American Football

Why are Quarterbacks falling so far in the NFL Draft?

Going into the 2014 NFL Draft may were hailing the best Quarterback draft class in a long time with 4 consensus 1st round QB’s with plenty more following on in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Things initially started well as the Jacksonville Jaguars shocked the nation by selecting Blake Bortles with the 3rd pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, making him the first QB taken. From this point however the stock of the Quarterback has nosedived with the first warning signs being the fall of media darling and consensus top QB in the draft, Johnny Manziel. On draft night he fell from being a consensus top 5 pick to eventually be selected with the 22nd pick by the Cleveland Browns.

From the predicted four 1st round QB’s only one more was taken with the Minnesota Vikings trading back into the 1st round with the 32nd and last pick to select draft free faller Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville. At this point the fortunes of the Quarterback had been mixed in the 1st round with Bortles and Bridgewater being picked far before they were predicted to have been, yet fellow 1st round talent Derek Carr was forced to wait overnight for his time to be drafted.

Friday night saw the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the draft with plenty more QB’s expected to be drafted during the course of the night. The first off the board in the 2nd round was unsurprisingly Fresno State’s Derek Carr who took his cannon arm to Oakland where he can learn from Matt Schaub before eventually replacing him at the Raiders. With Carr off the board who was going to be next was open to debate. Some felt it was the pro ready Jimmy Garoppolo from Eastern Illinois whilst others fancied LSU’s Zach Mettenberger.

After a long while and plenty of Quarterback needy teams passing on a new signal caller eventually it was a surprise selection as the New England Patriots selected Jimmy Garoppolo with the 62nd pick late in the 2nd round. This seemed a slightly strange selection at first as the team has future Hall of fame Quarterback Tom Brady as the starter with impressive backup Ryan Mallet behind him in the depth chart. It was soon worked out however that Garoppolo is an insurance policy against Mallet potentially leaving as this is the last year of his rookie contract and is highly regarded around the NFL.

Going into the 3rd round it was expected that we would see a flurry of QB’s taken in this round as the value on these falling draft prospect would surely be irresistible to the many Quarterback needy teams in this draft. What actually happened was quite the opposite as no QB’s were selected at all in the 3rd round meaning there are plenty of signal callers who have to wait until today before being drafted.

For many it appears injury and poor combine/pro day performances are the reasoning why they remain on the board going into the 4th round. For Zach Mettenberger this is definitely the case as he must be frustrated to fall from a 2nd round prediction to falling into the 4th round, although this may be because of recent revelation about a diluted drug test at the scouting combine in February. Indeed on draft expert Mike Mayock’s board Mettenberger is rated above Teddy Bridgewater who went in the 1st round.

For other QB’s such as Alabama’s AJ McCarron it appears many NFL teams doubt he can be a regular winning QB in the NFL despite have an exemplary record of success whilst in college at Alabama.He will be a huge value pick if he falls below the 4th round today. The next rated QB is Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage who appears to have one of the biggest arm’s in the QB class with many tipping him to sneak into the 2nd round and expect him alongside McCarron to be selected in the 4th round.

For the likes of Aaron Murray of Georgia injury has curtailed his draft stock, expect him to be selected late in the 4th round/early 5th round . From the other Quarterback’s in this draft the likes of Logan Thomas from Virginia Tech, Tajh Boyd from Clemson and Stephen Morris from Miami expect these guys to be drafted in the later rounds or might even go undrafted as they are purely developmental Quarterback’s who need several years of development before they could be challenging for starting QB slots in the NFL. It should be very interesting to see where these young signal callers are all selected today in the final day of the 2014 NFL Draft.

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NFL Draft: Who’s going where? Round 2

After the surprises and excitement of last night’s 1st round of the 2014 NFL Draft tonight see’s the 2nd and 3rd rounds take place as many 1st round talents hope to be taken off the board early in the 2nd round. Here are my prediction for the 2nd round picks although like my 1st round mock draft potential trades will automatically render most of my predictions incorrect as teams jostle to take the best available players for their organization. Without further ado, the Houston Texans are on the clock.

33rd Pick: Houston Texans – With the opening pick of the 2nd round I predict the Texans will finally address their weakness at Quarterback by selecting a consensus 1st round talent who amazingly slipped out of the 1st round in what was a tough night for the QB class. I’m of course talking about Fresno State’s Derek Carr, a big physical pocket passer with a cannon arm who could immediately come in to training camp and become the game 1 starter for the Texans.

34th Pick: Washington Redskins – The Washington Redskins enter the 2014 NFL Draft after the last of their blockbuster trade in 2012 to grab RG3 meant St Louis used their 2nd overall pick. Nevertheless, the team is in a rebuilding stage with a new head coach and a QB out to prove the critics wrong after a disappointing 2013 season. Their biggest need appear in protection for RG3, which is why I think they’ll be thrilled that Alabama Offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, someone who is ranked 24th on Mike Mayock’s top 100 board. Therefore he represents a steal for the Redskins early in the 2nd round.

35th Pick: Cleveland Browns – The Browns made a splash in the 1st round by addressing two big needs with top quality players, their 22nd overall pick of QB Johnny Manziel that affects this 2nd round pick however as I predict the Browns will immediately add protection for Manziel. The best available Offensive line prospect is UCLA Guard Xavier Su’a-Filo. He’s a 1st round talent and would immediately give Manziel the added protection he’ll need to make plays.

36th Pick: Oakland Raiders – After they managed to grab a steal in selecting Khalil Mack in the 1st round like the Texans I see the Raiders addressing their Quarterback situation with this pick. Of the QB’s still available I predict they’ll go with rising draft prospect Jimmy Garoppolo. Although he went to a small school in Eastern Illinois he’s wowed draft scouts during the draft process and could be a serious challenge to Matt Schaub from day 1.

37th Pick: Atlanta Falcons – After selecting an Offensive tackle in the 1st round the 2nd round will see the Falcons again address a big need for them in a pass rushing edge player. Of the remaining Defensive end class I predict the Falcons will select Kony Ealy from Missouri. He’s a really good player whilst simultaneously filling a need for the Falcons in what is a beneficial selection for both parties.

38th Pick: Tampa bay Buccaneers – After the selection of Mike Evans in round 1 the Buccaneers I predict they’ll swap and select a defensive player with their 2nd round pick. The player in question I sense will be Linebacker Demarcus Lawrence from Boise state. He’s a real good player and also helps fill a need at linebacker.

39th Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars – With the shock selection of Blake Bortles at the 3rd pick the team still need to give him some offensive weapons to throw too if he’s to stand a chance of success. Therefore the Jags will be ecstatic to find a Wide receiver in the calibre of USC’s Marquise Lee still available. Although he has injury concerns if he stays healthy watch out for the Jags offense this year.

40th Pick:Seattle Seahawks – After trading out of the 1st round last night the Seahawks will finally make their 1st selection with the 40th pick. The team lost a lot of players during free agency and therefore go into the draft with more needs than they would have liked. One of the top needs is on the Offensive line which is why it makes sense for them to select Joel Bitonio from Nevada. He can immediately start for the team and will add brilliant depth on the line.

41st Pick: Buffalo Bills – The Bills provided a shock last night as no one predicted they would trade up to select Wide receiver Sammy Watkins. That doesn’t appear to be the end of their offensive selections as it seems most likely they will upgrade their offensive line by selecting draft faller Morgan Moses from Virginia. Many mock drafts had him late in the 1st round so it would be a steal for the Bills to select him in the middle of the 2nd round.

42st Pick: Tennessee Titans – The selection of Taylor Lewan was no surprise as the team needed an instant upgrade on their offensive line. With this upgrade the team have given Jake Locker even more protection going into a crucial year for him . Many have raised doubts however as to his long term potential with the Titans and it appears the Titans will select a QB in this draft. I sense they’ll go early and select Zack Mettenberger from LSU. He has injury concerns however he’s a very talented QB who can learn from Locker this year before challenging for the starting job in the next few years.

43rd Pick: New York Giants – Wide receiver Odell Beckham was their 1st round selection and it appears their offensive selections won’t stop there. One of their biggest needs is at Tight end and is something that can be easily upgraded with this selection. The Giants will select the second best Tight end in this class with Jace Amaro of Texas Tech. He can start from game one and will be another weapon for Eli Manning to throw too.

44th Pick: St Louis Rams – After a pretty conservative 1st round with the selections of Offensive tackle Greg Robinson and Defensive end Aaron Donald which will improve both sides of the ball for the Rams, now it appears the teams will make the more eye catching selections as I sense they’ll go after a Wide receiver in the 2nd round. Indiana’s Cody Latimer will be a good selection for the team as Sam Bradford will get a new offensive weapon to throw too in a crucial year for both him and the Rams.

45th Pick: Detroit Lions – With the 45 pick my prediction is that the Lions will go after highly rated linebacker Kyle Van Noy from BYU. He’s a draft sleeper and can be considered a steal for the Lions at this spot in the middle of the 2nd round.

46th Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers – After the defensive selection of Outside linebacker Ryan Shazier with their 1st round selection last night with the 2nd round choice I predict the Steelers will again stay on the defensive side of the ball by selecting Cornerback Anotone Exum from Virginia Tech. He’s someone who will immediately improve what was the biggest positional need for the Steelers and makes great sense for them to address this need in the 2nd round.

47th Pick: Dallas Cowboys – With so many defensive needs for the Cowboys it was a slight surprise they selected Offensive tackle Zack martin in the 1st round last night. Therefore the team will surely address their defense with this pick. One of their biggest needs is at Defensive tackle which is why I see them selecting Minnesota’s Ra’shede Hageman. A very good Defensive tackle, he will most likely immediately start and therefore upgrade the Cowboys defensive.

48th Pick: Baltimore Ravens- The Ravens pulled their classic pick the best player routine last night by selecting Inside Linebacker C.J Mosley from Alabama. Their 2nd round selection I feel will simply go for their draft needs now of which Tight end is the one with the best value at this pick. The Ravens can select the third best Tight end of this draft class is Austin-Seferian- Jenkins from Washington. He might not get much game time in the first year but can learn from Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels before eventually getting his chance in the next few years.

49th Pick: New York Jets- After addressing their need at Safety by selecting Calvin Pryor in the 1st round it would therefore seem logical the Jets will use their 2nd round pick to address another big need for them at Wide receiver. From the receiver class still available one of the top talents is Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, who was once in the 1st round discussion before settling in most mock drafts to the middle of the 2nd round. Alongside Eric Decker Geno Smith will be very happy with his new offensive weapons to throw too.

50th Pick: Miami Dolphins – For the Miami Dolphins their draft needs are glaringly obvious. After a bruising 2013 the team has a serious lack of depth on the offensive line therefore it was no surprise they selecting O-lineman Ja’Wuan James in the 1st round. Also it shouldn’t be a huge shock to see them select another O-lineman in the 2nd round with another Tennessee man Antonio Richardson. Both selections will bring much needed depth and talent to a struggling Offensive line going into the 2014 season.

51st Pick: Chicago Bears – The Bears played the 1st round smart last night by selecting a player to address their biggest overall need at Cornerback in Kyle Fuller. The Bears organization I believe will play their 2nd round selection smart too by getting the best value whilst simultaneously filling a need also by selecting Florida State Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan. The fact he would have fallen this far will be viewed as a complete steal by the Bears as they will get an upgrade at a key position whilst simultaneously nabbing a player who is a late 1st round talent.

52nd Pick: Arizona Cardinals – After moving back in a trade with the Green Bay Packers the Cardinals still managed to fill a need for their team at Safety by selecting Deone Bucannon. Many were slightly surprised they did not select a Quarterback as Carson Palmer is nearing 35 and will need to be replaced in the next few seasons. The fans I sense will get their way as the Cardinals will select a young QB to develop and learn from Palmer before replacing him. Tom Savage is a QB who will be hard to pass up on at this point as he is a stocky pocket passer who could effortlessly take over from Palmer after a few years of development.

53rd Pick: Green Bay Packers – The Packers made the brave move of trading up from 27 to the 20th pick to select Safety Ha Ha-Clinton Dix in the 1st round. This was a clever move from the Packers as they managed to select one of the top Safeties in the draft, whilst also filling their biggest need going into the draft. The Packers will therefore play it sensible and use their 2nd round pick on the team’s second biggest need which is at Tight end. The team will therefore select Notre Dame Tight end Troy Niklas. The team will get a top 5 rated Tight end and for their position in the draft this pick has to be viewed as a steal.

54th Pick: Philadelphia Eagles – To the surprise of many the Eagles did not select a Wide receiver with their 1st round pick, instead trading back to select Defensive end Marcus Smith. Whilst he’s a top quality player he didn’t fill any of the Eagles top needs therefore I would be very surprised if they didn’t address one of these needs with this 2nd round pick. The Eagles biggest need is at Cornerback and I feel the team will make a reach and select the best available corner in Clemson’s Bashaud Breeland.

55th Pick: Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals were quick to select Safety Darqueze Dennard with their 24th pick, as the team looked to improve their Cornerback position by selecting an immediate starter in Dennard. With their 2nd round pick I sense the team will improve their biggest need which is at the Defensive end position. By far the best available Defensive end is Oregon State’s Scott Crichton. He could immediately challenge for a starting role and is rated as the 46th best player on Mike Mayock’s big board, representing how this pick is a steal for the Bengals.

56th Pick: San Francisco 49ers – Last night’s 1st round selection for the 49ers was Safety Jimmie Ward, yet it appears for their 2nd round selection the team will improve their offense. The team seems to be one speedy receiver away from the Super bowl and with this selection they have the perfect opportunity to rectify this. I predict the team will select LSU Wide receiver Jarvis Landry, someone’s who’s highly rated and will be an immediate for the 49ers offense.

57th Pick: San Diego Chargers – With the Chargers filling their biggest need at Cornerback by selecting Jason Verrett in the 1st round the team will follow a similarly sensible path by filling their second biggest need at Wide receiver with this 2nd round pick. The Wide receiver class is deep this year therefore I sense the team will take a chance and select a slightly unpolished receiver is Clemson’s Martavis Bryant. He has tremendous upside yet needs a year or two to develop before he becomes an NFL starter.

58th Pick: New Orleans Saints – The New Orleans Saints gave Drew Brees a new receiver to throw too with Brandin Cooks from Oregon State. Therefore it seems logical the team will use their 2nd round pick on a defensive player now with a big need on that side of the ball being at Cornerback. A deep class at the position means the team can select a player of the calibre of Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner who will arrive at a winning program and can become the future starting corner for the Saints.

59th Pick: Indianapolis Colts – After trading away their 1st round pick to Cleveland for Trent Richardson early in the season the team finally arrives at the NFL Draft with the 59th pick. The team have a lot of defensive needs yet a lack of available talent at this spot seemingly will force the team into selecting the best available player in Mississippi State’s Guard Gabe Jackson. He’s a consensus top 4 at his position and will add some extra depth in the protection of Andrew Luck going into the 2014 season.

60th Pick: Carolina Panthers – After seemingly disabling most of their offense this off-season the Panthers finally gave Cam Newton another weapon to throw too in Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin in the 1st round. With the 60th pick it seems the team will address a big need on offense at Offensive tackle by selecting the best available in Clemson’s Brandon Thomas.

61st Pick: San Francisco 49ers – With their second pick in quick succession late in the 2nd round the 49ers having nothing to lose by drafting another Wide receiver to create some early competition for a future starting job. With such a deep class there seems little risk in selecting someone like Fresno State’s Davante Adams as a perfect challenge to Landry for the future.

62nd Pick: New England Patriots – With a late 2nd round pick like this a well set team like the Patriots have the flexibility to draft someone out of the ordinary which is why I sense they’ll be the first team to select a Running back in this draft by selecting Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde to help fill a positional need whilst also receiving a great talent from a low 2nd round pick.

63rd Pick: Denver Broncos – With the penultimate pick in the 2nd round I sense the Broncos will attempt to fill the best potential need available at the Offensive line position by selecting Ohio State’s Jack Mewhort. Whilst he’s not likely to be an immediate starter he can develop over the next few years before becoming a future starter for the Broncos.

64th pick: Seattle Seahawks – The final pick of the 2nd round goes to the defending Super bowl champions with their second pick of the 2nd round I sense the team will look to select a positional need at Defensive tackle as the team lost a number of starters during the free agency period. Therefore I predict the team will select Defensive tackle Will Sutton from Arizona State. The team can use him in certain schemes whilst allowing him to grow and develop before taking the starting reign’s himself in the next few seasons.

2014 NFL Draft: Who’s going where? Part 2

After previewing the first half of the 2014 draft in my previous post now it’s time to look at the second half of this draft. With the teams at this end of the draft being far less needy they have a lot more flexibility in terms of their selections. First up in the second half of the 2014 NFL Draft are the Baltimore Ravens.

17th Pick: Baltimore Ravens – Despite it being a re-building year for the Ravens after winning Super bowl 47 the team were still disappointed to miss out on the play-off’s with an 8-8 season. Therefore the team have been very active in the free agency period to improve going into next season. Another key opportunity for them to upgrade is with the draft of which GM Ozzie Newsome is famous for finding talent in all rounds of the draft. With the 17th pick I see them taking the best player available, who just happens to fill a need for them too. If he’s still on the board at 17 of which I predict he will be the Ravens would be crazy not to pick Tight end Eric Ebron. He’s by far the standout Tight end in this draft and would challenge Pro bowler Owen Daniels for the next few seasons.

18th Pick: New York Jets – The Jets are a team that are almost play-off calibre they simply need a few more impact players to make it into the post-season. Although they’ve already added a dynamic Wide Receiver in Eric Decker I feel they’ll go in for another receiver with this pick. I see them taking Odell Beckham JR from LSU. They seem enamoured with the guy and clearly believe he can be another impact player alongside Decker.

19th Pick: Miami Dolphins – After a tumultuous year it seems fairly apparent which position the Dolphins will be upgrading with this pick. After the bullying scandal of last season the Offensive line is depleted and in serious need of improvement if their to compete for the play-off’s. With already a decent run on Offensive tackle’s so far I still feel they’ll go this way and select Cyrus Kouandjio from Alabama. He’s a talented player who will immediately strengthen the Offensive line going into the 2014 season.

20th Pick: Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals go into the 2014 with the luxury of having very few immediate needs with their roster. The team can therefore think to the future with this draft and it seems they’ll look to inject some youth into their most important position of all with this pick . There seems a lot of buzz that the Cardinals will select University of Central Florida Quarterback Blake Bortles with this pick. He’s a very talented young signal caller who can immediately learn from the ageing Carson Palmer before he takes the starting reigns himself.

21st Pick: Green Bay Packers – The Green Bay Packers are a team that struggled when Aaron Rodgers was out injured last season. It was at this time that the defensive unit was exposed as they also showed weakness throughout the year. Therefore I sense they’ll rectify this starting with their defensive backfield and the Safety position. From the Safeties left available I think they’ll go with Deone Bucannon from Washington State. He’s a underrated Safety who will bring immediate improvements to the position for the Packers.

22nd Pick: Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles have enjoyed a relatively quiet free agency period aside from the Desean Jackson saga. Now with that in their rear view mirrors they can focus on simply selecting the best available player for their franchise. Based on my previous selections I feel the best player available is Inside Linebacker C.J Mosley from Alabama. He’s the best Inside Linebacker in this draft and the fact he’s around at 22 will be enough for the Eagles to quickly snap him up.

23rd Pick: Kansas City Chiefs – After a unexpectedly good season for the Chiefs which saw them go from the worst team in the NFL to the play-off’s in one season was remarkable to watch play out. Yet this team still has needs going into the 2014 season and a quiet free agency period clearly means their looking to the draft to get their upgrades. With this pick I’m going to go along with what the fans want and predict they’ll take a Wide receiver with this pick. Which one is a lot harder to call yet I sense they’ll go with the best available on most boards and select Brandin Cooks out of Oregon State. He’s a great player in a deep receiver class which explains him only being taken at 23.

24th Pick: Cincinnati Bengals – After a decent season which saw them into the play-off’s the team is looking solid going into 2014. Yet solid doesn’t mean there’s not room for improvement which is what the Bengals will be looking for with this pick. It seems their most pressing concern is with the Cornerback position, something which can immediately be solved with this deep class at the position. Whilst the top Corner’s will be off the board by now I sense they’ll go with the best available at the position in Bradley Roby from Ohio State. He’s a talented player with limitless potential for this team at Cornerback.

25th Pick: San Diego Chargers – As with many teams at this end of the draft the Chargers already have a play-off calibre roster, giving them plenty of freedom to select the best player available. In my estimations the Chargers will be thrilled at this point as they will be able to take one of the best available players whilst also filling a need for their team. I predict they’ll select Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan from Florida State. He’s a beast of a player and can easily be a game 1 starter for the Chargers.

26th Pick: Cleveland Browns – With their second first round selection from the Indianapolis Colts in a previous trade I predict the Browns will again improve their Offence. After selecting QB Johnny Manziel with their 4th pick I sense they’ll use this pick to give him another weapon to throw to in Wide receiver Marquise Lee from USC. He has injury problems yet when he’s healthy he will instantly energise the Browns Offence.

27th Pick: New Orleans Saints – The Saints are a very talented team with explosive players at almost every position. Yet their always looking to upgrade and I sense they’ll use this 27th pick to snatch Defensive End Stephen Tuitt from Notre Dame. If he’s still available here the Saints will feel like they’ll got a steal by selecting a player predicted to go 10-18 with the 27th pick.

28th Pick: Carolina Panthers – The Panthers have an explosive offence under QB Cam Newton yet the flip side to that is the importance of him receiving good protection from his Offensive line as the Panthers would be lost if Newton was out injured for a significant portion of the season like the Packers struggled when Rodgers was out last season. Therefore I think they will want to add some youth at this position by selecting Morgan Moses from Virginia, then letting him learn from the elder statesmen before eventually taking over on the Offensive line himself.

29th Pick: New England Patriots – The New England Patriots are always in play-off contention every year as long as they still have Tom Brady under centre, however the defensive unit is in need of slight improvement going into the new season. With their offence looking potent I feel they will want to use this pick to improve their defensive unit. Therefore if he’s still on the board I can’t see them looking past Minnesota’s Defensive tackle Ra’shede Hageman. He’s a player that could immediately come in and challenge for a starting role from day 1.

30th Pick: San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers offense seems to need very little improvement, at least in comparison with their defence. Whilst it’s still a good unit some cracks have appeared in it over the last few seasons. Therefore with no other pressing needs I sense they’ll deal with this with this 1st round pick by taking Cornerback Jason Verett from TCU. In any other year he’d be a top 3 rated Corner easy yet the deep talent pool this year at the position has pushed him back to the 5th rated and therefore 30th selection.

31st Pick: Denver Broncos – After their humiliating loss in Super bowl 48 this February the Denver Broncos will be looking to solidify a defence that conceded 43 points in that game. Their biggest defensive need is their Pass rushing attack which is why I feel they’ll go with highly rated Outside Linebacker Ryan Shazier from Ohio State. Whilst he may not immediately start for them some day soon he will be a top rated pass rusher for the Broncos.

32nd Pick: Seattle Seahawks – Whilst the Seahawks are the current Super bowl champions they have seen a lot of talented players leave in this free agency period for pastures new, meaning they will be looking for immediate starting talent in this draft to replace them. Their biggest need is on the Offensive line which struggled with poor play and injuries last season, therefore it seems if he’s still available they’ll select the top rated Guard in UCLA’s Xavier Su’a-Filo. He would bring some youth to the line and could be a potential day 1 starter for the team.

Of course with this mock draft I haven’t taken into account any trades so I would be very surprised if the draft even goes half the way I predicted but what is for certain is that every NFL fan will be eagerly watching to see which potential starter their team selects in this first round. We have an exciting night in store.

2014 NFL Draft: Who’s going where? Part 1

With the 2014 NFL Draft taking place today it seems an appropriate time for a last minute prediction on who’s going to be selected by which team in the first round. We’ve had the first wave of free agency therefore most teams biggest needs are well known going into the draft. On the other hand no draft expert, of which I am far from, can confidently predict every first round pick as many teams will throw logic out the window and draft a completely different player come draft night. Also it’s inevitable the current draft order will not play out on draft night as some teams will be moving around to select the must have player they need. Whilst this is not a definitive mock draft and will be far from accurate this is simply my prediction on who all 32 NFL teams should draft come next Thursday.

1st Pick: Houston Texans – The Houston Texans have been through a lot of turmoil this off-season with their appointment of new head coach Bill O’Brien and their current search for a new Quarterback after Matt Schaub was traded to the Oakland Raiders after a poor season. With such a glaring need at Quarterback many thought initially the Texans would draft a QB with this pick. However, the recent crop of QB’s appear to be sliding down the draft boards I predict they’ll use the first pick to select once in a decade prospect DE Jadeveon Clowney. A defensive line with Clowney and J.J Watt will strike fear into every NFL team for years to come.

2nd Pick: St Louis Rams (From Washington Redskins) – The St Louis Rams have two first round selections, which is handy for them as they have a lot of needs going into the 2014 season. First of all they will want to protect Quarterback Sam Bradford, especially as they have recently given him a bumper new contract. Therefore the best upgrade through the draft to protect Bradford will be to select Offensive tackle Greg Robinson from Auburn. His talent is significant and he can easily develop into a Pro Bowl Offensive tackle in the next few seasons.

3rd Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jacksonville Jaguars have a lot of significant needs going into the 2014 draft, with their biggest needs being a pass rusher, a quarterback and at running back. With the third pick I predict they will fill their biggest need at pass rusher and select standout Outside linebacker Khalil Mack from Buffalo. Although he’s a relatively small school guy he’s proved he can be a dominant NFL player during a standout college career.

4th Pick: Cleveland Browns – Much like the Jaguars the Cleveland Browns are perennial under-achievers. Yet unlike the Jaguars the Browns are making a resurgence behind Wide Receiver Josh Gordon and Tight end Jordon Cameron. Similarly to a lot of teams near the top of the draft order however the Browns need a Quarterback. Therefore I predict they’ll pull the trigger and take the first QB off the board in the much hyped Texas A&M man Johnny Manziel. He’s the kind of talent that could either be the next Colin Kaepernick or the next Tim Tebow.

5th Pick: Oakland Raiders – The storied Oakland Raiders franchise are a tough team to predict in terms of their draft strategy this year. After the Matt Schaub trade they no longer need a QB however they do need some weapons to help him out which is why I feel they will be unable to pass on Clemson Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins. He’s the consensus No1 receiver in this draft and if the Raiders select him will feel like they got a steal at No5.

6th Pick: Atlanta Falcons – The Atlanta Falcons suffered a strange 2013 season as they went from a heavily tipped play-off team to one who finished 3rd in the NFC South. Therefore the team does not have that many needs going into the draft. Their biggest need is at Offensive tackle and this is where I see them going with their 6th pick. I sense they’ll select the second best Offensive tackle prospect in Texas A&M man Jake Matthews. He’s a plug and play starting tackle in the NFL for the next 5-10 years with Pro bowl potential.

7th Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Buccaneers are coming off a turbulent off season which has seen them lose a head coach and their star Cornerback yet gain a new Quarterback in Josh McCown. The Buccaneers could use with giving McCown some weapons to throw too and I sense they’ll add a Wide Receiver with this pick. With top receiver Watkins already off the board they’ll go for the next best receiver Mike Evans. He’s a athletically strong receiver with a big future in the NFL.

8th Pick: Minnesota Vikings – For the Vikings it’s clear by far their biggest off-season need is to dramatically improve their passing game. On the other hand I feel it would be a major reach for them to grab a QB at this spot in the 1st round. Therefore I feel they’ll upgrade their defence with this pick. Specifically I see them going with UCLA Outside Linebacker Anthony Barr. He’s the second best outside linebacker on most boards and would instantly improve a defence in need of significant improvement.

9th Pick: Buffalo Bills – For the Bills this year’s biggest need to address at the No9 pick has to be on their Offensive line. More specifically they need help at their Right tackle position therefore I predict they’ll select Notre Dame Offensive tackle Zack Martin. Whilst Taylor Lewan ranks above him his off-field issues mean his stock is falling which is why I see them picking Martin instead.

10th Pick: Detroit Lions – Detroit wilted as the 2013 season went on therefore the draft is the perfect place for the organisation to rectify this going into the 2014 regular season. It appears the Lions which select a defensive player at No10 with their defensive secondary receiving particular attention with this pick. In my opinion they’ll add a Cornerback in Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert. His impressive speed and ball hawking skills may him well in line for a hugely productive career in the NFL.

11th Pick: Tennessee Titans – The Titans are another team re-building going into the 2014 season with a new head coach in Ken Whisenhunt. It seems fairly apparent the team are looking to improve their defensive unit with this first round pick. Their biggest defensive need is at Outside Linebacker however it would be a major reach for them to select the best available player at this position in Ryan Shazier. Therefore I see back to back Cornerback being picked as they select standout Michigan State Corner Darqueze Dennard, someone rated by many to be the top Cornerback in this draft class.

12th Pick: New York Giants – For a long time this off-season the Giants have been pencilled in to pick dynamic Tight End Eric Ebron as it appeared such a glaring need for them in this draft. On the other hand recently the momentum is building that the Giants will instead draft an Offensive Linemen, another area they need to improve on. Therefore I’m going to follow the momentum and predict they’ll take a chance on selecting Lineman Taylor Lewan. Although he has legal issues off the field his production is undoubted and will immediately energise the Offensive line .

13th Pick: St Louis Rams – With their second pick in the 1st round I suspect that considering who is likely to still be available with the 13th pick that the Rams will use this pick to upgrade their Safety position in the Defensive backfield. With free reign over the Safety class I suspect they’ll select No1 ranked Safety Ha-Ha Clinton Dix from Alabama with the 13th pick. He’s had a stellar college career which looks set to continue in the pro’s.

14th Pick: Chicago Bears – After their defensive unit let down the Bears in 2013 it seems likely they’ll want to improve the unit early on in the draft. Therefore expect Chicago to select a Defensive back with the most likely occurrence being that they go with No2 ranked Safety Calvin Pryor of Louisville. He’s an intelligent Safety who has the potential to be a superstar in the NFL over the next few seasons.

15th Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers – The Pittsburgh Steelers go into the draft with a lot of needs for their team. It seems their most important area for improvement is on the defensive side of the ball which is where I believe they’ll go after drafting an offensive player last year. Specifically I see them continuing the run on Defensive Back’s by selecting Cornerback Kyle Fuller out of Virginia Tech. Mike Mayock has him as his top rated Corner and he would be by far the best corner left on the board at No15.

16th Pick: Dallas Cowboys – After winning a coin toss at the scouting combine the Cowboys are on the clock at 16. After a season where the Cowboys defence let them down therefore it seems they’ll continue the current run on defensive picks by improving the Defensive tackle position with this pick. With free reign over Defensive tackle’s I predict they’ll select Aaron Donald from Pitt. He seems to be the consensus top Defensive tackle in this draft and would vastly improve the woeful Cowboys Defensive tackle position.