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2014 NFL Mock Draft: Mike Evans to Giants in final mock draft from 'Raptor'

The end (of the pre-draft process) is neigh! REPENT! ...Or you know, read another mock draft. There won't be too many more.

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it's finally happened. We've come to the end of the seemingly interminable 2014 pre-draft process. The frenzy surrounding free agency has died down, team strengths and weaknesses have shifted, the prospects are thoroughly (exhaustively) scouted, and the big boards are set.

A week from now we won't be scouting prospects any more. We'll be analyzing picks. Cheering or lamenting picks, stunned at surprise moves, and wondering if (or which) new New York Giants, be they first round, fourth rounder, or an undrafted free agent will help the team.

But that's still in the future. There's still time for one last stab at predicting how the first round of the draft will go.

So, without further ado:


Derek Carr, QB, Fresno St.

There's a lot of talk about Clowney or Manziel, but the Texans have a solid defense (especially if Romeo Crennel doesn't change it too much). They need a QB, and Carr fits the profile of QB that O'Brien has had at New England and Penn State.

Carr isn't a name you see here, well... Ever. But, everything I've heard about him says that he is an extremely impressive young man, and that counts for a lot. He has the build, the arm, the IQ, and the athleticism to be a franchise QB. There some risk as Carr has a tendency to let his footwork break down when he is under pressure, but O'Brien has been polishing young QB's games for a while.


Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

If the Rams stand pat with this pick instead of trading down, they take the best OL in the draft. Rodger Saffold will likely be a guard next year and Jake Long may benefit from a move to RT after tearing his ACL and MCL.

Matthews is a natural left tackle with everything you want from the position. Enough athleticism, long arms, sublime movement skills, and a great knowledge of angles. He can run block, he can pass block, and his frame allows him to continue to get bigger and stronger.


Blake Bortles, QB, UCF This is another case of "If you don't have a quarterback, you need a quarterback". Bortles is seen by many as the top QB in this draft, so it's a nice get for the Jaguars. They have been starved at the position for a long time now, and who better than the Big Ben clone from Central Florida?

Nothing puts butts in seats like winning, but having a local boy who has gained national acclaim is a nice kick start. He may not be Tim Tebow, but he also isn't Tim Tebow.


Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

The Browns have enough high picks that they can afford to take a page from the Bengals' book and take the best WR to come along since the Bengals wrote that page, and take a QB with a reasonably strong chance of becoming a franchise QB.

And even if this was their only pick in the whole draft, the prospect of pairing Sammy Watkins with Josh Gordon is simply too good to ignore.


Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

The ghost of Al Davis rises from the grave to pick the the DE with the 4.5 40. Oh, and he's pretty goo,d too. There seems to be some ambiguity about what kind of front the Raidahs will play, but Clowney can slot in at either DE spot in a 4-3, or play rush linebacker if they switch to a hybrid or 3-4 front.


Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

The Falcons get their pass rusher. It seems Atlanta is going to switch to a 3-4 look on defense, and Mack fits the new scheme perfectly. He can be the dynamic pass rusher they've lacked the last couple years.

Mack is going to have to make a massive leap in competition, and I know I would have liked to see him play in the Senior Bowl, but Mack should be able to make the jump.


Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking: "Beckham before Evans? What the deuce is he thinking!?"

Well, I'm thinking that the Bucs already have a nice compliment of bigger receivers. What they're lacking is that guy who can take advantage of a 1-on-1 and not just beat his man, but be a threat to take it to the house on any given play. Also, Beckham plays much bigger than listed, has sticky hands, and gives Lovie Smith something like the Special Teams threat he enjoyed with Devon Hester in Chicago.


Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Yeah, he had a not-amazing pro-day.

On the other hand has plenty of great tape against live opponents. Bridgewater throws with touch, accuracy, and anticipation. He's been in a pro-style offense in college and can step in and win day one.


Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Robinson slipped a bit here. He has oodles of upside, but his technique is raw now. Robinson has little experience in pass protection, and has a tendency to lunge and get "reach-y", which are problems that he is going to have to have to fix if he wants to succeed in the NFL.

Also, he has no experience in anything like an NFL system. Fortunately, Doug Marone (reportedly) became infatuated with the Read Option offense while at Syracuse (leading to his decision to draft the big, athletic E.J. Manuel), and this is exactly the kind of system Robinson has experience in.


Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma St.

The Lions have invested a lot of (high) draft picks in their front four. It's time to start helping out the back end.

Gilbert is a big enough and athletic enough to match up with the dangerous receivers in the NFC North, he can excel in press coverage to give the pass rushers a chance to get to the QB, and has excellent ball skills capitalize on any hurried throw.


Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

The Titans spent a first-round pick on an offensive lineman a year ago. Chance Warmack didn't live up to his high billing in his first year, but that isn't stopping them from adding another first-rounder to an offensive line that under-performed for the amount of resources invested in it last year.

With Lewan the Titans get a tackle who can immediately step in at RT and provide an athletic compliment to Warmack (RG), with the upside to eventually take over for 31-year-old Michael Roos at left tackle.


Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

There's a lot of talk about Evans not getting out of the top-10 (or even 8). However, here he slipped due to to some very public instances where he hasn't been able to control himself.

Scouts have said that more and more their job is more about checking into prospects' character than their abilities on the field. In this case concern that Evans might not be able to control his emotions on the big stage have dropped him down the draft board.

As for the pick itself, all four of my main targets are here (Barr, Donald, Ebron, and Evans), but I've got the Giants taking Evans because they have a distinct weakness at the position, and Evans has physical tools that few players have.

Big and tall, long arms, massive hands, and an (almost) 40-inch vertical make for a catch radius that puts low flying aircraft in danger. Evans immediately provides the kind of red zone threat that the Giants haven't had since Nove. 28, 2008. In fact, maybe even more so.

If he can mature and develop a full route tree, his upside is Megatron-esque (Maybe Optimus Prime).


Calvin Pryor, S, Louiville

With their second pick, the Rams solidify the back end of their defense, and get a great center-fielding compliment to T. J. McDonald.

Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix is generally thought of as the best safety in this class, but if Pryor is behind him, it isn't by much. He has all the range a team can ask for, as well as play both the run and the pass. Also, the Rams' roster is conspicuously lacking any players from the University of Alabama. It could be that GM Les Snead avoids prospects from that school, so Pryor might be higher on their board.


Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

Need meets value here. The Bears defensive line needs a boost, and Aaron Donald is the best DT in this draft class. And while he isn't the run stopping force they need, he should help to replace some of the pass rush they lost in parting ways with Julius Peppers.

On another note, lining new DE Lamaar Houston up next to DT Aaron Donald (who is roughly 20 pounds lighter than Houston) could give offensive coordinators and linemen fits.


Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan St.

Dennard is one of the best cover corners, and probably the best press corner in the draft. There are some scary receivers in the AFC North, and Dennard can help the Steelers deal with them.

Dennard doesn't have the best long speed, and he looked a bit stiff at the combine, but the the tape speaks for itself, and it speaks pretty loudly.

Dennard's aggressive, physical style is a perfect fit for the Steelers' defense that has always prided itself on those qualities.


Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

This move is about one thing, and one thing only: The Star.

Dallas hasn't been above .500 since 2009, and have gone 6-10, 8-8, 8-8, and 8-8 the last four seasons.

Johnny Manziel is already a star, an icon in the state of Texas, and a national brand. He is also a winner, willing the Aggies to a stunning victory over Alabama in 2012, and a come from behind win over an upstart Duke team in his final college game.

Add to that, Tony Romo is 33 years old, injury prone, and coming off back surgery. He isn't cuttable right now, with over 40 million in dead money.

However the cap hit becomes bearable if Romo can play for two more years, giving Johnny Football a chance to mature into a true Pro quarterback (much like a young Steve Young, who I think he resembles).


Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

The Ravens have talked about moving Matt Elam (last year's first-round pick) to strong safety to replace James Ihedibo. Clinton-Dix is a prototype free safety who can own the middle of the field the same way Ed Reed used to.

This is a classic Ozzie Newsome pick that adds fantastic value at an area of need.


Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Regardless of who whether Mike Vick or Geno Smith win the Jets' starting QB job, they need somebody to throw the ball to.

Ebron Presents a terrific blend of size and athleticism and is the kind of receiving threat the Jets simply don't have right now. He is a willing blocker, just not a very good one, and that won't appeal to Rex Ryan. But the firepower in the air should help open up the running game.


Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame

If Martin falls here, this is a no-brainer. In the wake of the mess that devastated the Dolphins offensive line without three of its 2013 starters. They've replaced left tackle Jon Martin with Branden Albert from the Chiefs. However there is still work to be done.

Though Martin played left tackle for Notre Dame, his best position would likely be at either guard position or right tackle, either of which the Dolphins could use.


Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

John Abraham racked up 11.5 sacks in 2013 (making the passrush starved Falcons look just a tad silly for cutting him). However, he will be 36 by the time the 2014 draft rolls around.

Anthony Barr is an incredible athlete with sky-high upside. He had excellent production, made even more impressive by the fact that he has only been a linebacker for two years. And while his pass rush is his calling card, he is very comfortable in coverage. That added versatility will only help the Cardinals defense.


C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama

As of now the Packers have AJ Hawk and Brad Jones at inside linebacker. Both run and pass coverage were lacking and what the Packers need is an inside linebacker who can play the run as well as patrol the middle of the field.

Mosley is that linebacker. He also brings the experience of running Alabama's dominant defense in championship games.

Mosley is fluid in coverage and a sure tackler in the run game. His injury history cause him to slide, but the value is here for the Packers.


Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon St.

One of the biggest stories of this offeseason was the Eagles' parting with receiver DeSean Jackson.

While they removed a player who was (reportedly) a distraction, they also cut a dangerous weapon who's presence on the field opened up the game for their other players. He also had the best year of his career in Chip Kelly's offense.

Brandon Cooks plays a similar game to Jackson, but that isn't why he is getting picked here. Cooks is getting picked here because he is one of the, if not the, best route runners in this draft class, has shown strong work ethic, toughness, and has quick, sticky hands. The only thing keeping him from being drafted higher is his "less than ideal" size.


Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA

The Chiefs have two needs that could be addressed here. They could either go for a receiver with Marquise Lee or Allen Robinson, or they could address the offensive line, which lost Jon Asamoah to the Falcons and Geoff Schwartz to the Giants.

This draft is pretty deep at both positions, but since this is an Andy Reid team, they take the offensive lineman with their first pick.

Su'a-Filo is an interesting prospect. He walked away from football for roughly two years while he was on a Mormon mission. He came back, played well at left tackle for the Bruins, and even better at guard. He's a smooth athlete who is reliable in pass protection, can block in the run game, and can get out and block in space on screen passes.


Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

The Bengals should have depth at cornerback for the 2014 season, however it is no sure thing. Leon Hall is coming back from his second ruptured Achilles, Terence Newman will be 36 shortly after the start of the season, and Adam Jones will be 31.

Jason Verrett is a tenacious defender and second only to Darqueze Dennard when it comes to covering receivers, and not by much. He is a smaller corner, but he has exceptionally quick feet and fluid hips to stay in a receivers hip pocket. As well, he uses excellent technique to compensate for his smaller stature.

Verrett should be able to start immediately in sub-packages and transition into a starting role as the older players move on.


Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio St.

The Chargers need to start planning for some turnover in their linebacking corps. While they have Manti Te'o and Melvin Ingram, they also have starting linebackers on the wrong side of 30.

Shazier is one of the most athletic players in the draft at any position. What he lacks in size he more than makes up with speed, making tackles all over the field.

His ability to cover a lot of ground should help Te'o and Ingram to put their skills to work playing downhill, while Shazier is able to clean up after them or cover running backs or tight ends over the middle.


Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois

With their first pick in the first round, the Browns created one of the most potent receiving duos in the NFL.

And rather than risk the Raiders jumping back in to the bottom of the first round or leap-frogging them in the second, the Browns take their QB with their second first-round pick.

Garoppolo has a all the prerequisites for being an NFL quarterback. He has the build, he has the arm strength, he has the accuracy, he has the lightening-quick release. And while he didn't play against top-flight competition in college, he did play very well against top competition in the East-West game and Senior Bowl (in unfamiliar offenses with unfamiliar players).


Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn

The Saints transformed their defense under Rob Ryan. They turned one of the worst defensive units into something to be feared or respected. It should be something of a testament to Ryan that they got the pressure on quarterbacks that they did without a premier pass rusher.

Dee Ford is one of the best sack artists in this draft. He isn't especially big, but he is quick off the snap and able to routinely beat offensive tackles to the edge and bend around it. Ford's pass rushing ability was put on display when he abused Alabama's left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio in the Iron Bowl.

Ford should be perfectly suited to Ryan's exotic defense, able to put his hand in the dirt or play linebacker to disguise looks and keep the offense guessing as to where the pressure is going to come from.


Marqise Lee, WR, USC

The Panthers needed offensive firepower before they cut Steve Smith.

At one time Marquise Lee was in the conversation with Sammy Watkins for the title of "Best Receiver In The Draft" (or even country). Lee has great hands and route running ability, and a Cruz-like ability to get yards after the catch despite lacking "blazing" speed.

His stop/start acceleration, balance, and route running combine to make him a touchdown threat on any given play. A threat that defenses will have to learn to respect, which should help the rest of the offense.


Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

Perhaps it is an effect of losing to the New York Giants twice in the superbowl, but the New England Patriots have moved from a predominantly 3-4 defense to one that has more of a 4-3 flavor. The strength and foundation of a 4-3 defense should always be it's defensive line. That is the unit that has to control the line of scrimmage, stop the run, and rush the passer.

New England's defensive ends were forced to play extensively and wore down badly at the end of the 2013 season. 2012 first-round pick Chandler Jones only got to opposing quarterbacks four times in the last five games (to the tune of one sack and three hits).

Ealy is a terrific athlete with a prototype build for the position. He has quickness off the snap, the ability to get the edge, and play the run. He also has the mobility to be able to stand up and play in space in 3-4 looks.


Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Free agency has taken its toll on the 49ers. They lost receiver Mario Manningham (though they barely had him to begin with), and cornerback Tarell Brown went to Oakland. As well, the team was forced to part ways with Carlos Rogers.

Kyle Fuller isn't exactly under the radar, but he doesn't get the recognition that other top corners are getting, but he is a talented cover corner in his own right. Much like Jason Verrett, Fuller has the quick feet and fluid hips that make for a sticky cover corner. He's a tad undersized, but still plenty big enough to cover most receivers.

And despite being a small-ish corner, Fuller has an aggressive, physical play style that will fit right in with the 49ers' physical defense.


David Yankey, G, Stanford

The Broncos do not have many holes on their roster, MIKE linebacker being the only glaring one.

However, their offensive line could use some strengthening. Not only does Peyton Manning need continued protection to do what he does best, but John Elway knows the importance of a capable running game.

David Yankey excelled in Stanford's smash-mouth, run first, pro style offense. He is a good pass protector and run blocker. His technique is polished and despite a sub-par combine, he is perfectly capable of getting out to the second level on running plays.


Allen Robinson, WR, Penn St.

The Seahawks would probably want to invest in their offensive line here, but the board just doesn't match up.

Instead they get dangerous receiver who can play the "X" or "Y" position and either demand attention from defenses to make room for Percy Harvin to operate, or benefit from the attention paid to him.

Robinson is athletic and physical at the line of scrimmage as well as at the catch. And though he doesn't have the blazing speed some demand out of first-round receivers, he has enough. The Seahawks have made a formidable roster by selecting "Football Players" then playing them to their strengths. Robinson is one more, and he can make plays for Russell Wilson.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We will have final mock drafts from 'Invictus' and Jesse later this week. Yours truly might even chime in with his own mock. These will be scored using a system devised by The Huddle Report. That system gives one point for each player correctly placed in the first round and two more points if the mock drafter also gets the team correct. Each pick can thus score zero, one or three points.

We will look not only at how our mock drafters do against each other, but how they score against experts at The Huddle Report. Here is a look at last year's best Huddle Report mock drafts, and the five-year averages of draft analysts.