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Rant Sports 2014 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Collaborative

Rant Sports' Collaborative NFL Mock Draft

Khalil Mack
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

In anticipation of the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft, Rant Sports scouted out some of its best NFL writers to put together a collaborative mock draft. While the results were interesting to say the least, it was a great opportunity to bring some of our best football minds together to get yet another glimpse of what could happen on draft day.

With that in mind, here’s a look at the Rant Sports’ collaborative first-round mock draft.

1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

Jadeveon Clowney
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

Jadeveon Clowney
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

This is the safe pick at No. 1. Clowney is arguably the best prospect to enter the draft in years, and would be a formidable force for the Texans. That, however, is if he can get his head on straight and focus on improving as a football player.

Carlton Chin's reasoning behind the pick...

2. St. Louis Rams: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Greg Robinson
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

2. St. Louis Rams: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Greg Robinson
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

While it’s expected the Rams will trade out of this spot, there’s no reason to believe they couldn’t choose to nab one of 2014’s elite talents. Robinson is a dominant blocker with can pave big lanes for Zac Stacy in the running game.

Jesus Flores' reasoning behind the pick...

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

Khalil Mack
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

Khalil Mack
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Arguably the top talent of the 2014 class, Mack is an elite playmaker who uses great technique, athleticism and determination to make an impact. Drafting the BPA like Mack makes plenty of sense.

My reasoning behind the pick...

4. Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Sammy Watkins
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

4. Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Sammy Watkins
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Even with Josh Gordon in the mix, the Browns could use some extra weapons out wide. Considering their second receiver is Greg Little, it’s time for an upgrade. Watkins is considered one of the four elite talents of the 2014 class - it makes sense.

Dan Williams' reasoning behind the pick...

5. Oakland Raiders: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Mike Evans
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

5. Oakland Raiders: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Mike Evans
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders are still missing a No. 1 receiver, even after adding James Jones this offseason. Evans, however, would change that in a hurry. The big, physical pass-catcher is a top-flight receiver - it’s a win for the Raiders.

Kevin Saito's reasoning behind the pick...

6. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Jake Matthews
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

6. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Jake Matthews
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After missing out on Clowney and Robinson, the Falcons take the next best lineman with Matthews. While his ceiling isn’t as high as Robinson, he’s a well-rounded talent who can start from Day 1.

Ryan Ratty's reasoning behind the pick...

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Getty Images

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Getty Images

Here’s your first head-scratcher. The Buccaneers already have Mark Barron and DaShon Goldson at safety, and both are above average starters. Clinton-Dix is a top safety, but the Buccaneers have bigger fish to fry at this point.

Dan Schneier's reasoning behind the pick...

8. Minnesota Vikings: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

Blake Bortles
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

8. Minnesota Vikings: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

Blake Bortles
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

And your new starting quarterback for the Vikings is… Bortles is a promising young passer with a strong arm, impressive athleticism and tremendous awareness in the pocket. He can’t be any worse than Christian Ponder.

My reasoning behind the pick...

9. Buffalo Bills: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Eric Ebron
Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

9. Buffalo Bills: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Eric Ebron
Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

The Bills must surround E.J. Manuel with weapons if they hope for him to develop into a franchise quarterback. Ebron is a rare talent at tight end with the speed and athleticism to be a consistent threat. Can he live up to the hype?

Chris Ross' reasoning behind the pick...

10. Detroit Lions: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

Odell Beckham Jr
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

10. Detroit Lions: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

Odell Beckham Jr
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I personally believe this is a bit of reach for Beckham, but others might disagree. The Lions need a serious playmaker in the slot, and Beckham has the talent to do what Ryan Broyles has failed at.

Alec Riffe's reasoning behind the pick...

11. Tennessee Titans: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Anthony Barr
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

11. Tennessee Titans: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Anthony Barr
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In my opinion, this is a huge mistake for the Titans. Barr is a tremendous athlete, but he doesn’t have the football talent to justify this high of a pick. It’s a huge gamble for a team that needs production right now.

De'Jonne Johnson's reasoning behind the pick...

12. New York Giants: Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt

Aaron Donald
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

12. New York Giants: Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt

Aaron Donald
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

After losing Linval Joseph this offseason, the Giants are in need of an impact player along the interior of the defensive line. Bringing aboard an elite pass-rushing three-technique like Donald makes too much sense.

Dan Schneier's reasoning behind the pick...

13. St. Louis Rams: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Teddy Bridgewater
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

13. St. Louis Rams: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Teddy Bridgewater
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Some people believe the Rams aren’t sold on Sam Bradford as their long-term starter, which isn’t completely crazy. Still, spending a first-rounder on a quarterback who will sit all season is questionable at best.

Carlton Chin's reasoning behind the pick...

14. Chicago Bears: Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville

Calvin Pryor
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

14. Chicago Bears: Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville

Calvin Pryor
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

For years, the Bears have been settling for subpar safety play. Bringing aboard a legitimate talent like Pryor will certainly point them in the right direction after a few subpar signings this offseason.

Clyde Speller's reasoning behind the pick...

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Justin Gilbert
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Justin Gilbert
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no denying the Steelers need serious help in the secondary. At No. 15, they’d be getting a steal with a true shutdown cornerback like Gilbert, who could be the next elite cover man in the NFL.

My reasoning behind the pick...

16. Dallas Cowboys: Johnny Manziel, QB, Dallas Cowboys

Johnny Manziel
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

16. Dallas Cowboys: Johnny Manziel, QB, Dallas Cowboys

Johnny Manziel
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t ask me – I didn’t make the pick. I'm sure plenty of people would love to replace Tony Romo, but Manziel isn't the guy to do it. Still, anything is possible when Jerry Jones is in charge.

Jesus Flores' reasoning behind the pick...

17. Baltimore Ravens: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Taylor Lewan
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

17. Baltimore Ravens: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Taylor Lewan
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After losing Michael Oher to the Titans this offseason, the Ravens have a glaring need at right tackle. Lewan has legitimate Top 10 talent, and should be a beast in Baltimore if he can stay out of trouble.

Cian Lynch's reasoning behind the pick...

18. New York Jets: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Darqueze Dennard
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

18. New York Jets: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Darqueze Dennard
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

After releasing Antonio Cromartie and failing to re-sign Darrelle Revis, the Jets have a serious concern at cornerback. Dennard is a physical player who should develop into a shutdown cover man in the near future.

Greg Sulik's reasoning behind the pick...

19. Miami Dolphins: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama

C.J. Mosley
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

19. Miami Dolphins: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama

C.J. Mosley
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

What a steal for the Dolphins. Mosley is arguably a Top 10 talent who can be a tone-setter in the middle of a defense. Miami needs an upgrade on the weakside and Mosley can be an early difference-maker.

Cody Strahm's reasoning behind the pick...

20. Arizona Cardinals: Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn

Dee Ford
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

20. Arizona Cardinals: Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn

Dee Ford
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

I’m not entirely sure I get this one. Ford is an intriguing talent, but the Cardinals didn’t make the most of their pick with so many other areas of need, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

Chris Ross' reasoning behind the pick...

21. Green Bay Packers: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State

Ryan Shazier
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

21. Green Bay Packers: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State

Ryan Shazier
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t really get this pick either. While Shazier is a worthy talent who belongs in the first round, he’s not the pass-rushing outside linebacker that the Packers are looking for. It's a bit of a head-scratcher.

Mike Cuddy's reasoning behind the pick...

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

Brandin Cooks
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

Brandin Cooks
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

While the Eagles have some decent receivers on the roster, Cooks is a very consistent target who should develop a quick rapport with Nick Foles. He'll wreak havoc if Chip Kelly can figure out the best way to use him.

Ryan Wenzell's reasoning behind the pick...

23. Kansas City Chiefs: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Marqise Lee
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

23. Kansas City Chiefs: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Marqise Lee
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Unless they plan on putting together another below-average passing attack this season, the Chiefs need to make some changes at wide receiver. Lee is a true playmaker who can be a weapon all over the field.

Jeremy Martin's reasoning behind the pick...

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

Bradley Roby
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

Bradley Roby
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

With aging, injury-prone starters and inconsistent depth at cornerback, the Bengals need to address the position via the draft. Roby is far from a finished product, but has arguably the highest ceiling of any 2014 cornerback prospect.

Jameel Shareef's reasoning behind the pick...

25. San Diego Chargers: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame

Louis Nix III
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

25. San Diego Chargers: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame

Louis Nix III
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

After Cam Thomas departed this offseason, the Chargers desperately need an impact nose tackle who can anchor the defense. Nix has some concerns heading into 2014, but offers enough upside to warrant a first-round pick.

Grant Waller's reasoning behind the pick...

26. Cleveland Browns: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

Derek Carr
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

26. Cleveland Browns: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

Derek Carr
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Browns chose to wait on a quarterback, and found their man with Carr. Now he has a scary arsenal of weapons to use, including Gordon, Jordan Cameron and the recently-drafted Watkins.

Dan Williams' reasoning behind the pick...

27. New Orleans Saints: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

Jason Verrett
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

27. New Orleans Saints: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

Jason Verrett
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Taking Verrett right here is a no-brainer. The small, tough cornerback is a Top 15 talent, and nabbing him at No. 27 is a steal. This pick will give the Saints a ridiculously-talented trio of defensive backs moving forward.

Andrew Schuster's reasoning behind the pick...

28. Carolina Panthers: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

Cyrus Kouandjio
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

28. Carolina Panthers: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

Cyrus Kouandjio
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

While the pick makes some sense after the departure of Jordan Gross, the Panthers have a much bigger need at wide receiver. Still, Kouandjio is a solid get at No. 28 and should be able to earn the starting left tackle job.

Rex Sheild's reasoning behind the pick...

29. New England Patriots: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

Kelvin Benjamin
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

29. New England Patriots: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

Kelvin Benjamin
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots have a number of areas that must be addressed early, and wide receiver is one of them. Benjamin, however, might not be the solve-all they’re looking for. Benjamin could turn out to be a huge disappointment in Boston.

Justin Patrick's reasoning behind the pick...

30. San Francisco 49ers: Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois

Jimmie Ward
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

30. San Francisco 49ers: Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois

Jimmie Ward
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll admit I don’t get this one. Ward, arguably the top strong safety of the 2014 class, is a terrific talent, but would be stuck behind recently-signed Antoine Bethea on the depth chart. The 49ers can’t afford to spend a first-rounder on a safety.

Brian Cox' reasoning behind the pick...

31. Denver Broncos: Xavier Su’a-Filo, G, UCLA

Xavier Su'a-Filo
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

31. Denver Broncos: Xavier Su’a-Filo, G, UCLA

Xavier Su'a-Filo
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

With a glaring hole at left guard, the Broncos make a major upgrade at the spot with Su’a-Filo. A big, powerful guard who mauls opponents in the run game, the UCLA product brings a huge amount of upside to the table.

Tylor Walden's reasoning behind the pick...

32. Seattle Seahawks: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame

Zack Martin
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

32. Seattle Seahawks: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame

Zack Martin
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

If this really happened, Martin would be a steal and a half for the Seahawks. The versatile blocker is considered a Top 10 talent by some, so you have to believe Seattle would run that card up to the podium.

Brian Kalchik's reasoning behind the pick...

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.