AFC South: 2014 Mel Kiper Mock 1.0

Kiper mock 1.0 reaction: Texans

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
In his first mock draft Insider, Mel Kiper mocked Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel to the Houston Texans. This would be easily the most interesting and entertaining pick the Texans could make.

Many questions remain.

How will Manziel's skill set translate against bigger and faster defenses than he faced in college?

How will he handle having to actually talk to the media on a regular basis?

Will the money that comes with the No. 1 overall pick affect his game or preparation?

Can he keep the edge that's made him so entertaining in college?

And how would his personality mesh with Texans head coach Bill O'Brien and his staff?

These are all questions the Texans would have to answer positively if they were to take Manziel, and they're all ones that could make for an explosive situation.

He could be an electrifying presence off whom teammates feed. He could be durable against the odds given his style of play. His improvisational ability might make up for his size. He might make Drake a new fixture at Texans games.

Or he could struggle with the transition to opponents who can catch him. His size could be a problem, his extracurriculars could detract from his play and his personality could clash with his coaches.

One thing is certain: The Manziel era in Houston, however it ended, would not be boring.

Kiper mock 1.0 reaction: Jaguars

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
There are two prevailing thoughts about the Jacksonville Jaguars when it comes to the No. 3 overall selection in the upcoming draft: take a quarterback and grab a pass-rusher in the second round or take a pass-rusher and then draft a quarterback in the second round.

Mel Kiper Jr. believes the Jaguars will take the second approach, which is why he predicted in his first mock draft Insider they will select South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney in the first round.

That's a prediction that would have had Jaguars fan euphoric in July, but it doesn't evoke the same degree of reaction now. Pass-rusher is certainly one of the team's top two needs, and Clowney is undoubtedly the most gifted defensive player in the draft, but the Jaguars desperately need to find a franchise quarterback.

Yet in Kiper's mock, they pass on the most NFL-ready quarterback in the draft to take Clowney. Kiper predicts that Houston will take Johnny Manziel with the first pick and St. Louis will take offensive tackle Jake Matthews with the No. 2 pick. That means Teddy Bridgewater is available, but instead the Jaguars opt for defense.

It's hard to imagine the Jaguars not taking Bridgewater, or any quarterback, with their top pick, but it's starting to become more and more of a reasonable approach for two reasons: The depth of this quarterback class and the shortage of truly elite pass-rushers.

This quarterback class doesn't have the surefire star like Andrew Luck, so any of the first-round quarterbacks -- Kiper has Manziel, Bridgewater and Blake Bortles being selected -- is a bit of a gamble. But there are plenty of other options that will be available in the second round or later, like AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger, Tajh Boyd, Derek Carr and Stephen Morris.

Are they as highly rated as Bridgewater, Bortles or Manziel? No, but that doesn't mean they won't be better players. Just look at the quarterbacks playing in Sunday's conference championship games. Colin Kaepernick was a second-round pick. Russell Wilson was a third-round pick. Tom Brady didn't go until the sixth round. Peyton Manning is the lone exception.

Elite pass-rushers, however, won't last until the second round. In addition to Clowney, Kiper predicts that Anthony Barr, Khalil Mack, Stephon Tuitt and Scott Crichton also will be first-round picks. That means the Jaguars wouldn't be able to land one of those elite rushers if they take a quarterback in the first round -- unless they were to somehow trade up into the latter part of the first round.

GM David Caldwell, however, has said he's committed to building through the draft and you don't do that by giving away picks.

Taking Clowney, whom many believed would have been the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft as a sophomore, instead of a quarterback in the first round may not be the correct decision, but it is the safer pick.