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 – Atlanta Falcons (f/HOU) – Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina
Trade: 6th, 37th (2nd), 1st and 3rd in ’15 to Texans for 1st pick
It’s the trade rumor everybody keeps talking about and the one that is most likely to happen. The Atlanta Falcons move up for that long-needed pass rusher by taking top talent Jadeveon Clowney in a deal with Houston.
#2 – St. Louis Rams (f/WSH) – Jake Matthews – OT – Texas A&M
Unfortunately the Clowney deal could make it difficult for the St. Louis Rams to move down as well. So they go the safe route by taking top tackle Jake Matthews who will immediately solidify an offensive line that struggled protecting Sam Bradford last year.
#3 – Detroit Lions (f/JAX) – Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson
Trade: 10th, 45th (2nd), 3rd in ’15 and DT Ndamukong Suh to Jaguars for 3rd pick
Is Ndamukong Suh on the block? The rumors swing both ways but if he is, the best chance for the Detroit Lions to unload him is with Jacksonville at #3. They have the cap space to handle his contract, and the Lions then are able to grab Sammy Watkins.
#4 – Cleveland Browns – Greg Robinson – OT – Auburn
No rookie quarterback can expect success with the Cleveland Browns until their protection issues are resolved. Putting the big, powerful and nimble Greg Robinson up front with Joe Thomas and Alex Mack would do just that.
#5 – Oakland Raiders – Khalil Mack – OLB – Buffalo
This is a strictly Best Player Available selection for the Oakland Raiders. Khalil Mack can do anything asked of him be it rush the passer or drop back in coverage. The Silver and Black need that kind of playmaker on their defense.
#6 – Houston Texas (f/ATL) – Blake Bortles – QB – UCF
They managed to move down and still the Houston Texans have their pick of the quarterback pool. Based on simple logic, UCF standout Blake Bortles has the most promise given his size, mobility and proven mettle under pressure.
#7 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans – WR – Texas A&M
The hint may have floated out there that TampaBay might pull the trigger on Johnny Manziel. I don’t buy it. If that were true they would’ve unloaded Mike Glennon already. Wide receiver on the other hand needs help and Mike Evans is there, all 6’5″ of him.
#8 – Minnesota Vikings – C.J. Mosley – LB – Alabama
Mike Zimmer has work to do on that Minnesota Vikings defense and while he needs a quarterback it might be more prudent to address a bad linebacking corps first. C.J. Mosley is the kind of athletic, tough and intelligent talent he can build around.
#9 – Buffalo Bills – Taylor Lewan – OT – Michigan
Weapons aren’t the problem at this point for the Buffalo Bills. Protecting E.J. Manuel is. He was hit too much last year. Adding Taylor Lewan to their front will help with those matters and perhaps lead to improvement across the offense.
#10 – Jacksonville Jaguars (f/DET) – Johnny Manziel – QB – Texas A&M
Gus Bradley got his dynamic defensive presence in Suh so the Jacksonville Jaguars are free to take their quarterback. Johnny Manziel is exactly what that franchise needs. His charisma, talent and playmaking instinct should help turn things around.
#11 – Tennessee Titans – Anthony Barr – OLB – UCLA
Nothing can get started with that new Tennessee Titans defense under Ray Horton until they rev up the pass rush. Anthony Barr is a raw talent with huge upside who has the ideal length and athleticism to fit that scheme.
#12 – New York Jets (f/NYG) – Justin Gilbert – CB – Oklahoma State
Trade: 18th, 80th (3rd) and 115th (4th) picks for 12th pick
The offense got some much needed help in free agency so the New York Jets and Rex Ryan seek to fortify their thinned secondary with another top corner. Justin Gilbert is a premier athlete born to play press coverage. He’ll also bring return ability as well.
#13 – St. Louis Rams – Aaron Donald – DT – Pitt
Defensive tackle is not at the top of the needs list but the St. Louis Rams aren’t thinking need here. They’re thinking what-ifs. Can you imagine Aaron Donald, the best interior pass rusher in this 2014 NFL mock draft, plugged between Chris Long and Robert Quinn? Those NFC West quarterbacks don’t want to.
#14 – San Francisco 49ers (f/CHI) – Darqueze Dennard – CB – Michigan State
Trade: 30th, 61st (2nd), 94th (3rd) and 129th (4th) picks to Bears for 14th pick
With Gilbert off the board the San Francisco 49ers can’t expect one of the top corners to fall to them. So they jump ahead of Pittsburgh, another corner-needy team and grab the tough and physical Darqueze Dennard who fits right in with their defensive identity.
#15 – Pittsburgh Steelers – Kyle Fuller – CB – Virginia Tech
Dennard going to the 49ers forces the Pittsburgh Steelers to scoop up the last true first round corner. Kyle Fuller can do it all. He’s big, instinctive, physical and athletic with the ability to tackle, blitz and cover equally well.
#16 – Cincinnati Bengals (f/DAL) – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – FS – Alabama
Trade: 24th and 88th(3rd) and DE Robert Geathers to Cowboys for 16th pick
In a surprise move the Cincinnati Bengals package a deal together with Dallas to move up and grab safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Indeed his range, instincts and coverage ability is something that has been missing from the back end of their defense.
#17 – Baltimore Ravens – Calvin Pryor – FS – Louisville
Matt Elam has settled into the strong safety role well for the Baltimore Ravens but they still could use help at the free position. Calvin Pryor is a rangy, tough hitter from Louisville who brings blitzing prowess and growing ability in coverage.
#18 – New York Giants (f/NYJ) – Zack Martin – OT – Notre Dame
Protecting Eli Manning was a misadventure for the New York Giants in 2013 and has to change this coming season. Adding the versatile Zack Martin who can play almost any of the line positions could solve their problems.
#19 – Miami Dolphins – Cyrus Kouandjio – OT – Alabama
Branden Albert solves the left tackle issues for the Miami Dolphins but right tackle remains a problem. Cyrus Kouandjio suffered some setbacks during the combine process but he’s still a very young, very gifted tackle prospect who has the length and power required for the right side.
#20 – Arizona Cardinals – Dee Ford – DE – Auburn
John Abraham really showed what the Arizona Cardinals defense could be when it has an edge rush. Him being 35-years old means it might be prudent to find young help. Dee Ford has the athleticism and burst to fit their scheme.
#21 – Green Bay Packers – Ryan Shazier – OLB – Ohio State
Getting faster and tackling better are two things the Green Bay Packers would like to do with their linebacking corps. Ryan Shazier did both better than almost anybody in the country at Ohio State.
#22 – Philadelphia Eagles – Cody Latimer – WR – Indiana
Chip Kelly is an offensive coach and will run his team through success on that side of the ball. Having unloaded DeSean Jackson, they have a hole to fill at wide receiver. Cody Latimer not only brings that speed element he loves so much, but also a 6’3″ frame and good hands.
#23 – Kansas City Chiefs – Brandin Cooks – WR – Oregon State
Andy Reid loves receivers who can run and few do it better in this 2014 NFL mock draft. Brandin Cooks doesn’t have much height to offer at 5’10″ but his speed, agility, hands and vision make him something the Kansas City Chiefs don’t have, and should want.
#24 – Dallas Cowboys (f/CIN) – Timmy Jernigan – DT – Florida State
Henry Melton is expected to man the three-technique. The Dallas Cowboys decide to give him some help with Timmy Jernigan. Though viewed as a hybrid type, the FloridaState star excels at stopping the run, which would make a great compliment to Melton.
#25 – San Diego Chargers – Bradley Roby – CB – Ohio State
The drunk driving rumor should not derail the draft stock of Bradley Roby which has been on a steady climb since the scouting combine. The San Diego Chargers make that clear when they add him to their 29th ranked pass defense.
#26 – Cleveland Browns (f/CLE) – Odell Beckham Jr. – WR – LSU
Speed, agility and vision define the game of Odell Beckham Jr. A true threat every time he touches the ball. Cleveland can feel free to get excited by putting him next to current star Josh Gordon.
#27 – New Orleans Saints – Donte Moncrief – WR – Ole Miss
Wide receiver is not a pressing need but it’s something the New Orleans Saints know they have to consider. Their inability to attack Seattle showed a lack of size in their wide outs. Donte Moncrief, at 6’3″ can play that basketball “go get it” style but is deceptively fast as well.
#28 – Carolina Panthers – Marqise Lee – WR – USC
His 40-yard dash time cools some of his draft stock but the tape shows Marqise Lee remains a top playmaker in this class. The Carolina Panthers gleefully add him to their offense to help Cam Newton.
#29 – New England Patriots – Ra’Shede Hageman – DT – Minnesota
Vince Wilfork will stay in town but the New England Patriots still need to get younger and more dynamic up front. Ra’Shede Hageman is an elite athlete for his size and already defends the run well. If the light goes on, he can become a problem on every down.
#30 – Cleveland Browns (f/CHI) – Derek Carr – QB – Fresno State
Trade: 35th and 106th (4th) pick to Bears for 30th pick
Sensing the moment, the Browns make a “Draft Day” style splash, albeit not as blockbuster by trading back up into the first round and grabbing Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, somebody they were rumored to covet for months.
#31 – Denver Broncos – Jason Verrett – CB – TCU
Champ Bailey and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are gone so the Denver Broncos have more work to do on that secondary. Jason Verrett has size questions but not so much for ability. He is probably the most well-rounded corner in the entire draft.
#32 – Seattle Seahawks – Xavier Su’a-Filo – OG – UCLA
Power running and protecting Russell Wilson are the two top priorities on offense for the Seattle Seahawks. Adding a technically-polished, big and powerful guard in Xavier Su’a-Filo checks all of those boxes.
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