As the final hours tick away before the first round of Thursday’s 2014 NFL Draft, speculation continues to swirl around quarterback Johnny Manziel and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
It’s reportedly very clear that the Cleveland Browns won’t select Manziel No. 4 overall, according to Fox Sports Jay Glazer. That’s also assuming the Heisman-winner and Texas A&M star will even be available after the first three picks by Houston, St. Louis and Jacksonville.
St. Louis head coach Jeff Fisher has also answered questions as to whether the Rams will select Manziel No. 2 overall, putting current starter Sam Bradford’s future in jeopardy.
"We did go to A&M," Fisher said according to CBS Sports. "We worked out [wide receiver] Mike Evans. We worked out [offensive tackle] Jake Matthews and Johnny threw to an additional receiver there, in addition to Mike. Johnny was probably one of a dozen quarterbacks that we worked out over this process.
"With respect to Sam, he's our starter. As you guys know, that was the reason I took this job was for our owner and because of Sam, our quarterback. We have all the confidence in the world that he'll be back. But, we also have the responsibility to continue to upgrade this roster as it would suggest. If the right guy is there to help in a backup role to Sam, then we'll make sure we've done our due diligence."
Bradford’s long-term health could be in question after a torn ACL ended his 2013, and Fisher might be envisioning Manziel targeting talented receivers Tavon Austin and Chris Givens.
There’s also talk that Houston and Atlanta (No. 6 overall) are in trade discussions for the top selection, with the Falcons hoping to move up in order to secure the services of Clowney.
Such is the drawn out process and rumor mill prior to the draft, when no one can really gauge where a player will end up even if they are a once-in-a-lifetime talent like Clowney, or a major ticket draw like Manziel.
All the guff and last minute rumors aside, for now we’ll base the below mock draft on team needs and talent, and who could be available at each pick.
1)Houston Texans, DE, Jadeveon Clowney
2)St. Louis Rams (via Washington), OT Greg Robinson
3)Jacksonville Jaguars, QB, Johnny Manziel
4)Cleveland Browns, WR, Sammy Watkins
5)Oakland Raiders, OT, Jake Matthews
6)Atlanta Falcons, OLB, Khalil Mack
7)Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ILB, C.J. Mosley
8)Minnesota Vikings, QB, Blake Bortles
9)Buffalo Bills, DE, Kony Ealy
10)Detroit Lions, CB, Justin Gilbert
11)Tennessee Titans, OLB, Anthony Barr
12)New York Giants, OT, Taylor Lewan
13)St. Louis, S, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
14)Chicago Bears, DE, Dee Ford
15)Pittsburgh Steelers, WR, Mike Evans
16)Baltimore Ravens, DE, Stephon Tuitt
17)Dallas Cowboys, DT, Timmy Jernigan
18)New York Jets, WR, Marqise Lee
19)Miami Dolphins, TE, Eric Ebron
20)Arizona Cardinals, OT, Zack Martin
21)Green Bay Packers, S, Terrence Brooks
22)Philadelphia Eagles, CB, Darqueze Dennard
23)Kansas City Chiefs, C, Marcus Martin
24)Cincinnati Bengals, DT, Louis Nix III
25)San Diego Chargers, S, Calvin Pryor
26)Cleveland (via Indianapolis), QB, Teddy Bridgewater
27)New Orleans Saints, CB, Lamarcus Joyner
28)Carolina Panthers, DT, Ra’Shede Hageman
29)New England Patriots, DT, Aaron Donald
30)San Francisco 49ers, WR, Brandin Cooks
31)Denver Broncos, CB, Loucheiz Purifoy
32)Seattle Seahawks, DE, Dominique Easley