2014 NFL Mock Draft: Knee-Jerk Projections Following Week 6

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 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Knee-Jerk Projections Following Week 6
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It is never too early for an NFL mock draft, and with over a month of the 2013 season concluded, major areas of need are beginning to emerge on each roster.

Whether it's a player simply failing or a hole that finally needs patching, each roster around the league has at least one glaring issue that will need addressing by the time the 2014 NFL draft rolls around.

Rather than twiddle our thumbs awaiting the draft, here is a projection as to how things will shake out based on how the dominoes have fallen through Week 6 of the season.

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1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Look no further than the 2013 edition of the Jacksonville Jaguars as an example of just how important the quarterback position is in the NFL.

There is talent on offense in Jacksonville. Wide receivers Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon bring plenty to the table, but a quarterback with actual talent is necessary.

That's where Teddy Bridgewater comes into play. There's literally no other option for Jacksonville here.

 

2. New York Giants: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

What a good year for New York to be absolutely horrible. As a reward for what is likely Tom Coughlin's last hurrah, the Giants are gifted with one of the most talented draft prospects in the last decade. 

No, Jadeveon Clowney's injury and alleged attitude issues in no way have an impact on his draft stock. The talent he brings to the table is simply too much and Clowney will have little issue convincing the Giants' coaching staff in interviews that he is the perfect fit.

 

3. Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

No, Ben Roethlisberger is not the problem, and no, taking an extremely talented player here is in no way signifying the end of his tenure in Pittsburgh. 

The fact of the matter is, Big Ben is 31 already but has the body of a 40-year-old thanks to the Steelers' alarming neglect to properly protect him over the years. Roethlisberger has been horrific in 2013 as a result.

Let's face it—Pittsburgh has been horrible at drafting for years. Here they get a sure-fire thing in Marcus Mariota to start a new era when Roethlisberger is ready to hang up the cleats.

 

4. Minnesota Vikings: Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame

Sharrif Floyd was an excellent pick a year ago, but to continue the dominant ways of the defensive line in Minnesota, grabbing the best tackle by a mile in Louis Nix is the smart way to go here. 

Kevin Williams is on his way to free agency, and with the smart acquisition of quarterback Josh Freeman, the Vikings are free to address a major need and do so in a way here that will solidify the defensive trenches for over a decade.

 

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson

There is nothing to suggest that Mike Glennon is the answer in Tampa Bay. With the Greg Schiano era likely over before the 2013 season even ends, the new regime will likely want to get their own guy under center.

That guy will be Tajh Boyd, one of the college football's most electrifying players. While a bit raw, Boyd has all the intangibles of a franchise quarterback and would do well throwing to Vincent Jackson and having a cushion by the name of Doug Martin.

 

6. Houston Texans: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama

The Houston Texans are shockingly one of the NFL's worst squads in 2013 in large part thanks to the quarterback position.

Unfortunately for Houston, all the top prospects are off the board at this point. The good news is Houston is a team similar to Cincinnati two years ago—the rest of the roster is so talented it can afford to wait until the mid-rounds to find a quarterback.

With that out of the way, Houston is free here to get the best defensive player left on the board and hit a major area of need to boot. C.J. Mosley gives the Texans a new attitude when paired with J.J. Watt.

 

7. Carolina Panthers: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Now is about the time for Carolina to get serious about giving Cam Newton weapons. Offensive line is an issue too, but quality options can be found in free agency.

A Sammy Watkins cannot.

Watkins is college football's best offensive player outside of the quarterback position and immediately gives Newton a serious weapon on every down. An offense with Ted Ginn as the No. 1 receiver is inadequate to say the least.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

8. St. Louis Rams: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

St. Louis has an extra pick here and would be smart to do something about the iffy wide receiver situation as a result. 

Quarterback Sam Bradford has once again been a disappointment and he's failed to properly utilize rookie receiver Tavon Austin and tight end Jared Cook. Expect that to change when it comes to Austin, but more weapons are needed and this is simply too high to take a running back. 

Excuses for Bradford are running out in a hurry. 

 

9. San Diego Chargers: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

The human turnstile known as King Dunlap is simply not getting it done.

If the San Diego Chargers are serious about keeping Philip Rivers healthy as he gets to the wrong side of 30, now would be the time to grab the best offensive tackle in the draft class, which will give San Diego an elite tackle pair for years to come.

 

10. Oakland Raiders: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Terrelle Pryor's emergence as a quality quarterback that deserves more time means the Oakland Raiders can go best player available here and address one of the NFL's worst overall rosters.

The best player here is UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, who immediately gives a serious boost to a mediocre Oakland defense.

While it does not solve everything right away, the addition of Barr is a major step in the right direction.

 

11.  Arizona Cardinals: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

It's hard to predict if Bruce Arians will allow the Carson Palmer experiment to continue, but either way a smart play here is grabbing an elite offensive tackle prospect to protect whoever lines up under center.

Taylor Lewan is a gifted player who brings a serious attitude to the field and will help to give the Cardinals new life on offense. Pair Lewan with more time for the passing game and bigger running lanes for Andre Ellington and the Arizona offense does nothing but improve.

 

12. Tennessee Titans: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

Tennessee has a bright young roster on the rise, which means it's time to add more talent in the trenches to protect that talent.

David Steward simply cannot stay healthy, and really, there are not a lot of other ways the Titans could go with this pick. Cyrus Kouandjio is a mammoth of a tackle who will have no issues coming in and starting right away on either side while protecting the oft-injured Jake Locker.

Who would have thought an Alabama tackle would go this high, right?

 

13. St. Louis Rams: Cyril Richardson, Guard, Baylor

Again—the excuses for Sam Bradford are running out.

Cyril Richardson is one of the most talented players overall in the draft, but as always, the guard position allows him to take a fall here.

St. Louis grabbed a stud receiver earlier and now has a serious upgrade over one of two mediocre guards. Time for Bradford to show signs of life.

 

14. Buffalo Bills: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

There's an outside shot Khalil Mack is the most talented defensive player in the draft and will be treated as such by the time the event rolls around. 

For now, Mack is flying under the radar because he played his college ball in the MAC. That's just fine for Buffalo, who already hit the linebacker jackpot with Kiko Alonso last year, who appears to be well on his way to Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. 

Alonso and Mack behind a line consisting of Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Mario Williams?

Scary.

 

15. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Van Noy, OLB, Brigham Young

Much of the reason the Atlanta Falcons are off to a laughably bad start this season outside of the injury bug is a defense that simply cannot put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

That's where Kyle Van Noy comes into play. Van Noy is one of those players fans hear little about until right at draft day as he explodes up draft boards. As a hybrid player the fit is right, and such a high ceiling is hard to pass up.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

16. Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Here it is.

If Tim Tebow can go off the board in the first round of the NFL draft, so can Johnny Manziel, who brings more to the table from an actual quarterback standpoint.

The new regime in Cleveland seems to be all about making a big splash, and there is no bigger drop in the pond than taking Mr. Manziel in the first round.

Ironically enough, the talent thanks to guys like Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon are in place to make the ill-advised experiment work.

 

17. New York Jets: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Unfortunately for Marqise Lee, his plummeting draft stock is the product of a serious mess at USC that doesn't even deserve further mention here.

While Stephen Hill is a legit weapon, Geno Smith, who has more than proven through six weeks he has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback, is going to need some more toys to play with in order to be effective.

The addition of Lee gives the Jets a nice one-two punch on the outside that defenses will have to respect.

 

18. Dallas Cowboys: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

Surprise! The Dallas Cowboys' defense is an absolute mess.

It's funny at this point, because the talent in the secondary has continued to improve. After a scheme change, Dallas still needs more talent in the front seven to mask a secondary that is underperforming for one reason or another. 

Stephon Tuitt is a scary-good prospect who can fit well on the inside of Dallas' 4-3 and will help in a big way to turn things around for the perennially bad unit. 

 

19. Philadelphia Eagles: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

Cornerback is not exactly the strong suit of the 2014 draft class, but teams cannot go wrong with Bradley Roby, who will surely be the first off the board and start a bit of a run here.

Cary Williams was one of the most underrated free agency signings last year, but more talent in the secondary is necessary if Chip Kelly's horrific defense is to keep up with the fast-paced offense.

20. Baltimore Ravens: De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon

Joe Flacco clearly misses tight end Dennis Pitta and wide receiver Anquan Boldin so far this season, so he's going to need some help via the draft to get the offense clicking again. 

Oregon's elite back De'Anthony Thomas is listed as such, but he's the type of weapon that can be used all over the field. The combo of Thomas, Torrey Smith and Ray Rice on the field at the same time will go a long way in fixing the issues that plague the Baltimore offense. 

 

21. Detroit Lions: Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma

Now that the cornerback floodgates have opened, there is no sealing them. There's no such thing as having too many quality defensive backs now that the NFL is such a pass-happy league.

That's especially the case for Detroit as the duo of Darius Slay and Bill Bentley has done little to inspire confidence. Even if they break out as quality players down the road, it cannot hurt to have another special talent such as Aaron Colvin.

Detroit knows better than most that cornerbacks are a fragile thing, so expect the team to look at nothing else.

 

22. Cincinnati Bengals: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

Mike Zimmer has done an extraordinary job of squeezing as much out of Terence Newman and Adam Jones as he can, but the duo won't last much longer.

Add in the facts Leon Hall is not exactly a spring chicken and Dre Kirkpatrick has been a major disappointment while battling injury after injury, and cornerback is the best way to go.

At this point most picks are luxury picks for Cincinnati. Like the selection of Margus Hunt last year to potentially replace Michael Johnson, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu represents a forward-looking move for the franchise.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

23. Chicago Bears: Ryan ShazierOLB, Ohio State

If Chicago is smart, re-signing franchise defensive tackle Henry Melton (who is just behind Geno Atkins as one of the best in the NFL) despite his recent ACL tear is the best move for the future.

If that's the way Chicago decides to go, it can continue to beef up the defense behind the line with a stud linebacker such as Ryan Shazier.

Marc Trestman's offense is just fine, so building on an already-stout defense with a top prospect is a great move.

 

24. New England Patriots: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota

Predicting exactly how New England head coach Bill Belichick is going to operate come draft day is next to impossible. 

With that in mind, taking a lesser-known guy like Ra'Shede Hageman, especially after the crushing loss of Vince Wilfork, makes a lot of sense here.

The Patriots defense has been much better than expected in 2013, so continuing to build on that with the offense just fine seems like something Belichick would do.

 

25. Miami Dolphins: Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee

For all the comparisons that can be effectively made between Ryan Tannehill and Ben Roethlisberger, one rings true above the rest—neither quarterback is adequately protected.

If Miami wants its franchise quarterback to stick around for a long time, moving on from Jonathan Martin at left tackle and finding a legitimate pass-blocker is key.

Offensive tackle is once again deep in this year's draft, and Antonio Richardson is more than up to the task.

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
26. San Francisco 49ers: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

San Francisco is another team where most picks are luxury picks at this point in time. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has had serious issues in the majority of his games, so surrounding him with more weapons will likely be the route here.

Kaepernick seems to love big-bodied possession receivers such as Anquan Boldin, so the 6'3" Jordan Matthews, who has plenty of room to fill out, is the best pick here.

Boldin won't last much longer anyway.

 

27. Cleveland Browns: Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor

Many accused Cleveland of simply spinning its wheels when it shipped off star running back Trent Richardson to Indianapolis, but that's simply the process of a serious makeover after a regime change.

Those accusations will fly again here, but not only is Lache Seastrunk far and away the best back in the draft, he's a perfect fit for the Cleveland offense.

While corner would be a great selection here, the recent run means the Browns can afford to wait a brief period to address the hole across from Joe Haden in the second round.

Meanwhile, the offense in Cleveland just got scary good.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

28. Kansas City Chiefs: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington

The only thing really missing in Kansas City right now, which was already one of the most talented rosters that simply needed the right direction, is a legitimate threat at tight end.

No disrespect to the quality all-around abilities of Anthony Fasano, but Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a major upgrade from a strictly offensive standpoint.

Heck, the newest trend in the NFL is two-tight end sets anyway. Why not give Alex Smith that option while also being able to hand the ball off to Jamaal Charles?

 

29. Green Bay Packers: Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State

Another team notorious for not being able to adequately protect its quarterback, Green Bay must once again attempt to make a smart selection in order to keep Aaron Rodgers upright. 

As far as NFL-ready lineman go, Gabe Jackson could write the book. At 6'3'' and 335 pounds, Jackson combines overwhelming power with athletic feet to keep players off his quarterback.

 

30. Seattle Seahawks: Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU

As far as holes on the roster go, Seattle does not tout many. An already stellar defensive line led by Cliff Avril (another underrated signing from last year) will benefit from a versatile defensive tackle to plug up lanes and rush the passer.

Seattle needs to look no further than Anthony Johnson, one of the SEC's most dominant forces a year ago.

Johnson can do it all in the Seahawks's scheme and would start right away.

 

31. New Orleans Saints: Adrian Hubbard, OLB, Alabama

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

The defense in New Orleans has been a nice surprise after the transition to a 3-4, but more talent is needed in order for the unit to take the next step.

Outside linebacker continues to be a weakness, although Junior Galette is having plenty of success getting to the quarterback and the addition of Parys Haralson did much for the depth of the unit.

Still, Adrian Hubbard out of Alabama comes ready to play at the NFL level. Scratch that, the game-changing backer comes ready to dominate and is versatile enough to play multiple roles—a requirement of any Ryan defense.

 

32. Denver Broncos: Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida

Chris Harris is underrated and the addition of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was a smooth get in the offseason, but Champ Bailey won't last forever and the Denver defense is having some serious issues shutting down the pass as is.

Loucheiz Purifoy is a bit of a risk, but the reward on the field is more than worth it, especially if Bailey can stick around a few more years and act as a mentor.

The offense is just fine at well over 40 points per game, but the defense needs to stop allowing other teams to stay in it.

 

 

Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling

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