NFL Mock Draft 2.0 - Round 1

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21.) Packers: S Calvin Pryor (5’11, 207) – With holes everywhere on defense, the Packers will be looking for the best defensive player on the board and that is either Ealy, Gilbert, or Pryor. They just spent $38M on CB Sam Shields so I don’t see them taking another corner this high, Ealy is a possibility, but he might be a better fit for a 4-3 scheme, so that leaves Pryor whose versatility to play either safety position is a perfect fit for Dom Capers scheme. He’s also a big hitter with good range in coverage and will be an upgrade at either safety position.

22.) Eagles: CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma St (6’0, 194) – The Eagles secondary was a mess last year. Former Dolphin Nolan Carroll will help, but they still need more. They could go with a safety here as well, but the top two are already off the board and shut-down corners are harder. Gilbert has that kind of potential and will also be a weapon as a kick/punt returner. Good value this late in the draft.

23.) Chiefs: WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon St (5’10, 186)  - The Chiefs need to give Alex Smith some weapons besides Charles and D-Bowe. Cooks is very explosive after the catch and should thrive in KC’s short passing game. Cooks’ size is less than ideal, but he was unstoppable as a junior (128 catches, 1,730 yards, 16 TDs). He’s a poor man’s Steve Smith.

24.) Bengals: DE Kony Ealy, Missouri (6’5, 275) – With no glaring needs on either side of the ball (depending on how you feel about Andy Dalton), the Bengals can take the best player on the board. Ealy happens to fill a need as well with last season’s starting DE Michael Johnson gone via free agency.

25.) Chargers: CB Jason Verrett, TCU (5’10, 176) - If he were two inches taller, Verrett would be a lock for the top 15 pick. He might have the best man coverage skills in the draft and is good against the run despite his small frame. The Chargers might have had the worst CB combo in the league last year, so CB is all but a lock for their first round selection.

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26.) Browns: QB Derek Carr, Fresno St (6’2, 214) - I think the Browns will either trade down from 4 or up from 26 to make sure they get Carr. Misdirection is the name of the game pre-draft so they may be slow-playing their Manziel interest, but everything I’m hearing points to Carr as their guy. Carr had an impressive off-season, showing good confidence, intelligence and charisma in the interviews, a strong arm capable of making all the NFL throws, and better than expected athleticism (4.6 40).

27.) Saints: OLB Ryan Shazier, Ohio St (6’2, 230) – Possibly the best athlete in the draft (4.3 40-time, 42″ vert) and DC Rob Ryan will find a way to utilize him on a suddenly dangerous Saints defense.

28.) Panthers: WR Odell Beckham, LSU (6’0, 187) –  Beckham is a polished receiver with exceptional quickness, hands, and route-running ability. The Panthers lost both of their starting wide outs in free agency and need a player that can step in right away and be productive. Beckham can be that guy and should be Newton’s go-to target by the second half of the 2014 season.

29.) Patriots: DT Louis Nix, Notre Dame (6’3, 340) –  Current DT Vince Wilfork is a huge question mark due to his achilles injury late in 2013. Nix gives the Pats some insurance if Wilfork can’t recover in time for the season and a successor to groom if he can.

30.) 49ers: DT Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota (6’6, 318) – He wasn’t as productive as he should have been in college considering his elite strength and athleticism, but he is a converted TE and is still learning the nuances of the DT position. D-line isn’t the 49ers most glaring need, but Justin Smith is getting older and D-lineman with Hageman’s measurables don’t come around very often.

31.) Broncos: CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech (6’0, 194) - Fuller is a technician at corner and excels against short to intermediate routes. He lacks deep speed, so he can be taken advantage of with the long ball, but the rest of Fuller’s game is solid including his run support. Fuller should be ready to step in and contribute right away.

32.) Seahawks: WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt (6’3, 205) – After cutting Sidney Rice and losing Golden Tate to free agency the Seahawks are dangerously low on wide outs. Matthews is a big, sure-handed receiver who runs crisp routes and  displayed better than expected speed and athleticism at the combine. Matthews was very productive in college and finished his career at Vandy as the SEC’s all-time leading receiver. He will give Russell Wilson a big target with reliable hands and is the perfect complement across from Percy Harvin.

Twitter: @MikeFlannery_

 

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