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), no. 6 Atlanta Falcons (Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan), no. 7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson), no. 8 Minnesota Vikings (Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State), no. 9 Buffalo Bills (Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo), no. 10 Detroit Lions (Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M), no. 11 Tennessee Titans (Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA), no. 12 New York Giants (C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama), no. 13 St. Louis Rams (Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama), no. 14 Chicago Bears (Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri). no. 15 Pittsburgh Steelers (Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State) and no. 16 Dallas Cowboys (Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt). With the 17th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, who do the Baltimore Ravens select?
This was a tricky one. I know the fans are still clamoring for another wide receiver despite the Steve Smith signing, but like we’ve discussed, this draft is so deep there I’ll be able to find first round talent in round two. I want a stud RT, and as much as I like Zack Martin (OT, Notre Dame), he’s not as rugged of a run blocker for what I’m looking for. Morgan Moses (OT, Virginia) would be an outstanding fit, but this is still a little high for him. If the Ravens do target him in the real draft, they should trade down about ten slots. Middle linebacker is also a big need, but C.J. Mosley is already off the board and this is far too high for Chris Borland.
So who’s it going to be? Eric Ebron, TE, UNC.
This isn’t even close to a need, especially with Dennis Pitta recently signing a 5-year deal, but Ebron at 17 is just too good a value to pass up.
Ebron is an outstanding athlete, who offers enough size (6-foot 4, 250-pounds) and speed (4.6 40-yard dash) to create mismatches all over the field. I honestly think he’s a good enough athlete to even play wide receiver in the NFL, so to be able to insert him to a pass corps already boasting Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, Marlon Brown and Pitta, defenses are going to have an awful time scheming for us.
Plus, this is just another weapon for QB Joe Flacco, who apparently needs it to help justify his absurd $120 million dollar contract. You’d like to think if you’re being paid that handsomely, you’d be able to succeed with or without a top notch receiving corps (a la Tom Brady), but that’s just not Flacco.
Cornerback and free safety will also need to be addressed moving forward. Jimmy Smith still hasn’t realized his immense potential and might not be back next year. At 17 though, with Gilbert and Dennard off the board, there’s not another good value here. A good cover safety to pair next to the hard hitting Matt Elam is also a need. Clinton-Dix would be a great fit here if he’s still available.