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Clowney Comeback: First Round Mock

James Anderson

James Anderson

James Anderson is a University of Minnesota graduate, with allegiances to the Packers, Brewers, Bucks (sigh) and Gophers (double sigh). He is an editor and scribe at Rotowire.com, primarily focused on basketball and baseball. In 2013 he was a FSWA finalist for Fantasy Basketball writer of the year.



Two trades:

-CIN trades No. 24, 2014 3rd round pick and 2015 1st round pick to Buffalo for No. 9.
-CLE trades No. 4 and No. 35 to STL for No. 2.

1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney*, DE, South Carolina (6-5, 275)


There's been talk that Bill O'Brien might not be the biggest Teddy Bridgewater fan, and Johnny Manziel is the opposite of past O’Brien pocket passer QBs like Tom Brady, Matt McGloin and Christian Hackenberg. Putting Clowney on the same front seven as J.J. Watt is an automatic victory if O’Brien can’t find a QB he feels comfortable with.


2. Cleveland Browns (from WAS via STL) – Johnny Manziel*, QB, Texas A&M (6-0, 215)


It's really difficult to imagine the Rams not trading this pick, regardless of who the Texans take at No. 1. The Browns are perfectly positioned with draft picks to move up here and grab Manziel, who would thrive with weapons like Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron in the passing game.


3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Greg Robinson*, OT, Auburn (6-5, 320)


It comes down to whether the Jags like any of the QBs left on the board. Given how far away they are from contending, it would make sense to add a stud to the D-line or O-line, and with Clowney off the board, Greg Robinson is the most talented big body on the board.


4. St. Louis Rams (from CLE) – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (6-5, 305)


The Rams fill a need with the best offensive tackle left on the board. They still need help in terms of playmakers on offense to go along with Tavon Austin and Zac Stacy, but this draft is loaded with weapons on the outside, so they can address that need later.


5. Oakland Raiders – Sammy Watkins*, WR, Clemson (6-1, 205)


Everyone is high on Watkins right now, especially after his performance in the Orange Bowl, and the excitement surrounding him will only ramp up after the Combine. If the Raiders really like Teddy Bridgewater he could be the guy here, but I think they'll have a hard time passing up a top-3 talent in Watkins, who offers them a legit No. 1 WR they've been lacking since Tim Brown was in his prime.


6. Atlanta Falcons – Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA (6-4, 250)


Barr is the consensus second best defensive player on the board this year, and the Falcons can use help everywhere on that side of the ball. I know they love the idea of having an explosive offense, and Mike Evans' size will surely be tempting for GM Thomas Dimitroff, especially since he has to watch Jimmy Graham go to work twice a season, but they would be better served taking the best player available.


7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan (6-7, 310)


The Bucs need help on the offensive line, and while it's not clear if Mike Glennon is the quarterback of the future, 6-foot-7 offensive tackles never go out of style.


8. Minnesota Vikings – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State (6-0, 205)


It's clear that the Vikings want to target a QB, though I think new head coach Mike Zimmer might not be able to pass up a potential shutdown corner with Gilbert's size. Gilbert gives them someone to go against a division that is loaded with big, physical wide receivers.


9. Cincinnati Bengals (from BUF) – Teddy Bridgewater*, QB, Louisville (6-3, 205)


If Bridgewater falls this far, it's easy to envision a team with quarterback concerns trading up to get one of the two best QBs in the draft. The Bills would likely take someone like Khalil Mack here, but the concerns surrounding Andy Dalton and whether he has the ability to lead the Bengals to a conference title game could force the Bengals' hand here.


10. Detroit Lions – Marqise Lee*, WR, USC (6-0, 195)


If Lee had been eligible to leave after his 2012 season, he might have been a top-five pick. After battling injuries and a toxic environment at USC for the first half of 2013, Lee put his elite playmaking abilities on display against Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl. He doesn't have truly elite hands, and there could be questions about his durability, but perhaps only Watkins can match his game-breaking potential with the ball in his hands. Putting him opposite Calvin Johnson would really open up Detroit's offense.


11. Tennessee Titans – Khalil Mack, (3-4) OLB, Buffalo (6-3, 250)


The Titans have numerous directions they could choose to go to improve their defense with this pick, but Mack would offer them an explosive playmaker on the edge if he falls this far.


12. New York Giants – C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama (6-2, 235)


Mosley is a unique option among this year's linebacker class in that he's as good against the pass as he is in every other facet. With tight ends like Jordan Reed, Jason Witten and Zach Ertz in the division, Mosley would be a valuable asset for the Giants.


13. St. Louis Rams – Mike Evans*, WR, Texas A&M (6-5, 225)


Evans could go as high as No. 10 to Detroit – it all depends on how confident teams are that they can either keep him at WR or transform him into Jimmy Graham-esque TE. At No. 13, the Rams won't hesitate to bet on Evans' unique skill set, as he could be the perfect complement for Tavon Austin.


14. Chicago Bears – Timmy Jernigan*, DT, Florida State (6-2, 300)


Jernigan might have been the best player in Florida State’s dominant defense, and the Bears badly need a defensive tackle.


15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State (5-11, 200)


Whichever team selects Dennard is getting a potentially elite shutdown corner, and one whose physicality is a great fit for the hardnosed identity Pittsburgh carries. He was the best player on arguably the best defense in the country last season, and would be a welcome addition to a perennially overrated Pittsburgh secondary.


16. Baltimore Ravens – Kelvin Benjamin*, WR, Florida State (6-5, 235)


The Ravens would love to beef up the offensive line, but in this scenario, WR is the better value. Cyrus Kouandjio is an option here, but I don't think Ozzie Newsome passes on an opportunity to provide Joe Flacco a much-needed compliment to Torrey Smith on the outside.


17. Dallas Cowboys – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix*, S, Alabama (6-1, 210)


The Cowboys are always a tough team to predict, because the people (*person) making the decisions can't be trusted to make reasonable picks. Luckily their needs match up perfectly with perhaps the best player on the board here with HHCD.


18. New York Jets – Eric Ebron*, TE, North Carolina (6-4, 245)


If one of the top-four wide receivers are still available, I think the Jets go in that direction, but in this case, Ebron's the best pass-catcher left on the board.


19. Miami Dolphins – Cyrus Kouandjio*, OT, Alabama (6-5, 310)


I suspect the Dolphins will take the best offensive linemen on the board, and in this scenario that's Kouandjio. He's got some work to do before he is a finished product, but his size and quickness sets him apart.


20. Arizona Cardinals – Blake Bortles*, QB, UCF (6-3, 230)


Bortles is a major wild card in the first round. He could go as high as No. 1. He also could fall pretty far, especially since there aren't a ton of teams outside of the top eight that need a QB. There's so much talent elsewhere in the top 10, and unless teams think Bortles is close to a sure thing, they might choose to look at a wide receiver or an offensive lineman. Arizona would be a perfect place for Bortles to go if he slides this far, as he could wait in the wings for a year, and then come into a favorable situation -- kind of like the one Colin Kaepernick inherited in San Francisco.


21. Green Bay Packers – Anthony Johnson*, DT, LSU (6-2, 295)


Ted Thompson always goes ‘best player available,’ so even though linebacker seems to be the biggest need, it's certainly not a lock. After the Packers presumably let B.J. Raji walk in the offseason, there will be room on the defensive line for someone with Johnson's talent and pedigree. Johnson carries an underachiever label, but he might be enough of a workout warrior to make a surprise appearance in the first round.


22. Philadelphia Eagles – Kony Ealy*, (3-4) OLB, Missouri (6-4, 275)


Assuming none of the top-four wide receivers are available, the Eagles will probably choose to address that need in a later round. Ealy is an explosive and versatile option on the edge, and he'd fit in well with the Eagles' scheme.


23. Kansas City Chiefs – Brandin Cooks*, WR, Oregon State (5-10, 190)


The Chiefs need at wide receiver might be as glaring as any weakness among the teams at the back end of the first round. Cooks doesn't cut the figure of a typical huge, physical No. 1 wide receiver, but nobody was more productive last season at the college level, and his speed and hands will make him an appealing option for Kansas City.


24. Buffalo Bills (from CIN) – Austin Seferian-Jenkins*, TE, Washington (6-6, 275)


The Bills could use some more punch on the offensive side of the ball, and I'd expect them to target a wide receiver or a tight end here. Giving EJ Manuel a better option than Scott Chandler at tight end could really help his growth.


25. San Diego Chargers – Louis Nix*, DT, Notre Dame (6-2, 350)


Nix is a top-15 talent, and the Chargers go for talent over need here.


26. Cleveland Browns (from IND) – Odell Beckham*, WR, LSU (5-11, 195)


Teams usually only go as far as their QBs do, so getting Manziel a legitimate WR2 should be a top goal for the Browns.


27. New Orleans Saints – Ra’Shede Hageman, (3-4) DE, Minnesota (6-6, 310)


Cameron Jordan is a beast at one end spot, but the Saints could do better on the other side. Hageman has enough potential to eventually match Jordan’s effectiveness.

28. Carolina Panthers – Paul Richardson*, WR, Colorado (6-1, 170)


The Panthers' lack of respectable receiving options for Cam Newton to throw to has been a story for the past couple seasons, and I think they finally step up and address it here with the speedy Richardson.


29. New England Patriots – Jace Amaro*, TE, Texas Tech (6-5, 260)


It's not hard to see that the Patriots were lacking anything resembling a legitimate option in the passing game down the stretch. Given the concerns surrounding Rob Gronkowski's long-term health, if one of the top-three tight ends in the class are on the board here, I think New England pounces.


30. San Francisco 49ers – Kelcy Quarles*, DT, South Carolina (6-3, 300)


It was Quarles, not Jadeveon Clowney, who led the Gamecocks in sacks and takles for a loss last season. The 49ers could use a successor to Justin Smith.


31. Denver Broncos – Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU (6-3, 245)


Von Miller might get to a slow start in 2014 due to his late season ACL tear, so adding a skilled blitzer like Van Noy would be nice insurance for the Denver defense.


32. Seattle Seahawks – Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt (6-3, 210)


With Sidney Rice’s injury issues making him a non-factor, the Seahawks could really use a bigger receiver to complement Percy Harvin and Golden Tate.