2014 NFL Draft: Updated 1-Round Mock Draft
We have reached the halfway point of the college football season, and it's time for another 2014 NFL draft update. The order of the draft this time comes courtesy of the good folks at the Great Blue North Draft Report.
There's not a ton of movement with this update, but a few players have fallen out of the round and some interesting new faces have moved in to take their places.
The top of the round is dominated by quarterbacks, pass-rushers and wide receivers. This trend falls right in line with the new NFL that covets the passing game and requires defenses to hunt down quarterbacks at all costs.
So take a look, give it a share, don't forget to comment below and please, be gentle.
1. New York Giants
Jadeveon Clowney, Defensive End, South Carolina
The New York Giants are playing some terrible football right now. If that continues, their prize could be Clowney.
Clowney is a physical marvel, and he has all the markings of a future star.
The Giants' front seven is in shambles, so Clowney would be a great infusion of talent and could help this defense at multiple positions.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
Teddy Bridgewater, Quarterback, Louisville
I suspect the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Giants will be swapping spots here at the top of the first round most of the season, but with team's needs being what they are, the Jaguars should get their quarterback either way.
Bridgewater is a smart, skilled player with a high football IQ and all the physical gifts a team looks for in a franchise quarterback. He would be the centerpiece the Jaguars could build around for the next few seasons so they can be competitive again.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Marcus Mariota, Quarterback, Oregon
I'm not sure who will be running the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next season, but I doubt he'll want Mike Glennon as his team's quarterback. Instead, the Buccaneers have a chance to really evolve in terms of their offense by adding Mariota.
No, Mariota is not a finished product. But his package of skills is amazing and, in the right hands, he could be an elite signal-caller very quickly.
4. St. Louis Rams (from Washington)
Louis Nix III, Defensive Tackle, Notre Dame
Nix is the pick for the St. Louis Rams with the first of their two picks in the round.
As much as this team needs help at safety and running back, there isn't that type of talent here. Instead, the Rams will continue to build that defensive front line with Nix.
Nix lined up at nose next to defensive tackle Michael Brockers would form an incredibly physical tandem to stuff the run and rush the passer.
5. Minnesota Vikings
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Cornerback, Oregon
The Minnesota Vikings made the move for quarterback Josh Freeman, removing quarterback from a priority in the first round. Instead, the they'll turn to their defensive secondary, where they are desperate for an influx of athleticism.
Ekpre-Olomu is a former safety-turned-cornerback who should be able to come in and contribute at either spot right away. He's very physical and has exceptional ball skills.
6. Atlanta Falcons
Anthony Barr, Linebacker, UCLA
The Atlanta Falcons' top needs look to be offensive tackle and defensive end. It would be easy to plug in a top tackle at this spot, but instead, I'm going to go with the pass-rusher and let the Falcons try to fix their tackle woes elsewhere.
Barr is uber-disruptive and can play from a three-point stance or standing up at outside linebacker. He would give the Falcons some scheme versatility, and they should be able to maximize his athletic potential.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers
Jake Matthews, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M
This might be the easiest pick of the round. The Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive tackle situation is a nightmare, and Matthews is the security blanket to make the bad dreams go away.
Matthews is a natural left tackle prospect and would be a starter from the first snap for the Steelers.
8. Buffalo Bills
Vic Beasley, Linebacker, Clemson
Beasley is one of the fast-rising prospects who continue to improve each week. The key to his game is his explosive first step and his ability to play with leverage.
The Buffalo Bills have done a nice job putting together a solid offense, so now it's time to turn to the defensive side of the football and get a player to line up in that Will 'backer spot next to Kiko Alonso.
9. Oakland Raiders
Sammy Watkins, Wide Receiver, Clemson
It appears that the Oakland Raiders have found their quarterback of the near future in Terrelle Pryor, so why not give him the best weapon in the entire draft?
Watkins continues to emerge as the best wide receiver prospect in the country. The things he can do once he has the ball in his hands are truly special, and he's used to working with a mobile quarterback and all that goes with that.
10. Houston Texans
Tajh Boyd, Quarterback, Clemson
It's time for the Houston Texans to move on from quarterback Matt Schaub. Whether the team's problems are all on him or not, this is a quarterback who clearly lacks confidence and who lacks the confidence of his franchise.
Boyd is dynamic and a born leader. He's also a risk taker, so you take the big plays with the questionable ones. Nevertheless, his accuracy is improving and he should continue to move up draft boards.
11. Carolina Panthers
Bradley Roby, Cornerback, Ohio State
On defense, there are really two positions of need for the Carolina Panthers. They could use an outside linebacker, but they also need a cornerback. The play of the linebackers has been more acceptable to this point, so I lean cornerback for now.
Roby has slipped a little this year, but he's still a very good prospect with elite speed and a strong resume.
12. Philadelphia Eagles
Khalil Mack, Linebacker, Buffalo
During the 2013 NFL draft, the Philadelphia Eagles chose to go with an offensive tackle rather than a defensive end, but they did very little to address that other need. This draft, they'll fix that by adding Mack.
Mack can do a little of everything, including blowing up run plays, rushing the quarterback and dropping into coverage. And he does it all with a level of intensity that is rare among prospects.
13. New York Jets
Marqise Lee, Wide Receiver, USC
Lee slips a little due to an injury and because of some very mediocre quarterback play at USC. But he is still a great prospect and would give New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith a reliable target who isn't afraid to run-block as well.
One thing that stands out about Lee that is rarely mentioned is his speed. He often catches passes on stops and hitches, which don't let him exhibit his long speed. I expect him to time very well in workouts.
14. Tennessee Titans
Taylor Lewan, Offensive Tackle, Michigan
The Tennessee Titans don't have a ton of needs, but both of their tackles are aging and there isn't a lot of depth behind them. Lewan gives them a natural left tackle prospect with a very high ceiling.
It's a long shot that Lewan lasts this long next May, and if he is gone, the Titans would need to reach for the next best tackle on the board.
15. Arizona Cardinals
C.J. Mosley, Linebacker, Alabama
The Arizona Cardinals are starting 35-year-old John Abraham at outside linebacker. So adding an heir apparent makes a lot of sense. And when that addition can be C.J. Mosley, it makes perfect sense.
Ideally, the Cardinals would rather get one of the top tackle prospects, so a tackle here could be a definite possibility.
16. Cleveland Browns
Mike Evans, Wide Receiver, Texas A&M
I'm not sure who will be starting at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns next season, but he will have wide receiver Josh Gordon to throw to. And adding Mike Evans to that mix would make this offense even more explosive.
The Cleveland Browns could also be a perfect team to trade up, using one of their two first-round picks to get themselves a franchise quarterback.
17. St. Louis Rams
Cyril Richardson, Guard, Baylor
Not the flashiest pick, but with running back and safety still a little too undervalued for this pick, the St. Louis Rams will turn to the offensive line. Richardson is a tremendous prospect, and he would be a great eventual replacement for Harvey Dahl on the right side.
This is also a spot where the Rams could entertain trade offers to move back, scoop up an extra Day 2 pick and fill a different need later in the round.
18. Baltimore Ravens
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tight End, Washington
If there's an area in which the Baltimore Ravens are feeling the pains of the salary cap, it's the skill positions. Losing tight end Dennis Pitta to injury was tough, but even with him, the Ravens don't have that big physical target in the middle that wide receiver Anquan Boldin was.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a huge target with freakish athletic ability. He would give quarterback Joe Flacco the type of weapon he's lacked in Baltimore. And there might be no better franchise for a player like Seferian-Jenkins to learn and develop with.
19. San Diego Chargers
De'Anthony Thomas, Athlete, Oregon
This pick seems to change with every update. At this point, Thomas is just too enticing a weapon both as a running back and a wide receiver to pass up at this point.
The San Diego Chargers need a complimentary player for running back Ryan Mathews, and Thomas could be used in a Darren Sproles-type role for quarterback Philip Rivers.
20. Green Bay Packers
Antonio Richardson, Offensive Tackle, Tennessee
This pick remains a constant at this point. The Green Bay Packers still need an offensive tackle prospect, and Richardson is the next best prospect in line.
Still, there are some spots on defense that could benefit from some additional depth as well, so should a top linebacker slide, that could be the pick instead.
21. Dallas Cowboys
Kyle Van Noy, Linebacker, BYU
Another pick that carries over from previous updates.
Van Noy has continued to impress as the season has gone on. The Dallas Cowboys would certainly benefit from a player who can work as a pass-rusher and as a defensive end, but who is athletic enough to stand up as an outside linebacker as well.
22. Detroit Lions
Jason Verrett, Cornerback, TCU
The Detroit Lions have done all they can to mask their mediocre secondary with an elite defensive line. Verrett has built a solid resume against plenty of high-powered passing offenses, and while he's not exceptional in any single category, he is fundamentally sound everywhere.
23. Chicago Bears
Loucheiz Purifoy, Cornerback, Florida
Purifoy might have the greatest boom/bust potential of any pick in the first round. He has a chance to be a very good cornerback, wide receiver and kick returner. It's sort of history repeating itself from when the Chicago Bears drafted Devin Hester, but I'd put Purifoy's skills at cornerback much higher.
24. San Francisco 49ers
Antone Exum, Cornerback, Virginia Tech
There is something about Exum that screams San Francisco 49ers. He's a big, physical cornerback who craves contact and mauls wide receivers. The 49ers could rotate him at cornerback or safety, but he's practically a linebacker in the secondary.
25. Cincinnati Bengals
Cyrus Kouandjio, Offensive Tackle, Alabama
The Cincinnati Bengals' tackle position is somewhat tenuous, and while I'd rank cornerback as a greater need, I like the talent and potential of Kouandjio over the next best cornerback in line.
As the year has progressed, Kouandjio has steadily improved to a level closer to what was expected to him at the start of the season.
26. Miami Dolphins
Seantrel Henderson, Offensive Tackle, Miami
If there is a spot to upgrade on the Miami Dolphins, it is at right tackle, where Tyson Clabo is the weak link. Henderson is a massive athlete who is starting to have more good plays than bad ones. That is huge for him, because if he can get his head to catch up to his physical gifts, he will be a great value pick here.
27. Seattle Seahawks
Stephon Tuitt, Defensive End, Notre Dame
The Seattle Seahawks are a tough team to get a read on. They are pretty young among their starters, and they have some interesting young players for depth. This pick could be a running back or even a wide receiver.
But, instead, I think they'll go with the best player available here and take Tuitt, who can work in at defensive end on the strong side or slide inside to pass-rush from a defensive tackle spot
28. New England Patriots
Dominique Easley, Defensive Tackle, Florida
This is probably the first big surprise pick of the round, and it comes courtesy of the New England Patriots.
Dominique Easley probably won't be able to work out prior to the draft as he recovers from knee surgery. He might not even be ready to go at the start of the year.
Nevertheless, Easley at full health is a first-round pick, and if there is a team who can use him properly, it's the Patriots.
29. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis)
Zach Mettenberger, Quarterback, LSU
Another shocker pick late in the round.
Mettenberger might not be worth a pick this high, but he could be the most improved quarterback in the nation this year. While I might not agree with the pick, I can certainly see it happening.
If the Browns pass on a quarterback, they might want to try and find a running back to replace Trent Richardson or possibly a cornerback to improve depth.
30. Kansas City Chiefs
Melvin Gordon, Running Back, Wisconsin
When a team is good, it is able to draft for depth and take the best player on the board.
The best player on the Kansas City Chiefs offense is running back Jamaal Charles, so adding Gordon works to help keep Charles fresh, and he would compliment Charles' running style very well.
31. New Orleans Saints
Jordan Matthews, Wide Receiver, Vanderbilt
Even with the emergence of wide receiver Kenny Stills, the New OrleansSaints are always looking to add more playmakers on offense. Matthews would be an ideal fit in that Saints offense and a nice value pick here.
The Saints could opt for a big defensive lineman to help bolster their new 3-4 defense as well if one happens to fall to them.
32. Denver Broncos
Marcus Roberson, Cornerback, Florida
The Denver Broncos defense has been exposed this season. Part of that has just been awful play by the Denver secondary.
Roberson is a polished coverage player who isn't as flashy as some of the other cornerback prospects, but he has the potential to be an exceptional starter.