By Bryan Stauffer
It’s never easy to predict how the NFL draft will pan out, given the uncertainties of free agency and the likelihood of teams swapping draft picks to move up or down come May 8.
The two things we do know are the value of certain players and the needs of particular teams. Together, we can forecast what teams will take whom based on how they project to the NFL and how well a particular player fits into a team’s system.
Shall we begin?
1. Houston Texans:
QB Blake Bortles – UCF
It’s hard to pass on Jadeveon Clowney, but newly appointed head coach Bill O’Brien should spend his first pick on a franchise quarterback considering HOU quarterbacks had 19 TD to 20 INT last year.
2. St. Louis Rams:
OL Greg Robinson – AU
The Rams have needs on both sides of the ball. It’s too high to reach on a corner or a safety, and while they could use the play-making skills of Sammy Watkins, they need to keep Sam Bradford upright and healthy if they want to compete in the NFC West.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
DE Jadeveon Clowney, SC
The Jaguars could go quarterback with two of the top three still on the board, but I don’t see how they can pass on Clowney, who fills a need and provides instant help.
4. Cleveland Browns
QB Teddy Bridgewater, UL
Cleveland lands the most pro-ready quarterback in the class.
5. Oakland Raiders
QB Johnny Manziel, TAMU
Oakland passes on Watkins and gambles on Johnny Football in a very Raider-esque move.
6. Atlanta Falcons:
OL Jake Matthews, TAMU
Fills ATL’s number one need, although Khalil Mack could be on its radar here.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
Mack’s pass rushing/coverage skills will fit right in Lovie Smith’s defense.
8. Minnesota Vikings:
ILB C.J. Mosley, Bama
MIN would love for one of the top QB’s to fall to No. 8 and they could even gamble on Derek Carr here, but Mosley is a guy who fills a need and is the top ILB in the class.
9. Buffalo Bills:
WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
There’s a good chance he doesn’t fall this far, but BUF would love to have Watkins and Stevie Johnson on the oustide for E.J. Manuel.
10. Detroit Lions:
CB Justin Gilbert, OSU
DET needs a physical corner with good size to help lockdown the talented wideouts in the NFC North.
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