Some five hours before the start of the NFL draft and the fog of misdirection is beginning to clear to the extent that clubs picking at the top of the draft are beginning to show their hands.
Hence my first and only mock draft for 2014.
- Houston: Jadeveon Clowney, DE South Carolina
- St. Louis: Greg Robinson, T Auburn
He may not be the most polished tackle in the draft but he has the most upside. The Rams will hope he turns into another Orlando Pace. He may never get to that Hall of Fame and still be a pretty good consolation prize.
- Jacksonville: Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
- Cleveland: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
The Browns won’t be able to pass up on the best playmaker in the draft, especially with another first-round in their back pocket. Watkins is the complete package in terms of route-running, hands, explosiveness and the ability to break tackles after the catch.
- Oakland: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Even with Al Davis gone, the Raiders remain the draft's wild card. They will think long and hard about quarterback Derek Carr here but Evans’ combination of size, speed and jumping ability make it a no brainer.
- Atlanta: Jake Matthews, T, Texas A&M
Though the Falcons will take a flyer on moving up for either Clowney or Mack, they’ll find the price too costly for what they’re potentially giving up. Matthews, a solid blocker with Hall of Fame bloodlines, will solve a good part of the Atlanta’s offensive line woes.
- Tampa Bay: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
- Minnesota: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
The Vikings need a quarterback and Bortles has the body type new offensive co-ordinator Norv Turner prefers in his passers. The Matt Cassel era will be short in the Twin Cities, and it all depends on how fast Bortles develops. He has all the tools.
- Buffalo: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
The consensus all along has been for the Bills to draft tight end Eric Ebron but whispers out of Buffalo give the speedy and explosive Beckham Jr. the inside track. He’s the draft’s late riser.
- Detroit: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
The Lions need coverage help terribly and Gilbert, of the top corners in the draft, has the size to match up with the Bears’ big wide receivers and speed to deal with the Pack’s three-pronged attack as well.