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
Trade yield: Texans get #4, #26 and CLE 2nd round pick
They have the means to move up and the need. The Cleveland Browns might sit back and wait for a quarterback but they should be able to swing a deal with Houston for Teddy Bridgewater. He’s the best in his class and more than capable of becoming a franchise guy given his physical and mental tools.
#2 – Atlanta Falcons (from STL) – Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina
Trade yield: Rams get #6, and ATL 2nd round picks in ’14 and ’15 and 5th round pick
They are never shy about going after players they want. With St. Louis interested in moving down no certainty of Jadeveon Clowney getting back Jacksonville or Oakland, the Atlanta Falcons go get their badly needed pass rusher. Clowney is a perfect fit for their defense and will become a monster in that loud Georgia Dome.
#3 – Jacksonville Jaguars – Blake Bortles – QB – UCF
Was he perfect in 2013? No, but the upside is clearly evident with quarterback Blake Bortles. He has the size, mobility and arm to do far more than just manage games. He is strongly built and has a very good head on his shoulders, demonstrating a rare calm when the pressure ratchets up during important games.
#4 – Houston Texans (from CLE) – Anthony Barr – OLB – UCLA
In a rather stunning move, the Houston Texans forego taking a quarterback with their first pick and instead give J.J. Watt some company on defense. Anthony Barr is one of the best talents in the 2014 NFL draft, period. He is an athletic, active pass rusher but also pursues hard against the run and has the instinct to make plays on the ball.
#5 – Oakland Raiders – Johnny Manziel – QB – Texas A&M
With the pass rushers spent, the Oakland Raiders can’t resist. They still aren’t sold on Matt McGloin or Terrelle Pryor, so they look to solve the problem by handing the reigns to Johnny Manziel. Yes, there are still maturity and height questions but the kid makes plays and does it often against the very best in college football.
#6 – Tennessee Titans (from STL) – Derek Carr – QB – Fresno State
Trade yield: Rams get #11 and TEN 2nd round pick
The ever active Rams move down yet again, this time taking advantage of the Tennessee Titans who sense the urgency to go get the last quarterback with a first round grade. Derek Carr is dogged by questions of his poise under pressure but his physical tools and dedication to his craft are enough to think he will make the jump successfully.
#7 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Kony Ealy – DE – Missouri
Lovie Smith is in town and excellent defense should follow. He already has a really good unit in place with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but he still needs help with the pass rush at defensive end. Kony Ealy is a good fit for his system and has a variety of ways to get to the quarterback out of Missouri.
#8 – Minnesota Vikings – Stephon Tuitt – DE – Notre Dame
With the quarterback crop stripped clean, the Minnesota Vikings could very well try to trade down from this pick but they need help up front on defense badly. Stephon Tuitt can play a number of positions for them, be it end or tackle. He is strong, relentless and highly adept at disrupting the line of scrimmage.
#9 – Buffalo Bills – Khalil Mack – LB – Buffalo
Linebacker is not their first choice but defense is their first priority. Khalil Mack is a top ten talent for sure and a playmaker. Putting him next to Kiko Alonso, with the versatile ways he can play coverage and rush the passer could give the Buffalo Bills so many options in 2014.
#10 – Detroit Lions – Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson
If Ken Whisenhunt takes over for the Detroit Lions, he will bring the knowledge of what having two star receivers can do for a football team. By having Megatron in place, the team gets him a wingman with speed on the other side. Sammy Watkins can run, jump, catch and grind better than any receiver in this 2014 NFL mock draft.
#11 – St. Louis Rams (from TEN) – Jake Matthews – OT – Texas A&M
How in the world did they pull it off? The St. Louis Rams haul in more picks in their fall to 11th and still manage to land a franchise left tackle in Jake Matthews. His size, power and balance will be most welcome on the right or left side, since he played both in school. He is also quite durable and plays with a nasty streak befitting a Jeff Fisher player.
#12 – New York Giants – Greg Robinson – OT – Auburn
It doesn’t matter where the upgrade comes from, the New York Giants have to get their offensive line straightened out. Greg Robinson is a left tackle and could end up there, but he is basically a talented blocker, of which the Giants seem to have very few. His size, length, power and athleticism will help in protecting Eli Manning.
#13 – St. Louis Rams – Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix – FS – Alabama
There is no way the Rams can risk trading this pick, not if they want to get a player they need in Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix. A playmaking safety is something missing from the St. Louis defense. Ha Ha is a rangy center fielder with great instincts and the acceleration to break hard to the football once it’s in the air.
#14 – New York Jets (from CHI) – Marqise Lee – WR – USC
Trade yield: Bears get #18 and NYJ 3rd round pick (80th) and 7th round pick
Geno Smith badly needs a game breaking wide receiver on the outside. The New York Jets have the picks to spare to move up, and Marqise Lee is the kind of target who can change ball games. They make a deal with Chicago and go get him. Lee has good height, explosive acceleration and the straight-line speed to frighten defenses.
#15 – Pittsburgh Steelers – Justin Gilbert – CB – Oklahoma State
Great strides were made on offense for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2014, which could mean they can focus their efforts on reloading a depleted and aging secondary. Getting a great cover corner would do wonders for Dick LeBeau. Justin Gilbert has good size and length coupled with the speed and agility to blanket receivers from snap to whistle.
#16 – Baltimore Ravens – Mike Evans – WR – Texas A&M
Joe Flacco wasn’t the same after Anquan Boldin left. He clearly needs a big go-to receiver who can outmuscle defenders for the ball. Mike Evans is still young and a bit raw but the Texas A&M star bring a strong 6’5″ frame to the table coupled with outstanding leaping ability and a knack for winning contested catches.
#17 – Dallas Cowboys – Darqueze Dennard – CB – Michigan State
Corner is not a first priority on defense for the Dallas Cowboys but Darqueze Dennard is a possible top ten prospect. They can’t pass him up. His athleticism and confidence make him a chore for every receiver he faces and very rarely does he get beat. He brings an edge to the game, works extremely hard and is almost never out of position.
#18 – Chicago Bears (from NYJ) – C.J. Mosley – LB – Alabama
It was a heady move by Phil Emery to make the trade because he had a series of great selections available for his defense. In this case the Chicago Bears, like Dallas land a potential top ten defender. C.J. Mosley is an agile, strong, and intelligent linebacker out of Alabama. He reads plays as well as any defender in the 2014 draft class and has the speed to cover the entire field.
#19 – Miami Dolphins – Cyrus Kouandjio – OT – Alabama
Offensive line is the end all be all for the Miami Dolphins. Ryan Tannehill badly needs better blockers. The team is very fortunate to see Cyrus Kouandjio still on the board. Though still refining his pass blocking, the 20-year old is experienced against the best and also excels when paving the way for running backs.
#20 – Arizona Cardinals – Taylor Lewan – OT – Michigan
Bruce Arians has to make sure Carson Palmer, who is not a runner, is protected if the Arizona Cardinals are to make noise against the NFC West. Taylor Lewan is not the premier athlete among the top tackles but he is technically sound, powerful, nasty and finds ways to keep his quarterback protected beyond simple raw skill.
#21 – Green Bay Packers – Calvin Pryor – FS – Louisville
Safety was once a powerhouse position for the Green Bay Packers but it seems to have fallen on hard times of late. They graded out poorly in 2013 and could use a makeover. Calvin Pryor is a 6’2″ monstrosity who brings an edge to the secondary. He loves to play physical, deals some fierce hits and has improved in coverage.
#22 – Philadelphia Eagles – Vic Beasley – OLB – Clemson
The offense is largely set, so the Philadelphia Eagles can feel free to tinker with the defense. With early run on corners done, they shift their focus to finding help with the pass rush. Vic Beasley is a long, athletic talent out of Clemson who hides a serious degree of strength that allows him to beat a blocker with finesse or power.
#23 – Kansas City Chiefs – Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina
Alex Smith made due with the Kansas City Chiefs thanks largely to Jamaal Charles but if they want to contend in 2014 they need more options in the passing game. A playmaking tight end would be most welcome. Eric Ebron is a tall, athletic kid out of North Carolina boasting that basketball type of talent coupling speed and size with good hands.
#24 – Cincinnati Bengals – Ryan Shazier – OLB – Ohio State
Adding speed on the field would be helpful for the Cincinnati Bengals, especially at linebacker so as to assist in coverage. Ryan Shazier is their guy. His outstanding range allows him to clean up ball carriers from sideline to sideline while maintaining that threat of rushing the passer or dropping into coverage.
#25 – San Diego Chargers – Trent Murphy – DE – Stanford
The divisional playoffs showed that the San Diego Chargers defense has improved but still need more in the pass rush department if they are to challenge the AFC elite. Trent Murphy is not an athletic marvel but he is a beast who uses unrelenting power and physicality to reach the opposing quarterback.
#26 – Houston Texans (from CLE) – Zack Martin – OT – Notre Dame
Again the Texans don’t take a quarterback in the first round, instead opting to bolster their offensive line with Notre Dame tackle Zack Martin. Though a bit short and light to play on the left or right side, he nonetheless does everything right. He’s very perceptive at picking up pressure and generates plenty of push in the run game.
#27 – New Orleans Saints – Kelvin Benjamin – WR – Florida State
It wasn’t an acute problem during the season but it did happen to show up at bad times. The New Orleans Saints had trouble getting production from their wide receivers when facing decent defenses, which really became clear when they couldn’t get Jimmy Graham going. Putting another playmaker on the outside would be a huge boost for Drew Brees. Kelvin Benjamin is deceptively quick and athletic despite being a 6’5″ monster out Florida State.
#28 – Carolina Panthers – Allen Robinson – WR – Penn State
Cam Newton found ways to make plays in the passing game throughout 2013 but it was clear that his receiving corps lacking the ability to make impact plays when they needed to. Steve Smith can’t carry the load anymore. They need help. Allen Robinson is a big target at 6’3″ with great explosion and body control to go up and get the ball.
#29 – New England Patriots – Jace Amaro – TE – Texas Tech
Rob Gronkowski has a very clouded future with the New England Patriots, leaving their tight end position in a precarious spot. Jace Amaro would alleviate a ton of their problems. He is a tall target at 6’6″ with a big body and good speed to get himself open regardless of coverage. His soft hands allow him to make the catch with relative ease.
#30 – San Francisco 49ers – Odell Beckham Jr. – WR – LSU
Jim Harbaugh loves versatile players and could really use more speed in his wide receiving corps. Odell Beckham Jr. is not only a quick and fast pass target out of LSU, he is also a dangerous presence in the return game. He is particularly dangerous when throw short area passes that give him a chance to run.
#31 – Denver Broncos – Ra’Shede Hageman – DT – Minnesota
The pass rush remains a problem for the Denver Broncos and they can’t stop trying to fix it until it is. Getting some pressure from the interior would be a huge help. Ra’Shede Hageman is a tad raw coming out of Minnesota but he is a freak of nature physically. If his can be developed properly the Broncos might have the interior answer to Von Miller.
#32 – Seattle Seahawks – Austin Seferian-Jenkins – TE – Washington
Percy Harvin can’t buy a break and Sidney Rice is not guarantee either. The Seattle Seahawks need to give Russell Wilson more options in the passing game. Austin Seferian-Jenkins would provide that at tight end. Best of all, he’s not just an athletic big man who can get open for passes. He also rates very high as a blocker.
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