NFL Mock Draft 2.0 – Round 1

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9.) Bills: TE Eric Ebron, UNC (6’4, 245) – Current Bills TE Scott Chandler is a solid player, but better suited for a #2 TE role. Ebron has tight end size but the speed and acceleration of a wide receiver. His hands need to be more consistent; He made some highlight reel grabs, but also dropped some easy ones. Ebron has the talent to be a poor man’s Jimmy Graham, if the Bills can find someone to get him the ball.

10.) Lions: WR Mike Evans Texas A&M (6’5, 225) – Matthew Stafford had no reliable receiving options last year other than Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush. Evans has great size, good hands, and adjusts very well to the ball. Evans should be able to take advantage of the single coverage match-ups he will see opposite Megatron and at worst will be an asset in the red zone. Megatron, Golden Tate, and Evans will be a nightmare for opposing defenses if Stafford can get his act together next season.

11.) Titans: LB Anthony Barr, UCLA (6’4, 248) –  DT Jurrell Casey led a strong inside pass rush for the Titans (11 sacks), but they had no one generating pressure off the edge. Barr only played OLB for 2 seasons so he is a little raw, but so quick and explosive off the edge that he will rack up some sacks on athleticism alone. With some experience, Barr could be an elite pass rushing OLB. I was tempted to go with Louis Nix here as the Titans are switching to a 3-4 and don’t have a starting caliber NT on their roster yet, but I think Nix’s fluctuating weight and injury history makes him too much of a risk at 11.

12.) Giants: T Taylor Lewan, Michigan (6’8, 302) –   He doesn’t have the upside of Robinson or Matthews, but Lewan is solid and polished enough that he should be ready to step in and start as a rookie. Lewan showed off his elite athleticism at the combine and locked up a spot in the top 15. The Giants O-line was a mess last year, but the combo of Lewan and a couple of free agents on the interior (Schwartz, Walton) could make for a quick fix.

13.) Rams: S HaHa Clinton Dix, Alabama (6’1, 209) –  The Rams’ safeties were almost as bad as the Bears last season and Dix is the best coverage safety on the board. There is a chance they take Donald with current DT Langford a year away from free agency, but Dix fills a more immediate need.

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14.) Bears: DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh (6’0, 189) – With Henry Melton in Dallas now, I think Donald is no-brainer for the Bears if he is still available. The Bears saw how important DT depth was last year and being able to rotate Donald with Nate Collins will keep both players fresh and improve Collins’ chances of staying healthy. Donald will be one of the smallest DTs in the league, but could also be one of the best pass rushers. He was the most productive DT in CFB last year (28.5 TFLs, 11.5 sacks) and has the quickness, low center of gravity, and strong hand play to be a force inside. His 4.68 40-time at 285 pounds is one of the most impressive combine feats I have seen in a long time. A D-line group of Houston, Young, Ratliff and Donald should be able to generate a consistent pass rush.

15.) Steelers: CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan St (5’11, 188) –  Starting CB Ike Taylor was brutal last season. PFF ranked him 70th out of the 79 CBs that played at least half of their teams snaps. Dennard answered any questions about his straight-line speed at the combine with a 4.55 and his aggressive style of play will be a welcome addition to a Steelers secondary that was flat-out bad last year. Dennard will have an adjustment period as he figures out how much of his physical coverage technique will be allowed at the NFL level, but he should become a solid starting corner soon.

16.) Cowboys: DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida St (6’2, 298) –  The Cowboys somehow found enough cap room to sign former Bear DT Henry Melton to fill one of their holes at DT. Last years starter at the other DT spot, Nick Hayden, finished the 2013 season with a -27.4 grade from PFF which was the 2nd worst grade in the NFL (68/69). Drafting Jernigan gives them a replacement for Hayden with a ton of upside. When motivated Jernigan was a beast inside for FSU. He has the tools to be an all-pro DT if he can maintain a consistent effort level.

17.) Ravens:  MLB CJ Mosley (6’2, 234) – Ozzie Newsome is known for taking the best player on the board regardless of need and Mosley has the talent to have been taken 10 picks earlier. The Raven’s may have bigger holes, but ILB is on the list and Mosley should step in next to Daryl Smith and be an immediate starter.

18.) Jets: WR Marquis Lee, USC (6’0, 190) –  The Jets need all the help they can get on offense as they had the worst collection of skill players in the NFL last season. Lee struggled in 2013 due to a combination of injuries and bad QB play, but was dominant in both 2011 (73, 1143, 11) and 2012 (118!, 1721, 14). Lee is a little smaller than teams would like for a classic #1, but he has all the tools to be one. They could go with Brandin Cooks here instead, but I think Lee has more upside.

19.) Dolphins: T Zach Martin, Notre Dame (6’4, 304) –  The Dolphins need as many O-lineman as they can get after a complete meltdown both on and off the field by their O-line last season. Martin had a great Senior Bowl, but might be a little small for left tackle. With free agent LT Brandon ALbert on board, Martin could be an excellent RT or G depending on how the rest of the line shakes out.

20.) Cardinals: DE/OLB Dee Ford, Auburn (6’2, 243) – A tweener, but Ford is one of the most explosive pass rushers in the draft. The only consistent outside pass rush the Cards got last year was from 36-year-old John Abraham, so they need an infusion of youth and explosiveness.