Pre-Combine Mock Draft

February 10th, 2014

The Lions make a trade in Darren Page’s pre-combine mock draft. (Photo courtesy UB Bulls)

Darren Page

First Round

1. Houston Texans: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville – The Texans can be right back in the playoffs with a solution at quarterback.  Bridgewater is the best out there, despite rumors to the contrary.

*TRADE* St. Louis trades #2 to Cleveland for #4, #35, and 4th round pick

2. Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M – Cleveland must get out of this draft with “their guy” and I firmly believe that’s Johnny Manziel.  Bridgewater going #1 would have them on the edge of their seats.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina – The Jaguars defense needs to add as much talent to their front seven as possible.  Clowney at 3 is a coup.

4. St. Louis Rams: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn – Physical mauler who Zac Stacy could run behind for years. Run him out at tackle to start with, but he’s an All-Pro guard if that doesn’t work.

5. Oakland Raiders: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson – This pick is made with a bit of planning ahead in the draft when it comes to their next pick. Watkins has been making average QB’s look viable for a while.

6. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M – ATL is tied to Matt Ryan for better or worse, and Ryan needs talent around him.  Sam Baker and Lamar Holmes are turnstiles on the left side.

*TRADE* Tampa Bay trades #7 to Detroit for #10, 3rd round pick

7. Detroit Lions: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo – Detroit should be willing to get aggressive if Khalil Mack falls this far.  He adds versatility to an already talented front seven for a defensive coordinator who can use it.

8. Minnesota Vikings: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida – If there’s a team in the league who needs a QB more than Minnesota, I have yet to find it.  The Vikings have the offensive talent to ease Bortles in if he has to start day one.

9. Buffalo Bills: Zack Martin, OG, Notre Dame – Zack Martin in the top ten may surprise some, but I think teams may like him even more analysts after a phenomenal week at the Senior Bowl.

10 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina – If the new front office and coaching staff in Tampa are going to roll with Mike Glennon, they have to add talent around him.  Ebron is a game-changer.

11. Tennessee Titans: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA – Tennessee and new defensive coordinator Ray Horton would be a phenomenal fit for Barr, whose raw athleticism needs to be patiently developed.

12. New York Giants: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State – With Martin off the board, the Giants simply need the player who will have the biggest impact next season. Dennard can pair with Amukamara and help a poor defense.

13. St. Louis Rams: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama – This is a race to the podium scenario. If the Rams get out of day one with Robinson, Clinton-Dix, and a pick at the top of the second round, Les Snead and Jeff Fisher will sleep well.

14. Chicago Bears: Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame – There should be long odds on the Bears going any direction but defensive line with their first round pick.  If Nix circles back to his 2012 form, he’s a steal here.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama – Pittsburgh must get younger on defense. They could opt to pair a 3 down backer in Mosley with in-place Lawrence Timmons to try and mimic the way the 49ers built their 3-4 defense.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M – Evans is more athletic than he’s thought of.  An Evans and Torrey Smith pairing with Joe Flacco’s deep ball would strike fear into opposing secondaries.

17. Dallas Cowboys: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh – Jason Hatcher re-signing would change this plan, but Aaron Donald is a viable first round defensive tackle who can be highly disruptive from the interior.

18. New York Jets: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State – Is this overdrafting a raw talent? Yep, but the Jets are tied to Geno Smith whether they like it or not.  A receiver who can catch contested balls would help.

19. Miami Dolphins: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan – Lewan wasn’t as dominant as expected as a senior, but he’s a physically talented tackle.  If his off-field issues check out he should be a first round pick.

20. Arizona Cardinals: Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn – Ford would bring an explosive dimension to a group of Arizona pass rushers who don’t play anyone away athletically.  His big Senior Bowl week will mean something.

21. Green Bay Packers: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State – It’s a safety that the Packers need in the worst way, but a talent like Bradley Roby is difficult to pass on.  He could be in line for a switch to safety regardless.

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville – Philly needs all the help it can get at a safety position which hasn’t been the same since Brian Dawkins left.  Pryor is a class strong safety who plays like a missile.

23. Kansas City Chiefs: Marqise Lee, WR, USC – Without a 2nd round pick, it seems KC must get out of the first two rounds with a pass catcher.  They could move Lee all around the field and have a dynamic athlete.

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State – Gilbert vaulted himself into this range with a phenomenal senior season.  The Bengals have health issues at cornerback and may no longer have hope for Dre Kirkpatrick.

25. San Diego Chargers: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State – Bringing in a dynamo like Cooks would allow SD to cut Eddie Royal and add talent to a receiving corps that is being carried by Keenan Allen at this point.

26. Cleveland Browns: Odell Beckham, WR, LSU – Investing in WR talent is the best way to make Manziel successful and bring along developmentally.  Beckham’s large catch radius and run after catch ability make him a complement to Josh Gordon.

27. New Orleans Saints: Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU – Van Noy is the most versatile defender in the class and can play in the various fronts Roby Ryan likes to employ.  His knack for making game-changing plays is a big plus.

28. Carolina Panthers: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU – Most of the Panthers secondary will hit free agency, so an instant impact cornerback will be needed.  Verrett’s versatility and competitiveness will make him effective on day one.

29. New England Patriots: Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota – New England is an optimal landing spot for a supremely talented yet raw defensive tackling in the mold of Hageman.  He’s also shown the ability to play from multiple techniques.

30. San Francisco 49ers: Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois – Teams may start to go after a strong safety pairing, which is easier said than done.  With Ward paired with Eric Reid, San Francisco’s wobbly secondary could be stabilized.

31. Denver Broncos: Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA – If Denver wants one last run with Peyton Manning, the offensive line must be fortified.  Su’a-Filo could replace Zane Beadles at left guard or slide out to tackle in a pinch.

32. Seattle Seahawks: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri – If Michael Bennett and Chris Clemons aren’t to return, Seattle will have to find viable replacements to keep a stable rotation of edge defenders.  Ealy fits the mold.

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10 Responses to “Pre-Combine Mock Draft”

  1. Jeremy says:

    I love the idea of drafting Mack, but I don’t think the Lions are in a position to give up picks yet, they still need to fill some holes and build depth. Additionally, Austin was quoted as saying they would not be perusing a pass rushing OLB, of course that could be a smokescreen, it’s that time of year.

    • The Strategy Expert says:

      I’m going to have to totally agree with you on that one. I would think it’s more likely that they trade back this year, to both fill needs and suppress the cap pressure. We have to pay money for those draft picks that we presently don’t have, and if we drop down in Round 1, that could actually trim the dollar liabilities for the present year cap. I wouldn’t be shocked if they traded down multiple times from the 10 pick, and the more they trade the more they can trim cap dollars for the present year while filling extra needs.

      Heck maybe they should trade all of their picks for future drafts and that would clean up the financial problems of the short-term! But I definitely don’t want to see them trade up as long as the team is poorly designed with weak financial structure, and right now we are in a more awkward spot than we were the last several years. We are in a position where we can really fall apart much worse or get much better, we might be the biggest wild card in the NFL right now. Most of the teams ahead of us in the draft have the better pick and a lot more salary cap dollars, plus they have some good cores and there could be some fast risers. This team could be one of the few that has some chance of finishing anywhere from 1-32. Who has a bigger possible range of a future than us right now?

      This is a VERY critical offseason to get right, but I’m pretty confident that we aren’t going to be very shrewd once again. Gosh I don’t even know why I’m still even trying to be polite; I need to stop being so nice because this team really needs an ass kicking and face slapping to wake the frak up.

  2. Ron says:

    Too early to critique mocks, but glad Bridgewater still atop your list; strange he is falling.

    On twitter I was the one (ron at ronacesports) who gave you a “hard time” about Lions and their CB’s. Send me an e-mail address and I will forward you my 2013 draft report on the Lions and 2013 preview on them. Laughter is the best medicine and teams like the Lions are why I’ve followed and written about the draft for 35 years!

    • The Strategy Expert says:

      I’d love to see it! scott@eschelsfinancial.net

      • Ron says:

        Sent Saturday night/sun am to the above address.

        • The Strategy Expert says:

          Neat stuff thanks for sending! I liked what I saw and it was a fun read but I didn’t really jive with you on the optimism about our QB position. I just feel differently about what we are getting for our dollar over there and it just doesn’t sit right with me. Hopefully for our sake your analysis for this upcoming season predicts that the new coaching team will help us to achieve more out of the core talent we have to work with. Keep up the good dedicated work of studying all the teams!

    • The Strategy Expert says:

      Also Bridgewater has been reluctant to run with the ball a lot, and that could scare teams away when you can get a guy like Manziel who is more aggressive. I’d be taking Manziel ahead of Bridgewater myself probably. Although I haven’t done any tremendous in-depth scouting on them since it’s a little depressing for me to think about all these exciting QBs. You won’t find anybody that despised the Stafford pick more than me, so it’s been unusually hard for me to watch all of these seasons and drafts keep passing us up.

  3. Matt says:

    I would love to get Mack! I would actually be okay with giving up our 1st and 3rd for him. But otherwise I would wanna trade down to the late teens or early 20′s and pick up an extra 2nd and draft like this:

    1st. Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
    2nd. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
    2nd. Christian Jones, ILB, Florida State
    3rd. Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconson
    4th. Bryan Stork, C, Florida State
    6th. Chris Boswell, K, Rice
    7th. Ty Zimmerman, S, Kansas State

    We’re supposed to be getting more 3-4 looks this year and honestly, if the draft looked like this, I feel like we could be just as good, if not better in a 3-4 than a 4-3 in nonsituational times. If we’re doing more 3-4 looks then we will need more LB’s, and Jones has experience at DE for when we’re in a 4-3 formation. Matthews will be the new #2 and Abbrederis will be our #3 in the slot. Stork is our center that we groom for a year or 2 behind Riola. Boswell is our new kicker, and Ty Zimmerman is a god safety who is a 3 year starter. He’s not spectacular at anything, but as a 7th round pick, we just have to hope our new staff can develop him into something special. And Im hoping they can develop Chris Greenwood and Slay into something special. Our defense would look like this in a 3-4:

    D-line
    Ziggy-Suh-Tayler

    LB’s
    Levy-Tulloch-Jones-Van Noy

    DB’s
    Slay-Zimmerman-Quinn-Greenwood

    • The Strategy Expert says:

      I’m not a big fan of moving to a 3-4 defense with this team. Our DL over the years has typically been a strength and the LB group is typically a weakness, we have had some talent concerns there but more importantly the coaching for our LBs (and DBs) has been really awful. I really hope these new coaches are much better at teaching players the fundamentals and how to move and react, and any system that does that is going to be an improvement regardless of how they line up.

      Asking a 7th Round Safety to be a starter is a tough one too. We need to have a new stud safety and we needed one before we lost Delmas, so now the need is even greater, and it’s asking a lot for that 7th Rounder to be better than Delmas let alone a stud. Interesting draft, but I don’t think we have room to draft 2 WRs this year we just have too many holes coming up.

      • The Strategy Expert says:

        Also just to add since I’ve been thinking about it more, I don’t think we should spend a pick on a Kicker, there could be some good UDFA choices as I don’t think it will be a heavy K-picked draft, plus there could be other reasonably decent FA options and even sticking with Akers is worth considering to save a pick for something more useful. So I wouldn’t be spending a pick on a Kicker unless there were extra comp picks unexpected.

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