Experts believe things will really start to get interesting around the third round this coming May. Does the 2014 NFL mock draft bear that out?
#65 – Houston Texans – Jeremy Hill – RB – LSU
Arian Foster is an injury question mark while Ben Tate could leave in free agency. The Houston Texans should look to keep the running back spot strong for their new QB. Jeremy Hill is a downhill runner with good size, deceptive speed and agility.
#66 – Washington Redskins – Ed Reynolds – FS – Stanford
A bothersome position really ever since the tragedy that befell Sean Taylor, the Washington Redskins must bolster their safeties. Ed Reynolds was a leader on the top notch Stanford defense. He is tall, well-built, with good range and tackling ability.
#67 – Oakland Raiders – Zach Mettenberger – QB – LSU
One would expect that at some point the Oakland Raiders would look to the quarterback position. Zach Mettenberger won’t fall much further than this point. The LSU senior has ideal size at 6’5″ with arguably the strongest arm in the draft. He made marked progress on his game throughout 2013.
#68 – Atlanta Falcons – Troy Niklas – TE – Notre Dame
Tony Gonzalez is pretty much done with pro football, leaving the Atlanta Falcons with a dilemma at tight end. They find a solution in the talented but underutilized Troy Niklas who is built very similar to 2013 first round pick Tyler Eifert.
#69 – New York Jets (from TB) – Donte Moncrief – WR – Ole Miss
Having gotten their speed guy in the first round, the New York Jets get the perfect compliment in the third by landing Donte Moncrief. Standing a solid 6’3″ he has a developed game with great strength and hands along with overlooked quickness that gets him open often.
#70 – Houston Texans (from JAX) – Jeremiah Attaochu – OLB – Georgia Tech
Though they don’t necessarily need an outside linebacker, the Texans could really use one who can bring pressure on the quarterback. Jeremiah Attaochu is a disruptor from that position who brings speed, athleticism and some serious attitude.
#71 – Cleveland Browns – Jackson Jeffcoat – DE – Texas
His position may say defensive end but his athletic build and speed hint that Jackson Jeffcoat will make a much better outside linebacker. Like Houston, the Cleveland Browns don’t “need” one but the argument is no team can ever have enough pass rushers.
#72 – Minnesota Vikings – Victor Hampton – CB – Virginia Tech
A lot of fans will frown at his 5’10” size but Victor Hampton is not small. The Virginia Tech corner is an outstanding athlete who is equally adept both in coverage and playing the run. With a little polish from Mike Zimmer he can become a starter right away.
#73 – Buffalo Bills – Joel Bitonio – OT – Nevada
Cody Glenn has settled in nicely at left tackle for the Buffalo Bills but they could use an upgrade on the right side. After a strong Senior Bowl, Joel Bitonio has turn a lot of heads. Not only big and strong but having nice bend and fluidity, he looks like a perfect solution.
#74 – New York Giants – Ka’Deem Carey – RB – Arizona
David Wilson may be coming back but the New York Giants still need a serious talent influx to their running backs. Arizona standout Ka’Deem Carey broke out bigtime in 2013. He’s got good power and vision along with a relentless style that creates YAC.
#75 – St. Louis Rams – Tre Mason – RB – Auburn
Jeff Fisher has no problem taking undersized players if he feels they can play. Tre Mason is definitely of that variety. The Auburn running back was a terror for defenses last season, boasting the strength, toughness, vision and versatility to be a full-time starter.
#76 – Detroit Lions – Bashaud Breeland – CB – Clemson
An outstanding athlete out of Clemson, Bashaud Breeland is fast becoming a scout favorite. He has the skill set to play in almost any defense and the preferred size for cornerbacks. The Detroit Lions have need for such a player, especially his ball skills.
#77 – San Francisco 49ers (from TEN) – Stanley Jean-Baptiste – CB – Nebraska
Sometimes it’s best to fight fire with fire. The San Francisco 49ers know they must get past Seattle to reach the promised land. To do that they must improve their secondary, so why not take a page from the Seahawks manual by taking the 6’3″ Nebraska corner Stanley Jean-Baptiste?
#78 – Dallas Cowboys – Will Sutton – DT – Arizona State
Rod Marinelli will certainly have lots to work with now. After getting his run stuffer in the first round with Jernigan, the Dallas Cowboys give him an interior pass rusher with Will Sutton. Playing with natural leverage, he comes off the snap with explosion and has the lower body strength to finish rushes to the quarterback.
#79 – Baltimore Ravens – Telvin Smith – OLB – Florida State
Ozzie Newsome always sticks to his board so he can’t ignore Telvin Smith still sitting there. Overlooked because of his 218-lbs frame, which is light for an outside linebacker, Newsome instead brings him in for his outstanding speed and athleticism, banking that the Baltimore Ravens coaches can find a use for him.
#80 – New York Jets – C.J. Fiedorowicz – TE – Iowa
The offensive overhaul hits its apex when the New York Jets get a tight end to compliment the receivers they’ve already taken. Not only can C.J. Fiedorowicz get downfield and make catches, but he’s also one of the best blockers in this 2014 NFL mock draft.
#81 – Chicago Bears (from MIA) – Kelcy Quarles – DT – South Carolina
With back-to-back third rounders courtesy of their earlier trade, the Chicago Bears give the interior of their defensive line some help. Kelcy Quarles was seldom talked about out of South Carolina due to his teammate Jadeveon Clowney but the defensive tackle had 9.5 sacks and possessing a long, powerful frame with clear ability to shoot gaps.
#82 – Chicago Bears – Keith McGill – CB – Utah
Next the team looks to their secondary again. This time they grab Keith McGill. The Utah cornerback is also a Seahawks-style athlete with the 6’3″ frame coupled with sneaky acceleration and athleticism that allow him to stifle most of the receivers he lines up across from.
#83 – Cleveland Browns (from PIT) – Jarvis Landry – WR – LSU
Devon Bess didn’t work out very well so the Cleveland Browns know they need to add a solid possession receiver who can work from the slot. Jarvis Landry is not the biggest or fastest but he is terrific at setting up his routes and has the needed hands and toughness to make money catches.
#84 – Arizona Cardinals – A.J. McCarron – QB – Alabama
Carson Palmer is the unquestioned starter but he’s also well into his 30s. The Arizona Cardinals need an understudy. Alabama captain A.J. McCarron is a proven winner with an underrated skill set, unshakeable confidence and blue chip leadership.
#85 – Green Bay Packers – Jaylen Watkins – CB – Florida
One thing that is clear about the Green Bay Packers is they love scrappy defensive backs. Jaylen Watkins is their kind of guy. While not the most celebrated of the Florida corners he has unique versatility that would allow any team to move him back and forth between corner and safety depending on the situation.
#86 – Philadelphia Eagles – Daniel McCullers – DT – Tennessee
Nose tackle wasn’t the primary problem for the Philadelphia Eagles defense but they nonetheless need to add some depth and competition in that area. Daniel McCullers, at 340 lbs with good quickness is tailor made for their 3-4 defensive scheme.
#87 – Kansas City Chiefs – Yawin Smallwood – ILB – Connecticut
Derrick Johnson has needed some help at inside linebacker the past few seasons. Yawin Smallwood sucks up tackles like a vacuum cleaner, showcasing the range and toughness to track down ball carriers and get them on the ground.
#88 – Cincinnati Bengals – Kareem Martin – DE – North Carolina
Michael Johnson is likely on his way out, potentially leaving a hold to fill at defensive end. Kareem Martin would be an excellent addition with his big, powerful frame and ability to rush the passer in a variety of different ways and from several directions.
#89 – San Diego Chargers – Dakota Dozier – OG – Furman
The interior blocking of up front for the San Diego Chargers was less than adequate. Philip Rivers needs a better pocket to work from. Dakota Dozier may come from small Furman but he is anything but a small school player. With size, strength and proper build he is a future starter in the pros.
#90 – Indianapolis Colts – Paul Richardson – WR – Colorado
Reggie Wayne is due back but the Indianapolis Colts can’t afford to stop adding to their receiving corps as he enters his mid-30s. Paul Richardson needs to add some bulk but the Colorado receiver has the blend of speed, agility, hands and technique to stand out.
#91 – New Orleans Saints – JaWuan James – OT – Tennessee
Terron Armstead was a revelation at left tackle but the New Orleans Saints could still use some help on the right side. JaWuan James isn’t the greatest athlete but his size, power base and mechanics should be relatively easy for Sean Payton to hone into a starter.
#92 – Carolina Panthers – Lache Seastrunk – RB – Baylor
The running game is the bread and butter for the Carolina Panthers and they are getting a little long in the tooth at the position. Adding some youth but also some explosiveness could really help. Lache Seastrunk has some durability issues but his speed and lower body strength make him a threat to take the distance every time he carries.
#93 – New England Patriots – Pierre Desir – CB – Lindenwood
Bill Belichick loves big, athletic corners which he can use to play tight press coverage. He comes raw and from a small program but there is no denying that Lindenwood corner Pierre Desir has the makings of a front line starter under the right coaching.
#94 – Philadelphia Eagles (from SF) – Michael Sam – DE – Missouri
The speculation surrounding the recent announcement by Michael Sam comes to an end when he joins the Philadelphia Eagles. Their need for additional pass rusher and his talent are a perfect match, as is playing for a respected coach in Chip Kelly.
#95 – Denver Broncos – Marcus Martin – C – USC
Center has been handled well enough by the Denver Broncos but it’s anything but nailed down, especially after what happened in the Super Bowl. Marcus Martin is a quick, strong and intelligent anchor out of USC who can become that leader in the middle.
#96 – Minnesota Vikings (from SEA) – Chris Smith – DE – Arkansas
Adding pass rushers is a favorite vocation for the Minnesota Vikings and they stick to that credo when they add Chris Smith. His production doesn’t show it but the Arkansas defensive end has athletic upside and a chance to be a big surprise in the right system.
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