2014 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

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2014 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

With the draft less than 2 weeks away, things are starting to clear up a bit and we are starting to see what directions most teams are going in. Most of the conversation seems to be surrounding where the top quarterbacks in the draft will go. I am sure many more things will change before draft day, but here is the third version of my NFL mock draft. Note: I am not factoring in any trades in this mock draft. So some of these spots can easily be switched.

 

1. Houston Texans-Jadeveon Clowney-DE-South Carolina

While it is possible the Texans trade this pick, I believe they look to draft Clowney here to pair up with J.J. Watt and give the Texans possibly the best pass rush in the NFL. The Texans do need a QB, but there is just enough depth where I think they will draft one in the 2nd round. One target they could look for is Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois, who is rising up draft boards.

2. St. Louis Rams-Khalil Mack-LB-Buffalo

This is another spot where I can see a trade happening, considering the Rams have two 1st round picks. If they do keep this pick, reports are indicating that the Rams are looking at Mack and Sammy Watkins. I feel Mack is the most pro-ready of the two and will make an immediate impact and could very easily be a Pro Bowl caliber player in his rookie year.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars-Sammy Watkins-WR-Clemson

With Justin Blackmon suspended for an undetermined amount of time, the Jaguars will be looking for a wide receiver who could pair up with Blackmon when he does return. Jacksonville does need a QB, but this is another team I can see picking one up in the 2nd round. Watkins gives the Jags a game-breaker who will make the job for a new QB much easier.

4. Cleveland Browns-Johnny Manziel-QB-Texas A&M

Reports are indicating that the Browns love Derek Carr, but I just cannot see the Browns passing up on Johnny Football. Manziel is that polarizing player that will bring excitement to a team who is in dire need of a consistent QB and a winning season. Manziel paired up with Josh Gordon could make Browns games something to watch this season.

5. Oakland Raiders-Greg Robinson-OT-Auburn

I really do think the Raiders will look to move down here, especially if Mack, Manziel, and Watkins are already off the board. Robinson has the most upside by far of any offensive lineman in the draft and can be inserted at either tackle position.

6. Atlanta Falcons-Jake Matthews-OT-Texas A&M

The Falcons need a pass protector and a pass rusher, and with Khalil Mack already off the board, the choice becomes easy. Matthews will give more protection for franchise QB Matt Ryan, something that cannot be undervalued. Matthews protected the blindside of Johnny Manziel perfectly, and should do the same for Matty Ice.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Mike Evans-WR-Texas A&M

Three Aggies in the last four picks, something you don’t usually see. The Bucs have been linked to Johnny Manziel recently, but I do not see him falling this far. Mike Evans is being compared to current Bucs receiver Vincent Jackson, and those two together would be a scary combo. If the Bucs do stick with Mike Glennon at QB, he will havetwo tall receivers to throw to.

8. Minnesota Vikings-Blake Bortles-QB-Central Florida

The Vikings get the QB they have been coveting in Bortles, who is probably the safest of any of the QB’s in the draft. While they do need help in the secondary badly, the quarterback position is arguably the most important position in football and cannot be ignored. Bortles will fit perfectly into Norv Turner’s offense, but do not be surprised if he goes even earlier than this.

9. Buffalo Bills-Taylor Lewan-OT-Michigan

With Robinson and Matthews off the board, Lewan becomes the best offensive lineman on the board, and I do not expect the Bills to pass up. While the Bills need a wide receiver and a tight end, Mike Evans and Sammy Watkinsalready off the board and I do not think they will take Eric Ebron this high. Head coach Doug Marrone is a former offensive lineman and offensive line coach, so there may be some bias here on his part.

10. Detroit Lions-Justin Gilbert-CB-Oklahoma State

With many great receivers in the division, the Lions will really need to improve their secondary in this draft, and Gilbert is the best secondary player in this draft. Gilbert has all the makings of a star in this league and has the ability to be known as one of the true lock down corners in the NFL. The Lions would be dumb to pass up on him.

11. Tennessee Titans-Anthony Barr-DE/OLB-UCLA

The Titans biggest need by far is on the pass rush, and Barr can fix that need. Barr is one of the best pass rushers in this draft, has insane potential, and is rising on draft boards quickly. This pick is pretty easy if the Titans are serious about filling their biggest need.

12. New York Giants-Aaron Donald-DT-Pittsburgh

The Giants will be looking to replace Linval Joseph, and Aaron Donald can do that and then some. This pick makes sense for the Giants because Donald is the best player on the board at this point and can make an immediate impact on the defensive line. Look for Donald to be high up on the sack leaderboard throughout his career.

13. St Louis Rams-Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix-S-Alabama

The Rams continue to strengthen their defense by solidifying the secondary and drafting Clinton-Dix. Clinton-Dix is an exciting, high-speed safety who will have receivers hear the footsteps coming when catching the ball. With this addition, the Rams defense can start to compete with the Seahawks and 49ers defense in the NFC West.

14. Chicago Bears-Calvin Pryor-S-Louisville

Word out of Chicago is that they will be looking for help in the secondary, and Pryor is the best secondary player on the board at this point. Pryor is a very hard-hitting safety who reminds me a lot of former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins, so Chicago fans will welcome Pryor with open arms. Do not rule out the Bears looking for a cornerback here, possibly Bradley Roby or Darqueze Dennard.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers-Bradley Roby-CB-Ohio State

With the secondary aging, look for the Steelers to bring in a fresh face in Roby, who will bring immediate help. Roby is a do it all corner, a great tackler and can cover off coverage and close to the receiver, so versatility is a strong point. Despite his recent arrest, I still like the Steelers to grab Roby here. Darqueze Dennard is another possibility.

16. Dallas Cowboys-Louis Nix III-DT-Notre Dame

With the Cowboys in major need of an upgrade on the defensive line, the direction in which the Cowboys will look to go is pretty straightforward here. Nix will plug the holes up and cause havoc for other teams in their running game. Another possibility here is Tim Jernigan.

17. Baltimore Ravens-Zack Martin-OT-Notre Dame

Another Irish player taken here. It is no secret the Ravens need to do a better job of protecting Joe Flacco, and Martin will do just that. Martin can play either tackle position and can also play guard, so the options are there with him. It would not stun me to see the Ravens go for a receiver or look for help in the secondary either.

18. New York Jets-Brandin Cooks-WR-Oregon State

This may be a bit high for Cooks, but I really do like his ability and think the Jets will grab him here. There is no doubt that the Jets will be looking for an offensive weapon, whether it is a receiver or a tight end. Cooks can pair up with newly signed receiver Eric Decker and really help the Jets out on offense. Other possibilities include Eric Ebron and Odell Beckham.

19. Miami Dolphins-C.J. Mosley-LB-Alabama

While there is still work to be done on the offensive line, the Dolphins made big strides in free agency and I can see them looking elsewhere here. Mosley is a very versatile player who will fit great with the Dolphins scheme and will make an impact right off the bat. He is the most pro-ready linebacker on the board at this point, so I have a feeling the Dolphins take Mosley.

20. Arizona Cardinals-Kony Ealy-DE/OLB-Missouri

Arizona needs to sure up their pass rush and Ealy is the best available at the point. Ealy can line up on the line or rush from the linebacker position, so there are multiple schemes the Cardinals can run with Ealy on the field. He will split reps with Darnell Dockett this year, but Ealy will be the future in Arizona.

21. Green Bay Packers-Ryan Shazier-LB-Ohio State

The Packers need to address the safety position, but with Clinton-Dix and Pryor off the board, they should look to sure up their core at linebacker. The Packers would love C.J. Mosley to fall here, but Shazier is a nice consolation and will fit the Packers scheme perfectly.

22. Philadelphia Eagles-Odell Beckham-WR-LSU

With the departure of DeSean Jackson and many questions with the knees of Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles should look to go for a wide receiver here. Beckham reminds me a lot of Jackson with great speed and a big time deep threat. Philly could look to go cornerback here, but I feel receiver is the bigger need.

23. Kansas City Chiefs-Xavier Su’a-Filo-G-UCLA

The Chiefs have a hole at the right guard position, and this is a good time to fill it. The Chiefs do need to upgrade at receiver, but they should still be fine with the core they have, especially with a veteran QB like Alex Smith. Su’a-Filo fills the immediate need and solidifies the Chiefs offensive line.

24. Cincinnati Bengals-Darqueze Dennard-CB-Michigan State

With Pacman Jones and Terence Newman not getting any younger, the Bengals will need to get younger in the secondary. Dennard is the best secondary player on the board and will bring immediate help to an aging secondary and should have a big time impact.

25. San Diego Chargers-Tim Jernigan-DT-Florida State

The Chargers are in dire need of help on the defensive line, and although Louis Nix III is their top target, Jernigan will be a nice backup plan. Jernigan cannot plug holes like Nix, but he can pass rush much better than Nix and will be in the backfield often. The Chargers fill their biggest need here.

26. Cleveland Browns-Kelvin Benjamin-WR-Florida State

Another Seminole off the board here. With the Browns drafting Manziel earlier, they will look to give him a second target to go along side Josh Gordon. Manziel is used to throwing to tall receivers in college with Mike Evans, so he should work well with Benjamin, who stands 6’5.

27. New Orleans Saints-Jason Verrett-CB-TCU

The Saints upgraded their secondary big time in this offseason by signing Jarius Byrd, and Verrett would finish off a revamping of the secondary in New Orleans. Verrett will have the chance to learn from newly signed corner Champ Bailey, who is nearing the end of his career. This is a great fit for Rob Ryan’s defensive scheme.

28. Carolina Panthers-Marqise Lee-WR-USC

Pretty obvious in which direction the Panthers are going here. The Panthers lost all of their important receivers, including Steve Smith. Marqise Lee will start a rebuilding effort for the Panthers receiving core, who will be looking to take multiple WR’s in this draft.

29. New England Patriots-Ra’Shede Hageman-DE/DT-Minnesota

The Patriots have a big need on the defensive line and Hageman is the best on the board at the point. Hageman will bring a pass rush to the Pats defensive line, and he can also play on the interior line, so this is a great pick for the Patriots here.

30. San Francisco 49ers-Allen Robinson-WR-Penn State

The Niners have been reportedly trying to trade up in the draft to snag Mike Evans, so it seems they are looking to take a receiver. If they are unable to do so, Robinson is a poor man’s version of Evans, a tall receiver who is a very tough matchup for opposing corners. Niners are being aggressive in trying to trade, however, so there is a good chance they do not stay here.

31. Denver Broncos-Kyle Fuller-CB-Virginia Tech

The Broncos are set on offense, so look for them to add to their defense here. Fuller is a player who will see time right away and can cover the taller receivers. A nice get for the AFC Champions.

32. Seattle Seahawks-Eric Ebron-TE-North Carolina

Ebron is one of the top prospects in this draft and if he falls to Seattle, it would be an absolute steal. Ebron would bring an element to the Seattle defense that they did not have before and would leave Russell Wilson very, very happy. Not sure if Ebron falls quite this far though.

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