Pushing the NFL draft back by two weeks meant more speculation, more uncertainty and, of course, more mock drafts this year.
And why not? We all eat this stuff up, right?
Below, you'll find the latest mock drafts from several experts (and one guy who lumped himself into that group) along with a breakdown of some of the more interesting picks and the latest buzz around this year's draft.
And yes, that buzz is starting to really crackle with the draft just a day away. Let's break it down.
Note: The mocks chosen for this article were updated this week, so some well-known draft analysts may have been left out.
|Pick||Team||Matt Miller (B/R)||Todd McShay (ESPN)||Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com)||Timothy Rapp (B/R)|
|1||Houston Texans||Jadeveon Clowney||Jadeveon Clowney||Jadeveon Clowney||Jadeveon Clowney|
|2||St. Louis Rams (via WAS)||Sammy Watkins||Greg Robinson||Greg Robinson||Greg Robinson|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||Teddy Bridgewater||Sammy Watkins||Khalil Mack||Khalil Mack|
|4||Cleveland Browns||Johnny Manziel||Johnny Manziel||Johnny Manziel||Johnny Manziel|
|5||Oakland Raiders||Greg Robinson||Khalil Mack||Sammy Watkins||Sammy Watkins|
|6||Atlanta Falcons||Khalil Mack||Jake Matthews||Taylor Lewan||Jake Matthews|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Mike Evans||Mike Evans||Mike Evans||Mike Evans|
|8||Minnesota Vikings||Blake Bortles||Blake Bortles||C.J. Mosley||Blake Bortles|
|9||Buffalo Bills||Jake Matthews||Taylor Lewan||Jake Matthews||Taylor Lewan|
|10||Detroit Lions||Justin Gilbert||Darqueze Dennard||Justin Gilbert||Justin Gilbert|
|11||Tennessee Titans||Anthony Barr||Justin Gilbert||Kyle Fuller||Anthony Barr|
|12||New York Giants||Eric Ebron||Aaron Donald||Zack Martin||Eric Ebron|
|13||St. Louis Rams||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||Odell Beckham||Calvin Pryor||Calvin Pryor|
|14||Chicago Bears||Aaron Donald||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||Aaron Donald||Aaron Donald|
|15||Pittsburgh Steelers||Taylor Lewan||Kyle Fuller||Darqueze Dennard||Darqueze Dennard|
|16||Dallas Cowboys||Kony Ealy||Zack Martin||Anthony Barr||Ra'Shede Hageman|
|17||Baltimore Ravens||Zack Martin||Eric Ebron||Eric Ebron||C.J. Mosley|
|18||New York Jets||Odell Beckham||Brandin Cooks||Odell Beckham||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix|
|19||Miami Dolphins||C.J. Mosley||Morgan Moses||Ryan Shazier||Zack Martin|
|20||Arizona Cardinals||Derek Carr||Ryan Shazier||Blake Bortles||Derek Carr|
|21||Green Bay Packers||Jimmie Ward||C.J. Mosley||Austin Seferian-Jenkins||Louis Nix III|
|22||Philadelphia Eagles||Dee Ford||Calvin Pryor||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||Odell Beckham Jr.|
|23||Kansas City Chiefs||Brandin Cooks||Marqise Lee||Brandin Cooks||Brandin Cooks|
|24||Cincinnat Bengals||Kyle Fuller||Jason Verrett||Bradley Roby||Kyle Fuller|
|25||San Diego Chargers||Darqueze Dennard||Anthony Barr||Jason Verrett||Timmy Jernigan|
|26||Cleveland Browns (via IND)||Cody Latimer||Cody Latimer||Marqise Lee||Cody Latimer|
|27||New Orleans Saints||Davante Adams||Dee Ford||Marcus Martin||Dee Ford|
|28||Carolina Panthers||Morgan Moses||Joel Bitonio||Morgan Moses||Marqise Lee|
|29||New England Patriots||Dominique Easley||Stephon Tuitt||Ra'Shede Hageman||Jace Amaro|
|30||San Francisco 49ers||Allen Robinson||Ra'Shede Hageman||Stanley Jean-Baptiste||Jason Verrett|
|31||Denver Broncos||Ryan Shazier||Xavier Su'a-Filo||Joel Bitonio||Ryan Shazier|
|32||Seattle Seahawks||Jason Verrett||Kony Ealy||Xavier Su'a-Filo||Allen Robinson|
Matt Miller's mock can be found here via Bleacher Report.
Todd McShay's mock can be found here via ESPN Insider (subscription required).
Daniel Jeremiah's mock can be found here via NFL.com.
Surprises, Storylines and Latest Buzz
The mystery of Teddy Bridgewater continues. While Miller thinks he should go at No. 3 to Jacksonville—and has him as his top overall player in this draft—many folks think he could drop out of the first round altogether.
The latest buzz puts him in Cleveland (though not at the pick you might think), per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com:
#Browns have also looked into trading up from No. 26 to draft Teddy Bridgewater, Ray Farmer's guy.— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) May 7, 2014
Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report thinks that interest is feigned, however:
In general, the quarterback position is a question mark, though interestingly enough, all of the above mockers (myself included) believe the Browns will select Johnny Manziel. The fact that Kyle Shanahan, the team's offensive coordinator, worked closely with Robert Griffin III in Washington makes Manziel an intriguing fit in Cleveland.
Of course, it's silly season, and rumors emerged on Wednesday that Manziel could possibly be selected by Jacksonville, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle:
Word's spreading among media here that Manziel is going to Jacksonville at 3.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) May 7, 2014
That could very well be true. The Jaguars could also be hoping that a team coveting Manziel will be willing to pay a steep price to jump ahead of the Browns to draft him. Who knows?
Meanwhile, the consensus in most mocks around the web is that Jadeveon Clowney will go No. 1 overall, but will he in fact be heading to Houston? It seems very possible a number of teams, most notably among them the Atlanta Falcons, could try to move up to that selection to draft the dynamic defensive end.
But if the Texans keep the pick, Clowney not only thinks he'll be selected there, but he's also excited by the prospect, per Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports:
Jadeveon Clowney said he knows nothing official but doesn't think he'll drop past Houston as No. 1 pick.— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) May 7, 2014
Clowney said if he gets to team up with JJ Watt then Andrew Luck, "better have his head on a swivel."— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) May 7, 2014
If the Texans indeed can't or decide not to move the pick go with Clowney at No. 1, what the St. Louis Rams do at No. 2 will shape the rest of Round 1 entirely. As usual with this team, don't be surprised if they trade out of the selection, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports points out:
Also, the Rams at 2nd overall open for business. ATL could go to 2nd pick for Mack. Further hurts HOU leverage. I still smell a trade— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) May 7, 2014
In general, it seems most folks consider Clowney, Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, Khalil Mack and Sammy Watkins to be the top five talents, in varying order. All five should be off the board in the first nine selections, at the very latest.
As you go down the board, two things become clear—this is a very deep draft, and people begin to really disagree on which players deserve to be in the first round. Matt Miller has Kony Ealy going in the top 16 picks, and not only does he have Jimmie Ward going ahead of Calvin Pryor, but he also dropped Pryor out of the first round entirely.
Both McShay and Jeremiah think offensive linemen like Morgan Moses and Joel Bitonio will crash the first round. Jeremiah also thinks the New Orleans Saints will go with a center in the first round, USC's Marcus Martin (he also like Moses in the first round), while thinking the San Francisco 49ers will go after intriguing corner Stanley Jean-Baptiste in the first round.
To be clear, none of these are "bad" picks; they just veer a bit away from what you might see in the majority of mocks around the web right now. The actual NFL draft has a habit of doing that, too, as every team evaluates its own needs and the upside of prospects differently.
The only certainty is, well, the uncertainty. It's going to be a very fun draft this year, that much is certain.