On Thursday night, the 32 NFL teams will gather at Radio City Music Hall in New York City with one goal in mind: find the next All-Pro.
Whether it is on offense or defense, teams use the NFL Draft to add that extra something special to their roster to take the next step.
The Detroit Lions hold the No. 10 pick in this year's draft, and with a plethora of talent on the defensive side of the ball, the Lions should have their choice from a slew of game changers.
Here is how I see the 2014 NFL Draft playing out:
Note: There will obviously be many trades on Thursday, however it is nearly impossible to project them, therefore this Mock Draft is done with each team staying put in their draft slot.
1.Houston Texans – Khalil Mack – OLB – Buffalo
Jadeveon Clowney may be the top overall talent in this years draft, but he does not fit Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel’s 3-4 defense. Mack is a proven pass rusher at the college level, and his skill set should transition nicely to the pro level. Explosive pass rushers are at a premium in today’s game, Mack is the best stand up pass rushing outside linebacker in this years class.
2. St. Louis Rams – Jake Matthews – OT – Texas A&M
The Rams are able to pass on the talent of Clowney because they already have two book ends with Chris Long and Robert Quinn, therefore they are able to address other needs. Franchise QB Sam Bradford was having the best year of his career before an injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season. The Rams need to protect him better, this years top Offensive lineman is Texas A&M Left Tackle Jake Matthews. Jake is the son of long time NFLer Bruce Matthews who Rams head coach Jeff Fisher knows a thing or two about.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina
Finally the number one guy on everyone’s big board gets selected. Clowney can step right in and have a Julius Peppers type effect for the Jaguars. Clowney possesses the ability to beat tackles with both speed and power moves. He will be an immediate impact player in the NFL, and has the skill set to go down as one of the all time greats.
4. Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel – QB – Texas A&M
“Johnny Football” going this high might surprise a few people as he may not look like the most pro-ready QB in this years draft, however Manziel is a playmaker, and in today’s game that is the most important attribute a QB can have.
5. Oakland Raiders – Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson
The Raiders have made a lot of moves in the offseason, bringing in veterans and virtually every position, most notably at the QB spot with former Texans Pro-Bowler Matt Schaub. By bringing in a quality veteran like Schaub the Raiders are telling the league they are in win now mode, which means they must go after an impact player. Sammy Watkins has all the skills to be a top receiver in the NFL. Think Julio Jones from a few years back.
6. Atlanta Falcons – Greg Robinson – OT – Auburn
Atlanta would love to see one of the top edge rushers fall to them at 6, however they will have no problem selecting a player that will protect the blind side of their franchise quarterback Matt Ryan.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Aaron Donald – DT – Pittsburgh
With Lovie Smith taking over as head coach of the Bucs, he will want to get straight to work on his defense. Aaron Donald will be his Tommy Harris from those great Bears defenses that he coached.
8. Minnesota Vikings – Blake Bortles – QB – USF
The NFC North is home to Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Matthew Stafford, the Vikings need to find their franchise QB. It didn’t work out with Christian Ponder a few years back, so its back to the drawing board with Blake Bortles.
9. Buffalo Bills – Mike Evans – WR – Texas A&M
The Bills got their man to play quarterback in last years draft with E.J. Mannuel, they already had a dynamic rushing attack with C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, now they can help out their receiving core. Evans is big and fast, and can step right into the number one role allowing Stevie Johnson to move into the slot.
10. Detroit Lions – Anthony Barr – OLB – UCLA
New Head Coach Jim Caldwell hasn’t been shy when it comes to discussing the need for the Lions to get a pass rusher from the line backer position, Anthony Barr fits that role perfectly. Barr may be the best pure athlete in this years class, and athleticism and explosiveness is what makes a great edge rusher. Many fans will be hoping the Lions make a move in the draft to get Sammy Watkins. However, Watkins would be a luxury pick. With the addition of Golden Tate, the Lions can look to add a receiver later in the draft. Barr fills a need, and that is why the Lions must take him.