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Tuesday, 29 April 2014 21:04

NFL Mock Draft 2.0

Written by 

The NFL draft is an unpredictable event that is filled with surprises, second-guessing and for some, the jubilation of selecting the player they wanted most.

As the draft gets closer and closer, mock drafts change and one finds him or her self moving players all over the board, as a variety of scenarios play out in his or her mind. Or maybe that only happens to me.

If you read my first mock draft, you will note many changes in this latest version. As I stated in that one, I do not try and predict trades that may occur, instead simply picking for a team in its designated slot.

1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

There is no quarterback in this draft who is worth passing on Clowney for. He has the athletic tools in order to successfully make the transfer to outside linebacker in Romeo Crennel's 3-4 scheme and will have Mike Vrabel,  who went through the same transition, there to help make sure that things go as smoothly as possible. Whether it be as an outside linebacker or a defensive end, pairing him with J.J. Watt is a combination that would give opposing quarterbacks nightmares, week in and week out.

2. St. Louis Rams: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Despite the temptation to select Sammy Watkins, this draft is loaded with talented wide receivers and the Rams will pick again at thirteen. Robinson is the top tackle in this draft and provides quarterback Sam Bradford some much needed protection against the feared pass rushers of the NFC West.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

Some scouts have said that they believe Mack will translate in to a better NFL player than Clowney. He is explosive off the edge and can also line up at defensive end as well as hold his own when dropping back into pass coverage.

4. Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

At nearly 6"1, Watkins has good size and his 4.43 40-yard dash, is a testament to his top-flight speed. He has a good initial burst and elite acceleration. The number one receiver in this year's draft is a big-time playmaker, who attacks the ball when it's in the air and also does a great job of creating separation. Pairing him with Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron gives Cleveland plenty of ammunition in the passing game, for the day when it does have its quarterback of the future.

5. Oakland Raiders: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

Ideally, Watkins is still available when the Raiders select at number five but if the Browns do take him, rather then reaching for Mike Evans, Oakland may be inclined to take Bortles, who has a very high ceiling and will have at least a season to learn from Matt Schaub.

6. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Mathews, OT, Texas A&M

Mathews is effective in both run and pass protection and can play left and right tackle. With a serious need to provide better protection for Matt Ryan, this pick affords the Boston College product, more time to find wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

The Buccaneers infatuation with "Johnny Football" seems to be serious. Despite the signing of Josh McCown, he is not the quarterback of the future and as someone who has mostly been a back up, can offer Manziel a great deal of wisdom. Furthermore, starting his NFL career as a back up will help to ease some of the circus that surrounded Manziel in his college career.

8. Minnesota Vikings: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

The North Carolina product is drawing comparisons to Vernon Davis. While this can be seen as a reach, combining Ebron with Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings and Adrian Peterson, as well as Kyle Rudolph, gives Minnesota a nice array of weapons, that figure to be at the disposal of a mediocre quarterback.

9. Buffalo Bills: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Evans is a big bodied receiver, who excels when the ball is in the air. The Texas A&M product would provide second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel with three talented wide receivers, to go with C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, not to mention the fact that the team retained veteran tight end Scott Chandler.

10. Detroit Lions: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Safety, Alabama

If you're just seeing this name for the first time, you probably got a good chuckle but Clinton-Dix is the best safety in this draft and his range and run support, help solve what is currently a glaring need for the Lions.

11. Tennessee Titans: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Starting left tackle Michael Roos only has one year left on his contract and if available at number eleven, Lewan would be a great value pick. While Lewan needs to get stronger and does come with some off-field baggage, he is a technician as a run blocker and has quick hands and feet in pass protection.

12. New York Giants: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

Donald has an elite initial burst off the line and can collapse the pocket as well as provide a disruptive force against the run. Once he gets in the backfield, the Pittsburgh product possesses great finishing ability, converting pressures into sacks and tackles for loss.

13. St. Louis Rams: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

This pick comes down to linebacker C.J. Mosley and Beckham but providing Sam Bradford with a big-time threat, the likes of Beckham, finally gives him the type of playmaker that the Rams offense has been lacking for Bradford's enitre career.

14. Chicago Bears: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

After the Rams pass on Mosley, the Bears jump on a linebacker who has the potential to man the middle of the midway for years to come. Mosley has excellent instincts, is well-disciplined and relentlessly pursues the football. His range against the run is second-to-none and he even does a good job of covering ground in the passing game. Mosley has big-time potential and could be a stud for years.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Darqueeze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

The Steelers biggest need is a cornerback and Dennard is the best of this year's crop, in man-to-man coverage. He is very good at tracking the ball while staying with his assignment and then making a play on the ball.

16. Dallas Cowboys: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame

With Tony Romo coming off of back surgery, the Cowboys need to beef up their protection around their aging franchise quarterback. After redshirting his freshman season, Martin appeared in all 52 games over the remainder of his career. Martin is solid as both a run blocker and in pass protection and has excellent awareness. He also has the ability to slide over to right guard.

17. Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Pryor, Safety, Louisville

Pryor is a thumper, who also has good range. He uses his size well and would be a solid candidate to fill the void that was left by the departure of Ed Reed.

18. New York Jets: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

Gang Green just added Chris Johnson but the Jets still need to be more dynamic in the passing game and that is exactly what Cooks provides. He is a polished route runner with reliable hands, who also has blazing speed as his 4.33 40 time is a testament to.

19. Miami Dolphins: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia

Moses has excellent size and length and is coming off of his best collegiate season. The only dilemma for Miami is how confident it is in his ability to play right tackle. If he can achieve success there, he gives the Dolphins a great tandem, suring up the bookends along with free agent acquisition Brandon Albert.

20. Arizona Cardinals: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State

Shazier has tremendous instincts, covers sideline to sideline, is good at shooting the gaps and can drop back into coverage. Arizona is in need of upgrading its linebacking corpse and doesn't know what it will get out of Jon Abraham,  who is soon to turn 36, after he recorded 11.5 sacks last season.

21. Green Bay Packers: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Lee has good speed and would have the potential to thrive playing with an elite quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, who can extend plays and use his mobility to buy time for receivers to get open down field. Lee is also dangerous after the catch and would give Jarrett Boykin some competition for the third wide receiver spot.

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

After the release of Desean Jackson, the Eagles have a need at wide receiver and as stands, are placing a large burden on Jeremy Maclin, who is coming off of a torn ACL. At 6"5, Benjamin creates a match up problem that becomes even scarier in the hands of Chip Kelly.

23. Kansas City Chiefs: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech

San Francisco owns Kansas City's second round pick and unless the Chiefs are looking to pair Dwayne Bowe with Kelvin Benjamin, Amaro makes a ton of sense. At 6"5, 265 lbs, Amaro has a big frame that he uses very well, in combination with his long wingspan. He does a good job creating separation and while he doesn't provide much as a blocker, he is a serious threat in the passing game.

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Gilbert possesses elite ball skills and straight line speed. He comes with many flaws, such as not being physical enough but is dangerous with the ball in his hands and can also be used as a kick returner.

25. San Diego Chargers: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

Despite his off the field issues, Roby is arguably the most talented cornerback in this draft and has great size and speed. His technique needs work but San Diego has to improve its situation at cornerback.

26. Cleveland Browns: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

After taking Watkins with their first pick, the Browns attempt to pair him up with a quarterback and roll the dice on Bridgewater.

27. New Orleans Saints: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Fuller has excellent ball awareness and consistently made big plays for the Hokies. He also does a good job of setting the edge against the run, fighting of blocks to make the tackle. He adds depth to the Saints secondary and can learn under the tutelage of Champ Bailey.

28. Carolina Panthers: Joel Bitonio, OT, Nevada

Carolina has a glaring need at tackle after the retirement of Jordan Gross. Bitonio has good movement and a great work ethic, providing the same intensity for all four quarters.

29. New England Patriots: Ra'Shede Hagemann, DT, Minnesota

Hagemann has very impressive natural abilities and at 6"5, 310 lbs, has elite size to go with exceptional speed. Allowing a player with his raw talent to develop under Vince Wilfork, even if it is only for a season, it could be exactly what Hagemann needs to develop into a stud.

30. San Francisco: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

San Francisco saw cornerbacks Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown depart in free agency and has only added Chris Cook. Verrett excels in man-to-man coverage, has good ball skills and aggressively defends the run. He provides quality depth and can grow into a starter, down the line.

31. Denver Broncos:  Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

Ealy is one of the most talented defensive ends in this draft but injuries have signiifcantly hurt his stock. Nonetheless, this is a player with enormous potential. He is an effective edge defender and interior rusher, who consistently plays with a high motor.

32. Seattle Seahawks: Xavier Su'a-Filo, G, UCLA

Su'a-Filo has good size and quickness, gets off the ball well and has quick feet. He is effective as both a run blocker and in pass protection. He does a great job of initiating contact as well as absorbing it and being able to quickly recover. He may fall to the second round but Seattle has to improve the interior of its offensive line.

Bobby Krivitsky

CLNS Radio contributor. Writer for Sports Illustrated's NBA blog KingJamesGospel.com and for Celtic-Nation.com. Analyst for Citrus TV in Syracuse. Former Manager of the Syracuse University Basketball Team. @Bobby_k91