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Franchise-altering moves from Day 1 of the draft

The first round is a wrap. So who won?

We won't know the true answer to that question for years, but it's never too early to swing for the fences. Here's our take on which of Thursday night's picks loom as franchise-altering selections:

Marcus Mariota to Tennessee Titans

The Titans clearly flirted with trading out of the No. 2 pick, but they ended up making the best possible decision with their selection of Marcus Mariota. This has been a franchise without an identity for years and the Mariota pick -- while far from a sure thing -- brings a dynamic young talent to the game's most important position. The alternative, trading out of the spot and getting behind former sixth-rounder Zach Mettenberger, had disaster followed by mass office clean-outs written all over it. Adding Mariota restores the Titans to relevance and may even provide Andrew Luck with something he's never had -- a true rival QB in his division. -- Dan Hanzus

Todd Gurley to St. Louis Rams

The Rams know better than anyone what a premier running back can lead to in the NFC West.

After snagging Todd Gurley with the 10th overall pick, coach Jeff Fisher hopes to have his version of Marshawn Lynch in St. Louis. One of the most intriguing running backs to come through the draft in years, the 6-foot-1, 222-pound Georgia product turns this Rams backfield into a headache-inducing doozy.

The passing game remains problematic with Nick Foles throwing to a cast of middling wideouts, but Gurley has the talent to transform how this offense attacks opponents. Throw in Tre Mason as a backfield partner and the Rams now have the weaponry to grind the clock and tire out opposing front sevens. * -- Marc Sessler *

Kevin White to Chicago Bears

Two years ago, the Chicago Bears boasted one of the best offenses in franchise history, averaging 28 points per game behind the NFL's most imposing wide-receiver duo of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. When Marshall was jettisoned this offseason, the Bears were left with journeyman Eddie Royal as a less than threatening second fiddle to Jeffery. With the selection of White, the draft's most physically gifted wideout, a talented but enigmatic Jay Cutler has a fighting chance to turn his stalled career around under the new regime. -- Chris Wesseling

Ereck Flowers to New York Giants

Jerry Reese has been looking for a powerful left tackle for years now and all of a sudden the Giants have an offensive line to be proud of. Justin Pugh will move inside to guard and Flowers will give them the bully they've been searching for on the outside. Why is this franchise altering? It secures the first line of defense in front of Eli Manning for years to come, or provides a golden pocket for the next quarterback the Giants will trot out there. Protection has been a danger zone in New York for years now and Manning can't afford to get hit like he used to. If Pugh's transition to guard goes smoothly, we could be looking at a Dallas-esque front in a few years. -- Conor Orr

Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

When the Bucs draft a quarterback, that player doesn't reach a second contract with the organization. It's been a constant in Tampa for years. At the most important position in sports, the Bucs have whiffed time and time again. Winston marks a change in that futility. The most talented quarterback to enter the NFL since Andrew Luck will turn around the NFL's worst team swiftly. Does he have warts? Undoubtedly. Can he overcome those under Lovie Smith? Assuredly. The talented duo of Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans will help the rookie when he makes wayward throws. At the end of the game it will be Winston who leads to the victories. After years of searching, the Buccaneers finally have a face of their franchise under center. -- Kevin Patra

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