Mock Draft 1/31

1-Houston Texans-Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

A lot has changed since my 1st mock draft a month ago, but not this pick. Many have argued that new head coach Bill O’Brien only likes “bigger QBs” but if you look at his history of QBs outside of Christan Hackenberg(6’4, 220), O’Brien’s last 5 QBs in college on average were 6’2, 205. No brainer, Teddy is the pick here. His pocket presence alone will give him a chance to be successful in the NFL.
2-TRADE-Atlanta Falcons-Jadeveon Clowney, DE, USCe
This was slotted to be the Rams pick, but I think there’s about a 5% chance they keep this. General Manager Thomas Dimitroff has proven to be aggressive. Knowing they need an edge rusher, it gets no better than Clowney, who might be the best defensive prospect in 10 years.
3-Jacksonville Jaguars-Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
I just can’t see Gus Bradley taking a QB here. He’s been on successful teams throughout his career without a stud QB. The future is cloudy for Justin Blackmon, and Cecil Shorts missed the last 3 games, so the Jags were trotting out Kerry Taylor & Mike Brown, that’s now ideal. Watkins skills would be maximized & would be an instant upgrade.
4-Cleveland Browns-Johnny Manziel, QB,
The jump that Manziel made from last year to this year has been incredible. I think people ignore the fact that he’s only going to get better. You can see the work ethic, see the strides he’s made. Manziel behind an above average offensive line with an elite receiver as well as a good receiving tight end. I think Manziel will be a very successful QB in the NFL.
5-Oakland Raiders-Blake Bortles-QB, Central Florida
The Raiders have holes all over the roster, but there’s a clear need at QB. They’re in no mans land here, with the top QBs, Clowney & Watkins off the board. This is the worst case scenario for Oakland but I believe they’ll “reach” for Bortles, who has the NFL tools, and shows flashes, but leaves a lot to be desired for a top 5 pick.
6-St. Louis Rams(Falcons previous pick)-Jake Matthews-OT, Texas A&M
Jake Long tearing his ACL & Rodger Saffold being a free agent makes this a no brainer for the Rams. Matthews seems like the safe pick, but he’s also the best player on the board that fits a need. A win-win for the Rams as they get a player at a premium position.
7-Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
The Bucs need to get better at stopping the run, and need an edge rusher to compliment Gerald McCoy. The hate that Barr gets on Draft Twitter is something that I just don’t understand. The draft is about upside, and Barr oozes upside. Barr is very good at setting the edge, will be an instant upgrade in the run game, and he’ll be able to add a dimension the Bucs don’t have, speed.
8-Minnesota Vikings-Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
The Vikings have been burned by reaching for a QB, & even though it’s a big need, I think they pass up for a safer, yet instant impact player. Jared Allen is a free agent, and the Vikings could use an upgrade at the Sam LB position. Mack is an impact player who could play traditional LB and put his hand in the dirt on obvious passing downs.
9-Buffalo Bills-Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
The Bills could go a number of ways here, but there defense was excellent a year ago. Knowing they want to run the ball, Robinson makes too much sense here, especially considering they were dreadful at run blocking last year. Robinson puts defenders on skates and will make life much easier for Fred Jackson/C.J. Spiller.
10-Detroit Lions-Eric Ebron, TE, UNC
The Lions need someone to take pressure off Calvin Johnson. Corner is a popular mock here, but they just signed Chris Houston to a long term deal and drafted Darius Slay last year in the 2nd, you’re not drafting a CB at 10 to be your nickel corner. Ebron is a ridiculous athlete that will be able to stretch the field down the middle and be able to exploit 1-on-1 match-ups, even as a rookie.
11-Tennesee Titans-C.J. Mosley, MLB, Alabama
With both of the top tackles off the board, the Titans don’t reach for a QB and simply go best player available. Mosley would be a giant upgrade at the middle linebacker position. He has some of the best instincts I’ve seen and would continue to add the speed dynamic to the Titans defense.
12-New York Giants-Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
You can’t hide from the fact that the offensive line was a complete disaster. Justin Pugh got better as the year went on, and Beatty is on a big deal. A guard would be a reach when you can likely get the player in the 2nd round. Dennard projects to be the best CB in the NFL, and fits what the Giants want to do on defense.
13-St. Louis Rams-HaHa Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
I really think this could be a corner here, but that could also be addressed in free agency. The Rams secondary wasn’t great last year, Clinton-Dix would allow last years 3rd rounder T.J. McDonald to play primarily in the box. HaHa can do anything asked from a safety and would also be able to match up well against tight ends.
14-Chicago Bears-Tim Jernigan, DT, Florida State
I’ve noted that there’s no doubt the Bears have the worst starting safeties in the NFL. That said, they need help at every level of their defense. Jernigan would help their porous run defense. He’s as strong as they come and just doesn’t get moved out at the point of attack.
15-Pittsburgh Steelers-Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Though his tape is inconsistent, Hageman has the size, arm length & upside that leave scouts drooling. He should be a very disruptive player once he learns how to use his arm length, but should improve the Steelers interior pass rush. They should be able to get a receiver in the next round.
16-Baltimore Ravens-Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
The Ravens failed to replace Anquan Boldin, and though Ozzie Newsome has drafted a WR once in the 1st round since 2005, Evans is a guy that will be able to bail out Joe Flacco late in plays as he owns the catch point.
17-Dallas Cowboys-Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
The Cowboys need help everyone on defense, they were a mess last year. Donald is similar to defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, but I believe he is so disruptive that he’s just too hard to pass up. Donald has proven everywhere that he gets the job done, and see no reason that this will stop in the NFL.
18-New York-Jace Amaro-TE, Texas Tech
The skill position for the Jets on the perimeter is really disgusting. Geno Smith should fare much better when he has someone he can depend on. Enter Amaro. Who would be excellent lined up in the slot and is just as good after the catch.
19-Miami Dolphins-Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
Martin dominated the Senior Bowl. He proved that he’s an offensive tackle at the next level. The Dolphins line has major issues, and Martin is able to plug a big need. There’s no risk in selecting Martin here.
20-Arizona Cardinals-Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Kouandjio was exposed a little this year with some speed rushers, but he still has talent, and quick enough feet to fix this issue. One of the worst lines in the NFL, it doesn’t matter who’s playing QB, the line needs fixing.
21-Green Bay Packers-Louis Nix, NT, Notre Dame
The Packers DL didn’t get the job done this year, they were 26th in adjusted line yards and have quite a few defensive lineman scheduled to hit free agency after next year. Nix helps solidify the middle of the Packers defense and should really help the run defense in it’s entirety.
22-Philadelphia Eagles-Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Roby is a guy that I expect to blow up the combine. He’s nowhere near as bad as he’s made out to be based on the Wisconsin tape. He’s capable of being a top notch man cover guy that is very good at run fits in defense. He is an immediate upgrade in the Eagles secondary.
23-Kansas City Chiefs-Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Verrett is my 2nd highest rated CB, but because of his size, 5’9 sub 180, he’ll likely be overlooked. There is a lot to like about his game, however. He’s incredibly quick, shows the ability to lock down receivers, has incredible instincts, and doesn’t mind sticking his nose in to make a tackle. The Chiefs could upgrade at safety, too, but I believe that’ll be addressed in free agency. This allows Flowers to move back to the outside full time.
24-Cincinnati Bengals-Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
I’m not nearly as high on Ealy as most, but I can see where people would fall in love with him. He reminds me somewhat of the current Bengal Michael Johnson, as he wins with power mainly. I’m not sure Johnson will be extended and Ealy is the perfect replacement.
25-San Diego Chargers-Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Quite frankly, the Chargers CB situation is terrible. Gilbert would probably be the best cover guy on the team the minute he walks on the field. He has above average ball skills, has proven that he can transition well, and can flat out cover. He also brings an added dimension on special teams as a kick returner that San Diego desperately needs.
26-Cleveland Browns-Odell Beckham Jr, WR, LSU
The Browns would be lucky to have OBJ fall to their laps. I believe he’ll be the best WR in this class 5 years from now. He has no real weaknesses, plays like a low 4.4 guy, and owns the catch point. Factor that in with his ability after the catch and the Browns just got a real steal.
27-New Orleans Saints-Lamarcus Joyner, S, FSU
Went back and forth on this between Joyner, an edge rusher, and a wide receiver. Settled on Joyner because Malcom Jenkins is set to be a free agent and gives Rob Ryan 2 versatile safeties. Joyner can play any role, and is an excellent blitzer off the edge.
28-Carolina Panthers-Kelvin Benjamin, WR, FSU
Thought about going offensive line or corner here, but Benjamin makes too much sense. He’s very good at underneath routes and when Cam extends plays, Benjamin can be the threat down-field as he’s another WR who wins the catch point seemingly every time. It would be a great pairing for the offense.
29-TRADE-Minnesota Vikings-Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
The Vikings trade back into the 1st with the Patriots to select their QB. This keeps the Jags from getting him in the 2nd round. Carr comes with questions(pocket presence) but at this point is considered good value. Carr has a plus arm and is surrounded by a good offensive line, the best RB in the NFL, and good perimeter receiving targets.
30-San Francisco 49ers-Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
This makes too much sense as the 49ers draft Anquan Boldin’s replacement. Landry is in the similar mold that he catches everything thrown his way, and can make the spectacular catch. He’s truly a security blanket for QB and should be an immediate contributor as a rookie. 3 WR sets with Landry, Patton & Crabtree moving forward have a productive feel to it.
31-Seattle Seahawks-Xavier Su’a Filo, OG, UCLA
Receiver may be an option here as Seattle may lose Baldwin/Tate. But the interior line just hasn’t been very good and you have to win in this league inside out. Su’a Filo fits what the Seahawks want to do as he is a very good run blocker and has no issues when asked to pull.
32-Denver Broncos-Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Denver could use an upgrade at safety. I don’t expect Pryor to test well. as I’ve stated before I think his speed isn’t at an elite level, but his instincts and ball skills usually leave him making plays. He would come in and become a natural play maker in the Broncos secondary.
Round 2
33-Houston Texans-Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn
The Texans take the best edge rusher on the board that can come in and be an immediate sack artist.
34-Washington Redskins-Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU
Brian Orkapo is a free agent, and Van Noy is a complete player that is a 1st round talent. Van Noy can also slid inside if need be and should be a good player for years to come.
35-Cleveland Browns-Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State
The Browns could stand to upgrade at guard and Jackson is a guy that’s proven he can keep the QB clean. Protecting Manziel here seems like an obvious pick.
36-Oakland Raiders-Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech
The Raiders need to upgrade their pass rush and do so by drafting Attaochu. He not only gives them a much needed pass rush but upgrades the defenses athleticism as well.
37-St. Louis Rams-Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
Having this pick after the Falcons traded for Clowney. The signing of Cortland Finnegan was a disaster. Drafting a CB who might go through some rough patches, but has all the tools to be successful makes sense. It will also allow them to kick Janoris Jenkins to the slot on 3rd downs, where his play-making ability will be magnified.
38-Tampa Bay Buccaneers-David Yankey, OG, Stanford
The Bucs need to do a better job at proctecting the passer. Yankey can come in and unseat Davin Joesph who struggled mightily last year.
39th-Jacksonville Jaguars-Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
The Jags get a QB that can come in and won’t be asked to do it all by himself. He’ll be able to rely on the weapons around him. He has a lightning quick release and has shown to have enough zip to cut it in the NFL. It will be hard for Gus to pass up on this next pick.
40th-New England Patriots, Dominique Easley, DT, Florida
The Patriots interior defensive line was a mess this year. Once Wilfork went down, it was a complete disaster. Belichick loves DL who are versatile, and it doesn’t get much better than Easley, who if not for coming off an injury, is a top 15 lock. (This pick is from the Vikings trading for Derek Carr.)
41st-Buffalo Bills-Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
Giving E.J. Manuel a security blanket is essential. Niklas can run any route, can is capable of stretching the field, and has a huge catch radius. He will help as an inline blocker and make help the offense take the next step.
42nd-Tennessee Titans-Ju’Wuan James, OT, Tennessee
It’s been noted now that RT David Stewart will not be back. Building around Jake Locker, James arguably was the best OT on the team in ’13. He should come in and continue to solidify the Titans line.
43rd-New York Giants-Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor
Though this seems a little high for me, it seems as if you keep Richardson in a phone booth, he’s fine. He does have a lot of refining to do in his game, but there’s no way he can be worse than what the Giants through out there last year.
44th-St. Louis Rams-Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
For a team that didn’t make the playoffs, the Rams are covered in young talent. Adding Sutton along this young DL would be beneficial. He’s proven to be a disruptive player.
45th-Detroit Lions-Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
Louis Delmas is slated to be a free agent after next year. Ward can come in on Nickel situations if he doesn’t start and guard the slot or at least give the Lions more versatility. He’s the most complete safety left on the board and would upgrade the Lions secondary.
46th-Pittsburgh Steelers-Taylor Lewan, LT, Michigan
The Steelers have been burned by higher draft picks that have been tackles lately, and even though his struggles have been well documented this year, you have to think an OL coach can believe he can fix him up and get Lewan to play to his potential.
47th-Dallas Cowboys-Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
Barry Church has proven to be replacement level, at best, for the Cowboys. Bucannon would bring a physicality that’s lacking in the secondary as well as underrated ball skills and instincts. He would be the best safety on the team by the end of the season if given the proper reps.
48th-Baltimore Ravens-Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
The Ravens need to shore up their OL. They did so with Eugene Monroe, and Moses will be an upgrade at RT. He said he can play both tackle spots at the Senior Bowl and while he isn’t expectional, all he does is win his battles.
49th-New York Jets, Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Throughout the rest of the process I feel like Lee’s overall game will get exposed a bit. I don’t think he’s a natural hands catcher or a great route runner, still, this is good value for a team that is dying for play-makers on the outside.
50th-Miami Dolphins, Telvin Smith, ILB, Florida State
The two inside linebackers were pretty bad last year for Miami. Telvin Smith gives them a guy who will shoot gaps versus the run, and be able to stay on the field and effectively cover on passing downs.
51st-Chicago Bears, Dion Bailey, S, USC
I addressed how poorly the Bears safeties were, Bailey has enough speed to play the deep safety role and his instincts allow him to play faster than he is and be around the ball. He’s also very comfortable and active in run support, being a former LB.
52nd-Arizona Cardinals, Jake Mewhort, OT/OG, Ohio State
Mewhort is a tackle by trade, but showed he’s comfortable playing at guard during the Senior Bowl. I think he could be the starting RG and this would all but complete the turnover along Arizona’s line.
53rd-Green Bay Packer, Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Not only is this a need, as the Packers need help versus the run, but Shazier also adds some athleticism to Green Bay. Both inside LB’s weren’t very good a year ago, Shazier is an upgrade and a steal at 53.
54th-Philadelphia Eagles, Carl Bradford, OLB, Arizona State
I believe the Eagles will upgrade the safety position via Free Agency meaning they add a pass rusher at this point in the draft. Bradford can be a situational rusher and would be an upgrade over Conner Barwin’s production a year ago.
55th-Cincinnati Bengals, Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida
I’m not sold on Dre Kirkpatrick, and Terrance Newman/Adam Jones won’t be around forever. Roberson has the ability to excel in man coverage and would be a good pair along side Leon Hall.
56th-San Francisco 49ers, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
The 49ers have 5 top 100 picks, so I’d expect them to move up for a player they covet here. Instead, I have them staying and drafting a developmental corner who has every tool you look for.
57th-San Diego Chargers, Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
A pass rusher is needed, but a WR is just as big a need. It’s Keenan Allen, and nobody else. Cooks not only stretches the field, but San Diego’s offense is tailored to maximize Cooks strengths. Speed, YAC, and ball skills. For a 5’9 WR, he’s exceptional at high pointing the ball
58th-New Orleans Saints, Marcus Smith, OLB, Louisville
Smith is excellent value at this point and would give the Saints a potent pass rush alongside Wake & Gallette. Another versatile player that fits what Rob Ryan likes to do.
59th-Indianapolis Colts, Jon Halapio, Florida
One of the worst interior lines in the NFL, and worst right guards, Halapio would come in and be an instant upgrade. He showed all his skills at the Senior Bowl, looking like he recovered from injuries earlier in the season.
60th-Carolina Panthers, Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
I believe Carolina will solve it’s OT/CB problem via free agency and get Cam weapons via the draft. They continue the run at WR with Robinson here, who is a precise route runner & incredible at double moves. He could develop into Cam’s favorite target.
61st-San Francisco 49ers, Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
A luxury pick for the 49ers, not knowing exactly what Marcus Lattimore will be when he returns, and Frank Gore “slowing down,” Hyde has great value at this point and would flourish behind this line with his vision and burst.
62nd-New England Patriots, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
This offense just doesn’t hum along like normal without a TE. ASJ has very good size & speed, as well as a good catch radius. This would allow the Patriots to get back into their patent “12” personnel with Gronkowski healthy.
63rd-Seattle Seahawks- Davante Adams, WR, Fresno St.
I think the Seahawks will lose 2 WRs as I stated earlier, and they’ll need help on the perimeter. Adams is a similiar vertical threat that should be able to come in and have an impact as a rookie.
64th-Denver Broncos, Daquan Jones, DT, Penn State
This pick just gives the Broncos more versatility along the defensive line and will help shore up their struggles stopping the run. Another good value pick late in the 2nd round.