NFL's Future

2014 NFL Mock Draft

"Matt Barkley"

Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

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1. Kansas City ChiefsLuke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

The Chiefs have done a masterful job of filling holes through free agency. The Chiefs are reportedly shopping the recently franchised player, Branden Albert. If Albert is dealt before or on draft day, I fully expect this pick to come down to one of the tackles. Not ironically news of the Chiefs interest in Geno Smith broke yesterday as talks of Jacksonville’s interest heated up. The Chiefs aren’t taking Smith but will explore any trade possibility that could come their way.

Luke Joeckel is a day one starter that is capable of manning Albert’s LT spot. We have thought for a long while that Joeckel was the top overall player in the 2013 NFL Draft and this pick makes too much sense to pass on.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

The Jags have been linked to the possibility of a Matt Flynn trade but until that happens, Geno Smith is going to be the pick here. I just can’t see this new Jaguars regime tying their wagons to Blaine Gabbert, even if for only a year. David Caldwell needs to re-invigorate this fanbase and the Geno Smith selection would sell tickets. If the Jags feel, in the least, that Smith has franchise upside this is a must pick.

In the case of the Jaguars, they gave a half-hearted approval of Blaine Gabbert in the offseason. No one around the NFL believes he can turn the fortunes of this franchise around and the Jags can’t afford another dismal season. Gus Bradley would love to add to his defense but securing a QB is always first priority.

MORE: NFP – Three teams in play for Matt Flynn

3. Oakland Raiders – Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida 

Tommy Kelly is done in Oakland but they added Pat Sims and Vance Walker which provides the Raiders with solid depth but still lack a difference maker in the middle of the defense. I like the idea of adding a pass rusher and moving Lamarr Houston inside but Floyd gives them better value than any of the available pass rushers. My personal opinion is that Dion Jordan is the best available but fits better as a SLB in Dennis Allen’s scheme.

Floyd gives the Raiders a penetrating 3-technique that can disrupt on the interior. Aside from need, the overhaul of this roster has left them void of talent. Floyd is the best overall player available (by many accounts, not mine) making him a logical fit for the Raiders.

MORE: CBS Sports – Chiefs visiting Florida DT Sharrif Floyd; would they draft him No. 1?

4. Philadelphia Eagles – Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon

The Eagles filled a ton of holes in free agency, especially on defense. They should be in the hunt for a RT and DE in the early rounds of the draft. Star Lotulelei has pretty consistently been my selection at this spot. But in this week’s mock draft, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt.

The Eagles appear to have a wealth of pass rushers but they are counting on Connor Barwin to rebound and Trent Cole/Brandon Graham to emerge as standup rushers. Kelly knows what he has in Dion Jordan, which is a freak athlete with some major upside as an NFL pass rusher that is familiar with Kelly’s modus operandi.

5. Detroit Lions – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

Defensive end may be the bigger need and value position but the Lions are still a heavily pass oriented offense and team. In Jeff Backus’ absence they will be looking to the unproven Jason Fox to fill the void. Fox is a guy that they wanted to groom to take over for Backus but I can’t see them passing on a top shelf LT in favor of a guy that hasn’t been able to secure a spot in three seasons.

Fisher gives the Lions an immediate starter on the left side, allowing Fox and Reiff to battle it out on the right side. Ideally, Fox can take over at RT moving Reiff to the inside and giving the Lions a formidable line on paper. Ezekiel Ansah will get a long look here but securing Stafford’s blindside is priority one.

6. Cleveland BrownsDee Milliner, CB, Alabama

The Browns are broke at the corner position opposite Joe Haden. Ideally, they would like to get their hands on Brent Grimes but it’s sounding like he’s heading to Miami. The Browns signed Chris Owens, who’s solid in the slot but not capable of making an impact as a No. 2 outside corner in the league. That leaves them with Buster Skrine, who was abused in Joe Haden’s absence on the outside but was a proficient nickel corner.

Milliner is an ideal fit opposite of Joe Haden as he gives the Browns another physical defender with the size to matchup with bigger receivers. If the Browns could secure Milliner in the first, this defense would be one to reckon with on paper.

MORE: Gridiron Grit – Updated 2013 NFL Draft Team Needs: Cleveland Browns

7. Arizona Cardinals –  Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma 

The Cards appear to be on a crash course with a former Michigan State quarterback battle in camp. I’m sure another QB will be brought in via free agency or early in the draft but no options appear to be much better than Stanton/Hoyer.

With the QB situation in the air, the Cards need to do everything in their power to secure the offensive line in front of them. Last year’s rookie tackle tandem took strides towards being formidable but I’m not sure that either is the long-term answer at a position that the Cardinals have sorely missed for a very long time. Passing on Johnson, who has major upside as a franchise LT, would be foolish of this organization.

MORE: The Phinsider – 2013 NFL Draft video review: Lane Johnson

8. Buffalo BillsMatt Barkley, QB, USC 

The Bills should be in desperation mode at QB and could be a prime candidate to trade up for Geno Smith. Tarvaris Jackson isn’t going to help out Doug Marrone’s case in year one as head man in Buffalo. The Bills could go in a ton of directions with this pick as they need help at QB, OG, DE, WR, LB, SS and CB.

I see the Bills as the most likely candidate to pull off a trade towards the top of the draft for Geno Smith but if they stay put they appear to be on a collision course with one of the QB’s that will be considered a reach in terms of value.

Barkley is a polarizing prospect that many have valued as a second rounder. That said, I know of two teams that feel he’s the best quarterback in the draft and won’t make it out of the first. I’m going to trust in that information. I’ve struggled with the notion of Barkley in Buffalo because of the weather conditions and how they will affect his subpar arm strength.

MORE: Inside the Bills – Bills will workout Barkley, 5 other QB’s

9. New York Jets – Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU

"Barkevious Mingo"

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Not surprisingly, the cap-strapped Jets have been relatively inactive in free agency. The Darrelle Revis deal appears to have lost steam although it’s certainly not dead. The Jets have a bunch of needs, arguably the biggest is at pass rusher. Last week we had Dion Jordan falling into Rex Ryan’s lap but I just can’t see him making it down that far.

Barkevious Mingo didn’t help his cause by not benching at LSU’s pro day on Wednesday but he continued to display his freakish athleticism. Mingo is going to intrigue teams very early and is the ultimate high risk, high reward pick early in the draft but the Jets have a propensity to take a chance on guys like this.

10. Tennessee Titans – Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU

Since about November the Titans pick has almost solely fell into one of two categories; guard or defensive tackle. This will be the first week that they look in another direction at this pick. Kam Wimbley and Derrick Morgan are just average pass rushers in my opinion. 

Ezekiel Ansah has a ton of upside as a pass rusher at the next level. Ansah’s versatility also gives the Titans a ton of options as he has a rare combination of size, speed, and strength.

MORE: SI.com – Top NFL Draft Defensive End Prospects

11. San Diego Chargers – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

The Chargers are a mess on the offensive line and it didn’t get any better with the cutting of tackle Jared Gaither. The Chargers would be ecstatic if Lane Johnson would make it down to No. 11 and they could be a prime candidate to trade up for one of the stud LT’s in the draft. In this scenario, all the tackles are off the board, so they could look to a guard which is also a need. But this team needs to find an impact player at 11 and find a steal at a position of need on defense.

Star Lotulelei could easily be off the board in the top four selections of April’s draft and I can’t see him making it much further than this point, despite some inconsistencies in his game. Lotulelei gives the Chargers a versatile guy that could step in at the nose or play end in their three-man front.

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Click here to check out picks 12-22

  • Bex_R1986

    We’ve debated the various reaches associated with CB’s to the Bucs in round 1, so I’m certainly fine with us going a different route PROVIDED we take one of the many bottom-of-R1 corners I expect to be available in R2. Personally, I have a slight edge to Wreh-Wilson over Taylor, but either suits me, and will combine with Eiffert to make a solid opening two rounds. So I shall not be one of those protesting over that choice.

    I liked the Tavon Austin pick from last week, but the Eiffert pick is essentially a different method to reach the same end goal: adding another dynamic contributor to the Bucs passing game. Therefore the same logic to the pressure on Freeman applies!

    • Brad

      Just hearing a lot of Eifert love right now. Got an email from someone that I trust saying Eifert to the Bucs is ‘a strong possibility’. Getting Eifert and Taylor would be solid. I’m a huge fan of Taylor’s but I also like Wreh-Wilson. Prefer Taylor over BWW but either would serve the purpose.

  • Braeden

    I don’t like the Keenan Allen pick, if we do go WR I would prefer we go with Deandre Hopkins, I like him as a better prospect with higher upside.

    • Bex_R1986

      Not Allen’s biggest fan, but solid value at bottom of the first. Having said that, I’m a big Hopkins fan and rate him over Allen, so I certainly agree there.

      P.S. I hope I can direct you back to the 2014 rankings posts we were on yesterday, I’ve made a more constructive (and sober) reply haha. Thanks.

  • John Steppling

    Its a funny year for wide recievers …..all of the top guys have question marks….and it could mean a run in the round two….and guys like Sylvester williams and jessie williams go in round one. Dont see eric reid that high. Dont see eifert to TB. I get the thinking here, but Eifert just isnt that exciting a prospect.- TB goes defense …..best corner or safety on the board….unless they want more defensive line help. My hunch is that Swearinger could be higher…even first round…..and that Armstead might go round one….(new england?)……kyle long isnt impossible either. And boy if larry warford drops to round three thats the steal of the draft. I see arizona taking him in the second honestly.

    • Brad

      I watched a ton of Eifert and he’s very exciting. Hampered by inconsistent and poor QB play for his entire career. Can play Y or F. Can’t see New England going with a tackle in round 1 with re-signing Vollmer. I agree on Warford. I have a first round grade on him, so getting him in the 3rd is an absolute steal. I think Sly and Jesse Williams are vastly overrated by many. Guys in the league that I’ve talked to don’t have particularly high grades on either. 2-3 rounders for me.

  • John Steppling

    I say TB takes vaccaro……..but i think Elam will fall out of first three rounds to be honest. A very overrated prospect among some great safeties this year. And Bostic that high??? I dont see it, but maybe Im missing something. I see bennie logan, corey fuller,montori hughes…..all making the 3rd. And zavier gooden is interesting………because he’s not very big in the end, and thats the question mark for him. He has crazy speed, but might not hold up so well.

    • Brad

      Just see TB’s winding up with an offensive guy in round one despite all the talk of a CB being a sure thing. I look for Tavon Austin or Eifert to be the pick unless Milliner made his way down there. I agree on Elam…not one of my favorites. Bostic is solid and fits KC’s scheme. He will wind up in that 3-4 rd range. Montori Hughes is a guy I’m high on and think he’s a 3rd round prospect just couldn’t find a fit. Logan is probably a 3rd as well. I’m not sold on Fuller. 4-5 rounder for me. Gooden is a great fit in Cincy. They need a LB that can play in the nickel…as they are probably in it more than 50% of the time. Burfict and Maualuga aren’t cut out for coverage responsibilities. They really need someone that can fill in for Thomas Howard.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Skulltagfilms Mike Morgan

    TE to the bucs!?!? I do understand the need, believe me I do. However, they had the worst pass defense in franchise history and close to league history. If they cannot acquire Revis than they will have to go CB in the 1st round. Even if they do get Revis, they still might go after a corner in the 1st. I don’t think any TE need is greater than a CB need, especially when you face Matt Ryan and Drew Brees every year, twice a year. I see a TE maybe with a 3rd or 4th round pick, I would love to see a boost of offensive talent but the defensive secondary lacks so much there is no room for offensive picks in the first two rounds.

  • John Steppling

    looking at this mock again…and its the best ive seen……..i think IF smith goes to the jags…then Star goes to oakland. They wont pass on him. Jordan to philly makes sense….then can Detroit pass on Fisher? I dont think so. The browns grab Milliner and then….I think the Cards take Warmack. Massie improved…they like nate potter….so sure lane johnson has upside…but Warmack is like having larry allen on your line…he makes others better….he is imposing…..a force….thats my prediction anyway. Buffalo who knows…a Qb maybe….and jets take ansah or Mingo. At the bottom…one question is houston and denver. Nobody seems to agree what the texans are looking for. A WR sure…but is hopkins say, or allen (if there) what they want? I think they could take a jesse williams or syl williams….and denver could take carradine, but also Jarvis Jones…which seems an elway thing to do.

  • Wayne Jr Tider

    SO WHERE’S THE BEST CENTER/SWINGMAN IN THE COUNTRY BARRETT JONES? HE SURE ISN’T ON THIS LIST WERE HE BELONGS.