2014 NFL Mock Draft: Full First Round With Trades
Because There Are Always Surprise Trades on Draft Day
Mock drafts are great. They give us a look at a number of factors that continue to change leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft. What they don’t typically do, though, is take a serious look at what could happen when draft day rolls around.
That’s what this mock draft is aiming to do.
Instead of simply taking the order and leaving it at that, I’ve taken the time to predict trades that could go down when the first round gets under way. Based on need, available players and positioning in the draft, some teams have moved either up or down the first round. I haven’t included what the trades include such as later-round picks or players, but have simply moved teams up and down the first round to reflect the trades.
When the real draft finally gets under way, there are sure to be plenty of trades – even on the first day. So why would we leave trades out of mock drafts meaning to predict what will happen when all is said and done? If trades are bound to happen on draft day, then mock drafts should include trades.
Above all, trades help us get the most realistic idea of what to expect when May 8 arrives. It’s a glimpse at what could really happen during the 2014 NFL Draft as compared to a lazy attempt to simply slot players in the spaces given.
With that in mind, here’s a peak at what the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft could look like, including predicted trades.
1. Houston Texans: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again. Bridgewater is the best quarterback in this class, and if the Texans know what’s good for them, they’ll take him with the first overall pick and give their franchise a brighter future.
2. Minnesota Vikings (via WAS through STL): Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
After Matt Cassel voided his contract, the quarterback situation in Minnesota got that much worse. They can’t continue to settle for Christian Ponder, so instead of hoping a passer dropped to them at No. 8, they send a king’s ransom to the Rams and snag the best overall package at quarterback of the 2014 class.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
The Jaguars have already stated they will go quarterback at No. 3, and with Bridgewater and Bortles already off the board, Manziel is the only way to go. Not only will he be a significant upgrade over Blaine Gabbert, but he brings excitement to the field and should help owner Shahid Khan sell tickets.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via CLE): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
With the top three quarterbacks off the board, the Browns find a partner to trade back with while picking up some extra picks. The Buccaneers, who desperately need an upgrade to their pass rush, move up to No. 4 and take arguably the top player off the board.
5. Arizona Cardinals (via OAK): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Instead of settling for starting a subpar left tackle, the Cardinals make a big move up to No. 5 to take the best tackle off the board. They’re already familiar with making deals with the Raiders, and dish out a big deal to provide veteran Carson Palmer with a legitimate blindside blocker.
6. Atlanta Falcons: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
With a serious upgrade needed in terms of pass rush, the Falcons stay pat and grab one of the most exciting prospects of the 2014 class. Mack is a dynamic playmaker who flies all over the field, so Atlanta has no problem pulling the trigger and bringing the Buffalo product aboard.
7. Cleveland Browns (via TB): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
They didn’t get their quarterback, so the Browns might as well add some weapons for whenever they figure out who will be under center. Watkins is an elite playmaker who is a threat to go the distance on every touch. Teamed with Josh Gordon, Watkins would help Cleveland field one of the best receiving duos in the NFL.
8. St. Louis Rams (via MIN): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Jake Long proved to be a solid acquisition this offseason, but isn’t the long-term answer at left tackle. By bringing in Matthews, the Rams could confidently protect Sam Bradford from both sides. Matthews could eventually move to the left side, but would be a great right tackle in the meantime.
9. Buffalo Bills: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
With their franchise quarterback in place, the Bills need to start surrounding him with some serious weapons. That’s exactly what they’d be getting with Ebron. Many have compared the class’ top tight end to Vernon Davis; even if he came close, the Bills would be more than satisfied with this pick.
10. Detroit Lions: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Throughout the 2013 campaign, the Lions fielded one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. Even with an outstanding defensive line, their cornerbacks still couldn’t keep receivers out of the end zone. The Lions need a serious upgrade at cornerback, and Dennard is the best prospect available.
11. Dallas Cowboys (via TEN): Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Leave it to Jerry Jones to trade up for a boom-bust prospect. With so many concerns along the defensive front, the Cowboys trade up with the Titans to snag Barr, a polarizing prospect with huge upside but minimal polish. It could pay off for Jones and Co., but it’s not a comforting move for fans.
12. New York Giants: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
It’s been quite some time since the Giants spent an early pick on a linebacker – it’s time for them to stop neglecting the position. Mosley is a legitimate Top 10 talent with the leadership and toughness to take over as the Giants’ defensive quarterback, so spending their first-rounder on him makes plenty of sense.
13. St. Louis Rams: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
With the offensive line shored up, the Rams must turn their attention to surrounding Bradford with more weapons. Evans is a dominant athlete with the size and strength to haul in just about any jump ball. He excels at picking up yards after catch, and would be a terrific compliment to Tavon Austin.
14. Chicago Bears: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
All last season, the Bears struggled with a lack of depth along the defensive line. After their starters fell to injury, they failed to find replacements capable of filling the void. The Bears ultimately watched their defense turn into a laughing stock. That’s why Jernigan would be a tremendous fit along the front four.
15. New York Jets (via PIT): Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Word around the blogosphere is the Jets really like Lee as a first-round target, but might not feel comfortable waiting until after the Ravens picked. So they avoid the risk of Baltimore picking Lee by trading up to No. 15 and giving their quarterback the weapon he needs to succeed.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
With Lee now off the board, the Ravens must look elsewhere to find a playmaker at wide receiver. Luckily for them, Robinson is anything but a downgrade. A reliable pair of hands with the ability to create sparks after the catch, Robinson gives Joe Flacco less reason to disappoint in 2014.
17. Tennessee Titans (via DAL): Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn
Especially with a switch to the 3-4 on the horizon, the Titans need an outside linebacker who can get after the quarterback. After moving down and picking up some extra selections, they land one of the most exciting edge rushers in the draft. Ford is a fast-riser who could be dominant at the next level.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers (via NYJ): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
This continues to get overlooked, but the Steelers desperately need help at cornerback. Their starters underwhelmed last season, and it’s time for a serious upgrade. Although Dennard is gone, Gilbert offers similar talent and should help improve the Pittsburgh pass defense from Day 1.
19. Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
After losing both their starting tackle and guard this past season, the Dolphins need some serious help along the offensive line. Not only is Martin the best player on the board, but he’s a versatile blocker who can line up inside or outside. Seems like the easy pick for Miami.
20. Oakland Raiders (via ARI): Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Having traded down, the Raiders take the best player off the board and give themselves a new pass rushing threat. Especially with Lamarr Houston set to hit free agency, the Raiders need more help along the defensive line. Ealy is a talent pass rusher who should offer Oakland a brighter future.
21. Green Bay Packers: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
One of the Packers’ biggest weaknesses this season was along the defensive line. Injuries and subpar performances hurt their defense in more ways than one. Especially with several linemen headed for free agency, adding a versatile player like Tuitt to the mix makes too much sense.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
Even though the Eagles’ secondary got better as the year progressed, it was quite the sore thumb throughout the 2013 campaign. If that’s going to change in 2014, they need to add a serious playmaker. Clinton-Dix is a sensational safety who would be an upgrade over any other on the Philadelphia roster.
23. Carolina Panthers (via KC): Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
As great as their defense was in 2013, the Panthers can’t ignore the cornerback spot this offseason. Two of their top three corners are headed for free agency, and might not return. Instead of waiting to see who falls into their laps, they trade up to snag Verrett, one of the year’s most underrated cornerbacks.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
While fans will be calling for a new quarterback, the Bengals should instead look to continue filling their defense with playmakers. Shazier is an exciting outside linebacker prospect who does a great job of playing both the pass and run. It’s not their biggest need, but Shazier is definitely worth the No. 24 pick.
25. San Diego Chargers: Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
After what they showed in 2013, the Chargers absolutely need an upgrade at cornerback. With the top three prospects off the board, they decide to roll the dice with a high-upside player like Desir. The small-school stud showed well at the Senior Bowl, and has the physical tools to develop into a shutdown cornerback.
26. Cleveland Browns (via IND): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
After missing out on a quarterback early in the first round, the Browns use their second pick to find their new gunslinger. While Carr is far from a sure thing, he has the skill set and arm to get the job done at the next level. Cleveland will just be hoping that he doesn’t turn out like his older brother.
27. New Orleans Saints: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Having an elite quarterback isn’t as great when there’s no legitimate left tackle to keep his blindside protected. With Charles Brown headed for free agency and Terron Armstead still an unknown, the Saints need a new left tackle. Lewan is a top talent, but must prove during interviews his character won’t be an issue.
28. Kansas City Chiefs (via CAR): Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Put simply, the Chiefs need reliable receivers. Dwyane Bowe dropped too many passes in 2013, and the rest of the receiving corps couldn't be counted on. If Kansas City is going to get anywhere with Alex Smith under center, they need to surround him with playmakers – that’s exactly what Cooks is.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers (via NE): Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt
With numerous holes in their defense, the Steelers trade with the Patriots to get back into the first round. Their 3-4 defensive front is in need of a disruptive force, and Donald has the talent to be a dynamic difference-maker. He’s definitely worth his weight in draft picks.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
One cornerback is headed for free agency while another could get cut for cap reasons, which could leave the 49ers short at the position. Assuming that’s the case, San Francisco must use an early draft pick to reload the position. Jean-Baptiste is a physical corner who can handle the biggest receivers in the NFL.
31. Denver Broncos: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
With Champ Bailey aging and a couple other cornerbacks headed for free agency, the Broncos need reinforcements. There are some questions about Roby’s NFL future, but he has the potential and raw ability to develop into a starter. That’s if he can figure out how to take advantage of his natural talents.
32. Atlanta Falcons (via SEA): Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
The Seahawks are no strangers to stockpiling picks, and the Falcons need a new tight end to help make up for the loss of Tony Gonzalez. So the two teams swap some picks so Atlanta can snag Amaro, easily the second-best tight end in the 2014 class. Everyone is a winner in this situation.