NFL Draft: Ben Natan’s Post Free Agency Three Round Mock


Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; A general view of the NFL shield logo before the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

As Free Agency has wound down and teams make their rounds of players’ pro day, we begin to get a better picture of what teams need in the upcoming NFL draft. This mock is a reflection of my own board applied to my views of the teams’ needs and how I see the player fit.

  1. Houston Texans- Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville): Despite having an opportunity to take a talent like Jadeveon Clowney, The Texans would be smart to instead take one of the better quarterback prospects of the past few years. Bridgewater is a mentally advanced passer who could have an Andrew Luck or Russell Wilson type affect and win immediately for the Texans. Think about it this way, the Texans had the best defensive player in the NFL last year and won two games… Take the quarterback!
  2. St. Louis Rams (From Washington) – Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina): I suspect a trade come draft day, but seeing that I am not doing trades, I will stand pat and take the rare defensive player. Clowney is an absolute freak who, despite dominating the college level, has so much more room to grow. Adding him to a defensive front with Robert Quinn, Chris Long and Michael Brockers would make that group absolutely terrifying and finally give the Rams a serious advantage in the arms race of the NFC West.
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars- Khalil Mack (OLB, Buffalo): Jaguars are incredibly lucky to end up with one of the most dynamic defensive players in this draft. Mack wins from all over the field and I suspect Gus Bradley’s defense would deploy him from all over the place, allowing him to wreak havoc and allow the Jaguars to use multiple looks with him in the formation.
  4. Cleveland Browns- Derek Carr (QB, Fresno State): Cleveland has had a need at Quarterback for what seems like the entire century and Carr brings one of the brightest upsides of any of the 2014 quarterbacks. Carr is a great athlete with a cannon arm and is a very good decision maker. He needs to be more consistent in his mechanics and be a little more comfortable in the pocket, but landing with Cleveland gives him a talented supporting cast in which he grow with Josh Gordon, Jordan Cameron, Ben Tate, Joe Thomas and Alex Mack surrounding him. If Carr can develop, he has a chance to be one of the best in this class.
  5. Oakland Raiders- Jake Matthews (OT, Texas A&M): Despite a free agency period that make the Raiders look more like a retirement home than a football team, adding Austin Howard and Donald Penn, the Raiders could still use talent along the trenches. Matthews could step in anywhere along their front and be an immediate upgrade. He is a great technician who moves well in space and if he adds a bit more strength, could be a stud. He might be viewed as a “safe” pick, but if the Raiders need one thing it is a steady football player.
  6. Atlanta Falcons- Eric Ebron (TE, UNC): With the departure of Tony Gonzales, the Falcons are in desperate need of his replacement and Ebron would fill that hole immediately. Ebron is a dynamic receiver with game breaking speed and size. He is also an underrated blocker, but I doubt he would be used that way very much. Just picture Matt Ryan passing to Julio Jones, Roddy White and Eric Ebron. That is pretty terrifying.
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Xavier Su’a Filo (OG, UCLA): Whoever is under center to start the 2014 season, they are going to need to be protected. Su’a Filo is an athletic presence in the interior of a line who can help sure up a unit in no time. Be it Josh McCown, Mike Glennon, or a rookie starting, the offensive will run much smoother with Su’a Filo in the trenches.
  8. Minnesota Vikings- CJ Mosley (LB, Alabama): The Vikings defense was horrible last year at almost every level, but luckily it is also a very young unit with a ton of upside. Mosley can step in and immediately quarterback the young unit. His down hill ability will fix a previously porous front seven but his incredible coverage ability will serve the unit well in locking down the middle of the field. Mike Zimmer is going to love Mosley.
  9. Buffalo Bills- Ha Ha Clinton Dix (S, Alabama): With the departure of Jairus Byrd in free agency, the Bills would have to go into next year depending on second year player Duke Williams and adding Clinton Dix would give the Bills a lot more options at safety. Clinton Dix is the kind of talent that can win from all over the field; deep safety, in the slot, playing as an extra linebacker in the box and his overall versatility would continue to allow the Bills to give multiple looks in the secondary.
  10. Detroit Lions- Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M): As indicated by the player ranking, this is a bit of a reach, but this fit is just too good to pass up. Mike Evans is very raw in the technical aspects of playing receiver but he has an insane natural ability in the most translatable and important area in the game: Dominating the catch point. His catching ability really allows Detroit to move him all around and allow him to use his huge catch radius to work with a big armed quarterback in Matt Stafford. A receiving corps of Calvin Johnson, Mike Evans, Golden Tate and Joseph Fauria gives Matt Stafford a bunch of large radius pass catchers and immediately upgrades the offense.
  11. Tennessee Titans- Jason Verrett (CB, TCU): With the departure of Alteraun Verner, the Titans have a hole to fill at cornerback. With Ray Horton’s aggressive defense, they need a versatile and aggressive corner and Verrett is just that. Despite worries about his size and ability to play with NFL sized receivers, no corner in this class plays as big as Verrett. He is incredibly impressive in man coverage, displaying great hand usage, ball tracking skills and vertical ability to get to the ball before the receiver. He is also incredibly fluid in zone coverage and his ability to close and make plays on the ball is unmatched. His willingness to blitz and play the run makes him incredibly versatile where he can play outside, in the slot and could even get looks at safety. Regardless, Ray Horton will use him well and that is a great fit.
  12. New York Giants- Joel Bitonio (OT, Nevada): Eli Manning may or may not be on the decline, but his awful offensive line certainly did not help and the Giants need a player who can come in immediately and upgrade the line. Bitonio is a nasty athlete who uses a great motor, movement ability and technique to win and he could upgrade any position for the Giants. He would help at tackle or dominate inside at guard. Bitonio may not be talked about a lot, but he is going to be a very good player for the giants.
  13. St. Louis Rams- Kyle Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech): The Rams defense is incredibly impressive up front but need to men to match on the back end. Cortland Finnegan was cut after a terrible year and it leaves a hole on the other side of the secondary. Fuller is an incredibly aggressive player who is physical in man and can close very well in zone. He also is as willing as a linebacker to tackle and make plays all over the field. Jeff Fisher would love a player like Fuller to come in and impact right away.
  14. Chicago Bears– Louis Nix (DT, Notre Dame): Bears get a steal here in taking Nix. Nix, if healthy, can absolutely dominate from the one-technique where he can use his quickness and dominating size to wreak havoc in the middle of an offense and and eat up space. The Bears defensive line was pretty atrocious last year and Nix would be an immediate presence and his ability to  draw attention and eat up blocks will free up the rest of the line to make plays.
  15. Pittsburgh Steelers- Jeremiah Attoachu (OLB, Georgia Tech): With Lamarr Woodley out and Jarvis Jones already floundering, the Steelers need to add a true edge threat and they find one here in Attoachu. Attoachu is an athletic freak whose speed, length and strength make him a versatile and every down player for the Steelers. His instincts and movement skills also make him an asset in coverage. Even if Jones pans out and Worlids continues to play well, having too many pass rushers is a good problem to have.
  16. Dallas Cowboys- Daquan Jones (DT, Penn State): The Cowboys added stud three-tech, Henry Melton, this offseason and if he is healthy, he could impact the middle of that defense greatly. Putting Jones next to him will greatly improve the middle of that defense. Jones is a monstrous defensive tackle who would create pressure from the one-tech position and demand attention, allowing Melton to wreak even more havoc. Few things are more important defensively than interior disruption and Jones would team up with Melton to create just that.
  17. Baltimore Ravens- Greg Robinson (OT, Auburn): The Ravens offensive line was a mess last year and the main factor in their mediocre season and regression on offense. Baltimore has the opportunity to make a slam dunk pick on one of the most talented players in this entire class. Robinson has a long ways to go in terms of his development, especially in pass protection, but his athletic ability can be utilized all along the line until he is comfortable moving to protect Joe Flacco’s blind side. Robinson’s selection comes with a lot of risk, but if he turns out, he will have a long, impressive career.
  18. New York Jets- Jordan Matthews (WR, Vanderbilt): With the addition of Eric Decker and Chris Johnson, the Jets have shown that they are trying to add more talent to help out Geno Smith, or whoever is starting next year, produce in this offense. Here they add a potential number one receiver who has the size, speed and catching ability to be a threat all over the field, but also possess the intelligence to work zones and help a young quarterback out.
  19. Miami Dolphins- Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson): It may be somewhat of a change up to see Watkins fall this far, but I just do not see the same number one potential  and immediate impact that a lot of people see. Watkins has plenty of talents, but none that make him truly standout in a deep class. On an offense that already has Brian Hartline, Mike Wallace and Charles Clay, the Dolphins can add another threat to threaten all over the field. Watkins’ speed and ability after the catch could be used as a safety blanket for Ryan Tannehill and help the young quarterback grow with more young talent around him.
  20. Arizona Cardinals- Johnny Manziel (QB, Texas A&M): This pick may seem a bit strange, but I love Manziel’s potential fit in Bruce Arians offense. With Palmer aging, Manziel could step in day one or spend a year learning from Arians and Palmer. Manziel’s ability to move the pocket and buy time is very reminiscent of how Ben Roethlisberger played so well under Arians. Arians’ offense would give Manziel the opportunity to create and would also give him too “go up and get it” type targets in Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald. Cardinals have other needs, but they need a QB for the future and Manziel’s fit is too great.
  21. Green Bay Packers- Ra’Shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota): The Packers have needed defensive help for what seems like this entire decade and adding a talent like Hageman would certainly help the group improve. Hageman has an insane amount of physical potential and if the Packers could help him nail down his mechanics and he can become a more consistent player, we could be talking about the next dominant interior lineman.
  22. Philadelphia Eagles- Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State): The Eagles cornerbacks outside of Brandon Boykin are pretty unreliable and really cost the team last year. Even with the addition of Nolan Carroll, the current corps shouldn’t stop anyone from bringing in new talent. Roby is a great athlete and is incredibly physical. He has the potential to thrive all over the field, but he does his best work in press man. If the Eagles could use him correctly, he could be a great man corner his first year while he learns to be more comfortable in zone and could give the Eagles one hell of a corner for the future.
  23. Kansas City Chiefs- Jimmie Ward (S, NIU): The Chiefs have loads of talent on their defense but the unit was let down in the long run by poor safety play. Ward is a rangy and intelligent safety who thrives all over field but could lock down the deep part of field and allow Eric Berry to play closer to the line of scrimmage. Great safety play can improve an entire defense and Ward would solidify that unit from day one.
  24. Cincinnati Bengals- Demarcus Lawrence (DE, Boise St.): With the loss of Michael Johnson in free agency, the Bengals need to find someone to play across form Carlos Dunlap. Lawrence is an edge defender with the strength and base to play the strong side, but also has the speed and anticipation to come off the back side of a play. He can win from various alignments. His addition to the line would allow the group to continue to be one of the best in the league.
  25. San Diego Chargers- Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, LSU): The Chargers added Keenan Allen last year who turned out to be one of the best rookies in the league and they have an opportunity here to create one of the best young duos in the league. Beckham wins from every part of the field and is arguably the most complete receiver in this class with great route running, speed, ability after the catch and willingness to go up and get the ball and adding him to a young group of receivers will give Phillip Rivers great targets for the rest of his career.
  26. Cleveland Browns (From Indianapolis)-  Zach Martin (OT, Notre Dame): The Browns offensive line has very good pieces in Joe Thomas and Alex Mack but the rest of the unit has questions. Martin is a technically sound and nasty offensive lineman who, while limited at tackle, could step right in at guard for the Browns. They need help at guard and tackle so Martin could get tried out at both, but I think guard would suit he and the entire offense best.
  27. New Orleans Saints- Weston Richburg (C, CSU): With the exit of Brian De La Puente, the Saints have a hole to fill in the middle of their offensive line. Richburg is a great mover, technically sound and one of the nastiest linemen in this draft. He would immediately impact that line and will probably be an improvement over the passed center.
  28. Carolina Panthers- Morgan Moses (OT, UVA): With Jordan Gross’ retirement, the Panthers’ need along their offensive line is much more pressing than at receiver and Moses comes in and could start at left or right tackle. While he may not have the quickness that some of the linemen in this class have, he has great size, length and strength to stonewall defenders and steamroll them in the passing game. Panthers can afford to wait on receivers in this deep class, but they cannot afford to wait to upgrade their line. 
  29. New England Patriots- Dominique Easley (DT, Florida): A team like the Patriots can afford to take a risk on a player coming of an injury and if this pays off, they are getting one of the best players in the class. Easley is has incredible quickness of the ball and can absolutely destroy an offensive line from all over the field. The Patriots could use an upgrade along their line and Easley, if healthy, could step in right away and dominate.
  30. San Francisco 49ers- Pierre Desir (CB, Lindenwood): The 49ers are in need of some corner help after losing Tarell Brown and Carlos Rodgers and also having Chris Culliver in some currently deep trouble with the law. Desir is a very athletic corner who has the ability to cover in man but is also very instinctual in zone coverage. He is still a bit raw overall, but I love his tools and giving him to a defensive back coach like Ed Dontell would allow him to grow to full potential.
  31. Denver Broncos- Kony Ealy (DE, Mizzou): The Broncos are in need of some edge rushers to take the attention away from Von Miller and Ealy can fill that role very well. He is a very good athlete who does well at the point of attack and can impact in both the running and passing game. He still needs to learn but putting him along that line could give him plenty of opportunities to produce.
  32. Seattle Seahawks- Gabe Jackson (OG, Mississippi St.): To often was their pressure right in Russell Wilson’s face last year which hindered the effectiveness of the passing game. Jackson is a big, strong presence in the interior who can wall off guys in pass protection and he is also a monster coming downhill in the run game. He is the kind of player who will step in immediately for the Seahawks and instantly make the offensive line better, making Russell Wilson very happy!Round 2
  33. Houston Texans- Taylor Lewan (OT, Michigan)
  34. Washington Redskins- Stanley Jean Baptiste (CB, Nebraska)
  35. Cleveland Browns- Marqise Lee (WR, USC)
  36. Oakland Raiders- Will Sutton (DT, ASU)
  37. Atlanta Falcons- Antone Exum (S, Virginia Tech)
  38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Jarvis Landry (WR, LSU)
  39. Jacksonville Jaguars- David Fales (QB, SJSU)
  40. Minnesota Vikings- Ryan Carreathers (DT, Arkansas St.)
  41. Buffalo Bills- Billy Turner (OT, NDSU)
  42. Tennessee Titans- Carlos Hyde (RB, Ohio State)
  43. New York Giants- Brandin Cooks (WR, Oregon State)
  44. St. Louis Rams- Aaron Donald (DT, Pitt)
  45. Detroit Lions- Ryan Shazier (LB, Ohio State)
  46. Pittsburgh Steelers- Davante Adams (Fresno St.)
  47. Dallas Cowboys- Dexter McDougle (CB, Maryland)
  48. Baltimore Ravens- Brent Urban (DT, UVA)
  49. New York Jets- Kyle Van Noy (LB, BYU)
  50. Miami Dolphins- Yawin Smallwood (LB, UConn)
  51. Chicago Bears- Shaq Barrett (DE, CSU)
  52. Arizona Cardinals- Marcel Jensen (TE, Fresno State)
  53. Green Bay Packers- Jace Amaro (TE, TTU)
  54. Philadelphia Eagles- Marcus Smith (LB, Louisville)
  55. Cincinnati Bengals- Darqueze Dennard (CB, MSU)
  56. San Francisco (From Kansas City)- Donte Moncrief (WR, Ole Miss)
  57.  San Diego Chargers- Terrance Brooks (S, FSU)
  58. New Orleans Saints- Allen Robinson (WR, Penn State)
  59. Indianapolis Colts- Travis Swanson (C, Arkansas)
  60. Carolina Panthers- Michael Campanaro (WR, Wake Forrest)
  61. San Francisco- Dion Bailey (S, USC)
  62. New England Patriots- Josh Huff (WR, Oregon)
  63. Denver Broncos- Chris Borland (LB, Wisconsin)
  64. Seattle Seahawks– Arthur Lynch (TE, UGA)Round 3
  65. Houston Texans- Aaron Lynch (DE, USF)
  66. Washington Redskins- Brandon Thomas (OT, Clemson)
  67. Oakland Raiders- Blake Bortles (QB, UCF)
  68. Atlanta Falcons- Bishop Sankey (RB, Washingon)
  69. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Brett Smith (QB, Wyoming)
  70. Jacksonville Jaguars- Tyler Larsen (C, Utah St.)
  71. Cleveland Browns- Shayne Skov (LB, Stanford)
  72. Minnesota Vikings- EJ Gaines (CB, Mizzou)
  73. Buffalo Bills- Phillip Gaines (CB, Rice)
  74. New York Giants- Austin Sefarian Jenkins (TE, Washington)
  75. St. Louis Rams- Shaq Evans (WR, UCLA)
  76. Detroit Lions- Lamarcus Joyner (S, FSU)
  77. San Fransisco (From Tennessee)- Scott Crichton (DE, Oregon State)
  78. Dallas Cowboys- Dee Ford (DE, Auburn)
  79. Baltimore Ravens- Jared Abbrederis (WR, Wisconsin)
  80. New York Jets- Andre Hal (CB, Vanderbilt)
  81. Miami Dolphins- Jack Mewhort (OT, Ohio State)
  82. Chicago Bears- James Hurst (OT, UNC)
  83. Cleveland Browns (From Pittsburgh)- Troy Niklas (TE, Notre Dame)
  84. Arizona Cardinals- Anthony Barr (LB, UCLA)
  85. Green Bay Packers-  Terrance Mitchell (CB, Oregon)
  86. Philadelphia Eagles- Deonne Buccannon (S, Washington St.)
  87. Kansas City Chiefs-  Jalen Saunders (WR, Oklahoma)
  88. Cincinnati Bengals- Timmy Jernigan (DT, FSU)
  89. San Diego Chargers- Zach Kerr (DT, Delaware)
  90. Indianapolis Colts- Telvin Smith (LB, FSU)
  91. New Orleans Saints- Chris Smith (DE, Arkansas)
  92. Carolina Panthers- Isaiah Crowell (RB, Alabama State)
  93. New England Patriots- Chris Whaley (DT, Texas)
  94. San Francisco 49ers- Seantrel Henderson (OT, Miami)
  95.  Denver Broncos- Wesley Johnson (OT, Vanderbilt)
  96. Minnesota Vikings- Logan Thomas (QB, Virginia Tech)
  97. Pittsburgh Steelers- Cyrus Kouandjio (OT, Alabama)
  98. Green Bay Packers- Kevin Norwood (WR, Alabama)
  99. Baltimore Ravens- CJ Fierodorwiscz (TE, Iowa)
  100. San Francisco 49ers- Kelvin Benjamin (WR, FSU)

If you want to see how this draft correlates to my Big Board, check my Top 100 Draft prospects right here: