NFL's Future

2014 NFL Mock Draft

"Jake Matthews"

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency is all but in the books with a handful of starters still out there. With rosters firmed up it’s a pretty good time to begin getting serious with our mock drafts. I’ll be attempting to release a weekly mock leading up to May 8th’s draft day.

Don’t expect things to get cleared up at the top of this draft as I expect Houston to take this pick right down to the wire. Deciding to pass on a talent like Jadeveon Clowney can’t be an easy one, so don’t expect them to start announcing their pick prior to the final seconds running down on them on May 8th. In the second spot, things only get murkier with the Rams as Les Snead has shown he’s not afraid to wheel and deal his picks. If Clowney makes it past Houston, the second spot could become a major hot spot with the Rams phones ringing off the hook.

I have no doubts that we could see a bunch of movement in this draft with a handful of impact skill guys waiting to be had. It’s early to release a mock draft with trades included but it’s safe to say that picks will be moved on draft day.

1. Houston Texans – Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

Let me preface by saying I don’t against John McClain when it comes to the Texans ever. McClain has been adamant the Texans are going QB, so I’m going with him. As much as I think it’s a bad move, Bortles appears to be the odds-on-favorite to land atop the draft.

2. St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

I’ve flip flopped between Robinson and Sammy Watkins for the Rams. I’m still in between on this one and think this pick could wind up being swapped. Robinson is my number one rated player in this class and I can’t see the Rams passing on adding him with Jake Long’s age/health and Rodger Saffold’s health issues.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jadeveon Clowney, LEO, South Carolina

In this scenario, Gus Bradley and Co. have a choice between Manziel/Bridgewater and Clowney/Mack. Not a bad spot to be in if you’re the Jags. Clowney could be the piece that puts Gus’ defense over the hump with his ability to get after the quarterback and force game changing turnovers.

4. Cleveland Browns – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Like the Jags, the Browns pass on their pick of QB’s to address the hole opposite Josh Gordon. A receiving trio of Gordon, Watkins, and Andrew Hawkins could make any QB look good. Thankfully, they have a more serviceable Brian Hoyer already in place – allowing them to wait until later to nab their guy at QB. I know I’m a homer, but this could be the Browns year to compete in the AFC North.

5. Oakland Raiders – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

The Raiders could (and should) be all in on a quarterback at this spot. When the 2013 version of Matt Schaub becomes an attractive piece for your franchise it signals time to put all your chips in on the best available QB. In this scenario they get their pick and take the best QB in the draft in Teddy Bridgewater.

6. Atlanta Falcons – Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

Atlanta has to do a better job in protection this year (ATL fans are saying no sh** right now). But the defense was equally as awful. This pick comes down to Jake Matthews and Mack in my book. Matthews is going to be a very good one but I think Mack has some elite tools that make him a steal at this pick.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

The Buccaneers have freed themselves up to take anyone at this spot. They could go with Johnny Football here and I wouldn’t bat an eye. That said, even with the additions on the offensive line, they are still in need of a steady tackle prospect. Matthews gives them a guy to plug in immediately at LT and keep Anthony Collins on the right side. Whoever the QB is in TB, they should be excited about this pick.

8. Minnesota Vikings – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

"Johnny Manziel"

USA TODAY Sports

Who will be the team to pull the trigger on Manziel? That is going to be one of the most hotly debated topics leading up to May’s draft. Minnesota and Norv Turner’s offense may not be a perfect fit but I just can’t see Manziel falling much further.

9. Buffalo Bills – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Can Taylor Lewan step in immediately at LT? I don’t know the answer to that one but I tend to think no. Either way the Bills have Cordy Glenn, who is a more than serviceable LT. Ideally the Bills would move Glenn back to RT and Lewan is a franchise LT. I don’t see it but I’m one of the few remaining with that thought.

10. Detroit Lions – Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Mike Evans or Justin Gilbert makes a ton of sense here but I think Mayhew rolls the dice on the upside of Barr. Barr can get after the quarterback and could be a major boom pick for the Lions. There is some downside to this pick but I would bet Barr fares well in this defense.

11. Tennessee Titans – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

The Titans would love for an impact pass rusher to land in their laps but in this scenario they just miss out on one of the top three. I think they would look for a trade partner in this scenario but if they stay put they would be wise to add a solid cover corner.

12. New York Giants – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

The Giants need some interior pass rush and Donald can give them plenty of it. Despite his smallish size he is a stout run defender and gives you the explosive interior rush that so many teams are craving. If he makes it down this far (yeah, I think it’s possible he could go higher) the Giants should sprint to the podium to turn this card in.

13. St. Louis Rams – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

The Rams passed on Sammy Watkins with the second pick for Greg Robinson and they are rewarded with a nice addition at the WR position at No. 13. Mike Evans gives Sam Bradford some much needed size and talent on the outside. With Evans and Robinson in the fold, this should be the put up or get out year for Bradford in St. Louis.

"Timmy Jernigan"

USA TODAY Sports

14. Chicago Bears – Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State

The Bears will be looking hard for a replacement for Henry Melton, who signed with the Cowboys. Jernigan gives them a guy that can play multiple spots, including the 0, 1, or 3-technique. His ability to push the pocket and stout, physical play at the point of attack should have him a prime target at 14.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

The Steelers have some holes to fill. Where do they begin? I could have went in a ton of directions on this one. Zack Martin makes some sense, as do Eric Ebron, one of the corners, or C.J. Mosley. I kept landing on WR and I think Odell Beckham gives them the juice they need opposite Antonio Brown.

16. Dallas Cowboys – Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama

The Cowboys were able to nab Henry Melton, which should be a help on the inside. They still need ends and help in the backend. In this scenario, they grab a FS that should make an impact on day one and serves as a significant upgrade over Barry Church.

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Click here for picks 17-32

  • Micheal Profetta

    You’re dead right about John McClain. He’s plugged in. For a while there, I was convinced that the Houston Texans were slipping McClain some cash to keep fanning the “Texans will draft a QB #1″ fires, when in reality, it was all a ruse to lure a QB-desperate team like Cleveland into trading up. If no team would bite, Houston would ultimately sign Michael Vick and draft Clowney at #1. The Fitzpatrick signing suggests I was wrong. Fitzpatrick is your classic stopgap/young QB mentor at this stage of his career. The writing is on the wall. The pick is probably Bortles – and I’m flabbergasted. I get that Bortles has good size and some upside, but I just don’t see what makes him that much more promising a prospect than Garoppolo or Mettenberger. You know your QBs, Brad…maybe you can help me out on that one.

    Clowney probably won’t make it to #3. Some team will sell the farm to move up for him. My money says that Clowney is a Dallas Cowboy next season.

    • bradc11

      I suspect the Texans made an attempt or two to pry away guys they thought were starters. When that didn’t work they resigned to the fact they would draft a QB at 1. I wish I could explain the rationale on Bortles being the pick but I can’t…maybe it’s the upside factor. I have Garoppolo ranked above him so I couldn’t justify spending the 1st pick on Bortles and not the 33rd on Jimmy.

      I agree on Clowney at 2 and Les Snead is just the guy to pull off a blockbuster. Dallas is a team I hadn’t thought about but makes a ton of sense. Need and Jerry Jones means Snead probably fleeces Dallas. They probably wind up with Dallas 2015 1st and a whole host of other assorted goodies.

      When’s a Profetta mock draft coming out?

  • Reggie

    Wow is all I can say if the Lions got Anthony Barr, Davante Adams, and Marcus Roberson. I am starting to lean on the fact that Barr might be rated higher on the Lions draft board. He would give us that edge pass rush we do not have right now. We have plenty of power and speed but not quickness on the edge. Adams I love…I think he would be a wonderful complement to CJ and Tate. Roberson is nice value. He could push our other CB. Safety is a major problem but unless Lions took Terrence Brooks over Adams which I would not there is no real option.

    • bradc11

      It is a haul for them but really speaks to the quality and depth of this draft. I tried to get a safety to them but the value just never met the need. I agree on the fit of Adams with CJ and Tate – gives the Lions a formidable receiving corps for a very long time. Roberson was too good a value to pass up at that point but may drop due to slow 40 time and injuries.

      • Reggie

        It is. Ton of Detroit fans want a trade up for Sammy Watkins. While I love Watkins and believe he would be a top 5 Wr as soon as year 3 I would rather have Barr and Adams than just Watkins…still would not be totally angry at that. In your mock there was no safety that justified the Lions to take one. Roberson would be too much of a value to pass up on. So Browns taking Watkins at 4…I agree totally with you. I think there are too many elite players in this draft to take a QB in the top 10 that I am not convinced will be any better than Carr or Garoppolo…Love this draft

        • bradc11

          I think the Browns will go Watkins, Mack, or Robinson at No. 4 and hold off on a QB until 26 or later. As good as Watkins is I think the Lions are better served finding another impact edge rusher and taking a receiver in the 2nd or 3rd. Just so many good receivers in this draft to part with picks to move up for Watkins…may have to move into top 3 to make it happen probably with St. Louis at 2 and that would be too costly.

  • Duncan

    I give the Bills draft a solid B. I’m pretty sure that Cordy Glenn isn’t going anywhere, Doug Marrone has had nothing but glowing statements about Glenn’s play at LT. Although, that’s not to say that Buffalo doesn’t need a upgrade at RT where Erick Pears, who usually is pretty solid, struggled mightily last year. Lewan would Immediately lock down the that side of the field, giving Buffalo two great edge protectors. The only thing I’m worried about with him is his off the field issues. Niklas is a personal favorite of mine. I think that he will be able to step up and help EJ out a ton by being that big red zone target. While I’m intrigued by Abbrederis, I feel like that we would just be getting another of the same receiver that we already have on the roster. I think someone like Brandon Coleman or Martavis Bryant would be more like what were are looking for at WR. Although, I think that Bryant is going to be overdrafted due to his size and speed.

    • bradc11

      My thought process is they are strongest with Glenn at RT and a stud LT. Not saying Lewan is a stud LT but it at least gives them options. I would agree with Marrone on Glenn, played very well last year. Niklas is way undervalued by most and not being able to work out could keep him in that status. I’m a big Abbrederis fan…think he’ll wind up being a nice complementary No. 2 in the league for a long time. I wouldn’t touch Bryant in the 2nd – but that’s probably where he winds up going.

  • Jonathan R Looney

    I dig your mock picks for the Cowboys. I think they like C.Pryor more, but I’d be happy with a top Safety and Demarcus Lawrence w/ 1st two picks. Remember they are getting Ty Crawford out of BoiseSt. back from achilles, so he’s an instant addition as well.

    • bradc11

      Need to find some upgrades on defense. Getting Melton will help, barring health, but I worry about the secondary holding up without an above-average pass rush to help out.

  • joeisme

    An absoutely horrible Packer draft. A 2-3 rounder in the first (Ward). A complete waste in round 2 (Smth.. a college DE who has never played LB and isn’t that great at DE.. The Packers have tried converting those too small DEs to OLBs for three years in a row with #1 and #2 picks with miserable results. Smith will NOT be on their board early).

    • bradc11

      If Ward makes it out of the 1st, I’ll be shocked. He’s the best safety in this class. Head over to draftbreakdown.com and check out Smith and Ward. If you still feel the same way, we’ll agree to disagree.

  • guest1xprq11

    Disagree on the 9ers first pick. I think in your scenario (given all your other picks hold up) they would go for Lee and Jean-Baptiste with the #56.

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