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2014 NFL Mock Draft

Updated April 14th

1) Houston Texans - Jadeveon Clowney (DE/OLB South Carolina) Jadeveon Clowney 2014 NFL Draft

Many mock drafts have Blake Bortles tracking to be the number one pick in May, but I'm sticking with the guy who's been the projected number one pick for over three years. If there was any doubt, Jadeveon Clowney proved at the combine his athleticism is simply from another planet. One of the biggest misnomers of the NFL Draft is the "Golden Rule" that if you don't have a franchise quarterback you most draft one. It is a rule that has cost countless coaches and GM's their job as they reach for quarterbacks over better position players. Simply put, Jadeveon Clowney is without question the best player in this year's draft and the Texans cannot afford to pass on him. There will always be quarterbacks comparable to Blake Bortles available to draft, but Houston will never have another chance to draft Jadeveon Clowney.

2) St Louis Rams - Khalil Mack (OLB Buffalo) Khalil Mack 2014 NFL Draft

St Louis is the wildcard this year with their potential to do virtually anything with their pick at two. If they do keep the pick most have been mocking either Sammy Watkins or Greg Robinson here, but don't be surprised to see Khalil Mack be the guy. When considering Greg Robinson I lean away from him because Jeff Fisher has never once drafted an offensive lineman in the first round. As far as Sammy Watkins goes it's hard to see the Rams taking another receiver when they have spent top 33 picks on WR's the past two years, and still have Chris Givens, Kenny Britt and Austin Pettis. Watkins gets consideration because many feel he would be the top available talent, but Khalil Mack really isn't far behind. The accolades are rolling in, and most don't expect him to go lower than three. He also fills a need for the Rams.

3) Jacksonville Jaguars - Sammy Watkins (WR Clemson) Sammy Watkins 2014 NFL Draft
GM David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley established their draft mind set last year going with a heavy 'best player available' strategy. They're trying to build the Jaguars like the Seahawks and they know that talent trumps all! You don't see Sammy Watkins going to the Jags in many mock drafts but he would easily be the best player available to them, and it also fills a huge need for them when you consider that Justin Blackmon's future is completely up in the air. Obviously the Jaguars need a quarterback but there just isn't a consensus top quarterback in this draft, and the gap between a guy like Blake Bortles and Jimmy Garoppolo is not as big as people think. Jacksonville could take their playmaker in Watkins here and then take a guy like Garoppolo, Mettenberger or Savage on day two.
4) Cleveland Browns - Derek Carr (QB Fresno State) Derek Carr 2014 QB Draft
Yes you are following this correctly; we have Derek Carr as the first quarterback off the board in the 2014 NFL Draft. Despite what the national media has ingrained into our minds over the past months, Manziel, Bridgewater and Blake Bortles just aren't as highly thought of in league circles as they are by analysts. Derek Carr isn't a perfect prospect by any stretch but it seems that many inside the Shield feel more comfortable with him because of his mental makeup, his history in a pro style offense (2011 - Pat Hill), and outstanding leadership skills. Buzz is starting build for Cleveland's heavy interest in Carr. From Daniel Jeremiah, to Louis Riddick to Cleveland's own Mary Kay Kabot there is more than just a little bit of smoke here.
5) Oakland Raiders - Blake Bortles (QB UCF) Blake Bortles NFL Draft

When the Raiders first traded for Matt Schaub a large portions of mock drafts stopped mocking a quarterback to the Raiders. However, on a second look Matt Schaub's restructured contract in Oakland has only one year of guaranteed money, and we must remember this is the same Matt Schaub who was one of the five-ten worst starting quarterbacks in the league last year. Yes Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen are on the hot seat, but it's not far fetched to believe that drafting a young quarterback might actually buy them an extra year with the front office. It was a tough call here between Bortles and Manziel, but in the end I feel Bortles gets the not because he has fewer red flags and gives NFL teams the prototype they can feel comfortable with.

6) Atlanta Falcons - Greg Robinson (OT Auburn) Greg Robinson NFL

We've come full circle with our Atlanta Falcons projection. For months we were mocking the Falcons with an offensive tackle, but as Khalil Mack's stock continued to rise it became apparent he was the leader in the clubhouse. But now that Mack has skyrocketed into the top three for most people, he likely won't be available for the Falcons which leaves them right back at square one. Atlanta is in the market for a left tackle because Sam Baker played poorly last year before suffering a very serious knee injury. Even if Baker returns to form, the right tackle position is completely vacant. If available Thomas Dimitroff would jump at the opportunity to draft Greg Robinson who is drawing comparisons to Hall of Famers Orlando Pace and Larry Allen. He's already a dominant player as a sophomore and isn't even scratching the surface yet.

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mike Evans (WR Texas A&M) Mike Evans 2014 NFL Draft

There was already a strong possibility the Bucs were going to take Mike Evans with the seventh pick, but now that they've officially traded away Mike Williams it's very hard to see them going in any other direction. The trade of Mike Williams was no coincidence. They know Evans is going to be available with the seventh pick and he's an obvious upgrade over Williams in terms of talent; not to mention, he will come much cheaper. Lovie Smith's former team the Chicago Bears has found a great deal of success with the 'twin trees' strategy pairing Brandon Marshall with Alshon Jeffrey and now can do the same thing in Tampa with Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. Tampa already had one of the league's most underrated defenses, but now with Evans and the signing of Josh McCown the Bucs offense might finally pick up the pace.

8) Minnesota Vikings - Teddy Bridgewater (QB Louisville) Teddy Bridgewater 2014 NFL Draft

After Teddy Bridgewater's now infamous pro day the prevailing thought seems to be that Teddy is free-falling down draft boards. However, history has shown that negative pro days have not seriously impacted draft stock's as we've noted here. Nick Foles and Cam Newton both had unimpressive pro days and did not see adverse affects to their draft stock. Even Drew Brees drew heavy criticism for his performance throwing at the NFL Combine. There is a long way to go between now and May and it would be silly to throw out all Bridgewater has done in his illustrious career based on one day. Even as it stands the chances of Bridgewater slipping out of the top ten are slim to none with Vikings sitting at eight. They will unequivocally be taking a quarterback and reports are they are very fond of Bridgewater.

9) Buffalo Bills - Eric Ebron (TE North Carolina) Eric Ebron 2014 NFL Draft

The superlatives are flying in for Eric Ebron as one day he's being compared to Vernon Davis and Jimmy Graham the next. His stock is skyrocketing and it's looking ever more likely he'll be selected in the top ten. Buffalo is looking for weapons to surround E.J Manuel with and with Sammy Watkins off the board the draft's top tight end makes perfect sense in terms of value and need. Ebron can immediately step in and be a compliment to Robert Woods, and Stevie Johnson, but also add something as a blocker which is an area he continues to improve in. Many feel the Bills will look to go with a left tackle with this pick but they fail to realize how good Cordy Glenn has been on the left side.

10) Detroit Lions - Anthony Barr (OLB UCLA) Anthony Barr 2014 NFL Draft
Many mocks have Justin Gilbert as a popular pick here for Detroit but people fail to realize the Lions just used a second round pick on Darius Slay, a third rounder on Bill Bentley and remain invested in Chris Houston. Moving on, the signing of Golden Tate put a pin in the idea of Detroit selecting another wide receiver, but they remain in need of a playmaking strongside linebacker and UCLA's Anthony Barr is a perfect fit. Even though Barr is typically thought of as being a 3-4 linebacker, new Lion Head Coach Jim Caldwell has been talking about getting more versatile defensively and could look to run a hybrid 4-3 defense similar to what Denver or Seattle runs by featuring an attacking strongside linebacker who plays near the line of scrimmage.
11) Tennessee Titans - Justin Gilbert (CB Oklahoma State) Justin Gilbert NFL Mock Draft

Tennessee is one of the biggest wild card's for me in the 2014 NFL Draft. We still shouldn't rule out quarterback as an option, especially with the possibility Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater might slip. Offensive tackle is out of consideration with the signing of Michael Oher and they also addressed their front seven in free agency, but one area the Titans clearly downgraded at was cornerback with the loss of Alterraun Verner to the Bucs. Jason McCourty is a stud but aside from him they have nobody proven. Justin Gilbert has stood out as the draft's most talented cornerback in the pre-draft process and with no other glaring needs for the Titans to fill he makes the most sense at 11.

12) New York Giants - Aaron Donald (DT Pittsburgh) Aaron Donald 1st Round

The Giants are always a good bet to take a defensive lineman in the first round, and ever more this year when you consider the losses of Linval Joseph and Justin Tuck this offseason. Either defensive tackle or defensive end would make sense for the G-Men, but the tackle position is where the value is in the 2014 draft. Whether it's Aaron Donald, Timmy Jernigan or Louis Nix, they will have plenty of options. We still happen to support Louis Nix as the draft's top interior defender, but I don't have a bad thing to say about Aaron Donald. He was one of the most prolific defensive tackles in NCAA history, dominated the Senior Bowl and blew up the NFL Combine. His stock is soaring right now and it's looking likely he will be the first defensive tackle off the board.

13) St Louis Rams - Haha Clinton-Dix (Safety Alabama) HaHa Clinton-Dix 2014 NFL Draft
NFL Draft 'experts' don't normally agree on much, but you'd be hard pressed to find a mock draft at the moment that doesn't feature the Rams taking Haha Clinton-Dix with the thirteenth pick. It makes perfect sense because the Rams suffered through some of the worst safety play in all of the NFL last year and getting the draft's consensus top safety prospect with the thirteenth pick is a pretty solid value. Even though many people are not overly impressed with Clinton-Dix, the draft's top safety always goes higher than expected and that trend isn't going to change as the position is only growing in importance in today's NFL. Dix does an outstanding job at free safety ranging over the top and go a long way to giving the Rams the reliability in the secondary they've so desperately lacked.
14) Chicago Bears - Timmy Jernigan (DT Florida State) Timmy Jernigan NFL

Once the most feared unit in the league, the Chicago Bears are not aging gracefully on defense and it's time for a youth movement. Whether it's defensive line, linebacker or secondary, Chicago will select whichever defensive prospect they have highest on their board. With the loss of Henry Melton in free agency defensive tackle could be their most pressing need, which also adds up with value since this year's first round has a number of exciting defensive tackle prospects. Timmy Jernigan might make the most sense as an explosive interior pass rusher who uses elite quickness and speed to get upfield and blow up plays in the backfield.

15) Pittsburgh Steelers - Jake Matthews (OT Texas A&M) Jake Matthews 2014 NFL Draft

The Steelers have made a habit of cleaning up on draft day by taking the best available prospects who happen to slip lower than they should due simply to team needs. Whether it was Jarvis Jones or David DeCastro, the Steelers have gotten some excellent values on players who should have gone much higher. This year could be the same if Jake Matthews (who we have fifth on our board) would start to slip in the draft. There's no reason a talent like Matthews should fall this far, but team needs might dictate he'll be available into the teens. Though the Steelers have other needs at cornerback and wide receiver, the opportunity to draft a franchise left tackle like Matthews can't be turned down, especially when you look at the atrocious offensive line they've put together in front of Ben Roethlisberger these past couple years.

16) TRADE! Houston Texans - Johnny Manziel (QB Texas A&M) Johnny Manziel 2014 NFL Draft

I know, I know; this is the most insane mock draft you've seen so far, but follow me for just a minute. One of the top four quarterbacks in this year's class is going to fall, I'm not sure which one, but one of them will tumble on draft day. Derek Carr is the safest QB and Blake Bortles has the most upside, so for me it comes down to Bridgewater and Manziel. It's a tough call but I expect the Vikings to prefer Bridgewater over Manziel at eight because of what Mike Zimmer and Norv Turner are looking for in their franchise quarterback. Also, despite how large the national media has inflated Manziel's draft stock his off-field issues are still concerning. If he were to slip on draft day a trade up from the Texans would make perfect sense. I predict they'd have to give up their 2nd and 3rd rounders this year, plus a first rounder next year; which would be a coup for a team like Dallas who would love the extra assets.

Picks 17-32

Round Two

Round Three

Round Four

Round Five

Round Six

Round Seven

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