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Arcanum Cannon Mock: New 1st Round Projection

Clay Link

Clay Link

Hailing from the not-so-mean streets of Arcanum, Ohio, Clay is a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He began writing for RotoWire in the fall of 2011, and now contributes to breaking news and NFL Draft content, in addition to his duties covering the Braves and Raiders.

Trades:
-CLE trades No. 4 and No. 71 to STL for No. 2 and No. 141
-CAR trades No. 28, No. 60 and 2015 3rd-round pick to PIT for No. 15
-MIN trades No. 40, No. 72 and 2015 2nd-round pick to MIA for No. 19


1. Houston Texans - Teddy Bridgewater*, QB, Louisville (6-3, 205)


"The most important position on the football field." We see the sustained success that the top-tier quarterbacks bring to their respective franchises, as well as the immediate impact rookie quarterbacks can make. While Bridgewater may not be the on the level of Cam Newton or Andrew Luck, he's certainly one of the premier prospects in this year's class. The detractors may say Bridgewater doesn't jump out on tape, but the numbers speak for themselves (31:4 TD:INT, 171.1 rating last season), and he shows good anticipation and accuracy in addition to the ability to make smart adjustments at the line of scrimmage.


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


With Bridgewater off the board first, the Browns jump up to grab Manziel at No. 2 pick. The quarterback position is a glaring hole for Cleveland, but this move also appeases a frustrated fan base with an instant spark of excitement and national attention ahead of the 2014 season. Of course, the former Heisman Trophy winner's slight frame and questionable footwork turn off many scouts, but he has great quickness and all of the ‘intangibles.’


3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jadeveon Clowney*, DE, South Carolina (6-5, 275)


The Jaguars, who ranked dead last in the league in sacks last season with 31, are ecstatic to see Clowney fall to No. 3. As a junior, Clowney only recorded 3.0 sacks, but he had 21.0 in his first two seasons and is still the size-speed nightmare he's always been. He would wreak havoc in Jacksonville for years to come.


4. St. Louis Rams (from CLE) - Sammy Watkins*, WR, Clemson (6-1, 205)


Just bear with me on this. The Rams need help along the offensive line, sure, but why not grab the game-changing, potential top-five talent in Watkins and hope to get a Taylor Lewan (spoiler alert) or a Cyrus Kouandjio at No. 13? Another team could fall in love with Watkins at the Combine and the Rams could trade back yet again if presented with the right deal, but Watkins really is the total package with great speed, hands, route-running ability and instincts. He may be too good for St. Louis to pass up.


5. Oakland Raiders - Blake Bortles*, QB, UCF (6-3, 230)


Oakland wants Watkins here, but Bortles will certainly do. He's athletic at 6-foot-3, and it's rather easy to see him making a successful transition to the NFL with that arm strength. The Raiders know they're a couple years away from seriously competing, so they'd be fine with grooming Bortles behind Matt McGloin or a veteran free agent quarterback, at least for the first half or so of 2014.


6. Atlanta Falcons - Greg Robinson*, OT, Auburn (6-5, 320)


The Falcons need an edge rusher, so Khalil Mack tempts them here, but they end up taking the top player on their board in Robinson. Atlanta has the pieces in place offensively, but Matt Ryan needs to stay upright and away from the Cameron Jordans and Greg Hardys of the division.


7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (6-5, 305)


While new head coach Lovie Smith would like a new toy to utilize on defense, the Buccaneers end up going with Matthews, who can get it done in both the passing and run game. He certainly has the pedigree -- Jake's the son of Hall of Fame lineman Bruce Matthews -- and has also drawn comparisons to former teammate and 2013 No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel. Matthews would give Mike Glennon some peace of mind and shore up an offensive unit that already features the likes of Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin.


8. Minnesota Vikings - Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo (6-3, 250)


After missing out on Blake Bortles, the Vikings turn their attention to Mack, and they're lucky to land him at No. 8. General Manager Rick Spielman knows that the first step to disrupting the potent passing attacks of the NFC North is generating pressure, and the club could lose their top two sack leaders from 2013 (Jared Allen and Everson Griffen) to free agency. In comes Mack, who recorded 18.5 sacks and 40 tackles for loss in his final two collegiate seasons.


9. Buffalo Bills - Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA (6-4, 250)


Buffalo may look to grab either Eric Ebron or Jace Amaro at this spot, but if new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz thinks Barr can transition into his 4-3 scheme, the Bills could take him. Barr's addition would take some pressure off of Mario Williams and give the Bills one of the scariest front fours in the league.


10. Detroit Lions - Mike Evans*, WR, Texas A&M (6-5, 225)


The Lions take a page out of the Bears' playbook and pair the 6-foot-5 Evans up with Megatron to form the Motor City's own tandem of towering receivers. Calvin Johnson needs some help, and the Lions could use a taller pass catcher with Brandon Pettigrew a free agent. Evans is great at the point of attack and very tough, so he should make an immediate impact.


11. Tennessee Titans - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix*, S, Alabama (6-1, 210)


Bernard Pollard is a free agent, and Clinton-Dix would be a great replacement on the back end for Tennessee. The Titans allowed just three pass plays of 40-plus yards in 2013, fewest in the league, but they had only 13 interceptions as a team, and Clinton-Dix's ball skills would help in that department.


12. New York Giants - David Yankey*, G, Stanford (6-5, 315)


It's not a sexy pick (I can hear the boos inside Radio City Music Hall now), but the Giants need some interior line help, and Yankey is a proven commodity at the guard position. He helped anchor one of the finest offensive lines in college football last season.


13. St. Louis Rams - Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan (6-7, 310)


The Rams get their man in Lewan after gambling on Sammy Watkins earlier in the draft. Lewan is no Greg Robinson, but he's massive at 6-foot-7, and experienced with 48 starts (41 consecutive) during his time at Michigan. He also went up against Jadeveon Clowney in the 2013 Outback Bowl and held his own.


14. Chicago Bears - Louis Nix*, DT, Notre Dame (6-2, 345)


The once mighty Chicago run defense is in shambles after giving up a whopping 2,583 rush yards in 2013, 410 more than any other team in the league. Insert Nix, who clogs up a heck of a lot of space at 345 pounds, yet is surprisingly agile for his size.


15. Carolina Panthers (via PIT) - Marqise Lee*, WR, USC (6-0, 195)


After a massive step forward in 2013, Carolina gets aggressive and lands Cam Newton a legitimate receiving threat in Lee by moving ahead of Baltimore. Steve Smith is going to be 35 at the start of next season and is entering the final year of his contract, so while Lee comes with some injury risk (he missed time last season with knee and shoulder issues), he can help the Panthers win now.


16. Baltimore Ravens - Odell Beckham*, WR, LSU (5-11, 195)


Following Lee's selection, the Ravens surprise a bit by selecting Beckham over Florida State wideout Kelvin Benjamin. While Beckham doesn't have Benjamin's size, he does have game-breaking speed and agility. He'd go a long way in helping not only Joe Flacco, but the Ravens' return game as well. Jacoby Jones is a free agent.


17. Dallas Cowboys - Timmy Jernigan*, DT, Florida State (6-2, 300)


The Cowboys might be tempted by an athletic specimen like RaShede Hageman or Eric Ebron at this spot, but stopping the run is the team’s main concern and Jernigan’s stout presence would yield immediate returns.


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


Geno Smith could use some help. The likes of Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Winslow aren't going to get it done. It wouldn't be a shock to see the Jets jump at Kelvin Benjamin with receivers flying off the board, but Ebron is the middle-of-the-field/goal-line threat they need.


19. Minnesota Vikings (from MIA) - Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State (6-2, 220)


Miami could use an impact player, but the Vikings go all-in to jump in front of Arizona and grab Carr. The brother of former No. 1 overall bust David Carr, Derek has an absolute cannon and a strong work ethic. Minnesota will likely have to pay a pretty penny to get him, but it may very well be worth it.


20. Arizona Cardinals - Cyrus Kouandjio*, OT, Alabama (6-5, 310)


The Cardinals averaged just 3.6 YPC as a team last season, and Kouandjio's run-blocking ability would help balance out the offense.


21. Green Bay Packers - C.J. Mosley, (3-4) ILB, Alabama (6-2, 235)


Green Bay desperately needs some playmaking ability at the linebacker position. Mosley can tackle in the open field and is well above average in pass coverage.


22. Philadelphia Eagles - Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan Sate (5-11, 200)


Dennard doesn't have the athleticism of Justin Gilbert, but he is physical and has proven that he can play in both man and zone coverages.


23. Kansas City Chiefs - RaShede Hageman, (3-4) DE, Minnesota (6-6, 310)


The Chiefs opt for an upgrade over Mike DeVito rather than a receiver. Hageman's great burst should put Kansas City's defense over the top, if it isn't there already.


24. Cincinnati Bengals - Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State (6-0, 200)


Those in the Queen City are thrilled to get Gilbert at this spot, because while he’s a question mark in run defense, he has the size, athleticism and hips to turn into a standout cover corner.


25. San Diego Chargers - Zack Martin, OT/G, Notre Dame (6-4, 305)


Philip Rivers renewed the confidence of management with a strong 2013, and the team goes out and gets him some line help with the versatile, strong and technically-sound Martin.


26. Cleveland Browns (from IND) - Kelvin Benjamin*, WR, Florida State (6-5, 235)


Benjamin is disappointed to have fallen this far, but the Browns are thrilled to get him. With Benjamin and Josh Gordon on the outside, Johnny Manziel should have every opportunity to thrive.


27. New Orleans Saints - Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU (6-3, 245)


The Saints bring in Van Noy to help Curtis Lofton along the second level. Van Noy can get after the quarterback and is adequate in coverage.


28. Pittsburgh Steelers (from CAR) - Calvin Pryor*, S, Louisville (6-2, 210)


Questions about Pryor's ability in pass coverage push him down this far, but with Ryan Clark entering free agency, the Steelers are willing to take the chance. Pryor is a very sound tackler with above-average athleticism, so the concerns over his pass coverage may end up being hogwash.


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


The Patriots were lucky to get as far as they did in 2013, and if they want to get back to the AFC Championship next season, they'll need to get Tom Brady some help. Amaro has arguably the best hands at the position in the draft, and is the type of matchup nightmare Bill Belichick loves. Rob Gronkowski's status for the start of 2014 is uncertain.


30. San Francisco 49ers - Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt (6-3, 205)


Anquan Boldin won't be around forever, and while Matthews struggles at times to create space, he does have tremendous hands and should be able to haul in those Colin Kaepernick fastballs with ease.


31. Denver Broncos - Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh (6-1, 290)


The rich get richer here, with Donald slipping all the way down to Denver at No. 31. He's a bit undersized, but Donald has great burst and outstanding swim and club moves. Terrance Knighton won’t necessarily be affordable as a free agent after the 2014 season.


32. Seattle Seahawks - Austin Seferian-Jenkins*, TE, Washington (6-6, 275)


The Super Bowl champs can afford to roll the dice a bit with Seferian-Jenkins, who's had some off-the-field issues. He has good hands, tremendous agility for his size, and can block well. Russell Wilson would have a legitimate red-zone target, and Seattle could sell the pick easily since ASJ is an in-state product.