We are closing in on the big night…Here is my final 2014 NFL Mock Draft. This edition is projecting picks without trades, because we simply can’t predict what trades will happen.
#1: Houston Texans - Jadeveon Clowney, Defensive End, South Carolina
The Texans need a player that can play effectively across from J.J Watt and create havoc in the backfield. I still can’t imagine a defensive line that has two dominating presences like these two guys. If they make this pick, I expect them to take a quarterback with their next selection, whether it’s at 33 or higher as they may trade up.
#2: St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson, Offensive Tackle, Auburn
This is the perfect fit. The Rams need help on the outside of their offensive line, and Robinson is by-far the most dominating tackle among the offensive line prospects.
#3: Jacksonville Jaguars – Johnny Manziel, Quarterback, Texas A&M
I’ve been saying this since November, and I’ll say it again: The Jaguars NEED Johnny Manziel. Tickets need to be sold, offense needs to be a “thing” again in Jacksonville. With this pick, everyone wins.
#4: Cleveland Browns – Sammy Watkins, Wide Receiver, Clemson
After much thought, this is the pick that makes the most sense if Johnny Manziel is off the board. Watkins and Josh Gordon would work together with ease, and the Browns can grab a QB with one of their other selections a bit later. Rumor has it the team likes Brian Hoyer…Might he be starting on opening day?
#5: Oakland Raiders – Mike Evans, Wide Receiver, Texas A&M
The receiver position is a major need, and Evans can fill that immediately. Many might believe this is too high, but why? Evans is clearly the guy that can turn the most heads in this receiver class if he lives up to his potential.
#6: Atlanta Falcons – Khalil Mack, Playmaker, Buffalo
I think the description of his position says it all here…
#7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Teddy Bridgewater, Quarterback, Louisville
Surprise! The Buccaneers take a guy here that can become the best from the class in a few years. Don’t think that Lovie Smith is sold on the guys he has on the depth chart now. He’s going to do everything in his power to help his offense thrive to it’s highest potential.
#8: Minnesota Vikings – Blake Bortles, Quarterback, UCF
The Vikings need a quarterbacks, and with two already off the board, they can’t wait any longer. Bortles showed late in the scouting process that he can become a starter in this league very quickly.
#9: Buffalo Bills – Taylor Lewan, Tackle, Michigan
Lewan is a workhorse, and the Bills could use someone to keep the offensive line stable in front of E.J. Manuel. He is an underrated pick that works harder than many in this class. He’s starting material right away.
#10: Detroit Lions – Eric Ebron, Tight End, North Carolina
Cue the Sports Center highlight reel music! Ebron is going to make a decent amount of Top-10 plays at the NFL level. The Lions can choose to have an average option in Brandon Pettigrew, or bolster the depth chart with a special player like Ebron. This has to be the pick if he falls.
#11: Tennessee Titans – Darqueze Dennard, Cornerback, Michigan State
I tend to be very high on Michigan State prospects, and Dennard is no exception. The kid can play ball and there’s no reason to believe that he won’t be taken in the Top-15. Tennessee has the need in the defensive backfield, as well.
#12: New York Giants – Jake Matthews, Tackle, Texas A&M
Eli Manning needs to stay healthy, and Matthews is a very talented prospect. He was once talked about as a Top-5 pick, but he fell due to many discovering Robinson’s tremendous tape. This is a pick that just makes sense and works well for everyone involved.
#13: St. Louis Rams – Calvin Pryor, Safety, Louisville
The fact that the Rams didn’t grab a safety last year didn’t make sense at all. They have to upgrade their unit this year, and Pryor is the perfect guy to get that started. Don’t be surprised if teams like Pryor’s versatility over Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s and snatch him first…BOLD PREDICTION!
#14: Chicago Bears – Aaron Donald, Defensive Lineman, Pittsburgh
This one is for my Chicago friends…Adding Donald on the defense will be a welcomed move by everyone involved with the Bears. He is a special prospect with some great 2013 tape. The Bears defense will get a bit closer to old form with this selection.
#15: Pittsburgh Steelers – Justin Gilbert, Defensive Back, Oklahoma State
The Steeler secondary is in desperate need of help. Gilbert is a guy that I really like and believe he can take it to the next level with some more NFL coaching.
#16: Dallas Cowboys – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Safety, Alabama
Many don’t expect Clinton-Dix to fall this far, but the Cowboys will be beyond pleased if he does. The safety spot needs help and the value here is just too good to pass up.
#17: Baltimore Ravens - C.J. Mosley, Linebacker, Alabama
The Ravens have needs all over, but Ozzie Newsome has a strong connection to Alabama. Mosley is a special athlete and he can add a lot to a team’s linebacking corps - the Ravens need just that.
#18: New York Jets - O’Dell Beckham Jr., Wide Receiver, LSU
Here’s a pick that will help everyone. Whoever plays under center will be thrilled with his new weapon from LSU, and Beckham has the potential to turn into the best receiver from this class.
#19: Miami Dolphins – Zack Martin, Offensive Lineman, Notre Dame
Here, the Dolphins add another Martin to their O-Line. Zack can help in multiple positions in front of Ryan Tannehill.
#20: Arizona Cardinals – Cyrus Kouandjio, Offensive Tackle, Alabama
The Cardinals could really go anywhere here – even quarterback is an option. In the end, Carson Palmer is the guy for the immediate future. To grow moving ahead, Arizona has to bolster their offensive line.
#21: Green Bay Packers – Jimmie Ward, Safety, Northern Illinois
Ward is a player who had some very underrated tape during his time in the MAC. He was a playmaker, and the Packers can use someone just like that.
#22: Philadelphia Eagles – Jason Verrett, Cornerback, TCU
The Eagles need secondary help desperately, and having Verrett fall to them here is a best case scenario. Here’s another pick that works out well for everyone involved.
#23: Kansas City Chiefs – Marquise Lee, Wide Receiver, USC
I’m one of those folks that is scared of Lee’s injury concerns, but I think Kansas City would grab him if he’s there. Alex Smith needs a few more weapons to make the KC offense a legitimate threat.
#24: Cincinnati Bengals – Bradley Roby, Cornerback, Ohio State
Roby had very poor tape in 2013, but I’m still convinced he can make a difference with NFL coaching. Like every team, the Bengals could use help in the defensive backfield.
#25: San Diego Chargers - Kyle Fuller, Cornerback, Virginia Tech
Like the Bengals and Eagles, the Chargers’ defensive backfield needs to be bolstered. Fuller is an athletic presence that should contribute immediately.
#26: Cleveland Browns – Derek Carr, Quarterback, Fresno State
Surprise! The Browns are now a legitimate threat in the AFC North with Carr under center and Josh Gordon and Sammy Watkins sprinting down the field.
#27: New Orleans Saints – Kony Ealy, Defensive Lineman, Missouri
The Saints could go anywhere with this pick, but I think they’ll take a good look at Ealy if he slips. I can’t see him falling into the second round, and New Orleans needs another dominating presence on the defensive line.
#28: Carolina Panthers – Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver, Oregon State
Cam Newton finds his long-term replacement for Steve Smith here. Some might argue that Cooks is ultimately an upgrade…The Panthers clearly are re-constructing their receiving corps, and Cooks is a good player to start with.
#29: New England Patriots – Louis Nix, Defensive Tackle, Notre Dame
If you’ve read my mock drafts before, you know this is the pick I’ve had since day one. Some may be concerned about his injury troubles, but I think the Patriots grab him if he falls here. It makes too much sense.
#30: San Francisco 49ers – Jarvis Landry, Wide Receiver, LSU
Landry is one of my favorite sleepers in this class. He dominated with Beckham Jr. and Mettenberger - I see no reason to believe he’ll have troubles with Anquan Boldin and Colin Kaepernick.
#31: Denver Broncos – Anthony Barr, Linebacker, UCLA
Barr is going to fall, it’s just a matter of how far. Denver can afford to take a chance with this pick and see if they can strike gold with the former UCLA standout.
#32: Seattle Seahawks – Xavier Su’a-Filo, Guard, UCLA
For the team that has everything: interior line help. Marshawn Lynch needs to keep chugging along and Russell Wilson must stay on his feet.
Enjoy the 2014 NFL Draft, fans! We’ve been waiting a long time for this day…it’s time to enjoy!