2014 NFL Mock Draft: Clowning Behind Clowney

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

A quartet of mock drafts, one from ESPN, two from CBS Sports columnists and one from NFL.com, all have Jadeveon Clowney going #1 overall. That would make for a very interesting situation for the St. Louis Rams at #2.

There's a consensus forming that Jadeveon Clowney will be the #1 overall pick.

Four mock drafts, one from yesterday and the other three out today, all have the South Carolina defensive end leading off: Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com), Todd McShay (ESPN - insider sub required), Dane Brugler (CBS Sports) and Will Brinson (CBS Sports). Perhaps more remarkable is the conventional wisdom that the Rams would then select Auburn OT Greg Robinson at #2, despite the longest hashtag ever, #JeffFisherDontTakeNoFirstRoundTacklesFool.

It's not outside of possibility. Here's what the three had to say about Robinson:


I think the Rams will trade out of this spot, but if they are stuck then Robinson would provide a physical element to their offensive line.


If Clowney goes No. 1, I think this pick will come down to Robinson or Clemson WR Sammy Watkins. I'm going with Robinson because the Rams need to keep QB Sam Bradford upright (especially given the pass-rushers they'll see in the NFC West), and because I have Robinson rated as the slightly better player. But I could see how St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher might lean in Watkins' direction. You need playmakers to offset the defensive backs in that division, and historically, Fisher does not spend high picks on offensive linemen. If Clowney drops, he's definitely in play here, or the Rams could get a lucrative offer to trade back.


Yes, the Rams brought back Rodger Saffold, but with his injury history and Jake Long coming off a serious injury, Robinson is still a strong possibility here. At the end of the day, I think St. Louis trades out of his pick, but if they stay at No. 2, I like the Auburn tackle here.

Credit to Brinson for not just nodding at the possibility (likelihood?) of a trade at 2. He's orchestrated a move for the Detroit Lions to move up to #2 to take Sammy Watkins, a connection that is much more than just conjecture with all the contact the Lions have had with and around him recently. Jeremiah himself backed the idea, although he didn't implement it in his mock. Brinson has us moving down to the Lions pick at #10 overall and picking up their 2nd round pick, but I expect it would cost a bit more than that for Detroit.

Remember, Dallas moved up eight spots to #6 and ceded their 2nd rounder to us leaving us at 14 to take Michael Brockers. I'd be surprised if Detroit is allowed to take a similar deal (move up eight spots, only give up a 2nd) to get the 2nd overall pick instead of the sixth. Of course it's not only about the pick but the player, but I'd be hard pressed to believe that in this hypothetical situation that Detroit wouldn't be willing to give up more to get Sammy Watkins than Dallas was for Morris Claiborne if they're so committed.

In any case, Brinson has the Rams at 10 taking Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews:

Everything's coming up Snead! Not only did the Rams pick up an extra second-round pick, but they managed to get a player they covet. Jeff Fisher coached Matthews HOF dad and he gets to make his first-ever, first-round offensive lineman pick. No better time than the present.

That would be a trio of Rams whose fathers were very successful pros in Matthews, Chris Long and T.J. McDonald. Family ties and all. Notice the other three mocks had Matthews gone by 10, so the volatility of mocks right now even as we're exactly four weeks away is incredibly high.

On to 13, and again, three of these mocks have the Rams locked in on a single prospect; the fourth picks his college teammate. The agreed upon prospect is, yet again, Alabama safety Ha'Sean Clinton Dix.


Clinton-Dix would put up big numbers roaming the middle of the field in this defense.


The Rams needs to continue and build the secondary with young, talented players and with TJ McDonald slotted for strong safety, Clinton-Dix would be an attractive option at free safety.


Maybe the Rams are just fine with Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Brian Quick, Austin Pettis and Kenny Britt. They can't be fine with the safety combo of TJ McDonald and Rodney McLeod though. Dix is a day one starter who will impact an already impressive secondary.

I doubt this is the last time we see HHCD headed to St. Louis in a mock. As for McShay, he's got a different defender from the Crimson Tide being selected at 13: OLB C.J. Mosley.

With the Rams having added a tackle in Greg Robinson with the No. 2 overall pick -- and there not being any great values at pass-catcher at this point in the draft order -- they can address a need and add another very good player by taking Mosley. The only concern with Mosley is his health, as he was banged up quite a bit during his Alabama career. But he possesses upper-echelon range versus the run with good change-of-direction ability and burst, and he is a disciplined, tough and relentless playmaker.

Of course this assumes the coaching staff is eager to play three linebackers with some frequency. James Laurinaitis and Alec Ogletree are mainstays of this defense for 2014, so it comes down to philosophy. And bear in mind, in weeks 14 & 15, JoLonn Dunbar was playing about ⅓ of the defensive sets. In the last two weeks of the season, it was about ⅔ of the defensive snaps. Put it like this: if the Rams do take an OLB in the first few rounds, it's a clear suggestion that they want to play more 4-3 shells.

McShay and Brugler dip into day 2 with second round picks in their mocks, the former springing the Rams for Washington St. safety Deone Bucannon:

I would have liked to have gotten a big-play receiver for the Rams here, but the best available WRs are more of the possession type. Plus, Bucannon fills a need and has a higher grade.

Brugler had this to say about mocking the Rams to pick Indiana WR Cody Latimer:

St. Louis has a bevy of average targets (Austin Pettis, Brian Quick, Chris Givens), but Lattimer has scouts giddy about his potential.

Latimer's getting a lot of love lately. If the uptick in hype/stock is real, I wouldn't be surprised if he's not around when the Rams are back on the podium in the second round. He might even creep into the 1st with many of those late 1st round playoff teams with needs for a WR.

In all, we're less than a month to the draft and there's still no certainty as to what the Rams will do.

Stay tuned.

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