Mocking Up Round One

QB Teddy Birdgewater

With the NFL Draft just four days away, there's been a lot said about which direction the top ten could go. In fact, some speculate there could be some big trades and a few unexpected surprises in round one. And those shockers might include the Kansas City Chiefs at #23.

Before I begin, a mini rant on mock drafts is in order. To be clear no mock is wrong until the draft happens. Just because we have seen more than 100 mock drafts from media experts doesn't mean that is the reality. A year ago many mock drafts had Geno Smith going in the top four. A decade earlier most had Aaron Rodgers and Derrick Johnson going in the top 10. NFL teams don't set their draft board to what the national media says. They value players in their own way.

Chiefs General Manager said last Friday, Kansas City has between 150-175 players on their board. A player who is considered a top ten pick in the media may not be on a single board for another NFL team. It all comes down to what they value and does that player fit the scheme. And making comments like "this would never happen." Why? Because 100's of media mock drafts say different. Most of them don't have access to some of the players' red flags off the field or medical reports. They don't know every team's draft board. In the draft, anything can happen.

This is my third version of a mock draft. Each one, I attempt different scenarios that may transpire on draft day. On this version, I'm going to dream big with a couple of trades that could rattle everyone's mock draft. There are 3-4 teams I could see swinging for the fences. I'm going to let them swing away. While this mock draft really happen? Probably not, but I want to go through as many scenarios as possible before the day arrives.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (Trade): DE- Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
From what I had heard before it got leaked Sunday evening, the Texans wanted to move out of the top spot. The only way the Jaguars guarantee a pass rusher for their roster, is to move up to one. Houston could throw out a nice bluff and make the Jaguars jump. Clowney could give Jacksonville a primer pass rusher for Gus Bradley's defense. If the Jaguars made this move, they are willing to deal with some of the baggage that comes along with this selection.

2. Dallas Cowboys (Trade): QB- Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
This is a scenario I thought about all weekend. Jerry Jones loves when people are talking about the Cowboys. I could easily see him deciding that this is the time to be bold. I could see him trading up for Clowney or Manziel. From what I've heard, Jones supposedly loves Manziel regardless of reports. The Cowboys signed Tony Romo to a long-term contract. He is also 34 and coming off back surgery. This gives Dallas time to work with Manziel's mechanics and groom him for the future. And it leaves Manziel in the lone star state. Either way, the media would be talking about the Cowboys non-stop. Jerry Jones likes when that happens.

3. Houston Texans (Trade): QB- Blake Bortles, UCF
I still believe Bortles is the apple of Head Coach Bill O'Brien's eye. I think he believes that under his tutelage, they can turn him into a franchise quarterback. This football team has Ryan Fitzpatrick and Case Keenum at quarterback. This move with the Jaguars allowed them to move down to a comfortable spot. It also took the pressure off at one, if Clowney ends up becoming a bust. I don't think Clowney helps the Texans as much as a quarterback. Their pass rush wasn't the problem last season.

4. Cleveland Browns: WR- Mike Evans, Texas A&M
The Browns have a tough decision to make. Two Quarterbacks have already come off the board. Do they select their QB now or wait until their next pick at 26? With the QBs on the board, I'm not sure any fit Kyle Shanahan's system in terms of mobility at this point. I will continue to maintain that Evans gives the Browns something they don't have, a possession receiver that does serious damage in the redzone. Imagine this: Josh Gordon, Mike Evans, Travis Benjamin and Jordan Cameron. That gives you a ton of mismatches. Now just go find the quarterback.

5. San Francisco 49ers (Trade): WR- Sammy Watkins, Clemson
Since this is suppose to be a bold mock draft. The Niners move up to be bold. The team could use a cornerback. They could use a wide receiver to stretch the field. San Fran has the ammo to make a move and I wouldn't be surprised to see Reggie McKenzie take the value of multiple picks. Watkins would be a nice jolt to their offense and enhance the task of challenging the Seahawks secondary.

6. Atlanta Falcons: LB- Khalil Mack, Buffalo
The Falcons decided the cost for moving up was too much. So they decide to maintain their 6th spot. Atlanta is able to get a good pass rusher at this spot that fits their system. Mack would provide this team a nice jolt in their 34 looks. Mack also has a great punch in his bull rush that will do well in the NFL.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR- Odell Beckham, LSU
I know many expect the Bucs to go Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins or Aaron Donald. All are definitely possible, but Beckham gives them a mismatch they don't have on offense. Vincent Jackson on one side and Beckham on the other could be a handful in the NFC South.

8. Minnesota Vikings: DT- Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
Mike Zimmer had a lot of fun with Geno Atkins in Cincinnati. It made his life as a defensive coordinator much easier. Donald could do the same as a 3 tech in his system. Yes the Vikings drafted Sharrif Floyd last season, so what? Zimmer didn't pick the player. That isn't his guy. Vikings GM Rick Spielman could select a quarterback but he already has one bust on his record in Ponder. Another bust that high in the draft leads to unemployment. Go get the impact player, unless Norv Turner can convince you 100% that the QB on the board can become the franchise in his system.

9. Buffalo Bills: OT- Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
The Bills are sitting pretty at nine. All three tackles are on the board. Buffalo decides to go with Jake Matthews because he is the safer the pick. The Bills were bold last year with EJ Manuel. This time around they get the tackle with the most NFL ready technique. Matthews can play right tackle for them and move around on the line if needed.

10. Detroit Lions: OT- Greg Robinson, Auburn
The Lions have other needs on the roster receiver, corner and safety but value at 10 is just to good to pass up. They can find those other positions later but a player like Robinson won't be on the board later. Jim Caldwell understands the value of a good offensive line; otherwise he might still be the Colts Head Coach.

11. Tennessee Titans: CB- Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
An athletic coverage corner has been a constant wherever Ray Horton ends up. Horton was able to work with Patrick Peterson and Joe Haden. Gilbert could help fill a void left from the loss of Verner. Gilbert will have some hiccups in the NFL but the long-term promise is there. Akeem Ayers and Shaun Phillips are capable of helping keep the pass rush respectable in this system.

12. New York Giants: DE- Kony Ealy, Missouri
Ealy is a versatile defensive lineman who can rush at tackle or end. Ealy is a guy who fits the Giants defense. He has room to bulk up more and has a quick first step to the outside. The Giants need to reload on their pass rush. Ealy could be a good step in that direction.

13. St. Louis Rams: OT- Taylor Lewan, Michigan
The Rams use their top pick to add an offensive tackle to protect Sam Bradford. They also get one that fits the attitude of Jeff Fisher. Lewan is a talented tackle that can get out into space and plays with an attitude.

14. Chicago Bears: S- Calvin Pryor, Louisville
The Bears could use help in the pass rush but they also need help in the secondary. Pryor would provide the backend a player that will sacrifice himself for the play and can move all over the field.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: DE- Ra'shede Hageman, Minnesota
The Steelers have a way of ignoring some of their bigger needs and drafting for their defense on a consistent basis. Hageman has a size that fits in the steel city. He would provide Pittsburgh a guy who can bull rush his defender into the backfield and disrupt plays. He has a good blend of size and strength.

16. St. Louis Rams (Trade): CB- Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech
Fuller fits the Rams personality on defense. He is a physical corner that can help in run support. Fuller is aggressive and not afraid to lay a hit. He reminds me a great deal of Brandon Flowers, when I watch his film.

17. Baltimore Ravens: TE- Eric Ebron, North Carolina
With Ebron falling, the Ravens stand pat ignoring all trades and pick up a much-needed weapon for their offense. Ebron would give the Ravens a nice one two punch over the middle. Now the Ravens need to attack their offensive line with the next pick.

18. New York Jets: WR- Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
Some Chief fans just got very sad. Cooks came off the board because the Jets need speed on their offense. Cooks fits the west coast scheme that Marty Mornhinweg runs. Decker provides the possession wide receiver. Cooks gives them the speed on the other side. With Beckham off the board a while ago, the Jets get the best speed left on the board.

19. Cincinnati Bengals (Trade): QB- Derek Carr, Fresno State
The Bengals may have to trade up to this spot if they want a quarterback. I could see Bruce Arians wanting a QB at 20. So the 19 to 23 range maybe the time teams want to trade up for their quarterback in the late first. The Bengals have other needs on the roster but with Dalton continuing to struggle. Now is the time to bring in competition and force Dalton to perform or move on.

20. Arizona Cardinals: LB- Anthony Barr, UCLA
The Cardinals get a pass rusher that they probably didn't expect to slide this far. Barr is capable of playing in the system. Barr is a player that once he gets the first sack. He pushes his pass rushing ability to the next level. Barr is going to be a work in progress but he gives Arizona some speed on the end.

21. Green Bay Packers: FS- Hasean Clinton-Dix, Alabama
The Packers go by the best value on their board. Clinton-Dix is there at 21 and they can take one of the better safeties in the draft. Clinton-Dix could be moved around the field in Dom Capers' defense. It could give Green Bay some much-needed versatility in their secondary.

22. Philadelphia Eagles: CB- Bradley Roby, Ohio State
With the pace Philly runs on the defense, they need a secondary and pass rush to match it. Roby provides the Eagles a physical corner opposite Cary Williams. Chip Kelly would have two physical corners that combine speed and attitude. Roby knows how to close on a route and he stays in the receiver's hip pocket. The philosophy on offense would also fit Roby's risk taking mentality.

23. Kansas City Chiefs: QB- Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
No, the Chiefs don't need a quarterback. They have a guy who fits the system in Alex Smith. Smith was brought in to help the organization establish a foundation. Smith gave them a veteran presence that could handle the offensive volume. He helped some of the players on the roster see what a quarterback is suppose to look like. Smith is coming up on a contract season. A scout told me this off-season, if he was a general manager. He would bring in a rookie quarterback every season. He made a great point; every team needs a QB to win in this league. If you go all in with one quarterback, you maybe fired in a couple seasons. You want to give every QB enough time to learn your system and be comfortable in it, if your starter goes down.

The Green Bay way of always bringing in a QB puts you in a great position. It lets you build-up multiple QBs and use them as chess pieces for when you need to get an additional picks. Bridgewater is the best quarterback in this draft. He can diagnose a defense. Bridgewater is comfortable with his drops from under center and has experience in the shotgun as well. He knows how to manipulate a defense with his fakes and eyes. Bridgewater also stands tall in the pocket when pressure is coming at him, takes the hit and pops right back up.

This scenario would remind me a lot of Aaron Rodgers getting selected by the Packers. It would cause some tension but it would force competition. Will it really happen? I doubt it but this is my going bold mock draft. I believe Kansas City will get a lot of calls for this pick if Carr, Bridgewater or Manziel are on the board.

24. Miami Dolphins: OT- Zack Martin, Notre Dame
The Dolphins were able to trade down, get some extra picks and still get a very good offensive lineman for their roster. Line help is the number one need on this football team. Martin provides the Dolphins a lineman that is a very smart football player. He has good hand placement. Martin would provide the passing offense a solid player that can move into guard if needed.

25. San Diego Chargers: NT- Louis Nix, Notre Dame
The Chargers have a lot of needs on defense. They need to start on the interior. Nix would provide San Diego a player with good size and quick feet to go with it. There are not tons of players his size that can get a solid pursuit angle on the play. You can see the promise in his combination of size and speed. The challenge will be putting it all together on a consistent basis.

26. Cleveland Browns: CB- Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
The Browns are a little stunned right now because the quarterbacks are off the board. Musical chairs happened and GM Ray Farmer didn't get one of the top four quarterbacks in time. Cleveland has to settle for the best cornerback on the board. Dennard provides them a physical corner that fits their style. He will fit through the blocks and lay the hit on a defender. He won't put himself in a compromising position with fear. Dennard believes in his a technique and continues to execute it regardless of the situation.

27. New Orleans Saints: OLB- Dee Ford, Auburn
Ford makes a return to the first round. Drew Brees can get by with the receivers on the roster. Brees has been doing it for years. The Saints need to improve their pass rush if they are going to keep up with the NFC West. Ford is as smooth pass rusher. He has a good burst once he gets around the corner. Ford would be the best pass rusher left on the board and a caliber they won't see when they pick again later.

28. Carolina Panthers: OT- Morgan Moses, Virginia
The Panthers need to protect Cam Newton. They can find some receivers later but they need to get quality pass protection for their franchise QB. Moses reminds me a lot of Branden Albert when I watched his tape. He is a big-bodied player. He has a solid pass protection setup. He has an okay punch. He has some athletic ability but he needs work in the run game.

29. New England Patriots: TE- Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
The Patriots need to get Tom Brady weapons for their last run. The team lost a lot of its' ability to find reliable match-ups when Aaron Hernandez had his incident. Gronkowski is starting to look injury prone. The Patriots need to get another tight end for this offense to start getting back into a championship flow.

30. Oakland Raiders (Trade): WR- Marqise Lee, USC
The Raiders made quite a drop from 5 to 30 but the return they got was a monster one they couldn't pass up. If Oakland drafts right, the trade could net them 3-4 starters for the future. The Raiders were aggressive in adding pieces to their defensive and offensive lines. They need to take a receiver. Lee is great value at this spot.

31. Denver Broncos: LB- C.J. Mosley, Alabama
The Broncos could use a backer like Mosley. He fits very well in Jack Del Rio's scheme and provides them with a smart player. He attacks the ball well and does a solid job getting off blocks. I like his fundamental breakdown on tackles and think he can be a nice presence on run defense.

32. Seattle Seahawks: OG- Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA
When you watch Su'a-Filo you see a physical offensive lineman. He can perform screens, trap blocks and getting to the second level off a combo block. Su'a Filo has good drive blocks and reach blocks. Another thing that stood out to me was his understanding of angles. He knows how to cut off a defender quickly and be in the right position. He is going to need some work in his re-anchor on pass protection and get a little more violent in his punch to stun the defender. There is a lot of promise with this lineman though. He would enhance the Seahawks run game.

Nick Jacobs is a producer at Time Warner Cable SportsChannel in Kansas City. You can follow him on Twitter @Jacobs71

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