Posted November 24, 2013

Top-10 Mock Draft: Projections for 10 worst teams after Week 12

NFL Draft, NFL draft 2014
Teddy Bridgewater has thrown for 25 touchdowns and just three interceptions this season.

Teddy Bridgewater has thrown for 25 touchdowns and just three interceptions this season. (Al Tielemans/SI)

As with the race to the playoffs, the battle for draft position remains rather unsettled with 12 weeks of the season almost in the books. It’s only fair, then, to take as close a look at the teams that are not headed to the postseason as those that are.

With that in mind, here’s the first of several abbreviated mock drafts to come, spinning through the top 10 picks:

(Draft order based on current standings, including current strength of schedule tiebreaker as accumulated by ESPN.com):

1. Houston Texans (2-9): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Well, here’s the upside to imploding completely after a 2-0 start. Though the Case Keenum Experiment remains in its early stages, the Texans would be remiss to pass on a potential franchise QB like Bridgewater. Houston could hit the reset button here (possibly with an entirely new coaching staff) and begin to put the Matt Schaub era behind it.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9): Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

There will be some questions heading into the draft — fair ones — about just how far along Mariota is in his development. (And that’s if the redshirt sophomore opts to turn pro after a relatively disappointing season for his Ducks.) Pigeon-holing Mariota as a system QB, though, would be a huge mistake. Stanford coach David Shaw has said multiple times Mariota is college football’s best quarterback, one capable of running any offense. He’s right about the second point and not far off on the first. 

3. Atlanta Falcons (2-9): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

The offensive line should be of real consideration for the Falcons in Round 1. But they also badly need a guy like Clowney to help revitalize a defense that’s been worked over throughout 2013. The Falcons had just 22 sacks in their first 11 games, a product of a somewhat patched-together defensive line getting little production in that category from anyone other than Osi Umenyiora.

4. Minnesota Vikings (2-8-1): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

MMQB contributor Eric Edholm tweeted last week that a scout pegged Carr as “top 10 when all is said and done.” Well, here’s one spot in which he could land. Minnesota has taken a ride on the QB merry-go-round all season, from Christian Ponder to Matt Cassel to Josh Freeman. It’s time to find a real answer there, and Carr is plenty capable of distributing the ball to Minnesota’s underrated stock of weapons.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-8): Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

With Mike Glennon shutting up a lot of draft folks by playing rather brilliantly in his rookie season, the Buccaneers, with or without Greg Schiano, can focus somewhere other than QB. Again, the offensive line could use a boost, but a linebacking corps of Barr, Lavonte David and Mason Foster could start Tampa Bay on a Carolina-like rise in 2014.

6. St. Louis Rams — via Washington (3-7)*: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

The Rams still have their own 2014 first-rounder coming, so they’ll have two early shots to stockpile some more youthful talent. They do have Jake Long signed through 2016, but Matthews would bolster the right tackle spot (where Joe Barksdale has held his own this season) plus give the Rams a replacement for whenever Long hits the end of the line.

7. Oakland Raiders (4-7): Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Thought about Khalil Mack here to help the Raiders defense. Also considered Johnny Manziel as a home-run swing from a team desperately attempting to rebuild — and Brett Hundley of UCLA would fall under a similar umbrella if he declared and were available. But in Evans, the Raiders add a physical receiver who can win plenty of battles. Better yet, he’s thrived by finding space as Manziel ad-libs, making him a terrific match for Terrelle Pryor if Oakland gives the Ohio State product a longer look.

8. Cleveland Browns (4-7): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Quarterback will have to wait — possibly only until Cleveland’s second pick of Round 1, where a guy like Zach Mettenberger or Tajh Boyd or even Manziel might be on the table. In Watkins, the Browns would find another receiver who, like current Cleveland No. 1 Josh Gordon, can stretch the field in Rob Chudzinski’s offense. Watkins and Gordon together with TE Jordan Cameron would make the Browns a headache for any defensive coordinator.

9. New York Giants (4-7): C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

It is no secret that Mosley is one of my favorite prospects in this draft, and he happens to fit a great need for the Giants. Though New York did find a little something at the MLB position by trading for Jon Beason, Mosley could supplant him or slot in elsewhere in the starting rotation. Either way, the ‘Bama product could have a bright future.

10. Buffalo Bills (4-7): HaHa Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

The good folks over at DraftMecca.com list Jairus Byrd as the NFL player comparison for Clinton-Dix. So … that’s kind of perfect. The Bills used the franchise tag on Byrd this season, but it’s hard to imagine them bringing him back — either with another tag or with a lucrative long-term contract. Why not just add a cheaper, younger version instead?

* = Washington plays on Monday night

33 comments
Don51
Don51

Spielman better position the team or trade to get Bridgewater.  I haven't seen any quarterback that looks like an upgrade other than bridgewater.

JohnSomers
JohnSomers

Should be an interesting draft, where the quarterbacks end up will be intriguing

CarlLegg
CarlLegg

I dunno, maybe it's just because they've played weaker teams, but Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State is one of the best looking college QBs I've ever seen.

zcrawford2
zcrawford2

Do you folks realize this is all based off of if the season ended right now? It's hypothetical, not THIS IS DEFINITELY GOING TO HAPPEN DEAL WITH IT. Get over yourselves, amateur experts.

MarkDavis
MarkDavis

Right now Jacksonville holds the #1 spot in the tie breaker.

JordanS
JordanS

I would like to see whoever wrote this get cancer NOW!! Houston will win 1-2 more games and MN will draft  Marcus Mariota, TY.

David508
David508

I believe you are getting a little bit ahead of yourself with this article. You are showing 4 teams who are not yet eliminated from post season. Wait until after the season to write about your assumptions. 

AlexCarl
AlexCarl

First off, Bridgewater is NOT a franchise QB...

The_KentuckyKid
The_KentuckyKid

I think Houston would take Clowney here. There will be enough B-rated QBs in the 2nd or 3rd round of the draft, and frankly, Clowney and Watt would be one sexy pass rush duo. Plus, while Houston does need a QB, they don't need a star, because a lot of decent QBs would look pretty good throwing to Johnson/Hopkins and having a backfield tandem of Foster/Tate

DerekSugimura
DerekSugimura

The Vikings are taking Derek Carr at #4?  Did the half-dozen QBs who are better than him get arrested or injured?  Off the top of my head, Tajh Boyd and Johnny Manziel are both significantly better.  I'd  take AJ McCarron before Carr too.  And I'd probably take Brett Hundley and David Fales before him.

The5wineFlu
The5wineFlu

Another benefit of drafting Watkins, is the Browns will have insurance if (when) Gordon ever gets suspended again.  

destrusdominate
destrusdominate

How about Redskins trade away 4 future picks and RG3 for the chance to land Teddy Bridgewater. Hey, I'm a realist.

diceman
diceman

If the Raiders take a WR I'll be pissed.  They have holes everywhere and one receiver is not going to help the team all that much.  They are in a multiyear rebuilding project.  Start building a strong defense or OL.  Would love to see them take Mosely or Matthews.

UlisseP
UlisseP

@JordanS Wow, just.... wow. Wishing cancer upon another human being just for describing an imaginary draft? You are one disturbed and pretty disturbing shell of a human being, son.

BlackSession1
BlackSession1

@JordanS What is wrong with you? Seriously. It's a made up draft - no need to be the world's biggest dbag about it. 

UlisseP
UlisseP

@David508You mean... there could be someone who doesn't understand that writing about a draft in week 12 is by definition an excercise in "getting a little bit ahead of oneself" and hence there's no need to point out the obvious to that person?

UlisseP
UlisseP

@The_KentuckyKidAfter enduring a couple of years worth of pick sixes thanks to one Schaub Matt, do you really think the Texans can afford starting a "B-rated QB", as you call it? They have that in Case Keenum apparently. It's time to get a real QB.

Don51
Don51

@DerekSugimura  either bridgewater or AJ mcCarron are the only two I would even think of drafting.  My vote goes to making a trade for Bridgewater.

KodyOlerud
KodyOlerud

@DerekSugimura Derek Carr is a damn good quarterback. Sure he doesn't play in a amazing conference but from what he's shown so far this year, he is damn good.

Turd
Turd

@DerekSugimura How many times have you traveled to watch Carr? Whom do you scout for in the NFL?

yummypeaches
yummypeaches

@diceman I agree on not taking a receiver . Just to boom or bust . If I could pick for Reggie my first choice would be Clinton-Dix my second would be Mosley .  LOL if we would have won yesterday we would have had the in on the final wildcard sport . If the Raiders can get some consistency and a break or two both will be gone before we draft .

RomarioDelLago
RomarioDelLago

@diceman Oh no!  They better not draft a WR - they wouldn't want to piss of some random internet fan.  

JimMurr
JimMurr

@UlisseP @The_KentuckyKid  and there are qbs in later rounds that could be that guy and you can not pass on Clowney who will remind people of Mario Williams

Craig9
Craig9

@yummypeaches @diceman - No CBs either. The Raiders should have drafted Star Lotuleillei (sp?) this past year. I said it when it happened and it's even more obvious now. Drafting a CB for a team starved at talent in other spots is not wise. The Raiders need to build on the lines – both offensive and defensive.

Conrad
Conrad

@Craig9 @yummypeaches @diceman  Evans is good, but the Raiders need a lot.  McKenzie will trade down with the Niners who have lots of picks and few needs (Evans would fill one of them).