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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
64. SEATTLE – Austin Seferian Jenkins, TE, Washington
96. MINNESOTA* – Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
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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