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2014 NFL Mock Draft: Post-Week 15 Breakdown

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2014 NFL Mock Draft: Post-Week 15 Breakdown
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Week 15 is wrapping up, and it's time to start looking ahead toward the NFL draft in May.

The regular season is almost over, and the playoff race is beginning to heat up.  Meanwhile, college football is almost done, with bowl games starting up in a week or two.  College players are beginning to declare for the draft, and teams are beginning to look at potential prospects.

Below is a complete NFL mock draft for Week 15.  The draft order is set based off of the team's win percentages and strength of schedule after Sunday Night Football.

 

Who should be the No. 1 overall pick?

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1. Houston Texans: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Case Keenum shouldn't be the starting quarterback in 2014, and with Marcus Mariota staying another year, the Houston Texans will have to grab a QB as soon as possible in this draft.

Teddy Bridgewater still hasn't made a decision one way or the other, but if he declares, he's the top quarterback prospect in the draft.  The argument could be made that he was ready after last season, and he has the tools to be a franchise player down the road.

 

2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

The St. Louis Rams will get two first-round draft picks thanks to their trade a couple years back with the Washington Redskins.  There are a lot of options with the No. 2 overall pick, but based off of who is on the board, they should go with an offensive tackle.

As the top offensive tackle in the draft, Jake Matthews would be a great pick for the Rams.  He's played on both sides of the line, and with Jake Long already there playing left tackle, he could move to the right until needed down the road.

 

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

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There is no question that the No. 1 need for the Jacksonville Jaguars is at quarterback.  Chad Henne hasn't been terrible, but mediocrity under center isn't what turns a franchise around.

Derek Carr is the gunslinger that the Jaguars need.  He has a strong arm and has improved on his accuracy over the past year.  He still could work on going through his reads, but he has the physical talent that makes him worth a top-three pick.

 

4. Oakland Raiders: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

With two quarterbacks already gone, the Oakland Raiders might be hesitant on pulling the trigger on one here and instead go with the top guy on their board.

While the Raiders have a couple of solid defensive linemen right now, they might have a hard time passing on Jadeveon Clowney.  He could give their defense a huge boost, and that could make this team a lot tougher to play against in 2014.

 

5. Cleveland Browns: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

This pick depends on what the Cleveland Browns think of Brian Hoyer.  They may like him as the starter next season, but I don't think that should be the case.  Instead, they should grab a quarterback out of the draft.

Bridgewater gets all of the attention, but Blake Bortles is starting to get a lot of attention as well coming out of the American conference.  He is a smart quarterback with good size at the position, and with how he's played this year, he's proven to be worth a first-round pick.

 

6. Atlanta Falcons: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Injuries have effectively killed a season in which the Atlanta Falcons were hoping for a Super Bowl run.  Instead, they're just 4-10 and have one of the worst records in the NFL.  The only good news is that they can focus on getting healthy and add some help on defense.

Anthony Barr would be the perfect fit for the Falcons here.  Not only can he provide some much-needed help rushing the passer, but he can also stop the run.  He would mesh well with their defensive scheme, and he could help make this team a Super Bowl contender once again next season.

 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Fortunately for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they've found their long-term option at quarterback.  In May, they'll have the option to either give him another weapon or give him some more protection, and I think that they'll go with the latter.

While he's struggled at times this season in college, Taylor Lewan is an appealing option for the Buccaneers with this pick.  He is a terrific athlete that has some great upside, and he could give Glennon a lot more time in the pocket.

 

8. Minnesota Vikings: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

The starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings is not on their roster right now.  They have a ton of talent on offense, and a new quarterback could make them a playoff-caliber team once again.

Johnny Manziel has improved as a passer this season, and that's great news for his draft stock.  His development as a quarterback shows that he's still getting better, and it reminds us that's he still quite young.  Although some are worried about him getting hurt at the next level, his potential will force a team that needs a quarterback to draft him.

 

9. Tennessee Titans: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

Defensively, the Tennessee Titans have some nice talent in the secondary with Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty, but they are incredibly thin at linebacker, and they could certainly use some help in that area.

As a versatile player, Ryan Shazier could come in and play either inside or outside linebacker and give the Titans a player they can work around.  He has a lot of the tools you love to see in a linebacker, and while he isn't the biggest prospect, his skill set makes up for it.

 

10. Buffalo Bills: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

With all of the offensive talent added in last year's draft, the Buffalo Bills can now focus on adding help to their defense with players other than Kiko Alonso.

Khalil Mack would be a great fit with his pass-rushing skills and impressive quickness off of the snap.  Going to school in Buffalo will make him a fan favorite, but his on-field ability will make them happy as well.

 

11. New York Giants: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

Eli Manning has been very bad this season, but at the same time he's constantly had to deal with pressure in the pocket.  The New York Giants will have to fix that by finding someone to protect his blind side.

Although he got off to a rough start, Cyrus Kouandjio has turned things around as the season has started to come to a close.  He's pretty quick, strong and still developing as a player, which means that he could become a strong left tackle in the near future.

 

12. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State

The Pittsburgh Steelers need some help on the offensive line, not only to protect Ben Roethlisberger but also to help get the running game going.

Although the Steelers could draft a different offensive tackle, Cameron Erving would be their best option to help address both of those problems.  He's done a great job protecting Jameis Winston while also helping to get the running game going at Florida State thanks to his athleticism, making him a logical choice.

 

13. New York Jets: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

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Geno Smith shouldn't be playing quarterback next season, but at the same time he simply doesn't have anyone to throw to.  With a lot of the top-tier quarterbacks already taken, the New York Jets should grab a wide receiver to help out whoever is under center next year.

As the top wide receiver in this draft, Sammy Watkins is a terrific vertical threat who could not only make big plays but also open up the rest of the field for the offense.

 

14. St. Louis Rams: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

With their second pick in the first round, the Rams could focus on grabbing a player to help strengthen their secondary.

There are a lot of cornerbacks with a first-round grade in this draft, but my top cornerback has to be Justin Gilbert.  He is a bigger player at the position who is still fast enough to keep up with opposing receivers and is able to shut them down in man coverage.  He's forced a ton of turnovers this season, and he'll likely be able to do the same at the next level.

 

15. Dallas Cowboys: Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame

The defense is a mess right now for the Dallas Cowboys, and while they may want to add help in the secondary, they should add help in the middle of the defense.

Although he tore his meniscus, Louis Nix should be healthy in time for workouts and the NFL combine, which will help his draft stock once again.  He would help a lot on a defensive line that simply doesn't have a lot of talent right now.

 

16. San Diego Chargers: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Offensively, it looks like the San Diego Chargers don't need that much help.  Their pass defense is a different story, and they need to bring in help for their secondary.

Darqueze Dennard is an aggressive cornerback who is ideal in man coverage.  Thanks to his solid technique and quickness, he can play against all kinds of receivers, and that's great for a team that struggles to stop them.

 

17. Green Bay Packers: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama

There are so many holes on defense for the Green Bay Packers, but with how poorly Morgan Burnett and M.D. Jennings have been playing, they need help at safety more than anything.

As far as safeties go, there isn't a better one in this year's draft than Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.  He can put the hammer down with some big hits, but he also has terrific range at the position that can help the Packers defend the pass.

 

18. Detroit Lions: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

The secondary is an issue for the Detroit Lions, but they could also use some help at linebacker, and with C.J. Mosley still on the board, they would be smart to take him.

Mosley is a freak athlete who simply finds ways to get to the ball.  He is versatile enough to play on the outside, but even on the inside he'd be good enough to make this defense even more intimidating than it already is.

 

19. Baltimore Ravens: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Without Anquan Boldin, the Baltimore Ravens simply don't look the same offensively.  They need a physical red-zone threat for next season, and there's a prospect who could fill that role perfectly in Mike Evans.

At 6'5'' and 225 pounds, Evans has the size and athleticism to dominate opposing defenses in the red zone.  He's quick enough to play on the outside, and that combination of size and speed makes him a scary mismatch at the next level.

 

20. Philadelphia Eagles: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

Chip Kelly is going to want to draft one of his old college players, and the Philadelphia Eagles need help in their secondary, so this pick makes a lot of sense.

While he was a strong prospect before, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu has played even better recently, and a lot of people are really starting to notice him.  His stock might continue to climb as the season continues, but for now he would be a great fit for the Eagles.

 

21. Chicago Bears: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

The run defense for the Chicago Bears has been terrible all season, and they clearly need help on the defensive line.

Although he plays defensive end at Notre Dame, Stephon Tuitt is big enough to move in and play on the inside of the defensive line.  With him and Henry Melton in the middle of that defense next year, that run defense would turn around significantly.

 

22. Miami Dolphins: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

The Miami Dolphins need help on their offensive line, especially if Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito don't return after this season.  Ryan Tannehill keeps getting knocked around, and they need to do something about that.

Greg Robinson has started to rise up the draft boards, and for good reason.  He's an aggressive offensive tackle that's capable of locking onto any pass-rushers that come his way, which could help Tannehill stay upright.

 

23. Cincinnati Bengals: E.J. Gaines, CB, Missouri

The Cincinnati Bengals don't have a ton of glaring needs, but they could certainly use some depth in the secondary, especially if they're thinking long-term.

E.J. Gaines continues to impress me, and the icing on the cake came against Texas A&M.  He completely shut down Mike Evans, and if he can do that to top-tier talent on a consistent basis, then he's worth a first-round pick.

 

24. Cleveland Browns (From Indianapolis): Marqise Lee, WR, USC

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With a quarterback in the first round, the Cleveland Browns should look to add another weapon with their pick from the Indianapolis Colts.  Josh Gordon is becoming a top-tier receiver, but they really don't have another target.

Although he's had some injury issues this season, Marqise Lee has still shown up with some big games at USC.  He is a solid overall receiver who does a great job of adding yards after the catch, and the Browns would then have a one-two combo at the position.

 

25. Arizona Cardinals: James Hurst, OT, North Carolina

It's been a very successful season for the Arizona Cardinals, but pass protection is still a major issue, as the team doesn't have a reliable left tackle.

James Hurst is a natural athlete at the position, and while he doesn't have the best technique or footwork right now, he's still continuing to develop into a more talented prospect.  If he keeps improving and has an impressive outing at the combine, he'll shoot up into the first round.

 

26. New England Patriots: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech

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With how often Rob Gronkowski gets injured, the New England Patriots need another option at tight end that can make the plays he's capable of.

Jace Amaro is the best option at tight end for what Gronkowski does.  He's a good flex tight end who is speedy and physical downfield.  If the Patriots took him in the first, Tom Brady would be a very happy man.

 

27. Carolina Panthers: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

Think about how great the Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton have played this season.  Now imagine Newton with a legitimate and young target in the passing game.

Allen Robinson has the tools to become a No. 1 receiver one day.  He has an excellent combination of size and speed that will help him get open and make big plays for the Panthers.

 

28. San Francisco 49ers: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

The San Francisco 49ers could certainly go with a receiver here, but I think that adding another cornerback would be best in order to make their defense even more dominant.

Verrett is a strong overall corner who's capable of working with receivers on the outside.  He has smooth hips and good footwork that will help him be ready to play as soon as he gets selected in May.

 

29. New Orleans Saints: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

While the New Orleans Saints have completely turned things around defensively, they still need more help rushing the passer.  Fortunately, they could quickly get help with their first-round pick.

Alongside Michael Sam, Kony Ealy has been a frightening pass-rusher for the Missouri Tigers.  He's capable of creating separation with opposing offensive linemen thanks to his strength and long arms, making him an exciting prospect to watch for.

 

30. Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

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While some may like the Kansas City Chiefs grabbing a wide receiver, I think they would definitely consider drafting a tight end if one of the two top-tier prospects is still on the board.

Much like Amaro, Eric Ebron is an athletic tight end capable of making big plays in the passing game.  With Ebron, Alex Smith will be even more effective, and Dwayne Bowe will have some of the pressure taken off of him.

 

31. Denver Broncos: Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State

There are few major needs that the Denver Broncos have.  Von Miller's presence has really helped out the defense, but some help on the interior of the defensive line could make this the best team in football for the next few years.

As a defensive tackle, Michael Bennett does a terrific job at getting into the backfield and even rushing the passer.  He is a dominant force physically, and he could force defenses to play around him.

 

32. Seattle Seahawks: Zack Martin, OG, Notre Dame

The Seattle Seahawks are arguably the most complete team in the NFL, but they still need some help at the offensive guard position.  Drafting there may be a little bit of a reach, but it would fill what is arguably their only need.

Zack Martin is a great pass protector at the position and plays offensive tackle at Notre Dame, but with his overall set of skills, he would fit nicely as an offensive guard at the next level.  He continues to move up draft boards and could be the only interior offensive lineman taken in the first round.

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