Houston Texans – Blake Bortles
There is a single obvious need in Houston but there is one big beast that stands in the way of taking their QB at 3, best available player Jadeveon Clowney. But is that what the texans need to get back to winning ways? Well the Texans’ D came in at 7th in total yards last year and overall played well. Putting another corner next to Jonathan Joseph and improving the linebacker core is far more important than upgrading an already strong defensive line.
When the Texans signed Ryan Fitzpatrick I had my suspicions. Trading Matt Schaub, his bloated salary and getting a draft pick in the bargain was a great call. Fitzpatrick isn’t the answer but his performances in Tennessee show he is more than an able backup and certainly a good mentor for a young quarterback.
Most importantly does their choice of back up project an image on the QB they will draft? Bill O’Brien seems to favour bigger QBs but Fitzpatrick suggests the Texans may be looking at a more mobile option. Step forward Blake Bortles who is Andrew Luck diluted. A physical presence with good mobility, he can make all the throws, has good pocket presence but his decision making needs work and his all round mental game could do with fine tuning.
Bring in Bortles let him compete with Fitzpatrick and learn from the veteran and by week 8 you could have a solid starter for the next decade.
St Louis Rams – Greg Robinson
Once again many people will say Clowney but I personally swing to a more needs drafting method with a hint of bap. Will adding Clowney be a bigger upgrade over Robert Quinn than say Sammy Watkins or Greg Robinson? I doubt it. Long and Quinn are top DEs in the NFL and the Rams have bigger needs on offense.
I really think the Rams will trade this pick but due to the nature of this draft I’ve got them going tackle at 2. Jake Long is coming back from an acl and should be fit but if he isn’t well you have your replacement right here. Add to that he can slot in at right tackle and though the days of right tackles being maulers in the run game weak in the pass game Robinson’s forte is against the run. Solid with physical potential to be a dominant all round tackle, this pick allows them to put Saffold at his natural position at guard. This gives the Rams the potential to have bookend tackles for the foreseeable future or Long’s replacement on the roster if necessary.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Jadeveon Clowney
Here is where the big man goes and both parties will be delighted. Clowney has said he liked the energy of his meeting with the Jaguars’ staff and the Jags will get an incredible physical talent on defense. Physically he is incredible but Clowney is still raw as a pass rusher. Put him behind Chris Clemons, the original leo and let him learn from the best. He can become the pass rusher the Jags have always needed as well as be the face of the franchise.
Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel
All the pieces are in place except the big one…under centre.
Manziel will give Browns fans a lift, bring positive press to a much maligned organisation and most of all put a solid face of the franchise under centre.
His pro day showed his arm is better than many expected but his decision making will take time to elevate to NFL level. Sit him behind Hoyer, let him learn and understand the role of a pocket passer and temper that improvisational brilliance to the occasional flashes that win football games.
Oakland Raiders – Sammy Watkins
The Raiders want success now. With their GM on such a hot seat I can smell the charred flesh they’ve signed older experienced heads. MJD and McFadden in the backfield, Schaub under centre, Tuck and Houston on defense. Donald Penn will be a solid replacement for Jared Veldheer but they need to give Matt Schaub a weapon and Sammy Watkins can be that weapon. A good professional receiver with good hands and developed route running skills he could easily become the Raiders’ number one wideout and possibly develop into one of the top 10 in the league.
Atlanta Falcons – Khalil Mack
Makes too much sense for the Falcons to take a pass rusher. The tackle draft is deep enough for them to pick up a solid starter in round 2 but pass rushers are not so abundant. Mack is a polished pass rusher with the ability to play as a DE or an OLB in a 4-3 or an OLB in the 3-4. He can play at the line, has an abundance of pass rushing moves and has everything you could want in a rusher. At 6 he is a steal who can become the pass rusher the Falcons missed last year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jake Matthews
After releasing Penn, Matthews becomes an obvious choice. A skilled left tackle rounded in the pass and run game he can play left tackle, right tackle and guard if need be. Having addressed a lot of their needs in a very productive free agency, if Matthews reaches them I expect no hesitation, it is just too good to miss.
Minnesota Vikings – Teddy Bridgewater
New year, new stadium, new head coach, new QB.
Bad pro day or not, Teddy is the most pro ready qb in this year’s draft. Added with Cassel on the roster he doesn’t have to start tomorrow and can sit if need be.
Teddy has already proven he can manipulate a pro style offense and though he can sit if needed I feel he can start right away in a quick passing offensive scheme. Having guys like Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson on the outside will give him the explosive playmakers on the outside to succeed with a quick passing game early on. Quick accurate strikes are his forte and paired with an already incredible running game Teddy can have instant impact even while he works on the weaker part of his game (the deep ball, particularly his go routes which are erratic at best).
Buffalo Bills – Taylor Lewan
I had a bit of a struggle with this one and was really tempted to say Mike Evans or Eric Ebron, to give EJ Manuel another target but as neither tackle on the roster is necessarily the answer I feel like the Bills can’t afford to miss Lewan. If Matthews and Robinson are the cream Lewan is one hell of a consolation prize. He could lock up their left or right tackle spot for the foreseeable future and give Manuel a little more time to find his receivers.
Detroit Lions – Justin Gilbert
Having signed Golden Tate to partner Calvin Johnson a number 2 wideout is no longer top priority. Mike Evans or even Eric Ebron would be an incredible shout here but I feel like a top corner would be too much to pass up. Gilbert and Dennard were neck and neck going into the offseason but I feel Gilbert pulled ahead with his combine measurables. Dennard is perhaps better in coverage now but Gilbert’s physical potential is too good to pass up. With a nasty defensive front providing pressure Gilbert could feast off their scraps and develop into a true shutdown corner.