Oct 26, 2013; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels tight end Eric Ebron (85) drives past Boston College Eagles defensive back Bryce Jones (17) during the second half at Kenan Memorial Stadium. North Carolina won 34-10. Mandatory Credit: Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports
Having worked out the kinks with the first multi-writer 2014 NFL mock draft and with free agency in full swing, it felt like the perfect time for a second run-through. How have things changes for teams as both the priorities and the general managers in charge changed for this latest addition?
– Participants: Sayre Bedinger, Joe Wedra, Geoff Zlobinsky, MacKenzie Pantoja and Erik Lambert
– Time limit per pick: 3 minutes
– Trading: Players and future picks are fair game
– Communication: Facebook chat
Teams were divided among the writers completely at random via a hat drawing. Each will explain the reasoning behind their selections. Please feel free to comment on the results for your team. Enjoy!
1. Houston Texans: Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
Erik Says: I imagine this pick will get dissected a little bit so let me defend it. Part of picking a football player is asking the question how much can he do for your team? Yes, Jadeveon Clowney is potentially the best pass rusher and the Houston Texans also need a quarterback but from a pure football point of view, Khalil Mack is the best player in this draft. He can do everything. Not only is he a great pass rusher, he’s also a dedicated tackler in space and equally instinctive in coverage. There really is no way for a team to game plan against him because he can find different ways to beat you. Putting him on the outside with J.J. Watt nearby is going to change the landscape of that AFC South division even before the Texans get their quarterback.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (f/STL via WSH): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Trade: 7th pick, 5th and 7th rounders in ’14 and 1st in ’15 to Rams
MacKenzie Says: I thought I got good value in trading up, and, after I traded up, taking Clowney was a matter of common sense. Clowney is an outstanding prospect, the best in this year’s draft, and he fills a need for the Bucs without question.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Geoff Says: Blaine Gabbert is gone and Chad Henne is the main man for the moment but Teddy Bridgewater is the most pro-ready prospect on the board at quarterback. He’s smart, efficient, calm under pressure and has some good physical traits that can be nurtured. A defensive guy like Gus Bradley will see a lot of Russell Wilson in him.
4. Cleveland Browns: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
Joe Says: I felt Bortles perfectly fit needs here. Obviously, there was a ton of talent on the board, but in the end, this Cleveland team needs a franchise QB. Let’s just say I think Bortles is that guy. With protection, he’ll thrive in this offense.
5. Oakland Raiders: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Joe Says: Needing a rejuvenated fan-base, the team is going with Manziel here. I think “Johnny Football” will bring an excitement to Raider Nation. Although there are needs elsewhere, they can be addressed later. I couldn’t pass up a player as electric as Manziel. Nobody like Johnny will be there in the 2nd.
6. Atlanta Falcons: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
MacKenzie Says: Sam Baker wasn’t great last year and the Falcons need a right tackle even if he bounces back, and Robinson is a guy who could still have this kind of value playing right tackle. His short leash as a pass blocker is concerning, but no one can deny his incredible physical skill set and potential.
7. New England Patriots (f/STL via TB): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Trade: 29th pick, 2nd and 4th in ’14 and 1st and 3rd in ’15 to Rams
Geoff Says: Trading back doesn’t work anymore for the Patriots. Tom Brady is running out of time. This team needs to get him a serious weapon on the outside. Sammy Watkins has the least bust factor thanks to his speed, agility, toughness and gamebreaking skill. So I did what it took to get him.
8. Minnesota Vikings: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Geoff Says: Free agency has really helped the Minnesota Vikings solve some of their issues on defense. They also re-signed Matt Cassel as a good veteran stopgap at quarterback but they still need a future face of the franchise. In terms of physical upside, Derek Carr ranks with the best. His arm, athleticism, confidence and poise can flourish given some time.
9. Buffalo Bills: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Joe Says: Tackle was obviously a need here and Jake Matthews was the clear fit. I wasn’t sure if he would fall, but I’m glad he did. I expect Matthews to start right away and make an impact.
10. Detroit Lions: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Sayre Says: The Lions need another playmaker in the secondary, and Gilbert gives them that and then some. With some of the pieces they’ve brought in/retained offensively, they need to start trying to create more opportunities for those guys to make plays by getting someone like Gilbert who can create turnovers.
11. Tennessee Titans: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
MacKenzie Says: Another easy pick, Taylor Lewan was the best player available and fills a major need for the Titans. Never had to hesitate, Lewan reminds a lot of Nate Solder and would be nice value at pick 11.
12. New York Giants: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
Joe Says: Mosley will be the perfect option for this defense. Bringing speed and athleticism to the scene, Mosley does fill a need that the team has. He has the ability to play anywhere, something that sealed the deal here.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (f/STL): Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Trade: 22nd pick and 3rd in ’14 and 3rd and 6th in ’15 to Rams
Geoff Says: The Eagles have decent players in their secondary but no difference-makers who alter the landscape of the game. Calvin Pryor is that type. He is a tough, physical safety who can blitz the quarterback, tackle and retains enough athleticism to be a factor in coverage.
14. San Francisco 49ers (f/CHI): Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Trade: 30th pick, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounders to Bears
Sayre Says: For the second consecutive year, the Niners trade up for a DB, and get a guy who can be a staple in their secondary for years to come. Dennard doesn’t have top 10 athleticism but he’s a sound all around corner who can be great in the aggressive 49er defense.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Erik Says: It’s true that another secondary piece could’ve been added here, or perhaps a pass rusher or an offensive lineman but the truth is Mike Evans was the best available on the board and the Pittsburgh Steelers need more size out of their wide receivers. Evans is every bit of 6’5″ with better-than-advertised speed and outstanding leaping ability that allows him to beat defenders to the high point for the football. He has very good instincts and doesn’t mind playing physical. Big Ben will love having him across from Antonio Brown.
16. Dallas Cowboys: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
MacKenzie Says: It’s no secret that the Cowboys secondary last season was pretty weak. I was a huge fan of Barry Church out of Toledo, but the Cowboys need someone to start opposite him, and Clinton-Dix could fill that role immediately. He’s a very complete safety with above average size, athleticism, and instincts.
17. Baltimore Ravens: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Joe Says: How could I pass on a player like Ebron who fell so far? I think this guy is a top-10 pick and the fact that I didn’t have to give up any picks to take him was incredible. I expect Ebron to be a deadly partner next to Dennis Pitta. Look for a lot of “Sports Center Top-10 plays” with this guy at the next level.
18. New York Jets: Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
Sayre Says: With Ebron going off the board it made passing on Anthony Barr impossible. The UCLA outside linebacker is a pass rushing force who is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential. Rex Ryan will bolster an already good front seven with this kid who easily could’ve been a top ten pick.
19. Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
Sayre Says: With Branden Albert at left tackle, the Dolphins upgrade at either RT or possibly one of the guard positions with this pick. Martin is a fast-rising prospect who can step in and start immediately for Miami.
20. St. Louis Rams (f/ARZ): Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
Trade: 22nd pick, 4th and 7th to Cardinals
Erik Says: It’s becoming clearer in the NFC West that if a team wants to compete they have to be big and physical, even at the wide receiver position. There are still some questions about Kelvin Benjamin regarding his inconsistent hands. What is clear is he’s a 6’5″ monster with deceptive quickness who can get himself open or outfight defenders for the ball in congested areas of the field. He also has a knack for making the big catches in the big moments. With more work he can become a terrific go-to target for Sam Bradford against those physical secondaries in the division.
21. San Diego Chargers (f/GB): Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Joe Says: We moved up with Arizona here because we couldn’t afford to lose a potential huge piece in this secondary. Verrett is going to fill in right away. This secondary needs help, and I think he is the guy to make a difference.
22. Arizona Cardinals (f/STL): Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
MacKenzie Says: Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald are still two outstanding receivers, but with Andre Roberts gone, Arizona could use someone to work out of the slot. Cooks is your man. That would be a nice group of receivers; Cooks, Floyd and Fitz is reminiscent of Demaryius Thomas, Decker, and Welker. Now all they need is a better quarterback.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Erik Says: Wide receiver was a primary need at the start of free agency and remains so. The Kansas City Chiefs need a dynamic threat on the outside. With Cooks off the board it was easy enough to let Marqise Lee fall in their laps. The USC star is a gamebreaker with the ball in his hands. His combination of speed, acceleration and route running allow him to take all varieties of passes and turning them into touchdowns. He has good hands, is very tough and has a fiery passion for the game that will infect his teammates.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
MacKenzie Says: I can’t put Fuller’s ability to stop the run into words. I’ve never seen a corner in the same realm as him. We’re talking about a corner who got 14.5 TFLs sophomore year. I have tons of anecdotes about his amazing run stopping, yet he’s got the athleticism of a typical cornerback. One of the most underrated prospects in this draft.
25. Green Bay Packers (f/SD): David Yankey, OG, Stanford
MacKenzie Says: Green Bay could use help in the interior O-line, and Yankey is as good as it gets. Just dominant for Stanford, plays hard and plays mistake free football. His football IQ is as good as it gets out of the college ranks.
26. Cleveland Browns: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
Joe Says: This was an easy decision. The former Louisville standout was a super threat in college and I think he’ll fill in nicely next across from Josh Gordon at the receiver spot.
27. New Orleans Saints: Dee Ford, DE/LB, Auburn
Erik Says: This really wasn’t a hard pick to make. Having won a huge coup by landing Jairus Byrd in free agency, all the New Orleans Saints really needed was an outside pass rusher to compliment Cameron Jordan and Junior Gallette. Dee Ford is the perfect fit. His speed, quickness and athleticism allow him to beat blockers in a variety of ways coming off the edge, as he did repeatedly for Auburn. His body type is a natural at 3-4 outside linebacker, which Rob Ryan will make full use of as his already good defense forges ahead with a chance to become great.
28. Carolina Panthers: Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
Sayre Says: The Panthers have a scary situation on their hands at the WR position, so adding Adams here is a bit out of necessity but I love his ability to go up and get the ball at its highest point and he is also a great red zone threat.
29. St. Louis Rams: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Erik Says: Safe to say given the bevy of picks scooped up in the trades that Rams fans will be happy with anybody taken here. In truth a lot has been said about the murky health status of Cyrus Kouandjio. Is his knee healthy or isn’t? Based on medical findings things have checked out. Health concerns are understandable, but St. Louis can feel comfortable taking him at #29. The kid is already a massive human being at age 20. His strength was evident repeatedly while run blocking for Alabama and his long arms and deceptive athleticism offers tremendous upside as a pass blocker. Jeff Fisher can start him out on the right side and if he progresses enough he could eventually replace Jake Long on the left.
30. Chicago Bears: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Erik Says: I consider myself very fortunate that things played out this way. From the very beginning I knew I wanted to move back for extra picks with Chicago if possible. San Francisco had the most to offer despite the large drop back. I knew with reasonable confidence that the Chicago Bears would have one defender at a need position available even if they picked at #30, so I made the deal to pick up an extra 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounder. To think that Aaron Donald, a dynamic interior pass rusher who I would’ve chosen at #14 was still there is a blessing. The kid is a wrecking ball at the defensive tackle position. So quick and so explosive he’s often through a gap before offensive linemen can react. Chicago’s line will benefit instantly from his presence.
31. Denver Broncos: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Sayre Says: After all the upgrades the Broncos made to their defense this pick was almost a no-brainer for me. I think Shazier is scheme-diverse with incredible athletic ability, range, and leadership. He is a perfect fit for the Denver defense.
32. Seattle Seahawks: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
Sayre Says: Losing some talent up front via free agency, the Seahawks cash in on one of the best defenders available in the entire draft. Nix should go much higher than this, so the Seahawks are happy to snatch him up here at the bottom of round one.
Stay tuned for Day 2 action of this latest 2014 NFL mock draft: Community Edition.