1. HOUSTON TEXANS – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Jadeveon Clowney and Blake Bortles are the favorites to be picked, and rightfully so, but I’m choosing to look at things from a different perspective. If Houston feels like Clowney is too big of a wildcard or that he doesn’t fit their system, Robinson is the no-brainer pick, in my opinion. Houston’s best bet would be to convince a team that they’re taking Clowney (Atlanta) or one of the QBs (Cleveland), so someone will trade up and they can slide back. Robinson is as capable of dominating as any tackle prospect in the last decade and Houston needs a tackle. No QB in this class gives me the confidence that Robinson does, so Houston can address the position in Round 2.
2. ST LOUIS RAMS – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Again, how could they pass up on Clowney or Sammy Watkins? Because St. Louis needs a tackle with Jake Long’s injury woes and because Jake Matthews is a surer thing than the other two and because Jeff Fisher knows and trusts the pedigree of the Matthews family. Jake can play either tackle position or Center and has the potential to be great at all three positions.
3. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
If he makes it to pick 3, a great injustice has been commited. Atlanta or Jacksonville or some team HAS to get him at pick two. Gus Bradley is a great defensive mind who also has a great disposition. Clowney is a fragile personality, to me; he is going to need to be coddled and convined that he could be Lawrence Taylor or Bruce Smith. Bradley can hardness Clowney’s ability and get the most out of it. Chad Henne is a fine, serviceable QB for 2014 and the Jags can address that position in Round 2.
4. CLEVELAND BROWNS – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
The Browns have been waiting forever for a franchise QB; I’m not totally convinced Teddy Bridgewater is that guy, but he is the most NFL ready in this class. Cleveland has the draft picks to really put a solid team around him this season and Brian Hoyer could start the year off as Cleveland grooms Teddy into the system.
5. OAKLAND RAIDERS – Khalil Mack, OLB/DE, Buffalo
The Raiders need a QB, but they also need potentiall great football players. For too long, Oakland has drafted the “sexy” pick instead of the best pick; Mack would put an end to that streak of woes. He’ll play any edge position that Oakland needs him to, and could end up being the most disruptive player in the draft. When a team is as average as Oakland in, I support the “building from the inside out” method. QB can be addressed in free agency (for this season) or in Round 2.
6. ATLANTA – Kony Ealy, DL, Missouri
This pick will be somewhat controversial, but I stand by it. In this scenario, Atlanta would be best suited to trade back and then draft Ealy, but I wouldn’t disagree with him going at #7. In Atlanta’s 4-3, Ealy can play on the edge and then slide inside on 3rd Down/blitz packages. ATLs defensive front isn’t impressive in the least and Ealy’s ability to get to the football is much-needed.
7. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Other positions need addressing, but how could they pass up the best player available? Whoever plays QB would love/need a guy like Sammy to play opposite of Vincent Jackson. The weather will almost always be good down in Tampa, so the field will be dry and in perfect condition for Watkins to be the speed demon that he’s capable of being. The underrated part of Watkins’ game is he’s a good route runner and will be a luxury pick at this spot.
8. MINNESOTA VIKINGS – Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
The later riser of the QB class lands on a team who missed on a QB in this area just three years ago. Bortles has the NFL QB “look” and has the ability to move the pocket and even get yards with his mobility. He’s been referenced to Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger, but I think the best reference point is Jake Locker. The Vikings have the tools around Bortles to succeed and Christian Ponder could start the year off if new Head Coach Mike Zimmer wants to groom BB into the position.
9. BUFFALO BILLS – CJ Mosley, ILB, Alabama
The Bills’ D is rounding into form as potentially on of the nastiest in the NFL. Mosley would be an excellent complement to Kiko Alonso and is as versatile as any LB to come out in the past five years. The only concern with Mosley is some injury concerns, but it’s possible that the NFL OTAs and training camp will be easier than the rigors of playing at the University of Alabama. He fills a need and is the best player available at #9.
10. DETROIT LIONS – Ha’Sean Clinton Dix, SAF, Alabama
The best DB in the class goes to a team in need of one after cutting Louis Delmas. WR and CB also need to be addressed, but the depth of those positions are greater than at Safety. HaHa can roam, cover, blitz, and help in run support. His biggest weakness is just inexperience. He will continue to grow into the position and has All-Pro potential.
11. TENNESSEE TITANS – Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
The Titans have some other needs (DL, DB), but Ebron is almost a necessity for QB Jake Locker. This season will be Locker’s last chance to prove himself and a starting QB in Tennessee and giving him a target like Ebron gives him the best chance to do it. Losing Kenny Britt and potentially RB Chris Johnson, the Titans need to add offensive production to a cast of really solid young WRs.
12. NEW YORK GIANTS – Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame
NYG needs OL help in the worst way and Martin is the most versatile lineman in the draft. He could be a Swiss Army Knife for the G-Men in 2014 until he finds his fit at either Tackle or Guard.
13. ST LOUIS RAMS – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
First Matthews and now Evans; QB Sam Bradford has no more excuses not to develop into a permanent starter in this league. Evans put on a show at the Combine that just added to how good his tape was. He clearly separated himself from the other big WR, Kelvin Benjamin, and would shrive playing inside eight times a year like STL does. While he learns the position, he’s at least an extremely dangerous Red Zone target in Year 1.
14. CHICAGO BEARS – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
No defensive player was more dominant during the college football season and no defensive player has been more dominant during the NFL Draft process. He’s a perfect 3-Technique for the Bears’ Cover 2 defensive scheme. His heigh can be thrown out the window at his position; all I care about is his ability, his motor, and his love of the game. He passes all three tests with flying colors.
15. PITTSBURGH STEELERS – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
He’s never going to be the workout warrior that a player like Justin Gilbert is, but he’s great between the lines. He can’t be as physical in the NFL as he was at Michigan State, but he’s as good of a press corner as you’ll find. Dennard fits the mindset of the Steeler way and would learn from some of the best professionals he his position.
16. DALLAS COWBOYS – Dominique Easley, DL, Florida
If the knees weren’t an issue, he’d be a Top 10 pick without a doubt. I’ve seen guys use that same preface and then mock him in Round 2; I choose to mock him here because I’m no medical expert and I trust the positivity I’ve heard coming from his camp. Dallas needs great football players on defense and Easley could be great. No player caused more disruption than Dominique Easley when he was healthy.
17. BALTIMORE RAVENS – Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
GM Ozzie Newsome is notorious for drafting BPA and ODB is BPA, plus he addresses a need. The Ravens have to improve offensively and there’s nothing Beckham can’t do. Not a lot of explanation needs to be given for this pick.
18. NEW YORK JETS – Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
The Jets need offensive weapons and they need a TE to give run support – Niklas addresses both needs. He’s 6’6” 270 and is drawing comparisons to Rob Gronkowski. If Geno Smith is going to succeed and Rex Ryan is going to keep his job, the Jets have to be stellar on offensive.
19. MIAMI DOLPHINS – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
A few years back, the Dolphins drafted another OT from Michigan and they go back to the well again with this pick. Because of Jake Long’s departure and the Incognito-Martin fallout, Miami’s OL is decimated and this pick is such a necessity. His Combine was jaw-dropping, now he has to apply that ability to the football where.
20. ARIZONA CARDINALS – Dee Ford, OLB/DE, Auburn
Not working out at the Combine brought Ford’s skyrocketing stock to a stand-still. If Ford is available at 20, the Cardinals get a Top 15 player and address a huge need at OLB. Ford’s run support isn’t great, but that can be taught and be worked around. Let him get to the football as much as possible and he can be dominant.
21. GREEN BAY PACKERS – Ra’Shede Hageman, DL, Minnesota
The Packers need Hageman to live up to his JJ Watt comparisons. I hate the comparison, but he is an impressive physical specimen with quick hands and feet. The Packers will have a few holes on their DL, and they have to get better there to stop teams like San Francisco on the edge.
22. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – Jimmie Ward, DB, Northern Illinois
Ward’s a hybrid DB – can play CB OR SAF. The Eagles are locking up their offense and have to address their D, especially the Secondary. Long term, Ward’s a true Free Safety who is one of a small few who could develop into a “ball hawk”; short term, he can address almost any need at a high level. He’s one of my favorite players in the draft because of how smart and hard he plays the game of football.
23. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
The Chiefs kills two bird with one stone – they need a TE and they have to find another receiving outlet for QB Alex Smith. RB Jamaal Charles can’t be their primary pass catcher any longer. Amaro’s Combine wasn’t great, but his career at TTU was. There’s a small character issue with him, but it shouldn’t keep him out of Round 1. He has the ability to stretch the field and move the chains. There’s a chance he ends up the best TE in the class.
24. CINCINNATI BENGALS – Anthony Barr, OLB/DE, UCLA
A lot of mocks have him as a Top 10 pick, but I can’t bring myself to put that much faith into so much raw ability. Is his ceiling as high or higher than Khalil Mack? Maybe. Is his floor Aaron Curry 2.0? Yes. Being apart of a great defensive front like Cincy has would be invaluable for Barr. As he’s brought along as a permanent fixture of their defense, his strengths can be exploited situationally.
25. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Gilbert set the Combine on fire and it would be extremely surprising if he falls this far, I just don’t see the certainty that other do in him. The end of Round 1 is really solid value for him, as he can play off-coverage on the outside of slot, as well as Safety in some packages and return kicks.
26. CLEVELAND BROWNS – LaMarcus Joyner, DB, Florida State
Joyner is another Hybrid DB. Ideally, he’s a Nickel CB, but he has the ability to play on the outside or at either Safety. Joyner stands only 5’9”ish, but he plays like a giant. He isn’t afraid to blitz or run-stop. LaMarcus is also one of the smarter players coming out, having played everywhere at Florida State at a high level.
27. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – Trent Murphy, OLB/DE, Stanford
Murphy will never be a player you put in coverage, but he could be an very elite pass rusher and run stuffer. Rob Ryan has arguably the most exotic defensive scheme in the NFL and there is definitely a place in it for Murphy to floruish. There will be opportunities to stand him up or put his hand in the ground. Sure, he’s a “tweener”, but he is so great that the one or two things he specializes at.
28. CAROLINA PANTHERS – Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida
Cam needs a big target to complement Steve Smith and Benjamin is a WR/TE hybrid. I would say that he is this class’ Anthony Barr on the offensive side of the ball. If he puts all of his tools together, he can be elite at stretching the field and high-pointing the football.
29. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
Nix’s ’13 tape wasn’t great, and most of that was due to injury, so I wouldn’t be suprised to see him fall. He would fit NE’s Multiple D front very well. He could play alongside Vince Wolfork and eventually replace him. Nix can be as dominate as he wants to him if he stays healthy.
30. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers – Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
The Niners have needs, but they’re also in position to take the BPA; Verrett addresses both. His height (5’9”) is literally the only thing that a team wouldn’t like, but GM Trent Baalke has assembled at winning team of all shapes, sizes, and stereotypes. I truly wouldn’t be surprised if Verrett was the best DB on the team by mid season.
31. DENVER BRONCOS – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Champ Bailey isn’t getting younger and Dominique Rodgers Cromartie’s long term future is up in the air. Fuller was better than any of Alabama’s CBs in the ’13 season opener and he proved then that he was a legit future NFL corner. There’s a couple of teaching points that could be addressed in his technique, but Fuller has the ability and show no fear in coverage.
32. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - David Yankey, OG, Stanford
It’s hard to find man holes on the Seahawks, but interior OL does need an upgrade. Yankey is the best pure interior lineman in the draft, in my opinion, and was built to play in a offense live Seattle’s.
33. HOUSTON – AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama
Most controversial pick of the draft, I get it, and especially with Johnny Manziel still on the board. No one is more polarzing than McCarron, but I stand by him as my top rated QB (Louis Riddick, ESPN, and Greg Gabriel, Bleacher Report/PFT, back my sentiments in regarding him a top QB in this class). If Bill O’Brien skips over Blake Bortles in Round 1, McCarron is the other QB in this draft that I think best fits O’Brien’s system. AJ will probably need to be brought along, I’m not sure if he’s a plug and play QB, but I think he has as much ability as anyone long-term. The Tom Brady references are warranted – Brady wasn’t regarded at all out of Michigan, had a terrible Combine, and fell to pick #199. Brady’s arm was never great, his first three years as starter were boosted to some great defensive play and a genius head coach. McCarron could find himself in that same situation. I believe his arm is NFL quality, I have faith in him learning a pro style system, I believe him to be more fleet-footed than given credit for and I trust his decision making.
34. WASHINGTON – Calvin Pryor, SAF, Louisville
35. CLEVELAND – Marqise Lee, WR, USC
36. OAKLAND – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Not every team is going to love “Johnny Football”, but I could see the Raiders loving him after they pick Khalil Mack. He’s an improvisor and a play-maker, which he’ll need to be Year 1 for the Raiders. Is this pick too combustible given the player + team? Maybe. But it’s also a pick that they Raiders can’t afford to pass on, too.
37. ATLANTA – Xavier Su’a Filo, OG, UCLA
38. TAMPA BAY – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
I can’t see Mike Glennon being the long-term answer. I already had this pick mocked before my friend Luke Easterling passed along an article where new Head Coach Lovie Smith said Tampa Bay wouldn’t be against addressing QB. Carr is polarizing; draft twitter probably loves him more than they should, and NFL talking heads have him in the lower second tier of QBs. I’m somewhere in the middle of the extremes and think that this is an appropriate pick.
39. JACKSONVILLE – Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
Late, late riser in this process, but I’ve liked the guy for a while now. Some Draft Twitter guys are going to hate this pick, because Garoppolo’s been deemed to have “Gabbert Syndrome” (panicking in the pocket). I love the guy’s release and think he has a great presence about him. Chad Henne needs to play most of 2014 so Jimmy can learn an NFL system and the intricacies of the position.
40. MINNESOTA – Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville
41. BUFFALO – Billy Turner, OL, North Dakota State
42. TENNESSEE – Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
43. NEW YORK G – Christian Jones, LB, Florida State
44. ST LOUIS – Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
45. DETROIT – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
46. PITTSBURGH – Kyle Van Noy, OLB, Pittsburgh
47. DALLAS – Terrence Brooks, SAF, Florida State
48. BALTIMORE – Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
49. NEW YORK J – Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
50. MIAMI – Stanley Jean Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
51. CHICAGO – Deone Bucannon, SAF, Washington State
52. ARIZONA – Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
He’ll redshirt 2014 and be good to go in 2015 or maybe even 2016, whenever the Cardinals decide to move on from Carson Palmer. He’s a prototype NFL QB who could really flourish in Arians’ vertical passing game. If his ACL tear didn’t happen, I really believe teams would be loving him as a 1st Round QB.
53. GREEN BAY – Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford
54. PHILADELPHIA – Telvin Smith, Hybrid LB, Florida State
55. CINCINNATI – Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson
56. SAN FRANCISCO* – Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
57. SAN DIEGO – Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech
58. NEW ORLEANS – EJ Gaines, CB, Missouri
59. INDIANAPOLIS – Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State
60. CAROLINA – Dion Bailey, SAF, USC
61. SAN FRANCISCO – Stephon Tuitt, DL, Notre Dame
62. NEW ENGLAND – Dakota Dozier, OL, Furman
63. DENVER – Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
64. SEATTLE – Austin Seferian Jenkins, TE, Washington
65. HOUSTON – Caraun Reid, DL, Princeton
66.WASHINGTON – Carl Bradford, OLB/DE, Arizona State
67. OAKLAND – Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
68. ATLANTA – Jaylen Watkins, CB, Florida
69. NEW YORK J* – Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
70. JACKSONVILLE – Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State
71. CLEVELAND – Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
72. MINNESOTA – Victor Hampton, CB, South Carolina
73. BUFFALO – CJ Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
74. NEW YORK G – Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
75. ST LOUIS – Craig Loston, SAF, LSU
76. DETROIT – Andre Hal, CB, Vanderbilt
77. SAN FRANCISCO* – Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas
78. DALLAS – Aaron Lynch, DE, South Florida
79. BALTIMORE – Marcus Martin, C, USC
80. NEW YORK J – Cameron Fleming, OT, Stanford
81. MIAMI – Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
82. CHICAGO – Damarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State
83. CLEVELAND* – Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin
84. ARIZONA – Keith McGill, CB, Utah
85. GREEN BAY – Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia
86. PHILADELPHIA – Antone Exum, DB, Virginia Tech
87. KANSAS CITY – Ahmad Dixon, SAF, Baylor
88. CINCINNATI – Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma
89. SAN DIEGO – DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State
90. INDIANAPOLIS – Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
91. NEW ORLEANS – Jordan Zumwalt, LB, UCLA
92. CAROLINA – Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida
93. NEW ENGLAND – Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin
94. SAN FRANCISCO – Daniel Sorensen, SAF, BYU
95. DENVER – Brandon Thomas, OL, Clemson
96. MINNESOTA* – Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
97. HOUSTON – Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia
98. WASHINGTON – Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama
99. ATLANTA – Anthony Johnson, DL, LSU
100. TAMPA BAY – Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina
101. JACKSONVILLE – Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest
102. CLEVELAND – Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor
103. OAKLAND – Brandon Linder, OG, Miami
104. MINNESOTA – Lamin Barrow, ILB, LSU
105. BUFFALO – Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss
106. ST LOUIS – Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
107. DETROIT – James Hurst, OT, North Carolina
108. TENNESSEE – Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
109. NEW YORK G – Ju’Waun James, OT, Tennessee
110. JACKSONVILLE* – Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
111. NEW YORK J – Adrian Hubbard, OLB, Alabama
112. MIAMI – Storm Johnson, RB, Central Florida
113. CHICAGO – Jordan Tropp, OLB, Montana
114. PITTSBURGH – Joel Bitonio, OT, Nevada
115. DALLAS – Rashaad Reynold, CB, Oregon State
116. ARIZONA – Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State
117. GREEN BAY – Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech
118. PHILADELPHIA – Josh Huff, WR, Oregon
119. CINCINNATI – Chris Smith, DE, Arkansas
120. KANSAS CITY – Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
121. SAN DIEGO – James Wilder, RB, Florida State
122. NEW ORLEANS – Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
123. CLEVELAND* – Kenny Ladler, SAF, Vanderbilt
124. CAROLINA – Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
125. SAN FRANCISCO – Zach Kerr, DL, Delaware
126. NEW ENGLAND – Trevor Reilly, OLB/DE, Utah
127. DENVER – Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
128. SEATTLE – Xavier Grimble, TE, USC
Doing a Mock Draft can be arduous if I gave your favorite team players that you hate, it definitely wasn’t on purpose. Pre-Free Agency, it’s hard to really dial in on the major or minor holes along a team’s depth chart. I have each pick it’s due respect and hope I did a worthy job of providing a reference as to what the NFL Draft could look like in May based on the information I have in late February.
This mock did not have picks, so I couldn’t get all of the QBs into Round 1 that will surely end up there. I could see at least three and as much as six QBs going in the 1st Round, so the places I have QBs slotted could very well be their destination, I just think that teams will trade back into Round 1 to grab their man. Johnny Manziel, for one, is not falling into Round 2, but I definitely think he only fits a specific few teams and those teams may look elsewhere early on in Round 1.
The next NFL Mock Draft will be in a few week after Free Agency has played itself out a good bit. I hope you all enjoyed this one, it could a lot of effort and was very enjoyable to do.
————————————————————————————-[Cover Photo Cred: nfl.com]
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