The big issues of the 2014 draft that we began discussing months ago remain big issues in the hours before the opening pick.

Two extra weeks of preparation time have done little to clear up questions.

Does potential outweigh risk with the immensely talented Jadeveon Clowney to the point that he should be the first overall selection? Will teams act on their stated desires to trade up and down? Is Johnny Manziel a slam dunk or a long range prayer? How many quarterbacks -- if any -- will be taken high? Is there a definitive order for the offensive tackles? How about the cornerbacks?

A round of phone calls to NFL teams this week led to the conclusion that many of the questions won't be answered until the cards are turned in and Roger Goodell makes his way to the podium at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday night.

Starting with the first pick belonging to the Texans, intrigue remains.

And sometimes the closer we get to something, the blurrier it becomes. In the case of the draft, not everyone is sure what their eyes are telling them as the draft draws nearer.

Colleagues Mike Tanier and Russ Lande checked in with their final position-by-position analysis on Wednesday, and here is one last attempt at finding first-round focus.

 
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Houston Texans

1

Khalil Mack
LB Buffalo

A trade down still would be the ideal scenario, as the Texans like their options better with a lower pick. But if the Texans have to take a player here, they are likely to choose between Mack and Jadeveon Clowney. Many believe Clowney is the most attractive player in the draft based on his enormous potential. But Mack has two selling points for the Texans: He is a better fit for their 3-4 defensive front, and he is safer. What stands out when comparing the players is that last season Mack was much more productive and better at making big plays. Here is the other interesting factor that isn't getting much play with the Texans: Many believe owner Bob McNair wants to take a quarterback with this pick.

 
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St. Louis Rams

2

Jake Matthews
Texas A&M OT

Almost everyone has them penciled in taking Greg Robinson, which makes sense. But late intel says the Rams prefer Matthews because they believe he is more NFL-ready and the Rams feel pressure to win quickly. There also has been a recent buzz that says they could be tempted by Johnny Manziel. But the Rams can't be playing games with the second pick of the draft when they already have a quarterback they have professed their confidence in. General manager Les Snead would like to move down here. If he can swing a trade, he probably is not going to get a lopsided compensation package like he did in the RGIII deal.

 
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Jacksonville Jaguars

3

Jadeveon Clowney
South Carolina DE

It would be tough for the Jaguars to pass him here. They need pass rush, and Clowney can bring the heat like few players. If Clowney goes first, the Jaguars can take Mack. Their other option -- and some believe it's a strong one -- is taking wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Given the fact that Justin Blackmon might not play this year, wide receiver has become a more pressing need for the Jags. They can find a wide receiver in subsequent rounds, however. The beauty of being in Dave Caldwell's seat is the Jags GM can take almost any player and fill a need. 

 
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Cleveland Browns

4

Greg Robinson
Auburn OT

Team owner Jimmy Haslam is said to be enamored with Johnny Manziel, and no one would be surprised if Haslam influenced this pick. The Browns do need to address the quarterback position. The question is do they address it with the fourth pick, later in the first or high in the second round? The bet is they wait. The top offensive tackle on the board might be the most sound pick for the Browns, and word is they strongly are considering Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews. Sammy Watkins is an outside possibility. And one more point to consider: I've heard head coach Mike Pettine really likes Khalil Mack.

 
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Oakland Raiders

5

Sammy Watkins Clemson WR

It does not appear the Raiders are in the quarterback market at this stage of the draft. What the Raiders would like to do most is deal down, based on what they have told other teams. In the absence of a trade, it will be tough for the Raiders to pass the best wide receiver in the draft. If Watkins is gone, however, general manager Reggie McKenzie could have a surprise in store. I'm hearing the next player they would take is Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, who they rank ahead of all the other offensive tackles. 

 
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Atlanta Falcons

6

Taylor Lewan 
Michigan OT

If Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson are taken, the choice comes down to Lewan or Zack Martin for the Falcons. The Falcons coaches worked with Martin in the Senior Bowl and loved him, but Lewan is the better athlete. There has been talk of the Falcons moving up, but it seems more likely they could move down, especially in this scenario. They could slide down a few spots and probably still get one of the top four OTs. The other thing the Falcons have a strong interest in is pass rush, so there is a chance they could make something happen with Khalil Mack or Jadeveon Clowney.

 
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

7

Aaron Donald
Pittsburgh DT

He is Lovie Smith's kind of guy. The Bucs already have Gerald McCoy at DT, but McCoy and Donald would make a dynamic combination. The Bucs could try to move down and take Donald. There also has been talk that they are trying to trade up to the No. 2 spot, probably to take either Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack. There have been rumors floating that the Bucs are interested in Johnny Manziel, but I'm not buying them. The Bucs will take a quarterback, probably in the second round. With their first round pick they need an immediate contributor they can count on. The other possibility for them is wide receiver Mike Evans.

 
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Minnesota Vikings

8

Anthony Barr
UCLA OLB

The buzz is that Mike Zimmer is pushing for Aaron Donald, who could be his new Geno Atkins. But what if Donald is gone? The Vikings are not likely to take a quarterback with this pick. Chances are very good they will go defense. Some see this as too high for Barr, but he is the best nickel pass rusher available, and he can help at strong-side linebacker on first and second down. Barr could help Zimmer reshape the Vikings defense. It's also possible the Vikings could go for a cornerback with this pick, either Justin Gilbert or Darqueze Dennard.

 
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Buffalo Bills

9

Mike Evans
Texas A&M WR

They also are believed to be high on Sammy Watkins. The Bills might have to move up to get the wide receiver of their choice. For some time now, they have been talking trade with teams picking ahead of them, including the Texans at No. 1. If a trade up is not possible and both receivers are taken, the Bills are likely to settle on an offensive tackle. If Zack Martin is what they are left with, they will probably take him. But they might prefer Taylor Lewan should he still be hanging around. A quarterback is not believed to be an option for the Bills with the ninth pick.

 
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Detroit Lions

10

Justin Gilbert
Oklahoma State CB

This team is another candidate to move up, but the Lions can fill perhaps their most pressing need and land the top cornerback in the draft by staying put. The Lions have been linked to Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans, though neither is a player they need, given the presence of Calvin Johnson and the recently acquired Golden Tate. They could use a safety, though this may be too high for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor. If they don't choose a corner, the player who they are most likely to go for is tight end Eric Ebron.

 
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Tennessee Titans

11

Blake Bortles
UCF QB

This is a good spot for Bortles because he wouldn't have to play right away with Jake Locker already in place. Bortles certainly has the talent to justify the 11th pick. New Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt was the offensive coordinator for the Steelers when they won a Super Bowl with Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterback with whom Bortles most frequently is compared. If Whisenhunt could get Bortles to produce like Roethlisberger, this selection would be genius. Other possibilities for the Titans include Anthony Barr, if he still is available, or one of the cornerbacks (Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard or Kyle Fuller).

 
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New York Giants

12

Zack Martin
Notre Dame OT

The Giants like to go big in the early rounds, and Martin is their kind of player. He can help the offensive line rebuilding process more than most because he has positional versatility. The other player I'm hearing they are very high on is linebacker C.J. Mosley. Two others who can't be discounted for the Giants, given their depth chart, are tight end Eric Ebron and defensive tackle Aaron Donald. It is not likely Donald will fall this far, however. There are too many rumors about too many teams having a strong interest in him.

 
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St. Louis Rams

13

Johnny Manziel
Texas A&M QB

The Rams might deal this pick to a team wanting to move up, but they clearly are intrigued with Manziel and could justify taking him at this point. They have spent a lot of time investigating him. In the short term, Manziel could be a package player and No. 2 unless Sam Bradford falters or gets hurt. Another possibility with this pick is Louisville safety Calvin Pryor. He would fill a need on the Rams defense. The Rams also are said to be high on Aaron Donald, who is not likely to be around at this point.

 
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Chicago Bears

14

C.J. Mosley
Alabama LB

He is one of the most underrated players in the draft, and could be the successor to Lance Briggs or Brian Urlacher. The Bears need to take the best available defensive player. The ideal pick would be Donald, but there is virtually no way he is available at 14. Mosley is every bit the player Donald is. The difference in his draft stock is there are questions about his ability to stay healthy. If the Bears' doctors don't sign off on Mosley or if Mosely is off the board, they could go for Kyle Fuller. Others in the mix are safeties Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor.

 
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Pittsburgh Steelers

15

Kyle Fuller
Virginia Tech CB

He is talented enough and highly regarded enough to go in the top 12 picks. Some evaluators believe Fuller can play safety as well as cornerback, and the Steelers could use him at either position. He is exactly what the Steelers need as a younger version of Ike Taylor. The Steelers are thin at wide receiver as well, and Odell Beckham could tempt them. But the word I'm hearing is they are prioritizing a corner. They also could take Darqueze Dennard if Fuller goes first and Dennard falls. 

 
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Dallas Cowboys

16

Odell Beckham
LSU WR

There is talk the Cowboys want to move up. But the object of their desires is not believed to be Johnny Manziel. They might want to move up because they fear Beckham won't be available at 16. The Cowboys like Beckham in part because they could use another receiving weapon to complement Dez Bryant, and in part because Bryant's contract is up after the 2014 season. Beckham would be a very good value at this point of the draft. If the Cowboys can't get the receiver of their choice, they also could go for a safety, either Ha Ha Clinton Dix or Calvin Pryor. 

 
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Baltimore Ravens

17

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Alabama S

General manager Ozzie Newsome would probably like to see C.J. Mosley or Odell Beckham fall to him, but in the event that neither player is available, Clinton-Dix is both a fit and a value at 17. There has been talk of Clinton-Dix going as high as the 10th pick, but it seems likely he will be pushed down a bit given his somewhat pedestrian offseason. With Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels, there would not appear to be much demand for another tight end, but the Ravens will not ignore a better player just to fill a hole. That makes tight end Eric Ebron a possibility in this scenario. A trade down is another possibility, as the Ravens always are on the lookout for more picks.

 
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New York Jets

18

Eric Ebron 
North Carolina TE

It is difficult to imagine Ebron lasting this long. In fact, it would not be surprising to see the Jets or another team trade up to get him in the early teens. The Jets could use a playmaker on offense to help Geno Smith or Michael Vick. A wide receiver would be of interest as well, and Odell Beckham or Brandin Cooks could be a target. The other position to keep an eye on here is cornerback. Given the way Rex Ryan likes to play defense, he never has too many good cover men.

 
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Miami Dolphins

19

Darqueze Dennard
Michigan State CB

Cornerback is not the most pressing need for the Dolphins, but Dennard might be the best available when they pick. What the Dolphins need most is an offensive lineman. There have been rumblings they could try to move up to get Zack Martin, and the possibility cannot be dismissed. They also could go for an OT such as Cyrus Kouandjio, Morgan Moses or Ja'Wuan James, but each might be considered a reach at 19. It's not like they couldn't use Dennard, who some rate as the best cornerback in the draft. He could slip a little, however, because there is no consensus on the corners and Dennard has an injury history that concerns some teams. 

 
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Arizona Cardinals

20

Derek Carr
Fresno State QB

The temptation, especially for head coach Bruce Arians, will be to use this pick to select a player who can help the Cardinals get past the 49ers and Seahawks now. But the smart move might be to find an eventual successor to Carson Palmer. This is the point in the draft when the second wave of quarterbacks is likely to start coming off the board. Carr is the type of strong-armed passer who could do well in Arians' offense. The Cardinals also are looking hard at edge rushers, but there might not be one worth taking here. Linebacker Ryan Shazier or a cornerback also could be of interest.

 
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Green Bay Packers

21

Calvin Pryor
Louisville S

The Packers hope some of their recent draft picks start to come through in the front seven of their defense. They could use a new influx of talent in their back four. Pryor would not be a reach at this point, as his abilities would justify the pick. The other player who is an interesting possibility here is linebacker Ryan Shazier. The issue is whether or not the linebacker would fit into the Packers' defensive scheme. The Packers also could go with a playmaker on offense, as they could use a tight end or wide receiver.

 
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Philadelphia Eagles

22

Brandin Cooks
Oregon State WR

He would be the ideal replacement for DeSean Jackson, as he is a similar type of player. If Cooks is gone, the Eagles might have to take Marqise Lee if they are stuck on a wide receiver. There has been talk that the Eagles could move up, possibly to take Cooks or Odell Beckham. Some think Chip Kelly would like to find a way to land Johnny Manziel. The other area the Eagles could address here is the secondary, as both cornerbacks and safeties could be put to good use.

 
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Kansas City Chiefs

23

Marqise Lee
USC WR

Lee is a popular pick for the Chiefs -- maybe too popular. But the fact is they badly need a wide receiver and they don't have a second-round pick. This is the spot for them to get one. Other wide receivers who are likely to be considerations at this point are Cody Latimer, Kelvin Benjamin and Jordan Matthews. Lee's stock was higher a year ago, but he still has the potential to be an above-average performer. The Chiefs also might want to trade down in order to acquire a draft pick to make up for the second-round pick they are missing.

 
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Cincinnati Bengals

24

Bradley Roby
Ohio State CB

Given the ages of the Bengals' best cornerbacks, this position needs to be addressed in the draft. Marvin Lewis probably will like his options at cornerback with this pick better than his options at offensive line or defensive line, which are two other primary needs for the Bengals. Jason Verrett is another cornerback who could be under consideration. Roby's ability would suggest he should go higher than 24, but there are concerns about whether or not he will perform to his ability. A recent arrest for operating a car under the influence did not help his draft stock. Lewis is willing to take a player who does not necessarily fill a need if he believes in the player.

 
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San Diego Chargers

25

Louis Nix
Notre Dame DT

The Chargers would like to trade down, and there is a chance it could happen because some team might like to jump the Browns at 26 in order to get a quarterback. The problem is most of the teams in the quarterback market are at least eight picks away from the 25th pick. That means the team trading up would have to come up with considerable compensation in order to make an enticing offer, and it means the Chargers would have to be willing to live with a player who they may not covet as much as some of the players available at 25. They might be able to get Nix in a trade down. Other possibilities if they stay put could be cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Bradley Roby.

 
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Cleveland Browns

26

Teddy Bridgewater
Louisville QB

This one makes a lot of sense unless the Browns go for Johnny Manziel with the fourth pick. In that case, running back Carlos Hyde could be a fit at 26. But it is difficult to envision the Browns getting out of the first round without a quarterback. Bridgewater might not be their guy. It's possible Derek Carr will be available. And they might rate Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Savage or AJ McCarron higher here. The other options: The Browns could take a wide receiver with this pick, or an offensive tackle if they don't take one early in the round.

 
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New Orleans Saints

27

Ryan Shazier
Ohio State LB

He is skilled enough that he could go higher in the round. Shazier would fit in Rob Ryan's defense well. The Saints could use reinforcements at several positions on defense. Other possibilities include cornerback Jason Verrett and pass rushers Dee Ford and Kony Ealy. A wide receiver also could be a fit. And the darkhorse pick for the Saints would be a quarterback. Now might be the time for the Saints to start their search for Drew Brees' eventual replacement. Jimmy Garoppolo, interestingly enough, attended the same college as Sean Payton -- Eastern Illinois.

 
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Carolina Panthers

28

Jordan Matthews
Vanderbilt WR

The Panthers have talked a good game about drafting an offensive tackle, and they can use one. The fact that they have downplayed their need at receiver could be an indication that is the position they are most concerned about. Other receiver possibilities at this point could be Cody Latimer, Kelvin Benjamin and Marqise Lee. Matthews, though, has a nice blend of size, speed and production. If the Panthers decide to go with an offensive tackle, they are likely to be choosing from between Morgan Moses, Cyrus Kouandjio and Ja'Wuan James. Another offensive lineman worth considering is Joel Bitonio, but most evaluators see him as a guard.

 
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New England Patriots

29

Ra'Shede Hageman
Minnesota DL

As always, the Patriots are candidates to move. Dropping down a few spots is likely to be appealing to Bill Belichick. Hageman's inconsistency means he could be available early in the second round. His unusual power and potential could be harnessed with the right coaching in the right system, and Belichick is not averse to risk. Other possible targets for the Patriots include the Notre Dame defensive linemen Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt. The Pats could use a young defensive end or tackle, or someone who can play both. The Patriots also need a dependable tight end, so Jace Amaro might be in play.

 
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San Francisco 49ers

30

Stephon Tuitt
Notre Dame DE

There are a number of interesting ways the Niners can go with this pick. In fact, it seems few teams have as many viable options. Tuitt is a scheme fit who could be an eventual replacement for 34-year-old Justin Smith. Ra'Shede Hageman is another similar player who could be a consideration if available. The 49ers also could go for a cornerback (Jason Verrett or Stanley Jean-Baptiste), an outside linebacker (Dee Ford or Kony Ealy) or a wide receiver (Cody Latimer, Kelvin Benjamin or Jordan Matthews). Moving up for a wide receiver is a possibility, as is dropping down a few spots. 

 
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Denver Broncos

31

Xavier Su'a-Filo
UCLA G

This is a good place for the draft's highest-rated guard to go. The Broncos have a need at the position after losing Zane Beadles in free agency. Su'a-Filo can help the Broncos immediately, which is important given they are trying to take advantage of the Peyton Manning window of opportunity. Su'a-Filo may be more NFL-ready than Joel Bitonio, another offensive lineman who also is sure to be a consideration for John Elway. Some think they will take defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman if he still is on the board. A cornerback or running back also could fit here.

 
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Seattle Seahawks

32

Cyrus Kouandjio
Alabama OT

If the Broncos don't take Su'a-Filo, the Seahawks might. They could use an offensive lineman. Kouandjio has the type of size and athleticism that appeals to general manager John Schneider. He would have to trust that offensive line coach Tom Cable can clean up Kouandjio's sloppy technique. Other offensive line possibilities would be Morgan Moses, Ja'Wuan James and Joel Bitonio. There also is a chance the Seahawks could go for a tight end here. Both Jace Amaro and Austin Seferian-Jenkins could be available. This is also another potential trade hot spot, as teams in the second round might be trying to leapfrog the Texans.