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1. Houston Texans
Jadeveon Clowney – DE, South Carolina
There’s been heavy speculation that this pick belongs to Blake Bortles, but Clowney is just too good to pass up. The Texas have no sure thing on the roster at quarterback, but neither is Bortles. Pairing Clowney with J.J. Watt would be unfair for opposing teams, especially those in the AFC North where the offensive lines are collectively average at best. In order to keep up with Andrew Luck, the Texans choose the defensive version in Jadeveon Clowney.
2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington)
Greg Robinson – OT, Auburn
In this version there are no trades so the Rams are stuck at this spot. The team is committed to Sam Bradford, but they need to be able to protect him. They have some good pieces in place with Jake Long and Rodger Saffold. Drafting Robinson would allow the Rams to groom him on the right side and eventually let him take over for the talented but oft injured Long.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Teddy Bridgewater – QB, Louisville
A lot has been said about Bridgewater this offseason, probably too much. The fact is, he’s the most NFL ready quarterback in this draft. Bortles may be more prototypical as far as stature, but Bridgewater simply outplays him on the field. I could see the Jaguars taking Khalil Mack to add some talent to their defense, but Gus Bradley & Co. decide to bring Teddy back home to Florida.
4. Cleveland Browns
Khalil Mack – OLB, Buffalo
Cleveland is desperate for playmakers. Their not in the position to reach for a quarterback here though, and so they go with the top rated talent on the board. Pairing Mack with last year’s first round pick Barkevious Mingo would give the Browns a very talented pass rush to complement their secondary lead by Joe Haden. Much like the Texans, if you don’t have a quarterback, you better be able to sack them.
5. Oakland Raiders
Sammy Watkins – WR, Clemson
Oakland is desperate for some excitement. Everything about the team right now screams mediocre. They went out and signed several past-their-prime free agents in order to fill gaps, but I don’t think there’s a player on the team a fan would pay money to go see. Watkins would fix that. He can do anything on the football field and would make even make Matt Schaub look good for a game or two.
6. Atlanta Falcons
Jake Matthews – OT, Texas A & M
The Falcons definitely need help rushing the passer, but they also need to be able to protect their own. Jake Matthews is probably the most polished tackle in the draft, and the Falcons should be happy if he falls this far. The Falcons need to get younger and more talented on both sides of the line. I could also see them going after Anthony Barr, but Matthews is the superior talent.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Evans – WR, Texas A & M
Drafting Evans would give the Bucs a pair of the best jump ball receivers in the league. Evans is big, fast enough, and fills a massive void now that the Buccaneers have traded away Mike Williams. Pairing Evans with Vincent Jackson would give Josh McCown a similar look to the one he had in Chicago.
8. Minnesota Vikings
C.J. Mosely – ILB, Alabama
I could definitely see a quarterback going here, especially Bortles. It would be a good situation to sit behind Matt Cassell for a year and learn the system, but I think new head coach Mike Zimmer will want to shore up the middle of his defense first. I’m also not sure GM Rick Spielman is ready to risk his job on another first round mystery at quarterback. For those reasons, the Vikings take the top rated defender on their board. Mosely would bring instant leadership and credibility to a transforming defense.
9. Buffalo Bills
Taylor Lewan – OT, Michigan
Buffalo flirted with the idea of brining Desean Jackson, but eventually chose not to get into the bidding war. And with both of the top two wide receivers off the board, Buffalo decides to build along the offensive line. The best thing they can do for E.J. Manuel at this point is protect him. They’ll be able to find weapons in the later rounds, and tackles are hard to come by.
10. Detroit Lions
Eric Ebron – TE, North Carolina
I refuse to have the Lions draft a cornerback. Martin Mayhew has shown he’s willing to go after a cornerback high if he likes them (Patrick Peterson and Stephon Gillmore), but there aren’t any corners that come close to them in this year’s draft. And while someone like Anthony Barr has been talked about to bolster Teryl Austin’s new look defense, I think the Lions continue to help out Matthew Stafford. The fact is, in the NFC North you’re going to have to score points. The Lions also have to start thinking of ways to preserve the longevity of Calvin Johnson. Ebron has his warts (mental errors, dropped passes, etc.), but he also possesses rare athleticism for a guy his size. Lining him up in the slot will give the Lions a lot of options in their base personal on offense. They take another step forward in the offensive arms race in the NFC North.