2014 NFL Mock Draft: Early Look at the Top 10 Picks
Mocking the Top 10 Picks of the 2014 NFL Draft
Yes, it’s only October and the 2014 NFL Draft is still seven months away.
That doesn’t mean that it’s too early for a mock draft. Trust me – it’s never too early for a mock draft.
Mock drafts are a way of gauging where college football’s top talents are in terms of stock as the 2013 season matures. It’s also just exciting to imagine where some of the nation’s best will land and how they’ll fit with a particular team. No matter what way you decide to look at it, there’s a reason why mock drafts are so popular throughout the year.
Can you see top passer Teddy Bridgewater under center for the Jacksonville Jaguars? Or Jadeveon Clowney wearing the black and gold of the Pittsburgh Steelers? Maybe we’ll see Johnny Manziel scrambling for an electrifying touchdown while donning the purple and gold of the Minnesota Vikings… There are just so many ways for the draft to play out, and that’s what makes it so great.
So here’s where we are. This is my first look at the 2014 NFL Draft and what the first 10 picks could look like based on the first few weeks of both the NFL and college football seasons. The order of the teams picking is based on their current records, with teams with identical records separated based on how bad they’ve looked on the field on their way to that record.
With that in mind, here we go with my first glimpse at the Top 10 picks of the 2014 NFL Draft.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Teddy Bridgewater
As intriguing as Clowney may be, the Jaguars can’t continue to pretend that Blaine Gabbert is a serviceable quarterback. Jacksonville needs a talented passer under center, and Bridgewater is the best option in the 2014 class. With a phenomenal arm, plenty of intelligence and the athleticism to extend plays, Bridgewater would bring a dynamic element to the Jaguars’ offense they haven’t seen in years.
2. New York Giants – DE Jadeveon Clowney
Despite the questions regarding his commitment to football and intangibles, there’s no denying that Clowney is an elite talent. When he flips the switch, there’s not an offensive lineman in college who can slow him down. Once he gets paid, he’ll be the dominant player we all know he’s capable of. The Giants have always focused on fielding an outstanding pass rush, and Clowney would be a welcomed addition.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers – OT Jake Matthews
The Steelers were so desperate at left tackle that they recently traded for Levi Brown, a former first-round pick and current bust. A big part of why their offense has been so ineffective in 2013 is due to their lack of blocking, and they will look to change that in 2014. By adding Matthews to the mix, they’ll get arguably the best tackle of the 2014 class and one of the top blockers in recent draft history.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – QB Brett Hundley
If the Buccaneers are still in position to draft in the Top 5 when May rolls around, then the gamble to start rookie Mike Glennon clearly didn’t pay off and Greg Schiano is likely out of a job. If that’s the case, Tampa Bay will need a new quarterback to hang their future hopes on. Hundley is one of the top young passers in the nation and brings excitement factor to the position that NFL teams are desperate for.
5. Atlanta Falcons – OLB Anthony Barr
Injuries have exposed the Falcons’ linebacking corps this season. Kroy Biermann is done for the year and Sean Witherspoon might not be back until the end of the year, and which point it might not even be worth the risk. The Atlanta defense has been exposed so far in 2013, and improvements need to be made if they’re going to get back to contending for the NFC South crown in 2014. Barr would be a huge upgrade.
6. Carolina Panthers – WR Marqise Lee
Year after year, the Panthers fail to provide Cam Newton with reliable weapons in the passing game. With Ron Rivera likely gone by season’s end, though, that trend can change. Arguably the most physical gifted wide receiver of the 2014 class, Lee would help bring some excitement to the Carolina offense and give Newton a productive target to throw to.
7. Minnesota Vikings – QB Tajh Boyd
Even with Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman on the roster, the Vikings are far from set at quarterback. None of their current options are more than serviceable, which means that Minnesota needs to look for a starter via the draft. Boyd is big, athletic and fearless and possesses the arm to make a mockery of opposing secondaries – almost reminiscent of Daunte Culpepper.
8. St. Louis Rams (via WAS) – OT Taylor Lewan
Last April, the Rams failed to add any noteworthy offensive linemen despite having two first-round picks. Even though they signed Jake Long via free agency, St. Louis could still use some more help up front. Lewan is a top-tier tackle who would have been a first-round pick last year, and could fall into their laps when the 2014 NFL Draft rolls around.
9. Buffalo Bills – OLB Khalil Mack
The Bills pulled off one of the biggest steals of the 2013 NFL Draft when they nabbed Kiko Alonso to man the middle linebacker spot. With that position now locked down, they need to look to shore up the other linebacker spots. Mack is a dynamic talent who is quickly proving to be one of the best linebackers in the 2014 class, and wouldn’t have to go far to flourish with the Bills.
10. Philadelphia Eagles – QB Marcus Mariota
Wouldn’t this just be the dream situation for Chip Kelly? Mariota was one of Kelly’s star pupils when he was still at University of Oregon, and would love to have him back to run his dynamic read-option offense. Michael Vick is running out of gas and Nick Foles doesn’t have the athleticism to run Kelly’s offense efficiently, which is why Mariota makes quite a bit of sense for the Eagles.