Posted: 6:00 am Friday, March 21st, 2014
By D. Orlando Ledbetter
Here’s the first mock offering for the 2014 NFL draft, which is set for May 8-10.
Last season, I correctly predicted 26 of the 32 first-round picks and had four direct hits. In the mock draft scoring-community that ranked 47th.
After the Falcons addressed their line over the offseason, I have them trading back in the first round and picking up an extra pick to select Louisville safety Calvin Pryor with the 11th overall pick and North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron with the 17th pick.
They can continue to build the lines later in the draft.
Here’s how the first round of the NFL draft will proceed on May 8:
1. HOUSTON: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida – He had a dazzling pro day.
2. ST. LOUIS: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson – The Rams need to get some weapons around Sam Bradford.
3. JACKSONVILLE: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn – He has a huge upside and is a relentless run blocker. He showed a willingness to work on his pass sets at Auburn’s Pro Day.
4. CLEVELAND: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A – Perhaps he can energize the franchise, which has been looking for a quarterback since Bernie Kosar was shown the door by Bill Belichick.
5. OAKLAND: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina — The Raiders can’t resist not taking Clowney and his athletic gifts.
6. TENEESSEE (projected trade with Atlanta): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville – Coach Ken Whisenhunt needs a quarterback just in case Jake Locker can’t handle the job.
7. TAMPA BAY: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo – Some consider Mack the best player in the draft.
8. MINNESOTA: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A – He is considered the most technically sound of the tackles in the draft. He is the son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews.
9. BUFFALO: Taylor Lewand, OT, Michigan – He is considered the nastiest of the tackles in the draft.
10. DETROIT: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA – Went to UCLA as a running back before Jim Mora converted him to linebacker.
11. ATLANTA (projected trade with Tennessee): Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville – The Falcons need a replacement for Thomas DeCoud, who was released mostly because of his poor tackling. Pryor has 204 career tackles and seven interceptions.
12. N.Y. GIANTS: C. J. Mosley, LB, Alabama – The Giants need to improve their linebacker unit.
13. ST. LOUIS: Zach Martin, OT, Notre Dame – He had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl.
14. CHICAGO: Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama – “Ha Ha” would help to stabilize the back end of the Bears’ defense.
15. PITTSBURGH: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State – Dennard is a great scheme-fit for the Steelers. At the combine, Dennard ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds, which was the 13th fastest time and he was 13th in the bench press with 15 lifts of 225 pounds.
16. DALLAS: Dee Ford, DE, Auburn – Ford solidified his first-round draft status at the Tigers Pro Day. He had a 35 1/2-inch vertical, 10-foot, 4-inch long jump, he lifted 225 pounds 29 times on the bench press and 4.59 on his first 40-yard dash attempt and 4.53 on his second. “They said 4.53,” Ford said. “Some said 4.4 and half. But it’s all good. I’m just glad that I got out there and ran.”
17. ATLANTA (projected trade with Baltimore): Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina – The Falcons swoop in to get the best tight end in the draft.
18. N.Y. JETS: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M – He’s a smooth route runner and will be coupled with Eric Decker.
19. MIAMI: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh — He was dynamite during the Senior Bowl practices. He has a knack for splitting double teams. He’s 6-1, 288 pounds. Defensive line guru Chuck Smith compared him, size and stature-wise to Geno Atkins.
20. ARIZONA: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State – He had a strong showing at the combine.
21. GREEN BAY: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech – The Packers have to replace Jermichael Finley.
22. PHILADELPHIA: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State – He was a force in the national championship game.
23. KANSAS CITY: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State – Ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds at the combine, which was second-best of the receiver group.
24. CINCINNATI: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State – He would add some speed to a slow linebacker group.
25. SAN DIEGO: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State — Roby, of Peachtree Ridge High, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds, which was the fourth-fastest time of the cornerbacks at the combine. He also finished in the top 10 in the vertical jump, bench-press and broad jump.
26. CLEVELAND: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State – I know, two quarterbacks in the first round. Well, Cleveland has to keep taking quarterbacks until they get one with NFL talent.
27. NEW ORLEANS: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State – Had the big catch in the national championship game.
28. CAROLINA: Cyrus Kouandijo, OT, Alabama – The Panthers have to start rebuilding their offensive line.
29. NEW ENGLAND: Ra’Shede Hagemen, DT, Minnesota – He’s massive. He started to turn some heads at the Senior Bowl. He has a good attitude. He didn’t mind when Falcons defensive line coach Bryan Cox had him doing push-ups after mistakes.
30. SAN FRANCISCO: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech – The 49ers are rebuilding their secondary. Fuller is the younger brother of Detroit’s Corey Fuller.
31. DENVER: Trent Murphy, LB, Stanford – A consensus All-American, who was productive for the Cardinal.
32. SEATTLE: Stephon Tiutt, DE, Notre Dame — The Monroe native had 124 tackles and 22 sacks over his career.