NFL Draft 2014: Teams That Will Move to Next Level with Smart Picks

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NFL Draft 2014: Teams That Will Move to Next Level with Smart Picks
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Some teams in the NFL just need more experience for the established core and an impact player to move to the next level.

Two of those teams have a chance to find that potential game-changer in this year's NFL draft. When established chemistry, good coaching and new talent meet and jell, the results can lead to a championship—sooner or later.

Here's a look at two teams with a chance to make a major move in the standings with strong picks in the draft.

 

St. Louis Rams

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Despite the budding young defense led by Robert Quinn and Chris Long, the Rams aren't going to win the Super Bowl next season, but the playoffs are a real possibility. The offense still needs to grow and add a few players.

With two relatively high picks in the first round of the draft, the Rams can fill two big needs with studs who can be cornerstones of their franchise.

At No. 2, general manager Les Snead would be wise to take Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Sure, the team has a need at left tackle, but because it also has the No. 13 pick in the draft, it can still grab one of the top three players at that position with its second first-round pick.

Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

With Watkins, quarterback Sam Bradford would finally have an unquestioned No. 1 receiver. As dynamic as last year's first-round pick Tavon Austin is, he's better suited for the slot or as a gadget player like the Seattle Seahawks' Percy Harvin.

Watkins is the type of receiver who can force teams to game-plan for him. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he put on a solid performance. After the combine was over, he continued to impress by showing his dedication to his craft.

Check out this short video he posted on his Instagram account:

With the 13th pick, the Rams can address the offensive line. Chances are, Auburn's Greg Robinson and Texas A&M's Jake Matthews will be off the board. Snead can then go for Michigan's Taylor Lewan, who is also a highly regarded prospect.

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With these two players in the fold, the Rams would make themselves one of the scariest teams in the NFC over the next two or three seasons.

 

Cleveland Browns

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Depending on whom the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars take with the first and third overall picks, respectively, the Browns should have a chance to draft one of the following quarterbacks: Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Fresno State's Derek Carr, Central Florida's Blake Bortles or Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater.

In any scenario, Cleveland would presumably be upgrading the most important position in the sport.

Bridgewater is the player that three of the four NFL.com draft experts have landing in Cleveland.

Though he doesn't have the most arm strength, he has excellent accuracy. That was evidenced by his 77 percent completion rate in 2013.

He is poised and confident. Per NFL on ESPN, the 21-year-old believes he is the best quarterback in the draft:

He's not alone. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller gave Bridgewater the same label:

With Josh Gordon, the NFL leader in receiving yards in 2013, the team already has an unquestioned No. 1 receiver. Shoring up the run game should be next in the improvement process.

Cleveland also has the 26th pick in the draft. The team would be wise to add an interior offensive lineman with this selection. The Browns haven't finished higher than 20th in the NFL in rushing since 2009. 

The best thing the team can give Bridgewater at the beginning of his career is a more dependable rushing attack. Stanford guard David Yankey is the type of nasty, grinding guard who can bolster the running game between the tackles.

Cleveland still has a ways to go overall, but adding two valuable players on the offensive end could push it near the .500 mark in 2014.

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