Before free agency, we posted a mock draft. Because when in Rome.
Now that free agency is nearly four weeks old, which has resulted in needs being filled and new needs being created, we’ve put together a new mock draft.
Because when in Rome.
So here’s how we see things, 31 days before it’ll be time to say, “When in New York City.”
1. Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, defensive end, South Carolina.
Yeah, Bortles. Yeah, Manziel. But the Texans lucked into J.J. Watt when a pair of teams from their own division took Jake Locker and Blaine Gabbert three years ago. That lesson should not be lost on the Texans. Especially with Jacksonville on the clock two picks later.
2. Rams: Sammy Watkins, receiver, Clemson.
If they’re going to stick with Sam Bradford at quarterback, they need to give him another weapon. The fact that they seem to be downplaying it serves only to make it more likely.
3. Jaguars: Johnny Manziel, quarterback, Texas A&M.
The flirtation with center Alex Mack suggests that the Jags are willing to take chances. Manziel fits with Jedd Fisch’s creative offensive approach and, more importantly, Manziel will make the Jaguars into a marquee team. If he’s successful. If he’s not, they’ll get another crack at another quarterback soon enough.
4. Browns: Derek Carr, quarterback, Fresno State.
Should Carr go that high? No. Should the Browns screw around if they think they’ve found the guy who can run Kyle Shanahan’s offense the way Shanahan wants? Hell no.
5. Raiders: Greg Robinson, tackle, Auburn.
Yes, they signed Donald Penn to presumably play left tackle. But they’ll find a spot for both guys as they try to open running lanes and keep Matt Schaub in one piece.
6. Falcons: Khalil Mack, linebacker, Buffalo.
The pass rush remains an area of need after free agency. It would be a surprise if the Falcons use the No. 6 pick on any other position.
7. Buccaneers: Mike Evans, receiver Texas A&M.
Dumping Mike Williams makes receiver an obvious need. Maybe too obvious; they could get leapfrogged for Evans.
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: Aaron Donald, defensive tackle, Pitt.
Receiver becomes less of a need with Golden Tate in the fold. With the Lions not exercising the fifth-year option on Nick Fairley as a motivational tool and with Ndamukong Suh still carrying a $22 million-plus cap number, they need a fresh face at the position.
11. Titans: Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback, Louisville.
The Titans have done a good job of keeping their cards close to the vest regarding the need for a quarterback. As May approaches, it’s becoming more obvious that they need to take a chance on someone, three years after they took a chance on Jake Locker.
12. Giants: Timmy Jernigan, defensive tackle, Florida State.
Given the 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: Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, safety, Alabama.
Keeping Rodger Saffold allows the Rams to address the last line of defense.
14. Bears: 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, Emmanuel Sanders, and Jerricho Cotchery all gone, 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 definitely gone, it’s time to stock up on pass rushers.
17. Ravens: Taylor Lewan, tackle, Michigan.
Eugene Monroe stayed, Michael Oher didn’t. They need a right tackle, and Lewan could be the guy to take over there.
18. Jets: Eric Ebron, tight end, North Carolina.
And here’s why the Jets ultimately didn’t pursue DeSean Jackson. Ebron could become a game-changer in the slot — and he has the charisma to take over the nation’s top media market.
19. Dolphins: Xavier Su’a-Filo, guard, UCLA.
Or they could re-sign Richie Incognito.
20. Cardinals: Anthony Barr, linebacker, UCLA.
If the Cards are going to keep up with the 49ers, Seahawks, and Rams, the Cards need pass rushers.
21. Packers: Jason Verrett, cornerback, TCU.
The cornerback slide stops in Green Bay, where the defense needs plenty of impact players.
22. Eagles: Justin Gilbert, cornerback, Oklahoma State.
And it’s suddenly a run on corners, with the Eagles beefing up a potential weak spot.
23. Chiefs: Bradley Roby, cornerback, Ohio State.
Let’s make it three corners in a row, with Roby joining a team that has to deal with Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers.
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: Brandin Cooks, receiver, Oregon State.
He says he’s better than DeSean Jackson. The weapons-challenged Philip Rivers will settle for just as good.
26. Browns (from Colts): Trai Turner, guard, LSU.
A surprisingly meat-and-potatoes offseason continues for a team that has lost guard Shawn Lauvao and could lose center Alex Mack, this year or maybe next year.
27. Saints: Odell Beckham, receiver, LSU.
The stable of weapons gets replenished, partially. Jimmy Graham still needs an explanation. And a contract.
28. Panthers: Darqueze Dennard, cornerback, Michigan State.
They can get competent receivers later, in rounds where top-shelf corners aren’t likely lurking.
29. Patriots: Zack Martin, tackle, Notre Dame.
It’s not a glaring area of need but it’s good value for the slot. Plus, it never hurts to have enough guys to keep Tom Brady healthy in the final years of his career.
30. 49ers: Kyle Fuller, cornerback, Virginia Tech.
The lone area of weakness on the team gets addressed. As it should.
31. Broncos: Cyrus Kouandjio, tackle, Alabama.
All those additions on defense won’t help Peyton Manning score more than eight points if he faces the Seahawks again in the Super Bowl.
32. Seahawks: Kony Ealy, defensive end, Missouri.
With Chris Clemons and Red Bryant gone and Jared Allen picking the Bears, the Seahawks need to feed the unit that was critical to the team’s success in 2013.