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.
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.