Dynasty Impact: After trading down then back up, Cleveland gets their man in cornerback Justin Gilbert. The best cornerback in the draft, Gilbert will start from day one on a very talented Cleveland defense. He has the skills to defend passes but isn’t much of a tackler, affecting his IDP value. If he develops, the bigger impact will be on the pass rushers for Cleveland. If opposing quarterbacks can’t throw to Gilbert, holding on to the ball will create more sack opportunities.
Introducing the inaugural DFFC 2014 NFL mock draft. In short, this is a dynasty leaguers dream year with more than 20 potential dynasty picks in the first round alone. Below is what DFFC sees happening in the NFL draft in May.
1.1 – Houston Texans – Teddy Bridgewater – QB – Louisville – Bridgwater appears to be the most NFL-ready quarterback in the draft and Houston is desperate to right the ship at that position. Bridgewater is the safe choice for a team that could make a quick turnaround.
1.2 – St. Louis Rams (via Washington) – Johnny Manziel – QB – Texas A&M –With two picks in the first they have the luxury of affording a risk with their first pick. Bradford costs 14 million against the cap and Manziel may be better from day one.
1.3 – Jacksonville Jaguars – Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina – For a team that was dead last in sacks, defensive line help is a priority. Couple that with the fact that Jacksonville is desperate for talent in general and Clowney is an easy choice.
1.4 – Cleveland Browns – Blake Bortles – QB – UCF – They are praying for Manziel to make it here but fate isn’t on their side. Bortles is the most talented QB left and makes some sense here depending on who the coach is. Big, strong-arm and tough are all things the front office values in a QB so Bortles is the pick.
1.5 – Oakland Raiders – Jake Matthews – OT – Texas A&M – Oakland has a lot of holes it could fill but quarterback is the most glaring. With the top-tier options already gone, it’s better to get value with this high of a pick. Oakland’s left tackles ranked 57th (Jared Veldheer) and 59th (Khalif Barnes) so the best player available also fills a big need.
1.6 – Atlanta Falcons – Greg Robinson – OT – Auburn –The Falcons are pleased to have a choice between Robinson and Barr and decide to go with the OT. Robinson is an absolute mauler in the run game with the athleticism to be a premiere pass blocker as well. He should provide an immediate boost to the run game from day one.
1.7 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Anthony Barr – LB – UCLA – Tampa would be thrilled to pair, possibly, the top pass rusher in the draft with star-in-the-making Lavonte David and cut them loose. And with a division full of superstar quarterbacks, Tampa needs all the help they can get to contain them.
1.8 – Minnesota Vikings – Timmy Jernigan – DT – Florida State – Once coaches look through tape of this run stopping monster they are going to fall in love. With him and Floyd in the middle new coach Mike Zimmer has his version of the Williams wall to build around.
1.9 – Buffalo Bills – Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina – Adding Ebron to the stable of young talent surrounding quarterback E.J. Manual will go a long way towards Manual’s development. Ebron, at 6′ 4″ and 245 pounds, is the best tight end prospect to come out of the draft since Vernon Davis and will be an excellent safety net for Manual.
1.10 – Detroit Lions – Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson – The Lions have been looking for an explosive WR opposite Megatron for years and now they have one. They gave bigger needs at CB and LB but Watkins is just too good to pass up at this point.
1.11 – Tennessee Titans – Stephon Tuitt – DL – Notre Dame – Tennessee actually had a decent defensive output last year, collectively ranking 8th according to Pro Football Focus. But with the top-tier quarterbacks gone, and 11 a tad high for the first running back off the board, the Titans go for value with Tuitt. Tuitt is big enough to play inside but quick enough to play outside. He’ll add even more youth and flexibility to a good, young defensive front in Tennessee.
1.12 – New York Giants – C.J. Mosley – LB – Alabama – The Giants had by far the worst set of linebackers in the league and Mosley fixes that instantly. MLB with range and intelligence should be a ten-year starter for a defense that struggled last year. He’ll be one of the first rookie IDP-ers taken in your dynasty drafts.
1.13 – St. Louis Rams – Mike Evans – WR – Texas A&M – The selection of Evans completes the two-year make over of the Rams offense. His size and ability to go up and catch the ball is unparalleled in this draft. Pairing him with his college quarterback, Manziel, should excite St. Louis fans. It could be the Greatest Show on Turf 2.0.
1.14 – Chicago Bears – Khalil Mack – LB – Buffalo – The Bears get the best value of the first round in Mack at this spot. With Julius Peppers likely getting cut Mack can fill in at DE and immediately provide the pass rush the Bears need. He is a violent pass rusher and better against the run than you would expect for a guy his size.
1.15 – Pittsburgh Steelers – Taylor Lewan – OT – Michigan – The Steelers have done well to improve their offensive line in recent years. The drafting of David DeCastro went a long way to solidify the interior. The tackle position for Pittsburgh is another story. The top three tackles for Pittsburgh ranked 41st, 44th and 62nd among all tackles according to Pro Football Focus. Not good. Lewan can play at either the left or right tackle position and be an immediate upgrade.
1.16 – Baltimore Ravens – Kelvin Benjamin – WR – Florida State – Get ready to hear the term “catch radius” quite a bit. Flacco seems more comfortable throwing to larger targets and Benjamin is exactly that. The forty time will scare people but it shouldn’t. He knows how to high point and attack a ball and will be an excellent compliment to Torrey Smith allowing him to stretch the field.
1.17 – Dallas Cowboys – Justin Gilbert – CB – Oklahoma State – Taking any defensive player in the first round will be an upgrade for Dallas. Using any statistical measure possible, they were one of the worst defenses in the league in 2013. The highest cornerback ranked on Pro Football Focus’ ratings checks-in at 43 (Orlando Scandrick).The secondary has long been a sore spot and Gilbert should step in immediately as the top-ranked corner off the board. The best part? No trading up to get him a la Morris Claiborne.
1.18 – New York Jets – Marqise Lee – WR – USC – The Jets need weapons in the worst way. Jace Amaro would make some sense here but a playmaker on the outside offers more upside and explosive plays which this offense completely lacked. They are tied to Geno, for better or worse, so here comes the cavalry.
1.19 – Miami Dolphins – Carlos Hyde – RB – Ohio State – Hyde is a big boy and has the quickness to come with it. Checking in at 6′ and 235 pounds, Hyde isn’t easy to take down and also has the hands to be a featured back. Miami needs some consistency in the running game after throwing out Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas to no effect. With Hyde, Miami can hit the reset button and give quarterback Ryan Tannehill a fighting chance.
1.20 – Arizona Cardinals – Zack Martin – OT – Notre Dame – Offensive line will be the main priority for the Cardinals. If they get Martin at this spot they will have solidified at least one side of the line with last years first rounder Jonathan Cooper coming back fully healthy as well.
1.21 – Green Bay Packers – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – S – Alabama – Ranking near the bottom of passing yards allowed last year, Green Bay needs to solidify the secondary. Morgan Burnett is ensconced in one safety position after signing a five-year deal before the 2013 season. M.D. Jennings is a free agent and probably won’t be back after he was ranked as the 67th best safety last year, according to Pro Football Focus. Clinton-Dix checks in at 6′ 1″ and 209 pounds, giving him the size to be a bruiser but still the ball location skills needed to be an effective safety.
1.22 – Philadelphia Eagles – Calvin Pryor – S – Louisville – When watching Pryor play he explodes off the screen. A rangy and well-built safety is exactly what this Eagles back four needs. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s by far the most physical defensive back in this draft.
1.23 – Kansas City Chiefs – Jace Amaro – TE – Texas Tech – The Chiefs are already well-constructed and don’t have many glaring holes. However, tight end was a continual weak spot in 2013. They drafted Travis Kelce in the third round last year but lost him for the year due to injury. With a tight end available of Amaro’s ability, it would be too hard to pass up. It’s a well-known fact that Alex Smith is not a ‘gunslinger’ instead opting for short-to-medium routes. Having someone of Amaro’s playmaking ability to throw to will make life a lot easier.
1.24 – Cincinnati Bengals – Darqueze Dennard – CB – Michigan State – The Bengals have a number one corner coming off his second major leg injury. And then Pacman Jones and Terrance Newman. Not only does Dennard fill a hole but he is excellent against the run which Marvin Lewis will love.
1.25 – San Diego Chargers – Ryan Shazier – LB – Ohio State – The Chargers need a better pass rush and Shazier can get that to them in this spot. Ideally a weak-side linebacker, Shazier’s speed is his best attribute which he parlays into getting to the quarterback. With a lineup including Donald Butler and second-year linebacker Manti Te’o, San Diego can roll with a good, young linebacking corps.
1.26 – Cleveland Browns (via Indianapolis) – Cyrus Kouandijo – OT – Alabama – This may seem like a steep fall for the Alabama tackle but the national title game exposed what some people have feared for a while. He’s not great at handling speed off the edge and may have to move to the right side if it doesn’t improve.
1.27 – New Orleans Saints – Louis Nix III – DT – Notre Dame – The Saints defense vastly improved under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. One area that still needs to be addressed is the interior as the highest ranking defensive tackle for New Orleans checked in at just 41st (Brodrick Bunkly). Nix III is a great value here and is projected as an ideal nose tackle in a 3-4 defense.
1.28 – Carolina Panthers – Lamarcus Joyner – S – Florida State – Although undersized Joyner is an explosive tackler, great in zone coverage and excellent in run support. The Panthers need help in the secondary and this is the best CB available.
1.29 – New England Patriots – Jason Verrett – CB – TCU – With Pro-Bowler Aqib Talib set to become a free agent, depth is key in the Patriots secondary. While undersized at 5′ 10″, Verrett has 4.4 speed and good coverae skills which culminated in 16 passes defended this year along with six interceptions.
1.30 – San Francisco 49ers – Jarvis Landry – WR – LSU – A proven wide receiver from the SEC seems to fit the profile the 49ers love – great hands going over the middle; tough as nails; an excellent blocker in the run game.
1.31 – Denver Broncos – Scott Crichton – DE – Oregon State – Shaun Phillips has played well this year in Denver’s 4-3 scheme but he’s 32 and a free agent. Crichton checks in at 6′ 3″ and 265 pounds, with excellent speed off the edge.
1.32 – Seattle Seahawks – Davante Adams – WR – Fresno State – Adams was the prime beneficiary of Derek Carr’s coming out party at Fresno State. He finished the year with an amazing 131/1,718/24 line. He has the size (6′ 2″, 216) and speed (4.57) of a solid wide receiver in the NFL. His porous competition in college will be his biggest draw back.