The bitter end of this season quickly put me in mock draft mood. Here's what I came up with. All of this will change with the combine and free agency obviously, but it's still fun to do and it prepares me for all of the upcoming AP arguments and debates. The theme in this draft is wide receivers.
I consulted with DraftTek, two CBS Sports mock drafts (I like Rob Rang the best) and their draft prospects list, the ESPN first-round draft list as well as each team's offensive and defensive rankings as well as their depth charts. I apologize this doesn't look as pretty as I would like (I'm using visual view, not HTML).
#1 34OLB Jadeveon Clowney to the Texans ... I don't think the owner is bluffing when he talks about Clowney. He did this once before with Mario Williams. If he wanted teams to trade up, he'd be bragging on a QB. I think the Texans can survive with Keenum or Schaub if he takes a pay cut or gets cut and resigns. Keenum could actually improve significantly in his second year as a starter and they still have Yates, who might develop. The Texans are a run-first team and that's not going to change, so the QB's not a big driver for them. Clowney is one of the few allegedly can't-miss prospects in this draft even though his last year of college production was underwhelming. His only scouting weakness is his lack of strength which any NFL program will significantly improve.
Jadeveon Clowney Highlights - 2012 Regular Season (via GamecocksOnline)
#2 QB Johnny Manziel to the Browns after they trade their second-round pick to the Rams to move up two spots to get in front of the also-QB-needy Jacksonville Jaguars... The very dysfunctional Browns franchise has a lot of needs and they have shown to be very unpredictable - other than they will suck no matter what they do. Even with Hoyer coming back, the word is the Browns have a mistake-by-the-lake-sized hard-on for Manziel. He'll certainly help sell tickets but whether he's an NFL quarterback is a huge question mark with his tendency to run after two reads.
Johnny Manziel || 2013 Highlights ᴴᴰ (via Harris Highlights)
#3 QB Blake Bortles to Jacksonville... I know everybody thinks Teddy Bridgewater is this year's best QB but good God he looks like Geno Smith 2.0 on film to me. Knowing Jax's history, they'll probably pick the wrong QB but I'm trying to change their mojo with this somewhat surprise pick. Bortles really passes the eye test on film and he played well against good defenses. People say he's more raw but he looks pretty fundamental to me and he uses the pocket well and goes through his progressions better than any of the other QBs. I really hope this pick works out for Jacksonville because they've been snake-bitten at QB for many years now.
Blake Bortles (QB UCF) vs South Carolina 2013 (via Aimal Arsalla)
#4 WR Sammy Watkins to the Rams... The Rams get the highest-ranked WR in the draft. I know they want/need OT but they also pick 13th and the falloff between OTs is not that much compared to what comes after Watkins. Once they get their OT, Sam Bradford better have a hell of a year because they'll have given him a lot of weapons to work with. If not, they'll be looking QB again next year. They're hoping Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews fall to them at #13.
Sammy Watkins vs Georgia 2013 (via sm2635)
#5 QB Teddy Bridgewater to the Raiders... The Faiders have a lot of needs but pass rush is probably #1. They go quarterback, though, because the "best" has fallen to them. I don't actually think he's going to be that great, which is good for the Chiefs. If you watch his highlight videos, you'll notice they all came against unranked teams. The Raiders have put a lot of resources into QB in recent years with little payoff. I actually think Terrelle Pryor took some steps last year and could develop but here's hoping the Raiders continue screwing things up.
Teddy Bridgewater (QB Louisville) vs Miami, 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl (via Aimal Arsalla)
#6 43OLB Khalil Mack to the Falcons... Wow, the Falcons were bad in 2013. They had no running game or rushing defense. It's either Barr or Mack here. Considering how bad they were against the run, they need Mack's toughness against both the run and the pass over Barr's one-dimensional pass-rushing ability.
Buffalo Bulls vs Ohio State Buckeyes: Khalil Mack Highlights (via UBSID)
#7 OT Jake Matthews to the Bucs... Glennon actually had a solid statistical year but wow that offense was craptastic because of no running game. I think the coach got a bum rap and should've been given more time. The Bucs are kind of like the Browns - they don't give coaches enough time and are constantly throwing the franchise into chaos. The muscle hamster was a bust of epic proportions. I think the Bucs invest in OT to keep Glennon upright and to have some more blocking for the run game. I do think it's going to be hard for them to pass on Barr, though, because of his speed as a pass-rusher. Getting the #1 ranked tackle, though, is harder for them to pass up. I actually think they may prefer Greg Robinson because Matthews only played left tackle one year and Manziel masks weaknesses in his OTs.
Jake Matthews vs Oklahoma (2012 Bowl) (via Bruno Macedo)
#8 43OLB Anthony Barr to the Vikings... The Vikings are a mess at QB. They look like the Chiefs from two years ago. That shouldn't be a surprise considering they had Cassel as their best option. Their biggest weakness was actually pass defense and the QBs left are pretty underwhelming so I have them going after their 31st-ranked pass defense with the second-highest-ranked pass rusher in this draft. If they go QB, they'll have to go Carr but he looks like British shite on film... can't handle the rush. They may try a QB in the second round or they may just decide they're stuck with their crap stable for another year and to make the best of it. They do have AP and any QB worth their salt should be able to run a play-action offense off of his skills.
Anthony Barr vs Nebraska (2013) (via Nick Page)
#9 WR Marqise Lee to the Bills. The Bills desperately need another WR for their rookie QB from last year, EJ Manuel. Lee had an injury-prone 2013 but he could be a good replacement/sub for Stevie Johnson, who's winding down his career.
Marqise Lee vs Syracuse, Arizona, UCLA & Notre Dame (2012) (via Adrian Ahufinger)
#10 CB Darqueze Dennard to the Lions … How the Lions couldn't make the playoffs this last season is a bit of a head-scratcher. Their only significant weakness was pass defense, which is surprising considering how much they've invested in the defensive line. They have to be going secondary here and Dennard is the top-ranked corner. I do think they will be severely tempted, though, to take MLB CJ Mosley, who can play inside or outside in a 4-3 defense.
Darqueze Dennard vs Michigan 2013 (via JmpasqDraftjedi)
#11 OT Greg Robinson to the Tennessee Titans … The Titans' biggest weaknesses were passing offense and run defense. This team is not far away from competing in the playoffs, although questions at QB persist and CJ2K is vastly overrated. With Robinson blocking for him, CJ2K should look a lot better. This pick and the #7 pick (Matthews) could be easily flipped. This is another franchise that I think incorrectly scapegoated their coach for the sake of change. I do like Whisenhunt, though, and I wish the Chiefs had picked him up instead of Andy Reid. It'll be interesting to see what he can get out of Locker. I could see the Titans considering Carr but he doesn't look as good as either of the QBs they have on the roster already.
Greg Robinson (Auburn OL) vs Missouri (2013 SEC Championship) (via DCheeseB)
#12 43MLB or OLB CJ Mosley to the NY Giants … The Giants fell off a cliff last year but they kept battling. Their defense actually improved a lot over the second half of the season... the offense not so much. Manning was horrible this past season so the big question is why. OL and sacks reduction are probably a primary goal but I can't see them passing up BPA here with the versatile Mosley, especially considering LB Jon Beason is a free agent. I could also see them going OT here but Mosley's too good to pass up. His injury history is somewhat concerning, however.
#13 OT Cyrus Kouandjio to the St. Louis Rams… The Rams were hoping either Robinson or Matthews would fall this far but they didn't. They take the next best LT and this team is stocked to do some damage in the very tough NFC West next season... unless Sam Bradford just plain sucks, which is a distinct possibility.
Cyrus Kouandjio vs Texas A&M (2012) (via Bruno Macedo)
#14 43DT Rashede Hageman to the Bears... Yuck, their run defense was the league's worst. Their offense played quite well in 2013 with both of their quarterbacks. Nix would also be a possibility here but he's a better 34 fit and he has balky knees and weight issues.
Ra'shede Hageman vs Michigan (2012) (via DCheeseB)
#15 OT Taylor Lewan to Pittsburgh... I wanted to pick Nix here again because one of the Steelers' bigger weaknesses was their run defense but his knees and weight scared me off again. The Steelers' biggest weakness was actually their running game, although that improved in the second half of the season with LeVeon Bell. This OT just sounds like a good fit with Steelers football.... he's nasty and a good blocker plus their current starter, Beachum, sounds like he's pretty marginal at best. Coach Tomlin hasn't exactly been singing his praises, either. Big Ben and Bell will appreciate the pick.
Taylor Lewan vs Notre Dame "Prince Shembo/Stephon Tuitt" 2012 (via JmpasqDraftjedi)
#16 WR Mike Evans to the Ravens... Baltimore's rushing offense was horrible and Flacco struggled without ironman Boldin. They hope Evans can become another Boldin and provide some good run-blocking from the WR spot.
Mike Evans vs Alabama 2013 (via JPDraftJedi)
#17 FS Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix to Dallas … Not sure what happened to the Cowboys last year. Their defense played well against the Chiefs but they fell apart the second half of the season. They will have a new D coordinator and they have some holes to fill. Clinton-Dix, who I think is going to be a bust, falls to them. It is an open question, though, whether they will want to take another chance on a highly rated Alabama player after their CB bust Morris Claiborne.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix vs Texas A&M 2013 (via JPDraftJedi)
#18 WR Allen Robinson to the NY Jets... Their passing offense and passing defense were their two biggest weaknesses. A lot of mocks have them going TE with either Ebron or Amaro but they really need wideouts first. The Jet's WRs are garbage and a legit receiver is needed to showcase their QB's deep-threat arm. Robinson was prolific in college but I could also see them going Odell Beckham, Jr. here. This is definitely a reach but given the Jets woeful WR play, I can see them justifying it.
The Supreme Allen Robinson Highlights (via MockingNFLDraft)
#19 43DT Louis Nix to Miami... The Dolphins really aren't good at anything. They were their worst at running the ball and defending the run. The fact they still can't run the ball even with all the investment they've made in running backs tells me there's probably something very wrong with the OL. I have a feeling they're going to acquire Branden Albert in free agency, though. Nix ends his slide here but they'll be playing him out of his normal position of NT. It's questionable whether he can play the 43DT position but Miami's desperate with both of their defensive tackles from last year being free agents and neither of them being particularly good.
Louis Nix III vs Alabama 2013 BCS Championship (via JPDraftJedi)
#20 TE Eric Ebron to Arizona… The Cards had a surprisingly good year in the toughest of divisions... the NFC West. Their only major weakness, besides Carson Palmer turning the ball over a lot, was the lack of a running game. I don't see Palmer surviving many more years, which means they could take a look at Carr but instead, I think they take a shot with a TE with tremendous upside but also a high bust potential. Ebron has the body and athleticism but he didn't produce much in college.
Eric Ebron || North Carolina Highlights ᴴᴰ (via Harris Highlights)
#21 DE Stephon Tuitt to Green Bay… Defense was the Packers' problem against both the pass and run. Tuitt is a gamble after an off-2013 but he could be good against both the run and pass.
Stephon Tuitt vs USC (2013) (via DCheeseB)
#22 CB Jason Verrett to Philadelphia… The Eagles turned out to be a pretty good team in 2013 after a rocky start. However, their pass defense was the league's worst. They need help in the secondary. This is where my Chiefs fandom is probably ruining my objectivity because they very well could and probably should snatch Gilbert before the Chiefs pick but hey, I'll rationalize it by saying Draft Tek agrees with me.
Jason Verrett vs. Texas Tech (2012) (via Mario Clavel)
#23 CB Justin Gilbert to Kansas City... Say goodbye to Dunta Robinson. Thank God. I'm actually sweating that Gilbert will be gone by the time we pick. He has better size than Verrett but he is a little slower. He's a good press-man corner, which fits Sutton's defense. This has the potential to be a good cascading pick. It should allow us to have up to four good corners on the field at all times if we need to, especially against Manning. If Cooper can improve, Smith can stop pouting, and Flowers can rebound, we have the potential to be a pretty good secondary at corner at least. We'll still have to deal with our miserable safety situation, however. Here's hoping Berry can bounce back from that miserable playoff game. FS has to be a major priority later in the draft and through free agency. Banking on 5th-round corner project Sanders Commings seems dubious at best.
Justin Gilbert vs Mississippi State (2013) (via DCheeseB)
#24 WR Jordan Matthews to Cincinnati... The Bengals really don't have any weaknesses. How they lost to San Diego is a mystery except that it was another playoff choke job by Andy Dalton. The Bengals may be considering an after-Dalton plan, which could involve a Kirk Cousins trade or drafting Carr here. Carr is a huge risk, however, and I would rather have Matthews' tremendous productivity and route-running tree replace Sanu as the #2 receiver. Dalton deserves one more shot in the playoffs before being written off as a starter. With few weaknesses, they could also go Kelvin Benjamin here on the chance he becomes the next Megatron.
The Supreme Jordan Matthews Highlights (via MockingNFLDraft)
#25 TE Jace Amaro to San Diego... The Chargers pass defense was pretty bad last season and they have major needs there, at LB and on the OL so they can go a lot of different directions. I am going against need with this pick because Antonio Gates is in decline and they need someone to develop behind him and to replace him.
Jace Amaro || Texas Tech Highlights ᴴᴰ (via Harris Highlights)
#26 OG David Yankey to Cleveland... The Browns continue to upgrade the offense with a good blocker probably for Ben Tate and their new human joystick QB.
David Yankey vs UCLA (2013) (via Josh DB)
#27 WR Kelvin Benjamin to New Orleans… The Saints struggled to run the ball and their D was a little weak against the run. But they badly need a replacement for the ever-declining Marques Colston and Benjamin is high-risk, high-reward. Brees could turn him into a beast or Benjamin could just be an undisciplined, immature sophomore who was looking to cash in for a large entourage of family and friends.
Kelvin Benjamin vs Florida (2013) (via DCheeseB)
#28 WR Odell Beckham, Jr. to Carolina… The Panthers had a hell of a year and their coach won coach of the year. I'm still not sold on Cam Newton and their passing offense was pretty bad. He's too inconsistent. The Panthers really need another WR because Steve Smith is dropping off and near the end.
Odell Beckham Jr. Highlights (via Nasir SoReal)
#29 DE Kony Ealy to New England… Because of the lack of 4-3 defenses, the Pats luck out with Ealy falling this far. The Patriots major weakness was run defense and they were almost the worst at it. How Belichick keeps getting this team to the playoffs is some real craftsmanship but this a pretty good value pick right here considering many have him ranked to go higher.
Kony Ealy vs Florida (2013) (via DCheeseB)
#30 WR Brandin Cooks to San Francisco... This was a tough pick to call. A lot of people think the 49ers will be afraid to go with a WR again after getting burned by AJ Jenkins, but I don't think that's how they roll in SF. They have a good GM who is right a lot more often than he's wrong and he'll just call it like he sees it.
Brandin Cooks vs Arizona State (2013) (via DCheeseB)
#31 43DT Timmy Jernigan to the Broncos... I struggled with this pick. They also need a corner badly with Champ Bailey near the end. Almost everybody has Jernigan as a first-round pick so I guess I'm just making him fit and he does here, with a 4-3 defensive team. Denver had a lot of injuries this year and they could use some more depth on the DL.
Ultimate Timmy Jernigan Highlights | HD (via TheFootballman175)
#32 43OLB Ryan Shazier to Seattle... I know this seems like a reach because Malcolm Smith won SuperBowl MVP but if you look at his regular season stats, they could use an upgrade. Seattle always makes a pick that surprises everyone but they clearly seem to know what they're doing. Embarrassment of riches on their defense. They could use another corner, too, for depth.
Ryan Shazier Highlights ᴴᴰ "You Can't Stop Me" (via Harris Highlights)