I thought the season ended badly with our playoff disaster but damn, this free agency period is just piling on the misery. No impact resignings or signings. Talk about going from one major hole to about four in two days. I was expecting one impact signing at least and resigning Schwartz. Can we say EXODUS?! Who wouldn't want to get as far away from that playoff stink as possible, I guess?
Anyways, I'm going to pretend this free agency period is over and drown my miseries in an updated mock draft of the first round. My first one you can find here... Hey Joel and Chris, maybe if I get the most first-round picks right, I can win a paying gig with AP?!
#1 QB Blake Bortles to the Houston Texans... Bortles looks and plays like a prototypical pocket quarterback who's also no slouch running the ball. He looks like he could develop into a beast with no weaknesses in his game. Houston coach Bill O'Brien witnessed first-hand what Bortles could do against Penn State. The question is, will owner Bob McNair force his love affair with Clowney on O'Brien or will he let the coach start out with his own hand-picked QB? It's a crapshoot but I'll go with the latter.
Blake Bortles (QB UCF) vs South Carolina 2013 (via Aimal Arsalla)
#2 OT Greg Robinson to the Rams... Originally, I projected a trade here with Cleveland, but in this draft where there is so much value in round 1-2 picks, I think there are going to be very few if any trades. With that being said, Cleveland and their one-foot-in-prison owner Jimmy Haslam may just be desperate enough to do it anyways given the state of their fan base after the Chudzinski-firing-after-one-season debacle. Atlanta might try to trade up here to get Clowney, but I think they have too many needs to throw away another draft to get just one player, kind of like what they did to get Julio Jones. I think they saw last year that that approach sunk them long-term with depth and balance. Their playoff window closed real fast.
Breaking down Greg Robinson (via National Football League (NFL))
#3 QB Teddy Bridgewater to the Jacksonville Jaguars... I think this is the QB Jax really wants after signing Henne as their bridge and I don't blame them. I watched more of his tape and I apologize for calling him Geno Smith 2.0 in my last mock. He's much better. The only negative I've heard is that people think he's too small and won't stand up to the beating he might get. A lot of people have Jax drafting Clowney here but Bridgewater is much more of a sure thing than Clowney is because of work ethic.
Teddy Bridgewater (QB Louisville) vs Miami, 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl (via Aimal Arsalla)
#4 QB Johnny Manziel to the Browns... This move will sell tickets but I don't see him as a legit QB in the NFL, although Cleveland does have some nice receiving weapons. He's going to probably get knocked out his first season when he tries his patented head-first runs or dives into an NFL defense. If the Browns truly want him, they have to take him here with a couple other QB-needy teams picking after them.
Johnny Manziel || 2013 Highlights ᴴᴰ (via Harris Highlights)
#5 DE Jadeveon Clowney to the Oakland Raiders... The top-ranked player falls to the Raiders. Once again, I could see the Falcons wanting to trade up a spot here, but I don't think Oakland's going to bite. Atlanta's trade ammo is limited as well unless they want to give up a first next year. They would be stupid to do so with all of their needs. I see Clowney flaming out because of a lack of effort and discipline, especially with a Raiders franchise that's low on discipline.
Jadeveon Clowney Highlights - 2012 Regular Season (via GamecocksOnline)
#6 OLB Khalil Mack to the Atlanta Falcons... The Falcons need OT and RB badly but they also need run D toughness and pass rush. Mack gives them both. He may be my favorite player in this draft.
Buffalo Bulls vs Ohio State Buckeyes: Khalil Mack Highlights (via UBSID)
#7 WR Sammy Watkins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneeers... I originally had the Bucs taking CJ Mosley here but because of his injury history and not performing at the Combine, I have him dropping. The Bucs could also use some blocking for their anemic running game and to protect their string-bean QB from last year but they used free agency to address this weakness. Watkins seems to be everybody's consensus #1 except for the Bleacher Report. When in doubt, going against the Bleacher report is usually a good idea.
Sammy Watkins vs Georgia 2013 (via sm2635)
#8 DT Aaron Donald to the Minnesota Vikings... This one breaks my heart because I wanted him for the Chiefs. With Jared Allen moving on, Vikings need pass rush (and even with Allen, they were 31st in pass defense last year) in a major way and now they'll be getting it from the interior instead of off the edge. Vikings need a QB but with AP in town, all they really need is someone to run a play-action offense. I can't see them reaching on Carr here even if they like him considering their history of reaching on Ponder almost at the same spot. Carr should still be available in the second round if they really like him.
Did You See That? | Aaron Donald vs Georgia Tech | PittLiveWire (via PittLiveWire)
#9 ILB CJ Mosley to the Buffalo Bills... The Bills had the 28th-ranked passing offense and rushing defense. My guess is they want to upgrade that D so their offense can get on the field. Mosley allows them to move Kiko Alonso to his natural position outside.
C.J. Mosley vs Notre Dame (2012 National Championship) (via Nick Page)
#10 CB Justin Gilbert to the Detroit Lions... Another heartbreaker as I wanted him to get to the Chiefs. Detroit's new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin doesn't like short CBs and Gilbert had the best combine of all the corners in this draft class. He'll improve the Lions' 23rd-ranked passing defense from last year.
Justin Gilbert vs Mississippi State (2013) (via DCheeseB)
#11 OT Jake Matthews to the Tennessee Titans... The Titans are moving to a 34 defense and they need an OLB badly, but wow Barr really wussed out at the combine. I can't see them taking him here. The Titans have needs on the OL going into the future after the release of David Stewart.
Jake Matthews vs Oklahoma (2012 Bowl) (via Bruno Macedo)
#12 CB Darqueze Dennard to the NY Giants... Giants need OL and HB badly but I don't see them reaching here. They go with arguably the best CB in the draft seeing as they're not likely to resign triple-ACL-surgery survivor Terrell Thomas.
Darqueze Dennard vs Michigan 2013 (via JmpasqDraftjedi)
#13 S Calvin Pryor to the St. Louis Rams... The Rams need a #1 WR and safeties. Sound familiar? Chris Givens is not getting it done. With a deep WR class, the Rams go for the not-so deep safety class. Headhunter Gregg Williams is going to love having Pryor on his D. Another of my favorite players, a Chiefs heartbreaker, goes before #23.
Calvin Pryor Louisville Highlights ᴴᴰ (via Harris Highlights)
#14 FS Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix to the Chicago Bears... Bears have signed a lot of DL help and are moving Shea McLellin to OLB because of a Phil Emery brainfart in the first round last year. Conventional wisdom has them taking a DT but I don't see it with Henry Melton rehabbing strong.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix vs Texas A&M 2013 (via JPDraftJedi)
#15 DT Louis Nix to the Pittsburgh Steelers... Scott McClendon, move over. You've been replaced. The Steelers get their much-needed NT for their 21st-ranked run defense.
Louis Nix III vs Alabama 2013 BCS Championship (via JPDraftJedi)
#16 DE Kony Ealy to the Dallas Cowboys... Picking for the Cowboys is almost an exercise in futility. We are talking about Jerry Jones here. The Cowboys have a lot of needs but a lot of them might be fixed by changing defensive coordinators. They need a lot of help on the DL.
Kony Ealy vs Florida (2013) (via DCheeseB)
#17 OT Taylor Lewan to the Baltimore Ravens... Assuming they Ravens really believe Steve Smith is still a starter in the NFL, I guess they're going elsewhere to replace the departed Micheal Oher at RT.
Taylor Lewan vs Notre Dame "Prince Shembo/Stephon Tuitt" 2012 (via JmpasqDraftjedi)
#18 WR Mike Evans to the NY Jets... Some people have Marqise Lee ranked higher than Evans but a lot of that changed after Evans' strong combine and Lee's poor one. Jets signed Eric decker but they still need a number one to give their rookie QB from last year a chance to succeed.
Mike Evans vs Alabama 2013 (via JPDraftJedi)
#19 OL Zack Martin to the Miami Dolphins... What a mess they have to clean up from the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito situation. Martin is projected all over the place and appears to be a tweener... a potential elite guard or a serviceable right tackle. Dolphins need players on the OL.
Zack Martin (OT Notre Dame) vs Stanford 2013 (via Aimal Arsalla)
#20 OLB Anthony Barr to the Arizona Cardinals... The Cards addressed their OL in free agency. Barr's slide ends here as they're going to need to replace John Abraham sooner rather than later. I think this kid is going to bomb in the NFL, but who knows, maybe NFL teams will successfully impress upon him the need to hit the weights. He does have the speed to kill, something most teams covet.
Anthony Barr vs Nebraska (2013) (via Nick Page)
#22 OLB Jeremiah Attaochu to the Philadelphia Eagles... This is a tough pick to make with his hamstring injury. Call this my surprise pick of the first round. I could see them going corner here as well. They were the 32nd-ranked pass defense with an anemic pass rush so I'm favoring the pass rusher.
Jeremiah Attaochu (OLB/DE Georgia Tech) vs Clemson 2013 (via Aimal Arsalla)
#23 WR Brandin Cooks to the Chiefs... TRADE DOWN PLEASE! This is not the draft to not have a second-round pick in. Oh well, we're cursed. I have developed multiple crushes on players after watching tape to put these mocks together. I think this pick comes down to the battle between WRs Marqise Lee, Odell Beckham, Jr. and Cooks. I don't think Lee is legit so it came down to Beckham vs. Cooks. Cooks won it with more consistency, insane college production and better speed. He's going to take the slot receiver to a whole 'nother level and I think the Chiefs are genuinely believers that AJ Jenkins can turn the corner as a #2 opposite Bowe. Cooks could also be tried there and could be as good as a young Steve Smith. I really don't want the Broncos to have a chance to draft this player. Tell me his highlights below don't give you chills.
2013 Brandin Cooks highlights (via OSUBeaversAthletics)
#24 WR Odell Beckham, Jr. to the Bengals... They need a viable #2 WR and Beckham is definitely that. Conventional wisdom has them taking a corner but you can't tell me they don't want to upgrade #2 Mohamed Sanu. This way, they can say they did everything possible to get Dalton over the playoff hump. I could also see them wanting to go OT but their weakness was run-blocking and most of the OTs left are better at pass-blocking.
Odell Beckham Jr. Highlights (via Nasir SoReal)
#26 WR Marqise Lee to the Browns... They need a viable #2 WR and Lee could even be a #1. A bad season, bad combine and body-catching problems caused him to drop.
Marqise Lee vs Syracuse, Arizona, UCLA & Notre Dame (2012) (via Adrian Ahufinger)
#27 CB Bradley Roby to the Saints... No shortage of needs as they gut their roster to stay under the salary cap. They need a viable corner opposite Keenan Lewis after cutting Jabari Greer.
Bradley Roby Ohio State Highlights ᴴᴰ (via Harris Highlights)
#28 OT Morgan Moses to the Panthers... The Jordan Gross retirement threw their plans into flux. While they badly need a WR, especially after cutting Steve Smith and losing Ted Ginn Jr., they can't afford to neglect their OT situation. This is a reach.
Morgan Moses (LT Virginia) vs Virginia Tech 2013 (via Aimal Arsalla)
#29 DT Timmy Jernigan to the Patriots... Patriots were aggressive in free agency but they need a replacement for the mostly washed-up and soon-to-be-departed Vince Wilfork.
Ultimate Timmy Jernigan Highlights | HD (via TheFootballman175)
#31 DE Dee Ford to the Broncos... Uh, the Broncos have needs? Not many after that run in free agency. If Von Miller comes back healthy, they could be a pass-rushing terror of a duo. Ford is a value pick that could play as a DE or an OLB.
Dee Ford vs FSU BCS Championship 2014 (via JPDraftJedi)
#32 OLB Ryan Shazier to the Seahawks... 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. Bruce Irvin's not exactly very productive on the other side, either. Seattle always makes a pick that surprises everyone but they clearly seem to know what they're doing. Embarrassment of riches for their defense.
Ryan Shazier Ohio State Highlights ᴴᴰ "You Can't Stop Me" (via Harris Highlights)
A handful of players I had fall out of the first round and I'll tell you why.
1) DL Rashede Hageman... one-year wonder who is a major project with horrible technique.
2) DE Stephon Tuitt... Too one-dimensional as a DE without much if any real pass-rush.
3) WR Kelvin Benjamin.... Very overrated. He's big and he could develop but coming out as a sophomore means the kid is probably pretty stupid.
4) QB Derek Carr... Will be available in the second round.
5) OG Xavier Sua-Filo... He's good but not that good. He'll go early in the second.
6) OT Cyrus Kouandjio... Draft stock has plummeted after a crappy combine and seeing how poor he is at pass pro.