By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
For those who can’t get enough of the NFL draft, this is your year.
Because of a scheduling conflict with Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the NFL draft was moved into May for the first time. The draft will be held May 8-10, rather than in April, as has been custom for dozens of years.
The end result is the draft season has been extended two weeks. That means more speculation, more rumors, more disinformation, and more mock drafts.
Today we kick off draft season with our first mock draft. We will have a new version every Friday and then conclude with our final one on Thursday, May 8 – the day of the first round of the draft. That’s the one that will serve as our official prediction of the first round.
Until then, these mocks will trace the ups and downs of the draft process as the Browns, and other teams, meander their way to the finish line. Our mocks do not consider the possibility of trades. If trades occur prior to May 8, we will react accordingly.
1. Houston: QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
He will win over new coach Bill O’Brien and energize the Texans' fan base.
2. St. Louis: OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
First shocker. Jeff Fisher will break in Bruce Matthews’ son at right tackle.
3. Jacksonville: DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
Second shocker. Jags go defense and plot to take a QB in second round.
4. Cleveland: QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida
In a squeaker, his size wins out. Big Blake joins the AFC North.
5. Oakland: QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
Yes, it would be a big surprise if he slides to this spot.
6. Atlanta: OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
The Falcons couldn’t script this any better.
7. Tampa Bay: WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
A future No. 1 to complement Vincent Jackson.
8. Minnesota: LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
Maybe they’ve learned not to reach for a quarterback.
9. Buffalo: TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina
Time to support QB EJ Manuel with an intermediate target.
10. Detroit: CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
This seems like a natural.
11. Tennessee: WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
Ken Whisenhunt’s Larry Fitzgerald?
12. N.Y. Giants: OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA
Time for the G-men to replenish their defensive front seven.
13. St. Louis: WR Marqise Lee, Southern California
Their receivers are still awful.
14. Chicago: DT Louis Nix, Notre Dame
Don’t they always go for the Golden Domers?
15. Pittsburgh: FS Calvin Pryor, Louisville
Fills the hole left after aging Ryan Clark leaves in free agency.
16. Dallas: DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
The Cowboys' defensive front is an affront.
17. Baltimore: ILB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
There is a void in the middle of the Ravens’ defense that needs to be filled.
18. NY Jets: WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State
They are so desperate for a play-maker at receiver.
19. Miami: OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame
Let the rebuilding of the offense line – and locker room – commence.
20. Arizona: OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
This isn’t brain surgery. They need offensive line help.
21. Green Bay: DT Rashede Hageman, Minnesota
Packers have issues on defense.
22. Philadelphia: FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
What’s so funny?
23. Kansas City: WR Odell Beckham Jr., Louisiana State
Chiefs are desperate for receivers to make plays.
24. Cincinnati: DE Kony Early, Missouri
Bengals probably will lose pass rusher Michael Johnson in free agency.
25. San Diego: OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
More help needed on the offensive line.
26. Cleveland: CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
He would allow Buster Skrine to stay exclusively inside.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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