Armed with new information in the conclusion of the NFL Combine, decisions on where to go in the draft are starting to take shape. Of course free agency has yet to start, so the various needs of teams remains in question until they complete the exercise leading into the draft. This won't predict possible trades and it's likely they will be some, but after the combine This Given Sunday's original mock has been modified significantly. You'll notice a number of receivers falling out of the 1st round. The theory there is the class has proven to be so deep at receiver that teams won't rush to draft one and it will push the low first round tier talent to the top of the second round.
1. Houston Texans: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida (previous pick: Teddy Bridgewater)
I'm still thinking quarterback for the Texans but after the combine it looks like Blake Bortles may have vaulted himself into pole position for the top overall pick. The Texans will be nervous about the type of competition he faced, but his measurables, arm strength and character all seem too good to pass up. You can't rule out Clowney, but man, can the Texans afford to pass on a quarterback?
2. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn (Jake Matthews)
I still don't see the Rams taking Clowney or a quarterback, and that's why I think there's still a strong chance they'll trade down here. If they keep the pick, the primary offseason goal has to be to keep Sam Bradford healthy. After the combine it looks as though Greg Robinson may have gotten ahead of Matthews in the pecking order.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina (same pick)
Tied for 31st in sacks last year, the Jaguars need help everywhere, but getting to the quarterback tops the list. No reason to change the pick with Clowney available here after the 40 time he ran at the combine, which would have been good enough for 6th fastest among the running backs. They need a franchise QB that will be the face of the organization, but Clowney is the pick here. If the Rams trade down and Clowney goes second, though, I believe they will select a quarterback… either Manziel or Bridgewater depending on how their pro days go.
4. Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M (same pick)
I still think the Browns stick with Manziel. He's the kind of explosive playmaker and name/face that franchise needs right now.
5. Oakland Raiders: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville (Blake Bortles)
There's lots of chatter that the Raiders like LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger a lot, and if they don't go with a quarterback at this pick, they could always snag him later. Mettenberger is coming off an ACL injury, though, so he likely wouldn't be ready to go as a full time starter till 2015. That's if they wanted to start him that soon. I think the Raiders are hoping Manziel or Clowney fall this far, but they won't. For now I still think Bridgewater is top 5 pick material, but Sammy Watkins is an option here if they decide to take a QB later.
6. Atlanta Falcons: Anthony Barr, DE, UCLA (same pick)
The Falcons have to go defense and boost their pass rush to deal with Drew Brees and Cam Newton. Khalil Mack is another possibility but he doesn't fit the scheme as well. No question Clowney is their pie in the sky, though, so don't rule out a trade to get him. Jake Matthews could happen here too, but the Falcons almost have to go defense after last year.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (same pick)
The Bucs' need play making ability on offense and I still like this pick. Watkins totally solified his status as the draft's top receiver with a rock solid combine.
8. Minnesota Vikings: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo (Derek Carr)
Carr is a possibility but the value picking him 8th overall just doesn't feel right. Hard to see Khalil Mack slipping out of the top 10 and his value here is too good to pass up.
9. Buffalo Bills: Jake Matthews, T, Texas A&M (Greg Robinson)
Lots of options here for the Bills. They could go with C. J. Mosley to place alongside Kiko Alonso, they could go with Jake Matthews as an immediate upgrade to their O-Line, they could pick Eric Ebron the best tight end playmaker in the draft, or they could draft Mike Evans at receiver. Ultimately you use a high draft pick to take an impact player at an impact position… and that's not tight end or linebacker. That's tackle.
10. Detroit Lions: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State (Marqise Lee)
Gilbert may have vaulted himself into the top defensive back of the draft with his combine efforts. Pairing Megatron with another good receiver is an option, so don't rule out Mike Evans for example, but Gilbert will be a nice cover guy they can trust.
11. Tennessee Titans: Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan (Khalil Mack)
Easy choice here. They desperately need offensive line help and he should be a good one.
12. New York Giants: C. J. Mosley, MLB, Alabama (same pick)
The Giants were so bad last year in so many areas it's hard to pick one direction. I keep coming back to offensive line given the number of times Eli Manning was hit a year ago. C. J. Mosley falling this far is a surprise and the Giants are thrilled to get a tackling machine. Cyrus Kouandjio and Zack Martin are options, though Kouandjio failed many team's physicals due to a pre-existing knee issue. I'm sticking with the same pick for now.
13. St. Louis Rams: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M (same pick)
Adding Tavon Austin was nice, but the Rams need a guy they can run the passing offense through. Evans has the size to be an impact player on every down. If the Rams are committed to Bradford than they need to help him and Evans absolutely does that.
14. Chicago Bears: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan Sate (Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix)
The Bears' once vaunted defense is now in shambles. They can't stop the run and pretty much any defender at this point in the draft will be a huge upgrade. The Bears are praying Mosley will drop this far, but he won't, so they go with heir apparent to Peanut Tillman.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Louis Nix III, NT, Notre Dame (Darqueze Dennard)
Defensive end is a big need for the Steelers, but they'll take a plug tackle that control the line of scrimmage and eats space.
16. Dallas Cowboys: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State (Louis Nix III)
This pick needs no explanation if you saw the Cowboys play a down of defense last year. It all starts up front.
17. Baltimore Ravens: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina (same pick)
This pick all depends on the Dennis Pitta situation, but Ebron is going to be an explosive weapon for someone and I think he's the Ravens' top draft target if Pitta isn't re-signed.
18. New York Jets: Marqise Lee, WR, USC (Kelvin Benjamin)
I'm not sure Geno Smith can be saved even with play making help. But the Jets have to try, as we saw what he looked like without it. Watkins, Evans, Lee and Ebron are all on the wish list, and in this mock Lee is the last one left.
19. Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame (Taylor Lewan)
Remember that story on the news about Richie Incognito at all? Um, yeah, they need new tackles. Now that Lewan goes earlier in this mock they take Martin instead.
20. Arizona Cardinals: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington (Cyrus Kouandjio)
The Cards could opt for a quarterback of the future but Carson Palmer is ok for now especially with help like this.
21. Green Bay Packers: RaShede Hageman, DT, Minnesota (Justin Gilbert)
Interior defense needs a big boost and the Packers seem to like this guy.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama (Calvin Pryor)
The Eagles were dead last in pass defense in 2013 and depending on who you ask, that's either the back end's fault or the lack of a pass rush. Beyond Trent Cole they have no one that can get to the quarterback consistently. This pick for me is between Kony Ealy, Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor. Ultimately they decide on back end help.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU (same pick)
You know Andy Reid is dying to add another potent weapon for Alex Smith to have at his disposal. Dwayne Bowe is a great player but he's not getting any younger and the Chiefs can add a another superstar ceiling LSU receiver alongside him. I see no reason to change this pick based on what he showed at the combine.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri (Bradley Roby)
Clearly the best player available at this point.
25. San Diego Chargers: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU (Kony Ealy)
He's got great potential and the Chargers will almost assuredly go defense. If he can be help on special teams, all the better.
26. Cleveland Browns (via Colts): Cyrus Kouandjio, T, Alabama (Paul Richardson)
The red flag physical of Kouandjio is a scare, but this deep in the first it's hard to pass on him. The Browns drafted Manziel and they have to protect him, so they take the risk on the mammoth tackle.
27. New Orleans Saints: Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville (Zack Martin)
Dee Ford of Auburn is a name that keeps coming up in a number of mocks, but with Malcolm Jenkins as a free agent and Kenny Vaccaro often operating in the slot, they will need a back end ballhawk. If Pryor falls this far it's tough to pass up.
28. Carolina Panthers: Morgan Moses, T, Virginia (Allen Robinson)
With the announcement of Jordan Gross retiring this becomes an outright necessity.
29. New England Patriots: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech (Austin Seferian-Jenkins)
Gronk can't stay healthy and we all know what happened with Aaron Hernandez. Tom Brady desperately needs a reliable target for his intermediate throws over the middle.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio St. (Timmy Jernigan)
They need a cover guy and he's the best one left.
31. Denver Broncos: Dee Ford, DE, Auburn (Jason Verrett)
Denver will almost assuredly go with the best player available and Ford fits the bill.
32. Seattle Seahawks (see above): David Yankey, G, Stanford (Brandin Cooks)
Pete Carroll loves his Pac 12 products and this will help the interior line to open holes for Marshawn Lynch.