Remember, I am only doing four picks at a time to give each pick more explanation. In addition, your opinion is welcome, please share in the comments section.
With the fifth overall pick the Raiders select
Derek Carr, QB out of Fresno State
The only reason people have doubts about Carr is his last name. His brother, also from Fresno State, was an NFL Bust for the Texans, and many are worried Derek is prone to follow in his brothers footsteps. He is not his brother though, as evident by watching him play. Carr has proven in his time at Fresno that he can remain poised in the face of pressure. Carr showed a remarkable ability to make pre-snap reads. With a strong arm, and a quick release, he has very few flaws to his game.
The only noticeable flaw is his footwork. He has a tendency to not set his feet on some throws, but footwork is coachable and shouldn’t be a big problem. The Raiders managed to fix Terrell Pryor’s footwork, they can fix Carr’s as well.
He is athletic, smart, accurate, and strong. He is the exact type of player coaches want on their team. He needs some polishing, but family history aside he looks like he is going to be a great NFL QB.
With the Sixth Overall Pick the St Louis Rams select
Jake Matthews, OT out of Texas A&M
This pick could go one of two ways. The Rams are in position to take one of two players here, that will fit on of their biggest needs. They could take Jake Matthews here, and grab a WR like Mike Evans with their second pick. They could also take the chance that one of either Matthews or Greg Robinson fall to their second pick at 13, and take Sammy Watkins here. It seems more likely Evans will fall to them than Robinson or Matthews, so I see them going offensive line before they go wide receiver.
Matthews not only fills a need, but he is one of the most pro ready players in the draft and should be a force on the line for years to come. There is also a connection between him and current Rams head coach Jeff Fischer. Fischer coached Jake’s dad, OG Bruce Matthews, for 10 years as coach of the Titans. The Rams can’t go wrong with either of these picks. Whether it is Watkins or Matthews here, they are getting one of the best, and safest picks, out of this draft.
With the seventh pick, the Buccaneers select
Khalil Mack, OLB out of Buffalo
New head coach, Lovie Smith, loves his linebackers. Smith built his touted Bears defenses around playmaking linebackers who can do it all. Mack is that type of linebacker, he can do it all. He excels at all aspects of being a linebacker. He is a quality edge-rusher, with both power and speed to come off blocks. Those same attributes help him be effective against the run as well. He has good instincts while playing the run, and quickly reads who has the ball to close in.
He isn’t perfect though, and does still have some improving to do. While his athleticism allows him to be good in cover, his instincts here aren’t allows the best. He doesn’t anticipate the receivers action as well as you would hope. Still, he can be a great cover linebacker if coached up.
Mack would be a key cog to the Bucs defense for a while if selected. He is versatile and has a relentless motor. Mack could be a force in the NFL if he can fix his few flaws.
*Trade* Rams flip what they got to trade down earlier to move back up, and they select
Sammy Watkins, WR out of Clemson
Rams have been very busy so far. Rams will not pass up a chance to move up to take Sammy Watkins. If the Rams can leave the first round with the two top players on their board, they would be ecstatic. They would be filling their biggest needs with the best at each position, and would finally give QB Sam Bradford a chance to succeed.
Vikings have a few holes to fill, and can use the extra picks. They can move down to 13 and still potentially get something they need. They would have stayed put if one of the top QB’s were available, but with all four off the board they are better served trading down to stock up on picks.
Watkins is an absolute beast of a receiver. He is as fast as any receiver with decent size to boot. Watkins best attribute is probably his acceleration. He has shown the ability to reach his top speed very quickly, resulting in many big plays while at Clemson.
Not only does he have the attributes of a great receiver though, but the skill. He has above average hands, and runs a clean route. He snatches the ball out of the air quickly, and has smooth moves to lose pursuing defenders.
He has a lean figure, and would benefit by bulking up a little, even at a slight loss of speed. He wont break many tackles after contact is imitated, but hitting him is the hard part. He has one drug related arrest on his record, but not many character concerns besides that. Sometimes drops balls if he hears footsteps, but not often enough for it to be concern.
If Rams can snag both Watkins and Matthews they will surely walk away from day 1 as the consensus winners.