XN Sports NFL Mock Draft 3.0: Jadeveon Clowney Remains Top Pick, Johnny Manziel First QB Taken

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Jadeveon Clowney

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

After a month of allowing the XN Sports Mock Draft 2.0 marinate, and the NFL pre-draft visits have come and gone, we have a strong idea of how the dominos will fall next week during the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Barring any draft-day trades, this is how we expect the first round to go:

 

No. 1 Houston Texans: Javedeon Clowney, South Carolina

The logic: The debate used to be Clowney vs. Manziel, but now it has turned to Clowney vs. Mack. Nobody wants the team to pass up on Clowney, considered to be a once in a lifetime kind of talent.

Mock 1.0: Jadeveon Clowney

Mock 2.0: Jadeveon Clowney

 

No. 2 St. Louis Rams: Greg Robinson, Auburn

The logic: St. Louis is the likely candidate to move out of this spot, with the Falcons and 49ers are potential trading partners. But if they stay put, they find their new left tackle in Robinson.

Mock 1.0: Greg Robinson

Mock 2.0: Greg Robinson

 

No. 3 Jacksonville Jaguars: Khalil Mack, Buffalo

The logic: Arguably the No. 1A defensive player in the draft, Gus Bradley finds his “LEO” in Mack. The team can make a play for a quarterback at the top of the second round.

Mock 1.0: Teddy Bridgewater

Mock 2.0: Blake Bortles

 

No. 4 Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

The logic: Manziel has been the pick for Cleveland in each mock draft. I can’t see them passing up on this guy, who has been linked to the team since the winter. He’ll be the first quarterback off the board.

Mock 1.0: Johnny Manziel

Mock 2.0: Johnny Manziel

 

No. 5 Oakland Raiders: Sammy Watkins, Clemson

The logic: The Raiders are also open for business, and they probably would’ve wanted Mack to fall here. Unless they decide offensive line is the way to go, there’s no way they pass up the opportunity to nab the draft’s best wide receiver.

Mock 1.0: Sammy Watkins

Mock 2.0: Sammy Watkins

 

No. 6 Atlanta FalconsTaylor Lewan, Michigan

The logic: The Falcons are one of the teams that may try to move up for Clowney or Mack. If they are unable to, they have to take the best offensive lineman available. It seems as if the team values Lewan over Matthews.

Mock 1.0: Khalil Mack

Mock 2.0: Khalil Mack

 

No. 7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans, Texas A&M

The logic: One of the most-coveted wideouts in the draft, Tampa needs to find another weapon for Josh McCown other than Vincent Jackson. The team has flirted with Manziel and Bridgewater, but I’m not sure Lovie Smith pulls the trigger so soon.

Mock 1.0: Anthony Barr

Mock 2.0: Mike Evans

 

No. 8 Minnesota VikingsBlake Bortles, Central Florida

The logic: The Vikings have not shown much interest in Manziel, and I don’t believe they value Bridgewater too much, so Bortles falling here is the ideal fit. He can sit a year and learn behind Matt Cassel.

Mock 1.0: Blake Bortles

Mock 2.0: Jake Matthews

 

No. 9 Buffalo BillsEric Ebron, North Carolina

The logic: Buffalo wants to provide second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel with weapons, and I think it comes down to Ebron and Matthews. I think Ebron is too intriguing to pass up.

Mock 1.0: Eric Ebron

Mock 2.0: Taylor Lewan

 

No. 10 Detroit Lions: Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

The logic: Gilbert has been the Lions’ pick in all three mocks, and I just can’t imagine the team not addressing its secondary here, especially with the best corner in the class.

Mock 1.0: Justin Gilbert

Mock 2.0: Justin Gilbert

 

No. 11 Tennessee Titans: Darqueze Dennard, Michigan St.

The logic: Barr’s stock has fallen rapidly this spring, and coach Ken Whisenhunt has always had a No. 1 corner to rely on (e.g. Patrick Peterson).

Mock 1.0: C.J. Mosley

Mock 2.0: Anthony Barr

 

No. 12 New York GiantsAaron Donald, Pittsburgh

The logic: The Giants went with offensive lineman Justin Pugh in last year’s draft, so it’s hard imagine the team doing it again in 2014. Donald is a disruptive force in the trenches, which is just what the Giants need to get back to doing.

Mock 1.0: Jake Matthews

Mock 2.0: Eric Ebron

 

No. 13 St. Louis Rams: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama

The logic: This could be different if the Rams trade out of the No. 2 spot. The team could take a linebacker (Mosley) or wide receiver (Beckham), but it has a glaring void on the back end of its secondary.

Mock 1.0: Mike Evans

Mock 2.0: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

 

No. 14 Chicago Bears: Calvin Pryor, Louisville

The logic: Chicago added Lamarr Houston, Jared Allen, Jay Ratliff, and Willie Young to bolster its defensive line. Now they need to sure up the back end of the defense.

Mock 1.0: Timmy Jernigan

Mock 2.0: Calvin Pryor

 

No. 15 Pittsburgh SteelersKyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

The logic: I think this decision comes down to a corner or a wide receiver, but there might be enough receiver talent that the Steelers can afford to wait until Round 2.

Mock 1.0: Darqueze Dennard

Mock 2.0: Aaron Donald

 

No. 16 Dallas CowboysAnthony Barr, UCLA

The logic: Once considered a top-10 pick, Barr could now be a savior for the Cowboys, who need to bolster its pass rush.

Mock 1.0: Aaron Donald

Mock 2.0: Kony Ealy

 

No. 17 Baltimore RavensJake Matthews, Texas A&M

The logic: This is Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome striking gold, as long he doesn’t trade out of the spot. Matthews is a consensus top-three tackle, and the team needs to replace Michael Oher.

Mock 1.0: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Mock 2.0: Timmy Jernigan

 

No. 18 New York JetsOdell Beckham, Jr.

The logic: The Jets need a wideout and a corner, and with the top three corners gone the team needs to strike on Beckham. The LSU standout gives the team a much-needed deep-threat option opposite of Eric Decker.

Mock 1.0: Marqise Lee

Mock 2.0: Marqise Lee

 

No. 19 Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, Notre Dame

The logic: The Dolphins has long been linked to Martin, despite reports they value Cyrus Kouandjio. It’s a long shot, but they could be eyeing a wide receiver here, too.

Mock 1.0: Zack Martin

Mock 2.0: Zack Martin

 

No. 20 Arizona Cardinals: C.J. Mosley, Alabama

The logic: It’s too early for Bruce Arians to take a quarterback, and with Karlos Dansby now in Cleveland, the Cardinals need to sure up its linebacking unit. Mosley is a value at No. 20.

Mock 1.0: Dee Ford

Mock 2.0: C.J. Mosley

 

No. 21 Green Bay PackersRyan Shazier, Ohio State 

The logic: Green Bay could go in a lot of directions here. The top two safeties are off the board, but is it too early for Jimmie Ward? Ebron is gone, but is it too early for Jace Amaro? Shazier is another strong addition to its revamped pass rush.

Mock 1.0: Calvin Pryor

Mock 2.0: Jace Amaro

 

No. 22 Philadelphia EaglesKelvin Benjamin, Florida State

The logic: The Eagles needs outside pass-rushers, and both Ford and Ealy are available. But I can’t see Chip Kelly passing up on Benjamin to continue adding threats to the offense.

Mock 1.0: Jason Verrett

Mock 2.0: Dee Ford

 

No. 23 Kansas City ChiefsMarqise Lee, USC

The logic: Andy Reid needs to address his receiving corps, and Lee’s stock has dropped into toward the latter portion of the first round. He may wind up being a steal at No. 23.

Mock 1.0: Odell Beckham Jr.

Mock 2.0: Odell Beckham Jr.

 

No. 24 Cincinnati BengalsDee Ford, Auburn

The logic: This comes down to a corner or whether the team likes Ford or Ealy more. Verrett and Roby are the two best cornerbacks available. But with so many holes on the defensive side of the ball, they can’t go wrong with any of those guys.

Mock 1.0: Kony Ealy

Mock 2.0: Darqueze Dennard

 

No. 25 San Diego Chargers: Bradley Roby, Ohio State

The logic: Roby has been linked to the Bolts all along. It was the team’s most glaring weakness in 2013. It’s unknown whether Roby’s off-the-field incident will impact the Chargers’ pick.

Mock 1.0: Bradley Roby

Mock 2.0: Bradley Roby

 

No. 26 Cleveland Browns: Jason Verrett, TCU

The logic: The Browns could grab an offensive guard or a wide receiver here, but the team was in the hunt for Darrelle Revis and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie over the offseason. Pairing Verrett opposite Joe Hayden is huge for Mike Pettine’s defense.

Mock 1.0: Ryan Shazier

Mock 2.0: Kyle Fuller

 

No. 27 New Orleans SaintsCody Latimer, Indiana

The logic: The top five corners are gone, and this comes down to giving Drew Brees a weapon to replace Lance Moore. No prospect is climbing up draft boards faster than Latimer. The other option here is Ealy, giving the defense another edge-rusher.

Mock 1.0: Kyle Fuller

Mock 2.0: Jason Verrett

 

No. 28 Carolina Panthers: Morgan Moses, Virginia

The logic: The Panthers need offensive linemen and wide receivers, but I believe they can find talented pass-catchers beyond the first round. Kouandjio may be the better prospect, but he carries a lot of off-the-field baggage, too.

Mock 1.0: Cyrus Kouandjio

Mock 2.0: Morgan Moses

 

No. 29 New England PatriotsRa’Shede Hagemen, Minnesota

The logic: Vince Wilfork is back, and Nix is the guy who has drawn the most comparisons to him. But Hageman’s stock is back on the rise, and New England needs to add depth to its D-line.

Mock 1.0: Louis Nix III

Mock 2.0: Louis Nix III
No. 30 San Francisco 49ers: Brandin Cooks, Oregon State

The logic: The Niners are expected to be one of the most aggressive teams in the draft, and they have enough picks to slide up at any point. If they don’t, they’ll take the best wideout available.

Mock 1.0: Kelvin Benjamin

Mock 2.0: Kelvin Benjamin

 

No. 31 Denver BroncosXavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA

The logic: Denver addressed a lot of its needs through free agency, but could afford to upgrade its offensive line. Zane Beadles is off to Jacksonville and needs to be replaced.

Mock 1.0: Xavier Su’a-Filo

Mock 2.0: Xavier Su’a-Filo

 

No. 32 Seattle Seahawks: Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame

The logic: Tuitt’s ability to play numerous spots along the defensive line makes him all the more attractive to the Seahawks. He can help fill the void left by Red Bryant.

Mock 1.0: Stephon Tuitt

Mock 2.0: Stephon Tuitt

Sam Spiegelman is a native New Yorker covering sports in New Orleans. He likes Game of Thrones way too much. Tweet him @samspiegs.