The Official #AST Two Round Mock Draft! (First Round Only)
Here I present to you, the official #AST Two Round Mock Draft. With two post’s, I will do selections for the first two rounds. In this one, I’m going to do the entire first round. With each selection, I will explain why I chose that player. I hope you enjoy it and please remember to share and comment. Let the Draft begin!
1. The Houston Texans select… Khalil Mack, OLB From Buffalo.
This selection might surprise some but I wouldn’t be surprised if this happened on the 8th. Clowney is the superior athlete, but I think Mack is a much better player and fit for defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel’s scheme. Romeo’s defense is all about versatility and Mack fits in just fine as a hybrid OLB/DE who can stop the run, rush the passer and drop back into coverage when needed. Think about those Patriot defenses from 2001-2004. It was all about versatility, especially with the linebackers.
2. The St. Louis Rams select… Sammy Watkins, WR from Clemson.
We know St. Louis wants to improve it’s pass protection in order to keep QB Sam Bradford upright, but I really couldn’t convince myself to pick any of the top three tackles at this spot. So my other option? Pick the best WR in this draft and give Bradford the weapon, he’s never had. You are oh, so very welcome St. Louis!
3. The Jacksonville Jaguars select… Jadeveon Clowney, DE from South Carolina.
You can officially stop wondering how long Clowney will fall because this is it. If Clowney was available, there is no way on God’s Green Earth, Jacksonville will pass on him. With a defensive minded coach in Gus Bradley along with a huge need for a offensive or defensive game changer, Clowney is there to have at this spot.
4. The Cleveland Browns select… Greg Robinson, OT from Auburn.
I really had a HARD time with this selection, but in the end I felt Robinson was the right pick. Even though the Browns’ offensive line is already filled with key starters, you can never have enough lineman in the NFL. Also, I just wasn’t able to convince myself to draft a quarterback at this spot. I think Cleveland will address that later in the first possibly.
5. The Oakland Raiders select… Taylor Lewan, OT from Michigan.
The Raiders defense should be improved in 2014, if Justin Tuck and LaMar Woodley stay healthy so I’m addressing other needs. I know a lot of people have Robinson and Matthews as the top two tackles, but I like Lewan better than Matthews. Lewan is more physical, can contribute to the run game and turn into something special. You’re welcome Oakland.
6. The Atlanta Falcons select… Jake Matthews, OT from Texas A&M.
IMO, Atlanta decides to address their biggest need with a big time player in Matthews. He is a better pass blocker than run blocker, but considering the team we’re talking about, that is just fine. Matthews should be a mainstay in Atlanta for a long time.
7. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select… Mike Evans, WR from Texas A&M.
Tampa Bay can go in so many directions with this pick, but I think drafting a WR is a obvious choice. With Mike Williams traded to Buffalo and their #1 WR Vincent Jackson getting older, Tampa Bay needs to add a new weapon to their offense. Here comes WR Mike Evans, who at 6-5 and 232 Pounds will give Glennon, McCown or somebody else a fun option to throw too starting next year.
8. The Minnesota Vikings select… Teddy Bridgewater, QB from Louisville.
Let me guess, you were expecting Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel at this spot? Welp you’re wrong. Listen, I hear and see the reports on Bridgewater’s decline and the “concerns” scouts and teams have. But that doesn’t affect me honestly. In the end, Bridgewater is still the best QB I’ve studied all year from this Draft. Whether he starts right away or not, doesn’t matter. The Vikings found their franchise quarterback and Teddy’s game along with personality easily translates to the next level.
9. The Buffalo Bills select… Eric Ebron, TE from North Carolina.
The Bills have two major needs that could be addressed in this round: Offensive tackle and tight end. But considering how my three best tackles are gone and the 4th best one (Zach Martin at 14th) is a bit of a reach, I decided to address the other serious need at tight end. Adding a complete tight end like Ebron, will give this offense a new dynamic and improve it immediately.
10. The Detroit Lions select… Calvin Pryor, S from Louisville.
This could be one of the those picks, where the draft analysts are saying “reached” all night. Detroit definitely has some options to go elsewhere, but no need was greater than safety. Calvin Pryor is the #1 Safety on my board and brings a great skill-set to the Lions. Hits hard, plays hard and does enough in pass coverage.
11. The Tennessee Titans select… Darqueze Dennard, CB from Mich. State.
Tennessee could go in another direction (quarterback), but I think that would be a huge risk. Cornerback is their biggest need since Pro Bowl CB Alterraun Verner left the team in March. Dennard is the #1 CB on my board and he is for many reasons: He can play man, presses WR’s very well, has fluid hips and create turnover’s. In a division with Andrew Luck, the Titans need a player like that!
12. The New York Giants select… Aaron Donald, DT from Pittsburgh.
The last few picks have been tough but this one wasn’t. If there’s anything we know about the Giants, is that most of their success occurs when they have a good defensive line. Having Donald in the middle to control it, will improve the Giants defense dramatically.
13. The St. Louis Rams select… Zach Martin, OT from Notre Dame.
If this happens, the Rams might be the biggest winners that night. Not only they addressed one big need but they fulfilled the other! They got their game changing WR at #2 in Watkins and a starting caliber tackle in Martin at #13. At that point, the Draft could be a considered a success for the Rams.
14. The Chicago Bears select… Ha Ha Clinton Dix, S from Alabama.
Chicago either has talent or depth at every other position beside safety. That changes by drafting Clinton Dix. Ha Ha is good in pass coverage and does enough to help the run defense. The Bears will fill a big need here.
15. The Pittsburgh Steelers select… Odell Beckham Jr, WR from LSU.
The Steelers is a franchise that’s known for their defense. I get that. Legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau loves new talent on that side of the ball. I get that. But you know, who would love to see some new talent? Star QB Ben Roethlisberger. With the departures of Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery in recent off-season’s, the need for a wide receiver has grown a lot. So why not draft one of the most electrifying receivers, that this class has to offer?
16. The Dallas Cowboys select… Kony Early, DE from Missouri.
This could be the surprise pick of the night, but the Cowboys will fill a big need. With DeMarcus Ware gone, they need a OLB/DE who can be their pass rushing specialist and Kony is that guy. He has great size at 6-4 and 273 Pounds. can rush the passer and stop the run with no problems. Early is the #2 DE on my board and #22 overall.
17. The Baltimore Ravens select… Morgan Moses, OT from Virginia.
I had a harder time than LeBron James making this decision. Just based on needs and how the Draft plays out, the Ravens can go in many directions with this pick. But in the end, I decided to select Moses and fulfill a critical need. Some might say, this is too high to take him, but the guy had a good season in 2013 and a even better draft process starting in January. In a way, he is worthy of the 17th overall pick.
18. The New York Jets select… Brandin Cooks, WR from Oregon State.
After struggling with the 17th Pick, life was much easier when I got to 18. As long as Rex Ryan is coach, you don’t have to worry about their defense. Rex will find a way to take anybody and put them in the right position to succeed. But offense? That’s a different story. Getting Cooks will take this offense to another level. With him and Decker operating on the outside and a stack backfield led by CJ2K, the Jets offense could be lethal next year.
19. The Miami Dolphins select… CJ Mosley, ILB from Alabama.
Let me say this: Out of all the Dolphins’ needs, linebacker is at the end of the list. But with the right selection, it can improve the team immediately. ILB CJ Mosley will give this team, a star in the making and a future leader for their defense. Prospects at their other needs (RT, G, CB, TE) just wasn’t worth picking at this spot. But CJ was!
20. The Arizona Cardinals select… Blake Bortles, QB from UCF.
The Cardinals could easily draft a linebacker, safety or offensive tackle at this spot. And if they did, I wouldn’t blame them. But the problem is, I don’t think anybody worth the pick will be around at this time. That’s when drafting a quarterback becomes a option. With the uncertainty surrounding this quarterback class, I’m willing to guarantee two of the big three, will be available at this spot. And if it happens to be Blake Bortles, then Arizona should select him. He fits the mold of what Bruce Arians wants in a QB and when you factor in current starting QB Carson Palmer’s age (35), it makes sense for them to draft him.
21. The Green Bay Packers select… Ryan Shazier, OLB from Ohio State.
I understand the Packers are set at OLB position with Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, but they’re not at ILB. Getting a good, athletic linebacker like Shazier and moving him inside will improve this defense instantly. Shazier has enough experience playing both inside and outside, and when you think about the talent he’s surround with, this is a very good fit.
22. The Philadelphia Eagles select… Kelvin Benjamin, WR from Florida State.
Some of the recent mock’s, have the Eagles selecting between WR’s Jordan Matthews and Marquise Lee but I’m a bigger fan of Kelvin Benjamin. I think Kelvin has a lot of potential because of what he brings to the table: Great size (6-5 and 240 Pounds), good hands, good jumping ability and the flexibility to play in any slot on the field. If he stays in good shape, then this could be a good pairing between Kelvin and the Eagles.
23. The Kansas City Chiefs select… Marquise Lee, WR from USC.
IMO, the Chiefs are in a desperate need for a wide receiver. Outside of Dwyane Bowe (who has still underachieved in his career), the Chiefs don’t have a capable play-maker in their receiver core. That is when Marquise Lee comes in. He is the not the fastest guy at his position, but in terms of route running ability, catching ability and consistency, Lee is up there with the best of them.
24. The Cincinnati Bengals select… Justin Gilbert, CB from Oklahoma St.
At this point, we should start seeing corner’s fly off the board. Gilbert is the #2 CB on my board and fills a big need for the Bengals. With him there along Terrence Newman, Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick and a healthy Leon Hall, the Bengals secondary could be elite in 2014.
25. The San Diego Chargers select… Jason Verrett, CB from TCU.
Even though Verrett is the 4th Best CB on my board, I think he has the second most potential out of anybody at his position. He is very physical at the LOS, excels in man coverage, can force turnover’s and has fluid movements in his hips and ankles. Considering how SD plays in a division that has Peyton Manning, Alex Smith and now Matt Schaub, they should grab a good corner early.
26. The Cleveland Browns select… Johnny Manziel, QB from Texas A&M.
The roof of Radio City Music Hall might blow off, if Manziel becomes a Brown. I think this is a great spot to pick him, if you’re Cleveland. As much as I like Manziel, I still believe picking him at #4 is incredibly too high. Also I don’t think any team below Cleveland, will be interested in trading back up, considering the caliber of quarterback’s available in the second and below rounds. Manziel is a future face of the franchise who brings them great play-making ability and personality. It would be a good night in Cleveland.
27. The New Orleans Saints select… Jordan Matthews, WR from Vanderbilt.
The Saints have had a pretty solid off-season and I think they’ll continue, by having a good draft. Most of their needs are already filled or don’t have a lot of value, so at this point, it’s about finding the best player available. I think Jordan Matthews will turn into a key contributor in a New Orleans passing attack that could use more weapons. We know about Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston, but the rest of their receiver core is still a question mark. Getting Matthews right here is a good pick.
28. The Carolina Panthers select… Davante Adams, WR from Fresno State.
It’s crazy how many needs, the Panthers have that can be considered “serious”. Wide receiver, tackle, cornerback and more. But IMO, no need is more important than wide receiver right now. In a division that is featured with teams that have incredible weaponry, the Panthers have to keep up. I like Adams’ size along with skills and I think he can be a good fit in Carolina.
29. The New England Patriots select… Ra’Shede Hageman, DT from Minnesota.
We know New England was able to keep Vince Wilfork. Good for them. But that doesn’t mean, their need up front is fixed. New England needs another big up front and Ra’Shede is the right guy. Not only that, but Ra’Shede possess great size (6-5 and 310 Pounds) and great potential. New England has to grab him here.
30. The San Francisco 49ers select… Kyle Fuller, CB from Virginia.
Making a decision here was interesting. I could have went wide receiver but my top guys were gone, so I decided to take a CB. Most don’t realize it but the CB position is weak for San Fran, at the moment. Carlos Rogers left to go to Oakland and the current guys are either back-ups or soon to be free agents. Getting Fuller, who can start from Day One and be there in the long term, is a good look for them.
31. The Denver Broncos select… Bradley Roby, CB from Ohio State.
Just like San Francisco, the Broncos can go in either direction at #31. Their two most important needs is at middle linebacker and corner. If I had to decide which need is more important, I would go with CB. Outside of Talib, Denver’s secondary is very shaky at the moment. DRC left in free agency, Chris Harris Jr is recovering from a torn ACL and there is literally no depth behind them. Getting a player like Roby, who is very gifted physically and has the right skill set, would be a great choice for Denver.
32. The Seattle Seahawks select… Stephen Tuitt, DE from Notre Dame.
One of the main reasons, Seattle won the Super Bowl last season was because of great depth in their defensive line. Getting Tuitt would be good for them. Has good size, good motor and can play the run and pass very well.