I’ll be blogging tonight’s NFL Draft as it’s happening, so stay tuned right here for to-the-minute updates on every pick in the first round of the NFL Draft.
1. HOUSTON TEXANS: JADAVEON CLOWNEY, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA, DE
This should be a surprise to very few people. In the past couple days the rumors have been flying about whether or not the Texans were serious about trading down. They didn’t end up pulling the trigger after working the phones for some time. Clowney and J.J. Watt will make a lethal combo on the defensive line.
2. ST. LOUIS RAMS: GREG ROBINSON, AUBURN UNIVERSITY, OT
The Rams stay at No. 2 overall and draft one of the most talented offensive tackles in this year’s draft. This is the first time that head coach Jeff Fischer has selected an offensive lineman in the first round of the draft. Nobody is more excited about this pick than former first round draft pick, quarterback Sam Bradford.
3. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: BLAKE BORTLES, UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA, QB
In a surprise pick, the Jags picked Blake Bortles. Now this wasn’t necessarily ground breaking, but I’m not sure that they couldn’t have traded down and still got their man. Perception is reality, and the Jags perceived Bortles as the best QB in the draft.
4. (TRADE FROM CLEVELAND) BUFFALO BILLS: SAMMY WATKINS, CLEMSON UNIVERSITY, WR
In the first trade of the draft, the Cleveland Browns have traded their 4th overall pick for the 9th overall pick and the rights to the Bills’ 1st & 4th round picks in the 2015 draft. Watkins is considered to be the most electric wide receiver in this year’s draft by many. Opposing secondaries should have their hands full with this guy.
5. OAKLAND RAIDERS: KHALIL MACK, UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO, OLB
To some, Mack was the best defensive player in the draft. He has a chip on his shoulder coming out of a small school and this guy could be a stud ‘backer for the next decade for the Raiders.
6. ATLANTA FALCONS: JAKE MATTHEWS, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY, OT
Cousin of Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews, Jake Matthews has the pedigree and elite play worthy of a top-10 pick in this year’s draft. He’s a plug-and-play tackle that will help this Falcons squad for as long as Atlanta is willing to pay him.
7. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: MIKE EVANS, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY, WR
Passing on the opportunity to draft Johnny Football after many rumors linking the team to the Heisman winner, the Bucs go with one of the top two wide receivers in this draft. The Bucs now have one of the better WR duos in the league.
8. (TRADE FROM MINNESOTA) CLEVELAND BROWNS: JUSTIN GILBERT, OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY, CB
This is a total head-scratcher. The Browns already have a very formidable secondary and to move up one spot, giving up some kind of pick, to fortify this position even further, despite the other glaring needs on this team, just doesn’t make much sense to me.
9. MINNESOTA VIKINGS: ANTHONY BARR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA – LOS ANGELES, OLB
The Vikings pick up a stud athlete at the OLB position who defensive-minded head coach Mike Zimmer believes he can use as a building block.
10. DETROIT LIONS: ERIC EBRON, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA, TE
The consensus no. 1 tight end in this year’s draft has been selected. He’s big. He’s fast. He’s essentially a wide receiver. A great pick by the Lions who must believe that they are only a few weapons away on the offensive side of the ball from being an NFL powerhouse.
11. TENNESSEE TITANS: TAYLOR LEWAN, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, OT
The Titans pick up arguably the last elite OT available in the draft. This guy is MEAN and will provide a nice punch and some additional attitude to the group of big uglies down in Tennessee.
12. NEW YORK GIANTS: ODELL BECKHAM JR. LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, WR
He’s fast. He’s sure handed. He’s clean. He’s OBJ. And now he’s a Giant. The excuses will be harder to come by for Manning as he adds another weapon to his arsenal.
13. ST. LOUIS RAMS: AARON DONALD, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, DT
With their second pick in the first round, the Rams have chosen the first DT in this year’s draft. Donald has slid a little by many people’s best guess, but sliding talent ends up meaning value for a team.
14. CHICAGO BEARS: KYLE FULLER, VIRGINIA TECH, CB
Widely regarded as the draft’s second best CB, fittingly, he’s the second corner off the board. No surprise that the historically defensively-driven Bears choose a position that will help sure up their secondary in the first round.
15. PITTSBURGH STEELERS: RYAN SHAZIER, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY, OLB
Word on the street is that the Bears snarffed up Kyle Fuller before the Steelers could get their hands on him, so they go with a consolation prize (on the defensive side of the ball, of course) of Ryan Shazier.
16. DALLAS COWBOYS: ZACH MARTIN, NOTRE DAME, OG
The Dallas Cowboys passed on Johnny Football, which is probably for the best because the internet would have literally EXPLODED. Martin is the first OG off the board and the best one available. If I were to guess, he’s a future Pro-Bowler. Good selection.
17. BALTIMORE RAVENS: C.J. MOSLEY, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA, ILB
Mosley comes off the board at number 17, and this should surprise nobody. The Ravens should be thrilled to have the Crimson Tide standout helping hold down the linebacking corps for many years to come.
18. NEW YORK JETS: CALVIN PRYOR, UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE, S
The first safety taken is not Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but rather Calvin Pryor. This is pretty surprising, but somebody (Packers?) are may push hard to make sure that Ha Ha is laughing in Green Bay.
19. MIAMI DOLPHINS: JA’WUAN JAMES, UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE, OT
The Miami Dolphins fill a dire need by drafting a RT. The Phins gave up a historically terrible 58 sacks last year, so this was definitely a pick based off of need.
20. (TRADE FROM CARDINALS) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: BRANDIN COOKS, OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY, WR
Stupid fast WR Brandin Cooks will come in to provide Brees with a shifty receiver who gets you yards after the catch. The Saints offense will continue to be a well-oiled machine.
21. GREEN BAY PACKERS: HA HA CLINTON-DIX, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA, S
Stunned that Clinton-Dix fell this far. HUGE get for the Packers who fill a position of need while also grabbing a guy whom many believe is the best safety in the entire draft. Packers fans, rejoice!
22. (TRADE FROM PHILADELPHIA) CLEVELAND BROWNS: JOHNNY MANZIEL, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY, QB
The wait is over! Johnny Manziel is a Brown. Will he finally be able to remove the curse of all his predecessors in Cleveland? Time will tell. But I can tell you this: The Browns just made a TON of fans all over the country.
23. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: DEE FORD, AUBURN UNIVERSITY, DE
Head Coach Andy Reid chooses to solidify his defensive line with a DE out of the SEC. A great defense gets a little better.
24. CINCINNATI BENGALS: DARQUEZE DENNARD, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY, CB
The Bengals pick up a highly touted corner from one of the nation’s best defenses in college football. Excellent pick.
25. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: JASON VERRETT, TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY, CB
A run on cornerbacks late in the first round? Maybe. The Chargers show yet again that they’re not afraid to get a guy who is a bit undersized but has produced in college.
26. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: MARCUS SMITH, UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE, DE
The Eagles decide to add a pass rusher off the edge to their defense. Not sure how the majority of Eagles fans feel about this pick, but I do know that the Eagles fans AT the Radio City Music Hall looked dumbfounded.
27. ARIZONA CARDINALS: DEONE BUCANNON, WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY, S
The Cardinals select a safety who’s shown the ability to get his hands on the ball and is a mean tackler. He may not have the name recognition of many other defensive players in this draft, but this is a solid choice.
28. CAROLINA PANTHERS: KELVIN BENJAMIN, FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY, WR
The Panthers fill a definite position of need. I’m slightly surprised that they didn’t go with Lee out of USC, but Kelvin is very difficult to bring down. Despite his unpolished route running, he’s a big red zone target for Cam Newton.
29. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: DOMINIQUE EASLEY, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, DE
Very surprising pick here. The position is one that many of us thought the Pats would address, but NFL.com had a 3rd/4th round draft grade on this guy.
30. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: JIMMY WARD, NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY, S
The 49ers draft a safety to replenish their secondary that lost some players in free agency this year. This is the second year in a row that San Fran has drafted a safety in the first round.
31. DENVER BRONCOS: BRADLEY ROBY, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY, CB
The Broncos know that the window of opportunity to win with Peyton Manning is getting smaller and smaller. The offense was legendary last year, so adding a CB that may be able to start opposite of Aqib Talib from day one is a good move.
32. (TRADE FROM SEATTLE) MINNESOTA VIKINGS: TEDDY BRIDGEWATER, UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE, QB
The Vikings give up their 2nd and 4th round pick to move ahead of the Texans at pick number 32 to get their future signal caller. Nice grab by the Vikings to get a QB who many still have as the best QB available in this year’s draft.