Because I wanted to have fun with it, here is what I would do throughout the first round of the NFL Draft if I ran every team. This is not a mock draft. I don’t know what any of these teams think about any player and I mostly don’t care.
1. Houston Texans
TRADE! The Texans deal the first pick to the Oakland Raiders for free ferry transportation to and from Alcatraz and a box of autographed Jose Canseco photographs.
1. OAKLAND RAIDERS select Jadeveon Clowney.
Why? Because I’ve been an unmitigated disaster as GM in Oakland and a gutsy move like this would at least enable me to put my stamp on the organization. If I come out of this draft with a potential All Pro DE and my chosen quarterback at the top of the second round, I’ll be smiling Monday morning and perhaps buy myself an additional year in charge to develop the young talents.
2. ST. LOUIS RAMS (from Washington Redskins) select Greg Robinson.
Why? Because I would think the Rams are close and I don’t think Johnny Manziel could survive four games against the Niners and Seahawks in his rookie campaign. Bradford might not be my guy long-term but I believe I can win with him if my offensive line matches the strength of my defensive line.
3. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS select Khalil Mack.
Why? Because I hired Gus Bradley to build the Seahawks defense in Jacksonville and I don’t believe in this theory that a flashy-named QB sells tickets. Winning sells tickets. We’re not winning anything this year. I’m giving my head coach the best toy available and seeing what he does with it.
4. Cleveland Browns
TRADE! The Browns deal the fourth pick to the Buffalo Bills for wings from the Anchor.
4. BUFFALO BILLS select Sammy Watkins.
Why? Because I have a solid group on defense and need playmakers. Watkins is the best playmaker in this draft and a perfect compliment to Robert Woods, who looked like a budding star a year ago in Buffalo. I’ve decided to build the fastest team in my division and take my chances.
5. HOUSTON TEXANS (from Oakland Raiders) select John Pigskin.
Why? Because it’s just the Texas thing to do and there are few coaches in the league better suited to Manziel’s molding and demeanor than Bill O’Brien. And because I’ve gotten a nice package for the first overall selection, the risk is mitigated.
6. ATLANTA FALCONS select Eric Ebron.
Why? I wanted Clowney. I wanted Mack. I’ve got neither. I’m spending my fifteen minutes on the phone trying to deal back but nobody is offering me anything. What do I do? Put my emotions in the desk drawer and exercise prudence. Eric Ebron is the best tight end in this draft by a wide mile and I need to replace the greatest tight end to ever suit up.
7. TAMPA BAY BUCS select Mike Evans.
Why? Because I’m paying Josh McCown to be the starter in 2014 and I saw his production in 2013 with big, physical targets on the outside.
8. MINNESOTA VIKINGS select Aaron Donald.
Why? Because my coach Mike Zimmer walked into my office and told me he needed a push from the middle of his defensive front and Donald is the best interior pass rusher on the board. Pairing him with Linval Joseph will give us one of the most improved units in the league on day one.
9. CLEVELAND BROWNS (From Buffalo Bills) select Anthony Barr.
Why? Because I don’t want to reach for a wide receiver and I’m content with my offensive line. There’s a quarterback I like but the 26th pick affords me the ability to take Barr – a player who not too long ago was being debated with Clowney as the top defender in the draft.
10. DETROIT LIONS select Odell Beckham.
Why? Because I don’t care who I draft at corner, it’s not going to do much towards stopping the passing games of Chicago and Green Bay. I need a player opposite Calvin Johnson to keep my quarterback from continually tossing jump balls forty yards down the field in a desperate attempt to complete a pass.
11. TENNESSEE TITANS select Justin Gilbert.
Why? Because Bucky Brooks nailed it. Ray Horton sees a lot of Patrick Peterson in Gilbert and we’ve got to beat Andrew Luck to make the postseason.
12. NEW YORK GIANTS select Jake Matthews.
Why? Because we struck gold a year ago with Justin Pugh and we’re ready to give him the mainstage at left tackle. Adding Matthews, who has Giants written all over him, would give us bookends along the offensive line for the next decade and allow Eli the time he lacked throughout 2013.
13. ST. LOUIS RAMS select Marqise Lee.
Why? Because my coach Jeff Fisher has been telling me about Lee – who attended his alma mater – for a year. Last year we added Austin. This year we took a shot on Britt. If we hit with Lee, we’ve got a dynamic, versatile receiving corps.
14. Chicago Bears.
TRADE! The Bears trade the 14th pick to the New York Jets for the 18th pick, hot dogs from Rutt’s Hut in Clifton, NJ and tickets to Book of Mormon.
14. NEW YORK JETS select Brandin Cooks.
Why? We had four wide receivers rated as elite on our board and weren’t willing to risk losing out on all four in the first round. Cooks is not only a terrific talent but he’s arguable the best person in this draft and that’s something we want more of in our locker room. Why did we make the trade? We know Pittsburgh had their eyes on him.
15. PITTSBURGH STEELERS select Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix.
Why? Because we know Troy is nearing the end of his illustrious career and we know to get back to the Super Bowl – our only goal – we need to cover those boys Peyton is throwing the ball to.
16. DALLAS COWBOYS select Kony Ealy.
Why? We debated Darqueze Dennard, the best player on our board. But corner is the only position on our defensive roster that doesn’t make us vomit in our mouths. So we targeted the best pass rusher available to replace Ware.
17. BALTIMORE RAVENS select Darqueze Dennard.
Why? We don’t panic on draft day. Dennard is a wonderful talent who plays the physical football we want to play. Didn’t take us ninety seconds to get this one in.
18. CHICAGO BEARS (From New York Jets) select Calvin Pryor.
Why? Once Aaron Donald was off the board we set our sights squarely on the the safety position. The fact that we were able to secure Pryor, our top safety, while gaining more picks means we’ve had our ideal Thursday night.
19. MIAMI DOLPHINS select Zack Martin.
Why? We need offensive linemen who are not complete lunatics.
20. ARIZONA CARDINALS select Blake Bortles.
Why? We are looking to the future at the position and we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to bring in the guy Bruce liked most of this quarterbacking class. Carson is our guy for at least 2014. But we’ll get Blake ready pretty quickly.
21. GREEN BAY PACKERS select Louis Nix.
Why? There are comparisons to Vince Wilfork and if you have the chance to grab the next Vince Wilfork, you pull the trigger. And with B.J. Raji only signing on for the next year, there will be a serious need in the middle of our defensive line.
22. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES select Ryan Shazier.
Why? Chip preaches speed in every element of the game and we couldn’t pass on a defender with this much speed, versatility.
23. Kansas City Chiefs.
TRADE! The Chiefs move back a few places by sending the 23rd pick to New Orleans in exchange for a few dozen boxes of muffaletta from Napoleon House.
23. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS select Dee Ford.
Why? We sensed the Bengals would be looking to add a pass rusher so we made our move for the last of our true first-round edge talents. Our biggest issue has been winning big games on the road and we attribute that to an inability to rush the quarterback outdoors. Ford is a big piece to solving that puzzle.
24. CINCINNATI BENGALS select Bradley Roby.
Why? Get the corner.
25. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS select Kyle Fuller.
Why? Get the corner.
26. CLEVELAND BROWNS (from Indianapolis Colts) select Derek Carr.
Why? This was our guy for months. And we got him. He’s not going to be anointed the starter but we love our quarterback room with Carr and Hoyer in it.
27. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (From New Orleans) select Kelvin Benjamin.
Why? He reminds us of Alshon Jeffery with his freakish size and we’re desperate to add playmakers on the outside.
28. CAROLINA PANTHERS select Taylor Lewan.
Why? Because the wide receivers are flying off the board and our starting corps on day one is Underwood, Avant and Cotchery we thought we had to go WR. But Lewan is far too much value to pass up at a severe position of need.
29. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS select Carlos Hyde.
Why? Because Stevan Ridley fumbles too much and we weren’t willing to commit financial resources to Blount on a long-term basis. But we’re recommitted to the run in recent years and that requires a bruising back like Hyde.
30. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS select Deone Bucannon.
Why? We see Bucannon as the heir apparent to Whitner at the back of our defense and while we were looking at receivers here the value has dwindled as they’ve vacated the board.
31. Denver Broncos.
TRADE! The Broncos deal the 31st overall pick to the Chicago Bears for a private party for 15-20 people at the Green Mill Lounge and one yearly, two-week stay in the presidential suite at The Drake for a decade.
31. CHICAGO BEARS select Ra’Shede Hageman.
Why? We found our safety earlier in the round and saw an opportunity to get a starter at defensive tackle so we made the move. We gave up a few later picks but we think it’ll prove far worth it.
32. Seattle Seahawks
TRADE! The Seahawks dump out of the first round and let their old buddy Gus Bradley back in for two dozen tickets to the 2015 Player’s Championship.
32. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS select Teddy Bridgewater.
Why? We saw no reason to wait until Friday and risk someone jumping ahead of us when our quarterback of the future was right in front of us.