With the NFL draft just a little more than two and a half weeks away, our producer/reporter Robbie Rosenhaus (@robbierosenhaus) has released version two of a two round mock draft including some big changes to version one.
The first round, which will take place on Thursday May 8th, is complete with pick by pick analysis. Below that you’ll find each prediction for the second round, which will take place along with the third round on Friday, May 9th. Rounds four through seven will commence on Saturday afternoon at 11AM EST. It’s a big draft for the Falcons, and Robbie will be attending this year’s NFL Draft on behalf of 92-9 The Game and will have all the latest as we approach the big three day annual selection draft at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
1) Houston Texans – DE Jadeveon Clowney
Still have Clowney here as I did in version number one. The most talented player at any position in this draft, you simply don’t pass on a potential once in a generation player. Could be the next Bruce Smith. Yes, they need a quarterback, but they can wait till the second or third round to grab one. Clowney has rare traits and pairing him with JJ Watt would go a long way to returning the Texans to the AFC South perch.
2) St. Louis Rams – OT Greg Robinson
A trade down is a distinct possibility, but with Clowney off the board and the stock of the top quarterbacks taking a hit in recent weeks, I don’t see the value there may have once been with moving. Robinson is the most athletic offensive lineman in the class, and while his run blocking is exceptional, his pass blocking needs some refining. Remember, the offense Gus Malzahn ran at Auburn was run based and did not ask him to do much in passing game. Watkins is a possibility here, but I can’t see them spending two consecutive first round picks on wideouts after taking Tavon Austin last year.
3) Jacksonville Jaguars – LB Khalil Mack
I’m hearing the Jaguars aren’t in love with any of the top rated quarterbacks and want to wait for the middle rounds to pick a developmental quarterback. Do not be surprised to see them target Aaron Murray or Jimmy Garoppolo in the middle rounds, as they have been linked to both in recent weeks. Mack would work perfect in the leo spot on Gus Bradley’s defense, allowing Mack to just pin his ears back and go get the passer in the mold of Von Miller out in Denver. Mack isn’t Miller but he’s a heck of a prospect and would instantly lend credibitily to this Jacksonville defense.
4) Cleveland Browns – WR Sammy Watkins
Originally I had Johnny Manziel here but with the way the quarterbacks may tumble down the boards on draft day, the Browns should be able to get a quality one at 26 where they pick again in the first round. This offense, so bad for so many years, now has some serious pieces in Josh Gordon, Jordan Cameron and Ben Tate, who was added in the offseason as a free agent. Their defense was ranked top 10 in the league at the conclusion of last season so they can tinker with that in the later rounds. Grabbing Watkins would be a coup.
5) Oakland Raiders – DT Aaron Donald
If the word I am hearing is true, then Donald is skyrocketing up draft boards more than any player on the defensive side of the ball. The best player I saw at the Senior Bowl at any position, Donald may be undersized but is relentless from snap to whistle. He had 29.5 sacks during his collegiate career from the three technique and teams now more than ever value that pass rushing ability from the interior. The Raiders defensive line has some depth but no game changer like Donald. Would be a surprise to some but not to me if Donald goes this high.
6) Atlanta Falcons – OT Jake Matthews
With all the free agent additions the Bucs made, this pick makes perfect sense. Many will think they go wideout here with the departure of Mike Williams, but wideout is arguably the deepest position in this draft and they can certainly get value in the middle rounds if they choose to. Matthews has been called the safest pick in the draft, but to me it’s more than that. He’s not as athletic as Robinson, but his pass blocking and his run blocking are way above average and his bloodlines factor in as well. Lovie Smith never had a good offensive line while he was in Chicago, but he’s on his way to having a good one in Tampa with Matthews.
7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – WR Mike Evans
Vincent Jackson is the only legit weapon on this Bucs offense and adding a player of Evans caliber changes that in an instant. Evans was Manziel’s top target at Texas A&M last year and had a very solid junior season. He checks in at 6’4 and is not only is a great red zone target but can get down the field as well. His catch radius is phenomenal and his body control is second to none in this class. He would instantly become the ying to Jackson’s yang as Lovie Smith looks for a balanced offense with the return of Doug Martin and the addition of Josh McCown under center. Remember, McCown had success throwing to Marshall and Jeffery in Chicago. Jackson and Evans can be that for him in Tampa.
8) Minnesota Vikings – QB Blake Bortles
I think a trade down is a distinct possiblility but for now we’ll stick with the quarterback who fits Norv Turner’s offense to a tee. Play action passing, check. Deep shots downfield, check. Strong running game, check. Bortles looks the part and probably has the biggest upside of any QB in the draft, and I think if he’s there at eight the Vikings will jump at the chance to select him. With Adrian Peterson still in his prime for a few more years and Matt Cassel as a placeholder, Bortles should lead the Vikings into their new stadium with a playoff contending team.
9) Buffalo Bills – TE Eric Ebron
The former Tar Heel has a skill set that has the makings of an elite tight end in the league and should immediately become EJ Manuel’s favorite target in Buffalo. He is too big for defensive backs to cover and has the speed to beat linebackers down the middle of the field as well as many safeties. He should be an impact starter from day one and really help an offense that struggled at several points last season.
10) Detroit Lions – S Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix
After letting Louis Delmas go in free agency, the Lions now have more than one hole to fill in their secondary and would be wise to grab the top ranked safety in the class. Clinton-Dix played a true free safety under Nick Saban down in Tuscaloosa, covering a lot of ground and really controlling the deep center of the field. In a division with Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler, the Lions really need to improve their back four and this pick would go a long way towards doing that.
11) Tennessee Titans – CB Justin Gilbert
The Titans did a lot of moving and shaking in free agency, and one position they lost a premier player at was corner. Alterraun Verner left for Tampa Bay and now they need a new starter opposite Jason McCourty. Justin Gilbert not only is a prototypical shutdown corner, but he is a heck of a kick returner as well. The best man to man corner in the draft, to me he is the best at his position and would fit the Titans extremely well.
12) New York Giants – WR Odell Beckham Jr.
A perfect fit for Beckham is here in NYG playing alongside Victor Cruz and fellow LSU Tiger Rueben Randle. A deep threat wideout, Beckham isn’t the biggest receiver you’ll ever see but his speed and cuts in and out of breaks are exceptional. The Giants let Hakeem Nicks go and with good reason, never staying healthy during his time in New York. Beckham is a flat out playmaker and will try and help Eli Manning return to his form of a couple of seasons ago.
13) St. Louis Rams – S Calvin Pryor
Clinton-Dix may be the top rated safety on most boards but I think Pryor will be the best safety to come out of this class. Pryor is a hard hitter also possessing the ability to play the ball when called upon. He had 75 tackles, three interceptions, four passes broken up and two forced fumbles this past season for Louisville. Playing behind a talented front seven, Pryor should thrive in the Rams system.
14) Chicago Bears – CB Darqueze Dennard
A shutdown corner at Michigan State, Dennard did measure in smaller than some thought he would at the combine, but when you watch the game tape you cannot ignore his blanket cover ability, especially in the big games. As good a press man corner as you’ll find in this draft, they really need him in a division with two vertical offenses in Detroit and Green Bay plus a team in Minnesota that has some nice options in the passing game as well.
15) Pittsburgh Steelers – DE Stephon Tuitt
Needing upgrades on defense not only in the front seven but in the back four as well, the Steelers grab a defensive end who fits perfectly as a five technique in their 3-4 scheme. The Steelers struggled mightily against the run last season allowing 18 rushing TD’s and finishing in the bottom third of the league in yards per game against. Tuitt was hurt for Notre Dame but is fully recovered as we approach draft day. He’s the prototypical Steeler in terms of playing style and aggressiveness and would be a fan favorite in no time in the Steel City.
16) Dallas Cowboys – DT Rashede Hageman
Hageman is an athletic freak at 6’6 and would play nose tackle in the Cowboys defensive alignment. Dominant for stretches at the senior bowl, the former University of Minnesota tight end switched to defense after his freshman year and immediately became the best defender on the middling Gophers. Hageman has exceptional ability to rush the passer from the interior as well as bat down passes with his height. Demarcus Ware isn’t there anymore, and neither is Jason Hatcher, and the Cowboys were basically signing guys off the street to play DL for them at one point last season so Hageman fills a huge hole. A true boom or bust player, I think he’ll be a good one in Big D.
17) Baltimore Ravens – OT Taylor Lewan
The third “elite” tackle in this class falls to 17 with off the field concerns and becomes the first of two consecutive steals in the first round. Lewan was projected as a top 10 pick across the board all season long playing for the Wolverines, and I think he can shift seamlessly over to right tackle which is where Baltimore would play him on day one.
18) New York Jets – WR Marqise Lee
The Jets signed Eric Decker in the offseason but they aren’t done remodeling their wideout core for the 2014 season. Despite shoddy QB play at USC last year, Lee was impressive in spurts especially with runs after the catch. He may not wow you with his measurables but if you watch him play you know why he is a legitimate first round prospect. He lands in a perfect spot where he can contribute instantly in the slot and eventually move to the outside.
19) Miami Dolphins – OT/OG Zach Martin
Really impressive at the Senior Bowl, Martin showed the ability to line up in several positions along the offensive line. With Branden Albert now in the fold to protect Tannehill’s blind side, Martin can either play RT or shift inside. His speciality is pass protection, and last year the Dolphins were a disaster in that area. Martin is a great pick at this spot and should be a 10 year starter in Miami.
20) Arizona Cardinals – DT Louis Nix III
Nix is the prototypical run stuffing NT in a 3-4 defense and can fit in seamlessly on a Cardinals front seven that is already loaded with talent. Hurt last year at Notre Dame, the big man known as Irish Chocolate could go as high as the early teens but falls into Arizona’s lap at 20 where he should be a productive starter for years to come.
21) Green Bay Packers – CB Kyle Fuller
I can’t get the opening game versus Alabama out of my head when he was the best Virginia Tech player on the field against one of the best teams in the land. Fuller would slide in next to Sam Shields to form a great 1-2 punch in the defensive backfield and give them two players capable of shutting down top opposition. The Packers need help at several levels of their defense and adding someone of Fuller’s quality would help especially in the division they’re in. With the big receivers that are in this division (Marshall, Jeffrey and Calvin Johnson to name a few), you need big corners. Six foot corners who run that fast don’t grow on trees and this kid has all the tools to be a big star.
22) Philadelphia Eagles – OLB Anthony Barr
Thought of as a top 10 pick just a few months ago, Barr falls into the 20’s where the Eagles snap him up and plug him right in as a pass rushing weak side linebacker on day one. He may not be a player who’s going to smack you in the mouth, but his size, technique and upside all are too intriguing for a coach such as Chip Kelly to pass on. He knows he needs more playmakers on the defensive side of the ball and I think he takes a chance on Barr.
23) Kansas City Chiefs – WR Brandin Cooks
The Chiefs have been looking for a #2 wide receiver for a long time and finally find him in Cooks. Not really talked about till late in the year as a legit top prospect, Cooks dominated in his bowl game at Oregon State and has shown the ability to dominate not only on the outside but out of the slot as well. Playing alongside Dwayne Bowe, I expect Cooks to challenge for rookie of the year if he lands in Kansas City.
24) Cincinnati Bengals – S Jimmie Ward
The Bengals don’t have much at safety and this little known prospect from Northern Illinois really turned some heads down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, including yours truly. Smallish at only 5’11, he has man-coverage ability, above average ball skills and plays the game with a physical style that would fit the nature of the Bengals defense. Watch Ward go much higher than some experts have been suggesting.
25) San Diego Chargers – CB Bradley Roby
Roby entered this season as arguably the top rated cornerback entering the 2014 NFL Draft but due to concerns – both on and off the field – he is a borderline first round selection. Look for the Chargers to take a change on a kid who has some serious cover ability in a man to man scheme and looked the part at the Combine a few months back. He has a first round skill set and someone is going to take a chance on him. I think it’ll be San Diego.
26) Cleveland Browns – QB Johnny Manziel
The waiting is the hardest part, but the Browns make the biggest draft day splash securing Watkins at four and now Manziel at 26. The fact Browns GM Ray Farmer didn’t attend his pro day shouldn’t sway the thought of him going in this spot. Manziel would re-energize that fan base and that organization from the day he puts on the jersey. He is the ultimate wild card with his instinctive play, but I am a big believer in the kid, and you can’t teach the “it” factor that he possesses.
27) New Orleans Saints – CB Jason Verrett
Undersized but highly effective, Verrett could find a home in New Orleans in a revamped defensive backfield that now features pro bowl safety Jarius Byrd. In the season opener against LSU, the former Horned Frog Verrett broke up several passes and didn’t allow separation, recording seven tackles and a sack in the game. Yes, he’s only 5’9 but so was Antonie Winfield and he wound up being one heck of a player. I think Verrett is a value here and on that fast track in New Orleans, his sub 4.4 forty will be an even bigger asset.
28) Carolina Panthers – OT Morgan Moses
At the Senior Bowl, Moses showed his potential winning a ton of one on one drills and showing improved pass protection as the week went along. Trained by former Falcon Bob Whitfield in the offseason, Moses was told he needs to improve on his footwork and reports are he has come around in that aspect of his game considerably. The Panthers have lost wide receivers and offensive linemen left and right this offseason, and with the depth of wideout in this class, they can afford to wait before addressing that position. Moses will step in as a day one starter in Carolina.
29) New England Patriots – QB Teddy Bridgewater
One of two things happens at this spot – either the Patriots take Bridgewater and stash him or the more likely scenario is a team picking high in the second round (Texans? Jaguars?) who don’t grab a quarterback in round one trading back into the round with the Patriots a willing participant to gather more picks in what arguably is the deepest draft in over a decade. Bridgewater at this point would be a steal, and despite his critics still was one of the best if not the best quarterback in college football this past season. He may not look the part and may have had an awful pro Day, but the game tape doesn’t lie and his accuracy was the best of any draft eligible quarterback in this year’s class. Expect him to go in or near this spot.
30) San Francisco 49ers – CJ Mosley
Playing under Nick Saban, Mosley has been groomed to play a physical style of defense since stepping on the field at Alabama. The Niners could use a linebacker with the uncertainty of Aldon Smith, and a player projected to go top 15 in several circles falls to San Francisco at the tail end of the first round. Why? His medical history is littered with question marks. I think Harbaugh may take a chance on him.
31) Denver Broncos – LB Ryan Shazier
A pass rusher to line up on the opposite of Von Miller? Sure, why not? The former Buckeye is one of my favorite players in the draft as the rich get richer in Denver. Shazier is one of the most athletic linebackers in the draft and is a true three down WILL linebacker who can step right in and play on day one. Not the biggest prospect in the world but is quick as lightning and plays the run almost as well as the pass. Denver gets a gem and a heck of a player.
32) Seattle Seahawks – DE Dee Ford
Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn loves his pass rushers, re-signing Michael Bennett, drafting Bruce Irvin and possessing one of the best defenses in the entire NFL. Dee Ford could play the outside linebacker role, asked to basically go in there and rush the quarterback. Stellar at the senior bowl and improving as the year when on at Auburn, Ford may not go in the 32 spot but I’m hearing the Seahawks love him and may move up to grab him in the early 20’s.
33) Houston Texans – QB Zach Mettenberger
34) Washington Redskins – DE Kony Ealy
35) Cleveland Browns – OG Xavier Su’a-Filo
36) Oakland Raiders – QB Derek Carr
37) Atlanta Falcons – DE Demarcus Lawrence
38) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – OT Cyrus Kouandijo
39) Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Jimmy Garoppolo
40) Minnesota Vikings – LB Kyle Van Noy
41) Buffalo Bills – G David Yankey
42) Tennessee Titans – RB Carlos Hyde
43) New York Giants – DE Scott Crichton
44) St. Louis Rams – WR Davante Adams
45) Detroit Lions – OT Joel Bitonio
46) Pittsburgh Steelers – CB Marcus Roberson
47) Dallas Cowboys – CB Keith McGill
48) Baltimore Ravens – TE Jace Amaro
49) New York Jets – CB Philip Gaines
50) Miami Dolphins – RB Tre Mason
51) Chicago Bears – S Deone Bucannon
52) Arizona Cardinals – QB AJ McCarron
53) Green Bay Packers – TE Troy Niklas
54) Philadelphia Eagles – CB Lamarcus Joyner
55) Cincinnati Bengals – OT Antonio “Tiny” Richardson
56) San Francisco 49ers – WR Cody Latimer
57) San Diego Chargers – WR Allen Robinson
58) New Orleans Saints – OLB Jeremiah Attaochu
59) Indianapolis Colts – LB Chris Borland
60) Carolina Panthers – WR Donte Moncrief
61) San Francisco 49ers – C Weston Richburg
62) New England Patriots – S Terrence Brooks
63) Denver Broncos – WR Paul Richardson
64) Seattle Seahawks – TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins