Clowney to Texans
With the annual NFL scouting combine complete, USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis re assesses this year's rookie prospects with a new mock draft:
1. Houston Texans Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: There are significant questions about each of the top quarterbacks available. Clowney has red flags of his own, but none pertain to his rarely seen combination of physical attributes and talent. Watt and make Colts QB Andrew Luck's life miserable for the next 10 years and let new coach Bill O'Brien develop a lower tier QB or even try to fix Matt Schaub? Even acquiring a younger backup (Kirk Cousins? Ryan Mallett?) makes more sense for a veteran laden Houston squad built to win now.
2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins) Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn: Given thisthis Chiefs jerseys china
draft's perceived depth, we still think the Rams' best move would be to deal with a quarterback hungry team (Browns? Vikings?) and parlay their 2012 trade of the Robert Griffin III selection into additional draft currency. Barring that, Robinson is probably too huge (6 5, 332) and athletic to pass up. He may not be ready to play left tackle immediately but would have the luxury of starting on the right side in St. Louis assuming LT Jake Long's injured knee allows him to play Week 1.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: Before arriving in Jacksonville, GM Dave Caldwell worked for two organizations (Colts, Falcons) that experienced sustained success with pocket passers Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan, respectively. Entering Year 2 of the Jags' extensive rebuild, Bridgewater seems to be the guy best suited to stabilize the position for the short and long term.
4. Cleveland Browns Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida: This team obviously has a hole under center, and maybe drafting Johnny Manziel would be a more exciting way to fill it. But Cleveland's best offensive players are Pro Bowlers Joe Thomas (LT), Josh Gordon (WR) and Jordan Cameron (TE). Wouldn't a big passer (Bortles is 6 5, 232) who is comfortable in the pocket best leverage the talents of such teammates?
5. Green or Julio Jones. Given that, the Raiders might be best served to do what the Bengals did in 2011 and get the game breaking receiver first and then focus on quarterbacks like Derek Carr, who's just down the road from Oakland.
6. Atlanta Falcons Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A The Atlanta O line was an embarrassment in 2013 as QB Matt Ryan and his $104 million contract were sacked 44 times, the most of his six year career, while the offense produced just 3.9 yards per rush. Matthews (son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews) may have literally been born to play left tackle and would instantly stabilize this unit.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: Though he may not be a perfect scheme fit for Lovie Smith's Cover 2 defense, a player who draws comparisons to James Harrison and Von Miller is too good to pass up. And though Mack does just fine in coverage, his ability to rush the passer would be the most welcome asset toto cheap Chiefs jerseys china
a team that struggled to generate pressure. Mack would form a nice tandem with DT Gerald McCoy, whose nine sacks were more than a quarter of the team's total.
8. Minnesota Vikings Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A He's obviously not the prototypical pocket passer that new offensive coordinator Norv Turner is accustomed to working with. But consider how effective RBs Marshawn Lynch, Frank Gore and Alfred Morris have been after being paired with multi dimensional quarterbacks, then imagine what Adrian Peterson might do if teamed with Manziel. WRs Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings and TE Kyle Rudolph are a solid group of receivers in need of more effective quarterback play.
9. Buffalo Bills Mike Evans, WR, Texas A The 6 5, 231 pounder could be the perfect solution to Buffalo's passing woes. Most importantly, he'd be a major upgrade in the red zone for a team that didn't have anyone catch more than three TDs in 2013. 10. Detroit Lions Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State: He's big (6 feet, 202 pounds), fast (4.37 40 yard dash time), and his return skills are a bonus. Given Detroit's lackluster play at corner in 2013, Gilbert would be an asset for a team that annually spends one quarter of its schedule playing Aaron Rodgers or the Bears' mega wideout tandem of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
11. Mosley, ILB, Alabama: A fast flowing linebacker with a team first attitude and winning DNA infused from the Crimson Tide should fit seamlessly into a defense expected to convert to a 3 4 front.
12. New York Giants Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri: Getting after quarterbacks has won the Giants two titles since 2007. They need to get back to that formula while facing the prospect of losing DE Justin Tuck a year after Osi Umenyiora walked. Jason Pierre Paul's injury issues also underscore the need for a talent like Ealy.
13. Rams Ha Ha Clinton Dix, S, Alabama: St. Louis struggled on the back end in 2013. Adding a player who can defend deep and has the speed to run down enemy QBs Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick for the foreseeable future would be a plus.
14. Chicago Bears Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: The Bears' myriad free agent issuesissues cheap Chiefs jersey
will probably preclude a new deal for injured DT Henry Melton. But the requirement to replenish the defensive line and bolster the league's worst run defense remains. Enter Donald, whose athleticism could make him a star in a scheme that relies on interior quickness.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State: Even if the Steelers can afford to hang on to veteran Ike Taylor for another year, it's time to start getting younger and deeper in the secondary.
16. Dallas Cowboys Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State: Pro Bowl DT Jason Hatcher is scheduled to be a free agent, and Dallas desperately (and unsuccessfully) searched for players to put next to him last year before ultimately finishing last in total defense.
17. Baltimore Ravens Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan: GM Ozzie Newsome could lose both of his starting tackles (Eugene Monroe, Michael Oher) to free agency and will almost certainly part with at least one. Lewan, one of the combine's stars, can play on either side of the line.
18. New York Jets Marqise Lee, WR, USC: They haven't spent a first round pick on offense since 2009 (QB Mark Sanchez), but even defensive minded head coach Rex Ryan would probably admit it's time to put more weapons around second year QB Geno Smith, especially if WR Santonio Holmes becomes a cap casualty. Lee could be a bargain here, and his ability to make plays after the catch would be welcome given Holmes' limitations in recent years.
19. Miami Dolphins Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame: You knew the Miami O line was bad off the field, but it wasn't much better on it as Ryan Tannehill was sacked 58 times in 2013, more than any other quarterback. Martin can probably plug in anywhere for a team that may field four new starters around C Mike Pouncey.
20. Arizona Cardinals Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA: The Cards watched a slew of outside backers go down with injuries in 2013 and were fortunate to get 11 sacks from 35 year old John Abraham. But it's time to get younger and better on the edge for a defense that's strong at just about every other position.
21. Green Bay Packers Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: The Pack can't afford to take a long term risk on free agent TE Jermichael Finley and will probably also lose WR James Jones to another team. Ebron is a guy who could offset the losses to QB Aaron Rodgers' once stacked squad of pass catchers.
22. Philadelphia Eagles Louis Nix, NT, Notre Dame: Philly was treading water at the nose in 2013 as it convertedconverted cheap Chiefs jerseys
to a 3 4 defense. Nix wouldwould Chiefs jerseys cheap
solve that issue swimmingly.
23. Kansas City Chiefs Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame: Finding players who can play the five technique in three man fronts isn't easy, which is why the Chiefs took soon to be free agent Tyson Jackson third overall five years ago. Wideout is also a consideration, but Kansas City should be able to find a quality one down the board.
24. Cincinnati Bengals Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville: The Bengals don't have many soft spots, but this might be the right time to add some pop to the back end.
25. San Diego Chargers Dee Ford, DE, Auburn: The Bolts have tried many options (Larry English, Dwight Freeney, Melvin Ingram) in recent years in hopes of better attacking quarterbacks but have experienced mixed results at best. Ford appears to be the ideal conversion candidate from college end to NFL outside linebacker.
26. Browns (from Indianapolis Colts) Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State: Few teams struggled to run the ball as much as Cleveland did in 2013. Finding an effective complement would be a key to helping the new quarterback the Browns will also presumably feature in 2014. Hyde averaged 7.3 yards per carry in his final year with the Buckeyes.
27. New Orleans Saints Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State: If the Saints can live with a smaller corner to replace recently released Jabari Greer, Florida State's Lamarcus Joyner or Texas Christian's Jason Verrett are options. But Roby ran a 4.39 at the combine, and his 5 11, 194 pound frame might prove more effective against monstrous NFC South wideouts like Vincent Jackson, Julio Jones and Roddy White.
28. Carolina Panthers Odell Beckham, WR, LSU: Carolina just lost LT Jordan Gross to retirement and faces a potential exodus of its already shaky secondary. But if Steve Smith ends up in the free agent market with fellow WR Brandon LaFell, QB Cam Newton will be truly hamstrung.
29. New England Patriots Ra'shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota: His 6 6, 310 pound frame and 34 inch arms would theoretically fit nicely on a D line that plays multiple schemes but needs to get younger after struggling badly in 2013 while veterans DTs Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly spent most of the year in street clothes.