Join Date: Jan 2011
3/4 of the season done one rounder
First mock of the year. Order created using ESPN Playoff machine. All comments and criticisms welcome. Enjoy!
1.Houston Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville QB
The Matt Schaub era is over, and Case Keenum is clearly not the long-term solution. Bridgewater is one of those rare top prospects who doesn’t drop your jaw in any one area. His best asset is his mental command of the game. He should at least be a capable game manager as a rookie, and if he’s any better, he might carry the league’s biggest underachievers in 2013 deep into the playoffs next season.
2. Minnesota Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M QB
Manziel figures to be the most hotly debated prospect since Tebow, but unlike his predecessor in polarization, Johnny Football is a legit top 10 prospect. Sort of the opposite of Bridgewater, Manziel will have to answer questions about his maturity, size, arm strength and adaptability to the pro game. However, his breathtaking playmaking ability and consistent clutch performances earn him the nod over the more polished Derek Carr.
3. Jacksonville Derek Carr, Fresno State QB
The brother of a former draft bust has actually put together an arguably better senior season than the one that earned David the top pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. Carr has an NFL-ready game with the arm and mind to succeed at the next level. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t take the same beating his brother took over several years behind a CFL-level offensive line.
4. Cleveland Sammy Watkins, Clemson WR
Stuck in the toughest of spots, Cleveland clearly need a QB, but there just isn’t one available worth a top 5 pick. Instead, the Browns choose the plan their in-state rivals took in 2011 by supplying the QB they take later with an elite playmaker. Watkins has hardly been a model of consistency over his career, but he is as big of a home run threat as there has been in college football the past few years, and I expect his stock to rise after the season.
5. St. Louis* Mike Evans, Texas A&M WR
This is a hard one to pick. Clowney is clearly the top player left on the board, but with Chris Long and Robert Quinn currently playing at a very high level, there is just no need at all at that position. Instead, the Rams finally get that true No. 1 they have been lacking since Torry Holt left town. Evans is more a specimen than pure wideout at this point, but his measurables are outrageous, and his production in the SEC in spite of his rather raw skill set give a hint at his enormous upside.
6. Atlanta Jadaveon Clowney, South Carolina DE
An absolute gift after a disastrous season, the Falcons get the most talented positional prospect of the last few years who also happens to fill one of their biggest needs. In the real draft, I have to believe somebody (maybe Atlanta) will make a move to ensure Clowney doesn’t escape the top five. But without projecting trades, it is hard to find a great fit, unless one of the QB-needy teams decides Clowney is just too good to pass up.
7. St. Louis Khalil Mack, Buffalo OLB
A somewhat surprising pick because of both the school and the postitional value, Mack, the all-time NCAA career sack leader, has demonstrated over the past couple of seasons that he is absolutely worth a high pick. After recognizing the success of teams like the Seahawks and Panthers, I suspect we will see increased interest in LBs early in the draft. Mack will jump in on the strong side to form an elite LB corps with James Laurinaitis and Alec Ogletree.
8. Buffalo Cameron Erving, Florida State OT
Possibly the biggest surprise of the top ten, I project the ultra-athletic Erving to jump the other OTs who came into the season with a higher stock. In any case, I would be surprised if the Bills went any direction other than protecting their 2013 first rounder, who has already shown signs of durability issues.
9. Tampa Bay Jake Matthews, Texas A&M OT
Matthews fits both great value and great need with question marks all over the Buc offensive line. Had Matthews come out last season, he likely would have been a contender for the first overall pick.
10. Oakland Anthony Barr, UCLA OLB
Like Clowney in front of him, Barr is ridiculous value at No. 10. It is actually somewhat surprising to me that Barr isn’t getting any Heisman run, as he has just been an animal against both the pass and the run. The biggest issue for Barr will be scheme fit. He fits better in a 3-4, which Oakland doesn’t currently run. However, Barr is just too good to drop much further.
11. Green Bay Ryan Shazier, Ohio State ILB
The overblown issues surrounding Ohio State’s defense have overshadowed just how good Shazier has been this season. Extremely athletic, Shazier fits the profile of 2013 first rounder Alec Ogletree without the questions surrounding character and physicality. He is an upgrade for Green Bay’s aging and slow defensive middle.
12. Jets Jace Amaro, Texas Tech TE
If the Geno Smith experiment is going to work, the Jets are going to have to supply him with real NFL weapons. A beefed-up receiver, Amaro possesses many of the same traits of many of the guys dominating the position in the NFL. In fact, if he checks out character-wise, he should be one of the safer picks come May.
13. Tennessee Vic Beasley, Clemson DE
Tennessee is currently my choice for the most non-descript team in the league. They embody mediocrity, and part of the reason has been their inability to put pressure on the QB. Excellent DT Jurrell Casey leads the way with 9 sacks, but there is very little to fear off the edge. Beasley has come on very strong this season and is likely to come out. After Beasley, there aren’t a ton of prospects capable of striking fear into the QB with their hand in the dirt.
14. Giants C.J. Mosley, Alabama LB
The Giants have rotated a cast of journeymen through their Mike LB position, and none have exceeded their modest expectations. Mosley comes in as much more than a solid, always in position defender; he is also one of the hardest hitters in college football. Mosley is probably the most well-rounded LB in the draft, and should have no trouble transitioning from a 3-4 to a 4-3.
15, Pittsburgh Cyrus Kouandijo, Alabama OT
Big Ben is not so mobile anymore and his career could end much sooner than necessary if the front office doesn’t find a capable blindside protector. Kouandijo has been a road grader on the country’s best line for three years now, and is used to the brand of football preferred in Steel City.
16. Chicago Rashede Hageman, Minnesota DT
Henry Melton may be one of the league’s best D linemen, but questions abound nearly everywhere else up front. Hageman came into the season as a hot sleeper prospect and has lived up to the billing, playing a huge role in Minnesota’s resurgence this season. Hageman probably fits better as a nose or a one-technique but can offer considerable upfield penetration as well.
17. Miami Antonio Richardson, Tennessee OT
Miami’s O line issues have been obnoxiously well-documented, and whoever takes over after Jeff Ireland leaves will have a clear top priority. Richardson fits in best as the OT most capable of developing into a star LT. The Phins must address other parts of the line throughout the draft.
18. San Diego Taylor Lewan, Michigan OT
Coming into the season as a wildly overrated prospect, I could see Lewan falling even further than this, possibly out of the first round. However, as it stands right now Lewan is a first rounder, and the Bolts desperately need help on the line.
19. Arizona Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State CB
Dennard has flown under the radar for about three years now, and is just starting to get his just desserts. Dennard should win the Thorpe Award this week, and will likely be one of those guys whose stock rises after the coaches start watching tape. If he tests better than expected, Dennard could rise even higher.
20. San Francisco Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame DE
As long as Jim Harbaugh is their coach, San Fran’s calling card will be their physicality and their defense. Tuitt has the tools to be a double digit sack guy as a five-tech, but he was better as a sophomore than he has been this year, and questions surrounding weight control are always troubling. Still Tuitt is too talented to get out of the first round and this marriage makes a ton of sense.
21. Baltimore Davante Adams, Fresno State WR
A big part of Carr’s meteoric rise has been Adams who currently ranks second in receiving and has caught seven more TDs than anyone else in the FBS with 22. Adams has the size and speed to give the Ravens two big-play threats with Torrey Smith emerging as one of the league’s best WRs
22. Philadelphia Louis Nix, Notre Dame DT
Irish Chocolate has not played his best football this season, and much of that has to do with injuries, possibly compounded by weight issues. If he can demonstrate great focus in the offseason, he should establish himself as the top player at a somewhat premium position. The Eagles need a true NT to complete their transition to a 3-4.
23. Dallas Hasean Clinton-Dix, Alabama FS
Dallas has been incredibly vulnerable in the back end for years now and have done seemingly very little to address the safety situation. Clinton-Dix leads a lean crop of safeties, and should be able to come and contribute at the level of a veteran from jump street.
24. Kansas City Eric Ebron, North Carolina TE
In an era of flexing out oversized freaks, Ebron is a rare great TE that can actually play in-line. Andy Reid’s offenses have always been at their best when he’s actually had a TE that could create mismatches.
25. Detroit Bradley Roby, Ohio State CB
The Lions have been operating with a menagerie of castoffs at CB, and it has shown late in games as they have blown several late leads in chances to close out games. Roby’s season has been spotty this year, but he would have been a first rounder last year and is probably the most talented CB in this year’s draft.
26. New England Timmy Jernigan, Florida State DT
Jernigan is another in the long list on Noles who have elevated their draft status this season. Jernigan offers the versatility the Pats desire and fits in with the blue collar attitude of this underrated defense.
27. Carolina Allen Robinson, Penn State WR
Robinson has been nothing short of sensational following the crippling sanctions imposed on Penn State. To show what a one-man show Robinson has been, he has 97 catches for 1497 yards, good for more than triple his closest teammate in both categories. Steve Smith can’t play forever, and the Panthers need someone to take his place as a true No. 1 once he is gone. Robinson’s decision to stay at Penn State after the Sandusky scandal should work positively for him in the draft process.
28. Cincinnati Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State CB
The Bengals are a difficult team to project since they don’t have many clear needs. One area of relative weakness in both starting quality and depth is at CB, where aging Terrance Newman has been exposed several times. Gilbert would have been in the first round discussion had he declared a year ago, so he make sense here.
29. Cleveland* Zach Mettenberger, LSU QB
Coming into the season with a late round grade, Mettenberger’s stock has rocketed after stunning improvement under new OC Cam Cameron. Mettenberger has been thrust in the unfamiliar situation of having to carry the Tigers after his defense has failed to play up to its talent level. Cleveland needs to use an early pick to address the QB situation and hope it works out better than the last time they took a similar draft strategy in 2012.
30. New Orleans Kyle Van Noy, BYU OLB
Once again, the Saints defensive woes are keeping them from being frighteningly special. The Saints have gotten a surprisingly good pass rush this season, but little of that has come off the edge. Van Noy, one of college football’s most consistent defenders the last few years, finally gives the Saints and edge rusher worth worrying about.
31. Seattle Marqise Lee, USC WR
After a scintillating first two seasons, Lee’s junior campaign has been marked by injuries and underwhelming performance. Still, the tape from his first two seasons should keep in the mix of a very good WR class should he decide to leave LA.
32. Denver Jason Verrett, TCU CB
Denver failed to address their defensive secondary as early as they would have liked last year, and can not afford to make the same mistake again. Verrett is a typical late first rounder in that he is not the most awe-striking athlete, but the more you watch him, the more you like him.