It's Football Christmas...draft day...and I'm still holding out hope that we somehow land Mike Evans.
Here is my rationale:
GM's in general agree that there are 4 pieces to your football team that go before anything else.
If you don't have a franchise quarterback, and the opportunity to draft a potentially elite quarterback arises, you draft that quarterback.
If you don't have a franchise pass rusher, and the opportunity to draft a potentially elite pass rusher arises, you draft that pass rusher.
If you don't have a franchise left tackle, and the opportunity to draft a potentially elite left tackle arises, you draft that left tackle.
If you don't have a franchise cover corner, and the opportunity to draft a potentially elite cover corner arises, you draft that cover corner.
Some may argue about the precise order of those four (although most universally agree that QB is the most important, some may feel CB goes before LT, others may feel that LT goes before pass rusher, etc.), but those four come before any combination of wideouts, tight ends, running backs, inside linebackers, safeties, etc., all things being equal, of course.
Plus, you have to consider that this is considered to be the deepest WR draft class...possibly ever. Even if you have a big need at wide receiver, why pick a wideout in the top 14 when you can pick a potentially elite quarterback, pass rusher, left tackle, or cover corner, and then still be able to get a top-notch wideout tomorrow?
By my count, there are potentially a dozen guys in this draft who could meet the above criteria. Sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder...not everyone has the same rankings on these guys...but I think it's possible that multiple teams ahead of us could consider Manziel and Bortles to have potentially elite quarterback potential, Clowney, Mack, Donald, and Barr to have potentially elite pass rushing potential (yes, Aaron Donald has enough pass rush prowess as a DT to join the DE's and OLB's), Robinson, Matthews, Lewan, and Martin to have potentially elite left tackle potential (yes, Zack Martin has joined the party with the other 3; I've seen too many respected talent evaluators rave about the kid), and Gilbert and Dennard to have potentially elite cover corner potential. If teams have Evans graded similarly to these 12 guys, then there is a reasonably likelihood that those teams would pick one of the 12 guys at those more valued positions with their prime pick, and then still get a very good wideout in rounds 2 or 3 tomorrow.
Well, that's 12 guys and we have 14 teams picking ahead of us...couldn't one of those other two teams take Evans? Sure they could. Actually, they probably will, but I'm still holding out hope that they won't. I predict that those 12 guys are off the board in the first 13 picks (with the other pick being WR Sammy Watkins...I figure he goes to Cleveland because they already have a franchise LT in Joe Thomas, already have a franchise cover corner in Joe Haden, and drafted a pass rusher with an early 1st round pick last year in Barkevious Mingo; They do not have a franchise QB, but they seem to think that they can get one with their pick in the late first instead...hard to argue with that logical since it worked out so well for them with Brady Quinn and Brandon Weeden. They are the Browns, after all). Then after those dozen plus Watkins are gone, that leaves Chicago the only team ahead of us. They already have two huge WR's in Marshall and Jeffery, so getting a third is not exactly prior #1 for them. On the other hand, safety has been a weakness for them for some time, and they can get the top rated safety in the entire draft at #14, which is important, because this is a top-heavy safety crop with little depth for later (unlike WR, for instance, which is extraordinarily deep).
Here is my rundown (and if you were able to follow that rambling rationale leading up to this point, you have my respect):
1. HOU Clowney, DE
2. STL Robinson, OT
3. JAX Mack, OLB
4. CLE Watkins, WR
5. OAK Donald, DT
6. ATL Matthews, OT
7. TB Manziel, QB
8. MIN Bortles, QB
9. BUF Martin, OT
10. DET Dennard, CB
11. TEN Barr, OLB
12. NYG Lewan, OT
13. STL Gilbert, CB
14. CHI Clinton-Dix, FS
15. PIT Evans, WR
16. DAL Pryor, FS
17. BAL Beckham, WR
18. NYJ Ebron, TE
19. MIA Mosley, LB
20. ARZ Carr, QB
21. GB Shazier, LB
22. PHI Cooks, WR
23. KC Lee, WR
24. CIN Bridgewater, QB
25. SD Fuller, CB
26. CLE Roby, CB
27. NO Verrett, CB
28. CAR Benjamin, WR
29. NE Hageman, DT
30. SF Latimer, WR
31. DEN Ealy, DE
32. SEA Su'a-Filo, OG
And now the rest of the picks for us...
1.15 WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
2.46 NT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame
3.97c CB Philip Gaines, Rice
4.118 ILB Shayne Skov, Stanford
5.157 RB Jerrick McKinnon, Georgia Southern
5.173c DE Brent Urban, Virginia
6.192 OLB/TE Larry Webster, Bloomsburg
6.215c OT James Hurst, North Carolina
7.230 OG John Urschel, Penn State