The NFL Draft is set to begin Thursday with the 32 selections to be made in the first round, and we got around to wondering: What if the NFL teams were able to choose only high school players? Which players would go to which teams?
The answer is not as simple as looking at the 247Sports.com
list of top recruits. For one, each team has specific needs. Secondly, the current mock drafts have teams basing their selections on the talent available at the college level. Wide receivers, cornerbacks and quarterbacks are readily available among the current crop of draft eligible players, but not so for the the high school Class of 2014.
In fact the Class of 2014 has very few quarterbacks ranked in 247Sports' top 100. Likewise, the group of wide receivers does not rank among the top talents on the list. Instead, defensive linemen and running backs fill up the top portion of the 247Sports Top 100.
And that creates another problem. Running backs are decidedly undervalued in the NFL Draft. In fact, no running backs are drafted in the first round of the majority of the mock drafts available online. Meanwhile, 247Sports has five running backs listed among its top 25 prospects, including No. 1 Leonard Fournette of St. Augustine.
Therefore, a mock NFL draft of high school football players has a much different look than the ones selecting players from the college ranks.
2014 NFL Mock High School Draft1. Houston Texans – Myles Garrett, Martin (Arlington, Texas) - Video
The Texans need a quarterback, but the quarterback class doesn't warrant taking one with the No. 1 overall pick. Instead, they go with a standout defensive end to pair with J.J. Watt. At times, Garrett was ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect in the Class of 2014.2. St. Louis Rams – Andrew Brown, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) - Video
The Rams would love to get a wide receiver here, but it's hard for them to pass up the quality defensive linemen that are available. They will have one of the best young defensive lines in the NFL with Brown, the Gatorade National Player of the Year, joining Chris Long and Robert Quinn.3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Speedy Noil, Karr (New Orleans) - Video
It might be a stretch to take a wide receiver this high, but the Jaguars are in dire need. Noil played quarterback as a senior, but he projects as a receiver at the next level.
4. Cleveland Browns – Cameron Robinson, West Monroe (La.) - Video
Yes, the Browns have, perhaps, the game's best offensive tackle in Joe Thomas. But they need to shore up the other side of the line. They get a good one in Robinson, who was ranked by some recruiting services as the top recruit in the country.5. Oakland Raiders – Kyle Allen, Desert Mountain (Scottsdale, Ariz.) - Video
While quarterbacks rank a little lower on the 247Sports recruit board, the Raiders desperately need a quarterback. Allen gives the Raiders a pro-style quarterback with good size (6-foot-3).6. Atlanta Falcons – Da'shawn Hand, Woodbridge (Woodbridge, Va.) - Video
The Falcons would like to get a pass rusher and Hand fits that mold nicely. He had 56 sacks in his career, including 16 as a senior.7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Malachi Dupre, Curtis (River Ridge, La.) - Video
The Buccaneers need a playmaker and Dupre was just that for Curtis. Although his numbers were down a bit as a senior, he averaged over 22 yards a catch with 15 touchdowns as a junior.8. Minnesota Vikings – Deshaun Watson, Gainesville (Ga.) - Video
The Vikings won't ever become a completely pass-happy team as long as Adrian Peterson is the featured running back. However, they need a quarterback who can give them some versatility. Watson can both run and pass the ball, giving Minnesota a quarterback who can run the read-option when necessary.9. Buffalo Bills – Ermon Lane, Homestead (Fla.) - Video
The Bills would like to get a tight end, but the highest-rated tight end on the 247Sports recruit list comes in at 100, making that grab too big a reach. Instead, the Bills will take a big strong receiver in the 6-3, 190-pound Lane.10. Detroit Lions – Jabrill Peppers, Paramus Catholic (N.J.) - Video
The Lions are delighted that Peppers is still around. A versatile player who shined on offense and defense during his high school days, Peppers will help shore up the Lions' secondary.
11. Tennessee Titans – Adoree' Jackson, Serra (Gardena, Calif.) - Video
The Titans would like a quarterback, but they need help at cornerback as well. Jackson can fill that need and also help out in the return game.12. New York Giants – Gerald Willis, Karr (New Orleans) - Video
The Giants need help in the middle of the defensive line and Willis is capable of helping in that department. His selection gives Karr two picks among the top 12 players in the draft.13. St. Louis Rams – Tony Brown, Ozen (Beaumont, Texas) - Video
The last name is the same, but the position is different. The Rams continue to work on the defense, adding a speedy cornerback in Tony Brown to go along with defensive tackle Andrew Brown, whom they selected with the No. 2 pick. 14. Chicago Bears – Quin Blanding, Bayside (Virginia Beach, Va.) - Video
The Bears once had a talented secondary that made loads of game-changing plays. That's no longer the case and they will take Blanding in hopes that they can change that trend.15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Marlon Humphrey, Hoover (Ala.) - Video
The Steelers need a cornerback and a wide receiver. There's better value at the top of the 247Sports list in the secondary so Pittsburgh will take Humphrey, whose father Bobby played in the NFL.16. Dallas Cowboys – Lorenzo Carter, Norcross (Ga.) - Video
With Demarcus Ware gone, the Cowboys need a pass rusher. Carter had 24 sacks and over 260 tackles his final two years at Norcross.17. Baltimore Ravens – Damian Prince, Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.) - Video
Although the Ravens traded for Eugene Monroe midway through last year, they could use some depth at tackle. Prince is a local player who could fit that need.18. New York Jets – Jalen Tabor, Friendship Collegiate Academy (Washington, D.C.) - Video
The Jets have been filling some of their needs through free agency (Michael Vick, Chris Johnson, et. al), but they could use a cornerback. Tabor is the highest-rated corner still on the board.19. Miami Dolphins – Kc McDermott, Palm Beach Central (Wellington, Fla.) - Video
The Dolphins need to rebuild the offensive line. They get a good one in local boy McDermott.20. Arizona Cardinals – Rashaan Evans, Auburn (Ala.) - Video
The Arizona defense is one of the best in the league, but the Cardinals continue to stock up on that side of the ball by selecting Evans at linebacker.21. Green Bay Packers – Raekwon McMillan, Liberty County (Hinesville, Ga.) - Video
The Packers ranked near the bottom of the NFL in defense last year, so adding a tackling machine like McMillan will help. He had 35 tackles for loss as a senior.
22. Philadelphia Eagles – KD Cannon, Mt. Pleasant (Texas) - Video
The Eagles need to replace the departed DeSean Jackson. They will bolster their receiving corps with the addition of Cannon, who caught over 240 passes for 3,800 yards and 52 touchdowns in his career.23. Kansas City Chiefs – Josh Malone, Station Camp (Gallatin, Tenn.) - Video
The Chiefs can use more offense to go with their stellar defense. Malone will give Alex Smith another target in the passing game.24. Cincinnati Bengals – Chad Thomas, Washington (Miami) - Video
The Bengals could use a pass-rushing defensive end/linebacker. Thomas was a defensive terror for national champion Booker T. Washington in 2013.25. San Diego Chargers – John Smith, Long Beach Poly (Calif.) - Video
Smith is an extremely versatile player who could help out at several positions in the secondary and perhaps be an emergency option on offense at wide receiver.26. Cleveland Browns – Travis Rudolph, Cardinal Newman (West Palm Beach, Fla.) - Video
The Browns stick with offense with their second pick of the first round and go after a wide receiver in Rudolph. Whoever quarterbacks the Browns will need someone to throw to.27. New Orleans Saints – Leonard Fournette, St. Augustine (New Orleans) - Video
The Saints would like to take a cornerback, but with hometown hero and No. 1 overall prospect Fournette still on the board, the Saints take the best athlete available.28. Carolina Panthers – Drake Harris, Christian (Grand Rapids, Mich.) - Video
Harris didn't play as a senior due to injury, but he could be a steal here after racking up over 2,000 yards receiving as a junior.29. New England Patriots – Christian Miller, Spring Valley (Columbia, S.C.) - Video
The Patriots would prefer to take a defensive tackle, but they can't pass on the talented Miller, who could give them a talented pass-rushing specialist. Miller had 24 sacks and 25 tackles for loss last year.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Malik McDowell, Southfield (Mich.)
The 49ers need a cornerback and a wide receiver, but Aldon Smith's unclear future makes defensive end a priority as well. They take a tall pass rusher in McDowell, who will intimidate quarterbacks with his 6-foot-7 build.31. Denver Broncos – Roderick Taylor, Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) - Video
The Broncos fill in a gap on the offensive line with the selection of Taylor, who will likely shift to guard at the next level.32. Seattle Seahawks – Damien Mama, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) - Video
Offensive line is a concern for the Super Bowl champions, so they will select Mama, who should become a stalwart at guard.