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), no. 17 Baltimore Ravens (Eric Ebron, TE, UNC), no. 18 New York Jets (Marqise Lee, WR, USC), no. 19 Miami Dolphins (Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame), no. 20 Arizona Cardinals (Ra’Shede Hageman, DT/DE, Minnesota), no. 21 Green Bay Packers (Lous Nix, NT, Notre Dame) and no. 22 Philadelphia Eagles (Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn). With the 23rd pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, who do the Kansas City Chiefs select?
Odell Beckham, WR, LSU.
This probably won’t come to fruition in real life because as any Eagles fan will remind you, Andy Reid doesn’t enjoy taking wide receivers in the first round. He prefers taking offensive and defensive linemen, and it just so happens we’ve lost three starters from last years offensive line. If I had to actually speculate who would go here, Xavier Su’a-Filo (OG, UCLA) would be my choice, particularly with the recent departures of Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah.
But in this scenario, where I’m calling the shots, I’m recognizing that my QB (Alex Smith) succeeds only when he’s got pieces to work with surrounding him. He won’t win any games with his physical talents alone, and I’ve got only one receiving option (Dwayne Bowe) with legitimate playmaking skills. Donnie Avery isn’t a bad option in the slot, but I’m not interested in him playing outside for us.
Beckham has really been rising since last August with a strong junior season in Baton Rouge, one that saw him haul in 59 receptions for 1,152 yards (19.5 YPR) and 8 TDs, all while playing in the rugged SEC West. Not only that, if you really go back and break down the film, he was constantly drawing the double teams, allowing fellow star WR Jarvis Landry to exploit single coverages.
Beckham doesn’t have elite size (5-foot 11, 200-pounds), but makes up for it with good speed and tremendous athleticism (mother was a National Champion sprinter at LSU, father started at running back for the Tigers). His 4.43 40-yard dash is good, but his 38.5-inch vertical, 3.94 20-yard shuttle and 10.93 60-yard shuttle were flat out impressive.
Those numbers show not only good explosion and change of direction skills, but a tremendous ability to turn short gains into long ones (as if you couldn’t see that from the film already). He displays naturally soft hands and good tempo to his routes, showing a mature level of reading coverages. To boot, with his impressive return skills, he could immediately replace Dexter McCluster as our punt returner.
There’s little doubt in my mind he’d be an outstanding complement to Bowe, who’s never played next to another top-level wide receiver, and potentially replace him if his contract begins to outweigh his production.