2014 SpreeGoogs Fan-Sourced NFL Mock Draft Picks 9-16
Welcome back for the second day of mocking the mock draft process with 30 real football fans no actual information! In case you missed all of the excitement from Day 1, you should go read it to see what we’re doing here. Here is a summary of yesterday’s picks:
1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, University of South Carolina
2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
4. Cleveland Browns: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
5. Oakland Raiders: Johnny Football Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
6. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
8. Minnesota Vikings: Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
Here we go.
2014 SpreeGoogs Fan-Sourced NFL Mock Draft Part 2
9. Buffalo Bills (pick made by Lee Thompson): Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
In the wake of the Bills losing longtime owner and original founder, Ralph Wilson, this team has one goal this year: to make the playoffs. The whole town of Buffalo will be hoping that on-field success will translate into the franchise sticking around Orchard Park and not becoming the NFL’s team-of-the-moment to move to LA, or even Toronto or London. A solid, young defense will lead the way (even after the loss of stud safety Jairus Byrd, whose replacement will come from a deep secondary roster), but the offense has a need or two they’ll be glad to fill come draft day. The Bills are all-in on QB E.J. Manuel, so their next step is to surround him with the right weapons. Adding to the CJ Spiller/Fred Jackson tandem at RB, they traded with the Bucs for former Buffalo native and Syracuse star WR Mike Williams to complement the vocal Stevie Johnson. However, bringing on board Williams is an interesting move, as he quit the Syracuse team during the first year Doug Marrone was coaching there and has been plagued by off-field issues along the way. Picking Ebron, the most talented TE in the draft and one of the draft’s most intriguing skill-position players, is the team’s best move here since it provides the Bills a real threat over the middle of the field. Giving young E.J. a big target in the mold of a Jimmy Graham style TE would be a huge deal for the Bill’s spread offense. Here’s hoping that the receptions he’ll take away from Johnson and Williams don’t lead to unwanted receiver drama, or else Ralph Wilson will surely be turning over in his grave.
10. Detroit Lions (pick made by Billy Guglielmo): Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
In a perfect world the Lions end the draft with new studs at cornerback, safety, wide receiver, and offensive line. For years I’ve prayed for a defensive back in the first round. For years my prayers have been ignored. Sure, last year GM Martin Mayhew picked up CB Darius Slay in round two, but inconsistent play has kept him from being the impact player the team needs. I’m not in love with any of this year’s top-end cornerback prospects, so my focus shifts to safety. Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is considered the best safety in the 2014 draft and would provide an immediate upgrade to the Lions’ defense. He has a natural talent for pass defense including a great ability to make a play with the ball in the air. However, to play for the Lions he will need to work on his run support. Fun fact: in 2010 the Lions leading tackler was a safety (Louis Delmas), which pretty much sums up how depressing it is to watch this team play defense.
11. Tennessee Titans (pick made by Matt McVicker): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma St
When Justin Gilbert, star cornerback from Oklahoma State, was asked to describe his game in one word, he really only had one choice: “Solid. My game is solid.” As much as the Titans need the help on defense, I’m honestly more looking forward to having a Marshawn Lynch-type player among our ranks. He has also compared himself to Deion Sanders, and made it clear that when he makes an interception he “is always looking to do something after the catch.” I wish I could help him state the obvious to a greater degree, but it might not even be possible. With how boring our team has been in the last couple of years, Gilbert is definitely the kind of player that Music City needs.
12. New York Giants (pick made by Bill Powell): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
This might be the least realistic pick in our mock draft. Most professional prognosticators seem to think Greg Robinson will go to the Rams at No. 2. I’d guess there’s roughly a zero percent chance he falls to the Giants at No. 12. But I’m sure GM Jerry Reese would jump at the chance to snatch up the Auburn monster, and I will, too (and not just because Robinson abused my alma mater’s defense in the SEC title game). When people think of the Giants’ two 21st century Super Bowl wins, they think of dominant defensive-line play, with Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck, and Jason Pierre-Paul making Tom Brady cry to his supermodel wife. But equally important was the team’s stout O-line, five guys who never missed a game, kept Eli Manning upright, and then slept with the coach’s daughter (in the case of Chris Snee). Last year, when Eli was constantly running for his life, we saw just how immobile he is at this stage of his career. And he’s never made good decisions on the run, as evidenced by his ballooning interception totals. Adding Robinson to last year’s top pick, tackle Justin Pugh, should give the only Manning with multiple rings a shot at a bounce-back season.
13. St. Louis Rams (pick made by Dan Moore): Taylor Lewan, OT Michigan
Here is the thing about cargo cults: If you’re inside one, it is impossible to distinguish what you’re doing from very important scientific work. The Rams drafted Orlando Pace shortly before Mike Martz landed his plane on their coconut runway and scored 500 points a game for three years. Orlando Pace was unnervingly strong and very good at his job, which was protecting Kurt Warner from Mike Martz.
Now the Rams don’t have Mike Martz, and they don’t have Kurt Warner, but they have spent much of the last four years dutifully building pineapple radios for Sam Bradford to call them down with. Having drafted Sammy Watkins with the No. 2 pick in my draft, the Rams have built something that looks almost exactly like a biplane. Taylor Lewan will probably help them push it into space.
14. Chicago Bears (pick made by Kurtis Klay): Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
After years of having an offense that couldn’t quite keep up with their stellar defense, the Bears seemingly had the offensive pieces last season to change that trend. They brought in an offensive guru in Marc Trestman at head coach. They finally got some solidarity on the offensive line. Most importantly, they got a breakout year from Alshon Jeffery to help take some of the receiving weight from Brandon Marshall. So, with all that going well for the Monsters of the Midway, it only made sense that their defense would get decimated by injuries. Some of that can be attributed to bad luck, but the Bears have a different problem to deal with: the core members of their once vaunted defense are starting to get old. They have six key defensive players who are in double digits for seasons played (and Tim Jennings has played 9). So I expect the Bears to continue to use early picks to try and get some youth on the defensive side of the ball and use their first round pick to address the big problem areas at CB and S. I think Clinton-Dix is the best safety in the draft, but Pryor isn’t a bad second option. He has great closing speed to play center field, and can deliver big hits to both receivers and ball carriers. And playing in the Black and Blue NFC North, he can provide the kind of physicality that goes a long way in the division. But most importantly, he takes Craig Steltz or Chris Conte off the field for the Bears. So at least there’s that.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (pick made by Dan Marlin): Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
For the Steelers, quality and need tend to align in the first round. (I suppose this particularly annoys fans of a team about two hours to the northwest.) Two years ago, David DeCastro was the perfect fit. Last year, it was Jarvis Jones. This year, a multitude of options presented themselves: hometown kid Aaron Donald; a plummeting Mike Evans; C.J. Mosley; and Dennard. I took Donald off the board first because defensive tackle feels like less of a need than the linebacking corps or defensive backfield; besides, the line isn’t quite as important in the 3-4 scheme. Evans was undeniably attractive, but the Steelers have shown the ability to find wide receiver gems in later rounds, and rookie receivers seldom make an immediate impact. The prospect of pairing Mosley on the inside with Lawrence Timmons is enticing, but I don’t think Kevin Colbert and the rest of the brain trust would take a linebacker in the first round for the second straight year.
So, Dennard is the pick, for a few reasons. (I mean, first, did you watch the guy last year?) Ryan Clark, the leader of the secondary, is dearly departed to Washington. Swaggin’ Ike Taylor isn’t getting any younger. Neither is Troy Polamalu. The Steelers can’t keep relying on fringe starters like William Gay; they need youth and real potential at corner. Acquiring one of the leaders of the 2013 Michigan State defense – one of the best units in the country – makes too much sense here.
16. Dallas Cowboys (pick made by Brian Eason): Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
In 2013, something called George Selvie started 16 games for the Dallas Cowboys at defensive end. Another alleged professional football player, “Caeser Rayford,” played 144 downs on the defensive line. Jarius Wynn and Drake Nevis logged more than 500 snaps between them. These guys were among 41 players the Cowboys used on defense last year. No other defense in the league suited up more than 32.
Suffice it to say, this did not go well. Selvie and Caeser and Jarius and Nevis and 37 other dudes combined to give up 6,645 yards, which was amazingly only the third most yardage in NFL history. Now, DeMarcus Ware is a Bronco. Jason Hatcher is a Washington American Indian. The corpse formerly known as Jay Ratliff is a Chicago Bear.
I could go on, but I guess what I’m saying is, the Cowboys need defensive players — especially linemen. So, sorry Mike Evans, but the Cowboys select DT Aaron Donald. Because I can’t keep watching this exact game over, and over, and over again.
Blame Jerry or Romo or Garrett if you must. I do too, sometimes. But I can’t stay mad at them. You try winning with Caeser Jarius Nevis.