Tribune-Review NFL Mock Draft
NFL teams talk for months about the intrinsic value of first-round draft picks, then end up shuffling them as if they were a just-opened package of football cards.
Last year, 12 first-round picks were traded, resulting in made just before the expiration of the 10-minute time limit and a lot of jumbled mock drafts.
With one of the deepest draft classes in years awaiting them starting Thursday night, NFL teams might be less inclined to deal away picks that could wind up representing Hall of Fame players.
But the Tribune-Review's Steelers reporting team of Alan Robinson, Ralph Paulk and Mark Kaboly is forecasting at least three trades during an unpredictable first round in which the woebegone Browns could end up with three picks in the top 31, and Johnny Manziel takes a tumble before the anticipated run on quarterbacks begins.
(trade with Texans)
Jadeveon Clowney, DL, South Carolina
Texans can't choose among Clowney, Johnny Manziel and Khalil Mack, so they deal pick. Falcons end up with pass rusher they long have sought.
Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
St. Louis plays it safe by choosing its left tackle for the next 10 years.
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Jacksonville bypasses Johnny Football for a man in charge of protecting a QB.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Browns get possibly the best player in draft, team him with Josh Gordon to cause plenty of trouble for the Steelers' secondary.
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Al Davis isn't running the draft any longer, so controversy-free Oakland extends the run on big tackles.
(trade with Falcons)
Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
In the end, Houston felt Mack was the best player in draft and gets him even after trading down.
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
The 6-foot-5 receiver who made Manziel look all the better has the potential to be NFL game-breaker.
(trade with Vikings)
Aaron Donald, DL, Pitt
Vikings were said to covet Donald. But Cowboys want him more, and Jerry Jones gives up a ransom to get him.
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
EJ Manuel badly needs a big target, and here he is.
Zack Martin, G/T, Notre Dame
Versatile offensive lineman who can play guard and tackle but would fit nicely in Detroit at right tackle.
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Some teams have Darqueze Dennard as the best corner in the draft. The Titans don't.
C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Mosley falls into the Giants' lap just when they were expecting to take a defensive back.
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Finally, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner is picked, and Sam Bradford starts packing his bags.
Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix might be the best safety in the draft. The Bears disagree and take a big hitter who energizes their weak secondary.
Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Steelers pass up a receiver and begin preparing for the post-Ike Taylor era.
(trade with Cowboys)
Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
If you went through Brett Favre, Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, Tarvaris Jackson, Donovan McNabb and Josh Freeman since 2009, you'd want a QB, too.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
Pryor's gone, so Ravens hope Clinton-Dix turns into the next Ed Reed.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR-KR, LSU
Rex Ryan is defense-first, but he gives Michael Vick a super-fast target who can make plays on special teams.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Cooks either will complement Mike Wallace or shove him out of a job.
Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Bruce Arians loves big, strong-armed QBs, so the 6-foot-3 Carr goes ahead of Teddy Bridgewater.
Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Months ago, Barr was expected to go higher, so Green Bay is eager to grab him here.
Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Lee once was projected to be the best wide receiver in this crowded group. Eagles believe he still might be.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
A surprise pick, Chiefs pass over Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro for Seferian-Jenkins, the 2013 Mackey Award winner.
Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
Cincinnati stays in-state for a proven linebacker with a James Harrison-like temperament.
Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
This CB class is top-heavy, and San Diego doesn't want to wait for lesser talent in a lower round.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
The Browns can't resist yet another first-round QB as Bridgewater's fall finally ends.
Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
See the Chargers' comments above.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
With Steve Smith gone, Panthers can't pass up a raw but tall (6-foot-5) and receiver.
Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
He's not Vince Wilfork-sized at 315 pounds, but he could be New England's next big run stuffer.
Louis Nix, DL, Notre Dame
San Francisco goes with a high-motor, high-production lineman who can anchor their front.
Xavier Su'a-Filo, G, UCLA
Denver passes up Nevada lineman Joel Bitonio to take the 307-pound Su'a-Filo, who adds physicality to the line the Seahawks manhandled in the Super Bowl.
(trade with Seahawks)
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Seahawks move down three spots into second round, allowing aggressive Browns to give Joe Haden a strong partner at cornerback.