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 – Houston Texans – Blake Bortles – QB – UCF
Trading Matt Schaub pretty much signaled the Texans are going after a quarterback. Blake Bortles is the most talented on the board, even if he still needs some work. Bill O’Brien will need to handle it.
#2 – St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson – OT – Auburn
Try as the might the suitors probably won’t be heavy for the #2 pick like they were in 2012. Thus the St. Louis Rams are forced to use it themselves. Greg Robinson, talent-wise is a freak at the tackle spot and can play on the left or right side.
#3 – Jacksonville Jaguars – Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina
Rumors are that Gus Bradley has no intention of letting Jadeveon Clowney slip away if he slides to #3. This is one of those situations where you can trust the rumors. Bradley needs a young pass rusher to make his defense go. Now he has it.
#4 – Cleveland Browns – Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson
Having two first round picks affords the Browns the chance to relegate a need pick to later, allowing them to take the best on the board here and that is Sammy Watkins. So much speed, athleticism and toughness…and he gets to play with Josh Gordon. Yikes.
#5 – Oakland Raiders – Mike Evans – WR – Texas A&M
This might come as a slight surprise but in truth thanks to their free agency moves the Oakland Raiders are really only hurting for a go-to receiver to help Matt Schaub. The 6’5″ beast known as Mike Evans would give them a dimension they lack.
#6 – Atlanta Falcons – Khalil Mack – OLB – Buffalo
The addition of Jon Asamoah at guard really eased some of the pass protection woes for the Falcons. That will allow Thomas Dimitroff to seek out a top tier talent for his defense. Khalil Mack is an all-around player who can rush, cover and tackle.
#7 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Taylor Lewan – OT – Michigan
Anthony Collins was an underrated addition to the offensive line for TampaBay but they still need more work before the front is ready. Taylor Lewan fits more with what Lovie Smith likes. He’s big, physical and nasty and will open running lanes for Doug Martin but has the athleticism to protect Josh McCown.
#8 – Minnesota Vikings – Anthony Barr – OLB – UCLA
Keeping Everson Griffen was crucial after losing Jared Allen but the Minnesota Vikings still need more help with their pass rush. Anthony Barr can not only help with that, but he can also fill one of their lingering needs at linebacker. It’s a win-win.
#9 – Buffalo Bills – Jake Matthews – OT – Texas A&M
E.J. Manuel and the other Bills quarterbacks were hit a lot in 2013. That can’t happen if they expect to win this year. Jake Matthews is the best pass protector in this class and has experience playing on the right side, which is where they need him most.
#10 – Detroit Lions – Darqueze Dennard – CB – Michigan State
Sometimes teams have to account for the value of leadership and intangibles. Darqueze Dennard isn’t the best athlete at corner but he’s pretty good and his work ethic and effect in the locker room more than make up for whatever he lacks physically. Detroit gets a favorite son out of MichiganState.
#11 – Tennessee Titans – Teddy Bridgewater – QB – Louisville
Stunning? Not really. The Tennessee Titans are not married to Jake Locker and a great way to end his underwhelming era is getting the most pro-ready quarterback in any 2014 NFL mock draft. Teddy Bridgewater has his doubters, but he also has talent, intelligence and is a proven winner.
#12 – New York Giants – Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina
It might comes as a slight shock at first but it really isn’t. The New York Giants carefully spent their money in free agency to repair the defense and offensive line. Tight end is one of their weakest positions. Eric Ebron instantly solves that problem.
#13 – St. Louis Rams – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – FS – Alabama
Boasting one of the best front sevens in football means the Rams should think hard about ways to better their secondary, thus creating more turnovers. Adding an athletic safety ranks near the top of the list. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is the best, by far, in this class.
#14 – New York Jets (f/CHI) – Justin Gilbert – CB – Oklahoma State
Trade: 18th, 80th (3rd) and 210th (7th) picks to Bears for 14th pick
With Mike Evans and Eric Ebron both off the board, there is really only one player left the New York Jets should see making a huge difference for them. Justin Gilbert is an athletic freak at cornerback whom Rex Ryan could cultivate into a shutdown cover man.
#15 – Green Bay Packers (f/PIT) – Calvin Pryor – FS – Louisville
Trade: 21st, 85th (3rd), and 149th (5th) pick to Steelers for 15th pick
Thanks to free agency and third and fifth round compensatory picks, the Packers can afford to be aggressive if the right player is within reach. Pittsburgh grants them that chance as they go get Louisville safety Calvin Pryor, a projectile type player who can blitz and play coverage.
#16 – Dallas Cowboys – Kony Ealy – DE – Missouri
The addition of Henry Melton has turned the defensive line needs towards the end position. Losing DeMarcus Ware was a tough blow. Kony Ealy is the best suited to fill in at the thin position. He’s got good size, burst and a variety of moves in the pass rush.
#17 – Baltimore Ravens – Zack Martin – OT – Notre Dame
Taking the best player available is something Baltimore has done for years. Zack Martin is easily that guy. He’s big, tough, nasty and versatile to play almost anywhere on the offensive line. The Ravens will find a place for him.
#18 – Chicago Bears (f/NYJ) – Aaron Donald – DT – Pittsburgh
Having succeeded in acquiring a couple extra draft picks, Chicago still manages to land the player they want. Aaron Donald is a pass rushing nightmare from the defensive tackle spot. So quick and explosive, he will disrupt a lot of plays.
#19 – Miami Dolphins – Xavier Su’a-Filo – OG – UCLA
It might seem a little early to be taking a guard but keep in mind two were taken in the top ten last year. Xavier Su’a-Filo has the technique, athleticism and power base to start immediately for Miami, and further their rebuild of the offensive line.
#20 – Arizona Cardinals – Dee Ford – DE – Auburn
Finding an outside rusher for their defense to succeed John Abraham is a big must. Arizona can do that by taking Dee Ford. The Auburn star is dynamic in the pass rush, able to find different ways to beat blockers and harass the quarterback.
#21 – Pittsburgh Steelers (f/GB) – Kelvin Benjamin – WR – Florida State
Having missed out on the top receivers and corners, the Steelers made the right call moving back. In the end they still get Ben Roethlisberger his big receiver with Kelvin Bejamin, who at 6’5″ will present an enormous red zone threat at the very least.
#22 – Philadelphia Eagles – Ra’Shede Hageman – DE – Minnesota
Improving the defense remains a priority but with the top corners and safeties gone, Philadelphia instead looks to bolster their front line. Ra’Shede Hageman is an athletic wonder despite his immense size. He’s a perfect fit at the five-technique end position.
#23 – San Francisco 49ers (f/KC) – Brandin Cooks – WR – Oregon State
Trade: 30th, 94th (3rd)and 220th (7th) picks to Chiefs for 23rd pick
Overloaded with picks, it was only a matter of time before San Francisco moved up to get somebody. Two things are needed for their receiving corps: size and/or speed. Brandin Cooks is fast both on tape and in person and can play inside or outside. Dangerous kid.
#24 – Cincinnati Bengals – Kyle Fuller – CB – Virginia Tech
Corner and safety need some attention for the Bengals. Kyle Fuller is their kind of guy. He’s big, scrappy, deceptively good in coverage and a tremendous help in run defense. Fit-wise, there isn’t a better corner for them.
#25 – Jacksonville Jaguars (f/SD) – Johnny Manziel – QB – Texas A&M
Trade: 39th (2nd) and 70th (3rd) picks to Chargers for 25th pick
It was only a matter of time before teams got antsy on the quarterback question. The Jacksonville Jaguars decide to end the charade. They strike a deal with San Diego and go get Johnny Manziel, who should help electrify the fan base.
#26 – Cleveland Browns (f/IND) – Derek Carr – QB – Fresno State
As expected GM Ray Farmer chose to wait on getting his quarterback and he’s rewarded with the knowledge that Derek Carr is still there. The kid has a gun for an arm, good height, mobility and an unshakeable confidence in his ability. Cleveland will need that.
#27 – New Orleans Saints – C.J. Mosley – LB – Alabama
There are other positions the Saints could go but C.J. Mosley is way too talented for them to pass up. He’s an athletic, smart and instinctive linebacker from Alabama who brings plenty of ability but also leadership and toughness.
#28 – Carolina Panthers – Odell Beckham Jr. – WR – LSU
Wide receiver is the obvious go-to position for Carolina. They need somebody Cam Newton can look to. Odell Beckham Jr. has emerged as a dynamic talent who is a danger with the ball in his hands. He should also be a huge help in the return game.
#29 – New England Patriots – Louis Nix – DT – Notre Dame
Ever so suddenly the Vince Wilfork era seems close to ending in New England. If true the team must act swiftly and decisively to make sure his loss isn’t felt too much. Getting the best nose tackle in the 2014 NFL mock draft in Louis Nix certainly qualifies.
#30 – Kansas City Chiefs (f/SF) – David Yankey – G – Stanford
Having collected some extra help for later, Kansas City feels content to reload the guard position that was somewhat gutted with the losses of Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz. David Yankey is a big, strong, smart and athletic hog from Stanford who can start right away.
#31 – Denver Broncos – Jason Verrett – CB – TCU
Aqib Talib was a huge addition in free agency but the secondary still needs more help at corner. Jason Verrett is an outstanding talent from TCU despite his limited 5’10″ frame. He will make an ideal nickel corner who can slide outside if required.
#32 – Seattle Seahawks – Jace Amaro – TE – Texas Tech
Zach Miller was re-signed but that doesn’t mean the Seahawks are settled at tight end. They still need more firepower for their passing attack. Jace Amaro is a proven receiver-type out of Texas Tech with great size, hands and route running ability.
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