Welcome to my 4-round mock draft. Probably the last one that I will ever do since I have been working on this on and off for weeks, unless I can tame my OCD. This is based upon my own evaluations of players and my own interpretations of needs, although I do consider team and staff history and preferences. There are two areas where I try to differ from a lot of other mocks. The first is that I do not give up on recent high- to mid-round draft picks unless their teams have clearly done so. Miami extended Grimes and drafted CBs in the 2nd and 3rd rounds last year. The draft picks did not play much due to injuries and established starters in place. I consider high draft picks at CB this year to Miami sloppy. The second is that I look closely at cap space and player contracts. The reality of the modern NFL is that few large contracts will reach their scheduled end. The team "need" may be wiping $7 million off their books.
Looking below, I had a lot of WRs and OL go high, although I refused to reach for centers. Only one CB in the second, as the non-first rounders all have some issue causing them to drop. I also did not put many pass rushers high, as this class had a lot of undersized guys with average athleticism. I have some unusual picks for QBs. Draft followers talk about skill set and potential, but I looked at team fits. And there are still a lot of Coughlin/Gilbride coaching types that like big bodies with big arms and good decision-making.
1. HOU - Jadeveon Clowney, DE - A generational player you cannot pass up. Fire Crennel if he is wasted in the defense, Clowney and Watt are the franchise.
2. TB (from STL for 1st, 5th, 2015 1st) - Sammy Watkins, WR - Again this is a rare talent. He is a better fit for Tedford, and there is no guarantee Evans falls. Also gives them a different type of player. Tampa has players for most of the key positions and can afford to give up a first, while St. Louis stays high enough to guarantee themselves a tackle. Rams desire to stay high creates a lower return on the trade; I think Tampa may have the only serious interest in the Top 8. Tampa would take Clowney if he was available.
3. JAC - Teddy Bridgewater, QB - Best QB in draft, can't pass up.
4. CLE - Blake Bortles, QB - Browns have to stop collecting leftover QBs. Shanahan saw the benefits of a mobile QB, while appreciating a body type able to withstand hits. It will still be a competition with Hoyer.
5. OAK - Khalil Mack, OLB - They need so much help they are almost pure BPA. Their offseason haul, along with last year's activity, sets them up perfectly for a 3-4, which their DC has coached. Tuck and Smith at DE, Sims at NT, Sio Moore playing inside and outside.
6. ATL - Greg Robinson, T - Atlanta can afford to take the project with upside since they have Baker.
8. STL (from MIN for 1st, 3rd, 2015 3rd) - Mike Evans, WR - Rams move up to land their #1 WR, with a different skill set then Austin, Bailey, and Givens. They need a true #1.
9. BUF - Jake Matthews, T - Close call vs. Ebron, the high floor and right side experience win out.
10. DET - Eric Ebron, TE - Lions can't get their tall WR, so they get a tall TE/WR. Will play along with Pettigrew.
11. TEN - Ra'Shede Hageman, DE - Horton had Campbell and Dockett in Arizona, looking for his new version.
12. NYG - Aaron Donald, DT - Pass rusher, best player on board. Displays maturity and intelligence in interviews.
13. MIN (from STL) - C. J. Mosley, MLB - They need a defensive captain as much as an offensive one. There are a variety of good options here, which is why they traded down. Also looking not to repeat the Ponder mistake by forcing a QB early.
14. CHI - Justin Gilbert, CB - A lot of people talking safety here, but with positional value, the age of starters, and lack of depth at CB, they should not pass on Gilbert.
15. PIT - Darqueze Dennard, CB - They are in a similar situation as the Bears, and even though they play off they have always liked physical players. Big staff contingent travelled to Michigan State.
16. MIA (from DAL for 1st, 4th) - Zach Martin, G/T - They trade up to get their high-character, versatile OL. Dallas is desperate for more picks to replace more expensive players, so they take a cheap trade.
17. BAL - HaSean Clinton-Dix, S - I was ready for a WR here, but that Steve Smith contract makes him a starter for the next two years. Instead I fill a big hole at the back of the defense.
18. NYJ - Odell Beckham Jr., WR - I am not ready to give up on Hill, but Beckham is just too good of a player to pass on here. They want no more excuses for why a QB did not develop. Barr is a good option here too, but the offense gets the focus this year in the first round.
19. DAL (from MIA) - Cyrus Kouandijo, T/G - They need another starter on the OL and the DL options here are poor. I like Kouandijo more than most, and he does not have to play LT here. I think he has the skills to play RG if they keep Free at RT another year.
20. ARI - Anthony Barr, OLB - They have a few untested mid-rounders at OLB but this is a good value here. Abraham is aging out. Arizona brings pressure by blitzing, so less pressure on Barr to be "the guy", and they can make more use of his coverage skills.
21. SD (from GB for 1st, 4th, 2015 4th) - Kyle Fuller, CB - San Diego is sitting behind a few teams with CB needs, so rather than be stuck with leftovers they move up to draft their guy. Huge CB need.
22. PHI - Marqise Lee, WR - A lot of talk about defense for Philly, but I think Lee is the best value here.
23. KC - Brandin Cooks, WR - Andy Reid gets his DJax with better short area ability, which is important in the offense he is running now.
24. CIN - Jason Verrett, CB - Cincy has a good stable of CBs, but some are old and some are injured. Verrett has the ability to play the slot or outside, and can contribute right away.
25. GB (from SD) - Jimmie Ward, S - A player I really like, because a free safety is primarily a coverage guy, and the NFC Central will throw the ball deep. Nix considered here.
26. CLE - Allen Robinson, WR - Another player I am really high on that is usually mocked later. I think he makes a great complement to Gordon as a move-the-chains type WR.
27. MIN (from NO for 3rd, 2015 3rd) - Derek Carr, QB - I think he is the best fit for Norv Turner, with his arm and athleticism he will be dangerous in the dome. Might be able to win the starting job this year.
28. CAR - Morgan Moses, T - They have a few severe needs, with tackle being the hardest one to find a solution, so a slight reach is allowed. Moses has ample experience on the right side, where he will likely be as a rookie.
29. NE - Xavier Sua'Filo, G - The Patriots dynasty is tied to Brady, and the way to extend it the longest is to keep him upright. Sua'Filo is a great fit in a zone system, excellent movement skills.
30. SF - Bradley Roby, CB - The team everyone talks about moving up sits tight and takes the best CB on the board, a player who had a poor season last year, but was better two years ago. His old tape gets him in the end of the first round.
31. DEN - Kony Ealy, DE - I have Ealy lower than most, but his lack of pure pass rushing ability drops him here to replace Ayers. Ware needs to be rested on run snaps and Wolfe has a spinal injury.
32. SEA - Joel Bitonio, T/G - A player that fits their zone blocking system, who most see on the inside but has the measurements and feet to play outside as well.
33. HOU - Louis Nix, NT - Passing on QB again, to take a great value and fill a major need. OL need to be occupied to free up Watt and Clowney.
34. JAC (from WAS for 2nd, 5th, 7th) - Dee Ford, DE - Bradley brought the Seattle defense and its players over. Clemons and Babin are short timers, but are the perfect models to help Ford use his small size and quickness.
35. CLE - Antonio Richardson, T/G - I rank Richardson as a slightly lesser Kouandijo, long-armed tackles that could make the move to guard if needed. The talk is that Schwartz will move inside (not sure I agree with that), so Richardson would be penciled in as the RT.
36. OAK - Jace Amaro, TE - Another team that surprises by passing on a QB, and I am 50/50 on doing so, but I think Oakland has learned that you can't surround a QB with poor talent, so they are picking BPA and raising the talent level first. They expect to be drafting in the Top 10 next year as well. They have Schaub who has only had one bad year, so he can be a good temp.
37. ATL - Jackson Jeffcoat, OLB/DE - Probably the pick where I differ the most from the norm, but I see Jeffcoat as a great candidate to be a rush OLB. He returned strong from injury this year and had a great combine. I have a lot of other college DEs lower because of their small size. Atlanta is desperate for a pass rusher. With their offseason I think they will be playing more of a 3-4 this year.
38. TB - Gabe Jackson, G - A pick a lot of Tampa fans question as one made for need only, but I am very high on Jackson and this would give them a very strong OL.
39. WAS (from JAC) - Calvin Pryor, S - Washington will be having open competitions at the ILB and S spots, and although they drafted two safeties last year, they were the two least physical at the position, and they were not high picks. Pryor would be considered a value pick here by many, although this is where I have him ranked.
40. NO (from MIN) - Kelvin Benjamin, WR - He could be the replacement for Graham if extension talks fail, or the future replacement for Colston. Either option would free up badly needed cap space. But they do also need more talent at WR, which was once a deep position for them. Stills had a great rookie year but the depth behind him is uncertain.
41. BUF - Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE - Passing on Ebron works out as there is still a top TE option here, while the top tackles are gone. No matter what people may claim, it is the loss of production that has dropped him the most on other boards, but not on mine. Similar to Detroit, the Bills find an alternative to the tall WR they were seeking (if they are smart, Mike Williams only stays one year).
42. TEN - Charles Sims, RB - My top RB, a do-it-all type that can play every down, and a great need for Tennessee to keep some pressure off of Locker.
43. NYG - Jordan Matthews, WR - A player than analysts love to describe as average in all areas, but he was highly productive in the SEC and put up great numbers at the combine. A WR that stayed for senior year. Randle is unproven and Jernigan is in the final year of his contract.
44. STL - Terrance Brooks, S - I have Brooks and Ward high because they can cover. The Rams have a huge need at the position and I don't consider Brooks a significant drop off from Ha Ha.
45. BAL (from DET for 2nd, 6th, 7th) - Stephon Tuitt, DE - Who remembers when Tuitt was a Top 10 mocked pick? His talent level is not far off from Hageman. There will be no pressure in Baltimore to start right away, and Canty can help him learn to play with his height. Baltimore makes a small jump up because the Steelers and Cowboys could be eyeing Tuitt.
46. PIT - JaWuan James, T - James is here because I think he is a left tackle. His athleticism on tape was confirmed at the combine. He does need to get stronger, but the Steelers have lots of strength on the OL. Athleticism is the problem. Beachum is not a LT. Adams has disappointed. Gilbert is not a LT.
47. DAL - Ryan Shazier, OLB - No DL again for Dallas, but they grab a value player that fell because he is a WILL. Dallas is talking about replacing Carter, and does not have to money to spend on him next year anyway.
48. DET (from BAL) - Deonte Bucannon, S - A popular player on NFLN right now, he moves right in to replace Delmas. Good size and ball skills.
49. SF (from NYJ for 2nd, 3rd) - Billy Turner, G - Here is where SF uses their extra picks to trade up. A surprising move, but with Kap and Aldon Smith due new contracts, there will be no room to extend Iupati and Boone. Turner is a similar violent player that supports their power run game. Has a year to learn guard.
50. MIA - Jack Mewhort, T/G - One of the players who showed the most improvement from the start to the end of the college season, here he slots in as Miami's RT, allowing Martin to play guard. I think two OL high are a must for Miami.
51. CHI - Timmy Jernigan, DT - Great value here, falls because who wants a small 1 tech DT? Does he remind Chicago too much of the disappointing Paea? If they are smart, Houston gets 3 tech snaps, especially on pass rush downs.
52. ARI - Zach Mettenburger, QB - I don't see Arizona as needing a QB now with Palmer showing life, but they take what falls to them.
53. GB - Donte Moncrief, WR - Jarret Boykin is not an NFL starter, and Green Bay likes the measurables on its WRs.
54. PHI - Demarcus Lawrence, OLB - Another DE that I can think can rush from outside, a good fit as long as Barwin is playing coverage on the other side.
55. CIN - Bishop Sankey, RB - On a team with no deep needs, a RB in the second may actually provide the biggest impact to the team. Cincy is in the same situation as Tennessee where they need a strong running game to put less pressure on their QB.
56. SF - Martavis Bryant, WR - Boldin was a great addition, but the problem with SF continues to be the lack of fear of the passing game. Bryant provides the big, fast downfield threat they need to keep those safeties back.
57. SD - Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB - I was almost leaning towards another corner here, or a WR, but I think this is a good spot for an experienced 3-4 OLB to match with Ingram and take Jarrett Johnson's and Freeney's contracts off the books.
58. NO - Troy Murphy, OLB/DE - Gallette is surprisingly unknown given his recent production, and with Vaccaro they are playing 3 safeties half of the time. Murphy can play OLB in the base 3-4, then move to DE in place of Hicks on pass rush downs as he has the length to play closer to the line. There is also a concern with whether they will be able to afford to extend Cameron Jordan.
59. IND - Lamarcus Joyner, S/CB - A team that needs a nickel CB and free safety, plays zone, will be a good fit for Joyner. I see him as a similar player as Mathieu.
60. CAR - Cody Latimer, WR - Carolina needs the big play WR and has worked out Latimer a ton. Avant and Cotchery are possession guys. Similar situation as San Francisco.
61. NYJ (from SF) - Kyle Van Noy, OLB - I allowed the Jets to trade down because I had a few options in mind for them and Idzik is not playing in free agency, so he needs draft picks. Van Noy falls because he is not a conventional rush 3-4 OLB. Rex likes his OLBs that can cover, which is hard to find, and Van Noy becomes the replacement for Pace next year.
62. NE - Troy Niklas, TE - The TE to NE is badly overdone, but the concerns with Gronk's health are constantly raised. Niklas can play on the line and allow Gronk to spread out to experience less physical play.
63. DEN - Chris Borland, MLB - Woodyard was let go because of a lack of physical play. Everyone mocks them less physical LBs than Woodyard. I think Shazier is an awful fit for John Fox. I'm giving him an aggressive force that will own the middle of the field. I'm reading more rumors about his shoulder again. He has never missed a game with these phantom shoulder injuries.
64. SEA - Davante Adams, WR - This is far down in the draft for him, as I've seen him mocked to Seattle in the first, but teams in front went for the size & speed players.
65. TB (from HOU for Glennon QB) - Jimmy Garoppolo, QB - I saw this somewhere and liked it. Glennon has a year under his belt so he should be ready to start right away, which Houston needs. Tampa uses the pick to nab what I believe to be a great fit for Tedford's offense.
66. WAS - Brandon Thomas, T/G - Washington can get by for one more year with Chester and Polumbus on the right side while Thomas recovers from his torn ACL. This is a great pick long-term.
67. OAK - Johnny Manziel, QB - People will accuse me of hating on Manziel here. I don't hate him. I think his style of play will only be acceptable to a few teams. And some of those teams make other choices. Jacksonville took Bridgewater and Cleveland took Bortles. This leads to him falling. Oakland proved with Pryor that they were willing to try a non-conventional QB. I could also see Oakland taking him in the second. Or possibly Houston at some point, since I would not be surprised if the team owner gives O'Brien a "get out of jail free" card if the local product fails.
68. DAL (from ATL for 5th, 2 7th) - Marcus Smith, DE - Dallas moves up to make sure they get one of the last two good DE options (Kareem Martin is the other), and they have the extra 4th to spare the 5th and they have several 7th rounders. Atlanta can use the extra picks. Some people have Smith as a first rounder, but the lack of size and strength bothers me.
69. DET (from TB for 4th, DET 6th) - Weston Richburg, C - Raiola is 50 years old, Detroit needs to grab a center. I refuse to move the centers up higher than they belong simply because of need.
70. NO (from JAC for 6th) - Marcus Martin, C - Following the Lions' move, New Orleans is forced to trade up to fill their big hole.
71. CLE - Yawin Smallwood, ILB - I'm not frightened by his 40 time which he ran injured, look instead at his 10-yard split. An aggressive ILB well suited for Pettine's defense, good pairing with Dansby.
72. JAC (from NO from MIN) - Telvin Smith, OLB - Their starting WILL was just a medical cut. Bradley liked athletic LBs in Seattle, and Smith's size does not scare me, but he does not go earlier because he is only a WILL.
73. BUF - Kareem Martin, DE - Hughes is in his contract year and has been a failure at 4-3 DE before.
74. NYG - C. J. Fiedorowicz, TE - This is a safe pick, where Reese amends his previous ways and takes a guy that can play right away. Good blocker, soft hands, big target.
75. MIN (from STL) - Carlos Hyde, RB - Replaces Gerhart in the role of absorbing some hits for Peterson. Need the running game to make Carr's life easier as well.
76. TB (from DET) - Robert Herron, WR - Tampa doubles up on WRs with a guy that can play the slot or outside, excellent route runner, strong hands, quick.
77. SF - Travis Swanson, C - They have been developing Kilgore as a center, but they need a better player than him as starter.
78. ATL (from DAL) - Devon Kennard, OLB - Atlanta doubles up at OLB with a natural player at the position, one that can cover as well as rush the passer, and it is this dual ability and his athleticism that puts him in the third round.
79. BAL - Phillip Gaines, CB - Baltimore has two starters at CB but they have no depth behind them. Gaines has the athleticism to play the slot but enough size to play outside if Smith cannot be retained.
80. NYJ - Pierre Desir, CB - Has the frame to play the physical style desired by Ryan.
81. MIA - Jarvis Landry, WR - A reliable set of hands to help move the chains, the anti-Wallace. Timed slow in running events but is not that slow on the field.
82. CHI - Dominique Easley, DT - It is not the ACL that drops him this far, it is the fact that it was his second ACL tear. But the Bears really would like to replace Melton.
83. CLE - Marcus Roberson, CB - One of the Florida fallers, people noticed his poor 40 time but not his excellent other times. Long-armed, stays tight in coverage, did not have a bad season as is often stated.
84. NYJ (from ARI for 4th, ARI 6th) - David Yankey, G - A player whose stock is falling but I have the Jets moving up to get him. Never should have been a first rounder and is not the athlete that DeCastro was, but it is hard to argue with the results he achieved. He opens holes, picks up his assignments in motion, and does not get beat in pass protection.
85. GB - Shayne Skov, ILB - Poor measured speed, I don't care. Watch the game tape. Diagnoses plays and routes, closes, finishes. A team leader, tough as nails. The 2015 replacement for an aging, expensive Hawk.
86. PHI - Walt Aikens, CB - My favorite CB prospect. Philly has been looking at upgrading their CB talent, even after they bought Carroll for a steal. They are looking for length. They have guys in place where Aikens can sit and learn for a year.
87. KC - DaQuan Jones, DE/DT - Reid loves those trench bodies, and although not a real need, this is great value here. Jones has some experience lining up over the tackle and he has the length and athleticism to replace Jackson.
88. CIN - Scott Crichton, DE - I don't see the closing burst from Crichton that I would need to have him higher. I think he is a LDE in the pros, as he played in college. I thought it was crazy people mentioned him as an OLB. Cincy likes DEs and just lost their best one.
89. SD - Ego Ferguson, NT/DE - They have a huge hole at NT and Ferguson has the strength to play the position, but he alsso has the athleticism to move out to DE if needed. Huge value here, as I have a solid second round grade on him.
90. IND - Keith McGill, S/CB - Same positional versatility as Joyner, vastly different body type. Indy can decide how to use them. They have multiple needs at DB.
91. NO - Dre Archer, RB/WR - He's not Sproles. Not going to be a blocker for the QB. But he can get open, catch the ball, and make people miss.
92. CAR - Jaylen Watkins, CB - As everyone was watching for Purifoy and Roberson, he was the one that stood out for being glued to WRs.
93. NE - Will Sutton, DT - All of the DTs fell here, but I was not a huge Sutton fan even in 2012. Norris has it right, wins on hand usage, but ultimately he needs to be more of an athlete to succeed.
94. ARI (from NYJ from SF) - Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB - Best place for him to learn to be a big CB is behind Cromartie.
95. DEN - Paul Richardson, WR - Denver has a lot of underneath options but needs to keep teams honest by having downfield threats. Will they be able to keep Demaryius?
96. MIN - Christian Jones, OLB - The future replacement for Greenway, and they claim to want a LB that can blitz.
97. PIT - Justin Ellis, NT/DE - McLendon has played well since Hampton retired and they brought in Cam Thomas, but I think they still need another body to help the DL. Ellis is one of the last potential NTs in this class, with a lot of untapped potential.
98. GB - Christian Kirksey, ILB - Double-dipping at ILB to replace two older, expensive ILBs. Kirksey will be the Reasons to Skov's Carson.
99. BAL - Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, T - Kubiak loves his athletic tackles, and Duvernay-Tardif is one of the cleanest prospects in the draft. Pre-med student. Allows them to keep Osemele inside.
100. SF - Adrian Hubbard, OLB - I have already done some prep work to enable them to re-sign Aldon Smith, now I give them some depth in case he is let go. Like Smith, Hubbard is an athletic specimen that has not always produced on the field. In my opinion he was put in coverage too much this year.
101. HOU - Andre Hal, CB
102. WAS - E.J. Gaines, CB
103. ATL - Tre Mason, RB
104. NYJ - Antone Exum, S/CB
105. JAC - James Hurst, T
106. CLE - Kadeem Carey, RB - If there is one thing Kyle Shanahan should have learned by now is that the most important feature of a RB is that he finds the hole. That is Carey's strength.
107. OAK - Terrance Mitchell, CB
108. MIN - Ryan Groy, G - All season I have had him ranked higher than other analysts. Big, mauling guard that is light on his feet, has tackle experience. Handled Quarles in his bowl game and helped out on Clowney.
109. BUF - Avery Williamson, MLB - Another personal favorite of mine, a tackle machine in the SEC the last two years. Spikes was only given a one-year deal.
110. STL - Nevin Lawson, CB
111. TB (from DET) - Andre Colvin, CB - They can wait on his ACL recovery as Mike Jenkins was brought in on a 1-year contract.
112. TEN - Aaron Murray, QB - The anti-Locker. Good production and decision-making, poor physical abilities.
113. NYG - Jordan Tripp, OLB/MLB - Here is the large, athletic player that Reese loves. Will be groomed to take over for Beason.
114. JAC - Devin Street, WR
115. ARI (from NYJ) - Bruce Ellington, WR
116. DAL (from MIA) - Caraun Reid, DT
117. CHI - Brock Vereen, S
118. PIT - Cody Hoffman, WR
119. DAL - Bashaud Breeland, CB
120. ARI - Cyril Richardson, G
121. GB - Anthony Steen, C/G
122. PHI - Brandon Coleman, WR
123. CIN - Keith Wenning, QB or AJ McCarron, QB - I really like Wenning, and he is almost local for Cincy. I like McCarron's arm. But with a limited number of teams in the QB hunt, someone had to fall. Watching him in interviews, reading stories about his actions, I think teams will question whether he is the next Leinart.
124. KC - Dakota Dozier, G
125. GB (from SD) - Crockett Gilmore, TE
126. NO - Max Bullough, ILB
127. CLE - Kenny Ladler, S
128. CAR - Josh Huff, WR
129. SF - Deandre Coleman, DE
130. NE - Chris Smith, DE
131. DEN - Lache Seastrunk, RB - Huge value here, I tried to get him in much earlier, but it just did not happen.
132. SEA - Will Clarke, DE
133. DET - Kelcy Quarles, DT
134. BAL - Jared Abbrederis, WR
135. HOU - Calvin Bradford, ILB/OLB
136. DET - Trai Turner, G
137. NYJ - Preston Brown, ILB
138. BAL - Brent Urban, DE
139. ATL - Marqueston Huff, S
140. NE - Jeff Mathews, QB - They take a Cornell grad to be the next Mallett, the next possible future Brady. Has the physical skills.
152. NYG - Zach Moore, DE - I thought I had him early enough here, but Daniel Jeremiah recently discovered him and has been mentioning him as a fourth round candidate. I cannot claim to have watched any Concordia - Minnesota games. But I noticed this guy at the combine. 6-5 265, but moved very well in the 3-4 OLB drills. Big athlete, Reese-style.
174. NYG - Jonotthan Harrison, C - This is a guy I have liked for two years now that has flown under the radar despite being successful in the SEC. Powerful blocker that can get low, and good movement skills to pull or get to the second level. I think he most likely would wind up on the practice squad this year unless Walton cannot perform.
187. NYG - Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB - The Senior Bowl TV coverage this year showed the RBs mostly in pass protection. Which helped the big guys like Taliaferro stand out. But he then separated himself from the rest of the big guys in receiving drills. Quick into the route, good hands, acceleration. Then I saw his stats. 1,700+ yards, 27 TDs, 23 receptions. We have been spending late picks on athletes at RB lately with poor results. I want to see a change - draft guys that have proven they can play, especially when they can play three downs.