ISH’s final mock before the draft tonight at 8 pm. I am also predicting trades between teams which I have not done in past mocks. *trades I have made
1: Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Once again Clowney remains atop the mock as he well deserves. He will be a force in the league from day 1 and will be a nightmare to teams, especially when you consider the fact that he is lined up across from JJ Watt. The Texans now should have the most dominating pass rush possibly in NFL history if Clowney lives up to his hype. This should be a very scary defense to face for opposing offensive lines. As for quarterback they should be able to pick up a good one with the 1st pick of the 2nd round.
2: Saint Louis Rams (from Washington): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Even after resigning Roger Saffold I believe the Rams will still draft Robinson with the 2nd pick. They would have a stacked line with Saffold, Robinson, and Jake Long, which is crucial to the division that they play in. Robinson is the best offensive lineman in the draft and he should be starting on that line for a long long time.
3: *Atlanta Falcons (from Jacksonville): Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Don’t be surprised to see a trade like this this early in the draft. The Falcons desperately need help in their front 7 and Mack is one of the top 2 in the draft. GM, Thomas Dimitroff, has announced he is not afraid to move around in the draft, and we can believe him after his move to nab Julio Jones a few years back. I like the fit of Mack here, as he can really any of the linebacker positions you need him too.
4: Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
The Browns have a number of options as Watkins is available as well as any quarterback in the draft. But I believe that Watkins is the most bang for your buck here at 4. There have been questions surrounding all of the quarterbacks in the draft whereas there are no doubts that Watkins will be great. If they didn’t have the 26th pick things might be different, but they do so they can wait on a quarterback for now. Watkins and Josh Gordon could become the next best WR tandem in the NFL, which seems to be a pattern in this draft of creating good tandems.
5: Oakland Raiders: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
I have said it before and I will say it again; the Raiders are the worst team in terms of drafting in the whole NFL. But if they are smart they will draft Matthews here at 5. Last season the Raiders had one of the worst offensive lines in football and that was even with star, Jared Veldheer. Now Veldheer is gone… leaving big shoes to fill. But Jake Matthews has the big feet to fill those shoes and can start from day 1. Matthews should help limit the hits on whoever will quarterback the Raiders this upcoming season.
6: *Jacksonville Jaguars (from Atlanta): Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
What the Jaguars really need in this draft is not to miss again as they have in the past few drafts, sorry to all the Blaine Gabbert fans out there. Evans should be a sure fire hit for a team who’s leading receiver only caught 66 passes last year. The Jaguars are another team with early 2nd round picks which will allow them to grab a QB there. Evans will be large target to whoever is throwing for the Jaguars next year and could be one of the best in the league within the next few years.
7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Back to back to back Aggies, how bout that? I know they signed Josh McCown in the offseason, but you don’t want your quarterback of the future being 35 in his first start with the team. Manziel is a good pick for them here, knowing that he won’t have to start right away. He debatably has the highest ceiling of any of the quarterbacks in the draft, but also runs the most risk. The Bucs shouldn’t be afraid to take the risk for him though. Receiver is also an issue but with both Watkins and Evans off the board here it should be something to address later as none of the remaining receivers are worth the 7th pick.
8: Minnesota Vikings: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
The Vikings are a team that really can’t go wrong with picking any of the best players available at this point in the draft as they have many needs to address. GM, Rick Spielman has hinted at waiting for a quarterback until later in the draft, so I have them drafting the best secondary player in the draft in Clinton-Dix. This would create a fantastic safety combo of Harrison Smith and Clinton-Dix, which is very nice considering the passing threats in their division.
9: Buffalo Bills: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
This is not last year’s draft, where three tackles were taken in the top 4, but I would say the three tackles taken in this top 10 are better than the ones from last year. Lewan is absolutely enormous, standing at almost 6’8” and 310 lbs. He has superb athleticism for a guy his size and will be a handful for defensive linemen right from the start. The Bills will be very happy to get either him or Matthews if one of them were to fall here. This will definitely help the Bills keep EJ Manuel healthy for an entire season this year.
10: Detroit Lions: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Detroit’s biggest need right now is in the secondary. They do have Chris Houston, but he may be unreliable coming off an injury from this season. Gilbert is the best corner in the draft and there is no way that the Lions should pass on him here. He is a super athlete and has great ball skills. With Clinton-Dix off the board, I really like the fit of Gilbert here.
11: Tennessee Titans: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Dennard was the leader of the number one defense in the nation last year, and that should show once he makes the jump to the NFL. He has better ball skills than anyone else in the draft and is able to start right away for the Titans. After the departure of pro-bowler, Alterraun Verner, the Titans really could use Dennard’s presence. Anthony Barr would be another reliable option at this spot.
12: *Philadelphia Eagles (from New York Giants): Oddell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
After the departure of DeSean Jackson, the Eagles need a playmaker in their receiving core, and Beckham is just the guy they are looking for. They would not mind giving up picks to move in front of the Rams who also are looking at Beckham Jr. at 13. He is a threat on every snap and will fit the Eagle’s offense very well. He will be the new DeSean Jackson for the Eagles.
13: Saint Louis Rams: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
This could be one of the final pieces for the Ram’s defense. They already attain a good pass rush with Chris Long and Robert Quinn, as well as a young but talented line-backing core and secondary. Calvin Pryor is a playmaker and a game changer and should fit in great with the Ram’s. After drafting Robinson with the 2nd pick the Ram’s front office should be jumping up and down if they are able to get Pryor as well.
14: Chicago Bears: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
The Bears already have two good corners with Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman, but both are on the wrong side of 30 and aren’t going to last much longer in the league. Fuller is a very talented guy out of Virginia Tech but still needs some final touches to his game. The Bears would be able to develop him behind Jennings and Tillman, but also they can sub him in when needed as he has enough talent to start in this league. This would be a smart pick by the Bears.
15: Pittsburgh Steelers: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
The Steelers would have loved to get one of the top 3 corners in the draft but Ebron is the best consolation prize possible at this spot. He has a body that resembles Jimmy Graham but has speed close to former teammate Giovanni Bernard, of the Bengals. He is a monster target and a monster football player. With Heath Miller coming toward the end of his long career it is time for a change, that could result in one of the best tight ends in the league. I think that Ebron will have just as much success as anyone else in this draft.
16: Dallas Cowboys: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
It would be Christmas Day in May for Cowboys fans if this one plays out. Donald is the best interior lineman in the draft and would be an excellent addition to a struggling Cowboys defense. The Cowboys lost Jason Hatcher this offseason but managed to add Henry Melton from the Bears. Melton is not the most reliable lineman here though since he missed almost all of last season. Donald would be able to start right away and provide depth for the new era of the Cowboys’ passrush.
17: Baltimore Ravens: CJ Mosely, ILB, Alabama
With Ebron off the board here I have the Ravens drafting the best inside line backer in the draft. The Ravens have not looked the same ever since the loss of Ray Lewis and Mosely has the potential to be his second coming. He is a player that makes every tackle no matter where on the field and doesn’t miss often. I like this fit just as much as anyone else in the draft.
18: New York Jets: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
I know that the Jets added Eric Decker over the offseason but you can’t possibly be happy as a Jets fan if Jeremy Kerley is your second string receiver. Cooks is an excellent deep threat for the Jets as he ran the fastest 40 time in the combine out of all the receivers. He is a big time playmaker and would be a great pick for the Jets since the top 3 corners and Ebron are all of the board here.
19: *Cleveland Browns (from Miami): Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
The Browns have more trades than anyone else in the first four rounds (7) and so they have the ability to move up. The players that the Dolphins should be looking at will be around at 26, which is what they will be moving down to if they make this trade. The Browns will be ecstatic to bring in possibly the best quarterback in the draft, and he will have plenty of help to help him adjust. Watkins, Gordon, Jordan Cameron, and a good offensive line will make Bortles a threat right at the beginning of his career. They are blessed to have Brian Hoyer to help develop Bortles or be a reliable backup to him.
20: Arizona Cardinals: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Barr is one of the top players in the draft but some questions involving surrounding his game have caused him to slide. He is NFL ready in terms of athleticism and work ethic, and attains super speed for his position. He will help a line backing core that has most of it’s pieces but could use some help. He should be starting from day 1 in the Cardinals’ 3-4 defensive front. Quarterback is another position of need for the Cardinals as Carson Palmer is not getting any younger.
21: Green Bay Packers: Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
Safety is the biggest need for the Pack so they shouldn’t be afraid to draft Ward a little ahead of where he is supposed to fall. Ward was the leader of the Huskies’ defense that made it to a BCS Bowl in 2013. He may not be ranked as high as Pryor or Clinton-Dix but he is still a very reliable option at 21 for Green Bay. I am higher on him than most but I like the fit here, as he should be able to start right away.
22: *New York Giants (from Philadelphia): Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
The Giants would love to obtain extra picks as well as have Martin slide to them. Martin helped the Irish to the National Championship in 2013 and had another good season last year. Martin is said to be potentially the most NFL ready tackle, which is really what the Giants need at this point to protect Eli Manning. This definitely would be tricky to have him slide here, especially if the Dolphins don’t trade down, but if he does Giants fans should be excited about this pick.
23: Kansas City Chiefs: Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
The Chiefs were very good on offense last year after being the NFL’s worst team the year before, but they still lack a consistent receiving corps. Latimer would help fix that, especially considering Dwayne Bowe’s off field issues this past season. Latimer has had his stock improve more than anyone else in the draft and a lot of times the late risers are the ones most successful in the pros. He is unfortunate to have played at Indiana, had he played else where he could potentially be up there with Watkins and Evans.
24: Cincinnati Bengals: Stan Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
The Bengals really have their choice of corners here but with questions surrounding Bradley Roby and Jason Verrett, the safest pick would be Jean-Baptiste. He fits the criteria of larger corners being wanted in the NFL as he stands at 6’3” compared to the 5’9” Verrett. He is the most reliable pick here and that’s what the Bengals need as they would love a guy that could start from day 1.
25: San Diego Chargers: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
I see either one of two Buckeyes going here, either Roby or Ryan Shazier. Shazier is not quite the pressure type OLB that they may be looking for right now so up pops Roby. Roby is able to keep up with any receiver as he has extreme athleticism, but there are some questions about his playmaking and ball skills. Both of these issues should not be a problem if the Chargers feel like they can help him learn these. If he gets over these problems he could end up the best corner out of this draft.
26: *Miami Dolphins (from Cleveland via Indianapolis): Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
Moses is the best available lineman at this point and would be a great pick for the Dolphins this late. The only issue would be if he were to struggle at the right tackle position opposed to the left, where Brandon Albert is now starting. If the Dolphins feel like he can make the transition then this is a steal for them, if not then they have options between Cyrus Kouandijo and Joel Bitonio. Any of these tackles are great options for the Dolphins here.
27: New Orleans Saints: Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn
With Junior Gallette and Jordan Cameron both coming off great seasons, the last thing that opposing offenses want is for the Saints to add a very good speed rusher. Ford lead the Auburn Tigers’ defense that made it all the way to the National Championship last season. He is an amazing pass rusher and wouldn’t have the pressure of being amazing right off the bat with other good pass rushers on the team to take some of the heat.
28: Carolina Panthers: Cyrus Kouandijo, OT, Alabama
Kouandijo is a big body that can start right away which is really what the Panthers are looking for at this pick. After the loss of star Jordan Gross, the Panthers have a deep whole on their offensive line. Kouandijo could be one of the best tackles in the draft if he can stay injury free. Receiver is another area of concern for the Panthers after the loss of Steve Smith, which would make Marqise Lee another good option.
29: *Houston Texans (from New England): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
I have the Texans jumping up to this spot to guarantee they can grab their new franchise quarterback instead of another team trading up to grab Bridgewater. For whatever reason Bridgewater has fallen in most draft boards, but you can’t deny that he is not a great quarterback after great seasons at Louisville which is a school not known for it’s football team. Texans fans would love for this one to play out as they grab two players that are or were in the conversation for the number one overall pick at some point.
30: San Francisco 49ers: Demarcus Lawerence, OLB, Boise State
Now that it looks doubtful that Aldon Smith will return, the 49ers are now in need of a good pass rusher. Lawerence is a pass rushing force as he recorded more than 10 sacks at Boise State last year. The 49ers should love him for his versatility between OLB and DE in case they face any injury at either position. This is another guy that could start right away in the NFL. Kyle Van Noy out of BYU is another terrific option for the 49ers here.
31: Denver Broncos: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
After losing Champ Bailey and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, the Broncos are in need of a corner. Even though they signed Aqib Talib to a big contract he can not guard all of the receivers on the field at the same time. In comes Verrett. Verrett is one of the best corners in the draft but is brought down by his small size at only 5’9”. He is injury prone due to this but is one of the toughest guys in the draft, and he plays through many injuries. He is a guy wanting to play in the NFL and he shows that passion on the field.
32: *Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Another team that I have using Houston’s strategy of moving up in the draft. Carr destroyed his brother’s records at Fresno last year and many wonder why he is not ranked higher. GM, Rick Spielman is not afraid to move around in the draft as he has traded up or down in the last several drafts. Carr is a guy they may even consider with the 8th pick but I like the move better here. They would be jumping ahead of teams like Oakland and Jacksonville who also passed on a quarterback in the 1st round.
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