It’s Saturday morning and in two weeks from today the first two rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft will be in the books. With that in mind, I bring you my predictions for those rounds on this glorious Saturday morning. Before anyone chalks me up as a moron (or worse) realize how many times the draft follows anyone’s expectations. No mock on NFL’s Future is ever your standard issue mock, and this one lives up to those expectations.
1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
I believe the Texans look to move out of this pick…hard. If they can slide down the board and still swing Khalil Mack, they would. If they can move down and grab Johnny or Bortles, they will. I fully expect Jadeveon Clowney to be the top pick in this draft but I’d put the odds at 60-40 that he’s not wearing a Texans uniform next season.
2. St. Louis Rams – Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Jo-Lonn Dunbar was cut after a 4 game suspension but brought back. This defense is verging on an elite unit and Mack could be the force that puts them over the edge. Mack’s addition to the LB crew gives it some major punch and gives the Rams a ferocious front seven. My question, why is no one looking at Mack to St. Louis.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
The Jags miss out on Clowney and Mack, so the decision is likely to come down to Sammy Watkins or one of the QB’s. I, personally, feel Jacksonville may be the best fit (on both ends) for Manziel.
4. Cleveland Browns – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
I was split on this one. It came down to one of the tackles or Watkins. I imagine the Browns brass will be split on the same decision if the draft plays out this way. As so many have suggested the Nate Burleson acquisition has little bearing on Watkins being a Brown in two weeks.
5. Oakland Raiders – Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt
Aaron Donald is going to go high with Oakland being the ceiling. Donald is as disruptive as any player in the draft which won’t be overlooked on draft day. If he were an inch or two taller and 10-20 pounds heavier we’d be talking about him as a candidate for the top selection.
6. Atlanta Falcons – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
In this scenario the Falcons really luck out. Outside of Clowney or Mack the Falcons would have to be honing in on Robinson/Matthews. Probably 1B to a pass rusher is a protector for Matt Ryan. Ryan spent far too much time on his back last season and Robinson’s presence should alleviate some of that and help dramatically in the run game.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
The Bucs brought in Anthony Collins (and a host of interior OL help). I’m not sold on the tackle situation especially given Josh McCown and/or Mike Glennon’s lack of mobility. I know Mike Evans makes a ton of sense here but not if it means you are passing on a talent like Matthews.
8. Minnesota Vikings – Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
The buzz has been the Vikings passing on QB at No. 8 but if Bortles is there I don’t see it happening. Bortles can sit and learn for a year while Matt Cassel is at the helm, which is a win-win for the Vikings.
9. Buffalo Bills – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
The Bills would have to be overjoyed if Mike Evans were still on the board when they pick at No. 9. Their receiving corps is solid but really could use a big No. 1 to slide Stevie Johnson inside. Evans presence on the outside should open up the middle of the field for Johnson to work.
10. Detroit Lions – Zack Martin, OT/OG, Notre Dame
This one could be the first ‘real’ shocker of the mock draft. Martin’s versatility will have teams looking to secure his services before other ‘more highly rated’ OL….i.e. Taylor Lewan. Martin could play any of the five OL spots making him a viable candidate for the Lions who are in need of a couple more serviceable protectors for Matt Stafford and Reggie Bush.
11. Tennessee Titans – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno St.
As this process wanes on I get the feeling more and more the Titans will look for a QB early in this draft. That decision could come down to Teddy Bridgewater or Derek Carr at No. 11. I think the buzz about both is real at this point with Carr heading north and Bridgewater going south.
12. New York Giants – Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
The Giants have a couple of intriguing options in this scenario. The most intriguing of the bunch could be adding the athletic North Carolina TE.
13. St. Louis Rams – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
The Rams opted to pass on Robinson/Matthews at No. 2 instead opting to add another defensive playmaker. While I don’t love Lewan this high I’m not going to deny he would be an intriguing addition to an OL in major need at the position.
14. Chicago Bears – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
The safety play in Chicago last season was atrocious. HCD isn’t a favorite of mine but I can see why many teams would be intrigued by his skill set. The Bears badly need help in the secondary and this pick should come down to HCD or one of the corners.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
My Steeler fans love this pick…sense my sarcasm. Look I know it’s not a big need and a bit of a duplication of Lawrence Timmons but they need a few hits in early rounds. Mosley is a top 15 pick based on talent (ninth on our board) and gives the Steelers another coverage linebacker with the instincts to rack up big tackle numbers.
16. Dallas Cowboys – Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA
Barr is a bit of stretch at this spot but I think Rod Marinelli and the defensive staff pound the table for a guy with the ceiling of Barr. It’s going to be a bit of a transition period for Barr (as it was/is for Dion Jordan) but he has special pass rush skills that could be just the Cowboys need in the long-term.
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