#1 – Jacksonville Jaguars – Teddy Bridgewater – QB – Louisville
Another week goes by but the top of the pile isn’t moving. The Jacksonville Jaguars still desperately need a quarterback to turn their fortunes around. Teddy Bridgewater is the best one in the 2014 draft. Unless Gus Bradley plans to go hunting in free agency and saves the top pick for a defender, this choice is the most obvious of any in the top ten.
#2 – Cleveland Browns – Anthony Barr – OLB – UCLA
This is where it gets interesting. The Cleveland Browns suddenly have two picks in the first round thanks to their Trent Richardson trade. Conventional wisdom says they go for a quarterback at the top, but the 2014 class is expected to be deep, meaning they might still find one with talent on the back end of the first round. Meanwhile they get to put rising outside linebacker Anthony Barr across from Barkevious Mingo.
#3 – Minnesota Vikings – Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina
Another team that could take a quarterback but the problem lately with the Minnesota Vikings is their defense. Jared Allen can no longer carry their pass rush along. He is an NFL free agent next year and pushing into his 30s. On top of that Brian Robison is also a free agent. Jadeveon Clowney is the most talented prospect on the board despite surgery concerns and is too good to pass on for a team in a division with Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers.
#4 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jake Matthews – OT – Texas A&M
Perhaps the most talented team in the league with the worst record. On paper the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have skilled players at almost every position. The hope is that switching quarterbacks can turn things around but reality says rookies don’t tend to do that. More that likely, if Greg Schiano isn’t fired, the Bucs take the best player available. That is Jake Matthews, a second generation specimen who can add to the protection of Mike Glennon.
#5 – Oakland Raiders – Marqise Lee – WR – USC
They could easily go defense again or offensive line but the Oakland Raiders still don’t have enough playmakers on their offense. Darren McFadden could be gone in free agency and Denarius Moore still hasn’t lived up to his potential. Adding a burner like Marqise Lee can become an excellent go-to target for Terrelle Pryor, provided he’s still the starter next season.
#6 – St. Louis Rams – Tajh Boyd – QB – Clemson
Sam Bradford is fast wearing out his welcome with the St. Louis Rams. Another losing season might force Jeff Fisher to make a change. Tajh Boyd is as good a prospect as he’ll find in the NFL draft. While not the tallest, he is strong, athletic, and a leader on the field. Having coached Steve McNair, he is the type of player Fisher would like and could build around.
#7 – New York Giants – Bradley Roby – CB – Ohio State
The woeful running game is just a smokescreen. The New York Giants defense is nowhere near where it was three years ago. Everything from their pass rush to the secondary needs lots of work. So they go with the best defender on the board, and that is Bradley Roby. Though not the biggest corner in the draft he is certainly the most gifted. He can play man coverage against any receiver and isn’t shy about helping in the run game. New York has had so many problems staying healthy at corner. Perhaps with him things will change.
#8 – St. Louis Rams – Taylor Lewan – OT – Michigan
Robert Griffin III is the gift that keeps on giving for the St. Louis Rams. Holding the Washington Redskins 2014 first round pick, the last of the trade made between the two teams a year ago, St. Louis finds they own a second top ten pick. Having already picked a quarterback in Boyd, they shift to a big roster need to help him. A constant area of turmoil for the Rams is the offensive line. They can’t stay healthy or block with any consistency. Taylor Lewan is a big, athletic tackle who can match up with any pass rusher he faces. Sliding him into the rotation should give Boyd a boost.
#9 – Pittsburgh Steelers – Louis Nix III – NT – Notre Dame
It might sound like a bad record but the Pittsburgh Steelers are actually in a bind. They could take an offensive lineman again but that hasn’t always proven successful under Mike Tomlin. Wide receiver is another possibility but the Steelers are actually fine in that department. One area that has begun to slip is their run defense. Nose tackle is a key part of that and Louis Nix III is by far the best in the draft. His massive frame and proper coaching at Notre Dame will make him an instant hit with Dick LeBeau, and continue the turnover on defense from old to young.
#10 – San Diego Chargers – Jason Verrett – CB – TCU
It will be very hard to pass up a wide receiver here but the San Diego Chargers need help on defense more than offense. One player who could use it the most is safety Eric Weddell who seems lost in a desert of no-names in the secondary. Jason Verrett isn’t the most physically imposing corner but he has the fluidity and speed to stay with any NFL receiver he covers and is especially adept at hawking the ball. His toughness against the run is merely a bonus.