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2014 NFL Draft

XN Sports NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Texans Stick With Jadeveon Clowney; Blake Bortles to the Jaguars

With free agency nearing its end, XN NFL Draft beat writer Sam Spiegelman looks at where the chips may fall in his latest NFL mock draft.

NFL Draft
NFL Draft

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency has taken some significant turns since the original XN Sports Mock Draft 1.0 was released. DeSean Jackson is now wearing burgundy and gold, and teams hosting players for workouts have helped tipped their hands in which direction they may be leaning toward come May.

The NFL Draft is five weeks away. Without further ado, here’s the latest mock draft.

 

No. 1 Houston Texans: Javedeon Clowney, South Carolina

The logic: Weeks ago it seemed as if the decision between Clowney and a quarterback was 50-50. But now it seems as if the Texans are going to nab the best prospect available, Clowney, and allow quarterback guru Bill O’Brien to find a gem later on.

Mock 1.0: Jadeveon Clowney

 

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

The logic: If the Texans trade out of the top spot, the top of the draft is subject to change. The Rams are also shopping their pick, but without Clowney available, it seems very unlikely. Robinson visited with St. Louis, and given the team drafted two wideouts last year and signed Kenny Britt, they get their left tackle.

Mock 1.0: Greg Robinson

 

No. 3 Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles

The logic: Gus Bradley is a defensive-minded head coach, but the Jags have been in dire need for a franchise quarterback since Mark Brunell. Bortles’ stock has risen the most this spring.

Mock 1.0: Teddy Bridgewater

 

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

The logic: The Browns have been doing their due diligence with seemingly every quarterback in this draft. Owner Jimmy Haslam has long been a fan of Johnny Football, and if he’s available, he’s the guy.

Mock 1.0: Johnny Manziel

 

No. 5 Oakland Raiders: Sammy Watkins, Clemson

The logic: The Raiders have a shot at Bridgewater here, but it seems as if the team is content with Matt Schaub. With Maurice Jones-Drew and Watkins, the offense becomes quite formidable.

Mock 1.0: Sammy Watkins

 

No. 6 Atlanta Falcons: Khalil Mack, Buffalo

The logic: If Clowney is around at No. 2, I think Atlanta pulls the trigger and trades up to nab him. If not, they’ve worked out Mack, who some scouts consider to be a more well-rounded player than Clowney.

Mock 1.0: Khalil Mack

 

No. 7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans, Texas A&M

The logic: Mike Williams’ troubled offseason has bothered first-year Bucs coach Lovie Smith. The team has added a lot of pieces on the defensive side of the ball, but needs to provide Josh McCown with some weapons. Evans opposite of Vincent Jackson can be lethal.

Mock 1.0: Anthony Barr

 

No. 8 Minnesota Vikings: Jake Matthews, Texas A&M

The logic: The Vikings could grab Teddy Bridgewater here, but his stock is falling and it seems as if he might not come off the board until the second round.

Mock 1.0: Blake Bortles

 

No. 9 Buffalo Bills: Taylor Lewan, Michigan

The logic: Despite missing out on the playoffs, the Bills don’t have too many holes to plug. The team needs to build around second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel, and that starts with protection.

Mock 1.0: Eric Ebron

 

No. 10 Detroit Lions: Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

The logic: If Evans was around, I could envision the Lions pairing him with Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. Instead, they grab the best cornerback in the draft and immediately improve their secondary.

Mock 1.0: Justin Gilbert

 

No. 11 Tennessee Titans: Anthony Barr, UCLA

The logic: Barr’s stock has fallen this spring too, but he’s very capable of rushing the passer. He’s the best available after Mack and Clowney.

Mock 1.0: C.J. Mosley

 

No. 12 New York Giants: Eric Ebron, North Carolina

The logic: The Giants haven’t picked a tight end in the first round since Jeremy Shockey in 2002. The team has needs on both the offensive and defensive lines, but also has a knack for taking the best player available. Add Ebron to Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle, and Eli Manning is primed for a bounce-back year.

Mock 1.0: Jake Matthews

 

No. 13 St. Louis Rams: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama

The logic: Evans is off the board and the Rams already found their offensive tackle. They have a big void at safety.

Mock 1.0: Mike Evans

 

No. 14 Chicago Bears: Calvin Pryor, Louisville

The logic: The Bears addressed their defensive line issues through free agency with the additions of Lamarr Houston, Jared Allen, Jay Ratliff, and Willie Young. Now they need to sure up the back end of the defense.

Mock 1.0: Timmy Jernigan

 

No. 15 Pittsburgh Steelers: Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

The logic: I could see Pittsburgh going after a cornerback here or another defensive lineman — maybe Louis Nix III. The Steelers build from the inside out, and they need to solidify their team in the trenches.

Mock 1.0: Darqueze Dennard

 

No. 16 Dallas Cowboys: Kony Ealy, Missouri

The logic: This defensive line is in shambles after free agency. Henry Melton gives the team at least a short-term fix in the interior of the defensive line, but without DeMarcus Ware or Anthony Spencer it needs pass-rushers.

Mock 1.0: Aaron Donald

 

No. 17 Baltimore Ravens: Timmy Jernigan, Florida State

The logic: I don’t think anybody expected Jernigan to get past the Bears, Steelers, or Cowboys a month ago. The Ravens could grab C.J. Mosley, but they have a linebacking unit in place. Aside from Haloti Ngata, the line lacks depth.

Mock 1.0: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

 

No. 18 New York Jets: Marqise Lee, USC

The logic: The Jets whiffed on DeSean Jackson, but they have a chance to find a deep-threat opposite of Eric Decker. The team has been eyeing Lee for some time.

Mock 1.0: Marqise Lee

 

No. 19 Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, Notre Dame

The logic: Miami has long been linked to Martin. The team is stockpiling offensive linemen, including free-agent signee Branden Albert. Martin gives the team flexibility.

Mock 1.0: Zack Martin

 

No. 20 Arizona Cardinals: C.J. Mosley, Alabama

The logic: The Cards could grab Bridgewater here, but Bruce Arians strikes me as a coach — like O’Brien — who can find talent later on in the draft. Mosley helps ‘Zona replace the departed Karlos Dansby, and is a steal at No. 20.

Mock 1.0: Dee Ford

 

No. 21 Green Bay Packers: Jace Amaro, Texas Tech

The logic: Green Bay could also go after a defensive lineman or safety, but the best player at a position of need is Amaro. The team lost James Jones to the Raiders and Jermichael Finley, a free agent, has yet to be medically cleared. Amaro gives Aaron Rodgers a mismatch tight end like a Jimmy Graham or Gronk.

Mock 1.0: Calvin Pryor

 

No. 22 Philadelphia Eagles: Dee Ford, Auburn

The logic: The Eagles luck out if Ford drops to No. 22. But the team needs outside pass-rushers, even more so than help in the secondary. Ford could land somewhere in the top 20 and is a great value pick here.

Mock 1.0: Jason Verrett

 

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

The logic: Andy Reid made a play for his former deep-threat DeSean Jackson, but Kansas City took its name out of the race. They can find a younger version in Beckham, who can also add a spark to the return teams.

Mock 1.0: Odell Beckham Jr.

 

No. 24 Cincinnati Bengals: Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State

The logic: Another value pick, Dennard could land in Pittsburgh or New York. But with most of the top pass-rushers off the board and a need at corner, Cincy is going to grab the best defensive back available.

Mock 1.0: Kony Ealy

 

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

The logic: The Bolts’ secondary was atrocious last season, and the team has already worked out Roby, who’s arguably the third- or fourth-best corner in this class.

Mock 1.0: Bradley Roby

 

No. 26 Cleveland Browns: Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

The logic: The Browns could grab an offensive guard or a wide receiver here, but the team was in the hunt for Darrelle Revis and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie over the offseason. Pairing Fuller opposite Joe Hayden is huge for Mike Pettine’s Rex Ryan-esque defense.

Mock 1.0: Ryan Shazier

 

No. 27 New Orleans Saints: Jason Verrett, TCU

The logic: Re-signing Zach Strief eliminates tackle from the picture, and even if the team lands Champ Bailey it wouldn’t be a long-term solution. This secondary becomes very, very good with Verrett alongside Jairus Byrd and Keenan Lewis.

Mock 1.0: Kyle Fuller

 

No. 28 Carolina Panthers: Morgan Moses, Virginia

The logic: The Panthers need offensive linemen and wide receivers, but I believe they can find talented pass-catchers beyond the first round. Kouandjio may be the better prospect, but he carries a lot of off-the-field flags, too.

Mock 1.0: Cyrus Kouandjio

 

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

The logic: Vince Wilfork is back, but with Amaro off the board I see New England finding Wilfork’s successor. Ra’Shede Hageman is another option here.

Mock 1.0: Louis Nix III


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

The logic: Like many teams, the Niners were in on Jackson. The team is looking for another pass-catcher opposite Michael Crabtree. This could be a corner if Fuller or Verrett are around.

Mock 1.0: Kelvin Benjamin

 

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. Zane Beadles is off to Jacksonville and needs to be replaced.

Mock 1.0: Xavier Su’a-Filo

 

No. 32 Seattle Seahawks: Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame

The logic: Seattle missed out on Allen and could take Hageman, but Tuitt provides more versatility. The Seahawks could also consider a wideout to help replace the departed Tate.

Mock 1.0: Stephon Tuitt

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