With the 2014 Senior Bowl in the books and the NFL Combine looming on the horizon, this is an excellent time for my first mock draft. To make sure we go through each pick and it’s reasoning thoroughly enough, I’ll go pick by pick in a series format, obviously starting with the Houston Texans. Disclaimers note: I’m not going to be calculating trade possibilities, of which there are unlimited. I’m going to assume each team will use their pick. Also, I’m not trying to predict the order of the draft and who I actually think will go where, but who I would take if I was their GM (in some distant fantasy world).
So far, my draft looks like this: no.1 Texans (Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina), no. 2 St. Louis Rams (Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M), no. 3 Jacksonville Jaguars (Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M), no. 4 Cleveland Browns (Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville), no. 5 Oakland Raiders (Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn), no. 6 Atlanta Falcons (Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson), no. 7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Anthony Barr, DE, UCLA, no. 8 Minnesota Vikings (Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State), no. 9 Buffalo Bills (Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan), no. 10 Detroit Lions (Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State), no. 11 Tennessee Titans (Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo), no. 12 New York Giants (C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama), no.13 St. Louis Rams (Marqise Lee, WR, USC), no. 14 Chicago Bears (Timmy Jernigan, DT, FSU), no. 15 Pittsburgh Steelers (Louis Nix, NT, Notre Dame), no. 16 Baltimore Ravens (Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama), no. 17 Dallas Cowboys (Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama) and no. 18 New York Jets (Eric Ebron, TE, UNC). With the 19th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, who do the Miami Dolphins select?
Richie Incognito (OG, Nebraska). Yea, just kidding. In truth, I’m taking Zack Martin (OT, Notre Dame). I thought long and hard about defensive tackle and help for the secondary, but I’m confident I’ll be able to re-sign Randy Starks and hopefully CB Brent Grimes. Either way, both positions should be a priority for us in the draft moving forward.
The offensive line is an absolute catastrophe right now. LT Bryant McKinnie is 35 going on 95, and a free agent to boot. The other LT, Jonathan Martin, well you know what’s going on with him. We don’t know what his future holds other than he won’t be a Dolphin next year. LG Incognito, well, you know about him too, and he won’t be a Dolphin next year. RG John Jerry is a free agent, and considering his involvement in the Incognito/Martin brouhaha, he won’t be a Dolphin next year. Finally we have RT Tyson Clabo, who’s a free agent and won’t be back. All we’re left with is C Mike Pouncey, so yea, we should probably go ahead and take the best lineman on the board.
Martin is exactly what we need. Even if his physical skill set didn’t meet the value of this pick, I’d still consider him just because of how impressive his character and leadership skills are. But his physical skills do merit such a draft slot, especially after flat out dominating at the Senior Bowl.
He’s technically sound, rarely makes mental mistakes, is a student of the game and a hard worker on and off the field. He uses his hands very well, has a good kick step, and is a strong run blocker. He plays angles very well and could be scary effective in a zone-blocking scheme. There’s some concern about his height and arm length, but even if he can’t be the elite edge protector we need, I could slide him inside to G where I think he could be an All-Pro.
This just makes too much sense on too many levels. I didn’t consider anyone else with this pick, but if I had to, I’d look at Lamarcus Joyner (DB, FSU), Jason Verrett (CB, TCU), Calvin Pryor (S, Louisville), Aaron Donald (DT, Pitt) and Ra’Shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota).
With the 20th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, who do the Arizona Cardinals select?