All mock drafts are mere conjecture, especially any draft before free agency, which solidifies a team’s "needs".
Mock drafts get farther and farther away from reality the deeper they delve into the draft. They are an educated guess, which at the end of the day, look like an uneducated guess. Especially if they go on for multiple rounds.
They are like the NCAA bracket, in that every pick directly impacts the next pick, and the one after that. If you get one pick wrong, the whole thing can fall apart.
And add to that the unpredictability of draft day trades, and attempting to create a mock draft which in any way matches reality, is at best, a fun but misguided effort.
They say that given infinite time (or billions of years), that all of creation could emerge from nothing into its present state. Of course, one has to ignore the laws of physics to create something from nothing, and disregard biology to evolve elements into elephants....but I digress. Similarly, it could take a billion attempts of throwing darts at the big board of prospects to correctly nail down who will get selected at which slot, and by whom.
But we don’t have billions of years. So here is one dart thrown one time.
Anyway, on to the mock draft, which is just as good, and just as bad, as any other mock draft....
#1 OAKLAND, (Trade with Houston) BLAKE BORTLES, QB, UCF
Oakland has a desperate need for a QB, and sits behind 4 teams who could potentially draft a QB. Since they are accustomed to not having many draft picks, surrendering picks in order to move up would not cause them as much pain as it would for a team who is used to having a full complement of picks. With Case Keenum on board, the Texans can use a QB, but are not desperate enough for one to reach at #1 overall.
(#1 for #5 & #36, and a 2015 1st round pick)
#2 ATLANTA, (Trade with St Louis) JADEVEON CLOWNEY, DE, S. CAROLINA
With Chris Long & Robert Quinn, perhaps the only thing the Rams do NOT need is a 4-3 DE. Fortunately for them, the Falcons do need one.
(#2 for #6 & #37, and a 2015 2nd round pick)
#3 JACKSONVILLE, TEDDY BRIDGEWATER, QB, L’VILLE
When you’re as bad as the Jags, there are a lot of holes that need fixing. But the most pressing one is to do something about their QB situation. As the Jacksonville area billboards proclaim, Tim Tebow likely would have been a step up from what they have had recently. Manziel is too big of a gamble for 2nd year coach Gus Bradley and his Jacksonville (London?) Jaguars.
#4 CLEVELAND, DEREK CARR, QB, FRESNO STATE
Another year, another regime, another quarterback. And the Browns organization keeps getting in their own way. Desperate for a QB, and not wanting the undersized Manziel, they settle for Carr at #4 overall.
#5 HOUSTON, GREG ROBINSON, RT, AUBURN
Houston trades down and gets a steal with the second coming of Willie Anderson. Not only do they get arguably the top prospect on the offensive side of the ball, but they pick up an early 2nd round pick in the process.
#6 ST LOUIS, SAMMY WATKINS, WR, CLEMSON
The theme in St Louis remains the same... "Sam Bradford is our QB. We just need to get him some weapons". After over-reaching for guys like Brian Quick, Tavon Austin, and Lance Kendricks, the Rams finally find a good receiving option for Bradford.
#7 TAMPA BAY, KHALIL MACK, OLB, BUFFALO
Tampa fields a few calls from teams hoping to jump up for Jake Matthews, but the lure of forming a LB tandem of Lavonte David and Khalil Mack is too tempting to resist.
#8 ARIZONA (TRADE WITH MINNESOTA), JAKE MATTHEWS, LT, TEXAS A&M
The Vikings had 3 QB’s last year. And re-signed Cassell. Yet, they need a QB. I can’t picture Zimmer taking a coach-killing anti-Zimmer type in Manziel. So they trade down and stockpile picks to plug as many holes as possible on the sinking Viking ship.
Arizona is behind teams like the Giants, Ravens & Dolphins who are all desperate for O-Line help. With Carson Palmer’s shelf life nearing an end, they make a jump up in the draft to grab his blind-side protector.
(#8 for #20 & #52, and a 2015 3rd round pick)
#9 BUFFALO, ERIC EBRON, TE, UNC
With a young second year QB leading the team, the Bills can’t go wrong surrounding him with talented weapons. Ebron is an elite, athletic prospect who can give EJ Manuel a big, reliable target to throw to.
#10 DETROIT, JUSTIN GILBERT, CB, OKLA ST
The Lions have invested heavily in the draft on their defensive front line with Suh, Ansah, and Fairley. But their CB’s have failed to defend the back end of the defense. Knowing firsthand how devastating a big, athletic WR can be, they grab the most athletic, dynamic CB in the draft to defend against the Calvin Johnson’s of the NFL.
#11 BALTIMORE (TRADE WITH TENNESSEE), TAYLOR LEWAN, LT, MICHIGAN
Seeing several teams ahead of them who need LT’s, Baltimore makes a move. Only 1 year away from the Super Bowl victory, they don’t need tons of pieces. But they do need somebody who can give an overpaid Flacco enough time to complete more TD’s than INT’s. And assuming Ray Rice isn’t suspended or jailed, they need help opening a hole for him to run thru.
(#11 & #108 for #17 & #48)
#12 NY GIANTS, ZACH MARTIN, OL, OUR LADY
The Giants need immediate help on their offensive line. Even if Martin doesn’t pan out as a tackle, he can slide over to guard, which is also a need for the G-men.
#13 ST LOUIS, CARLOS HYDE, RB, THE OHIO STATE
With plenty of picks to play with, the Rams make the first big shock of the draft by selecting Carlos Hyde this high. Neither Pead, Richardson, nor Stacey have proven to be adequate replacements for Jackson. With 2 of the top 13 picks, the Rams surround Sam Bradford with the top WR and top RB.
#14 SAN FRANCISCO (TRADE WITH CHICAGO), MIKE EVANS, WR, TEXAS A&M
Feeling a potential run on WR’s before they pick at #30, the 49ers move up to get a the big, fast WR who can go vertical, to compliment what they already have in Crabtree & Vernon Davis.
(#14 for #30 & #55 ^)
#15 PITTSBURGH, DARQUEZE DENNARD, CB, MICH ST
In a division that faces AJ Green and Josh Gordon in 4 of their 16 games, a decent, yet unspectacular secondary could stand to be upgraded. Dennard is a good prospect who makes sense here.
#16 DALLAS, AARON DONALD, DT, PITT
Dallas needs all sorts of help on the D-Line, and Donald’s awesome combine & awesome season propels him up to the Cowboys at #16.
#17 TENNESSEE, ANTHONY BARR, OLB, UCLA
The Titans’ LB’s were among one of their worst units last year. The former RB adds an instant upgrade at the position for them.
#18 NY JETS, ODELL BECKHAM, WR, LSU
There is no question that the Jets need a lot of things, and one of them is to desperately find somebody for Geno Smith to throw the ball to. Holmes is aging, and Hill was an over-reached for project that never developed. While not in the mold of the modern tall WR’s, Beckham ‘wowed’ folks at the combine with good receiving skills, and good physical traits.
#19 MIAMI, HA HA! CLINTON-DIX, FS, BAMA
The Dolphins do need O-Line help, but #19 overall is a bit high for Kouandjio and his torn ACL, torn MCL, arthritic knee, failed knee surgery, and failed physicals. And this is way too rich for Moses or Richardson. Anyway, they just spent a 3rd round pick last year on LT Dallas Thomas last year. The Dolphins also need DB help, which is why they are pursuing Louis Delmas. Clinton-Dix provides them a BPA, and a player who can step in right away and help at a needed position.
#20 MINNESOTA, CJ MOSLEY, ILB, BAMA
The Vikings need a QB, but Manziel just seems like a horrible fit for a Mike Zimmer team. The Vikings also need a lot of help on the defensive side of the ball, and Mosley gives them the Butkus winning, top-notch MLB that he never had with Maualuga or Jones.
#21 GREEN BAY, TRAVIS SWANSON, C, ARKANSAS
Whether it be Datone Jones or Nick Perry or Derek Sherrod or Justin Harrell, the Packers have shown a strong trend of reaching for mediocre linemen with their first round pick. Yet they still do well because their QB is so good.
To keep the theme alive of over-reaching for linemen, the Packers take Swanson. He fits a need for them. And he is the top center, although more of a low 2nd round pick than a mid 1st round pick.
#22 PHILADELPHIA, CALVIN PRYOR, FS, L’VILLE
Strongly needing a safety, and seeing Pryor sitting there, Philly ignores all phone calls as they race up to the podium and grab Pryor.
#24 HOUSTON (TRADE WITH CINCINNATI), JOHNNY MANZIEL, QB, TEXAS A&M
At this point, there are several directions the Bengals could have gone. They can follow the mock draft CB trend and pursue Verrett or Roby. They could replace MJ with Ealy or Tuitt. They could take a BPA pick with Manziel or Benjamin. Or they could take a gamble on Kouandjio as Whit’s replacement, and hope someday he is healthy enough to play at an elite level again.
Houston, meanwhile gets their local product QB after securing a stud RT to protect him earlier in the draft.
(#24 for #36 & #65)
#25 SAN DIEGO, JASON VERRETT, CB, TCU
The Chargers are wowed by Verrett’s 4.38 time in the 40 and 39" vert, which trump any concerns about him being a tad undersized.
#26 CLEVELAND, RYAN SHAZIER, LB, THE OHIO STATE
D’Qwell is leaving. Craig Robertson isn’t exactly phenomenal. Shazier provides them a fast, fast, fast, athletic tackling machine behind a solid defensive front.
#27 NEW ORLEANS, BRADLEY ROBY, CB, THE OHIO STATE
New Orleans can use a corner, and have a history of drafting Buckeyes early. He ran a good 40, and can be coached up to fix the lack in consistency he displayed in 2013.
#28 CAROLINA, BRANDIN COOKS, WR, OREGON ST
The Panthers’ cupboard is bare at WR behind an aging Steve Smith. Cooks was the 2013 award winning top receiver in the NCAA, and tore it up at the combine with the best 40 time for a receiver.
#29 NEW ENGLAND, KELVIN BENJAMIN, WR, FLA ST
When you consistently win your division year in and year out, there isn’t a lot that you need. But one thing that the Patroits could use is receiving help. Welker was sorely missed last year, and one half of their TE tandem could be in jail for quite a while, and the other half can’t stay healthy. Benjamin gives them a big bodied WR.
#30 CHICAGO, RA’SHEDE HAGEMAN, DT, MINNESOTA
It’s no secret that the Bears need something on the D-Line along with Julius Peppers. Hageman gives them an intriguing prospect who brings size, strength, and speed.
#31 DENVER, KONY EALY, DE, M IZZOU
As last year clearly demonstrated, the Broncos have the offensive side of the ball figured out. But the defense could stand to be upgraded. Ealy is too good a DE to pass on for their 4-3 defense.
#32 SEATTLE, AUSTIN SEFERIAN-JENKINS, TE, WASHINGTON
The Super Bowl champs stay close to home with the safari man. He gives them an upgrade at TE and replaces the big-bodied receiving role that Sidney Rice was supposed to provide.
#33 TRENT MURPHY, HOUSTON, OLB, STANFORD
Houston already grabbed their stud RT, and QB. Now they fill their 3-4 OLB need with Stanford’s Trent Murphy who led FBS in sacks last season with 15.
#34 WASHINGTON, DEE FORD, OLB/DE, AUBURN
After coaching Andy Dalton for 3 seasons, Jay Gruden knows what a good pass rush can do to destroy a passing game. With his first pick as a Redskin, he selects Ford to use as a 3-4 OLB in their defense opposite from Kerrigan.
#35 CLEVELAND, BISHOP SANKEY, RB, WASHINGTON
The Browns have seen what a shifty, dynamic RB can do down I-71 in Cincy. They pick the RB considered to be this year’s version of Gio, and finally fill their backfield with a competent running back. This is a position they could double-dip in, with the Bishop likely more of an RBBC guy.
#36 CINCINNATI, STEPHEN TUITT, DE, OUR LADY
With their first pick of the draft, the Bengals grab a replacement for the recently departed Michael Johnson who leaves for a big payday in Minnesota.
#37 ST LOUIS, GABE JACKSON, OG, MISS ST
The Rams have a big need at LG, and Jackson was one of the best in the NCAA last year.
#38 TAMPA BAY, JACE AMARO, TE, TEXAS TECH
The Buccs grab a good TE prospect to team with Vincent Jackson & Mike Williams, giving young Glennon an additional target to get the ball to.
#39 JACKSONVILLE, CYRUS KOUANDJIO, OT, BAMA
The Jags need to make sure that they keep Bridgewater upright. They drafted Joeckel last year, and add Kouandjio to secure the other side of the O-Line. It’s a big risk taking the kid who failed multiple physicals with a torn ACL, torn MCL, and an arthritic knee. But the Jags are too desperate to let a potential gem slide past them.
#40 MINNESOTA, AJ MCCARRON, QB, BAMA
Zimmer’s team grabs a solid QB to push Cassel out of a starting job.
#41 BUFFALO, DEONE BUCANNON, SS, WASH ST
A monster combine moves Deone up the Bills board to fill a need on the back half of their secondary.
#42 TENNESSEE, KYLE FULLER, CB, V TECH
Meh, comment unnecessary. They need a CB.
#43 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (TRADE WITH NY GIANTS), LOUIS NIX, NT, OUR LADY
Surprised that Nix slipped thru the cracks, the Chargers trade up to get an upgrade over Kwame Geathers at their NT position.
(#43 for #57 & 2015 3rd round pick)
#44 ST LOUIS, MARCUS ROBERSON, CB, FLA
The Rams have had a busy draft with 4 of the top 44 picks. Their first 3 picks were on offense. They address their defensive secondary.
#45 DETROIT, DONTE MONCRIEF, WR, MISS
The Lions make an attempt to place a quality receiver opposite Calvin Johnson.
#46 PITTSBURGH, TIMMY JERNIGAN, DT, FLA ST
Pittsburgh makes their bread & butter in the draft focusing on solid players up front. They continue that trend this year grabbing Jernigan to play opposite Cam Heyward as a 3-4 DE.
#47 DALLAS, KYLE VAN NOY, OLB, BYU
After taking a DT in the first round, this pick gives the Cowboys’ Sean Lee a partner in the linebacking corps.
#48 TENNESSEE, TRE MASON, RB, AUBURN
Chris Johnson is paid like an elite game-changer, but hasn’t been doing much of anything since his huge 2,000 yard performance & payday years ago. It might be time for the Titans to move on and try to find some production with a different RB.
#49 NY JETS, CYRIL RICHARDSON, OG, BAYLOR
The big coach fills a big O-Line hole with a big, big man.
#50 MIAMI, MORGAN MOSES, LT, VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS
Miami needs a LT, and Moses is a solid value here in round 2.
#52 MINNESOTA, SCOTT CRICHTON, DE, ORE ST
The Vikings need bodies on defense. Crichton gives them a projectable 4-3 DE to replace Jared Allen.
#53 GREEN BAY, TROY NIKLAS, TE, OUR LADY
After seeing what Lacy did for them, perhaps Green Bay realizes that they don’t have to utilize a 1-dimensional Arena League type of offense centered on Aaron Rodgers flinging it around until he gets pounded to a pulp. Niklas gives them a big bodied TE who can block for Lacy and catch from Rodgers.
#54 PHILADELPHIA, LAMARCUS JOYNER, CB, FLA ST
Philly continues to replenish their secondary.
#55 CHICAGO, JACK MEWHORT, OT, THE OHIO STATE
Provides an upgrade over Jordan Mills at RT, and a solid backup at LT.
#56 CINCINNATI, ???
#65 CINCINNATI, ???