NFL Mock Draft 2014: Complete First-Round Breakdown and Predictions

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NFL Mock Draft 2014: Complete First-Round Breakdown and Predictions
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Need a quarterback?

You do?

Well, look no further than the top 10 of the 2014 NFL draft.

A plethora of bottom-feeders from the 2013 season are in need of some serious upgrades and offense, and as we know, that all starts with the guy under center. There is a ton of talent in this year's quarterback class, and the order in which they'll come off the board is anybody's guess.

Outside of the quarterbacks, the entire first round features top talent that will make an impact in the NFL within the coming years. Big-play receivers, aggressive defenders and stalwart offensive lineman can all be had within the first 32 picks.

Since it's never too early to break down the entire first round, here's a mock draft for the entire first round.

 

1. Houston Texans: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

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Teddy Bridgewater is the cream of the crop of this year's class. His showing against Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl was a truly special way to end his career at Louisville.

Former Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien will be taking over for the Texans in 2014, reports ESPN.com. Starting fresh with his own young quarterback would be the ideal situation for a coach looking to stabilize the position.

Case Keenum and Matt Schaub simply aren't going to cut it moving forward. The Texans would be foolish to pass on Bridgewater, even with the depth of this year's class.

 

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

The Rams made big strides this season, even though they were playing without Sam Bradford for much of it. Kellen Clemons stepped up and played well enough for the team to secure a 7-9 record.

The defense is what carried St. Louis most of the way, and selecting a guy like Jake Matthews would help in all facets of the offense. He would help to create lanes for Zac Stacy, as well as help to prevent Bradford from hitting the turf.

 

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

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Blaine Gabbert was a waste of a first-round selection. In 2014, the Jaguars will be looking for his replacement.

There are three quality signal-callers to choose from at No. 3, but Blake Bortles is the right fit. He is a strong pocket passer who found success this season at UCF, leading his team to its first BCS bowl game in school history.

 

4. Cleveland Browns: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

The Browns are a mess, and after selecting a new head coach to replace Rob Chudzinski, drafting a franchise quarterback is the next step in the rebuilding process. The franchise thought Brandon Weeden was the guy, but it was sorely mistaken.

Carr passed for 5,082 yards, 50 touchdowns and just eight interceptions at Fresno State this season. Those numbers don't directly translate to the pros, but it's hard to argue with that type of production.

 

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

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One of the most polarizing players in college football will get his shot in the NFL with the Raiders. Jadeveon Clowney was much better in 2012 than he was in 2013, and that's what the Raiders will draft him for.

Clowney is clearly the best defensive lineman in this draft. He is explosive off the line and is as athletic as they come. Heck, he's talented enough that teams drafting Nos. 2-4 that should take a quarterback might just take him anyway.

He's that good.

 

6. Atlanta Falcons: Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo

Whether it's as a linebacker or as a defensive lineman, Khalil Mack knows how to get into the backfield and pressure the quarterback.

The Falcons lacked intensity on defense for most of 2013. Injuries to the offense derailed their season—for the most part—and improving the defense through the draft is the way to go for this franchise. With a solid draft and offseason, Atlanta can be a big-time bounce-back candidate.

 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA

Anthony Barr is a terror coming off the edge, and he'll be the third straight defensive lineman taken in the first round. The Buccaneers are a young team with potential heading into the next two or three seasons, but they'll need to develop a strong defense to get to that next level.

Barr will be a pain for opposing offensive lines. He's very quick from the start and has good technique in getting around offensive lineman.

 

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

With Leslie Frazier getting the axe, it's time to start over in Minnesota. The Vikings received little production from Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman and Matt Cassel this season—hence their terrible 5-10-1 record following a 2012 playoff berth.

Johnny Manziel has been one of the top quarterbacks in college over the past two seasons, though many scouts still aren't sold on him as an NFL pro. Sure, his game really can't be compared to any current NFL quarterbacks, but he is a playmaker and he has a motor that never seems to quit.

For a team seeking change (like Minnesota), Manziel is the right move. If nothing else, he'll provide a spark because of his intensity.

 

9. Buffalo Bills: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

The top wideout of this class, Sammy Watkins is exactly what E.J. Manuel needs in Buffalo.

Watkins has a quick first step off the line of scrimmage that helps him to create space between himself and defensive backs. The window he can create by doing so is what quarterbacks love to see.

Manuel needs some weapons in Buffalo. A big-play receiver like Watkins would make all the difference.

 

10. Detroit Lions: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

The Lions failed to make the playoffs this season in large part because of inconsistencies on both offense and defense. They're pretty much set at most offensive skill positions, though, so the obvious choice here is to go for Darqueze Dennard.

Dennard is the best defensive back in this class and can make an immediate impact in the secondary. He's quick with good instincts and the ability to leap to go for balls in the air. Dennard certainly has the potential to be a lockdown corner.

 

11. Tennessee Titans: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

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Jake Locker's career has been defined by injuries thus far, but he actually played well in the first few weeks of this season. The potential is there.

He would be helped tremendously be another weapon, and Mike Evans would be the perfect complement to the young quarterback. Evans can run, but he's most useful when throwing in the red zone or third-down situations. His big frame and strong hands make him a reliable option for passers, and Locker will benefit from having him.

 

12. New York Giants: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Eli Manning struggled this season—big time. While offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride didn't help make things easier for him, most of the blame should be put on the offensive line. That makes their first-round selection an easy one.

General manager Jerry Reese is famous for drafting the best player available—regardless of need, usually—but he can't pass up on Greg Robinson. He is exceptionally athletic and would work well alongside Justin Pugh in his sophomore season.

This pick makes too much sense.

 

13. St. Louis Rams: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

The Rams can further improve their defense by selecting Kony Ealy at No. 13.

Ealy is a relatively large defensive end, standing 6'5" and weighing 275 pounds. That doesn't stop him from being quick off the line, though. He was a star at getting to the quarterback while at Missouri. Look for him to do the same in the NFL.

 

14. Chicago Bears: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

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The quarterback of the Alabama defense, linebacker C.J. Mosley is ready for the NFL. He loves to tackle, has good instincts and will change the Bears defense if selected at No. 14.

Chicago was the 30th-ranked defense in the NFL this past season. Its linebacking corps was horrible, and the defense as a whole couldn't get stops when the team needed it to. Mosley will change that.

 

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Le'Veon Bell was solid in his rookie campaign, but he'll need help from the big guys up front if he wants to improve in 2014.

Taylor Lewan is one of the better run-blockers available, and the Steelers would be smart to take him. He's no slouch in pass-blocking either, but he excels most in the run game. With help along the offensive line, Bell is a breakout candidate for next season.

 

16. Baltimore Ravens: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

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The Ravens' failure to make the playoffs and defend their Super Bowl championship can be blamed, for the most part, on an inconsistent offense.

Joe Flacco did his best to cope with the loss of Anquan Boldin, but Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown simply couldn't cut it. Marqise Lee, a big-play receiver from USC, would help in the vertical passing game, where Flacco excels.

 

17. Dallas Cowboys: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

The Cowboys need to go defense at No. 17. Their defense was putrid in 2013, and the best defender available should be the one they go with, regardless of position.

While the secondary boasts two talented corners in Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, the safety position could use an upgrade. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix should be that upgrade.

 

18. New York Jets: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

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A young quarterback's best friend is a tight end that can get open and make plays. Geno Smith lacked that in Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Winslow in his rookie campaign, and Eric Ebron from UNC would be an immediate upgrade over both.

The Jets made strides with Smith under center, but he needs more weapons to succeed. Going for a wide receiver at No. 18 wouldn't be a bad idea either, but it's not worth reaching for guys like Kelvin Benjamin or Allen Robinson.

 

19. Miami Dolphins: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

The Dolphins did a horrible job of keeping Ryan Tannehill off his back this season. He was sacked more times than any other quarterback.

The immediate solution? They need to draft a lineman. Cyrus Kouandjio was a great pass protector for A.J. McCarron during their time together at Alabama, and it was a rare occasion to see McCarron hit the ground.

Sure, an NFL pass rush is a tad more explosive (emphasis on "a tad"), but Kouandjio has the tools to succeed.

 

20. Arizona Cardinals: Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M

Arizona is also in the market for an offensive lineman, and Cedric Ogbuehi is the next best available at No. 20.

Playing with Jake Matthews overshadowed his production, but Ogbuehi is talented enough to make a near-seamless transition to the pros. 

 

21. Green Bay Packers: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech

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With Jermichael Finley's status in question after undergoing spinal fusion surgery in November, the Packers would be wise to look for another play-making tight end.

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Luckily for them, Jace Amaro of Texas Tech will be available at No. 21. The junior tallied 1,352 receiving yards and seven touchdowns this season and helped his team defeat Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl.

 

22. San Diego Chargers: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

Philip Rivers enjoyed a career year thanks to the emergence of Keenan Allen in his rookie season. Now, the Chargers will be looking for a rookie corner to make a similar impact.

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu will shore up a questionable secondary that allowed big play after big play in 2013. He is an aggressive, physical defender who will make his presence felt right from day one.

 

23. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

The Cowboys defense was bad in 2013, but the Eagles were the worst team in the passing game. They allowed 289.8 yards per game through the air, and the solution to that would be to take a cornerback. Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert would be a good fit for the defense, but it'll come down to whether or not he falls to No. 23.

 

24. Kansas City Chiefs: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

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Kansas City's 2013 season was a tale of two teams. Prior to their bye in Week 10, the Chiefs dominated teams with defense and scored just enough points to win. They were 9-0 at that point. Then the defense let them down and they finished 11-5.

Their problems stemmed from defensive issues, though. Drafting defense would be a waste of an opportunity to select a wideout like Kelvin Benjamin from Florida State. Alex Smith would do well with another weapon in the passing game.

 

25. Cincinnati Bengals: Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson

The Bengals are in the process of building a Super Bowl-caliber defense, but they could use one more pass-rusher to put them over the top.

Vic Beasley from Clemson has the pass-rushing skills to be an impact performer for the team at some point in 2014. He's not as polished as other lineman, so it might take him some time to adjust to NFL speed. But when he does, look out.

 

26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis): Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

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Pairing new quarterback Derek Carr with a wideout later on in the first round would be a great decision. The Browns already have Josh Gordon in the fold, but Carr needs a receiver he can grow with from day one.

Robinson totaled 1,432 yards and six touchdowns this season at Penn State. He did so on 97 catches. The kid can play.

 

27. New Orleans Saints: Louis Nix III, NT, Notre Dame

The Saints are in a rare position to draft a player that perfectly fits their defensive scheme at No. 27. Rob Ryan loves to run with the 3-4 defense, and nose tackle Louis Nix III will be right there for the taking. He's the best 3-4 nose tackle available in the first round.

 

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

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New England's defense began to show its age in 2013, and drafting an interior lineman like Ra'shede Hageman would be met with immediate positive results.

The monster of a defender stands at 6'6" and weighs 311 pounds. The Patriots already have a monster in Vince Wilfork, but they can pair him with Hageman in 2014 if they draft the right way.

 

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

The defense is already a major strength for the 49ers, but wasting an opportunity to get a corner like Jason Verrett just because that unit is a strength would be a poor decision.

TCU's Verrett deflected 14 passes and picked off two others this season for the Horned Frogs, and he quickly became a lockdown defender that quarterbacks were tentative to pass toward. He has that potential in the NFL as well.

 

30. Carolina Panthers: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

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Cam Newton developed into a top-tier quarterback this season, but he needs another wide receiver to continue getting better. Wideout Brandin Cooks from Oregon State had 128 receptions for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.

Those are video game numbers in the NFL, but Cooks has the potential to be a big-play receiver if put in the right offense. He fits with the Panthers.

 

31. Denver Broncos: Zach Martin, OG, Notre Dame

The Broncos are a team with few needs, but there's always room for improvements along the offensive line.

Martin is a strong run-blocker who will help to create holes for Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball in the future. He might not start right away at guard, but he has a future in the NFL.

 

32. Seattle Seahawks: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington

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Luke Wilson made a name for himself at tight end this season with some highlight plays, but adding another athletic tight end alongside him would make the Seahawks even more dangerous.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a freak of an athlete who will help Russell Wilson in the middle of the field when plays break down. For a quarterback that loves to scramble, having a safety net like Seferian-Jenkins is key.

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