2014 NFL Mock (1/7/14)
1. Houston Texans: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
The Texans have a lot more weapons than a traditional 2-14 team but the one thing they really need is a quarterback. Matt Schaub has always been a decent quarterback but not great and he was horrible this season. Teddy Bridgewater is being somewhat underrated. Bridgewater is definitely deserving to be the top overall selection in the 2014 draft. He has a strong arm and is an accurate passer. One of Bridgewater’s best attributes is his ability to be an accurate passer under pressure which is rare for a young quarterback.
2. St. Louis Rams (from WAS): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
The Rams are going to try to move out of this selection as they did in 2012. With a lot of teams needing quarterbacks this spot becomes a very good spot to trade out of. If the Rams keeps this pick their best bet is to take Clowney. They have two very good defensive ends in Chris Long and Robert Quinn but adding a third pass rusher is never a bad thing, especially one with the huge upside of Clowney. This season brought a lot of question marks about Clowney and his work ethic. Clowney did not have a great year statistically but that won’t scare teams away as he was seeing a lot of attention.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
The Jaguars need a quarterback. They could opt for a veteran quarterback but considering Jay Cutler is off the market, the options are very slim. Michael Vick will be a free agent but he certainly isn’t a safe bet to be an effective starter for 16 games. Bortles has the prototypical size of a NFL quarterback and has much better athleticism than you would expect. He has a quick release, strong arm and is a smart quarterback however he hasn’t taken a lot of snaps under center and needs to get more acquainted into a pro-style offense.
4. Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
It would be silly for the Browns to ignore drafting a quarterback in this draft. The Browns have a good defense and a couple of very good weapons on offense in Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron but they need a quarterback. The jury is out on Johnny Manziel and it most likely will be until he has finished a full season in the NFL. One of his biggest knocks coming into this season was his ability to be productive in the pocket. Yet, this season he completed over 70% of his passes from inside the pocket. Manziel would give the Raiders and exciting player they have been seeking at the quarterback position.
5. Oakland Raiders: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
With the top 3 quarterbacks off the board the Raiders will have to look in another direction. This may be a little high for Watkins but he has been a dominate receiver throughout his collegiate career and he capped it off with a huge performance in the Orange Bowl. Watkins finished the season with 101 receptions for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Raiders have some decent talent at receiver but no one like Watkins. His intangibles are next to elite and he should be able to be an impact player immediately. He is in a very similar mold to Larry Fitzgerald.
6. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Matthews would have been a top 10 pick last year and many think he is better than his collegiate teammate, Luke Joeckel who went 2nd. Matthews has experience at both right and left tackle and has been a staple for protecting Johnny Manziel. The Falcons need to improve their offensive line and Matthews would be a huge upgrade at the tackle position.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
With Lovie Smith coming in you can expect there to be a lot of big changes. A lot of draft scouts want to give the Buccaneers another receiver here and the Bucs could also look at a quarterback if there is one available they like but more than likely they will look in another direction. Donald Penn is not an elite left tackle and they have a lot of money tied up in his base salary and could save a lot of cap space by cutting him. Greg Robinson has flown up draft charts and has a chance to be the first offensive tackle taken. He has been a big reason for the Tigers offensive success this year.
8. Minnesota Vikings: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno St.
Christian Ponder hasn’t been the right answer and the Josh Freeman experiment didn’t work so its time to move on. With a new coach coming in you can expect the team to have a new quarterback. Derek Carr has a strong arm and can make all of the throws. However, he has two question marks. First, he has taken most of his snaps out of the shotgun and needs to learn how to read a defense from under center. Second, he has question marks about his pocket presence when the pressure gets backed into him. Carr is a very smart quarterback and does have the arm strength to be successful but the Vikings (or whoever drafts him) will need to be more patient than the Texans were with his brother.
9. Buffalo Bills: Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
The Bills can go a variety of directions with this selection but they should do the smart thing and go for the best available player. Anthony Barr is a very unique talent. Over the past two seasons he has a combined 23 sacks and 41 tackles for a loss despite only playing linebacker for two years after being moved from running back. Taking a linebacker in the top 10 is rare but defensive coordinator Mike Pettine could use Barr in a variety of ways to utilize his unique skill set. Barr is absolutely worth a top 10 overall selection.
10. Detroit Lions: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan St.
The Lions had a terrible collapse down the stretch but a lot of that has to be put on the coaching staff which is now gone. The Lions have needed to improve their secondary for awhile yet seem to try and plug players in rather than getting quality prospects. Dennard is the top cornerback prospect in this draft and the has really solidified his stock over the past month with very strong games against Ohio St. and Stanford. Dennard isn’t the tallest guy but he has the ability to be the shutdown corner the Lions are desperately seeking.
11. Tennessee Titans: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Ealy has been one of the best defensive ends in the SEC during the 2013 season. Ealy finished the season with 6 sacks and 12 tackles for a loss. The Titans best pass rusher came on the inside was Jurrell Casey who had 10.5 sacks and the Titans have not got consistent pressure from the outside. This is most likely higher than most people have seen Ealy but his ability to play against the run and rush the passer is evident. The Combine will be big for Ealy as he is big, strong defensive end who is very athletic.
12. New York Giants: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
The Giants needs to address their linebackers. Keith Rivers is a free agent and can be upgraded. Mack is very much an immediate impact player with his ability to get into the backfield. He finished his career with 75 tackles for a loss and 16 forced fumbles. Mack has the athleticism to play linebacker in the 4-3 and the Giants can utlize him in the same way they do with Mathias Kiwanuka.
13. St. Louis Rams: Cameron Erving, OT, Florida St.
The Rams could very well go after a tackle with their first selection there is a good chance there is a quality tackle with the 13th overall pick. Roger Saffold is a free agent and may not be retained. Erving is a super athletic tackle who used to play on the defensive side of the ball. He has very good flexibility and has been able to handle speed and bull rushers with ease. His biggest issues are usually minor technical problems which he should have no issue correcting.
14. Chicago Bears: Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
The Bears run defense was horrible all season long and the majority of their defensive line was a disappointment. Henry Melton was missed this year but he could leave via free agency. Hageman is a guy to watch as he should climb as the draft gets closer and could end up in the top 10. He is a big man at 6’6’, 311 lbs and he is very athletic for his size. He has the ability to get to the quarterback and is very good against the run. He would be an instant starter for the Bears.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida St.
Emmanuel Sanders is a free agent and will most likely be too expensive to be brought back. Last year’s third round pick Markus Wheaton missed a lot of time and only had 6 catches on the year. Ben Roethlisberger has been asking for a tall, big receiver and they can get it in this draft. Benjamin is a strong receiver who is still somewhat raw but is an explosive receiver who can give the Steelers a reliable red zone target.
16. Dallas Cowboys: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
The Cowboys defense was atrocious last year and they got subpar player from their safeties. The Cowboys could go a few different ways once they decide for certain what they are doing on defense. Clinton-Dix was a staple in the Alabama secondary over the past two seasons. He should be capable of stepping in right away for the Cowboys.
17. Baltimore Ravens: Cyrus Kouandijo, OT, Alabama
Everyone wants to give the Ravens a wide receiver and they could very well go that way but both Eugene Monroe and Michael Oher are free agents. It may be tough to retain both players so they might look to the draft for another one. Kouandijo has been solid all season long but struggled at times in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama seems to breed offensive linemen and they tend to grade out very high during the draft process. Kouandijo could be the first offensive tackle taken but there is only a little separating the tackles in this draft and his performance in the Sugar Bowl could hurt.
18. New York Jets: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
The Jets need help on offense more than just about any team in the NFL. For a team with virtually no playmakers they would be very happy if Mike Evans fell into their lap. Evans is a very strong receiver who can body almost any defensive back and make tough catches. He has had some dominating performances this year but there is some concern that his lack of route running and speed could be a hindrance to his development. If Evans runs anything under a 4.5 at the Combine he will be a top 10-12 pick but he is expected to run between 4.5-4.6
19. Miami Dolphins: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
The Dolphins offensive line has been in the media for a big part of the season. Clearly Jonathan Martin is not working out so the Dolphins need to find a new left tackle. Lewan is a very good prospect but he has had some issues with technical work which will need to be improved. Lewan is a very athletic prospect and could give the Dolphins an option at both tackle spots.
20. Arizona Cardinals: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio St.
The Cardinals really surprised people in 2013 with a 10-6 record but it wasn’t good enough to get into the playoffs. Carson Palmer was very average but good enough. The Cardinals could look to grab a quarterback if one falls to them unless they reach for one here. The Cardinals need to improve on the offensive side of the ball but they also could use an upgrade at outside linebacker. Vic Beasley is a very good fit for the 3-4, as he has very good speed and is great in pursuit.
21. Green Bay Packers: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
The Packers are ready to move on from Jermichael Finley and he will most likely get overpaid in free agency. Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a unique talent that has an incredible skill set for a tight end. He is an exceptional receiver with the ability to make incredible catches however, he is also a very good blocking tight end and can help in the run game. You will see Jace Amaro and Eric Ebron going ahead of Seferian-Jenkins in most mocks but Seferian-Jenkins is a more complete player with a higher upside.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
The Eagles offense was very effective this year so they will most likely look to the defensive side. They could use some depth on their defensive line and Cedric Thornton is a free agent. Stephon Tuitt is an ideal fit for the five technique as he is big, strong and can really take on double teams and get to the quarterback. He finished the last two years with a combined 20 tackles for a loss and 18.5 sacks.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Lee had a down year and coming into 2013 most expected him to be a top 10 pick. He finished the year with 57 catches for 791 yards and 4 touchdowns after having 118 catches for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2012 (Alshon Jeffery had a similar drop in production in his collegiate career). Lee could end up being a steal as USC was in somewhat of dysfunction during this season. The Chiefs need another receiver to compliment Dwayne Bowe and Lee could end up being better.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
The Bengals have been going for the best player available the last few drafts and it has worked out for them. James Harrison will most likely not be back next year and they could use a little more athleticism that Mosley can help improve. Mosley is good against the run and in pass coverage and his instincts and intelligence where on display in the Sugar Bowl.
25. San Diego Chargers: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma St.
Justin Gilbert has proved to be a playmaker in 2013. He has very good vision and hands and can make a play on the ball in the air better than any corner in this draft. Gilbert is a very good athlete who is also a great kick returner taking five kicks back for touchdowns in his career. The Chargers need to improve their cornerback play and Gilbert can step right in.
26. Cleveland Browns (from IND): Xavier Su’a-Filo, G, UCLA
Su’a-Filo is a very impressive guard who has experience playing tackle but is best suited to stay inside. He is a strong, mauling type guard. The Browns are going to need to improve their interior offensive line for whoever ends up being the Browns running back.
27. New Orleans Saints: Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M
If all of these offensive tackles declare for the draft we could see one of the best offensive tackle drafts ever. Ogbuehi moved from guard to tackle to effectively take Jake Matthews spot as Matthews moved over to handle the left tackle position. Ogbuehi had a very good year but is probably best suited for right tackle in the NFL.
28. San Francisco 49ers: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon St.
Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree are solid receivers but neither can stretch the field. When your tight end is your best offensive vertical threat there is a problem. Brandin Cooks lead the FBS in receiving yards with 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns. He isn’t the biggest guy but he can make things happen with the ball in his hands. Last year we saw Tavon Austin go in 8th overall and Cooks is a very similar player.
29. New England Patriots: Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
The Patriots defensive tackles are very substandard and need to be improved. Louis Nix injury will hurt him in the fact that he won’t be able to showcase his abilities during the draft process. Nix is a big run stuffing tackle who needs to keep his weight in check during his rehab. He may end up reminding Patriots fans of Vince Wilfork. Nix is very nimble for a 340 pound man.
30. Carolina Panthers: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio St.
Roby has a lot of negative plays go against him this season but he does have a ton of playmaking ability and a huge upside. He needs to work on his technique but he has the work ethic to get better. He may run the best 40 for any top cornerback at the Combine. The Panthers have a very good defense and Roby is a guy they can take a chance on to solidify their secondary.
31. Denver Broncos: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
The Broncos need to improve their offensive line and could certainly look to move up to get one of the tackles and there is also a good chance someone falls into their laps but they could also make the move to get a cornerback. Ekpre-Olomu is a very good corner but is on the smaller side which will ultimately hurt his draft stock.
32. Seattle Seahawks: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
There are not a lot of obvious needs for the Seahawks but getting another weapon for Russell Wilson couldn’t hurt. Ebron is a very good pass catching tight end who did some really impressive things in 2013. He can run down the seam or the sideline which creates a lot of mismatch problems.
33. Houston Texans: Vic Beasley, LB, Clemson
The Texans could use some depth at linebacker and Beasley is a very good fit for the 3-4. He can get to the quarterback and has a lightning first step. In the event they moved to a 4-3 under Bill O’Brien Beasley can play defensive end.
34. Washington Redskins: Zach Martin, OL, Notre Dame
This will be the Redskins first selection so it needs to be a quality pick. Zach Martin is the Irish left tackle but there are some question marks regarding his future at that position. Either way he is a versatile linemen who should be able to help the Redskins immediately.
35. Cleveland Browns: Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
The Browns need another offensive weapon and Tre Mason had a huge season and doesn’t have a lot of carries under his belt. He would be a huge upgrade for the Browns.
36. Oakland Raiders: Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
After passing on a quarterback in round 1 the Raiders may look for one in round 2. Boyd has become somewhat of an underrated prospect due to some minor inconsistencies. He has a strong arm and can stand in the pocket and deliver a pass.
37. Atlanta Falcons: Trent Murphy, DE, Stanford
The Falcons need another edge pass rusher and Murphy had 15 sacks last year playing outside linebacker. He should be able to make the transition smoothly to defensive end.
38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Odell Beckham, WR, LSU
The Bucs could go with a receiver in round 1 but with a good amount of receivers that will be available they can wait and get someone like Odell Beckham. Beckham is a great player with the ball in his hands and with so many big receivers a guy like Beckham will be coveted by a lot of teams.
39. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Verrett is another guy who has first round talent but doesn’t have the ideal height to be chosen very early. The Jaguars need help everywhere.
40. Minnesota Vikings: Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon St.
Jared Allen is a free agent and while the Vikings will attempt to bring him back they still could use some depth at defensive end.
41. Buffalo Bills: Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
The Bills need to upgrade their offensive tackles. Richardson is a big man but doesn’t have the same athleticism as some of the other top tackles in this draft.
42. Tennessee Titans: Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming
Smith is probably the most underrated quarterback prospect in the draft and with a strong pre-draft showing could end up in the back end of the first round. Jake Locker seems to always get hurt and its hindered his development.
43. New York Giants: Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas
The Giants need to upgrade their interior offensive line and that could start at the center position. Swanson is the best center available.
44. St. Louis Rams: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn St.
The Rams have tried drafting some wide receivers over the past few years and none of them have really stepped up to be a #1 receiver. Robinson had a big body and good hands and will be a good addition for the Rams.
45. Detroit Lions: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
Brandon Pettigrew is a free agent and has been inconsistent. Amaro is a very good pass catching tight end and gives the Lions another threat to take pressure off of Calvin Johnson.
46. Pittsburgh Steelers: Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
The Steelers have questions at inside linebacker. Vince Williams was solid this year but comes off the field against the pass and 2012 third rounder Sean Spence hasn’t been able to play a down yet. Skov was the leader for the Cardinal defense and would fit the Steelers defense.
47. Dallas Cowboys: Will Sutton, DT, Arizona St.
Sutton could certainly find himself in the first round so this would be a great value. He is on the shorter side for a defensive tackle but is very strong and explosive.
48. Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Matthews doesn’t have elite speed which will ultimately hurt his draft stock but he is a very good receiver and a big target that the Ravens are looking for.
49. New York Jets: Michael Sam, LB, Missouri
Calvin Pace is a free agent and while the Jets need offensive weapons they need to make sure they have enough pass rushers.
50. Miami Dolphins: Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
Lamar Miller has been a disappointment and Carey has been one of the best running backs over the past two years in college football. He has great vision and is a smart runner.
51. Chicago Bears: Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
Michael Buch is most likely going to be cut as he is due a $2.8 million in base salary. Matt Forte still sees the field too much and they need a reliable backup to take some tough carries away from Forte.
52. Arizona Cardinals: Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
The injury to Zach Mettenberger is going to hurt his stock but the Cardinals could use a young quarterback who can push Carson Palmer.
53. Green Bay Packers: Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU
The Packers could use depth at linebacker and Van Noy has good value in the second round.
54. Philadelphia Eagles: Trevor Reilly, OLB, Utah
The Eagles could use some more pass rushers and Reilly is a guy who had a very impressive season with 9 sacks at Utah. He shouldn’t have a problem making the conversion to linebacker.
55. Cincinnati Bengals: Lamarcus Joyner, DB, Florida St.
Joyner is on the small side so he may have to move to safety but he certainly has the skill set to play corner in the NFL.
56. San Francisco 49ers (from KC): Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida
Roberson had a very up and down season in 2013 but he still had a huge upside and has the frame of a good NFL corner.
57. San Diego Chargers: Cyril Richardson, G, Baylor
Richardson is a big, mauling guard who has experience playing tackle as well. He is 340 pounds so his weight will always be in question but he is light on his feet.
58. Indianapolis Colts: Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
Bryant was somewhat in Sammy Watkins shadow but Bryant is a big receiver, with strong hands and is expected to run a fast 40. He could certainly help improve his stock over the next 3 months.
59. New Orleans Saints: Marcus Smith, LB, Louisville
Smith is a former quarterback who was moved to the defensive side and has really flourished. He finished 2013 with 14.5 sacks and his career with 24 sacks. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him really improve his stock over the next 3 months.
60. San Francisco 49ers: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida St.
Jerrigan isn’t the best fit for the 49ers defense but he can be utilized in a few different ways that will make the Niners defense even more dangerous.
61. Carolina Panthers: Davante Adams, WR, Fresno St.
The Panthers need more weapons for Cam Newton to improve their offense and Adams is another big receiver who can run. He would help stretch the field.
62. New England Patriots: Victor Hampton, CB, South Carolina
The Patriots could use some depth in the secondary, especially if Aqib Talib is not retained. Hampton is very athletic and could play safety as well.
63. Denver Broncos: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
The Broncos need to improve their defensive tackles and Aaron Donald is a guy who can get into the backfield. He, likely well go in the first round with a good Pre-draft showing.
64. Seattle Seahawks: Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin are free agents and even with Percy Harvin coming back the Seahawks could use another wideout.