NFL Mock Draft – Final 1st Round

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Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

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: QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (6’1, 200) – Gus Bradley was with Seattle when they drafted Russell Wilson so he has experience winning with a short QB. The Jags improved their defense in the off-season but are never going to be a consistent winner until they find a QB. Manziel is short, his decision-making is suspect, and he seems like a prima-donna, but Manziel is a unique talent that can put a team on his back for long stretches. After a few seasons of Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert, a little excitement is badly needed in Jacksonville. Manziel has better arm strength then advertised, great wheels, and intangibles that can’t be taught. Drafting Manziel 3rd 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.  

4.) Browns: WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson  (6’1, 200) – With Manziel off the board the Browns take Watkins and give Hoyer (or whoever their QB is) possibly the best young WR core in the game. Josh Gordon established himself as a true #1 WR last season and Watkins has the potential to do the same. Combined with TE Jordan Cameron, the Browns have a trio of dangerous weapons in the passing game. who should put the Browns QB in a position to succeed next year.

5.) Raiders: 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. The Raiders get a stud linebacker to build their defense around. Mack is the closest thing to Lawrence Taylor to come around in a long time.

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 take Matthews at 6.

7.) Buccaneers: WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M (6’5, 225) – After trading Mike Williams, the Bucs don’t have much depth at receiver behind Vincent Jackson. Evans will give the Bucs a deep threat and a big target in the red zone. I think Evans will struggle a little adjusting to more physical NFL corners but his height will make him an asset in the red zone right away and he’s a good bet for 5+ TDs in 2014.