1: Houston Texans:
Jadeveon Clowney DE
The Texans will not pass up on the immense talent that Clowney offers, despite the Quarterback needs. The Texans will field one of the best defensive lines in the league, with JJ Watt and Clowney sporting a pro-bowl like duo of defensive ends. The Texans will go ahead and draft a QB in the second round.
2: St. Louis Rams: Greg Robinson OT
Many think that the Rams will jump at Sammy Watkins with the number 2 spot, but they already have decent young receivers. Easy pick for the Rams at Number 2, they don’t have many glaring needs besides on the offensive line, and they will go ahead with the top player at the offensive tackle position. This will provide some protection for the fragile Sam Bradford, and allow the offense to open up a little more.
3: Jacksonville Jaguars: Aaron Donald DT
The Jaguars should draft a quarterback or a receiver, but I don’t think they will do so. I think that they will take a dependable player in Aaron Donald, arguably the second-best defensive player behind Clowney. Their defensive minded coach Gus Bradley will not hesitate to take this player. He has a lot of options, with a lot of positions at need, but Donald is a good pick to build their defensive line.
4: Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel QB
The big, popular, controversial pick in the draft goes to the Cleveland Browns, for obvious reasons. They have a great young receiver in Josh Gordon, and with the new signing of Ben Tate, they can become a much better offense, if they have the right quarterback. Some may think that the Browns need to go for a safer QB, but they need to take the player with, in my opinion, the most upside in this draft. Johnny Manziel plays a lot like Super Bowl Champion Russell Wilson, and the Browns are looking to change their boring, losing culture with one big move in the draft. Bottom line is Manziel has too much upside to fall out of the top 5.
5: Oakland Raiders: Sammy Watkins WR
The Raiders signed QB Matt Schaub in the offseason, and they will be looking to provide their new QB with new weapons. Sammy Watkins is clearly the best receiver in the draft, and they have little going for them on the offensive side. Watkins is a good fit because he opens up this run-heavy offense. The Raiders will begin their new trend in attaining big name players in Round 1.
6: Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews OT
Atlanta may select Khalil Mack at this point, but their defense is not the number one priority. The Falcons are in desperate need to rebuild their offensive line, and Jake Matthews out of Texas A&M is a start. Matt Ryan is a great Quarterback, and with the right protection, he will thrive once again. This draft is going to be very important for the Falcons, and if they don’t trade up for Clowney, they need to start with the O-line. Jake Matthews will step into the position and hold his own from Week 1.
7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans WR
The Buccaneers have acquired Lovie Smith, a great NFL coach most previously on the Chicago Bears. He has made Josh McCown his new starting QB, and I don’t see him drafting a QB first round to create drama on his team before kickoff. I see the Buccaneers taking Mike Evans, to build their receiving core. The addition of Mike Evans will create a situation for McCown to have early success, with Evans growing aside Vincent Jackson.
8: Minnesota Vikings: Blake Bortles QB
Blake Bortles is a good pick for the Vikings who were shuffling between Quarterbacks all season in 2013. They have been looking for their franchise QB, and they may just find it in Bortles. He is a passer with clear, NFL-ready skills. He will have to compete for the starting position, but he is capable of becoming this team’s franchise QB.
9: Buffalo Bills: Khalil Mack OLB
Easy pick at number nine for Buffalo. The Bills have a terrible defense, and Khalil Mack will be the clear best player available at this point. He holds the NCAA record for most forced fumbles, and he can provide the Bills in at times much-needed change of possession. Khalil Mack will develop to be the best player on this defense, and he will be a huge factor in this team’s success.
10: Detriot Lions: Justin Gilbert CB
Cornerback is the position this team will need to focus on in Round 1. The Lions are obviously set on the offensive side, with superstar Calvin Johnson, and offensive talent in Reggie Bush and Matthew Stafford. Gilbert is quite an athlete, able to stay with the defender and always a threat to intercept the ball. Quickness is his strength, as he posted a 4.37 second 40-yard dash in the Combine. He will be a popular pick in Detroit.
11: Tennessee Titans: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix S
Clinton-Dix led one of the best defenses in the NCAA last season, and he has experience dealing with fast receivers such as Mike Evans from Texas A&M, the seventh pick in this mock draft. The Titans need to address the secondary, and this player is the obvious choice for the Titan defense.
12: New York Giants: Taylor Lewan OT
Obvious choice for the Giants. Apparently, Eli Manning obviously needs much more time to make his decision on where to throw the ball, with his whopping 27 interceptions in 2013. Lewan is a great athlete, but has some question marks with his assault charges. But if he can look past this, he can become a great Tackle in the NFL. This player from Michigan could be the difference for the Giants to get back to the playoff conversation.
13: St. Louis Rams: CJ Mosley LB
The first two picks may be boring and upsetting to the Rams fans, but the Rams do what they need to do in the first round with Robinson and Mosley. They need a dominant linebacker to wreak havoc on the many different dominant NFC West offenses that they will be playing this year, including two of the top teams in the NFL, the 49ers and the Seahawks. This guy plays with a great sense of urgency, and has great agility. He is a “Humble, selfless team player” (NFL.com). He will be a good fit in St. Louis and provide talent to the defense.
14: Chicago Bears: Darqueze Dennard CB
One of the major pieces of the most dominant team in the NCAA last year. This is the player that best fits the Bears. They have been trying to get younger on defense, and their Cornerbacks are getting old, so they need to invest in a physical, dominant player who is maybe the best Cornerback in the draft.
15: Pittsburgh Steelers: Odell Beckham Jr.
With the departure of Jericho Cotchery to the Carolina Panthers, the Steelers will be looking for a Number 2 receiver to Antonio Brown. Beckham is the next receiver in line after Mike Evans, and he has the quickness and versatility to be a great receiver in the NFL. He is a talented receiver that will give Big Ben increased options on the offensive side.
16: Dallas Cowboys: Calvin Pryor FS
The Cowboys have had defensive issues, and they should start with the safety position. There have been talks about the Cowboys drafting Johnny Football, despite them recently signing Romo to a huge deal, so these talks are a little bit ridiculous. This wouldn’t have happened anyway, since Manziel was picked with the 4th pick in this Mock Draft, but it will be interesting to see how things play out for Johnny. In my opinion, the Cowboys take a safety with this pick rather than making a stupid pick at QB to draw attention to the organization.
17: Baltimore Ravens: Morgan Moses OT
The need for Offensive Tackle trumps the need for Wide Receiver for the Ravens. With that, they take this monster of a man in Morgan Moses. The sheer size of this player makes it near impossible to get by him. Taken maybe earlier than some may think he should be drafted, he will prove that he is worth it and be instrumental in protecting Joe Flacco.
18: New York Jets: Eric Ebron TE
The addition of Eric Decker makes the Jets a little deeper at the receiver position, and because of this they will take the best Tight End in the draft with their first pick. For whichever Quarterback they decide to start, they want to make sure that he can be successful, and not be the joke QB of the league that Mark Sanchez was. Rex Ryan has done well with what he has, winning 8 games in 2013. With the new signings they have made, he can take the Jets to the playoffs in the AFC.
19: Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin OG
The Dolphins take the first Offensive Guard in the draft, because they are in dire need. The important strengths that Martin has is his low center of gravity and balance that allows him to keep players in front of him, making it hard to blow by him. He wins his battles, and he will be a key edition to the struggling Dolphins O-Line.
20: Arizona Cardinals: Teddy Bridgewater QB
The Cardinals should not be sold on Carson Palmer as their QB. Teddy Bridgewater has been falling on the draft board, as he was once seen as the number 1 pick. But he was a great Quarterback at Louisville, and can succeed in the NFL. Bridgewater is careful, patient, confident, and highly accurate. He has a high football IQ and is not impulsive when he is in the pocket. I can see Bridgewater being the starting QB for the Cardinals within a year. The Cardinals will get high value in this 20th pick.
21: Green Bay Packers: Kyle Fuller CB
The Packers got a huge addition to their D-Line in Julius Peppers, but they should still improve other parts of their defense. Kyle Fuller is a solid athlete, that has the quickness and alertness to stay with athletic receivers. The Packers got Eddie Lacy in last year’s draft who became one of the top 10 Running Backs in 2013, and they might find a surprising value in Kyle Fuller.
22: Philadelphia Eagles: Marqise Lee WR
The Eagles have a need at the receiver position, and they choose Marqise Lee over Brandin Cooks because of Cook’s lack of size. Marqise Lee is a player with great speed and agility, can run any route with speedy cuts that makes him dangerous in the open field. The Eagles don’t have a clear number 1 receiver, and Lee is most likely a low-end number 1 high-end number 2 receiver.
23: Kansas City Chiefs: Kelvin Benjamin WR
A surprising pick for the Chiefs, the Wide Receiver Kelvin Benjamin who caught the game-winning pass in the BCS National Championship game. Benjamin has had some work-ethic issues, but his size and incredible physical ability is just too much for the Chiefs to pass up on and hope to get in the second round. Benjamin is a versatile receiver in that he can catch any jump ball thrown to him, so because of this he may be used in plays that otherwise were designed for Tight Ends.
24: Cincinatti Bengals: Bradley Roby CB
The Bengals best corner, Leon Hall, has been battling injuries for the last few years, and the other Cornerbacks are getting old. Because of this, they could use a new cornerback.Robyn has great size and balance, with the athleticism to disrupt and get between the receiver and the ball.
25: San Diego Chargers: Jason Verrett CB
Verrett has been climbing up the draft board, and here he is taken 25th overall by the San Diego Chargers. Despite being undersized, he is explosive and speedy, with over a 3 foot vertical that nearly makes up for his size. The Chargers ranked 29th in pass defense in 2013, so their needs for a Cornerback are no secret. The Chargers took a big step in 2013 when they made the playoffs, but Verrett can be the next step in the Chargers improving their secondary.
26: Cleveland Browns: Tre Mason RB
Tre Mason is arguably the best Running Back in this years draft, and although many expect him to fall to the second round I have the Browns taking him here. The first few rounds of this draft are about offensive talent for the Browns. The best running back they have is Ben Tate, so they need to pick an explosive back in this draft. Tre Mason was a part of one of the most dynamic offenses at Auburn and was just fun to watch. He is underrated in this draft, and the Browns take advantage of that here.
27: New Orleans Saints: Ryan Shazier OLB
The Saints, although a playoff team in 2013, have an abundance of needs in the draft, and it starts with the pass rush and the Outside Linebacker. Shazier is a great linebacker that is a disruptive playmaker and doesn’t let much get past him. He has speed, agility, and can track the ball. He will be the best player available at this point, and the Saints will select him.
28: Carolina Panthers: Brandin Cooks WR
Cooks fell this far for only one reason. His size. But lucky for him and Carolina, this is the best fit for this receiver out of Oregon State. The Panthers have major needs at receiver and Offensive Tackle, but the need for receiver has to be higher in the first round, especially if Cooks is still available. GM Gettleman said that his choosing between Tackle and Receiver may just come down to who is best available, and Cooks is not the best available at 28th, then there is something really wrong with this GM’s “plan”.Cooks is the quickest receiver in the draft, and if he is selected by the Panthers he will contribute to the improvement of the receiver crops from last year, despite the much expected decline.
29: New England Patriots: Derek Carr QB
There have been some quarterback talks when it comes to the Patriots and they are legit. Derek Carr has been rocketing up the draft board in the last month, all the way to the first round. Tom Brady is still the Patriots guy for the next few years but Derek Carr will be a strong back-up. The Patriots are going to try him out and see if he is the guy to possibly take over the team in a few years, if Tom Brady starts to go into decline. Despite the thought of his draft-bust brother looming on the Patriots team, they will take him because of his cannon of an arm, his accuracy, and his athleticism.
30: San Fransico 49ers: Donte Moncrief WR
For whatever reason, the 49ers have shown interest in grabbing a Wide Receiver with this pick. Donte Moncrief is a receiver out of Ole Miss who can accelerate and create separation from any Cornerback, often using jukes to blow past a defense. Despite the 49ers having great receivers in Boldin and Crabtree, they don’t have much depth in the position, and with injury-prone Crabtree they will go ahead and select Moncrief.
31: Denver Broncos: Lamarcus Joyner CB
Yet another Cornerback is taken in Round 1 with the Broncos selecting Joyner with the 31st. The Broncos showed in 2013 that they are basically a pro bowl offense, and in the offseason John Elway made many defensive acquisitions for the Broncos. This is because the embarrasing Super Bowl showed the world that defense wins championships. They will stick to their offseason strategy in the draft, by taking a strong and aggressive Cornerback out of Florida State.
32: Seattle Seahawks: Xavier Su’a-Filo OG
Just the second Guard selected, this player out of UCLA will contribute to the growing protection of Russell Wilson. The Seahawks, after winning the Super Bowl and by not suffering major losses in the offseason, have possibly become a dynasty, and don’t have many positions of need. But why not bolster the Offensive line to give this mobile, lethal Quarterback even more space and time?
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