he's a very good G. Miami needs both.
20. Arizona Cardinals: OLB Kony Ealy, Missouri
Arizona got good production out of 36 year old John Abraham last year, but they can't count on that happening again. Ealy could convert to OLB in their 3-4 and provide an outside rush that they've been missing the last few years.
21. Green Bay Packers: NT Louis Nix, Notre Dame
If Nix is healthy, he's great value here. He could replace BJ Raji at NT, and like I said if he's healthy he might even turn out to be better. The Packers tried to keep Raji, but he reportedly feels he's not a great fit for their defense. He'll hit the free agent market and Green Bay needs to find someone else.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: S Calvin Pryor, Louisville
The Eagles have had trouble at Safety ever since Brian Dawkins left, and if their offense continues to put up points they'll need a ball hawk in the back for when they're trying to protect a lead. Pryor is gaining steam and some prefer him over Clinton Dix at this point.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: WR Odell Beckham, LSU
Kansas City's only receiving weapon is Dwayne Bowe, and even he is pretty inconsistent. They need another guy outside the hashes to pull attention away from Jamaal Charles. They also might lose Dexter McCluster in free agency, so Beckham's return skills would provide extra value to them.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
Leon Hall has torn his Achilles twice in 3 years, Terence Newman is near retirement, Pac-Man Jones is also getting old and shouldn't be starting anyway, and 2012 first round pick Dre Kirkpatrick hasn't shown much thus far in his career. It's safe to say the Bengals are hoping that there's a good CB available at 24. Luckily Dennard is, and they should jump at the chance to take him.
25. San Diego Chargers: CB Jason Verrett, TCU
The Chargers are also hoping to get reinforcements at CB, as Derek Cox was awful last year and they don't have much else. Verrett had a good day at the combine and should go at around this time.
26. Cleveland Browns: WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State
Cleveland got a QB, and they have decent weapons for him on offense. But they could use another receiver opposite Josh Gordon, as Greg Little drops everything and is a free agent in 2015. They could look at RB Carlos Hyde here, but will probably be able to get him with their pick at the top of the second round.
27. New Orleans Saints: CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State
Continuing the run on defensive backs, the Saints take Roby after he had one of the best days at the combine of all DBs. He ran extremely well, and should have solidified a spot in the first round. He, Dennard, and Verrett are at about the same talent level and will come down to preference as to who goes first. He should make a good pairing with Keenan Lewis as the #1 CB.
28. Carolina Panthers: OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
Longtime LT Jordan Gross has announced his retirement, so the Panthers need to protect Cam Newton. Kouandjio is a better run blocker than pass protector, but that works since the Panthers are a run first team. Plus, even if Kouandjio can't play LT, Carolina's RT Byron Bell was pretty bad last year and could be replaced.
29. New England Patriots: DT Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota
I almost feel sick giving New England such a good deal. Although Hageman has some boom-or-bust about him, he's well worth it at the end of the first round. The Pats need someone to take over since Vince Wilfork is getting old and coming off injury. Their run defense really suffered last year without him.
30. San Francisco 49ers: WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
Even though it looks like they will resign Anquan Boldin, that is only a stopgap and they will need a receiver ready to contribute soon. I know they have Michael Crabtree, but he's overrated and is apparently not mentally tough enough to keep his composure against Richard Sherman.
31. Denver Broncos: LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
Denver can't really expect to rely on Von Miller at this point. He tore his ACL late in the season and one more failed drug test would land a season long suspension. Shazier doesn't exactly fill Miller's role, but could solidify the spot next to him.
32. Seattle Seahawks: TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
I like Seattle's receivers more than others. If they resign Golden Tate and Percy Harvin stays healthy I think they have guys who are pretty good and fit what they like to do. That said, Russell Wilson could use another target and I don't think Zach Miller is good enough at TE. Amaro is also pretty good value here.