With the 25th Pick, in the NFL Draft: Who am I gonna pick?
The annual guessing game continues in this latest NFL Mock Draft. The WHO lingers, followed by the WHERE… We can make assumptions and educated guesses (which is GOLD if you’re a drafnik). It is not exactly a “guessing game” either, if you can successfully point out the combination of each teams positional needs, with their subjective “best player available” evaluation (baring trades). Include hours of player analyses and film study of these potential NFL Superstars, it is not a prediction, but a subjective-biased estimate.
It will be safe to say there will be multiple trades, as there is every year, but guessing a draft day trade is more unpredictable than guessing which star in the sky is going to fall first.
1 Houston: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Clowney is a true #1 overall pick with ultra-omega upside. He will strike fear into any opposing QB and is clearly the best player in the 2014 draft. QB is needed, but Houston can still draft a good QB prospect later in the draft. Houston has been in this situation twice: David Carr & Mario Williams (and they should know what NOT to do). Clowney is a day one starter, future Pro-Bowler and the most talented player in the draft. Considering the “Mario Williams” comparison, Mario Williams commanded a $100 million contract two years ago.
2 St. Louis (from WAS): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
The Rams have two starting caliber left tackles already on their team, but neither are freakishly built and have the talent like Robinson. Robinson can start at right tackle day one, immediately improving the rush game, and protecting Sam Bradford and the pass game. Current left tackle Jake Long has a history of injuries and if/when he goes down, Robinson will take his spot (and keep it).
3 Jacksonville: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Jacksonville desperately needs a starting quarterback, but no QB in this class should be starting in the NFL immediately. The Jags need starters NOW (not next season) so they will draft the best player available, and start him now. Sammy Watkins will start day one and can make an average QB look very good. The Justin Blackmon experiment is failing, and any offensive weapon is needed. Watkins is the best weapon in the draft..
4 Cleveland: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Cleveland has many options with this pick, but if they don’t draft a QB now, they may miss out on all the top tier QB’s with their other 1st round pick. Manziel can sit and learn for a season and watch Brian Hoyer for a bit (or until Hoyer breaks again). Manziel has Michael Vick in him (but a better passer). Manziel can easily be the #1 overall pick (just compare college stats with Michael Vick).
5 Oakland: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Mack might be the best defensive player in this draft, but since he went to a smaller school and didn’t play against premium talent, he will not get the Clowney consideration as the #1 overall pick or best defensive prospect. Oakland must draft a playmaker as they are looking for a NEW face of the franchise. Raiders have a history of MEAN, and Mack is that. Mack can play rush (3-4) OLB in Oakland and learn to be a professional with all the new Raider oldies. Mack is a very VERY good draft prospect and deserves to be in the top 5.
6 Atlanta: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Matthews is a premier left tackle prospect, and easily a top 5 pick. Atlanta needs help to protect their superstar QB Matt Ryan. Matthews can be used at a right tackle in year one, and gradually take over for injury prone left tackle Sam Baker.
7 Tampa Bay: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville Tampa isn’t exactly looking for a QB this early, but Bridgewater is too good to pass up. Bucs new GM and Head Coach get their own-new guy as they look to clean house and re-rebuild. Expect last years QB Mike Glennon to be traded (maybe Arizona).
8 Minnesota: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
Bortles can go anywhere in the first round of this draft. His resume’ is fairly NEW (and almost incomplete), but his size, tools and “potential” can turn him into an elite prototype QB. He’s very raw (but high risk, high reward type).
9 Buffalo: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Evans is a true #1 wide receiver, and a very dangerous weapon for the young Bills offense. He’s a perfect fit with Slot WR Stevie Johnson and #2 Robert Woods.
10 Detroit: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Detroit can go O-Line or Cornerback here, but Mosely is a top ten talent, even though linebacker isn’t normally taken in the top ten (but he’s that good, and BPA)
11 Tennessee: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Barr is a little mysterious and raw. He’s a tweener-hybrid type of player: Is he a 34-OLB, a 43-DE (or a 43-OLB)? He should prosper as a rush 34-OLB Outside and can be the New Freak in Tennessee! Barr can play anywhere, but he’ll need some time to develop.
12 New York Giants: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
Jernagan is big, quick and violent. He can stuff the run and rush the passer as he’s complete DT, something NYG D-line requires and needs.
13 St. Louis: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Donald is a little short and smaller for a DT, but he is rare and fierce playmaker. Put him anywhere on the D-line, and he’ll shine (*one of my favorite prospects in this draft)
14 Chicago: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan St. The top corner back in this draft. Physical, consistent, seasoned and can fit into any scheme. Chicago needs to get younger in the secondary, and a DT or SS can be found later in this draft
15 Pittsburgh: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
“Protect Ben!” The Steelers live or die with their quarterback and adding one of the best and nastiest offensive linemen is a perfect combo in Pitt. Lewan plays like he has a chip on his shoulder, and he nearly looks like a Steeler already.
16 Dallas: Hasean Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
Dallas has a lot invested in their secondary, but they have been under achieving. Clinton-Dix is that missing piece of the puzzle and can make everyone in the Dallas secondary flourish. Clinton-Dix has great range and size, a great fit in Dallas.
17 Baltimore: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
Michael Oher’s replacement at right tackle (and a huge RT upgrade, who can play all along the O-line). Martin can play anywhere, and well excel anywhere on the line.
18 New York Jets: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Jets needs a #1 wide receiver, and Lee has that type of talent. He is very fluid and elusive an makes the game look like it’s in slow motion. Lee will be exactly what the Jets need and will start day one.
19 Miami: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Miami needs O-line help, as they lost several starters from last years bully problems, but free agency looks to be the O-line fix. They will draft BPA defensively and Gilbert is a great prospect.
20 Arizona: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
The Cards need to get younger on the D-line and Ealy is a prime candidate to rush the passer from the OLB spot. He is an extremely talented pass rusher, and often demand double or triple teams. Ealy is a very underrated prospect in this draft
21 Green Bay: Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
Prior is a fearless beast with tremendous range with the “thump” effect. He’s a great intimidator who will be allowed to freelance in the secondary
22 Philadelphia: Louis Nix III, NT, Notre Dame NT is the missing piece to the Eagles new 3-4 defense and Nix fits Philly perfectly. Kelly loves speed though, and Philly needs a new wide receiver, which can be found later in this draft
23 Kansas City: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Any offensive weapon for QB Alex Smith will work. The Chiefs offense needs serious pass catchers and Ebron is listed at the #1 Tight End project
24 Cincinnati: Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
Replacing defensive end Michael Johnson will be very difficult. Dee Ford is the best pass rusher available and Cincy is a great fit…
25 San Diego: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Head Coach Mike McCoy as expressed the need for TEAM SPEED, and he gets one of the fastest and explosive players in the draft. Corner back is a glaring need, but this draft has good corner backs all over the place. D-Line and left tackle have needs, but those will be address later in this draft. *LOOK FOR A TRADE w/ HOUSTON or JACKSONVILLE as they could peruse QB Derek Carr.
26 Cleveland (from IND): RaShede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Strong, big, fast and Intimidating D-lineman is what Hagemen is. He’ll fill a need for interior (3-4 DE) pass-rusher, and he is very good. Quick enough to play DE in a 4-3, at 310 lbs. at 6’-6”
27 New Orleans: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
See Hageman above, but with Tuitt is an inch taller (and a little better fit at DE in a 3-4)
28 Carolina: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU Beckham has been climbing up draft boards all season and Carolina needs pass catchers. Steve Smith clone, but younger and quicker…
29 New England: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Matthews is an good physical talent, but the Patriots scheme requires more than just physical traits, as Matthews is very heady and savvy
30 San Francisco: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Fuller has immense talent to be a shutdown press corner, but he tends to freelance a bit and has had an injury history. He’ll slide to late 1st round (maybe even early in the 2nd round). Playmaker
31 Denver: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Denver drafts an athletic physical freak and him paired up with Von Miller is very intimidating linebacking core.
32 Seattle: Xavier Su’a-Filo, G, UCLA
Investing in your interior line with a premier OG means you’re investing in rushing the ball and protecting your QB; perfect for Seattle. XSF can play anywhere on the O-line, but he’ll play right guard in Seattle (a glaring weakness).