7:44 pm, February 4th, 2014
Mock drafts are almost always very wrong, but they’re an important part of the NFL offseason (which, in case you missed it, began Sunday night). It’s fun to speculate who’ll pick out of positional necessity, who will simply snag the best player available, and the million dollar question — who’s getting Johnny Manziel because they think he’s cool and just want to hang out with him. This year’s draft ends up being very QB heavy at the top, with a sharp drop off in options after the fourth passer comes off the board.
From there, things become markedly less certain. In fact, CBS Sports’ in-house mock-drafteers, Rob Rang and Dane Brugler (yes, those are their real names), had only
four consensus position picks after the last top quarterback came off the board at the eight spot. Hey, but what do they know — they both have the Texans picking someone other than Manziel. What does anyone know, for that matter?
Nothing, but fuck it — here are a few givens:
• A running back will not be drafted in the first round
• The Seahawks will draft an offensive lineman
• The Vikings will have a tough decision to make with the 8th pick (assuming the QBs don’t make it that long)
• The Cowboys will attempt to enlist a defensive football player to stop other teams from compulsively scoring touchdowns on them
• Jadeveon Clowney isn’t making it past the Cleveland Browns (sorry Giants fans)
• The Giants will, however, draft an offensive lineman to protect Eli from certain death
• Texas A&M will have more than a few guys selected in the first round
With that said, here are our picks for, um, the picks. Once again, they’re a mixture of internet wisdom (thank you SB Nation, Bleacher Reports, and CBS Sports), and undeniable future-truths, which we are privy to because of an ancient gypsy curse that allows us to partial clairvoyance.
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
LOGIC: Manziel's stock has risen, but his "flags" will probably make the Texans' front office go with the safe play here, and pick the most terrifyingly awesome athlete we've seen since LeBron James.
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
LOGIC: Matthews is simply the consensus choice here. If you're going to give Bradford any chance at survival in this league -- and the Rams have decided to stick it out with him -- a good line will be the first thing to build.
Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
LOGIC: Signing Zane Beedles this offseason was the Jags way of saying "We're getting a kid in here to play QB next season so we'll need top-notch protection." It's a toss up between Manziel and Bortles, seeing as the Jaguars have no idea what to do when it comes to quality football decisions. They'll probably pull names out of a two-toned hat.
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
LOGIC: Sure, they released Brandon Weeden, and they haven't had a good QB in, well, ever, so drafting Manziel has to happen -- if only to get fans excited about their team again. Pairing Manziel with Josh Gordon would be very fun to watch, so this seems like a no-brainer.
Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
LOGIC: A defensive playmaker who can step in a make an impact right away.
Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
LOGIC: Going up against the Falcons always puts a smile on the faces of fantasy owners. This is something they have to address if they want to avoid last season's complete meltdown in 2014.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
LOGIC: A quick wideout to pair with Vincent Jackson would give the Bucs a serious edge next season, as well as some protection for V-Jax, who gets the lion's share of opposing defense's attention/punishing hits.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
LOGIC: After hearing Mike Zimmer's take on Johnny Manziel, it'd seem that he's more concerned with character and leadership than explosive playmaking ability. Plus, Bridgewater can play in a dome and eliminate the need for that glove he infamously wore to the combine.
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
LOGIC: They'll need a good offensive weapon at some point if they want to give E.J. Manuel a legit chance at success.
Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
LOGIC: A prolific offense that is negated by a lack of pass protection. Robinson is the best OT on the board at this point, so if he manages to drop this far, we think the Lions would be remiss in not drafting him.
Aaron Donald, DL, Pittsburgh
LOGIC: Could be the strongest guy in this draft, and a guy to build a defense around going forward.
Tyler Lewan, OT, Michigan
LOGIC: To replace Hakeem Nicks (and Kevin Boss, who was their last effective TE), it makes sense to go for a fast, athletic offensive TE in the first round. Unfortunately, Eric Ebron isn't a blocking TE, and the Giants line sucks. Not a flashy pick, but a good one.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
LOGIC: Draft the best offensive tackle early, then put a quality guy in the secondary at the 13th pick. Two key positions that need to be stabilized going forward.
Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
LOGIC: Replacing Julius Peppers? Why not.
Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
LOGIC: Remember when the Steelers had a great secondary? Now think about the recievers in that division: A.J. Green, Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, Marvin Jones, Josh Gordon. Ya, they're gonna need some help in the secondary this season.
Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
LOGIC: The Cowboys secondary was the worst in football last year. Hell, they could put Jerry Jones back there and it'd be an upgrade.
Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
LOGIC: Chris Canty will breakdown and his production will ween, at which point he'll be succeeded by a younger, similar player. It's a tale as old as time.
Odell Beckham, WR, LSU
LOGIC: Eric Decker was a big pick up, and he'll open things up for the rest of the Jets receiving corps. Beckham can jump out of the gym (or stadium), and has playmaking skills that could make Mike Vick feel like he's still throwing to DeSean Jackson.
Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
LOGIC: We heard something happened with the Dolphins O-line this offseason, but we can't remember what...
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
LOGIC: As Palmer gets older, the need to protect him grows. A rookie isn't ideal, but then again he'll end up on the right side, where the learning curve is bit more forgiving.
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
LOGIC: If he lasts this long, Ebron will be a great opportunity to replace Jermichael Finley.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
LOGIC: DeSean Jackson 2.0
Marqise Lee, WR, Southern California
LOGIC: Dexter McCluster is gone and Dwayne Bowe hasn't been what he used to be. Depth will be needed at the WR position.
Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
LOGIC: An aging fleet of already old CBs will force Cincy's hand here.
Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
LOGIC: The Chargers defense sucks, so adding monsters like Hageman is a shrewd gameplan.
Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
LOGIC: T.J. Ward bounced, so a replacement through the draft is the only option at this point.
Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
LOGIC: This defense needs a playmaker, and he's one the last remaining high-end linebackers that'll be available at 27.
Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
LOGIC: An underrated WR who can go up and grab the sailing passes of Cam Newton.
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
LOGIC: Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers bounced this offseason, giving the 49ers -- who don't need much to compete for a Super Bowl again next season -- a void to fill.
David Yankey, OG, Stanford
LOGIC: Zane Beedles was a huge part of the reason Peyton Manning had so much success last season, allowing just one sack all year. They added a lot of defensive showstoppers in free agency, so an O-lineman makes sense here.
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
LOGIC: Chris Clemons and Red Bryant decided to cash in after the Super Bowl, so some moves will need to be made on the defense line.