1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
I’m just going to throw this out there as an option. The Jaguars probably really like Teddy Bridgewater, but they will keep their options open and it’s arguable that no QB in the nation is playing as well as Mariota is right now. Plus, Mariota might have a higher ceiling than Bridgewater.
It’s an interesting thought, at the very least, and Mariota could gain some serious steam as a #1 pick if Oregon continues to dominate like they are.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
If the Jaguars opt to pass on Bridgewater, don’t expect him to last long. The Buccaneers have Mike Glennon, but I don’t think Glennon will prevent them from drafting a QB in 2014. If Bridgewater is available, you pretty much have to take him here and let him battle it out with Glennon for the starting job.
So much can change between now and the draft, but this would be a wise pick if the draft were happening this week.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Jared Allen is set to leave for free agency after the season so the Vikings need to upgrade the pass rush, and getting Clowney would do so in a big way. You’d obviously love to keep Allen and add Clowney to the mix, but that’s not a realistic possibility at this point.
The Vikings have a ton of needs offensively and defensively, but taking the best defensive player in this class is a good start to any draft class.
4. New York Giants: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Get some protection for Eli Manning. The Giants used their first round pick in 2013 on Syracuse OL Justin Pugh, and in this scenario, they use another first rounder on a guy who can play both RT or LT. He has the look of a big time NFL left tackle and I think this would be a pick that could benefit the Giants immediately.
5. Houston Texans: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
With Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus, this would be a bit of a curious pick, but Anthony Barr is simply good to leave out of my top five, and he’d be a great fit with the Texans’ defense.
Barr is such a dynamic playmaker at the OLB position and he can be used in a variety of ways. The Texans obviously have some major issues at the QB position, so this pick could be a guy like Johnny Manziel (GASP).
6. Pittsburgh Steelers: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
The Steelers need playmakers offensively, and Watkins can provide that. This is a dynamic receiver prospect who doesn’t have elite size but he can do everything so well. Huge upside pick here for the Steelers, and you obviously keep Big Ben happy getting him some new toys to play with.
This pick becomes especially obvious if Emmanuel Sanders leaves.
7. Philadelphia Eagles: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
After a year in the league, I don’t know if Chip Kelly will be insistent on the read-option being his flavor of choice offensively but it’s certainly possible he still wants a more athletic option at the QB position.
Johnny Manziel is a polarizing figure but a heck of a rising prospect who has gotten better in virtually every facet of his game as a RS Sophomore. He has a swagger about him, and if he checks out well for teams in the interview process, it wouldn’t shock me to see him higher than this.
8. St. Louis Rams: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Mike Evans is a big playmaker at the WR position who can absolutely dominate a game. The Rams have been on the hunt for a guy who can do what Mike Evans does, and they have yet to find him.
This may be a bit of an odd selection for Rams fans, using the 8th pick two years in a row on wide receivers, but the more playmakers the better and it’s high time St. Louis hit on some picks. Matt Millen effect?
9. St. Louis Rams (f/WSH): Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
The Rams could upgrade at RT with Jake Long at LT, and Lewan would do just that. This is a steep price to pay for a RT so that alone may make it more likely the Rams would use this pick on another position. However, with Lewan still on the board, it would be tough to pass on his athleticism and upside in the trenches.
10. Atlanta Falcons: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
The Falcons are much more of a mess than I originally thought. The offensive line has been a big issue, so getting a freak (and I sincerely mean that in the most flattering way) like Kouandjio would be huge for them.
Kouandjio plays on a dominant line and was the #1 prospect coming out of high school. He has not disappointed to this point in his collegiate career, and I love his upside.