Man, I've spent waaay too much time on this. Another year, another mock, another reason to go endlessly researching what different fans want on different team forums. It feels this creature's been growing inside me for months, and here's the baby.
1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney DE
Let's just keep it simple here – Clowney's a once in a lifetime sort of prospect.
The Browns have quite a few picks, and I think they should have learned their lesson – if you want a franchise QB, don't just wait and grab one later. They've already made that mistake twice with Brady Quinn and Brandon Weeden. No, if you're in love with a guy, be aggressive and grab him. If you've got a franchise QB, you've got a chance. If you don't... forget it. That's what I think Cleveland's thinking anyway.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Khalil Mack OLB
OK, so here's my logic: Gus Bradley's a defensive coach from Seattle, and the Seahawks just won a superbowl with defense, a running game, and just enough passing prowess to get by. I'm still tempted to give them Sammy Watkins, especially given Blackmon's situation, but at the end of the day, I think Bradley will stick with what's worked for them in Seattle.
The Rams have a pretty sweet deal going here. By trading down to 4, they can still get either Robinson or Watkins (provided that the Browns take a QB with their original pick). I know they've signed Kenny Britt, but he's never had a year with over a thousand yards. At the same time, Fisher has also never drafted an OL in the first round. They've got a few picks now to cover all their holes, but they won't get another chance this year to pick at the top of the draft. With all this in mind, I think they should grab some firepower, some pazzaz, and just draft a RT in the second round.
5. Oakland Raiders – Greg Robinson OT
I don't think we have to overthink this pick. Robinson's the BPA (best player available) and Reggie McKenzie likes picking the BPA. Next!
6. Atlanta Falcons – Anthony Barr LB
The Falcons always seem to think that they're just one or two pieces away from a championship, and they try to fill those holes aggresively. Right now, their biggest needs are OLB and LT; so think about it, would they rather grab a tackle in the first round, and a pass rusher in the second, or the other way round? There aren't many good OLB's in this draft, but there are plenty of OT's. So at the end of the day, I think they'll grab Barr in the first, and wait for the second round for their lineman. Jake Matthews is still, obviously, a really attractive option.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans WR
It doesn't matter who the QB's in Tampa are if they don't have enough weapons. Don't count out Matthews here either. This seems to be the consensus pick, even amongst Bucs fans.
8. Minnesota Vikings – Blake Bortles QB
I just think Bortles fits what Norv Turner would want in a QB. He's a big, athletic guy who will learn and frow in this offense. Don't completely rule out Teddy Bridgewater either. I know he has fallen, but in a lot of ways, Bridgewater would be a nice fit.
9. Buffalo Bills – Eric Ebron TE
I love the Bills on draft day, because they never really seem to care how others rank prospects, they just YOLO it and fill their biggest need, often reaching for it. Is it the best idea? Maybe not, but boy is it fun to watch. Priority number one right now in Buffalo is to surround EJ Manuel with talent. Ebron fits the bill.
10. Detroit Lions – Jake Matthews OT
I'm sure the Lions would love a WR to go alongside Megatron, but if Matthews falls to them, they are running to the podium. The Lions are a BPA team – remember how they picked Fairley even when they had Suh? Matthews is clearly the BPA here.
11. Tennessee Titans – Aaron Donald DT
I always take a look at different team forums and try and percieve whom the hot name is among different fan bases. Let me tell you Donald's name is SIZZLING hot. This guy is not going to drop very far if everything I've read is indicative of the NFL's excitement.
12. New York Giants – Taylor Lewan OT
The Giants are a BPA team and if you've been paying attention, it should be pretty obvious. This is the team that grabbed JPP and Kiwanuka in seperate drafts when they already had the best pass rush in pro football. Let's keep it simple here.
13. St. Louis Rams – Hasean Clinton-Dix S
The Rams need a safety, Seattle just won a superbowl with their DB's, and Ha Ha's a legitimate talent. Now all they need is a young OT to groom while they continue to evaluate Jake Long's health.
14. Chicago Bears – Calvin Pryor S
In my view, there are three positions that could be taken here – CB, S, or DT. Jernigan is still available, but I'm not sold on his explosiveness. Chicago's CB's are old, but not bad, and they can get a guy there in later rounds. S however has been an overlooked position in the windy city for a long time. I'm going with Pryor here.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Darqueze Dennard CB
Pittsburgh to me may be the most intruiging team in the first round. They have a mountain of needs and can pick from just about any position. It's a deep draft, so they may very well trade down, making a deal with Jim Harbaugh's 49ers right before his brother gets to pick. The reasons I didn't pull the trigger on this trade were threefold: 1) Kevin Colbert (the Steelers' GM) really believes that a rookie needs to be mentally mature for him to be successful, and this is (in his eyes) the most immature draft class in years. Would he really want to trade down to 30, just to roll the dice with guys like Hageman or Benjamin? Dennard has all the intagibles that you'd want in a player. 2) Dennard fits the Pittsburgh defense perfectly. 3) I think the 9ers can get a trade two picks later with the Cowboys, probably for a cheaper price. So yeah, Dennard goes to the steel city. Just as an aside, Dennard was another name I saw a lot of when I did my reasearch.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Justin Gilbert CB
I think this is a pretty perfect pick for Ozzie Newsome – Gilbert's one of the best players left on the board, it fills a big need, and he has that athelticism and production that all Ravens' first round picks seem to have.