Johnny Manziel absent from first 15 picks in Mayock mock
By Andy Fenelon NFL.com
Published: May 7, 2014
NEW YORK -- Mike Mayock reveals his first-round mock draft Wednesday night on NFL Network, and we've secured the first 15 picks. We asked for more but the nice folks at the network apparently didn't want to give away the "big surprise."
The "big surprise," of course, has to be the landing spot for Johnny Manziel since the quarterback failed to show up on the teaser list given to us.
You'll have to tune in (9 p.m. ET) to find out what team drafts Manziel, or if he goes in the first round at all. In the meantime, here are the first 15 selections, with our analysis of the picks.
1. Houston: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Comment: No surprise with this pick, especially after the owner this week called Clowney "obviously the best player in the draft." Interestingly, Mayock has pass-rushing LB Khalil Mack rated higher in his Top 100 Prospects list, but gives Clowney to the Texans (or a team Houston is drafting for in a trade-down scenario).
2. St. Louis: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Comment: Offensive tackle makes too much sense here, especially with a tackle who has Hall of Fame potential. LT Jake Long is coming off knee surgery and Joe Barksdale mans the right side for the Rams. This is one scenario where need meets best player available.
3. Jacksonville: Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
Comment: There's been a lot of buzz this week about this being a possible landing spot for Manziel, but Mayock (and the teams he talks to) isn't buying it. Another need met with best available player. Mack is a perfect pass-rushing fit for Gus Bradley's defense as a hybrid end/linebacker.
4. Cleveland: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Comment: This is a bit of a head-scratcher, but then again nothing should surprise you when it comes to the Browns on draft day. Matthews is worthy of this slot, but the Browns made a longterm commitment to Joe Thomas, which means Cleveland would be using the fourth overall pick on a right tackle. Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans or one of the quarterbacks you believe in (unless you don't believe in any of them) would seem more logical.
5. Oakland: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Comment: Among several needs, an offensive playmaker might be at the top of the Raiders' list. Watkins certainly matches that description. He would play a good Andre Johnson for Matt Schaub.
6. Atlanta: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Comment: The Falcons desperately need a defensive edge rusher or a tackle on offense. If they don't trade up for Clowney, as rumored, the gritty Lewan makes a ton of sense, especially with the other two tackles off the board. "It seems like no matter how I cut this, when I look at it, (Lewan) ends up in Atlanta at six," Mayock said last week in a conference call with reporters.
7. Tampa Bay: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Comment: This one seems destined to happen. The Bucs shipped Mike Williams to Buffalo in early April, making this a need. They brought in QB Josh McCown, who had great success with two big receivers in Chicago. And Evans and Vincent Jackson are both 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds. Throwing away the pencil; starting to write this one in with a pen.
8. Minnesota: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma St.
Comment: The Vikings never recovered after cutting Antoine Winfield. The play of their cornerbacks last season bordered on embarrassing. Xavier Rhodes is a solid building block. Rhodes and Gilbert would make an excellent tandem, especially in that throw-heavy division.
9. Buffalo: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
Comment: This doesn't appear to fill the Bills' biggest need with two tackles in place. Cordy Glenn mans the left side, but Erik Pears, entering the final year of his contract, is viewed by some as a weak link on the right side. Martin can play all five positions. "I love the kid," Mayock said last week. "Even though I have him fourth as a tackle, he'd be my No. 1 center or my No. 1 guard. I believe that he is the only player in this draft that could start and play at a high level at all five offensive line positions."
10. Detroit: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan St.
Comment: Jim Caldwell likes his corners to be able to tackle, and Dennard might be the best tackling CB in the draft, and probably the most complete. No. 10 sounds a little high for Dennard, but it does fill a need for the Lions.
11. Tennessee: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Comment: Bortles seems like a very similar player to Jake Locker, who has had trouble staying healthy in Tennessee. Many observers have Derek Carr as the Titans' QB target, but this high for Carr might be a little rich.
12. New York Giants: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Comment: This is another pick that makes too much sense. The Giants lack a play-making tight end and Eli Manning lacks weapons. Ebron is the best tight end in the draft, and some have compared him to the 49ers' Vernon Davis.
13. St. Louis: Odell Beckham, WR, LSU
Comment: The Rams are so in love with Manziel that they pass on him twice? In this scenario they do. That's a lot of pre-draft smoke being blown. Beckham is viewed as the third-best receiver. Pairing him with Tavon Austin would give Sam Bradford some help.
14. Chicago: Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
Comment: Pryor visited the Bears in April and afterward said the team lacked "certain pieces." He thought he'd be a good fit, bringing a physical presence to the defense. Teams like players that want them.
15. Pittsburgh: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Comment: The Steelers need to rebuild at cornerback, and Fuller and his physical style of play are a good fit for coach Mike Tomlin.