Carolina Panthers

NFL draft: How the first-round picks fit with their new teams

The Observer’s Jonathan Jones analyzes how the players taken in the first round of Thursday’s NFL draft fit with their new team:

No. Team Pick, with analysis
1. Houston Texans Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: The former Rock Hill South Pointe star is the best player in this year’s draft class.
2. St. Louis Rams Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn: Robinson is one of the most athletic tackles to come out of college in recent years.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida: The biggest early surprise of the draft, Bortles is a big body that will take time to develop.
4. Buffalo Bills-a Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: Watkins will be an immediate play-making receiver across from Stevie Johnson.
5. Oakland Raiders Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: Mack will be one of the Raiders’ top defenders in a offense-heavy AFC West.
6. Atlanta Falcons Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: Matthews is the most polished tackle in the class, and Atlanta desperately needed offensive line help.
7. Tampa Bay Bucs Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: The big receiver mauls defensive backs and plays incredibly outside the numbers.
8. Cleveland Browns-b Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State: The top cornerback in the draft, Gilbert will line up opposite Joe Hayden to help the Browns defense.
9. Minnesota Vikings-c Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA: The Vikings were in need of some outside linebacking help, and Barr has a great burst of speed as a former running back.
10. Detroit Lions Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: Ebron has to stop dropping so many passes but the Lions have a monster pass-catching group with Calvin Johnson.
11. Tennessee Titans Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: The Titans pick up a tackle that plays with an edge to protect whomever their quarterback will be.
12. New York Giants Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU: Remarkably athletic receiver who has trustworthy hands, Beckham will take Hakeem Nicks’ catches from last season.
13. St. Louis Rams Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: The Rams now put the best defensive tackle of the class between Chris Long and Robert Quinn.
14. Chicago Bears Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: A slight 6-foot corner with a 38.5-inch vertical, Fuller takes Charles Tillman’s spot in the defensive backfield.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State: Shazier possesses great initial speed and can cover plenty of ground for the Steelers.
16. Dallas Cowboys Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame: Martin, the last of the top-tier tackles, could slide inside to guard in his first season.
17. Baltimore Ravens C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama: Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome likes his Alabama guys, and he gets the best inside linebacker at No. 17.
18. New York Jets Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville: A hard-hitting safety, Pryor should shine under Rex Ryan in New York.
19. Miami Dolphins JuWuan James, OT, Tennessee: The Dolphins need some line help after the bullying scandal, but James here may be a reach.
20. New Orleans Saints-d Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State: Cooks is the fastest receiver in the draft, and he’ll be an incredible weapon with Drew Brees and Sean Payton.
21. Green Bay Packers Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama: The rangy Alabama safety fell a bit, but the Packers desperately needed a safety.
22. Cleveland Browns-e Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: Manziel was the most electrifying quarterback in college the past two seasons, and the Browns finally have a quarterback.
23. Kansas City Chiefs Dee Ford, DE, Auburn: Kansas City’s greatest need was receiver, but Andy Reid and the Chiefs went after a blue goose pass rusher.
24. Cincinnati Bengals Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State: Dennard had 10 career interceptions as a physical corner.
25. San Diego Chargers Jason Verrett, CB, TCU: Despite needs up front along the defensive line, the Chargers took the best available corner in Verrett.
26. Philadelphia Eagles-b-f Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville: The American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Smith had 14.5 sacks and should work well with the Eagles.
27. Arizona Cardinals-g Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State: The Cardinals solidify their strong defensive backfield with a solid safety in Bucannon.
28. Carolina Panthers Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State: Benjamin offers Cam Newton a big target so long as he gets better with his hands and works on his routes.
29. New England Patriots Dominique Easley, DE, Florida: If not for his two ACL injuries in his college career, Easley would have been a top-10 pick this year.
30. San Francisco 49ers Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois: The 49ers needed help in the defensive backfield and got one of the best safeties in the draft.
31. Denver Broncos Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State: The Broncos hope Roby can be the next Champ Bailey.
32. Minnesota Vikings-h Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: The Vikings get their quarterback by sneaking into the first round and getting the ability to use a fifth-year option on Bridgewater.

a-from Cleveland; b-from Minnesota; c-from Cleveland via Buffalo; d-from Arizona; e-from Philadelphia; f-from Cleveland; g-from New Orleans; h-from Seattle