Charean Williams’ NFL mock draft
04/10/2014 10:50 AM
04/10/2014 10:51 AM
South Carolina defensive end Jadevon Clowney ranks atop a lot of draft boards.
Can the Houston Texans afford to pass on him?
Can they afford not to?
In 2006, Houston faced a similar scenario. Texans fans wanted them to draft Texas quarterback Vince Young, the hometown hero. Instead, they took North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams.
Will the Texans pass on another in-state quarterback in Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and draft Clowney this year?
1. Houston – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: If Houston deems him the best player in the draft, it has no choice but to take him. The quarterback can wait until the second round.
2. St. Louis -- Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn: If the Rams can’t trade down, Jeff Fisher will draft an offensive lineman in the first round for the first time in his career. Rodger Saffold moves to guard, giving the Rams a solid line.
3. Jacksonville -- Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida: Johnny Manziel would sell more tickets, but the Jaguars get a quarterback groomed in the state who they believe can win.
4. Cleveland -- – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: The Browns have had 20 starting quarterbacks since their return in 1999, including first-rounders Tim Couch and Brady Quinn. Browns fans will love Manziel.
5. Oakland -- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: By adding Matt Schaub, James Jones and Maurice Jones-Drew, the Raiders should rank better than 23rd in total offense as they did last year. Watkins would improve them even more.
6. Atlanta -- Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: The Falcons spent a lot of money on their defense in free agency as they shift to the 3-4, but Mack will help as much as anyone they have signed.
7. Tampa Bay – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: After trading Mike Williams, the Bucs need receiving help. Evans has been compared to Vincent Jackson, who could become his mentor.
8. Minnesota -- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: The Vikings just drafted a quarterback in the first round in 2011, and now they are looking to replace Christian Ponder as the franchise quarterback.
9. Buffalo – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: The Bills’ overhaul of their offensive line began with the signing of guard Chris Williams to a four-year, $13.5 million deal.
10. Detroit – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State: The Lions ranked 23rd in pass defense last year. Chris Houston was something of a disappointment after signing a $25 million deal, and Darius Slay didn’t quickly develop.
11. Tennessee -- Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA: The Titans need a pass-rusher for their new 3-4 defense.
12. New York Giants – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: The Giants lost starter Linval Joseph, and although they re-signed Mike Patterson, the position still needs help.
13. St. Louis -- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama: T.J. McDonald was a solid third-round pick last year, but the Rams need an upgrade of Rodney McLeod.
14. Chicago -- Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State: The Bears filled their need at defensive end with the free-agent signings of Willie Young and Lamarr Houston, and helped themselves at safety, but they are thin at defensive tackle.
15. Pittsburgh -- Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State: If Gilbert or Dennard is available, the Steelers could draft a cornerback in the first round for the first time since 1997.
16. Dallas – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: Donald would be the pick if he was on the board, but he’s not. Lewan and Zack Martin likely are higher on the Cowboys’ draft board than Ealy, allowing Doug Free to move to guard.
17. Baltimore -- Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville: Free safety Matt Elam shifts to strong safety, leaving a hole for a natural center fielder.
18. New York Jets -- Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU: The Jets added Eric Decker, but they need another wide receiver. 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 left tackle Branden Albert, but they need another.
20. Arizona – Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri: The Cardinals would like a defensive end to groom as a replacement for Darnell Docket, who turns 33 before the start of the season.
21. Green Bay -- Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: Jermichael Finley is rehabbing following surgery in November for a bruised spinal cord. The Packers need a sure thing as important as the tight end position is in their offense.
22. Philadelphia – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: Starters Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams are OK, and they signed Nolan Carroll. But the position still needs addressing.
23. Kansas City -- Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State: The Chiefs’ top three wideouts caught a touchdown on every 17 receptions, and Dexter McCluster now is gone.
24. Cincinnati -- Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State: The Bengals have two corners over 30 and another coming off a second Achilles’ injury.
25. San Diego -- Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame: The Chargers, who have Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes at end, need a defensive tackle to clog the middle.
26. Cleveland – Jason Verrett, CB, TCU: Pro Bowler Joe Haden shuts down one side of the field, and Verrett, an upgrade over Buster Skrine, eventually could do the same on the other.
27. New Orleans -- C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama: If this scenario plays out, the Saints could try to trade down, but Mosley is the best defensive player on the board.
28. Carolina -- Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama: Jordan Gross retired, leaving the need for a tackle to protect Cam Newton’s blindside.
29. New England -- Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota: Vince Wilfork may be done in New England, but even if he’s not, the Patriots need to prepare for the future.
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, free safety Eric Reid.
31. Denver – Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA: The Broncos need to do a better job at protecting Peyton Manning, as the Seahawks showed in the Super Bowl.
32. Seattle – Marquise Lee, WR, USC: Golden Tate went to the Lions, and the Seahawks cut Sidney Rice, leaving them needing wide receivers in the worst way.
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