1: Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
With the latest offseason murmurs suggesting that Clowney has been informed that he will be the Texans pick atop the first round, it makes sense to put him here. Even though it's a new regime, the personnel isn't much different to when the Texans were having success with Matt Schaub, and I feel they can find a quarterback of his calibre in Day 2 of the draft, so taking one of the best prospects in recent history is a no-brainer.
2: St. Louis Rams: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
The main bargaining chip has gone, but I expect on draft day for the Rams to have traded out of this pick. Nevertheless, they have a need at right tackle with Roger Saffold kicking inside to guard. Robinson is a generational talent at the position with room to grow and shores up that side of the line.
3: Jacksonville Jaguars: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Gus Bradley gets a brand new piece for his defense as he looks to mould a competitive unit. Mack seems to be the perfect fit at the 'LEO' position for Jacksonville, and like the Texans, they go for the best player available selection and won't reach for a quarterback.
4: Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
In need of a playmaker opposite Josh Gordon, Brian Hoyer (or maybe a QB from later this round...stay tuned) now has some serious weapons to work with on offense. Watkins is the best offensive prospect in my books, and gives the Browns potency on offense. Still need someone to pass him the ball mind you.
5: Oakland Raiders: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
The first of the QB's goes to the team that traded for a veteran QB this offseason. Although the Raiders are talking up Schaub, I don't think he can cut it in the NFL any more, and he was nothing more than a stopgap anyway. Bortles is a high ceiling risk/reward prospect in this draft who could benefit from sitting a year and taking the reigns in 2015. The Raiders finally have their quarterback for the future.
6: Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
I don't think the Falcons will rank the remaining pass rushers this high on their board, so they like many others so far take the best player available in Jake Matthews, who also fills an urgent need. Matt Ryan is entering his prime and needs improved protection if the Falcons look to regain their NFC South crown. Matthews is a serious upgrade at offensive tackle.
7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Mike Glennon showed promise in 2013 and has starter potential in the NFL, but with a new regime they could go in a different direction. Johnny Manziel is a playmaker at the position who could take the league by storm. He's a work in progress as a pocket passer, but making plays outside of the pocket is his game and he should flourish.
8: Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Being on the receiving end of some slanderous reports of late has given TB a fall down media draft boards, but he remains in my view the best quarterback prospect in the draft, and the Vikes get a steal at eight. Possessing all the tools of a quality starting quarterback, Bridgewater helps the Vikings win now and in the future.
9: Buffalo Bills: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
The Bills should make a concerted effort towards making E.J Manuel succeed as an NFL quarterback and one way of doing that is giving him weapons to throw to. Evans is a big-bodied outside target and gives Manuel a go-to guy. He high-points the ball as well as any receiver in the draft and should make the Bills more competitive.
10: Detroit Lions: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
In need of help on the back end, the Lions select who I think is the best defensive back in the draft in Justin Gilbert. With all the traits of a shutdown corner, Gilbert fills a need at corner for the Lions who are in that pass-first division the NFC North.
11: Tennessee Titans: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Former Cardinals defensive co-ordinator Ray Horton now plies his trade with the Titans, who chose to add to their defense. I think the Titans are a sleeper team to go quarterback in the first round, but Horton gets a new toy for his defense. Barr is a malleable prospect who has a majorly high ceiling but requires a lot of work for him to reach his full potential.
12: New York Giants: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Likely a top-10 pick come May 8th, Ebron is a nice value pick here for the Giants. With people questioning whether two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Eli Manning is on the decline, the Giants need to give him some weapons after losing Hakeem Nicks, and what is a quarterback's best friend? A tight end. Ebron gives the Giants a legitimate target up the seam who can create separation.
13: St. Louis Rams: HaHa Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
TJ McDonald was ok at strong safety last year for the Rams, but they need to give him a partner on the back end with range and playmaking ability. Clinton-Dix is the consensus top safety in this year's class and rounds off a competitive secondary for the Rams.
14: Chicago Bears: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
With one of the league's worst run defenses, and losing a quality defensive tackle in Henry Melton to free agency means the Bears need to address their defensive line early in the draft. Donald is great value here as he is touted to be a top-10 pick. His supreme athletic ability coupled with his knack to rush the passer from the inside gives the Bears some beef upfront.
15: Pittsburgh Steelers: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
The Steelers need to find a replacement for the ageing Ike Taylor on defense. Dennard is the next best corner in the draft behind Gilbert, and has legitimate shutdown potential at the position. Dennard is also a good contributor in the run game which is always a good quality to have in a starting corner.
16: Dallas Cowboys: Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
The Cowboys have put off finding a decent safety for many seasons now, and this is the time they get their long-term guy. Pryor is a big-hitting physical safety who will give them an edge on the back end. The Cowboys will look to find a replacement for DeMarcus Ware in the later rounds.
17: Baltimore Ravens: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Letting Michael Oher walk in free agency was the right move for the Ravens, as they draft his successor in the early rounds of the draft. Lewan projects to be a first round pick come May and should excel at right tackle for Baltimore.
18: New York Jets: Odell Beckham Jr, WR, LSU
Adding Chris Johnson gives the Jets some speed and burst on offense, but it's not enough. Geno Smith/Michael Vick will need more than just Eric Decker to succeed, so adding ODB in the mid-first gives them just that. He also has value as a return man; get the ball in his hands and let him fly.
19: Miami Dolphins: Zach Martin, OL, Notre Dame
Their right side of the offensive line needs major work. Martin could succeed as an NFL right tackle but questions over his length for the position are real. If he flops, he has the ability to kick inside to guard and have great success there. Versatility is always a positive.
20: Arizona Cardinals: Deone Bucannon, SS, Washington State
The major downfall for the Cardinals last season was their inability to cover the tight end. Not only torched by the likes of Jimmy Graham, but people like Jared Cook and Zach Ertz were getting wide open. Bucannon covers the tight end very well and gives them a physical presence in the secondary. You have him man up on receivers and let Tyrann Mathieu make plays all day long.
21: Green Bay Packers: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
The Packers need some help on defense, that's no secret. Shazier doesn't have a definitive fit in a 3-4 defense, but a good coach will find a way to use him. He could play both outside and inside, but this tackle machine has impeccable range and will make plays from sideline to sideline.
22: Philadelphia Eagles: Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois
The Eagles have the most makeshift safety group in the NFL. Ward may be considered a reach here by few, but I think he is a top-32 talent. He instantly upgrades a mediocre secondary, strengthening the Eagles' case for NFC East supremacy.
23: Kansas City Chiefs: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Alex Smith was asked to throw a lot of crossing routes last season, exploiting the underneath areas having the likes of Donny Avery and Junior Hemmingway get targets. The speedster Brandin Cooks craves space and will run away from defenders in space. Andy Reid will get this boy the ball and let him eat.
24: Cincinnati Bengals: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Losing Michael Johnson to free agency leaves a big hole at defensive end for the Bengals. Ealy's slide ends at 24 where he should give the Bengals a presence off the edge. Offensive lines can't keep Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and Kony Ealy away from the quarterback.
25: San Diego Chargers: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
The Chargers need help at corner and get their pick of the remaining players who are all graded closely. Despite his smaller-than-deal size, Verrett has great quickness and speed with fluid hips, and he also packs a punch when he hits you. His technique is second-to-none and should upgrade their defense instantly.
26: Cleveland Browns: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
The Browns are reportedly smitten with Derek Carr, and they land him with their second first round pick. Carr has great tools to work with but like all these quarterbacks needs to be coached up from Day 1. One thing's for sure, he'll have Pro Bowl calibre weapons to work with in Josh Gordon, Sammy Watkins and Jordan Cameron.
27: New Orleans Saints: CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama
The devaluing of the inside linebacker position causes Mosley to fall in this mock draft, but he is so much better than the rest at his position he is a steal for the Saints. Mosley is one of the most dependable, solid players in this class, and will give you reliable production from Week 1.
28: Carolina Panthers: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
It's all well and good giving Cam Newton weapons, but he can't get the ball to them without protection. Moses is the best OT available at this point with tremendous upside but there are questions as whether he can cope at left tackle. The depth at WR in the draft allows the Panthers to pass on a WR this time around.
29: New England Patriots: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
The Patriots go best player available here and Hageman is nice value at the bottom of the first round. With needs at WR and TE, the Pats decide to pass on Jace Amaro who may be a bit of a reach here, and with WR so deep they chose to wait on that position also.
30: San Francisco 49ers: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Cutting Carlos Rodgers, who wasn't great, leaves a big hole in the 49ers secondary. There's great value corners to be had at the end of the first round, and the Niners get a steal in Kyle Fuller who should be able to man one side of the field without question.
31: Denver Broncos: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
The Broncos made strides in free agency to improve their defense through the signings of Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware, and with them in total win-now mode, they chose to give Peyton Manning another weapon having lost Eric Decker. Lee should be able to pick up the load opposite Demaryius Thomas.
32: Seattle Seahawks: Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA
A personal favourite of mine, Su'a-Filo could have his name called a lot earlier on May 8th than with the last pick of the first round. By far the best guard prospect, Su'a-Filo gives Russell Wilson some much needed protection in the NFC West which is stacked with pass-rushers.
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