2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new May 1 version
1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: There’s a late push from the Falcons to move up to nab Clowney after they put him through a newfangled test– the Force Plate Test. The Falcons were testing out whether a great athlete such as Clowney would be susceptible to a major injury. He passed the test with flying colors (meaning he’s good to go), adding reason for the Texans to stand pat and draft what is likely to be a once-in-a-generation talent.
2. St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn: The Rams say they’re good with Sam Bradford at quarterback, so the only question now – if we take them at their word – is “How will they help him?” An offensive lineman is typically more of a sure-thing than a wide receiver like Sammy Watkins.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: Last week we had the Jags nabbing quarterback Blake Bortles. But based on everything you read and hear lately, Jacksonville is going defense and Mack would give them a defensive anchor for the next decade.
4. Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: We again stick with the Browns selecting Manziel. This past week we heard some Johnny Football love with Eagles coach Chip Kelly gloating about his greatness. This week, expect someone within NFL circles to (again) bash and bash hard.
5. Oakland Raiders – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: The Raiders would love to see Greg Robinson fall to them, but Matthews is the next best thing.
6. Atlanta Falcons – Blake Bortles, QB, UCF: If the draft plays out the way we see above, Atlanta will almost surely trade out of this spot. They could take advantage of one of the many teams out there that need a quarterback. Also keep in mind that Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff is a Bill Belichick disciple and trading down is as much a part of the Belichick tree as the Eric Mangini ugly stick.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: Most mocks this week have the Bucs grabbing receiver Mike Evans. But if Watkins is there for the taking, the Bucs would likely jump at the opportunity.
8. Minnesota Vikings – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: Bridewater’s stock is falling rapidly, but he’s probably just a victim of these extra two weeks that we have to talk about the draft. Idle time is the Devil’s playground.
9. Buffalo Bills – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: The Bills are likely to take the best available offensive lineman. In this case, it would be Lewan.
10. Detroit Lions – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State: This area of the draft looks a lot like our mock from last week and it’s worth repeating this tidbit – Gilbert picked off the likes of RGIII, Ryan Tannehill and Andrew Luck during his time at Oklahoma State.
11. Tennessee Titans – Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA: We tried to be different last week by having the Titans go with defensive tackle Aaron Donald here, but we caved. Our fellow sheep say Barr to the Titans.
12. New York Giants – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: OK, now’s our chance to pat ourselves on the back, Barry Horowitz-style. We had Evans heading to New Jersey last week and FOX Sports reported two days ago that the Giants are “very high” on Evans.
13. St. Louis Rams – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama: The Fort Worth Star Telegram reported this week that “Ha Ha” is not the strangest thing about his name. The safety says he took a beating from classmates in his younger years due to the Monica Lewinski / Bill Clinton scandal. “Clinton-Dix.” Get it?
14. Chicago Bears – Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville: Not sure we should be praising this type of thing in this age of concussions – but Pryor KO’d three players in three consecutive games last season at Louisville.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State: Some Steelers fans would rather look tough and lose than look weak and win. Dennard reportedly couldn’t walk two days before the Rose Bowl but on game day – you wouldn’t have known he was nicked up.
16. Dallas Cowboys – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: If the Cowboys don’t go defense here, you’ll hear the ’Boys gigantic fan base groan from Dallas to Detroit. Things would get even uglier if Donald is still on the board and Jerry doesn’t pounce.
17. Baltimore Ravens – Zack Martin, G, Notre Dame: No doubt that Baltimore is due for a bounce-back year. Martin allow Joe Flacco to do early 2013 Joe Flacco things.
18. New York Jets – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State: There’s a chance the Jets offense could be a surprise fantasy darling in the first few weeks of the season. Not saying it would last until even October, but any improvement on that side of the ball would be welcomed at MetLife.
19. Miami Dolphins – C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama: No way that Mosley slips out of the first round. The Dolphins would be happy to scoop him up here.
20. Arizona Cardinals – Timmy Jernigan, DT. Florida State: Last week we had the Cards pulling off somewhat of a stunner by taking Derek Carr. This week, we’re not so brave.
21. Green Bay Packers – Ryan Shazier, Ohio State, LB: Shazier compares himself to Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David, according to NJ.com. Appreciate the up-to-date reference, but could you please compare yourself to someone who isn’t just two years older than you, Ryan?
22. Philadelphia Eagles – Cody Latimer, Indiana, WR: Latimer is climbing in many mock drafts and it’s easy to see why. According to NFL Network, Latimer was running routes out of the Eagles playbook during a recent workout with Chip Kelly. Also on Latimer’s side, he has the best football name of all-time →
23. Kansas City Chiefs – Odell Beckham, LSU, WR: Beckham suddenly has company in his “Receiver most likely to be taken late in the first round” neighborhood as Latimer and Marqise Lee are climbing.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech, CB: Fuller is getting the nod here because more and more teams look to be frightened by fellow corner Bradley Roby and his DUI situation.
25. San Diego Chargers- Jason Verrett, TCU, CB: Verrett is another corner who could bump Roby into the second round.
26. Cleveland Browns – Marqise Lee, USC, WR: NFL.com posted a recent story about how Lee could continue the tradition of USC receivers being busts in the league. The whole “this guy is like this guy because they went to the same school” deal is overrated. At some point, these mini-trends are broken. Keyshawn Johnson and Lynn Swann are deeply offended by this story.
27. New Orleans Saints – Louis Nix, Notre Dame, DT: Before the Saints pull the trigger on Nix due to his great athleticism, they should watch this Indiana frat boy dunking on him in front of dozens of other drunk college students:
28. Carolina Panthers – Jawuan James, Tennessee, OT: Last week we had Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandjio going here but James is getting some late first round buzz.
29. New England Patriots – Eric Ebron, UNC, TE: It seems obvious that the Patriots would draft Ebron if he fell to them here. So obvious that Bill Belichick will go ahead and do it just to throw off all of the talking heads who say he’s “unpredictable” every year. Belichick simply doesn’t like other people to be right, that’s all.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Bradley Roby, Ohio State, CB: Here’s our guy. The 49ers are beginning to get like their Bay Area neighbors, the Raiders … except that they’re good at playing football.
31. Denver Broncos – Kyle Van Noy, BYU, LB: The Broncos are obviously looking to land a player that can help their team immediately. Sooo, Derek Carr will not be calling Denver home.
32. Seattle Seahawks – Jace Amaro, Texas Tech, TE: The defending champs would like to give Russell Wilson some more weapons to play with. Amaro would give the Seahawks offense a different look as his ultimate upside would be a non-injury prone Rob Gronkowski.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS