In a perfect world, NFL teams would address all their glaring needs in free agency, and sit back on draft day and select the best available player with each pick, regardless of position. But we all know the world isn't perfect as draft day selections sometimes make fans scratch their heads.
This mock draft is based on what teams have done in free agency and where that leaves them situated for the draft.
And in case you're wondering where I have Johnny Manziel going, take note that like in my first mock draft, I don't have Manziel going in the first round. The first 32 picks are about minimizing risk and nothing about Johnny Football is without risk. From his size, to his commitment, a lot of question marks surround the former Heisman Trophy winner.
At Manziel's pro day last week, I found the majority of decision makers there were uncomfortable with the language of the music that played during the workout and with Manziel going against the grain by wearing a helmet and shoulder pads.
Team front offices want to know if Manziel can conform and be just one of the guys. His pro day outfit wasn't Texas A&M gear – it was Johnny Manziel gear. Teams have a concern on whether the pursuit of perfecting his QB skills will ever be first on Manziel's mind.
These are the reasons I don't think Manziel gets taken in Round 1.
Agree? Disagree? Hit me up on Twitter (@RealShaunKing).
1. Houston Texans
Needs: QB, OT and safety
The pick: Blake Bortles (QB, UCF) – Teddy Bridgewater is still my No. 1 QB, but based on the information I've attained, barring a trade of this pick, Houston is most comfortable with Bortles. He has done the best among the QBs in the walk-up to the draft, checking off all the boxes for teams. His long-term outlook is excellent.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Needs: QB, WR and OT
The pick: Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson) – The Jags lack offensive game-changers, especially with the uncertainty always surrounding Justin Blackmon. This pick fills a major need. The Jaguars pass on Jadeveon Clowney because they signed four defensive linemen in free agency.
4. Cleveland Browns
Needs: QB, RB and OG
The pick: Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville) – Cleveland's brass wasn't at Bridgewater's pro day, so that helps him here. He will get a blank canvas to work with for his private workout for the Browns. Based on his game film, he will make a significant impression. A true QB competition between Bridgewater and veteran Brian Hoyer is on the horizon.
5. Oakland Raiders
Needs: QB, WR and OL
The pick: Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M) – The Raiders are in win-now mode. They added Matt Schaub and a bunch of older veterans to make a run at the playoffs this season. Oakland still lacks top talent at the pass-catching positions. Evans, opposite James Jones, fills that void.
6. Atlanta Falcons
Needs: TE, DE and RB
The pick: Jadveon Clowney (DL, South Carolina) – Even though the Falcons added/re-signed nine OL/DL during free agency, they'll jump at the chance to add the talented pass rusher. Clowney has taken a beating because of his lack of effort at times last year, but the Dirty Birds will be more than willing to take the risk.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Needs: DE, TE and OT
The pick: Anthony Barr (LB, UCLA) – In a close call, Tampa takes Barr over Khalil Mack. The Bucs need another third-down, hand-in-the-ground rusher opposite Michael Johnson. Barr profiles better long-term with that transition.
8. Minnesota Vikings
Needs: QB, DE and OG
The pick: Khalil Mack (LB, Buffalo) – The Vikings' phone lines will be blowing up with teams trying to trade up for Mack. I'll slot Mack here, even if he won't be in Minnesota at the end of draft night. Having said that, I'm sure a defensive coach like Mike Zimmer has plenty of ways to utilize Mack.
9. Buffalo Bills
Needs: TE, RT
The pick: Jake Matthews (OT, Texas A&M) – With EJ Manuel battling injuries as a rookie, keeping their QB safe is a top priority in Buffalo. Matthews is probably the safest pick in the entire draft.
10. Detroit Lions
Needs: CB, WR, safety
The pick: Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan State) – The most complete cornerback goes to a team in need of a complete corner. With the Lions adding Golden Tate, WR isn't as high of a priority with their first-round pick. Dennard will flourish, enabling the Lions' young collection of capable pass rushers to thrive.
11. Tennessee Titans
Needs: Safety, QB
The pick: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Safety, Alabama) – Dix has the best combination of range and ball skills of any safety in this year's draft. He will upgrade the back end of the Titans' defense. Titans could go corner here to replace Alterraun Verner.
New York Giants
Needs: LB, CB and OL
The pick: Taylor Lewan (OT, Michigan) – One of the keys to Eli Manning's success is his protection as his ability to extend plays has never been a strength. Lewan addresses a major need for the G-men and gives them some flexibility with their front.
13. St. Louis Rams
Needs: WR, safety
The pick: Terrence Brooks (safety, Florida State) – St. Louis addresses a need with a guy who has been gaining momentum around the league. Brooks is an outstanding cover safety who also is extremely physical in the run game.
14. Chicago Bears
Needs: DL, OL and safety
The pick: Aaron Donald (DT, Pittsburgh) – Hard to believe a team that just spent $80 million on seven defensive linemen could still draft one in the first round, but yes, because of the departure of Henry Melton, the Bears still lack an elite three-technique lineman. Donald is the third-best player in this draft (behind Robinson and Clowney), so the Bears get a huge steal at this position.
Needs: OT, CB and safety
The pick: Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State) – The Steelers are getting up there in age at corner, so Gilbert gives them a young athletic cover corner they don't have. He also is an excellent returner and will improve their special teams.
16. Dallas Cowboys
Needs: DE, CB and safety
The pick: Kony Ealy (DE, Missouri) – After cutting DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys have a major void of pass rushers. Ealy should flourish under the tutelage of Rod Marinelli.
17. Baltimore Ravens
Needs: OT, WR and DL
The pick: Stephen Tuitt (DE, Notre Dame) – The Ravens addressed their major needs in free agency by retaining Eugene Monroe, signing Steve Smith and trading for Jeremy Zuttah. General manager Ozzie Newsome knows he needs to get younger on his defensive line. Tuitt gives Baltimore a young, versatile athlete.
18. New York Jets
Needs: WR, OG and CB
The pick: Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, LSU) – Michael Vick or Geno Smith need weapons to succeed in New York. Beckham is weapon personified. His run after catch ability will go nicely opposite the productive Eric Decker.
19. Miami Dolphins
The pick: Zach Martin (OT, Notre Dame) – I had him slotted here in my first mock draft and nothing changes. The Dolphins, even after adding Branden Albert and Shelley Smith, still need better talent along their offensive front. Ryan Tannehill took too many hits last season and that must change.
20. Arizona Cardinals
Needs: OT,CB and OLB
The pick: Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina) – He's the most dynamic TE in this draft, and his ability to stretch the field and create matchup problems is elite. He also has excellent hands. Carson Palmer will be all smiles.
Green Bay Packers
Needs: TE, safety and LB
The pick: Calvin Pryor (safety, Louisville) – The hard-hitting Pryor is an imposing presence that demands respect. It's been a while since anyone feared this Packer secondary. That will soon change.
22. Philadelphia Eagles
Needs: OLB, safety and CB
The pick: Marquise Lee (WR, USC) – Chip Kelly goes back to his Pac-12 roots and replaces the released DeSean Jackson with Lee. The Trojan WR is an excellent fit for Kelly's system.
23. Kansas City Chiefs
Needs: OL, WR and ILB
The pick: Antonio Richardson (OT, Tennessee) – The Chiefs lost three of their starting five offensive linemen from last year. The rebuild starts here. "Tiny" Richardson has flaws but his raw size and athleticism is too much too pass up.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
Needs: CB,OLB and safety
The pick: Kyle Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech) – Excellent cover corner, aggressive and physical in coverage. The Bengals have been average at best at corner the last few years. Fuller will start from Day 1.
25. San Diego Chargers
Needs: CB,OG and WR
The pick: Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State) – The Chargers have a good collection of pass catchers but they still haven't replaced Vincent Jackson's size and presence since he left. Benjamin gives Philip Rivers that big target he needs to make the offense complete.
26. Cleveland Browns
Needs: RB, OG and CB
The pick: Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State) – The Browns go right down the road to Columbus and grab Roby. Head coach Mike Pettine understands the advantage of having two elite cover corners. Plug Roby opposite Joe Haden and let's go.
27. New Orleans Saints
Needs: OLB, CB
The pick: Dee Ford (DE, Auburn) – The Saints filled their OT need by signing Zach Strief. So Rob Ryan gets another toy to play with in Ford, one of the top three pass rushers available. Ford should excel under Ryan.
28. Carolina Panthers
Needs: OL,WR and CB
The pick: Cyrus Kouandjio (OL, Alabama) – Most people have the Panthers taking a WR here but it won't matter if you can't protect Cam Newton. Jordan Gross' retirement creates a huge hole on a line that was already in need of replacements. Kouandjio has dropped some during the draft process but his athleticism and youth make you believe he will get better.
29. New England Patriots
Needs: DL,CB and LB
The pick: C.J. Mosley (LB, Alabama) – Bill Belichick replaces Brandon Spikes with this rookie. This pick also allows Jamie Collins to move outside where he can be better utilized.
30. San Francisco 49ers
Needs: WR, CB and DL
The pick: Louis Nix III (DT, Notre Dame) – Glenn Dorsey played OK in his first year in San Francisco, but Nix is more athletic and has a much higher ceiling. Niners could go a lot of ways here as CB or WR are also viable options.
31. Denver Broncos
Needs: OL and DL
The pick: Xavier Su'a-Filo (OG, UCLA) – The Broncos have filled a lot of voids in free agency. They replace the departed Zane Beadles with the agile, talented Bruin.
32. Seattle Seahawks
Needs: TE, DL and OL
The pick: Ra'shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota) – One of the Seahawks' greatest strengths was their depth on their D-line. After losing multiple guys in free agency, the cupboard gets an extremely talented rookie. If Hageman played with a higher motor more consistently he would be a top-10 pick.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Johnny Manziel
- Jadeveon Clowney
- Khalil Mack
- Anthony Barr