Houston, at No. 1, isn’t set on Jadeveon Clowney. In fact, one FORS (Friend of Rick Smith) told me the Texans general manager likes Khalil Mack over Clowney, and we still don’t know which quarterback Houston would choose if it chooses one first overall. I still think the Texans would go with a more sure thing with the first overall pick than a quarterback—and that sure thing could also be tackle Greg Robinson. But imagine Mack, the outside linebacker from the University of Buffalo, being the first pick in a stacked draft. Wouldn’t that be something—a second straight Mid-American Conference player (Eric Fisher, Central Michigan, by Kansas City) as the top pick in the NFL draft?
Jacksonville is the most logical spot for the loser of the No. 1 pick derby between Clowney and Mack. GM David Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley want a pass-rusher, badly.
Detroit taking a tight end? I doubt it, but North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, the clear top player at the position in this year’s draft, was asked by one team he visited recently who he thought would pick him. “Detroit,’’ he said.
Arizona is sweet on a couple of quarterbacks, Derek Carr and A.J. McCarron, who are first- and second-round possibilities. With coach Bruce Arians’ love of the deep ball, McCarron in round two seems a bit of a reach. I will say this about McCarron: He doesn’t have a great deep arm by any standard, but he’s an accurate deep-ball thrower when he does air it out.
Pittsburgh likes Odell Beckham and Brandin Cooks at wide receiver, and one or both should be there at No. 15 if that’s the direction the Steelers go—and they need to replenish the position after losing two receivers in free agency in two years. (I’d go corner if I were GM Kevin Colbert.)
Tampa Bay is partial to, among others, Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans at No. 7. I’ve watched a lot of Johnny Manziel tape recently, and I’ll say this about Evans: supremely talented, extremely hot-headed. He’d better cure his immaturity on the field, and fast.
Hot guys right now: Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier, Notre Dame tackle/guard Zack Martin, Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence. Cold guys right now: Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandjio.
If Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan gets past Detroit (picking 10th in the first round), the Giants (12th) and the Steelers (15th), I doubt sincerely Baltimore would pass on him.
Oakland? Clueless there. Sorry, Black Hole people. The Raiders seem like a logical place for Johnny Manziel, but Oakland hasn’t exactly been the bastion of quarterback wisdom in this century. (See Stat of the Week.)