The Maroon-News’ Official NFL Mock Draft

1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina.Despite the Texans’ quarterback issues, they cannot pass up on talent like this. Clowney has the ability to dominate when he is disciplined and his head is in the game. Though he is still raw and progressing as a player, he can be the finishing touch to a formidable Texans defense that already includes stars like Brian Cushing, Whitney Mercillus and of course J.J. Watt. If the Texans cannot put the pieces together on offense, their defense will certainly be there to bail them out.

2. St. Louis Rams: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn. The Rams offense is a work in progress, but is getting better and better each year. They have strong wide receivers and a quarterback that has the skills to be a top 15 talent one day, but they lack a solid offensive line to protect him and a star running back to add another dimension to their game. Given that there are no running backs worth taking second, the Rams have to go with Robinson to bolster their line and give Sam Bradford more time in the pocket to hit his receivers.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M. The Jags desperately need someone explosive who can turn their boring offense into one that could do some damage. No one has more potential to do this than Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. People question his lack of discipline and ability to succeed in the NFL, but I believe he will be a successful dual-threat QB that will open up the field and allow for other less notable players to shine. Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater are also other viable options for the Jaguars, but Manziel is a far more exciting pick and the Jaguars need his explosive potential to become contenders again.

4. Cleveland Browns: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville. Even if Manziel, Bridgewater and Bortles were all off the board by the time the Browns’ pick came along, they would still have to go with a QB. They have no quarterbacks that can play effectively in the NFL right now and they need to change that quickly. Luckily, only Manziel will likely be off the board, which means they can take Bridgewater. He is a consistent, smart and underrated quarterback that knows how to win and guide his teams down the field into the end zone. With the addition of Ben Tate and returning players like Josh Gordon, the Browns are in position to have a solid offense capable of putting up points.

5. Oakland Raiders: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo. Bortles is definitely an attractive pick for the Raiders, but because they now have Matt Schaub, it is not necessary they take a QB this early. The obvious pick is Mack, a dominant linebacker with the strength and speed to sack quarterbacks and catch running backs.

6. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M. Pretty easy pick for the Falcons here. They have a solid offense led by quarterback Matt Ryan, but they need to strengthen their offensive line if they want to give him and RB Steven Jackson a chance to make big plays. 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson. A lot of Tampa Bay’s success this year hinges on their quarterback play. They already have a stud RB in Doug Martin and solid WR in Vincent Jackson, but they could still use an explosive player to compliment Jackson’s strength. That player is Sammy Watkins, a blazing fast wideout that Clemson QB Tajh Boyd found over and over again. Adding Watkins would give probable starter Mike Glennon many weapons both on the ground and in the air. Being surrounded by talent should give Glennon the confidence he needs to step up and not be afraid to make big plays. If this happens, the Bucs offense could be in the top 10 or better in the NFL.

8. Minnesota Vikings: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF.Neither Matt Cassel nor Christian Ponder have gotten the job done over the past few years. The Vikings need a solid QB if they ever want a chance at making the playoffs. If they can get Bortles this late, they have to take him.

9. Buffalo Bills: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan.E.J. Manuel was sacked the fourth most out of any starting QB last season. Needless to say, they need to bolster their offensive line and Lewan is the guy they need.

10. Detroit Lions: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State. The Lions have a very good offense, but need obvious work on defense, especially in the passing game. Gilbert will fill those holes and tighten the Lions secondary, which could potentially make them a strong playoff contender.

Contact Charlie Enberg at [email protected].