Twelve takeaways from Mike Mayock's mock draft


The 2014 NFL Draft has been the most unpredictable in recent memory, but that hasn't stopped NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock from taking a stab at prognostication with his freshly released mock draft.

How to watch the NFL draft
With the 2014 NFL Draft fast approaching, find out how to catch all the action from Radio City Music Hall on NFL Network.  More ...

Mayock's biggest surprise involves college football's marquee attraction of the past two years staying in his home state of Texas to star for America's Team. Following the lead of Around The League's Dan Hanzus, Mayock is not buying Jerry Jones' protestations to the contrary on Johnny Manziel as a first-round possibility.

If Mayock nails this one, Hanzus already has a head start on the screenwriting for America's long-awaited definitive football flick.

Here's what else stood out in Mayock's mock draft:

1. Mayock's is the first mock we've seen that has the Vikings selecting Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert at No. 8 overall. If that happens, it will be the second consecutive draft in which the Vikings select a press-man corner in the first round. Xavier Rhodes was drafted at No. 25 overall last April.

2. Around The League scribe and noted Browns backer Marc Sessler has threatened to jump off a building if Cleveland follows Mayock's script and drafts Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews at No. 4 overall. Stay away from the offensive line, Ray Farmer. Sessler has too many stories left to tell.

3. Last year was considered an anomaly with five offensive linemen going off the board in the first 10 picks. With Notre Dame's jack-of-all-trades Zack Martin ticketed to Buffalo at No. 9, Mayock has four linemen in his top 10. Mayock has been a huge fan of the fast-rising Martin since January.

4. Central Florida's Blake Bortles is the top quarterback on Mayock's list, surprisingly landing in Nashville with the Titans. Considering Ken Whisenhunt's success with an early-career Ben Roethlisberger -- often cited as a comp for Bortles -- it's a match that makes sense.

5. If the Jets and Eagles have designs on white-hot LSU wideout Odell Beckham -- as reported -- they will have to trade up, according to Mayock. The draft guru has the Rams gobbling up a playmaking first-round receiver for the second year in a row.

6. Mayock's pairing of the Jets and Brandin Cooks will come as no surprise to the Oregon State speedster.

7. Viewed as a top-five lock during the season, Anthony Barr has plummeted to the Cardinals at No. 20 overall. The athletic UCLA edge rusher would fill a need in Arizona, as leading sacker John Abraham turned 36 this week.

8. Ohio State's Ryan Shazier, the fastest linebacker we've seen since an early-career Brian Urlacher, would be a steal for the Packers at No. 21 overall.

Build your own mock draft:
Make your best guesses here for all 32 picks of the first round of the NFL Draft and you could win a trip to attend the 2014 NFL Kickoff game. Play now ...

9. Speaking of steals, Mayock has Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald sliding to the Bengals in the 24th spot. It's an interesting match, as Donald has been compared to Geno Atkins as an undersized interior lineman who succeeds with leverage as a pass rusher.

10. For those following Mayock's position rankings and Top 100 list over the past few weeks, it should come as no surprise that Teddy Bridgewater is slipping to the Browns near the end of the first round. General manager Ray Farmer is reportedly "enamored" of the Louisville quarterback.

11. The lone trade of Mayock's first round nets the Raiders their own face of the franchise in Fresno State's Derek Carr. If you're keeping score at home, that means four quarterbacks are going off the board in the first round.

The "Around The League Podcast" Draft Preview Spectacular is all you need before draft day.