By Tank Spencer
1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, S. Carolina
Clowney is the biggest “can't miss” prospect in years. He's even more of a lock for superstardom than Andrew Luck was a few years ago. If Houston passes on Clowney, it could be one of those decisions that ends up getting a GM fired. The Texans need a quarterback, but a decent one will be there in the 2nd round.
2. St. Louis Rams – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
While Sammy Watkins is on the board and the Rams would like a star wide receiver, I can see the injury to Sam Bradford being the number one reason to take a guy like Matthews. He's so versatile, he can fill any spot on the offensive line and probably be All-Pro at any as well. Some have Greg Robinson at this slot as well, I think the more seasoned Matthews is more valuable.
3 Jacksonville Jaguars – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
The Jags looked hard at Khalil Mack and the top QB's here, but when handed the best wide receiver to come out of college since A.J. Green falls to you... you take him. The Jags could snag a seasoned quarterback in the 2nd or 3rd round like A.J. McCarron or Aaron Murray. If Justin Blackmon doesn't return to the team from suspension, the Jaguars have his replacement. If he does, imagine that duo...
4. Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
The Cleveland Browns think they have their man. They hope the running gag about the lack of longevity at the quarterback position in Cleveland will come to an end. Adding Johnny Football will make the team more dynamic, but for how long? Injury risk has been my biggest concern about Manziel. One big hit and it could be back to the drawing board, again.
5. Oakland Raiders – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Greg Robinson is an impressive specimen. He has long arms, great strength and quick feet. He just needs some polishing on his technique. Robinson could be a star left tackle for the next 15 years. The Raiders need help everywhere. Robinson is the best available.
6. Atlanta Falcons – Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
The Falcons were horrible last year, but are only a piece or two away from being a contender next year. The lucked out that Oakland opted for offensive help instead of defensive and snap up Mack, who is the 2nd best pass rusher in the draft. You can flip this pick and the previous. If Oakland chooses Mack, Robinson will take the short trip on I-20 east from Auburn to Atlanta.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Despite it being much-debated, the Bucs biggest need IS wide receiver. After they traded away #2 pass catcher Mike Williams to Buffalo, they cannot pass on a dynamic receiver like Evans. The Bucs have two servicable QB's on the roster with Josh McCown and Mike Glennon. There is no need to add a third with a top 10 pick.
8. Minnesota Vikings – Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
The Vikings had their eyes on every top quarterback and some sources say they wanted Johnny Manziel the most. Bortles should be the next QB off the board. I wouldn't argue with any other QB choice, should Minnesota make it, as long as they take one. I read one analyst's take saying they would be gun-shy about taking a QB in the 1st round after the Christian Ponder fiasco. They will definitely kick themselves if they don't take one this year, because all the best could be off the board by their pick in the 2nd.
9. Buffalo Bills – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
The Bills could go for a pass rusher or even a tight end to add a target for their young QB. I think the most sensible choice is a lineman to help portect that young QB. Lewan could be a staple for the line for several years. Sensible hasn't been Buffalo's draft style, so we'll see if they blow the pick. Don't be surprised if TE Eric Ebron from North Carolina cracks the top 10 here.
10. Detroit Lions – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma St.
I've been sold on the Lions taking the top corner in the draft class with this pick sense the beginning. The only change is who it is. I think Gilbert has risen to the top of the draft board for a lot of teams. His sure hands are a plus and he's a great kick returner as well.
11. Tennessee Titans – Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Barr has been on my radar for this pick all along and it makes perfect sense with a change to a 3-4 scheme in Nashville. The Titans had the worst pass rush in the NFL last season. Barr adds a lot of talent to the LB corps.
12. New York Giants – Eric Ebron, TE, UNC
The Giants need to give Eli Manning another target and this offseason they lost their top two TE’s to free agency. With the top 3 tackles off the board and not wanting to reach for a receiver, they land the “next big thing” in Ebron. He’s expected to be the next Jimmy Graham.
13. St. Louis Rams – HaHa Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
After passing on Sammy Watkins at #2, the Rams could look t adding another WR here. That would be a reach in my opinion, so I think they’d opt for helping the defense. Clinton-Dix has been compared to Troy Polamalu, a guy who can cover and blitz.
14. Chicago Bears – Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt
When you think of the Bears, you should think defense... I do at least. Donald is one hell of an athlete at the tackle position. He’s a quick, pass rushing tackle that can make plays with his hands.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Kyle Fuller, CB, VT
The Steelers’ secondary needs major help as #1 wideouts burned them all year long last year. Fuller has a lot of GM’s talking not about his athleticism as much as his instincts and field vision. That could push him above others in the class. After bringing in Darrius Heyward-Bey and Lance Moore, I doubt they go with a receiver. They could opt for a safety here.
16. Dallas Cowboys – Timmy Jernigan, DT, FSU
The Dallas defense was horrid last year. There is just something that screams Cowboys to me with Jernigan. He has all of the potential in the world, but clearly takes plays off. Kind of like the entire Dallas franchise right now.
17. Baltimore Ravens – Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
With division rival Pittsburgh passing on a safety, the Ravens won’t take the same chance. Pryor is a heavy-hitting safety who needs to beef up his coverage skills. Baltimore takes a chance on his talent rather than opting for an offensive tackle with their first pick.
18. New York Jets – Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU
The Jets need to give Geno Smith another target to work with. After adding Eric Decker in free agency, Beckham could quickly become the #2. Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill just aren't reliable.
19. Miami Dolphins – Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
The Dolphins could have a gem in Ryan Tannehill IF they could protect him. After the Jonathan Martin fiasco the line is depleted and needs an influx of talent. Martin could start right away or at least very soon and give Tannehill more protection than he had last year.
20. Arizona Cardinals – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno St.
The Cardinals could have a diamond in the rough if they'll sit Carr behind Carson Palmer for a year or two. That's all Carson probably has left. They won't get a better chance for a QB of the future.
21. Green Bay Packers – C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
C.J. Mosley has the talent to start right away and quite frankly the Packers will be lucky if he's still on the board at this point. He'd be the best player on the board and adding speed to that defense has to be a priority.
22. Philadelphia Eagles – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan St.
The Eagles are handed a gift at 22 with Dennard falling as other teams address bigger needs. Dennard. Maybe the injury concerns surrounding him dropped his stock enough for many teams to pass. There is a reason he won the Jim Thorpe Award this past season. He's the prototypical size for a NFL corner. He hasn't played a lot of zone, so that's a knock on his ability to transition to the league.
23. Kansas City Chiefs – Marquise Lee, WR, USC
The Chiefs need line help, but also have a glaring need at wide receiver. Their top two returning receivers (Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery) had fewer than 100 catches combined last year. Lee is a deep threat that could stretch the field for Alex Smith and free-up Bowe.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
The Bengals have an oft-injured and aging secondary that needs an injection of young talent. Roby is one of the quickest players in this draft class and does not let receivers get behind him often. Roby is considered by some to be the best corner in this draft.
25. San Diego Chargers – Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
San Diego had an awful secondary in 2013. Verrett might be my favorite corner in this draft class. When going against LSU’s Odell Beckham last season, he shut him down and allowed ODB only one catch. He’s tough and quick and plays smart.
26. Cleveland Browns – Kelvin Benjamin, WR, FSU
The Browns should use this pick for another toy for their new QB. Imagine Benjamin, Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron catching passes from Johnny Manziel. If all goes well for this crew, they could be a contender and fast.
27. New Orleans Saints – Allen Robinson, WR, Penn St.
The Saints have a big need for a corner, but with all of the first round talent off the board, they’ll address another need. That is a wide receiver who can play the slot. Robinson is big and physical, something lacking in the receiving corps.
28. Carolina Panthers – Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
The retirement of Jordan Gross leaves the Panthers with a big hole on the offensive line. They’ll get to pick between Moses and Cyrus Kouandjio out of Alabama. Cyrus K has an arthritic condition in his knee that causes me to suspect the Panthers will be wary of taking him. Both are big, long-armed, powerful linemen. The Panthers will probably try to pick up a WR in round 2.
29. New Engalnd Patriots – Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
Like the Patriots need another break, but they get one here. Their dream comes true and Louis Nix falls in their lap. The dude is big and quick for DT and could be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. The reason he falls is because of inconsistent play last season. It could be just a blip on a stellar career.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon St.
The 49ers possibly get the missing weapon that could send them back to the Super Bowl. Cooks is smaller than the prototypical wide receiver, but running a 4.31 40 yd dash means he can boogie. I’m sure Jim Harbaugh can find a way to use that speed to his advantage.
31. Denver Broncos – Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio St.
Ryan Shazier is going as high as 19 in some mock drafts. The kid has a lot of talent and reminds me of James Laurinaitis. Maybe it’s the Buckeye uniform, I don’t know. The guy has great burst on the ball and could be an elite tackler at the next level. He’d be a great steal for the Broncos.
32. Seattle Seahawks – Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA
I’m torn between a guard or a tight end for Seattle. Either makes perfect sense and there are two perfect choices available here. There’s Su’a-Filo and Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro. My original mock had the guard, so I’ll stick with it.