Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Justin's Pre-Super Bowl Mock Draft

1. Houston Texans (2-14) - Teddy Bridgewater (QB/Louisville)

Houston has brought in Bill O'Brien at head coach, but what the deam does at this juncture could still be up for grabs depending on which direction O'Brien wants to go in.  There is a chance O'Brien will be in contact with New England about acquiring Ryan Mallett, but for now, quarterback is the top need for the Texans.

There have been talks about home-state product Johnny Manziel being taken with the top selection, but that type of tactic is usually reserved for a team who needs to sell tickets, a problem Houston doesn't have.  Manziel is talented, but still needs to learn how to play quarterback NFL style.  Bridgewater is still the most NFL-ready signal caller and should be the pick for Houston with their current roster.

2. St. Louis Rams (7-9) - Jake Matthews (OT/Texas A&M)

The Rams are open to trading this selection and honestly who could blame them after the return they saw the last time they traded away the second overall selection.  If they do decide to retain this pick, however, I can't see the team shying away from Matthews.  Head coach Jeff Fisher is familiar with Matthews, whose father, Bruce, played for Fisher in Tennessee.

Tackle is also a serious need for the Rams.  Roger Saffold is a free agent and Jake Long is currently recovering from a torn ACL and MCL.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12) - Blake Bortles (QB/UCF)

Blaine Gabbert will likely not return to Jacksonville as the team's offense is essentially getting a makeover at all spots.  With a new offensive regime, coming in, Jacksonville now has a chance to start fresh.  Bortles emerged as one of the top quarterback prospects over the past month and should be a top five selection in April.

4. Cleveland Browns (4-12) - Johnny Manziel (QB/Texas A&M)

The Browns are a mess at quarterback at the moment.  Brian Hoyer, the most impressive signal caller for them this season, is not a long-term solution.  One issue with this selection, however, is the fact that the Browns still have not hired a new head coach, but regardless, new head coaches lead to new quarterbacks.

5. Oakland Raiders (4-12) - Jadeveon Clowney (DE/South Carolina)

The top player available, Clowney could give the Raiders a needed pass rusher if they want to compete with Peyton Manning and Denver.  Oakland has a lot of money to spend this offseason and could be in position to contend next year.

6. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) - Anthony Barr (OLB/UCLA)

The pass rush in Atlanta was especially poor this season, something that needs to be addressed in a division that featured Drew Brees and Cam Newton.  If Atlanta wants to bounce back, they will need to grab an edge rusher.  Barr became a stud at outside linebacker at UCLA after converting from fullback.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12) - Khalil Mack (OLB/Buffalo)

Tampa Bay has a talented defense in all areas except for their pass rush.  With Mack as one of the top available player, he could be the final piece of the puzzle for Lovie Smith's defense.

8. Minnesota Vikings (5-10-1) - Derek Carr (QB/Fresno State)

Minnesota is another team with a messy situation at quarterback after starting Josh Freeman, Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel.  Carr, the younger brother of David Carr, hasn't faced elite competition this season, but he has improved over the pas three years and has an NFL-caliber arm.

9. Buffalo Bills (6-10) - Sammy Watkins (WR/Clemson)

Buffalo has Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods, but neither player is a top receiver in the NFL.  Sammy Watkins could become the go-to guy for EJ Manuel and help add a whole other dimension on the Bills offense.

10. Detroit Lions (7-9) - Mike Evans (WR/Texas A&M)

Detroit has the best receiver in the NFL with Calvin Johnson, but with no other quality receivers playing across from him, teams are double-teaming him.  Adding another quality receiver would be very beneficial to the Lions offense.

11. Tennessee Titans (7-9) - Greg Robinson (OT/Auburn)

I have mocked a cornerback to Tennessee for quite some time now, but I really think the Titans plan on using their franchise tag on Alterraun Verner rather than let him walk in free agency.  Another upcoming area of need, however, if offensive tackle.  David Stewart will likely be a cap casualty in the offseason (Tennessee saves $6.4 million by doing so) and left tackle Michael Roos is a free agent in 2015.

12. New York Giants (7-9) - Justin Gilbert (CB/Oklahoma State)

Most of the Giants cornerbacks are entering free agency, so the team will look into upgrading their pass defense unit early in the draft.  C.J. Mosley has been to common pick here, but the Giants are notorious for not taking linebackers early.

13. St. Louis Rams (7-9) - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S/Alabama)

The top player available, Clinton-Dix fills a major need for the Rams, who struggled with play at safety last season.

14. Chicago Bears (8-8) - C.J. Mosley (MLB/Alabama)

Chicago lost Brian Urlacher last season and the run defense suffered without him.  A new man in the middle will be needed and Mosley could be a great fit in the Bears scheme.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) - Taylor Lewan (OT/Michigan)

Pass blocking in Pittsburgh last season was atrocious.  If the Steelers want Ben Roethlisberger to stay healthy, they need to keep him from taking as much of a beating  in each game.  Lewan struggled in Michigan over the past season, but many scout still see him as a top-20 pick in April.

16. Baltimore Ravens (8-8) - Eric Ebron (TE/North Carolina)

Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson have expiring contract while Baltimore has nothing to offer across from Torrey Smith.  Ebron can provide Flacco with a reliable safety valve and add another dimension to an offense that struggled without Anquan Boldin.

17. Dallas Cowboys (8-8) - Timmy Jernigan (DT/Florida State)

Dallas released Jay Ratliff and never brought in a new man to plug up the middle lanes on defense.  Jernigan, who had a solid season at Florida State, could clog up running lanes for the Cowboys in the future.

18. New York Jets (8-8) - Marqise Lee (WR/USC)

New York has no weapons on offense.  Santonio Holmes will likely be released (New York saves $8.25 million by doing so) Stephen Hill has not developed as planned and Kellen Winslow is too busy hanging out in Target parking lots.  Lee can give New York a much needed boost on offense.

19. Miami Dolphins (8-8) - Cyrus Kouandjio (OT/Alabama)

Jonathan Martin will likely be traded for pennies on the dollar in the offseason and Miami will be stuck looking for a new left tackle to protect Ryan Tannehill next season.

20. Arizona Cardinals (10-6) - Zack Martin (OT/Notre Dame)

Arizona's line played well in the first season under Bruce Arians and should be better with a healthy Johnathan Cooper, but the team still needs help at left tackle, which was a revolving door all season.  Martin could help solidify the offensive line for the Cardinals.

21. Green Bay Packers (8-7-1) - Calvin Pryor (S/Louisville)

Green Bay has seen poor play at free safety all season, so the team will likely look for an upgrade this offseason.  Pryor is a hard worker who isn't afraid to attack the line of scrimmage on running plays.

22. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) - Kelvin Benjamin (WR/Florida State)

Jeremy Maclin is coming off of an ACL tear as he heads to free agency.  Philadelphia will likely look to bring in a new to receiver for Nick Foles to throw to.

23. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) - Jace Amaro (TE/Texas Tech)

A new safety valve for Alex Smith who will eventually replace Anthony Fasano, Amaro had a monster year with Texas Tech.

24. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) - Darqueze Dennard (CB/Michigan State)

Leon Hall is coming off of an Achilles injury, Terence Newman is old and Pacman Jones is nothing more than a nickel cornerback.  If Cincinnati expects to continue to be able to compete, they will need to upgrade their pass defense.

25. San Diego Chargers (9-7) - Kony Ealy (DE/Missouri)

San Diego signed Dwight Freeney last year to help their pass rush, but he ultimately went down for the season with a triceps injury.  The Chargers will again try to solve their pass rushing woes this offseason.

26. Cleveland Browns (4-12) - Ka'Deem Carey (RB/Arizona)

Cleveland traded Trent Richardson to acquire this pick, now they need to replace him.  Running back is an open field this year (I had Lache Seastrunk up here for a while), but I think when all is said and done now Carey will be the first running back selected.

27. New Orleans Saints (11-5) - Louis Nix (DT/Notre Dame)

The top defensive player available, Nix could help fix a leaky rush defense that plagued New Orleans at times this season.

28. Carolina Panthers (12-4) - Odell Beckham Jr. (WR/LSU)

Steve Smith is no spring chicken and Brandon LaFell is not consistent enough to be the team's no. 2 receiver.  Maybe another LSU product could be.

29. New England Patriots (12-4) - Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE/Washington)

I've been hesitant to mock a tight end to the Patriots because it isn't the team's biggest need, but Seferian-Jenkins is the top player available and Rob Gronkowski is now coming off of a major injury.  Seferian-Jenkins had his fair share of issues in Washington, but it has never stopped Belichick from taking someone before.

30. San Francisco 49ers (12-4) - Marcus Roberson (CB/Florida)

San Francisco's secondary has been a weak point for the team all season.  Carlos Rogers is a likely cap casualty, so the team will seek to find his replacement.

31. Seattle Seahawks (13-3) - Xavier Su'a-Filo (G/UCLA)

Interior protection has been a liability for the Seahawks this season.  Su'a-Filo would ultimately replace Pat McQuistain on the right side.

32. Denver Broncos (13-3) - Scott Crichton (DE/Oregon State)

Between losing Elvis Dumervil last offseason and Von Miller at the end of the regular season, the Broncos have shown in the playoffs how thin they are at the position.  Adding another guy who can get to the quarterback will be a priority in the offseason.

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