Who would have guessed that the Seattle Seahawks would one day be the envy of the entire NFL? That's the case as Seattle is still enjoying the spoils of its victory in Super XLVIII.
If NFL teams want to take steps toward experiencing the joy Seahawks Nation is basking in this offseason, the following picks should be made in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.
1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
NFL teams need game-changers, and Clowney is the most potentially dynamic player in the draft. Some may criticize his motor, but when he's needed to impress during the draft process he's been nothing but professional.
Every pick is a gamble. But rolling the dice on a player with Clowney's gifts offers a handsome reward.
2. St. Louis Rams: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
The Rams' path to a Super Bowl may see its most important pieces drafted in this draft. With two first-round picks, St. Louis has a chance to hit a home run.
Quarterback Sam Bradford is never going to become the QB people think he can be until he has a stud receiver.
Watkins could be that guy. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport talks about a weekend meeting that could land Watkins in the Show Me State:
Big day for #Rams and WR Sammy Watkins. The St. Louis contingent is heading to Clemson for a private workout, their best look at him— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 18, 2014
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
There's no better landing spot for Johnny Football than Jacksonville. The Jags are a team that needs a franchise quarterback and a marketable player to put butts in seats.
Manziel checks out on both fronts.
4. Cleveland Browns: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Bortles could go No. 1 in the draft. Because Clowney is too good to pass up and the Jags need everything Manziel offers, Bortles should be there for the Browns.
Cleveland can't afford to let him pass them by.
5. Oakland Raiders: Greg Robinson, T, Auburn
Oakland could take a quarterback or receiver, but their best bet would be the freakish Robinson. He has the type of upside that suggests he could anchor the Raiders' O-line for years to come.
6. Atlanta Falcons: Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo
In 2013, the Carolina Panthers had 60 sacks as a team. Atlanta has had just 59 over the last two seasons. This team needs a pass-rusher in the worst way.
If Clowney wasn't in this draft, Mack would be in play as the No. 1 pick. Even Bleacher Report's Matt Miller thinks Mack is an important prospect:
Back to things that matter: Khalil Mack is pretty fantastic. Not sure if there's any one pass rush trait he doesn't have.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 17, 2014
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Newly signed Josh McCown will have to have weapons similar to what he had in Chicago to be effective.
With Vincent Jackson already on the roster, Evans would give McCown the second big receiver he can depend on.
8. Minnesota Vikings: Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA
Minnesota is in need of a playmaker on defense. Barr's speed off the edge could make him the type of player opposing offenses have to game-plan for.
9. Buffalo Bills: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
EJ Manuel should rejoice if the team drafts Ebron here. One of the nicest gifts a young quarterback can receive is a pass-catching tight end.
Ebron can be a major weapon up the seams for the Bills.
10. Detroit Lions: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Gilbert is the best cornerback in the 2014 NFL draft. Anyone that tells you any different is delusional. He's physically strong, fast and very confident.
Miller likes him as well:
Love him. Prototypical cornerback. RT @DrMoserr: what do you think of Justin Gilbert this year?— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 20, 2014
11. Tennessee Titans: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Matthews' father, Bruce, played 18 years for the franchise and he's now the team's offensive line coach. The Titans' starter at left tackle, Michael Roos, is a free agent after this season.
Matthews could go as high as No. 2, but circumstances might cause him to slip to Tennessee.
12. New York Giants: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
The G-Men need to get younger on defense. Usually, that means there will be growing pains while the rookies gain experience. That incubation period might be short with Mosley.
He's been leading one of the best defenses in college football for the last two years.
He's as ready to make an impact in the NFL as any player in the draft.
13. St. Louis Rams: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
The Rams really need a No. 1 receiver: check. They also need a presence at free safety. By taking Clinton-Dix, the Rams could fill their two biggest needs with the best players in the draft at those positions.
This is why this draft could be so big for St. Louis.
14. Chicago Bears: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
College Football 24/7 says Donald's collegiate work and his predraft efforts will pay off.
. @MoveTheSticks: Aaron Donald doesn't really have any more questions to answer. ... Going to be very valued on draft day.— CollegeFootball 24/7 (@NFL_CFB) April 17, 2014
As the perfect fit at defensive tackle for the Bears' Tampa 2 scheme, Donald should make an impact as a rookie stud on a veteran defensive line.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Gilbert is the top corner in the draft, but Dennard is no slouch. His style fits the Steelers persona even more than the Oklahoma State star.
Dennard is physical and ultracompetitive. He could be the future anchor of Pittsburgh's secondary.
16. Dallas Cowboys: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
In a word, Shazier is ferocious. In another word, Dallas' defense was atrocious. Perhaps one "cious" can cure the other.
The freakishly athletic Shazier is the type of player who could instantly give the Cowboys defense a player to be feared.
Big D needs some of that.
17. Baltimore Ravens: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
No matter how much Joe Flacco develops, the Ravens will always be a better team when their offense features a power running game.
In order to establish that identity, the team needs to find its next offensive line cornerstone.
Lewan has the ability and temperament to fill that need.
18. New York Jets: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
A speed threat is an element the Jets offense sorely missed in 2013. In order to give Geno Smith and Mike Vick the downfield threats that can stretch the field, New York has to add speed to the receiving corps.
Lee is one of the best in this category. There are others who are faster, but they don't have Lee's body control and hands.
Ryan Lownes of Bleacher Report talks about how Lee compares to LSU's Odell Beckham Jr.
I'd say Marqise Lee has more of a "wow" factor, but Beckham is far more consistent - a more well-rounded WR with fewer flaws.— Ryan Lownes (@ryanlownes) April 20, 2014
19. Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame
If your franchise quarterback gets sacked 48 times, then you'd better shore up the offensive line if you want him to remain under center.
Martin should be the next pick to help preserve Ryan Tannehill.
20. Arizona Cardinals: Xavier Su'a-Filo, G, UCLA
Arizona had the 23rd-rated run offense in the NFL last season. The team needs more balance to play into the style that best suits its solid defense.
Su'a-Filo is the type of inside blocker who could help boost the team's running game.
21. Green Bay Packers: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Pryor is fast, aggressive and physical. He likes to hit, which could be a double-edged sword in today's NFL.
Nonetheless, he'd fill a need for the Packers at No. 21.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
The former Oregon State standout is electric with the ball in his hands.
He'd keep Philly's fast-paced offense from missing a beat without Jackson. Terez Paylor of The Kansas City Star has been impressed by Cooks.
I like Brandin Cooks. Saw him line up against 6-3 Keith McGill in the slot, beat press coverage & and run right past him for a TD.— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) April 17, 2014
23. Kansas City Chiefs: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
Short-yardage passing teams and quarterbacks with weak arms need players like Beckham Jr. He's able to take quick outs and slants the distance.
His run-after-the-catch ability should make him a target for the Chiefs.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
Michael Johnson is gone via free agency, so the Bengals would be wise to add a pass-rusher to restore some depth on the defensive line.
Ford has steadily gained momentum as a talent capable of making an impact as an edge-rusher in the NFL.
25. San Diego Chargers: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Verrett's speed and competitiveness has to be attractive to the Chargers. The secondary was the team's weakest unit in 2013.
Taking the former TCU Horned Frog is a step in the right direction for San Diego.
26. Cleveland Browns: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
With a potential franchise quarterback on board, the Browns can use this pick to help protect him for the next five to seven years.
Kouandjio is just 20 years old. He has tremendous upside as a potential book-end tackle.
27. New Orleans Saints: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
New Orleans missed Jermon Bushrod last season. Drew Brees could use another big offensive tackle protecting him if the Saints offense is going to fly as high as it once did.
28. Carolina Panthers: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
As of right now, you would have to say the Panthers have the worst receiving corps in the NFL. That can't make Cam Newton too happy.
Drafting a 6'5", 240-pound receiver like Benjamin could cheer him up a little.
Benjamin could be a great jump-ball receiver and a threat in the red zone.
29. New England Patriots: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Whenever there are multiple quarterbacks who could go in the first 10 selections, one or two always slip to the end of the first round.
It happened with Aaron Rodgers in 2005.
If the Patriots have that kind of luck and snag Bridgewater here, he could be to Tom Brady what Rodgers has been to Brett Favre.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
After running a blazing fast 4.42 40-yard dash time at his pro day, Robinson has grabbed a lot of scouts' attention.
With Anquan Boldin aging, the Niners need another receiver to pair with Michael Crabtree moving forward.
Robinson could be the guy while also providing the team with some much needed speed.
31. Denver Broncos: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Hageman is physically similar to retired Jaguars great Marcus Stroud. Hageman is huge and nimble for a tackle.
The Broncos have been active in free agency as they try to secure a ring before Peyton Manning retires.
This pick could help that cause and plant seeds for the future.
32. Seattle Seahawks: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Seattle has almost everything already. But a pass-catching tight end would give the champions an element they don't have on offense.
Is this even fair?