The NFL draft is all about weighing needs, potential and impact.
When it comes to 2014's most polarizing prospects, defensive end Jadeveon Cloweny and quarterback Johnny Manziel, the potential is non-debatable. However, it remains to be seen whether either will win over a team in need of impact at either position.
Below, I'll break down the entire first round of the 2014 NFL draft and project picks guaranteed to help each team.
1. Houston Texans (2-14): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
After an impressive pro day performance, many believe South Carolina's Clowney has solidified himself as the No. 1 overall pick come May 8. Obviously, nothing is guaranteed, but with no Andrew Luck- or Robert Griffin III-type quarterback available in this year's draft, the Texans may very well end up drafting Clowney.
First-year head coach Bill O'Brien recently hinted at the possibility, via HoustonTexans.com's Deepi Sidhu:
If we decide to draft this guy, we’re not just going to play him at one position. We may start him off at one position but use him in a lot of different ways. He’s a unique talent but again, that’s if we draft him.
Quarterback is certainly the biggest need in Houston this offseason, but Clowney's freakish athleticism will be tough to pass on with no can't-miss quarterback prospects available.
2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington (3-13)): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Auburn's Greg Robinson is a superb tackle with very few flaws. His awareness and toughness stand out.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12): Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
The majority opinion around the league seems to be that Blake Bortles is the top quarterback available this spring. And if the Houston Texans don't take him No. 1 overall, Jacksonville is the next team up in need of a franchise quarterback.
It doesn't hurt that Bortles played his college football at Central Florida.
4. Cleveland Browns (4-12): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Like the Jaguars, the Browns have come up short in their quest for a franchise quarterback in recent years. Now, Cleveland's biggest need heading into the draft is under center.
With Bortles off the board, Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater is the likely choice. He isn't quite as strong or durable as Bortles, but his accuracy and poise stand out from the rest of the pack.
5. Oakland Raiders (4-12): Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
In this scenario, Bortles and Bridgewater are both out of the picture, leaving Oakland with Manziel at No. 5 overall. Oakland could perhaps target an offensive lineman at this spot, but it's tough to see the Raiders passing on Manziel's big-play ability and overall appeal.
Although there are doubts about whether Manziel will be a successful pro, many analysts, including NFL Network's Mike Mayock, believe the former Heisman Trophy winner has the tools to make it:
"He's a better thrower than Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson were when they came out of college." - Mayock on Johnny Manziel.— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) March 31, 2014
6. Atlanta Falcons (4-12): Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
The Falcons desperately need to spruce up their pass rush this offseason in order to have any shot at contending in the loaded NFC next season. Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack would be an ideal fit at No. 6 overall.
Tackle and tight end are also key needs for Atlanta heading into the draft.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Tampa Bay will be looking to bolster its offensive line this spring, and Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews is an ideal addition who would do just that.
The consensus is that Robinson and Matthews are the two best tackles available in 2014.
8. Minnesota Vikings (5-10-1): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
It remains to be seen whether Minnesota will have a shot at one of the top-tier quarterbacks in this year's draft. However, in this scenario, the top guys are off the board, leaving Fresno State's Derek Carr as the most likely option for the Vikings.
Minnesota could also look to shore up its offensive line and secondary with this pick.
9. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
While it's quite possible that another team will fall in love with Clemson speedster Sammy Watkins and draft him in Round 1 despite more pressing needs, Buffalo is the first team up that's in desperate need of an explosive wide receiver.
10. Detroit Lions (7-9): Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
The first club on the clock in dire need of safety help is Detroit. The Lions would certainly love to get their hands on Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to conclude the top 10.
11. Tennessee Titans (7-9): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
The Titans need cornerback help this offseason, and with Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert still on the board in this scenario, it's tough to see them passing on him given his excellent ball skills and explosiveness as a return man.
12. New York Giants (7-9): Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Losing Linval Joseph in free agency has opened up a key need on the Giants' defensive line. Pittsburgh's Aaron Donald is a powerful player who can pressure the passer and plug up running lanes as well, per the Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly:
Just watched Aaron Donald destroy Wesley Johnson, rushing David Fales into a INT. He's such a force. Tempting. So tempting.— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) April 2, 2014
13. St. Louis Rams (7-9): Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
If the Rams target a franchise cornerstone lineman with the No. 2 pick, watch for them to go after a wide receiver later on in Round 1. Texas A&M's Mike Evans is a big, physical wideout who could complement Tavon Austin for years to come.
14. Chicago Bears (8-8): Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Chicago's defensive woes were well-documented last season, and cornerback is a huge area of concern for the Bears heading into 2014.
Therefore, Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard makes a lot of sense at No. 14 overall.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
The Steelers would love to have a shot at Gilbert or Dennard but could very well wind up settling on Ohio State's Bradley Roby as they look to add some youth and athleticism in the secondary.
16. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Defense has been a problem area for the Dallas Cowboys under Jason Garrett, and by adding a dominant defensive end in Kony Ealy, the Cowboys would increase the likelihood of a successful start to the post-DeMarcus Ware era.
17. Baltimore Ravens (8-8): Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
Baltimore needs to improve up front on offense in order to jump-start a woeful running game and protect franchise superstar Joe Flacco. Behind Robinson and Matthews, Notre Dame's Zack Martin is one of the few elite lineman available this year.
Although he's listed as a tackle, Mayock believes he'll ultimately transition to guard at the next level because of his size. It doesn't hurt that Martin has drawn comparisons to current Ravens guard Marshal Yanda. Mayock explains, via BaltimoreRavens.com's Garrett Downing:
"Baltimore has a player that's playing guard for them now, an All-Pro guard [Yanda] that was projected to tackle and they have done pretty darned well with him. I think Martin makes a lot of sense."
18. New York Jets (8-8): Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Oregon State's Brandin Cooks would provide the Jets' lackluster offense with some much-needed speed on the outside. New York will need to address its lack of talent and depth at wide receiver at some point in this year's draft, and Round 1 would be a great place to start.
19. Miami Dolphins (8-8): Xavier Su'a-Filo, G, UCLA
UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo is a versatile offensive lineman who would fulfill Miami's need at the guard spot and also provide the Dolphins with more options up front.
20. Arizona Cardinals (10-6): Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Arizona could look to draft a long-term quarterback at No. 20 but will more than likely address its holes in the secondary. Louisville's Calvin Pryor is a hard-hitting safety who can make an immediate impact at the next level.
21. Green Bay Packers (8-7-1): Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
The Packers will be looking to improve their defensive line and pass rush in Round 1. And at No. 21 overall, Auburn defensive end Dee Ford could be the answer.
Ford impressed at the 2014 Senior Bowl back in January and would offer versatility in Dom Capers' 3-4 scheme.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6): Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
Philadelphia is one of the few teams with a legitimate need at linebacker. In this scenario, UCLA's Anthony Barr slips all the way to No. 22, where the Eagles wouldn't hesitate to snatch him up.
23. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5): Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State
Wide receiver and guard are two key areas of need for the Chiefs this offseason. LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. and Mississippi State's Gabe Jackson are two potential selections to watch for in Round 1.
Jackson is among the top guards available behind Su'a-Filo and is a superb run-blocker who would benefit Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles.
24. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5): Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
The Bengals will have to find a replacement for defensive end Michael Johnson this spring. Ealy and Ford would both be ideal fits at No. 24, but with both potentially off the board by the late first round, Notre Dame's Stephon Tuitt is a potential pickup for Cincinnati.
25. San Diego Chargers (9-7): Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
San Diego must acquire some secondary help in this year's draft. TCU's Jason Verrett is an overlooked but elite cornerback whose cover skills are second to none.
Verrett also plays bigger than his 5'9", 190-pound frame, faring pretty well against the run.
26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis (11-5)): David Yankey, G, Stanford
If the Browns can land their quarterback in the top five, expect them to bolster their offensive line later in the round. Stanford's David Yankey is among the top guards still on the board at this point and would fill a big need.
27. New Orleans Saints (11-5): Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
After Mack and Barr, Ohio State's Ryan Shazier is the best outside linebacker coming out of the college ranks in 2014.
A balanced defender with above-average instincts and recognition skills, Shazier would fulfill a key need for the New Orleans Saints on the outside.
28. Carolina Panthers (12-4): Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Wide receiver and defensive back are areas of need for the Carolina Panthers. But Ron Rivera is a defensive-minded coach, and the Panthers are likely to address the departures of safety Mike Mitchell and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn this spring.
29. New England Patriots (12-4): Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
Keep in mind that center and wide receiver are both big needs for the Patriots heading into the draft. USC's Marcus Martin is arguably the top center prospect in the draft, but New England may wait until the later rounds to address that position.
If it does, LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. would be a smart move at No. 29. Beckham plays with an edge and would provide Tom Brady with a much-needed weapon downfield.
30. San Francisco 49ers (12-4): Marqise Lee, WR, USC
San Francisco could use some speed and playmaking on the outside to help relieve the pressure on Colin Kaepernick. USC's Marqise Lee brings both to the table and could still be on the board late in Round 1.
31. Denver Broncos (13-3): C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
The Broncos could use some depth at cornerback and linebacker and will be hard-pressed to pass on Alabama's C.J. Mosley, a smooth athlete who can change directions in a hurry and dominate against the run.
Mosley is also a tremendous third-down defender.
32. Seattle Seahawks (13-3): Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
After releasing Red Bryant, the Seahawks are in need of a big body up front on defense who can plug up running lanes and penetrate the pocket.
Notre Dame's Louis Nix is a destructive defensive force who would offer excellent value at No. 32.
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