The Campanile’s Top 10 NFL Mock Draft

With the National Football League (NFL) Draft on May 8 approaching, many continue to size up this year’s talent, and wonder what teams are going to select which players.

With the number one pick in the draft, the Houston Texans are most likely going to take Jadaveon Clowney, from the University of South Carolina. Clowney is a 6’5”, 266 lb defensive end with the speed of a running back. Clowney is not only quick, but incredibly powerful as he is known for his jaw­dropping hit on the University of Michigan’s running back in the 2013 Outback Bowl. Clowney will make an excellent partner for Texans’ all­star defensive end JJ Watt. While the Texans’ offensive may be lacking potency, Clowney and Watt will surely bring lots of pressure to opposing offenses.

After the Texans, the St. Louis Rams have the second pick, which they received from the Washington Redskins in a trade. The Rams will be looking to bolster their weak offensive line, and give sufficient time to quarterback Sam Bradford in order to make strong passes. Greg Robinson, 6’5’’, 332 lb offensive tackle from Auburn University will surely make a great fit in St. Louis. Robinson has improved every single year at Auburn, and has proven that he can make great run blocks in open space, as well as hold off blitzing defenders during a passing play. Robinson will make a staple of the Rams’ offense, and an NFL star.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have the third pick in the NFL draft and will try to improve the competitive edge against their opposition in the near future. While the Jaguars need improvement everywhere, they will be looking to select outside linebacker Khalil Mack. The 6’3’’, 251 lb player from the University of Buffalo went unnoticed until this year, and then erupted with an amazing season. Mack is strong and quick enough to improve the only strong part of the Jaguars team: their linebacking core. Mack will learn the ropes of the NFL from veteran star Paul Posluszny, and will make a noticeable imprint on the league this year.

Next, the Cleveland Browns have the fourth pick in the draft, and will look to add a quarterback. Johnny Manziel, the 6’1’’, 209 lb hotshot better known as “Johnny Football” out of Texas A&M University, will be selected by the Browns. While many suspect the Browns to take Sammy Watkins, the Browns lack a professional­grade quarterback. The Browns have been in a slump for several years, and could use the magic playmaking of Manziel paired with star wide receiver, Josh Gordon. This could turn out to be an electrifying duo, and prove to be just what Cleveland needs to become a competitive squad again.

With the fifth pick, the Oakland Raiders will look to pick Sammy Watkins if he is still available. Watkins, the speedy 6’0’’, 211 lb wide receiver out of Clemson University, will bring much­needed talent to the Raiders. The Raiders recently added hometown running back Maurice Jones­Drew and veteran quarterback Matt Shaub to the roster. While they have boosted their running game, Watkins will pair well with receiver Jacoby Ford to make the Raiders offense speedy, lethal and focused on the end zone.

At sixth overall, the Atlanta Falcons will give quarterback Matt Ryan more protection. Last year, the Falcons missed the playoffs due to a poor offensive line and a lack of scoring. The Falcons will hope to make the playoffs this year and support Ryan by drafting Texas A&M University offensive tackle Jake Matthews. The 6’5’’, 308 lb Matthews has been crucial in the protection of Manziel atA&M, and will bring his beastly pass­blocking talents to Atlanta. The Falcons have the skill offensively, and this could be this missing part that completes their offense and leads to long­term success.

With the seventh pick, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will select wide receiver Mike Evans out of Texas A&M University. The 6’4’’, 231 lb Evans was Manziel’s favorite target at A&M and will not only bring size, but also speed to the NFL. Evans will work with Tiquan Underwood and Vincent Jackson to complete the dynamic receiving core of the Buccaneers. Quarterback Mike Glennon will surely have plenty of options to throw to, and the Buccaneers could be looking like strong contenders next year.

Eighth overall, the Minnesota Vikings will hope to complete their star­studded offense with a great quarterback. Out of Louisville University, the 6’4’’, 214 lb Teddy Bridgewater put up dazzling stats in his time in the National College Athletic Association (NCAA). Bridgewater provides speed that could pair well in the option game with running back Adrian Peterson and a strong arm that could throw deep passes to future Hall of Famer: wide receiver Greg Jennings. With Bridgewater, the Vikings will surely be a playoff team next year and a potential NFC North champion.

With the ninth pick, the Buffalo Bills will try to complete their young, jaw­dropping offense with tight end Eric Ebron out of the University of North Carolina. The 6’4’’, 250 lb Ebron really emerged this year, catching 62 passes for 973 yards. Ebron is a deep threat, as well as a skilled blocker, and will be able to protect quarterback EJ Manuel and running back CJ Spiller. While the Bills lack experience, with the right coaching, they could be on the fast track to success.

Capping off the top ten, the Detroit Lions will try to improve their secondary. The Lions will pick up Oklahoma State University cornerback Justin Gilbert early in the draft. The 6’0’’, 202 lb Gilbert had 40 tackles as well as six interceptions in 2013. While the Lions have offensive skill, Gilbert, as well as recently acquired cornerback Cassius Vaughn from Indianapolis, will surely help their weak secondary.

Near the end of the of the first round, the San Francisco 49ers will hope to add depth to their passing game with the 30th overall pick. The 49ers were strong in 2013, and went to another NFC Championship, but fell short of the Super Bowl. The 49ers are strong in the rushing game with Frank Gore, however, Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree are their only strong receivers. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick needs another target, and will hope to find one in Marqise Lee, out of the University of Southern California. The 5’11’’, 192 lb Lee was a star in college and caught a handful of touchdowns, and almost 800 yards in his last year. Lee will look to add depth and speed to the receiving game and hopefully propel the 49ers to a Super Bowl victory.

Although not a first round pick, Palo Alto High School graduate Davante Adams will most likely be picked up in the second round Adams graduated in 2011, and played football at Fresno State University. Adams led the Mountain West Conference in receptions, yards and touchdowns in his freshman year, and went on to become a freshman All­American, as well as the Mountain West Freshman of the Year. In 2013, as a sophomore, Adams led the nation in receptions with 131 for 1,719 yards, as well as 24 touchdowns. After being a runner up for the nation’s top receiver, Adams announced his entry to the draft, instead of playing his final two seasons in college. Fortunately for all

Bay Area football fans, Adams looks like he will be drafted in the second round by the San Francisco 49ers, adding a speedy and talented element to their offense. If the 49ers added Lee and Adams, their receiving would quickly turn from mediocre to lethal. No matter where he ends up, Adama will sure become a star in the NFL.

Overall, there is no telling what could happen in the 2014 NFL Draft. However, there is definitely a lot of talent to choose from for all 32 NFL teams. No matter who you root for, 2014 will definitely be a good year to watch football, and hopefully a great start to many rookies’ careers.