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
Jadeveon Clowney is a wonderful idea, as is trading down, but neither scenario gives Bill O’Brien his best chance to win immediately. For that he needs a quarterback. Blake Bortles is not the most polished, but he is the most talented and O’Brien is a good enough coach to handle the rest.
#2 – Atlanta Falcons (f/STL) – Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina
Trade: 6th, 37th (2nd) and 1st in ’15 to Rams for 2nd pick
St. Louis gets their wish in a trade and the Atlanta Falcons fortify their defensive rebirth by getting the most talented pass rusher seen in the past decade. Jadeveon Clowney, provided he works hard, should terrorize quarterbacks in the confines of that Georgia dome for years to come.
#3 – Detroit Lions (f/JAX) – Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson
Trade: 10th, 45th (2nd), 1st and 3rd in ’15 picks to JAX for 3rd pick
Another widely talked about trade comes through when the Detroit Lions go for the home run by putting speedster Sammy Watkins next to Megatron for Matthew Stafford in hopes of igniting their championship contention. Jacksonville collects extra picks to continue their rapid rebuild.
#4 – Cleveland Browns – Jake Matthews – OT – Texas A&M
With Watkins going off the board the Cleveland Browns are in a dilemma. Do they go for an aggressive move or play the board. Smart money always says go with the safe pick. Jake Matthews if the most complete offensive tackle on the board. He can slide across from Joe Thomas on that offensive line and excel from Day One.
#5 – Oakland Raiders – Khalil Mack – OLB – Buffalo
Reggie McKenzie also goes with the best player available. He did a nice job adding some veteran pass rushers to the defense but he still could use a young stud to round out the core. Khalil Mack isn’t just a great pass rusher, he’s an all-around player who tracks down running backs and intercepts passes.
#6 – St. Louis Rams (f/ATL) – Greg Robinson – OT – Auburn
Typically taking an offensive lineman in the first round isn’t the style of Jeff Fisher but Greg Robinson is not “typical.” The Auburn standout is a freak of nature. Not only is he big, long and powerful he’s also remarkably fast despite weighing 330 lbs. He already is a dynamic run blocker and has shown flashes of dominating in pass protection.
#7 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans – WR – Texas A&M
Trading Mike Williams has put the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a tough spot. Outside of Vincent Jackson they don’t have much at the receiver position. So they are forced to give Josh McCown another weapon. Not that taking Mike Evans is a bad thing. The Texas A&M star is every bit of 6’5″, explosive and faster than defenses realize.
#8 – New York Giants (f/MIN) – Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina
Trade: 12th and 74th (3rd) picks for 8th pick
Having revamped several areas of their roster thanks to an aggressive free agent period, the New York Giants can afford to be aggressive if they see the right player. Getting a legit target like Eric Ebron at tight end for Eli Manning is a tremendous move and adds an important dimension to their rebuilding offense.
#9 – Buffalo Bills – C.J. Mosley – LB – Alabama
With Ebron off the board the Bills choose to give their defense another stalwart at linebacker next to Kiko Alonso. C.J. Mosley is an outstanding talent. He’s fast, athletic, tough and a leader on the field with solid instincts. He should add more playmaking potential to that side of the ball.
#10 – Jacksonville Jaguars (f/DET) – Johnny Manziel – QB – Texas A&M
This really is a good match for Johnny Manziel. He goes to a fan base that needs his kind of presence. He also goes to a coach familiar with how to manage undersized quarterbacks in Gus Bradley, who watched Pete Carroll do it with Russell Wilson. Bradley also knows how to manage big egos (hello Richard Sherman).
#11 – Tennessee Titans – Anthony Barr – OLB – UCLA
Ray Horton is building his 3-4 defense with the Tennessee Titans and that defense will require pass rushers at outside linebacker. There may be none more gifted than Anthony Barr. Though still a little raw he’s already got the athletic traits to dominate offensive tackles wherever he lines up and he also shows a knack for the big play.
#12 – Minnesota Vikings (f/NYG) – Teddy Bridgewater – QB – Louisville
Mike Zimmer needs a quarterback. Period. End of story. The Minnesota Vikings have to help Adrian Peterson while he’s still got gas in the tank. Best thing to do is find the quarterback that is ready to start immediately. That is Teddy Bridgewater. He’s smart, cool under pressure, mobile and makes good decisions with the football.
#13 – St. Louis Rams – Justin Gilbert – CB – Oklahoma State
Yes. It’s been well-documented that St. Louis has eyes for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Well here’s the thing. Justin Gilbert is a better prospect. He’s more athletic, faster and offers more versatility to the coaching staff due to his return ability. Besides, they still need to replace Corteland Finnegan.
#14 – New York Jets (f/CHI) – Kelvin Benjamin – WR – Florida State
Trade: 18th, 80th (3rd) and 195th (6th) to Bears for 14th pick
I’m sure a lot of fans will passionately argue this pick so here’s my argument. All that stuff about Kelvin Benjamin blowing off workouts and being 240 lbs? Noise. Useless noise. Here’s the reality: Benjamin is a powerful 6’5″ monstrosity with underrated speed, 35-inch arms and a clutch mentality that comes through in big games. Do the Jets have that kind of talent on their roster? No.
#15 – Pittsburgh Steelers – Darqueze Dennard – CB – Michigan State
The secondary really could use some attention for Pittsburgh. Darqueze Dennard is their kind of player. He’s tough, has good length, the speed to play consistent press coverage and a tireless work ethic that bleeds into his teammates. Dick LeBeau will love putting him on the field right away.
#16 – Dallas Cowboys – Aaron Donald – DT – Pitt
Henry Melton is slated for the three-technique spot but he’s on a one-year deal and coming off a torn ACL. Aaron Donald is the best interior pass rusher in this 2014 NFL mock draft and after the additions other NFC East teams made to their offensive lines, his presence will be most welcome when going after the quarterback.
#17 – Baltimore Ravens – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – FS – Alabama
Ozzie Newsome could really use another talent next to Matt Elam to cement the back end of the Baltimore Ravens defense. Thankfully Clinton-Dix is still there. He’s a classic centerfielder, able to make impact plays in coverage and boasting the length to shadow tight ends. Very important in that division.
#18 – San Francisco 49ers (f/CHI) – Kyle Fuller – CB – Virginia Tech
Trade: 30th, 77th (3rd) and 94th (3rd) picks to Bears for 18th and 183rd (6th) picks
It was going to happen at some point. The San Francisco 49ers, with their wealth of picks jump up the boards to grab another talent they covet. Kyle Fuller is exactly what they need. He’s an athletic, tough, versatile cornerback with good size who can really help out their secondary.
#19 – Miami Dolphins – Taylor Lewan – OT – Michigan
A recent swoon on the momentum of Taylor Lewan might be enough for the Miami Dolphins to reap the reward. Their offensive line still badly needs help and the Michigan product is just what they need. He has the power base and technique to make a home on the right side.
#20 – Arizona Cardinals – Derek Carr – QB – Fresno State
Here’s the thing. Thanks to their free agency moves there is really no glaring need to address for the Arizona Cardinals. Here’s another thing. Carson Palmer turns 35 this year and threw 22 touchdowns to 21 interception in 2013. No one would blame Bruce Arians for preparing for the future, and Derek Carr is his kind of quarterback. Big, athletic and boast an elite arm.
#21 – Green Bay Packers – Calvin Pryor – FS – Louisville
The secondary is really in a transition period for the Green Bay Packers. They could use a presence at safety. Calvin Pryor could be the one to bring an edge to their unit. He’s tough, physical, deliver bone-crunching hits and has improved steadily in coverage. Also a very good blitzer.
#22 – Philadelphia Eagles – Odell Beckham Jr. – WR – LSU
Want a DeSean Jackson replacement? Here he is. Odell Beckham Jr. is still raw but under the tutelage of Chip Kelly his large repertoire of talents can flourish. He’s very dangerous with the ball in his hands, able to take short or long passes the distance. On top of that he’ll lend a big hand to their return game.
#23 – New Orleans Saints (f/KC) – Dee Ford – DE – Auburn
Trade: 27th and 91st (3rd) pick to Chiefs for 23rd pick
While not as aggressive as many thought, the New Orleans Saints still jump up to grab a player. Having added Jairus Byrd to the secondary, what they need now is to rev up their pass rush by getting somebody on the outside to compliment Cameron Jordan and Junior Gallette. Dee Ford is exactly that kind of player who can fill that role.
#24 – Cincinnati Bengals – Kony Ealy – DE – Missouri
The loss of Michael Johnson leaves a hole at defensive end for the Cincinnati Bengals to fill. Kony Ealy is tailor-made for their scheme. He’s got good size and strength coupled with explosion off the snap. His array of pass rush moves should make him a constant nuisance to every quarterback who sees him across the line of scrimmage.
#25 – San Diego Chargers – Bradley Roby – CB – Ohio State
Pass defense was atrocious for the San Diego Chargers in 2013. That must improve if their playoff aspirations are to improve. Bradley Roby boasts loads of speed and athleticism at cornerback. If he can learn to play with more discipline and toughness, there isn’t a receiver he can’t cover.
#26 – Cleveland Browns (f/IND) – Marqise Lee – WR – USC
Browns fans wanted a #2 option opposite Josh Gordon. They get a really, really good one here. Marqise Lee suffered through some injuries in 2013 that may have impacted his poor scouting combine. Rest assured, when healthy his agility, route running and speed will create big plays almost at will for Cleveland.
#27 – Kansas City Chiefs (f/NO) – Brandin Cooks – WR – Oregon State
Andy Reid loves to have speed on the field and his wide receiving corps could use some. Brandin Cooks led the NCAA in receiving last year and he did it by being fast, agile and boasting a great pair of hands. He’ll really open things up for Dwayne Bowe.
#28 – Carolina Panthers – Allen Robinson – WR – Penn State
Cam Newton has never really had a true big target to throw to, a receiver who can go get the football. The Carolina Panthers need weapons and Allen Robinson can become one. He’s 6’3″ with leaping power and the ability to create after the catch. Newton will especially love him in contested situations.
#29 – Jacksonville Jaguars (f/NE) – Donte Moncrief – WR – Ole Miss
Trade: 39th (2nd), 105th (4th) and 144th (5th) picks to Patriots for 29th pick
The Jags jump back into the first round keen on getting their new quarterback a new toy. Manziel seems to love big receivers and perhaps the biggest sleeper in this 2014 NFL mock draft is Donte Moncrief. He’s got everything: height, size, speed, route running savvy and a reliable pair of hands that served him well at Ole Miss.
#30 – Chicago Bears (f/SF) – Stephon Tuitt – DE – Notre Dame
Fans won’t like that the Chicago Bears passed on some promising talents early on, but the end game was worth it. Not only do they have a wealth of extra picks in their coffers, they also land a player that is classic Phil Emery. Stephon Tuitt is not only big at 6’5″, 304 lbs, he’s also fast. He has the speed to come off the edge but with 34-inch arms and great strength he can move inside to fill their lingering need at defensive tackle.
#31 – Denver Broncos – Ryan Shazier – OLB – Ohio State
The linebacker position could really use a dose of speed for the Denver Broncos and Ryan Shazier is probably the fastest in the class. He’s a true vacuum tackler who seems like he’s all over the field. Also adept in coverage and able to blitz when asked.
#32 – Seattle Seahawks – Zack Martin – OT – Notre Dame
What a steal for the defending champs. Thanks to the drop of Taylor Lewan, the Seattle Seahawks get their replacement for Breno Giacomini in Zack Martin. His polish, power and versatility will allow them to plug him in wherever he’s needed. Right tackle seems most obvious.
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