- Posts: 794
"Picks I'd Make" - McShay
1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
I've felt like I've been taking crazy pills lately in having to defend Clowney as the potential No. 1 overall pick. I understand the concerns over his effort, but I feel those have largely been overblown, and you simply don't get many opportunities to draft a player this good; he's the most naturally talented defensive lineman I've ever evaluated. The Texans need a quarterback, but even though I think Blake Bortles should develop into a good NFL starter -- and I think coach Bill O'Brien would be great for Bortles' development -- I can't justify passing on Clowney (or any of the top four elite prospects in this draft, for that matter) to take him.
2. St. Louis Rams (from WAS): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
The Rams have a lot of youth and depth at wide receiver, but they're void of a legit go-to target, so I thought long and hard about taking Clemson WR Sammy Watkins here. But they have a need at tackle as well, and Robinson has the potential to develop into a very good one at the NFL level. He is the most dominant lineman at the point of attack I've ever studied, and while he has some work to do with his balance and hand placement in pass protection, he's so naturally athletic that he should be able to hold his own right away and improve over time. The Rams need to keep Sam Bradford healthy this season, and Robinson would help them do that.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
What I said about the Texans related to the QB prospects is true for the Jags as well: I don't have high-enough grades on any of the top three quarterbacks to take them over one of this draft's four elite talents in Mack. Moreover, Mack provides a good fit in Gus Bradley's defensive scheme in the "Leo" role -- a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker whose primary responsibility is to rush the passer. Mack is an excellent athlete with outstanding upper-body strength and very good closing burst, and his versatility to hold up in run defense and pass coverage adds to his value.
4. Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
I'm beginning to sound like I'm on repeat here, but the Browns are another team that needs a quarterback that I have waiting until later to draft one, because I can't justify using a top-four pick on any of this year's QBs. Cleveland needs an upgrade at the No. 2 receiver spot opposite Gordon, and if Watkins reaches his potential, the Browns will essentially have two No. 1s. He is an explosive and dynamic weapon both as a vertical route runner and after the catch, and he attacks the ball in the air, playing bigger than his size. He'll have some learning to do as a route runner, but he already knows how to separate from coverage.
5. Oakland Raiders: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
I thought about taking Matthews' teammate Mike Evans here, as Oakland could use a receiver and Evans is a big-time playmaker in the passing game. Watkins would have been a great choice, too, if he were still available. But the Raiders need help on their offensive line as well, and Matthews is a polished, effective blocker in the running and passing games who would bring good stability, effort and versatility to the line. He could play either tackle spot for Oakland. As was the case with the Texans, Jags and Browns, I don't like a QB enough here to take one over a top-five prospect in this draft.
6. Atlanta Falcons: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
The tricky part with this pick is that Lewan is strictly a left tackle -- he isn't a mauler who would fit at right tackle and all his college experience (48 starts) came on the left side -- so the Falcons would need to be comfortable with converting either Lewan or existing left tackle Sam Baker to the right side. But they need to improve their pass protection for QB Matt Ryan, and adding Lewan would do just that. He has very good initial and lateral quickness, takes good angles and has very good recognition skills. But if the rumor that Oakland prefers Lewan over Matthews is true, my guess is Atlanta would be thrilled.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
This one is an easy match: Evans is the seventh-ranked player on my board, and the Bucs are selecting seventh overall and have a need at wide receiver oppositeVincent Jackson. Evans takes a while to build up speed, but he can separate from defensive backs by drawing on his basketball background and boxing out and out-leaping defenders with his 6-foot-5, 231-pound frame. He brings down a high percentage of 50-50 balls. New Tampa Bay QB Josh McCown succeeded with two big targets in Brandon Marshall andAlshon Jeffery in Chicago, and Jackson and Evans would provide similar weaponry for him.
8. Minnesota Vikings: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
The Vikings are the fifth team drafting in the top eight that needs a quarterback, and I think this is the right time for them to take one. I don't know which of the QBs they prefer, but remember, these are my picks, and I have Bortles as the top-ranked QB in this draft class. Additionally, he's my 11th-ranked player overall, so this really isn't a reach at all. Bortles possesses great mobility and composure in the pocket, he has the right mental makeup to succeed as an NFL quarterback and he's a playmaker -- and I think that some of his mechanical issues are fixable with the right coaching.
9. Buffalo Bills: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
The Bills need offensive line help, but there aren't any good values in this scenario, and I really think they need to add another pass-catcher to help second-year QBEJ Manuel. Ebron is a playmaker after the catch and as a seam-stretching vertical threat because of his outstanding movement skills and very good top-end speed. He also has the versatility to line up in-line, flexed out in the slot or split out wide. Ebron is the 10th-ranked prospect on my board, so he makes sense in terms of value, too.
10. Detroit Lions: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
Cornerback is the biggest need for the Lions, but I just don't have any of this year's corners rated high enough to take them in the top 10. This comes down to Clinton-Dix and his Alabama teammate linebacker C.J. Mosley here for me, and I'll go with Clinton-Dix. Detroit could use an upgrade at free safety, and I have Clinton-Dix rated as the ninth-best prospect in the draft. He brings really good range, instincts and playmaking ability to the free safety position.
11. Tennessee Titans: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
This is the first really tough call I've had in this mock. I wouldn't be surprised if there's some booing from Titans fans at my GM press conference announcing this pick. But the bottom line is that Tennessee would be getting a really, really good football player in Dennard at a need position in cornerback, which makes up for the fact that this might be a little bit of a reach. Additionally, Dennard is a good fit for defensive coordinator Ray Horton's scheme in that he's a really physical corner who delivers hits in run support and does a good job of wrapping up after the catch.
12. New York Giants: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
It feels like I'm the only guy who likes Moses this high in the draft, but these are my picks, so I'm taking him here. Guys who don't like him as much focus on the fact that he underachieved early in his career, but he has matured a lot and I thought his tape in 2013, when he played left tackle, was much more impressive than his 2012 tape, when he was playing right tackle. Pass-rushers need to take a cab ride to get around his length. If the Giants aren't going to get a pass-catcher here -- and I did seriously consider LSU'sOdell Beckham Jr. -- I think they have to improve the pass protection for Eli Manning.
13. St. Louis Rams: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
My dilemma for this pick was whether I was going to add a pass-catching weapon in Beckham Jr. or finish off an insanely talented defensive front seven by picking Mosley. I opted for the latter, giving the Rams six first- or second-round picks in their front seven. Mosley is a much better value here than Beckham (No. 8 on my board versus No. 16), and Mosley is a disciplined, relentless playmaker with great range. The only real concern with him is durability, but if I can make this pick as the pretend GM, then my pretend medical team can clear him.
14. Chicago Bears: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
This is a sprint-to-the-podium pick. Donald is a great value, as he's my 12th-ranked prospect still available at No. 14, and he's a perfect fit for the Bears' Tampa-2 defensive scheme as a 3-technique defensive tackle (which is the most important position in that scheme). He has very good snap anticipation and first-step quickness. Not only is he disruptive against the run and as a pass-rusher, but he also shows great finishing ability once he reaches the backfield.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
The Steelers really need a cornerback, but I'm not as high on any of the remaining corners as I am Beckham or even Oregon State's Brandin Cooks. Plus, I think Beckham is a great fit for Pittsburgh. The Steelers need to get QB Ben Roethlisberger to get the ball out quickly on a more regular basis, and Beckham has the ability to quickly shake press coverage due to his athletic ability. Beckham also has the top-end speed to be a deep threat for when Roethlisberger extends plays and is looking to throw deep.
16. Dallas Cowboys: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
I'd be looking to trade back or up if I were put in this situation -- but remember, one of the rules of this exercise is that there are no trades. Louisville safety Calvin Pryor isn't the fit I'm looking for here, as the Cowboys need a safety with more range, and while Twitter might explode if the Cowboys took Johnny Manziel at No. 16, I'm not going to do that. Receiver is certainly down the line in terms of need, but I think Cooks could be a big-time playmaker alongside Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams because of his route-running ability and top-end speed. It's all about allowing Tony Romo to succeed for Dallas, and drafting Cooks would serve that purpose.
17. Baltimore Ravens: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
This is an easier one for me. I have Martin ranked as the 14th overall player in this draft class, and the Ravens have a need at right tackle, the position for which I think Martin is best suited. He lacks ideal length for the position, which is why some have projected him to be a guard, but I really like his effort, awareness, lateral quickness and mobility. I think that Baltimore should consider a pass-catcher at this spot, but in this scenario, there aren't any good values available.
18. New York Jets: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma StateIf I thought the Titans fans would boo me for my pick at No. 11, things could get downright ugly with Jets fans after this pick. Not just another defensive player in the first round, but a corner? I get it, but let me explain my reasoning. I think it's too early to take Marqise Lee, and all the top remaining players on my board in this scenario are either quarterbacks or defensive players. Moreover, the Jets could certainly afford to improve at cornerback, and Gilbert could provide some much-needed playmaking ability from the defensive backfield (two interception returns for TDs in 2013, six career kick return TDs). They'll wish he was more physical, however.
19. Miami Dolphins: Marqise Lee, WR, USCI felt a bit stuck with this one, as trades aren't allowed and there aren't any offensive linemen worthy of being selected here in this scenario. So in the absence of addressing the team's biggest need, I opted to help young quarterback Ryan Tannehill in another way, by adding a weapon in the passing game who could play alongside Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline. This might be a bit of a reach, but Lee is an excellent route runner with big-play ability.
20. Arizona Cardinals: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, LouisvilleThere aren't many landing spots that make sense for Bridgewater if he gets past the No. 8 overall pick, but Arizona is one of them. The Cardinals could also consider Calvin Pryor here as a strong safety to plug in next to Tyrann Mathieu, but I feel as though Bridgewater presents good value here. He has not done well during the postseason draft process, but he shows excellent poise, footwork and accuracy on short to intermediate throws on tape. Carson Palmer will turn 35 years old this season, so having a succession plan at QB is important, and Bridgewater could benefit from some extra time to acclimate to the pro game (just as Palmer did after being drafted first overall by Cincinnati).
21. Green Bay Packers: Calvin Pryor, S, LouisvilleThe Packers could use some help at the safety position, and Pryor is a good value here as the 17th-ranked player on my board. He is a tone-setter and intimidating presence in the defensive backfield, capable of delivering knockout blows in coverage and filling alleys with reckless abandon. He also exhibits very good closing burst in the running game. He has above-average range in zone coverage, but where he really excels is as an in-the-box safety.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: Cody Latimer, WR, IndianaThis is a bit of a reach based on where I have Latimer ranked on my board -- 34th overall -- but the Eagles need a receiver and I'm a big fan of Latimer's game. He has very good size, toughness and instincts in addition to good straight-line speed, strong run-after-catch ability and a big catching radius. He also has reliable hands -- in the five game tapes I watched of his, he didn't drop a single pass. I think he could be a very good fit in Chip Kelly's offense.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, MinnesotaThis is a tough scenario for the Chiefs, and were trades allowed in this exercise, I would try desperately to trade out. I really don't want to spend another Chiefs first-round pick on a 3-4 defensive lineman, and Kansas City just signed Vance Walker. But if confronted with this situation, I'd take the best player on my board, and that is Hageman. It's too early to spend a pick on Kelvin Benjamin or any of the other remaining receivers, and Hageman has the potential to develop into a very good pro. He is an outstanding athlete for his size.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia TechThe Bengals are in a really good position in terms of their roster, so they don't have to address a need here and will be freed up to take the best player available. But in this situation, it just so happens that several cornerbacks are among the top remaining prospects on my board, making Fuller an easy choice. He is simply a really good football player, with good size and playmaking ability, and he is very good in run support. The Bengals have some depth issues at corner, and Fuller's presence would help shore things up.
25. San Diego Chargers: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio StateCornerback is the Chargers' top need, and defensive coordinator John Pagano's system requires good corners who can match up man-to-man and get physical with receivers and in run support. I had a tough time choosing between Roby and TCU's Jason Verrett, but I went with the potential of Roby, as he might be the most naturally talented corner in this class, with a very good combination of length, fluidity and straight-line speed. He'll need to improve his recognition skills and eye discipline to succeed as a pro.
26. Cleveland Browns (from IND): Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&MThis pick made sense to me because Manziel is the 19th-ranked prospect on my board, and the Browns need to address the quarterback position. Additionally, I already addressed a need position with an elite player at the No. 4 pick in Sammy Watkins, and having five total picks in the top 83 frees the Browns up to take a chance here. All of those factors make Manziel worth the risk, because the potential pay-off with him -- if he can make the necessary adjustments to his game to consistently win from the pocket and protect his body, while still utilizing his rare improvisation skills -- is significant. If Manziel gets past the top eight picks on draft night, I think there could be a good trade market to get in place to draft him.
27. New Orleans Saints: Jason Verrett, CB, TCUThe Saints really need to upgrade the cornerback position, which works out well for them in this year's draft because there are several good corner prospects who could come off the board in this late-first-round range. Verrett is undersized, which can be limiting at times in coverage, but he makes up for it by playing big -- he reminds me of Antoine Winfield. He has the football instincts, explosive movement skills and elite top-end speed to stick with even the fastest NFL burners in the vertical game.
28. Carolina Panthers: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida StateBenjamin is a little bit of a reach here (he's 39th on my board), but in picking for the Panthers I know that I need to address either the offensive line or the receiving corps, and neither position offers great value in this scenario. Benjamin has the potential to develop into an Alshon Jeffery-type matchup nightmare because of his size, body control and catch radius. He'd be a great red-zone target for Cam Newton, and a threat when Newton extends plays and looks to throw down the field.
29. New England Patriots: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida StateThis is partially a value pick, as Jernigan is the best remaining player on my board, but the Patriots also need to add depth along their defensive line. Jernigan is a quick, stout and productive one-gap defensive tackle who lacks ideal height and bulk but is surprisingly athletic, flexible and explosive for his body type. Additionally, he has good awareness and flashes the strength to split double teams. The Pats can look to add a skill-position player on Day 2.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLAIf I could make a trade, I would strongly consider packaging some of the Niners' many picks to move up to grab one of the first-round-caliber cornerbacks or wide receivers. But since trades aren't an option here, I like the idea of adding Barr. He doesn't fill a need, but the 49ers can afford to make a luxury pick with three picks in the top 61 and six in the top 100. Barr would also have time to develop his game while playing to his strengths as a situational speed-rusher. I've dropped him on my board over the past few months, but he has good upside and is a solid value at this point in the draft. Barr would also provide insurance in the event that Aldon Smith is not with the team after the 2014 season.
31. Denver Broncos: Kony Ealy, DE, MissouriI considered taking Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix III here, as Terrance Knighton's contract is up after this season and Nix is the highest-ranked player left on my board. But the Broncos' title window will only remain open for so long, meaning I need to choose a player who will have an impact during the 2014 season. Depth at the defensive end position is a concern, given the health issues that limited DeMarcus Ware and Derek Wolfe last season, which is why I'm going with Ealy, who would bring pass-rushing ability and versatility to the Broncos' defense.
32. Seattle Seahawks: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre DameI really like the fit of Tuitt to the Seahawks. Pete Carroll has a good track record of getting the most out of guys of whom other teams are skeptical, and if Tuitt plays to his potential, he's a top-15 player in this class given his combination of size and athleticism. He'd also fit a need as the 5-technique defensive end in Seattle's defense, withRed Bryant having moved on to the Jaguars this offseason. The value makes sense, too, as he's the No. 32 player on my board.