Two weeks out from Day One of the new-look NFL Draft, here’s our latest take on what might transpire.
Previous NFL Mock Draft: Version 4.0 (Two Rounds) | Version 3.0 | Version 2.0 | Version 1.0
1. St. Louis Rams — Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Previous mocks: Bradford; Ndamukong Suh, DT
The knee-jerk reaction to the’ trade of former first-round pick Adam Carriker is that the Rams may be wavering on taking Bradford and leaning instead towards Suh or McCoy. But while either would be a good pick, the majority of signs still point towards Bradford here.
2. Detroit Lions — Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
Previous mocks: Russell Okung, OT; Gerald McCoy, DT
There is plenty of logic in taking Okung or Trent Williams here in order to keep franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford upright. However, give Jim Schwartz another stud defensive lineman (remember his Tennessee days with Albert Haynesworth) and suddenly the Lions’ defense is downright formidable.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
Previous mocks: McCoy; Eric Berry, S
There remains a scenario where the Bucs don’t get one of the elite defensive tackles, in which case they’d spend nine of their 10 minutes looking to trade down and the final 60 seconds writing down Berry’s name. They hope it doesn’t come to that.
4. Washington Redskins — Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
Previous mocks: Williams; Sam Bradford, QB
If Williams leapfrogs Okung to be the first tackle off the board it will be because his athleticism is a better fit for Mike Shanahan’s preferred style of linemen. Don’t forget that the apparent heir, Kyle Shanahan, also operated under a zone blocking scheme in Houston.
5. Kansas City Chiefs — Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
Previous mocks: Berry; Russell Okung, OT
It might be tough for the Chiefs to pass up an offensive lineman like Bulaga or Okung, but Berry is the top playmaking defensive back in the draft and can quarterback the KC defense for years to come.
6. Seattle Seahawks — Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
Previous mocks: Bryan Bulaga, OT; Jimmy Clausen, QB
Bulaga is an option, but Okung is the best option to fill the Hall of Fame-bound shoes of Walter Jones. It’s not a sexy way for Pete Carroll to launch his Seahawks tenure, but it’s a necessary one to allow his skill position players room to breathe.
7. Cleveland Browns — Joe Haden, CB, Florida
Previous mocks: Sergio Kindle, OLB/DE; Haden
Don’t be surprised if the Browns work their way up the board a couple slots if Berry is still on the board when the Chiefs pick; the Browns would get their safety, and the Chiefs could still get a tackle like Bulaga that would allow Branden Albert to flip sides or kick inside. Barring that move, Cleveland must determine whether another Notre Dame quarterback warrants their attention or if they upgrade their secondary with the best cornerback in the draft.
8. Oakland Raiders — Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
Previous mocks: Ndamukong Suh, DT; Campbell
The Raiders won’t lack for options here. Bulaga is too similar to Robert Gallery to be the pick, while Mike Iupati is more guard than tackle and would be a reach here. Then again, Campbell is almost too logical a move for the Raiders; maybe banking on the reach would be the better play.
9. Buffalo Bills — Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
Previous mock: Clausen; Trent Williams, OT
While Bulaga would be exactly what the Bills ordered, their need at quarterback is just too great for them to pass on Clausen. With multiple holes to fill, a trade down for additional picks would make the most sense... if Buffalo can find any takers.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars — Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
Previous mock: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE; Morgan
There are opportunities for the Jaguars to make a splash here—everything from pairing C.J. Spiller with Maurice Jones-Drew to trading the pick for Ben Roethlisberger. Ultimately, if Jacksonville is still on the board here Morgan is the smart pick.
11. Denver Broncos (from Bears) — Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida
Previous mocks: Joe Haden, CB; Rolando McClain, LB
This might be the real swing pick of the draft. McClain would make sense, as would Earl Thomas, and with the trade of Brandon Marshall there’s a gaping hole at wide receiver. But it would be illogical for Denver to part with one head case receiver they know can play only to replace him with another head case who might be able to play. Pouncey helps with the transition to a bigger, more physical line and will step into the lineup immediately.
12. Miami Dolphins — Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
Previous mocks: Rolando McClain, LB; Dez Bryant, WR
It would be one of the great surprises of the first round if Williams is not tabbed to man the nose in Miami’s defense, though the availability of McClain at this point might at least make the Dolphins stop and think.
13. San Francisco 49ers — C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
Previous mocks: Mike Iupati, OG
A calculated gamble here, as the Niners need an offensive lineman but pick again in four slots and either Iupati or Bryan Bulaga should still be on the board. Spiller gives them a change of pace to Frank Gore and a future feature back after the tread is off Gore’s tires.
14. Seattle Seahawks (from Broncos) — Earl Thomas, S, Texas
Previous mocks: C.J. Spiller, RB; Derrick Morgan, DE; Anthony Davis, OT
Having grabbed their offensive tackle with their earlier first-rounder, the Seahawks would have loved to pair a blocker with a splash player like Spiller. They could also go with Bulaga here as a bookend—there’s room on the Seattle line for both—but Thomas gives them a playmaking safety, with their defensive backfield also a significant area of need.
15. New York Giants — Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
Previous mocks: Earl Thomas, S
Thomas’ rising stock likely moves him out of range of the Giants here, but an influx of young talent to their linebacking corps is hardly a consolation prize.
16. Tennessee Titans — Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
Previous mocks: Pierre-Paul, DE; Carlos Dunlap, DE
The Titans need a pass rusher, and with Derrick Morgan off the board there’s no sure thing. Jeff Fisher opts for the freakish Jevon Kearse-like upside of Pierre-Paul over the enigmatic Dunlap or the undersized but high-motor Brandon Graham.
17. San Francisco 49ers (from Panthers) — Brian Bulaga, OT, Iowa
Previous mocks: Sergio Kindle, LB; Devin McCourty, CB; Taylor Mays, S
Not only do the Niners get their offensive lineman here, they still have their choice of Bulaga and Mike Iupati. Bulaga has more experience at tackle and could kick inside without much difficulty, giving him a slight advantage over Iupati, who’s more of a guard.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers — Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho
Previous mocks: Maurkice Pouncey, C; Dan Williams, DT; Brian Price, DT
Whether they’re protecting Ben Roethlisberger or Byron Leftwich—or opening holes for Rashard Mendenhall—the Steelers need some help along their offensive line. Iupati fits the mold of a Pittsburgh lineman, with the added bonus of a frame that could allow a switch to tackle if necessary.
19. Atlanta Falcons — Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
Previous mocks: Graham; Jason Pierre-Paul, DE
No reason to change this pick up; the Falcons got their cornerback via free agency and they still need a pass rusher. The high-energy Graham will provide a refreshing offset to the man he’ll replace, the lethargic Jamaal Anderson.
20. Houston Texans — Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
Previous mocks: Wilson
It’ll be a corner or a running back for the Texans, with the other slated for Round 2. Ryan Mathews is a possibility, but that would leave them picking from the likes of Perish Cox and Dominique Franks the next time through. This way they get Wilson now and a shot at Jonathan Dwyer, Anthony Dixon, or Toby Gerhart on Friday.
21. Cincinnati Bengals — Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
Previous mocks: Dez Bryant, WR; Gresham
Gresham is a fit for all aspects of the Cincinnati offense: a blocker in the running game and a middle-of-the-field target for Carson Palmer. With quality inside linebackers likely to still be on the board in Round Two, Cincy can go on the offensive here.
22. New England Patriots — Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
Previous mocks: Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB; Sergio Kindle, LB
Was Torry Holt signed to be a mentor for Bryant? It would certainly make sense. With Holt and Randy Moss both short-timers in New England and Wes Welker unlikely to be ready for the start of the season, Tom Brady will need a target for the ‘teens. Between Holt and Bill Belichick, Bryant will be kept in line.
23. Green Bay Packers — Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
Previous mocks: Davis; Bryan Bulaga, OT
There doesn’t project to be a gotta-have player the Patriots or Packers or Eagles—all notorious for trading back—can put up for auction with the 22nd, 23rd, and/or 24th pick. That leaves Green Bay to add a corner or offensive lineman, and with corners significantly deeper they’ll look to protect their investment in Aaron Rodgers.
24. Philadelphia Eagles — Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
Previous mocks: Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri; C.J. Spiller, RB; Brandon Spikes, LB
Adding Ernie Sims frees up the Eagles to address their secondary. Unless Philly is convinced they can translate Taylor Mays’ athleticism into on-field production, the pick here is a speedy cover corner—with Robinson being the best option on the board.
25. Baltimore Ravens — Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
Previous mocks: Patrick Robinson, CB; Arrelious Benn, WR
Baltimore can get younger at wideout in the second round with the likes of Mardy Gilyard and Eric Decker. Here they can get younger at cornerback with McCourty, also regarded as the best special teams player in the draft.
26. Arizona Cardinals — Charles Brown, OT, USC
Previous mocks: Bruce Campbell, OT; Brandon Spikes, LB; Brandon Graham, DE/LB
There are definitely linebacker options that will tempt the Cardinals here. But without the quick release of Kurt Warner at quarterback, Arizona needs to upgrade their offensive line to keep their offense firing on at least most cylinders.
27. Dallas Cowboys — Taylor Mays, S, USC
Previous mocks: Mays; Sean Weatherspoon, LB
Unless Jerry Jones has fallen in love with Vladimir Ducasse, the first-round options to replace Flozell Adams have been exhausted. Dallas needs some help at safety, and Mays has the kind of athleticism that makes teams overlook his actual on-field productivity.
28. San Diego Chargers — Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State
Previous mocks: Mathews; C.J. Spiller, RB
There are ways this pick goes wrong for the Chargers; specifically, if the corners are picked clean when Houston picks at #20 and they go with a running back, the Bolts may be forced to go a different direction—like, say, a reach for Terrence Cody. Otherwise, Mathews joins Darren Sproles in the San Diego backfield and leaps to the top of fantasy dynasty draft boards.
29. New York Jets — Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU
Previous mocks: Golden Tate, WR
Every position the Jets are expected to address via the draft, they’ve already addressed via trade (Santonio Holmes) or free agency (Jason Taylor). Rumors of Alan Faneca’s release could have the Jets thinking offensive line, but that position has been picked clean already. Hughes can learn under Taylor and give the Jets and Rex Ryan yet another versatile option to throw at opposing quarterbacks.
30. Minnesota Vikings — Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
Previous mocks: Devin McCourty, CB; Jimmy Clausen, QB; Dan Williams, DT
This would be a spot for the Vikings to address the future of their quarterback position with Colt McCoy or Tim Tebow, but a) both feel like reaches here and b) there are positions that need to be addressed if Minnesota intends to take advantage of their current window of opportunity. Jackson is an NFL-ready corner who can help immediately—critical, since Cedric Griffin isn’t expected to be ready for the start of the season.
31. Indianapolis Colts — Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
Previous mocks: Odrick
Odrick is a more versatile option than Brian Price, and a better fit for the kind of defense Indy plays. They’ll also give serious consideration to their offensive line, though a guy like Jared Veldheer should still be on the board at the end of Round Two.
32. New Orleans Saints — Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
Previous mocks: Weatherspoon; Everson Griffen, DE
The speedy, play-making Weatherspoon has been the runner-up for many of these teams’ picks; the Saints will be thrilled if he is still on the board for them here.