2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version
1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: Head coach Bill O’Brien recently said that the Texans will be drafting a quarterback in the 2014 draft to compete with the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Case Keenum. Just don’t expect that QB to come at pick No. 1.
2. St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn: The idea that the Rams will trade this pick was a popular one at the start of April. Not so much as of this hour. Still think the Rams land the run-blocking stud from Auburn.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Blake Bortles, QB, UCF: As always, the Jaguars are trying their best to avoid being made fun of. Taking Bortles over Johnny Manziel would hold off the laugh track for a few days.
4. Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: As always, the Browns are trying their best to avoid being made fun of. Their jersey sales will go through the roof by picking Johnny Football, but “football people” will be joking for the rest of the offseason about how much of a disaster this is going to be.
5. Oakland Raiders – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: Terrelle Pryor was the last true Al Davis move. Pryor is now gone and now the Raiders are about to do weird non-Raider-like things – like draft for substance over style.
6. Atlanta Falcons – Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: Mack is getting some late buzz, so much so that Peter King of MMQB reported this week that the Texans are considering him at No. 1. The Falcons would be content to land him here.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: Just as the Falcons would be happy to see Mack at No. 6, the Bucs would be ecstatic to see the dynamic Watkins slide to them at 7.
8. Minnesota Vikings – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: There’s little doubt that Vikings GM Rick Spielman is taking a QB. Bridgewater played in a pro-style offense in college and is expected to translate to Sundays well.
9. Buffalo Bills – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: Donald Trump isn’t roaming around Orchard Park just yet. So those Al Davis-like moves you know are coming with have to wait. Lewan would give the Bills’ offense a nasty demeanor.
10. Detroit Lions – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State: The Lions need a cornerback with the ability to make big plays. Gilbert picked off the likes of RGIII, Ryan Tannehill and Andrew Luck during his time at Oklahoma State.
11. Tennessee Titans – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: The Titans are expected to go quarterback or defense – specifically UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr. This pick will go a long way in determining what the rest of the first round looks like. Here’s saying they throw a monkey wrench into the ordeal by drafting the defensive tackle from Pittsburgh.
12. New York Giants – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: The Giants want one of the elite offensive linemen in this draft but could opt to help out Eli Manning in a different way. Evans would look good lining up opposite the returning Mario Manningham.
13. St. Louis Rams – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama: The Rams have not yet met with Clinton-Dix. Smokescreen or just dumb? Probably a smokescreen, but still dumb.
14. Chicago Bears – Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville: The Bears need a safety and Pryor should be available here. He’s not afraid to get dirty and would be an instant fan favorite in The Chi.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State: Dennard locked down an entire side of the field in East Lansing, which allowed the Spartans to have one of the best defenses in the nation.
16. Dallas Cowboys – Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA: One would think the Cowboys would go defense considering in late December last season there were countless stories like this. Barr is the epitome of a “play-maker” on the defensive side of the ball.
17. Baltimore Ravens – Zack Martin, G, Notre Dame: CBSSports.com says that Martin compares favorably to current Patriots guard Logan Mankins. If he’s anywhere close to that for Baltimore, Ozzie Newsome will continue to look like a genius.
18. New York Jets – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State: Cooks has had only one team visit scheduled – to the Jets. Is that cause for alarm in New York? Not really. It’s just that in this portion of the first round most teams are looking at positions other than receiver. Cooks is a legit talent.
19. Miami Dolphins – C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama: Mosley has a nose for the ball and would boost the Dolphins defense. The Dolphins have more glaring needs but getting Mosley here would be a steal.
20. Arizona Cardinals – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State: ESPN analyst Jon Gruden told SiriusXM radio that Carr “has the best arm” in the draft. The Cardinals are likely to be good regardless of who they draft here. Bruce Arians is building something here but will need a legit quarterback not named Carson Palmer in a year or two.
21. Green Bay Packers – Ryan Shazier, Ohio State, LB: The agile Shazier would be a fine addition to the revamped Packers defense.
22. Philadelphia Eagles – Bradley Roby, Ohio State, CB: It’s no secret that the Eagles covet high-end talent in their secondary and Roby would fit the bill. His athleticism is certainly elite.
23. Kansas City Chiefs – Odell Beckham, LSU, WR: Beckham is known for his YAC and the Chiefs have a need for a big-time receiving threat.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech, CB: Fuller has siblings who have played in the NFL and that pedigree could serve the Bengals well.
25. San Diego Chargers- Jason Verrett, TCU, CB: It’s obvious that the Chargers need help in the secondary facing Peyton Manning twice a year. Verrett is small, standing just 5-feet, 9 inches, but he has a non-stop motor.
26. Cleveland Browns – Marqise Lee, USC, WR: The Cleveland offense would at least look intimidating on paper with Manziel and Lee joining Josh Gordon.
27. New Orleans Saints – Louis Nix, Notre Dame, DT: Nix is regarded as the “next Vince Wilfork.” The New Orleans offense will always be fine with Drew Brees at the helm but Nix could help get the Saints defense back to championship level.
28. Carolina Panthers – Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama, OT: The loss of Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell hurts, but the Panthers have other offensive needs, namely on the line. Kouandijio saw plenty of high end defensive players in the SEC and more than showed that he was up to the task of taking on big-time talents.
29. New England Patriots – Eric Ebron, UNC, TE: The Patriots are again in the tight end market after having the most ideal situation at the position a little over a year ago. The Patriots may steer clear of Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins because of his DUI arrest and conviction. If Ebron fell this far to them, they would likely pounce.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame, DT: If the Niners were to take Tuitt and he reached his potential, San Francisco would likely have the best defense (Seahawks included) for the next decade. “Upside” is the key word with Tuitt.
31. Denver Broncos – Kyle Van Noy, BYU, LB: The Broncos lost captain and linebacker Wesley Woodyard to the Titans and could use a young, talented player at that position. Van Noy fits the bill.
32. Seattle Seahawks – Cody Latimer, Indiana, WR: Seattle lost receiver Golden Tate to the Lions. Latimer could certainly help fill the void. Scouts rave about his “soft hands.”
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter: @BurkeMetroBOS