Mock Draft III: The Fall of the Quarterbacks

March 7th, 2014

Jeff Risdon

It’s still before free agency and most pro days, so things are still bound to change quite a bit.

This edition features just two QBs in the top 20, a riff on what happened a year ago when the quarterbacks all fell much further than anticipated. No trades in this version; wait until the next one. The comments here are brief as well; if you have a specific question about a pick let me know on Twitter @JeffRisdon

As always, these picks represent what decision I think the teams could make in the given situation. It does not necessarily reflect the decision I would make in the same situation.

Round 1
1. Houston Texans: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida–They hired a QB guru as the head coach for a reason, and Bortles offers tantalizing potential

2. St. Louis Rams (from WAS): Greg Robinson, T, Auburn–High upside with the bruising Robinson trumps the more NFL-readiness of Matthews

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jadeveon Clowney, Edge, South Carolina–Too tempting to pass up the edge rushing prospect of a generation

4. Cleveland Browns: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville–Easy decision for the new brass in Cleveland taking the best QB in the last two drafts

5. Oakland Raiders: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo–A do-it-all backer for a team that needs everything to be done

6. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, T, Texas A&M–Major upgrade to Matt Ryan’s protection helps make their weapons more effective

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson–Gives the Bucs a more diverse receiving corps and a creative force after the short catch

8. Minnesota Vikings: Anthony Barr, Edge, UCLA–Vikes have to bolster the pass rush in a division with Cutler, Rodgers & Stafford

9. Buffalo Bills: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M–big outside downfield target for EJ Manuel to grow with, stresses opposing corners

10. Detroit Lions: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina–provides the down-the-middle threat and speedy flex TE option they sorely need

11. Tennessee Titans: Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan–strong Combine elevates the big left tackle to the Titans and their aged tackle tandem

12. New York Giants: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh–disruptive interior force takes precedence over the lousy OL

13. St. Louis Rams: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama–strong cover safety fills a major need for a talented defense

14. Chicago Bears: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri–strongside end with the ability to play inside as a rusher too

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama–instinctive thumper helps rebuild the rapidly changing Pittsburgh defense

16. Dallas Cowboys: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State–the line anchor their 4-3 front so desperately needs

17. Baltimore Ravens: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State–athletic and long, offers bonus as a return option too

18. New York Jets: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU–smooth talent with the ability to create after the catch

19. Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, T, Notre Dame–immediate starter at either tackle or guard, outstanding proven results

20. Arizona Cardinals: Dee Ford, Edge, Auburn–demon speed off the edge upgrades the pass rush

21. Green Bay Packers: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville–big, intimidating presence in the back of a defense lacking teeth

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State–physical press-man corner with great natural stickiness

23. Kansas City Chiefs: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M–polarizing, dynamic, unorthodox QB; Andy Reid has some experience here

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech–long, fast corner used to being on an island fits the defense well

25. San Diego Chargers: Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois–would blend with Weddle to give the Chargers an outstanding safety duo

26. Cleveland Browns (from IND): Jason Verrett, CB, TCU–shoulder surgery clouds his outlook, but a natural in the slot or outside

27. New Orleans Saints: Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU–polished, versatile backer can play all over the formation

28. Carolina Panthers: Xavier Su’a-Filo, OL, UCLA–elite guard talent could perhaps answer the call at tackle; they must upgrade the OL

29. New England Patriots: RaShede Hageman, DT, Minnesota–occasionally awesome, often inconsistent 3-tech; good coaching could produce a star

30. San Francisco 49ers: Marqise Lee, WR, USC–electrifying in the slot or split wide, knee concerns make him a major value here

31. Denver Broncos: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State–enigmatic speedster looked elite in ’12 but lazy in ’13, worth the risk for the needy Broncos

32. Seattle Seahawks: Dominique Easley, DT, Florida–likely to miss ’14, the world champs don’t need his awesome 1st step right away


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7 Responses to “Mock Draft III: The Fall of the Quarterbacks”

  1. Jeremy says:

    Lions will not be drafting a CB in the first three rounds unless someone with a really high grade drops into their laps, they already have too many young picks being developed and drafting another would be tantamount to admitting failure or incompetent. I like Ebron at ten, but if Watkins falls to seven, it might be worth moving up to grab him. Also, would love Landry in the middle rounds, reminds me of Anquan Boldin, only smaller.

    • Randy says:

      I hope you’re wrong about the Lions CBs. Drafting a lot of low round CBs and hoping they develop is not a good strategy. Hasn’t worked yet.

      • KP says:

        It’s not a “strategy”, it’s just what’s happened. The low-round guys you mention aren’t just scrubs, but are genuinely improving. That makes them better players at this point right now than almost anyone they’d draft, and definitely any projects. If they don’t want Gilbert at #10, there’s no much point in drafting more developmental CBs.

  2. Rich says:

    So, apparently Louis Nix is a fourth-round prospect. SOLD!

  3. Martin says:

    I think you forgot about Kelvin Benjamin and Ryan Shazier (at first glance, maybe I missed them).

  4. MaineMan says:

    Jeff –

    Really like your work. Your prospect scouting reports are among the most trustworthy and oft-cited on the Patriots board. Seriously, you’re evaluations seem generally more accurate than (apparently) those produced by the Lions scouting department.

    BTW – I lived in Detroit and then the western ‘burbs from about 1960-2000 before moving to New England (Brady actually followed me here), so I’m ever-hopeful that the Lions figure out how to turn things around for the long term.

    Anyway, from a Pats perspective then, a couple suggestions.

    Hageman would’ve been a better fit for the Pats in their old base 3-4 than for what they’re running now – even with his often (somewhat Seymour-ish) lackadaisical attitude. But, I don’t think he’s what BB is looking for anymore.

    Counter-intuitively, Nix (a near-perfect candidate for 3-4 NT) actually would be appropriate. If he should slide past the Steelers and all the way to #29, BB would almost certainly take him over Hageman.

    However, Shazier might be available in that range also and, with BB having been very interested in Lavonte David back in the 2012 draft (only to get trumped by Tampa trading ahead of him), he could be the choice.

    Apart from those two, there’s a distinct likelihood that BB would go for one of the potential tackle-to-guard guys like Turner or Bitonio (perhaps after a trade down from the #29) or maybe a guy like Yankey.

    Also, I highly doubt that BB would risk missing out on Fiedorowicz in favor of an edge guy (unless he’s pretty spectacular in all phases, including run-D) and would probably take the TE at the end of the 2nd and then an edge guy in the 3rd. And, yeah, we hear it all the time about how the Pats desperately need more pass rush, but the thing is, the starting edge guys the Pats have are pretty decent (though Nink and Jones definitely need someone to lessen their snap loads). Moreover, in a 3-step-drop world where their 3 divisional opponents traditionally have had strong ground games, the necessity of elite edge-rushers is a bit overblown for the Pats scheme (especially edge-rushers who aren’t good at edge-contain). So, what BB appears to be trying to do is generate more pressure up the middle (which can really help the effectiveness of the edge-rushers). This, again counter-intuitively, is where Nix comes in. As a stout run-defender and a guy who should require consistent double-teams (thereby reducing the number of gaps available to the RB), he allows a penetrating undertackle (or A-gap blitzer) to pin his ears back and go without having to worry so much about the run on play-action.

    Anyway, very good interior OL, Nix (specifically – NOT just any DT), Shazier (specifically – not just any fast coverage-type LB), followed by Fiedorowicz (or possibly Niklas) at the end of the 2nd, THEN maybe and edge guy (even a 3-4 OLB type) in the 3rd. Or a strong safety. Or a WR.

    • adminLions says:

      Always good to hear from you! Are you who I think you are from the old CDS board?

      It’s pure conjecture to do any mock draft before free agency. I’ll adjust after this week.

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