- Houston Texans
QB Johnny Manziel - Texas A & M
A candidate to emulate the bounce back of the Chiefs next season if they can improve at QB. Dynamic Texas native Manziel will likely be the favorite of owner Bob McNair for obvious reasons. New head coach Bill O'Brien will have to be convinced that Manziel has the required work ethic. O'Brien will also have to accept Manziel's improvisational nature.
- Needs: QB, OLB, RT, DE, OG, S
- Other Options: QB B Bortles, QB T Bridgewater, OLB/DE J Clowney
- St. Louis Rams (from Washington)
DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney - South Carolina
The goal here will be to trade down with someone looking to take Clowney or a QB, but not too far down. Either Jake Matthews or Greg Robinson have to still be available. Simply taking the best tackle on their board is another viable option. Clowney provides value over immediate need. He would join an incredible rotation with Chris Long and Robert Quinn, Long moving inside on passing downs.
- Needs: OT, FS, G/C, WR, CB, QB
- Other Options: OT J Matthews, OT G Robinson, trade down
- Jacksonville Jaguars
QB Blake Bortles - Central Florida
Blaine Gabbert is officially a bust of Ryan Leaf and/or Jamarcus Russell proportions. Free agent Chad Henne is a placeholder at best if resigned. The Jaguars simply have to come out of this draft with a franchise QB. Bortles was under the radar after being lightly recruited despite heading into this season having already started 24 games in two years after red shirting as a freshman. Then he burst into the public consciousness with breakout performances in a loss to South Carolina and win over Louisville leading his team to their first ever BCS Bowl. Then he dominated in an upset over Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl. Bortles has prototypical size and surprising athleticism/mobility.
- Needs: QB, DE, G/C, RB, RT, OLB
- Hope might be available: DE J Clowney, QB J Manziel
- Other Options: QB T Bridgewater, DE K Mack
- Cleveland Browns
WR Sammy Watkins - Clemson
Manziel is reportedly their main target. Bortles a fallback option. Both off the board and Bridgewater available is not what owner Jimmy Haslem or new GM Ray Farmer reportedly have in mind. Farmer should have some job security after Haslem just pulled the plug on his previous front office and coaching staff after only a single season. Taking a flier on a QB later in the draft and/or waiting for Marcus Mariota next season seem like viable options especially with a dynamic talent like Watkins available. Watkins is the complete package combining a natural feel for the game with top ball skills, fluidity and acceleration. Teaming him with Josh Gordon is a scary proposition.
- Needs: QB, RB, WR, ILB, CB/S, G/C
- Hope might be available: QB B Bortles, QB J Manziel
- Other Options: QB T Bridgewater, trade up
- Oakland Raiders
OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
Team needs could basically be a listing of every position on offense and defense. Throwing a rookie QB into the situation would be cruel. Matthews is one of the most pro-ready players in this draft. How often is a plug-and-play franchise left tackle available with the fifth pick?
- Needs: QB, G, LT, DL, RB, CB/S
- Hope might be available: QB B Bortles, QB J Manziel, WR S Watkins
- Other Options: QB T Bridgewater, DE K Mack, OT G Robinson
- Atlanta Falcons
OT Greg Robinson - Auburn
The physically imposing, freakishly athletic Robinson is challenging Matthews to be the first left tackle off the board. Experience is all the red shirt sophomore lacks. Sam Baker fell flat on his face after signing a big contract. Tyson Clabo is a free agent. While perhaps not the team’s biggest need protecting Matt Ryan’s blind side is a worry and Robinson is simply too good to pass up.
- Needs: DE, G/C, DT, OT, TE, RB
- Hope might be available: DE J Clowney, OT J Matthews
- Other Options: DE K Mack
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
DE/OLB Khalil Mack - Buffalo
Mack dominated albeit at a lower level of competition with a division I-A career record 75 tackles for a loss and 16 forced fumbles. He started all but a single game of his 4 year career also accumulating a school record 28.5 sacks. The Bucs were 24th in the league in sacks last season, interior lineman Gerald McCoy leading the way with 9. A presence on the edge is desperately needed.
- Needs: DE, G/C, CB, TE, QB, WR
- Hope might be available: WR S Watkins
- Other Options: QB T Bridgewater, WR M Evans, trade down
- Minnesota Vikings
QB Teddy Bridgewater - Louisville
A slight frame and lack of eye popping athleticism/arm strength will not serve Bridgewater well in the post season. That said the Vikings can't pass on his consistency and intelligence given that the wildly inconsistent, injury prone Christian Ponder is currently the only QB on the roster.
- Needs: QB, DE, CB, DT, G, WR
- Hope might be available: DE K Mack, WR S Watkins
- Other Options: QB D Carr, CB D Dennard, WR M Evans, trade down
- Buffalo Bills
WR Mike Evans - Texas A & M
Robert Woods was a nice addition last season in the second round yet neither he nor Steve Johnson projects as a true feature receiver. Adding a big, physical pass catcher like Evans to the mix would be a big help to EJ Manuel. Evans shattered season and single game receiving records at Texas A&M playing with Johnny Manziel in Kevin Sumlin's spread offense. Evans possesses excellent body control, sticky hands and can bully defenders both during and after the catch. While not a sudden athlete he has deceptive straight line speed.
- Needs: OG, WR, TE, RT, LB, S
- Hope might be available: OLB K Mack, WR S Watkins
- Other Options: OLB A Barr, TE E Ebron, T/G Z Martin, ILB C Mosley
- Detroit Lions
CB Darqueze Dennard - Michigan St
Seems like every year a corner and receiver are mocked to the Lions in the first two or three rounds. The inability to find help at those positions year in and year out has really cost the franchise. Dennard has everything you look for in a CB except blazing straight line speed. Well built, tough, fluid and instinctive he projects as an immediate starter. The Lions need an immediate starter.
- Needs: WR, CB, TE, C, DE, LB
- Hope might be available: WR M Evans
- Other Options: TE E Ebron, WR M Lee, MLB C Mosely
- Tennessee Titans
OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA
Switch to a 3-4 requires edge rushers for a team that finished 23rd in sacks last season. Derrick Morgan figures to get a try standing up despite not being a great fit for the scheme. The only options opposite him are Akeem Ayers and aging Kamerion Wimbley. Ayers is a better fit inside. Barr lacks experience having started his college career on the offensive side of the ball. His athleticism and ability to get to the QB are unquestioned.
- Needs: RB, OLB, OT, NT, QB, CB
- Hope might be available: CB D Dennard, OLB K Mack
- Other Options: QB D Carr, OT T Lewan, T/G Z Martin, NT L Nix
- New York Giants
T/G Zack Martin, Notre Dame
A big part of the two year decline of Eli Manning has been a lack of protection provided by an aging, injury prone offensive line. Martin is instinctive and tough with quick feet. He was the only lineman at the Senior Bowl that had a chance against Aaron Donald. Most scouts now think Martin can stay outside despite short arms and a lack of prototypical length. He might still be better inside. Martin is similar (albeit in my opinion better) to the Giants first rounder last year, Justin Pugh, so they might want to go in a different direction. Martin's versatility and ability to step in immediately will make the decision difficult.
- Needs: G/C, OT, CB, OLB, TE, RB
- Hope might be available: OLB A Barr, CB D Dennard
- Other Options: TE E Ebron, OT T Lewan
- St. Louis Rams
OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Rodger Saffold is pedestrian at best. Resigning him would still be a step in the right direction after Jake Long tore his ACL and MCL in December. Lewan probably should have come out early. He didn't perform badly last season, just gave scouts more tape to pick on his correctable faults (inconsistency, technique) while ignoring his abilities (quick feet, overall athleticism).
- Hope might be available: CB D Dennard, WR M Evans, T/G Z Martin
- Other Options: S H Clinton-Dix, WR M Lee, trade down
- Chicago Bears
DT Louis Nix, Notre Dame
Need to figure out a way to stop the run after finishing dead last in 2013. Nix if available would be a step in the right direction. After dominating in 2012, Nix played through tendonitis and a torn meniscus last season until finally shutting it down and having surgery after the upset loss to Pitt. A positive medical report is imperative. He is likely to not be in the best shape for the combine due to his injury. How he looks at Notre Dame's pro day on March 20th and/or in later individual workouts will also be a big factor in his draft position.
- Needs: DT, S, CB, DE, OLB, C
- Hope might be available: OLB A Barr, CB D Dennard
- Other Options: S H Clinton-Dix, DT A Donald, DE D Ford
- Pittsburgh Steelers
ILB CJ Mosely - Alabama
The Steelers defense needs playmakers. The tough, instinctive Mosely makes plays. Sounds simple enough. Mosely would fill a gaping hole next to Lawrence Timmons in the interior of the defense with the intelligence and pedigree to start immediately, unusual to say the least in Pittsburgh. A review of Mosely's medical records will be important because his hardnosed play has resulted in a number of previous injuries and surgeries.
- Needs: CB/S, NT/DE, LB, WR, OT, TE
- Hope might be available: CB D Dennard, WR M Evans, OT T Lewan, NT L Nix
- Other Options: S H Clinton-Dix, TE E Ebron, OLB D Ford, CB J Gilbert, WR M Lee
- Dallas Cowboys
DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
A coin flip decides the 16th and 17th pick. The undersized Donald has been flying up draft boards after a dominating week at the Senior Bowl following a season which saw him win the Outland Trophy, Bednarik Award, Lombardi Award and Nagurski Award. He is a perfect fit at 3-technique in the Cowboys scheme as they attempt to rebuild what in 2013 was a historically bad defense.
- Needs: DT, DE, S, LB, G, RB
- Hope might be available: G/T Z Martin, MLB C Mosely
- Other Options: S H Clinton-Dix, DE D Ford
- Baltimore Ravens
DE/DT Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota
Hageman's combination of incredible length and eye popping raw power were on display during Senior Bowl week. He fits as either a 3 or 5-technique in the Ravens hybrid 3-4 front and could conceivably even take some snaps on the nose. Hageman also provides insurance in case free agent Arthur Jones leaves.
- Needs: C, OT, WR, S, DE, TE
- Hope might be available: WR M Evans, OT T Lewan
- Other Options: S H Clinton-Dix, TE E Ebron, OT C Kouandjio, WR M Lee
- New York Jets
TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina
Dearth of talent at the offensive skill positions clearly must be addressed. Ebron is a smooth, physical athlete with tremendous upside. He has the versatility to line up both in the slot creating matchup problems and on the line as a willing blocker also giving Geno Smith a valuable check down option.
- Needs: WR, TE, S, RT/G, LB, CB
- Hope might be available: OT T Lewan, T/G Z Martin, ILB C Mosely
- Other Options: S H Clinton-Dix, OLB D Ford, OT C Kouandjio, WR M Lee
- Miami Dolphins
OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
Offensive line was performing poorly before the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin fiasco. Going forward without either of them certainly doesn't make things better. Kouandjio has all the physical attributes of a franchise LT. His college coach Nick Saban did not think he was ready to turn pro. Struggles against Auburn and in the Sugar Bowl seem to confirm that assessment. Someone is going to gamble on his incredible physical upside on the first day anyway.
- Needs: OT, OG, DT, CB, S, RB
- Hope might be available: OT T Lewan, T/G Z Martin
- Other Options: S H Clinton-Dix, CB J Gilbert, DT T Jernigan
- Arizona Cardinals
OLB Dee Ford, Auburn
John Abraham turns 36 this offseason and Sam Acho missed most of last season with a broken leg. Adding an explosive pass rusher would make a formidable defense that much better. Ford emerged as a force in Auburn's run to the National Championship game and then dominated at the Senior Bowl.
- Needs: OT, OLB, CB, RB, S, QB
- Hope might be available: OT C Kouandjio, OT T Lewan
- Other Options: QB D Carr, S H Clinton-Dix, CB J Gilbert
- Green Bay Packers
S HaHa Clinton-Dix - Alabama
Finished 25th in pass defense in large part due to horrendous safety play. Clinton-Dix possesses a rare mix of size, speed, ball skills and instincts. A two game suspension in October for an undisclosed violation of team rules will undoubtedly be discussed in individual team interviews.
- Needs: S, NT/DE, TE, ILB, C, CB
- Hope might be available: TE E Ebron, ILB C Mosely, DE R Hageman
- Other Options: TE J Amaro, CB J Gilbert, WR M Lee
- Philadelphia Eagles
S Calvin Pryor, Louisville
Nate Allen is a free agent and Patrick Chung must be replaced. Pryor is challenging Clinton-Dix to be the first safety off the board. He is a versatile, all around safety with the awareness to excel in coverage and explosive physicality against the run.
- Needs: S, CB, OLB, WR, NT, ILB
- Hope might be available: S H Clinton-Dix, OLB D Ford
- Other Options: OLB K Ealy, CB J Gilbert, WR M Lee
- Kansas City Chiefs
WR Marqise Lee, USC
An upgrade over Donnie Avery is needed across from Dwayne Bowe. While AJ Jenkins looked better than Jonathon Baldwin after the trade with the Niners, he is not the full time answer. Lee struggled through injuries, poor QB play and coaching turmoil last season after winning the Biletnikoff Award as a sophomore. He is an explosive playmaker with the straight line speed and fluid athleticism to beat any corner.
- Needs: WR, FS, RT/G, CB, TE, ILB
- Hope might be available: OT C Kouandjio, S C Pryor
- Other Options: TE J Amaro, CB J Gilbert
- Cincinnati Bengals
CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma St
Aging Leon Hall has torn his Achilles twice since 2011. Terence Newman and Pac-Man Jones top the depth chart after him. Adding youth and talent at corner is clearly an imperative. Gilbert is a dynamic playmaker both in forcing turnovers and as a return man. Inconsistency, over-aggressiveness and a lack of top technique make him more of a project than a highlight reel of his big plays might indicate.
- Needs: CB, OT/G, DE, DT, QB, C
- Hope might be available: OT C Kouandjio
- Other Options: DE K Ealy, DT T Jernigan, OT M Moses
- San Diego Chargers
NT Tim Jernigan, Florida St
Finished 26th in the league in yards per rushing attempt with Cam Thomas on the roster. He will not be back. Slightly undersized, Jernigan dominated in the National Championship game lined up on the center. He combines surprising strength for his size with a quick first step.
- Needs: CB, NT/DE, OG, OLB, WR, TE
- Hope might be available: CB J Gilbert, G/T Z Martin
- Other Options: OLB K Ealy, CB B Robey, G X Su'a-Filo
- Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis)
QB Derek Carr, Fresno St
Passed on Bridgewater at 4 in this scenario. Carr is actually a similar prospect in my mind. Remember, I am not as huge a fan of Bridgewater as some. Not selecting Carr at this point is harder than passing on Bridgewater with the fourth pick. Carr has an NFL caliber arm and underrated athleticism. The Browns are not a patient organization. This might not actually be the best fit for Carr himself. Still, gambling here rather than earlier makes a lot of sense for the organization.
- Hope might be available: CB J Gilbert, S C Pryor
- Other Options: WR K Benjamin, RB K Carey, CB B Robey, G X Su'a-Filo
- New Orleans Saints
OLB Kony Ealy, Missouri
The hiring of Rob Ryan provided an immediate boost to the defense. Giving him another edge rusher can only help. Ealy's length, athleticism and burst are a scout's dream even though his teammate Sam was more productive.
- Needs: FS, OLB, G/C, RT, CB, ILB
- Hope might be available: CB J Gilbert, OT C Kouandjio, S C Pryor
- Other Options: OT M Moses, CB C Robey, G X Su'a-Filo
- Carolina Panthers
WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida St
Cam Newton needs weapons. Steve Smith turns 35 in May. Brandon LaFell does not have number one receiver skills. There is little behind them. Benjamin's combination of size and speed are rare. He caught the winning TD in the National Championship game and will immediately be a bona fide weapon in the red zone. A redshirt sophomore, Benjamin only needs to improve his route running to become a feature receiver.
- Needs: WR, CB, S, LT, RT/G, DE
- Hope might be available: CB J Gilbert, S C Pryor
- Other Options: OT M Moses, CB C Robey, G X Su'a-Filo
- New England Patriots
TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
Still have hopes that Rob Gronkowski can come back strong. Amaro is a nice compliment as a slot receiver that can stretch the field and provide matchup nightmares. An Aaron Hernandez replacement. Everyone knows he is not coming back.
- Needs: TE, DT, WR, C/G, CB, RB
- Hope might be available: WR K Benjamin, DT T Jernigan
- Other Options: WR O Beckham Jr, CB C Robey, DT S Tuitt
- San Francisco 49ers
CB Bradley Robey, Ohio St
Robey probably should have come out early. At times he looked uninterested in his final college season. Sort of a poor man's Jadeveon Clowney in that regard except Robey's draft stock has taken more of a hit. Robey clearly has the size and skills to excel at the next level. He is worth the gamble here. Aging Carlos Rogers is a likely cap casualty. There is nothing behind Tarell Brown and Tramaine Brock.
- Needs: CB, WR, ILB, SS, OLB, C
- Hope might be available: WR K Benjamin
- Other Options: WR O Beckham Jr, LB R Shazier, CB J Verrett
- Denver Broncos
LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio St
Shazier is a diverse prospect with the ability to play outside in any scheme and also inside in a 3-4. He is clearly the top 4-3 weak side linebacker prospect. Adding Shazier and moving Danny Trevathan to the middle would improve both position.
- Needs: CB, M/WLB, WR, SS, OG, DE
- Hope might be available: WR K Benjamin, CB C Robey
- Other Options: WR O Beckham Jr, CB J Verrett
- Seattle Seahawks
WR Odell Beckham Jr, LSU
Sidney Rice won't be back. Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin are free agents, neither is special. Percy Harvin can't stay healthy. Obviously help at receiver is needed. Beckham Jr. is a slightly undersized, smooth athlete with quick acceleration and the ability to allude coverage despite a lack of top straight line speed.
- Needs: WR, RT, OG, DE, CB, DT
- Hope might be available: DT T Jernigan, CB C Robey
- Other Options: OT M Moses, G X Su'a-Filo, DT/DE S Tuitt, CB J Verrett
- Houston Texans - OLB Kyle Van Noy, BYU
Instinctive jack of all trades would allow disappointing Reed to move inside. .
- Washington Redskins
CB Jason Verrett, TCU
A best case scenario for a team that is desperate for talent and youth at corner even after resigning DeAngelo Hall. Verrett is a fluid ball hawk that falls out of the first round only because of his lack of height and rail thin build.
- Needs: CB, LB, S, WR, RT/G, DE
- Cleveland Browns - RB Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona
Whittaker, Baker and Ogbonnaya top the depth chart at RB. Enough said.
- Oakland Raiders - DT/DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame
Entire starting defensive line could leave via free agency.
- Atlanta Falcons - DE Scott Crichton, Oregon St
Relentless, high motor playmaker despite lack of top measurables.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - OG Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA
High priced interior offensive line including Joseph, Zuttah, Meredith and injury riddled Nicks has badly underachieved.
- Jacksonville Jaguars - OT Morgan Moses, Virginia
Mauling bookend compliments last year's first rounder Joeckel, solidifies line.
- Minnesota Vikings - CB Marcus Roberson, Florida
Replacement for free agent Cook opposite last year's first rounder Rhodes.
- Buffalo Bills - TE Troy Niklas, Notre Dame
Versatile, in-line TE is a perfect fit for Marrone's offense.
- Tennessee Titans - RB Tre Mason - Auburn
Explosive playmaker to replace CJ.
- New York Giants - TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
Eli's spike in interceptions the last two seasons can be partially attributed to the lack of a security blanket at TE.
- St. Louis Rams - WR Allen Robinson, Penn St
Austin more slot playmaker than true receiver. Been looking for a number one target since drafting Bradford.
- Detroit Lions - WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon St
Quick, agile slot receiver a perfect complement to Megatron. .
- Pittsburgh Steelers
CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech
Fluid in coverage and solid in run support, Fuller's season ended early due to November surgery for a sports hernia. The Steelers have not shied away from injury risks in recent drafts. Fuller played multiple position in Blacksburg lining up at safety and linebacker in addition to corner. He is tough, physical, has good length and the ability to play man-to-man or zone.
- Others: OLB J Attaochu, WR B Cooks, S/CB L Joyner, OT A Richardson, TE A Sefarian-Jenkins
- Baltimore Ravens - OT Antonio Richardson, Tennessee
Monroe and Oher are free agents, Oher is very unlikely to return.
- Dallas Cowboys - DE Trent Murphy, Stanford
Double dip on ultra-productive defensive linemen that lack perfect measurables.
- New York Jets - WR Jarvis Landry, LSU
Complete lack of offensive weapons is well documented.
- Miami Dolphins - DT Dominique Easley, Florida
Gamble on high upside interior defender returning from torn ACL.
- Chicago Bears - CB/S Lamarcus Joyner, Florida St
Wright, Conte and Tillman all need to be replaced. Joyner's versatility gives them more options.
- Arizona Cardinals - RB Jeremy Hill, LSU
Power back to join a committee with dynamic, undersized Ellington.
- Green Bay Packers - DE/DT Ego Ferguson, LSU
Free agent Raji is not expected back.
- Philadelphia Eagles - OLB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech
High upside pass rusher that will need time to develop other skills.
- Cincinnati Bengals - DT Will Sutton, Arizona
Peko is in decline and Atkins will be returning from a torn ACL.
- San Francisco 49ers (from KC) - OLB Marcus Smith, Louisville
Can't count on Aldon Smith to stay out of off the field trouble.
- San Diego Chargers - CB Louchiez Purifoy, Florida
Seems like they have been trying to find competent corners forever.
- New Orleans Saints - C Travis Swanson, Arkansas
De La Puente is a free agent, even if resigned there is no depth behind him or at OG. .
- Indianapolis Colts
OG David Yankey, Stanford
Protecting Andrew Luck is a priority. His former college teammate started 40 games despite being injured as a true freshman and coming out early after his red shirt junior season. The athletic, mobile Yankey would be an immediate upgrade on Mike McGlynn.
- Needs: CB, G/C, S, ILB, DE, RB
- Carolina Panthers - S Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois
Starters Mitchell and Mickell are both free agents.
- San Francisco 49ers - WR Davante Adams, Fresno St
Boldin isn't getting any younger, trade of Jenkins for Baldwin shaping up as a waste of time.
- New England Patriots - DT Anthony Johnson, LSU
Wilfork injury shined a light on how little talent they have in the interior of the defensive line.
- Denver Broncos - WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
Intelligent, hard-worker a kindred spirit for Manning.
- Seattle Seahawks - DE/OLB Trevor Reilly, Utah
Dominant defense could use another pass rusher with Bennett unlikely to return.