It took two weeks longer than usual this year, but draft day has finally arrived, which means it's time for our final 2014 NFL mock draft.
Important note: We aren't attempting to project trades in this mock, but have noted in the write-ups a few spots where a trade is a particularly strong possibility. And remember, this isn't an exact representation of our own draft board (for that, check out our Top 300 prospects list), but instead a look at the players we expect will be selected at each slot.
Here is our projection for every first-round pick, with analysis for each.
Analysis: Clowney has been the No. 1 player on my board throughout the entire draft process, and I think he's the likely choice for the Texans at No. 1 overall Thursday night. You can't rule out a trade here, but unless they get a great deal to move down (and possibly target UCF QB Blake Bortles), I think they'll stay put and take Clowney. He may not be an ideal scheme fit in a 3-4 defense, but he is athletic enough to drop into coverage when asked, and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel can find a way to make the most of Clowney's rare physical gifts and pass-rushing ability.
Analysis: I'm not buying the Rams' supposed interest in Johnny Manziel at the No. 2 spot; I think that they might just be looking for a team to swap picks so they can move down a few spots and still get the tackle they need. But if they stay put I think Robinson will be the choice here. Sammy Watkins would be tempting, given their need for a true No. 1 receiver, but they have to upgrade their offensive line and Robinson is the top-ranked tackle on my board. He is dominant at the point of attack and has the natural athleticism to develop into a very good pass protector.
Analysis: It's going to be a tough call for the Jaguars in this scenario, deciding between Mack and Clemson WR Sammy Watkins, who would fill a major need as a go-to weapon in the passing game. But I'm projecting the Jags will go with Mack, who would provide them with an every-down impact player on defense. He should be a good fit in their Leo hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker role given his pass-rushing ability, but even if that doesn't work out, he has the versatility to move to linebacker and still be a difference-maker for this team.
Analysis: I had slotted Johnny Manziel here in Monday's mock draft update, but it now seems more likely that the Browns will pass on a quarterback at No. 4 and instead take the fourth of this class' four elite players. In this scenario, that's Watkins, who would provide Cleveland with a dynamic playmaker opposite Josh Gordon and potential insurance in the event that Gordon is injured or deals with any more off-field issues. The Browns can look to take a QB later in the first round or in the second.