The 2014 NFL Draft is less than three weeks out and things are as murky as I can remember in recent years. With so many great players atop this draft, it’s going to be a difficult call to accurately predict many of these selections. I think the top two picks have a shot at being dealt on or before draft day. If Houston settles on taking a QB and passing on Clowney I feel pretty confident they will move down the board a few slots remaining in the mix to snag Manziel or Bortles. In this mock, I’m sticking with Clowney but I went on the record last week, saying this pick could be dealt to the highest bidder.
1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
This one is Clowney or a trade back in my book. The question will be what team will be willing to give up a king’s ransom to move up for Clowney.
2. Atlanta Falcons (trade w/STL) – Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Atlanta finds it a bit too costly to move up to No. 1 for Clowney and wind up finding a better fit for what they want to do. The Falcons sense the Jags pining for Mack’s services so they pull the trigger to get a guy they should be targeting.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
With Mack and Clowney off the board, the Jags make the splash that is sure to send shock waves through the media. The marriage of Gus Bradley, Jedd Fisch, and Johnny is perfect.
4. Cleveland Browns – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
The Browns could go with a QB in this spot with Bortles, Bridgewater, and Carr still on the board but I think they stay patient and take a weapon for this offense. Picking up Nate Burleson isn’t stopping them from pulling the trigger on this offensive playmaker.
5. Oakland Raiders – Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
Oakland could be a good landing spot for Blake Bortles. They won’t have to rush him in with Matt Schaub likely to get a year to prove he can return to form. They may be bidders to move down the draft for a team looking for one of the tackles or Mike Evans. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Raiders were targeting Aaron Donald in a trade down or at No. 5.
6. St. Louis Rams (trade w/ATL) – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
St. Louis has to be ecstatic they were able to move down and get a guy they were targeting at No. 2. Robinson is a plug and play guy that should really open up the running game for the Rams.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Tampa Bay may be looking to move up the board for a receiver or they could stay patient at No. 7 and hope one of Watkins or Evans falls down to them. In this scenario they form a tandem of WR’s that can go toe to toe with Chicago’s in terms of size.
8. New York Giants (trade w/MIN) – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
The Giants have to find a LT if they don’t want Eli to repeat his abysmal season of 2013. They get aggressive with Jake Matthews sliding down this far and Minnesota is happy to oblige with Carr and Bridgewater still on the board.
9. Dallas Cowboys (trade w/BUF) – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Aaron Donald could wind up being the most impactful guy in this class. That’s a bold statement given the loaded nature of this draft but he’s special. Jerry Jones realizes it and moves on up to secure himself a 3T to pair with Henry Melton.
10. Detroit Lions – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
I’ve had the Lions going with Anthony Barr fairly consistently over the course of the last month or so. Someone I trust advised me that it’s unlikely they don’t look for an upgrade in the secondary.
11. Tennessee Titans – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Maybe the first real surprise of the draft would be the Titans pulling the trigger on Kyle Fuller over more highly rated (in the media) corners. His skill set really would be a nice fit in Ray Horton’s defense and I think he’s worthy of a look this high.
12. Minnesota Vikings (trade w/NYG) – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Minnesota is able to maneuver down the draft board and still get a QB capable of playing right away in Teddy Bridgewater. Kudos to Rick Spielman.
13. St. Louis Rams – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno St.
Another shocker but why not if you’re the Rams. I’m still wondering why Sam Bradford gets a pass for his mediocre play and injury history. Can the Rams afford to bank on Bradford staying healthy and carrying this team to the playoffs coming out of the NFC West. I don’t think so, so Les Snead calls Derek Carr’s name.
14. Chicago Bears – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma St.
The Bears should be players for Aaron Donald’s services as he is exactly what they need. If they can’t swing a deal to move up or he doesn’t fall down to them (highly unlikely) they take the next best thing in Justin Gilbert.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (trade w/PIT) – Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Anthony Barr fits the bill of what Chip Kelly is looking to do on defense. He wants long athletes with speed. Enter Anthony Barr.
16. Buffalo Bills (trade w/DAL) – Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
The Bills are able to work the board magically if this happens. Ebron is a guy they would give serious consideration to at No. 9, so this would be a great value pick at No. 16.
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