The big winners of this week remain the St. Louis Rams. The Rams are soaking up the last of the Robert Griffin III trade and it’s beginning to look like we’ll have to consider the Rams winners. I’m not on the bus of calling the ‘Skins losers in this deal – as I’ve believed RGIII can be the face of that franchise for a very long time. With that in mind, it’s looking pretty good if you’re a Rams fan.
Chad Henne to Cecil Shorts put Houston back in control of the No. 1 overall pick and did the Browns in again. I said when Hoyer was injured that they would be selecting in the top five when it’s all said and done – I’m feeling good about that prediction.
One that I’m not feeling so great about is my preseason prediction that the Panthers would be selecting in the top five. I couldn’t have been anymore wrong on that one, wiping out my Browns prediction.
This is all banter, you’ve all been waiting for content from NFL’s Future and I’m busy stroking my ego. Here’s what you’ve been waiting for.
1. Houston Texans – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Look, I know we can point to history (Mario Williams over Vince Young), the young and developing signal caller in Case Keenum, or Matt Schaub’s contract. All that taken into account, I don’t see a way the Texans could pass on Teddy Bridgewater. While he’s not in the Andrew Luck stratosphere, he’s pretty damn good. If Case Keenum were the answer to this team’s woes, we wouldn’t be having this discussion because they’d be picking much later. Clearly he’s a solid backup in the league that could develop into a quality starter but you don’t pass on someone that has star potential because you want to see what you have in Keenum. This is not Vince Young. This kid has legit tools as a passer and runner. If the Texans pass on Bridgewater, they will regret it for the next 10 years.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
It’s anyone’s guess as to whether Mariota opts to enter the draft. I do know that he’s just too talented to make it too far down the draft board. If Bridgewater is off the board, when the Jags are picking it’s going to be tough for Gus to pass on Mariota’s potential. That said, there is work that needs to be done with Mariota. If the Jags really can’t wait, it makes sense for them to pass on Mariota and take Derek Carr
3. St. Louis Rams (WAS) – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
The tandem of Joe Barksdale and Jake Long has played admirably this year. The Rams could turn the page on Sam Bradford with this pick but I think it would have to be if Bridgewater slid down their direction. Barksdale can slide back to the bench and give the Rams a deep line – something they haven’t been able to say for a long time.
4. Atlanta Falcons – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
If the Falcons can sit at No. 4 and still be looking at Jadeveon Clowney, they would have to feel pretty great about draft day. Clowney fills a major need with arguably the best player in the draft. This one is the slam dunk of slam dunks.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
The Bucs can’t rush the passer. The DL needs help, they need OL help but a pass rusher has to be the target early in the draft. Barr is a freak and the sky is the limit for his game.
6. Minnesota Vikings – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
It’s going to be tough for the Vikes to pass on a quarterback given the current state of the quarterback position on this roster. Christian Ponder isn’t Blaine Gabbert but he’s not going to win many games for a team.
7. Cleveland Browns – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
The Browns could look at a Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles type of prospect at this point. Instead, I think they look at adding a playmaker on offense to team with Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. Watkins is an explosive playmaker that gives the Browns another weapon that teams have to account for. The Browns are prime to trade up in this draft to grab their QB but I’m not touching trades at this point.
8. Oakland Raiders – Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
The Raiders sorely need pass rush help. They don’t get much better than Mack. He’s an elite defensive playmaker with the speed, physicality, and instincts to be a special player in the NFL.