Mock drafts are an interesting endeavor. Not only must one consider who are amongst the top football players available in the selection process, but we also have to think about which specific NFL teams are making those picks, and their particular needs and wants. One must also consider the potential for big trades for draft picks and players that can totally throw any mock draft for a loop. But with the NFL draft now just 1 month away, let’s have a go at deciding which players will go in the top 5, and to which teams they will go that are in such desperate need at the top of this 2014 NFL draft.
- Houston Texans - Johnny Manziel – QB – Texas A&M – The Texans are in dire need of a new franchise quarterback. One year ago they were considered potential Super Bowl contenders with Matt Schaub under center. Now he is off the team, and the Texans just signed Ryan Fitzpatrick, who if anything, resembles a perfect carryover quarterback for Houston to nurture their next franchise star. While the jury is certainly out on Manziel, especially with his rambunctious character, the player is a local Texas boy and he has a heck of a playmaking ability. Perhaps he is a reach for being selected #1, but I think the Texans would greatly benefit from picking up this potential superstar. A move back several spaces may be in their best interest if they can still nab him, but the Texans need a new face, and “Johnny Football” would be perfect for them!
- St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson – OT – Auburn – The Rams need to figure out if Sam Bradford is their franchise guy, and after 4 NFL seasons it’s looking less and less likely of ever panning out. Injured halfway through the year, St. Louis needs to keep their man on his feet and having a potential Pro Bowl offensive lineman will do just that. Robinson is a rock and will help Bradford have the time to hunt down Chris Givens and Tavon Austin. This is a smart pick and one that could preserve their franchise quarterback and bring out the best of his abilities.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina – He’s the best player in this draft and has all the tools to become a Hall of Fame NFL player, but the previous teams have larger needs to fulfill and already have strong pass rushers like Robert Quinn and J.J. Watt, meaning Clowney will slide to #3. Jason Babin of the Jaguars was the team’s best defender with 7.5 sacks. They need Clowney more than their burning desire for a star quarterback! If someone intrigues them as a potential franchise star they may look elsewhere, but Clowney is someone with Julius Peppers-like potential and they won’t pass him up!
- Cleveland Browns – Blake Bortles – QB – UCF – Bortles is a special talent and has all the tools needed to succeed in the NFL. The only thing holding him back is his small-school collegiate playing experience, but he did manufacture big wins against Louisville and Baylor (both nationally ranked 6th when they played) last year. He proved that he can be a winner and a leader, and those characteristics are incredible valuable in the NFL. The Browns have been a joke of a franchise for their entire existence this millennium and a superstar quarterback like Bortles might just make them relevant again…
- Oakland Raiders – Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson – With Matt Schaub as their quarterback and a crop of receivers including James Jones, Denarius Moore, and Rod Streater, the Raiders could use a playmaker. Each of those aforementioned players are decent pass-catchers who can make a play or two every given Sunday, but Sammy Watkins can take over games. He is by far the most intriguing wide receiver prospect available and could help spark a resurgence in Oakland’s offensive fortunes. Don’t expect Watkins to slip out of the top 5 as he is an explosive player and the best offensive prospect available in 2014!
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