NFL Mock Draft: Forecasting Round 1 (Part 2)
Alright, so by now, everyone has studied Mr. Munshaw’s mock draft, which went in print last week. For mine, I want to shake it up a little bit. After all, who doesn’t like seeing last-minute trades and picks that make you scream at your television, “Why would they do that?” Here’s my 2014 NFL Mock Draft.
1. Atlanta Falcons (from Houston) – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
It didn’t take long for the first twist of the draft, but this turn of events could actually happen. Houston has made it clear that it does not value the No. 1 spot like other teams do. Atlanta really likes Clowney, so a move like this would satisfy both teams.
2. St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
The Rams are in a great spot at No. 2. Robinson or Watkins could both start on an NFL team right now. However, the Rams need help on the offensive line, especially if Sam Bradford is traded.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Sammy Watkins is the logical choice for the Jaguars if you go by the “best available” philosophy that many teams do. Watkins could be a star in this league, and he’ll help Chad Henne if Justin Blackmon does miss time 2014.
4. Cleveland Browns – Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo
Yes, the Browns could easily go after Johnny Manziel here, but I think the quarterback position in this draft is overrated. Mack is a great linebacker prospect, who could step in for Karlos Dansby as soon as his contract expires.
5. Oakland Raiders – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
The Raiders are known for making really dumb picks in the first round– like drafting Darius Heyward-Bey over Michael Crabtree (what?). This time, I think they address a big need at tackle and actually help their team.
6. Houston Texans – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Well, here’s the first unpredictable pick of the draft. Manziel had the potential to go No. 4, but was passed up. At No. 6, it makes more sense for the Texans to make this pick. Manziel could be a game-changer for them right away.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
This is the first pick I have in common with Munch, but it’s because the pick just makes sense, not because I’m a copier or anything. With Mike Williams out of the fold in Tampa Bay, Evans could slide into the No. 2 receiver role quickly.
8. Minnesota Vikings – Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
The Vikings will eventually look to replace Christian Ponder, who has been erratic as starting quarterback. Bortles fits the stereotypical pocket-passer type and the Vikings seem to like him a lot. This pick seems pretty solid, but not if Manziel drops here.
9. Buffalo Bills – Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Many see Eric Ebron going here, but I’m picking Barr, who may even have more talent than Mack at No. 3. Barr could move into the strong side linebacker position, alongside budding star Kiko Alonso.
10. Detroit Lions – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
It will be extremely hard for the Lions to pass up on Eric Ebron, but I think they’ll go defense with this pick. Dennard is regarded as the top cornerback in the draft and will need to step in immediately to defend against the NFC North.
11. Tennessee Titans – Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
The Titans would have loved to get Dennard with this pick, but the Lions grabbed him one pick too soon. I think, using the “best available” strategy, Ebron is a lock to go here. Ebron couldn’t hurt a weak Titans passing attack, either.
12. New York Giants – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
The Giants need a lot of help, but especially on the defensive line. Donald is a strong tackle and could help boost a weak pass rush from last season. Plus, defensive end Justin Tuck is gone.
13. St. Louis Rams – Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
The Rams were lucky enough to fill a hole with pick No. 2, but there is an equally needed role at safety. Pryor could fit in on the Rams secondary, and could be converted to strong safety if the Rams feel necessary.
14. Chicago Bears – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Mr. Munshaw was very high on Fuller, but that could be because he loves Virginia Tech. I’m not as stoked about him, but the Bears need a cornerback and Dennard is already off the board.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Even though, Dix is the best player available, this pick just makes sense for the Steelers, who love to have intimidating linebackers. Mosley is just that, and could develop into another Steelers great in a few years.
16. Dallas Cowboys – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
The Cowboys need defense and need it badly after losing DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher to free agency. Dix could be a Pro-Bowl caliber safety, so this pick could turn out to be a steal for Dallas.
17. Baltimore Ravens – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
The Ravens would have loved Dix to fall one more pick, but are still in great position. Lewan will be looked at to fill the right tackle position and could do very well. Ozzie Newsome and company will be ecstatic if Lewan falls this far.
18. New York Jets – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
The Jets, after losing out to Darrelle Revis to the rival Patriots, are definitely looking for a cornerback. Three cornerbacks gone after 18 picks isn’t necessarily normal, but I think teams will be looking for defense early in a deep offensive draft.
19. Miami Dolphins – Zack Martin, OG, Notre Dame
The Dolphins, at this point, probably watched many potential picks go shortly before they were on the clock. However, Martin will fill a need at the offensive guard spot, where Miami needs as much protection as possible for Ryan Tannehill and Knowshon Moreno.
20. Arizona Cardinals – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Alright, here comes another quarterback. The Cardinals don’t have many needs, but Carson Palmer is 34 and not getting younger. The Cardinals will have to decide between Bridgewater and Derek Carr, but Bridgewater wins.
21. Green Bay Packers – Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
As much as I try to differ from Mr. Munshaw, I can’t see the Packers drafting anyone else here. Safety could be a direction the Packers go here, but not with Pryor and Dix off the board. Shazier will help their pass rush and provide depth on an injury-plagued defense.
22. Philadelphia Eagles – Marqise Lee, WR, Southern California
DeSean Jackson, one of the most talented wide receivers in the game, is gone from Philadelphia. Chip Kelly and his team can’t rely on Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper to get it done, so the Pac-12 friendly coach will welcome Lee’s talent.
23. Kansas City Chiefs – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
The Chiefs certainly want to go safety at some point, but the need at wide receiver is just greater. Dwayne Bowe has proven he can’t lead the team and the rest of the wide receiving corps is relatively unknown.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
The Bengals could easily go cornerback here, but I think the need at defensive end is greater at this point. Cincinnati watched Michael Johnson leave for Tampa Bay, and now is forced to find depth on the end of the defensive line.
25. San Diego Chargers – Bradley Robey, CB, Ohio State
If the Bengals don’t take Robey at No. 24, it would make sense for the Chargers to go with him here. Robey is an athletic cornerback that could help a depleted Chargers group. stock fall.
26. Cleveland Browns – Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
I wanted so badly to put Derek Carr here for the Browns, but I think they may be able to afford waiting on Carr until the third pick of the second round. I think Benjamin is a quality threat in the air, with his height and jumping ability.
27. New Orleans Saints – Kyle Van Noy, OLB, Brigham Young
The Saints need help with their pass rush, and with Ford gone a few picks earlier, I think Van Noy could be a good fit for their defense.
28. Carolina Panthers – Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Louisiana State
The Panthers need help at a few positions, but none more obvious than wide receiver, where Jerricho Cotchery is the leading man right now. That is not indicative of a playoff team.
29. New England Patriots – Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
The Patriots need to get younger in the defensive line, and Nix fell nicely for them. At 331 pounds, Nix is a prospect that looks a lot like Vince Wilfork.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
If Hageman slides to the 49ers, I think it’s a lock that they grab him here. Hageman is a versatile defensive tackle and could fill in anywhere on the line.
31. Denver Broncos – Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
After losing Eric Decker to the Jets, the Broncos could definitely use depth at the wide receiver position. Latimer is an underrated wide receiver that is fast and strong, two attributes that will help him if he goes in the slot.
32. Seattle Seahawks – Joel Bitonio, OG, Nevada
Yes, the Seahawks could go with a receiver here, but I think the offensive line could use some help. The better protection Russell Wilson gets, the better he and the receivers will seem.