2014 NFL Draft Weekend – Let’s Predict

Mike O’Connor gives a wide range of predictions for this weekend’s NFL Draft and invites you to do the same.

The NFL Draft is finally around the corner, and thankfully so since I think some of us fans would start dropping randomly if this was dragged on any longer. We’ve debated, ranked, and discussed what the New York Jets will do on May 8th and how other teams will impact their plans for countless months now, and it’s time to finally compile the knowledge to have a little fun. Also, I’m opening the door up for you guys.  I will be giving my predictions, some basic and some bold, and you guys can follow my lead in the comment section. After the draft, we can have some fun declaring who’s crystal ball is the clearest. If you follow my format, we could have a lot of interesting and organized answers to either berate or appreciate in the wake of the Draft.

Top Ten Picks:
1.) Houston- Jadaveon Clowney
2.) St Louis- Sammy Watkins
3.) Jaguars- Khalil Mack
4.) Browns- Derek Carr
5.) Oakland- Greg Robinson
6.) Atlanta- Jake Mathews
7.) Tampa Bay- Mike Evans
8.) Vikings- Teddy Bridgewater
9.) Buffalo- Eric Ebron
10.) Detroit- Darqueze Dennard

Three Biggest Guarantees of First Round: 
1.) Clowney to Houston
2.) Aaron Donald to Chicago
3.) Dominique Easley to San Francisco

Number of Players Taken By Position In First:
QB- 4
RB- 0
WR- 5
TE- 2
OC- 0
OG- 2
OT- 4
DT- 3
DE/OLB- 5
ILB- 1
S- 2
CB- 4

Jets Related:
-Will the Jets stay at 18?  Yes
-Will that be the Jets only 1st round pick?  Yes
-Who will it be?  Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn
-Will the Jets stay at 49?  No
-Will they make a 2nd round selection?  Yes
-Who will it be?  Terrence Brooks, Safety, Florida State
-Will the Jets ignore OLB in the first three rounds again this year?  No
-How many final picks will the Jets make?  12
-How many of those picks will be their original slotted picks?  9
How many different positions will the Jets select?  8
-Who is a mid-late round player who will end up a Jet? Avery Williamson, ILB, Kentucky

Just For Fun- First Round Happiness Meter:
-Realistic players I’d love at 18: Jace Amaro, Marqise Lee, Darqueze Dennard, Kyle Fuller.
-Realistic players I’d like at 18: Haha Clinton-Dix, Dee Ford, Bradley Roby, Eric Ebron.
-Realistic players I wouldn’t complain about at 18: Calvin Pryor, Jason Verrett, Cody Latimer, Xavier Su’a-Filo, Jeremiah Attaochu, Justin Gilbert, Anthony Barr, Ryan Shazier, C.J Mosely, Victor Hampton, Zach Martin.
-Realistic players I don’t want at all at 18: Any quarterback, any offensive tackle not already mentioned, Odell Beckham Jr, Brandin Cooks, Kelvin Benjamin, Jimmie Ward, Mike Evans.

Five Bold Predictions:

1.  Wide Receiver Mix-Ups– I predict that some of the more popular wide receivers will fall behind some of the lesser known prospects who are very refined and role specific.  Specifically, I’m going to go out on a limb and say Indiana’s Cody Latimer will go before everybody’s golden boy Odell Beckham Jr, and Kelvin Benjamin, Jordan Mathews, and Allen Robinson will all go off the board after the likes of Jared Abbrederis and Josh Huff.

2.  Nobody Wants a Running Back-  It just seems there’s so limited spots to put backs in this year’s draft, and even when one arises, there always seems to be better value elsewhere.  Not to mention, the running backs in this class all seem to have decent value in the mid rounds.  My favorite back is Lache Seastrunk, who’s been thrown back as far as the fifth round in some mocks.  I’d bet on no running backs going within the first 60 picks this year.  Carlos Hyde seems to be a favorite among the media, and therefore, likely some teams, but there’s just too much value literally anywhere else position-wise that early.

3.  Marqise Lee Is Still Really Good, You Know-  I’ve been a huge Lee defender for awhile now, and hopefully I will finally be able to prosper when he goes higher than most think.  He’s being touted as a valuable second rounder, but I really don’t understand why he isn’t respected among the likes of Beckham Jr and even Mike Evans.  His 2012 tape is still out there and it’s really, really dominant.  If it weren’t for terrible quarterback play from the Trojans in 2013, we might be looking at a likely Top 15 pick being spent on him.  for what it’s worth, I think he’s worth just that.  Lee also rubs off as a player NFL teams will prefer, since we see upside valued much higher than pure refinement very often early in the draft every year.  This may not sound as bold as the others, but I still think he’ll end up a Top 20 pick.  If it isn’t the Jets, the Ravens could definitely be looking for an upgrade at wideout.

4.  Unexpected Trade Up-  I think a loaded team like the 49ers could certainly make a trade to jump up as many as twenty picks.  In fact, I’d bet on them trading up to start with.  However, I don’t think it ail be for a pass rusher or a major offensive weapon like one would expect with such a dynamic trade.  I think it will be for one of the stellar corners in this draft, Kyle Fuller.  I think Dennard and him are closer than people think, and a team in the 20-32 range of picks absolutely cannot wait on him to fall, for there are just too many spots where he could easily be the BPA or an ideal fit as a man corner.

5.  C.J Mosely Drops-  It’s amusing how even the most refined of prospects coming into the NFL can see the most rapid drops in the draft.  It’s hard to argue for any other guy as the top inside linebacker, and it’s been evidently so since the end of the 2013 CFB season.  I like Mosely just like anybody else, but the value and attraction of a purely inside linebacker is diminishing just as fast as the value of a first round running back.  I would go as far as saying he’ll drop out of the first round because they’re simply not that many places where he would be the most attractive pick.  The cornerback and wide receiver classes are extremely heavy at the top and they’ll fly off the boards even before a dominant guy like Mosely.

Well, those predictions seem hot enough to be content with even though I doubt I’ll come through with any of them.  Leave your predictions in similar fashion to mine in the comment section, and we can have some fun declaring who came out the cleanest after Saturday’s third day!