I won’t claim to be an NFL expert, but as a big college and pro football fan, I like to take my shot at an NFL mock draft and see how I stack up against Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, Mike Mayock, and the like. So here’s my 2014 mock NFL Draft. If any trades are announced before the beginning of the draft, I reserve the right to make some changes. Otherwise, I’m guessing roughly 29 of these picks will be 100% accurate.
1. Houston Texans:
Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina
It seems like all the top prospects come with some baggage, and Clowney is no exception with his occasional loafing and numerous traffic violations. However, he has the freak athleticism to warrant being the top pick.
2. St. Louis Rams:
Greg Robinson – OT – Auburn
Jake Long has been injury prone and former tackle Rodger Saffold has moved inside, so Robinson could slide in to start immediately.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars:
Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson
The Jaguars need a dynamic receiver, and Watkins could be that guy.
4. Cleveland Browns
Johnny Manziel – QB – Texas A&M
I’m not a fan of Manziel and this pick wouldn’t make sense to me, but it’s the Browns, so I expect them to make a poor choice at quarterback.
5. Oakland Raiders
Khalil Mack – OLB – Buffalo
Mack is top five talent who might come off the board earlier than this, but nobody really seems to project him to go much lower. Pass rushers are premium players and don’t seem to drop on draft day.
6. Atlanta Falcons
Jake Matthews – OT – Texas A&M
I want to believe that Taylor Lewan is the better pro prospect, but that might be the homer in me. I will resist the temptation to believe he’ll be the second tackle taken.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Evans – WR – Texas A&M
This is the third Aggie to go in the first seven picks (if these selections hold up). I never thought I would see that. Evans would make it very difficult to cover Tampa Bay’s outside receivers.
8. Minnesota Vikings
Blake Bortles – QB – Central Florida
I’m tempted to go with Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley here, but the Vikings reached on a quarterback a few years ago when they took Christian Ponder. With Manziel already off the board, they might feel the pressure to get a QB now instead of waiting until the second round.
9. Buffalo Bills
Taylor Lewan – OT – Michigan
I had a tough time not picking North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron here, but young quarterback E.J. Manuel needs an offensive line more than a tight end.
10. Detroit Lions
Darqueze Dennard – CB – Michigan State
As much as I hate to root for a former Spartan, Dennard seems to fit what defensive coordinator Teryl Austin will want to do.
Hit the jump for picks 11-32.
11. Tennessee Titans
C.J. Mosley – LB – Alabama
The Titans could use some help at inside linebacker and Mosley looks like the best of the crop.
12. New York Giants
Zack Martin – OG – Notre Dame
There are some higher profile players to potentially take here, but the Giants have more success when they can run the ball, which they struggled to do last year.
13. St. Louis Rams
Calvin Pryor – FS – Louisville
Pryor fills a huge need for St. Louis at the safety position.
14. Chicago Bears
Aaron Donald – DT – Pittsburgh
Donald becomes a disruptive tackle for the Bears, who have been lacking a disruptive force in the middle for a while.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers
Odell Beckham – WR – LSU
Beckham gives Ben Roethlisberger another weapon on the outside, something the Steelers have been lacking.
16. Dallas Cowboys
Anthony Barr – OLB – UCLA
The Cowboys lost DeMarcus Ware to the Denver Broncos this off-season, so Barr would appear to be a good fit as a replacement. This seems too good to be true, though, and I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody else trades up to get Barr before he can fall to the Cowboys.
17. Baltimore Ravens
Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina
Some people have Ebron projected to go a lot higher, so I think the Ravens could afford to grab him here even though tight end isn’t a huge need.
18. New York Jets
Kyle Fuller – CB – Virginia Tech
Fuller, again, could be a real catch here for the Jets. Rex Ryan likes to draft defense, and they’ve lost a couple good corners in the past couple seasons.
19. Miami Dolphins
Cyrus Kouandjio – OT – Alabama
Kouandjio could help out an offensive line that has taken some big hits over the past couple years.
20. Arizona Cardinals
Dee Ford – DE – Auburn
Of the guys available at this spot, the one who seems to fit a need is Ford.
21. Green Bay Packers
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – S – Alabama
If Clinton-Dix falls this far, I think the Packers would snap him up in an instant. I’m not sold on Clinton-Dix as a dynamic playmaker, but they need a safety and he’s a solid prospect.
22. Philadelphia Eagles
Brandin Cooks – WR – Oregon State
Chip Kelly dips into the Pac-12 talent pool once again for a receiver to replace DeSean Jackson
23. Kansas City Chiefs
Justin Gilbert – CB – Oklahoma State
The Chiefs shore up their defensive backfield with Gilbert, who some have projected as a top-10 pick.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
Ryan Shazier – LB – Ohio State
Shazier stays quarantined in the terrible state of Ohio.
25. San Diego Chargers
Marqise Lee – WR – USC
Lee heads down the road to San Diego where he can be a playmaker for Phillip Rivers.
26. Cleveland Browns
Kelvin Benjamin – WR – Florida State
The Browns pick up a receiving target for their quarterback of the future.
27. New Orleans Saints
Stanley Jean-Baptiste – CB – Nebraska
I think Jean-Baptiste might be a little bit of a reach here, but the Saints need help at cornerback and I’m not sold on Roby. Jean-Baptiste is a big guy who could be an attempt to replicate what Richard Sherman does in Seattle.
28. Carolina Panthers
Morgan Moses – OT – Virginia
Jordan Gross retired, so say hello to Cam Newton’s new blind side protector.
29. New England Patriots
Stephon Tuitt – DE – Notre Dame
I’ve seen Ra’Shede Hageman projected to the Patriots quite a bit, but I’m going against the grain because I think the Patriots have gambled too much with their picks. Tuitt seems like more of a sure bet, although he doesn’t have the same upside.
30. San Francisco 49ers
Jason Verrett – CB – TCU
The 49ers have needed a good cover corner for a while despite having solid defenses.
31. Denver Broncos
Teddy Bridgewater – QB – Louisville
I actually hope this doesn’t happen because I really like Peyton Manning and I hope that guy can play forever. I just love watching him play. But something crazy happens in every draft, and maybe this is it. The Broncos can’t count on Manning being around forever.
32. Seattle Seahawks
Joel Bitonio – OT – Nevada
There are a couple directions the Seahawks could go with this pick, but it’s probably the choice between a couple offensive linemen.
What do you think? Where did I go wrong? And what do the Lions do at #10?
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