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), no. 22 Philadelphia Eagles (Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn), no. 23 Kansas City Chiefs (Odell Beckham, WR, LSU), no. 24 Cincinnati Bengals (Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State) and no. 25 San Diego Chargers (Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State). With the 26th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, who do the Browns select?
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State.
I already tabbed Manziel as my franchise QB with the fourth overall pick, so my biggest need is taken care of, giving me some flexibility with this pick. So with my second first round pick (courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts trading for Trent Richardson and his >3.0 YPC), I’m going to try and surround my QB with one more dangerous weapon.
Benjamin is a big, physical wide out (6-foot 5, 240-pounds) with a nose for big plays. He’s not a true-burner, but has deceptive top-end speed due to his long strides. He’s a developing route runner but does a good job getting separation for himself, particularly downfield and in the end zone where his size really makes a difference. His catch radius is gargantuan, second only to Evans in this draft class, and will help out on the occasional inaccurate toss by Manziel. He’ll need some work on catching the ball consistently and away from his body, but with huge 10.25-inch hands, I have faith the problem will be remedied.
Manziel should have more than enough weapons at this point, with Benjamin and Josh Gordon (87 receptions for 1,646 yards and 9 TDs in ’13) on the outside, Travis Benjamin in the slot and Jordan Cameron (80 receptions for 917 yards and 7 TDs in ’13) at tight end.
Who else was considered here? Stephon Tuitt (DE, Notre Dame) would be a great value pick here, and would allow me to cut and replace Ahtyba Rubin (due $6.6m and is in the last year of his deal). Tuitt shows flashes of a young Richard Seymour, and could be HC Mike Pettine’s version of Muhammad Wilkerson at the 5-tech.
Jason Verrett (TCU) and Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech) also would be good picks here. Both would be a fair value, and either would pair nicely opposite of Joe Haden. That would also help my depth, and allow me some flexibility to play with Buster Skrine at nickel and Leon McFadden at FS.