The NFL Draft will take place from May 8th to May 10th in New York. Several future NFLers will be looking to forge their careers with an NFL team, others just hoping to get drafted. Here we have compiled a mock draft of the first round, without trades.
1. Houston Texans- Jadeveon Clowney, DE, University of South Carolina
With the 1st overall pick of the NFL Draft, we have the Houston Texans taking Jadeveon Clowney. Many questions have been raised about Clowney’s commitment and determination to being a pro. However, his raw talent and strength outweigh those questions as he will be teaming up with JJ Watt in the upcoming season.
2. St. Louis Rams- Jake Matthews, OL, Texas A&M
St. Louis has several pieces in place to have an outstanding offensive line next year. Adding Matthews to the combination would help out tremendously on the line. Matthews is one of the safest picks in the draft, expect the Rams to go after him.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars- Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
Jacksonville has been searching for a franchise quarterback since the glory days of David Garrard. They may find one in this years draft with big Blake Bortles. Watching him play looks eerily similar to watching Ben Roethlisberger play. Bortles could finally be the answer in Jacksonville.
4. Cleveland Browns- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
This is the pick Cleveland needs to make. Not only could Johnny Football be a potential Pro Bowl and franchise quarterback, he would fill seats in Cleveland for years to come. He may be a bit undersized for the NFL, but Cleveland needs to take a chance on a quarterback. Manziel could be the new face of the Cleveland Browns.
5. Oakland Raiders- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
With Oaklands recent acquisition of Matt Schaub, the Raiders may finally have somebody to throw the ball. Now they need a true #1 receiver to to add to an underrated group of receivers. Enter Sammy Watkins. Watkins is quite possibly the most explosive playmaker in the draft, expect Oakland to pick Watkins at #5 overall.
6. Atlanta Falcons- Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Mack is the best LB in the draft. Atlanta’s defense was far from the stellar unit that took it to the playoffs just one season ago. Could the answer be a rookie linebacker out of Buffalo? Quite possibly, expect Mack to go to the Falcons.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Offensive tackles are crucial in todays NFL. In a league where the long ball is a very important part of the game, teams need to be able to protect the quarterback. At 6’ 5” 332 lbs, Greg Robinson is designed to do just that. This behemoth of a tackle could be just what Tampa needs to give there offense the spark they need.
8. Minnesota Vikings- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Minnesota needs a QB. It’s that simple. Ponder or Freeman are not franchise QB’s. Bridgewater is the best QB remaining at this point making this a no brainer for the Vikings.
9. Buffalo Bills- Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Taylor Lewan is an exceptional offensive tackle. Some coaches may be scared away by his tendency to lose his temper, however that doesn’t diminish his skills as a football player. Lewan would be a nice addition to the Bills offensive line.
10. Detroit Lions- Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
The Lions offense took a step back last season, however they still have all teh pieces in place to have a great offense. What they need is a few more solid defenders to help form them into a contender. Gilbert is the best CB in this years draft and fits the bill nicely for the Lions.
11. Tennessee Titans- Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Anthony Barr is a monster of a LB who has the talent to excel in this league. Coming out of college he is one of the most NFL ready prospects in this years draft. Barr would be a nice addition to this unit and could very well be a week one starter.
12. New York Giants- Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Ebron is the ideal fit for the Giants. At 6’ 4” he is a big target for Eli Manning to throw too and create some more separation for receivers such as Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. Ebron reminds me a lot of Jimmy Graham with his size and pure receiving ability.
13. St. Louis Rams- Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Mike Evans is the biggest receiver in the draft and would be considered a much higher rated prospect of it weren’t for one Sammy Watkins. Evans is a big receiver who has great hands and a great ability to go up and make spectacular catches. The Rams could use a playmaking receiver like Evans to help out there young offense.
14. Chicago Bears- Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
The Bears defense is not what it used to be. The defense that not too long ago led them to a Super Bowl appearance gave up the second most points per game last season as well as the most yards per game on the ground. Drafting Aaron Donald would go a long way towards shoring up that line and not letting teams run all over them anymore.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers- Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
The Pittsburgh Steelers had a middle of the road defense just like there middle of the road record shows. Adding first team all Big Ten CB Dennard should go a long way to helping shore up the back end of the defense. Dennard excels in press coverage and does a good job switching back and forth between man and zone coverage, making him one of the most versatile corners in this years draft class. He isn’t afraid to go one on one with some of the best receivers in the league as he did this often in college.
16. Dallas Cowboys- Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
Dallas had one of the worst rushing defenses in the league. Adding a big body like Jernigan to the fold would help plug up some of the holes that were left open last year. Jernigan was one of the better players on the national championship winning defense of the Seminoles, which should help him when playing in high pressure situations.
17. Baltimore Ravens- C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Ever since Ray Lewis retired following the 2012 season, the Ravens have been looking for a leader in the middle of the field. C.J. Mosley has the potential to be that leader and could be the missing piece to lead the 2013 Super Bowl Champions back into the playoffs.
18. New York Jets- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
The New York Jets have holes all over their roster, so we have them taking the best overall player in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Ed Reed isn’t getting any younger and was released by the team this offseason. Clinton-Dix can shore up their secondary, one that will have to face Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady (twice), not to mention Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers, Matthew Stafford, and Alex Smith.
19. Miami Dolphins- Zack Martin- OG, Notre Dame
Following the Jonathan Martin incident, Miami’s offensive line is in a mess. This may be too high for a guard, but need outweighs value at this point. Newly appointed GM Dennis Hickey needs to do whatever it takes to lead this team into the playoffs next year.
20. Arizona Cardinals- Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
We have the Cardinals waiting on a QB at the 20 slot. Instead, we have them completing their secondary, modeled after the rival Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom”. A secondary featuring Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Antonio Cromartie, and Calvin Pryor would be crucial in a division featuring two of the best young quarterbacks in the league, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.
21. Green Bay Packers- Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
The Packers’ D has been in shambles for quite some time now. Louis Nix can add depth to the defensive line and give B.J. Raji an occasional breather. Nix can also run block well, which is crucial in a division featuring Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, and Reggie Bush.
22. Philadelphia Eagles- Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
The Eagles just had an ugly breakup with Desean Jackson, their best playmaker at receiver. Odell Beckham, Jr. and Desean Jackson have similar skill sets, so Beckham can fill the shoes of Jackson in Chip Kelly’s dynamic offense.
23. Kansas City Chiefs- Marqise Lee, WR, USC
The Chiefs need playmakers to support Alex Smith. Dexter McCluster is no longer in Kansas City, and Dwayne Bowe is a good, but not great, wideout. Marqise Lee will be an instant No. 1 Receiver for Andy Reid and would excel in his West Coast Offense.
24. Cincinnati Bengals- Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
This is a basic need pick. Michael Johnson just departed for Tampa Bay, so the Bengals take an athletic defensive end in Dee Ford who can rush the passer similar the Michael Johnson.
25. San Diego Chargers- Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
The Chargers had the 29th ranked pass defense last year and will be going up against the Broncos’ receivers twice next year. They need to draft an able cover corner to go up against them, so they draft Fuller, the cornerback out of Virginia Tech.
26. Cleveland Browns- Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
After selecting Johnny Manziel with the 4th overall pick, we have the Browns picking someone to catch passes from him. Brandin Cooks can be the speedy wide receiver to catch passes from Manziel along with Gordon and Cameron and give the sluggish Cleveland Sports Market something to cheer about.
27. New Orleans Saints- Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
The Saints are going through a major rebuilding process on defense this offseason after letting go of Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, and Jabari Greer. Shazier can provide a spark off the edge for the Saints and can excel in Rob Ryan’s blitz-happy scheme.
28. Carolina Panthers- Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
Cam Newton has to throw to SOMEONE, right? After letting go of Steve Smith and not signing any receiver of his caliber, the Panthers’ receiving core is full of a bunch of nobodies. Adding Allen Robinson can give Cam a young, athletic receiver to throw to.
29. New England Patriots- RaShede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Vince Wilfork got his contract restructured this offseason to extend him for a couple more years. However, a deeper look into the situation shows an older Defensive Tackle coming off of an Achilles Injury. RaShede Hageman can be drafted as the heir to Wilfork. But don’t be surprised if Belichick trades out of this draft slot.
30. San Francisco 49ers- Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Carlos Rogers and Tarrell Brown moved across the Bay to Oakland. Chris Culliver is in legal hot water. Verrett can add a fresh, athletic new face to the San Francisco secondary, a necessity for their schedule filled with marquee QB matchups.
31. Denver Broncos- Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
After getting smashed in the Super Bowl, the Broncos went all out in Free Agency to add to their already stacked roster. But as the saying goes, you can never have enough good corners. Even after signing Aqib Talib to a long-term deal, we have the Broncos taking another Cornerback in the draft with Bradley Roby.
32. Seattle Seahawks- Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
The defending Super Bowl champions have their work cut out for them for a repeat. Several key players left via free agency, including offensive tackle Breno Giacomini. Kouandijo can replace Giacomini at the tackle position and protect against the ferocious front sevens of the NFC West.
This Mock Draft is brought to you by Nikhil Duggirala and Myles Aucamp of Big Play Nation