Round 1
PICK(OVR)PLAYER/SCHOOLPOSDRAFTED BYNOTES
  • What he brings: 

    Clowney possesses ideal size, length and athleticism. He has an explosive first step and quick hands, and he uses his length well off the edge. Although his production dropped last season, he was still having a big impact throughout our tape study. Clowney has to learn to play with a more consistent effort and must develop some technique. However, he is a rare talent and has one of the highest ceilings we've evaluated on tape.

    How he fits: 

    He has the best skill set in the draft. But will he play that way each week? This is a 3-4 Romeo Crennel defense with a lot of two-gap looks and less penetrating than a one-gap Wade Phillips scheme. That is not Clowney's forte. However, he will play outside linebacker in the base package, and we will see a lot more four-man fronts and sub packages. The Texans will get their best from pass-rushers on the field in passing situations. He has lined up all over the defensive line (à la J.J. Watt) and he could even line up next to Watt at left outside linebacker -- wow! Crennel will adjust and make this work.
  • What he brings: 

    Robinson is a rare talent who excels at moving defenders off the ball in the run game. His initial pop and finishing strength at the line of scrimmage, in addition to his ability to get to the second level and envelop linebackers in space, are outstanding. Although his hand placement is inconsistent and he holds too much at this point, he can get better in this area and is almost impossible to beat when he gets his hands inside and locks on. Auburn's run-heavy scheme raises some concern when it comes to his ability to pick up assignments and his technique in pass protection, but he has the length (35-inch arms), quickness and foot speed to protect the edge working against the league's best edge-rushers when he's fundamentally sound.

    How he fits: 

    This is a nice marriage between drafting the best player on the board who also fills a big need. He is an excellent athlete and natural left tackle who will upgrade an offensive line that has not been consistent in pass protection in front of a quarterback who is not overly mobile. This offense will show a lot of no-huddle with three- and five-step drops, and it is mostly a man-blocking offensive line, which suits Robinson perfectly. With left tackle Jake Long coming off a knee injury, Robinson is insurance. With right tackle Joe Barksdale playing better than expected, look for Robinson to line up at left guard to give the Rams an elite left side. He could easily move to left or right tackle if necessary.
  • What he brings: 

    Bortles is our top QB in this year's class. He has prototypical size, mobility and outstanding intangibles. He is not a finished product and needs some work with his lower-body mechanics to improve velocity and accuracy. However, he shows excellent poise inside the pocket and has great instincts when extending plays and working off schedule. Bortles' game reminds us a lot of a young Ben Roethlisberger.

    How he fits: 

    This is a team with multiple needs, but it has no chance unless it has a quarterback to build around. Bortles will be that guy. Without a legitimate run game and a so-so offensive line, he will be under a lot of pressure. With marginal pass protection and poor blitz pickup, we will see a lot of slants and quick crossing routes with safe passes designed for yards after catch. Bortles will use screen and draw plays and would excel in play-action if the Jaguars can develop a decent run game. This offense likes to attack the middle of the defense, and the coaches are looking for more creativity in the play calling. Bortles is smart and competitive and has some Big Ben similarities. This will be his team.
  • What he brings: 

    Watkins is an explosive and dynamic weapon who can climb over the top of the coverage, go the distance after the catch and make plays in the return game. There's room for improvement when it comes to his route-running, but he's capable of separating from man coverage, as he drops his weight well and accelerates out of his cuts. There's the occasional focus drop, and he can improve his ability to hold on to the ball when the defender times the hit well, but he has the body control, leaping ability and frame to make highlight-reel catches. It's a deep and talented receiver class; it says a lot that he sits atop it.

    How he fits: 

    This was the 28th-ranked pass offense a year ago, and veteran receiver Stevie Johnson is the only player the Bills were able to count on. Watkins gives the Bills the big-play capability they have been missing and a vertical presence. We will see creative personnel groupings with a high volume of no-huddle and shotgun plays. They likely will move Watkins all over the formation, with a lot of crossing routes and even some bubble screens designed for yards after the catch. With quarterback EJ Manuel still a bit of an unknown because of injury, these guys should grow together, and their ability to let the coaches install the total playbook will be important.
  • What he brings: 

    An excellent run-stopper, Mack has the violent hands to get off blocks, range to make plays in pursuit and outstanding striking power as a tackler. He's just as effective on third down. He's an effective speed-to-power pass-rusher with the upper-body strength to press offensive tackles, drive them back and get off the block in time to make the play. Mack also shows good range in underneath zone, and he's capable of running with tight ends in coverage. The biggest knock is the level of competition he faced playing in the Mid-American Conference. Although he shined against Ohio State, critics are quick to point out he didn't face elite offensive tackles in that game, either. Fair points, but Mack didn't make Buffalo's schedule, and he checks all the boxes when it comes to the physical attributes.

    How he fits: 

    This is a 4-3 defense with some unique fronts, and the Raiders can easily go to a 3-4 look, as they are constantly trying to confuse offenses. They have a defense with too many aging players who are not game-changers; Mack could alter that. Their linebackers made a lot of tackles last season, but too many were at the second level. Mack is excellent versus the run, at the point of attack and on a defense that is forced to blitz a lot to create pressure. He can play outside linebacker in a 3-4 look and can be productive as a defensive end when they go to a sub-package from a man front. But his most underrated quality might be his ability to play pass defense (à la Clay Matthews), and that makes him a safe pick and complete player.
  • What he brings: 

    Matthews lacks an elite size-and-athleticism combo. However, he has tremendous experience, technique, awareness and versatility. Matthews does a nice job of sustaining as a run-blocker and shows polished feet in pass protection. He comes from great bloodlines and is one of the most NFL-ready prospects in this entire class.

    How he fits: 

    He is versatile offensive lineman with four years of experience, and we know about his great family bloodlines. He is a complete player, and the Falcons can play him at a left tackle and move starter Sam Baker to right tackle. Or they can simply play Matthews at right tackle, as he has played both positions. Matt Ryan was sacked 44 times in 2013, and this is a pass-heavy offense that requires good pass protection up front. The Falcons are making the transition from a man-blocking to zone-blocking scheme. They want their offensive line to block in space and be effective in the screen game, and Matthews can do that. But as a unit, they are not great athletes, so we might see more man blocking than we anticipated. With a tough, new offensive line coach, Mike Tice, Matthews will give them some physicality that has been missing.
  • What he brings: 

    Evans is a former basketball player who has outstanding size, length and catching radius. He needs polish as a route runner and can take some time to get out of his breaks. However, there isn't a bigger downfield one-on-one matchup problem who has the body control and hands and utilizes his size better than Evans in this receiver class.

    How he fits: 

    He will team with Vincent Jackson to give new quarterback Josh McCown elite receivers much like he had in Chicago with Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall -- big targets who will win jump balls. New coordinator Jeff Tedford is very creative, and we will see a sophisticated scheme with spread sets and a lot of sight adjustments by the quarterback and wide receivers. Evans will work in the middle of the field, and he has a knack for adjusting his routes when his quarterback is in trouble. He might be asked to line up all over the formation in this offense, something he has not done in the past. But he will bring a needed toughness to this passing game. This is a division that doesn't have a lot of elite corners, so he should be able to produce immediately.
  • What he brings: 

    Gilbert has above-average size, elite speed and excellent ball skills. In addition, he is electric with the ball in his hands and adds value on special teams as a kick returner with six career returns for touchdowns. However, Gilbert comes with some boom/bust factor, as he displays some tightness, allows too much separation and can be disinterested in run support at times.

    How he fits: 

    Joe Haden is an elite corner, but he gets little help from the rest of this group. Gilbert gives Cleveland two solid corners, and coach Mike Pettine can now blitz more to create more pressure, as both of these guys can play on an island and play the press technique. This is a smart defense that asks its players to play a variety of roles, and we will even see a 4-2-5 scheme as its base package at times. Gilbert needs to improve versus the run, but his biggest contribution to this unit will be in coverage. He gives the front seven a lot of flexibility in rush schemes on a defense that is close to being really good.
  • What he brings: 

    Barr has excellent measureables, above-average athleticism and a quick first step as pass-rusher. However, he is a better athlete than football player at this point. He needs to get stronger and more aggressive against the run and does not convert speed to power well as a pass-rusher. Barr started his career on the offensive side of the ball at UCLA and has just two years of experience on the defensive side of the ball, so he is still developing in terms of instincts. He is one of the higher risk/reward-type players in the class.

    How he fits: 

    This is a need pick on a defense that really gets little production from its linebackers. The Vikings need to figure out how to manufacture a better pass rush to protect a pass defense that was 31st in coverage a year ago. He can play strongside or weakside linebacker in this 4-3 scheme, and although his physicality is in question, he should be a solid space player in this defense. He could be at his best in sub packages, in which he could rush off the edge, although there is a chance they could give him some snaps at defensive end despite his lack of size and physicality.
  • What he brings: 

    Ebron isn't a powerful blocker. He dropped too many passes last year, and his effort is inconsistent, yet he's a good value pick at this point in the first round, and the reason is he's a dangerous receiver. He has the speed to stretch the field and body control to make plays downfield, plus the burst and wiggle to produce after the catch. He's also a nightmare matchup for defensive coordinators. If you try to match up with a linebacker, he can separate underneath or get behind the coverage. If you try to match up with a safety, he does a nice job of getting inside leverage and using his frame to box out.

    How he fits: 

    This was not a real need, with Brandon Pettigrew and Joseph Fauria already on the roster, but the Lions love pass-catching tight ends. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi comes from New Orleans and knows how to get big production out of the position. We will see multiple packages with motion, flexes, seven-step drops and go-routes between the hashes. Ebron must be able to flourish in their sight-adjustment package and be on the same page with quarterback Matthew Stafford. He will line up wide and flex a lot using some of the same skills we see from Jimmy Graham. This is an offense with a wealth of receiving weapons.
  • What he brings: 

    A four-year starter at Michigan, Lewan is an outstanding pass blocker even if he doesn't have ideal arm length (33 7/8 inches) for a left tackle prospect. He uses his quickness to take away the edge, he does an excellent job of mirroring when his assignment works back inside and he's strong enough to anchor against power. Though he doesn't have an elite power base and fails to generate push at times as a run blocker, he gets into position, walls off his assignments and blocks through the whistle. He's also a smart player who shows excellent awareness both in pass protection and in the run game.

    How he fits: 

    This looks a lot like value pick because it doesn't seem like a great need with left tackle Michael Roos and right tackle Michael Oher on board. This is a versatile offense that will ask the line to play man and zone, and it must be better in pass protection. But the Titans will shorten the passing game to get the ball out more quickly to help the guys up front. Lewan can play in both blocking schemes and is excellent in space, which will helps versus speed-rushers. Even though both starting tackles appear to be set, Roos is near the end of his career and Oher does not play with consistency, so there is room for Lewan to step in and compete. He will at least give them three good offensive tackles. and they want more toughness out of this unit.
  • What he brings: 

    Beckham is a smooth and explosive athlete who brings a dangerous element after the catch and as a returner. He showed tremendous improvement throughout the course of last season with his release and ball skills. Beckham has been compared to former Rams WR Isaac Bruce and has the potential to develop into a strong No. 2 wideout.

    How he fits: 

    This is a need pick, and it gives Eli Manning and Victor Cruz a new toy to play with. The Giants' receiving corps must be better at sight adjust and must cut down on drops (which can be a small concern for Beckham). He has been in a pro-style college pass offense, and his speed should add up to new vertical routes and open things up for Cruz on crossing routes underneath. Beckham should also be terrific after the catch. New coordinator Ben McAdoo will take more deep shots than you might think, and that is where Beckham will excel. Don't be surprised if he has good production on bubble screens, and Beckham can also help out in the return game.
  • What he brings: 

    Barely over 6 feet and at 285 pounds, Donald is on the smaller side, but don't be misled by his size as it relates to his ability to defend the run. He's a disruptive run defender with rare initial quickness who is at his best shooting gaps and planting ball carriers in the backfield, but he also has long arms (32 5/8 inches) for his frame and the upper-body strength to press blockers off him. His ability to penetrate also makes it tough for quarterbacks to step up in the pocket, and he doesn't have to win with quickness to be an effective pass-rusher, either. He has the violent hands and motor to get to the quarterback when he doesn't win with his first move.

    How he fits: 

    This was a value pick because the Rams' defensive line is already terrific and this does not look like a real need. They have two elite defensive tackles in Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford, who are part of a defense that recorded 53 sacks a year ago. New coordinator Gregg Williams loves to attack with loops and stunts, and he really values quickness and penetration -- and that is the name of Donald's game. He has outstanding interior pass-rush skills and gives this defensive line versatility in its four-man front. This pick makes the Rams' defensive line the best in the NFL.
  • What he brings: 

    Fuller has one of the better sets of eyes and instincts in this class. He has strong versatility to line up inside in the slot and outside. While Fuller has some tightness, he does a great job of maintaining quality leverage and has exceptional ball skills. He also is extremely tough against the run and brings added value on special teams as a non-returner.

    How he fits: 

    The good news is that both starting corners, Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman, are back. Both guys are in their 30s, and while they are still good players, this defense needs an infusion of youth and athletic ability. The Bears want to get away from playing as many zone coverages as they have in the past, and Fuller gives them a chance to play more man looks. They have terrible safety play, and that could mean more sub packages with multiple corners, and he gives them that flexibility. However, with a poor pass rush, these defensive backs are on an island with their coverages. Fuller gives the Bears some versatility and insurance for future.
  • What he brings: 

    Shazier is an explosive athlete who has above-average range and instincts against the run. He also brings added versatility in coverage and also shows the ability to dial up pressure as a blitzer. Shazier must continue to get stronger at the point of attack, but he is an excellent space player with offenses trending to spread the field more these days.

    How he fits: 

    He has played both inside and outside in college, but in this 3-4 defense, he will likely line up at inside linebacker next to Lawrence Timmons and replace Vince Williams. Shazier is a guy who is versatile enough to stay on the field every down and can cover in man and zone looks. This is a defense with a lot of age, and his athletic ability will be appreciated. With a defensive line that tries to eat up blocks, it frees him up to get to the ball without having to be overly physical.
  • What he brings: 

    The biggest concern with Martin is whether he has he the length (32 7/8-inch arms) to play tackle or will have to kick inside to guard to succeed at the next level. While length is a concern, he has the quickness, foot speed and balance to protect the edge, much like former Syracuse offensive lineman Justin Pugh (32-inch arms), whom the Giants took with the 19th overall pick last year. (Pugh won the starting right tackle job.) If Martin is moved inside, he should be a day-one starter there. As far as his run-blocking is concerned, he fires off the ball, generates good initial push and sustains once locked on.

    How he fits: 

    This had to be a value pick, because Dallas' defense has tremendous needs on all three levels, although the offensive line can always use an upgrade -- especially at both guard spots. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan loves to develop players, and this guy is an experienced player who could line up at all five spots. The Cowboys' O-line is a man-blocking unit that wants to be more physical inside to help out the run game, and Martin gives it that. He is safe pick who should start as a rookie, but there must not have been a defensive player the Cowboys really liked here.
  • What he brings: 

    Mosley comes with some durability concerns but is one of the top 10 players in this draft on tape. He has excellent eyes and playmaking instincts as a run defender. Mosley also brings strong versatility on third down in coverage and as a blitzer. If he can stay healthy, Mosley should bring return here.

    How he fits: 

    We finally have the heir apparent to inside linebacker Ray Lewis, and general manager Ozzie Newsome is an Alabama guy who knows Mosley well. Mosley will start inside in the Ravens' 3-4 defense but does have some experience at weak-side outside linebacker. The Ravens will change up their looks -- 4-3, 4-6 dollar (two DLs, three LBs, six DBs) -- and Mosley can do it all. This is a smart defense that expects players to adapt to their schemes, and he has played disciplined football at a high level. He will step in immediately as a starter on an improving defense.
  • What he brings: 

    Pryor is a strong safety type who brings a physical presence down the middle of the field. He has some tightness in coverage, particularly holding up in man coverage, but shows adequate instincts and ball skills. He is at his best defending the run, where he takes quality angles in pursuit and flashes the ability to deliver the knockout blow.

    How he fits: 

    We know Rex Ryan is a defensive-oriented coach who loves to draft defensive backs, and this is a real need for a defense that is excellent up front but struggles in the back end. The Jets want to create more turnovers and big plays. They want to play a lot of tight man schemes, but that does not always suit their current personnel and can limit their willingness to blitz. Pryor is very physical and should eliminate some of the big plays they gave up in the passing game a year ago. They will play some 4-2-5 looks as their base package, and Pryor can sit in the middle of the field and add toughness to this unit.
  • What he brings: 

    James is a reach at this point in the draft, as he slips off run blocks, his footwork is inconsistent in pass pro and he doesn't have the killer instinct teams covet in offensive linemen. There's a lot to like about his upside, though. A four-year starter at Tennessee, he has the lateral quickness and balance to develop into an excellent zone run-blocker. He also has the length (35 inches) and athletic ability to hold up on an island in pass pro when he sinks his hips and keeps moving his feet.

    How he fits: 

    James might be a little bit of a reach in the first round, but Miami's offensive line was terrible in 2013, and the team had no choice but to go in this direction after giving up 58 sacks a year ago. We will see more zone-blocking concepts with stretch plays, misdirection with draw plays and screens. These are all things that James can do well. He will likely start at right tackle but could slide inside to guard. Remember that center Mike Pouncey is the only returning starter. James is not a power player, but his feet and athletic ability should fit well in this scheme.
  • What he brings: 

    Cooks is undersized but is one of the more polished receivers in this class. He has an exceptional combination of speed and quickness getting out of breaks. He is a savvy route runner who uses tempo well and explodes out of breaks. Cooks also has strong run-after-the-catch ability and is highly competitive. Cook compares to Ravens WR Steve Smith with the ability to play in the slot as well as outside the hashes, as he plays bigger than his measureables indicate.

    How he fits: 

    It is never a shock to see the Saints upgrade in the passing game, but they do have needs at wide receiver. Marques Colston is starting to age, and Kenny Stills is the other starter at WR. Depth is not there for an offense that uses a lot of spread/multi-wide receiver sets. Cooks gives them a guy who can stretch the field with big vertical plays and yards after the catch. He could also be very effective on bubble screens. He's not a big guy, but he plays with discipline, and Drew Brees will love his precise routes and ability to sight adjust and read on the move. Cooks could see some snaps out of the backfield to give him the Darren Sproles-type short pass plays.
  • What he brings: 

    The top safety on our board, Clinton-Dix has outstanding instincts and the football IQ to quarterback an NFL defense. He's rarely caught out of position, gets an early beak on the ball in coverage and is quick to diagnose the run. There's also a lot to like about his man cover skills, range in zone and his potential to develop into a playmaker in coverage. While he's not the most physical run-stuffer in this safety class, he takes sound pursuit angles, he can get off blocks and he's an above-average open-field tackler.

    How he fits: 

    The Packers did not get a single interception from the safety position a year ago and they lack playmakers and depth inside on the back end of this defense. Clinton-Dix is the ultimate center fielder and a guy who can run this secondary. They don't get great pass-rush pressure, and that exposes their defensive backs in coverage and forces them to play sub packages 60 percent of the time to match up versus spread offenses. They seem to have a lot of busted coverages and miscommunication that lead to big plays, but those are things Clinton-Dix should help fix. This guy is always around the football, and he will likely team with strong safety Morgan Burnett to give Green Bay much better inside play.
  • What he brings: 

    Manziel is the most polarizing player in this year's draft. On the downside, there are concerns about his ability to make plays from within the pocket and stay healthy in the NFL. Plus, his off-the-field behavior has some wondering if he'll be the kind of leader who's the first player in and the last player out of the building. On the plus side, he's a fierce competitor when he takes the field, he has above-average arm strength and he is an escape artist who can buy time for his receivers to get open and break long runs when he gets a lane to scramble.

    How he fits: 

    Manziel is a pick who will energize the Browns' fan base, and they were able to get him in a desirable part of the round. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan knows how to coach a mobile quarterback because he did so with RG III in Washington, and Manziel has similar qualities. We will see bootlegs, rollouts and a lot of West Coast principles. Manziel will work out of the shotgun with creative personnel groupings and spread looks. Keep in mind that Manziel has big hands, which should serve him well when the Cleveland weather deteriorates.
  • What he brings: 

    Ford is an explosive edge-rusher. He possesses excellent first-step quickness, exceptional torso flexibility bending the edge, and above-average closing burst. Ford might be used as a pass-rushing specialist early as he continues to develop his strength at the point of attack as a run-defender.

    How he fits: 

    A defensive end and outside linebacker in college, Ford will be an edge pass-rusher in the Chiefs' 3-4 defense, which faltered badly at the end of last season. Because the Chiefs have two excellent OLBs in Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, this looks like a value pick rather than a pressing need. Because he lacks size and is limited in coverage, Ford will be used primarily in K.C.'s outside rush rotation.
  • What he brings: 

    Dennard is the best overall cornerback in this class. While he isn't elite in any one area, he doesn't have a glaring flaw in his game. He is an ideal press corner who uses his hands well and shows great balance in trail man technique. Dennard also shows strong discipline, above-average ball skills and is a hard edge-setter against the run.

    How he fits: 

    This is a solid need pick for a secondary that has played well but is starting to show some age. The Bengals want to play aggressive man schemes, and Dennard is excellent in press techniques and is a solid turn-and-run cover guy. They will blitz and put Dennard on an island; they will also use him on blitzes off the edge.
  • What he brings: 

    At 5-foot-9 and 189 pounds, Verrett's frame is a concern as it relates to his ability to match up with taller receivers and his ability stay healthy, especially considering he tore a meniscus in his knee in 2012 and played most of the 2013 season with a torn labrum. His slight frame isn't as much of a concern as it is for other corners with similar size, though. He's a tough run-stopper who tackles well, and he's an aggressive cover corner who's willing to mix it up with much bigger receivers. More importantly, he has excellent man-to-man cover skills and he does a nice job of playing the ball.

    How he fits: 

    The secondary was the Chargers' Achilles' heel in 2013. As a result, the Chargers were forced to play simpler coverages with fewer blitzes and were hesitant to put their corners on an island. Verrett is a solid turn-and-run cover guy who should help San Diego reduce the big plays it allowed last season. This was the perfect marriage of a value pick filling a need, and Verrett will give this pass defense much-needed versatility.
  • What he brings: 

    Smith is a big-time reach at this point in the draft. A former quarterback, he has to get stronger at the point and improve his ability to anchor against the run. He can also makes strides in terms of reading his keys and diagnosing plays. On the other hand, he does have rare upside as a pass-rusher. While he doesn't play quite as fast as he timed at the combine, he has the initial quickness and speed to threaten off the edge. In addition, he has active hands and can quickly work back inside when offensive tackles take away the edge.

    How he fits: 

    Smith is a nice fit in what's a unique Eagles defensive scheme. It looks like a 3-4 front pre-snap, but they will eventually bring one OLB up to the line of scrimmage to make it look like a 4-3 under. Smith is a hybrid guy who has played DE and OLB. In this defense, he will be asked to primarily rush off the edge. He's also adept at dropping into coverage.
  • What he brings: 

    Bucannon is a tone-setting safety who brings a physical presence down the middle of the field. He plays with reckless abandon and total disregard for his body in run support. In addition, he is underrated in coverage and has adequate range and ball skills with 15 career INTs.

    How he fits: 

    The Cardinals want a physical guy to team inside with FS Tyrann Mathieu, and they might have found him in Bucannon. A prototype strong safety, Bucannon is physical and can play in the box and stop the run. The biggest weakness of this defense a year ago was covering tight ends, and Bucannon is really an underrated cover guy for being so physical. He is the perfect fit for this very good defense.
  • What he brings: 

    Benjamin's game is in the Alshon Jeffery mold with an elite size-and-strength combination. He flashes one of the bigger upsides in terms of downfield one-on-one matchups. However, he comes with some risk. Benjamin must develop as a route runner and displays some inconsistencies catching the football. He is by far one of the bigger boom/bust prospects in this draft.

    How he fits: 

    This was a glaring need for an offense that is devoid of playmakers in the passing game. Benjamin is a giant wide receiver who will attack the seams -- something the Panthers have not had -- but he's inconsistent. Carolina's passing game is fairly simple without a lot of sight adjustments, and that allows the receivers to run fairly simple routes. Benjamin should be a good jump-ball target and red zone option for QB Cam Newton.
  • What he brings: 

    Easley is a risky pick, considering he tore his right ACL and medial meniscus last year, tore his left ACL in 2011 and missed time in 2012. Concerns about his ability to stay healthy caused Scouts Inc. to drop him into the late-second, early third-round range, but we had a first-round grade on him before the most recent knee injury. He's an explosive three-technique with the initial quickness and violent hands to disrupt running plays in the backfield and force quarterbacks off the spot when he's healthy. He also has an outstanding motor and maximizes his natural ability.

    How he fits: 

    Both starting DTs, Vince Wilfork and Tommie Kelly, are coming off significant injuries and both are aging, so the Patriots needed to get younger at the position and add insurance. Easley is an explosive one-gap penetrator who can play DE or DT. However, he's had knee problems in the past, so he might be a bit of a risk at a position for which New England doesn't need a "mistake" pick.
  • What he brings: 

    Ward is undersized but brings solid versatility to hold up in center field and drop down in the slot to play man coverage. He also shows above-average instincts and ball skills in coverage. In addition, he makes a quick diagnosis and is consistent in run support.

    How he fits: 

    After losing Donte Whitner to free agency, San Francisco has bolstered the depth at safety with the signing of Antoine Bethea from Indianapolis and taking Ward in the first round. With Bethea filling the strong safety role and 2013 first-round pick Eric Reid at free safety, Ward's versatility and ability to hold up in man coverage and defending the run will be appealing as a slot defender in defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's heavy Cover 2 scheme.
  • What he brings: 

    Roby is a boom-or-bust prospect who hasn't stayed disciplined on or off the field and needs to mature if he's to reach his considerable potential. However, he's arguably the most talented corner in this class, so the risk could very well be worth the reward. He's a quick-twitched athlete with an above-average combination of suddenness, fluidity and straight-line speed. He has massive hands (10 1/4 inches) and the leaping ability and body control to play the ball, as well.

    How he fits: 

    Denver signed Aqib Talib away from New England, but Champ Bailey and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have both signed elsewhere. Tony Carter is more of sub-package corner who contributes on special teams than a starter, and Chris Harris partially tore an ACL in the Broncos' playoff win over San Diego. As a result, the Broncos needed a corner capable of pushing for the starting job opposite Talib, and Roby is a perfect fit for defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio's scheme. He has the fluidity, burst, top-end speed and confidence to blanket receivers one-on-one, as well as the awareness and tackling ability to hold when Del Rio goes zone.
  • What he brings: 

    A poor performance at his pro day, concerns about his lean frame as it relates to his ability to handle NFL punishment and average arm strength are legitimate concerns that caused Bridgewater's stock to drop substantially. There is a lot to like about his tape, though, and he could prove to be a steal with that in mind. He reads coverage, anticipates well and shows excellent footwork in the pocket. His ability to handle and beat pressure also stands out.

    How he fits: 

    2011 first-round pick Christian Ponder hasn't panned out, and the Vikings declined his fifth-year option. The short-lived Josh Freeman experiment didn't work out either, and he's signed with the Giants. Matt Cassell is an adequate stopgap, but he isn't the long-term answer. As well as general manager Rick Spielman has drafted overall, it's a quarterback-driven league, and the bottom line is he missed on Ponder. Bridgewater's average arm strength is a concern when it comes playing in the NFC North, but he was the top-ranked quarterback on our board at one point and he's a cerebral quarterback capable of mastering offensive coordinator Norv Turner's offense. There's also a lot to like about Spielman's aggressiveness trading up into the first round to ensure that Houston didn't take Bridgewater with the 33rd overall pick.