Final Mock Draft

The NFL draft is only a few days away. With the date being pushed back, it feels like it has taken forever. This draft class seems to be very deep, and the draft can shake out in so many ways. Make sure to check out this site throughout the draft as I will be releasing analysis and grades for each pick as they are announced.Also, the radio station I work at, WRSu 88.7, will be having a live mock draft on-air, and I will be a part of it. I am drafting for the Falcons, Packers, Eagles, and Saints. Listen in at WRSU.org tomorrow night at 8pm to see how that goes. Without further ado, here is my final mock draft before Thursday.

  1.  Houston Texans- DE Jadeveon Clowney- South Carolina- Opposing QB’s have nightmares about having both J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney rushing after them play after play. This could be the final piece to the Texans defense, and allow them to focus on building up their offense. I think Case Keenum could run this offense for the time being, provided Arian Foster remains healthy
  2.  St Louis Rams- WR Sammy Watkins- Clemson- Poor Sam Bradford has never had a true number one receiver to throw to. He has had some ok guys like Danny Amendola and Brandon Lloyd, but never a true threat like Watkins will be. It is time the Rams finally gave their former number one pick a chance to succeed and give him a weapon to work with.
  3.  Jacksonville Jaguars- OLB Khalil Mack- Buffalo- Mack is a freak athlete, and is just too good to pass up at this point. Jaguars are still a long way away from being competitive, and no QB in this draft is going to change that right away. Jaguars would do good to build up their team before drafting a franchise QB. Throwing a project onto this team would ruin their chances of succeeding. So for now they may as well take best player available, which is Khalil Mack.
  4.  Cleveland Browns- QB Johnny Manziel- Texas A&M- I cannot see the Browns passing up on Manziel. He may not be the best pick here, but he will be the pick here if the other picks before this are right. I could see them taking Watkins as well, and in fact, I would suggest it, but he isn’t here in this mock so Manziel it is. Browns are rolling the dice on this one, it could pay off huge, or it could blow up in their face. I think Manziel is going to be ok, at least on the field.
  5.  Oakland Raiders- WR Mike Evans- Texas A&M- Raiders take a slight reach here, but WR has been an issue for far too long to not address it. I could definitely see them trading down to take Evans at a more reasonable place, and get some extra draft picks as well. Evans will finally give the Raiders the much needed threat they need on the outside, and they can now focus on getting a QB to get that ball to him.
  6.  Atlanta Falcons- OT Greg Robinson- Auburn- The Falcons would have loved for Clowney or Mack to fall to them, and may trade up to take one of them. For now though, the Falcons instead get their choice of offensive tackles, which I am sure Matt Ryan will much appreciate. Falcons go with the upside of Robinson over the polished Jake Matthews here, but both would be good picks.
  7.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers- TE Eric Ebron – They may be a bit disappointed neither Evans or Watkins fell to them, but taking Ebron instead isn’t that much of a loss. Ebron looks to be a legit threat at the TE position, and the Bucs could use some more offensive weapons after trading Mike Williams. Ebron may be seen as a reach here, but it will pay off in the end when Ebron is consistently among the best TE’s in the league.
  8.  Minnesota Vikings- QB Teddy Bridgewater- Louisville Vikings need a QB after the Christian Ponder mistake a few years back. Bridgewater has the potential to be a real franchise QB. This decision is simple, they have some nice pieces on offense, and a good enough offensive line, they need to address the QB position, and Bridgewater is the most ready QB available.
  9.  Buffalo Bills- OT Jake Matthews – Texas A&M- While on the field last year, rookie QB EJ Manuel looked impressive. The problem is he was sidelined twice by injuries, Bills have to find him some better protection. They can do that while also taking arguably the best player available in Matthews. Matthews presents great value at the 9th overall pick, and fills a need. This was an easy pick for the Bills. If Ebron is here when they are picking, this may become a tough decision though.
  10.  Detroit Lions- CB Darqueze Dennard- Michigan State- Lions have a huge need for a shutdown corner, and Dennard has the potential to be a great one. A wide receiver to draw attention away from Calvin Johnson may be the sexy pick here, but after signing Golden Tate that is less likely. It is a toss up between Dennard and Gilbert here, both would be good picks, but I went with Dennard because he is more of the shutdown corner the Lions need. The fact he is a local talent also probably helps with this pick
  11.  Tennessee Titans- DT Aaron Donald- Pittsburgh– There are so many options here for the Titans. They could take the explosive but unproven Anthony Barr. They could take Teddy Bridgewater, or even a safety like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. They will go with Donald though because they are switching to a hybrid 3-4 front and Donald is versatile enough to play anywhere along the line in that type of system. He can play inside in a 4-3, outside in a 3-4, and can even play a little NT. He is fast off the snap, powerful enough to push most linemen back, and the tape shows he has tremendous playmaking abilities. Titans D Coordinator with have a field day with Donald.
  12.  New York Giants- OLB Anthony Barr-UCLA- The Giants may need an o linemen, but the Giants will never pass up a chance at an explosive, raw pass rusher. Barr has the potential to be deadly in the pass rush, and the Giants love pass rushers. They should probably take an o linemen here, but who can blame them for taking a chance on a guy like Barr.
  13.  St Louis Rams- OT Taylor Lewan- Rams will be very happy when the Giants pass on Lewan, as they are getting one of the most talented players in the draft because of it. Lewan would have been among the top picks last year had he entered the draft, and would be this year as well, if he could handle himself off the field. Rams have a need at OT, and can fill it with a great player here. They will roll the dice with Lewan’s issues and hope his talent will outweigh his antics.
  14.  Chicago Bears- DT Timmy Jernigan- Florida State- The Bears, for the first time in a while, have a lot of holes to fill in their defense. One of their bigger issues, is their run defense, which was decimated in a late season game last year against the Eagles, essentially costing the Bears a playoff spot. Jernigan is an explosive player and will help with that issue immediately, with the ability to collapse the pocket and chase down running backs. Clinton-Dix could also be the pick here, but Jernigan seems to have more upside.
  15.  Pittsburgh Steelers- TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins- Washington- The Steelers have a few needs to fill. Among the most notable in the secondary and on offense. Justin Gilbert will be very hard to pass up on here, but Steelers wont be able to pass up on Jenkins upside. Tight Ends with experience playing basketball have seen great success in the NFL, and Jenkins can be as good as any of them. Some rank him above Eric Ebron, but his stock has fallen with his recent DUI.
  16.  Dallas Cowboys- S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix- Alabama- Safety has been a weakness for the Cowboys for a while. For all the flak we give Tony Romo, myself included, he has been one of the most productive QB’s the past several years, and it has been wasted by an inability to hold a lead. Cowboys can give up points in a hurry, and a lot of that has to do with a lack of quality cover safeties. Clinton-Dix would immediately fix that issue. Calvin Pryor may be the more explosive safety, but at this point, Cowboys can’t afford to roll the dice.
  17.  Baltimore Ravens- WR Marqise Lee- USC-  Ravens cannot go through another year with only Torrey Smith as a reliable target for Joe Flacco. Despite the fact there is a u missing from Marqise Lee’s name, he can be a great asset for the Ravens. This pick should be a WR, to help their $120 million QB actually act like one. You can’t expect Flacco to succeed in the AFC North with only one good WR.
  18.  New York Jets- WR Odell Beckham Jr.- LSU- Jets should be giving their young QB Geno Smith as many weapons as possible to prove himself. Decker was a great add in the off season, but he alone is not enough. Decker, Beckham, along with Jeremy Kerley will be a good core of receivers though. Justin Gilbert also an option here, but it would be wiser to help the anemic offense, the defense can wait.
  19.  Miami Dolphins- OT Zach Martin- Notre Dame- The Dolphins are in desperate need of an O linemen after last years bullying scandal that cost them a handful on linemen, and Martin is the best available. Lets just hope no one bullies this new linemen off of the team.
  20.  Arizona Cardinals- QB Blake Bortles- UCF- Bortles looks like he could be legit, but still needs some seasoning. Put him behind Carson Palmer for a year or two and he could become a very good QB. Great value, and great pick here by the Cardinals.
  21.  Green Bay Packers- S Calvin Pryor- Louisville- This one is pretty simple, Packers need some playmakers, and Pryor is one of the best playmaking players in the secondary in this draft. Pryor is an explosive safety, and the Packers will benefit greatly from grabbing him.
  22. Philadelphia Eagles- WR Cody Latimer- Indiana- Eagles released Desean jackson earlier in the offseason, and now they find themselves needing another downfield weapon. Latimer has been skyrocketing up draft boards, and the Eagles seem to be very interested. May be a bit of a reach here, but this is one of the few guys Kelly has personally met with, and he probably won’t last much past this pick if the current trend of scouts loving this guy continues.
  23. Kansas City Chiefs- WR Brandin Cooks- Oregon State- In my last mock draft I had the Chiefs taking Kelvin Benjamin. While I still have them taking a wide receiver, it has switched over to the speedy Cooks. Benjamin’s stock is falling due to concerns of his consistency, and after watching some tape, I agree, Benjamin isn’t worth the pick here. He reminds me of Roy Williams, which is a very bad thing. Cooks on the other hand has seen his stock rise, and seems very confident he can succeed even going as far as to say he will be better than Desean Jackson. Cooks would be a great pick here for the Chiefs who need some more weapons on offense.
  24. Cincinnati Bengals- CB Justin Gilbert- Oklahoma State- Bengals already have a great defense, but there are a few holes they could fill. DE is probably the biggest need, but Justin Gilbert is just too good to pass up at this pick. If Gilbert is gone, I could see DE Kony Early from Missouri being taken here if Gilbert is off the board.
  25. San Diego Chargers- DT Louis Nix III- Notre Dame- The Chargers have some needs to fill on defense, everywhere. They could use some edge rushers, some corners, some linebackers, and a NT. With so many needs, the best plan is to go with the best value. Nix is the best NT in the draft, and will immediately help the Chargers out. Other possible picks include VCU CB Jason Varret, and Missouri DE Kony Early.
  26. Cleveland Browns- WR Davante Adams- Fresno State- I have said it before, and I will say it again. If you are going to draft a new franchise QB, you should then focus your next few picks on getting your new QB. Adams may not be the highest rated WR left,  but he is the best fir. He proved during his time at Fresno to be a force, but has been pushed down the draft due to his conference. This is a mistake, Adams is a very talented WR, and will be a great player across from Josh Gordon.
  27. New Orleans Saints-DE Dee Ford- Auburn- Saints defense made a lot of improvement last year, but it could still use some pass rushers. Ford looks to be one of the best pass rushers in the draft. It will likely be Ford or Kony Early here, and Saints seem to have interest in Ford.
  28. Carolina Panthers- WR Jordan Matthews- Vanderbilt- Panthers need WR’s after letting most of theirs walk this off season. Matthews isn’t a burner, but he proved himself as a reliable receiver who should give Cam Newton a consistent target.
  29. New England Patriots- TE Jace Amaro- Texas Tech- The Patriots love their tight ends, and last year they had all sort of problems with them. Gronk spent more time rehabbing injuries last year than he did catching TD’s, and Hernandez spent all of last season trying not to drop the soap. Tight ends are a big part of the Patriots game plan, and they need to ensure they have at least one solid one on the field next year. Amaro put up insane numbers in college, and with Brady throwing to him he should establish himself as a top tight end in the league.
  30. San Francisco 49ers- WR Allen Robinson- Penn State- Yet another team in need of some help at wide receiver.  Difference is, the 49er’s pretty much only need receivers, and have the ability to move up in this draft. I am not predicting trades, otherwise I would here. If the Niners do stay put, which I doubt, they will settle for Allen Robinson. Robinson is another solid receiver who should contribute to any good team. It is far more likely though that they move up to get a Brandin Cooks or Odell Beckham Jr.
  31. Denver Broncos-OG Xavier Su’a-Filo- UCLA- After last years Superbowl, it is clear the Broncos O line needs help. Su’a-Filo is a top 20 talent who falls to 31 because of the lack of interest in guards in this draft. He would immediately step in and try to help get the Broncos back to the Superbowl.
  32. Seattle Seahawks- DT Ra’Shede Hageman -Minnesota – A player with untapped potential at a value, this sounds like a Seahawks pick in a nutshell. They certainly don’t need defensive help, but this pick is most likely the best value here.

Fell free to share your thoughts on this mock draft in the comments section. Criticism is always welcome, as long as it is civil.

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