I know this is a Jets website but i thought it'd be interesting to hear your guys thoughts on what the Jets should do in this scenario. All critiques of the mock draft are welcome.
1. Houston Texans- Teddy Bridgewater- QB - Louisville Cardinals
There has recently been a lot of speculation that the Texans will draft Jadeveon Clowney in this spot but I will not believe that is the case until his name comes out of Roger Goodell's mouth. It doesn't matter how much praise owner Bob McNair heaps on Clowney. The bottom line is that if the Texans believe that any one of Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles is a franchise quarterback, then they have to take him.
2. TRADE- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Jadeveon Clowney- DE – South Carolina Gamecocks
Even though Tampa is already down a 3rd round pick due to the Darrelle Revis trade, the Bucs can afford to make a move up and grab Clowney. The Bucs roster is a lot better than their 4-12 record says they are and adding Clowney to a defense that already includes studs like Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Mark Barron and Revis will send shivers down the spines of the 3 great NFC South quarterbacks. Mike Glennon has earned a closer look with his competent play so drafting a quarterback would be a waste of resources at this point.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars- Johnny Manziel – QB – Texas A&M Aggies
This is the perfect spot for Johnny Football, as he would join a small market team with low expectations. He would also be joined by 2 established Wide Receivers (provided that Justin Blackmon can stay out of trouble) and a Head Coach in Gus Bradley who was the Defensive Coordinator in Seattle during Russell Wilson's rookie season.
4. Cleveland Browns- Blake Bortles- QB – UCF Knights
If GM Mike Lombardi knows what's good for him, he will take a quarterback in the 1st round this year. With Rob Chudzinski's firing, Lombardi is next on the chopping block in Cleveland. No GM wants to get fired without even having taken a shot on a franchise quarterback. There are reports that Cleveland is smitten with Johnny Manziel but he is not on the board in this scenario. Maybe they make the move they should have made in the 2012 draft and move up 2 spots to grab the quarterback of their choice.
Despite all the negative press, Cleveland is a good spot for a rookie quarterback as they have a surefire number one wideout in Josh Gordon, a monster tight end in Jordan Cameron, a future Hall of Fame Left Tackle in Joe Thomas and a young and talented defense.
5. Oakland Raiders- Sammy Watkins- WR – Clemson Tigers
Sammy Watkins separated himself from the rest of this deep and talented receiving class with his dominant display against Ohio State in the Orange Bowl. Oakland has a lot of holes so going with the top player on the board is a smart proposition. The Raiders can grab one of the second tier quarterback prospects with their 2nd round pick as no signal caller is worthy of 5th pick in the draft. Trading down is another option that GM Reggie McKenzie should explore.
6. Atlanta Falcons- Jake Matthews- OT – Texas A&M Aggies
Protecting Matt Ryan should be number one on Thomas Dimitroff's list of priorities this offseason. According to WalterFootball.com, the Falcons "were extremely disappointed with the play of their interior offensive line last season." Sorry to burst the Falcons bubble but their entire offensive line needs an overhaul. Drafting Jake Matthews fills a glaring hole and is also a great value at this juncture as many draft analysts have Matthews in one of the top 3 spots on their big boards.
7. St. Louis Rams- Greg Robinson- OT – Auburn Tigers
For years the Rams have been trying to fill their giant hole at left tackle. The Rams latest attempt was giving Jake Long a big free agent deal last year. Long had a bounce back season in 2013 but tore his ACL and MCL towards the end of the year. Greg Robinson is a fast rising prospect that may soon overtake Jake Matthews as the draft's top Offensive Tackle. Even if Long comes back as good as ever, right tackle Rodger Saffold is a free agent. Saffold played his best football at Right Guard so drafting Robinson would shore up what has long been a weakness and eliminate all excuses for Sam Bradford if he once again plays poorly next season.
8. Minnesota Vikings- Anthony Barr- OLB- UCLA Bruins
Barr would give the Vikings the pass rusher that new head coach Mike Zimmer so desperately needs. Jared Allen is a free agent and is unlikely to return. Anthony Barr is more suited to the 3-4 defense but there is no reason he can't thrive in a Von Miller type role in Minnesota.
9. Buffalo Bills- Eric Ebron- TE – North Carolina Tar Heels
At first glance, this pick looks like a reach. However, expect this pick to be a lot more popular come draft time after Ebron rips up the draft combine. Providing EJ Manuel with weapons will be the top priority in Buffalo this offseason. Pairing Ebron with Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin gives Manuel a variety of options to throw the ball to as well as a red zone threat to perhaps replace Scott Chandler who is a free agent.
10. Detroit Lions- Darquezze Dennard- CB – Michigan State Spartans
Expect Dennard's stock to climb as the value of a big physical cornerback rises due to the success of the Seattle secondary. Dennard plays bigger than his 5"11 frame and is as physical a corner as you will see at the college level. Detroit has tried to patch up their glaring cornerback need with the likes of Rashean Mathis for far too long. It's time to invest a more substantial asset into the position and the 10th pick in the draft fits the bill.
11. Tennessee Titans- Khalil Mack- OLB – Buffalo Bulls
The last thing a new coach should do when he arrives is install a scheme that will not fit the strengths of the players that he inherits. For some reason, new coach Ken Whisenhunt has decided to install a 3-4 defense that will mitigate the impact of players like Jurell Casey and create even more needs on a team that already has too many of them. However, Whisenhunt did bring well-respected Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton with him to install the defense. The Titans need a 3-4 OLB across from Akeem Ayers to make the transition run smoothly and Khalil Mack fits the bill.
12. New York Giants- CJ Mosley- LB- Alabama Crimson Tide
With so many holes on the roster, the Giants should go best player available. That is GM Jerry Reese's philosophy and if he sticks with it, he will wind up with the linebacker that draft analysts are comparing to All-Pro Luke Kuechly. C.J Mosley would give the Giants the centerpiece of their defense that Jason Pierre-Paul was supposed to be before back injuries hampered his production.
13. St. Louis Rams- HaHa Clinton-Dix- S – Alabama Crimson Tide
After filling their biggest hole with their first pick, the Rams plug their second biggest one with their second pick by selecting the top safety in the draft. The Rams depth chart at safety currently consists of Rodney McLeod, TJ McDonald, Cody Davis and Matt Daniels. Needless to say, an upgrade is desperately needed.
14. Chicago Bears- Timmy Jernigan- DT – Florida State Seminoles
It's no coincidence that the Bears' defense collapsed after Henry Melton tore his ACL in Week 3. Melton provided interior pressure that no one else on the roster could duplicate. In addition to coming off a major knee injury, Melton is a free agent and will surely command a big contract. Selecting Timmy Jernigan as either Melton's replacement or his complement would be a smart move. Jernigan wreaked havoc throughout the national title game despite appearing winded on the sidelines.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers- Taylor Lewan- OT – Michigan Wolverines
Much like the Rams, the Steelers have been attempting to plug their hole at Left Tackle for years now. Mike Adams looks like a bust while Marcus Gilbert is better suited for the right side. Taylor Lewan might not have the upside of a Jake Matthews or Greg Robinson but he should more than plug the long-standing hole on Ben Roethlisberger's blind side.
16. Dallas Cowboys- Louis Nix- DT – Notre Dame Fighting Irish
If Tony Romo is ever going to get the critics out of his ears, he is going to need some help on the other side of the ball. The Dallas Cowboys defense was an embarrassment in 2013. Yards per game isn't a great indicator of what constitutes a good defense but allowing the most yards in one season in NFL history certainly shows that this defense needs a ton of work. At 6'3 357 pounds, Nix is a monster of a human being and would fit whatever defense Jerry Jones' heart desires.
17. Baltimore Ravens- Mike Evans- WR – Texas A&M Aggies
There are few better matches between team and prospect in this draft than the Baltimore Ravens and Mike Evans. Joe Flacco sorely missed Anquan Boldin in 2013, as he no longer had a big physical Wide Receiver to throw the ball up to in one on one situations. As great as Torrey Smith is, he is not that type of receiver. Evans would fill that role perfectly as his 6'5 frame allows him to box out overmatched corners for jump balls as well as make defenders miss after the catch.
18. New York Jets- Marqise Lee- WR – USC Trojans
Coming into the year, Marqise Lee was touted as a possible top 5 pick due to his huge sophomore campaign. However, a combination of injuries and poor quarterback play brought those numbers down, as well as his draft stock. Lee still possesses a skill set that Jets fans should be salivating over. He has everything you want in a receiver except elite size. The Jets need receivers who can create separation, as Geno Smith had nowhere to throw the ball in 2013.
19. Miami Dolphins- Cyrus Kouandijo – OT – Alabama Crimson Tide
The underreported aspect of the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito scandal was that Martin had been brutal since being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Whether it was at left tackle or right tackle, Martin consistently underperformed. It was no surprise that the offensive line improved after his departure. A big reason for the improvement was the acquisition of Bryant McKinee, who helped bring stability to the line. However, McKinee is aging and is a free agent. The Dolphins also have a hole at right tackle so plugging in the talented but raw Kouandijo on the right side for a year wouldn't be the worst move in the world.
20. Arizona Cardinals- Justin Gilbert- CB – Oklahoma State Cowboys
With no Offensive Tackle on the board worthy of this selection, Arizona should grab the top player on their board. In this scenario, Justin Gilbert is exactly that. He also happens to fill a need, as Jerraud Powers is currently the #2 corner on the roster. Placing Gilbert across the field from Patrick Peterson would provide the front seven even more time to get to the quarterback. This is imperative as the Cardinals have a lack of outside pass rushers on their roster.
21. Green Bay Packers- Stephon Tuitt- DE – Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Stephon Tuitt is the top player on the board at this point, which is all that GM Ted Thompson needs to hear. Tuitt is a prototype 3-4 2 gap defensive end and would fit in nicely across from last years 1st round pick Datone Jones. BJ Raji is a free agent and won't be worth the money he will likely receive in free agency. The Packers should dedicate this draft to getting younger and faster on defense unless they want to keep losing to the Colin Kaepernick's of the world every January.
22. Philadelphia Eagles- Calvin Pryor- S – Louisville Cardinals
Calvin Pryor's stock has risen lately due to the lack of elite options at safety in the draft, as well as in the NFL as a whole. Shockingly, (not really) the Patrick Chung signing was a bust and Nate Allen has failed to live up to his draft status. Pryor plays well against both the run and the pass and would help stabilize the weakness of Philadelphia's defense.
23. Kansas City Chiefs- Jace Amaro- TE – Texas Tech Red Raiders
Alex Smith lacks the necessary arm strength to accentuate the talents of a top wide receiver. However, what he can do as evidenced by his time in San Francisco, is utilize a big target in the middle of the field. It's imperative for the Chiefs to provide Smith with a new version of Vernon Davis. Although Eric Ebron projects as a closer comp to Davis, Jace Amaro isn't a bad consolation prize. In addition to providing a big useful target in the middle of the field, Amaro projects as a quality blocker, which would help Jamaal Charles as well as the play action game.
24. Cincinnati Bengals- Kony Ealy- DE – Missouri Tigers
With the likely departure of Michael Johnson, the Bengals need to draft a replacement to put across from Carlos Dunlap. Ealy is exactly the type of player the Bengals love. At 6’5 275 pounds, Ealy is a physical freak just like Dunlap, Johnson and past draft picks such as Dontay Moch.
25. San Diego Chargers- David Yankey- OG – Stanford Cardinal
The Chargers seem to be set on the outside of their offensive line as King Dunlap had a magnificent season in his first year in San Diego. Last year's 1st round pick DJ Fluker excelled when placed at his more natural right tackle position. However, the inside of the line is a different story. Jeromey Clary's play did not improve after he was moved inside and Chad Rinehart is a free agent. Plugging in Yankey would help open up holes for Ryan Mathews and give Phillip Rivers more room to step up in the pocket to find Keenan Allen down the field.
26. Cleveland Browns- Kelvin Benjamin- WR – Florida State Seminoles
The Browns need to do whatever it takes to make their new franchise quarterback comfortable. Giving that quarterback a 6'5 target that he can throw jump balls to when plays break down is a good start. Placing Benjamin on the same field as Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron would eliminate all excuses for whoever Mike Lombardi deems to be his franchise quarterback.
27. New Orleans Saints- Ryan Shazier –LB – Ohio State Buckeyes
David Hawthorne has been a disappointment since coming over from Seattle and needs to be replaced. The Saints need to get younger and faster on defense. They are set up well at the defensive end spots with Akiem Hicks and Cameron Jordan but need to get better on the second level. Ryan Shazier’s explosion is obvious to the eye when put on tape and would give the Saints a dimension they sorely lacked on defense in 2013.
28. Carolina Panthers- Marcus Roberson- CB – Florida Gators
The Panthers need to draft a Wide Receiver to put across and eventually replace Steve Smith. However, this is the deepest receiving class in years so the Panthers can afford to fill other holes on their roster with their first pick. The Panthers will have very little cap room this offseason thanks to signings that the previous regime left for current GM Dave Gettleman. Greg Hardy is a free agent and Gettleman will have to find a way to resign him. That leaves other free agents like Captain Munnerlyn likely to test the free agent waters. Even if the Panthers do resign Munnerlyn, they still have a need at cornerback and Marcus Roberson fills that need.
29. New England Patriots- Ra’Shede Hageman- DT – Minnesota Golden Gophers
Ra'Shede Hageman is the top prospect on the board and also fills a hole on a team with a surprisingly large amount of them. Hageman is ideally suited as a penetrating 4-3 Defensive tackle. The Patriots have played more 4-3 over the past couple of years to suit the strengths of Chandler Jones and others. With Vince Wilfork coming off a major injury, it's important for the Patriots to refurbish their Defensive Line.
30. San Francisco 49ers- Loucheiz Purifoy- CB – Florida Gators
Carlos Rogers is likely to be released as he costs 6.25 million against the cap next year and didn’t live up to the contract he signed the previous offseason. Tarell Brown is also a free agent but is more likely to be resigned. However, a team can never have enough corners and despite a mildly disappointing 2013 campaign, Purifoy joins his fellow Gator corner Marcus Roberson in the 1st round.
31. Denver Broncos- Scott Crichton- DE – Oregon State Beavers
The Broncos could use more talent at the defensive end position and Scott Crichton provides that. Crichton may not have the upside of some of the other players on the board at this point but he is an ideal 4-3 Left End who would help replace Robert Ayers who is an Unrestricted Free Agent.
32. Seattle Seahawks- Jordan Matthews- WR – Vanderbilt Commodores
The most underrated part of Russell Wilson’s emergence into an elite NFL quarterback is the fact that he doesn’t have any number one type wide receiver to throw the ball to. The closest Wilson has to something of that sort is Golden Tate and he is a free agent after the season. The Seahawks should let him go and spend money elsewhere while taking advantage of one of the deepest receiving classes in years. Scouts INC has 12 receivers with a 2nd round grade or higher. One of those 12 is Jordan Matthews who put up big numbers in the SEC while playing at the football superpower that is Vanderbilt.