With the 2014 Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine all wrapped up, 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). Also, some of these picks take place after some good and bad combine performances, which should also be taken into consideration.
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), no. 18 New York Jets (Eric Ebron, TE, UNC), no. 19 Miami Dolphins (Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame) and no. 20 Arizona Cardinals (Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee). With the 21st pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, who do the Green Bay Packers select?
Yes, it’s tempting to take either Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M) or Jace Amaro (TE, Texas Tech) in this scenario, but Evans will obviously be gone in real life by this time, and receiver is still a very deep position for us. And yes, we do need a TE of the future with the uncertainty surrounding Jermichael Finley, but there’s much bigger holes on the defensive side of the ball, so I’m going with Jason Verrett (CB, TCU).
If Clinton-Dix is still on the board, I’d probably go with him, but he’s not, and while I like Calvin Pryor (S, Louisville), I need a better center fielder than thumper in the box, so I’m going with the best corner available.
If Verrett is still on the board when the Packers pick for real, they should consider themselves lucky. He’s not outstanding in run support, but he makes up for it with his cover skills and instincts. He takes good angles, anticipates breaks well, has good hands and body control, and has impressive recovery speed. He has very fluid hips that let’s him open fast and his 4.38 speed gives affords him to run with any receiver in the league.
With Verrett, I’ll be able to cut Tramon Williams and his $7.5 million cap hit, and I’ll have a very solid trio of Sam Shields (whom I’m about to re-sign), Verrett and nickel back Casey Hayward.
Who else was considered here (besides Amaro)? Ra’Shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota) and Stephon Tuitt (DE, Notre Dame). Both would be outstanding fits at the 5-tech in our 3-4 defense, but I’m planning on re-signing B.J. Raji (who needs to move to nose once and for all), and am planning on youngsters like Jerel Worthy (2nd rounder in ’12) and Datone Jones (1st rounder in ’13) taking the next step in development.
With the 22nd pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, who do the Philadelphia Eagles select?