Just went over a few mocks looking for possible pathways to NE drafting Jordan or Watt without trading up. Greedy, I know, but we must maximize value, mustn't we, and I almost don't care who we draft as long as we get an excellent DE first. My sources: Banks/SI, Rang and Reuter from CBSSports, the NFL Blog draft from ESPN, and the four mocks at NFL.com. No mock had trades.
My findings? In the 3 mocks in which 3 QB were drafted prior to number 17, Watt or Jordan were available every time (Rang, the ESPN crew, and Don Banks). In the other 5 mocks, only 2 QB were drafted before 17, and Jordan or Watt was available in only 3 of 5.
Incidentally, Wilkerson and Heyward were available at 17 in every scenario, and some rate Heyward ahead of Jordan. Bowers was also frequently available at 17 but he seems slightly undersized for DE, not to mention his possible knee problem.
A key slot seems to be MIN's slot at 12; most of the mocks have them slotted to take a defensive front 7 player, which cuts into the supply; when they don't take Jordan, he's available to us. Two of the drafts have MIN taking the 3rd QB, in which case either Jordan or Watt is available.
Every one of these mocks has Cam Newton going first to CAR. I'm not sure that's the right idea for CAR, who just spent a second on a QB. Many have Blaine Gabbert going to BUF, about which I'm also not sure because of Fitzpatrick. And MIN gets to draft for Locker or Dalton as the third QB, which seems unlikely. Not to mention that the Hoodie is not reading this post.
1) If that 3rd QB goes, other teams like SD (which most mocks have going 34 DE or NT), TB, or NO might decide to trade up with us or ahead of us for Jordan or Watt.
2) We might need to get ahead of MIN, but no higher, if we want a chance at one of these guys.
3) Or we can certainly settle for Heyward, Bowers, or Wilkerson at 17. Or even Clayborn. I'd be happy with that although the value is not that high (e.g. Heyward is available at 28 in 6 of 8 drafts, Bowers tends to go to TB at 20, Wilkerson to BAL at 26 and even slips out of the first round twice).
Shades of the 2003 Ty Warren draft!