Dec 31, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Texas A

2014 NFL Mock Draft Update: First Trade Speculations

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Trading has become a regular part of drafts.  With that in mind this 2014 NFL mock draft will offer some speculation on how they could impact the action.

#1 – Cleveland Browns (from HOU) – Teddy Bridgewater – QB – Louisville

With the majority of draft positions locked in place, it might be interesting to put a little twist on the latest mock draft with trade speculation.  It starts out with Houston handing the #1 pick to the Cleveland Browns who jump to the top to take consensus top quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

#2 – Minnesota Vikings (from STL) – Derek Carr – QB – Fresno State

St. Louis doesn’t wait long to make a deal either, handing the second pick to the aggressive Minnesota Vikings who finally get a quarterback in Derek Carr who can unlock the full potential of their offense.

#3 – Jacksonville Jaguars – Blake Bortles – QB – UCF

Big, strong and mobile there isn’t much to hate about Blake Bortles.  He is a local kid so Jacksonville Jaguars fans should know him well and his run of success in 2013 should bring great optimism about the future.

#4 – Houston Texans (from CLE) – Johnny Manziel – QB – Texas A&M

In an unprecedented display, the fourth quarterback on the board is the fourth pick of the draft.  While perhaps not the first choice, the Houston Texans have reason to feel satisfied with Johnny Manziel.  He’s athletic, confident and a playmaker who is still growing.

#5 – Oakland Raiders – Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina

With the quarterback class spent, the Oakland Raiders can’t afford to pass on a once-in-a-decade talent like Jadeveon Clowney.  His combination of size, speed and strength makes him the kind of pass rusher that can dominate games by himself.  Pairing him with Lamarr Houston has to interest the Silver and Black.

#6 – Atlanta Falcons – Anthony Barr – OLB – UCLA

Pass rusher remains a big problem for the Atlanta Falcons.  Too long they’ve relied on veterans and role players.  They need a young difference maker.  Anthony Barr is an outside linebacker but he has the kind of rare ability that can fit in any scheme.

#7 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Kony Ealy – DE – Missouri

Lovie Smith needs an edge rusher if he wants to bring the talented Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense together.  Kony Ealy is a recent riser on boards with the body to fit a 4-3 scheme and the motor, technique and versatility to impact the run and pass.

#8 – St. Louis Rams (from MIN) – Jake Matthews – OT – Texas A&M

Not only do they once again collect draft currency, the St. Louis Rams also get a guy that must be high on their list.  Jake Matthews is the best offensive tackle in his class.  Big, strong, nimble and smart he can play on the left or right side and do so with success.

#9 – Buffalo Bills – Khalil Mack – OLB – Buffalo

Do they need a linebacker?  No.  Still the Buffalo Bills can’t ignore how much Khalil Mack can do on the field from stopping the run, to rushing the passer to playing pass coverage.  Putting him next to Kiko Alonso would be highway robbery.

#10 – Detroit Lions – Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson

His Orange Bowl performance (16 catches, 227 yards, two TDs) spoke for itself.  Sammy Watkins is the real deal.  His speed is at the elite level as is his acceleration.  Where he becomes a top target is a solidly built 6’1″ frame and outstanding lower body strength.

#11 – Tennessee Titans – Stephon Tuitt – DE – Notre Dame

The defense is pretty good for the Tennessee Titans but they still need more bite in their pass rush.  With the quarterbacks gone, they decide to bolster their front with Stephon Tuitt.  He has the speed to play end or the size to play tackle and the motor to make plays from either position.

#12 – New York Giants – Darqueze Dennard – CB – Michigan State

They could very well go after an offensive tackle or even a tight end, but improving the pass defense is a must for the New York Giants.  Darqueze Dennard is agile, fast, boasting good size and the kind of work ethic that superstars possess in the pros.

#13. St. Louis Rams – Mike Evans – WR – Texas A&M

Wide receiver isn’t a huge need but the St. Louis Rams still could use a threat on the outside to fully realize the potential of Tavon Austin in the slot.  Mike Evans can bring a 6’5″ frame, explosive leaping ability and excellent strength to out battle defenders for the ball.

#14 – New York Jets (from CHI) – Marqise Lee – WR – USC

Sensing the moment, the New York Jets swing a deal with Chicago for the rights to the last unquestionable first round receiver.  Some might say Marqise Lee deserves to go first, and they aren’t wrong.  Like Watkins he has good size and great speed but what separates him is outstanding route running.  Geno Smith will love him.

#15 – Pittsburgh Steelers – Justin Gilbert – CB – Oklahoma State

The secondary is getting too old and depleted for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  They have to invest some youth at cornerback.  Justin Gilbert is their kind of corner:  big, long, athletic and boasting the instincts to make plays on the ball when tested.  He loves playing man coverage.

#16 – Baltimore Ravens – Cyrus Kouandjio – OT – Alabama

Robbed of a chance to get a premier receiver, the Baltimore Ravens seeks to bolster their offensive line.  Cyrus Kouandjio is already stout run blocker for Alabama but his body and good balance means with enough seasoning he can become an anchor in pass protection.

#17 – Dallas Cowboys – Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix – FS – Alabama

Anywhere on the defense can use an upgrade for the Dallas Cowboys.  They could just as easily target the line, but getting a playmaker at safety could do wonders.  Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix does everything well and is at his best in coverage.  He reads quarterbacks so well and is rarely out of position.

#18 – Chicago Bears (from NYJ) – C.J. Mosley – LB – Alabama

Having gotten more picks in their deal with the Jets, the Chicago Bears still manage to land a serious talent on defense.  Linebacker isn’t their first need but C.J. Mosley is not a regular type player.  He is a front line athlete with great instincts, intelligence and versatility.  He’s also a leader, something the Bears need on that side of the ball.

#19 – Miami Dolphins – Cameron Erving – OT – Florida State

Offensive line is the obvious choice for the Miami Dolphins.  They need help everywhere.  They should be so lucky to get Cameron Erving.  The Florida State prospect is a physical wonder, not only big but so quick and balanced for his size.  He can hold up against anybody in pass protection and has the mean streak to get after it on the ground.

#20 – Arizona Cardinals – Taylor Lewan – OT – Michigan

Bruce Arians also could use more help up front, especially at tackle.  Getting Jonathan Cooper back at guard would be nice.  How much better could it be if Taylor Lewan were to join him at left tackle?  The Michigan product is big, physical, nasty, polished and athletic enough to hold up against most rushers.

#21 – Green Bay Packers – Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina

Jermichael Finley is in doubt for the future and Andrew Quarless, while a nice complimentary player, is not a game changer.  Aaron Rodgers could use more of a presence at tight end.  Eric Ebron is all that.  That classic basketball hybrid of size and speed, he has shown an ability to locate and go get the football.

#22 – Philadelphia Eagles – Calvin Pryor – FS – Louisville

A safety prospect that remains a slight mystery but Calvin Pryor won’t hide for long.  His big body coupled with good closing speed and instincts make him likely the only other safety worth going in the first round.  He is a fierce hitter and tone setter.  Chip Kelly would love to have somebody like that with the Philadelphia Eagles.

#23 – Kansas City Chiefs – Jace Amaro – TE – Texas Tech

Due respect to Anthony Fasano, the Kansas City Chiefs need more from the tight end position.  Jace Amaro was the best pass catcher at his position by far in 2013.  He has great height at 6’6″ with a 260 lbs body and enough speed to stress defenses down the middle.

#24 – Cincinnati Bengals – Ryan Shazier – OLB – Ohio State

Getting more help in pass coverage is a priority for the Cincinnati Bengals.  If they can’t get it at safety or corner, then an athletic linebacker would certainly help.  Ryan Shazier is slightly lighter than preferable but he is so fast for his position and flies to the football.  He tackles very well and also can be a great asset when blitzing.

#25 – San Diego Chargers – Vic Beasley – DE – Clemson

The saying goes a team can never have enough pass rushers.  While outside linebacker isn’t a huge must, the San Diego Chargers should not reach for a corner.  Vic Beasley can bring great burst, athleticism and bite to their front seven.  He can come around the edge fast or shows the strength to drive inside with a fierce bull rush.

#26 – Houston Texans (from CLE) – Cedric Ogbuehi – OT – Texas A&M

Manziel has shown he operates best when he’s protected.  The Houston Texans must make sure their offensive line remains strong.  So they take Manziel’s teammate Cedric Ogbuehi.  Big and physical like previous Aggies, his great strength is pass protection where his athleticism and frame lend huge hands.

#27 – New Orleans Saints – Allen Robinson – WR – Penn State

It might not seem like it but the New Orleans Saints have not gotten their usual production out of the receiver position.  Marqus Colston has not looked the same.  Getting a big-bodied target for Drew Brees like Allen Robinson, a player who can locate the ball and go up to snare it out of the air would bring back that explosive edge to their passing game.

#28 – New England Patriots – Louis Nix – DT – Notre Dame

Losing Vince Wilfork has really exposed the New England Patriots on the ground.  They must look to put some quality depth behind him.  Louis Nix is not only good enough for that, he could be a potential successor.  His huge body is a load to deal with but what sets him apart is the quickness and athleticism to control the line of scrimmage, just like Wilfork.

#29 – San Francisco 49ers – Brandin Cooks – WR – Oregon State

Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin are terrific possession receivers, but a deep threat is still lacking for the San Francisco 49ers.  Brandin Cooks boasts plenty of speed on and off the tape and led the nation in receiving.

#30 – Carolina Panthers – Paul Richardson – WR – Colorado

He’s not the biggest receiver, but then again neither was Steve Smith.  Paul Richardson was the go-to guy at Colorado and regularly played great football against quality competition.  He has good enough height and the speed and agility to really create problems for defenses.

#31 – Denver Broncos – Trent Murphy – DE – Stanford

Von Miller can’t handle the pass rush alone and now he has an injury issue to deal with.  The Denver Broncos would like to avoid taking another first round defensive lineman, but they need help there.  Trent Murphy is the leading sacker in the nation.  Big and powerful, he finds a way into the backfield and can get to the quarterbacks with regularity.

#32 – Seattle Seahawks – Kelvin Benjamin – WR – Florida State

Will Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice ever stay healthy?  That is a question the Seattle Seahawks can’t answer.  They must make sure Russell Wilson is adequately armed.  Kelvin Benjamin is his kind of receiver.  Not only an athlete, as all FloridaState players are, he is huge at 6’5″ and presents an enormous catch radius.

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