Eight days. That’s how long remains until the NFL Draft is finally upon us, an event that was pushed back two weeks this year, but feels like it’s two months late.
Soon, all of the pre-draft nonsense will be over. The Scouting Combine will be in the rearview mirror. There won’t be any more pro days or private workouts. And the rumor mill will close up shop. Finally, teams will be on the clock and making picks.
Who will each team take? Based on the latest information, the editors at cover32 have put together version 3.0 of their first-round mock draft. Here’s how they see things unfolding on May 8:
1. ATLANTA FALCONS (Acquired from Houston)
Jadeveon Clowney (DE | South Carolina) – Two weeks ago, the Falcons were intrigued by Clowney. At this point, they are infatuated with him, which is why Atlanta is rumored to be offering a first and second this year, plus next year’s first-round pick and possibly even more.
2. DETROIT LIONS (Acquired from St. Louis)
Khalil Mack (LB | Buffalo) – The Lions have some very promising pieces on paper, the ingredients necessary to have a good defense. Adding a player like Mack, to go along with the likes of Ndamukong Suh, would give Detroit a potentially scary defense.
3. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Sammy Watkins (WR | Clemson) – Since Justin Blackmon can’t seem to stay out of trouble, the Jaguars remain in need of a big-play wide receiver. Watkins fills that void, providing whoever plays quarterback in Jacksonville with a No. 1 target.
4. CLEVELAND BROWNS
Johnny Manziel (QB | Texas A&M) – The Browns have a very talented roster, one loaded with Pro Bowl-caliber players. They simply need a signal caller. So look for Cleveland to go all-in, taking the gamble on the most-polarizing player in this year’s draft.
5. OAKLAND RAIDERS
Greg Robinson (OT | Auburn) – The Raiders have added a ton of free-agent pieces this offseason, including Matt Schaub (QB), Maurice Jones-Drew (RB) and James Jones (WR) to help their offense. Now, they want to get better up front to help those guys shine.
6. HOUSTON TEXANS (Acquired from Atlanta)
Teddy Bridgewater (QB | Louisville) – By trading out of the No. 1 slot, the Texans get the pressure taken off of them, allowing them to pick the QB they like instead of the hometown favorite (Manziel). They like Bridgewater’s film, ignoring his weak pro day.
7. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Mike Evans (WR | Texas A&M) – The Bucs spent most of their offseason attention rebuilding Lovie Smith’s defense. Now, they’ll add a player who can help newly acquired quarterback Josh McCown, giving Tampa Bay a dynamic receiver duo when paired with Vincent Jackson.
8. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Blake Bortles (QB | Central Florida) – While the glaring need in Minnesota is at quarterback, many didn’t see them going that direction in the first round. But, that’s mainly because Minnesota doesn’t love Teddy Bridgewater. If Bortles falls to No. 8, they’ll grab him.