Jeff Risdon, DLD Editor
You can find the first edition here.
There are tons of changes, as you would expect for seven weeks of college football. The draft order here is my conjecture as to the standings at the end of the season. I did sort it out for playoff seeding as well, but not anything beyond what I believe the initial seeding will look like.
I omitted any underclassmen who have indicated they are returning to school. While I don’t necessarily believe them, I will respect their word at this point. That means no Cedric Ogbuehi, Kasen Williams or Jace Amaro, all of whom would have appeared.
Two rounds this time around, and the second round order is the same as the first. I know that’s not always the case but…it’s October. The draft is still more than six months away, be patient.
My mock drafts always follow this template: I am making picks based on what I believe teams might do in a given situation. It does not necessarily reflect the decisions I would make in those situations, nor does it represent where I believe players should be slotted.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville. Nothing can improve the expansion-like feel of the Jaguars roster more than a potential franchise quarterback. Bridgewater’s ability to operate in the pocket but also create athletically makes him the top pick.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina. Yes, Tampa Bay needs help at quarterback. They also need an impact defensive player up front to balance Gerald McCoy and force the offense to game plan around. Clowney remains the best defensive prospect of the 2000s regardless of the watered down stats.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon. He might have a higher ceiling than Bridgewater, and I love that he improves weekly. NFL teams will covet his headiness and athleticism. The Vikings cannot continue with the troika of ineptitude that is Ponder, Cassel and Freeman.
4. Oakland Raiders: Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA. I believe the Raiders stick with Terrelle Pryor for at least another year, which means they can use a premium pick to land a premium pass rusher. Barr is creative and freakishly fast around the edge.
5. Cleveland Browns: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State. Teams are going to love his arm talent, and that downfield attacking ability suits the Browns offense under Rob Chudzinski. This is likely higher than you will see Carr slotted anywhere else and is either really prescient or completely foolish.
6. Buffalo Bills: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M. The Bills go after the matchup nightmare that is Mike Evans, who physically compares to Dez Bryant or Demaryius Thomas. His improved effort and consistency vault him to the top of the wideout stack.
7. St. Louis Rams (from WAS): C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama. They could opt to go quarterback here, but in this incarnation the Rams choose the top linebacker on the board. The defense is already stout, but adding the versatile Mosley puts them on par with their NFC West foes in what is easily the toughest division in the NFL.
8. New York Giants: Jake Matthews, T, Texas A&M. The Giants offensive line has been neglected for too long. Matthews is a “safe” pick because of his pedigree and experience, but he also happens to have enough athletic ability to become an elite performer quickly.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU. Smart, physical, speedy and aggressive. Sounds like a Pittsburgh Steelers corner, doesn’t it? That’s Verrett, who plays bigger than his size.
10. St. Louis Rams: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA. If we’ve seen anything the past few weeks, it’s that Hundley is not NFL ready. Should he declare, the best chance is to sit a year or two behind an established starter while honing his passing ability. Having the extra first round pick affords them time to develop the raw talent.
11. Chicago Bears: Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame. He’s not played as well this year as in 2012, in part because of some new sloppy weight. Yet even in a down season, Nix still flashes disruptiveness inside. The Bears desperately need to make over the middle of their defense, and it starts up front.
12. Atlanta Falcons: Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson. This is one of those biggest need meets best available player marriages that makes too much sense to ignore. Beasley is a rising star with his ability to generate pressure off the edge, something the Falcons sorely lack.
13. Houston Texans: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M. It almost seems too convenient to slot Johnny Football to the nearby Texans. His improvement as a passer is remarkable, and the Texans happen to need a new franchise quarterback. Note this pick 100% will not happen if Gary Kubiak returns as coach.
14. Arizona Cardinals: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo. Wait until the workout and postseason all-star circuit and watch Mack skyrocket up boards. Those of us who’ve seen heavy doses of him already know what a versatile talent he is. His presence would make a good Cards defense downright nasty.
15. Tennessee Titans: RaShede Hageman, DT, Minnesota. It’s not their biggest need, but Hageman is the kind of impact talent that can transform a solid line into a great one. He’s another physical freak who will climb in workout season.
16. Miami Dolphins: Cyrus Kouandjio, T, Alabama. Any team that trades for Bryant McKinnie is tipping its hand at the desperate state of affairs up front. Any team which has to start Jonathan Martin has no chance of making the playoffs, and it appears they’ve come to that harsh realization.