- Todd McShay, Scouts Inc.
We're still three months away from the 2014 NFL draft, but there are plenty of intriguing draft questions already beginning to emerge. Who will go No. 1? How many quarterbacks will go in the first round? How will the Rams and Browns use their extra first-round picks?
We set out to answer those questions and plenty more with our second mock draft of the season, projecting all 32 first-round picks. Here's our latest prediction of how the draft could play out, based on team needs and how we currently rate the top prospects in the 2014 draft class.
As usual, draft-eligible nonseniors are denoted with an asterisk.
^ Indicates that Baltimore and Dallas will flip a coin to determine which team picks first.
Houston Texans (2-14)
COLLEGE: South Carolina
Analysis: Passing up on a quarterback here, particularly in-state product Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, might be a public relations nightmare, but that would pale in comparison to the nightmares the combination of Clowney and J.J. Watt would create for opposing offenses. Clowney's production dipped this season and his motor ran hot and cold as the season went on, but he is the most talented player in this class and possesses a rare blend of size, strength and athleticism, and Watt could help him develop his technique and discipline.
If the Texans do end up taking a QB, don't be surprised if it's UCF's Blake Bortles over Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater. For starters, while Manziel is more dynamic and Bridgewater is more polished, Bortles has the sturdiest frame, outstanding mental makeup, good accuracy -- both in the pocket and on the move -- and the proven ability to deliver in the clutch. Plus, Bill O'Brien was an assistant under Bortles' college coach, George O'Leary, at Georgia Tech, so that could provide O'Brien with the confidence to take Bortles if O'Leary gives him the full stamp of approval.
St. Louis Rams (7-9) (From WAS)
Analysis: The Rams could use a tackle, with Rodger Saffold and Chris Williams scheduled to become unrestricted free agents and Jake Long suffering a torn ACL and MCL toward the end of the 2013 season, and Robinson is the top one on our board (he's No. 2 overall behind Clowney). Robinson has the size and strength of a road-grading right tackle, but the athleticism, length and agility to develop into a star at left tackle. He was dominant at the point of attack for Auburn this season.