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Fresh Perspective Mock: Wave of Wideouts

Luke Hoover

Luke Hoover has covered fantasy football for since 2011 and is most proud of recommending Victor Cruz as a starter in his breakout game against the Eagles. He's a lifelong fan of Notre Dame, the Packers and, unfortunately, the Knicks.

- CLE trades No. 4 and 2014 4th round pick to STL for No. 2
- HOU trades No. 33 and 2014 3rd round pick to KC for No. 23 and 2014 5th round pick

1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney*, DE, South Carolina (6-5, 275)

Pairing Clowney with J.J. Watt could result in the scariest pass rushing duo in league history if the mercurial Clowney lives up to his immense potential. Coming off a year that saw Houston tally just 32 sacks, Clowney’s talent would be a very useful addition.

2. Cleveland Browns (from WAS via STL) – Teddy Bridgewater*, QB, Louisville (6-3, 205)

The Browns aren’t about to risk losing their guy to an equally QB-needy Jacksonville, so they deal up to pounce on the best pocket passer in the draft.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA (6-4, 250)

The Jaguars have not finished with more than 31 sacks in a season since 2007 and have been dead last multiple times. They are desperate for a difference maker defensively, someone who can disrupt opposing backfields and make life easier on their offense. With length, speed and a high ceiling, Barr fits that mold.

4. St. Louis Rams (from CLE) – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (6-5, 305)

The Rams add a fourth rounder and still get their left tackle of the future. Few are doing it better than GM Les Snead and Jeff Fisher in recent drafts.

5. Oakland Raiders – Johnny Manziel*, QB, Texas A&M (6-0, 215)

Mark Davis will at the bare minimum bring excitement back to “The Black Hole” by pegging Manziel as the face of the franchise. The former Heisman’s improvisational flare may make the AFC West the most watchable division in football in 2014.

6. Atlanta Falcons – Greg Robinson*, OT, Auburn (6-5, 320)

The defense needs improvement at every level, but the franchise is under center and no team gave up more combined sacks, hits and hurries than Atlanta.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sammy Watkins*, WR, Clemson (6-1, 205)

Vincent Jackson is 31 years old and Mike Williams – who’s coming off an injury-plagued year – is the only other wide receiver on the team with more than 30 catches in a single season. Watkins will provide a turbo boost to Jeff Tedford’s offense.

8. Minnesota Vikings – C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama (6-2, 230)

A defensive-minded head coach in Mike Zimmer goes with the new quarterback of his defense instead of landing competition for Josh Freeman or Christian Ponder in Round 1.

9. Buffalo Bills – Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo (6-3, 245)

As badly as Buffalo needs to surround EJ Manuel with upgraded weaponry, the Bills cannot pass on this hometown hero. Mack was a backfield terror with 75 tackles for loss and 16 forced fumbles in his career, the latter an NCAA record. A Bills defense that ranked second in sacks in 2013 could emerge as dominant unit in the coming years.

10. Detroit Lions – Marqise Lee*, WR, USC (6-0, 195)

Although the Lions have been searching for a standout corner for years, Matthew Stafford is desperate for a complimentary target to pair with Calvin Johnson. With Lee’s smooth route running, soft hands and explosiveness after the catch, Detroit’s offense could be among the best.

11. Tennessee Titans – Timmy Jernigan*, 3-4 DE, Florida State (6-2, 300)

With the addition of Ray Horton as defensive coordinator, a switch to the 3-4 is likely. It’s no matter for this pick, as Jernigan’s elite quickness will allow him to excel as a penetrating 5-technique end, similar to the role Darnell Dockett played when Horton was in Arizona.

12. New York Giants – Stephon Tuitt*, DE, Notre Dame (6-6, 310)

Justin Tuck’s Giant days are likely over, and even if they’re not, adding the second best pass rusher to come out of Notre Dame since the G-Men captain himself makes sense in the long run, as Tuitt can play both inside and out in Perry Fewell’s 4-3 defense.

13. St. Louis Rams – Kelvin Benjamin*, WR, Florida State (6-5, 235)

A behemoth receiver with speed, the Rams invest more heavily in Sam Bradford by giving him a target even Richard Sherman will struggle to press.

14. Chicago Bears – Louis Nix*, DT, Notre Dame (6-2, 345)

A unique blend of tremendous size and quickness, Nix should go a long way towards improving a unit ranked last in sacks and run defense.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan (6-7, 310)

Ben Roethlisberger play all 16 games last year for the first time since 2008. If the Steelers want him to repeat that feat and keep Pittsburgh in playoff contention down the stretch run of his career they’ll need better protection for his blindside. The long and strong Lewan could make a great bodyguard.

16. Baltimore Ravens – Mike Evans*, WR, Texas A&M (6-5, 225)

With Anquan Boldin gone, Dennis Pitta out most of the year and Ray Rice banged up the Ravens offense spent 2013 playing in quicksand. Joe Flacco needs weapons desperately and Evans can immediately step into a chain-moving role that should free up Torrey Smith to make more big plays.

17. Dallas Cowboys – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix*, S, Alabama (6-1, 210)

The Cowboys finished dead last in yards allowed due largely to an injury-plagued defensive line and weak secondary play. Simply staying healthy could shore up the front, but adding a rangy, playmaking safety like Clinton-Dix is a necessity to improve the back end.

18. New York Jets – Eric Ebron*, TE, North Carolina (6-4, 245)

To even give Geno Smith a legitimate evaluation the Jets must put some weapons around him first. The comparisons of Ebron to a young Vernon Davis are not fair, but he will certainly open the offense with his combination of ball skills and athleticism.

19. Miami Dolphins – Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame (6-4, 305)

With both Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito needing to be replaced from a line that allowed the league’s most sacks, adding the versatile former Notre Dame captain will provide the Dolphins with a gritty Martin that can handle whatever is thrown at him.

20. Arizona Cardinals – Cyrus Kouandjio*, OT, Alabama (6-5, 310)

When Carson Palmer played well last year Arizona was awfully tough to beat. Keeping him upright (he was sacked 41 times) is priority number one entering Year 2 of the Bruce Arians era.

21. Green Bay Packers – RaShede Hageman, 3-4 DE, Minnesota (6-6, 310)

Free agency could make Green Bay dangerously inexperienced along a defensive line that saw a steep drop off in play over the second half of 2013. This monstrous athlete should help Datone Jones and Jerel Worthy usher in a new era for the Pack front seven.

22. Philadelphia Eagles – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State (6-0, 200)

No team allowed more passing yards in 2013 than Philadelphia. Adding Gilbert gives them a supremely athletic ballhawk in the back end to make sure that is not repeated.

23. Houston Texans (via Chiefs) – Blake Bortles*, QB, UCF (6-3, 230)

Though none of the teams left in the first round have a quarterback need, the Texans cannot risk Jacksonville or Minnesota leap frogging them to get their guy. Bortles will have growing pains, but he’ll step into an offense that has Andre Johnson and Arian Foster to lean on.

24. Cincinnati Bengals – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State (5-11, 200)

The Cincinnati secondary is a mess of aging veterans or injury-plagued talents and is the clear weakness of an otherwise gifted defensive group. Dennard, with his physicality and bulldog toughness, could be their top guy from Day 1.

25. San Diego Chargers – Louchiez Purifoy*, CB, Florida (6-0, 190)

San Diego allowed 8.0 yards per attempt and finished 29th against the pass in large part because of mediocre cover men. Purifoy provides an upgrade to face Peyton Manning and his toys.

26. Cleveland Browns – Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State (6-0, 235)

One of the best ways to support a rookie quarterback is with a strong run game. Keeping this Buckeye in state provides Cleveland with a deceptively quick, smashmouth runner that could be this class’ Eddie Lacy.

27. New Orleans Saints – Jaco Amaro*, TE, Texas Tech (6-5, 260)

Sean Payton is all about creating matchup headaches. Slotting Amaro opposite Jimmy Graham will turn defenses’ headaches into blinding, crippling migraines.

28. Carolina Panthers – Davante Adams*, WR, Fresno State (6-2, 220

With the defense fully loaded it’s about time to start stocking Cam Newton’s arsenal. There could be plenty of worse places to start than with a size-speed blend with naturally soft hands who happened to lead the FBS in catches (131) and touchdowns (24) in 2013.

29. New England Patriots – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh (6-1, 290)

Though Donald cannot fill space like Vince Wilfork, his athleticism and non-stop motor will be a welcome sight for New England fans that had to endure an embarrassingly thin defensive tackle rotation in 2013.

30. San Francisco 49ers – Allen Robinson*, WR, Penn State (6-3, 210)

Robinson is tough, physical and talented. In other words, he fits the Jim Harbaugh mold to a T. Michael Crabtree’s injury last year proved how dangerously thin the Niners’ receiving corps is and, with Anquan Boldin a free agent, bolstering this unit is crucial.

31. Denver Broncos – Kony Ealy*, DE, Missouri (6-5, 275)

Von Miller will be working his way back from an ACL and the Broncos never replaced the production that Elvis Dumervil took to Baltimore. Like Malik Jackson, Ealy can contribute inside or out on Denver’s line.

32. Seattle Seahawks – Odell Beckham*, WR, LSU (5-11, 195)

With Golden Tate a free agent and serious injury concerns for both Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, the latter of whom could easily be a cap casualty, a speedy playmaker like Beckham looks like an awfully attractive value in this receiver-stocked draft class.