Prospect Watch: Top 21 NFL mock draft

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Prospect Watch: Top 21 NFL mock draft
December 7, 2013, 11:00 am
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From left to right: South Carolina's DE Jadeveon Clowney, Louisville's QB Teddy Bridgewater, Stanford's LB Trent Murphy. (USA Today Images)

The big news this week was Oregon QB Marcus Mariota's decision to return to Eugene for his redshirt junior season. Mariota was my top QB in the draft, so this came as a bit of a surprise. For the Eagles, it doesn't change much because even had Chip Kelly's former protege stayed in the draft, there's little to no chance he would have been able to move up high enough to draft him.

Here's an updated mock -- including when and where you can watch the prospect -- ending with the Eagles at No. 21. Draft order courtesy of Over the Cap. It does not take the playoffs into account since the season has yet to end.

1. Houston Texans -- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville, No. 5
There's going to be a new coach in town come 2014, and with that change will come a new signal caller. Bridgewater is an NFL-ready talent but doesn't wow me in any one particular area of his game.

2. St. Louis Rams (f/WSH) -- Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State, No. 4
Utah State vs. Fresno State, 10 p.m., CBS
This is a reach, but after watching more of Carr's games this season, he may be more physically talented than Bridgewater. The Rams must move on from Sam Bradford.

3. Atlanta Falcons -- Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina, No. 7
It'll be hard to find a better fit for need than this pick here. Atlanta's pass rush is non-existent, and Clowney is the most dynamic DE prospect since Mario Williams in 2006.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M, No. 75
What the Bucs need is an offensive playmaker, but without one worthy of this high a pick they opt for a bookend OT in Matthews.

5. Minnesota Vikings -- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson, No. 2
Without an obvious franchise QB available, the Vikes decide to grab Watkins to help a very one-dimensional offense get faster and more versatile.

6. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA, No. 11
If Gus Bradley wants to recreate what he had defensively in Seattle, selecting the pass-rushing star from Brentwood would be a great start.

7. Cleveland Browns -- Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo, No. 46
Another team desperate for a QB has to go in a different direction. The Browns' defense has made strides in 2013 but could still use a true pass-rusher to help its 3-4 alignment click.

8. Oakland Raiders -- Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M, No. 13
The Raiders have some nice complementary WRs but no true No. 1 target. Evans' size and speed make him a potential No. 1.

9. Buffalo Bills -- Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina, No. 85
With Evans and Watkins off the board, the Bills opt for the top TE in the draft to give their passing game a boost.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan, No. 77
It's going to be hard for the Steelers to continue patching together offensive lines every week and expect to win. Lewan isn't Jake Long or Joe Thomas, but he'll be a five-year starter on the left side.

11. New York Jets -- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M, No. 2
Oh boy, Johnny Football in the Big Apple. Maybe this is more a wish than anything else, but Rex Ryan needs a QB, and Manziel will certainly make Jets games must-see TV.

12. Tennessee Titans -- C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama, No. 32
Middle linebacker Colin McCarthy is too often hurt, and Moise Fokou is the backup. Mosley is versatile enough to play inside or out and closes on ball carriers as well as anyone I've seen this season.

13. San Diego Chargers -- Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama, No. 71
King Dunlap starts at LT. That should be all you have to say to justify selecting Kouandjio, who would bookend with fellow Tide-alum D.J. Fluker.

14. New York Giants -- Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon, No. 14
Prince Amukumara and Corey Webster are adequate, but neither are going to challenge the elite receivers of the NFL. Ekpre-Olomu has the size and speed to compete against the Dez Bryants and Pierre Garcons of the NFC East.

15. St. Louis Rams -- Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State, No. 1
Duke vs. Fresno State, 8 p.m., ABC
Tavon Austin is becoming more of a factor in the offense, but the Rams still lack a true No. 1 receiver. Benjamin, only a redshirt sophomore, is the closest thing college football has to a Calvin Johnson clone.

16. Green Bay Packers -- Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee, No. 74
Watching the Packers line get eaten alive by the Lions made me feel better about this selection. They need help early and often.

17. Chicago Bears -- Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State, No. 4
Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State, noon, ABC
Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings are free agents after this season, and while I'm sure the Bears will try to retain at least Tillman, they'd be smart to start restocking the cupboard.

18. Baltimore Ravens -- Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia, No. 78
Right tackle Michael Oher is a free agent after the season and there are doubts the Ravens will try to keep him. Baltimore will try to pair current LT Eugene Monroe with his fellow Cavalier.

19. Miami Dolphins -- Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor, No. 68
Texas vs. Baylor, 3:30 p.m., FOX
With the turmoil the Dolphins have experienced along the offensive line, reinforcements are needed. Richardson is a huge man who can really move.

20. Detroit Lions -- Marqise Lee, WR, USC, No. 9
The Lions need to find a complement to Calvin Johnson to take some heat off their star receiver. Lee may not have the size (6-0/195) to be a true No. 1 guy but is a perfect No. 2 to Megatron.  

21. Philadelphia Eagles -- Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford, No. 93
I'm sticking to my Trent Murphy selection despite the uptick in Trent Cole and Brandon Graham's production. Cole might be a salary cap victim after the season, and Graham will have to continue to produce to stay in Billy Davis' plans.

Murphy isn't quite the pass rusher Clemson's Vic Beasley is, but he's a much better all-around player. He's terrific against the run and can hold his own against RBs and TEs in coverage. He has the ideal size (6-6/260) for the position and is absolutely tough as nails. One of my favorite players in the draft.

See Murphy's highlights here.