Here is the fourth annual Commenter Mock Draft. We’ve come a long way since Spencer selected Ryan Mallett with the fourth overall pick in 2011. (You can also see 2012 here and 2013 here to see how they did). The commenters have never met an editor they liked (or at least that’s what I assume after having to read through the commentary), and like to talk and show you how many bad jokes and draftnik terms they can employ. Also, as an added bonus, trades were permitted this year as long as both sides agreed to it and the terms generally fell within the parameters of the draft value chart. Enjoy.
1. Houston – Jadeveon Clowney (ms621)
Because of course it’s Clowney . The first round of the draft, especially the first ten picks, is no place for a team to get cute (Raiders fans can attest to this truth). Clowney has drawn favorable comparisons to Mario Williams, but in reality may be closer to NFL ready than Williams was coming out of college. The Texans do need a QB, but none of the top three available fill me with confidence and some mock drafts forecast at least one of the three falling to the second round, providing opportunity for the Texans to scoop one up then. Meanwhile Clowney is an absurdly gifted physical specimen who can restore the Texans pass rush immediately to its former level and take pressure off of Watt to be in on absolutely every play. Passing on a QB is difficult, but I seem to recall an excellent defense propping up a fairly average offense in some sort of important game this past February.
2. St. Louis – Johnny Manziel (sousedbergin)
With PTSD-riddled Bradford at the helm, St. Louis is racing to a red light, whereas Man-Zeal has the ability to overcome a 21 point deficit to win you a money line bet while you’re New Year’s Eve drunk. If Johnny Football can survive [syphilis joke edited out and banned].
3. Jacksonville – Sammy Watkins (JimHarbaughScramble)
Jaguars weren’t really that bad last year compared to the 2-14 year before (that division stinks except for Luck, so there is room to improve quickly). In 2014 they need to add a playmaker to make up for the oft-suspended Blackmon. Sammy Watkins is the pick and the Jags will look for a QB next season.
4. Minnesota (trade with Cleveland) – Khalil Mack (Hawkeye)
It’s no surprise that the Vikings need a quarterback to succeed in the National Football League. That quarterback will not be Matt Cassel, but he’ll do as a stopgap for a couple of years. With Johnny Manziel off the board, and Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater ranking somewhere between #3 and #40 on various draft boards, it’s time for the Vikings to think defense. Yes, they’re thin in the secondary, but with Xavier Rhodes and Captain Munnerlyn at cornerback and Harrison Smith at safety, they’ve gotten better. Not great, but better.
To continue to fix the defense, the Vikings need a solid linebacker, something they have been lacking. Chad Greenway is solid, but is 31 and beginning to show his age. To fix this, the Vikes will trade up and take Mack, who, by all accounts, is a stud linebacker and a player that new head coach Mike Zimmer will love. The second round pick is still there for the Vikes to take the QB of the future, whomever he may be. A win-win all around for the purple.
5. NY Giants (trade w Oakland) – Greg Robinson (Gamblaar)
As a Browns fan, I don’t know anything about drafting, let alone drafting for someone else’s team. The Giants clearly need help on the offensive line to keep Eli Manning off his back. Greg Robinson still being available at 5 makes the trade up worth it, and gives them stability on the left side of the line for the next several years. Giving up a second round draft pick to score a franchise tackle is like giving up a chance to sleep with a girl posted by TNCowboy for a chance to biblically get to know one of Cardillo’s Friday roundup selections.
6. Atlanta – Jake Matthews (HuskerDawg)
Atlanta can’t rush the passer nor can it protect its own. Khalil Mack was preferred, but shady back room dealings saw Minnesota take Cleveland’s pick, which undoubtedly will lead to Cleveland screwing up its compensation by drafting another 32-year-old “rookie” QB. This isn’t a sexy pick, but it’s one Atlanta has to make.
7. St. Louis (trade w Tampa Bay) – Mike Evans (sousedbergin)
Having Manziel without Mike Evans would be like the Queen without her corgis, no one is scoring. Scientifically 67% of Johnny’s Heisman belongs to Mike Evans, he catches interceptions for touchdowns. Price was high but exorcising pre-rookie wage scale contracts is smart long-term (waves at Detroit). Trading Laurinitis, Langford and eventually Bradford will save $27 million against the cap in 2015 alone.
8. Cleveland (trade w Minnesota) – Blake Bortles (spencer096)
The Browns get even more picks and still get a QB they can gamble everything on. Fortunately, Bortles is a big dude…which will pay dividends when he gets hit by the inevitable Cleveland curse. I could easily see Bortles play as a rookie, putting up decent-ish numbers for 10 weeks before getting his ankle caught awkwardly in the turf with nobody around him for 5 yards, shredding every ligament and dislocating the joint. He’ll never be the same player and the Browns will get great value and put themselves in prime position to draft Jameis Winston.
9. Buffalo – Eric Ebron (Lurking Meat Sweats)
At 6′ 4″, 250 pounds, Ebron should have an immediate impact in the Bills passing game and provide a large target for the redzone (if the offense can ever move there). Second year starter EJ Manuel showed signs of promise last year with an undersized but fast receiving corp. The tight end position was an apparent weakness in 2013, as Scott Chandler was the only real threat, amassing a whopping 2 TDs. Not taking an OT in round 1, and with Ebron’s lack of blocking skills, EJ Manuel should be sidelined early and often in 2014. Look for the Bills to finish at a healthy 7-9 this season.
10. Detroit – Justin Gilbert (Wayne Fontes Safari)
Somewhat disappointed Watkins or Evans didn’t slide down. One of them to go with Megatron, Reggie, and Stafford (no Vlad, I’m not calling him anything else) would have made the Lions offense one of the more explosive things assembled by the Fords since the Pinto. With that said, the Lions secondary has enough holes to make truck stop bathroom stalls blush and he will push [expletive deleted] Chris Houston for a starting spot before he even dons the Honolulu Blue and has a portion of his soul disappear. At the very least, scouts are calling him one of the better kick returners in the draft which, in NFL GM-speak, means even if he’s a bust at his position he’s not an absolute waste of a pick.
11. Tennessee – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (TNCOWBOY)
If this were real, I would attempt to trade up and get Manziel as Jake Locker, though a great kid, is unlikely to be the answer. None of the other QB’s are close to first round worthy in my view. I like Mike Evans quite a bit in real life here but he is gone and WR is maybe the Titans deepest position. Needing help everywhere else, the pick then is to go chalk.
12. Oakland (trade w NY Giants) – Anthony Barr (Babar)
Raiders trade down to pick up an extra 2nd round pick, just like 2013. After unsuccessfully trying to trade down again to 18/19/20…the Raiders select the top pass rusher remaining (who is also stout against the run). To keep their jobs, this regime needs someone who can impact the team this year, and I am not sure a rookie QB does that. While Barr perhaps doesn’t fit perfectly in their scheme (and his position is currently occupied by the 2013 3rd round pick), you draft the talent and move the pieces around. A little bulk and play a 4-3 DE? Move him inside and make him the new Navorro Bowman (UCLA successfully did this on occasion)? He’s only played the position for two years, and will continue to get better.
13. Tampa Bay – Tim Jernigan (Paolo X)
After negotiating a trade down from the 7th pick with the Soused Rams for also DL Kendall Langford and James Laurinaitis, the Bucs select Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan as the best player available for the draft slot for the team. Now the Bucs have a defensive line and overall defense that is perhaps overloaded with talent and capability and will turn its focus to trade and draft opportunities to improve the offense.
14. Chicago – Aaron Donald (Prophet8)
With the Bears returning every starter from from its 2013 record performing offense, they are expected to continue their off-season focus on acquiring defensive talent, which began with the free agency period. Even though many of those off-season acquisitions were on the D-line, none were an out-and-out DT outside of retaining Jeremiah “Don’t-call-me-Jay” Ratliff. 3rd year GM Phil Emery (waves at village idiot Jerry Angelo) will be under pressure to show that he can identify young defensive talent after hitting home runs previously with WR Alshon Jeffery, G Kyle Long, & T Jordan Mills, though missing on most of his defensive picks his first 2 drafts, most notably DE-converted to-OLB Shea McClellin. I actually expect Emery to move out of this spot, either up for Clinton-Dix or down and still get a quality defensive player.
15. Pittsburgh – Darqueze Dennard (BrawnyTom)
Last season Ike Taylor started to show his age and William Gay is strictly a slot corner at this point in his career, so the Steelers will be looking for a corner to pair with Cortez Allen as they continue to retool their defense. The Steelers get an infusion of talent and youth into their conerback corp with the selection of Dennard. The Jim Thorpe winner will bring the necessary physicality the Steelers demand from their DBs as well as a welcome ability to make “splash” plays as Head Coach Tomlin likes to say.
16. Dallas – Calvin Pryor (Mutomballs)
Many pundits predicted the Cowboys would use this selection to continue to build the offensive line; however, stuck with somewhat serviceable RT Doug Free, the Cowboys will opt to let him play out the final year of his contract and use the 16th pick to plug one of the many holes on defense by selecting Calvin Pryor from Louisville. Pryor, a reliable tackler (175 for his college career) is capable of playing both strong and free safety and will immediately assist Dallas’ run defense, ranked 6th worst in the league in 2013 after giving up almost 5 yards a carry. Pryor’s zone coverage skills are adequate, and, while not having been asked to cover slot receivers in college, he should have little problem adjusting to this in the NFL. Additionally, Pryor’s penchant for causing turnovers (5 interceptions, 7 forced fumbles at UL) will quickly make him a favorite of defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
17. Baltimore – Taylor Lewan (Brian Byrd)
Joe Flacco needs a second. Ring, that is. And also, literally a second to throw the ball because his offensive line is currently comprised of five purple balsa wood doorframes. Last year the Ravens’ front five finished last in the league in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards, RB Yards, Stuffed Percentage, Second-Level Yards, and Open Field Yards. Their 3.01 Adjusted Line Yards is the second worst in the NFL since 1995. Flacco was sacked 48 times (most in his career) and threw 10 more INTs than he had in any prior season, going from E.L.I.T.E (Easily Launching Incredible Touchdowns Err’Day) to E.L.I.T.E (Endlessly Launching Interceptions To Everyone). Lewan will immediately help both the run and pass blocking fronts. At 6-7, 309 pounds, Lewan is below-average height and weight for a Michigan resident with a female name, yet he should fare well against the AFC North’s speedy defensive ends. He’s certainly an improvement over Michael Oher, the former right tackle immortalized in Michael Lewis’ bestseller “Learn the Goddamm Snap Count You Moronic Brontosaurus.”
18. New York Jets – Brandin Cooks (Career High)
The Jets have a lot of draft needs, most notably a top end WR, pass catching TE, CB, safety and ahem, QB. They aren’t taking a QB here, and are most likely to take the top WR or CB left on their board unless Eric Ebron drops to them, which isn’t happening. The Jets desperately need a playmaker on offense, and after using their two first round picks on defense last year take a WR at #18. The pick sure to elicit the obligatory loud boos by the Jets faithful is Brandin Cooks. Cooks has Rex Ryan-approved footwork and will fit perfectly as a complement to Eric Decker. Cooks is a special athlete with great acceleration and the ability to stretch the field, something the Jets offense has lacked in recent years.
19. Miami – CJ Mosley (Caribou)
At the beginning of the offseason, Miami needed to address their OL woes. The Incognito-Martin firestorm last fall left Miami hurting on the left side of the line. However, during the offseason FA signings, the Dolphins inked Shelley Smith and Branden Albert to address this glaring issue.
MIA might still look to add depth to the OL by adding Notre Dame OT Zack Martin in this year’s draft, but I think the Dolphins will pull the trigger on maybe the best player on the board at the position and take Alabama LB CJ Mosley. His 107 tackles in 2012 were the second-highest total by an Alabama linebacker in the past 25 years (DeMeco Ryans had 126 in 2003) and 48 more than the next Tide defender last season.
20. Arizona – Ryan Shazier (SmallieBigs)
The Cardinals had an elite defense in 2013, and lost a major player in Karlos Dansby to free agency. Shazier fills a role as a dynamic play-maker who can roam the middle or move to the outside if necessary. Shazier’s production steadily increased in his 3 years at OSU and his combine numbers reaffirm his elite athleticism. An ILB unit of Daryl Washington and Ryan Shazier is fast enough and athletic enough to blitz, run sideline to sideline and drop into pass coverage on tight ends, a large hole in the Cardinals defense last season.
21. Green Bay – Zack Martin (ButtersBC)
Ever since Nick Collins broke his neck on Jonathan Stewart’s butt the safety position in Green Bay has been rot, but the guys worthy of a first round selection are already gone, so that can be left for next round. Instead let’s fortify the line, when bums like Shea McClellin are getting through and breaking beloved collarbones it’s time to reexamine things (it also doesn’t help that Bryan Bulaga dies at some point every season). This also provides fodder for Packer fans who already hate Ted Thompson and think every draft pick ever should be used on defense, so you’re welcome, Wisconsin sports talk radio hosts.
22. Philly – Bradley Roby (MantisToboggan)
The Eagles’ great offensive success was built on a foundation of running the ball and utilizing players in space. The loss of DeSean Jackson will not affect these plans. Zach Ertz will continue to develop and they will use more unique sets with Shady McCoy & Darren Sproles lining up together. Instead, the team will look to defense.
The Eagles secondary was a weak spot all of last season, and even with improved play by Brandon Boykin out of the nickel, the Eagles need to develop a top line corner that they have not seen since Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown or signed Troy Vincent back in the day. Roby’s tape doesn’t lie from 2012, and in a conference that has elite passing QBs such as Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford and Colin Kapernick the need for a badass corner is greater than ever.
23. Kansas City – Odell Beckham (Hop Slam)
I’ve never followed the Chiefs much, but after minutes and minutes of research, I feel that I have enough information to make a pick for them. The Chiefs have a few needs, but most of this can be addressed during the weekend. They don’t have a second round pick so they need to decide which position needs an impact player the most. That position is WR. Donnie Avery does not require enough attention from the defense to free up Bowe. There needs to be a quality WR opposite of Bowe to take the pressure off of him.
24. Cincinnati – Kyle Fuller (roundballrock)
After looking over the roster and seeing Andy Dalton at QB1 and Marvin Lewis at HC, the GM of the Bengals realizes that they’re not in “win-now” mode. Without that pressure they can restock an old defensive backfield that sees Pacman and Terrence Newman getting up there in age and Leon Hall coming back from surgery again, with Fuller. They’ll look in later rounds for a solution to their D-line issues (Atkins: surgery, Johnson: free agency) since those options are all a reach at this point in the draft.
25. San Diego – Louis Nix (SROD)
After a mildly surprising playoff run last season, the Chargers are optimistic. They still have holes, though (DL, OL, DB, WR depth). With quarterback Philip Rivers’ resurgence possibly buying the team another year or two, they can address other needs. While protecting their aging QB is a need, continually improving their pass rush is a bigger need. If the prime DL picks are gone before #25, San Diego may go with CB Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech) or CB Jason Verrett (TCU).
26. Cleveland (from Indianapolis) – Marqise Lee (spencer096)
Blake Bortles already has Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron to throw to as well as offseason pickup Nate Burleson. What better than to surround your new QB with a precise route-runner with blazing speed? This would give the Browns a pretty solid group of receivers to operate with and hopefully open up some running holes for new RB Ben Tate. Of course, being the Browns, Lee would probably die in a plane crash en route to his introductory press conference.
27. New Orleans – Donte Moncrief (GuitarGeekRich)
Statistically, New Orleans was very good at throwing the football (307 YPG – 2nd in the league), catching the football (also 307 YPG), and keeping the opponent from throwing and catching the football in 2013 (194 YPG– 2nd in the league). However, one might say that NO’s inability to establish the run and grind out the tough yards (as well as their inability to stop the run) against teams that double and bracket Jimmy Graham and take away Drew Brees’ deep ball (pun!) are the primary reasons they haven’t won the Superbowl since Peyton Manning’s touchdown pass to Tracy Porter. So with the 27th pick of the 2014 NFL draft, NO selects Dontae Moncrief. Despite WR being a deep position in this year’s draft, NO opted to take who they viewed as the third best prospect at WR behind only Evans and Watkins. NO expects Moncrief to push Stills for the WR No. 2 spot, creating a powerful 1-2-3 punch (Colston/Moncrief/Graham) of pass catching Who Dats.
28. Carolina – Austin Sefarian-Jenkins (starkweather)
Every single mock draft has the Panthers taking a WR here but they also have 146 WRs being drafted this year. You know why? Because this is the year that 7-on-7 broke. It’s easy to remember WRs and it’s easy to look up their stats so it’s easy to grasp that there are a bunch of good receivers. There is a good crop this year but what really separates them all? I thought about Davante Adams here but then I remembered that, for all of the yards and TDs that he piled up (1700+ yds, 24td) Adams wasn’t even the best looking WR to me of the Pac-12 guys that we have left. Paul Richardson was. But here I’m a cow and everybody has Richardson as a 4th rounder. So I’ll take ASJ who is “sliding” and, my god do I hate draft punditry. But I love it, too, since I read all of it that I can. He hurt his foot and he’s red-flagged now but he’s so good when he’s healthy. He’s like a TE version of Julio Jones. NOTE: Carolina is probably the most predictable team in the NFL at the draft over the last few years, so they’ll probably take a WR. My point is they can get 2 or 3 guys after the 1st round who are just as good as what they’ll get in the first. Not so much at TE.
29. New England – Ra’Shede Hageman (Mole)
Bill Belichick has a lot of holes to file this offseason, and they have even said they’re going to be filling a lot of roster spots with rookies and unsigned FA’s,now they need to take care of the first half of the equation. The question gnawing at the pack of Patriots’ fans heads is whether they have another ring if they stay healthy, and defensive tackle is where they have guys coming off big injuries. For me, Ra’shede Hagman, another 1st round Gopher for NE, is the pick. He’s 6’6” and has the body to be an absolute monster in the zone where you want a guy who can disrupt and get his arms in the air, he needs to work on stamina but I think that he has the tools to step in for Wilfork or Kelly in the short term if either has more injury problems.
30. San Francisco – LaMarcus Joyner (grlunowits grlunowits grlunowits)
What was already the D’s weakest unit lost two starters this offseason so CB is the obvious pick. Joyner could be versatile, playing some safety on 3rd down and he has a non-stop motor of course.
31. Denver – Jason Verrett (Willis)
John Elway maintains that his draft strategy is to take the best player available, regardless of position, especially since the team does have good depth on both sides of the ball. If there is a void to be filled, it’s on a defense that was 22nd in points allowed last season. With target players at the cornerback, linebacker and defensive line positions already taken, the list narrows down quite a bit for guys they hope can step up right away. Verrett, while undersized, will still be able to contribute and at the very least provide depth on a defense that expects to find itself playing with a lead quite often. Regardless of all this. Peyton. F’ing. Manning.
32. Seattle – Kelvin Benjamin (TonyToniTone)
The smart pick would be to go with an offensive lineman, so Russell Wilson can stop doing his ‘run backwards for 15 yards to gain 4′ play. But with the departure of Golden Tate and the fragile health of Percy Harvin, the Seahawks need depth at receiver. At 6’5, Benjamin would be an ideal red zone target, and should be effective in a 3 or 4 receiver set.