‘Tis the season for NFL draft pro days.
Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles had their pro days this week, and the latter fared better than the former. A lot of stock is put into quarterback pro days, and maybe that’s because they’re the last thing NFL teams see from players before the draft, so they weigh heavier than they should.
If quarterbacks Bridgewater, Bortles and Johnny Manziel are selected in the top five, some very good players will drop in the 2014 draft.
Check out how this year’s draft will shake out if those three quarterbacks all are drafted early.
1. Houston Texans (2-14): Blake Bortles, quarterback, UCF
Bortles had an impressive pro day Wednesday. He could benefit from sitting behind a veteran for a year, but the Texans might need him immediately.
2. St. Louis Rams from Washington Redskins (3-13): Jadeveon Clowney, defensive end, South Carolina
The Rams can’t pass up Clowney just because they have Robert Quinn and Chris Long at defensive end. Defenses are in nickel so often that they can afford to have three top-tier pass rushers. Either Clowney or Long can kick inside to play defensive tackle.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12): Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback, Louisville
The Jaguars officially gave up on Blaine Gabbert this offseason by trading him to the San Francisco 49ers. Chad Henne clearly isn’t the answer. Bridgewater can be great if he stays healthy.
4. Cleveland Browns (4-12): Greg Robinson, offensive tackle, Auburn
The Browns already have Joe Thomas at left tackle, but Robinson is too good of a talent to pass up.
5. Oakland Raiders (4-12): Johnny Manziel, quarterback, Texas A&M
The Raiders filled their needs at pass rusher (Antonio Smith, Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley) and offensive line (Donald Penn, Austin Howard) in free agency. Their final glaring need is at quarterback. Manziel would look good in black and silver.
6. Atlanta Falcons (4-12): Jake Matthews, offensive tackle, Texas A&M
The Falcons were pretty desperate for a top-tier left tackle in 2013. Matt Ryan would be happy to have Matthews’ blind side protection.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12): Sammy Watkins, wide receiver, Clemson
When three quarterbacks go in the top five, great players like Watkins slip through the cracks. The Buccaneers can draft their future quarterback in the second round. Watkins will help Josh McCown in 2014.
8. Minnesota Vikings (5-10-1): Khalil Mack, outside linebacker, Buffalo
Like the Rams, the Vikings can use three pass rushers in 2014. Mack would play strong side linebacker in the base defense and defensive end in sub packages. Everson Griffen can kick inside to defensive tackle on third down.
9. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Taylor Lewan, offensive tackle, Michigan
Cordy Glenn has been solid at left tackle, but he could be even better at right tackle or guard. Lewan has the potential to be a Pro Bowl selection.
10. Detroit Lions (7-9): Mike Evans, wide receiver, Texas A&M
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford tends to struggle when he’s not throwing to Calvin Johnson. The solution to that problem is to find Stafford a slightly poorer man’s Megatron.
11. Tennessee Titans (7-9): Anthony Barr, outside linebacker, UCLA
Barr’s a raw talent, but a clean slate can make a good prospect. He’s extremely athletic and can play strong side linebacker or defensive end.
12. New York Giants (7-9): Aaron Donald, defensive tackle, Pittsburgh
This might be a little early for Donald to be drafted, but he’s a freak athlete despite being undersized. The Giants could use an elite pass-rushing interior defender.
13. St. Louis Rams (7-9): Justin Gilbert, cornerback, Oklahoma State
Janoris Jenkins could use some help at cornerback with Cortland Finnegan gone. The Rams didn’t sign a corner, so they must be prepared to address this need early in the draft.
14. Chicago Bears (8-8): C.J. Mosley, linebacker Alabama
Mosley can play middle or weak side linebacker. He’ll likely be a solid but unspectacular pro.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Eric Ebron, tight end, UNC
The Steelers need to find offensive weapons regardless of position. Ebron basically is a wide receiver in a tight end’s body, and the Steelers are quickly running out of wideouts.
16. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, safety, Alabama
The Cowboys have addressed their need at cornerback the last two seasons. Now it’s time to look for a versatile safety like Clinton-Dix.
17. Baltimore Ravens (8-8): Zack Martin, offensive lineman, Notre Dame
Martin can play anywhere along the line, and the Ravens need a player like that with so many question marks up front.
18. New York Jets (8-8): Darqueze Dennard, cornerback, Michigan State
Dee Milliner had some shaky moments as a rookie in 2013. Unless Antonio Cromartie comes back, the Jets are going to need another starting cornerback. Dennard will get in receivers’ faces and jam them at the line.
19. Miami Dolphins (8-8): Louis Nix, defensive tackle, Notre Dame
The Dolphins lost Paul Soliai in free agency and could use another big body to stuff the run at nose tackle. Nix can provide just that for Miami.
20. Arizona Cardinals (10-6): Kony Ealy, defensive end, Missouri
The Cardinals have a couple of options with Ealy in the base defense. He has the body type to play outside linebacker or defensive end. He can play defensive tackle or end in sub packages.
21. Green Bay Packers (8-7-1): Calvin Pryor, safety, Louisville
The Packers could use some help at safety. Pryor can deliver big hits across the middle of the field.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6): Ryan Shazier, linebacker, Ohio State
The Eagles had a tough time at linebacker in 2013. Shazier is ridiculously athletic and can rush the passer or defend the pass.
23. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5): Marqise Lee, wide receiver, USC
The Chiefs have needed a No. 2 receiver for years now. Dwayne Bowe can’t do it all on his own.
24. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5): Dee Ford, defensive end, Auburn
The Bengals lost Michael Johnson in free agency. They’ll need another pass rusher to improve the defense in 2014.
25. San Diego Chargers (9-7): Brandin Cooks, wide receiver, Oregon State
The Chargers got Philip Rivers some help in 2013 by drafting Keenan Allen. Now Rivers could benefit from the Chargers adding an explosive playmaker like Cooks.
26. Cleveland Browns from Indianapolis Colts (4-12): Derek Carr, quarterback, Fresno State
The Browns get their quarterback at No. 26, rather than at No. 4. Carr is in the next tier of quarterbacks after Bortles, Bridgewater and Manziel.
27. New Orleans Saints (11-5): Odell Beckham, wide receiver, LSU
The Saints’ wide receiver well is getting shallow. Beckham won’t need to travel far from Baton Rouge, La., to New Orleans.
28. Carolina Panthers (12-4): Kelvin Benjamin, wide receiver, Florida State
The Panthers have put themselves in a situation where they need to add a few wide receivers in the draft. Benjamin is a great place to start.
29. New England Patriots (12-4): Timmy Jernigan, defensive tackle, Florida State
Jernigan has the potential to play nose tackle or three-technique defensive tackle. He also displayed some impressive pass-rushing skills with the Seminoles. He’s not a classic fit for the Patriots’ defensive line, but Bill Belichick can find a role for the disruptive big man.
30. San Francisco 49ers (12-4): Ra’Shede Hageman, defensive end, Minnesota
The 49ers need disruptive five-technique defensive ends for their defense to shine. Both Justin Smith and Ray McDonald are getting up there in age.
31. Denver Broncos (13-3): Bradley Roby, cornerback, Ohio State
The Broncos have Aqib Talib and Chris Harris, but they need another outside cornerback in the nickel defense. Roby’s a risk, but if he can live up to his potential, he could be a steal at No. 31 overall.
32. Seattle Seahawks (13-3): Stephon Tuitt, defensive lineman, Notre Dame
The Seahawks lost Red Bryant and Clinton McDonald this offseason. They could use another big rotational defensive lineman.
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