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2014 NFL Draft

XN Sports NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Texans Draft Jadeveon Clowney First Overall

Sam Spiegelman looks at where the chips may fall in the first round in the XN Sports NFL Mock Draft.

Jadeveon Clowney
Jadeveon Clowney

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

This mock draft marks the first of many to come leading up to May. It is based on free-agent signings, team needs, and extensive media reports.

Without further ado, XN Sports Mock Draft 1.0:

No. 1 Houston Texans: Javedeon Clowney, South Carolina

The logic: The Texans are no longer an AFC contender, and the team has numerous holes to fill to return to being a playoff team. Rebuilding starts by drafting the best player available.

Choice B: Blake Bortles, Central Florida

 

No. 2 St. Louis Rams: Greg Robinson, Auburn

The logic: The Rams probably want to trade out of this spot and collect more draft picks. If not, they can draft the best tackle available and move the re-signed Rodger Saffold to guard.

 

No. 3 Jacksonville Jaguars: Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

The logic: Bridgewater is considered the most pro-ready quarterback in this draft, but Jacksonville doesn’t have to trot him out Week 1 because the team re-signed Chad Henne. They would have loved Clowney to land here.

 

No. 4 Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

The logic: The Browns have long been linked to Johnny Football, and were unable to sign a veteran in free agency. Even if the Jags and Texans both draft quarterbacks, Manziel is the most likely to fall to Cleveland.

 

No. 5 Oakland Raiders: Sammy Watkins, Clemson

The logic: The Raiders cannot think James Jones is a true No. 1, and the franchise has a history of drafting wide receivers. Jake Matthews is an option, but the signing of Donald Penn puts that in doubt.

Choice B: Jake Matthews, Texas A&M

 

No. 6 Atlanta Falcons: Khalil Mack, Buffalo

The logic: Mack may be the most complete defensive player in this draft, and would instantly make the Falcons tougher in the trenches, just as owner Arthur Blank demanded. Matthews again is an option here, as Matt Ryan was sacked 44 times in 2013.

Choice B: Jake Matthews, Texas A&M

 

No. 7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Anthony Barr, UCLA

The logic: Lovie Smith has found a lot of pieces for his new defense, but likely wants a comparable linebacking tandem like he used to have in Chicago. A Lavonte David-Barr duo does just that.

 

No. 8 Minnesota Vikings: Blake Bortles, Central Florida

The logic: Matt Cassel isn’t a long-term option for Minnesota, and he’s the best quarterback on the board.

 

No. 9 Buffalo Bills: Eric Ebron, North Carolina

The logic: Doug Marrone wants to supply second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel with as many weapons as possible, and Ebron fits the mold of the new athletic, hybrid tight ends. The Bills could grab a safety to replace Jairus Byrd, too.

Choice B: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama

 

No. 10 Detroit Lions: Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

The logic: Despite picking in the top 10, the Lions don’t have too many holes. Fixing their secondary should be a main area of emphasis after coughing up so many leads last season.

 

No. 11 Tennessee Titans: C.J. Mosley, Alabama

The logic: Is Moise Fokou the man Ken Whisenhunt wants to man the middle of his defense? He may have preferred Anthony Barr to fall down here, though. The Titans could draft an offensive lineman, but the signing of Michael Oher may preclude them from that.

Choice B: Taylor Lewan, Michigan

 

No. 12 New York Giants: Jake Matthews, Texas A&M

The logic: The Giants would have loved Ebron to slip down to No. 12. Taylor Lewan is also an obvious option here, but recent legal issues make him a red flag for Jerry Reese and the Giants.

 

No. 13 St. Louis Rams: Mike Evans, Texas A&M

The logic: The Rams have long needed to supply Sam Bradford with weapons. They drafted Tavon Austin and Steadman Bailey last year, but Evans would give Bradford a big-time target.

Choice B: Ha-Ha Clinton Dix

 

No. 14 Chicago Bears: Timmy Jernigan, Florida State

The logic: The Bears signed a prominent free agent in Lamarr Houston, but this is the team’s more glaring need still. Jernigan is the best defensive tackle in this year’s class.

 

No. 15 Pittsburgh Steelers: Darqueze Dennard, Michigan St.

The logic: Ike Taylor is 33 and isn’t getting any younger, not to mention he’ll be a free agent in 2015. The Steelers also have needs at wide receiver and defensive line, but Dennard is ready to contribute as a rookie.

Choice B: Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

 

No. 16 Dallas Cowboys: Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

The logic: The Cowboys’ one-year pact with Henry Melton shouldn’t preclude them from drafting one of the draft’s most promising 3-techniques. The team also failed to address its secondary in free agency.

Choice B: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama

 

No. 17 Baltimore Ravens: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama

The logic: Last year, Baltimore nabbed Matt Elam in the first round to help replace Ed Reed. This year, they lost James Ihedlgbo and could replace him with the best safety available.

 

No. 18 New York Jets: Marqise Lee, USC

The logic: The Jets signed the best available wideout in Eric Decker, but the receiving corps is far from complete. With both Dennard and Gilbert off the board, Rex Ryan will have to wait before adding another corner.

 

No. 19 Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, Notre Dame

The logic: Miami is in need at offensive line with Jonathan Martin now in San Fran and Richie Incognito not likely to return. Martin is one of the fastest-rising prospects and can fit in at both guard and tackle.

 

No. 20 Arizona Cardinals: Dee Ford, Auburn

The logic: The Cards filled a need at tackle with Jared Veldheer, formerly of the Raiders. The team still needs to replenish its pass rush. Ford is the best available edge rusher at this point and can transition into a stand-up backer.

 

No. 21 Green Bay Packers: Calvin Pryor, Louisville

The logic: Green Bay filled its need at corner by re-upping with Sam Shields, but safety remains a weakness in the secondary. Pryor is the No. 2-rated at the position and could start Week 1.

 

No. 22 Philadelphia Eagles: Jason Verrett, TCU

The logic: The Eagles seem poised to grab a cornerback here; it just depends on which prospect the team likes the best and who’s available. Verrett is the No. 3-rated corner, but Kyle Fuller and Bradley Roby remain in the mix.

Choice B: Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

 

No. 23 Kansas City Chiefs: Odell Beckham Jr., LSU

The logic: The Chiefs lost Dexter McCluster to free agency and need a playmaker to help stretch the field. Beckham is the most explosive receiver of the bunch, and could serve as a DeSean Jackson-type role for Andy Reid.

 

No. 24 Cincinnati Bengals: Kony Ealy, Missouri

The logic: Cincy has needs at both defensive end and cornerback, but the former is even more glaring. The team lost top pass-rusher Michael Johnson to Tampa. If not, the team will likely have grab the best corner available.

Choice B: Bradley Roby, Ohio State

 

No. 25 San Diego Chargers: Bradley Roby, Ohio State

The logic: The Bolts’ secondary was atrocious last season, and Mike McCoy helped clear space to rid the unit of its underperforming corners. Roby is theoretically the best corner available this late in the first round.

Choice B: Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

 

No. 26 Cleveland Browns: Ryan Shazier, Ohio State

The logic: Stealing Andrew Hawkins away from Cincinnati likely means the team won’t go after a wideout in the first round. Cleveland signed Karlos Dansby and has Barkevious Mingo, but the hometown product Shazier gives Pettine a very talented linebacking unit. The team was reportedly in the mix for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and another talented corner opposite of Joe Haden fits, too.

Choice B: Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

 

No. 27 New Orleans Saints: Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

The logic: Re-signing Zach Strief eliminates tackle from the picture, leaving cornerback and a pass-rusher as the team’s main needs. The Saints would love Ford to fall into their laps, but if he’s already off the board they’ll be glad to welcome one of the rising cornerback prospects to the Big Easy.

 

No. 28 Carolina Panthers: Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama

The logic: The Panthers lost left tackle Jordan Gross to retirement and its four top wideouts to free agency. The team has spoken with receivers projected in the middle rounds of the draft, and might be more interested in protecting Cam Newton’s blindside first and foremost.

Choice B: Kelvin Bejamin, Florida State

 

No. 29 New England Patriots: Louis Nix III, Notre Dame

The logic: Vince Wilfork reportedly wants out, and Nix has drawn comparisons to New England’s All-Pro defensive tackle. He was one of the Fighting Irish’s best defenders during their National Championship run.

Choice B: Jace Amaro, Texas Tech


No. 30 San Francisco 49ers: Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State

The logic: Eventually, Anquan Boldin’s age will catch up to him, and when he does the team needs his replacement. Giving Colin Kaepernick a big-bodied wideout like Benjamin opposite of Michael Crabtree is a must.

Choice B: Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota

 

No. 31 Denver Broncos: Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA

The logic: Denver addressed a lot of its needs through free agency, but could afford to upgrade its offensive line.

Choice B: DeMarcus Lawrence, Boise St.

 

No. 32 Seattle Seahawks: Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame

The logic: Even if Seattle gets Jared Allen, they can afford to stockpile defensive linemen. Tuitt is versatile enough to play both end and tackle. The team could also have interest in a pass-catching tight end.

Choice B: Jace Amaro, Texas Tech

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