2014 NFL Mock Draft: Projecting the First Round, Post Free Agency

Post-Free Agency First-Round Mock Draft

Khalil Mack
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With the madness of NFL Free Agency in the rearview mirror and the 2014 NFL Draft just over a month away, there’s no better time for a full, first-round mock draft to give you a glimpse at what could happen when May 8 rolls around. Obviously it’s all speculation right now, but that’s the point.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft could play out (without trades).

1. Houston Texans: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

Khalil Mack
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1. Houston Texans: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

Khalil Mack
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If the Texans are looking for the player who can make the biggest impact for them, look no further than Mack. An elite playmaker with outstanding athleticism, instincts and awareness, he deserves the No. 1 pick.

2. St. Louis Rams (via WAS): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Greg Robinson
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2. St. Louis Rams (via WAS): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Greg Robinson
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Although there’s a good chance this pick gets traded, the Rams will go with Robinson here. They need some help along the offensive line, and Robinson is one of the best tackle prospects in recent history.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

Jadeveon Clowney
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3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

Jadeveon Clowney
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The Jaguars’ pass rush certainly needs some help heading into 2014, and Clowney falls into their laps here. Quarterback will also be a consideration, but it looks like they’ll wait until later rounds.

4. Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Johnny Manziel
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4. Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Johnny Manziel
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For years, the Browns have failed to place a competent quarterback under center. While there are still questions about his throwing chops, Manziel is a proven playmaker who deserves a shot.

5. Oakland Raiders: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Jake Matthews
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5. Oakland Raiders: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Jake Matthews
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After watching Jared Veldheer leave via free agency, the Raiders need a fix at left tackle. Donald Penn isn’t the answer, but Matthews could very well be.

6. Atlanta Falcons: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Eric Ebron
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6. Atlanta Falcons: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Eric Ebron
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With the retirement of Tony Gonzalez, the Falcons are left rather thin at tight end. Levine Toilolo has a promising future as an in-line option, but Ebron would give Matt Ryan a dynamic receiving threat.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

Kony Ealy
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7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

Kony Ealy
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Even with the addition of Michael Johnson, the Buccaneers shouldn’t be satisfied at defensive end. Ealy has the potential to develop into an elite edge rusher, so this pick makes plenty of sense.

8. Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Teddy Bridgewater
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8. Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Teddy Bridgewater
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Unless they plan on keeping Matt Cassel under center for an extended period of time, the Vikings must find another option at quarterback. Bridgewater would be an immediately upgrade for Minnesota.

9. Buffalo Bills: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Sammy Watkins
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9. Buffalo Bills: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Sammy Watkins
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If E.J. Manuel is ever going to pan out as the Bills’ franchise quarterback, he needs more weapons to throw to. Watkins is the top receiver in the 2014 class and would bring a homerun threat to Buffalo.

10. Detroit Lions: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Darqueze Dennard
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10. Detroit Lions: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Darqueze Dennard
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With Watkins off the board, the Lions instead look to upgrade the defense. The cornerback spot is still a mess, and Dennard is a top-tier cover man. Sounds like an ideal fit, especially since he’s a local product.

11. Tennessee Titans: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama

C.J. Mosley
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11. Tennessee Titans: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama

C.J. Mosley
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With the switch to a 3-4 on the horizon, the Titans are going to need some extra talent at inside linebacker. Mosley is the top inside linebacker, and an outstanding force in the middle.

12. New York Giants: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Mike Evans
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12. New York Giants: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Mike Evans
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The Giants upgraded several positions this offseason, but haven’t made any serious moves at wide receiver. Evans is a Top 10 talent who should provide the size and consistency Eli Manning needs.

13. St. Louis Rams: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Justin Gilbert
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13. St. Louis Rams: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Justin Gilbert
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After another poor season in terms of pass defense, it’s time for an upgrade. Gilbert would slide in as a Day 1 starter and help the Rams take advantage of their elite defensive line.

14. Chicago Bears: Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt

Aaron Donald

14. Chicago Bears: Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt

Aaron Donald

It’s great that the Bears added some defensive end help this offseason, but the defensive tackle spot is still a concern. Donald is undersized, but there’s no mistaking his disruptive abilities and pass rush prowess.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Taylor Lewan
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15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Taylor Lewan
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Plain and simple, the Steelers need a new left tackle moving forward. Neither Mike Adams nor Levi Brown is the answer, which makes Lewan a smart choice if he can alleviate worries about his character.

16. Dallas Cowboys: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame

Louis Nix III

16. Dallas Cowboys: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame

Louis Nix III

The Cowboys have been miserable along the defensive line as of late. Although they made a few moves during free agency, drafting an anchor like Nix will help build a foundation up front in Dallas.

17. Baltimore Ravens: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

Kelvin Benjamin
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17. Baltimore Ravens: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

Kelvin Benjamin
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As of right now, the Ravens’ receiving corps is made up almost entirely of speedsters and possession receivers. Bringing aboard Benjamin will give Joe Flacco a big, physical option to throw to.

18. New York Jets: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Marqise Lee
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18. New York Jets: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Marqise Lee
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No matter who is starting under center in 2014, they’ll need some extra weapons to work with. Stephen Hill is looking like a bust for the Jets, but Lee would be a great compliment to Eric Decker.

19. Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame

Zack Martin
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19. Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame

Zack Martin
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With so many questions along the offensive line, the Dolphins need some versatility and consistency. Martin would provide both of those with his athleticism and ability to play numerous positions.

20. Arizona Cardinals: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

Blake Bortles
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20. Arizona Cardinals: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

Blake Bortles
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The slide finally ends for Bortles, who could immediately push Carson Palmer for the starting job. Even if he doesn’t start right away, Bortles would be the future at quarterback for the Cardinals.

21. Green Bay Packers: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

21. Green Bay Packers: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

With Sean Richardson currently slated as the starting free safety, the Packers need an upgrade. Clinton-Dix is a Top 15 talent who would give Green Bay a legitimate starter on the backend.

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Anthony Barr
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22. Philadelphia Eagles: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Anthony Barr
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One way to help the Eagles secondary succeed would be to upgrade the pass rush. Lining Barr up across from Trent Cole would be a terrific way to collapse the pocket and keep quarterbacks uncomfortable.

23. Kansas City Chiefs: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

Brandin Cooks
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23. Kansas City Chiefs: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

Brandin Cooks
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The Chiefs are desperate for some sort of consistency at wide receiver after a down year from Dwyane Bowe. The rest of the depth chart is average at best, which would make Cooks such an intriguing addition.

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois

Jimmie Ward
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24. Cincinnati Bengals: Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois

Jimmie Ward
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Here’s your first big reach, but it’s a good one. The Bengals can’t continue to settle for subpar play in the secondary, and Ward has the skill set to step in and be a playmaker from Day 1 at strong safety.

25. San Diego Chargers: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Kyle Fuller
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25. San Diego Chargers: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Kyle Fuller
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After this past season, the Chargers can’t afford not to spend their first rounder on a cornerback. Fuller is a tough, physical player who will help bring an aggressive culture to the San Diego defense.

26. Cleveland Browns (via IND): Xavier Su’a-Filo, G, UCLA

Xavier Su'a-Filo
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26. Cleveland Browns (via IND): Xavier Su’a-Filo, G, UCLA

Xavier Su'a-Filo
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They found their quarterback of the future, and now the Browns need to protect him. Su’a-Filo is one of the top interior linemen in the 2014 class, and would be a big upgrade at right guard.

27. New Orleans Saints: Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn

Dee Ford
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27. New Orleans Saints: Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn

Dee Ford
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Victor Butler is coming off an injury and Parys Haralson left this offseason, which leaves the Saints short at outside linebacker. Adding Ford to the mix would give their pass rush a significant boost.

28. Carolina Panthers: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

Odell Beckham Jr.
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28. Carolina Panthers: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

Odell Beckham Jr.
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Barring some blockbuster deal before the draft, the Panthers are going to be extremely thin at receiver come May. Beckham is an explosive, exciting playmaker who could provide Cam Newton with a reliable target.

29. New England Patriots: Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame

Troy Niklas
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29. New England Patriots: Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame

Troy Niklas
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One of the most underrated players of the 2014 class, Niklas is an extremely well-rounded tight end who blocks and catches very well. With so much uncertainty surrounding Rob Gronkowski, Niklas is a great insurance policy.

30. San Francisco 49ers: Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood

Pierre Desir
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30. San Francisco 49ers: Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood

Pierre Desir
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Easily the top small-school prospect in 2014, Desir has impressed scouts with terrific instincts, good size and above average physicality. The 49ers need help at cornerback, and Desir seems like a safe gamble.

31. Denver Broncos: Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin

Chris Borland
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31. Denver Broncos: Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin

Chris Borland
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Even after signing Wesley Woodyard, the Broncos still have some worries at inside linebacker. Borland has shot up draft boards as of late, and has the tenacity and toughness to be a playmaker in the NFL.

32. Seattle Seahawks: Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson

Martavis Bryant
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32. Seattle Seahawks: Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson

Martavis Bryant
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With exceptional size and speed, Bryant is one of the most underrated receivers of the 2014 class. The Seahawks always draft based on value, and Bryant offers tons of it at a position of need.

Gil Alcaraz IV is the Director of Content for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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