Thursday, May 8, 2014

2014 NFL Mock Draft - Final

Here is my final 2014 NFL Mock Draft which I will be submitting for national mock draft competitions, including The Huddle Report.

My mock draft has been linked by The Football Fan Spot, Sports Jabber, DC Pro Sports ReportWalter Football, FF Toolbox, The Football ExpertFantasy Football Help Desk, Niners Nation, EDS Football, NFL Mock Draft Central and NFL Pro Zach in their Mock Draft Databases.

1st Round

1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: Houston is looking to trade down, but may not find a suitor at their asking price, which is looking more and more like a package involving 2 or 3 1st Round picks, depending on how far they'd be asked to move back. 

2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) – Greg Robinson, T, Auburn: The question is whether to select Greg Robinson, Jake Mathews, or trade down. Right now it looks like the Rams are leaning toward Greg Robinson's upside, although Jake Mathews seems to be about as safe of a pick as there is for a team that once took Jason Smith with the second overall pick of the draft.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: I'm buying into the hype. This franchise needs something, and at least hype equates to hope.

4. Cleveland Browns - Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: Cleveland's dream scenario may be having Sammy Watkins fall to them without having to trade up.

5. Oakland Raiders - Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: This pick seams like a no-brainer, but then again, this is Reggie McKenzie selecting for the Raiders

6. Atlanta Falcons - Jake Mathews, OT, Texas A&M: Atlanta would love to move up for a pass rusher like Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack, but would be perfectly happy to settle for a prototype LT like Jake Mathews.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: While it initially looked like the Bucs simply needed a speedy receiver to play in the slot, Mike Williams finally wore out his welcome in Tampa Bay by getting stabbed in the thigh by his brother, making either Mike Evans or Plaxico Burress his ideal replacement.

8. Minnesota Vikings – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: The Vikings are looking for players who can disrupt up front in Mike Zimmer's new defense. Aaron Donald of Pitt can play the role that Geno Atkins did for Zimmer in Cincinnati.

9. Buffalo Bills - Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan: It looks like the goal for the Bills in this draft is to do everything they can to put second year QB E.J. Manuel in a position to succeed. If a true LT like Taylor Lewan is still available, Buffalo could move Cordy Glenn to a more natural position like RT or even G where he could put his physicality to better use. Of course, Lewan has some off the field issues that make Ritchie Incognito look like a Boy Scout troop leader, so stay tuned to see if the #9 spot is his floor as the Mel Kiper, Jr.'s of the world think, or his ceiling.

10. Detroit Lions - Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: According to new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, the Lions are looking for a "flamethrower" at OLB and a "riverboat gambler" at CB. The problem is that none of the players projected to be available at those positions seem to be worth the #10 pick. Don't believe the hype about the Lions trading up to the #2 spot for Sammy Watkins, because that's just not going to happen. The Lions could make a surprise pick and take Eric Ebron of North Carolina to play the Jimmy Graham role in Joe Lombardi's new offense, or possibly even Cody Latimer of Indiana, who fits the mold of Jim Caldwell's affinity for receivers with good hands. 

11. Tennessee Titans - Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State: With Alterraun Verner leaving in free agency, the Titans have a huge hole at CB. An OLB with proven pass rush skills like Anthony Barr could also be a consideration to fill a need in their new 3-4 defense depending on what Detroit does at #10, but Barr's game has been scrutinized to the extent that he no longer appears to be a top #15 prospect.

12. New York Giants - Zack Martin, T/G, Notre Dame: The Giants have an offensive line that is a complete mess, and tackle is the best place to start to address that problem. Drafting a true LT would have a positive cascade effect, allowing Justin Pugh to move to G and Will Beatty to slide to RT as he comes off of what was a subpar year even before he suffered a massive leg injury that could cause him to miss the start of the 2014 season.  

13. St Louis Rams - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama: St. Louis needs to upgrade their secondary at both S and CB. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams values an athletic FS who he can line up to show offenses different looks and still has the speed still patrol the deep and middle parts of the field. That would make Ha Ha Clinton-Dix the ideal pick given his fantastic range.

14. Chicago Bears - Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville: The Bears are looking for anybody other than Chris Conte as their starting S this season. Calvin Pryor fits that profile.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State: The "Steel Curtain" is in need of repairs. While the Steelers have not traditionally drafted CB's in the 1st Round, Darqueze "No Fly Zone" Dennard could make them think twice about passing on one this year. In addition to being a valuable press-man CB, Dennard is also the type of high character player that the Rooney family seems to value.

16. Dallas Cowboys - Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA: The Cowboys are not going to land Aaron Donald unless they trade up. If they stay at #16, they need to get Rod Marinelli a pass rusher, as his defensive philosophy is predicated upon getting pressure from his front four.

17. Baltimore Ravens - C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama: The Ravens will be in the market for a FS like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, an ILB like C.J. Mosley, or a plug and play OT like Zack Martin or Taylor Lewan. TE Eric Ebron would also be in the mix under Ozzie Newsome's best player available philosophy. If all of those players are off the board look for the Ravens to try and trade down for more picks.

18. New York Jets Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State: The Jets instantly improved their offense by signing Michael Vick, who will ultimately become their starter. Now they need to find him another legitimate receiving target to go along with free agent signee Eric Decker. Because Decker is a bigger target, a more explosive WR like either Odell Beckham, Jr. or Brandin Cooks would make for an ideal complement.

19. Miami Dolphins - Morgan Moses, T, Virginia: While Morgan Moses is a reach, the Dolphins are essentially in a position where they have to find a competent RT if they even want to field an offense next season.

20. Arizona Cardinals - Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida: Carson Palmer isn't getting any younger...Or better for that matter.

21. Green Bay Packers - Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State: Finding playmakers on the defensive side of the ball is a must for the Packers. Green Bay needs more athleticism at ILB, and Ryan Shazier of Ohio State would give them some much needed athleticism at SLB to help cover for the deficiencies of the steady, yet pedestrian A.J. Hawk.

22. Philadelphia Eagles - Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU: Philadelphia could use a S to take over starting duties from Nate Allen, but they also created a need at WR by releasing their best big play threat, DeSean Jackson. If Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix are both off the board, the Eagles could turn to Odell Beckham, Jr., possibly in a trade up with Baltimore, as an explosive threat at WR to compensate for the loss of Jackson

23. Kansas City Chiefs - Marqise Lee, WR, USC: The Chiefs could go in several different directions in this year's draft, whether it's DE, S, CB, WR or TE. WR Marqise Lee of USC is a safer option than other receivers like the talented but enigmatic Kelvin Benjamin, who probably doesn't need to be anywhere near someone like Dwayne Bowe during his formative years in the NFL.

24. Cincinnati Bengals - Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State: Bradley Roby seems to have come up clean, at least when it comes to alcohol, when it comes to his arrest for passing out behind the wheel of his car. That frees him up to go to Cincinnati to add some youth, size and speed to their secondary.

25. San Diego Chargers - Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: San Diego's biggest need is at CB, at Kyle Fuller is fast, big and has man to man cover skills. After he goes off the board, all of the remaining CB's will be deficient in at least one of those areas.

26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis) - Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: Owner Jimmy Haslam loves his fellow SEC boy Johnny Manziel, while new GM Ray Farmer is said to be infatuated with Teddy Bridgewater. Haslam is said to be willing to defer to Farmer, which means that Cleveland will be looking for yet another GM in the event that Bridgewater doesn't work out and Manziel sets the league on fire. 

27. New Orleans Saints - Dee Ford, OLB/DE, Auburn: The only issue with Dee Ford are his lumbar spine issues, for which he was flagged and not allowed to participate at the NFL Combine. From a talent standpoint, he's a 1st Rounder, but if his back truly is an issue, he could fall much deeper into the 2nd Round.

28. Carolina Panthers - Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana: The Panthers have a huge need at LT, and while they have done their homework on Morgan Moses, they don't seem all that convinced that he, or any of the T's on the board, are worth a 1st Round pick. In that event, Cody Latimer of Indiana is a big, fast, sure handed receiver who ran the entire route tree in college...His only problem is that he played for lowly Indiana.

29. New England Patriots - Ra'Shede Hageman, DT/DE, Minnesota: Vince Wilfork is aging and injury prone. While he recently signed a three year contract, Wilfork is 32, and it was structured so that it is essentially just a one year deal. It would therefore make sense for New England to draft a NT to ultimately replace Wilfork in the event that he's released after this season.

30. San Francisco 49ers - Jason Verrett, CB, Texas Christian: With Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown both signing with the Raiders in free agency, the 49ers need to find one or two starting caliber CB's in the draft. Bradley Roby clearly has some substance abuse issues that could make a team like the 49ers think twice about putting him on the same plane as Aldon Smith, so look for them to address their need at CB with Jason Verrett of TCU, who may be undersized, but is an absolute pit bull in coverage.

31. Houston Texans (projected trade with Denver) - Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State: So if the Texans are the team that bites on Derek Carr, does anybody think that they'd buy in on his desire to bring his brother David in as his back-up? Then again, bringing David Carr back to Houston can't be as bad as putting up with A.J. McCarron's reality TV show about his wedding to his to his fame whore girlfriend.

32. Seattle Seahawks - Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame: The Seahawks had relatively few defections after winning the Super Bowl, although they did suffer losses at DE with Red Bryant and Chris Clemmons departing via free agency. A base DE like Stephon Tuitt could help alleviate those departures and help maintain Seattle's stout run defense.

2nd Round

33. Denver Broncos (projected trade with Houston) - Stanley Jean Baptiste, CB, Nebraska: Denver can trade back for an additional mid round pick and still solidify the back end of their secondary.

34. Washington Redskins - Cyrus Kouandjio, T, Alabama: Cyrus Kouandjio would not only provide additional protection for RG3, but a right tackle of his size would open some serious holes in the running game, making him an ideal fit with the Redskins.

Speaking of which, let's get the Redskins to change their name to the "Pigskins." It's not racist, it's a football reference, it pays homage to Washington's fan base of the 1980's, and the team could still call themselves "The Skins." On top of that, a new hog related logo could help Daniel Snyder sell a boatload of merchandise...Seems like a win-win situation if you ask me.

35. Cleveland Browns - Xavier Su'a-Filo: With the Browns having addressed WR and QB with their first two selections, they can afford to go with a luxary pick and upgrade their offensive line with an elite G like Xavier Su'a-Filo, who could also possibly play RT if needed.

36. Oakland Raiders - Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh: Tom Savage was well traveled for a variety of reasons in his college career, but he has ideal NFL size and arm strength. His nomad ways make him a perfect Raider.

37. Atlanta Falcons - Jeremiah Attaochu, DE/OLB, Georgia Tech: Assuming Atlanta elects to go with a LT in the 1st Round, a raw but talented local product like Jeremiah Attaochu of Georgia Tech could be a steal when it comes to finding a bargain when it comes to a much needed pass rusher.

38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU: With the Bucs moving back to a "Tampa-2" defense under new defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, they need to find LB's who can better fit that system. Kyle Van Noy of BYU would be an immediate improvement at the SAM.

39. Jacksonville Jaguars - Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State: With Justin Blackmon's future in Jacksonville, and the NFL for that matter, still up in the air, the Jags need to look for another go-to WR. Allen Robinson fills that bill. The only reason he's still available in the 2nd Round is due to inconsistent QB play and a deep WR class.
40. Minnesota Vikings - Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
: While he is coming off of a late season knee injury, Zack Mettenberger is ahead of schedule on his rehab and is already throwing for scouts. With a strong accurate arm and high football I.Q., Mettenberger is an ideal fit to ultimately take over in Norv Turner's new offense. It looks like a doctor's note will excuse him being flagged for a diluted urine sample at the Combine.

41. Buffalo Bills - Kelvin Benjamin: After giving E.J. Manuel LT, allowing Cordy Glenn to move to the right side, Buffalo could give Manuel an eventual go-to target in Kelvin Benjamin of Florida State, who's really just a poor man's Mike Evans. 

42. Tennessee Titans - Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois: It looks like the Titans are interested in giving themselves an insurance option in the even that Jake Locker cannot return from the dreaded lisfranc foot injury. In fact, with Tennessee electing to decline Locker's fifth year option, they may be looking for more than just insurance.

43. New York Giants - Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State: Selecting Zack Martin in the 1st Round would help the G-men rebuild their offensive line. An underrated DE like Scott Crichton in the 2nd Round would help re-fortify their once fierce pass rush, which has taken some hits due to age and free agency over the past few years.

44. St. Louis Rams - Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State: If the Rams can address LT, S and either a WR or a CB with their first three picks, I think they'd be pretty happy. With the top of this draft being extremely deep at WR, the value at that position trumps reaching for a CB.

45. Detroit Lions - Deone Buccanon, S, Washington State: In James Ihedigbo and Glover Quin, the Lions have two projected starters who are better off playing SS in an era when most teams are looking for two faster players who can play FS. Not only does Deone Buccanon of Oregon State have both range and a nose for the ball, but he has fantastic character as well.

46. Pittsburgh Steelers - Louis Nix, III, DT, Notre Dame: The Steelers would be wise to pass on a talent like Louis Nix, III in the 1st Round despite his talent simply because there are very few teams in the market for a true NT at the top of this year's draft.

47. Dallas Cowboys - Dominique Easley, DT/DE, Florida: Dallas could look at DE, S, WLB, or address their OL with their pick in the 2nd Round. If they can address DE in the 1st Round, a 3-Technique DT with 1st Round talent like Dominique Easley of Florida would be worth the gamble in the 2nd Round even though he's already undergone surgery on both of his knees. 

48. Baltimore Ravens - Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois: A hybrid like Jimmie Ward who can play FS would allow Matt Elam to move to his more natural position at SS.

49. New York Jets - Keith McGill, CB, Utah: After "swinging and missing" at the CB position in free agency, the Jets could go big and take Keith McGill of Utah, a 6'3, 210 pound player who will have teams looking to emulate the secondary of the Seahawks drooling.

50. Miami Dolphins - Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington: If the Dolphins land a RT in the 1st Round, a complete TE who can help pass protect like Austin Seferian-Jenkins could help bolster their line play and give Ryan Tannehill another receiving target.

51. Chicago Bears - Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State: Thanks to a diluted drug test, the Bears get one of their 1st Round targets in the 2nd Round.

52. Arizona Cardinals - Donte Moncrief, WR, Mississippi: The Cardinals could look at RT and S, but an explosive WR like Donte Moncrief who can play the slot would help draw coverage away from Larry Fitzgerald.

53. Green Bay Packers - Lamarcus Joyner, CB/S, Florida State: The lack of a playmaker at S was a huge problem for Green Bay last season. Lamarcus Joyner would give the Packers some much needed range and ball skills in the back end of their defense. Because he also played CB at Florida State, he'd also ultimately make for an ideal nickle in passing situations.

54. Philadelphia Eagles - Demarcus Lawrence, OLB/DE, Boise State: Philadelphia finished 32nd in the league in passing defense last season, and sometimes the best way to address your pass coverage is with your pass rush. 

55. Cincinnati Bengals - Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri: Kony Ealy seems to be falling as the draft approaches, and the Bengals would love to get a player who they were once linked to in the 1st Round in the 2nd.

56.  San Francisco 49ers - Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville: While the 49'ers elected to use their 5th year option on Aldon Smith, they still need some insurance in case he's suspended for his latest run in with the law. 

57. San Diego Chargers - Ja'Wuan James, T, Tennessee: After addressing their biggest need at CB, the Chargers could look to infuse some new blood on the offensive line. Ja'Wuan James projects immediately at RT, and if he can eventually slide over to LT, so much the better.

58. New Orleans Saints - Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU: The locals are clamoring for New Orleans to address their need at WR with Jarvis Landry of LSU. You can throw Landry's 40-yard dash time out the window, as he's one of the quickest receivers in this year's draft. As a bonus, he's a solid special teams player who just loves to play football.

59. Indianapolis Colts - Marcus Martin, C, USC: The Colts would be wise to bolster the interior of their offensive line with at least two early picks in this year's draft. Marcus Martin of USC is the cream of the crop, and would give Andrew Luck some much needed pocket stability in pass protection.

60. Carolina Panthers - Jordan Mathews, WR, Vanderbilt: The Panthers have a huge need at LT, but don't appear enamored with any of the prospects projected to be available by the time they pick in the 1st Round. Their other big whole is at WR, and they could double dip with two sure handed targets, a big play threat like Cody Latimer in the 1st Round, and a polished route runner like Jordan Mathews in the 2nd.

61. San Francisco 49ers - Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado: The 49ers biggest obstacle to returning to the Super Bowl are their division rivals, the Seattle Seahawks. The best way to counteract Seattle's super-sized secondary is with quickness, and that's where an explosive player like Paul Richardson in the slot would not only help negate their size advantage in their secondary, but possibly even turn it into a liability.

62. New England Patriots - Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech: With Aaron Hernandez's career over and Rob Gronkowski questionable to start the season, Jace Amaro of Texas A&M seems to be New England's prime target to replace Hernandez at TE given his size and pass catching ability.

63. Denver Broncos - Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin: The disinformation of the draft has already started, with an undisclosed team reportedly leaking that they have taken Chris Borland of Wisconsin off of their draft board due to a purported chronic shoulder injury/condition. Assuming that information is just a scare tactic, Borland is an instinctive player who can fill a hole at ILB for the Broncos, which is one of their final needs on defensive after a busy free agency period.

64. Seattle Seahawks - Joel Bitonio, T/G, Nevada: Joe Bitonio would help solidify the right side of the offensive line for the Seahawks.

Detroit Lions Potential Picks, Rounds 3 - 7

Here's how the rest of the 2014 Draft could work out in terms of projected value and need for the Detroit Lions:

Round 3,  Pick No. 12 - Carl Bradford, OLB, Arizona State: A pass rush specialist out of Arizona State, Carl Bradford could be a poor man's "flamethrower" that new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is looking for at OLB should the Lions pass on that need in the first two Rounds of the draft.

Round 4, Pick No. 11 - Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State: Not only is Weston Richburg one of the top three centers in this year's draft, but he seems to be very interested in playing for the Lions. The feeling should be mutual. With Dominic Raiola nearing the final years of his career, Richburg could serve as an understudy and even help the Lions out as a backup G. Gabe Ikard could also be a later round option at C.

Round 4, Compensatory Pick - Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia: The Lions are going to regret not freeing up enough money to re-sign Shawn Hill, who may have been the best backup QB in the league. Jim Caldwell should know that Dan Orlovsky is not the answer, as his inability to adequately replace Peyton Manning helped cost him his job in Indianapolis three years ago.

Round 4, Compensatory Pick - Jaylen Watkins, CB, Florida: When the Lions met with Sammy Watkins' parents, they were really scouting his brother Jaylen, who proved to be a ballhawk at the Senior Bowl.

Round 6, Pick No. 13 - Jeff Janis, WR, Saginaw Valley State University: A fast, big WR, think of Jeff Janis as a white Kris Durham...Oh, wait. 

Round 7 - Pick No. 12 - Cody Parkey, K, Auburn: Prior to the David Akers debacle last season, the Lions only had two PK's from 1980 through 2012 in Eddie Murray in Jason Hanson, either of whom the Lions would have probably signed last season had they been interested.

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