By Mike Tanier, Dan Pompei and Russ Lande

A lot has happened since the Sports on Earth gang last mock drafted … mocked draft … er, guessed who NFL teams will select in the first round in May.

March Mentor Madness saw teams at the top of the draft board sign creaky free-agent veteran quarterbacks like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Chad Henne (a re-signing by the Jaguars) and Matt Schaub. These are exactly the type of quarterbacks you sign when battening down the hatches for a rookie: They need minimal practice reps to be ready, can start for a while if called upon and provide precious life lessons to the next generation. Think of them as brown avocados that have to be used immediately: The Texans, Jaguars and Raiders will want something far fresher than mid-autumn guacamole.

The Great Safety Shuffle found Jairus Byrd heading to New Orleans, Malcolm Jenkins to Philly, Mike Mitchell to Pittsburgh, Donte Whitner to Cleveland, and Antoine Bethea to San Francisco. Teams that needed safeties badly in February are in much better shape; it's hard to say the name Ha Ha Clinton-Dix right now without a little Nelson Muntz taunt. There are still safety-needy teams, but the whole draft board at the position has shifted.

The Broncos and Patriots filled most of their needs with all-in Last Stop on the Brady-Manning Express veteran splurges. The Bears reinforced their defense. The Panthers gutted their receiver corps. The Buccaneers did all sorts of hard-to-categorize stuff. Meanwhile, pro-day tealeaf-reading season gave draftnik nation new reasons to question Teddy Bridgewater and get excited over Anthony Barr.

So in many ways, we know more than we did last month. But we also know less: There is still not clear-cut No. 1 player or quarterback, the top five could play out hundreds of different ways and later-drafting teams filled just enough immediate needs to cloud their intentions. But the mock draft must march on, and Russ, Dan and I went the extra mile to make the best possible prognostications.

1
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Houston Texans

Mike

Teddy Bridgewater
Louisville QB
Oh no, Mike Mayock said Teddy Bridgewater had a "average at best" pro day! But "average" compared to what? All of the other pro days Mayock is assigned to attend? In other words, the pro days of the top prospects in each draft class? If Bridgwater's pro day was the average of pro days by Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, EJ Manuel, Geno Smith, Cam Newton, Sam Bradford and Blaine Gabbert, that makes it pretty good, right? Mayock may be using "average" the way Vizzini used "inconceivable." It may not mean what Mayock think it means. (Mayock also said that "most quarterbacks have a good pro day," which totally throws off the meaning of "average" and kind of negates the whole concept of evaluating a pro day, right?) Anyway, those who focus on the couple dozen practice passes they didn't see and ignore the 1,142 they did see are making a foolish mistake. Bridgewater is the best all-around quarterback in this draft. Bill O'Brien and Rick Smith, who were both highly visible during that "average" pro day, have probably figured that out.

Dan

Khalil Mack
Buffalo LB
At this point taking a quarterback first overall looks like a reach. Rick Smith is too smart to reach. Mack could be a better scheme fit for the Texans than Jadeveon Clowney.

Russ

Blake Bortles
UCF QB
Despite all the talk that the quarterbacks in this year's draft are not elite, I do not believe the Texans feel this way. Although I have been told they like both Manziel and Bortles, Bortles fits the mold of the big, strong pocket passer more than Manziel. With Ryan Fitzpatrick in the house to man the ship while Bortles adjusts to the NFL, the Texans will not have to force him into the lineup before he improves his footwork and overall mechanics.
     
2
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St. Louis Rams

Mike

Greg Robinson
Auburn OT

The Rams are a tough team to shop for, because they seem to have everything they want, but they aren't satisfied (or satisfactory). Robinson was a natural choice before the Rams played their Rodger Saffold yoyo prank on the Raiders. The Rams currently list Saffold at guard, though they are paying him tackle money, so there is still room for Robinson. And let's face it, there is always room for an offensive tackle who is built like a moving van. You can never have too much beef up front in the NFC West.


Dan

Greg Robinson
Auburn OT
Clowney, Robert Quinn and Chris Long would be an incredible trio of defensive ends. But the Rams really could use an anchor for the offensive line. Sammy Watkins has to be a consideration here too.

Russ

Greg Robinson
Auburn OT
Although Rodger Saffold re-signed with the team, he is going to play guard. So right tackle is unfilled, and left tackle Jake Long is rehabbing from a season-ending knee injury. Taking Robinson gives the Rams an upgrade at right tackle and protection in the event that Long is not ready to start the 2014 season on time. 
     
3
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Jacksonville Jaguars

Mike

Johnny Manziel
Texas A&M QB

A Russell Wilson surrogate for the Junior Seahawks! A (yawn) season ticket sales promotion! Another terrible Jaguars idea! There are a lot of ways to sell this selection, most of them unflattering to both the Seahawks and Johnny Manziel. Let's take a higher road. The acquisitions of Red Bryant, Chris Clemons and Ziggy Hood give the Jaguars the building blocks Gus Bradley needs in the front seven. Their defense could be pretty darn good. But a backfield of Chad Henne and Toby Gerhart is an invitation to lose games 13-6. The Jaguars need a catalyst, someone who can make two or three "outlier" big plays per game while he and his teammates find themselves. Manziel is just what the Jaguars need, not to impersonate their big siblings or sell tickets, but to win some games.


Dan

Jadeveon Clowney
South Carolina DE
No way he gets past the third pick. It's easy to pencil the Jags in for a quarterback, but Dave Caldwell won't pass up a superior player at another position for a quarterback the Jags aren't crazy about.

Russ

Teddy Bridgewater Louisville QB

While many in the media point to Teddy Bridgewater's stock as being down after a "disappointing" pro day, the reality is that he has the least flaws of any quarterback in the draft. General mnager Dave Caldwell learned under Bill Polian and Thomas Dimitroff, who both stress film evaluation above all else, so do not expect Caldwell to change his opinion about a player from a shorts and T-shirt workout.

     
4
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Cleveland Browns

Mike

Sammy Watkins
Clemson WR

While other teams were gobbling up mentor quarterbacks, the Browns were purging their depth chart of clipboard veterans. That's a sign that they are clearing the lane for Brian Hoyer, who is experienced enough to read a playbook without Matt Schaub over his shoulder. The Browns may dabble in a quarterback later in this round (it's one of their favorite things to do), but here is a golden opportunity to assemble one of the five best receiving corps in the NFL. Watkins can be the go-to guy for short-to-medium passes, Josh Gordon is a one-man bomb squad, Jordan Cameron is a great all-purpose tight end and Greg Little can sleep with a JUGGS machine in his bed until he learns to stop dropping passes. It's the best opportunity Hoyer will ever get west of Massachusetts. 


Dan

Jake Matthews
Texas A&M OT
The Browns are difficult to project because they have a general manager who never has been a general manager before. But the feeling is Ray Farmer will stay true to the board. They can always get a quarterback later.

Russ

Jake Matthews  Texas A&M OT With Bridgewater gone, I believe the Browns get Matthews to play right tackle and give them two frontline tackles and one top center (assuming Alex Mack eventually signs his transition offer) to protect whomever plays quarterback for them in 2014. While they may consider Manziel or Carr here, I think they wait until their second first-round pick to grab a quarterback.
     
5
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Oakland Raiders

Mike

Khalil Mack
Buffalo LB

The Raiders will be Bridgewater-Manziel sweepers. Neither of the top two quarterback prospects will get past them. But now that he has Matt Schaub, Dennis Allen may decide to tinker with Terrelle Pryor and/or Matt McGloin for another year instead of restarting the developmental cycle with Blake Bortles. Especially when Allen looks at the talent still on the board: Mack is a great fit for a team that beefed up its offensive line and added a geezer squad on the defensive line. He's also one of the safest picks in the top 10, and the Raiders seem committed to the slow-and-steady approach.


Dan

Johnny Manziel 
Texas A&M QB
This needs to be happen for the universe to be right. Matt Schaub is merely a Band-Aid. Sammy Watkins is tempting here, but who would throw him the football? 

Russ

Sammy Watkins
Clemson WR
 

After acquiring quarterback Matt Schaub, the Raiders do not need to reach and take one with the fifth pick. With no dominant receiver on the roster, they get a dynamic offensive weapon for Schaub to throw to in Watkins, who runs more aggressively with the ball than any receiver I can remember.

     
6
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Atlanta Falcons

Mike

Jake Matthews
Texas A&M
OT

If the draft plays out like this, Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff will be dancing around headquarters to Pharrell when their pick comes up. Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof! Once Scott Pioli yells at them to knock it off, Smith and Dimitroff can choose between the best natural pass protector in the draft and Jadeveon Clowney, the highest-upside defensive end prospect of the decade. The Falcons still have needs at both positions, but the Tyson Jackson-Paul Soliai upgrade on the defensive line quells the emergency there. Matthews allows Sam Baker to slip to right tackle, or guard, or the bench, and takes away Matt Ryan's worries for the next half decade. Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth!  


Dan

Taylor Lewan
Michigan OT
This is not the ideal scenario for the Falcons. A trade-up could be in order so they can land Clowney or one of the top two offensive tackles. But they should be able to live with Lewan.

Russ

Khalil Mack
Buffalo LB
The Falcons made it clear their defensive line is not going to be pushed around after signing linemen Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson, but they still must greatly improve their pass rush. With Clowney and Mack on the board, I think the rumored questions about Clowney's work ethic lead to the Falcons grabbing Mack, who fits better in their new multiple-front scheme.
     
7
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike

Jadeveon Clowney
South Carolina DE

The Falcons and Buccaneers could flip-flop these choices, because the Bucs need reinforcements along the offensive line. Dimitroff could make a big show of preparing to draft Matthews while ensuring that the trade hotline is open: A position swap at this point in the draft is worth about a fourth-round pick. But this draft is deep at tackle, while planet Earth is thin at Clowney. You don't become Lovie Smith unless you a) love Clowney-level talent on the defensive line the way hipsters love scarves; and b) believe that you can eradicate all of those lazy-sloppy habits by virtue of your wisdom and leadership. Plus, while Michael Johnson provides a jolt of edge rush, the Buccaneers got little sack production from either end position. It may be time to stop waiting on the Adrian Clayborn/Da'Quan Bowers gang.


Dan

Mike Evans
Texas A&M WR
Move over Mike Williams. Many like Sammy Watkins better, but Evans is the type of big, athletic player who appeals to Lovie Smith. Josh McCown wouldn't turn away either.

Russ

Jadeveon Clowney
South Carolina DE
The Buccaneers cannot believe their luck that Clowney falls to them. With Da'Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn still having not developed into frontline starters, Clowney could give them a premier pass rusher if he plays with passion and intensity on every snap.
     
8
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Minnesota Vikings

Mike

Blake Bortles
UCF QB

It was odd hearing Kurt Warner scrutinize the flaws in Teddy Bridgewater's footwork and weight distribution during Bridgewater's pro day. Fair enough: Bridgewater is not perfect. But Kurt: Have you seen Bortles' footwork and weight distribution? He looks like he is trying to throw while standing on a steep driveway! Bortles remains Blaine Bortlebert to me, and while I get the size-arm-brain potential, I cannot see a top-five pick to save my life. But then, the top of the draft is full of quarterback gurus who love to tinker: Bill O'Brien, Kyle Shanahan, Jeff Tedford and yes, Norv Turner. And for all his faults, the Vikings offensive coordinator is like a schoolmarm stickler when it comes to teaching fundamentals. And even before Turner does his fit-and-finish work, Bortles opens up the Vikings offense beyond the spot 15 yards downfield where Christian Ponder's passes started to blow backward. 


Dan

Blake Bortles
UCF QB
The Vikings have a knack of benefitting from a slide, and it could happen again this May. The only question may be if they prefer Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater or Manziel. If they trade down, a corner is possible.

Russ

Johnny Manziel
Texas A&M QB

Manziel is far from a finished product, but new head coach Mike Zimmer has always coached his players to play with a tough, aggressive attitude, which could not describe Manziel better. I think with an offense tailored around his skill set, Manziel could be the playmaker the Vikings offense so desperately needs.

     
9
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Buffalo Bills

Mike

Anthony Barr
UCLA LB

It is hard to tell just what the Bills are up to, particularly on defense. Is Jim Schwartz planning to assemble a Lions-style front four, or build on Mike Pettine's success with a hybrid scheme? No matter what Schwartz has planned, he can do better at outside linebacker than Manny Lawson. Barr has the size Schwartz prefers at linebacker, he flashed some 4.5 speed at his pro day and the game film shows all-purpose chops: He can play in space, rush the passer and do enough to get by in coverage. And if Schwartz decides he wants to use more of a 3-4 look, Barr and Mario Williams provide a pretty credible pair of edge rushers.


Dan

Sammy Watkins
Clemson WR

If one of the top three OTs slip, the Bills could go that route. Eric Ebron could be tempting. But Watkins would be great value at No. 9, and the Bills sure could use someone to make big plays on offense.


Russ

Eric Ebron North Carolina TE

With Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and Stevie Johnson, the Bills have three young receivers for EJ Manuel to throw to, but Eric Ebron would give him the security blanket all young quarterbacks need. In addition, Ebron has the talent to be a game-changing offensive weapon.

     
10
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Detroit Lions

Mike

Zack Martin
Notre Dame OT

LaAdrian Waddle did everything you could ask from an undrafted rookie pushed from the third string to the starting lineup at right tackle. The key to becoming a successful franchise, however, is putting yourself in position to never ask anything from undrafted rookie third-stringers on the offensive line. Martin provides credible competition for Waddle at right tackle and should push him into a swing-backup role. Jim Caldwell wants to come out slinging, and the revamped Lions receiving corps is built for an aerial assault. The Lions cannot afford any leaks in pass protection.


Dan

Justin Gilbert
Oklahoma State CB
His excellent workout has helped him climb a lot of boards. Gilbert looks like a sound pick at this point, and he also would fill a need the Lions have had for a long time. 

Russ

Mike Evans
Texas A&M WR
If Matt Stafford is ever going to become more than an inconsistent passer, he needs more help, and Evans would give the Lions another big receiver who can take the pressure off Calvin Johnson and complement newly signed Golden Tate perfectly. Evans' playing style is similar to Jimmy Graham, and he could make that type of impact in the Lions offense.
     
11
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Tennessee Titans

Mike

Darqueze Dennard
Michigan State CB

The poor Titans. It's hard to come up with a scenario that brings them one of the top three quarterback prospects, dooming them to another year of Jake Locker and new backup -- oh dear lord -- Charlie Whitehurst. They left Chris Johnson by the curb with a "take me" sign on his head, but other teams just drove right past. And Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner left for Tampa with no replacement waiting in the wings. At least that last problem can be solved by Dennard, a versatile plug 'n' play cornerback with Pro Bowl potential of his own. Enjoy the Titans defense, and try not to think about Locker, CJDecay or -- oh dear lord -- being one injury away from Charlie Whitehurst.


Dan

Teddy Bridgewater
Louisville QB

They might go into the draft with their sights set on a player at another position, but could the Titans pass up Bridgewater given their quarterback problems in recent years? Don't get too comfortable, Jake Locker.


Russ

Kyle Fuller
Virginia Tech CB
After losing Alterraun Verner, the Titans need a cornerback, and although Fuller has not received a lot of national attention, numerous NFL teams have Fuller rated as the best corner in the draft. His combination of height (just under 6 feet), long arms, physical play, instincts and ball skills have NFL teams excited.
     
12
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New York Giants

Mike

Eric Ebron
North Carolina TE

Did you know that Ebron played both offense and defense in high school? It's true. He recorded 13.5 sacks during his high school career as a defensive end. He combines the best of Jimmy Graham AND Jason Pierre-Paul, so the Giants MUST draft him. Lots of college stars were two-way players in high school, of course, and Ebron won't be playing defense anytime soon. But since every mock draft on the planet has him going to the Giants, I felt compelled to say something interesting. Or try, anyway. 


Dan

Eric Ebron
North Carolina TE
In the past two years, they have lost Martellus Bennett and Brandon Myers in free agency. Time to find a long-term fix at the position and a dynamic playmaking pass catcher for Eli Manning. Ebron's workouts have boosted his stock.

Russ

Jace Amaro
Texas Tech TE

Eli Manning looked lost during much of 2013, and a tight end who is a receiving threat could upgrade the offense. Amaro has good size at over 260 pounds, runs sharp routes and has outstanding hands to immediately contribute.

     
13
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St. Louis Rams

Mike

Calvin Pryor
Louisville S

With Cortland Finnegan gone and Matt Giordano likely to leave, there will be no one older than 26 in the Rams secondary. When Janoris Jenkins is the voice of maturity on a unit, that is one young unit. So what is the sense of making the Rams secondary even younger by drafting Pryor? With so much youth, there must be intense competition. Rodney McLeod came from nowhere to have a fine season in 2013, and T.J. McDonald had his moments when healthy, but Pryor has more upside than either of them and provides both health and flash-in-the-pan insurance. 


Dan

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Alabama S
What they really could use is a wide receiver, and Marqise Lee or Odell Beckham could be reasonable choices here. But Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor would be a valuable asset for Gregg Williams' defense, and both may be higher rated.

Russ

Odell Beckham
LSU WR
The Rams don't have an established wide receiver on their roster, so they dive into the receiver market in the first round again. If Beckham contributes as a rookie and Tavon Austin steps up in his second season, they could have a dynamic set of young, game-breaking receivers.
     
14
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Chicago Bears

Mike

Justin Gilbert
Oklahoma State CB

With Lamarr Houston, Willie Young and returnees Jay Ratliff and Israel Idonije on board, the Bears have fortified their defensive line enough to stave off 200-yard rushing days. They can add depth later in the draft, but the Bears can now turn some attention to their secondary. The team signed several young safeties (led by Ryan Mundy), but the cornerback depth chart behind Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman is thin, and Peanut won't be around much longer. Gilbert adds one more piece to a defense that was rather puzzling last year.


Dan

Aaron Donald
Pittsburgh DT
His lack of size won't be too big an issue in the Bears' scheme. After losing Henry Melton, the Bears need an interior rusher badly. They also could be tempted by an edge rusher, safety or linebacker C.J. Mosley.

Russ

Aaron Donald
Pittsburgh DT
Bears coach Marc Trestman did wonders with the Bears offense, but their defense was terrible in 2013. With starting defensive linemen Henry Melton and Julius Peppers gone, the Bears grab Donald, who was a great player at Pittsburgh and has the explosiveness and strength to make an instant impact on their defense.
     
15
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Pittsburgh Steelers

Mike

Ra'Shede Hageman
Minnesota DT

By the Steelers standards, signing three notable free agents was a shopping spree. Lance Moore and Mike Mitchell solve problems at safety and wide receiver, while Cam Thomas provides an old-fashioned 330-million-pound space eater at nose tackle. The Steelers still need a third lineman to supplement their Thomas-Cameron Heyward duel-Cam block-occupying engine. Hageman can both eat up blocks and beat them, contributing to a pass rush that will also need an upgrade with the loss of LaMarr Woodley.


Dan

Anthony Barr
UCLA LB
Some project him going much higher. He could slip a little, but he'd be a great fit in Pittsburgh. The Steelers also could use a wide receiver and safety, so if Barr is gone, Lee, Beckham and Pryor are possibilities.

Russ

Darqueze Dennard
Michigan State CB

Starting cornerbacks Ike Taylor and William Gay are 33 and 29 respectively and their secondary has not been strong in recent seasons. Dennard brings the strong and physical style of play to the Steelers secondary that they like and would likely start as a rookie.

     
16
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Dallas Cowboys

Mike

Aaron Donald
Pittsburgh DT

A Tampa-2 defense can never have too much talent at the three-tech position. The Cowboys are giving Henry Melton a long look there, and he could be great, but he is also coming back from an ACL injury. Donald is a younger, healthier, feistier Melton. They can rotate on rushing downs and play together to provide a dose of quickness on passing downs.


Dan

Calvin Pryor
Louisville S
What they really could use is pass rush to help offset the loss of DeMarcus Ware and the probable loss of Anthony Spencer, but there might not be a match at 16. Pryor could help cover up for the lack of a pass rush.

Russ

Calvin Pryor 
Louisville S
While I believe the Cowboys will consider a pass rusher like Anthony Barr here, he is not a great fit for their 4-3 scheme, and they also need help at safety. Pryor is an explosive athlete who attacks the play and can be an intimidating force at the back end of their defense.
     
17
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Baltimore Ravens

Mike

Taylor Lewan
Michigan OT

The Ravens reportedly like Ricky Wagner, last year's fifth-round pick, and they want to give him a starting opportunity at right tackle. No problem: make him earn it. Lewan is a natural Gary Kubiak style lineman tailored to a zone-stretch scheme. He can play on the right or left side, so the loser of the Lewan/Wagner battle gets to be the swing tackle. Chances are, it will not be Lewan.


Dan

C.J. Mosley
Alabama LB
He would not fill a need, but the Ravens are not about that. Mosley is an excellent value at this spot in the draft. Besides, Ozzie Newsome loves those Alabama guys.

Russ

C.J. Mosley
Alabama LB

While they drafted Arthur Brown to fill one of their inside linebacker spots last year, he is still young and learning, and they have no one established playing inside. So pairing Mosley with Brown would give them two athletic inside backers, which would greatly improve their pass coverage and range against the run.

     
18
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New York Jets

Mike

Mike Evans
Texas A&M WR

Eric Decker is a fine No. 2 receiver. Jeremy Kerley is a great No. 3 receiver. What are the Jets missing? I cannot seem to lay my index finger on it. Oh yeah: a No. 1 receiver! Stephen Hill, you say? Imagine a Stephen Hill who actually caught passes in college instead of blocking for a wingbone option offense, one who has actual experience reaching for tough passes and using his noggin to sprint to open spots and help his scrambling quarterback. In other words, a huge, fast guy like Hill who also knows how to play the wide receiver position. That player is named Mike Evans.


Dan

Odell Beckham
LSU WR
They have a need at wide receiver and should have an interesting choice: Beckham, Marqise Lee or Brandin Cooks. Not everyone around the league is in agreement on the order in which the receivers should go.

Russ

Marqise Lee USC WR

Whether Geno Smith or Michael Vick is taking snaps in 2014, the Jets need weapons on offense. If Lee is healthy and returns to his 2012 form, the Jets will get a bargain, as he played like a top-five pick before injuries slowed him down in 2013.

     
19
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Miami Dolphins

Mike

Xavier Su'a-Filo
UCLA G

The offensive line makeover continues, with Su'a-Filo joining Brandon Albert and some depth-and-character guys like Shelley Smith and Fireman Danny Watkins. Su'a-Filo is a better Joe Philbin system fit than David Yankey: He's ready to drive block and pass protect, and he is ready to start immediately.


Dan

Zack Martin
Notre Dame OT
This pick makes so much sense that it probably has no chance of happening. Martin would give the Dolphins a lift on the field and in the locker room, and help the team move past the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito debacle.

Russ

Zack Martin 
Notre Dame OT
Even after signing left tackle Branden Albert, the Dolphins offensive line is still a mess. Martin has all the tools to start at right tackle or guard as a rookie, so he not only brings talent, but also versatility to their line.
     
20
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Arizona Cardinals

Mike

Derek Carr
Fresno State QB

Bang! The first controversial pick of this mock draft! And I wasted it on the Cardinals. Sigh. The Cardinals have shied away from drafting a quarterback early since Matt Leinart, and it shows in their Carson Palmer-Drew Stanaton-Ryan Lindley depth chart. Carr has had a fine offseason establishing himself as the anti-Manziel, a moderate-upside but no-downside WYSIWYG professional who does everything fairly well. As a late first-round pick, he makes a fine Palmer protégé.


Dan

Derek Carr
Fresno State QB

Whether it's the Cardinals or some other team, this is the range Carr figures to be go in. A trade-up for him could be in play. The Cards could use a QB of the future.


Russ

Anthony Barr
UCLA LB

For the Cardinals defense to continue playing at a high level, it needs an impact pass rusher. Barr could fill that role off the edge in their 3-4 scheme.

     
21
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Green Bay Packers

Mike

Odell Beckham
LSU WR

The once-great Packers receiving corps is down to Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and a bunch of guys named Andrew Quarless and Jarrett Boykin. Nelson and Cobb are darn good, but Mike McCarthy built these Packers for spread-formation artillery attacks, so more ammo is needed. Beckham can take over James Jones' role as a downfield threat immediately, and he has Pro Bowl talent once he gains polish.


Dan

Darqueze Dennard
Michigan State CB
Ted Thompson can throw a curveball with the best of them. This might be the type of draft for him to take best available player regardless of position. There are a lot of possible ways he can go here.

Russ

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Alabama S

The Packers are dangerously thin at safety with only Morgan Burnett possessing the experience and talent needed, so although Clinton-Dix has some issues with his instincts, his selection fills one of the few holes on their defense.

     
22
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Philadelphia Eagles

Mike

Kyle Van Noy
BYU LB

Malcolm Jenkins puts out the immediate fire in the Eagles safety corps. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will still be tempting at this spot, because second-year semi-prospect Earl Wolff and mega-disappointment Nate Allen are the Eagles' other safeties, but Van Noy may be too good to pass up. The Eagles used a lot of defensive ends as outside linebackers last year, and while Trent Cole and Brandon Graham acquitted themselves well, the team needs a more natural 3-4 outside linebacker to pair with Connor Barwin, juice the third-and-long package and eventually replace Cole.


Dan

Bradley Roby 
Ohio State CB
If they unload DeSean Jackson, a wide receiver also is possible here. But Roby is a safe pick for the Eagles. Some think they will seek help for their defensive front seven.

Russ

Justin Gilbert
Oklahoma State CB

Big-money free agent Cary Williams struggled in his first season in Philadelphia, and the Eagles pass defense suffered because of it. To make sure they have three quality cornerbacks heading into 2014, they grab Gilbert, whose combination of height and speed is unmatched in this year's draft.

     
23
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Kansas City Chiefs

Mike

Brandin Cooks
Oregon State WR

Cooks is quick, shifty, incredibly productive, can catch the ball in traffic and flashed holy-cow track speed at the combine. He's tiny, and the sum of the parts does not completely add up yet, but the Chiefs need a vertical stretcher, plus a guy who can take over Dexter McCluster's old slot-and-end-around role. If Beckham is off the board, Cooks is the guy.


Dan

Marqise Lee
USC WR
A cornerback also could be in play, but Lee would fill the bill both for value and need. Alex Smith needs another weapon. Lee could be John Dorsey's kind of player.

Russ

Kelvin Benjamin
Florida State WR

Other than Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs receiving corps is largely unproven. Benjamin is a huge receiver with excellent natural athleticism and could become a star if he becomes more consistent catching the ball and competing hard on every snap.

     
24
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Cincinnati Bengals

Mike

Kony Ealy
Missouri DE

Fine system fit and great value. Ealy is a natural replacement for Michael Johnson, keeping the Bengals front seven formidable.


Dan

Kyle Fuller
Virginia Tech CB
A replacement for Michael Johnson at defensive end would be most called for, but there might not be a qualified candidate at this point of the draft. Marvin Lewis loves those cornerbacks.

Russ

Jimmie Ward
Northern Illinois S
Although the Bengals have Reggie Nelson at one safety spot, they have a three-headed monster with George Iloka, Taylor Mays and Shawn Williams at the other safety position. Ward is the top safety on a number of teams' draft boards, so the Bengals address one of their few weaknesses.
     
25
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San Diego Chargers

Mike

Kyle Fuller
Virginia Tech CB

This mock draft did not work out well for the Chargers: The Bears gobbled up Justin Gilbert, leaving them scrounging for leftovers at their greatest need position. Fuller adds an element of danger to a secondary that intercepted just seven passes last year, and a gamble-and-guess intimidator could be just what the Chargers need. But with Derek Cox gone, they also need more immediate help, and cornerbacks like Fuller spend a lot of time getting fooled and schooled as rookies. The Chargers could shift priorities, but last year's D.J. Fluker selection suggests that they will draft for need in the first round.


Dan

Louis Nix
Notre Dame DT
A cornerback such as Jason Verrett could be tempting, but you can find corners later in the draft. There are not many players like Nix. He would fit well in the Chargers' front.

Russ

Louis Nix
Notre Dame DT

Although the Chargers desperately need to upgrade their pass rush, a 3-4 defense has no chance of success without a nose tackle. Nix is not a dominant player, but he is a quick athlete for such a big man and can dominate blockers when he maintains leverage and uses his hands correctly.

     
26
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Cleveland Browns

Mike

Timmy Jernigan
Florida State DT

What, no quarterback? Maybe the Browns have changed their ways. Mike Pettine wants to vary his personnel packages on the defensive front, so he needs high-quality depth. Jernigan can slide around from the nose to a traditional 3-4 end position, giving Pettine plenty of mix-and-match options and making the team's expensive edge rushers more effective.


Dan

Jimmy Garoppolo
Eastern Illinois QB
If they don't pick a quarterback with the fourth pick, they could take one here. The candidates are Garoppolo, Carr and AJ McCarron. Some think this is too high for Garoppolo, but there is no such thing as too high for a quarterback a team has conviction about.

Russ

Jimmy Garoppolo Eastern Illinois QB

The Browns' gamble works out, as they passed on a quarterback with their first pick and get the vastly under-rated Garapollo here. A smart passer with an ultra-quick release, strong arm, good poise within the pocket and deceptive athleticism, he should be their long-term answer.

     
27
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New Orleans Saints

Mike

Kelvin Benjamin
Florida State WR

Like the Packers, the Saints find themselves with a wide receiver depth chart full of unrecognizable names. Prospects like Nick Toon and Kenny Stills have flashed promise, but the Saints need to inject some real first-round talent. Benjamin is like a cross between Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham: a big receiver on the cusp of tight end size with amazing raw ability. With Colston aging and Graham grumbling, they need him. 


Dan

Kony Ealy
Missouri DE
After a recent purge of veterans, the Saints could use some young blood on defense. Ealy is the type of player Rob Ryan would use in multiple ways. Brandin Cooks also could make sense. 

Russ

Dee Ford
Auburn OLB

The Saints defense improved greatly throughout its first season in a 3-4 scheme, and adding an edge pass rusher like Ford would dramatically improve their pass rush.

     
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Carolina Panthers

Mike

Marqise Lee
USC WR

The poor Panthers may want to trade up. No team needs a receiver more desperately than they do, but the Chiefs come pretty close, and as listed above, there are many other teams in the market. The class is deep, but Lee should set off the Keary Colbert-Dwayne Jarrett USC alarms for any longtime Panthers fan. Lee is not quite like those early-millennial Trojans-to-Panthers disappointments: USC no longer fools the nation into thinking every 6-foot-3 kid who can run can catch 100 passes. Lee is fast, fluid and polished enough to contribute immediately. He also battles injuries and endures long stretches when he does not look very special. Ugh. But beggars cannot be choosers.


Dan

Brandin Cooks
Oregon State WR
They need secondary help too, but how can they pick anything but a wide receiver after losing their top four from a year ago? Cooks could be the new Steve Smith.

Russ

Taylor Lewan
Michigan OT

Not in their wildest dreams did the Panthers expect Lewan to still be on the board, so they run up with the card to select Jordan Gross' replacement at left tackle.

     
29
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New England Patriots

Mike

Ha Ha Clinto-Dix
Alabama S

All mock drafts end with the Patriots either looking like train robbers or trading down. This is a "train robbers" mock draft. The Great Safety Shuffle of 2014 free agency cooled the market for Clinton-Dix's services among teams like the Saints and Eagles, and Calvin Pryor rates an edge over on many draft boards. The Patriots can use a safety to join their mercenary cornerbacks, and Bill Belichick knows the best value on the board when he sees it. 


Dan

Ra'Shede Hageman
Minnesota DL
Bill Belichick is likely to be intrigued by his potential. Good luck getting it out of him though. If Nix is still on the board, he could be a potential replacement for Vince Wilfork.

Russ

Ra'Shede Hageman
Minnesota DL
As the Patriots continue to try to upgrade their defense, they take a gamble on Hageman because he has the size, length and athleticism of former Patriots great Richard Seymour. If they can motivate him to play hard on every snap, they could have a star on their hands.
     
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San Francisco 49ers

Mike

Dominique Easley
Florida DT

The 49ers can afford to gamble on damaged goods, and they have done so in the past (Marcus Lattimore). Easley is a John Randle-level talent whose knees are his own worst enemy. He is not a natural fit in the 49ers scheme (he is more of a 4-3 three-tech player), but he could play defensive end and develop into the next Justin Smith if he stays healthy. 


Dan

Jason Verrett
TCU CB
This would make it a legitimate run on cornerbacks late in the first round. Verrett fills a need for the Niners and would complete a secondary upgrade.

Russ

Jason Verrett
TCU CB
Tarell Brown left as a free agent, so the chance to add an explosive, playmaking cornerback makes perfect sense, as he could be their nickel cornerback in 2014 and possibly more in the future.
     
31
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Denver Broncos

Mike

David Yankey
Stanford G

A smart, quick pass protector who is ready to get the message when Peyton Manning starts barking out the names of Midwestern cities at the line of scrimmage. With Ryan Clady returning at left tackle, the Broncos have an elaborate plan to move Orlando Franklin inside while Chris Clark slides to right tackle. It's not a bad plan. Drafting a really good guard is a better plan.


Dan

Xavier Su'a-Filo
UCLA G
The Broncos should not have to be a slave to need, which is good considering how late they are picking. Su'a-Filo, the highest rated interior offensive lineman in the draft, could be a replacement for Zane Beadles.

Russ

Bradley Roby
Ohio State CB

With Champ Bailey and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie gone, the Broncos added Aqib Talib. Chris Harris is rehabbing from a knee injury, though, so Roby gives them another cornerback with elite physical skills. If they can get Roby back to playing like he did in 2012, then they will have two frontline starting cornerbacks.

     
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Seattle Seahawks

Mike

Louis Nix
Notre Dame DT

Like the 49ers, the Seahawks have the luxury of taking on injured players with superstar potential. Nix's knees are more of a medical marvel than Easley's, and Nix tends to balloon from "big tackle" to "asteroid" during offseasons. But Pete Carroll knows how to keep guys on the training table, is creative in his use of 330-pounders and can save Nix mileage by rotating him in a 40-snap role. Think Red Bryant, Part II.


Dan

Kelvin Benjamin
Florida State WR

He is a younger version of the recently cut Sidney Rice. Receiver is a position of need after the departures of Rice and Golden Tate. The Seahawks also could be interested in Su'a-Filo if he is on the board.


Russ

Xavier Su'a-Filo
UCLA G
After they won the Super Bowl, we know the Seahawks do not have a lot of holes, but getting the most athletic interior offensive linemen in the draft makes perfect sense, as he could start at guard or even right tackle as a rookie.