NFL Mock Draft 2.0(Post Combine)
A few weeks ago, I gave you my first mock draft of the year. Now that the NFL Scouting Combine has passed and we have a greater knowledge of the prospects and the height of their ability, now is a great time to update my predictions on who your NFL team is going to take or where your favorite college football player is going. With the draft a couple of months away yet, these predictions will certainly change multiple times, but for now, here are my predictions for the 1st round of the NFL Draft.
1. Houston Texans-Johnny Manziel-QB-Texas A&M(Previous: Manziel)
I still have Johnny Football going number 1 in my mock draft, but my confidence in this is far less than it was in my previous mock draft. Jadeveon Clowney is high on the rise after a great performance at the combine. I think Houston eventually will realize that they need a QB more than any other position and take the Texas-born Manziel.
2. St. Louis Rams-Greg Robinson-OT-Auburn(Previous: Jake Matthews)
Robinson was magnificent at the combine and the scouts are absolutely raving at his upside. I still feel that Matthews currently is the better prospect, but the potential of Robinson boosts his stock tremendously and will be trusted to protect Sam Bradford.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars-Jadeveon Clowney-DE-South Carolina(Previous: Clowney)
Clowney is the best player in this draft bar none. His jaw-dropping 40 yard dash time at the combine was faster than most WR’s and RB’s, which is obviously unreal. Clowney will give Jaguars fans the franchise player that they have been looking for and make their defense a force to be reckoned with for years to come. However, the way things are going, Clowney may very well end up going number 1 to Houston.
4. Cleveland Browns-Blake Bortles-QB-Central Florida(Previous: Bortles)
The Browns need a QB here, and with Manziel going 1st, Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater are the best QB’s remaining. I feel the Browns like Bortles more than Bridgewater in the long term and will go in his direction. If Manziel does not go number 1, look for him to go here.
5. Oakland Raiders-Sammy Watkins-WR-Clemson(Previous: Watkins)
The Raiders have no play makers on offense, and while you need a QB to throw the ball, you cannot throw it without true game-breakers. Watkins will make the job of whoever the QB ends up being much easier and is a fairly easy pick for Oakland.
6. Atlanta Falcons-Jake Matthews-OT-Texas A&M(Previous: Anthony Barr)
While we know the Falcons need pass rushing help badly, Matthews falling to 6th might be too good to pass up. The Falcons are a passing team without question, so perhaps adding a franchise lineman to protect star QB Matt Ryan would not be a bad idea. Matthews is the best OT in this draft, so I feel the Falcons have to scoop him up here. Khalil Mack is also great choice here.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Khalil Mack-LB-Buffalo(Previous: Mack)
If Mack does not go to Atlanta, he is a lock to go here. New head coach Lovie Smith loves his defense, and Mack has the ability to be one of the, if not the best pass rusher in the NFL. The Bucs will not pass up on Mack if he drops this far, I promise you that.
8. Minnesota Vikings-Teddy Bridgewater-QB-Louisville(Previous: Bridgewater)
The Vikings need for a QB is very high, and with Manziel and Bortles already off the board, Bridgewater is the obvious choice. It would not stun me, however, if the Vikings pull a trade and move up to snag Manziel or Bortles if they do not feel confident in the ability of Teddy Bridgewater.
9. Buffalo Bills-Eric Ebron-TE-North Carolina(Previous: Greg Robinson)
With young QB EJ Manuel looking for targets to throw to, the Bills do not really have a down field threat in the TE department. Ebron is clearly the best TE in this draft and can completely revamp an offense with his immense athletic ability. In support of Manuel, the Bills take Ebron here.
10. Detroit Lions-Mike Evans-WR-Texas A&M(Previous: Darqueze Dennard)
I was pretty confident that the Lions would take a corner at this spot, but at the combine, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew stated that they are very confident in current top corner Chris Houston. With that being said, the Lions have been looking for help to take the load off of Calvin Johnson for awhile now, and Mike Evans is a great WR to do just that.
11. Tennessee Titans-Anthony Barr-LB-UCLA (Previously: CJ Mosley)
With Anthony Barr falling a little further than originally thought, the Titans will be more than happy to grab him with this pick. The Titans badly need an upgrade at LB and Barr is this best on the board at this point. I could also see fellow LB CJ Mosley or Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix going here if they decide to upgrade the secondary.
12. New York Giants-Darqueze Dennard-CB-Michigan State(Previously: Taylor Lewan)
The Giants need a lineman to protect the heavily rushed Eli Manning for sure, but in a pass happy NFC East, Dennard and young CB Prince Amukamara would give the Giants one of the best young secondaries in the league. While a lineman is still very possible here, I think the Giants turn a mediocre secondary into one of the best in the NFL.
13. St. Louis Rams-Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix-S-Alabama(Previous: Clinton-Dix)
While the Rams could also use a pass rusher here, most of the top flight pass rushers are off the board at this point, so I believe they will bring in the electrifying Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix. The pure athletic ability of Clinton-Dix will give the Rams the help over the top that could really solidify their secondary next year.
14. Chicago Bears-Louis Nix III-DT-Notre Dame-(Previous: Nix)
No change here. Nix is the plug in the middle of the defensive line that the Bears need. This is a fairly easy pick that I do not see changing.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers-Justin Gilbert-CB-Oklahoma State(Previous: Ra’Shede Hageman)
Gilbert is one player who definitely had his stock improve after the combine. He was an animal in the drills and ran a very impressive 40 time. With the Steelers aging on defense, especially in the secondary with Ike Taylor, I think the Steelers bring in Gilbert to bring back that shutdown corner to the Steelers defense.
16. Dallas Cowboys-Dee Ford-DE-Auburn(Previous: Kony Ealy)
Ford is a very confident pass rusher, even claiming to be better than Jadeveon Clowney. He has the type of personality that will fit right in with the Cowboys and give them a great pass rushing compliment to DeMarcus Ware on the opposite side.
17. Baltimore Ravens-Marqise Lee-WR-USC(Previous: Mike Evans)
The Ravens need a WR and that is no secret. They are in love with Mike Evans, but with Evans going higher in the draft, Baltimore takes the next best option in Lee, who has the ability to be Joe Flacco’s favorite target for a very long time.
18. New York Jets-Odell Beckham Jr.-WR-LSU(Previous: Eric Ebron)
The Jets need to give Geno Smith another target, and Beckham is a player who will give Smith something to smile about. Beckham was a stud at the combine and greatly improved his draft stock. Beckham has the ability to be the top target of Geno Smith and really open up the Jets offense.
19. Miami Dolphins-Zack Martin-G/T-Notre Dame(Previous:Cyrus Kouandjio)
We all know what position the Dolphins are going here. Their offensive line is in shambles with the entire Incognito/Martin ordeal and are in dire need of a fresh start. With Martin’s ability to play either guard or tackle, his versatility will give the Dolphins line a huge boost that it desperately needs.
20. Arizona Cardinals-Kony Ealy-DE-Missouri(Previous: Jace Amaro)
The Cardinals need to figure out a way to complement the aging John Abraham on the other side of the line next season, and Ealy can do just that. With Abraham not getting any younger, Ealy can become the teams most dominant pass rusher in a very short amount of time. A fresh start is need at this position here for Arizona.
21. Green Bay Packers-CJ Mosley-LB-Alabama(Previous: Marqise Lee)
Mosley has slipped a little on some draft boards, but he still has top-10 talent for sure. The Packers drafting Mosley here would solidify a LB core that already contains Clay Matthews and AJ Hawk. Could also very easily see Calvin Pryor going here since the Packers also need help at safety badly.
22. Philadelphia Eagles-Calvin Pryor-S-Louisville(Previous: Kelvin Benjamin)
With the Eagles resigning Riley Cooper and trying to resign Jeremy Maclin, the need for a WR is not that high anymore. The Eagles safety situation is downright laughable, it’s that bad. Pryor will provide some bone crushing hits and will make Eagles fans feel like they are watching legendary Eagles safety Brian Dawkins again.
23. Kansas City Chiefs-Kelvin Benjamin-WR-Florida State(Previous: Austin Seferian-Jenkins)
The Chiefs need another weapon for Alex Smith to throw to on offense, and Benjamin gives them just that. Benjamin is a physical freak who will fight for every 50-50 ball, and usually win them. Great get for the Chiefs here and gives their offense a big time boost.
24. Cincinnati Bengals-Jason Verrett-CB-TCU(Previous: Justin Gilbert)
The Bengals secondary is one of the oldest in the league and need a fresh start here. Verrett is small, but has proven time and time again that he can cover any WR he is put on. The Bengals fill their biggest need here.
25. San Diego Chargers-Bradley Roby-CB-Ohio State(Previous: Marcus Roberson)
The Chargers were one of the worst teams in the NFL against the pass last year, so drafting a player for the secondary is a no-brainer. Roby was not as good as expected this season at Ohio State, but he did have a very nice combine, so the Chargers will be hoping that he got the bad year out of his system and is ready to give the secondary the boost that could allow the Chargers to take the next step.
26. Cleveland Browns-Brandin Cooks-WR-Oregon State(Previous: Allen Robinson)
New QB with their first pick in the 1st round, so the Browns must give their new QB as many targets as possible. With Pro Bowl WR Josh Gordon coming off a breakout year, defenses are going to zone in on him, so reinforcements will be needed. Cooks 40 yard dash time proved his lightning speed, and with Josh Gordon on the opposite side, the Browns could have a really explosive passing attack next season.
27. New Orleans Saints-Antonio Richardson-OT-Tennessee(Previous: Jason Verrett)
Richardson has the first round talent, but is very inconsistent. The Saints could still go in the direction of a corner here, but Rob Ryan has done a commendable job with the defense, so I think the Saints will continue to let him work on the defense and instead solidify the offensive line.
28. Carolina Panthers-Cyrus Kouandjio-OT-Alabama(Previous: Davante Adams)
I thought this would be an easy pick here with the Panthers take a WR, but with the surprising retirement of longtime tackle Jordan Gross, they must either draft or sign a tackle on free agency. With a young QB, I think the Panthers start fresh here and draft Kouandjio.
29. New England Patriots-Jace Amaro-TE-Texas Tech(Previous: Stephon Tuitt)
While the Patriots do need a pass rusher badly, I feel they get some assurance at the tight end position. With Rob Gronkowski having a different injury every other day, Amaro would be the safety net that the Patriots need. With proper development, perhaps the Pats can bring back the two tight end offense that they had with Gronk and Aaron Hernandez.
30. San Francisco 49ers-Allen Robinson-WR-Penn State(Previous: Brandin Cooks)
With Anquan Boldin departing in free agency, the Niners need a new target for Colin Kaepernick who has the athletic ability to go up and catch the passes that Kaepernick does not throw perfectly. Enter Allen Robinson. Robinson has a ridiculous jumping ability and could become a star in San Fran quickly.
31. Denver Broncos-Timmy Jernigan-DT-Florida State(Previous: Ryan Shazier)
The Broncos need to solidify their run defense and plug the middle of the line before they fill any other positions. Jernigan is very versatile and can play in multiple schemes, so the Broncos will have some flexibility on defense next year.
32. Seattle Seahawks-Austin Seferian-Jenkins-TE-Washington(Previous: Zack Martin)
Seferian-Jenkins is a fantastic blocker who could really help the Seahawks and the rushing game with Marshawn Lynch up front. Look for him to be a big time red zone target as well for Russell Wilson.