March 14, 2014

Charean Williams’ mock NFL Draft: Who’s No. 1?

Even though they have Matt Schaub on their roster, the Texans are expected to draft a quarterback first overall. But Schaub’s presence on the roster gives them flexibility. Imagine Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt on the same defense.

The Texans still have Matt Schaub on their roster and are in no hurry to move him. They have $14.2 million in cap space, even with his $14.5 million cap number. They still are expected to draft a quarterback first overall, but Schaub’s presence on the roster gives them flexibility. Imagine Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt on the same defense.

1. Houston

Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida The Texans are expected to take a QB, and Bortles seems like the best fit for what new coach Bill O’Brien wants.

2. St. Louis

Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina Jeff Fisher has never used a first-round pick on an OL, and the Rams re-signed Rodger Saffold. Since they also have two quality DEs, the Rams likely will seek to trade down.

3. Jacksonville

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M The Jaguars won’t have to worry about sellouts in the short-term if they draft the most exciting player in the draft.

4. Cleveland

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville The Browns have had 20 starting quarterbacks since their return in 1999, including first-rounders Tim Couch and Brady Quinn.

5. Oakland

Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn After Rodger Saffold failed a physical, the Raiders might have to choose between the best OT on the board and the fourth-rated QB.

6. Atlanta

Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M Both of the Falcons’ OTs – Sam Baker and Mike Johnson – are returning from surgery.

7. Tampa Bay

Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo Mack might be the safest pick in the draft and would improve the league’s 17th-ranked defense.

8. Minnesota

Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State The Vikings don’t have much at CB beyond Xavier Rhodes, and they have veteran Matt Cassel at QB, so they can afford to wait until the second round to draft a QB to groom.

9. Buffalo

Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan The Bills’ overhaul of their OL began with the signing of guard Chris Williams to a four-year, $13.5 million deal.

10. Detroit

Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville After the Lions filled their WR need with Golden Tate, their biggest remaining holes are in the secondary; Pryor would replace the departed Louis Delmas.

11. Tennessee

Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA The Titans need players who fit their new 3-4 defense, and Barr fits it well.

12. New York Giants

Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State Corey Webster is gone and Terrell Thomas likely is, too; Jayron Hosley can’t stay healthy.

13. St. Louis

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson Sam Bradford would be in heaven with Watkins to pair with Tavon Austin, the No. 8 overall pick last year. Watkins would be a steal if he falls this far.

14. Chicago

Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State The Bears filled their need at DE with the free-agent signings of Willie Young and Lamarr Houston, and helped themselves at S, but they are thin at DT.

15. Pittsburgh

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama Troy Polamalu turns 33 next month, and though they signed Mike Mitchell in free agency, the Steelers need help at the position.

16. Dallas

Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh He plays the three-technique, which is the most important position in Rod Marinelli’s defense, and would be an ideal replacement for Jason Hatcher.

17. Baltimore

Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M They re-signed Jacoby Jones, but the Ravens still are looking for a replacement for Anquan Boldin a year later.

18. New York Jets

Marqise Lee, WR, USC The Jets added Eric Decker, but they need another WR. Former TCU star Jeremy Kerley led them in receiving last year with 43 catches for 523 yards despite missing four games.

19. Miami

Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame The Dolphins signed LT Branden Albert, leaving them in need of two more starters in the OL.

20. Arizona

Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota The Cardinals want to get stronger on both sides of the line of scrimmage, and Hageman would help.

21. Green Bay

Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina The Packers need a TE to replace Jermichael Finley.

22. Philadelphia

Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State Even after signing Nolan Carroll in free agency, the Eagles could use help at the position.

23. Kansas City

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU The Chiefs’ top three receivers combined for 150 catches for 1,780 yards and nine touchdowns, and Dexter McCluster is gone. Alex Smith needs weapons.

24. Cincinnati

Jason Verrett, CB, TCU The Bengals have two corners over 30 and another coming off a second Achilles’ injury.

25. San Diego

Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech Derek Cox signed as a free agent last year but didn’t help as the Chargers ranked 29th in pass defense.

26. Cleveland

C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama Even with the addition of Karlos Dansby, the Browns’ 3-4 defense could use another top-caliber ILB.

27. New Orleans

Dee Ford, DE, Auburn The Saints would have a solid rotation with Cameron Jordan, Akiem Hicks and Ford.

28. Carolina

Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State Losing Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn and Domenik Hixon leaves Cam Newton without much help. He can’t throw it and catch it, too.

29. New England

Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame Don’t the Patriots always trade down? Expect another this year.

30. San Francisco

Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois Donte Whitner left for the Browns, giving the 49ers a hole to fill beside last year’s first-round pick, FS Eric Reid.

31. Denver

Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama Having filled most of their needs in free agency, the Broncos can take the best player on the board or trade down and acquire more picks.

32. Seattle

Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State The Seahawks lost Golden Tate to the Lions and cut Sidney Rice, leaving them needing WRs in the worst way.

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