Slowly but surely, the 2014 NFL Draft picture is coming into focus.
Potential trades are revealing themselves, the Texans are narrowing down their options on the No. 1 pick and there is some semblance of structure to the first few picks in the draft.
That being said, there is still plenty to learn about this draft. From top to bottom, no pick is set in stone, even if more clarity seems to be emerging throughout the process. The NFL Scouting Combine was a big piece of the puzzle. Free agency is the next piece. After that, it will be time for smoke screens.
For now, here's our best guess at the 2014 NFL Draft with a few trades thrown in to keep things interesting.
At this point, the Texans appear to be leaning toward taking a quarterback with the No. 1 pick. Blake Bortles appears to be the front-runner to be the top pick in the draft. He may not be the most pro-ready quarterback, but given his size, athleticism and arm strength, he may have more developmental upside than the rest of the group.
Bortles also helped himself at the NFL Scouting Combine. He was the only one of the top three quarterbacks who decided to throw in Indianapolis, and he performed well. Houston has four realistic options at No. 1.: Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney. Right now, Bortles and Clowney are where I lean with this pick.
*The Falcons trade pick six and 37 to the Rams for pick No. 2
This trade really makes too much sense. Les Snead used to work under Thomas Dimitroff in Atlanta, so the two certainly have a working relationship. Atlanta gets the best rusher in the draft, filling a huge hole on defense.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
The Jaguars desperately need a quarterback. That's not much of a secret at this point. Some have questions about Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, but he's still our unquestioned top quarterback. It's going to stay that way between now and May. His frame and arm strength have both been picked apart, but he's skilled at moving in the pocket and making accurate throws with anticipation. Jacksonville shouldn't overthink this pick.
The Browns have been linked to Derek Carr recently, but No. 4 is a bit early for the Fresno State quarterback to come off the board. Sammy Watkins would be an interesting fit in Cleveland. Outside of quarterback, the team doesn't have a ton of needs. Another playmaker across from Josh Gordon could make a big difference for whoever is playing quarterback in 2014, though.
5. Oakland Raiders - Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
The Raiders aren't in a great position at No. 5, unless the draft board falls like this. They are likely hoping one of the three quarterbacks falls to them at No. 5. Otherwise, they could be in a tough spot. Here, Johnny Manziel is on the board, and Oakland pulls the trigger. It's about time the Raiders find a reliable quarterback. Manziel likely secured his spot in the top 10 after impressing teams in Indianapolis.
6. TRADE St. Louis Rams - Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
St. Louis really holds all the cards in the top part of the first round. If Snead manages to pull off a trade, he'll have an easier time maximizing value with this pick. Greg Robinson is still available here and makes a lot of sense. He can jump in and play right tackle right away and be a dominant run blocker early on.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Mike Evans is an interesting fit for the Buccaneers. He's a similar player to Vincent Jackson, but big wide receivers are becoming harder and harder to find. Having a pair of players who can win at the catch point would help Mike Glennon quite a bit in year two. After running well in Indianapolis, Evans looks like a top-10 pick.
8. Minnesota Vikings - Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Yes, we have repeatedly said Derek Carr is not a first-round quarterback. But that doesn't mean someone won't take a chance on him a bit too early. He had an impressive showing at the combine in interview sessions, and you shouldn't be surprised if a team falls in love with him between now and May. If Carr cleans up his footwork in the pocket and internal clock, he has the makings of a quality starter in the NFL. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman acknowledged his team's need at quarterback, so Minnesota could be a candidate to reach.
9. Buffalo Bills - Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Jake Matthews, like Bridgewater, has become a bit underappreciated because he's not a player with incredible physical tools. Even if he's not the first offensive tackle taken, there's a good chance Matthews will be the best offensive tackle to come out of this class. The Bills could use another tackle opposite Cordy Glenn.
10. Detroit Lions - Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Cornerback has been a big need in Detroit for a number of years, and no corner in this class helped himself more in Indianapolis than Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State. Not many corners with Gilbert's height can run the way he does. His footwork has improved a bit, and he's more fluid in the hips than he was in 2012. That could be just enough for him to edge Bradley Roby, Jason Verrett and Darqueze Dennard in a wide-open cornerback class.
11. Tennessee Titans - Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, Safety, Alabama
With the top two offensive tackles off the board, the Titans look to add some playmaking ability to the secondary. Alabama's Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix is one of the few safeties in this class capable of playing as well in center field as he does when asked to line up in the box. Tennessee's secondary could use such a player.
New York addressed the offensive line in the draft last offseason, and this draft is deep enough to wait until the second day to do so this time around. Instead, the Giants should look to add another weapon for Eli Manning. Eric Ebron is the most dynamic tight end in this class, and his speed and body control are excellent for his size. Maybe Ebron could inject some life into the Giants' offense.
13. St. Louis Rams - Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Cortland Finnegan hasn't lived up to expectations in St. Louis, so the Rams could look to add another cornerback early in the draft. Jason Verrett is our top-ranked corner. Size and his shoulder injury are the only two concerns.
Kony Ealy had a successful trip to Indianapolis for the combine, mostly due to his 6.83 time in the three-cone drill. He has the versatility the Bears seem to value in defensive players and could fit in nicely in the team's 4-3 scheme at end. Ealy wins with his quickness as a pass rusher, and his upside will be an obvious selling point during the pre-draft process.
So ends the slide of Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack. He's a dynamic athlete and a high-caliber prospect, but it was tough to find a fit for him earlier than this based on team needs. Mack could easily be a top-five pick in May, but for now the Steelers get another piece for their pass rush. It's tough to see Mack falling any farther than this.
16. Dallas Cowboys - Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
The Cowboys' struggles in the secondary were plainly obvious toward the end of the 2013 season. Multiple upgrades are needed, and Bradley Roby would be a nice place to start. He has the athletic upside to be a shutdown corner, but his floor is as a quality starter in the NFL.
Joe Flacco is now a $100 million man, but he still needs more weapons if he's going to live up to his contract. Odell Beckham Jr. helped himself by running really fast at the combine. He has a real chance to be drafted over Marqise Lee, and that's exactly what happens here.
*Panthers trade their first-, third- and fourth-round picks to the Jets for pick No. 18
Our second trade happens with the No. 18 pick. With Jordan Gross retiring, the Panthers suddenly have a need at offensive tackle. After Taylor Lewan, there is a significant drop-off in the talent at the position. Carolina could be a candidate to move up in the draft and take advantage of Lewan's small slide.
19. TRADE New Orleans Saints (via Miami Dolphins) - Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
*The Saints trade their first-, third- and fourth-round picks to the Dolphins for pick No. 19
Two trades in as many picks. The Saints need a pass rusher for their 3-4 defense. Anthony Barr is rough around the edges, but his physical talent is undeniable. If he falls into the late teens, someone will jump up to take him before he gets to the Cardinals, Packers or Eagles.
20. Arizona Cardinals - Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
With all of the top pass rushers and offensive tackles off the board, the Cardinals turn to the secondary, where they could use another option across from Patrick Peterson. Darqueze Dennard isn't quite the athlete some of the other corners in this class are, so he falls a bit. Arizona doesn't mind, finding another reliable cover man on the boundary.
Some are concerned about C.J. Mosley's injury history, but he still grades out as one of the best players in this draft class. Positional value pushes him down the board a bit, but the Packers are in desperate need of an inside linebacker to fix the run defense.
Chip Kelly wants the Eagles to get bigger and more physical on defense. Louisville safety Calvin Pryor would be a nice start. He's a bit too aggressive at times, but he's one of the hardest-hitting safeties in this class. He doesn't belong in the conversation with Clinton-Dix, but he is a likely first-round pick.
Yes, this makes four wide receivers drafted ahead of Marqise Lee. Oregon State's Brandin Cooks is another wide receiver who really helped himself at the combine. He's a dynamic receiver who makes up for his lack of size with incredible field awareness, blazing speed and stellar body control. Cooks would make a nice complement to Dwayne Bowe in Kansas City.
Ryan Shazier is more than just a workout warrior. While the Ohio State linebacker stole the show in Indianapolis, it's what he did on the field in 2013 that will get him drafted in the first round.
25. San Diego Chargers - Xavier Su'a-Filo, G, UCLA
Guard is still an area of concern for the Chargers' offensive line. Lucky for them, Xavier Su'a-Filo, the top guard in the draft, is still available at pick No. 25. This is a bit of a no-brainer.
26. Cleveland Browns - Zack Martin, G, Notre Dame
Cleveland is another team with a need on the interior of its offensive line. Zack Martin has the skill set to switch from tackle to guard, but his versatility will also be valued by teams at the end of the first round.
Even after trading down, the Dolphins are still able to address their biggest need, the offensive line. Antonio Richardson passes over Cyrus Kouandjio in this mock because of Kouandjio's failed physical at the combine. Until more information is known about Kouandjio's knee, Richardson might be the safer pick.
28. TRADE New York Jets - Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Some Jets fans may not like the idea of drafting Marqise Lee in the middle of the first round, but if New York is able to trade back and still land Lee, it will be getting excellent value. Injuries in 2013 hurt Lee's value, but he still has a chance to be a No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL.
29. New England Patriots - Louis Nix, NT, Notre Dame
Louis Nix is lighter, healthier and should be a first-round pick come May. The Patriots eventually need to find a replacement for Vince Wilfork. With this type of value presenting itself, New England would be wise to take Nix off the board.
30. San Francisco 49ers - Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Ra'Shede Hageman needs time to refine his technique and learn how to be a defensive lineman. In San Francisco, he wouldn't be rushed into action. The 49ers would add another insane talent to the defensive line and put him situations where he could succeed early.
A team can never have enough depth on the defensive line. Even after drafting Sylvester Williams in 2013, the Broncos can't pass up the value of Aaron Donald, who fits perfectly in the 4-3 defense.
One of the missing pieces in the Seahawks' offense is a playmaker at tight end. Somehow, Jace Amaro slides to the end of the first round, and all of a sudden, Russell Wilson has another great weapon to work with.
33. Houston Texans - Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Now that the Texans have their quarterback of the future, they need to make sure they protect him. Cyrus Kouandjio falls a bit due to his knee concerns, but Houston can't pass up the value at the top of the second round.
Stephon Tuitt has become my go-to pick for the Redskins. They need help along the defensive line, and this pick fits his value just about perfectly. Tuitt may not be the sensational prospect he looked like early in his career, but if he keeps his weight down, he could have a solid NFL career.
35. Cleveland Browns - Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
The Browns missed out on Derek Carr in the first round, so quarterback will likely be a priority on day two of the draft. Zach Mettenberger, still recovering from a torn ACL, has the size and arm strength to thrive in this offense when healthy.
36. Oakland Raiders - Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
Oakland could go a number of different directions in the early rounds. With so many needs to fill, going with value is the safest bet. Kelvin Benjamin falls to the second round due to concerns about his route running and hands. Pairing a physical receiver like Benjamin with a quarterback like Manziel would be perfect, though.
37. TRADE St. Louis Rams (via Atlanta Falcons) - Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
St. Louis once again reaps the benefits of trading down in the draft. With the second-round pick the Rams acquired from the Falcons, they pick up a big receiver to play alongside Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey.
38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
Dee Ford may not last this long on draft day, but if he does, the Buccaneers will likely run to the podium. Tampa's defense is developing into one of the better units in the league, but more pass rush help is definitely needed. Ford would be a nice fit.
39. Jacksonville Jaguars - Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
The Jaguars' most obvious need on defense is a pass rusher. But with Dee Ford coming off the board a pick before Jacksonville is on the clock, it might be smart to address another need. Kyle Van Noy would be a nice fit at SAM linebacker for the Jaguars.
40. Minnesota Vikings - Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
After finding a quarterback, addressing the defensive end position should be a priority in Minnesota. Scott Crichton isn't the most dynamic athlete on the edge, but he's advanced technically and could at least hold up in run support early on.
41. Buffalo Bills - Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
With Scott Chandler set to hit free agency and one of the best tight ends still available at No. 41, value meets need for the Bills. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, if healthy, is physically capable of producing from day one.
42. Tennessee Titans - Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
Chris Johnson's future with the Titans is up in the air, and Tennessee doesn't have a ton of depth behind him. Ka'Deem Carey is an explosive running back who can bring to the table a lot of what Johnson has for Tennessee.
43. New York Giants - Aaron Lynch, DE, South Florida
The Giants have long had one of the best groups of defensive ends in the NFL. In order to keep that going, it's time for New York to retool a bit. Aaron Lynch is a bit of a project, but the Giants could ease him into a starting role before long.
44. St. Louis Rams - Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
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With so many draft picks, the Rams are going to be able to add a ton of talent in the 2014 NFL Draft. Jimmie Ward, safety from Northern Illinois, would be just the type of rangy playmaker the Rams need on the back end. With the additions of Ward and Verrett, the Rams' secondary would be a force.
45. Detroit Lions - Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
Lions coach Jim Caldwell stressed finding a capable receiver to play across from Calvin Johnson. With receivers like Allen Robinson available in the second round, Detroit can wait until the second day of the draft to address wide receiver.
46. Pittsburgh Steelers - Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
With Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton, the Steelers have plenty of speed at wide receiver. Finding a bigger target for Ben Roethlisberger would help this offense a ton. Brandon Coleman is raw, but he never had a chance to show what he could do at Rutgers with a revolving door of mediocrity at quarterback.
47. Baltimore Ravens - Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss
Baltimore needs to find another weapon for Joe Flacco, who struggled last season without Anquan Boldin. Donte Moncrief is an interesting option. He's not overly fast, but he does know how to use his body to shield off defenders and make plays in traffic.
48. Dallas Cowboys - Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
Timmy Jernigan is just the type of gap-shooting defensive tackle the Cowboys need in their four-man front. He's a steal at this spot.
49. New York Jets - Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
If the Jets want Geno Smith to succeed, adding multiple weapons on offense would be a nice place to start. A tight end like Troy Niklas could make a huge difference for Smith.
50. Miami Dolphins - Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State
Using one draft pick on the offensive line isn't enough for the Miami Dolphins. If they want to protect the investment they made in Ryan Tannehill, it's time to take the offensive line issue seriously.
51. Chicago Bears - Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Cornerback is one of the biggest needs for Chicago this offseason. If not for injuries, Kyle Fuller would be a first-round pick, so he's a nice value at this spot.
52. Arizona Cardinals - Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
You can count on Logan Thomas being over-drafted in May. He's a strong-armed quarterback with the size and athleticism to develop into a difference-maker at the position. He's not perfect, but if Thomas is given time to sit behind an established starter for a bit, he has a chance to become a starter.
53. Green Bay Packers - Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
If Green Bay misses out on the top two safeties in the first round, adding one in the second is imperative. In this scenario, the hard-hitting Bucannon is the best safety on the board. This is slightly early for him, but he would add physicality to the defense.
54. Philadelphia Eagles - Jeremiah Attaochu, LB, Georgia Tech
Jeremiah Attaochu is at his best when getting after the quarterback, an area the Eagles have struggled with recently. Between Pryor in round one and Attaochu in round two, the Eagles would add two playmakers to a defense that needs as much talent as it can get.
55. Cincinnati Bengals - Dominique Easley, DT, Florida
The Bengals can afford a value pick like this. Dominique Easley should be drafted much higher than this, but his list of knee injuries is growing. Who better for Easley to sit behind than Geno Atkins?
56. San Francisco 49ers - Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
The 49ers have more picks in the 2014 NFL Draft than they have roster spots for those picks. So a player like Aaron Colvin, who may not play in 2014, is a bit more attractive to the 49ers.
57. San Diego Chargers - Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
The Chargers will likely be retooling their entire secondary this offseason. Pierre Desir could rise higher than this by draft weekend, but San Diego wouldn't mind getting a player of his caliber at No. 57.
58. New Orleans Saints - Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
Jarvis Landry falling to the second round is a product of the depth in this wide receiver class. The Saints' offense is very dependent on Jimmy Graham. Adding more talent at wide receiver would be a good idea.
The Colts' secondary is already in need of talent, but if Vontae Davis leaves in free agency, filling that need will become even more important. Andre Hal is far from a finished product, but his physicality and speed make him an attractive option at the end of round two.
60. Carolina Panthers - Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
Getting Cam Newton some help at wide receiver is important for Carolina this offseason. Davante Adams is impressive at the catch point and skilled at bringing down 50-50 balls. He would work well across from Steve Smith and have the potential to develop into a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver.
61. San Francisco 49ers - Cyril Richardson, G, Baylor
The pre-draft process hasn't been kind to Cyril Richardson, but San Francisco would be a nice place for him to come in and learn behind a talented group of offensive linemen. Richardson could be a nice fit here.
62. New England Patriots - David Yankey, G, Stanford
Smart, versatile players like David Yankey are exactly what Bill Belichick looks for on the offensive line. Yankey happens to fill a need as well.
63. Denver Broncos - Christian Jones, LB, Florida State
Christian Jones has the skill set to play all over the front seven. He may be able to play weakside linebacker for the Broncos early in his career without adding any weight.
64. Seattle Seahawks - Ja'Wuan James, OT, Tennessee
The Seahawks had a few issues along the offensive line in 2013. They could use a new right tackle and some help on the interior. Ja'Wuan James makes a lot of sense at the end of round two.