NFL Mock Draft 3.0 – Round 1

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Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been about a month since my last mock draft, so it’s time for version 3.0. I’ll be posting a round or two every day this week and then the whole thing on Monday the 5th. As usual, if you see anything egregious, feel free to rip me in the comments.

Round 1

1.) Texans – DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina (6’5, 266): It seems pretty clear at this point that the Texans aren’t comfortable using the 1st overall pick on a QB. A trade with the Falcons is a definite possibility, but if they keep the pick Clowney makes the most sense. The main complaint about Clowney is his work ethic but the influence of J.J Watt, one of the hardest workers in the league, might be just what Clowney needs to unlock his massive potential.  Clowney’s 2013 season was a disappointment, but his combination of size, explosiveness, and speed only comes around once in a while. With some technique improvement and consistent effort, Clowney could be a perennial double-digit sack guy.

2.) Rams – T Greg Robinson, Auburn (6’5, 332): He showed off his ridiculous athleticism at the combine, running a 4.92 at 332 pounds and having a top 3 broad jump. Robinson is already an absolute mauler in the run game and could be a dominant RT on day 1. He plays with a mean streak that will endear him to HC Jeff Fisher and ultimately is what gave him the edge over T Jake Matthews for this pick. With a little coaching, Robinson will eventually move over to LT once his pass protection technique improves and has All-Pro potential there as well.

3.) Jaguars – LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo (6’3, 245): Mack didn’t face much competition at Buffalo but he dominated (28.5 sacks, 75 TFLs) during his career there and backed it up at the combine with top 5 marks in 4 of the 6 drills he participated in and then looked even better at his pro day. Mack has a shot to go #1 overall and the Jaguars who are desperate pass rushers should be ecstatic that Mack is still available. He is the closest thing to Lawrence Taylor to come around in a long time.

4.) Browns – QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (6’1, 200): He’s short, his decision-making is suspect, and he seems like a prima-donna, but Manziel is fun to watch and can put a team on his back for long stretches. After a few seasons of Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden, a little fun is badly needed in Cleveland. Manziel has better arm strength then advertised, great wheels, and intangibles that can’t be taught. Drafting Manziel 4th is risky because he has the lowest floor of the top 10 picks, but also the highest ceiling and he could be a franchise changer.  

5.) Raiders – WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson  (6’1, 200): In a tier by himself at the wide receiver position, Watkins can do it all  and has the potential to be a true #1 WR. The Raiders haven’t had a #1 receiver since Tim Brown. This may seem like a luxury pick, since they have significant needs at other positions like LT, QB, and almost everywhere on defense, but Watkins is the best offensive player still on the board and gives Schaub a legit weapon.

6.) Falcons – T Jake Matthews, Texas A&M (6’5, 305): Jake Matthews is the most polished LT prospect in the draft and can step in and start on day 1. The Falcons had a hard time keeping Matt Ryan clean last year and they aren’t getting back to the playoffs until they can improve their pass protection. Matthews is a step in the right direction. There are rumors that many teams (including ATL) have Taylor Lewan rated higher, but with his off-field and maturity issues I think the Falcons will go with the safer pick and Matthews will be drafted first.

7.) Buccaneers – QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville  (6’3, 205): I still think Bridgewater is the best QB in this draft and the Bucs get a steal here. Lovie Smith needs to get a franchise QB in place so he can focus on what he does best, building an elite defense.  Lovie has already made it clear that Mike Glennon is not the answer at QB and recent free agent signing Josh McCown is just a stop-gap solution. Lovie won’t look a gift horse in the mouth and pass on Bridgewater, who has all the tools to be a great NFL QB. He had a mediocre pro day, but his game tape is excellent. There are also concerns that his build is too slight and that he won’t hold up to the rigors of the NFL game. He might not, but the McCown signing gives him a year or so to bulk up. Bridgewater is the best pure passer in this draft and his accuracy and ability to throw receivers open is far superior to Bortles. He should help improve a mediocre Buccaneers offense once he takes over.

8.) Vikings – QB Blake Bortles, UCF (6’4, 240): The Vikings get lucky with Bortles falling this far as he is the best fit for new OC Norv Turner’s offense. Bortles has the prototype size, arm, and look for a franchise QB. Despite his big arm, he’s not an accurate deep passer and is probably a year or two away from being an above average NFL QB. The Vikes re-signed Cassel for two years which gives Turner enough tine to groom Bortles and get him ready to take over. Bortles has plenty of upside, but he’s the farthest away from being NFL ready of the three top QBs.

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  • Jarod Cook

    I don’t see the Browns drafting a QB at #4, even though it’s a need. New GM Farmer has watched the last 2 regimes failed in the draft taking Boom/Bust players early. I think he goes with a less risky pick and chooses WR Watkins or Evens, or OT Robinson or Matthews, depending on who’s available. Having a second 1st round pick and extra picks will give them the opportunity to move up if the QB’s start falling like they did last year, or they can stay put and see who falls to #26.
    I like the pick of Lee at #26 he might not be the biggest, fastest, or flashest receiver of the draft. But he’s a solid route runner with good hands, who will take pressure of Gordon and Cameron. He doesn’t have the highest ceiling among the receivers of the draft, but he’s got a good base line and you know what to expect from him. This pick can go in different directions though, if they passed on QB early this will probably be used to draft one. Or since it’s such a deep draft at WR they wait till #35 and draft one there, and instead pick CB Fuller. Who can start immediately across from Haden, and would be a vast improvement over Skrine.

    • Mike Flannery

      I had the Browns waiting till #26 to take a QB in my last two mocks, but I think at the end of the day QB is their biggest need and I don’t think they will risk waiting and potentially missing out on the guy they want. Maybe they trade up from #26 and take Carr or maybe they take Bortles at #4, there is really no way to know, but I think Manziel has the most upside.

      • Jarod Cook

        I wouldn’t say QB is there biggest need on the team. It’s up there but they do have Hoyer who can be serviceable for another year if he doesn’t get hurt that is. But taking a QB early will add for some competition in camp, as well as planning for the future. The big needs on the team IMO are #2 CB, and a legit #2 WR who can take pressure of Gordon and Cameron. Also IMO the OL was the down fall of the offense last year outside Thomas and Mack. The line couldn’t open holes in the run game and would let pass rushers just walk through. But taking a QB at #4 who for all intent and purposes is most likely going to sit for his rookie year, seems a waste of a premium pick. When they instead can add a play maker who can provide an immediate impact on the field.

        If they do choose to go QB at #4 Manziel would be my least favorite pick of the bunch. Even in your annalist you point out his Boom/Bust potential, and I think that will scare the Browns away. If they gamble on a QB early I believe they go after one with a more base line potential like Bortles or Bridgewater. And if they reach for Carr at #4 I’m going to be finding a new team.

  • Wayne Davis

    Nice mock …I’m good with Bortles ….My vikes draft with trades & grades

    Round 1 Pick 19 (MIA): C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama (B)
    Round 2 Pick 8: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State (A)
    Round 2 Pick 18 (MIA): Deone Bucannon, SS, Washington State (B+)
    Round 3 Pick 8: Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska (B+)
    Round 3 Pick 32: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois (A)
    Round 4 Pick 8: Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson (A)
    Round 5 Pick 8: Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech (A)
    Round 6 Pick 8: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia (A)
    Round 7 Pick 8: De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon (B-)

    • Phillip

      Ryan Shazier will not be available at pick 8 in the 2nd round, he’s not getting out the 1st. And there’s no possible way Garrapolo falls to the bottom of the 3rd round. Also, every 1 of those picks are at least a round too late from Garropolo on. Murray is going in the 3rd or 4th, Bryant in the 3rd, possibly the 2nd, Thomas by the 5th, Exum is probably the only 1 right.

      • Wayne Davis

        Here’s my draft from today

        Your score is: 5508 (GRADE: A)

        Your Picks:
        Round 1 Pick 27 (N.O.): C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama (B+)
        Round 2 Pick 8: Dee Ford, DE, Auburn (A-)
        Round 2 Pick 18 (MIA): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State (A)
        Round 3 Pick 8: Deone Bucannon, SS, Washington State (A)
        Round 3 Pick 27 (N.O.): Keith McGill, CB, Utah (A-)
        Round 3 Pick 32: Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU (A-)
        Round 4 Pick 8: Louchiez Purifoy, CB, Florida (B+)
        Round 5 Pick 8: Trai Turner, OG, LSU (A-)
        Round 6 Pick 10 (TENN): Devon Kennard, OLB, Southern California (B+)
        Round 6 Pick 26 (N.O.): Storm Johnson, RB, UCF (A)
        Round 7 Pick 8: Dri Archer, WR, Kent State (A)
        You never now who’s going to be where that’s what I love abt the draft try yourself firstpick.com

  • Phillip

    Green Bay picks at 21, not 22.