By Greg Gabriel and Eric Galko of optimumscouting.com
Now that we have gotten though the first wave of free agency, clubs now have a better feel for what they need to do in the draft. That said, Eric Galko from Optimum Scouting and I have gotten together again to do the NFP Mock Draft 2.0. Eric, again, has the odd number picks and I have the even picks. Just as in Draft 1.0, players that I liked for my teams were often picked by Eric’s teams.
Eric and I will have two more mocks before we actually get to the May 8th NFL Draft. Draft 3.0 will be sometime around Easter Sunday.
1 – Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina - Clowney is the most talented player in the draft. J.J. Watt can help him learn what it takes to be a top NFL player.
2 – St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson – OT – Auburn – This is a prime trade-down spot. If the Rams stay, taking Robinson fills a need with a young and talented tackle.
3 – Jacksonville Jaguars – Teddy Bridgewater – QB – Louisville – QB is a huge need for the Jags and Bridgewater is the best QB in the class. There could be pressure for them to take semi-local hero Blake Bortles.
4 – Cleveland Browns – Jake Matthews – OT – Texas A&M – Yes, the Browns need a QB, but this is too high to take one. Their offensive line also needs to upgraded, and Matthews can play tackle or guard.
5 – Oakland Raiders – Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson – The Raiders could also use a quarterback, but again, this is too high to take one. Watkins is the best player on the board and very talented.
6 – Atlanta Falcons – Khalil Mack – OLB – Buffalo – Atlanta could be a team that looks to trade up. If they stay where they are, Mack is their man.
7 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina – The Bucs took care of a lot of needs in free agency. Ebron gives them a big, athletic, flexed tight end who will create match-up problems.
8 – Minnesota Vikings – Justin Gilbert – CB – Oklahoma State – Corner is a huge need for the Vikings and Gilbert is the best in this year’s class. He has the size to match up against some of the big receivers in the division.
9 – Buffalo Bills – Taylor Lewan – OT – Michigan – The Bills have needs at WR, TE, and safety but Lewan is too good to pass up. He can start right away at right tackle. This could be a trade down slot.
10 – Detroit Lions – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – DS - Alabama – The Lions have needs at both corner and safety. Clinton-Dix can play either safety position and be a quality player from day one.
11 – Tennessee Titans – Darquese Dennard – CB – Michigan State – Dennard replaces Alterraun Verner, who the Titans lost in free agency.
12 – New York Giants – Mike Evans – WR – Texas A&M – Evans is a big-time receiver who steps in and replaces Hakeem Nicks.
13 – St. Louis Rams – Calvin Pryor – DS – Louisville – The Rams need a physical downhill safety and that is the strength of Pryor’s game.
14 – Chicago Bears – Kyle Fuller – CB – Virginia Tech – Many had thought the Bears would take a defensive lineman here but they took care of that need in free agency. The top three bears corners are all on the wrong side of 30.
15 – Pittsburgh Steelers – Ra’Shede Hagemen – DT – Minnesota – The Steelers could also go for a tight end or a nose tackle with this pick. Hageman brings value at this pick.
16 – Dallas Cowboys – Aaron Donald – DT – Pittsburgh – The Cowboys just signed Henry Melton, so how does Donald make sense? Melton can play DE also and Donald is the best player on the board. They could also look at Kony Ealy from Missouri
17 – Batimore Ravens – Jace Amaro – TE – Texas Tech – This is a need pick. Amaro did not have a strong combine, but came back and looked terrific at his pro day. He has very impressive tape.
18 – New York Jets – Anthony Barr – OLB – UCLA – The Jets have a need at corner and wide receiver but the top corners have already been selected. Many have Barr as a top 10 pick and has too much value to pass on.
19 – Miami Dolphins – Zack Martin – OT – Notre Dame – Martin has been very quietly climbing draft boards. He is very technique sound and hasn’t missed a start in four years. He has added value in that he can also play guard.
20 – Arizona Cardinals – Blake Bortles –QB – Central Florida – Bortles is talented but still needs developing. There are few who are better at that job than Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians.
21 – Green Bay Packers – C.J. Mosely – LB – Alabama – Mosely is a value pick here. Many have him as a top 15 player. The Packers could also go for a defensive lineman at this spot.
22 – Philadelphia Eagles – Odell Beckham Jr. – WR – LSU – Jeremy Maclin is on a one year deal and DeSean Jackson could be traded. Beckham is the type of receiver that Chip Kelly likes.
23 – Kansas City Chiefs – Marqise Lee – WR – USC – The Chiefs took a hit in free agency, losing a lot of depth. Because of this, they could draft any number of players. Andy Reid has a history of drafting playmakers high.
24 –Cincinnati Bengals – Cyrus Kouandjio – OT – Alabama – The Bengals lost Anthony Collins in free agency. Kouandjio is the same type of big, massive player. Some teams have a concern about his knees. Anthony Munoz had the same medical concerns when the Bengals drafted him.
25 – San Diego Chargers – Louis Nix III – NT – Notre Dame – Nix is the best nose tackle in the draft and I’m surprised he is still on the board here. He fills a need and is also a value pick.
26 – Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel – QB – Texas A&M – The Browns are patient and don’t over draft at the position by taking a QB with the fourth pick. It pays off as Manziel is still on the board.
27 – New Orleans Saints – Jerimiah Attaochu – OLB/DE – Georgia Tech – The Saints have a need for an edge rusher. Attaochu fills that need and can also play in coverage.
28 – Carolina Panthers – Brandin Cooks – WR – Oregon State – Cooks steps in for Steve Smith right away. If the Panthers don’t take a receiver, it could be an offensive lineman.
29 – New England Patriots – Kony Ealy – DE/OLB - Missouri – The patriots have been known to trade down and they could do it here. If they stay, Ealy will have to learn to play some on his feet, but he also gives the Pats a needed edge rusher
30 – San Francisco 49ers – Bradley Roby – CB – Ohio State – I thought about wide receiver at this spot, but good corners are hard to find and they cost a fortune in free agency. It’s better business to develop your own.
31 – Denver Broncos – Xavier Su’a-Filo – OG – UCLA – The Broncos need to upgrade their interior offensive line. Su’a-Filo is big and athletic and has experience playing tackle, also.
32 – Seattle Seahawks – Ryan Shazier – LB – Ohio State – With the workout Shazier had both at the combine and his pro day, I’m surprised he is still available. Pete Carroll loves athletic defensive players and that’s what Shazier is.
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