Football season never ends, and with that, the NFL Draft is almost here. Ah, the exciting time of speculation, intense studying of players, and all the rumors that circulate quicker than a hula hoop around a child’s waist. Who will prevail, and who will go down as a huge bust? Only time will tell. Let’s take a preview at the first ten picks:
1. Houston Texans: Picture it, commissioner Roger Goodell is on the podium, awaiting to announce the pick. “With the first pick in the 2014 draft, the Houston Texans select: Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback, from the University of Louisville.” Yes, that’s right fans, the Texans will select Bridgewater. Houston is in need of a quarterback; Bridgewater’s the most ready-to-play quarterback in this draft. He’s got a strong arm, a good 6’3 frame, and accuracy. He needs to be coached up a bit, but that’s no problem considering the Texans’ new coach Bill O’Brien is good with quarterbacks. Bridgewater has much talent but many think Houston will select the loud and overly ambitious Johnny Manziel; that’s not happening. Bridgewater is better, more NFL-ready, and has a calmer demeanor that will succeed in the pros.
2. St. Louis Rams: The Rams need to get better on the offensive line; they’ll snag offensive tackle Jake Matthews out of Texas A&M. Matthews, a talented tackle that stands at 6’5″, weighing 308 pounds, is the perfect guy to protect quarterback Sam Bradford. Bradford takes a beating; it’s only a matter of time before he loses confidence. St. Louis is trying to upgrade their offense; elevating their offensive line would be a great start.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars have looked like a high-school team for long enough; they need an immediate impact player. Jacksonville will draft Jadeveon Clowney, the defensive end out of South Carolina. Clowney is one of, if not the best player in this draft. He’s a ferocious and physical pass-rusher that will give this team an identity on defense and will provide immediate good play. He has freakish speed and insane instincts to find the ball. Many expect the Jaguars to take a quarterback, but that won’t be the case. Outside of of Bridgewater, none of the other quarterbacks are appealing. A quarterback is the most important position, but since there aren’t any stars in this draft, Clowney is the safer and better pick for what the Jaguars need. Quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne can still be worked with and improved for the team’s future.
4. Cleveland Browns: The Browns will select Johnny Manziel, the quarterback out of Texas A&M. Manziel isn’t worthy of a top-ten pick by any means. He lacks better accuracy, decision-making, and defensive reading. However, Cleveland is in need of a quarterback and has a poor track record when it comes to selecting them. This is the same team who drafted Brandon Weeden – a quarterback that wasn’t even worthy of a fourth round grade — in the first round, and Alex Tanney, a trick-shot quarterback on YouTube. They’ll make the same foolish mistakes and select an unworthy quarterback again.
5. Oakland Raiders: The Raiders haven’t been the same bad boys in black like they used to be; they need a significant game-changing player to amp their team up. Oakland will select Khalil Mack, the intelligent linebacker out of the University of Buffalo. Mack is a smart, tough, and skilled ball player. He can scan the field, patrol in pass-coverage, and shutdown an opposing team’s running game. Oakland’s 22nd ranked defense would be bolstered with Mack fronting it.
6. Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons took a beating last season; quarterback Matt Ryan had it the worst. The Falcons need more force on their offensive line. With the sixth pick, they’ll grab Greg Robinson, the tackle out of Auburn. Robinson is said to have elite talent, something that can give Ryan and the offense more to work with. The Falcons’ offensive line ranked 20th last season, allowing 44 sacks and 100 QB hits. Ryan nor any quarterback can take that beating; Robinson is a good selection here.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers have much talent on their defensive side of the ball. With a young and seemingly talented quarterback in Mike Glennon, they need an offensive weapon. Glennon’s strong and accurate arm will be throwing to Sammy Watkins, the freakishly athletic receiver out of Clemson. Watkins is a legitimate number one receiver with good speed and great hands. His combine is compared to Calvin Johnson‘s of Detroit. Watkins finished his 2013 season with over 1,000 receiving yards on 101 catches. The Buccaneers will have hit gold here; Watkins is a stud.
8. Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings aren’t as quarterback crazy as Cleveland; they’ll either ride it out with Christian Ponder or seek help elsewhere. What Minnesota needs to focus on is boosting their 31st ranked defense, especially since they’re losing key players like defensive end Jared Allen. Minnesota’s defense is shriveling, and is expecting to lose other important players in the near future. They’ll take C.J. Mosley, the linebacker out of Alabama. Mosley plays with good urgency, detecting opposing offenses’ plays quickly, shifts from sideline to sideline quickly, and has good run-stopping abilities along with good pass coverage. Mosley can raise the bars for this defense; expect to see him in a purple and yellow uniform next season.
9. Buffalo Bills: The Bills will go defense here, drafting safety Ha’Sean “Ha Ha” Clinton-Dix out of Alabama. The Bills could use offensive help, preferably at receiver, but since Watkins will be gone, they’ll look to replace their safety Jairus Byrd. Byrd had a solid season; Dix would be a nice compliment to current Bills safety Aaron Williams, who recently signed a contract extension. Dix has nice size, good ball skills, and takes very good angles on plays. He is known to be an exceptional pass defender. Buffalo won’t go wrong with this pick.
10. Detroit Lions: The Lions have one of the worst secondaries in the NFL, and have for some time now. Detroit needs to get a shutdown player in the back seven if they want to be taken seriously. The Lions will steal cornerback Justin Gilbert out of Oklahoma State. Gilbert would be ideal in this secondary, being six-foot and over 200 pounds. He’s a physical corner with great control over his body and movements. He has blazing speed, having ran his 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds. The NFL is a passing league now; Gilbert is what the Lions and every NFL team should be seeking, a big and physically gifted corner. He can also return punts, too. Detroit needs to take him, aiding their faltering secondary.