2014 NFL Draft: Mocking the Entire First Round
The 2014 NFL Draft is merely days away, as May 8th continues to creep up on is. In some ways it took forever, prolonging the insane smokescreens and draft rumors that take year’s off of a die hard fan’s life. However, we can’t really blame the NFL for trying to soak up all the attention and try to stay as relevant as possible for as long as possible.
After all, it worked.
Here we are in May, when professional football is over three months away and other sports are knee-deep in post-season play. Yet all we truly care about is who is rising and falling, who will be taken number one overall and what sleepers will prove all those so-called draft gurus wrong later in the draft.
Only time will tell. For now, we’re going to take our own crack at figuring out this draft, as we break down all 32 picks in the first round and see if we can’t get a handful right:
Clowney is the top rated player in the draft and some say he’s a locked and loaded Hall of Famer. With his only real knock being his work ethic, Houston probably has to take him. They have a need for the outside of their 3-4 system, after all, and he’d fit perfectly as a rush linebacker.
The Rams already have a quarterback but are reportedly thinking about going in a different direction. Meanwhile, the St. Louis brass is smitten with Johnny Football. If they really want him, there’s no way they can let him get past this spot.
Mack might be the most complete defensive player in this entire draft, while many draft gurus have him as their top-rated player. He does all the little things and even has the size, athleticism and versatility to push his draft stock over the top. The Jags need a quarterback, but they’re head coach is a defense first guy. They can find their passer in round two.
Cleveland will follow Jacksonville here and wait on a quarterback. They have a second pick in round one, too, which makes taking Watkins all the more tempting. They badly need an upgrade at the number two receiver spot and they get the best receiver in the draft. Yeah, that’s a win.
Oakland is another quarterback-needy team that is growing less interested by the day in reaching for a quarterback this early in the draft. Instead, they’ll just grab the best player available. That happens to be the athletic and potential-ridden Robinson.
Atlanta wants either a stud pass rusher or stud tackle. The draft’s top two pass rushers are gone and one of the top two tackles went to Oakland. Jake Matthews will do.
Tampa needs a wide receiver and a stud falls to them here at seven. They could also make a splash with a quarterback for the new regime, but this is plenty enough splash and fills a bigger need.
Minnesota has two talented defensive tackles but rumors suggest they’re still interested in adding a stud interior defensive lineman to solidify their defensive line. Minnesota’s main goal in the draft is to find a quarterback and get better on defense, so taking Donald suggests they like a passer that is likely to slide to round two.
Buffalo is in a good position that should allow them to take the best player available. That might be Barr, depending on who you ask. They could use a third guy to throw into their pass rush rotation, which is perfect since that’s about all he can handle right now, anyways.
Detroit will probably go corner or wide receiver here. With Mike Evans off the board, they grab the fastest and most talented corner instead of reaching for a receiver.
The Titans would have liked Gilbert to drop one more spot, as they have a strong need for a corner. They’re also shifting to a new 3-4 defensive scheme, though, so getting the best available 3-4 rush linebacker makes sense.
New York could go so many ways, making this one of the toughest selections to call. Ultimately, they could use another body on an offensive line that was pretty rough a year ago. Lewan is a top-10 talent they probably won’t be able to pass on.
13. St. Louis Rams – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
The Rams might take Lewan if he slides one more spot, but their need for a stud safety is so bad they might even draft another later in the draft. Clinton-Dix is easily the most well-rounded safety, so he makes for an excellent pick here at 13.
Chicago did a good job beefing up their defensive line in free agency, which should free them up to make a play for the best available player here. Mosley gives them an interior presence they haven’t had since #54 retired.
Pittsburgh has been rumored to be wanting to land a big-play target for the passing game. Instead of reaching for a wide receiver to help them with that, they nab the draft’s top tight end.
Dallas did address their defensive line in free agency, but they could probably use one more inside presence to help shore up a bad run defense. Jernigan can rush the passer and help stuff the run, so he should fit in nicely.
Beckham is an excellent receiver who can make plays on the ball or when it’s already in his hands. Baltimore needs long-term help at the position, so they’ll grab one of the draft’s top receiving talents.
Dennard isn’t the most physically imposing corner, but he’s fundamentally strong. The Jets badly need a corner, so they’ll take the second best one on their draft board.
Miami’s o-line was a debacle and then some in 2013. Martin gives them versatility so they can slide him in where they need him most – at guard or right tackle.
Arizona is aging on the defensive line, so it’s time to get younger and more active on the ends. Hageman is a brute force who can boost their pass rush from day one.
Green Bay’s defense is mush, although they did bring in some decent depth in free agency. In the draft, they’ll be looking for a safety, some linebackers and a difference-maker up front. That’s going to be Nix if he’s still available.
Philly lost a stud talent at receiver so they will be hard-pressed not to grab another her ein round one. Safety and outside linebacker are pretty big needs, but Benjamin is a raw talent that carries monster upside.
Back to back receivers here, as KC looks to improve their lethargic passing game down the field. They might consider a franchise passer here, but why not just help the quarterback they have now, instead?
Cincy needs a safety more than anything. They do have other needs, but Pryor is a hard-hitting stud and they haven’t had an elite safety in forever.
San Diego’s pass defense was awful in 2013. They need a nose tackle, too, but Roby is a stud and the Packers already swiped Nix. Roby is extremely talented and could turn their secondary around immediately.
26. Cleveland Browns – Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
Cleveland waits on quarterback and gets Bortles, a guy who was for a while in talks to go #1 overall. He’s a bit raw, but he has the size, arm and athleticism scouts covet.
The Saints would love Kony Ealy to drop this far, but his stock is too hot now, so it looks like that might be wishful thinking. They could go after a big receiver here with their top receiver aging, but they also need corner help. Fuller is a big, physical corner that could excel in their 3-4 system.
A lot of mocks have the Panthers taking an offensive tackle. Shame on them if that’s what happens. They badly need wide receiver talent and Lee is a fluid athlete who shouldn’t have fallen this far.
Amaro is a pure pass catcher who runs great routes and can move the chains. The Patriots experienced life without top level receiving options in 2013, and they won’t want to do that again.
The Niners are lucky to not have a lot of gaping holes. Corner is a bit of a need, though, so they’ll gladly take Verrett, who is talented enough to go much higher.
Denver has few glaring holes, but linebacker definitely is one of them. Shazier has the athleticism to play just about anywhere, but his size might restrict him to the outside.
Seattle could very well make a splash with a receiver or tight end here, but they’re another team with few holes and the luxury to do whatever they want. Since that’s the case, why pass up on such a physical and versatile defensive lineman when he’s starting them in the face?