The East-West Shrine Bowl and the Senior Bowl have both come and gone and we’ve got a few months before the draft. Before we get to the scouting combine, I thought I’d put up my first mock draft. Obviously there will be some big changes to this as we get closer to May and some of these guys’ draft stock goes up and down.
1. Houston Texans – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville – I think Houston is really in a position where they have to take a quarterback over a guy like Jadeveon Clowney. New head coach Bill O’Brien is a quarterback guru and thats the biggest glaring hole they’ve got on the team. Don’t be surprised if Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel gets mocked here too.
2. St Louis Rams (from Redskins) – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M – The Rams are right at the cusp of being a good team and they should take advantage of Dan Snyder’s gullibility. Matthews comes from good stock and he can be the centerpiece of any offensive line for a long time. They could also go with Clowney or trade down to take a quarterback or wide receiver.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida – They can also go with Clowney here but they have a huge hole at quarterback that Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne can not fill. Gus Bradley knows defense so Clowney isn’t a crazy pick here.
4. Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M – Solid pick on several fronts. Brings excitement to a franchise that sorely needs it and establishes stability at a position thats been lacking it.
5. Oakland Raiders – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina – I think this pick speaks for itself, especially if Lamarr Houston leaves via free agency.
6. Atlanta Falcons – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn – The problem with the Falcons wasn’t just that they couldn’t stay healthy offensively, it was that they couldn’t move the ball and protect the quarterback long enough. Robinson would be a great pickup that would boost the running game.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson – I know what you’re thinking. The Bucs already have VJax and Mike Williams. But what else do they have? I think they could also use some help alone the offensive line.
8. Minnesota Vikings – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State – David’s little brother made himself some money at the Senior Bowl. He didn’t display a very big arm but he’s shown that he can make plays down the field. With Norv Turner running the offense now, I think this would be a great fit.
9. Buffalo Bills – CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama – The Bills have a new defensive coordinator so if they go 4-3, it’ll be Mosley. If they go 3-4, they could look at the hometown product Khalil Mack. Then again, if Anthony Barr is available here, they could make a play for him too.
10. Detroit Lions – Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA – Rarely does the best available player also fill a need. In this position, the Lions can’t pass on this.
11. Tennessee Titans – Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo – The Titans have hired Ray Horton as their new defensive coordinator and they might look to get a playmaker on that side of the ball. Mack would be a great choice.
12. New York Giants – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State – The Giants have a lot of holes to fill. I could see them going offensive line, wide receiver or cornerback here. Gilbert is a great prospect and will help immediately if Webster doesn’t return and Hosley/Thomas aren’t healthy.
13. St Louis Rams – Ha Ha Clinton Dix, S, Alabama – As solid as TJ McDonald and Rodney McLeod were in the secondary, neither of them are playmakers like Clinton Dix.
14. Chicago Bears – Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State – When I saw his performance in the title game against Auburn, I thought he looked like the kind of guy Chicago could use and put beside Julius Peppers. He’s big, he’s physical and he can play well both against the run and the pass. Louis Nix III is also a possibility here.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Stephen Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame – The Steelers are going to need to replace guys like Brett Keisel and Ziggy Hood. This could be the pick. They could also take a cornerback like Dennard from Michigan State.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M – Could you imagine the outcry if the Ravens passed on a guy like Evans? They sorely needed a guy that could take attention away from Torrey Smith and really showed how much they missed Anquan Boldin.
17. Dallas Cowboys – Lous Nix III, DT, Notre Dame – The Cowboys defense needs interior help, especially if they lose a guy like Jason Hatcher to free agency.
18. New York Jets – Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina – Normally, I wouldn’t suggest a tight end this early to a team that has so many other needs but Ebron shows some versatility and can be a big play threat. He’s a mismatch waiting to happen.
19. Miami Dolphins – Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame – Is there a team in the league that showed they needed an offensive lineman more than the Dolphins? When they weren’t having problems in the locker room between teammates, they showed that they couldn’t block anyone long enough to make things happen offensively. Martin is a solid pick that can play both inside and out.
20. Arizona Cardinals – Marqise Lee, WR, USC – The Cards should absolutely trade up to take a quarterback. Carson Palmer is getting up there in age. If they don’t trade up or a quarterback doesn’t fall to them, I think Lee would be a great pickup for them.
21. Green Bay Packers – Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville – The Packers really need a safety and can fill their needs at other positions (offensive line, tight end) later in the draft.
22. Philadelphia Eagles – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State – The Eagles could also look to get a wide receiver because they might lose Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, but I think they have a more glaring hole at cornerback.
23. Kansas City Chiefs – Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois – I called the Chiefs frauds all year and I was right. They still have a solid defense and the offense showed they can open it up and score points when they need to. Ward would be a nice addition to play next to Eric Berry.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri – I’m hearing a lot of buzz about Ealy and the Bengals, which is surprising this early in the process. The Bengals don’t have any major needs and adding a guy like this to their defense can only help them hold on to the AFC North.
25. San Diego Chargers – Cyrus Kouandijo, OT, Alabama – This is a guy I hope Tennessee takes a look at because he can really help their running game. However, the Chargers showed how good they can be and were only held back by their defense and offensive line. Kouandijo is a versatile guy and can contribute right away. He’d be back with his college line mate DJ Fluker to solidify that line. His brother Arie isn’t so bad either.
26. Cleveland Browns (from Colts) – David Yankey, OG, Stanford – The Browns couldn’t run the ball at all, which led to them trading away Trent Richardson and even then, they couldn’t run the ball. I think they should take a serious look at Carlos Hyde, who practically comes from their backyard. Yankey isn’t a bad pick though.
27. New Orleans Saints – Dee Ford, DE, Auburn – Can you imagine what Rob Ryan could do with Dee Ford on that defensive line?
28. Carolina Panthers – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan – Lewan can come in and be a good replacement for Jordan Gross or anyone else they decide to play at left tackle.
29. New England Patriots – Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech – The Pats are going to want to go back to a two tight end system once Gronk is healthy again. Amaro is similar in size and even though he’s not as good of a blocker, he’s a playmaker. They could also take a defensive player, likely someone in he secondary.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood – This is a total homer pick. This kid is raw, he’s Haitian and we might be related because he’s got my grandmother’s last name. Then again, Desir is about as common as Smith.
31. Denver Broncos – Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State – I didn’t put the Broncos at 31 because I think they’ll lose to Seattle in the Super Bowl, its just that D comes before S. Anyway, Champ Bailey will likely retire and DRC is an UFA.
32. Seattle Seahawks – Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State – The Seahawks could stand to use another playmaker on that offense and Benjamin is a huge target.
There you have it. The first version of the official Keeping It Real Sports Mock Draft. As always, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on twitter @FunnyManStan and don’t forget to support the cause – #PutChrissyDInTheGame to get friend of the show, Chris Distefano into the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game