2014 NFL Mock Draft: Full First Round, Week 8 Edition
Week 8 First-Round 2014 NFL Mock Draft
Another week of NFL action is in the books, which means that the ever-changing landscape of the league has given us yet another look at what we can expect to see when the 2013 campaign comes to a close. It also showed us where each team stands and what each team could need when the 2014 NFL Draft rolls around.
That’s why I’ve brought you another weekly mock draft, focusing on what the league is looking like heading into Week 8.
Taking into account team records, holes in the roster and overall needs based on the first seven weeks of play, I’ve put together a full first-round mock draft that includes all 32 Day-1 picks. Of the 32 picks, six are quarterbacks – compared to only one passer that was taken in the first round back in April’s draft. While this is obviously just a mock draft, it’s clear that the eligible talent at the quarterback position is much higher this season than it was a year ago.
The real draft might be seven months away, but this a perfect opportunity to get a glimpse at where different players sit in terms of stock. It’s also a chance to see where particular teams sit in potential draft order. Above all, it’s always a little exciting to imagine some of the top college talent landing on different NFL teams.
Here’s a look at all 32 first-round picks this upcoming May and what we could expect to see throughout Day 1 of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Note: Draft order is based on record, with the teams with similar records ordered according to net points.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Teddy Bridgewater
Plain and simple, Blaine Gabbert isn’t the answer at quarterback. If the Jaguars are going to get themselves out of the basement of the NFL, they need a new gunslinger and Bridgewater is the best option available.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB Marcus Mariota
Mike Glennon is Greg Schiano’s man under center, but what happens when Schiano is no longer in town? What happens is the Buccaneers go out and get a dynamic quarterback who can perform in ways Glennon never will. Mariota will bring a whole new dimension to the Tampa Bay offense.
3. New York Giants: DE Jadeveon Clowney
A few years ago, the Giants boasted one of the best pass rushes in the NFL. Now, with Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul constantly injured, they suddenly can’t get any significant pressure on opposing passers. Clowney would quickly change all of that.
4. Minnesota Vikings: QB Brett Hundley
If the Vikings think that Josh Freeman is the best option at quarterback moving forward, they’re dead wrong. They need a legitimate passer who can make plays with his arm and feet. Hundley is a rising star and would be a welcomed addition in Minnesota.
5. Houston Texans: OLB Anthony Barr
Even though the Texans have some issues at quarterback, they badly need some help along the defensive front. Barr would not only upgrade the pass rush, but he’d also provide some consistency to the defense.
6. St. Louis Rams (via WAS): OT Jake Matthews
Despite the fact that the Rams signed Jake Long this offseason, there are still plenty of issues with their blocking. Matthews is the top blocker of the 2014 class and would provide an immediate upgrade wherever he lined up in St. Louis.
7. Oakland Raiders: OT Taylor Lewan
As Terrelle Pryor knows by now, Khalif Barnes should not be a starting left tackle. The Raiders need to upgrade the position if they want Pryor to unlock his full potential, and adding a player like Lewan on the blindside would definitely help the cause.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers: DT Louis Nix III
So far this season, the Steelers are failing to get the job done against the run. Basically their entire defensive line is struggling to slow down the ground game, but adding the immovable force of Nix to the mix would help move their run defense in the right direction.
9. Atlanta Falcons: OLB Khalil Mack
Whether it’s due to injuries or ineptitude, the Falcons have fielded one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL so far in 2013. Mack would provide a significant upgrade at linebacker while providing the Atlanta defense with a young, electrifying pass rusher.
10. Arizona Cardinals: OT Cyrus Kouandjio
If the Cardinals had some sort of pass blocking, Carson Palmer would be enjoying much more success than he currently is. That’s why Arizona needs to upgrade during the draft, and Kouandjio is the best tackle on the board at this point. Hence, he’s headed for the desert.
11. St. Louis Rams: WR Sammy Watkins
No matter who’s under center in 2014, the Rams clearly need more help at wide receiver. Even after spending a first-round pick on Tavon Austin and a second-rounder on Brian Quick, the position is floundering. Adding an explosive talent like Watkins would give the passing game a big boost.
12. Philadelphia Eagles: QB Johnny Manziel
Chip Kelly couldn’t get his hands on his former protégé Mariota, but takes the next best thing in Manziel, who has the potential to be even more dynamic. If the former Heisman winner can improve his decision-making, a Kelly-Manziel relationship could be extremely lucrative for the Eagles.
13. Cleveland Browns: QB Tajh Boyd
There could be a future in Cleveland with Brian Hoyer at the helm, but the Browns need to prepare another plan in the instance the former starter doesn’t bounce back strong from an ACL tear. Boyd is the best passer on the board and brings plenty of athleticism to the position.
14. Buffalo Bills: G Cyril Richardson
Colin Brown has been a disaster at left guard this season, and the Bills desperately need to find a suitable replacement. Even though NFL teams don’t value the guard position as much as tackle, Richardson is a dominant blocker who deserves a Top 15 selection.
15. Tennessee Titans: ILB C.J. Mosley
Despite what appeared to be promising young talent at linebacker, disappointment has defined the career of Colin McCarty. Moise Fokou won the middle linebacker job this year and did just as bad, so the Titans need to go out and find a capable replacement. Enter Mosley.
16. Baltimore Ravens: TE Eric Ebron
The loss of Dennis Pitta has clearly been a crutch for the Ravens offense, which is why they need to add more playmakers at the position. Ebron is an exciting young seam-stretcher who can, at the least, be a terrific compliment to Pitta in two-tight end sets.
17. Miami Dolphins: OT Antonio Richardson
The recent addition of Bryant McKinnie isn’t going to solve the Dolphins’ problems at left tackle, and they wouldn’t dare move Jonathan Martin back. That’s why they need to add the best blindside blocker available, and Richardson appears to be that guy at No. 17.
18. Carolina Panthers: WR Marqise Lee
It’s obvious that Steve Smith is still capable of making plays, but the Panthers need to find a capable No. 2 who can eventually take his spot as the top target in the Carolina passing game. Lee is a playmaker with the ball in hands, and would give Cam Newton an exciting new weapon to work with.
19. New York Jets: WR Mike Evans
Stephen Hill is a promising young pass-catcher, but he isn’t catching on as quickly as the Jets would like. The rest of their receiving corps hasn’t quite panned out either. Adding a physical player like Evans to the fold would give Geno Smith a reliable target to throw to.
20. Chicago Bears: DT Ra’Shede Hageman
Injuries have devastated the Bears at the defensive tackle spot. With Henry Melton unlikely to be re-signed this upcoming offseason, Chicago could look to add a dominant force on the inside to help fill the void. Hageman is shooting up draft boards and seems to be a great fit.
21. Detroit Lions: CB Bradley Roby
It’s still early in Darius Slay’s NFL career, but signs haven’t been good. On the other side, Chris Houston and Bill Bentley aren’t doing any better, which means that another upgrade is in order. Roby has raised his stock this season and could develop into a quality starter over time.
22. San Diego Chargers: CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu
While the offense has been firing on all cylinders, the Chargers have watched their secondary struggle quite a bit through the first half of the year. Considering that they don’t have too many other holes to fill right now, adding a rising talent like Ekpre-Olomu should help improve the defensive backfield.
23. Dallas Cowboys: DE Stephon Tuitt
Since the 2013 campaign kicked off, the defensive line has quickly become a huge sore thumb for the Cowboys defense. With Jay Ratliff gone, DeMarcus Ware hurting and Anthony Spencer likely gone next season, adding a player like Tuitt would give them tons of versatility up front.
24. Green Bay Packers: TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Following the frightening injury to Jermichael Finley, the Packers clearly need some help at tight end. Green Bay has a tremendous locker room, which would provide a perfect setting for the troubled Seferian-Jenkins to develop into a quality NFL player.
25. Cincinnati Bengals: CB Jason Verrett
Leon Hall is out for the season and Terrence Newman is well past his prime, which makes the cornerback position a glaring hole for the Bengals. This is a bit of a reach, but Verrett has shown starter-quality skills and seems to be a good fit in Cincinnati’s physical defense.
26. New England Patriots: DT Timmy Jernigan
Without Vince Wilfork in the lineup, the Patriots have been forced to go with two rookies to get the job done at defensive tackle. It hasn’t exactly been pretty. Jernigan has proven himself to be a disruptive tackle in 2013, and would be a welcomed addition to the New England defense.
27. San Francisco 49ers: WR Allen Robinson
All three of the top receivers are off the board already, and the 49ers still need help at the wide receiver despite spending numerous early-round picks on the position in recent history. Robinson is a phenomenal pass-catcher who should be able to make an immediate impact in San Francisco.
28. Cleveland Browns (via IND): RB De’Anthony Thomas
After trading away Trent Richardson for this pick, the Browns were left with little talent at running back. They need to find a starting-caliber back who can help whoever is under center in 2014, and Thomas is a sparkplug who can make plays as a runner, receiver and returner.
29. New Orleans Saints: OLB Ryan Shazier
The Saints defense has been surprisingly good so far in 2013, but the pass rush still isn’t where it needs to be. Even with Cameron Jordan excelling in the new defense, adding an edge-rushing outside linebacker like Shazier would get New Orleans that much closer to having an elite defense.
30. Seattle Seahawks: G David Yankey
As we’ve seen through the last few weeks, the guard position has been a weakness for the Seahawks. Although injuries along the offensive line certainly haven’t helped, it is clear Seattle needs more depth/talent at guard. Yankey is an underrated blocker who would definitely bolster the position.
31. Denver Broncos: CB Loucheiz Purifoy
While the offense has been working magic all season long, the Denver defense has struggled to slow opponents down almost every week. One of the biggest weaknesses is cornerback, where Purifoy would be able to step in and immediately contribute as a rookie.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: QB Zach Mettenberger
As great as the Chiefs’ offense has been this year, it’s become clear that Alex Smith is holding them back. He’s a game manager, and isn’t completely capable of taking advantage of the weapons available to him. Adding a young passer like Mettenberger might be the best move going forward.