2014 NFL Draft: First-Round Mock Draft 2.0
Full Seven Round Mock Draft
This year’s NFL Draft is an exciting one. With one of the deepest, most talented draft classes in recent memory, there is no shortage of things that set this year’s draft apart from previous years. At the top of the board, we have a prospect in Jadeveon Clowney who is perhaps the best defensive prospect to declare since Julius Peppers back in 2002, and several quarterbacks with NFL-caliber talent, such as Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, and even Johnny Manziel.
Unlike last year’s draft in which there was a lack of top-notch, big name talent, this year’s class is loaded with big time talent. Guys like Clowney, Sammy Watkins, or Manziel all have the type of ability that last year’s class simply lacked.
Of course not everyone is going to turn out to be an elite NFL player. As a matter of fact, most the players taken in May’s draft are going to be out of the league in three or four years. That’s just the nature of the business. With those odds, you would think teams would do anything possible to rid themselves of their draft selections. But, that’s not how the league works. Teams are always looking for the next big thing, the next face of the league, and that’s why the draft is so important to every single team.
Ladies and gentlemen, the draft season is upon us, and as a result, without further ado, a full 2014 NFL Draft first-round mock draft..
1. Houston Texans- Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
For a team that could only manage to get mediocre production out of their quarterbacks during the 2013-14 season, you would think that the Houston Texans would go with the position with the first overall pick. And while it’s possible they go with a quarterback with the pick, it appears that the team is instead leaning toward going with Clowney. Clowney is one of the best defensive prospects to ever declare for the draft, and he would form quite the duo across from J.J. Watt.
2. St. Louis Rams- Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
While it’s very unlikely that the St. Louis Rams keep this pick due to the potential reward they could receive by trading it, let’s just pretend the team stays put. Head coach Jeff Fisher has stayed very loyal to quarterback Sam Bradford despite injury woes, and while the team could decide to address the position later in the draft, the smart money says that with this pick they go with a lineman to help protect their investment in Bradford. Greg Robinson has everything you look for in a franchise tackle, and he could start for the next ten years in St. Louis.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
The Jacksonville Jaguars are perhaps the least talented team in the entire league. With that said however, Gus Bradley is a fantastic head coach, and he knows how to get wins out of even a subpar squad. Quarterback is by far Jacksonville’s biggest need, and Bridgewater should be the guy. He’s as pro-ready as they come, and his accuracy, polish, and leadership make him a great candidate to lead the Jaguars into a new era.
4. Cleveland Browns- Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
While it may seem that No. 4 overall is a bit high for Derek Carr, word is that the Cleveland Browns love what he brings to the table. Carr has a huge arm, and while he needs some work as far as accuracy is concerned, Carr would almost certainly be an upgrade over anybody the Browns have had at quarterback over the past ten years.
5. Oakland Raiders- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin were largely mediocre last season, and while I’m personally a fan of Pryor and believe he still has great potential, it appears general manager Reggie McKenzie is going to be in search for a quarterback in the draft, and with Bridgewater and Carr off the board, look for Johnny Manziel to be at the top of McKenzie’s wish list. While there are size concerns, Manziel’s play-making ability and natural talent should allow him to succeed at the next level.
6. Atlanta Falcons- Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
The Atlanta Falcons were among the most underachieving teams in the NFL last season. From legitimate Super Bowl contenders to one of the worst teams in the league, not too much went right for Atlanta last year. With that said, team still has talent, it’s just a matter of taking care of some of the bigger needs on the roster. One area the team simply address is the pass rush, and pass rushing is what Khalil Mack does best. Snagging Mack here would be a great fit for both Mack and the Falcons.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Mike Glennon should be the starter next season in Tampa Bay. Sammy Watkins has great speed, and is the best receiving prospect since A.J. Green. This is an easy pick for Tampa Bay.
8. Minnesota Vikings- Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
Christian Ponder isn’t the answer for the Minnesota Vikings, and Josh Freeman certainly isn’t at the top of the team’s to-keep list either. While Matt Cassel played well in his starts, he isn’t the long-term answer in Minnesota. Blake Bortles isn’t my favorite quarterback in this draft, but the man does have potential, and he would be a certain upgrade over Ponder or Freeman from day one.
9. Buffalo Bills- Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
QB E.J. Manuel showed promise when he was on the field, and the Buffalo Bills have a lot of explosive, young talent on both sides of the ball. With that said, the Bills could use an upgrade at the tight end position where starter Scott Chandler has been largely average. Eric Ebron fits the NFL’s new tight end mold, and would provide Manuel with yet another explosive target.
10. Detroit Lions- Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
The Detroit Lions have been hurting in the secondary for quite some time now, and it’s time the team takes action. Justin Gilbert isn't as good in coverage, or as polished as fellow corner back prospect Darqueze Dennard, but Gilbert has more long-term potential, and has enough talent to be a serviceable player from day one.
11. Tennessee Titans- Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
The one player that was hurt the most by Greg Robinson’s terrific combine performance is easily Jake Matthews. With that said, Matthews is extremely polished as a prospect, and with Matthews’ dad, Bruce Matthews being a Hall of Famer, talent clearly runs in the family. Jake Matthews doesn’t have as much potential as some of the other linemen in this draft, but he is easily the most NFL-ready.
12. New York Giants- Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Outside of Jon Beason, the New York Giants don’t have much to offer in terms of linebackers. Anthony Barr would add some much needed speed to the unit, and has the potential to be a very disruptive force in the future on that defense.
13. St. Louis Rams- Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
The Ram’s second first-rounder of the night should result in the drafting of the third Texas A&M player in the first round. Mike Evans is a big target at 6-foot-5, and in a division known for physical, big cornerbacks, Evans would provide a great target for a healthy Sam Bradford.
14. Chicago Bears- Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
The Chicago Bears defense, once one of the most feared units in the league, is now a work in progress. The defensive line needs some major help at every position, and Aaron Donald, despite size concerns, is the best defensive tackle in this year’s draft class. The Bears would be foolish to not seriously consider Donald.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers- Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Much like the Bears, the Pittsburgh Steelers once had a great defense, but are now left to pick up the pieces after losing some key players. After Keenan Lewis left last offseason, it became apparent very fast that the Steelers needed to grab a cornerback. With Darqueze Dennard available here, the Steelers have the opportunity to snag the draft’s best corner.
16. Dallas Cowboys- Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
The Dallas Cowboys’ defensive line has become something of a weak point for the entire defense. Timmy Jernigan isn’t quite as polished as some of the other prospects, but his burst, acceleration, and motor make Jernigan a very desirable pick for Dallas.
17. Baltimore Ravens- Marqise Lee, WR, USC
The 2013-14 season was a major wake-up call for both the Baltimore Ravens and Marqise Lee. The Ravens fell from Super Bowl champs to missing the playoffs altogether, while Lee went from potential top-10 pick to outside of the top 15. With that said, Lee has a lot of talent, and would provide Joe Flacco with a potentially great receiver.
18. New York Jets- Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
In an ideal world, the New York Jets would prefer to snag a receiver here, but with most of the top options of the board, Jace Amaro becomes a top priority for the team. Although Amaro didn’t have a spectacular combine performance, he would be a great pick for the Jets, and would provide young quarterback Geno Smith with a viable target to throw to.
19. Miami Dolphins- Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
While it’s probably pretty unlikely that Taylor Lewan falls this far in the draft, if he were to slip to this point, you can bet the Miami Dolphins would be very very happy. Jonathan Martin obviously isn’t going to stick around, and in Lewan the Dolphins are finally getting somebody to protect franchise quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
20. Arizona Cardinals- Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Kony Ealy has been overlooked as part of Missouri’s defense due to one Michael Sam, but Ealy is easily the better of the two as far as talent is concerned. Although is widely viewed as a 4-3 defensive end, Ealy has the ability and body type to make the transition to a 3-4 outside linebacker. Ealy could end up a star in Arizona.
21. Green Bay Packers- Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
Once upon a time, Green Bay Packers defensive tackle, B.J. Raji, was considered to be one of the best, young defensive tackles in the entire NFL. Fast forward a couple seasons, and all of a sudden, Raji is more of a liability than an asset at this point. Nix is a Vince Wilfork- type player, and would be a disruptive force in the middle of the Packers defensive line.
22. Philadelphia Eagles- Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
The secondary is a weak point in the Philadelphia Eagles' defense, and safety is the position that needs the most work. Calvin Pryor is a physical safety with good coverage ability, and would be an automatic upgrade for the Eagles.
23. Kansas City Chiefs- Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
Based on his combine performance, Odell Beckham Jr. should be taken before Marqise Lee. With that said, while Beckham has talent, he failed to impress much at the college level. Overall however, he has great speed, and generally reliable hands. Beckham would provide Alex Smith with a solid target across from Dwayne Bowe.
24. Cincinnati Bengals- C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
While Vontaze Burfict has been phenomenal for the Cincinnati Bengals, Rey Maualuga hasn’t been nearly as impressive in the middle of the defense. C.J. Mosley is everything NFL teams look for in a middle linebacker, and would provide the Bengals with one of the best middle linebacker duos in the entire league.
25. San Diego Chargers- Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
The San Diego Chargers were one of the NFL’s most surprising playoff teams last season. With that said, San Diego’s passing defense needs some major work. Jason Verrett definitely is a step below the top corners in this draft, but there’s no doubt he can hold his own as a nickel back at the next level.
26. Cleveland Browns- David Yankey, OG, Stanford
With the Browns taking Derek Carr with the fourth overall pick, they are going to need to shore up the offensive line in order to protect their investment. David Yankey is the best guard in this year’s draft class, and would be an instant starter on Cleveland’s line.
28. Carolina Panthers- Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
With Jordan Gross lost to retirement, all of a sudden the Carolina Panthers have a major hole to fill on their offensive line. Morgan Moses is a very raw prospect as it stands right now, but with better coaching in the NFL, Moses could turn his tremendous talent into productivity.
29. New England Patriots- Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Vince Wilfork’s injury last season really showed just how much he means to the New England Patriots. Ra’Shede Hageman isn't quite the force Wilfork is, but his ability to stuff the run and outmuscle opposing offensive lineman make Hageman a good fit in New England.
30. San Francisco 49ers- Brandin Cooks, WR, Oklahoma State
Anquan Boldin isn’t getting any younger, and while he remains a valuable weapon, the San Francisco 49ers would be wise to start looking for his eventual replacement. Brandin Cooks is a big play threat every single time he touches the ball, and while that’s much different than what Boldin brings to the table, Cooks would be fantastic across from Michael Crabtree.
31. Denver Broncos- Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
The Denver Broncos are pretty much set as far as offense is concerned with Peyton Manning calling the shots. But if there is one place that the team should look to improve, it’s got to be the passing defense. Champ Bailey is another year older, and while Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is solid, the team needs Bradley Roby to take the next step forward.
32. Seattle Seahawks- Stephon Tuitt, DT, Notre Dame
The Seattle Seahawks easily have the best defense in the league, but even the best teams have weaknesses. The defensive tackle spot is questionable for the Seahawks right now, but if they are able to snag a player like Stephon Tuitt with this pick, they have to do it.