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2014 NFL Mock Draft

Five Things I Think, I Think

Posted by Brad On April - 8 - 2014

 

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We are less than a month out to the 2014 NFL Draft and the smoky NFL offices are billowing. In the last Five Things I Think, I Think I tackled the quarterbacks heavily – I promise today will be less QB centric. I created a bit of a storm with my take on Bill O’Brien checking in on the contract of Brian Hoyer. That noise hasn’t stopped but the Browns aren’t dealing Hoyer unless they get an offer they can’t refuse, so the Texans moved on by signing Ryan Fitzpatrick. Today’s I Think, I Think won’t end with Houston or the quarterbacks as we make a few more bold predictions on non-QB’s.

The top pick will be dealt

I’m envisioning Thomas Dimitroff calling Rick Smith and making an offer he can’t refuse – No. 6, 37, and next year’s No. 1 for rights to the top spot. Atlanta secures Jadeveon Clowney and Houston moves down to No. 6 to take their QB – Bortles, Manziel, or Bridgewater – whoever it may be. This one makes too much sense on both sides with Dimitroff aggressively going ‘his guy’ and Houston moving down the board to nab a guy they would have taken No. 1. As much as Houston could use Clowney, getting these additional picks and a QB for the future present could be too much for Smith to ignore.

Based on last week’s mock draft, the Texans could nab a haul of Bortles/Manziel/Bridgewater at No. 6, Dee Ford/Stephon Tuitt at No. 33, and Brandon Thomas/Joel Bitonio at No. 37. I like that haul for the Texans with an additional No. 1 for 2015.

Rice’s Phillip Gaines will be gone before round three begins

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Many of you are saying, who? Phillip Gaines is gaining a ton of steam in the media draft circles and for good reason. Tall(ish) corners with ball skills don’t last long in the draft these days. At 6-foot-0, 193 pounds with 4.38 speed Gaines started the hype train after blowing up the combine in February. With 38 career pass break ups Gaines has shown his ability to find the ball in the air and will only gain steam as we near draft day. Gaines has some issues – mostly due to durability concerns and less than impressive effort as a tackler.

All told Gaines could surprise us all by hearing his name called in round two. While he barely cracks our top 100, I can’t see him making it into the third round – too many teams will see the physical tools ignoring some of his issues.

Tennessee Martin’s Jeremy Butler will wind up a late round steal

I talked about Jeremy Butler late last summer and my thoughts remain the same after a solid senior season. Butler checks in a 6-foot-3, 234 pounds. He didn’t receive a combine invite and is a guy that is generating little to no buzz. That said, he has the frame, hands, and route running ability to make a roster and could compete for playing time in the near future.

Butler isn’t going to run by anyone but he’s a possession guy that can move the sticks and has the body to be a danger in the red zone.

Butler may get drafted late but most likely will be a PFA. I would be surprised if he didn’t land on a roster and within the next couple of years he could be a guy we talk about as a guy that everyone missed on.

Storm Johnson will have a better NFL career than his UCF teammate Blake Bortles

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I haven’t been the biggest Bortles fan all along but this bold prediction has more to do with my draft crush on Storm Johnson. Johnson can do it all – run, catch, and pass block. What he doesn’t do well is he has a maddening tendency to bounce things outside and has some issues holding onto the ball. Outside of those issues, Johnson is as complete a back as any in this draft. I’m a Carlos Hyde fan but I’d much rather spend a fourth round pick on Johnson than a second (probably high second) on Hyde.

Bortles is likely heading to a team that needs some work – had him going to Minnesota in my last mock draft. With that in mind he’s going to struggle early on as he’ll likely be forced into the starting role at some point in 2014. Johnson could and should be an immediate impact ball carrier and could be my sleeper for OROY.

Keep an eye on Virginia Tech’s Antone Exum

Exum missed most of the 2013 season with knee and ankle injuries, so his buzz is on the floor. Exum was spectacular as a junior – I had him as a preseason 1st rounder but that has changed recovering from a knee injury. Now, he offers a great value selection for a team late on day two or early on day three.

At 6-foot-0, 213 pounds Exum has the versatility to play corner and safety at the next level. It’s that versatility that has some speculation that he will be drafted higher than expected and could be asked to make the full-time transition to the free safety spot.
The Absolute Hottest NFL Wives

  • Reggie

    If I was the Texans I would do that trade in a heart beat. Clowney for 3 early picks is a no brainer. Heck Texans could still get Mack possibly and he might be a better player/fit than Clowney. Then a QB and another player in the 2nd….OG/CB/DL

    Then 2 1st in 2015 sets up for playoff return

    • bradc11

      I’m with you Reggie. My mock draft with trades will be out on Friday morning. While Mack doesn’t fall to them they get a haul and a #1 in 2015.

  • Micheal Profetta

    John McClain now has Houston taking Manziel at #1 after mocking Bortles to them for months. I’m beginning to think that he may be fumbling around in the darkness like the rest of us. If the Texans trade down, it obviously means that they’re not in love with any of the 1st round QBs. If they’re authentically sold on Bortles or Manziel, they’ll take him at #1. I still can’t imagine that they’ll pass on Clowney, but the Texans are a notoriously conservative organization; if they’re hesitant to pull the trigger on Clowney because of his character concerns (which I think are B.S.), they could trade down with a target like Jake Matthews, Greg Robinson, or Khalil Mack in mind, and perhaps target McCarron, Mettenberger, or Garoppolo at #33. I still wouldn’t count out a trade for Ryan Mallett, either. I think that the Texans are trying to lure the Browns to #1. I’m not buying the Derek Carr talk – I say the Browns want to come out of this draft with Manziel or Bortles. Period. They’ll have to trade up to #1 to ensure they get their guy, and should have no problem doing so. The Browns could offer an attractive package of picks, and maybe even throw in Phil Taylor and/or Brian Hoyer to sweeten the deal. The Texans would be guaranteed Mack, Matthews or Robinson at #4.

    • bradc11

      The fact that he’s still on the QB hunt makes me think about it. You’ll see in my mock tomorrow what I think makes sense for them. I think the Browns stand pat at 4 and take Clowney/Mack/Watkins/Robinson/Matthews. Then they may get aggressive with their picks and trade up to 26 if one of the QB’s start sliding…I agree on smoke for Carr to Browns. He doesn’t fit what Farmer is looking for…when talking about QB’s Farmer mentions accuracy first and it continues to frame his entire conversation. I think they would take a shot on Teddy if he slides at all…quick decisions, accurate, and heady QB – fits what they want. As a Browns homer I want Johnny but I don’t see them spending 4 on him.

  • Micheal Profetta

    I’m not sure about Bridgewater in Cleveland. Famer’s comments about accuracy seem to me one of those cases where a GM is talking about something, yet really talking about nothing…EVERYBODY wants an accurate QB. Bridgewater doesn’t strike me as a cold weather QB. He struggled at Cincinnati, and while the hand size issue may be overblown, there’s something to it. I don’t put a lot of stock in Pro Days and I think that there has been some borderline-unfair criticism of Bridgewater throughout the predraft process, but his dinged draft stock isn’t entirely the result of media nit-picking. He has tangible flaws that have to be taken into consideration. My gut says that Bridgewater lands in one of the southern divisions. I could see the Browns grabbing Manziel at #4, assuming that he gets past Jacksonville. Part of the reason that Banner/Lombardi/Chud were canned was probably because they liked Manziel too much, or didn’t like him enough. The hiring of Kyle Shanahan has me thinking that it could be the latter. We’ll know in less than a month. Looking forward to your mock tomorrow.