This week gives us no changes in the top four but after that it’s change galore. The pick sure to draw the most buzz, otherwise known as hate, will be John Football to the Buccaneers. Johnny will be in the spotlight today as everyone outside of the Browns embark on College Station to watch J.F. spin it. I know this won’t be a popular pick but I’d love to see what Jeff Tedford would do with Manziel at the helm.
Enough Johnny talk, this draft is incredibly deep. With each mock draft that I complete it becomes more clear that teams will be aligning themselves to stockpile picks in the first three rounds. I see the quality of this draft in those areas as you can find first rounders into the beginning stages of round two and second rounders deep into the third. The studs at the top of the draft will get all the attention but down the road the talk may be the steals on day two.
1. Houston Texans – Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
No changes this week to our top 4, so I won’t bore you with the same old explanation. I still think this one is a QB because John McClain said so. Until he moves off that stance, you will be seeing Blake Bortles atop my mocks.
2. St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
One point that I probably should have made with the Rams is that I think they trade out of this pick to accrue more picks – probably future picks. Former NFLF mock draft legend, Michael Profetta believes the Cowboys could be a prime target to move way up the draft and Les Snead could find J.J. a prime candidate to fleece out of picks for this and next year.That said, we aren’t mocking trades, so the pick remains Greg Robinson.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jadeveon Clowney, LEO, South Carolina
I have to say the QB’s in this draft are killing my mojo. I feel fairly locked in with my picks with the exceptions of where these QB’s fit in. It’s that time of the year that I begin to shut off my ears and hone in on what makes sense to me. Then about May 7th, I’ll turn on the TV and read the beat writers in anticipation of taking The Huddle Report crown this year. IF, Clowney is still there for Gus Bradley I don’t think there’s a chance the Jags go QB.
4. Cleveland Browns – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
The Browns are intriguing. They have filled needs in free agency and really need playmakers. I could see this pick being any one of the following: Watkins, Greg Robinson, Khalil Mack, or one of the QB’s. Ray Farmer is mum on the draft and I don’t think we’ll get any indication of what way the Browns are leaning until the pick has been turned into the Commissioner.
5. Oakland Raiders – Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Our first change to last week’s mock comes with the Raiders. Matt Schaub has been brought into to take the helm as a placeholder. Word sprang out this week that ‘they love Derek Carr,’ and I’m firmly not buying into that love at No. 5. Trading down or back into the first is a significant option but I don’t see Carr going inside the top 10.
6. Atlanta Falcons – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
With Khalil Mack and Jadeveon Clowney off the board, the Falcons hone in on a tackle to protect Matt Ryan. The Falcons were abysmal in pass protection last season, making this pick a no-brainer if Mack/Clowney are gone.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
I think there’s about a 10% chance of this happening but it’s a chance I’d love to see them take. Josh McCown will be 35-years old to start this season and the new regime clearly wasn’t sold on Mike Glennon’s future. If they were why bring a one-year stopgap after the kid started 13 games and didn’t play too bad. The Bucs freed themselves up to take a luxury pick by their offseason additions and really don’t have many major needs so why not take a shot on Manziel. Part of my reasoning on this is I really want to see Jeff Tedford work with John Football.
8. Minnesota Vikings – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
I kind of forced Manziel into a bad situation last week and didn’t feel comfortable. Manziel wouldn’t be a great fit with Norv Turner in Minnesota – not that Bridgewater will be much better. That said, Bridgewater should give the Vikings a QB to grow with for a long time – hopefully beyond Norv Turner’s days are numbered.
9. Buffalo Bills – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
I should have been more clear in last week’s explanation. I think Cordy Glenn is a stud on either the right or left side. In an ideal world – and Doug Marrone would agree – Lewan can step in as a franchise LT and Glenn could slide to the right side. Regardless I think this pick is a must because they have to protect EJ Manuel and Lewan can step in immediately at RT and provide a serious upgrade.
10. Detroit Lions – Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
This one is tough for me because Mike Evans is still on the board. Pairing CJ, Tate, and Evans would be a coup for Matt Stafford but I can’t see them passing on Anthony Barr. Barr offers a boatload of upside as an additional pass rusher to this defense.
11. Tennessee Titans – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
The Titans would love for an impact pass rusher to land in their laps but in this scenario they just miss out on one of the top three. I think they would look for a trade partner in this scenario but if they stay put they would be wise to add a solid cover corner.
12. New York Giants – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
The Giants need some interior pass rush and Donald can give them plenty of it. Despite his smallish size he is a stout run defender and gives you the explosive interior rush that so many teams are craving. If he makes it down this far (yeah, I think it’s possible he could go higher) the Giants should sprint to the podium to turn this card in.
13. St. Louis Rams – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
The Rams passed on Sammy Watkins with the second pick for Greg Robinson and they are rewarded with a nice addition at the WR position at No. 13. Mike Evans gives Sam Bradford some much needed size and talent on the outside. With Evans and Robinson in the fold, this should be the put up or get out year for Bradford in St. Louis.
14. Chicago Bears – Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
The Bears will be looking hard for a replacement for Henry Melton, who signed with the Cowboys. Jernigan gives them a guy that can play multiple spots, including the 0, 1, or 3-technique. His ability to push the pocket and stout, physical play at the point of attack should have him a prime target at 14. In my personal opinion this is far too high for Jernigan but he provides a ton of upside at a position of need for the Bears.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
The Steelers have some holes to fill. Where do they begin? I could have went in a ton of directions on this one. Zack Martin makes some sense, as do Eric Ebron, one of the corners, or C.J. Mosley. I kept landing on WR and I think Odell Beckham gives them the juice they need opposite Antonio Brown.
16. Dallas Cowboys – Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
If the Cowboys don’t trade up for a Jadeveon Clowney thy could be stuck at 16 without an impact rusher. Many people believe Ealy can be an impact pass rusher – I’m just not one of them. However, this is a position of major need for the ‘Boys so I could understand why they would take a shot on him in the middle of the first.