2014 NFL Draft: Preseason Mock Draft

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2014 NFL Mock Draft

NFL Draft
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

It may seem like the 2014 NFL Draft is a long time from now, but if the NFL draft is what you do, the countdown is on. Breaking down prospects, scouting players and analyzing NFL team needs is a full time proposition if you want to do it right. One exercise that is a part of that is the mock draft. Obviously, at this point there is no set order to the selections and the players who will be in the draft is up in the air.

This draft order was determined by taking a sort of power ranking. The bottom 10 teams, a middle 10 teams and a top-12 teams. These rankings are subjective and just based on my personal rankings. I then took each group and selected teams purely at random. These updates will be done monthly, so as the season progresses and NFL games are in full swing, a better picture of the draft order will emerge.

In this first edition, we see a pretty typical distribution of positions. The marquee positions are all well represented. Multiple quarterbacks, offensive tackles, cornerbacks and pass rushers are spread from top to bottom in the first round.

So, let’s take a look at the premier projection for the 2014 NFL draft, and be sure to keep checking back here at Rant Sports all season long for the best in NFL draft coverage. From mock drafts to player breakdowns, we are giving you everything you want for the draft from top to bottom.

Curt covers the NFL draft for Rant Sports. Connect with Curt on Twitter @nfldraftboard and on Google+.

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1-Oakland Raiders-Jadeveon Clowney, DE South Carolina

NFL Draft
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As badly as the Raiders may need a quarterback, Clowney is just too talented to pass up. Clowney's potential is as high as any defensive end to come out in the past 10 years and will be a fixture on the Raiders defensive front.

Jadeveon Clowney scouting snapshot.

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2-Jacksonville Jaguars-Teddy Bridgewater, QB Louisville

NFL Draft
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars passed on a top quarterback last year, but I can't see how they would two years in a row, especially with a player as talented as Bridgewater on the board.

Teddy Bridgewater scouting snapshot.

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3-New York Jets-Marqise Lee, WR USC

NFL Draft
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets made strides to the future last year drafting a quarterback, so this year they add a serious weapon in the passing game with Lee. He's the most complete and explosive receiver in this draft and would be the best receiver on the Jets roster from the second he was drafted.

Marqise Lee scouting snapshot.

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4-Cleveland Browns-Bradley Roby, CB Ohio State

NFL Draft
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The Browns are building a new, athletic and young defense and Roby -- a local favorite -- would give the Browns a very dynamic secondary. Obviously, Roby could slide if his off field stuff isn't resolved, but if he can keep on the straight and narrow, he has the talent to be a top-five pick.

Bradley Roby scouting snapshot.

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5-Arizona Cardinals-Tajh Boyd, QB Clemson

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Daniel Shirley-USA TODAY Sports

For all the moves the Cardinals have made, they still haven't properly addressed the quarterback position -- unless you consider Carson Palmer the answer. Boyd is a dynamic, exciting and a leader on the field who is fearless and wants to make every play. He'll make some mistakes, but he'll also make some incredible plays. Boyd has a high ceiling and if he can continue to develop this season, he should find himself in mix for the top half of the first round.

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6-Kansas City Chiefs-Anthony Barr, LB UCLA

NFL Draft
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs are building a very nice young team, and adding Barr would be a great addition. Barr is an explosive pass rusher at the outside linebacker spot and would be excellent as part of a rotation with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.

Anthony Barr scouting snaphsot.

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7-San Diego Chargers-Taylor Lewan, OT Michigan

NFL Draft
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers continue to have problems along the offensive line. Lewan is a tremendous prospect who plays with a physical, aggressive nature and elite technique. Lewan would be a huge upgrade at left tackle.

Taylor Lewan scouting snapshot.

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8-Tennessee Titans-Jason Verrett, CB TCU

NFL Draft
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The re-build of the Titans' defense continues with the addition of Verrett, who is the type of physical, hard-working player the Titans' staff love, and if he can run well enough in the offseason, he could end up the first cornerback off the board.

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9-Buffalo Bills-Aaron Lynch, DE USF

NFL Draft
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

It might be a reach to have Lynch in the top 10 at this point, but he has all the physical potential of any defensive end in this draft. He's got ideal size and athleticism, plays with excellent technique and an aggressive style. If he can put together the season we all expect, he is all but a lock for a top-10 pick.

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10-Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Louchiez Purifoy, CB Florida

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Purifoy is an interesting case, because while he is one of the most athletic players in the entire draft, his real position in the NFL is up in the air. If he remains at cornerback this season, he could be one of the best in the country, but if he splits time at wide receiver, it's hard to say how he'll be viewed by the league. The Buccaneers take a chance here that they can put him cornerback and have a 10-year starter.

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11-Carolina Panthers-Jake Matthews, OT Texas A&M

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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

By the time the NFL draft gets here, I expect Matthews to be graded much higher than this draft slot. If he should slip to 11, the Panthers would snatch him up in a second as the best player on the board. Matthews is moving to left tackle this year and if he makes the transition cleanly, he will be coveted as a top prospect.

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12-Philadelphia Eagles-Adrian Hubbard, DE Alabama

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Hubbard is one of my breakout players for the year. He showed flashes last season, and if he can continue to develop would be a great addition to the Eagles defense. The Eagles nearly pulled the trigger on defensive end Dion Jordan in 2013, so Hubbard makes sense as he is a similar type of player.

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13-Detroit Lions-Seantrel Henderson, OT Miami

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Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Who the third-best offensive tackle in this draft is remains a mystery, so for this exercise, I am putting Henderson and has overwhelming potential in that spot. He doesn't always play like an elite prospect, but when he does, he's hard to find fault with. The Lions need to continue to build on the offense line and the massive Henderson would help.

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14-Dallas Cowboys-David Fales, QB San Jose State

NFL Draft
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Tony Romo can't play forever and with so many questions about just how far he can take this team, the Cowboys make a move in drafting Fales. I'd consider this a bit early for a player like Fales, but as a developmental player, it's a sound pick and would be looking to the future of the Cowboys franchise.

David Fales scouting snapshot.

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15-Minnesota Vikings-Scott Crichton, DE Oregon State

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Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

If the Vikings choose to let defensive end Jared Allen walk at the end of the season, his production will be missed. Crichton is a big, physical defensive end who can defend the run and turn the corner as a pass rusher. He's not a finished product, but a safe pick that would fill a need for the Vikings here.

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16-St. Louis Rams(From Washington)-Louis Nix III, DE Notre Dame

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams continue to struggle to stop teams on defense. The middle of the defense in particular needs to add a physical element and Nix is as big and physical as it gets. An excellent one-technique to pair with defensive tackle Michael Brockers, as he can stuff the run and rush the passer.

Louis Nix III scouting snapshot.

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17-Indianapolis Colts-Stephon Tuitt, DE Notre Dame

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Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts add Tuitt here to continue to build their 3-4 defense. Tuitt has ideal size for the five-technique defensive end and is a nice value pick here.

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18-Chicago Bears-Cyrus Kouandjio, OT Alabama

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Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears go back-to-back first round offensive linemen in an attempt to upgrade from some poor picks in recent drafts. Kouandijo has a ton of potential and is a true left tackle prospect for the Bears and would give them flexibility with their personnel.

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19-Pittsburgh Steelers-Trent Murphy, DE Stanford

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Jason Watson-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers have made some mistakes with their first-round picks when it comes to defensive ends. Murphy is an interesting player because he's not quite big enough to start at end now, but has the frame to carry the extra weight easily and could be a sub-package player at end or outside linebacker in the meantime.

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20-Miami Dolphins-Kyle Van Noy, LB BYU

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Van Noy slides a little in this scenario, mainly due to other talented players, but make no mistake he can play. He'd be an excellent linebacker behind Pro-Bowl pass-rusher Cameron Wake.

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21-New York Giants-C.J. Mosley, LB Alabama

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Mosley is the type of player who looks like he can play any linebacker spot at a high level, so the Giants will be able to find a spot for him. He could even transition to a full time defensive end to replace players who will be leaving soon.

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22-St. Louis Rams-Hasean Clinton-Dix, S Alabama

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Eileen Hass-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams use their second first round pick to continue to upgrade their defense with Clinton-Dix. He'd be an excellent pairing with fellow safety T.J. McDonald for years to come.

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23-New Orleans Saints-Khalil Mack, LB Buffalo

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If you haven't heard of Mack yet, just wait. The Saints are building a 3-4 defense and Mack has the look of a great 3-4 rush outside linebacker.

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24-Cincinnati Bengals-Jackson Jeffcoat, LB Texas

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Chris Hanwinckle-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals signed linebacker James Harrison, but he is a stop gap at best. Jeffcoat is returning from an injury, but assuming he's healthy, would be a nice value pick at this point.

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25-Atlanta Falcons-Kareen Martin, DE North Carolina

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons don't have any pressing needs, so adding Martin, who's potential is greater than his play at this point is a smart pick.

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26-Denver Broncos-Christian Jones, LB FSU

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The run on pass rushers put the Broncos in a spot to instead upgrade their inside linebacker position. Jones is a great athlete and incredibly productive player and should wow teams with his measureables.

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27-Baltimore Ravens-Cameron Irving, OT FSU

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Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

I said last year Irving was the best offensive lineman the Seminoles had and I stick by that. The Ravens front office do a great job identifying the best player on the board and at this point, Irving would be that guy.

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28. Seattle Seahawks-Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State

Cary Edmundson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks pride themselves on a physical, attacking defense, so adding Sutton who can really get after the football from the inside or outside makes perfect sense at this point in the round.

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29-New England Patriots-Ra'Shede Hageman, DT Minnesota

NFL Draft
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hageman is another player who is a little off the radar, but it won't take long before he's a household name with his combination of size and speed. The Patriots love players who can move around the defensive front and Hageman can be that type of player.

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30-Green Bay Packers-Sammy Watkins, WR Clemson

NFL Draft
Daniel Shirley-USA TODAY Sports

Watkins slides in this scenario mainly due to character concerns and lack of need. Watkins game is based on speed and he's got plenty of it. If he can repeat his freshman year, he'll be long gone before this pick, but another season like his sophomore one and he could slide out of the first round completely.

Sammy Watkins scouting snapshot.

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31-Houston Texans-Brett Hundley, QB UCLA

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Texans must look to the future of the quarterback position. There is too much talent on this team to be held back by mediocre quarterback play. Hundley is an incredible prospect who just needs some time to develop fully as a passer, but would be a great value pick here.

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32-San Francisco 49ers-Aaron Colvin, DB Oklahoma

NFL Draft
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers tried to upgrade their defensive secondary in the 2013 offseason, so you have to think they will look to address it in the 2014 NFL draft. Colvin is an underrated player who can work in at safety or nickel cornerback.