2014 NFL Mock Draft
Last Updated: May 7, 2014
Note: if you missed the pictures of Jadeveon Clowney doing menacing-type things on the football field that initially served as a page holder, you can see that page here.
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2014 NFL Mock Draft
1. Houston Texans - Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina (6'5" 265) ~
All indications at this point are that the Texans will keep the pick and draft Clowney. As they should, even though he's not an ideal fit for their 3-4 scheme. Clowney + J.J. Watt = chaos.
People who have declared Clowney as "lazy" can stick it. He should have been in the NFL two years ago, but thanks to age discrimination against young adults in the United States being tolerated to a disturbing level, the NFL's "three years out of high school" rule that provides college football with the cheap labor that fuels the massive cash machine remains in place.
To be sure, Clowney is a stronger man than me in more ways than one. I would have told South Carolina, the NCAA and the critics to all piss off after this play in late August. He saw what happened to his teammate Marcus Lattimore after suffering season-ending knee injuries in 2011 and 2012.
It also didn't help that Clowney got the Tim Tebow treatment by ESPN early in the 2013 season where every play was scrutinized and he was talked about an inordinate amount to the point of turning fans against him. He was consistently double-and-triple teamed on plays but remained a noteworthy force, particularly on running plays where even multiple blockers often couldn't stop him.
2. St. Louis Rams (via Washington) - Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (6'1" 205) ~
The last course served by the Red Lobster as part of that horrible March 2012 trade made by the Redskins will be the tastiest of the bunch for the Rams.
This is a do-or-die season for Sam Bradford at QB, and for all the money that the Rams have invested in him, adding the clear-cut top wide receiver in the draft here makes considerable sense. They might go offensive tackle, but Jake Long is reported to be on track to be back from his torn right ACL/MCL in time for the start of the 2014 season.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo (6'3" 250)
The Jaguars have several needs, and pressuring opposing QBs is right there at the top. Mack would help them with on this, even though he would most likely play the "Leo" linebacker position in a 4-3 defensive scheme.
4. Cleveland Browns - Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M (6'0" 200) ~
How important is the quarterback position in the modern NFL? Last year the Browns had a breakout season from wide receiver Josh Gordon, a typically solid performance by elite left tackle Joe Thomas, and cornerback Joe Haden remaining among the best in the league at his position. They finished #9 in the league in total yards allowed and #8 in passing yards allowed.
But they lacked an elite or even mid-level talent at quarterback, and the result was a 4-12 disaster that lead to a second consecutive season of wholesale management and coaching changes. Cleveland absolutely must come out of this draft with a QB who can go from the start, and in this scenario it would appear that Manziel gives them the best shot at that. Plus he would energize a franchise whose tortured fanbase deserves much better than it has been given over the past two decades.
5. Oakland Raiders - Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M (6'5" 230) ~
If Matt Schaub is to succeed as a starting quarterback in Oakland, he will need a go-to receiver. Could Mike Evans fill that role? His stock is red hot at an ideal time for him.
6. Atlanta Falcons - Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn (6'5" 330) ~
The Falcons have a ton of cash investing in OT Sam Baker, but that wouldn't necessarily preclude them from choosing from among their favorite of the offensive lineman prospects. Robinson is at the top of most lists at tackle after his tremendous 2013 season at Auburn.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (6'5" 310)
With the off-season signing of former Bengals DE Michael Johnson, the Bucs should be in a good spot to land a top-level offensive lineman here if they wish to do so. Matthews would be a great fit for the spot both in value and in team need. Tampa Bay could also consider drafting a quarterback here, particularly if there is a collective slide among the top-tier QBs through the six spots above.
8. Minnesota Vikings - C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama (6'2" 235)
If Minnesota really plans to take a quarterback here, they sure have plenty of people fooled who are used to seeing through smokescreens and spotting misdirection attempts. Mosley is a remarkably versatile linebacker who could make an immediate, tangible contribution to the Vikings.
9. Buffalo Bills - Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan (6'7" 310)
Buffalo has a number of viable options here, but getting one of the "big three" offensive tackle prospects at this spot is as likely as any of the choices.
10. Detroit Lions - Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State (6'0" 200)
Either Gilbert or Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard would fill a long-standing need for a top flight cornerback in Detroit. Gilbert's stock has been on the rise after running a sub 4.4 40 at the combine, though don't count out Dennard on ending up as the first DB to go in the draft. 2013 second-round pick Darius Slay had a rough rookie season, but even if he develops into the form expected of him by Detroit, the Lions could definitely use help in their secondary.
11. Tennessee Titans - Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville (6'2" 215) ~
As a Titans fan I might cry tears of joy if this actually happens. I don't understand the whisper campaign against Bridgewater. I really don't. His statline last season was very impressive: nearly 4,000 yards passing with a 71% completion rate and 31 TD passes against just four interceptions. I would be as happy to see the Titans draft him as I was unhappy when the Titans drafted Jake Locker in 2011, and I was livid at the time.
12. New York Giants - Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA (6'5" 245)
One would theorize that Barr would likely play OLB in the Giants' 4-3 set, potentially filling a strong need for the team. Whether it's Barr or Alabama LB C.J. Mosley if he is still on the board here, a high-end linebacker prospect would be a good start for the Giants.
13. St. Louis Rams - HaHa Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama (6'1" 210) ~
It's no longer considered a lock that Clinton-Dix will be the first safety drafted, not with the rising star of Louisville FS Calvin Pryor drawing so much attention. Either would be a logical selection here for the Rams.
And, for the record, it's HaHa without any spaces between the first and second Ha. And if you wonder how to say it properly, watch this video -- the third time was the charm.
14. Chicago Bears - Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt (6'1" 285)
The Bears must something to address the team's abhorrently bad run defense from last season. There are some who think Donald will be a top ten pick, and they might end up being right. Donald's draft stock has been on a meteoric rise in 2014, thanks to plays like this one where Donald dropped into coverage and then chased down Teddy Bridgewater to the near side. Props to Ryan Lownes for pointing me to that video clip.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers - Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State (5'11" 195)
Is this the year that the Steelers finally use a first-round pick on a cornerback? There are several indications out there that they could very well be leaning in that direction.
16. Dallas Cowboys - Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State (6'2" 300) ~
Jernigan could serve as a replacement for DT Jason Hatcher, who signed as a free agent with the Washington Redskins. The "Tampa Two" defense is predicated on the front four providing sufficient pressure on opposing quarterbacks, something he should be able to help with quite well.
17. Baltimore Ravens - Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina (6'4" 250) ~
From champs to out of the playoffs, the Ravens would be well-served to rebuild in 2014 by adding some new offensive weapons, particularly with someone with the ability at the tight end position like Ebron.
18. New York Jets - Marqise Lee, WR, USC (6'0" 195) ~
The Jets offense is in desperate need of some playmakers, particularly at the wide receiver position. This draft is very deep at wideout, but that shouldn't stop the Jets from taking a wideout here given their need at the position. Lee has managed to slide under the radar to a degree
19. Miami Dolphins - Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame (6'4" 310)
After the Incognito/Martin fiasco, targeting an offensive lineman here makes a great deal of sense for Miami. I'm not as bullish on Martin as some are, but his stock is on the rise and him going in a top 20 slot is entirely possible. There is also talk that Miami might take Alabama OT Cyrus Kouandjio here, which I had projected in several previous iterations of this mock draft.
20. Arizona Cardinals - Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State (6'1" 235) ~
Louisville free safety Calvin Pryor might be a consideration here, though strong safety is the bigger need for the Cardinals with the likely retirement of Yeremiah Bell. It remains to be seen how the Honey Badger will recover from the torn ACL in his left knee, but considering his age and remarkable play pre-injury, I don't see Arizona going free safety at this spot.
A super-speedy tackling machine at OLB like Shazier would be a logical addition, particularly with Sam Ocho and the soon-to-be-36 John Abraham playing on expiring deals this fall.
21. Green Bay Packers - Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville (5'11" 210) ~
If Clinton-Dix and/or Pryor fall to the Packers here, they would represent great value at a need spot for the Packers.
22. Philadelphia Eagles - Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU (5'11" 200)
It will be interesting to see if the Eagles end up going wide receiver here since it's such a huge need for them. Beckham is one of several viable options for the Eagles here.
23. Kansas City Chiefs - Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State (5'10" 190) ~
Kansas City had a remarkable turnaround in year one of the Andy Reid era, but adding another receiving threat could make things even better in year two of the Reid era for the Chiefs.
24. Cincinnati Bengals - Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri (6'4" 275) ~
Replacing Michael Johnson at defensive end will be key for the Bengals, and Ealy could help them accomplish that task.
25. San Diego Chargers - Jason Varrett, CB, TCU (5'9" 190) ~
The Chargers could use help at cornerback and Varrett would be a good fit for their system.
26. Cleveland Browns (via Indianapolis) - Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, Oregon (6'4" 305) ~
Remember when people were ridiculing the Browns for dealing Trent Richardson to Indianapolis for this pick? Now it looks like one of the most one-sided trades in recent NFL history.
Su'a-Filo is arguably the top pure offensive guard prospect in this year's draft, and he would add strength to a Browns line that returns Alex Mack (thanks to the Browns matching Jacksonville's offer sheet for him) and Joe Thomas. This draft is deep enough where the Browns can get a solid slot receiver, a guy like Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews, in the second round.
27. New Orleans Saints - Louis Nix, NT, Notre Dame (6'3" 340) ~
Brodrick Bunkley took a pay cut to stick around for 2014, but he's on the wrong side of 30. And even if you believe that John Jenkins will excel at the spot for New Orleans long-term, Nix is versatile enough to fill a 3-4 defensive end role. Nix is not a typical 340 pound man -- few if any at his size share his quickness and agility. His injuries from last season will quite possibly cause him to fall this far in the draft, and if so he could be a strong pickup for the Saints this late in the first round.
28. Carolina Panthers - Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama (6'7" 320) ~
While wide receiver is a big need for Carolina, the run of several top-level wideouts combined with depth that should give them options later would leave Carolina, in this scenario, perhaps better served targeting an offensive tackle prospect.
29. New England Patriots - Blake Bortles, QB, UCF (6'5" 230) ~
It's very difficult to predict what Bill Belichick will do, but if Bortles falls then slotting him here makes as much sense to me as anything relative to trying to project what the Pats will do with this pick. There will likely be several teams looking to trade up to this spot from a high second-round position if Bortles were to fall this far. It's a formula that has worked for New England: trade back, land an extra pick or two, and fill various needs.
30. San Francisco 49ers - Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech (6'0" 195)
The 49ers are a team with many options, but adding some youth to its cornerback group would be a wise move.
31. Denver Broncos - Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State (6'3" 275) ~
This might be the spot where Denver tries to make amends for the Elvis Dumervil fiasco of 2013.
32. Seattle Seahawks - Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech (6'5" 265) ~
Adding a potential superstar offensive weapon in Amaro could make the defending champs even more potent on offense in 2014.
~ indicates player with NCAA eligibility for 2014 who declared for the 2014 NFL Draft