First Round Mock Draft 1.0
With the 2014 NFL Draft three weeks away, it’s time to try my hand at the Mock Drafting trade. Although plenty can change from now until May 8th, here is how I think the First Round will play out.
1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney
Although Quarterback would be logical pick here and this is certainly not their biggest need, the intrigue of drafting perhaps the most freakish athlete in the past decade could prove too tempting to pass up for new Head Coach, Bill O’Brien.
2. St. Louis Rams (Via Washington Redskins) – Gregg Robinson
With Clowney off the board and Tavon Austin already in the fold as last year’s first round pick, this will address the Rams’ single biggest need in a very big way.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Blake Bortles
The Jaguars will benefit from the Texans decision to pass on a QB, and will be thrilled to land the guy who many believe is the most NFL ready signal caller in the draft. Their desperate search to finally find a face of the franchise, they hope, will end with Mr. Bortles.
4. Cleveland Browns – Sammy Watkins
Another team who needs a QB, but ends up passing for another freakish athlete. Sammy Watkins has all the tools to be a great talent for years to come and much like the temptation the Texans face with pairing Clowney on the D-Line with Watts, the Browns will cave in to the visions of seeing Sammy line up on the other side of Josh Gordon.
5. Oakland Raiders – Johnny Manziel
Going for the guy who comes with the most flare is nothing new for the Black and Silver. Johnny Football certainly fits that mold and he also fills their most obvious void.
6. Atlanta Falcons – Jake Matthews
Pedigree, bloodline, smart, versatile and above all mandatory. The Falcons Offensive Line performed worse than Aldon Smith at an airport security checkpoint. This might be the biggest no brainer in the entire first round.
7. Tampa Bay Bucs – Mike Evans
Johnny Football’s most dangerous weapon from a season ago will team up with Vincent Jackson and join Lovie Smith’s roster to give Josh McCown a WR duo that could end up rivaling the pair he was throwing to last year with the Bears, in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
8. Minnesota Vikings – Teddy Bridgewater
The Christian Ponder era will officially come to a close with this selection from the Vikings, and I have to believe there won’t be too many tears shed in the land of 10,000 lakes.
9. Buffalo Bills – Khalil Mack
I’m not sure if Donald Trump will be signing this young man’s checks in the future, but if he does indeed stick around this late in opening round, the Buffalo Bills will get themselves a monstrous steal and the most tremendously talented player not named Jadeveon Clowney.
10. Detroit Lions – Justin Gilbert
The top Cornerback in draft will be a welcomed addition to a secondary in Detroit which gave up the 23rd most passing yards in the league a year ago. Plus Gilbert, as physically gifted and talented as he is, will be be glad he won’t have to line up against Calvin Johnson in a real game situation.
11. Tennessee Titans – Anthony Barr
It’s not their biggest need after losing Alterraun Verner in free agency to the Buccaneers, but he would most certainly be the best player on the board, while still filling a hole for the Titans.
12. New York Giants – C.J. Mosley
The addition of veteran Jon Beason really helped boost this linebacking core, however C.J. would immediately contribute to this group currently comprised of Jameel McClain, Jacquian Williams, Allan Bradford and Spencer Paysinger… I’ll wait for the next pick until you come back from your Google searches on those names.
13. St. Louis Rams – Calvin Pryor
An aggressively physical Free Safety whose punishing style would seem to be a great natural fit for this vicious Rams defense.
14. Chicago Bears – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Back-to-back Free Safeties? Don’t laugh (Ha Ha)… Never mind. With the top-tier Defensive Linemen off of the board, look for the Bears to pick a player whose draft stock is soaring as we move closer to the draft day.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Taylor Lewan
They say that even a broken clock is right twice a day. Well, Big Ben had his clock cleaned much more frequently courtesy of his Offensive Line each and every Sunday. Lewan provides them with exactly what they need in the middle of the first round, and they won’t have to endure any more of those sorry attempts at humor at their expense. It’s win win for everyone.
16. Dallas Cowboys – Darqueze Dennard
No replacements for Demarcus Ware here. Secondary obviously a glaring deficiency with this team, as they yielded 415.3 yards per game through the air, which was dead last in the NFL. Dennard will go a long way in reducing that number.
17. Baltimore Ravens – Marqise Lee
The loss of Eugene Monroe might influence their decision here, but the Wide Receiver position is also a need with this Ravens squad. They gave all that money to Joe Flacco, might as well start getting him some cheaper, talented labor to help justify that contract. There are injury concerns, but the talent is undeniable.
18. New York Jets – Eric Ebron
Some might view this as a reach, other might view this as a steal. The varied opinions on Ebron are well-documented. However, also well-documented are the Jets offensive struggles. Here they would have the opportunity to grab the top player at his position. They have several other needs, but it’s rare at this spot to have the chance to get a top player at a skill position.
19. Miami Dolphins – Carlos Hyde
Generally speaking, taking a running back in the first round has somehow become a taboo around the League in recent trends. To those skeptics, I’d ask how many teams now wish they would have grabbed Eddie Lacy last year before the Packers nabbed him with the 61st overall pick. He was the best back last year. Hyde is clearly the head of this year’s draft class. Very similar type players, should see relatively similar results in their rookie seasons.
20. Arizona Cardinals – Derek Carr
This is a dangerous scenario for the rest of the NFC West, and perhaps even the rest of the NFL. The Cardinals, under Bruce Arians, have a ton of young talent and look to be on a meteoric rise. Replace Carson Palmer with an instinctive, tough, cerebral player with Carr’s skills and mindset and there’s no telling what kind of rewards this pick could reap.
21. Green Bay Packers – Jace Amaro
The uncertainly surrounding the career of Jermichael Finley did not facilitate the Packers in bringing back the free agent. As Finley moved on, they’ll look to replace his production with another one of Johnny Football’s former weapons at A&M. He racked up 1,353 yards and 7 touch downs at College Station and is an intriguing prospect at the tight end position.
22. Philadelphia Eagles – Ryan Shazier
Chip Kelly’s fascination with speed isn’t limited to the offensive side of the football. This guy has the speed at the linebacker position to make plays from anywhere on the football field. It’s a big need for Philly and with the deep WR draft class, Eagle fans will have to wait for later rounds to see who DeSean Jackson’s replacement will be.
23. Kansas City Chiefs – Odell Beckham, Jr.
Inconsistency is the biggest knock on this kid, however the other pieces in the package assemble together nicely to form a well-rounded weapon, one for which Alex Smith would be grateful to have at his disposal. He has the ability to have an immediately impact in the return game as well.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Bradley Roby
The AFC North defending Champs do not have a massive holes within their roster, but Cornerback is a position where they could use some assistance. Roby to the rescue. He provides a set of skills that would be very appealing to a team who is looking to add quality and depth to an already talented defense.
25. San Diego Chargers – Zack Martin
With several Cornerbacks off the board at this point, the Chargers will pick up a solid, smart lineman who will provide some support inside for them in their newfound from a season ago, as they’ll look to continue to build upon an impressive running game behind running back, Ryan Matthews.
26. Cleveland Browns – Jeremy Hill
Big risk here. And this is where not selecting a QB with their first pick earlier in the round might come back to bite them. Perhaps hoping that Carr mgiht still be around, they took a gamble that didn’t wind up paying off. However, with Jimmy Garoppolo still available later on, the best WR in the draft and one of the most talented Running Backs is a pretty decent consolation prize for a team looking to add offensive pieces.
27. New Orleans Saints – Jason Verrett
Although the Saints defense was severely underrated last season, adding a guy of Verrett’s caliber late in the first round will only help improve a group that finished second to only Seattle in passing yards allowed and also added Jairus Byrd into the fold.
28. Carolina Panthers – Brandin Cooks
Let the Steve Smith comparisons begin! Undersized with speed to burn (4.33 sec. 40 time). Could play in the slot or could move outside with his ability to separate and stretch the field. He averaged more than 130 yards per contest his junior year at Oregon State and provides the Panthers with a very polished route runner with great hands. Doesn’t lack in confidence, either. Sound familiar yet?
29. New England Patriots – Kony Ealy
The inability to rush the opposing quarterback was never more apparent than the AFC Championship Game when Peyton Manning stood in the pocket and picked them apart after Aqib Talib’s injury. Talib’s now in Denver and the Pats picked up Browner and Revis. Adding Ealy to help out Chandler Jones with the pass rushing duties could prove incredibly beneficial.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Kyle Fuller
This seems to be the age old story of an embarrassment of riches, but the 49ers have positioned themselves well to continue to add pieces to a talented defensive group. Fuller may not be able to start immediately, but should have the opportunity to step in and contribute in a number of different sub packages as well as on special teams, especially if the 49ers end up moving LaMichael James.
31. Denver Broncos – Marcus Roberson
Not that the Broncos need a draft after their fortunate offseason, but they might as well take advantage of the the opportunity to try and redeem themselves from an embarrassing Super Bowl loss to Seattle. Realizing how the Seahawks were able to attain that success, adding Roberson, who had a severely disappointing junior season, can only help their chances.
32. Seattle Seahawks – Kelvin Benjamin
Speaking of the Super Bowl Champs, they will look to replace the departure of Golden Tate to the Lions with a receiver who was part of a Championship of his own at Florida State. He’ll be a huge target for Russell Wilson in the red zone when he’s not handing the ball off to Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch. He’s a bit more of a project and doesn’t have the most dependable hands, but he possesses the type of physical tolls that are highly coveted.