[tabs tab1=”Craig’s Lineup Part 1″ tab2=”Craig’s Lineup Part 2″]
[tab id=1]Whether people like it or not, the National Football League is the most popular sport in America and it’s in the news 365 days a year. The beginning of the 2014 NFL Draft will start May 8 at 5 p.m. This draft class is so deep it’s hard to evaluate which teams value which prospects higher. Throw in the possibility of trades and you have a recipe for an unpredictable day in New York. But I’m going to do my best to predict in The Echo’s first NFL mock draft.
1). Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney, DE South Carolina
There’s been talk of if Khalil Mack is the better pick for the Texans here. But Clowney is still the best prospect in the draft and the possibility of having him lineup alongside JJ Watt is too good to pass up. Since there isn’t a “cannot miss” quarterback in this draft, The Texans have the ability to draft someone like AJ McCarron or Teddy Bridgewater in the later rounds.
2) St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson, OT Auburn
In his 18-year career, head coach Jeff Fischer has never selected an offensive lineman in the first round. I see this changing this year as they select Robinson, potentially giving the rams the best tackle duo with LT Jake Long, or stick him at LG to solidify that left side.
3) Jacksonville Jaguars – Khalil Mack, OLB Buffalo
I can see the Jags taking Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins or maybe even Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. But head coach Gus Bradley is defensive minded and needs a centerpiece to work his defense around. Mack is talked about as potentially the best defensive player in the draft and he’s no doubt the best linebacker.
4) Cleveland Browns – Sammy Watkins, WR Clemson
This is a toss-up between Watkins and Manziel for me. But pairing up Watkins with Josh Gordon is a deadly combination they do not want to pass up. Although Manziel will bring the enthusiasm Cleveland fans desperately need, they will be able to select a quarterback with their second first round pick or early in round two.
5) Oakland Raiders – Johnny Manziel, QB Texas A&M
The Matt Schaub signing makes me weary that they would go with a QB at No 5, especially with their need for an offensive lineman. But I don’t think they would expect Johnny Football to be on the board here and he is a player they cannot pass up. Raider Nation needs something to be excited about and that’s exactly what Manziel will bring.
6) Atlanta Falcons – Jake Matthews, OT Texas A&M
If the Falcons don’t trade up to No. 1 to get Clowney, they will select an offensive lineman here.
7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans, WR Texas A&M
If Lovie Smith is sure he wants to move forward with Josh McCown at quarterback, he’s going to need more weapons around him to leave no excuses for the offense. Evans lit up the scoreboard with Manziel in his time at College Station and his stock is continuously rising. This is another possible deadly WR duo if paired up with Vincent Jackson.
8) Minnesota Vikings – Blake Bortles, QB UCF
The last time the Vikings had a legitimate quarterback was when Brett Favre roamed the sidelines and that was for just two years. Bortles is at the top of many team’s list of QB’s and he’s been getting a lot of comparisons to Steeler’s quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. He is the most complete QB in the draft. Minnesota’s quarterback situation needs to be fixed ASAP.
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Published May 7, 2014
[tab id=2]9) Buffalo Bills – Eric Ebron, TE North Carolina
10) Detroit Lions – Justin Gilbert, CB Oklahoma State
11) Tennessee Titans – Anthony Barr, OLB UCLA
12) New York Giants – Taylor Lewan, OT Michigan
13) St. Louis Rams – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS Alabama
14) Chicago Bears – Aaron Donald, DT Pittsburgh
15) Pittsburgh Steelers – Darqueze Dennard, CB Michigan State
16) Dallas Cowboys – Timmy Jernigan, NT Florida State
17) Baltimore Ravens – Calvin Pryor, FS Louisville
18) New York Jets – Odell Beckham Jr., WR LSU
19) Miami Dolphins – Zack Martin, OT Notre Dame
20) Arizona Cardinals – Kyle Fuller, CB Virginia Tech
21) Green Bay Packers – CJ Mosley, ILB Alabama
22) Philadelphia Eagles – Kelvin Benjamin, WR Florida State
23) Kansas City Chiefs – Marqise Lee, WR USC
24) Cincinnati Bengals – Kony Ealy, DE Missouri
25) San Diego Chargers – Bradley Roby, CB Ohio State
26) Cleveland Browns – Derek Carr, QB Fresno State
27) New Orleans Saints – Brandin Cooks, WR Oregon State
28) Carolina Panthers – Jarvis Landry, WR LSU
29) New England Patriots – Ra’Shede Hageman, DT Minnesota
30) San Francisco 49ers – Jason Verrett, CB TCU
31) Denver Broncos – Louis Nix, DT Notre Dame
32) Seattle Seahawks – Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG UCLA
For full analysis visit 8ballsports.com.
Published May 7, 2014