As the real deal approaches, we at Turn On the Jets thought we would mix up the mock draft monotony and provide our own unique take. We assigned each of our writers a division and made our picks, live, on Twitter. You can find every pick, analysis, and comments from our “GMs” right here!
Our GMs and their respective divisions:
- Connor – NFC North
- Nolan – NFC East
- Donnelly – NFC West
- Dalbin – NFC South
- Joe – AFC North
- Cole – AFC East
- Mike OC – AFC South
- ALL – AFC West
The 2014 NFL #TOJMock began at 9:00 PM EST on April 30th. First on the clock? The Houston Texans and GM Michael O’Connor.
Not much of a stretch with the first overall pick. Clowney is widely regarded as a generational talent. Comparisons to Lawrence Taylor are hyperbole but the praise is not unwarranted. Clowney is extraordinarily explosive and quick for a pass rusher and draws (more realistic) comparisons to Aldon Smith. Questions about his work ethic are over blown, but Clowney could stand to refine pass rush technique.
The Rams take the consensus #1 offensive player in this draft. People will try to make comparisons for Watkins but he is a unique talent. His rare blend of speed and explosiveness with technique and concentration allow him to be a threat from anywhere on the field. Watkins is the dynamic pass catcher that the Rams have lacked since Torry Holt left town. Greg Robinson could have been in play here and the Manziel rumor is likely just a smoke screen.
Ex-Seahawk Gus Bradley is building an impressive defense of his own in northern Florida. Off season acquisitions Chris Clemons, Red Bryant, and Ziggy Hood will upgrade an already stout defense. The Jaguars ran a base 4-3 last season but these acquisitions, reaffirmed by selecting Mack (a 3-4 OLB) could signal a switch to 3-4. Regardless, in sub packages, the Jaguars can trot out a pass rushing tandem of Clemons and Mack that will be hard to stop. Mack is a dominant pass rusher with serious upside in coverage.
Cleveland has needed a rebranding since they rejoined the league in 1999. Manziel brings with him, among other things, an image. He is a winner with a personality that could rejuvenate the malaised franchise. From an Xs and Os stand point, Manziel is a great improvisational quarterback who can make plays that others cannot even see. He impressed some at his pro-day by dropping back and throwing from the pocket, though he took a less than ideal number of snaps from under center at A&M. He may not fit the traditional quarterback mold but all he does is make plays. One interesting note is how the mobile/athletic quarterback pairs with a defense first team (like the Browns ought to be under Mike Pettine – see Seattle, San Fransisco, and Carolina for example).
Some have touted Robinson as the best offensive tackle prospect in years. He may not be as “pro ready” as other tackle prospects but his athleticism is intriguing. He should be a solid match with Oakland’s new look offensive line. Robinson provides serious versatility as he could be successful at any position along the line. Donald Penn will likely man the left tackle spot and the Raiders have publicly stated an intent to move Austin Howard to the interior. With Kevin Boothe manning the opposite guard spot, Robinson can slide right into right tackle.
The second tackle prospect off the board, Matthews may not have the same ceiling as Robinson but he should be ready to go from day one. The Falcons have countless holes on the roster but a major issue last season was keeping Matt Ryan upright. Atlanta has plenty of fire power in Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Harry Douglass but they can’t get the ball if Ryan has no time in the pocket. Tight End Eric Ebron could be another option here but improving the offensive line is the quickest way to improving the entire offense.
In recent weeks the Buccaneers have made some statements that cloud their future at the quarterback position. Mike Glennon doesn’t seem to jive with new head man Lovie Smith and Josh McCown is a stop gap starter at best. The Bucs interest in Manziel is believable but with him off the board, the team still looks to improve the position. Blake Bortles has the NFL size and the NFL arm but he is far from a finished project. Luckily, the team has McCown and Glennon to ease the rookie signal caller into a starting gig. We would be remiss to ignore the fact that early picks at the quarterback position don’t ride the pine for very long.
Minnesota is ecstatic to see Bridgewater still hanging around at number eight. He is, by far, the most pro ready quarterback in the draft. Bridgewater’s decision making and ability to read defenses are far beyond most quarterbacks at this stage. There are some red flags when it comes to his deep ball; Bridgewater completed only 44.3% of his passes over 16 yards compared to Manziel’s 51.9% and Bortles’ 49.2%. However, his short game is outstanding and he can make hay on broken plays. With a solid offensive line, Corrdarelle Patterson, and Adrian Peterson already in place, Bridgewater steps into an ideal situation.
The Bills need playmakers to help EJ Manuel progress. After trading for Mike Williams they seem set at the wide receiver position with him, Stevie Johnson, and Robert Woods. They could add another option in Mike Evans but Ebron makes sense to diversify Manuel’s options. Ebron should see the field for most offensive snaps and could provide a good outlet for his quarterback when that offensive line inevitably gets leaky. Ebron is unpolished but could develop as a run blocker, though CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson should survive either way.
Want Matt Stafford to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler? Arm him to the teeth. Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush, Golden Tate, and Joique Bell … meet Mike Evans. This is a true fantasy-football/pick-your-poison offense. Evans’ route running needs improvement but he is a jump ball specialist who should immediately take some of the pressure off Calvin Johnson in the red zone. If he develops how many expect, the Johnson – Evans pairing could be historic.
The loss of Alterraun Verner Verner hurt. Badly. The Titans desperately need a starter opposite Jason McCourty and Dennard is just the man to do it. He excels in press coverage and is physical throughout the play. His physicality may draw flags at the next level but you’d rather break that habit than have to teach it. Though Dennard excels in man coverage, rookies sometimes get exposed early on. Luckily, former pro bowler Michael Griffin should be able to take some heat off the young cornerback.
It seems like every year the Giants are in need of a new offensive lineman. This year is no different. The team has numerous holes but offensive line seems to be the most glaring. Though it would be the second year in a row that Big Blue goes big ugly, a pairing of Justin Pugh and Lewan could help stabilize an offense that went into a tailspin last season.
The Rams secondary is nothing to write home about. Their corners are young and talented but mistake prone. Finding a rangy free safety should go a long way to improving that back end. With that front seven wreaking havoc on opposing o-lines, Clinton-Dix could become a turn over machine. An ascending defense gets a playmaker at a position of need.
Brian Urlacher wore some big shoes but so does ‘Bama’s CJ Mosley. The Bears defense faced a precipitous decline last season with Urlacher’s absence being felt and Peppers proving ineffective. Willie Young and Lamaar Houston are steps in the right direction and Mosley could be the cog that turns the wheel. Mosley’s instincts and athleticism make him a top five talent but the devalued middle linebacker position pushes him down in this draft. Mosley could be the catalyst for a quick turn around and a defensive renaissance in Chicago.
Pittsburgh’s defense is aging fast. Gilbert provides an infusion of youth and athleticism that is in short supply. He may not be the most technically sound but his athleticism can help him mask his deficiencies while he learns under some of the best (like Troy Polamalu and Dick LeBeau).
The Cowboys need help ALL over their defense and pass rusher is a good place to start. With the departure of Demarcus Ware, Barr won’t be able to escape the comparisons. However, the two are very similar in their pass rush ability and initial burst. He uses leverage well to disengage from blockers and has impressive closing speed. That being said, he is a situational pass rusher at the moment with much work to be done on his run defense and coverage ability.
Pryor is an ideal compliment to Matt Elam, last year’s first round selection. The Raven’s cornerback position is lacking and this safety tandem should take a lot of pressure off them. Pryor is a rangy ball hawk that excels playing centerfield. His man coverage could use some work but he has all the athleticism and ability to develop it.
The Jets should be running to the podium to hand this card in. In any other year, in a shallower receiver class, Beckham would be the top at his position. Beckham can work the field from any position (X, Y, or Z) and is a monster after the catch. His abilities in the return game only make him more valuable. Beckham plays bigger than his size and has an impressive catch radius. He could prove to be the ideal compliment to Decker and Kerley. With the top cornerbacks (Dennard/Gilbert) and safeties (Clinton-Dix/Pryor) off the board, the Jets should feel confident in this pick.
The Dolphins complete their offensive line over haul with this pick. Starting opposite Branden Albert should ease Martin into his role. After last year’s fiasco, keeping Ryan Tannehill upright is priority number one for the Dolphins. Polished and ready to go, Martin will be an immediate boon to this much maligned group.
Regardless of Bruce Arians’ praise, it’s clear that Carson Palmer is not long for the NFL world. The Cardinals have to start thinking about the future at the position and Carr will not be around the next time they’re on the clock. Carr has his flaws but sitting behind Palmer for a year or two and learning under QB guru Arians should help greatly. This late in the draft, letting a quarterback sit and learn is less of a taboo.
Green Bay’s defense needs help but they will be getting some in players returning from injury. They could go cornerback here but Jace Amaro has immense upside and would be a good fit with Aaron Rodgers and the gang. He is already a stellar pass catcher and has the build to be a good run blocker. He may even be one now but he was barely used in that role at Texas Tech. For now, he will rack up yards down the seam and provide some relief for Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson.
Chip Kelly has stated a desire to go in a different direction at wide receiver. Who is more the polar opposite of the explosive Desean Jackson than the lumbering Kelvin Benjamin? Benjamin has the height to immediately improve the Eagles red zone offense. Should he learn to use his size more effectively, he could prove to be a solid possession receiver. His lack of speed limits him on the outside but if anyone can find a way to use this behemoth, it’s Kelly.
Kansas City sorely needs some explosion on offense. With Dexter McCluster heading to the Music City, Jamaal Charles is the lone play maker on the roster. Cooks is as dynamic as they come and would be an ideal compliment to Dwayne Bowe. Andy Reid could use him in a similar vein to how he used Jackson in Philly. Alex Smith’s lack of arm talent is over blown but having someone like Cooks that can turn nothing into something should help him greatly.
With Michael Johnson out the door Ealy would fill a gaping hole. He could would fit right in as a 4-3 end with his hand in the dirt but has the athleticism to play linebacker in 3-4 looks. Ealy may not be in the same class as Clowney and Mack but his ability is unquestionable. Pairing him with Geno Atkins, Domata Peko, and Carlos Dunlap should keep the attention off him and allow him to start off his NFL career with a bang.
Fuller would immediately become the best cornerback on the Chargers roster. He is excellent in man coverage and has good anticipation. He doesn’t have ideal speed and can get burned but the presence of Eric Weddle should mitigate the issue. With an ascending front seven, Fuller will also spend less time in coverage and have reduced opportunities to get burned.
Manziel already walked into a favorable situation with Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron to throw to and a stout offensive line to play behind. Adding Lee to the mix will make this offense truly potent. Lee would have been the consensus top wide out had he not suffered an injury plagued 2013. However, despite his brittle bones and poor quarterback play, Lee still produced. There is less pressure to rush him back to health and into the line up with Gordon in house which should allow Lee to develop at his own pace.
Rob Ryan gets a new toy in pass rusher extraordinaire Dee Ford. Ford has long arms and an explosive get off that will drive tackles crazy at the next level. However, at 6’2″ – 252 lbs, Ford is a bit undersized and struggles to hold up at the point of attack. His size is more conducive to being a 3-4 outside linebacker but in limited pass defense reps, he has struggled. Ryan should be able to put Ford in a position to succeed without overloading him his rookie season.
The Panthers veritable exodus of defensive backs has left their backfield wide open. Roby would be a much higher rated cornerback had he not struggled against Wisconsin and made some bad, off the field decisions. Yet, he is still extremely talented and would upgrade the Panthers defense immediately. With most of the first round wide receiver talent off the board, the Panthers should feel comfortable filling this other position of need.
Aaron Donald’s dramatic fall in this draft is a mystery. He is a top ten talent at a highly valued position. It seems need played a major part in how this draft panned out and the Patriots are the lucky beneficiaries. Donald is a destructive pass rusher that will scatter any pocket. He leverages his power effectively and has a developed array of pass rush moves. He is not fully developed as a run defender but that should come with time. Playing next Vince Wilfork should help matters immensely.
Much like the Panthers, the Niner’s defensive backs all but disappeared. Carlos Rogers and Terrell Brown hopped across the bay to Oakland and Donte Whitner now calls Cleveland home. Verrett’s size is an overblown concern and he is easily the best cover corner in the draft. His anticipation is exceptional and his range is impressive for a man of his stature. His game is very reminiscent of Verner’s.
The Broncos are arguably the most improved team in the NFL, a scary prospect considering the potency of their 2013 roster. Yet, Aqib Talib, Demarcus Ware, and TJ Ward should improve a defense already ascending behind Von Miller and Terrence Knighton. Add in Nix, a two gapping nose tackle, and this defense could rival its all world offense. Nix excels as a zero or one technique and should command a lot of attention, freeing up Miller and Ware.
Moses has seen his draft stock rise quickly in recent weeks. Once an unknown prospect, the Virgina tackle has surpassed his fellow draft mates. Those of you who want to know more can check out this scouting report. But in short, Moses is a mountain of a man (6’6″ – 314 lbs) with outstanding patience and awareness. He is very powerful and is not limited by his exceptional length. However, he is not as explosive as you’d like your tackle to be and can struggle to maintain a block in the run game.
And with that, the first round of the Turn On the Jets Twitter Mock Draft comes to a close. Considering how the board fell, are you happy with the Jets selection? Did any pick surprise you? Let us hear it in the comments!