NFL Draft community is all about supply and demand. Provide the information and news on all of the hottest prospects, whether it be via rankings or a good ole fashioned mock draft, and you’re the hero. Hold off on such work, and you’re ignored and exiled by the entire community, never to be recognized again.
So, we here at Road To Radio City want to give the amazing fans and followers of the NFL Draft community what they want — a vision of the future.
Are you a die hard Texans fan who just wants to know which quarterback your team will select first (if they keep their draft slot)? Maybe you’re a Giants fan who is so distraught you’re just ready to see what the future holds for your former Super Bowl Champions. Either way, this Top-10 first of four mock drafts will hopefully alleviate any concerns or questions you may have as to what exactly your favorite team might do next May with their first pick. Let’s begin with a bang, shall we?
Derek Carr | Quarterback | Fresno State
History tends to repeat itself. Well, it does here for the Texans, who dip back into the Carr family bloodline and select the brother of their first ever draft pick David Carr. Let’s hope for Derek’s sake he doesn’t begin his career with a 76-sack season as a Texan. Carr possesses all of the tools you look for in “franchise” quarterback. He has great mobility (4.56 40-yard dash according to the Fresno State athletic website) and can make every single NFL throw.
Some will argue that Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is the clear-cut best quarterback in this draft, but that’s what makes this fun — diversity. Carr puts the Texans right back into AFC contention, as he’ll be able to come in and start right away and help Houston get back to itswinning ways.
Jadeveon Clowney | Defensive End | South Carolina
Jeff Fisher has built a fearsome defense in St. Louis and the freak athlete Clowney only adds more firepower to what is becoming one of the NFL’s best defensive lines. A defensive line that already features Robert Quinn, Michael Brockers, and Chris Long gets instantly better with Clowney. Fisher is the perfect coach to maximize Clowney’s extremely high potential, as he drafted the player Clowney so closely resembles, Jevon Kearse.
Look for Clowney to be an instant contributor in St. Louis, a team that could be a serious threat in the NFC West next year if they can land a quarterback with their second first-round pick.
Teddy Bridgewater | Quarterback | Louisville
Head Coach Gus Bradley is building a solid team in Jacksonville but needs a “franchise” quarterback to begin the final process of his team building efforts. Bridgewater is the perfect “face” for the Jaguars, a team that has seen themselves shuffled overseas by the NFL in hopes that there is a more consistent fan base in England — Jags rank 28th in home attendance.
Bridgewater is your prototypical pro quarterback. He can make every throw you need out of your franchise signal caller and can even move outside the pocket and make plays to move the football down the field. But don’t let him hear you call him a dual-threat quarterback — he loves making plays in the pocket.
Sammy Watkins | Wide Receiver | Clemson
Undrafted quarterback Matt McGloin has shown Oakland promise and could head into 2014 as the starter, which means he’ll need weapons to succeed. Watkins is the perfect deep threat receiver that would give the Raiders an offensive edge for McGloin. The Raiders still need to find a viable running game, as former top-5 pick Darren McFadden just can’t seem to stay healthy and most likely will not return to the team in 2014. Watkins has great hands paired with solid speed that will make for an easier transition in McGloin’s first full year under center.
Khalil Mack | Linebacker | Buffalo
The Browns have a stellar defense full of young talent and get even better by picking up Mack here to round out the top five. D’Qwell Jackson is one of the league’s most underrated linebackers and isn’t going to be replaced by Mack immediately, but he would be a great mentor to help ease Mack into the role of being his eventual replacement when it’s time to move on in the next 1-3 years. While the Browns could look to draft a quarterback — a player such as Johnny Manziel — there’s a chance they could look to bring in a veteran in 2014, one who’s viable enough under center to complement such a strong defensive unit.
Jake Matthews | Offensive Tackle | Texas A&M
Probably not the Aggie fans were expecting to see come off of the board first, but Matthews is the best offensive lineman in this draft and fills an immediate need for Atlanta. While the Falcons still have former Pro Bowl offensive tackle Sam Baker, the right side of the offensive line has been seriously bad at times in 2013, and Matthews, much like he did at A&M, could begin his career on the right side and eventually move over. But don’t be surprised if you see the Falcons go with a defensive pass rusher here at sixth overall. Anthony Barr (LB, UCLA) is in serious play with this pick if that’s indeed the case in Atlanta come draft day.
Ra’Shede Hageman | Defensive Tackle | Minnesota
Gerald McCoy has quickly become one of the premiere interior defensive lineman in the NFL but has no viable counterpart to complement his talents. After losing Michael Bennett to free agency and with the awful play by Adrian Clayborn and DeQuan Bowers not being a reliable player with his off-field issues, Hageman gives the Bucs a tweener tackle/end option to either pair with McCoy or move outside and place in a role much like Julius Peppers in Chicago.
C.J. Mosley | Linebacker | Alabama
The Vikings drafted defensive players with two of their first three picks last year and can continue to solidify their young defensive unit by selecting the most complete linebacker in the draft in Mosley. Mosley would fill an immediate need in Minnesota and could be the defensive quarterback the team has been looking for since long-time veteran EJ Henderson has fallen off in that role. While the Vikings are still searching for an offensive quarterback, Mosley’s value here with the eighth pick is simply too much to pass up given who’s available.
Anthony Barr | Linebacker | UCLA
The Titans are in desperate need of competent pass rushers and Barr gives Tennessee a raw, athletic freak who can make plays off the edge and in space. Barr’s natural athletic talent is a major plus for a young team that will likely be going through a coaching overhaul and could be a young coach’s dream pick — a player who’s essentially ball of clay that can be molded into whatever the new staff sees fit — possibly a future All Pro defender? We shall see.
Cyrus Kouandjio | Guard/Tackle | Alabama
After losing Andy Levitre to the Titans last offseason, the Bills have been searching for his long term replacement along the offensive line. Rather than spend equal money to bring in a top flight veteran, the Bills can get one of the best and biggest interior offensive lineman the 2014 NFL Draft has to offer. Kouandjio is a pure mauling offensive lineman with great strength and will be the perfect “phone booth” guard in Buffalo to open up huge holes for Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller (hoping of course either of them are healthy for long periods of time).
Please check back here at Road To Radio City as I’ll be releasing three more mock drafts prior to the 2014 NFL Draft’s commencement. I’ll be releasing one after the 2014 Reese’s Senior Bowl, the 2014 Scouting Combine and my “Christmas Eve” edition the night before the 2014 NFL Draft in May.
As always, you can stay in touch with Chris and his around the clock NFL Draft analysis by following him on Twitter @DraftInsider.