Aside from the actual football season, the NFL Draft represents my favorite time of the sports year. So much is going on and so much excitement is in the air, because if your team drafts a certain player you saw dominate the college game, that could be the missing piece to the puzzle. Whether your team is looking for a fresh start or is looking to get over the hump and seriously contend for the Super Bowl, the NFL Draft represents the ability to realize those goals.
It’s all the more fun to make a mock draft because you get to play general manager. Joe Wedra, Logan Quick, Kyle Casey and I will assume the roles of eight different general managers in this mock draft. Logan drafted for the AFC and NFC North teams, I drafted for the South teams, Joe picked for the East teams and Kyle picked for the West teams.
Beginning on April 6, we made our picks according to which available players we thought would best benefit our particular team. No trades occurred, and each selection was our own.
Let’s get started.
1. Houston Texans (Mike)
Selection: Sammy Watkins, Wide Receiver, Clemson
Watkins is an elite talent that can complete Houston’s offense. When he put his mind to it, he was the best offensive player in college football. He has specific goals and a vision for what he wants to accomplish. Adding Watkins to an offense that already has stars like Andre Johnson and Arian Foster? Wow.
I believe he’s far and away the best offensive player in this draft.
2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) (Kyle)
Selection: Jadeveon Clowney, Defensive End, South Carolina
A once-in-a-decade defensive prospect who, in the short-term, makes an instant impact with Chris Long and Robert Quinn. In the long-term, Clowney and Quinn will make the best 4-3 defensive end duo in the NFL.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (Mike)
Selection: Teddy Bridgewater, Quarterback, Louisville
Bridgewater and head coach Gus Bradley have a zest for leading men on and off the football field. The former Louisville product goes to a franchise that is starving for consistency, especially at the quarterback position. He’s smaller than you’d like but his mental grasp on the game is as good as there is in this class.
4. Cleveland Browns (Logan)
Selection: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
5. Oakland Raiders (Kyle)
Selection: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Johnny Manziel was strongly considered for this pick, but for a team so deprived of talent, getting a rare prospect of Robinson’s caliber will pay off in the rebuilding process. He may struggle in pass protection as a rookie, but long-term, he has All-Pro potential.
6. Atlanta Falcons (Mike)
Selection: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Mike)
Selection: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Lovie Smith fleeces the rest of the league as he gets the best overall defender in this draft. Mack can rush, play in space and play “MIKE” if need be. Alongside Lavonte David and coached by former Buc great Hardy Nickerson, Mack could do some big things for the new regime in Tampa.
8. Minnesota Vikings (Logan)
Selection: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
9. Buffalo Bills (Joe)
Selection: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
There are needs everywhere, but keeping the guy under center healthy has to be the Bills’ first priority. The Bills considered Mike Evans, Eric Ebron, and others here, but Lewan just makes sense. Some might call this a reach, but Lewan has the potential to be a pro bowler in the future.
10. Detroit Lions (Logan)
Selection: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
11. Tennessee Titans (Mike)
Selection: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Gilbert is a defensive Dez Bryant. He won’t be intimidated by the likes of Andrew Luck, Andre Johnson, or other AFC South offensive stars. He addresses a need for the Titans, so if he’s on the board at this point, expect Tennessee to take him.
12. New York Giants (Joe)
Selection: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Ebron will bring an elite play-making ability to this offense. Eli Manning can use a sure thing on offense and Ebron can bring that to the Giants. Tight End is an area of need for them, but with this pick, that need no longer exists.
13. St. Louis Rams (Kyle)
Selection: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Kudos to the other teams for passing on Manziel. The Rams gladly take the second best quarterback in the draft (behind Bridgewater), who will help get this team out of the franchise purgatory Sam Bradford hasn’t been able to. Manziel replaces Bradford as the Rams’ franchise quarterback.
14. Chicago Bears (Logan)
Selection: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (Logan)
Selection: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
16. Dallas Cowboys (Joe)
Selection: Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt
Donald helped his stock tremendously in 2013 and he should be picked in the top 20. The Cowboys need help in the middle of their defensive front, and Donald simply works perfectly here.
17. Baltimore Ravens (Logan)
Selection: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
18. New York Jets (Joe)
Selection: Odell Beckham, WR, LSU
Some will argue that the Jets could use this pick on a premier defensive player, but they need to address offense. Beckham is a great talent and can make an impact right away.
19. Miami Dolphins (Joe)
Selection: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
No matter where he ends up playing at the next level, Martin can bring another strong presence to the Miami offensive line. The Dolphins need a solid barrier up front. Martin can help strengthen it.
20. Arizona Cardinals (Kyle)
Selection: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
The Cardinals are a few pieces away from being legitimate contenders in the NFC next season. Amaro, the most complete tight end in the draft, provides more versatility for the Carson Palmer-led pass attack and should bring instant impact to the Arizona offense.
21. Green Bay Packers (Logan)
Selection: Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
The Packers are desperate to upgrade at Safety and they catch a break here by landing Pryor outside of the top 20. The playmaker from Louisville would instantly upgrade the Green Bay secondary and could be a future All-Pro.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (Joe)
Selection: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
The Eagles need secondary help desperately and Verrett gives that to them here. Don’t be shocked to see Philadelphia double up at corner this year.
23. Kansas City Chiefs (Kyle)
Selection: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
With the potential to be the best defensive player from this class not named Clowney, Mosley is an instant-impact player. The inside linebacker duo of Mosley and Derrick Johnson could be among the best in the league.
24. Cincinnati Bengals (Logan)
Selection: Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State
25. San Diego Chargers (Kyle)
Selection: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Roby is the quickest corner in this draft and his closing speed and physical play should allow him to be an impact rookie for an average Chargers secondary.
26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis) (Logan)
Selection: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
The Browns don’t pass on an opportunity to create a three-headed monster in the passing game as they take Cooks to go with Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron.
27. New Orleans Saints (Mike)
Selection: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
The Saints would like to have selected Brandin Cooks as they lost a lot of quickness in Darren Sproles (Philadelphia) and Lance Moore (Pittsburgh). However, they don’t see Shazier as a consolation prize. He will instantly upgrade their defense and will probably start in Week 1 opposite Junior Galette. New Orleans has been looking for a consistent pass rush for a few years now, and they get it (and more) by picking Shazier.
28. Carolina Panthers (Mike)
Selection: Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss
There aren’t many others teams that have a more glaring need at one position than the Panthers do at wide receiver. Adding Moncrief to the mix will help Cam Newton and Carolina’s running game by lightening the box. He’s physically gifted and is a fairly clean prospect that should only improve. The Panthers will still need more help at the position, but the selection of Moncrief is a very good start.
29. New England Patriots (Joe)
Selection: Louis Nix, NT, Notre Dame
Four words: the new Vince Wilfork.
30. San Francisco 49ers (Kyle)
Selection: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Though San Francisco boasts a seemingly complete roster, the one glaring hole they have is at cornerback. Adding a potential No.1 corner like Fuller to the mix gives the 49ers an impact rookie who plays physical and shows top-notch instincts.
31. Denver Broncos (Kyle)
Selection: Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA
A day one starter, Su’a-Filo has experience at guard and tackle, but would project as a plug-and-play guard for the Broncos as they make another title run. Su’a-Filo fits especially well on the Broncos, considering their loss of free agent Pro Bowl guard Zane Beadles (Jacksonville).
32. Seattle Seahawks (Kyle)
Selection: Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
The Seahawks get a wide receiver who perfectly fits their mold: small, strong hands, violent blocker. Landry has the most dynamic catching ability in this draft class and is the most physical run-blocking receiver. Who cares that he ran a slow 40-yard dash? Landry’s route-running outweighs his speed and he’s an instant impact player.
Here’s a breakdown of our selections:
- 18 offensive players
- 14 defensive players
- 10 players selected from the SEC (most from one conference)
- Seven defensive backs (most drafted position)
- Three players selected from Texas A&M (most from one school)
- Rams (Clowney & Manziel), Browns (Bortles & Cooks) get dynamic talent and potential with their two first round picks
How did we do? Do you agree with the top overall pick? Do you agree with the Ravens pick of Clinton-Dix?
Who will fall? Who will rise?
We’ll find out for real on May 8.