The 2014 NFL Draft is a week away, so teams are putting the finishing touches on their draft boards and going through the possible scenarios that could occur on draft day.
Although it's impossible to fully prepare for the madness, the process of mocking how the draft could shake out is one of the most important exercises conducted in war rooms during the week of the draft. In these intense practice sessions, decision makers will consider all of the possibilities before selecting the player that represents the right fit and value at the pick.
With my peers running through this exercise in meeting rooms across the league, I thought it would be a good opportunity to unveil a four-round mock to see how the draft could shake out next weekend. Here's my take:
1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
A defensive front line featuring Clowney, J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus would catapult the Texans' defense to the top of the AFC.
2. St. Louis Rams: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Robinson is a dominant run blocker with the athleticism to quickly develop into a Pro Bowl-caliber offensive tackle on Sam Bradford's blindside.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Gus Bradley would welcome the energy and spectacular playmaking ability that Manziel would bring to Jacksonville.
4. Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Adding an explosive weapon such as Watkins to a lineup featuring Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron would make the Browns' offense downright scary to defend.
5. Oakland Raiders: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
Matt Schaub could regain his Pro Bowl form in 2014, which would allow the team to slowly develop Bortles for a key role down the road.
6. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Upgrading the protection around Matt Ryan is a priority for the Falcons after watching the franchise quarterback get pummeled in the pocket a season ago.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
The Mike Williams trade paves the way for the team to add Evans as a complement to Vincent Jackson in the passing game.
8. Minnesota Vikings: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
The Vikings would love to give Mike Zimmer a dynamic linebacker to incorporate into his aggressive scheme.
9. Buffalo Bills: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Giving EJ Manuel a dynamic weapon at tight end should help the young quarterback dramatically improve as a pocket passer in his second season.
10. Detroit Lions: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Dennard is a tough, gritty cover man with the instincts to thrive behind the Lions' dominant front line.
11. Tennessee Titans: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Ray Horton's success with Patrick Peterson in Arizona could prompt the Titans to add an athletic cover corner with exceptional ball skills.
12. New York Giants: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
The G-Men captured a pair of Super Bowl titles behind a dominant defensive line. Donald is the disruptive force the team needs to bolster a pass rush that could use an infusion of athleticism and talent on the interior.
13. St. Louis Rams: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
Gregg Williams' best defenses have always featured a disruptive safety in the middle of the field.
14. Chicago Bears: Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
Pryor is the forceful presence the Bears need to upgrade a secondary that has lacked a Pro Bowl-caliber safety for years.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Odell Beckham, WR, LSU
The Steelers need another playmaker on the perimeter to alleviate the pressure on Antonio Brown to carry the passing game.
16. Dallas Cowboys: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Barr would be a nice replacement for DeMarcus Ware off the edge.
17. Baltimore Ravens: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Ozzie Newsome is one of the best in the business at finding Pro Bowlers at every stage of the draft. Lewan would be the next in line, if he is available at this pick.
18. New York Jets: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Adding an explosive playmaker like Lee would help Geno Smith and Michael Vick become better playmakers from the pocket.
19. Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
Martin's versatility makes him an ideal fit for the Dolphins as a potential swing player along the line.
20. Arizona Cardinals: Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
Ford could serve as an apprentice for John Abraham before replacing the venerable veteran as the Cardinals' designated pass rusher.
21. Green Bay Packers: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Dom Capers would tap into Mosley's versatile skills as a three-down linebacker in the Packers' exotic 3-4 scheme.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Adding a long, rangy athlete like Fuller would help the Eagles employ aggressive bump-and-run tactics to slow down the elite receivers in the NFC East.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Andy Reid had success with DeSean Jackson in Philadelphia, so it's possible that he envisions Cooks adding a dynamic element to the Chiefs' passing game.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
Shazier is a disruptive defender capable of wreaking havoc off the edges as a designated pass rusher.
25. San Diego Chargers: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Roby's recent off-field transgression could plummet his stock on draft day, but the Chargers would have a tough time bypassing a potential lockdown corner.
26. Cleveland Browns: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
GM Ray Farmer would be comfortable taking a number of quarterback prospects with this pick. Bridgewater is the most pro-ready of them all, despite his slide on draft boards across the league.
27. New Orleans Saints: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Ealy isn't a polished player at this point, but he shows tremendous promise as a designated pass rusher.
28. Carolina Panthers: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
The departure of Jordan Gross could force GM Dave Gettleman to focus his efforts on finding a blind-side pass protector for Cam Newton.
29. New England Patriots: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
It's hard to find athletic defenders with Hageman's physical tools. Effort and desire are concerns, but Bill Belichick could take a chance on a "boom or bust" prospect with immense potential.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Verrett is arguably the top corner in the draft, but size concerns could make him available at the bottom of the first round.
31. Denver Broncos: Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA
After watching his offensive line bullied at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, John Fox insists on adding a beefy blocker with a nasty disposition.
32. Seattle Seahawks: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
The Seahawks overcame a patchwork offensive line to claim their first Super Bowl title. Moses would fill a huge void at right tackle as an athletic edge blocker ideally suited for a zone-based blocking scheme.
Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.