Updated 2014 NFL Mock Draft 2-27-2014
Contribution By: Michael Pawlak
1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
After clocking a blistering 4.53 40-yard dash, Clowney moves up one spot to be the first prospect taken in 2014. I have had “the freak” going #2 in all previous mock drafts, but the combine numbers make him easily the best prospect in the draft. If the Texans trade down, whoever picks here will take Clowney.
* This hit is especially painful to Michigan fans.
2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Another year, another St. Louis QB gets TKO’d, putting a highly talented team right out of contention. I believe that Sam Bradford has the ability to be good in the NFL, but injuries are catching up. They need protection for their QB and will likely address it with the first of their two 1st round picks. Matthews is viewed by most as the best tackle prospect in the draft. Sammy Watkins, or Greg Robinson would also make sense here.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Jonny Football posted a great time in the 40-yard dash at 4.68 seconds, and performed in the top 5 among quarterbacks in the vertical jump, broad jump, 3 cone drill, and 20-yard shuttle. He is under 6 feet tall but so is Russell Wilson and Drew Brees. The Jaquars have to take the “sexy” pick here. A few character issues are a concern with Manziel so he should fit right in in the NFL.
4. Cleveland Browns: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
The Browns get a gem here in the 6’5 gunslinger from Central Florida. I have been high on Bortles since my first mock draft, and I the combine solidified that. He put on a display in passing drills, and showed that he was even more athletic than previously though. I see a potential Ben Rothlisberger type QB here, with more athleticism. The Browns need a QB to get up and coming stars Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron the ball.
5. Oakland Raiders: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
I still believe Bridgewater is the best QB in the draft but any time an athlete decides not to perform drills at the combine, it raises a few red flags. I have had Bridgewater going #1 overall up until now. A good pro day could have him moving right back into the top 3, but for now I have the Raiders hitting a home run with a franchise signal caller.
6. **TRADE** Detroit Lions: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Sammy Watkins is as polished as a WR prospect to come out since Julio Jones. The Lions make a bold move and trade up 4 picks with the Falcons to instantly deploy the most dangerous 1-2 WR tandem in the game. Watkins is the Ideal pick for the Detroit Lions. He is 6’1 / 212lb, and ran a stunning 4.34 40-yard dash that created buzz at the combine. It was later changed to a 4.4 and that is still very fast. He was highly productive at Clemson (101 rec. 1464 yards 12 TD) his junior year. The thing that separates Sammy Watkins from the other WR’s this year is the football player mentality. He blocks, brings a swagger, runs clean routes, and produces. If Martin Mayhew should go this route I would be thrilled and likely rage out on draft day. (Draft day is our “Super Bowl” after all).
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
The Bucs have a roster loaded with talent and could be a break out team this year. The defensive side of the ball has plenty of pieces for new head coach Lovie Smith to transition to the cover 2 defense. Robinson in one word is a Hauss, and could easily go top 3 if a team falls in love with him. He is a big athletic frame who is good enough that he would have been the #1 pick last year over Fisher.
8. Minnesota Vikings: Khalil Mack, DE, Buffalo
The top tier QB options are gone, so Minnesota will look to get the best player available. You have never heard of Khalil Mack because he is from the University of Buffalo. In the NFL teams pay high dollar for pass rushers, and Mack fits the bill. Mack is versitle enough to play in the 4-3 or 3-4 defense. I think he is better suited as 3-4 LB but regardless where he plays the guy flat out makes plays. He will be plugged in as a day 1 starter wherever he goes and will be a Pro-Bowl candidate right away.
9. Buffalo Bills: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Mike Evans is a fast rising WR prospect that was often on the receiving end of Jonny Football’s explosive stat lines. He is clearly the second best WR this draft offers. He is 6’5″/ 230 and ran 4.53 40 and was more fluent than expected in individual drills. He is considered raw with only 3 years playing football, but has the measurables and tape to be a difference maker on the outside.
10. Atlanta Falcons: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
The Falcons moved back 4 spots to pick where the Lions previously would have. In theory , it would cost the Lions a 3rd round pick in 2014 and 2015 to move up.They get a big value pick here with a high upside pass rusher out of UCLA. Barr has the athletic frame, and explosive first step ideal for the edge in the NFL.
11. Tennessee Titans: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Mosley is the best ILB in the draft and as battle tested as they come out of powerhouse Alabama. He anchored the middle of the Tide’s defense and should be a starter right away in the NFL. The Titans were embarrassing against the run in 2013 so Mosley appears to be a good match here.
12. New York Giants: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Taylor Lewan was slotted here months ago by myself when he was viewed as a late 1st round pick. His Impressive combine fueled by the best 40 out of the deep OT group solidifies Lewan as a top 15 pick. 6″7″/ 305 is the ideal frame for an offensive tackle and represents great value here. The Giants desperately need protection for Eli Manning and they get that here.
13. St. Louis Rams: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
The Rams will look no further than mr. shutdown Darqueze Dennard. The Rams could pair Dennard with Janoris Jenkins for one of the most potent CB combos in the NFL. Dennard doesn’t have stats to back up a top 15 pick, but that is because teams wouldn’t dare test that side of the field. He still won the Jim Thorpe award as the nations top defensive back. His combine performance solidifies him as a top tier CB NFL teams dream about. His ability to be a force in the run game and around the line of scrimmage puts him slightly above Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State.
14. Chicago Bears: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Gilbert is a lanky, blaxing fast CB that the Chicago Bears could desperately use. He ran a ridiculous 4.37 40 at the combine and showed well in drills. 6’0′ / 200lbs. and speed to cover a lot of field is the mold NFL teams search for in CB’s. Gilbert picked off 7 passed and returned 2 for touchdowns. The super athletic CB could cause the Lions frustration for a long tome should the Bears pick him.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
The Pittsburg Steelers add to their front 7 on defense in a big way with the 340lb. brick wall out of Notre Dame. Nix is the best DT the draft has to offer and should immediately eat up space up front and allow the LB’s lanes to attack in Pittsbburg’s attacking 3-4 defense.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
The Baltimore Ravens need to give Joe Flacco help in the passing game. Ebron is an explosive athlete out of the TE position who could cause havoc over the middle of defenses across the NFL. Ebron is a TE with WR skills and could be a top 5 TE in the NFL someday.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
The Cowboys finally get the piece that will make their secondary respectable again. Clinton-Dix is 6’2″ and has speed to cover a lot of ground. His strength is the ability to cover and finish tackles with authority. HaHa is the best free safety in the draft.
18. New York Jets: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
Kelvin Benjamin is a high upside WR with great size. At 6’5″ with awesome hands that he displayed in the National Championship game, he showed that he warrants a 1st round pick. He enters the draft and passes Marquise Lee as the 3rd best WR based on pure upside.
19. Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
Martin is a prospect that I thought would be an early 2nd rounder with first round value. Martin has tested well and showed that he is undoubtedly a 1st round pick since. He is balanced in the run and pass game and can play multiple positions up front. The Dolphins could use all the help they can get on their plagued OL.
20. Arizona Cardinals: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
This massive offensive tackle is just what the Arizona Cardinals need up front. CK has a reputation to be a grater in the run game and athletic enough to play tackle of guard. Offensive lineman battle tested in the SEC make them a safe pick, and the Cardinals do just that.
21. Green Bay Packers: Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
Calvin Pryor is the second best safety on the board and the Packers could use secondary help/ Pryor is a big safety who has a reputation of being a nasty hitter. He is a run stopper first, but agile anough to drop back and make those pay who go over the middle. Think Bob Sanders, with much better size.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Aaron Donald is a prospect that I hadn’t even heard of until the days leading up to the combine. Donald has shown the world that he has what it takes to be a force up front in the NFL. The strong showing at the Senior Bowl and combine proved that he is among the top 3 DT’s available this year.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: Odell Beckham, WR, LSU
Odell Beckham has exploded up draft boards since announcing he was going pro. His game is based on his 6’5 ” height and natural ability to go up and get the football. I see him as an immediate redzone threat from day one. The Cheifs need all the help they can get on offense.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
The Bengals have a solid defense but are aging up front on the defensive line. Hageman put himself on the map with a dominant showing in the Senior Bowl. This is a deep class for defensive tackles, and this could be viewed as a value pick based on Hageman’s upside.
25. San Diego Chargers: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Verette was a fast rising prospect before the combine. By all accounts Verette did nothing but help his stock with flashes of elite athletic tools and speed. Verette isn’t a big CB, but has the ability to be glue like on any WR he has come across. The Chargers of St. Diego need to inject some life into their secondary and Verette could fit well.
26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis Colts): Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
In exchange for Trent Richardson, the Cleveland Browns add a speed edge rusher out of the SEC here. Aside from Clowney, Ealy has the best ability to play DE in the standard 4-3 in the draft, Brings good size, length, and a quick first step.
27. New Orleans Saints: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
I have a hunch that someone may fall in love with Shazier and pull the trigger on him much earlier than anyone expects. Shazier tested out well and had the best verticle jump of any front 7 defensive prospect. He is a legitimate tackle machine who plays sideline to sideline, and contributes in pass coverage. Speed is the name of this Buckeye’s game.
28. Carolina Panthers: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
I previously had Lee going much higher than here, but the impressive WR class of 2014 has me dropping him slightly, It is not for a lack of talent that he slides back, this is just a very strong WR draft. The Panthers benefit by getting top 15 talent at a position of dire need. If Lee should fall this far it would be one of the steals of the draft.
29. New England Patriots: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
The New England Patriots love TE’s. With Hernandez getting locked up, and Gronkowski being unreliable due to constant injuries the Pats will go with a difference maker at TE. Amaro has great size and is a play maker the Tom Brady will be happy to welcome on board.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
A combine Freak, Cooks worked his way from a mid-round waiver into a top play maker in the draft. He posted a 4.3 40 yard dash! He also looked like the quickest WR at the combine in other drills and caught everything thrown his way. Someone (Likely the Lions, Raiders, or Cowboys) could shock the world and roll the dice on Cooks.
31. Denver Broncos: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
Tuitt has been graded as a late first round selection by most of the mock draft world. I will follow suit here as it is a move that just makes sense for the Broncos. Tuitt has great size, and versatility to play inside or outside on the defensive line. A solid player that should contribute early on in his career.
32. Seattle Seahawks: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
When Jernigan announced he was going pro after his junior season, I immediately considered him a top 3 DT. Questions about his effort and ability to stay in shape have me dropping him to the final pick in the first round. If the Seahawks can motivate Jernigan, then they may have the steal of the draft here because Jernigan has elite ability.
On the fringe:
Dee Ford DE Auburn
Marcus Robinson CB Florida
Derek Carr QB Fresno State
Marcus Robinson WR Penn State
David Yankey OG Stanford
Cyrill Richardson OG Baylor
Antonio Richardson OT Tennessee
Scott Cricton DE/OLB Oregon State
Chris Boreland OLB Wisconsin
Bradley Roby CB Ohio State
Vic Beasley OLB Clemson
Austin Seferion-Jenjins TE Washington