Of course September is way too early to put out a mock draft. Of course by the time the draft happens in May several of these players won't be first-round picks. Of course you're going to disagree with several of these picks. Of course, you're here. That's all the fun of mock drafts. So come, debate. Share your own in the comments. Let me know how silly it is for Jadeveon Clowney to drop to pick No. 3.
Before going crazy about the draft order (sorry and you're welcome), they were based on the initial SB Nation power rankings. The only change made was in the final two teams to put an AFC team into pick No. 31.
Expect a few mock drafts during the NFL season. Not every week. We'll start doing weekly mock drafts in December. We'll also be putting together a mock draft database to keep track of the perception of top players throughout the season. Is your favorite junior or redshirt sophomore missing from the mock? Let's just say he decided to return for another year as a student-athlete.
1. Oakland Raiders - Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Can Bridgewater turn a franchise around as easily as he flicks passes 30 yards down the field? We're going to find out unless he happens to falter in the miserable American Athletic Conference. When there is a highly rated quarterback, he goes first overall. If the Raiders finish with the first pick, that means the Terrelle Pryor experiment failed.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
If the Jaguars are drafting this high, they'll have a hard decision to make. It won't be about whether or not they should replace Blaine Gabbert. If he doesn't do anything this season, he should be out in Jacksonville. That would leave the Jaguars to choose between South Carolina pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney and the second-best quarterback. Currently, that's Boyd.
3. New York Jets - Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Although the Jets have used three straight first-round picks on defensive linemen, a player of Clowney's skill can't be passed over. Chances are if the Jets are picking this high, head coach Rex Ryan is out of a job. If the Jets brought in a coach who runs a 4-3 defense, imagine a front four of Clowney, Quinton Coples, Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson. Scary.
4. Buffalo Bills - Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
The choice for Buffalo in the first round next year could be between an offensive lineman and a defensive playmaker. In his first season as a linebacker at UCLA last season, Barr was second the nation in sacks with 13.5. He would add another wrinkle to the defense. Maybe Cordy Glenn could even develop into a good left tackle this season.
5. Tennessee Titans - Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
Three quarterbacks haven't been taken in the top five picks since 1999, but this should go to show how poor several teams are at the position. Jake Locker's contract runs through the 2014 season, but to this point, he hasn't shown he deserves to get re-upped. Hundley, who is just a redshirt sophomore, has the build and arm of a classic franchise quarterback.
6. Arizona Cardinals - Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
The Cardinals signed quarterback Carson Palmer to a three-year contract for a reason, so don't look for him to be a one-and-done player. Arizona is still trying Levi Brown at left tackle. He's just not suited for the position. Matthews is our top offensive tackle and may have been a top-10 pick had he come out this year. A future of Matthews and guard Jonathan Cooper on the left side is, if nothing else, reassuring.
7. San Diego Chargers - Marqise Lee, WR, Southern California
With quarterback Philip Rivers entering the back half of his career, the Chargers need to give him as many receiving weapons as possible. Although Vincent Brown, Malcom Floyd and Eddie Royal are all signed through at least the 2014 season and the team picked Keenan Allen in the third round, none are as good as Lee. That includes Floyd, who hasn't played a full season since 2009. Lee is an exceptional route runner with good hands.
8. Cleveland Browns - Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
The talent opposite Joe Haden in the Cleveland secondary has never been all that great. Buster Skrine's spot is playing the slot and third-round pick Leon McFadden may not have the talent to play outside on a consistent basis. Roby is the standout cornerback in the 2014 draft class, and could replace Haden if the Browns can't sign him following the 2014 season.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Let's assume that either Josh Freeman is brought back or the organization just really, really likes Mike Glennon (though his preseason should make them think otherwise). The Bucs look set on defense. The same can be said for running back and the wide receivers are good enough. This leaves it up to the offensive line, where the team has been not so great, and tight end. While top-10 tight ends are a rarity, so is Seferian-Jenkins' athleticism and upside. The Jimmy Graham comparisons are legit.
10. Miami Dolphins - Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
Both Paul Soliai and Randy Starks are free agents following the season. If either is let go, defensive tackle for the Dolphins becomes one of the biggest obvious needs in next year's draft. While Nix plays over the nose for Notre Dame's 3-4 defense, he's good enough to play a four-man front as well. He's a powerful tackle capable of pushing multiple blockers back into the pocket. An offensive tackle would get heavy consideration for this pick as well if the Dolphins didn't need bodies in the middle.
11. Philadelphia Eagles - Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
It would be easy to just plug in Oregon redshirt sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota thanks to his Chip Kelly connection and move on. The trouble for the Eagles is that they need talent on defense. Lots of it. While Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams were signed in the offseason, neither is the caliber of Verrett. A playmaking cornerback, Verrett's play in the secondary would help improve a shaky front seven. If a player like Nix or Barr happens to be available when the Eagles pick, they could go there. If not, a No. 1 cornerback is a nice option.
12. Minnesota Vikings - Aaron Lynch, DE, South Florida
Both Jared Allen and Brian Robison are entering free agency after this season, so the Vikings could be looking for a pass rusher. Unfortunately for the Vikings, it doesn't look like there will be a lot of 4-3 end prospects in the 2014 draft after Clowney. Lynch, who is just a redshirt sophomore, has the talent to emerge in his first season at South Florida. He showed as a freshman at Notre Dame that he has the burst to get around the corner and make plays.
13. Kansas City Chiefs - Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
Tyson Jackson hits free agency after the season, and the Chiefs could easily upgrade the defensive end position with a player like Tuitt. He came on last season as a force in Notre Dame's three-man front and had 12 sacks and forced three fumbles.
14. St. Louis Rams - Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
The Rams have several good pieces on defense – ends Chris Long and Robert Quinn, promising players in Michael Brockers and Alec Ogletree and a good group of cornerbacks. They could use another tackle next to Brockers to make the defense a real force. Sutton is a gap-shooting tackle, but he has enough functional strength to occupy space. The addition of Sutton would allow the Rams to get more pressure with a four-man front, allowing someone like Ogletree to drop back in coverage where he's more comfortable.
15. Carolina Panthers - Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
This is the part where I tell you that starting wide receiver Steve Smith will be 35 at the start of next season. Or that Brandon LaFell is an impending free agent. Or that the Panthers' offense needs playmakers. For all of those reasons, Watkins would be an ideal choice. Even better, come next May, he might just be the top wide receiver in the draft and a steal at this point.
16. Detroit Lions - Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
At this point in the mock draft, there are some offensive tackles slipping. Along with Lewan, they include Cyrus Kouandjio of Alabama and Antonio Richardson of Tennessee. Lewan gets the nod over Kouandjio because of his physical blocking style and length.
17. Dallas Cowboys - Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
In Monte Kiffin's defense, a good three-technique defensive tackle is key. The Cowboys really don't have a good one. Johnson looks to be the latest first-round defensive lineman from LSU. Johnson has a quick first step and the instincts to understand where a play is going to develop. A player like Sutton would be an even better fit, but Johnson is a nice consolation.
18. Chicago Bears - Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida
Starting cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman are both free agents after this season, and the Bears could be looking for young talent. Purifoy is one of the most athletic players for the 2014 draft and should see time on defense, offense and special teams for the Gators this season. At 6'1, Purifoy has the kind of size NFL teams are really starting to like in cornerbacks.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers - Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Most would probably think offensive line for the Steelers is as an area of need. Mike Adams has been shaky at left tackle, and a player like Richardson is available in this scenario. But the Steelers now use a zone blocking scheme and Richardson may not be a good match. Also consider that teams that run a zone scheme have had luck finding offensive linemen later in the draft. Instead, look for Pittsburgh to target a five-technique end. Brett Keisel and Ziggy Hood are both free agents. While Keisel may be brought back, his career is winding down. Hageman would fit nicely at end in Pittsburgh's scheme.
20. Indianapolis Colts - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
The Colts could be looking for a safety because Antoine Bethea is a free agent and there's not a lot to get excited about with LaRon Landry. Clinton-Dix looks like the best safety in the class. He has size at 6'1 and 208 pounds and pulled in five interceptions a year ago.
21. New York Giants - C.J. Mosley, MLB, Alabama
Linebackers who don't get a lot of sacks tend to drop some in the draft. That's fine for the Giants, who go by the book and take the best player available in Mosley. With his athleticism, Mosley is able to play middle or weakside linebacker. On a loaded Alabama defense, Mosley is its best player and captain.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) - David Yankey, G, Stanford
This is the final pick the Redskins gave up to take Robert Griffin III two years ago. The Rams would be wise to use it on a player like Yankey. He has experience starting at tackle and is now a powerful interior blocker for the Cardinal. He could start inside for the Rams but give them some insurance if left Jake Long gets injured.
23. New Orleans Saints - Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
The Saints have moved to a 3-4 defense but don't really have the pass-rushing linebacker for the scheme. The aggressive Mack would be the perfect fit. He can make plays all over the field, and can capably drop back in coverage. The issue with Mack could be whether or not he'll last this long in the first round.
24. Cincinnati Bengals - Adrian Hubbard, OLB, Alabama
James Harrison might retire after the season, and if not he's only signed through 2014. The Bengals could get a jump start on his replacement by taking a high-upside outside linebacker like Hubbard. He developed as the 2012 season went along and should be even better this year. He even has the size to play with his hand in the dirt, if needed.
25. Baltimore Ravens - Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
Michael Oher, an impending free agent, doesn't look like the future answer at left tackle where the aging Bryant McKinnie now starts. Not only could Richardson be the team's left tackle of the future, he is another best player available choice.
26. Houston Texans - Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
After the second round of the draft this year, word came out that the Texans were hot after linebacker Arthur Brown. But the Ravens took Brown just ahead of the Texans, who now start Joe Mays next to Brian Cushing. Shazier is technically an outside linebacker at Ohio State, but that's in name only. He does a lot of the same things for the Buckeyes that Brown did at Kansas State. He's a fast, active linebacker with good instincts.
27. New England Patriots - Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
Who better to replace Aaron Hernandez with than a player who does the exact same stuff at Oregon? (Insert your own character and/or prison quip here.) Lyerla can make plays from a variety of spots on the field from fullback to outside. He's not much of a blocker, but that's something he could learn.
28. Atlanta Falcons -
James Hurst, OT, North Carolina Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
If you read the first iteration of this mock draft, it had North Carolina's James Hurst on this pick. That's because, like a dummy, I forgot about Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio. In the rough draft, I moved Kouandjio off two picks and forgot to work him back in.
ANYWAY, it's hard to guess if Lamar Holmes is the future at right tackle for the Falcons. If he's not, Atlanta could be in trouble. There are some questions about Kouandjio's foot speed, so he may be better suited for the right side in the NFL. He's a strong, technically sound blocker.
29. Green Bay Packers - Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee
Current nose tackle Ryan Pickett is a free agent after the season. Even if he's brought back, it could be a short-term deal. The hulking McCullers is mostly a developmental prospect, but has the size to be a real force over the center. He can occupy multiple blockers and pushes the pocket really well. He's only going to get better as this season progresses.
30. Seattle Seahawks - Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Yes, it's true the Seahawks did just add Percy Harvin, Golden Tate is finally emerging and they have Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin. But it's Rice's contract that makes you wonder if the Seahawks will cut him loose after the season. That decision will be considerably easier to make if he's injured again. Matthews would fit in nicely in one of the outside receiver spots. He's a big target and has good hands.
31. Denver Broncos - Christian Jones, OLB, Florida State
Jones' talent may be too great to pass up at this point in the first round. He's a big athlete with experience playing the strong and weak side at Florida State, and he can put his hand in the ground as an end. Jones' versatility would let the Broncos move Von Miller around and give them an upgrade over someone like Danny Trevathan.
32. San Francisco 49ers - Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
The 49ers are arguably the most talented team in the NFL, but there are some holes that could develop in the secondary. Namely, Tarell Brown is set for free agency and Carlos Rogers could be released after the year if he doesn't take a pay cut. And if nothing else, good secondary depth is always nice. Ekpre-Olomu is the best cornerback left and this is about where he should get drafted.