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0-16: Mock Me If You Wish (THE FIRST 5)

Well, it’s getting close to the NFL draft, and if anyone loves to make mock drafts, it’s really not definitely not totally me all the time. Mock drafts are fun in the oddest way – you know you’re probably going to be wrong (especially with this year’s slate), but it’s an enjoyable process. It’s like making a March Madness bracket, but everyone gets to be frustruated and downtrodden by the end of the process with their picks!

So, without further ado, here’s my speculation for the first five picks in this year’s NFL draft.

  1. Houston Texans – QB – Blake Bortles – UCF

While Jadeveon Clowney is getting a lot of the league talk right now, I still don’t think you can put a price on how important it is to have a franchise quarterback on the roster. Sure, the idea of Clowney paired with fellow rusher J.J. Watt would be terrifying, but Houston is coming off one of a disastrous season that saw two of its premiere faces, head coach Gary Kubiak and QB Matt Schaub, be jettisoned (both finding new homes, thankfully). With offensive-minded Bill O’Brien in as the new coach, the Texans need a fix at the most important position in the game. Analysts say UCF QB Blake Bortles is raw, but with a guy like O’Brien at the helm, what a better spot for a potential-laden signal-caller like Bortles? Houston needs a long-term solution at the position, and while some say it’s risky to take a QB with the first pick, I say Houston takes the gamble and tries to get back to being a playoff team

ALTERNATE PICK – WR – Sammy Watkins – Clemson

In this world, the Texans get the heir apparent for Andre Johnson and give whomever is throwing the ball next season a dynamic target.

  1. TRADE – Minnesota Vikings – QB – Johnny Manziel – Texas A&M

I can’t see the St. Louis Rams sticking around to pick second, so I predict the Minnesota Vikings to hop up to the second spot to nab their hoped answer at the QB position. Manziel is the big name in this year’s draft – an immensely polarizing-yet-immensely talented player who could be the big star to emerge from the draft. The Vikings haven’t had much success at finding a long-term QB, but Manziel could be that guy. Perhaps there are some worries of Manziel’s character, but, like with Tyrann Mathieu, a move up to the big leagues can often be the best maturation process. The Vikings, led by new coach Mike Zimmer, may give up a little to get the future of their backfield, but the thought of an expectation-filling Manziel and Adrian Peterson in the same team should scare the rest of the league.

ALTERNATE PICK – TRADE – TENNESSEE TITANS – DE – Jadeveon Clowney

The Titans need a star for their team – they are one of the few franchises that lack a “star name.” Also, the team’s pass rush is lacking. Perhaps the Titans trade up to get the highly-touted Clowney, giving their defense the pass rush it sorely needs.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars – DE – Jadeveon Clowney – South Carolina

Clowney will be the most talked-about defensive player in this year’s draft, and many expect the highly athletic pass rusher to go in the top five picks. I say that the Jaguars, despite being deep at the position, go ahead and bring Clowney into the fold. HC Gus Bradley is a defense guy, and he’s already done a nice job of building up his defensive unit. Veteran defensive lineman Chris Clemons and Red Bryant were brought in during the off-season, Jason Babin was re-signed and Tyson Alualu and Andre Branch are already on the roster, so it may not seem as if Clowney would be needed. But Clemons, Bryant and Babin are all veterans, and the thought of them all tutoring Clowney in the ways of the sack has to be intriguing to the Jaguars. This match-up gives Clowney a chance to really learn the game during his first season and not have to be relied on to be the top guy right out of college. It also gives the Jaguars one of the league’s best, deep defensive lines.

ALTERNATE PICK – QB – Terry Bridgewater – Louisville

If the season starts today, Chad Henne is the starter at QB. Henne’s a capable guy, but if the team truly wants to find its long-term answer at the position, they could take Bridgewater and see if he’s their guy.

  1. Cleveland Browns – WR – Sammy Watkins – Clemson

The Browns are a quarterback away from being a playoff team. But, they’ve been a quarterback away since the Clinton administration. Another flubbed pick for a signal caller could be disastrous, so why not go ahead and take the best player available – the guy who could come in and give your team a nasty combo at receiver? Watkins is regarded by many to be an explosive threat in the backfield, and the Browns already have star receiver Josh Gordon, who is just coming off a breakout year. The Browns need to stack the roster with as much talent as possible, and the team also has a first rounder later on thanks to the Trent Richardson trade. So, at least in this scenario, the Browns hold off on drafting a QB and take an offensive weapon.

ALTERNATE PICK – QB – Terry Bridgewater – Louisville

See above (but take out Chad Henne).

  1. Oakland Raiders – OLB – Khalil Mack – Buffalo

The Raiders are another team who many might suspect to take a QB, but the team did acquire Matt Schaub in a trade. If Schaub is able to regain his 2012 form, he’s a playoff quarterback, and if Pryor can grow into the role, he’s a got a world of potential ahead of him. So, I think the Raiders go with the best defensive player on the board in Khalil Mack. Some people think that Mack could be better than Clowney, and the Raiders play some of the best QBs in the league twice a season. The Raiders lost Lamarr Houston in free agency, so bringing in Mack could help bridge the gap, partially fixed with the team brought in veteran rushers Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley. That veteran leadership could also help a young rusher like Mack.

ALTERNATE PICK – TRADE – New York Giants – OLB – Khalil Mack

The Raiders could try to add more power to their team by trading down and grabbing another pick or two. A suitor could be the New York Giants, who could use a dynamic player like Mack in the backfield to replace the very guy who signed with Oakland.

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