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), no. 25 San Diego Chargers (Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State), no. 26 Browns (Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State), no. 27 New Orleans Saints (Jason Verrett, CB, TCU) and no. 28 Carolina Panthers (Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama). With the 29th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, who do the New England Patriots select?
Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State.
There’s no truly glaring needs on our roster except for the middle of our defensive line. Yes, Vince Wilfork was re-signed and he’s still very much a factor on our defense, but he’s 32 and running on what is essentially a one-year deal. Besides him? Tommy Kelly, who shouldn’t be anything more than a rotational backup at this point of his career, and high effort, low-ceiling depth players like Chris Jones and Joe Vellano. Jernigan will improve both the speed and athleticism of the interior of our defensive line.
Jernigan is strong against the run, showing a good anchor and the strength to retain and penetrate his gap. He’s only an average pass rusher at this point in his development, but he’s got the quickness and hands to be an elite rusher from the interior. He’s a perfect fit as a 3-tech opposite of Wilfork at the nose and could just as easily slide out to a 5-tech for when we run odd fronts. His versatility is perfect for our multi-dimensional scheme.
I know a legitimate number one receiver is wanted in Foxborough, but I’m hoping one of the many talented young wideouts littering our roster takes the next step in his development (looking at you Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson and Brandon LaFell). Plus, with the class’s depth, I can still find first round talent in round two. Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt) and Donte Moncrief (Ole Miss) would be good options at the end of round two.
I also considered Xavier Su’a-Filo (OL, UCLA) at this spot. He’s incredibly versatile, having played extensively both inside and outside on the Bruins line, and would improve our ground game up the middle. With his versatility, he’d have a home either inside at OG or OC for us.