Gayle Saunders

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Gayle's Mock Draft: April 30

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Editor's note: Gayle Saunders is a resident blurber for Rotoworld's NFL Draft section. 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 Texans -- Jadeveon Clowney, OLB/DE, South Carolina: The NFL has become a pass-first league, and guys who can get to the quarterback, become even more valuable. Jadeveon Clowney on one side, and JJ Watt on the other, equals sleepless nights for AFC South quarterbacks.

 

2. St. Louis Rams -- Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn: Robinson has a ton of upside and he instantly strengthens the Rams running/passing game, providing them with a stud that can play either tackle position. If needed he could even possibly play guard.

 

3. Jacksonville Jaguars --  Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo: Mack is a perfect fit for a Gus Bradley defense, as he gives the Jaguars a player who can play multiple spots, giving them a ton of versatility.  Mack has the athleticism and power off the edge that you need to get after the quarterback.   Andrew Luck gets put on notice for the second time in 3 picks.

 

4. Cleveland Browns -- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: Pairing Watkins and Josh Gordon, give the Browns two lethal weapons on the outside, and a third on the inside with TE Jordan Cameron. For now, even Brian Hoyer can be successful with that kind of trio.  Ray Farmer gets his shot at his future QB at the No. 26 pick.

 

5. Oakland Raiders -- Blake Bortles, QB, UCF: The Raiders look to Blake Bortles as their quarterback of the future. With the signing of Matt Schaub, the Raiders can slowly work Bortles in, while he learns from a veteran. Bortles has a ton of upside, and if he gets the right coaching he’ll have every opportunity to reach his full potential.

 

6. Atlanta Falcons -- Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: While the Falcons seem to have a small man crush on Jadeveon Clowney. The Falcons biggest need was to come away with a pass rusher or offensive tackle.  With Clowney and Mack off the board, Jake Matthews gives the Falcons and Matt Ryan a potential Pro Bowl-caliber left tackle for the next decade.

 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: When Lovie Smith signed Josh McCown, he said it was possible the Bucs could use their first pick on a quarterback. Manziel gives Lovie Smith his QB of the future, and a trusted veteran QB like McCown that Manziel can learn from.  As long as Lovie Smith surrounds Manziel with a strong running game, and a “Lovie Smith” defense, Manziel should be just fine.

 

8. Minnesota Vikings -- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: Too soon? Bridgewater is the most pro-ready quarterback, and best pocket-passer in the crop of QB prospects.  Bridgewater’s skillset looks to be a perfect fit for a Norv Turner system and the Vikings desperately need a franchise quarterback to help them turn the ship around in the NFC North. The need for a franchise quarterback is real.  

 

9. Buffalo Bills -- Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: The selection of Mike Evans is all about giving EJ Manuel a true chance to succeed. Even though an athletic tackle like Taylor Lewan would be a nice option, Evans could be the guy to take the WR unit and offense to the next level.

 

10. Detroit Lions –  Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: Detroit may need help on defense, but giving Stafford a playmaking TE like Ebron only gives more room for Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson to do damage on the outside. Ebron could be Stafford’s second best friend.  

 

11. Tennessee Titans -- Anthony Barr, OLB/DE, UCLA: Ray Horton needs a future stud in his 3-4 defense, and with Barr’s raw speed and athleticism off the edge, he instantly gives them that.  With Shaun Phillips in the mix, Barr gets a quality veteran to learn from while he settles into the position at the next level.

 

12. New York Giants -- Taylor Lewan, OT Michigan: The Giants are taking Eli’s protection serious, as they know Eli needs to be protected in order for him to be successful. The answer to that situation is drafting an athletic 6-foot-7 tackle, by the name of Taylor Lewan.  The Giants get their tackle of the future and find Will Beatty’s replacement all in one shot.

 

13. St. Louis Rams -- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama: The Rams can solidify the back end of their defense with the selection of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The young safety has the athleticism to match up with slot receivers, play centerfield and the length to cover tight ends.

 

14. Chicago Bears -- Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh:  Donald is the best inside pass rusher in the draft and makes perfect sense for the Bears, since they will retain a 4-3 system with a one-gap front, which makes use of quick-penetrating linemen. That sounds like Aaron Donald to me.

 

15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State:  The Steelers get a hell of a playmaker with a nose for the football. If Pittsburgh’s defensive unit wants to create turnovers they won’t think twice about adding Gilbert. Steelers also get an added bonus with Gilbert’s ability to return kicks on special teams.

 

16. Dallas Cowboys -- Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame: Drafting a lineman for the Cowboys is never the sexiest pick, but bringing in a quality lineman like Zack Martin gives the Cowboys some versatility with Martin in the mix.  He could possibly be Doug Free’s replacement, or they can move him inside to play guard.  In order for the Cowboys to improve offensively, starting upfront isn’t a bad idea.

 

17. Baltimore Ravens – Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville: Pryor could be the perfect fit for the Baltimore Ravens, he has the ability to play in the box, as well as play in space. Pryor has the physicality you like to see at the position, while being able to cover the deep middle like a free safety.

 

18. New York Jets -- Odell Beckham, WR, LSU: In order for the Jets offense to take off, they’ll need to surround Michael Vick or Geno Smith with some weapons.  With Eric Decker as their possession receiver, and Jeremy Kerley in the slot, the Jets bring in a vertical-threat by the name of Odell Beckham.

 

19. Miami Dolphins -- C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama: Recently Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio has been linked to the Dolphins with Zack Martin moving up the board, but it’s a possibility that his old college teammate, C.J. Mosley ,is the pick that the Dolphins could have their eye on.  With the selection of Mosley, the Dolphins get the best inside linebacker in the draft and a major upgrade at middle linebacker. The Dolphins can still get a lineman in round two.

 

20. Arizona Cardinals -- Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State: With Calvin Pryor off the board, Shazier gives the Cardinals a nice boost of youth at linebacker position. Shazier has the ability to play multiple positions, and can be a three-down player for the cards. 

 

21. Green Bay Packers -- Jimmie Ward, S, NIU: With Pryor off the board, the Packers look to Jimmie Ward to fill the void at safety.  Ward represents the ball hawk type of safety, the Packers could add to their defense.  Clinton-Dix would have fit that role nicely.

 

22. Philadelphia Eagles — Cody Latimer,WR, Indiana:  Some may say this is too early for Latimer to come off the board, but Latimer gives the Eagles the big bodied target at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds with speed (4.44 forty) to match.   Latimer played in an up-tempo, no-huddle system at Indiana which is a huge plus.  Hope he likes shakes.

 

23. Kansas City Chiefs -- Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State:  Cooks fits the exact type of player that Andy Reid could be interested in, he’s explosive, has a good head on his shoulders and makes a ton of plays.  Andy Reid could see his version of DeSean Jackson (in terms of explosiveness) meets Jason Avant (in terms of character) in Brandin Cooks.

 

24. Cincinnati Bengals – Darqueze Dennard, CB Michigan State:  Terrance Newman is 35 years old. Leon Hall is coming of injury. Adam Jones is over 30.   Picking up one of the top cornerbacks in the draft could be a nice upgrade for the Bengals.  Dennard brings some youth to the position and he also brings some physicality to the table.  A physical corner with Dennard’s skill set would be welcomed in Cincinnati.  

 

25. San Diego Chargers – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech:  Fuller gives the Chargers a physical corner who should be able to contribute right away.  Fuller has nice size at 6-0, 190 pounds and has the ability play to press with good man-to-man skills.

 

26. Cleveland Browns – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State:  With the No. 26 pick in the draft, the Cleveland Browns select Derek Carr. The Browns picked up Watkins with the No. 4 pick and the Browns finally get their quarterback. Better late than never.

 

27.  New Orleans Saints -- Marqise Lee, WR, USC:  The Saints select the best player available on their board and Lee fits the mold.  With the Saints left with three receivers with experience, in Marques Colston, Kenny Stills and Joe Morgan, Lee makes a ton of sense this far in the first round.

 

28. Carolina Panthers -- Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State:  The Panthers are desperate to add weapons for Cam Newton at this stage of the first round. Benjamin gives Newton a 6-foot-5 target to throw jump balls to.  When your starting receivers are Jason Avant and Jericho Cotchery, the Benjamin selection is a no brainer.

 

29. New England Patriots — Joel Bitonio, OL:  The Patriots draft a future replacement for Dan Connolly while getting a smart, tough interchangeable player that can play tackle or guard. Not the sexiest pick, but it makes sense in Belichick land. Bitonio's stock is rising.

 

30. San Francisco 49ers -- Dee Ford, DE, Auburn:  The 49ers know they’re one step away from parting ways with Aldon Smith, and Ford would offer San Fran a versatile hybrid-edge rusher that would be a breath of fresh air to their defense.

 

31. Denver Broncos -- Xavier Su'a-Filo, G, UCLA: The Broncos select Xavier Su'a-Filo, and the Broncos find there next starting left guard who they could possibly plug in and play right away.

 

32. Seattle Seahawks – Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota:  The Minnesota Prospect could be a possible replacement for Red Bryant who left via free agency. If there was anyone to keep Hageman from disappearing at times, it would be Pete Caroll.  Look for Carroll to find a role for Hageman in the Seattle defense, while taking advantage of his size, length and athleticism.



Gayle Saunders is a Rotoworld NFL Draft contributor and owner/writer for Skinnypost.com. You can also find him on Twitter.
Email :Gayle Saunders



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