As we are a quarter of the way through the NFL season, teams are showing their true colors as for what they are bringing to the table for the entire season. A lot of teams have surprised, both in positive and negative ways. Drawing from the strengths and weaknesses, here is a mock draft giving insight on teams needs moving forward. *Draft order from Bovada Super Bowl Odds
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville): The Jaguars’ front office has done a great job laying a foundation for a rebuild; Luke Joekel, Justin Blackmon, Cecil Shorts, Jonathan Cyprien, and Ace Sanders are a bunch of young talents on both sides of the ball. What the team really needs now is a face, a leader, a quarterback. Bridgewater is the best quarterback I have watched in college not named Andrew Luck and he has all the tools to bring the Jaguars back to relevance.
2. Oakland Raiders- Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina): The Raiders could have their answer at quarterback in the naturally gifted Terrelle Pryor, so they must upgrade the second most important position on a football team, pass rusher. Clowney is one of the best defensive players to enter the draft in a very long time and has perennial All-Pro potential at defensive end. Lamarr Houston is a stud, but adding an elite talent like Clowney could allow Houston to slide inside to a more natural position and give the Raiders a fearsome defensive line.
3. Cleveland Browns- Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson): The Browns are in the process of rebuilding their offense. They traded away a former 1st round player and benched another one. The front office obviously has some sort of plan in place to rebuild the offense. Watkins is almost a complete receiver and can take over a game with his mind-blowing speed. Watkins’ addition will work to rejuvenate an offense to compliment a talented defense.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Brett Hundley (QB, UCLA): Hundley has played incredibly well despite only starting under 20 games. He has all the tools one would want in a modern quarterback; Arm strength, poise, accuracy, and very good mobility. Both Josh Freeman and Greg Schiano look like they are on their ways out of Tampa and the team needs a true leader in the locker room. The Bucs are a very young team with talent all over the place, drafting a quarterback of Hundley’s caliber will make Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Doug Martin and Buccaneer fans very happy.
5. New York Jets- Marquise Lee (WR, USC): The Jets have their quarterback in Geno Smith. Now it is time to give him weapons to aid his growth into an NFL passer. Lee is having a down season due to an anemic offense at USC, but that talent is still there. Lee has a knack for big plays after the catch and that skill will be greatly needed with Smith’s development.
6. Minnesota Vikings- Tajh Boyd (QB, Clemson): Christian Ponder has proven that he is a marginal QB at best and he will not lead the Vikings anywhere on his own. Boyd is a much different player who is a poised leader with the physical tools and mental toughness to take over and lead a team. With players like Adrian Peterson, Greg Jennings, Cordarelle Patterson and Kyle Rudolph, Boyd could be the missing piece of this offense.
7. Tennessee Titans- Jake Matthews (OT, Texas A&M): Jake Locker has been playing incredibly well this season and it was truly a shame to see that 3 weeks will be taken from his season due to injury. Hopefully when he comes back, he will continue his great play so that the Titans can spend the offseason continuing to build around the young gun. Matthews is as good of an offensive tackle as Luke Joekel, if not better. He could be an immediate impact player and pair with stud guards Chance Warmack and Andy Levitre to form quite a line.
8. Carolina Panthers- Jason Verrett (CB, TCU): Yes, the Panthers need to give Cam Newton some weapons. However, this is a big time wide receiver class and they could pull the trigger on a first round talent in the early second round. When a team is playing in the same division as Julio Jones, Vincent Jackson, Roddy White, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan, a team needs stars in their secondary. Verrett, while not the most athletic corner, is very savy at the position and is very versatile from scheme to scheme. He is a hard hitter and can play the ball very well. His playmaking ability paired with one of the best front-7s in the NFL would be a recipe for an elite defense.
9. Buffalo Bills- Anthony Barr (OLB, UCLA): The Bills are a young team with a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. New defensive coordinator has this defense playing much better than it was last year but as a whole the entire team is still making a transition to a more 3-4 oriented defense. Adding Barr would give the team an athletic freak at outside linebacker that could rush the passer incredibly well while still having the ability to stop the run and drop into coverage. Barr would combine with Mario Williams, Kiko Alonso, Marcell Dareus, and Kyle Williams to give the Bills one hell of a defensive front.
10. Arizona Cardinals- Antonio Richardson (OT, Tennessee): The Cardinals have a bright offensive coach who will have this team ranking out points once he can truly build his offense. His more vertical style of offense requires very good pass protectors due to the long developing plays. Richardson is a phenomenal pass protector and would be a perfect fit on that line. Richardson would give Arizona’s QB a left tackle of the future and improve Arizona’s young line to one of the best in the league.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers- Taylor Lewan (OT, Michigan): The Steelers have been a mess on offense and most of that has to do with the terrible protection Big Ben is getting on the edges. Though the team traded for Levi Brown, they should still be looking for a long-term tackle for the future. This may be a bit of a reach pick, but there is no denying Lewan’s natural ability as he has the physical makeup of an elite lineman.
12. St. Louis Rams (From Washington)- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (FS, Alabama): There are a lot of great pieces all over the Rams’ defense, but the secondary has not lived up to the rest of the unit. Adding a multidimensional safety like Dix will give the Rams a safety who can cover and play the run to pair with human cruise missile, TJ McDonald.
13. St. Louis Rams- Brad Roby (CB, Ohio State): Despite an insane contract, Cortland Finnegan has played woefully thus far and the Rams really need to find an upgrade to give themselves a talented young secondary. Roby is a great athlete and an aggressive tackler who will bring great physicality to an already scrappy back 4. An aggressive, talented secondary when you are in the same division as Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.
14. San Diego Chargers- Khalil Mack (OLB, Buffalo): So far, Philip Rivers has been playing out of his mind and the offense as a whole has played very well. On the other side of the ball however, the defense could use an influx of talent. Yes, players like Eric Weedle, Corey Luiget and Donald Butler are great, but more talent at edge rusher is needed with Dwight Freeney getting up in age and Melvin Ingram coming off an injury. Mack is an absolute stud and can do a little bit of everything at the linebacker position. His versatility will give the Chargers’ defense a new toy to work with and his presence will be felt in the passing and running game.
15. Cleveland Browns (From Indianapolis)- Derek Carr (QB, Fresno State): As mentioned earlier, the Browns are in the process of rebuilding their offense. Earlier they selected the best wide receiver in the draft and now they take the man who will get the ball to him. Carr is a very strong-armed quarterback with all the physical tools to be an NFL star. He is a big bodied, athletic leader who will be able to push the ball down field to the like of Josh Gordon, Sammy Watkins and Jordan Cameron.
16. Detroit Lions- CJ Mosley (LB, Alabama): The Lions have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL and adding to that front seven would upgrade a defense to compliment they high-powered offense in Detroit. Mosley is a very well rounded linebacker and can play inside or out in a 4-3. He is a leader and a very smart player who could make this front-7 truly dominant.
17. New York Giants- Ryan Shazier (LB, Ohio State): The Giants have holes all over their roster, but mostly on defense. Defenses should be built from the inside out and while having a solid D-Line, the linebackers for the Giants have been horrible. Shazier is an athletic player who flies around the field and can make plays in the run game or in coverage. His game would be very helpful to a defense that cannot really do anything right now.
18. Philadelphia Eagles- Ifo Ekpre Olomu (CB, Oregon): The Philadelphia secondary has been atrocious the past few years and the team needs talent back there more than anything. Cary Williams has proven that he was a waste of front office money and Ifo would be a cheaper, more talented replacement. Ifo is an aggressive, man on man corner who loves getting into it with the receiver and doesn’t mind playing the run. The Eagles lack toughness and attitude in their secondary and Ifo would bring just that.
19. Miami Dolphins- Colt Lyerla (TE, Oregon): Ryan Tannehill has shown that he has the ability to lead this team in the future and the team has invested in giving him weapons. With the injury to Dustin Keller, the Dolphins could be looking for a new safety valve for their young gun and Lyerla is as dynamic as they come. He is a great athlete who not only is a dominant receiver, but can also make open field moves some wideouts would only dream of. He is also a solid blocker and would be able to be used for the Dolphins in many ways. His presence will give the Dolphins a true matchup nightmare.
20. Dallas Cowboys- Louis Nix (DT, Notre Dame): The Cowboys are in the process of switching to a 4-3 front and while Jason Hatcher is a stud on the interior line, they need a running mate for him as Jay Ratliff is getting long in the tooth. Nix has not played like the elite talent many thought he was in the preseason, but he is still a damn good interior lineman who could create serious pressure inside while also plugging up running lanes. He could help form one of the better front lines in football.
21. Kansas City Chiefs- David Yankey (OG, Stanford): Andy Reid loves building his teams from the inside out and the Chiefs need upgrades for their interior line. Yankey may not be the most athletic lineman in the world, but he is a savvy technician who is great as a pass protector and a run blocker. A well rounded, intelligent blocker like Yankey would give the Chiefs a greater advantage at running up the middle and stopping interior pressure.
22. Chicago Bears- Chris Smith (DE, Arkansas): The Bears have had a great defense for what seems like ages, but it looks like the crew could use a youth movement. Julius Peppers is getting older and may be on the outs eventually and Shea McClellin has not taken a step forward yet. Smith is a great edge defender who wins with strength and a mind-blowing first step. His presence will be greatly needed in stopping the great quarterbacks in the NFC North.
23. Baltimore Ravens- Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M): Anquan Boldin’s absence has been very detrimental to Joe Flacco as he has regressed mightily from his amazing playoff performance. While Torrey Smith is a great deep threat, the Ravens lack someone who can go over the middle and make the contested catches. Evans and his 6’5” frame, strong hands and basketball background make him a dominant possession type receiver who could quickly become Flacco’s best friend.
24. Atlanta Falcons- Vic Beasley (DE, Clemson): The Falcons are in need of a great pass rusher, plain and simple. Beasley is an athletic hybrid player, reminiscent of Bruce Irvin while he was at WVU. Beasley may be a bit of a one trick pony his first year, but his upside is phenomenal and his presence will finally give the Atlanta defense a more intimidating reputation.
25. Cincinnati Bengals- Yarwin Smallwood (LB, UConn): The Bengals have a pretty complete roster, but there is definitely a bit to be desired at the linebacker position. Smallwood is an intelligent, instinctual backer who can lay out ball carriers and he plays pretty well in coverage too. Putting him inside would allow Vontaze Burfict to play at a more natural strong side position and give the Bengals a complete front-7. Not to mention the kid has one hell of a name.
26. New Orleans Saints- Dominique Easley (DL, Florida): Easley would have been a Top-10 pick if it were not for his ACL injury he suffered a few days ago. He is that good when healthy. He has the ability to move all over the place on the defensive line and Rob Ryan will love his versatility as a run stopper and a pass rusher.
27. Houston Texans- Zach Mettenberger (QB, LSU): Matt Schaub has won a lot of games with the Texans, but he has not won that many games for the Texans. While being a solid quarterback, the Texans need a true game changer for the future. Mettenberger is not the freak athlete at quarterback that we see nowadays, but has a laser arm and is very smart. The Texans have a load of talent at the skill positions and a quarterback like Mettenberger is the missing piece from this teams future.
28. Green Bay Packers- Cornelius Lucas (OT, K-State): Protecting Aaron Rodgers should be the main goal in Green Bay and that hasn’t happened in recent years. Lucas is an incredibly big man and is a stud pass protector. While he needs a bit of work in run blocking, his natural size will help him in the future. If Rodgers has time to put the fall downfield, Green Bay will win games, simple as that. Lucas brings that protection to the table.
29. New England Patriots- Davante Adams (WR, Fresno State): Tom Brady needs weapons to finish out his career with and Adams is an immediate impact rookie who would dominate with a guy like Brady getting the ball to him. Adams has a great combo of size, speed and leaping ability that could allow him to be a downfield threat for the Patriots and allow Brady to go out guns blazing.
30. San Francisco 49ers- Craig Loston (SS, LSU): The 49ers secondary has dropped off recently and continuing to add younger players is a big key in solidifying the group. Loston would take over for Donte Whitner, or Hitner, or whatever he is calling himself, and pair with his old teammate Eric Reid to form a dynamic duo at safety. Loston is a great athlete and flies around to the ball. He has played with a lot more control this year and has a better grasp on his physical abilities. As he continues to hone his skills, he could be downright dangerous.
31. Seattle Seahawks- Cyril Richardson (OG, Baylor): The Seahawks need serious help protecting their young Quarterback from the constant interior pressure he has been facing this year. Richardson is a plug and play starter who uses his athletic abilities as a run blocker and in pass protection. Seattle loves to run the ball and Richardson is a perfect interior piece who can get to the second level and pave the way.
32. Denver Broncos- Aaron Lynch (DE, USF): Denver has played very well on defense without Von Miller, but they will still need an edge threat to draw attention away from Miller in the future. Lynch is a very gifted athlete whose potential is through the roof. Putting him in the Denver front would make the pass rush incredibly difficult to handle for offenses and as Lynch grows as a player, he will be able to dominate as a run defender as well.
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