Seems like everyone has a mock draft these days. Every football sportswriter, fan, player has done one at some point. Not that they’re any good, especially six weeks before the real thing.
But speculation is big business. And entertaining. So here’s my wild guesses, based on tea leaves and hunches. Feel free to comment, call me names, correct my typos etc…
1. Houston (2-14): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Everyone else seems to have the Texans using their first pick on UCF quarterback Blake Bortles, but he’s still too raw and unpolished for the first pick. Instead, Houston goes with the surest bet in Clowney. Even on a bad day, he’s going to make opponents game-plan around him.
2. St. Louis – from Washington (3-13): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
3. Jacksonville (4-12): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
There’s going to be an early run on offensive lineman, mark my word.
4. Cleveland (4-12): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
I don’t see any of the quarterbacks in this draft worth drafting this high, but there’s not a better fit for the Browns. They have a lot of good pieces in place already, and Bridgewater is the quarterback most ready to step in and play immediately.
5. Oakland (4-12): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
6. Atlanta (4-12): Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
7. Tampa Bay (4-12): Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
8. Minnesota (5-10-1): Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
Again, this is much too high for Bortles, but Minnesota is desperate for a quarterback, and they’re not afraid to reach.
9. Buffalo (6-10): Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
The Bills have several needs. It’s doubtful they’d reach for a safety or offensive lineman here, but Evans – if he lasts this long – would be a perfect fit for Buffalo. He has the size to win jump balls against most corners, and he has the bet hands in the draft, an advantage during Buffalo’s winters.
10. Detroit (7-9): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
11. Tennessee (7-9): Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
12. New York Giants (7-9): Anthony Barr, OLB/DE, UCLA
13. St. Louis (7-9): Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
14. Chicago (8-8): Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
15. Pittsburgh (8-8): Ra’shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
16. Dallas (8-8): Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
17. Baltimore (8-8): Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
18. New York Jets (8-8) Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Ebron’s the wild card of the first round. Tight ends are in fashion, and his raw skills might be tantalizing enough to convince a team to draft him much higher than his game tape would warrant. Don’t be surprised if he’s gone in the top ten.
19. Miami (8-8): C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
20. Arizona (10-6): Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Manziel is another quarterback who will be drafted much too early. He’s got a lot going for him, but he’s shaky – very shaky – in the pocket. Arizona would be a perfect landing spot for him, allowing him to mature for a season or two under before taking over for Carson Palmer. And it’s only a five-hour drive to Vegas.
21. Green Bay (8-7-1): Marqise Lee, WR, Southern California
22. Philadelphia (10-6): Hasean Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
23. Kansas City (11-5): Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
24. Cincinnati (11-5): Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
25. San Diego (9-7): Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
26. Cleveland – from Indianapolis (11-5): Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
27. New Orleans (11-5): Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
28. Carolina (12-4): Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
29. New England (12-4): Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
30. San Francisco (12-4): Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
31. Denver (13-3): Xavier Su’a Filo, OG, UCLA
The Broncos have been all about defense in free agency. It’s time to give Manning a little more help…
32. Seattle (13-3): David Yankey, OG, Stanford