Yes I’ll do a mock draft, I know you’re all just DYING to see me get all 32 picks wrong. But this won’t be like my NHL mock drafts (expect a new one out soon, hopefully prior to the Memorial Cup), I’ll just simply make my predictions without trades. But there will be trades….many trades!
So I think everyone universally agrees that the draft being pushed back 2 weeks was beyond ridiculous. It should have been moved up a week if anything. I know, it’s the best run league on the planet and they know better than anyone how to maximize their publicity. But when all the GM’s, coaches and players hate it, the league may not have a choice but go back to the last week in April.
But one good thing is that this event has gone to a whole new level for draft fans since 2012 with the new CBA which got rookie contracts back in order and made trading up worth while for NFL teams. Under the old CBA, it got to the point where it was actually strategy to pass on your pick in order to save money on the guy you wanted to draft. I recall well that it was speculated that both the Dolphins in 08 and the Rams in 2010 would simply let the clock run out and make their pick later in the draft when it would make more financial sense.
Anyway, enough about the good old days. I have some things that you should be watching out for. I decided to go with 3 things because….well….that’s all I could come up with. Seems like a good reason.
So, the 3 things to watch for in the draft:
1. Wide Receivers are all over the place in this draft. Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Marqise Lee, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks, Kelvin Benjamin, on and on and on. It is an insanely deep WR draft and many people are expecting WR’s to go early. I’m not expecting that. It could easily happen, but what I’ve now seen too many times in the NFL draft is when there is a lot of depth at a position in the draft then teams will simply wait to get their guy, and grab something early that they may not get later on.
2. Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Tennessee and Arizona are all obvious candidates to take a QB. There are a few wildcard teams to take a QB. St.Louis, Kansas City and Cincinnati. I love it for the Rams because I think Sam Bradford is just about a bust. They put a lot of talent around Bradford last season, and Kellen Clemens was almost as effective as Bradford was running that offense last season. For the Chiefs, Alex Smith is Alex Smith. He’s good, not great. Even with Donovan McNabb, Andy Reid was always looking to take a QB. And then the Bengals because Andy Dalton’s deal is up and why give him big money when he looks like he can’t win when it matters? Now, this doesn’t mean they’ll take a QB with their 1st round picks, but keep an eye on these teams to have another QB in the fold before the 4th round begins on Saturday.
3. One of the biggest “casual fan” stories in this draft is that of Missouri LB/DE Michael Sam. Of course Sam came out about his sexuality prior to the NFL combine, and so there will be intrigue as to where Sam will be drafted. But the problem for Sam isn’t that he is gay, the problem is that he is a tweener. He is very limited, he’s not good enough against the run to play DE and he’s not good enough in coverage to line up at LB. So while most at one time had Sam as a 3rd or 4th round pick, there is a chance Sam doesn’t get picked at all. I’m betting a team does in the end, but my question won’t be if teams passed on him because of his sexuality, but rather did the team who selected him take him for the publicity?
Mock draft time. This is how I see it going down, I’m not going to go into detail like my NHL mock’s do that are already ridiculously long. I need some sleep tonight! So here we go…
1. Houston Texans
Pos: Defensive End Ht: 6’5 Wt: 266
Far and away the best player available. QB is the major need, Mack might be a better fit for their 3-4 scheme, but they’ll go with Clowney.
2. St. Louis Rams (via Washington)
Pos: Offensive Tackle Ht: 6’5 Wt: 332
Easily the most likely team to trade out of the top 5, but should they stay at 2, Robinson is the likely pick and I believe they’ll then hope to land a WR at 13, and a QB in the 2nd round.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Pos: Outside Linebacker Ht: 6’2 Wt: 251
A lot of different directions this team could go, they’re a mess. But Gus Bradley is a defensive guy and so getting his hands on a stud like Mack I believe will be too good to pass up.
4. Cleveland Browns
Pos: Wide Receiver Ht: 6’0 Wt: 211
So most will expect a QB here and there have been a ridiculous amount of reports the last few days as to what they’ll do here. Smoke Screens. I’m still saying they go playmaker here, Carr at 26.
5. Oakland Raiders
Pos: Offensive Tackle Ht: 6’5 Wt: 308
As much as I want to see my Man-ziel go here, it’s just not going to happen. They need to upgrade the line, they can get a QB later on with Matt Schaub in the fold, he will buy them time.
6. Atlanta Falcons
Pos: Offensive Tackle Ht: 6’7 Wt: 309
Wow does this fall poorly for the Falcons! They better trade up to ensure this doesn’t happen, or else trade back. IF things fell this way, I think they need to reach a bit for Lewan with no real stud defensive players in sight.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pos: Wide Receiver Ht: 6’4 Wt: 231
This seems to make the most sense to most people, so who am I to argue. When everyone goes 1 way, I go the other, and that logic has failed miserably for me of late so Evans is a Buc.
8. Minnesota Vikings
Pos: Quarterback Ht: 5’11 Wt: 207
I can’t shake remembering Viks coach Mike Zimmer coming out about a month ago and saying he basically thinks Manziel sucks. Something tells me the rookie coach was attempting to smoke screen, and they really need a QB!
9. Buffalo Bills
Pos: Tight End Ht: 6’4 Wt: 250
They’ll look to help E.J. Manuel I’m sure. I just don’t know weather they trade up to get Watkins or Robinson, or stay put and hope a kid like Evans, Matthews or Lewan falls to them. Ebron would also be a huge help.
10. Detroit Lions
Pos: Cornerback Ht: 6’0 Wt: 202
Pretty much everyone agrees this needs to be a corner. Do they go with the Michigan State product and likely fans preference in Darqueze Dennard, or Gilbert? I’ll say Gilbert.
11. Tennessee Titans
Pos: Cornerback Ht: 5’11 Wt: 199
And there goes the aforementioned Dennard. The Titans are a bit of a forgotten team when it comes to a need at QB, but again I like them to take a QB later on rather than early.
12. New York Giants
Pos: Offensive Tackle/Guard Ht: 6’4 Wt: 308
A bit of a reach here maybe, but Lewan went earlier than expected, and so if a team needs an OT they’ll have to look at who is next up. For the Giants, I’m betting Martin would be next up.
13. St. Louis Rams
Pos: Safety Ht: 5’11 Wt: 207
Most expecting WR here, and maybe that’s where they go. But they have passed up WR’s before only to take them later on. Pryor added to that D is a scary thought!
14. Chicago Bears
Pos: Defensive Tackle Ht: 6’0 Wt: 285
Donald is a hot commodity right now and might not last until 14. But if he’s here, pretty literally nobody believes he’s falling past this point.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers
Pos: Cornerback Ht: 5’11 Wt: 190
The Steelers really need a corner, and I wouldn’t be anything surprised if Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was given a lot of consideration here as a future replacement for Polomalu. But in the end they go with the bigger need.
16. Dallas Cowboys
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Pos: Safety Ht: 6’1 Wt: 208
Speak of the devil! The Cowboys are much more desperate to have Aaron Donald fall to them, or possibly trade up. I seen last night Mike Mayock put Manziel going to them, that would be a VERY Jerry move! But Clinton-Dix would be a nice/solid pick here.
17. Baltimore Ravens
Pos: Inside Linebacker Ht: 6’2 Wt: 234
The entire world has Eric Ebron going here. So I’m probably going to look like an idiot. But I don’t see Ebron lasting this long with it not being a good draft for TE. They’re a team likely to trade down.
18. New York Jets
Pos: Offensive Tackle Ht: 6’6 Wt: 314
They’ll go WR right? They have to right? How Jets would it be to not do that? And I bet they don’t. They got their WR when they signed Decker. They’ll take another, but not at 18….I don’t think.
19. Miami Dolphins
Pos: Outside Linebacker Ht: 6’1 Wt: 237
This kid is a big time late riser. Most have him going as high as 20 to Arizona, I’m going 1 further. He is versatile and the fish could use some of that at LB.
20. Arizona Cardinals
Pos: Quarterback Ht: 6’5 Wt: 232
They’ll need a QB at some point. So grab Bortles here who if he fell to this point would be a great pick. As the top pick, I could see him being a flop. But sitting behind Palmer for a few years, no pressure in Arizona or being picked 20th.
21. Green Bay Packers
Pos: Cornerback Ht: 5’9 Wt: 189
When the Pack won it all in 2010, their defense was good and the reason wasn’t Clay Matthews or B.J. Raji. It was the awesome depth they had at corner, so I believe they’ll look to load up at corner again.
22. Philadelphia Eagles
Pos: Wide Receiver Ht: 5’11 Wt: 192
Most don’t believe that Lee will go ahead of Beckham Jr. or Brandin Cooks. But this is just the way it’s fallen for me. While Chip Kelly loves his massive wideouts, he needs a burner and he saw a ton of Lee in the PAC 12.
23. Kansas City Chiefs
Odell Beckham Jr.
Pos: Wide Receiver Ht: 5’11 Wt: 198
Here we go with a mini run on WR’s. Beckham you would think with everything we have all read and heard will be long gone. But again, I’m not going to be surprised if WR’s drop in this draft due to so much depth at the position.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
Pos: Cornerback Ht: 5’11 Wt: 194
They need help at corner, and he’s a local product. Oh yeah, and he also has off field issues and as everyone knows the last team to worry about off the field stuff, it’s the Bengals.
25. San Diego Chargers
Pos: Outside Linebacker Ht: 6’4 Wt: 255
Everyone else is mocking this pick, so let’s go with it. I’ll use the same logic as most where Freeney is almost done so they’ll need someone to plug that hole in the near future.
26. Cleveland Browns (via Indianapolis)
Pos: Quarterback Ht: 6’2 Wt: 214
So in this scenario, the Browns get their QB. I don’t like this move of waiting until 26 if that’s how they do it. I know it was a different regime but they did it this way in 2012 and got humiliated.
27. New Orleans Saints
Pos: Wide Receiver Ht: 5’9 Wt: 189
Most have Cooks gone, I like him to fall to this spot mainly because of his height. The Saints may not have a great D, but they could stand to re-stock the shelves so to speak for Drew Brees. Cooks would thrive with Brees.
28. Carolina Panthers
Pos: Wide Reiceiver Ht: 6’5 Wt: 244
They’re beyond desperate for a WR, and I think it’s probably safe to say that at this point in the draft, Benjamin has the most upside out of all the WR’s remaining. Hmmmm, maybe a lot of wideouts will go in the 1st….
29. New England Patroits
Pos: Defensive Tackle Ht: 6’5 Wt: 310
The run stopper/big plug that the Pats will need in the middle of the line to replace Vince Wolfork. I’ve seen this mocked by a few people including Mel Kiper “who the hell is MEL KIPER?”
30. San Francisco 49ers
Pos: Wide Receiver Ht: 6’2 Wt: 215
Another late and big riser. The Niners are much improved from the Super Bowl team was at wideout, but they still aren’t great. They’re maybe the biggest threat to trade up from late in the 1st to the teens if not higher.
31. Denver Broncos
Pos: Defensive End Ht: 6’4 Wt: 273
I think in this scenario, the Broncos just sit back and add the best player on the board who just might be the pass rusher from Missouri, who could spell DeMarcus Ware should he have injury problems.
32. Seattle Seahawks
Pos: Offensive Guard Ht: 6’4 Wt: 307
Who knows. The Super Bowl champs believe it or not have been horrific drafting in the 1st round, yet have about 80 steals in rounds 2-7 since 2010. That O-line was pretty suspect late last season so it wouldn’t hurt to add to it.
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