With the NFL landscape in a frenzy over the scouting combine, now seems like a good time to take another gander at the official draft order to figure out where some of the "Underwear Olympics" heroes may end up in the first round.
The combine does a lot for a prospect's stock, but mostly in the closed-door sessions via the interview process. The sometimes misleading physical drills make for good entertainment but do not come close to game film, medical analysis and personal interviews.
Regardless, team needs have not changed much in recent months and the prospects destined for the first round mostly helped their stock in Indianapolis. If the draft were today, the order and exact picks after the combine may look similar to this:
|Pick No.||Team||Projected Pick|
|1||Houston Texans||Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville|
|2||St. Louis Rams||Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||Blake Bortles, QB, UCF|
|4||Cleveland Browns||Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M|
|5||Oakland Raiders||Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson|
|6||Atlanta Falcons||Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Anthony Barr, OLB/DE, UCLA|
|8||Minnesota Vikings||Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State|
|9||Buffalo Bills||Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn|
|10||Detroit Lions||Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State|
|11||Tennessee Titans||C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama|
|12||New York Giants||Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M|
|13||St. Louis Rams||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama|
|14||Chicago Bears||Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh|
|15||Pittsburgh Steelers||Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame|
|16||Dallas Cowboys||Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri|
|17||Baltimore Ravens||Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State|
|18||New York Jets||Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina|
|19||Miami Dolphins||Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame|
|20||Arizona Cardinals||Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan|
|21||Green Bay Packers||Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota|
|22||Philadelphia Eagles||Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville|
|23||Kansas City Chiefs||Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M|
|24||Cincinnati Bengals||Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State|
|25||San Diego Chargers||Jason Verrett, CB, TCU|
|26||Cleveland Browns||Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State|
|27||New Orleans Saints||Dee Ford, DE, Auburn|
|28||Carolina Panthers||Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU|
|29||New England Patriots||Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech|
|30||San Francisco 49ers||Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt|
|31||Denver Broncos||Cyrus Kouandjio OT, Alabama|
|32||Seattle Seahawks||Marqise Lee, WR, USC|
Here is further analysis on three potential top-10 selections.
5. Oakland Raiders: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
The Oakland Raiders have no choice given how the board falls.
While there is some talent left at quarterback, fifth overall is simply too high to take a player the franchise is not fully invested in as the future under center—especially with Sammy Watkins on the board.
Watkins blew away the combine with a 40-yard-dash time of 4.34 seconds and posted other impressive numbers to boot:
The numbers alone mean little, but when cross-checked against the tape, everything about Watkins as an elite, can't-miss prospect bears out. Yahoo! Sports' Frank Schwab concurs:
Sammy Watkins' 4.34 40 solidifies everything about him. Wow.— Frank Schwab (@YahooSchwab) February 23, 2014
Watkins in no way fixes the problems under center, where holdovers Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin struggled in 2013. But the Clemson product is a franchise cornerstone whom the team cannot afford to pass up.
8. Minnesota Vikings: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
The duo of Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel are simply not getting it done in Minnesota, and new head coach Mike Zimmer is going to want a franchise signal-caller to call his own.
Before the combine, this pick was bleak with Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel surely off the board.
But Derek Carr was a highlight of the spectacle in Indianapolis and reasserted himself as a first-round pick.
Carr ran the second-fastest 40 behind Manziel and put up strong numbers in the vertical jump (34.5 inches) and broad jump (110 inches), confirming that his the pocket mobility he demonstrated in college will surely transfer to the pros.
Thanks to his brother being a former No. 1 overall pick, Carr is also armed with the knowledge of what it takes to succeed, as he told the media via CBS Sports' Jeremy Fowler:
"You're going to get praised a lot, you're going to get criticized a lot -- ignore both, because neither matters," Derek recalled as the best advice his brother gave him during the draft process.
For Minnesota, the defense figures to be strong with Zimmer in place. A versatile quarterback who can extend plays with his feet and rely on weapons such as Adrian Peterson and Cordarrelle Patterson could find success as a rookie.
9. Buffalo Bills: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
This is meant in the kindest way possible—Greg Robinson is a freak.
The Auburn product ran an official 4.92 40-yard-dash at the combine—at 6'5" and 332 pounds.
That time gave him the second-best mark of all offensive linemen. He ranked in the top 10 with 32 reps on the bench press. The rest of his numbers were high enough to garner a second look.
In other words, Robinson reinforced what some were beginning to whisper: He is the best tackle in the draft and should be the first offensive lineman first off the board.
Which is perfectly fine with the Buffalo Bills, who must surround quarterback EJ Manuel with as much talent as possible. Robinson can slide in at right tackle immediately, hold up well in pass protection and maul defenses on the ground before someday taking over at left tackle.
*All combine results courtesy of NFL.com's results tracker.