Mock Draft Version One came before free agency and it can be found here.
This is a mock draft where I made the selections for the teams. However, I also tried to be realistic and not go solely off my own opinions on specific players. There are trades because it’s unrealistic to not have trades.
1. Houston Texans – Blake Bortles, Quarterback.
This appears to have morphed from a probability to an inevitability in recent weeks.
2. Oakland Raiders – Teddy Bridgewater, Quarterback.
Trade details: The Raiders trade their 2014 first round pick, fifth overall, their 2014 second round pick and their 2015 second round pick to the St. Louis Rams for this selection.
It’s been a very aggressive offseason for the Oakland Raiders and they’ve brought in veteran players to try and set up a win now situation. In spite of the trade for Matt Schaub, the Raiders still need a quarterback who can save Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen’s respective jobs. Bridgewater can be that guy they stake their future on. Relying on Matt Schaub alone would be a major mistake.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jadeveon Clowney, Defensive End.
This would be the perfect imperfect situation for the Jaguars. Perfect because they get to choose between Jadeveon Clowney and Johnny Manziel. Imperfect because they can only choose one. Clowney could be the most disruptive defensive end in the NFL in Gus Bradley’s scheme, but the need for a quarterback in Jacksonville is clear. It’s very tough to pass on a potential star quarterback, but Clowney is an exceptionally rare specimen.
4. Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel, Quarterback.
Although Manziel is a polarising prospect, he does have the specific traits that should fit well with Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan will get Manziel in space and allow him to use his feet as well as his arm to make plays.
5. St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson, Offensive Tackle.
It’s tough for the Rams to pass on Sammy Watkins, but the Rams desperately need to upgrade their run blocking. Robinson could be an immediate starter at left tackle, with Roger Saffold playing right tackle before Jake Long returns to usurp him. Once Long is healthy, the Rams would have at least three high quality starters in place at left tackle, right tackle and right guard.
6. Atlanta Falcons – Jake Matthews, Offensive Tackle.
Matthews doesn’t have the same physical talent as Robinson, but he should immediately upgrade the Falcons’ pass protection. For Matt Ryan, that is desperately needed.
7. San Francisco 49ers – Sammy Watkins, Wide Receiver.
Trade details: The 49ers trade their 2014 first round pick, their 2014 second round pick(56th overall), two 2014 third round picks(77th and 94th overall) and their 2015 fourth round pick to the Buccaneers for this pick.
A few years ago, the Atlanta Falcons made a blockbuster trade for Julio Jones because they believed they were a wide receiver away from being a major contender. The 49ers aren’t just a wide receiver away, but they are loaded with draft picks, have a very talented roster and a number of older players who can’t continue to keep the team’s championship window open without more help. Watkins is a very special talent who fits perfectly with the other pieces in San Francisco.
8. Detroit Lions – Mike Evans, Wide Receiver.
Trade details: The Lions trade their 2014 first round pick, their 2014 third round pick and their 2014 fifth round pick to the Vikings for this pick and the Vikings’ 2014 fourth round pick.
After Watkins went off the board, the Lions wanted to assure themselves of a top tier receiver by jumping up above the Buffalo Bills. Evans is a big body who would complement Calvin Johnson very well and help ease the impact of Matthew Stafford’s erratic ball placement.
9. Buffalo Bills – Khalil Mack, Edge Defender.
The Buffalo Bills already have a very strong front seven, but adding the versatile and talented Mack would turn a strong unit into a dominant one. Mack has the versatility to stand up or rush with his hand in the ground.
10. New York Giants – Aaron Donald, Defensive Tackle.
Trade details: The Giants trade their 2014 first round pick and their 2014 fourth round pick to the Vikings for this pick.
The Giants have had a really impressive free agency period to this point. Most of their work is done and their roster has been filled out with valuable role players who should help take away needs. That should allow them to be aggressive in the draft and pursue the most talented players remaining. Even though the Titans are unlikely to take Donald, the fear of another team trading up for him forces the Giants’ hand.
11. Tennessee Titans – Louis Nix, Nose Tackle.
The Titans could go in a variety of different directions here. They could take a safety, such as Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, or a linebacker, such as C.J. Mosley, or even a cornerback, of whom there are a few options. With Ray Horton as the new defensive coordinator, the Titans will need a nose tackle on the defensive line. Louis Nix has the ability to maintain two gaps and keep bodies off of his linebackers. While the personnel will be slightly different in 2014 than it was in 2013, last year the Titans were awful at stopping the run.
12. Miami Dolphins – Taylor Lewan, Offensive Tackle.
Trade details: The Dolphins trade their 2014 first round pick, 2014 third round pick, 2015 fourth round pick and Lamar Miller to the Vikings for this pick.
Even after the addition of Branden Albert in free agency, the Dolphins still need to add multiple pieces to their offensive line. Taylor Lewan is a physical freak who could immediately start at right tackle. Joe Philbin’s future hangs on Ryan Tannehill’s performances this season. Without adequate pass protection, Tannehill will have no chance and Philbin will be fired.
13. St. Louis Rams – Xavier Sua-Filo, Offensive Guard.
Until Zac Stacy took over the starting role at running back last season, the Rams couldn’t keep defenses honest with their running game. That was primarily because of their inability on the offensive line. Sua-Filo is a pass-blocking stud who should be very effective as a run blocker too. By concentrating the top of their draft on the offensive line, the Rams would turn a fatal weakness into a great strength. Sua-Filo and Robinson together on the left side with Long and Saffold on the other side would give the Rams a great base to build their offense on. Receivers could come later.
14. Chicago Bears – Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, Safety.
The Bears have one MAJOR concern on their roster at this stage of the offseason. Even though they have added a few safeties to the roster in free agency, the position still lacks two quality starters. Clinton-Dix isn’t considered a flashy player like an Earl Thomas or Kam Chancellor. He is a well-rounded, disciplined player who should thrive in the Bears defense.
15. Arizona Cardinals – Anthony Barr, Edge Defender.
Trade details: The Cardinals trade their 2014 first round pick 2015 second round pick and their 2014 fourth round pick to the Steelers for this pick.
Anthony Barr is considered a raw athlete with a huge amount of potential. The Cardinals have a very athletic front seven, but need an edge rusher to complement, and eventually replace, John Abraham. The Cardinals could do with offensive line help, but by holding onto their second and third round picks this year they will still have the ability to invest in the right side of their line.
16. Dallas Cowboys – Kony Ealy, Defensive End.
With Demarcus Ware now playing in Denver and Anthony Spencer still on the free agent market, the Cowboys desperately need edge defenders. Ealy is raw, but he is very athletic and offers the Cowboys’ huge potential in Rod Marinelli’s scheme.
17. Baltimore Ravens – Zach Martin, Offensive Guard.
The Ravens needed offensive line help before they lost Michael Oher in free agency. The team re-signed Eugene Monroe at left tackle, while Kelechi Osemele should replace Oher at right tackle. New center Jeremy Zuttah is likely just a one year addition, but he should be a very impressive starter. That just leaves a void at left guard, where Martin, an undersized offensive tackle from college, would be an immediate starter.
18. New York Jets – Eric Ebron, Tight End.
Whether Michael Vick or Geno Smith is the starting quarterback for the Jets, they will need to continue to add pieces on offense. Ebron has the potential to be a mismatch tight end who can move around the formation while Jeff Cumberland stays on the field. With Eric Decker, Ebron and potentially another receiver later in the draft, the Jets’ 2014 offense should look nothing like the 2013 version.
19. Minnesota Vikings – C.J. Mosley, Inside Linebacker.
The Vikings likely expected to be taking an offensive piece here after stockpiling on mid round picks to help Zimmer rebuild the defense, but because Mosley fell they couldn’t pass him up again. The Vikings have a hole in the middle of their defense and Mosley could immediately fill it.
20. Cleveland Browns – Odell Beckham, Wide Receiver.
Trade details: The Browns trade their 2014 first round pick and their 2014 third round pick(71st overall) to the Steelers for this pick.
Having already added Johnny Manziel at the quarterback position, the Browns trade up to grab Odell Beckham. With Beckham, Josh Gordon, Andrew Hawkins and Jordan Cameron there to catch passes, Manziel could immediately become an effective quarterback at the next level.
21. Green Bay Packers – Calvin Pryor, Safety.
The Packers had arguably the worst starting safety pairing in the NFL last season. They did nothing to address the position in free agency. Pryor would bring an intimidating presence to the middle of the field that simply hasn’t been there for the Packers in recent times.
22. Philadelphia Eagles – Justin Gilbert, Cornerback.
Bradley Fletcher needs to be replaced. Gilbert brings a similar aggressiveness to his coverage but he has much greater ball skills and the potential to be a much better cover corner if he develops. Technique is Gilbert’s main concern at this stage, so he may not be the most pro-ready cornerback available at this stage, but his potential is appealing.
23. Kansas City Chiefs – Jimmie Ward, Safety.
The Chiefs would probably like another starting receiver and there is some reshuffling that needs to be endured on the offensive line, but a quality starting safety is still the priority. Ward is very versatile and he has the ability to be an effective free safety. Kendrick Lewis was one of the worst starting safeties in the NFL last season and he dramatically hurt the Chiefs on a regular basis.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Jason Verrett, Cornerback.
Leon Hall’s second career torn Achilles will impact this selection for the Bengals. They have very little youth at the cornerback position outside of Dre Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick can play in the slot, but adding Verrett as Hall’s successor would give the Bengals a potential superstar inside. If Verrett was a few inches taller, he’d already be long gone. He is only 5’9″ but he plays physical coverage and attacks the ball at its highest point on a regular basis.
25. San Diego Chargers – Darqueze Dennard, Cornerback.
The Chargers desperately need cornerback help and they have a number of options here. Dennard is expected to go much higher by most analysts, but his underwhelming physical traits could make him fall. Jamming receivers early in their routes will be crucial for his success.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers – RaShede Hageman, Defensive End.
Much like they did with Cameron Heyward, the Steelers could take Hageman and try to groom him into a starter for a season or two. Hageman has some incredible physical traits and he could be an early situational pass rusher, but he needs to develop his all-around game over time. The Steelers would still have a number of other needs to address, but that is why they traded down.
27. New Orleans Saints – Kyle Fuller, Cornerback.
With Kyle Fuller and Kelvin Benjamin still on the board, the Saints actually have a tough choice. They could use Benjamin’s presence at the receiver position to go along with Jimmy Graham at tight end, but adding Fuller would allow the Saints to round out their starting secondary and keep Corey White inside.
28. Carolina Panthers – Kelvin Benjamin, Wide Receiver.
Cam Newton needs receivers. That is obvious. What Newton also needs is someone who can stretch the field and adjust to slightly overthrown passes(something Newton does too often still). Benjamin has that size and speed combination that should make him very valuable for the Panthers offense.
29. Minnesota Vikings – Derek Carr, Quarterback.
Trade details: The Vikings trade their 2014 second round pick and their 2014 third round pick(72nd overall) to the Patriots for this pick.
With Matt Cassell set to continue as a starter in 2014, the Vikings are able to bring in Derek Carr and groom him for a season if he can’t win the starting job as a rookie. Carr clearly has talent, but the offense he played in during his college days made it difficult to project his talent forward accurately.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dee Ford, Defensive End.
After trading down in that blockbuster trade with the San Francisco 49ers, the Buccaneers add another pass rusher to give them options on the defensive line. With Michael Johnson and Clinton McDonald arriving in free agency to join Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn as probable starters, Ford could initially be a situational pass rusher.
31. New Orleans Saints – Ryan Shazier, Linebacker.
Trade details: The Saints trade a 2015 first round pick, 2014 second round pick, 2014 third round pick and 2014 fourth round pick to the Broncos for this pick, the Broncos 2014 second round pick and their 2014 third round pick.
The Saints are clearly in win now mode. Making an aggressive move to add another piece to the defense would dramatically help their short-term outlook. Shazier is the cover linebacker that the Saints don’t currently have on the roster. He would allow Rob Ryan to be more creative and aggressive with his blitzes. Shazier’s value is multiplied by playing with Jairus Byrd, Kenny Vaccarro and a relatively strong front seven.
32. Philadelphia Eagles – Bradley Roby, Cornerback
Trade details: The Eagles trade Evan Mathis and their 2014 third round pick to the Seahawks for this pick.
With Mathis apparently unhappy in Philadelphia and the Eagles willing to let him go, the Seahawks make an aggressive move to address their biggest short-term weakness. By adding Mathis to play between Okung and Unger at left guard, the Seahawks solidify their spot as Super Bowl favourites again this season, while the Eagles get to add another talented piece to their secondary.