PFT’s pre-free agency mock draft

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Mock drafts are for the most part useless. They’re even more useless before free agency, when needs are filled and created by the movement of veterans players.

With that caveat, and acknowledging that some of you will call this the “worst . . . mock . . . ever” regardless of who’s listed on it, here’s a completely meaningless projection, crafted with the input of an actual scout.  Who is employed.  By a team.  In the NFL.

For now.

1.  Texans:  Greg Robinson, tackle, Auburn.

Quarterback is a pressing need, but they also need guys to block for the quarterback.  They most likely could trade down and still get Robinson.

2.  Rams:  Sammy Watkins, receiver, Clemson.

If they’re going to stick with Sam Bradford at quarterback, they need to give him another weapon.  For the second straight year, how about a wideout in the top 10?  Or a Fresca?

3.  Jaguars:  Jadeveon Clowney, defensive end, South Carolina.

In recent years, the Jaguars have drafted defensive linemen like the Lions used to select receivers.  Clowney’s potential can’t be overlooked, and coach Gus Bradley surely believes he can push the right buttons to get the most out of him.

4.  Browns:  Johnny Manziel, quarterback, Texas A&M.

Owner Jimmy Haslam’s effort to land Jim Harbaugh shows a willingness to swing for the fences.  Manziel is the potential home run in this year’s draft class.  If the Browns strike out, well, they’re used to that.

5.  Raiders:  Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback, Louisville.

The most NFL-ready quarterback lands with one of the least NFL-ready rosters.  But things could be changing, especially if they spend all that cap space the right way.

6.  Falcons:  Khalil Mack, linebacker, Buffalo.

They could be tempted to trade up for Clowney.  But why not stand pat for a player who could end up being as good?

7.  Buccaneers:  Aaron Donald, defensive tackle, Pitt.

Gerald McCoy thinks he can be Warren Sapp in Lovie Smith’s defense.  Aaron Donald may have a better shot at it.

8.  Vikings:  Blake Bortles, quarterback, Central Florida.

With Matt Cassel in place for two years, Bortles gets eased in to the job, possibly becoming offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s next star pupil.

9.  Bills:  Jake Matthews, tackle, Texas A&M.

Regarded a year ago to be better than Luke Joeckel, he’ll help beef up an offensive line that has underperformed in recent years.

10.  Lions:  Mike Evans, receiver, Texas A&M.

Matt Millen will be smiling.  Lions fans will be cringing.  Until Matthew Stafford starts throwing passes both to Evans and to Calvin Johnson, with Reggie Bush exploding out of the backfield and Joseph Fauria becoming a poor man’s Jimmy Graham.

11.  Titans:  Anthony Barr, linebacker, UCLA.

Former offensive player turned defender could help pump up a new-look defense under Ray Horton, who had Barkevious Mingo as a rookie last year in Cleveland.

12.  Giants:  Timmy Jernigan, defensive tackle, Florida State.

Facing the potential departures of Justin Tuck and Linval Joseph, the Giants need to restore some bite to a defensive line that didn’t necessarily carry them to a pair of Super Bowl appearances, but helped deliver victory once they got there.

13.  Rams:  Zack Martin, tackle, Notre Dame.

With Jake Long recovering from a torn ACL and Rodger Saffold bidding adieu, it’s time to add a tackle.

14.  Bears:  C.J. Mosley, linebacker, Alabama.

Veteran D.J. Williams got the first chance to assume the middle linebacker mantle in Chicago.  The Bears should now turn to a rookie.

15.  Steelers:  Marqise Lee, receiver, USC.

With Mike Wallace gone and Emmanuel Sanders soon to join him, the Steelers provide Antonio Brown a young partner and Big Ben another target.

16.  Cowboys:  Dee Ford, defensive end, Auburn.

With Anthony Spencer likely gone and DeMarcus Ware closing in on the end of his run in Dallas, it’s time to stock up on pass rushers.

17.  Ravens:  Taylor Lewan, tackle, Michigan.

Even if Eugene Monroe sticks around, Michael Oher won’t be.  They’ll need a right tackle, and Lewan could be the guy to take over there.

18.  Jets:  Eric Ebron, tight end, North Carolina.

The Jets need a weapon at tight end who knows the way to the end zone.  Also Boston Market.

19.  Dolphins:  Xavier Su’a-Filo, guard, UCLA.

Jonathan Martin likely gets replaced by Branden Albert.  And Richie Incognito could be replaced by the rookie from UCLA.

20  Cardinals:  Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State.

Coach Bruce Arians is trying too hard to create the impression he won’t be drafting a quarterback, possibly in order to make anyone drafting below him who needs a quarterback believe he won’t be drafting a quarterback.

21.  Packers:  Ha Ha Clinton Dix, safety, Alabama.

The Packers have paid strong safety Morgan Burnett, and they won’t be tendering an offer to restricted free agent free safety M.D. Jennings.  Enter Clinton-Dix.

22.  Eagles:  Calvin Pryor, safety, Louisville.

Philly may prefer Clinton-Dix, which could spark a game of leapfrog.  Without trades, Pryor gets the pick and helps fill a clear area of need.

23.  Chiefs:  Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State.

The Chiefs don’t have many glaring weaknesses.  Cornerback is one of them.  In a division with Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers, that’s a problem.

24.  Bengals:  Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State.

Shazier ran a blazing 4.36-second 40-yard dash with a bad hamstring.  Adding him would require some shuffling of the linebackers, since Shazier is suited to the weak side.  Given his talents and Vontaze Burfict’s versatility, that’s a good problem to have.

25.  Chargers: Trai Turner, G, LSU.

Philip Rivers, the 2013 comeback player of the year, came back from if anything a subpar offensive line.  Turner could make it even less subpar.

26.  Browns (from Colts):  Dri Archer, running back, Kent State.

The Browns keep swinging for the fences with a guy who could become the next Chris Johnson.  (Before he went from being great to pretty good.)

27.  Saints:  Odell Beckham, receiver, LSU.

The stable of weapons gets replenished, partially.  Jimmy Graham still needs an explanation.

28.  Panthers:  Darqueze Dennard, cornerback, Michigan State.

The looming exodus of Captain Munnerlyn and Drayton Florence means it’s time to load up the secondary at a low cost.

29.  Patriots:  Kyle Fuller, cornerback, Virginia Tech.

Farewell, Aqib Talib.  Welcome to the fold, Kyle Fuller.

30.  49ers:  Jason Verrett, cornerback, TCU.

Trent Baalke may be tempted to take a receiver in order to wash away the lingering residue of the A.J. Jenkins selection.  The bigger need is at cornerback, although it would be better if a bigger cornerback were available at this spot.

31.  Broncos:  Kony Ealy, defensive end, Missouri.

Shaun Phillips was a capable one-year replacement for Elvis Dumervil.  Ealy could be the longer-term option.

32.  Seahawks:  RaShede Hageman, defensive tackle, Minnesota.

With Clinton McDonald likely leaving via free agency, the Seahawks add depth and get younger in the interior defensive line.  Hageman’s pass rush skills will help replace Michael Bennett, who would slide inside from time to time on passing downs.

97 responses to “PFT’s pre-free agency mock draft

  1. I like seeing mocks that go out on a limb and differ from the groupthink that forms this time of year. That being said, I’m not sure Houston takes passes a franchise QB or the best player in the draft for a first-year RT

  2. Again, this is what you would do instead of predicting what the teams will do by looking at draft history, crazy owners, etc. Those GM jobs are hard to come by for a reason. This ain’t fantasy football.

  3. The Vikings will be taking Teddy Bridgewater in the draft.

    He’s purposely been lowering his draft stock so he would fall to us.

    Once he’s drafted we will have the most dominant offense since 1998 when we went 15-1.

    If for some reason he gets drafted our second option is taking Khalil Mack to solidify our soon to be top 5 defense next year.

  4. Can people stop complaining about PFT’s mock drafts?

    Would you rather have them not post it at all?

    It just leaves room for debate and more PFT articles.

    Stop acting like 5 year old girls.

  5. Mock Draft is different which is a bit refreshing and more often than not more realistic. Not sure why the big drop of Dennard.

    As a Saints fan, no way organization passes on dennard at that point.

  6. Aaron Donald reminds me of the guy the jets picked a few years back. Robertson I think that was his name. Supposed to be super explosive great pass rusher but a little short at 6 foot 1 he had a bit more weight than Donald at 310. I just see bust from Donald so I’m praying that the bucs take him so Dallas doesn’t

  7. Mock’s are such a waste of time; but if you’re going to do it, you might as well have some facts behind it. Don’t you think the falcons are done trying to trade up after the Julio Jones situation?

  8. If the Ravens manage to keep Monroe, what I’d like to see happen is the following:

    1. Sign Eric Winston to play right tackle. He knows Gary Kubiak’s zone blocking scheme from their days in Houston together. He’d fit perfectly in with the system, and the Ravens have both ends of their o-line covered for 2014.

    2. Use their first-round pick on whichever wide receiver is highest on the board at that point. If both Evans and Lee are gone, then whoever is the best player available.

    If Monroe doesn’t re-sign, then I would love to have them take Lewan. I just would be really surprised to see him still available at #17.

  9. Not that this mock is bad, but free agency screws the mocks until it is over. You have Lewan to the Ravens at 17 but that is overkill to replace Oher since it appears Monroe is staying. Clinton-Dix would help secure another position of great need or even Kelvin Benjamin whose speed and size is hard to ignore. Others believe Beckham or Lee would be a better pick, but knowing what the Ravens lost in Boldin, Benjamin can do that and more. Any way you look at it, The draft is deep enough that Ozzie will score in the first round and with as many attempts to get this right, one of these mocks has to be right.

  10. Interesting. Were these picked with any type of logic or team based need or merely pulled out a hat?

    At #14, Chicago picks a LB…. when really they need another DE/DT/S/CB? LB might be the only place they can get by.

    1-13, with the exception of Clowney, might all turn out to be offensive players, in reality.

  11. I agree with the niners taking a CB in the first. They just wont stand pat at 30. I see them trying to jump in around pick 20 to get who they want. They need to hit this draft hard because the window is closing and if gore falls off, it might be closed.

  12. I don’t mind 1-5 except the first pick. Everyone forgets Daune Brown is a Pro Bowl or All Pro year after year. Sure he didn’t have the best year but nobody on Texans offense did.

    I kept reading and the Bucs drafting a DT says “somebody’s not watching much football”

  13. It’s funny that most teams pick the best player on the board regardless of positon. But each year fans seem to get amnesia and forget that. That’s partially why Robinson is mocked No. 1. He’s a way better prospect now than Bortles and slightly better than Bridgewater.

  14. As soon as I saw the Houston pick, I knew the rest was going to be pretty bad. But what the heck, I like seeing them anyway. The true mock draft is not a mock draft at ll, but rather the real draft. BTW, Elmer Fudd is going to be the 1st overall pick. Just so you know.

  15. Is it April Fool’s day, or just continued general disdain for the Browns? Passing up Bridgewater for Manziel, then a guy at 26 that is predicted to be a day 3 guy…neither will happen, so why even try.

    Then looking at the rest of the draft, kudos for going out on a limb…that’s about the best I can say…

  16. I hope Philly gets Clinton-Dix, I would be ok with whatever they give up to get ahead and pick him.

  17. Not sure about Jets taking yet another TE with their #1 (Keller, Becht, Kyle Brady) but I did laugh at the Boston Market reference. Funny.

  18. This mock draft is great…..for me to poop on!! Seriously whoever wrote this must either be retarded or 12..or both. Dri Archer, widely seen as a mid to late round pick..the 1st RB taken??? I mean this is just horrendous. Oh and that “scout” should be fired…immediately! !!!

  19. I stopped at 1. Robinson is raw tackle with two years experience in a simple run offense. He hasnt proved he can be a force in pass protection due to the system he was in. So at #1 overall Houston would pass on Clowney and a QB? No way!!

  20. ODB wont be there at #27, however it would be an epic mistake for the Saints to pass on him if he’s there.

  21. Has there ever been a Mock Draft that has went 32/32?

    Stop it, people.

    Plenty of you who clicked “Yes” as to whether PFT should do a mock draft just did that so you could come back and ridicule it in the comments.

    They should offer $100B for anyone that does a perfect 32 team 1st round mock draft. It’s even more unlikely then a NCAA Perfect bracket.

  22. The only position we don’t need x 10 is DT and you have us drafting a 2nd rate one at that at 12???

  23. I’d like to see Ha Ha in Philly……..just so I can say the name! Although I would prefer him to get rid of the hyphenated name……..Ha Ha Clinton or Ha Ha Dix sounds much better.

  24. If the Texans draft a RT in the first round this city will devour Bob McNair’s River Oaks mansion…..

    Duane Brown is signed through 2018, so that leaves only the RT position.

    If they are going to trade back… pick up Clowney, Mack or Barr. Maybe Donald.

  25. “Dri” Archer has a lucrative future ahead of him as a deodorant spokesman. Au revoir, Wes Welker!

  26. KNOWING THAT YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL AND YOU RECIEVED THE HELP OF AN NFL SCOUT, I MORTGAGED OUR RANCH AND BET IT ALL IN VEGAS THAT THIS MOCK IS 100%ACCURATE.

    I MAY BE NEW TO YOUR SITE, BUT I AM NO DUMMY. I KNOW WHEN TO DEFER TO THE EXPERTS.

    I APPRECIATE THE INSIDE TIP.

    CHEERS!

  27. I’m an lsu fan and no way does turner go in the first. No chance. He may go undrafted. Most likely 5th round

  28. RELAX PEOPLE!!! I know Saints fans want Watkins at 27 or whatever. But the only team that gets their guy is Houston. Robinson is way better choice than any of these QBs. None of them with the extreme possible exception of Bortles is worth a first round grade. Not sure if he is worth a top 10 though.

  29. Thanks for the mock. I enjoy reading them, even though there is a large amount of uncertainty at this point. I also enjoy reading people’s armchair criticism of mock drafts- it’s a fun exercise, it’s nothing to get worked up over.

  30. Once I saw Clowney didn’t go to the Texans I quit reading . He will go to the Texans and they will get a stop gap FA and draft one later .

  31. I have this feeling, that this particular scout works for the Jets. Its the only way he can rationally think Buffalo, Dallas, Pittsburgh and the Ravens pass on Ebron if he’s there. Regardless of their TE situation. Hes a plug and play w/ results guy right out of the gate. I personally hope the Ravens grab him. Kubiak will have a field days with Pitta, Ebron as the TE’s

  32. I don’t think many Detroit fans would cringe with Evans getting drafted, he fills the team’s biggest need. And that jibe is getting seriously dated.

  33. Why would Tampa use the #7 overall pick to draft a replacement for the teams (26-yr old) best player. I guess being PFF’s best DT in the NFL 2013 and 1st-team All-pro makes you expendable.

    Out of the box mock picks are great, but this is stupidity.

  34. Every year I declare myself eligible and every year they pass me over. Well not this year! This year I’m in shape, focused and ready to start my NFL career. My wonderlic score was 237. Yeah thats right, 237! I took it 10 times, thats my total, and my story, and I’m sticking to it. Ignore me at your peril, NFL.

  35. A great mock. I like the outside the box thinking. I think the top 5 teams should all pass on these QBs– none of whom are worth a franchise pick.

    I think the Dri Archer pick by Cleveland is off the board and I think the Seahawks are going WR/TE early, but a great mock draft.

  36. Thanks for the mock guys. It will be interesting to see 2.0 after free agency in about two or three weeks. And thanks for putting explanations about why you think a pick will be made. It’s funny to read these comments and see that all the fans are still locked into need when so many teams say that they will try to pick the best player on their board regardless of need.

    That said I like the pick of Pryor to Philly.

  37. Spielman is not going to draft another QB in the first round because if that guys a bust he’s done if you take a guy in the second or third and he’s a bust not as big of a deal. Vikings will be drafting D unless Watkins falls which is highly doubtful. My guess is they trade down.

  38. If there is no Andrew Luck type QB in this draft Houston should go with one of the O-linemen or Watkins or Clowney/Mack. Don’t waste the pick on a QB because you have a need at the position. If you miss on that QB it sets your whole team back.

  39. Dallas Thomas will be the LG in Miami, Smith will be RG and we will more likely look at RT in the draft unless Thomas plays at RT. I really like Sua Filo but he is a reach and with a deep OT class we r in position to draft best player available in round 1 while adding Kouandjio, Moses or Mewhort in the 2nd or even Henderson later. Not huge drop offs from Martin who is often mocked to Miami to these higher upside OTs. Trade down to where he is closer to BPA and I am good with Sua Filo who can pass block and pull in the run game.

  40. All of these picks are correct, with the exception of the Vikings taking Bortles. I have them taking Tommy Rees of Notre Dame.

  41. Cleveland, Detroit, Dallas, Oakland, Washington, nyj, and Jacksonville will all find a way to screw it up. Terrible drafting teams.

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