2014 NFL Mock Draft: The Top Ten Picks with Trades
Because You Know There Will Be Trades...
In just over three months, the 2014 NFL Draft will commence. Between now and then, you’re guaranteed to see mock drafts galore ranging from simple first-rounders to full, seven-round mocks that take days to put together. That’s the fun of the draft season, though.
We have no idea what’s going to happen on draft day. A particular player who everyone believes is a Top 10 talent could fall to the second round. A sleeper team could trade up and make a splash move that turns them into a serious contender. Or maybe we’ll see exactly what we’re expecting, although I wouldn’t get my hopes too high for that one.
These mock drafts, while obviously far from accurate seeing as the actual draft is so far away, give us an opportunity to look at what could happen when the big day finally arrives. It’s a chance to see which positions each team needs to address this offseason. It’s also a peak at where particular players could land on draft day and how their stock has progressed (or regressed) since the end of the college football season.
Above all, though, these mock drafts help light a fire under our creativity. We get the change to imagine some of college football’s top talent playing for particular NFL teams, from our favorites to our favorites’ foes.
Don’t take them too seriously, though – just have fun with it.
Here’s a look at the first 10 picks of the 2014 NFL Draft, with predicted trades included to help spice up the monotonous mass of mock drafts you’ll sift through over the next three months.
1. Houston Texans: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
This one is simple. The Texans need a new quarterback moving forward, and, believe it or not, Bridgewater is the best gunslinger of the 2014 class. He’s a polished product with solid athleticism, good poise and a tremendous understanding of the game. Unless the Texans absolutely fall in love with Clowney at some point in the pre-draft process, Bridgewater will be the new quarterback in Houston.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via WAS through STL): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
The Rams pull another massive deal, this time suckering the Buccaneers into giving them a king’s ransom for the No. 2 pick. With that pick, the Buccaneers land arguably the best player in the 2014 class. Clowney has the natural talent and physical tools to be an elite defensive end. As long as they can get him to give 100% at all times and keep him healthy, he’ll upgrade their pass rush like they were hoping Da’Quan Bowers would.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
With the draft still three months away, the Jaguars have already made it clear they plan on taking a quarterback with the No. 3 pick. With Bridgewater off the board, they go with their next best option in Bortles. An athletic, well-build quarterback with all of the raw potential to be a star, the former Golden Knight appears ready to take the NFL by storm. He’d be a welcomed addition over Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne, and brings a bit of hometown heroism to the mix as well.
4. Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
The way their last few seasons have gone, the Browns could use a serious boost in talent. After watching Brandon Weeden fail and Brian Hoyer fall to injury when he finally appeared to be flourishing, Cleveland fans need someone to put their hope in. That’s where Manziel fits in. The former Aggie is a proven playmaker with some of the best improvisational skills we’ve ever seen. His decision making and durability are clear concerns moving forward, but the Browns can’t ignore the star power and excitement that drafting Manziel would bring to the franchise.
5. Arizona Cardinals (via OAK): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
The Cardinals are tired of mediocrity at the left tackle spot. Instead of hoping that a legitimate blindside blocker falls to them at No. 20, they trade up with the Oakland Raiders to snag arguably the best left tackle prospect in recent history. The Cardinals made a trade with the Raiders last offseason to bring Carson Palmer in, so they’re no strangers to dealing with Reggie McKenzie. By trading up to get Robinson, they put an elite blocker in place to keep Palmer upright and give themselves a better change of capitalizing on their talented roster in 2014.
6. Atlanta Falcons: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Moving forward, the Falcons can’t settle for mediocrity when it comes to their pass rush. They struggled to get to opposing passers in 2013, and that needs to change this upcoming season. One way to fix that is by drafting Mack, a disruptive outside linebacker who uses athleticism and explosiveness to wreak havoc in opposing backfields. Despite his lack of elite competition, Mack dominated at Buffalo and should have no problem making the adjustment at the next level. The Falcons would be wise to take Mack at No. 6.
7. Detroit Lions (via TB through STL): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
After what we saw this season, it’s clear the Lions can’t continue to let Calvin Johnson be their only true receiving threat. Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles are both quality receivers, but are constantly hurt and can’t be relied on. To make sure they lock down one of the top offensive weapons of the 2014 class, they trade up with the Rams to snag Watkins. As we saw in the final game of his college career, he’s capable of taking games over and will take some of the pressure off of Johnson’s shoulders. It doesn’t seem like a huge need, but Watkins makes too much sense for the Lions.
8. Minnesota Vikings: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
As badly as the Vikings need a quarterback, it’s hard for me to imagine Derek Carr going at No. 8. So they wait. After putting together the second-worst pass defense in the NFL last season, Minnesota needs some seriously upgrades. Chris Cook is unlikely to re-signed, so bringing aboard a top talent like Dennard makes sense. He’s a big, physical cornerback who plays the run well and has the speed to stick with any receivers. Teamed with Xavier Rhodes, Dennard could help the Vikings field one of the best young cornerback duos in the NFL.
9. Buffalo Bills: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Throughout the 2013 campaign, the Bills struggled to keep their quarterbacks clean. If they want E.J. Manuel to develop into a franchise passer, they must do a better job of protecting him moving forward. With Cordy Glenn on the left side, they could plug Matthews in on the right side, taking the place of Erik Pears. With Glenn and Matthews as the bookends of their offensive line, they’d boast arguably one of the top tackle duos in the league while also offering Manuel some extra insurance.
10. St. Louis Rams (via DET): C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
After a poor showing from JoLunn Dunbar in 2013, the Rams are ready to move forward with someone else at strong side linebacker. While it’s not their biggest area of need, the Rams have plenty of picks to address other concerns after two trade downs. Mosley is a Top 10 talent who has the leadership and discipline to be a defensive cornerstone in the NFL, and would combine with James Laurinaitis and the Rams’ defensive line to form an outstanding core of young players.