National Football League

NFL Draft: Pick-by-Pick Analysis

By Brandon Lawrence

New York, NY ( - As selections are made, we'll provide pick- by-pick analysis for the entire first round as it plays out Thursday night in New York.

1. Houston Texans - Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina)

Analysis: Shocking, right? Clowney is the best talent in the draft and immediately provides the Texans with a formidable pass rush. Having Clowney line up opposite J.J. Watt on the end of the defensive line is a terrifying thought for opponents, especially AFC South competition. The Texans have to keep pace with the Colts and Andrew Luck in the division, so adding Clowney to be a disrupter makes plenty of sense. We'll see if Houston decides to try and use him as a pass-rushing linebacker from time to time.

2. St. Louis Rams - Greg Robinson (OT, Auburn)

Analysis: The Rams desperately needed some help on the offensive line, and they immediately upgrade with Robinson, who will likely slide in at one of the tackle positions right away. Sam Bradford hasn't been able to stay consistent in his time with St. Louis, and part of that is because he gets knocked down and is rushed frequently.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Blake Bortles (QB, UCF)

Analysis: Here's the first surprise at No. 3. Teams had Bortles rated all over the draft board, but apparently Jacksonville thought highly of the former UCF signal caller to grab him over Sammy Watkins and Khalil Mack. The Jaguars look like they've found their franchise QB moving forward.

4. Buffalo Bills - Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson)

Analysis: The Bills move up to get their guy. Watkins will be an incredible talent for the Bills, although there may be some questions with E.J. Manuel throwing him the football. Either way, Watkins will be an immediate weapon at the NFL level and can give the typically underwhelming Buffalo offense a shot of adrenaline.

5. Oakland Raiders - Khalil Mack (LB, Buffalo)

Analysis: This is a perfect example of drafting talent over need (granted the Raiders don't have much that is solid on their roster). Mack was by far the best available player, and Oakland could use a player that will be a game changer on the defensive side of the ball. The Raiders made a step in the right direction by not reaching for a quarterback or Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans, who they liked a lot coming into tonight. Mack is the best option, and Oakland should be thrilled he wound up at the fifth pick.

6. Atlanta Falcons - Jake Matthews (OT, Texas A&M)

Analysis: A very safe, very smart pick by the Falcons, who should be glad they didn't roll the dice on a wide receiver. Matt Ryan was knocked down and sacked too many times last season, so Matthews is a fantastic insurance pick. It helps he comes from a football family (he's the seventh player in the Matthews family to play in the NFL). Atlanta will be able to slide him right into the starting lineup on day one.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M)

Analysis: The Bucs could have gone a number of different directions with this pick, but ultimately they select Evans, who will line up across from Vincent Jackson on the outside of the offense in Tampa Bay. With Josh McCown under center this upcoming season, it was important for the Bucs to snag another top-notch wide receiver. They can always address the quarterback position later in the draft with a handful of potential long-term solutions hopefully still available.

05/08 21:03:03 ET