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 in ’15 to Texans for 1st pick
It’s been talked about for almost a month and at present is the only trade that many expect. The Atlanta Falcons deal with Houston for the first pick to get their franchise pass rusher in Jadeveon Clowney to help invigorate their defense.
#2 – Detroit Lions (f/STL) – Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson
Trade: 10th, 1st in ’15 and DT Nick Fairley to Rams for 2nd pick
It’s been at least hinted at but nobody likes to surrender too many picks in a trade. So the Detroit Lions find a different avenue but packaging defensive tackle Nick Fairley together with their 1st in 2015 to St. Louis for the right to pair Sammy Watkins with Megatron.
#3 – Jacksonville Jaguars – Khalil Mack – OLB – Buffalo
Quarterback is a pressing need but the Jacksonville Jaguars still have work to do on their roster and Khalil Mack is simply a better prospect. He’s an all-around dynamic talent who can rush the passer, tackle and play coverage. A true defensive building block.
#4 – Cleveland Browns – Greg Robinson – OT – Auburn
Joe Thomas is their fixture at left tackle so the Cleveland Browns can really bring about a revival on their offensive line by moving the massive, powerful and athletic Greg Robinson to the right side where his elite run blocking can have a maximum effect.
#5 – New York Giants (f/OAK) – Jake Matthews – OT – Texas A&M
Trade: 12th, 43rd (2nd) and 4th in ’15 to Raiders for 5th pick
Everybody is celebrating Zack Martin as the most versatile tackle in this 2014 NFL mock draft but the truth is that title belongs to Jake Matthews who excelled on both the right and left sides in college. He is the best pass protector in the class and almost as good run blocking. He’s exactly what the New York Giants need to help revive Eli Manning.
#6 – Houston Texans (f/ATL) – Johnny Manziel – QB – Texas A&M
Bill O’Brien manages to get extra picks and his quarterback in one round. Johnny Manziel is perfect for the Houston Texans. He has the cast to start right away and is already a draw for fans in that state. Match made in heaven.
#7 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans – WR – Texas A&M
With the “idea” of Manziel done, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers satisfy their most pressing need by adding top wide receiver Mike Evans to their offense. His pairing with Vincent Jackson should help Josh McCown lead the way.
#8 – Minnesota Vikings – Blake Bortles – QB – UCF
Yes they want to trade back and yes they might prefer a defensive player here but the fact of the matter is the Minnesota Vikings don’t have a quarterback and Blake Bortles is the most physically ready to play at the pro level. He’s a great fit for Norv Turner and won’t have to play right away with the presence of Matt Cassel.
#9 – Buffalo Bills – Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina
Dynamic tight ends tend to change the complexion of an offense. Eric Ebron has that capability coming out of North Carolina. The Buffalo Bills need such a presence and can make good use of it against those tough AFC East defenses.
#10 – St. Louis Rams (f/DET) – Taylor Lewan – OT – Michigan
The knocks on Taylor Lewan are weak. He’s immense and strong yet still one of the best athletes in the draft and he’s experienced. The St. Louis Rams can find great use for him in helping keep Sam Bradford healthy for a full season.
#11 – Tennessee Titans – Anthony Barr – OLB – UCLA
Pass rush led to feast or famine games for the Tennessee Titans in 2013. They need more consistency in that area, especially as they shift to a 3-4 scheme. Anthony Barr is a great athlete with huge potential who fits exactly what they want at outside linebacker.
#12 – Oakland Raiders (f/NYG) – Aaron Donald – DT – Pitt
Having added to their draft coffers, the Oakland Raiders must look to solidify their presence in the trenches. With Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley now on their defensive line, they bring it all together with top interior pass rusher Aaron Donald.
#13 – St. Louis Rams – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – FS – Alabama
With their presence up front strengthened on both sides, the St. Louis Rams can cap their defensive project with a playmaking safety. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is on their radar, and why not? He’s the best coverage center fielder in the 2014 class.
#14 – New York Jets (f/CHI) – Justin Gilbert – CB – Oklahoma State
Trade: 18th, 80th (3rd) and 195th (6th) pick to Bears for 14th pick
Rex Ryan can’t run his defense without corners who can play on islands on the outside. Justin Gilbert is one of the few who doesn’t just have the size but the speed and athleticism for that assignment. On top of that, he brings return value.
#15 – Pittsburgh Steelers – Bradley Roby – CB – Ohio State
His struggles in early 2013 and the drunk driving rumor are not enough to dissuade facts. Bradley Roby is the second best corner in this draft with the preferred length, speed and physicality to shut down a receiver by himself. The Pittsburgh Steelers need that badly.
#16 – San Francisco 49ers (f/DAL) – Odell Beckham Jr. – WR – LSU
Trade: 30th, 56th (2nd) and 129th (4th) picks to Cowboys for 16th pick
How ironic would this be? Last year the San Fransisco 49ers traded up in the first round with Dallas for LSU safety Eric Reid. This time they trade up with Dallas to get dynamic LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
#17 – Baltimore Ravens – Zack Martin – OT – Notre Dame
It is Joe Flacco’s team now with the Baltimore Ravens. That means keeping him upright and giving him help on the ground. For that they need a better offensive line. Zack Martin can play any position up front from Day One.
#18 – Chicago Bears (f/NYJ) – Calvin Pryor – FS – Louisville
Safety play doomed the Chicago Bears in 2013 and it’s the area of the 2014 NFL mock draft considered weakest beyond the first round. So they get their guy early. Calvin Pryor is a tone-setter who can tackle, hit, blitz and continues to improve in coverage.
#19 – Philadelphia Eagles (f/MIA) – Darqueze Dennard – CB – Michigan State
Trade: 22nd and 86th (3rd) picks to Dolphins for 19th and 116th (4th) picks
Corner play hurt the Philadelphia Eagles a lot last season and it needs to be fixed. Seeing Darqueze Dennard still available, they make a deal with Miami to leapfrog Green Bay and Arizona to get the “No Fly Zone.”
#20 – Arizona Cardinals – Derek Carr – QB – Fresno State
Ever so suddenly the Arizona Cardinals are approaching championship level. The question at hand is whether Carson Palmer at age 34 is the guy to take them there. Bets are hedged when they take talented FresnoState passer Derek Carr as insurance.
#21 – Green Bay Packers – C.J. Mosley – LB – Alabama
Julius Peppers should help the pass rush but the Green Bay Packers badly need stability at inside linebacker. C.J. Mosley was a fast, athletic and instinctive leader for Alabama and fits their scheme like a glove.
#22 – Miami Dolphins (f/PHI) – Xavier Su’a-Filo – OG – UCLA
They want to run the ball and protect Ryan Tannehill. The Miami Dolphins should know it takes more than tackles to do that. It’s not flashy, but guards are just as important and Xavier Su’a-Filo is head and shoulders above the rest on the board.
#23 – Kansas City Chiefs – Brandin Cooks – WR – Oregon State
Dwayne Bowe seems to be settling back into his possession receiver role. Now the Kansas City Chiefs need a speed option to open things up for Alex Smith. Brandin Cooks has plenty of that, not to mention a fine pair of hands.
#24 – Cincinnati Bengals – Kyle Fuller – CB – Virginia Tech
Cornerback was exposed somewhat late in the season last year. The Cincinnati Bengals can’t afford a defensive drop off given their Super Bowl aspirations. Kyle Fuller is born to play their scheme thanks to his size, nose for the ball and tackling ability.
#25 – Jacksonville Jaguars (f/SD) – Teddy Bridgewater – QB – Louisville
Trade: 39th and 70th (3rd) picks to Chargers for 25th pick
Robbed of the top four corners in the draft, San Diego chooses to move out while the Jacksonville Jaguars take their chance to jump ahead of Cleveland to grab Louisville standout Teddy Bridgewater to become their future franchise quarterback.
#26 – Cleveland Browns (f/CLE) – Donte Moncrief – WR – Ole Miss
Whether they would’ve taken Bridgewater or not is moot now. Instead the Cleveland Browns seek out some help for Josh Gordon in the passing game by adding the big and sneaky fast Donte Moncrief from Ole Miss.
#27 – New Orleans Saints – Ryan Shazier – OLB – Ohio State
He’s not a pure pass rusher but the value of Ryan Shazier goes beyond that for the New Orleans Saints. He is blazing fast, a tackling machine, able in coverage and also has the chops to go after the quarterback when asked.
#28 – Carolina Panthers – Morgan Moses – OT – Virginia
It’s becoming clear that the Carolina Panthers value protecting Cam Newton more than arming him with weapons. So they take Virginia tackle Morgan Moses who has the size and nifty feet to man the left tackle spot vacated by Jordan Gross.
#29 – New England Patriots – Ra’Shede Hageman – DT – Minnesota
Bill Belichick watched his defense get pushed around last season after Vince Wilfork went down. He needs to get younger, bigger and stronger up front. Ra’Shede Hageman has loads of potential athletically at 6’6″, 315 lbs and is already a stout run stuffer.
#30 – Dallas Cowboys (f/SF) – Kony Ealy – DE – Missouri
Having loaded up with another couple picks the Dallas Cowboys feel content getting out of the first round of this 2014 NFL mock draft by cementing a thinned defensive end position with promising Missouri rusher Kony Ealy.
#31 – Denver Broncos – Jason Verrett – CB – TCU
The only complaint scouts can find on TCU corner Jason Verrett is he’s a couple inches shorter than ideal. Other than that he has every possible tool a kid could need to succeed as a pro. That’s good enough for the Denver Broncos.
#32 – Seattle Seahawks – Cody Latimer – WR – Indiana
His draft stock has been soaring the past month. Cody Latimer is one of those enticing size-speed wide receivers that bring so much potential to the pros. The Seattle Seahawks decide to add him in hopes he replaces the departed Golden Tate.