Now that the smoke has cleared from the initial blaze of Free Agency, the 2014 NFL Draft picture has become a little clearer. When it comes to the draft no one really knows what any given team will do, but we get an idea of the possible selection a team may make due in a logical situation. Pro Days and prospect visits also begin to shape the draft.
I’m not a trades kind of guy when it comes to my mocks, but someone will trade up for Clowney. With the top quarterbacks in this class sliding, it seems likely that the Texans (in this case) could trade down and still get one of the top three guys. Another scenario could be the Rams trading with a team that wants Clowney. They could then come into more picks and still get a top ranked player.
* Denotes playoff team
-> Denotes trades that have already occurred
1. Houston (Trade to Atlanta) (2-14): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina – Thomas Dimitroff has a slight man crush on Clowney. The Falcons also aren’t as bad as their number six overall pick would indicate. Clowney is a once in a lifetime talent. Usually prospects are talked about at Pro Bowl level. Clowney is talked about on a Hall of Fame level. He is worth the picks the Falcons will have to give up.
2. St. Louis (from Washington) (3-13): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn – The Rams want a solid bookend to go along with Jake Long, or even to take Long’s place if he continues his injury streak. Robinson isn’t as refined as Jake Matthews, but has more room for growth. Robinson has the right mix of power and technique to become a top tackle in the NFL.
3. Jacksonville (4-12): Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M – The Jaguars need two things badly: a quarterback, and ticket sales. Selecting Manziel will not only help raise their win percentage but will boost their ticket sales. Manziel had an “sideshow” like Pro Day, but he showed he can make all of the throws. His biggest problem will be adjusting his mentality from “he’s the best on any given Saturday” to “he is a unique option on any given Sunday.”
4. Cleveland (4-12): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson – Watkins is probably the most talented receiver to come out since A.J. Green. The Browns would have no problem pairing Watkins and Gordon together for whoever becomes the next Browns starting quarterback.
5. Oakland (4-12): Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo – This is an odd situation for the Raiders here. They just traded for Matt Schaub so quarterback looks to be unlikely. They could take one of the top tackles, but they just signed Howard and Donald Penn. So they go BPA and take who I believe is the safest prospect in this class. Mack can be used all over the field. He will make plays at the next level.
6. Atlanta (Trade to Houston) (4-12): Blake Bortles, QB, UCF – The Texans will not be upset to get Bortles after trading down. This is a better location value wise to select Bortles anyway. Bortles has all of the tools to become a NFL quarterback. The best news for him is that he will have Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins. Bortles will have the weapons if he is selected by Houston, but his development will also depend on how the coaching staff preforms.
7. Tampa Bay (4-12): Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M – Mike Evans is a guy with special size and special skills. He isn’t as polished as Sammy Watkins, but he has unique measurables that will draw eyes. Tampa Bay wouldn’t mind having two 6’5” receivers on the outside. Two big receivers will make whoever the quarterback is for Tampa Bay’s life easier.
8. Minnesota (5-10-1): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville – Bridgewater will be upset he falls this far, but Minnesota will be extremely happy to get the most refined quarterback in this class. Some teams may have been thrown off by his pro day performance. He is a refined arm talent who had a phenomenal college career.
9. Buffalo (6-10): HaSean “Haha” Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama – Clinton-Dix may not be a top ten lock talent, but the Bills lost their star safety to free agency and need to solidify their back end. Clinton-Dix has good range in coverage and he will come up and support the run.
10. Detroit (7-9): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State – Detroit has been starving for a legitimate number one corner for years. Gilbert is a tough corner who has some finesse to him as well. He has the ability to press man, but he also ran a sub 4.4 40. Gilbert looks like he could be a Pro Bowl talent.
11. Tennessee (7-9): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M – The Titans offense is looking messy right now. The best way to solidify an offense is by building a strong offensive line. Matthews is technically sound and can play either tackle spot. It doesn’t hurt that his father has some ties with the organization.
12. New York Giants (7-9): Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan – The Giants did a nice job picking up offensive line talent, but they need to get a guy that in three years could develop into a stud. Lewan had a phenomenal Combine that boosted his stock. Lewan can play left tackle from day one, or the Giants can move him to the right side.
13. St. Louis (7-9): Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville – Pryor gets a little over drafted here by the Rams trying to add a thumper in the secondary. Pryor also has good coverage ability in zone coverage. The Rams could also go cornerback here, but finding a good safety is a little bit harder in the later rounds this year.
14. Chicago (8-8): Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh – The Bears lost a good player in Henry Melton this off-season, but they have the opportunity to replace him with someone very similar. Donald put up great Combine numbers and was a force at the Senior Bowl. He is a great pass rusher from the inside, and can stop the run within his gaps. His size is a concern, but he has broken past that issue.
15. Pittsburgh (8-8): Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State – Dennard is a hard nosed press man corner. Some teams will be turned off by his skill set, but the Steelers will love him. He is a player that can hold up receivers long enough to allow blitzers time to get to the opposing quarterback.
16. Dallas (8-8): Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri – Some people are saying they love Elay, and others think he is way over valued. His pro day was much better than his Combine numbers, but those are only numbers. He is seen as more of a left end in the NFL. The Cowboys could really use a solid defensive end presence in the post DeMarcus Ware era.
17. Baltimore (8-8): Zach Martin, OT, Notre Dame – Martin provides versatility to whatever team drafts him. He could play tackle, or a team could bump him inside to guard. Realistically he could also play center. The Ravens need to replace Michael Oher, but could use some help on the interior of their unit as well.
18. New York Jets (8-8): Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State – Cooks had the greatest stock rise recently. Cooks won the Biletnikoff Award in 2013 so he has the skills to be a top receiver. The Jets need to find Geno Smith reliable targets if they want him to progress in his development.
19. Miami (8-8): C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama – The top offensive linemen are off the board at this point so the Dolphins make a selection based off of a mix of value and need. C.J. Mosley is a three down linebacker that is a plug and play player from day one. People like to say that Alabama defensive players peak at Alabama, but that would still improve the Dolphins linebacker corps.
20. Arizona (10-6): Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA – Barr takes a little bit of a tumble here, but realistically this is his true value. He is a 3-4 rushing linebacker and that’s really it. He could develop into more, but that will take some time. Arizona will be perfectly fine with getting that.
21. Green Bay* (8-7-1): Eric Ebron, TE, UNC – Another player who tumbles out of the top twenty. This tight end class looks promising, but it’s hard to truly gauge a teams interest in taking a tight end in the top twenty. Ebron is a Vernon Davis like tight end that will fit perfectly in a Green Bay offense that has missed their reliable pass catching tight end the past few seasons.
22. Philadelphia* (10-6): Jason Verrett, CB, TCU – Some scouts love Verrett, and some hate him. His size tends to be a problem for some, but his speed makes up for it. The Eagles need someone reliable in their secondary. Verrett reminds me of Brent Grimes in Miami.
23. Kansas City* (11-5): Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State – Jernigan is an explosive defensive lineman that will fit in multiple schemes. The one thing scouts question is his endurance. Poor endurance could lead to a career of rotational duties, but the risk verses the reward is worth it here for the Chiefs.
24. Cincinnati* (11-5): Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State – Ever since the Bengals let Jonathan Joseph go they have been searching for a compliment to Leon Hall. Hall also has a spotty injury history as well. Dre Kirkpatrick could still be a viable option, but Roby will bring some new life to the secondary. Roby will need a push from the coaching staff to reach his full potential.
25. San Diego* (9-7): Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech – San Diego is in dire need of corners so they snatch up the last one with any value here. Fuller is an off man/zone corner with good flexibility. He could develop into a pretty good all around corner in a few years.
26. Cleveland (from Indianapolis) (11-5): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State – The Browns use another late first round pick to take a shot at another franchise quarterback. Carr’s big question is the system he played in at Fresno State. He has all of the tools to become a good quarterback in the league, especially with Josh Gordon and and potentially Sammy Watkins.
27. New Orleans* (11-5): Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn – Ford played 4-3 end at Auburn, but letting him stand up in a 3-4 will allow him to see more of the field so he can cause more damage. Rob Ryan will use Ford all over the field to give him the post opportunities to produce.
28. Carolina* (12-4): Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State – Carolina decided this off-season that they didn’t want their receivers anymore. So why not bring in a big 6’5” red zone threat for Cam Newton? Benjamin needs to mature mentally if he wants to reach his full potential. His receiving skills could also be refined a little.
29. New England* (12-4): Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech – Aaron Hernandez won’t be playing in the NFL ever again and Gronk can’t stay healthy, so Amaro makes perfect sense for a team that thrived with multiple tight ends. Amaro can be lined up all over the field and be a threat.
30. San Francisco* (12-4): Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame – This is great value here for Nix. He could easily go in the top twenty, but he falls right into the 49ers lap. Nix is a huge presence in the middle of a 3-4 defense that will command double teams to stop his shear size.
31. Denver* (13-3): Xavier Su’a-Filo, OT, UCLA – The Broncos need corner help, but the value isn’t there. Instead they grab the top guard in this class (listed as tackle). Su’a-Filo played tackle at UCLA but will kick into guard. Su’a-Filo could also play tackle if the Broncos desired. This is great value at this point.
32. Seattle* (13-3): Marqise Lee, WR, USC – Lee could slide into many spots in the first round, but he ends up getting nabbed by the receiver needy Super Bowl champs. Pete Carroll will love to have a talented Trojan on his team. Lee has a good mix of speed and possession abilities.
Indianapolis -> Cleveland: Trent Richardson
Washington -> St. Louis: Robert Griffin
33. Houston: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
34. Washington: Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
35. Cleveland: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
36. Oakland: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
37. Atlanta (Trade to Houston): Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
38. Tampa Bay: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
39. Jacksonville: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
40. Minnesota: David Yankey, OG, Stanford
41. Buffalo: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
42. Tennessee: Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
43. New York Giants: Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
44. St. Louis: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
45. Detroit: Jimmie Ward, S, NIU
46. Pittsburgh: Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss
47. Dallas: Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State
48. Baltimore: Lamarcus Joyner, CB, Florida State
49. New York Jets: Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
50. Miami: Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
51. Chicago: Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
52. Arizona: Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State
53. Green Bay: Dominique Easley, DT, Florida
54. Philadelphia: DaVante Adams, WR, Fresno State
55. Cincinnati: Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
56. San Francisco (Kansas City): Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
57. San Diego: Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson
58. New Orleans: Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida
59. Indianapolis: Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin
60. Carolina: Ju’Wuan James, OT, Tennessee
61. San Francisco: Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State
62. New England: Trent Murphy, DE/OLB, Stanford
63. Denver: Keith McGill, CB, Utah
64. Seattle: Billy Turner, OT, NDSU
Kansas City -> San Francisco: Alex Smith
About the Author: Zachary Cintron
Zachary Cintron is a sports blogger who has spent the past two years covering the National Football League (NFL), NCAA football, NCAA lacrosse, and Major League Lacrosse (MLL) for Sports Unbiased and The Sports Complex (Drexel University’s Sport Management Blog). Zach is expected to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in sport management from Drexel in June of 2016. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.