NFL Mock Draft
Posted by Jimmy Boyd
This is how I see the first round shaping up for the 2014 NFL Draft on Thursday, May 8.
No. 1 Pick: Houston Texans
The Texans could go a number of different directions with the 1st overall pick, but when it’s all said and done I just don’t see them passing up on a rare talent like Clowney. I know he’s not an ideal fit for their 3-4 scheme, but I’m confident they can make it work. The idea of having to block both J.J. Watt and Clowney is already causing nightmares for opposing offensive coordinators. I also like Houston’s chances of finding a potential starter at quarterback with the first pick in the 2nd round.
Selection – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
No. 2 Pick: St. Louis Rams (From Washington Redskins)
It’s going to be hard to pass up on Watkins, but in order for Sam Bradford to utilize his weapons he has to have time to throw. Robinson isn’t just a safe pick, he’s one of the better left tackle prospects in years. There’s plenty of talent at the wide receiver position to address that need later.
Selection – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
No. 3 Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars
I know there’s a decent debate on which quarterback should be taken first, but in my opinion it’s a no brainer that Manziel is the better option. He wasn’t the first ever freshman to win the Heisman for no reason. I think he’s going to be a star at the next level and few teams have had to deal with worse quarterback play than Jacksonville over the last few seasons.
Selection – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
No. 4 Pick: Cleveland Browns
I know a lot of people are expecting Cleveland to take a quarterback, but I think they aren’t quite ready to give up on Brian Hoyer. Adding in Watkins gives the Browns a dynamic trio of weapons on the outside with tight end Jordan Cameron and wide out Josh Gordon. Keep in mind the Browns will also select 26th in the first round.
Selection – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
No. 5 Pick: Oakland Raiders
The Raiders have had a solid offseason to this point and getting Mack at No. 5 would be a slam dunk in my opinion. Not only is he the best player left on the board, but he fits a glaring need for Oakland.
Selection – Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
No. 6 Pick: Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons struggled to protect Matt Ryan last year and it has to be their No. 1 priority to make sure he’s got a clean pocket to throw. While it will be tempting to take Ebron out of North Carolina to replace Tony Gonzalez, I think they take the safe rout and solidify their offensive line with Matthews.
Selection – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
No. 7 Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay desperately needs to add in another playmaker at receiver for new starting quarterback Josh McCown. While they have a legit No. 1 wide out on the roster in Vincent Jackson, he’s really all they got at the position. The fact that they haven’t made more of an effort in the offseason to bring in some depth, has to make you think they are confident Evans will be available when they are on the clock.
Selection – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
No. 8 Pick: Minnesota Vikings
While I’m not huge on Bortles being worthy of a Top 10 pick, all signs point to him being selected this early. The Vikings can’t continue to waste the final years of Adrian Peterson’s career with Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel as their starting quarterback.
Selection – Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
No. 9 Pick: Buffalo Bills
The Bills lost an elite safety in Jairus Byrd and it would make a lot of sense to replace him with one of the two elite safeties in this year’s class. I have Buffalo taking Alabama’s Clinton-Dix, but depending on who they have rated higher, this selection could also be Pryor out of Louisville. Either way the Bills fill a glaring need here.
Selection – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
No. 10 Pick: Detroit Lions
The Lions need to upgrade at corner and what better way to do that than draft the highest rated player at this position. Gilbert has good size for a corner, which is becoming more and more of a need with all the big receivers coming into the NFL.
Selection – Justin Gilbert, CB, Tennessee
No. 11 Pick: Tennessee Titans
This may come as a surprise to some, as you could argue the Titans have bigger needs at other positions, but I think Ebron would be a perfect fit for Tennessee. Adding in a matchup nightmare and security option for young quarterback Jake Locker could be just what he needs to live up his 1st round potential.
Selection – Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
No. 12 Pick: New York Giants
Eli Manning is coming off one of his worst seasons and a big reason for that was the protection up front. Getting a talent like Michigan’s Lewan to come in and start right away at left tackle is exactly what this team needs.
Selection – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
No. 13 Pick: St. Louis Rams
I had the Rams passing on Watkins with the No. 2 overall pick and I again have them passing on a receiver with their second selection in the first round. I just don’t see the value in taking a gamble on a receiver, when they can get a sure thing at a glaring need at safety.
Selection – Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
No. 14 Pick: Chicago Bears
Chicago was awful defensively last year and I fully expect them to use this pick to improve on that side of the ball. While they have added in some nice pieces in Lamarr Houston, Jared Allen and Willie Young, they still have a hole to fill at defensive tackle with the departure of Henry Milton. Donald not only has a huge upside, but he’s a perfect fit for the Bears Tampa 2 system.
Selection – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
No. 15 Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers
It’s time for Pittsburgh to start looking for a replacement for 34-year-old Ike Taylor. While Denard doesn’t have the ball skills of Gilbert, he’s the best man-to-man cover corner in the draft. Pittsburgh loves physical in your face defenders and I think Denard would be a perfect fit here.
Selection – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan
No. 16 Pick: Dallas Cowboys
The loss of DeMarcus Ware leaves Dallas desperate for someone who can come in an put put pressure on the quarterback. Barr’s stock has fallen and some might consider him a reach at No. 16, which makes this a perfect fit for Jerry Jones and the Cowboys.
Selection – Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA
No. 17 Pick: Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens were able to bring back starting left tackle Eugene Monroe, but lost right tackle Michael Oher. Martin has the tools to come in an be a productive starter right away. Best thing with Martin is that if he fails on the outside, he’s capable of moving inside to guard.
Selection – Zach Martin, OT, Notre Dame
No. 18 Pick: New York Jets
While the Jets have a clear need at wide receiver, I can’t see Rex Ryan’s defensive mentality allowing him to pass up on Mosley if he’s on the board. New York could use an upgrade over Demario Davis and David Harris and I think they are getting a steal. The only reason I believe Mosley will fall this late is health concerns. Keep in mind this is a deep class at receiver and it’s not uncommon to find stars at that position later in the draft.
Selection – C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
No. 19 Pick: Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins offensive line was a complete mess last year. They took a big step in the right direction by signing free agent left tackle Brandon Albert, but there’s a huge hole on the right side and Albert has a history of not being able to stay on the field.
Selection – Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
No. 20 Pick: Arizona Cardinals
Arizona doesn’t have a ton of glaring needs, but I do think they could use help at linebacker. Shazier has the ability to play both inside and outside and has the cover skills to stay on the field. There’s some concern about Shazier’s size, but I think he’s going to be a quality player for several years. Could very well be one of the steals of the first round.
Selection – Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
No. 21 Pick: Green Bay Packers
I know a lot of people don’t have Seferian Jenkings going in the first round, but both of the top safeties gone and Mosley the only inside linebacker worth taking on day one, I look for the Packers to take a gamble at tight end. With Jermichael Finley no longer around, this feels a pretty big need for Green Bay.
Selection – Austin Seferian Jenkins, TE, LSU
No. 22 Pick: Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles lost dynamic wide out DeSean Jackson and I look for Chip Kelly and the Eagles to quickly replace him with their first round pick. Philadelphia will have plenty of options to choose from, but my favorite of the bunch is LSU’s Beckham. He’s very similar to Jackson in regards to his ability to stretch the field vertically and create after the catch.
Selection -Odell Beckham Jr, WR, LSU
No. 23 Pick: Kansas City Chiefs
Almost everyone anticipates the Chiefs will take a wide receiver with this selection and I fully expect them to do just that. Without a second round pick, Kansas City can’t afford to wait and hope someone falls to them in the 3rd round. I have them taking USC’s Lee, who I think is a steal at this point.
Selection – Marquise Lee, WR, USC
No. 24 Pick: Cincinnati Bengals
Starting corner Leon Hall, has torn his Achillies twice in the last three years, with the most recent being last December. Cincinnati can’t count on him being the same player he was in the past and they certainly can’t rely on Terence Newman and Pac-Man Jones anymore than they did a year ago. Roby was once considered the top corner in this class and I don’t see Cincinnati passing him up.
Selection – Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
No. 25 Pick: San Diego Chargers
Here’s another team with a huge hole to fill at the cornerback position. Their best starting corner as of right now is Richard Marshall and that’s not a good thing. While there’s mixed results on Fuller, he’s worth the risk for San Diego at No. 25.
Selection – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
No. 26 Pick: Cleveland Browns (From Indianapolis Colts)
I think this is a toss up between Louisville’s Bridgewater and Fresno State’s Derek Carr. I just can’t see Bridgewater not going in the first round. Having Hoyer around to allow Bridgewater to learn the NFL game could do wonders for him and there’s also the possibility he shows enough in camp to earn the starting spot.
Selection – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
No. 27 Pick: New Orleans Saints
The Saints loss a couple of key pieces in their passing game. They weren’t able to bring back Lance Moore and traded away Darren Sproles. If Cooks is still available, which I think he will be, New Orleans would be wise to snatch him up.
Selection – Brandon Cooks, WR, Oregon State
No. 28 Pick: Carolina Panthers
The Panthers need to add in a couple receivers from the draft and luckily for them there still figures to first round talent available at this point in the draft. Indiana’s Latimer is rising up draft boards and I think he would be a great fit for Cam Newton and the Panthers.
Selection – Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
No. 29 Pick: New England Patriots
I know the Patriots used a couple of draft picks at the wide receiver position last year and it’s pretty much impossible to figure out what Bill Belichick is going to do, but I think it would make a lot of sense to take a gamble on Florida State’s Benjamin. He’s got the tools to be an elite receiver and could catch on quicker than some are expecting.
Selection – Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
No. 30 Pick: San Francisco 49ers
I don’t necessarily think Verrett is a first round talent, but the 49ers biggest need is at the cornerback position. The big knock on Verrett is he’s just 5-9, 189 pounds, but he plays bigger than that. On the bright side, he’s great in man-to-man coverage and has big time ball skills.
Selection – Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
No. 31 Pick: Denver Broncos
The Broncos have made a lot of noise in free agency, but I don’t expect them to turn heads with their first round pick. Denver needs an upgrade over Zane Beadles at left guard and I believe UCLA’s Sua-Filo would give them just that.
Selection – Xavier Sua-Filo, OG, UCLA
No. 32 Pick: Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have a need at tackle and I think Alabama’s Kouandjio is a big time sleeper at this point in the first round. There are some health concerns here, but there’s also a huge upside if he’s able to overcome them.
Selection – Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama