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), no. 16 Dallas Cowboys (Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt) and no. 17 Baltimore Ravens (Eric Ebron, TE, UNC). With the 18th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, who do the New York Jets select?
Marqise Lee, WR, USC.
Lee is one of the more polished receivers in the draft and could step onto an NFL field tomorrow and make an impact. He doesn’t have elite size (6-foot, 192-pounds), but plays with good physicality. He’s an elite route runner who understands coverages and knows how to get open. Lee has good hands and a knack for the acrobatic catch, and shows good balance dancing along the sidelines. His acceleration in and out of breaks are impressive and has a nice tendency to turn short gains into long ones.
Lee is an outstanding athlete (also a sprinter and long jumper at SC), and a fiery competitor who’s overcome a lot in life. There’s an awful lot to like with this pick. With Lee, recently signed Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley, I’m doing everything I can to help QB Geno Smith succeed.
TE Eric Ebron would also garner a lot of consideration at this spot if he’s still on the board. Jeff Cumberland is solid but won’t be confused with Jimmy Graham anytime soon. An upgrade there will be necessary at some point. RT was lightly addressed in free agency by signing Breno Giacomini, but that’s not a long-term answer. Morgan Moses (OT, Virginia) would be a good fit, but this is still a little high for him.
Cornerback and safety are other positions I’d like to address in this draft. Dee Milliner has a bright future, but opposite of him is a hole. Kyle Wilson’s been a bust and Antonio Cromartie isn’t likely back, but there’s no CB still on my board worthy of a top-20 pick after Gilbert and Dennard. Clinton-Dix would be a good option here if he’s still on the board, and has a ton of experience playing alongside Milliner in Tuscaloosa.