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FlyingSquirrelTyphus Mock 2
Published at 2/14/2014 12:54:05 PM
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Even if Shaub's year was a fluke, he is 32, and the Texans need a long-term solution, especially since Keenum doesn't appear to be a franchise QB. They could certainly trade back if a team absolutely falls in love with one of the franchise QBs, but with so few big needs, the Texans pick the best QB. Who do the Texans think is the best QB? I really have no idea, but enough people are saying the Texans love Manziel that I am going to take their word on it.
TRADE: The Vikings' 2014 8th and 40th overall picks and 2015 first round pick for the Rams 2014 2nd overall pick. ---
Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder, and Josh Freeman. I can't imagine the Vikings passing on the chance to move up for a potential star QB because...you guessed it: Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder, and Josh Freeman. With the depth of this year's corner and D-line class, the Vikings can afford to give up their second and another first next year to move up.
In this draft it is easier to find an upgrade at QB in the second or third round than it is to find an upgrade over Clowney. Jacksonville has had the fewest sacks in the NFL two years in a row and were among the five fewest in the NFL for five years straight. Unsurprisingly, the lack of QB pressure has been a significant contributor to one of the NFL's worst pass defenses with their run defense not much better. Clowney is far and away the best pass rusher in this draft, a trait that is harder to find in the second round than it is to find a quarterback who has the talent to beat out the Jaguars bench If I'm the Jags, I'd rather see Clowney in the first and either grab QB next year or get Garapollo, Carr, or Foles. The Jags have had a top ten pick in five or the last seasons and while they are hoping to escape the perpetual rebuilding mode they've fallen into, they can't do that if they pick a QB they aren't absolutely in love with. I think they pass on Bortles and get the best defensive prospect in years.
With Manziel and Bridgewater gone, the Browns pick the last franchise QB of the draft. While they have the ammo to move up to the 2nd pick, I think they wait for whatever QB falls to them and use their other first to give him more weapons. Luckily for them, Bortles is available and the Weeden/Campbell/Hoyer experiment mercifully ends.
TRADE: 49ers trade their 2014 30th, 56th, 77th overall picks and 2015 first round pick for the Raiders 2014 5th overall pick. ---
For the Raiders, no single player is enough to turn them into a playoff contender, while the number of 49ers picks far exceed their needs; making this an excellent match. With Sammy Watkins, Michael Crabtree, Anquan Bolden, Vernon Davis, and Frank Gore spreading the field, you'd be hard pressed to find a defense that can contain them for a whole game. Without any gaping holes, the 49ers can afford to make the move and the Raiders will benefit from the extra picks in this deep draft.
Pass rush and offensive line are the most significant positions of need for the Falcons. After considering the depth in this draft, the Falcons pass on Matthews knowing another starting caliber tackle will be available in 32 picks. Instead they grab the former runningback and one of the current PAC12 sack leaders, Anthony Barr. While many of the other elite pass rushers in the draft are lauded for their excellent technique or pro-ready skills, Barr has succeeded over the last two years based on athleticism and instinct (quickest average sack speed in the draft, coming in at 3.52 secs). The Falcons know they can teach technique, but you can't make a player an elite athlete or train instincts. The Falcons are a great team that had a bad year, so look for them to stand pat and improve their already strong team with all these early picks.
While the Bucs can certainly improve at TE, the 7th pick is a bit early to draft a TE. Lovie Smith inherits a really strong defense and chooses to make it stronger. With four of the last eight, first-or-second-round-picks going to defensive line, the Bucs decide to let their pass rush remain intact and instead pick the future Derrick Brooks for their Tampa Two defense.
TRADE: Rams' trade their 2014 2nd overall pick for the Vikings' 2014 8th and 40th overall picks and 2015 first round pick. ---
The Rams find their trade partner in the Vikings, who finally secure that franchise QB. With Jake Long coming off a serious injury and Saffold a free agent, the Rams use their first pick to select the best tackle in the draft to fill in wherever they need him.
TRADE: Ravens trade their 2014 16th, 48th, and 80th overall picks for the Bills' 2014 9th and 73rd overall picks. ---
The Ravens basically just flip first, thirds, and give up their second rounder for the right to move up and select a cornerstone for their offensive line. With Joe Flacco's six-year, $120.6 million contract and Ray Rice entering the third year of his five-year, $35 million contract, the Ravens have a lot of money tied up in their backfield that needs to be protected. The Ravens can't afford to have their offensive line play another season with the lowest rushing yards per attempt or yielding a NFL top-five most sacks. With the introduction of Gary Kubiak as offensive coordinator, the Ravens will likely adopt a zone blocking scheme; a scheme that Robinson excelled at while helping lead Auburn to the National Championship and the NCAA leading rushing offense. Robinson was one of the top run blockers in college last season and will be an upgrade over Michael Oher when the Ravens let him walk in free agency.
Even though the Lions pass defense put up some of the worst numbers in the NFL, the Lions have five corners under the age of 26, so I don't see them moving on just yet. Instead, I think the front office remembers that Matt Stafford managed to throw for 4,650 yards with Joique Bell, Kris Durham, Nate Burleson(who has been cut), Brandon Pettigrew, and Reggie Bush playing across from Calvin Johnson. The Lions can't help but be excited about the prospect of an Evans/Johnson tandem that will drive defenses nuts.
TRADE: Packers trade their 2014 21st, 53rd, and 85th overall picks for the Titans' 2014 11th and 107th overall pick. ---
Green Bay has only made two trades in the first round in the last ten years: once a trade down in 2008 and the other a trade into the first in 2009. After putting up uniformly bad pass defense (bottom ten in almost every pass defense statistic) after losing Charles Woodson in free agency, the Packers take the plunge and move up to get the best safety in the draft. The NFC North champs don't have a ton of needs so they can afford to give up some picks to ensure their secondary has an answer to Matt Stafford, Jay Cutler, and Teddy Bridgewater.
The Giants had one of the worst pass rushing units in the NFL this year AND Justin Tuck is a free agent, so the Giants pick the player that is most likely to help turn things around. As Giants fans like to remind us, last year's O-line pick was an aberration (1999 was the last time) and the Giants haven't selected a linebacker in the first round since they selected Carl Banks with the 3rd pick of the 1984 draft. So I figure the Giants ignore their needs on O-line and at linebacker, and do what they are good at and pick another pass rusher.
With Clinton-Dix already off the board and plenty of corner depth, the Rams take the best player available at a position of need. The addition of Jake Matthews, an extra second rounder, and a future first round pick means that the Rams can afford to pick another target for Sam Bradford. The Rams offense really struggled after losing Bradford to injury early in the season, but they can expect to turn it around once Bradford comes back. Givens and Austin played as well as could be expected, but adding Lee will really disrupt opposing defensive coordinator's plans. Draftniks like to point to Lee's relatively low completion percentage this season, but he only missed 15 of the 69 targets on passes within 20 yards from the line of scrimmage. Where Lee struggled was on targets beyond 20 yards, where he caught only 2 of the 14 passes sent his way. The Rams decide to pull the trigger on Lee assuming a more accurate quarterback and some NFL strength, conditioning, and technique coaching can help reduce the drops on the long passes.
The Bears face a tough choice: they can select one of the best corners in the draft , they can grab the best DT in the draft, or do none of this because you still cannot comprehend the mind of Phil Emery. With Charles Tillman, Corey Wootton, and Henry Melton facing free agency (and Shea McClellin being a bust), they're going to need to find a replacement for at least one of them. Lucky for the Bears, a starting CB and pass rusher will be available when they pick in the second and third. Instead they grab the instinctive, super talented, two-time national champion, and defensive leader, CJ Mosley, who fits the Emery BPA mold and gives them an eventual replacement for three time All-Pro OLB Lance Briggs.
The Steelers need to address their aging secondary as Ike Taylor, Ryan Clark, and Troy Polamalu all get a year older and lose another step. With Clinton-Dix gone, the Steelers grab the top cornerback in the draft to help ensure that the fabled Steelers defense remains as dominate as years past. While Pittsburgh's pass defense was among the ten best in the league last season, but the Steelers like to address need before it becomes a problem rather than after they've spent a season dealing with it. Dennard is a great fit for the Steelers, who will ask him to cover the deep ball often. Dennard was targeted 20+ yards down the field on 47% of the passes he defended this season, and only gave up receptions on 8.3% of those passes compared to the 17.6% average for attempts of 20+ yards (one of the best completion percentages in college football at any range). Despite being targeted once every 5.73, Dennard managed to defend the ball once every 4.25 targets; making him exactly what the Steelers are looking for.
TRADE: Bills trade their 2014 9th and 73rd overall picks for the Ravens' 2014 16th, 48th, and 80th overall picks. ---
The Bills trade down seven picks after deciding that their needs don't match the value of the players available. Without a top ten guard in this class and Mike Evans duplicating the skill set of Stevie Johnson, the Bills trade down to get as much value in this deep draft as possible. Scott Chandler might be leaving in free agency and the Bills will need a replacement, but even if Chandler stays, Ebron has the talent to line up as a second tight end or even play as the slot receiver (which was his position throughout high school until he grew large enough that he was moved to tight end). With Fred Jackson as the fourth best receiver on the team, Ebron will be an excellent addition and should help spread out an offense that lead the NFL in rushes by almost a games' worth of touches.