2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version
1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina. An anonymous NFL executive called Clowney “spoiled and lazy.” In other words, he hopes Clowney will slide to his team. Not happening. Show yourself, anonymous NFL executive!
2. St. Louis Rams - Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn. This is a big boy – 6-foot-5, 332 pounds. Great run-blocker, and with Jake Long also on the line, the Rams might even get a throw off. Actually, they probably won’t.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville. Pro days have become the most overblown and obnoxious part of the NFL Draft process. We don’t think the Jags put much stock in what pundits called a poor showing. Then again, they are the Jags.
4. Cleveland Browns - Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M. We like what the Browns have done in free agency, but you know what would really get things going? Johnny Football! Mobile, smart, competitive – but can he avoid injury (and lots of criticism) at the NFL level?
5. Oakland Raiders - Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson. It looks like it’ll be a QB battle between Terrelle Pryor and Matt Schaub – so don’t expect a first round QB pick. Instead, how about the best WR in the draft? Al Davis would approve.
6. Atlanta Falcons - Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo. If they don’t trade up and nab Clowney (if he falls to the Rams at 2), they can go with Mack and improve what was an abysmal defense. Mack has what all teams want: versatility.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M. The Bucs have had a busy offseason, but aside from Vincent Jackson, there’s a big need at WR. Tampa Bay traded away Mike Williams, and filling that void with Evans seems like a good idea.
8. Minnesota Vikings - Blake Bortles, QB, UCF. This guy is all over draft boards (like the other two QBs), which is alarming. But the upside is there, and it just doesn’t look like Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel are the guys. Take the gamble.
9. Buffalo Bills – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M. A tackle – specifically on the right side – still makes the most sense for the Bills. If Matthews is gone, Taylor Lewan is another tackle who would fit.
10. Detroit Lions - Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State. The Lions are definitely going defense – and almost certainly secondary – here, and if Gilbert is available he could be the guy.
11. Tennessee Titans - Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA. Barr is a sack machine and that could certainly translate well to the NFL level. He could end up being a steal if he reaches his potential.
12. New York Giants – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan. Go take a look at the pressure around Eli Manning last season (27 picks and 39 sacks) and tell us they don’t need help on the offensive line.
13. St. Louis Rams – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama. The Rams grab an offensive lineman earlier in the draft, and fill a hole in the secondary with Ha Ha. They’ll be laughing all the way back to St. Louis (sorry).
14. Chicago Bears - Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State. It’s assumed that the Bears will go with someone who can make an impact on the defensive line. They should have a couple options here.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers - Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State. Dennard is a physical cornerback who would be a great fit in Pittsburgh, where their defense now leaves much to be desired.
16. Dallas Cowboys - Calvin Pryor, FS. While everyone likes to rag on Tony Romo (and some of it is deserved), it’s the Cowboys defense that really deserves a good laugh at. Pryor is the physical safety they’re lacking.
17. Baltimore Ravens - Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame. There should be a few tempting wide receivers on the board at this point, but the Ravens need to protect their QB before they give him a target to throw to.
18. New York Jets - Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina. Sure, Eric Decker is a nice signing, but the Jets are going to need more. At 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, Ebron is certainly “more.”
19. Miami Dolphins - Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA. Not to trash on the Dolphins offensive line, but … oh what the heck, they were terrible! Branden Albert was brought on as a free agent, and the Fins should keep adding.
20. Arizona Cardinals - Dee Ford, DE, Auburn. A nice edge rusher here would make a lot of sense. Ford had 12.5 tackles for loss including 8.5 sacks.
21. Green Bay Packers - C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama. One of the most complete linebackers in this draft, and could go a lot higher if he blows a team away in a visit, which is very possible. Pack would do well with this pick.
22. Philadelphia Eagles - Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri. Michael Sam has got lots of attention, but Ealy is by far the better player out of Mizzou. The Eagles could really upgrade at lots of defensive positions.
23. Kansas City Chiefs - Marqise Lee, WR, USC. The Chiefs need help on the offensive side of the ball, and Lee along with a couple of other wideouts are available at this spot.
24. Cincinnati Bengals - Jason Verrett, CB, TCU. Verrett looks like a corner who can cover inside and outside the numbers. Potential injury risks as well of lack of height work against him, but he can stick with his man.
25. San Diego Chargers - Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh. They were probably thinking cornerback, but seeing Donald fall this far (which admittedly is unlikely) is too hard to pass up.
26. Cleveland Browns - Odell Beckham, WR, LSU. Johnny Manziel and Beckham give the Browns an exciting, young offensive combo. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
27. New Orleans Saints - Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State. Marques Colston is getting up there in age, and the Saints don’t really have any studs waiting in the wings.
28. Carolina Panthers – Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State. Cam Newton could use another receiver especially after losing Steve Smith. Benjamin’s huge frame (6-foot-5, 240 pounds) makes him some kind of receiver/tight end hybrid.
29. New England Patriots - Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame. Vince Wilfork is back, but age prevents him from being in the team’s long-term plans. Tight end Jace Amaro is also an option here – and don’t forget there looks to be interest in a QB if one falls far enough (Johnny Football?!).
30. San Francisco 49ers - Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota. It sounds like Hageman could be the jack of all trades along the defensive line.
31. Denver Broncos – Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State. The Broncos have made a lot of improvement on defense, but middle linebacker could still use some work. Shazier would be a great pick at this spot.
32. Seattle Seahawks - Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State. The Seahawks have much of their Super Bowl team returning, but WR Golden Tate is not. Robinson is no Tate – yet – but softens the blow a bit.