|Jadeveon Clowney is the consensus No. 1 pick, at least in the eyes of two NFL Media analysts.|
There's a long way to go before the 2014 NFL Draft -- about 16 weeks -- but it's never too early to start mock drafts. In that vein, NFL Media analysts Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah unveil their first mock drafts today.
They agree on the No. 1 pick: South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to new coach Bill O'Brien and the Houston Texans.
They also agree on the No. 4 pick: Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel to Cleveland, which still is searching for a new coach.
Clowney and Manziel are among the 21 underclassmen in Brooks' first round and among the 20 in Jeremiah's.
After those two picks, there isn't that much agreement from the two.
Let's take a closer look:
1. Great minds don't always think alike
Brooks and Jeremiah agree at just two other spots: Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan at No. 14 to Chicago and Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin at No. 19 to Miami. There are some who believe Martin is best-suited for guard at the next level.
2. Great QB class? Really?
Brooks has quarterbacks going third, fourth and fifth: Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater at No. 3 to Jacksonville, Manziel at No. 4 to Cleveland and UCF's Blake Bortles at No. 5 to Oakland. (Brooks also has Cleveland taking wide receiver Mike Evans, Manziel's favorite target at A&M, with the 26th pick.)
Jeremiah has three quarterbacks in the top eight: Manziel at No. 4, Bridgewater at No. 5 to Oakland and Bortles at No. 8 to Minnesota.
Bridgewater has been mentioned as a possible overall No. 1 pick for months, but Jeremiah obviously doesn't even have him as the top quarterback. And what about the idea that the first round of the 2014 draft would be filled with quarterbacks? The aforementioned trio are the only quarterbacks that either analyst has going in the first round. Fresno State's Derek Carr didn't make the first-round cut for either analyst.
3. Strong year for receivers
The position of choice instead? It's wide receiver. Jeremiah has seven going in the first round, Brooks six. They agree that Clemson's Sammy Watkins will be the first one off the board; Jeremiah has him going at No. 2 to St. Louis and Brooks has him going 16th to Baltimore. The other first-round agreements are on Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin, Texas A&M's Evans and USC's Marqise Lee. Jeremiah also has Fresno State's Davante Adams, LSU's Jarvis Landry and Colorado's Paul Richardson going in the first round. Brooks has LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. and Oregon State's Brandin Cooks as his other first-rounders.
4. Tackles in demand
Jeremiah has six first-round offensive tackles, while Brooks has four. Both have Auburn's Greg Robinson as the first one off the board. Brooks has him going second to St. Louis and Jeremiah has him going sixth to Atlanta. They also have three others in the same order: Texas A&M's Jake Matthews, Michigan's Taylor Lewan and Notre Dame's Martin. Jeremiah also has Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio and Virginia's Morgan Moses as first-rounders.
Lewan was seen as a potential top-10 guy following his junior season. He returned for his senior season and is out of the top 10 for both analysts. Brooks has him 12th and Jeremiah 13th.
5. Lone positional reps
Brooks has Arkansas center Travis Swanson going 31st and Jeremiah has Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde going 26th. They are the only players at those two positions that either analyst projects to go in the first round.
Neither analyst has a guard going in the first round.
6. Not in agreement
Other player outliers (other than the tackles and wide receivers we already have discussed): Brooks has Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby, Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier, Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt and TCU cornerback Jason Verrett pegged as first-rounders, while Jeremiah doesn't. Conversely, Jeremiah has Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro and Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner in the first round, and Brooks doesn't.
7. Barr and Mack in top 10
Both analysts have two outside linebackers in the top 10: UCLA's Anthony Barr and Buffalo's Khalil Mack. Brooks has Barr going sixth to the Falcons and Mack eighth to the Vikings; Jeremiah has Barr third to the Jaguars and Mack seventh to the Buccaneers.
Mack set an NCAA career record with 16 forced fumbles and is tied for first in NCAA history with 75 tackles for loss; he is tied with former Western Michigan defensive end Jason Babin, who started for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season. Mack also had 28.5 career sacks.
Barr remains somewhat raw as a defender because he has played just two seasons as a full-time linebacker. But his athleticism is tremendous, and his pass-rush skills should get even better once he learns even more nuances of the position.
8. Gilbert's stock is high
Gilbert had seven interceptions this season and took two back for scores. He is fast and has good size (6-foot, 200 pounds). He also has a high ceiling as a return man; he had six career kickoff returns for TDs at Oklahoma State.
9. Safety first
Both analysts have two safeties in the first round, but in a different order. Brooks has Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at 11th to the Titans and Louisville's Calvin Pryor 22nd to the Eagles. Jeremiah has Pryor 17th to the Cowboys and Clinton-Dix 21st to the Packers.
Both are Florida natives and both run well. Clinton-Dix missed two games while suspended but still finished fourth on the team with 51 tackles. Pryor is a big hitter who forced eight fumbles in his career, and he also had seven career picks.
10. Ebron is consensus top tight end
Ebron has good size (6-foot-4, 245 pounds), is physical and could run as fast as a 4.5-second 40-yard dash when tested. He can get deep but also is a willing blocker. He led UNC with 62 receptions this season and had three 100-yard games.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.