Ben Natan’s Post Season Mock Draft

Dec 28, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels tight end Eric Ebron (85) tries to catch a pass during the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 28, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels tight end Eric Ebron (85) tries to catch a pass during the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports /

Happy New Year! Unfortunately, the regular season is over, but that means we are so much closer to the NFL draft! In this mock, I evaluate team needs and draft as if I were the GM. I am not trying to predict what a team will do or the tendencies of a GM, I am saying what player best fits with what team in their draft slot.

1.  Houston Texans- Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville): The Texans have talent all over their roster but still finished they year with 14 straight losses, mostly due to the quarterback play. The addition of an elite prospect like Bridgewater will maximize the talents of both Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins and rejuvenate a stagnant offense. Bridgewater is a complete package at quarterback with the talent and toughness to be the face of the Texans for a long time.

2. St. Louis Rams (Via Washington Redskins)- Jake Matthews (OT, Texas A&M): Sam Bradford was in the middle of a career year before going down with an injury and I believe the Rams should continue to build around him and let him grow. Matthews is a blue chip left tackle prospect with great technique and athletic ability who can sure up that offensive line. With Jake Long being an injury risk, Matthews could come in at left tackle or start at right tackle and allow Rodger Saffold to kick inside. Regardless, Matthews’ addition would immediately improve this line.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars- Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina): Despite missing on a chance to draft their franchise QB, the Jags go with and elite defensive prospect in Clowney. Don’t let the media fool you, Clowney is still a freak of a player whose production has been hurt by injuries and teams scheming around stopping him. He can fit into any scheme and a defensive mind like Gus Bradley is going to love Clowney rushing the passer.

4. Cleveland Browns- Derek Carr (QB, Fresno State): The Browns take a shot at who I believe to be the only other QB who is a sure first round pick. Carr has an incredibly strong arm, good athletic ability and has very good accuracy, especially down the field. It is yet to be seen what the coaching staff in Cleveland is going to look like, but no doubt they need to pull the trigger on their QB of the future.

5. Oakland Raiders- Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson): Raiders should not reach for a QB here but instead grab a great pick for both need and value. Watkins is a phenomenal athlete who can dominate from all over the field and completely revitalize an offense. Whoever they do decide to put under center next season will be pleased to have a weapon like Watkins in their arsenal.

6. Atlanta Falcons- Khalil Mack (OLB, Buffalo): Mack is one of the most versatile linebackers in the draft: He can cover, he can stop the run, oh, and he can rush the passer like a mad man. The rangy linebacker flies all over the field and has basically been the defense during his time at Buffalo. His ability makes him very versatile and can fit in many different scheme. Mike Nolan is a very smart coordinator and he will love a movable chess piece like Mack.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Kony Ealy (DE, Mizzou): The Bucs have an elite defensive tackle in Gerald McCoy but lack a true threat at pass rusher. Ealy is an athletic freak who can dominate on the edge for the Buccaneers and give the team the pass rusher they have been missing on the edge for a long time.

8. Minnesota Vikings- CJ Mosley (LB, Alabama): The Vikings’ defense was pretty atrocious this year but they do have a lot of youth in their secondary. Where they need an influx of talent is at the linebacker corps and Mosley can bring new life to that unit. He is a smart instinctual linebacker who has no issue coming down in the run game, but also has the range, feet and smarts in coverage which is arguably his best trait. He is a complete player who can succeed in the middle of a 4-3 defense and no doubt the Vikings need that.

9. Buffalo Bills- Eric Ebron (TE, UNC): The Bills have to help their young quarterback and the best way to do that is give him a shiny new toy. Ebron has elite potential as a receiving tight end as he has blinding speed, great body control, strong hands and has a ton of ability after the catch. However, he also has an underrated ability as a blocker. Ebron is the best tight end I have ever scouted, will be an absolute nightmare in the NFL and make EJ Manuel a very happy man.

10.Detroit Lions- Jason Verrett (CB, TCU): Verrett may not be the most physically imposing corner in the draft, but he is the most technically sound. He is very physical in man coverage and is incredible agile and smooth in zone coverage. He plays the ball very well when in zone and is one of the better run defending corners in the draft. When a team is in the same division as Aaron RodgersBrandon MarshallAlshon Jefferey, and Greg Jennings, a corner with Verrett’s ability will be highly sought after.

11. Tennessee Titans- Ha Ha Clinton Dix (S, Alabama): Titans saw a massive improvement from their secondary this year but still need to add talent, especially to an aging safety group. Dix is a versatile player who has shown the ability to play either safety position as he is talented as a run and pass defender. His ability over the top will give more freedom to the corner and improve the defense overall.

12. New York Giants- Greg Robinson (OT, Auburn): The Giants were dismal this year on offense and a part of that was the mediocrity exemplified by the offensive line. Eli Manning may be on a downturn, but he isn’t helped out by the lack of running game and protection. Robinson is a very athletic tackle who is a phenomenal run blocker and has flashed ability as a pass protector. His addition to the Giants will give them a great pairing with former 1st rounder, Justin Pugh and make Eli Manning a happy man.

13. St. Louis Rams- Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M): I have my questions about Evans, but his 6’5″, 230 pound frame will make Sam Bradford a very happy man. The team needs to continue to build up that offense and Evans size will create troubles for defense, especially when they already have to pay attention to Jared Cook and Tavon Austin. There is  a lot of talent on that roster and a healthy Bradford paired with these young weapons will cary this team.

14. Chicago Bears- Ra’Shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota): With the loss of Henry Melton , the Bears’ defense suffered greatly and was terrible down the stretch. Melton is set to be a free agent and the Bears make a move here that finds his replacement. Hageman is a top ten talent who is an athletic freak and uses his incredible strength to wreak havoc from the defensive interior. He has the athletic ability to play 1, 3 or 5 tech but I think he fits very well as a 3 tech in the Bears 4-3 defense.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers- Louis Nix (DT, Notre Dame): Steelers need to keep the youth movement going on defense and Nix could add a nice spark to their defensive line. He was hurt this year which hampered his play, but when healthy Nix is a top notch interior lineman. He has very good quickness and strength and though some view him as a pure nose tackle, I actually prefer him in a situation where he can use his quickness to shoot gaps. Regardless, his ability allows him to play any position along the defensive interior and he could be a great replacement for Brett Kiesel as he gets older.

16. Baltimore Ravens- Gabe Jackson (OG, Mississippi State): The Ravens interior line is horrible, no other word for it and if the want to keep the big contract quarterback and running back happy, they need to improve it. Jackson is a big strong lineman who plays angry in the run game but does his best work as a pass protector. He will be an immediate upgrade to the line so that they can block Joe Flacco long enough for him to play like a 120 million dollar quarterback.

17. Dallas Cowboys- Dominique Easley (DT, Florida): The Cowboys need to continue to strengthen their defense and that starts up front. Easley is a phenomenal talent and was having a great season before a knee injury brought it to an end. Easley gets off the ball in the blink of an eye and uses his hands really well to make his way into the backfield. He can play all over the place and whoever is coordinating the  defense next year is going to love him.

18. New York Jets-Brandin Cooks (WR, Oregon State): Cooks may look small, but he certainly does not play it. He attacks the ball like someone who is 6’3″ and has very good hands. Not only that, but Cooks has blazing speed and can dominate after the catch. Geno Smith needs talent around him to improve his growth and a dependable, electric receiver like Cooks will give him a great target for a long time.

19. Miami Dolphins- Antonio Richardson (OT, Tennessee): Ryan Tannehill made strides in his second season, but getting sacked 58 times is downright unacceptable. Yes, there was drama with the offensive linemen this year, but the team needs to do a better job protecting their quarterback. Richardson is a very strong pass protector and his strong base is his best asset. Needs to improve as a run blocker, but he will keep Tannehill clean and the Dolphins need that.

20. Arizona Cardinals- Jeremiah Attoachu (OLB, Georgia Tech): The Cardinals got a lot of production out of the aging John Abraham at outside linebacker but they need an edge  rusher of the future. Attoachu is long, strong and very athletic and has experience as a down lineman and a linebacker. His athletic ability also enables him to be pretty effective in coverage. Attoachu is certainly a talented who will give the Cardinals to compete in the arms race that is the NFC West.

21. San Diego Chargers- Ifo Ekpre Olomu (CB, Oregon): The Chargers had a huge turnaround this year but their losses have usually come at the hand of their porous defense. Olomu has lockdown potential as he is an athletic, physical corner who can blanket a receiver. His addition to a questionable secondary will be an immediate upgrade over the current corners and give a big boost to this defense.

22. New Orleans Saints- Cedric Ogbuehi (OT, Texas A&M): The Saints need to protect Drew Brees better than they did this year and this is a great value pick for them that could immediately boost their offensive line. He is an athletic player who is a very good run and pass blocker and could make the Saints offense even more productive than it has been.

23. Kansas City Chiefs- Billy Turner (OL, NDSU): With Branden Albert potentially leaving and a need a guard, the Chiefs have to pull the trigger on small school prospect, Billy Turner. Turner is an athletic specimen who moves incredibly well and has superman strength. He could be a good tackle in the NFL but I believe he has the potential to be an elite guard.

24. San Francisco 49ers– Davante Adams (WR, Fresno State): Adams has phenomenal potential as a deep threat which is something the 49ers lack. His explosive ability paired with Vernon DavisMichael Crabtree, and Anquan Boldin will do wonders to develop Colin Kaepernick and make the offense dynamic.

25. Green Bay Packers– Kyle Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech): The Packers defense has been awful this year and they truly need a corner to play opposite Sam Shields. Fuller is very physical and is great in man coverage. He could be the answer to improve the back end of the Green Bay defense.

26. Cincinnati Bengals- Darqueze Dennard (CB, MSU): The Bengals have a ton of talent on defense but need to add more youth to their secondary and Dennard is a chippy, physical player who uses his hands really well in coverage and uses his strength to jam receivers. He is a bit speed deficient, but the Bengals’ talent on defense will allow him to be more aggressive in coverage and play his brand of defense.

27. Philadelphia Eagles- Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State): Once thought of as a top ten pick, Roby is supremely talented but is coming off a down year. He is a phenomenal athlete and has enough tape of him dominating man coverage situations that he would be a welcomed addition to a secondary that allowed over 4900 yards this past season.

28. Cleveland Browns (From Indianapolis Colts)- Jordan Mathews (WR, Vanderbilt): The Browns got their QB, now they get his new best friend. With Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon in place, Mathews adds a great underneath presence whose smooth route running, strong hands and athletic ability will make him a dependable option in an offense loaded with young talent.

29. Carolina Panthers-  Jarvis Landry (WR, LSU): Cam Newton needs talent around him and Jarvis Landry is a phenomenal fit in Carolina. He is a great route runner who possesses incredible body control, great hands and he attacks the ball. He will give Newton a target he can trust to further his development.

30. New England Patriots- Marquise Lee (WR, USC): Tom Brady‘s weapons have fallen off the map and adding a dynamic receiver would make him a very happy quarterback. Lee is not perfect, but he suffered an injury riddle season and healthy, he is one of the biggest threats in the game after the catch. The Patriots need a game changer at receiver.

31. Denver Broncos- Demarcus Lawrence (DE, Boise State): With Shaun Phillips aging, the Broncos need a pass rusher opposite of Von Miller. Lawrence is a an athletic freak who uses his ability to relentlessly attack the backfield and the Broncos need to sure up the edges of their line. Lawrence can be a dangerous addition.

32. Seattle Seahawks- Zach Martin (OL, Notre Dame): The guard play of the Seahawks has been atrocious and it has hindered the offense all year. Martin is a strong, high motor lineman whose best fit is inside and would give Seattle a physical presences to improve their power running game and their interior pass  protection.