Sunday, April 13, 2014
Our mini-mock draft, version1.0
By Rich Cimini
The NFL draft is rapidly approaching, so let's fire off a mock draft. It won't be the last. As Bill Parcells used to say, "I reserve the right to change my mind." I'll cut if off with the New York Jets' pick at 18. Here goes:
1. Houston Texans -- Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: He's not the next Lawrence Taylor, but Clowney is special. The Texans really need a quarterback, but they can wait until the second round.
2. St. Louis Rams -- Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn: I had one longtime personnel executive tell me Robinson is the best player in the draft. If Clowney slips, I could see Atlanta trying to trade up for him.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: The Jags will be tempted by the quarterbacks, but they like Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois and can take him at the top of the second round.
4. Cleveland Browns -- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: The Brownies will have a terrific receiving duo with Watkins and Josh Gordon. The question is, does Mike Pettine have a quarterback that can get them the ball?
5. Oakland Raiders -- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: GM Reggie McKenzie was a Green Bay Packers exec during the Brett Favre years. He sees the same gunslinger magic in Johnny Football.
6. Atlanta Falcons -- Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: Back-to-back Aggies off the board, as the Falcons address a major need.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: Evans completes the Aggie hat trick. After trading Mike Williams, the Bucs go for a younger version of Vincent Jackson.
8. Minnesota Vikings -- Blake Bortles, QB Central Florida: The Christian Ponder era is over. Wait, did it ever start? New coach Mike Zimmer to Bortles: "Just keep giving it to No. 28."
9. Buffalo Bills -- Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: Coach Doug Marrone is an old offensive lineman, and he needs a new offensive lineman to keep his quarterback project, EJ Manuel, in one piece.
10. Detroit Lions -- Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State: The Lions are hurting at cornerback, so they stay local and pick the best man-to-man corner in the draft.
11. Tennessee Titans -- Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA: The Titans are switching to a 3-4 defense and need an edge rusher. Barr is raw, but has a ton of potential.
12. New York Giants -- Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt: A lot of people have tight end Eric Ebron going here, but the Giants have too many needs to take a tight end. Donald replaces Linval Joseph.
13. St. Louis Rams -- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama: The Rams could go in a few different directions, but they need to augment their fierce pass rush with help on the back end.
14. Chicago Bears -- Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State: The Bears continue to load up on defense this offseason. They need the help. Did you see their run defense?
15. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State: The Steelers' secondary is ancient. Gilbert is a great athlete with terrific ball skills.
16. Dallas Cowboys -- Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame: The Cowboys need a lot of help on the line, and Martin can play just about anywhere. Here, he would fit nicely at right tackle.
17. Baltimore Ravens -- C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama: GM Ozzie Newsome, a Crimson Tide legend, opts for the best available Alabama prospect. Roll Tide.
18. New York Jets -- Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State: Surprised? Yes, the Jets need a receiver, but it's the deepest receiver draft in years, and they can find a good one in the second round. This would mark the fifth straight year with a defensive pick in Round 1.