With both the Senior Bowl and Combine in the books, we’ve reached a perfect time for an updated mock draft. As usual, we’ll go pick by pick to make sure we discuss each pick thoroughly enough, and as usual, we’re assuming I’m the GM, so I’m not making picks based off who I actually think will go where, but rather who I’d take with the slot. And no, no trade scenarios because they’re infinite. With the first pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans selected Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina). Who do the St. Louis Rams select with the second?
In my first mock, I had them picking Jake Matthews (OT, Texas A&M), and in the second version I’m sticking with the pick.
Prime reason? He can provide some certainty to an uncertain position for our team. LT Jake Long is coming back from injury (again), and his contract after this season will put me in a good position to cut him and save more than $20 million in cap space. If I don’t re-sign Rodger Saffold (which I fully intend to do), I’ll have a hole at RT, and even if I do re-sign him, I’d rather push him inside to guard where he’s truly best suited, which opens the spot to Matthews.
Matthews is the thoroughbred of the draft class. Talk about bloodlines. About every man in his family plays or played in the NFL, including cousin Clay (50 sacks for the Green Bay Packers the last 5-years), and father Bruce (14-time Pro Bowler and arguably the greatest offensive lineman the game has ever seen).
Matthews isn’t ranked this highly because of his surname, however. He’s ranked this high because of his skill set. He’s a smart, heady player who makes few mental errors, showing excellent awareness on the blindside. He’s versatile, having played and excelled at both right and left tackles for the Aggies in college. He’s equally impressive at both run and pass blocking, is a student of the game, is a good leader, doesn’t have injury concerns, etc. I mean I could literally go on all day about the positives of Matthews.
I’ll keep Long (at least for another year) on the left side, re-sign Saffold and push him to RG, put Matthews at RT and slide him over to LT if/when I cut Long.
Who else was considered here? Greg Robinson (OT, Auburn) and Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson). Robinson had an absurd Combine and is a freak athletically, and ultimately may have higher upside than Matthews. Still, Matthews is a much safer pick and is thrice the pass blocker Robinson is. Watkins would provide an explosive playmaking option outside to pair with last years first round pick WR Tavon Austin, but we don’t need a WR more than a capable OT.
Matthews improves our run game, our pass game and helps the health of our franchise QB Sam Bradford, who already has a tough enough time staying healthy.
With the third pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, who do the Jacksonville Jaguars select?