Mock Draft 1.0
We're lucky to have a couple walking sports encyclopedias on staff here at Gameday Cloth. One of those is Jeff. He runs a site called The Draft Narrative. He's Norm's go-to draft guy and is currently headed to the NFL Combine. As we do without him in the store, he's graciously contributed to our blog in absentia.
Now that the season is finally concluded with the Seattle Seahawks crowned as the champs, the final draft order is set. Well, almost. The Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens finished with identical records and will flip a coin on Feb 20th at the Scouting Combine to determine who has pick 16 and 17. Though it may be trivial, the Cowboys may wish to lose that toss as pick #17 has proven fairly "lucky" in their past, producing Emmitt Smith, Mel Renfro, Kevin Smith and Kevin Brooks the four times they have picked 17th. And we all know Dallas needs all the help they can get on Draft Day. With that in mind, here is my first mock draft of the season. So much will change between now and May 8th, including free agency, trades, cuts and more, but this is a good way to look at the team needs and the prospects as they stand going into the Combine in an entertaining way. For more check out my website www.thedraftnarrative.com
1. Houston Texans: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
It is often said, new regime means new QBs. After Bortles blazes in the 40 at the Combine, his stock should solidify at the top spot.
2. St Louis Rams (from Washington): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Though I think Matthews is the better prospect, Robinson's run-blocking is a good fit for what HC Fisher wants for his Rams
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
The Jags would be thrilled to land Clowney with the #3 pick despite their desperate need for a QB
4. Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
And why wouldn't the most wheels-off franchise take the biggest boom-bust candidate in the draft? Synergy!
5. Oakland Raiders: Sammy Watkins, wrWR, Clemson
The ghost of Al Davis is going to appear at the 2014 NFL Draft and force the Raiders to take the fastest player.
6. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
The Falcons learned the hard way last year what happens when you go cheap on the offensive line.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo
The Bucs must upgrade their pass-rush and Mack could slide all over Lovie's defense.
8. Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
The Vikings should be thrilled to get Bridgewater at #8. The most NFL-ready QB paired with Peterson is a god.
9. Buffalo Bills: Eric Ebron, TE, UNC
The Bills telegraph their pick every year, but no one pays attention enough to Buffalo media to pick up on it usually.
10. Detroit Lions: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
The Lions really want to find a compliment to Megatron, but this draft is full of WR depth but not starting CBs. Gilbert's 40 time should be impressive.
11. Tennessee Titans: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
The Titans are switching to the 3-4 and need someone to rush the passer from the OLB spot. Barr, though raw, should show well at the Combine.
12. New York giants: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
The Giants love versatile offensive lineman. Martin, though he has guard size, has the feet of a LT and will get a shot to start for Big Blue.
13. St Louis Rams: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
The Rams fill two big holes with these two 1st round picks, OT and S. Clinton-Dix is a playmaker desperately needed in the Rams secondary.
14. Chicago Bears: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
The Bears defense got RUN OVER last year and needs big bodies up front. If Jernigan answers the condition questions, he'll be the first DT off the board.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Rumors persist the Steelers are looking for size at the WR spot to compliment Brown. At 6'5" Evans would be ideal in Black and Gold.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
With both starting tackles slated for free agency, the Ravens will likely sign one and look to draft the other. Alabama OL is a good place to go for that.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt
The Cowboys, like the Bears, will be looking for help on the D-line and Donald's a great fit at the 3 technique.
18. New York Jets: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
The Jets are looking for offensive pieces to add around young Geno Smith. Lee, with great speed and route-running, is a great fit.
19. Miami Dolphins: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
I believe in kharma so given the Incognito mess, it is only fitting the Fish land the sliding OT from Michigan with tons of red flags around him.
20. Arizona Cardinals: Kony Ealy, DE/OLB, Mizzou
Ealy is a great pick for Arizona because he can fill two needs: a strong-side OLB and a pass rushing DE in the 3-4.
21. Green Bay Packers: Rashede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
The Pack are rumored to be parting ways with BJ Raji and will need a replacement up front. Hageman's game is similar to Raji's w/o the pricetag.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
The Eagles will be looking to upgrade the secondary, but will likely spend money on safeties and look to draft CBs.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
I'm not high on Benjamin with worries about his hands and route-running, but that size/speed combo will be hard to resist for most GMs.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Like the Eagles, the Bengals will be looking to upgrade the secondary. Pryor is a rising prospect who might not be here come May.
25. San Diego Chargers: Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn
The Dwight Freeney signing really didn't work out and the Chargers could really bolster their pass rush with Ford's burst off the edge.
26. Cleveland Browns (from Indy): David Yankey, OG, Stanford
I really like UCLA's Su'a-Filo more as a pure prospect, but the Stanford pedigree will likely have Yankey go before him.
27. New Orleans: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Positions like guards and inside linebackers tend to slip on draft day and Mosley could be a real value in the 20's of this draft.
28. Carolina Panthers: Odell Beckham Jr, WR, LSU
The Panthers finally replace 35 y.o. Steve Smith with a big play WR in Beckham Jr.
29. New England Patriots: Louis Nix III, NT, Notre Dame
Until he recovers from the knee injury, I think Nix could slide in this draft and be the perfect successor to Wilfork for the Pats.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida
To replace Carlos Rodgers, I think the Niners opt for Roberson over Verrett based on size.
31. Denver Broncos: Stephen Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
The Broncos are looking for a compliment to Von Miller and Tuitt has the perfect versatility to do just that.
32. Seattle Seahawks: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
Many people have Amaro landing in NE, but I think he becomes a great versatile weapon for Russell Wilson at both TE and WR.
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