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Mason's Mock: 7.0

Posted Apr 25, 2014

In his latest mock draft, independent analyst Andrew Mason gets back to the basics as the fast approaching draft spurs stock movement.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- It's back to a straight-up mock draft this week. Because the last two weeks deviated from form (the "If I Were GM" version 5.0 and the "Let's Make a Deal" version 6.0"), I haven't indicated those picks when breaking down the past selections.

There's some movement here, as I try to read the tea leaves of rumors and chatter ...

1. HOUSTON (2-14): DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
Versions 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida
Version 1.0: QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

The winds appear to be blowing in the direction of the most talented player in the draft. The quarterbacks have warts that might provide pause, and the proliferation of passers means one might be waiting for the Texans at No. 33 to open the second round.

2. ST. LOUIS (7-9, from Washington): OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
Versions 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: Same

A trade wouldn't surprise me here, if the Rams deduce they can get Matthews a few picks later. Greg Robinson has greater upside, but Matthews is a better fit to help the Rams, who rightfully fancy themselves as potential NFC West contenders.

3. JACKSONVILLE (4-12): LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
Versions 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: Clowney

Even if Clowney is off the board, I just can't see Gus Bradley passing up a transformative defender for whom pass-rushing is just one of many strengths.

4. CLEVELAND (4-12): QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Versions 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: Same

There's something irresistible about the electric shock he could provide a franchise that needs it.

5. OAKLAND (4-12): WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
Versions 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: Same
Version 1.0: OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan

Matt Schaub may not be the most exciting quarterback in the league, but if he benefits from a change of scenery, he and Watkins could build a symbiotic relationship that pulls Oakland's offense from the morass.

6. ATLANTA (4-12): OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
Versions 3.0 and 4.0: Same
Version 2.0: Mack
Version 1.0: Robinson

If neither of the top two pass rushers is on the board, the Falcons have to go for the best available offensive tackle.

7. TAMPA BAY (4-12): WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
Versions 3.0 and 4.0: Mack
Version 2.0: Robinson
Version 1.0: Mack

Mack's bounce up the chart changes matters for the Bucs. They could look to the quarterbacks here, but it seems as though they're willing to ride with Josh McCown and groom Sean Glennon for the foreseeable future. Offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford needs at least one more target to make his scheme go.

8. MINNESOTA (5-10-1): QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida
Versions 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: Bridgewater
Version 1.0: Bortles

The risk-reward ratio is right for Bortles here. Compare this to the 2011 draft, when the Vikings made a massive reach for Christian Ponder at No. 12; a few months earlier, he looked like a mid-rounder.

9. BUFFALO (6-10): OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Versions 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: Same
Version 1.0: Watkins

Eric Ebron would also fill a need. E.J. Manuel needs targets, but he needs protection more.

10. DETROIT (7-9): CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
Versions 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: Same

There could be some strong consideration for Alabama safety "Ha Ha" Clinton-Dix, but the Lions cornerback situation is among the league's worst, and likely needs multiple picks to be sufficiently addressed.

11. TENNESSEE (7-9): QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
Versions 3.0 and 4.0: Evans
Version 2.0: LB Anthony Barr, UCLA
Version 1.0: CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State

Jake Locker has not been handed the quarterback spot, and his injury history creates myriad questions. If Bridgewater falls here, the Titans have to pounce, right?

12. N.Y. GIANTS (7-9): TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina
Versions 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: Same

Too much of a need to turn elsewhere.

13. ST. LOUIS (7-9): S "Ha Ha" Clinton-Dix, Alabama
Versions 3.0 and 4.0: Same
Versions 1.0 and 2.0: Evans

A receiver could be in play here, but in the second round are other receivers close to what are on the board right now. That is not the case at safety.

14. CHICAGO (8-8): DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
Version 4.0: Same
Version 3.0: DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
Versions 1.0 and 2.0: S "Ha Ha" Clinton-Dix, Alabama

The best defensive tackle in the draft will be an immediate 3-technique starter if he ends up in Chicago.

15. PITTSBURGH (8-8): CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
Versions 3.0 and 4.0: LB Anthony Barr, UCLA
Version 2.0: Dennard
Version 1.0: Barr

This is a tough call and goes back and forth. Dennard is a unique cornerback, aggressive, versatile and able to help against the run.

16. DALLAS (8-8): DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
Version 4.0: Same
Versions 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0: Donald

Hard to see the Cowboys going with anything other than defensive-line help.

17. BALTIMORE (8-8): LB Anthony Barr, UCLA
Versions 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: S Calvin Pryor, Louisville
Version 1.0: LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama

Barr's unexpected slide could be perfect for the Ravens, who crave pass rushers.

18. N.Y. JETS (8-8): WR Odell Beckham Jr., LSU
Versions 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: Same

There are plenty of other possibilities, but Beckham is the best fit for what the Jets still lack at receiver since signing Eric Decker.

19. MIAMI (8-8): OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame
Versions 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: Same

It's 50-50 whether Martin is here or not; if he is, it's hard to see Miami passing up on him given the drop in talent or increase in health concerns with the tackles left on the board.

20. ARIZONA (10-6): S Calvin Pryor, Louisville
Version 4.0: DE Kony Ealy, Missouri
Versions 2.0 and 3.0: DE Dee Ford, Auburn
Version 1.0: Jernigan

Pryor's brief slide from his previous spot in the mocks leads to a surprise pick. This still fills a need, and the pass rushers available have questions. But Arizona needs a long-term quarterback, and Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo are still on the board. If Arizona were to go for a passer, it would alter the rest of the first round.

21. GREEN BAY (8-7-1): S Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois
Versions 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Version 1.0: S Calvin Pryor, Louisville

Ward's buzz has increased in recent weeks, and he transforms the back line of the Green Bay defense.

22. PHILADELPHIA (10-6): WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
Versions 3.0 and 4.0: CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
Version 2.0: DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
Version 1.0: DT Ra'shede Hageman, Minnesota

That this is the fourth different prospect I've had in five mock drafts tells you how much the Eagles' needs have evolved since DeSean Jackson was released,, and is also evidence of how many holes the NFC East champions must fill.

23. KANSAS CITY (11-5): WR Marqise Lee, USC
Versions 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: Same

Cooks is better for what the Eagles are missing, and Lee drops here and remains a good fit.

24. CINCINNATI (11-5): CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State
Versions 3.0 and 4.0: Same
Version 2.0: DE Kony Ealy, Missouri
Version 1.0: CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

Roby's arrest this week does not appear to be much of a concern.

25. SAN DIEGO (9-7): NT Louis Nix, Notre Dame
Versions 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: Same
Version 1.0: Roby

Cornerback is a possibility, but the Chargers can still find quality and immediate help there in Round 2. The defensive line is a bit of a mess and needs fortification. Nix is a natural fit.

26. CLEVELAND (4-12, from Indianapolis): CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech
Versions 3.0 and 4.0: LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
Version 2.0: Roby
Version 1.0: Shazier

The Browns want to get Joe Haden re-signed for the long term, but even if that happens, they need a quality No. 2 at an affordable rookie contract for four years. Fuller's a nice fit that allows the Broncos to have a quality complement to Haden without breaking the bank for a free agent next year.

27. NEW ORLEANS (11-5): DE Kony Ealy, Missouri
Version 4.0: LB/DE Dee Ford, Auburn
Version 3.0: Ealy
Version 2.0: Shazier
Version 1.0: Ford

Ealy can do more things and is more likely to play every down than Ford.

28. CAROLINA (12-4): OT Cyrus Kouandijo, Alabama
Versions 3.0 and 4.0: Kouandijo
Versions 1.0 and 2.0: OT Morgan Moses, Virginia

There's no way that the Panthers' priority can be anything other than helping Cam Newton. A wide receiver would come in handy, but they can find one in Round 2. If Kouandijo's knee holds up, this is a steal: a top 10 quality left tackle at No. 28.

29. NEW ENGLAND (12-4): LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Versions 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: DT Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota
Version 1.0: Nix

A quick replacement for Brandon Spikes.

30. SAN FRANCISCO (12-4): LB/DE Dee Ford, Auburn
Versions 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State

The concern over Aldon Smith's long-term future makes this a logical call. San Francisco isn't afraid to use a first-round pick on someone who might not play every down.

31. DENVER (13-3): LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
Versions 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: LB Chris Borland, Wisconsin
Version 1.0: Cooks

Fast and a ball-hawk. If he can add another five pounds, he could go to another level. As it is, he can play every down.

32. SEATTLE (13-3): G Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA
Versions 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0: Same

An immediate potential starter on a Super Bowl team can't be overlooked.

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