By: James Johnson
For the past couple years I’ve stuck to just releasing one full NFL Mock a year to build anticipation. That said, I promised I’d have one up and done on draft day. Well…… as Caleb the Geico camel would say “Guys, guess what day it issssss????” That’s right, Draft Daaaaay!!!! Enjoy!
1.) Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina – Their GM Rick Smith is a BAP guy, and simply put, Clowney is the BAP in the whole draft. Granted Smith’s track record, I also don’t see him reaching for a QB here. I could however see them trading down and taking a QB. A team that has been mentioned who I feel would give up the necessary picks to trade up would be the Falcons who would also take Clowney. I mean who could ever forget that epic Julio Jones trade they made in 2011?
2.) St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn – I personally think in time Robinson will make a fine RT in the league and likely he’ll be better at it than Matthews there, while Matthews will translate to a better LT in the league. That in mind, IF the Rams keep the 2nd overall pick, the addition of Robinson makes a lot of sense when considering they already have a pure LT in Jake Long in place at there.
3.) Jacksonville Jaguars – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson – I think Dave Caldwell is up to something. He’s a GM that is very hard to read and predict. This move, however isn’t hard to call, it’s what else he’ll do before day 2 that may be the kicker. I could also easily see him trading back as he’s expressed interest in for months now.
4.) Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M – Reportedly their GM is high on him, and I feel he could potentially spark an already passionate fanbase. I also feel that Adam Schefter’s recent statements about Manziel going to a team with a defensive minded head coach couldn’t be more accurate. As you all know, I’ve been very vocal about Manziel as I feel he may not translate to the league, but I’ve also said that if he does succeed he’ll need a tall ball-hawking WR by his side like he had at Texas A&M. Cleveland does have a solid WR in place that fits that mold in Greg Little, they also have a franchise center and left tackle to protect him. Furthermore, the addition of Ben Tate this free agency period won’t hurt matters for Manziel either.
5.) Oakland Raiders – Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo – This to me is a good value pick. Their GM Reggie McKenzie took a gamble on smaller school prospect last year, and I could see him doing it again, but this time however he’d be gambling on the RIGHT small school prospect of the draft class. Sure he’s not a perfect scheme fit, but when it’s all said and done, Mack is simply too good of a player for them to pass up here. I say put him at DE in their base 4-3 set, and at OLB in their 3-4 set to rush the passer.
6.) Atlanta Falcons – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M – If they don’t trade up for Clowney the Falcons could still stay put and add a top tier talent on their OL. If the board falls just as I feel it could (or remotely close), Jake Matthews just may fall in their lap at 6. As we all know, the Falcons OL struggled mightily this past season, and though they added OL help in free agency with the signing of Jon Asamoah in the interior, the addition of a blue-chip prospect like Matthews would make them just that much better on the OL, and put them that much closer to becoming the Falcons we saw prior to last season.
7.) Tampa Bay – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M – Rumor has it that they may just be a wildcard for Manziel, and if he fell he just might be a possibility here. Once again, this goes back to what Schefter said about Manziel going to a defensive mind that understands how much of a pain it is to gameplan for a unique QB like him. However, he’s off the board and in this situation the Bucs may want to go with McCown at QB for the season. So why not get him a weapon like Evans to pair with the already massive Vincent Jackson? McCown would then have the biggest 1-2 punch in the league at the WR position….much like he did in Chicago with Jeffery and Marshall.
8.) Minnesota Vikings – Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida – Just call it a gut feeling. I do feel however that if this is the move they’ll likely trade back a couple spots to do it. I also don’t think that he’d be ready to start day one. If I were the Vikings I’d sit him under Cassel a year to develop him as it’s clear that the Christian Ponder experiment hasn’t panned out.
9.) Buffalo Bills – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan – A lot of analyst have them taking Ebron here, and though he’s athletic, I feel that picking him in the top 10 is a bit high. Considering that, the Bills take a position of better value and pair Taylor Lewan with Cordy Glenn to give them their book-ends for the next 8 years. And yes, I’m aware of Lewan’s pending charges, but it sounds like he just may beat the case based off recent developments.
10.) Detroit Lions – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State – The Lions may be a dark horse to trade up for Watkins, but if they stay put I think they should go with Gilbert here. Looking at it, Rashean Mathis who played well for them is on the wrong end of 30, and furthermore he’ll only be in Detroit one more year with his recent extension. Gilbert would be the perfect replacement in my opinion as he has some traits that remind me of Mathis in himself.
11.) Tennessee Titans – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State – I guess you could say this is the first big shocker of my mock, but the Titans have been labeled as a team that may surprise some people and take a QB. I don’t know if he’d be ready to start year one, but with Locker not being able to stay healthy Ken Wisenhunt may look to draft his own guy at QB. With that in mind, I don’t know that they would go with Bridgewater due to his frame, but instead go for a QB that they feel may be better suited to take the punishment that the NFL has to offer. They also could take a prospect like Barr here, or look to draft someone in the place of Alteraun Verner here who they lost in free agency.
12.) New York Giants – Zack Martin, OG/OT, Notre Dame – Now for those of you who follow me on Twitter, I’m on record for saying Martin will be a very good pro-bowl caliber guard in the future. I also feel he could be an solid tackle if asked as well. That said, Tom Coughlin adds a prospect who I feel is a close to sure fire pick here to his offensive line. Martin would start day one and upgrade their OL unit right away.
13.) St. Louis Rams – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama – Most would say they need some help at safety, and looking at the board the best one in this class, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, is still available. Why not pick him up and pair him with your young talented safety in T.J. McDonald? A move like this could potentially set up the Rams backfield for the years to come.
14.) Chicago Bears – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh – Donald too is a favorite prospect of mines and I feel that both the Bears and Cowboys are perfect fits for his skill set. Thankfully for the Bears they pick ahead of Dallas and they add a player in Donald that can come in and start right away at the same exact position that Henry Melton was successful at prior to his injury and departure through free agency.
15.) Pittsburgh Steelers – Odell Beckham, WR, LSU – This might be a bit high to some people for Beckham, but I’m a bit higher on him than a lot of people and I feel he’ll be a welcomed addition to a team in need of a pass-catcher. I also feel that he easily has the skill-set to come in and take over the role that Emanuel Saunders left vacant when he walked into free agency.
16.) Dallas Cowboys – Anthony Barr, OLB/DE, UCLA – They reportedly worked him out at defensive end, and if he’s available he’d represent good value here at 16. That said, Jerry Jones pulls the trigger and gets Monte Kiffin a product to mold into a superstar as he’s done before in the past with young defensive lineman.
17.) Baltimore Ravens – Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville – They need safety help as Matt Elam didn’t play well in his rookie campaign. Lucky for him, he’s young and will get another opportunity, however, they still need someone to start next to him in the secondary. Pryor, who could be considered one of the best available players at this moment is still on the board. That in mind, we all know how Ozzie Newsome like to stick to that theory so this pick makes a lot of sense. I could also see them going Ebron here too.
18.) New York Jets – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State – The Jets lost both Revis and Cromartie over the past two seasons so it’s clear they need help in the secondary. Considering that, filling the shoes of Darrell Revis is easier said than done, but they may be able to fill their #2 CB spot (Cromartie’s former role), as Dee Milliner struggle there as a rookie. Dennard is a similar corner to Cromartie in terms of being able to stick with big WR’s in man coverage. Though most could argue he isn’t as physical as Cromartie, he’d be a welcomed addition by Rex and co.
19.) Miami Dolphins – Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama – Miami’s biggest need is on the OL from what I read so I mocked Kouandjio here. I’ll be the first to say, he wasn’t all that impressive to me, but I think he maybe better off at guard in the league.
20.) Arizona Cardinals – CJ Mosley, ILB, Alabama – Daryl Washington will be suspended once the season starts and they also lost Dansby in free agency, so in my eyes something needs to be done at this position. With a player of Mosley’s caliber sitting on the board still, he would be a hard option to pass up.
21.) Green Bay Packers– Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina – The fact that Ebron is still on the board is great news for the Packers as it’s been reported that they will look add a TE at some point in the draft. Aarron Rodgers certainly won’t complain about adding another weapon to the Packers offense of Ebron’s caliber.
22.) Philadelphia Eagles – Bradin Cooks, WR, Oregon State – Simply put, the Eagle replace Desean Jackson with a prospect similar to him here. Being that he played at Oregon State, I’d imagine Chip Kelly is very familiar with him too, making the pick all the more enticing.
23.) Kansas City Chiefs – Marqise Lee, WR, USC – They need someone opposite of Bowe and to help take the load off Charles. Andy Reid knowing this, may look for a weapon to add to their offense. Lee is a guy that would be off the board by now if he stayed healthy, but due to the circumstances he falls to a really good team.
24.) Cincinnati Bengals -Jason Verrett, CB, TCU – I’d personally like them to take a QB (not named Teddy Bridgewater for my sake) here, but they may feel they have bigger needs, and CB might be one of those positions. Leon Hall and Pac-Man Jones are above the age of 30, so youth is certainly needed here. Verrett fit the mold of a player that Marvin Lewis might like and who can blame him and the kid is seriously talented.
25.) San Diego Chargers- Kyle Fuller – On Tuesday, I mentioned that Fuller is more of a top 25 pick in my book, and what do you know….the #25 team in the draft order in the needs a CB, especially considering that they quickly found out how much of a mistake signing Derek Cox was.
26.) Cleveland Browns – Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana – Another recent riser who has a nice balance of height, weight, and speed. With Manziel now the face of the franchise and a few weapons in place, this would be the icing on the cake in terms of getting him the skill guys he’d need.
27.) New Orleans – Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State – I’ve said it multiple times, I’m a big fan of Adams and furthermore he’s a perfect scheme fit. He could take the place of Lance Moore who the Saints cut this offseason, and eventually be groomed to take Colston’s spot in the future.
28.) Carolina Panthers – Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia– They really could use a WR here, but there isn’t one worth taking here. They also really need a LT (with Jordan Gross retiring) to protect Cam Newton, that said, they go to a college that is known for producing good OL in Virginia and take Morgan Moses.
29.) New England – Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State – Yeah, it’s a little high for him, but Bill Bellichick really likes him and rightfully so as they had there share of struggles at the center position. Richburg, who I’d personally like to see with Jags is also a good scheme fit for the Patriots, and I’m sure Tom Brady would love to have him considering they struggled to neutralize pressure from the interior part of their OL at times.
30.) San Francisco – Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska – I saw him at the Senior Bowl and was impressed with his length and coverage abilities. He’d be a huge asset to a team of the 49ers caliber who are close to greatness, but they could use some help in the secondary. This is a team that also watched Richard Sherman deny them of a Super Bowl birth and likely now understand the importance of having a bigger corner on the team. That in mind, they mimic their division rivals and add a late riser in Stanley Jean-Baptiste.
31.) Denver Broncos – RaShead Hageman, DT, Minnesota – I read a report yesterday that John Fox was very high on Hageman, and for him to still be on the board is crazy. I believe they could plug him in as a DE next to big Terrance Knighton in there 3-4 alignment, and potentially get an impact right away.
32.) Seattle Seahawks – Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA – A perfect pick for the Super Bowl champs schematically due to his agility. They need help at both the guard and tackle positions, and XSF would start right away for them. They could also afford to go WR here to if they would like, but it’s a pretty deep position, so I’d wait for now if I were Seattle.
So what do you guys think? Feel free to share your draft thoughts and questions with me on Titter under the handle of @IES_Don, and as always we appreciate your views.