I love the NFL Draft. It's a great wonderful time of the year where every team has all kinds of hopes and dreams (most of which get crushed come December). This is also the time of year where every person and their mother has a mock draft to share.
I regret to inform you that I am no different. However, my approach to my mocks is very different than the so called experts. Yes I watch tape, yes I analyze needs, however I don't have the time, nor intelligence, to know every single NFL team inside and out. Who does? Well fans of course! To research my draft picks I go on fan forums, blogs, and other communities to dig up what the fans are saying about their teams. There are a ton of passionate fans who dedicate a lot of their time to research his or her respective team needs. Therefore that is the first source I look to.
Without further ado, here is my first round mock with trades. If I get 10 picks and 1 trade correct then I'll consider this a major success.
1.) Atlanta Falcons (From Houston): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
-The Number One Pick hasn't been traded since the Texans have been in existence, but I think the Texans might make the Falcons sweat into moving up for their man.
2.) St. Louis Rams: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
-If Clowney doesn't fall to them then they lose a lot of leverage in trading with other teams. Jake long is coming off ACL and MCL tears and his cap number goes way up in 2015. Robinson fits the bill.
3.) Jacksonville Jaguars: Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
-Sammy Watkins is tempting, especially with the Blackmon suspension. But the Jags can’t afford to take risks anymore. They need a star now, and Mack, my top rated player, will give them a solid starter from day one.
4.) Minnesota Vikings (From Cleavland): Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
-Cleveland is reportedly enamored with Derek Carr, but pick number four may be too high to grab him. Minnesota on the other hand needs a QB now, and they’ll get their pick of the litter if they trade up. Based on reports I think they go Bortles.
5.) Detroit Lions (From Oakland): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
-Watkins slipping to number five entices the Lions enough to pull the trigger and trade up. They need help at Corner, and fans might not like it, but Watkins across from Megatron creates one of the scariest combos in the league.
6.) Houston Texans (From Atlanta): Johnny Manzeil, QB, Texas A&M
-The trade down doesn’t look as good for Houston now, for they lost out on Mack, Watkins, and Bortles. The local pressure is too much for the Texans and they pull the trigger on Johnny Football.
7.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans, QB, Texas A&M
-Had Manzeil fallen to them then they would have had a very tough choice to make, however, they have no issues taking the guy Johnny Football was throwing to. Evans fills a hole left by Mike Williams.
8.) Cleveland Browns (From Minnesota): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
-The Browns get the best CB in the draft, along with another draft pick from the Vikings. Gilbert next to Haden makes a scary secondary for an already solid defense.
9.) Buffalo Bills: Jake Mathews, OT, Texas A&M
-If the Bill really believe in Manuel then they need to keep him off the ground. Mathews fills a big need on the O-Line for the Bills.
10.) Oakland Raiders (From Detroit): Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA
-The Raiders will wait until the second round to grab their QB of choice, and instead get the second best pure pass rusher in the draft. He will compliment newly signed Justin Tuck well.
11.) Tennessee Titans: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
-With Barr and Gilbert both gone the Titans opt for the Michigan State corner, who is a better tackler than Gilbert.
12.) New York Giants: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
- Donald may be enticing, or maybe a WR, but the fact remains that Eli spent too much time on his back last season. Lewan would help solidify an already suspect O-Line.
13.) St. Louis Rams: Haha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
-Arguably one of the Rams’ biggest need is Safety. Their draft is stellar when they’ve landed both the top rated tackle, and the top rated Safety.
14.) Chicago Bears: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
-The secondary is a concern, but so is the defensive interior. It may come down to best available defensive player for da-Bears.
15.) Pittsburgh Steelers: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
-In what is potentially Ike Taylor’s last season the Steelers need to sure up their secondary. Their D only nabbed 10 interceptions all season, 29th in the league. I like Fuller’s skill set, leaping ability, and hands.
16.) Green Bay Packers (from Dallas) Eric Ebron, TE, UNC
-Ebron is the best TE in the draft, and Green Bay makes a deal with Dallas to leapfrog over Baltimore to get him. With Finely a free agent the pack would love a new seam threat for Rodgers to throw to.
17.) Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
-They took Elam last year, but he’s more of a hard hitter, they need a deep center fielder who can pick off passes.
18.) New York Jets: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
-Poor Geno Smith had no explosion in his offense last year. Cooks has elite change of direction ability. A short pass could always become a big play, something the Jets need more of.
19.) Miami Dolphins: Zach Martin, OT, Notre Dame
-There have been reports that they may go ILB or WR, but let’s not deviate from the bigger point. The Phins need a RT that’s not a turnstyle. Martin is durable, a leader, and may be one of the safest picks in the draft.
20.) Arizona Cardinals: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
-Carson Palmer turns 35 this year. Bridgewater could use a year on the bench to learn and get used to the NFL. This could very well turn into an Aaron Rodgers situation for the QB once thought to be the best in the draft.
21.) Dallas Cowboys (From Green Bay): Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
-America’s Team needs help on defense. Grabbing a LB could be tempting, but Jernigan will be disruptive in a division that has a lot of talented passers.
22.) Philadelphia Eagles: C.J Mosley, LB, Alabama
-The popular pick here is WR, but Kelly’s offense isn’t the issue in Philly. Sure they lost Jackson, but this WR class is deep and there will easily be speed prospects in later rounds, what Kelly prefers. Instead they take one of the best LBs in the draft who will provide stability to their front eight.
23.) Carolina Panthers (From Kansas City): Odell Beckham, WR, LSU
-The Panthers receiving corps looks more like a pop-warner group than one that belongs in the NFL. The Chiefs will be looking to trade down and they’ll find their partner in Carolina. They jump ahead of the Bengals who would also look to take the receiver. Beckham is explosive and will give Newton someone to throw to other than a bunch of potatoes.
24.) Cincinnati Bengals: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
-Roby could be another fit here, but it’s been reported that the Bengals like Verrett more. He compliments Hall and Newman, and will add stability to the secondary when the cap numbers of the latter swell too high to hold onto.
25.) San Diego Chargers: Louis Nix, NT, Notre Dame
-Secondary is a concern, but they may feel that the depth of the interior is more important. Nix is the best pure nose tackle in the draft and will plug right into San Diego’s D-Line.
26.) Cleveland Browns: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
-Pop the champaign bottles! The risk to wait on their guy pulls off and the Browns nabs their franchise guy. Carr is my favorite QB in the draft and has one of the best arms available. He has the potential to lead a major turnaround in Cleveland.
27.) New Orleans Saints: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
-Bryd was a clutch addition to their secondary, however they still need pass rushing help. Rob Ryan loves to be aggressive and the Saints will gladly pick up Ealy who slipped just a little further than most expected.
28.) Kansas City Chiefs (from Carolina): Xavier Su'a-Filo, G, UCLA
-Marquise Lee is another possible option here, but the Chiefs need interior line help. Su’a-Filo will be an elite guard in the NFL. Is it a glamour pick? No, but champions are built on a solid foundation.
29.) New England Patriots: Ra'Shede Hageman, DE/DT, Minnesota
-Hageman is the kind of guy Bill Belichick loves. He is versatile and can give the kind of d-line pass rush the Patriots seem to continually lack every year.
30.) San Francisco 49ers: Marqise Lee, WR, Southern California
-He has explosive straight-line speed that makes pressing him risky for even talented cornerbacks. San Francisco needs more weapons to take down Seattle and fight off their stellar secondary.
31.) Denver Broncos: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
- The Super Bowl showed all of the holes in the Broncos’ game. They are in win now mode, and Shazier had one of the best 40 times among linebackers. Look to this kid to be one of the steals of the draft.
32.) Seattle Seahawks: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
-There are very few holes on this team, one of the huge reasons they won the Super Bowl, but right tackle is a bit of a concern. They may be tempted to go with Kelvin Benjamin, but tackle is a more pressing need. Breno Giacomini was inconsistent last year and the versatility Moses brings is a huge plus for the champs.