Thor Nystrom

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Thor's Mock Draft: April 28

Monday, April 28, 2014

Editor's note: Thor Nystrom is a resident blurber for Rotoworld's NFL Draft section, as well as covering baseball news for the site. As you can tell, trades were not allowed in this mock. Starting next week, site writers will have updating mocks leading up to May 8's event.

1. Houston TexansJadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina. Through Houston’s own volition or a trade, Clowney is destined for top billing. He’s a generational talent.


2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins) – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn. This pick once seemed assured of being traded, but GM Les Snead has watched in dismay as the league has panned the QB class, killing his leverage. Perhaps stuck in this spot, he tabs the draft’s most talented offensive lineman.


3. Jacksonville JaguarsKhalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo. Don’t discount the possibility of Houston making this selection, with the Jaguars having jumped to No. 1. Jacksonville covets Clowney, while Mack is a better fit for Houston’s 3-4 scheme. If the Jaguars stay put, I think they keep Mack for themselves and grab a QB in Round 2.


4. Cleveland BrownsSammy Watkins, WR, Clemson. With their choice of all QB prospects or the last of this class’ four “can’t-miss” super prospects, Cleveland jumps on the latter. With the Nos. 26 and 36 picks, there is absolutely zero reason to bypass a Hall of Fame talent for the incremental grade jump from, say, Derek Carr to Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel.


5. Oakland RaidersMike Evans, WR, Texas A&M. The Raiders desperately need receiver help, but this pick might be made by the 49ers. Rumors have it that San Francisco will dip into their war chest of top 100 picks to leap up for a star WR.


6. Atlanta FalconsJake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M. Atlanta explored the possibility of trading up for Clowney, but it’s likely that they balked at a bounty-esque asking price. Instead, they stand pat and ensure Matt Ryan doesn’t spend as much time staring up bleary eyed into Georgia Dome luminescence next season.


7. Tampa Bay BuccaneersJohnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M. With popular mock pick Mike Evans off the board, the Bucs have a choice: Swing for the fences on Manziel’s Fran Tarkenton upside, or reach for a WR like Odell Beckham. Reports have them enamored with Johnny Football.


8. Minnesota VikingsBlake Bortles, QB, UCF. Anthony Barr and Aaron Donald will be discussed, and Peter King reported that the club won’t take a QB here, but I’m banking on Mike Zimmer and Norv Turner not being content with their futures in Matt Cassell’s shaky grip.


9. Buffalo BillsC.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama. Perfect schematic fit if the team decides to bypass needs at OT (Taylor Lewan) and TE (Eric Ebron). Kiko Alonso is shifting to weakside linebacker, and Mosley would pair with him to give Buffalo a downright scary unit.


10. Detroit LionsTaylor Lewan, OT, Michigan. After months of speculation that they’d make a move up to grab a flashy Megatron complement in Watkins or Evans, Detroit stays put, stays local, and goes (big) ugly.


11. Tennessee TitansJustin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State. Industry sentiment is moving towards the Titans taking a corner in this slot, and this scenario presents the top-rated CB in a close call over TE Eric Ebron.


12. New York GiantsEric Ebron, TE, UNC. With all three elite OTs off the board, and the most gifted TE still around, this card gets to the podium quickly.


13. St. Louis RamsHa Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama. Odell Beckham’s speed and agility would set the Edward Jones Dome turf aflame, but a safety need and the allure of the class’ best prospect at the position prove too much to ignore. Plus, St. Louis is particularly pragmatic, and you can bet that they understand this year’s WR class is far, far deeper than the S class; immediate wideout help will be readily available in Round 2.


14. Chicago BearsAaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh. A no-brainer pick. Chicago reps jump over beleaguered old men and run across tables to get the card in lickity split if Donald is still available.


15. Pittsburgh SteelersOdell Beckham Jr. WR, LSU. With 4.3 speed and joystick agility in a 5-foot-11 1/4 and 198-pound frame, Beckham is an ideal fit for Ben Roethlisberger’s play-extending, field-stretching style. Ike Taylor says the Steelers will take a CB, but we’ll see what happens if Beckham drops to No. 15.


16. Dallas Cowboys Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA. Dallas bypasses the ability to patch its interior hole with Ra’Shede Hageman or Timmy Jernigan by taking a neat DeMarcus Ware replacement. Barr is a boom-or-bust proposition in need of a great teacher to smooth over the unrefined technique of a former RB; Dallas DL coach Rob Marinelli fits the bill, and reportedly told Barr he sees him as a DE.

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Thor Nystrom is a Rotoworld contributor on the MLB and NFL Draft sections. Follow him on Twitter @thorku.
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