All of a sudden, May is upon us.
In a matter of days, the Houston Texans will be taking the podium at Radio City Music Hall to kick of the 2014 NFL draft.
Until then, a late-minute mock draft is in order.
Surely, there will be a flurry of trades throughout the first round of the draft. Once players begin to fall into position, and teams have relative idea of how the draft is shaping up, the phones will begin to ring, and teams will begin trading.
That said, for the purposes of this mock, we'll assume every team has decided to stand pat.
Based on team needs, and determining what prospects have to offer, let's take a look at how the first round of this year's draft could potentially shake out.
1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Pairing Clowney with J.J. Watt is a scary thought. A dominating pass rush is a necessity in today's pass-happy NFL, and this duo would prove to be one of the league's most formidable. Clowney could be a once-in-a-lifetime athletic freak, and his skill set is certainly worth of a No. 1 overall selection.
2. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Sammy Watkins does not have a weakness. He may lack some elite skills, but no weaknesses.— Ryan Riddle (@Ryan_Riddle) April 25, 2014
It can be conceived Watkins could wind up in the realm of wide receivers such as A.J. Green and Julio Jones. With a very talented slot receiver in Tavon Austin already in place, adding Watkins will give this budding Rams offense the outside threat is has been lacking.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
Jacksonville needs a spark on the offensive side of the ball. That spark could come in the form of a signal-caller who has great intangibles and a high ceiling. Bortles has been refining his technique over the offseason, and his stunning pro day was the proof. He'll give this team the stability it desperately needs under center.
4. Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Manziel's mature attitude and stellar pro day have him looking like a future franchise quarterback. He has a knack of creating yards when none seem available and has the necessary tools to finally get Cleveland over the hump.
5. Oakland Raiders: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
As far as elite pass-rushers go, Mack is right up there with Clowney. Quick off the snap, fast around the edge and strong in pursuit, he can easily revamp the pass rush in Oakland during his rookie season. His big motor makes him an every-down player, and he'll make an immediate impact.
6. Atlanta Falcons: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
When the Falcons offense is healthy, it's one of the NFL's best. Now that Roddy White and Julio Jones have had an offseason to regroup, it's time to add some protection for Matt Ryan. Robinson is the draft's most elite prospect at tackle. He'll start right away and protect Ryan's blind side for the long haul.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Having one big, athletic wide receiver is great. Having two is just unfair. If the Buccaneers add Evans to pair with Vincent Jackson here, they'll have a wide receiver duo that will give opposing secondaries fits. These two will be matchup nightmares and really open things up in Tampa Bay.
8. Minnesota Vikings: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
With Mike Zimmer as the Vikings head coach, rest assured revamping the pass rush will be his top priority. Barr has elite speed and can contribute right away. His presence will certainly lessen the blow of the departure of Jared Allen. Barr will be the cornerstone of a great rotation during Zimmer's tenure in Minnesota.
9. Buffalo Bills: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Quarterback EJ Manuel and the Bills offense needs to take the next step in 2014. In order to do so, adding effective weapons is a must. Ebron has the size and speed to become a huge threat in this offense. He'll stretch the seam and become a security blanket for the young quarterback.
10. Detroit Lions: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
In the NFC North division, a secure secondary is a crucial element for success. That's one thing the Lions have lacked for quite some time. Adding Clinton-Dix gives the team a fluid, aggressive safety who can cover plenty of ground quickly while playing center field. He'll ensure the big plays against this team are few and far between.
11. Tennessee Titans: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
The Titans are another team in need of some secondary help. Selecting Pryor here gives them a very reliable addition to the back end of the defense. Pryor is an aggressive player who can play center field, cover in the slot and contribute against the run up on the line of scrimmage.
12. New York Giants: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
After a rather disappointing offensive season in 2013, the Giants were in store for some major changes. It all starts up front. Increasing protection for Eli Manning is a must, and Matthews is a player who can help immediately. He is technically sound and has the experience necessary to take on a starting role during his rookie season.
13. St. Louis Rams: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Now that the Rams have grabbed the best wide receiver in the draft, they'll go ahead and take the best cornerback. Gilbert is a speedy corner with good size. He has the quickness to shadow the league's fastest receivers and the ball skills to create plenty of turnovers.
14. Chicago Bears: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Aaron Donald is a top-10 prospect and will be a steal if taken anywhere after that.— Ryan Riddle (@Ryan_Riddle) April 25, 2014
The Bears struggles against the run last season are widely documented. Adding Donald here really gets this defense back on the right track. An athletic tackle, the former Pitt Panther can stuff running lanes and knife into the backfield to disrupt both the run and the pass.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
After losing Emmanuel Sanders over the offseason, Pittsburgh is in need of a threat opposite Antonio Brown. Markus Wheaton is still highly unproven and may not be ready to take center stage. Beckham has all the tools to come in and contribute immediately. His speed will give the Steelers the deep threat, and catch-and-go receiver, the team needs.
16. Dallas Cowboys: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Dallas defense simply wasn't good in 2013. Things haven't gotten any better for this team after losing some key players in free agency. Help is needed immediately. Luckily, Ealy is ripe for the picking here. He's a dominant edge-rusher who is versatile enough to produce standing up in Dallas' defensive scheme.
17. Baltimore Ravens: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Baltimore did a great job shoring up its wide receiver corps with Steve Smith over the offseason. Now, it's time to bolster the offensive line. Lewan is an extremely athletic tackle who has the strength to hold up in pass protection and help revive the Ravens running game.
18. New York Jets: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
A thin cornerback corps and a struggling Dee Milliner sums up the Jets' secondary situation right now. A change is needed. Dennard is a physical corner who flourishes in man coverage. With the former Michigan State standout protecting one side of the field, Milliner will be afforded additional help on the other side.
19. Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
Ryan Tannehill made some huge strides last season. To keep his momentum going, Miami will need to strengthen its offensive line. Martin is a versatile player who handled himself well as a left tackle at Notre Dame, but also has the ability to play multiple positions across the offensive line.
20. Arizona Cardinals: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
I've said it once and I'll say it again. jason Verrett is the best CB in this draft.— Ryan Riddle (@Ryan_Riddle) April 25, 2014
Arizona already has a great amount of talent in its secondary; however, adding a player with Verrett's versatility will put this unit over the top. With the speed and agility to play either outside or in the slot, Verrett will give this team a secondary that has the firepower to contain even the most high-flying aerial assaults.
21. Green Bay Packers: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
The Packers need some immediate help at the linebacker position. Luckily, Mosley remains on the board at No. 21 overall. A fast and agile linebacker, Mosley can cover plenty of ground in a hurry. He'll give Green Bay the stability it was missing last season at this position.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Without DeSean Jackson in the fold, the Eagles risk taking a step backwards in 2014. Drafting Cooks here gives the team the deep threat it is currently lacking. Cooks has the versatility to not only stretch the field but serve as a catch-and-go receiver underneath. His skill set fits the Eagles' high-octane offense perfectly.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
The Chiefs risk entering the season with a severe lack of offensive weapons if this need isn't addressed early in the draft. Grabbing Amaro here not only gives Dwayne Bowe a complement but gives Alex Smith a great security blanket. Amaro's experience at Texas Tech will translate nicely to Andy Reid's offensive scheme.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Cincinnati needs a youth injection at the cornerback position, and they need it in a hurry. With Terence Newman and Adam Jones in their 30s, and Leon Hall struggling with injuries, this draft becomes critical in restocking the position. Roby showed glimpses of greatness at Ohio State. He'll come into a perfect scenario with the Bengals, as he doesn't have to contribute right away and can learn the ways of the NFL from some knowledgeable veterans.
25. San Diego Chargers: Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA
In 2013, Keenan Allen was a revelation and Philip Rivers was resurgent for this offense. Now, San Diego must add some protection to keep its offensive prowess intact. Su'a-Filo is stout in pass protection and very athletic when blocking for the run. He gives this line a huge upgrade on the interior.
26. Cleveland Browns (via Indianapolis Colts): Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
Adding weapons around a young quarterback is never a bad idea, and Robinson has the experience to become a factor early. This team needs a long-term complement for Josh Gordon on the outside. Robinson has the length and leaping ability to bring down contested balls and isn't afraid to make the tough catches over the middle.
27. New Orleans Saints: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
After losing some offensive weapons over the offseason, the Saints need to bring in some playmakers for Drew Brees. Lee demands attention whenever he's on the field. He will be a great rotational piece right away and eventually become the long-term replacement for Marques Colston.
28. Carolina Panthers: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
Watched more Kelvin Benjamin last night... His play speed > timed speed.— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) March 24, 2014
This offense will look very different in 2014 after losing Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn over the offseason. Benjamin is a huge target who can help move the chains and provide a big threat for Cam Newton in the red zone.
29. New England Patriots: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
The Patriots weren't fantastic against the run last season. Hageman has the strength and athleticism to right the ship in that department. He's also a versatile player who can move to defensive end in certain packages. Certainly, Bill Belichick will take full advantage of having Hageman's talents on his defense.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
San Francisco has one of the most dominant front sevens in the league. To keep it that way, it must continue to add young talent that fits the team's scheme. Nix is a true 3-4 defensive tackle. His girth and strength will allow him to flourish in the NFL in the same manner he did for the Fighting Irish.
31. Denver Broncos: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
The Broncos have made some offseason moves in attempt to increase the physicality of their defense. Adding Shazier will continue to strengthen that unit in the same manner. A smart player, Shazier is rarely out of position. He's a sure-tackler and natural leader who can use those attributes to help allow this defense to jell.
32. Seattle Seahawks: David Yankey, OG, Stanford
If the Seahawks have any glaring weaknesses, it's on the interior of the offensive line. This team needs to keep Russell Wilson clean, and adding Yankey will do just that. Yankey has plenty of starting experience, and he'll be able to start immediately. His addition will be a big boost for the reigning champions.