2014 NFL Mock Draft: Full First Round, Pre-Playoffs Edition
Pre-Playoffs Full First-Round Mock
In a couple of days, the 2014 NFL Playoffs will get under way. That provides us with a perfect opportunity to take a new look at the 2014 NFL Draft and the 32 picks of the first round.
Now that the regular season is over, the first 20 picks are all but set in stone. Apart from the Baltimore Ravens and the Dallas Cowboys – who will flip a coin to determine who picks 16th and who picks 17th – the order of the first 20 picks is known. From there, the rest of the order will depend on how the playoffs unfold. For now, picks 21-32 will depend on each team’s regular season finish.
With top underclassmen declaring for the NFL Draft or opting to stay in school, the draft pool continues to gain and lose talent. The quarterback class took a hit when Marcus Mariota decided to stay at Oregon, but the emergence of Blake Bortles has given quarterback-needy teams a glimmer of hope.
Other top prospects such as Jadeveon Clowney and Mike Evans have declared for the draft, though, which means that more and more young talent continues to flood towards the league. With so many teams looking to get younger, faster and stronger, this could be an outstanding draft full of big moves and numerous busts.
Here’s a look at the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft and what could potentially happen when May rolls around.
I don’t include trades because their impossible to predict – who could have guessed the Miami Dolphins would trade up to No. 3 to take Dion Jordan last year?
1. Houston Texans: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
While there might be a few teams who disagree, Bridgewater has all of the tools to be a franchise quarterback. As much as people like to think otherwise, the Texans will take him with the No. 1 pick.
2. St. Louis Rams (via WAS): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
As great as Jake Long has been, the Rams need more protection for Sam Bradford. Even if Matthews has to play on the right side for a couple of years, it’ll be worth having two elite tackles.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
The Jaguars clearly need a new quarterback, and can’t continue to get by with a mediocre passer. While there are concerns about Manziel, he’s a proven winner who excels at making big plays.
4. Cleveland Browns: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
While they could certainly use a new quarterback, Brian Hoyer has a promising future. Clowney would immediately upgrade the Browns defense, which struggled to get to opposing passers in 2013.
5. Oakland Raiders: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
There isn’t much reason to believe Matt McGloin or Terrelle Pryor is the future at quarterback in Oakland. Carr is the next best gunslinger available and would give the Raiders a reliable passer.
6. Atlanta Falcons: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
The Falcons need a serious upgrade to their pass rush, and Mack has all of the tools to be a dominant edge rusher as well as a run stuffer in the NFL.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
If the Buccaneers choose to stick with Mike Glennon at quarterback, they’ll need to make sure he has plenty of weapons to work with. Watkins is an electric player who can go the distance on every snap.
8. Minnesota Vikings: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
None of the three quarterbacks on the Vikings’ roster are starting-caliber passers. Minnesota needs a new starter, and Bortles is one of the most exciting young prospects in the nation.
9. Buffalo Bills: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
With Kiko Alonso already on board, the Bills need to fill out the rest of their linebacking unit. Barr is a dynamic talent who can fill in on the strong side and be a disruptive force along the Buffalo front.
10. Detroit Lions: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
All season long, the Lions fielded some terrible pass defense. If they’re going to get any better at slowing the pass in 2014, adding a top-tier cornerback like Dennard makes too much sense.
11. Tennessee Titans: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
The Titans didn't get quality play from either of their middle linebackers this season. Mosley has the tools to start from Day 1 and would bring valuable leadership to a young defense.
12. New York Giants: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
There aren’t many teams out there that need a new left tackle as bad as the Giants. If Robinson opts to enter the draft, New York would be wise to grab this big blindside blocker if he’s still on the board.
13. St. Louis Rams: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Despite all of their offensive weapons, the Rams are still lacking a big, physical threat in the red zone. Evans is a dominant receiver who can out-muscle defenders and catch anything thrown in his direction.
14. Chicago Bears: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
Chicago was the owner of one of the NFL’s worst run defenses this season as injuries decimated its defensive line. Especially if Henry Melton doesn’t re-sign, the Bears need someone like Tuitt.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
The Steelers desperately need a new left tackle to keep Ben Roethlisberger healthy moving forward. Kouandjio has the potential to be an elite blocker, but needs some NFL coaching to unlock his potential.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
While speedsters like Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones stretch the field, the Ravens need a big, physical presence on the outside. Benjamin is flying up boards and seems to be a great fit.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
The Cowboys’ entire defensive front has been a concern as of late, and an upgrade is definitely needed. Nix has had some injury issues, but is a dominant defensive tackle when he’s healthy.
18. New York Jets: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
If Geno Smith has any future as the Jets’ quarterback, he needs more weapons in his arsenal. Lee is the type of talent who can score six on every touch. He’s the type of receiver any young passer would love.
19. Miami Dolphins: Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State
Even though they played well near the end of the year, the Dolphins’ offensive line is a serious problem. Erving is a raw-yet-promising tackle who has the skill set to develop into a star at the next level.
20. Arizona Cardinals: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Arguably one of the top talents in the 2014 class, Lewan has run into several off-field and on-field issues. His character will come into question during the pre-draft process, but the ability is undeniable.
21. Green Bay Packers: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
With the loss of Jermichael Finley, the Packers need a new, playmaking tight end. Amaro is arguably the best tight end in the nation, and would be an excellent weapon for Aaron Rodgers to work with.
22. San Diego Chargers: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
The Chargers made the playoffs, but lost out on the Dennard sweepstakes in the process. They absolutely need a new cornerback, and Gilbert is the next best option on the board.
23. Philadelphia Eagles: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
If the Eagles are going to improve their defense next season, another cornerback is needed. Ekpre-Olomu might not declare, but is still free game and would be a great addition to their secondary.
24. Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
While Sean McGrath and Anthony Fasano have been solid this season, the Chiefs could use a dynamic talent at tight end. Ebron is a true seam-stretcher – something Alex Smith would love to have.
25. Cincinnati Bengals: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
James Harrison isn’t getting any younger – the Bengals need to get a replacement in place. Shazier isn’t the greatest athlete, but he’s a proven playmaker who should no trouble adjusting to the NFL.
26. Cleveland Browns (via IND): David Yankey, G, Stanford
While the Browns appear to be set at tackle, they could use a new guard who can dominant the trenches. Yankey isn’t the most aggressive blocker of the 2014 class, but his technique is top-notch.
27. New Orleans Saints: Kony Ealy, OLB, Missouri
The switch to the 3-4 has been great for the Saints this season, but they could still use some extra pass rush. Ealy continues to fly under the radar, but has the potential to be a quarterback killer.
28. New England Patriots: Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
The Patriots love versatility, and Hageman brings plenty to the table. With the strength to play nose or tackle in the New England 3-4 defense, Hageman seems to be just what the doctor ordered.
29. San Francisco 49ers: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Even with Michael Crabtree back from injury, the 49ers are still short of reliable receivers. Cooks has been extremely productive, and is the type of receiver Colin Kaepernick would love to throw to.
30. Carolina Panthers: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
As great as their defense was in 2013, the Panthers might need an upgrade at cornerback this offseason. Verrett is undersized, but shows great instincts and technique in coverage.
31. Denver Broncos: Trent Murphy, DE, Stanford
Especially without Von Miller in the lineup, the Broncos have struggled to put consistent pressure on the opposing passer. Murphy is an outstanding edge rusher who has a knack for making big plays.
32. Seattle Seahawks: Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M
All season long, the Seahawks have been hurt by their lack of depth along the offensive line. Ogbuehi has the ability to play numerous positions and could push Breno Giacomini for the right tackle job.