SkoodSports’ NFL Mock Draft: Volume 2

Posted: January 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

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With the end of the NFL’s regular season and the culmination of the NFL playoffs, it’s time to revisit our 2013 NFL mock draft with updates based on draft position and needs.

1. 34Houston Texans – QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

The Texans need to find a new franchise quarterback as Matt Schaub has clearly fallen off a cliff and out of the good graces of Houston fans and personnel alike. Case Keenum looked decent at times this season. But, he’s no franchise savior. Bridgewater, the consensus #1 QB available this May, will contend with the likes of Jadeveon Clowney, Jake Matthews, and Johnny Manziel for this pick.

2. 14-1 St. Louis Rams (From Washington) – OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M

The son of Hall of Fame lineman Bruce Matthews is a candidate for the number one pick, as bookend tackles typically are. The Rams can thank the Redskins for this pick, as Washington shipped it to St. Louis in the 2012 Robert Griffin III trade. Matthews fills a need opposite Jake Long and gives St. Louis, who lost their starting QB due to injury this season, some serious protection up front.

3. 30-1 Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida

Gus Bradley and the Jaguars have had it with Blaine Gabbert. The former first round pick has vastly underwhelmed and, short of a miracle, will find himself out of a job this spring/summer. I originally had David Carr’s brother Derek at this spot. However, the strong performance by Blake Bortles in UCF’s bowl victory has sent the gunslinger shooting up draft boards. Jacksonville has added incentive in that Bortles is a local Florida boy who could (maybe) boost ticket sales.

4. oak Oakland Raiders – DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

The Raiders could be looking to land a franchise signal caller. But, with both Bridgewater gone, they’ll risk another season with Matt McGloin or Terrelle Pryor at the helm in order to select Clowney. The South Carolina DE would have been the #1 overall pick last season. Instead, he is seeing his stock slip due to a perceived lack of determination and commitment during the 2013 season. Regardless, he is a tremendous talent going to a team that has never shied away from taking physical specimens.

5. cle Cleveland Browns – QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

The Browns have seen Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer, and Jason Campbell all spend time as their starting quarterback this season. None of them are potential franchise players, either. In fact, Cleveland has not had a bonafide franchise signal caller since Bernie Kosar in the 1980s. It’s time to take one. Johnny Football may have his detractors. But, there’s no doubting his talent as a two-way force at the quarterback position. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner could finally bring some excitement to the Dawg Pound.

6. atl Atlanta Falcons – DE/OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA

Barr was considered an option a month ago when this mock was originally posted. Since then, his stock has only risen. The UCLA hybrid pass rusher would fit a certain need for a Falcons team that woefully underperformed defensively last season. John Abraham is aging and cannot be counted on to provide an adequate pass rush anymore. Barr would immediately make the Falcons a better team in 2014 and beyond.

7. tam Tampa Bay Buccaneers – OT Greg Robinson, Auburn

One of the keys to the Tigers’ run to the National Championship Game was the performance of tackle Greg Robinson. That recent string of success has him shooting up the boards. The Bucs have a ton of talent on defense and at the offensive skill positions. But, they need to make sure that Mike Glennon has a pocket with which to look like Frankenstein in.

8. min Minnesota Vikings – QB Derek Carr, Fresno State

With Blake Bortles gone, the Vikings have to settle for Derek Carr. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Derek will be quick to tell you that he isn’t his brother. David never had a strong running game to support him and lead the league in times sacked in each of his first 3 seasons (setting a record in the category in the process). Carr has all the tools and intangibles to be a spectacular NFL signal-caller. Having a solid line and Adrian Peterson to hand the ball to for the first few years of his career should also help.

9. buf Buffalo Bills – OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama

The Bills have a massive chasm on the right side of their line. Their dependence on the run will only be possible if EJ Manuel can stay healthy and command the offense for 16 games next year after missing time during his rookie season. Kouandjio had tons of big game experience during his collegiate days and was a spectacular pass protector for AJ McCarron.

10. lions8 Detroit Lions – WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

Detroit could use a CB here, and it seems odd for them to draft a WR so early considering they still have Calvin Johnson in his prime. But, teams took Megatron out of his rhythm late in the season, and it clearly bothered Matt Stafford. If new coach Jim Caldwell plans on building a sustainable offensive threat, he’s going to need to get other weapons in the passing game. Watkins is the best available receiver and would give Detroit the best duo in the business.

11. ten Tennessee Titans – DE Kony Ealy, Missouri

Ken Whisenhunt might opt to grab a QB here if one is available. But, with the top signal callers all gone, it would be a massive reach to select one at this pick. Their next major need is defensive end, where the Titans need to establish a viable pass rush in a division that currently includes Andrew Luck and will likely soon include the likes of Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles/Derek Carr/Johnny Manziel. Ealy came into his Junior season as a likely 5th round pick. An All-SEC pick, the 6’5″ end recorded two sacks in his final game to push his season total to 9.

12. giants19 New York Giants – DT Louis Nix, Notre Dame

New York loves to beef up their defensive front, and selecting a potential top-5 pick in Nix would do just that. With Linval Joseph likely to command a large contract this offseason, New York could let their incumbent go and use those assets on shoring up a putrid offensive line and finding Hakeem Nicks’ replacement at wideout.

13. 14-1 St. Louis Rams – WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M

It would seem like overkill to select wide receivers in back-to-back drafts (not to mention that they used the 33rd overall pick in 2012 on WR Brian Quick). But, the plethora of picks that St. Louis possesses and their need to add playmakers certainly warrants the selection. Evans stands at an impressive 6’5″ and would provide a quality compliment as a red zone threat to the diminutive Tavon Austin.

14. chi3 Chicago Bears – DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida St.

I’m not so sure that Chicago can rely on Jeremiah Ratliff to stay on the football field for 16 games next season. Even if they can, their defensive front-seven was among the worst in football and couldn’t stop the run when their playoff lives depended on it. Jernigan is soaring up the boards after helping the Seminoles win the BCS championship and would be a brilliant fit on Chicago’s line.

15. pitt23 Pittsburgh Steelers – CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State

Granted, Pittsburgh could sorely use an improvement at offensive tackle. But, with most of the first round graded tackles off the board, Pittsburgh instead chooses to take the top cornerback available in Dennard. A possible future shutdown secondary player, Dennard had a strong senior season for the Spartans and would greatly improve an aging Pittsburgh secondary.

16. dal6 Dallas Cowboys – DE Trent Murphy, Stanford

I think Dallas will finally recognize that they need to find a legitimate pass rusher opposite Demarcus Ware. Anthony Spencer had a strong 2012. But, the injury that he suffered this year will plague him for at least the beginning of 2014. Murphy is a big (6-6, 261) specimen who can dominate opposing tackles with his strength and long arms.

17. bal33 Baltimore Ravens – OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame

For all the success that Baltimore’s line had during their Super Bowl run a year ago, that’s just how bad they were in 2013. If the Ravens are to rebound, they’ll need to keep Joe Flacco upright and get Ray Rice or Bernard Pierce going on the ground again. Martin is a bit undersized at this point (6’4, 308). But, with a little time in the weight room, he could be the best lineman in this class.

18. 20 New York Jets – WR Marqise Lee, USC

The Jets can’t go into 2014 with the same putrid set of weapons for Geno Smith as they did in 2013. Marqise Lee may spell his first name uniquely. But, he’s the best playmaker still on the board and would immediately be one of the best on the Jets’ entire roster.

19. mia15 Miami Dolphins – OG David Yankey, Stanford

The Cardinal have sent a lot of linemen to the pros, including former Dolphin Jonathan Martin. Hopefully, the Fish’s experience with the aforementioned former Stanford star doesn’t sour their taste for Pac-12 guards. Yankey is the top interior lineman off the board and will go a long way to keeping Ryan Tannehill upright in 2014.

20. cards22 Arizona Cardinals – OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan

The Cardinals have needed a tackle for what seems like a decade. They’ll grab a potential top-10 pick in Lewan, who falls down to the late-teens thanks to team need.

21. pack9 Green Bay Packers – ILB CJ Mosley, Alabama

After seeing their season end at the hands of the elusive Colin Kaepernick and his stout, linebacker led defense, something tells me that the Packers are going to want to find someone who can spy the passer. Mosley is the best interior linebacker in this draft and would provide an excellent complement to Green Bay’s tremendous outside linebackers.

22. eagles21 Philadelphia Eagles – OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo

It’s likely that Mack moves up the board as the draft gets closer. After all, he is probably considered at the same level if not better than Anthony Barr. His small school status, in the end, could hurt him. If Philadelphia is able to land Mack, they may get the best defensive player in this draft not named Clowney. The outside backer can play in both a 3-4 and a 4-3, possesses absolutely astounding physical characteristics, and is as good a pass rusher as he is a cover linebacker. The Eagles are unlikely to trade up. But, if they did, this would be a guy to target. FS Hasean Clinton-Dix would be another option if Mack isn’t around. As would fellow OLB’s Ryan Shazier and Vic Beasley.

23. kc12 Kansas City Chiefs – DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame

The Chiefs could use a deep threat at wide receiver. But, Kelvin Benjamin is the only wideout remaining that is worthy of a top-25 pick and he just doesn’t seem like a good fit for Kansas City. Tuitt, on the other hand, would improve an already strong defense by providing depth at the 3-4 defensive end spot. We saw at the end of the season how Kansas City’s defense wore down. The former Notre Dame star would help eliminate that possibility next season.

24.  ben4 Cincinnati Bengals – FS Hasean Clinton-Dix, Alabama

Cincinnati could opt to improve their offensive line or their corners at this pick. But, Clinton-Dix is one of the best defensive playmakers in this draft, and landing him at 24 would be a long term steal for Cincinnati.

25. cha24  San Diego Chargers – CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

San Diego’s spectacular run to the divisional round was accomplished thanks to an improving defense. But, the secondary remains an exploitable aspect of the Chargers’ unit. Gilbert is the best player available at the position and could go in the top-20 if he has a strong combine.

26. cle Cleveland Browns (From Indianapolis) – WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State

Cleveland should probably go defense here. But, this is the Browns that we are talking about. After selecting Johnny Manziel earlier this round, they’ll bite at the chance to take the 6’5″ wideout coming off a national championship with the Seminoles. Benjamin would match up well with the more speedy Josh Gordon to give Cleveland an absolutely stellar trio of receivers along with 2012 4th round pick Travis Benjamin (no relation).

27. saints18 New Orleans Saints – OLB Vic Beasley, Clemson

One of the best defensive players in football this season, Beasley recorded 19 tackles for loss for Clemson’s defense, forcing four fumbles in the process. Rob Ryan loves speedy outside linebackers who can cover and rush the passer. That’s exactly what he would be getting out of Beasley.

28. panth29 Carolina Panthers – CB Jason Verrett, Texas Christian

The one weakness on Carolina’s defense is in the secondary. Verrett may not have the size that NFL teams covet nowadays (5-10, 175). But, his speed (4.49) could be enough to boost him into round one.

29. sanf25 San Francisco 49ers – DT/DE RaShede Hageman, Minnesota

Justin Smith is aging and the Pro Bowl DE won’t be around for too much longer. Hageman is the type of hybrid lineman that can either play 4-3 tackle or 3-4 end. In San Francisco’s case, grooming him to supplant Smith as 3-4 end would give them a big piece to keep the pressure off their superstar duo at LB, Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman.

30. sanf7 Denver Broncos – OG Cyril Richardson, Baylor

Denver believes that they already have their replacement for Peyton Manning in Brock Osweiler. So, they’ll have to find a couple of linemen in the draft to protect them. Richardson has tremendous size (6-5, 340) and should be available at the end of round one.

31. sea26 Seattle Seahawks – TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech

The Seahawks have weapons all throughout their roster. But, Zach Miller is probably the weakest link altogether. The 6-5 tight end may have had the best numbers of anyone in the country, catching 98 passes for 1240 yards and 7 TD.

32. new17 New England Patriots – TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina

Considered the best tight end in the draft, Ebron caught 55 passes for 895 yards and 3 TD this season. With Aaron Hernandez incarcerated and Rob Gronkowski recovering from a torn ACL, what better way to improve Brady’s passing game than by landing the best tight end in the draft?

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