BBD Staff Writer: Joe Marino
It’s the midpoint of the NFL season, so I decided to write another mock draft. I have 30 out of 32 teams selecting a different player than I did in my preseason mock draft. As players’ draft stocks continue to shuffle up and down the board, there are plenty of new names and players slotted with different teams in this projection.
I have 17 offensive players and 15 defensive players as first-round selections. The Southeastern Conference is the most represented conference in the first round with 12 out of 32 selections coming from that conference.
|Conference||Number of Picks|
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville, Jr.): The Jaguars get their new face of the franchise and team him up with some nice, young offensive pieces in wide receivers Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts and left tackle Luke Joeckel.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina, Jr.): The Buccaneers desperately need a quarterback but with a decent roster in place, I can see them going after a veteran and drafting the best defensive prospect in the draft.
3. Minnesota Vikings – Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon, RS So.): With the right coach and offensive system in place, this could potentially be a very exciting pick. Pairing Mariota with a hire of Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin would be very intriguing.
4. New York Giants – Jake Matthews (OT, Texas A&M, Sr.): The Giants must improve their pass protection and Jake Matthews is the clear top pass blocker in the draft. A classic example of need meeting the best player available.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers – Taylor Lewan (OT, Michigan, Sr.): The Steelers’ move to trade for veteran offensive tackle Levi Brown earlier this season makes it clear they still need to upgrade their offensive line. Lewan, Pouncey and DeCastro would be a great core group.
6. Atlanta Falcons – Anthony Barr (OLB, UCLA, Sr.): The Falcons have to find a way to pressure the quarterback and help out their young defensive backs. Barr is the best speed rusher off the edge in the draft and would be a piece to start building around to improve that area.
7. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins) – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (CB, Oregon, Jr.): Cortland Finnegan has really struggled at cornerback this season for the St. Louis Rams, who need help in the secondary. Olomu is the best coverage cornerback in the draft.
8. Houston Texans – Tajh Boyd (QB, Clemson, Sr.): Combining Boyd with his former Clemson teammate DeAndre Hopkins and star wide receiver Andre Johnson would have the potential to be very dynamic vertical passing game and could be a terrific fit for Gary Kubiak’s offense in Houston.
9. St. Louis Rams – Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M, RS So.): Last offseason, the Rams set out to surround Sam Bradford with more blocking and playmakers, but they still need more help. Evans would give them a big-bodied receiver who is a matchup nightmare for defenses.
10. Philadelphia Eagles – C.J. Mosley (LB, Alabama, Sr.): The Eagles need help on defense and Mosley would give them an every-down linebacker to become the “quarterback” on defense. He is a very smart, instinctive football player.
11. Cleveland Browns – Brett Hundley (QB, UCLA, RS So.): Hundley would seemingly be an intriguing prospect for head coach Rob Chudzinksi. Hundley is in a similar mold to Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who Chudzinski had success coaching for two seasons as Carolina’s offensive coordinator before taking the Browns head job this offseason.
12. Buffalo Bills – Khalil Mack (OLB, Buffalo, Sr.): The Bills need more pass-rush opposite Mario Williams and Mack would be a perfect fit. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine could do some very special things with a Williams/Mack tandem off the edge.
13. Baltimore Ravens – Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson, Jr.): The Ravens need to give Torrey Smith some help at wide receiver, and Watkins can do just that. Watkins would give the Ravens two receivers who can take the top off defenses and be dynamic in the short-to-intermediate range.
14. Miami Dolphins – Antonio Richardson (OT, Tennessee, Jr.): Jonathan Martin has been inadequate as a blind side pass protector for Ryan Tannehill. Richardson could step in and help protect Ryan Tannehill, who has been the most-sacked quarterback in the NFL. this season.
15. Oakland Raiders – Louis Nix III (DT, Notre Dame, Jr.): The Raiders run defense has been very good this season, but Nix would be the best player on the board and the Raiders need to start collecting talent.
16. Tennessee Titans – Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina, Jr.): Improving the talent surrounding Jake Locker on the Titans offense will be vital in continuing his development. Ebron is an explosive tight end who any quarterback would love to have.