After months of disagreement, Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. now have similar top 10s in their latest mock drafts. They agree on seven of the top 10 picks and two of the three players that they disagree on play the same position. So how do these players fit team needs and whatis the historical context for these picks?
Mel Kiper Jr/Todd McShay’s Top 10
Team need: The Texans went from eighth in total pressures in 2012 to 24th in 2013. Adding another edge rusher should allow J.J. Watt to again pressure opposing quarterbacks. Watt’s dropbacks disrupted (sacks + batted passes + interceptions) were cut in half last season as he recorded 10 fewer sacks and had 10 fewer batted passes than in 2012.
Clowney’s fit: Clowney recorded 10 fewer sacks in 2013 than in 2012, but he was still getting to the quarterback. Clowney averaged 2.2 pressures per game last season after averaging 2.3 per game in 2012.
Team need: The Rams’ top offensive line unit played only 295 of the team’s 968 snaps together last season (31 percent). Only three units played a lower percentage of their team’s snaps in the NFL last season.
Robinson’s fit: Robinson played all 26 games (started 25) in his final two seasons at Auburn. He was elite at setting the edge (Auburn averaged AQ-high nine yards per rush outside of left tackle) and should add some bulk to St. Louis’ run blocking.
Stat to Know: In 2013, the SEC had 12 first round picks, tying the record for the most first round picks by a conference (ACC, 2006). However, this would be the first year that the SEC had both the first and second players picked in the Common Draft Era.
Team need: Jacksonville’s wide receivers averaged a league-low 11.6 yards per reception, including just five yards after catch per reception.
Watkins fit: Watkins averaged 14.1 yards per reception at Clemson, including 9.4 yards after the catch per reception. He gained more yards after the catch than any player in the country last season.
Stat to Know: This will be the second straight season that a quarterback failed to be selected in the first three picks. A quarterback was a top-3 pick in the previous 12 drafts prior to 2013.
Team need: The Browns have ranked in the bottom 10 in Total QBR in each of the last six years. Only one Cleveland quarterback in the last 10 years threw at least 15 touchdowns in a season (Derek Anderson, 29 in 2007), something 23 quarterbacks did last year.
Manziel’s fit: Manziel led the nation in college Total QBR in 2012 and ranked third in 2013. He threw his 15th touchdown in his seventh game of the season last year at Texas A&M.
Stat to Know: This will be the second quarterback that Cleveland selected in the first round in the past three drafts (Brandon Weeden, 2012). There have only been two teams to select multiple quarterbacks in the first round in a three year span (Baltimore Colts ’82-’83 and Seattle Seahawks ’91-’93.)
Team need: The Raiders had a league-low 12 sacks with four or fewer pass rushers last season, 21 behind the league-leading Panthers. Fifteen teams had at least twice as many sacks with a standard pass rush as Oakland.
Mack’s fit: Mack recorded 10.5 of Buffalo’s 38 sacks last season. The Bulls recorded a sack on 9.1 percent of its opponents’ pass attempts, tied for fourth best in the FBS.
Stat to Know: Oakland’s last 10 first-round picks played a total of 18 games for the Raiders last season. Only two of those 10 players – D.J. Hayden and Darren McFadden - will be on the team next season.
Team need: Matt Ryan was pressured on an NFL-high 203 dropbacks last season.
Lewan’s/Matthew’s fit: If pass protection is what the Falcons are looking for, Matthews is more of a fit. Michigan’s quarterbacks were under duress on 26 percent of their dropbacks, the sixth-highest percentage of any team from an automatic-qualifying (AQ) conference.
Stat to Know: This would be just the second offensive lineman taken by the Falcons in the last 20 years.
Team need: Tampa Bay’s quarterbacks completed 51 percent of their passes when targeting their wide receivers, the second worst percentage in the NFL.
Evans' fit: Evans caught 66 percent of the passes that targeted him despite his average target depth coming 15 yards past the line of scrimmage.
Stat to Know: This would be the first time that a QB-WR duo from the same school was selected in the top 10 picks.
Team need: The Vikings have Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel still on the roster but neither appears to be a long-term option. Since 2009, neither ranks higher than 25th in Total QBR among qualified quarterbacks.
Bortles’ fit: Unlike Ponder or Cassel, Bortles brings athleticism when the play breaks down. When under duress, Bortles completed 51 percent of his passes last season (fourth among AQ QBs) and averaged nine yards per scramble.
Stat to Know: Bortles would be the highest player drafted from Central Florida and the first to be selected from UCF since Daunte Culpepper was selected 11th overall in 1999.
9. Buffalo Bills: OT Jake Matthews (Mel) or OT Taylor Lewan (Todd)
Team need: Bills quarterbacks were sacked a league-high 33 times when facing four or fewer pass rushers last season.
Lewan’s fit: Michigan’s quarterbacks were sacked 17 times when facing four or fewer pass rushers and 19 times against five or more rushers. They faced four or fewer rushes on 66 percent of their dropbacks.
Stat to Know: This would be the second straight season and fourth time in the Common Draft Era that at least three offensive tackles were selected in the first nine picks.
Team need: Lions receivers dropped a league-high 46 passes last season. The drops accounted for 7.5 percent of their total targets, also highest in the NFL.
Beckham Jr.’s/Ebron’s fit: Neither Beckham Jr. nor Ebron dropped more than five passes or more than five percent of their targets last season. Both players have the ability to line up in or out of the slot and make plays with the ball in their hand.
Stat to Know: If the Lions select a receiver, it will be the fifth time in the Common Draft Era that three wide receivers were picked in the top 10. The last instance came in 2005 when Braylon Edwards, Troy Williamson and Mike Williams were all top 10 picks.