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.
Here’s a quick rundown of our draft so far: no. 1 Houston Texans (Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina), no. 2 St. Louis Rams (Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M), no. 3 Jacksonville Jaguars (Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville), no. 4 Cleveland Browns (Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M), no. 5 Oakland Raiders (Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn) and no. 6 Atlanta Falcons (Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan). With the 7th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, who do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select?
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson.
This really came down to Watkins, Khalil Mack (DE/OLB, Buffalo) and Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State). Mack had to be considered here not only because of the value but also the fit. He’s got the potential to be an elite pass rusher off the edge at the next level in the mold of Von Miller, and new coach Lovie Smith needs his defensive linemen to be able to get up field and create pressure without the blitz.
Gilbert also had some consideration here because I’m about to trade Darrelle Revis. It’s not really the fit in a zone-heavy scheme that scares me, because he’s good enough to dominate in any scheme, but his $16 million dollar salary has to go. Gilbert is clear and away the most dynamic and athletic CB in the draft, and he’d be a welcome addition to a quickly developing young secondary.
But in the end, I had to go with Watkins. Getting Watkins at seven without moving up is just far too good of a value to pass up. Realistically, I’d be shocked if he falls outside of the top five.
Watkins is a big play machine. He’ll pair nicely with three time Pro Bowler Vincent Jackson, who also favors the deep ball, and give young QB Mike Gelnnon, who happens to have a cannon, another capable weapon to get the ball too. With this trio of players in the passing attack and Doug Martin keeping defenses honest at the line, I can’t help but see this offense taking major strides.
Plus, Watkins will be filling a hole, because I’m going to cut WR Mike Williams either before this season (and be forced to swallow a $6.4 million cap hit) or before next season, when his contract isn’t guaranteed. Williams is a solid football player but is a total liability to the franchise off the field. Whether it’s the legal troubles he encountered in college, the DUI in 2010, the recent charges of trespassing and criminal mischief or all the skipped meetings and rehab sessions: I’m finished with him.
After I re-sign Tiquan Underwood on the cheap, all of a sudden I’ve got the makings of a decent aerial attack. At least a major improvement from the 32nd ranked passing attack from 2013.
With the 8th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, who do the Minnesota Vikings select?