The 2014 NFL draft is the next exciting event on the football calendar, and the anticipation from fans across the league and management on every team has the buzz surrounding draft day through the roof.
With legitimate offensive and defensive talent to be found throughout the first round, here is what your team is likely to do on draft day.
1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
After an outstanding pro day, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney looks like the clear-cut No. 1 overall draft pick. The Houston Texans must follow through and select the best prospect available.
2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
There is always a chance that the St. Louis Rams trade back due to the team’s history of blockbuster trades, but the better option would be taking Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Drafting quarterbacks in this year’s class will be all about taking educated risks, and the Jacksonville Jaguars will have the biggest risk to take. With the need for a franchise quarterback and a player the organization can build around, there is no better combination of talent and personality than Johnny Manziel from Texas A&M.
4. Cleveland Browns: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
The run on quarterbacks will continue, as the Cleveland Browns perpetually rebuild. Central Florida’s Blake Bortles has a bright future in the NFL, but whether he can overcome the issues in Cleveland remain to be seen.
5. Oakland Raiders: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
There are few franchises that appreciate the talent and finesse of a wide receiver more than the Oakland Raiders, and Clemson’s Sammy Watkins is the all-around talent that will help make the franchise exponentially better.
6. Atlanta Falcons: Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo
Last season, the Atlanta Falcons could not maintain a consistent pass rush, and the defense suffered because of that fault. With Clowney off the board at No. 1, the next-best option will be Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack, which is not a bad consolation prize.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA
Another team looking to add pressure off the edge against the pass is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the run on outside linebackers will continue as the franchise snags UCLA’s Anthony Barr.
8. Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
One of the teams that must be willing to take an educated risk on a quarterback is the Minnesota Vikings. After watching several mediocre starters try their hand at the job in recent years, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater has the raw upside to become a star.
9. Buffalo Bills: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
If the Buffalo Bills truly believe that EJ Manuel is the quarterback of the future, the franchise must surround him with legitimate weapons. Drafting Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans would prove Buffalo’s confidence in its quarterback.
10. Detroit Lions: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
The Detroit Lions already boast one of the most dangerous offensive units in the league, but the offensive line has struggled at times. Selecting a bona fide instant starter like Auburn’s Greg Robinson puts the team in elite company.
11. Tennessee Titans: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
The Tennessee Titans are looking to rebuild the mentality of the defense. With consistency proving to be the biggest issue, drafting an inside linebacker with the leadership abilities of Alabama’s C.J. Mosley is the smart fundamental move.
12. New York Giants: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Quarterback Eli Manning is one of the best in the NFL, but the New York Giants must protect him better. Adding a left tackle like Michigan’s Taylor Lewan would be a good start toward that effort.
13. St. Louis Rams: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
After taking an offensive lineman at No. 2 overall, the St. Louis Rams must address the need for an elite cornerback. Adding Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert would be the best fit schematically.
14. Chicago Bears: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
The Chicago Bears were destroyed by opposing running backs last season. The need for a defensive tackle is the most glaring on the roster, and the best player on the board at No. 14 overall is Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
After Chicago grabs a defensive tackle, the Pittsburgh Steelers will begin a full-on run at the position by filling a need and selecting Notre Dame’s Louis Nix III.
16. Dallas Cowboys: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT/DE, Minnesota
Another defensive tackle will come off the board at No. 16, when the Dallas Cowboys make their first-round selection. While he hasn’t received the same amount of media coverage as the two previous players, Minnesota prospect Ra'Shede Hageman could blossom into the best run-stopper in this class.
17. Baltimore Ravens: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
Since the departure of safety Ed Reed, the Baltimore Ravens have lacked a leader in the back end of the secondary. With the experience of playing in the tough Alabama system, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would fit right in with Baltimore.
18. New York Jets: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Rex Ryan knows that he must get better at key positions, and defensive end is one of them. Missouri’s Kony Ealy is one of the most versatile players in this class, and he would fit into what the New York Jets want to accomplish.
19. Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, OT/OG, Notre Dame
The issues along the offensive line for the Miami Dolphins have been well-documented, and adding a fresh face like Notre Dame’s Zack Martin to the mix would be another step in the right direction.
20. Arizona Cardinals: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Veteran quarterback Carson Palmer has reinvigorated the Arizona Cardinals, but the offensive line needs a boost. While Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio is rough around the edges, he would be a smart addition to the team.
21. Green Bay Packers: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
The departure of tight end Jermichael Finley has left a void on the offense, and the franchise needs to look for a future starter like North Carolina’s Eric Ebron to give Aaron Rodgers a viable weapon.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
After getting beat by opposing wide receivers with elite speed all season, the Philadelphia Eagles will be looking to add a physical cornerback like Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard to fix the ailment.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
The Kansas City Chiefs are still in the midst of a transition to Andy Reid’s style, and the addition of a talented pass-catching wide receiver like Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin will help catapult the team deeper into the postseason.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: Odell Beckham, WR, LSU
Wide receiver A.J. Green is one of the best in the league, but the Cincinnati Bengals need to find a viable complement. LSU’s Odell Beckham would be the remedy for the team’s need.
25. San Diego Chargers: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
The San Diego Chargers made a dream run to the playoffs last season, but the lack of depth and talent at the cornerback position was a major weakness. Adding a corner like TCU’s Jason Verrett would be the wise move.
26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis Colts): Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
After the departure of safety T.J. Ward, the Cleveland Browns will be forced to address that need earlier than expected. Louisville’s Calvin Pryor would be the ideal selection for the struggling franchise.
27. New Orleans Saints: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
Another franchise desperate for a consistent pass rush is the New Orleans Saints. While there will be several late-round options the team could look for, Ohio State outside linebacker Ryan Shazier is the correct answer.
28. Carolina Panthers: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
The Carolina Panthers dumped veteran Steve Smith and must add more wide receivers to the roster. The best option at No. 28 overall is USC’s Marqise Lee.
29. New England Patriots: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
The New England Patriots already have one of the best tight ends in the NFL with Rob Gronkowski, but injuries have plagued the star’s young career. New England should be looking for a tight end like Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
After struggling to find any consistency in the passing attack, the San Francisco 49ers will look to add another wide receiver in the first round. Look for the team to select Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks.
31. Denver Broncos: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
The Denver Broncos have made wholesale changes on the defensive side of the ball this offseason, but the need for another defensive tackle is obvious. Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan is an NFL-ready player.
32. Seattle Seahawks: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
With many of the players along the defensive line cashing-in on the team’s Super Bowl success, the Seattle Seahawks will look to find a versatile defensive end that can stop the run and impact the passing attack. Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt is the perfect fit.
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