Posted December 15, 2013

Top-10 Mock Draft: Projections for 10 worst teams after Week 15

NFL Draft, NFL draft 2014
Texas A&M's Jake Matthews is poised to be one of the first offensive lineman taken this May.

Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews is poised to be one of the first offensive lineman taken this May. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

With most of the Week 15 games in the books, it’s time to take another look at how the draft’s top 10 might play out.

(Note: The order for this mock is based on current strength of schedule, which is the first tiebreaker used by the NFL for draft position.)

1. Houston Texans: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

The excitement surrounding Case Keenum has worn off completely with Houston stuck in a 12-game skid. Even if the Texans want to keep the youngster around, they need to pick up someone else at the quarterback spot. Could Jay Cutler be a possibility if he gets to free agency? How about a Kirk Cousins trade?

Maybe. But this is the easiest path toward landing a potential franchise quarterback.

2. St. Louis — via Washington: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

Rams fans — at least those who took time to comment — hated this pick last week. Well, bad news …

Drafting Clowney would create a little clutter along an already-stacked defensive line, thus forcing Jeff Fisher’s coaching staff to get a little creative. But Clowney, Robert Quinn and Chris Long together would form perhaps the NFL’s finest pass-rushing front.

3. Oakland Raiders: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Really, take your pick between Evans and Clemson’s Sammy Watkins — the point is that the Raiders have to find a playmaker at wide receiver, so the choice should be the guy they like best. No. 3 seems high for a WR in this draft, but if both Evans and Watkins are top-10 guys and this fits a huge need, why wait?

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

The Jaguars’ second-half turnaround was fun and all, but losing to Buffalo Sunday should help more in the long run. That setback pushed the Jaguars back into the top five (they were at No. 6 last week) … and with the top three falling as it does here, Jacksonville has a chance to grab a guy some will argue is the top quarterback in this class.

5. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

The thought of nabbing Anthony Barr to bolster a crummy pass rush would be pretty appealing. That said, the Falcons are built around Matt Ryan and their offense, so leaving Ryan unprotected behind a suspect line does not make a ton of sense. The Falcons also learned the hard way this season how badly they need at least some balance from the run game, and their current line isn’t capable of providing that.

6. Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Again, Evans and Watkins can flip-flop here and work out just as well — Evans’ lack of high-end speed may eventually knock him down a tiny notch, though his talent ought to offset most of the concerns there. A combo of Watkins and Josh Gordon (with Jordan Cameron at tight end) would make the QB spot in Cleveland pretty appealing to whomever lands it. Watkins can excel at all levels of the field, including deep, where Cleveland wants to press.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

This is as much a value pick as anything else at No. 7, because Barr does not exactly fit into Tampa Bay’s current 4-3 setup on defense. But here’s the thing: He is a spectacular athlete and has only begun to scratch the surface as a defender. Even if the Buccaneers eased him in somewhat slowly, as San Francisco did with Aldon Smith in his rookie season, the impact might be worth it. And two or three years down the line, Barr could be one of the most feared pass-rushers in the league.

8. Minnesota Vikings: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame

When the Vikings were sitting No. 4 last week, Derek Carr was the choice. Here, the quarterback options would be something to keep an eye on: Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and Brett Hundley are the names you’ll hear a lot if they all enter the draft. Instead, how about pairing Nix with Sharrif Floyd in a rebuilt Minnesota front? The Vikings defense was at its best in recent memory with Pat Williams holding down the nose tackle spot. After a bit of a wait, here’s his replacement.

9. Buffalo Bills: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

I don’t really mean to do this, but the Mack-to-Buffalo occurrence keeps happening no matter how the picks above the Bills play out. Keep an eye on one of the elite tight ends here — Eric Ebron, Jace Amaro, Austin Seferian-Jenkins — as Scott Chandler’s set to be a free agent and has battled injury. But Mack would make an improving LB corps led by Kiko Alonso even better and would cement the position in Buffalo for years.

10. Tennessee Titans: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

Whereas Minnesota is almost certain to head a different direction at QB next season, Tennessee has a choice to make on Jake Locker. If the Titans decide he’s not their guy, one of those aforementioned players — Manziel, Bortles, Hundley — could fit the bill. Some of the decision may come down to whether it’s Mike Munchak or a new head coach calling the shot.

If they don’t take a chance on a QB, the Titans have a number of ways they could go: defensive end, cornerback, wide receiver. Mosley’s one of my favorite players in this draft, a talented defender who should be on pretty much every team’s radar. Drop him between Akeem Ayers and Zach Brown in Tennessee, and the Titans would be stockpiled with young linebacking talent.

30 comments
MichaelAnthonyJacobson
MichaelAnthonyJacobson

The interview above with that Greg guy is crap.  Demarcus Ware ran a 4.56 in his 40 yd.  So for him to say the numbers he can put up have never been done... This webpage is crap... They give false info on stats

TheRealSheizman
TheRealSheizman

I love the message board clowns who are so quick to denounce every player they don't like. Do you actually think the scouts who have Teddy, Clowney, Carr, etc rated so high are dumb? That you are smarter than them? Please. There is a reason these guys have dominated in every level they have played. It is because they are really, really good. No one knows for sure how they will turn out in the NFL, but these guys are rated high for a reason. Quit being such a hater.

rfaronson
rfaronson

The Rams already have an excellent defense.  They seem to have their featured running back and quarterback.  Their needs are at receiver and offensive line.  Thus, the smart move instead of taking Clowney  at number two would be to trade down some spots to let a team with a weak defense strengthen it, get an extra draft choice or two, and fill a position of need.  They got a lot of rebuilding done the last time they traded the number two pick, and trading this one should put them over the top.

Chuckster
Chuckster

3 of 1st 4 picks are going to bust.   Bridgewater won't translate well to the NFL.  Clowney has shown his true colors this season and looks to be a defensive JeMarcus Russell.  Carr played.....  NO ONE all season.    Evans should be a solid pick and in the line of Julio Jones success.

CWillC
CWillC

I think Sammy Watkins would be a great pick up for the Browns! No doubt that should be the pick!

CousinVinny75
CousinVinny75

It's amazing how often I've seen this ridiculous comparison of Teddy Bridgewater to Geno Smith.


What in the world do they have in common besides being both dark skinned black QBs?


They literally have nothing else in common.


Geno Smith played in a shotgun spread offense with a lot of Bubble Screens, while Bridgewater plays more in a traditional pro style offense.


Geno Smith had Tavon Austin and Steadman Bailey, and  Bridgewater has..... well nothing.


Geno Smith was only good when he had ALL DAY to throw in the pocket, while Teddy Bridgewater is as good as there is in all of college football under duress and with defenders in his face.    (Just watch the Film vs the Gators last year in the Sugar Bowl)


Now if you want to knock his college competition that's fine.   Although using that logic, Big Ben and Flacco would have been frauds in the NFL.   Same with Brett Favre, and countless other Pro Bowl or Super Bowl caliber QBs who didn't play in a big time conference. 


But this Geno Smith comparison, if it's not driven by their skin tone what is it? 

DavidHarte
DavidHarte

Two busts at the top…well done.  Even for a "Draftologist" your instincts for failure are impressive.


Any team who drafts Bridgewater this high deserves the fiasco they will buy.  


Not a chance in hell that kid stars at the next level.  Geno Smith, anyone?

Mike26
Mike26

ANyone who believes that Houston drafts Bridgewater of the Big MAC Conference just because he MAY be the top QB is nuts.  The Texans can easily pick Clowney and then either pick up Cousins OR trade back into the lower first round if they REALLY like someone who's left - someone like Bridgewater.

gary41
gary41

Derek Carr will do everything possible to keep from being drafted by Jacksonville...

ChipBarbre
ChipBarbre

One has to wonder how Mr.Burke got and keeps his job.  His power rankings are a complete waste of time. Cute little soundbites of useless trivia, rather than any explanation of why a team is ranked as it is. And this rubbish? STL has one of the best pass rushes in the league, and a pretty rotten secondary. So of course Clowney makes no sense whatsoever. And when was the last time the best OT in the draft went at #5?? He puts Barr in a system he admits he's not made for. Burke is a clown.

mikewichter
mikewichter

Could not agree more Clint. Makes absolutely no sense. 

John339
John339

Cleveland Browns: I don't see them taking a wide receiver if Blake Bortles QB

( Central Florida)is there when they select. They can always get one withnthere second pick in the first round or maybe even their high second rounder.

I also think the Raiders will use their pick on a QB, most likely Manziel.

Clint
Clint

Any article that has the Raiders picking a WR at #3 without a QB to throw to said WR loses all credibility.

CarlosAmador
CarlosAmador

@TheRealSheizman Not all those players that are annually rated so high translate to the NFL but generally speaking day 1 selections usually excel.

Snow_Veil
Snow_Veil

@TheRealSheizman 

I think it's fair that people express their opinions. You may not agree with said opinions, but calling people 'clowns' for giving their thoughts doesn't make you much better. Perhaps you'd prefer if comment sections were simply shut down so others can't offend you with dissenting ideas. Then again, you couldn't give your own in that case, either.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@ChucksterA few years ago, Colin Kaepernick played the same teams that Derek Carr just played.  Worked out alright for him.

mannythegoat
mannythegoat

@Chuckster Evans isn't Julio. Evans is a slower Blackmon. ish. Watkins is more Julio.


I really think everyone is wrong about Clowney. I get why he's unpopular this year, but that was a business decision. He was in an all risk, no reward situation. With the rookie wage scale, though, his next business decision is to play like an animal for his second contract. He's next to unblockable when he wants to be.

mannythegoat
mannythegoat

@CousinVinny75 Don't over-think it. It really is just skin tone. Just like when people wanted to compare Cam to Mike Vick.

mannythegoat
mannythegoat

@DavidHarte Umm... Geno Smith is kinda starting. And has one way more games than anyone expected. Don't get me wrong, I hate the Jets and the kid rubs me the wrong way, but your argument would be dumb even if Bridgewater and Smith were anything alike. at all.

Mike26
Mike26

@gary41 Um, he racked up his number at Fresno State in the Big West Mountain Pacific Conference.  Why would he turn up his nose at Jacksonville, who's clearly on the upswing under Bradley?

TaylorPrintz
TaylorPrintz

He would be joining Blackmon, shorts, sanders, Lewis, Mjd, and a young star left tackle in joekle. Nice try at a joke though, jags are a QB away

ll316
ll316

@ChipBarbre And what defensive back do you think they should take at #2?  There aren't any in this class that are deserving of a top 5 pick.  If you can't fill a place of need, you take the best player available.  Seems to have worked out well with the Lions when they drafted Calvin Johnson...

Mulva
Mulva

@Clint not true.

if bridgewater and carr go 1-2, it would be wise NOT to reach for a quarterback IF they don't believe the #3 prospect (Bortles or Manziel) has true Franchise Quarterback potential. 

next year's class is going to be STACKED with far superior prospects (and more quantity of them, too). i'd rather take BPA with my high 1st (Clowney, Barr, Mathews) and continue to build the team. you can still take a 2nd rd prospect like AJ McCarron or Mettenberger to upgrade on McGloin/Pryor. 

But I'd rather wait one more year and get a better QB than reach for the third best one when so many great prospects at other positions are available. this is considered one of the best drafts in years, including 2012 -- with the exception of a clear, no-brainer QB prospect.

donald5
donald5

@Clint Uhhh... this is the same team that drafted a kicker in the 1st round.  

TheRealSheizman
TheRealSheizman

Brian Hoyer will be back. He is better than you may think.