O'HARA'S MOCK 10 3.0: The "Free Agent Rearrangement Draft"

Posted Mar 17, 2014

Mike O'Hara updates his mock draft reflecting how the first week of free agency might change the first 10 picks in April's NFL Draft

Mock 10 3.0 is the “Free Agent Rearrangement Draft.”  It’s my updated mock draft based on how the first week of free agency might change the first 10 picks.

For the Houston Texans, who have the first pick, the answer’s easy: not much. They’ve been spectators and have the same needs as before free-agency started.

For the Lions sitting at No. 10, the answer isn’t as clear cut. Their key moves were to sign free-agent receiver Golden Tate and re-sign two key offensive players, tight end Brandon Pettigrew and running back Joique Bell. Long before that, they brought back center Dominic Raiola on a one-year contract.

Do the signings mean the Lions are out of the market for a receiver at No. 10? Don’t be so sure – either way.

Between Houston at No. 1 and the Lions at No. 10, there is a split in how active teams have been in the free agent market. Their actions, and what needs remain, should have some impact on who they draft.

My two previous mock drafts were based on different theories. Mock 10 1.0 was a dream scenario that would leave wide receiver Sammy Watkins on the board at No. 10.

My second stab was a consensus mock draft, based on the first 10 picks in 13 mock drafts conducted after the Combine. In that draft, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney got the most points and went to Houston with the No. 1 pick. Middle linebacker C.J. Mosley of Alabama was 10th in the points.

Based on the first wave of free-agent signings, here is Mock 10 3.0. As always feel free to disagree.

1. Houston Texans: The fact that they’ve been so quiet in free-agency could mean they think a change of coaches – Bill O’Brien in, Gary Kubiak out late in the season – was their most important move.

Projected pick: QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida. No matter how many scouts and analysts say this year’s QB class lacks a franchise player, the Texans need a change.

2. St. Louis Rams: They caught a break when offensive lineman Rodger Saffold agreed to terms with the Raiders, then flunked his physical and the deal was off. He signed back with the Rams. The Rams also have the 13th pick, which puts them in good position to trade down from No. 2 based on their need for more help on the offensive line and the depth at that position.

As Bob Seger would say, Hey Deeetroit!!! Trade up!!!

Projected pick: Stay put and take OT Greg Robinson of Auburn.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: They re-signed QB Chad Henne and brought in three defensive linemen and a guard. They also traded QB Blaine Gabbert, their first-round pick in 2011. That indicates some faith in Henne as the starter.

Projected pick: DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina. He’s the best prospect in the draft, and the Jags get a break when he’s still here.

4. Cleveland Browns: They upgraded the back seven by signing LB Karlos Dansby and S Donte Whitner. And they improved the offense by cutting two QBs – Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell. It’s addition by subtraction. All signs point to quarterback for a franchise that desperately needs a jolt of energy.

Projected pick: QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville. They have a second first-rounder from last year’s trade with Indy.

5. Oakland Raiders: There’s a reason they’ve gone 11 years without having a winning record. It’s bad management, as what some are calling the Saffold-Palooza shows. In 2007, they took flop QB JaMarcus Russell first overall, leaving Calvin Johnson on the board for the Lions at No. 2.

They shouldn’t pass the best receiver in this draft.

Projected pick: WR Sammy Watkinis, Clemson. It’s the right fit for a team in need – and makes so much sense that the Raiders probably won’t do it.

6. Atlanta Falcons: They used free-agency to help both lines, but there’s a question of whether the two defensive linemen they signed – Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai – are significant upgrades. They need a running back and a tight end, but it’s too early for a tight end and there isn’t a franchise back worth taking this high.

Projected pick: OT Tyler Lewan, Michigan. His stock has risen ahead of Jake Matthews of Texas A&M.

7. Tampa Bay Bucs: New head coach Lovie Smith’s plan for team-building is evident in how the Bucs are handling the offseason. In all of his NFL stops as an assistant or head coach, his teams have had veteran quarterbacks, some good, some average. Signing Josh McCown, whom Smith was familiar with from his tenure in Chicago, was further evidence of that. The Bucs spent big money on both lines and CB Alterraun when it was clear they would part ways with Darrelle Revis.

Projected pick: OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo. He’s the best player on the board.

8. Minnesota Vikings: They made good signings for the defense, and re-signed QB Matt Cassel. But they’ve also said they want to add a young QB. This is the place to do it.

Projected pick: In one website, four draft analysts had the Vikings taking a QB.  Two had Derek Carr. The other two had Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel. In other words, any quarterback available is better than what the Vikings have on their roster.

Mike EvansWR Mike Evans (Photo: AP Images)

Make it Texas A&M’s Manziel.

9. Buffalo Bills: Their signings have been patchwork – lost S Jairus Byrd to the Saints but re-signed Aaron Williams, a lesser player for a little less than half the money. The Bills can help E.J. Manuel, the QB they drafted last year, with this pick.

Projected pick: OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M, but TE Eric Ebron of North Carolina will get consideration.

10.   Detroit Lions: Adding Tate and keeping Pettigrew, Bell and Raiola in the offseason shouldn’t mean they forget the offense in the draft. Somewhere they need to add a safety, linebacker and young depth on both lines.

It doesn’t have to be done at No. 10,. Though. People seem to forget that there are six other rounds.

Projected pick: WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M.

My theory – hardly unique – is if it’s even, draft strictly for need. If it isn’t, and it fills a need, take the best prospect.

I wouldn’t gripe about taking Mosley over any cornerback or safety, but I’d take the best prospect here.

That makes it Evans.

For now.