2014 NFL Mock Draft: Best Possible Moves for Every First-Round Pick

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2014

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 01:  Jadeveon Clowney #7 of the South Carolina Gamecocks in action during their game against the Wisconsin Badgers at the Capital One Bowl on January 1, 2014 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Now that the 2014 Super Bowl is over—the Seattle Seahawks destroyed the Denver Broncos, 43-8—the focus across the NFL has shifted to the draft and which prospect each team will take in the first round.

Now that the season is officially complete, the frenzy over the NFL draft is officially underway.

With the event pushed back to May 8-10 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, there will be even more time to break down the potential draft scenarios.

Here are the best moves for each team selecting in the first round.


1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

The Houston Texans are open to the idea of trading the No. 1 overall pick, but whether the team picks here or deals the selection, the best prospect in the 2014 draft is South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. With as much raw ability as anyone in this class, Clowney’s upside is undeniable.


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

The St. Louis Rams pick at No. 2 after the trade with the Redskins that eventually landed Washington Robert Griffin III. The move will once again pay off for St. Louis as the franchise will secure its offensive line by selecting star Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews.


3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been desperately searching for a player to build their franchise around. When Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is available at No. 3 overall, the Jaguars will find the future of its organization.


4. Cleveland Browns: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

If Manziel is selected by Jacksonville at No. 3 and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater falls to the Cleveland Browns at No. 4, this will be the ideal fit for the rebuilding franchise.


5. Oakland Raiders: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins is the most talented wide receiver in this class and arguably the biggest difference maker left on the board at No. 5. The Oakland Raiders will not be able to pass on Watkins’ versatility and playmaking ability, despite the lack of consistency at quarterback.


6. Atlanta Falcons: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

After yet another lackluster season of getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, the Atlanta Falcons must address the lack of a pass rush by selecting UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr early in the first round.


7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

With a young quarterback that showed signs of a promising future, a running back that can keep drives alive and solid group of wide receivers, the need for a consistent offensive line is a top priority. Auburn tackle Greg Robinson is the correct fit.


8. Minnesota Vikings: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

The Minnesota Vikings currently have three quarterbacks on the roster that were starters for the team at some point last season. With none of these players deserving the right to start in 2014, the franchise must take the educated risk and select Central Florida’s Blake Bortles.


9. Buffalo Bills: Khalil Mack, DE, Buffalo

Buffalo defensive end Khalil Mack is one of the best pass-rushers in the 2014 class, but with his ability to step up against the run as well, the Buffalo Bills will determine that he is the perfect addition to the franchise.


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

The defensive front seven for the Detroit Lions is one of the most dangerous in the NFL, but the franchise lacks depth and skill at the defensive back positions. That’s where an elite cornerback like Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard fits the team’s needs.


11. Tennessee Titans: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama

The Tennessee Titans are looking for an identity on defense. By selecting Alabama inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, the Titans not only get a great run stopper, but also add the kind of on-field leader that will set the tone with his hard hitting and relentless work ethic.


12. New York Giants: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Quarterback Eli Manning has proven with two Super Bowl rings that he is one of the best in the league when given time in the pocket, but the New York Giants could not protect him last season. Addressing the offensive line with Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan would be the best case scenario for New York.


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

After addressing the offensive line at No. 2—or trading the pick away to further stockpile selections—the St. Louis Rams will address the serious need for wide receivers by drafting Texas A&M pass catcher Mike Evans.


14. Chicago Bears: Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame

The Chicago Bears could not stop the run in 2013. The franchise will address its biggest need by selecting Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix and immediately plugging him into the starting lineup.


15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama

The offensive line in Pittsburgh needs serious attention, but with an aging secondary, the Steelers should hop on hard-hitting Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix if he is still available at No. 15.


16. Baltimore Ravens: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

After watching the lack of depth at tight end doom the Baltimore Ravens' chances of defending the team’s Super Bowl victory, the need for a talented player like North Carolina’s Eric Ebron that can be a difference-maker in the pass attack is a no-brainer.


17. Dallas Cowboys: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

The Dallas Cowboys have several issues to address in this year’s draft, but adding another tackle to complement Tyron Smith like Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio would make the once weak offensive line one of the team’s biggest strengths.


18. New York Jets: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech

If the New York Jets want quarterback Geno Smith to succeed in the NFL, the franchise must begin supplying him with reliable pass-catching targets. The perfect start to the renaissance will be Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro.


19. Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame

The need for offensive line help is obvious for the Miami Dolphins. Whether it’s Notre Dame’s offensive tackle Zack Martin or another lineman, Miami must address the tackle and guard positions.


20. Arizona Cardinals: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Despite having major issues along the offensive line, the Arizona Cardinals will not be able to pass on a talented wide receiver like Marqise Lee. With another weapon added to the arsenal, veteran Carson Palmer would have plenty of opportunities to make big plays.


21. Green Bay Packers: Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville

The Green Bay Packers were burnt by big plays far too often in 2013, and the franchise must address the issues at safety first and foremost. With Louisville’s Calvin Pryor available at No. 21, the Packers will get help against the run and the pass.


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

Philadelphia’s biggest weakness last season was the lack of elite talent at cornerback. After giving up huge plays on a regular basis, Oklahoma State defensive back Justin Gilbert is the perfect remedy for the team’s most glaring need.


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

With Jamaal Charles in the backfield and Dwayne Bowe likely playing for a job this season in Andy Reid’s offense, the Kansas City Chiefs will kill two birds with one stone by drafting Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. The move would add depth to the roster and put pressure on Bowe to perform at an elite level.


24. Cincinnati Bengals: Odell Beckham, WR, LSU

There is no question that A.J. Green is one of the best wide receivers in the league but with the need for an elite complement, the Cincinnati Bengals must snag LSU star Odell Beckham as the perfect No. 2 threat.


25. San Diego Chargers: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

With a strong core of talented players, the San Diego Chargers proved this year that the franchise is moving in the right direction. The biggest need this offseason is in the secondary, and the best cornerback available at No. 25 will be TCU’s Jason Verrett. This is an ideal scenario for all parties involved.


26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis Colts): Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

After addressing the need for a quarterback earlier in the draft, the Cleveland Browns will select Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy with the pick acquired for running back Trent Richardson and secure its defensive line.


27. New Orleans Saints: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State

The New Orleans Saints need an elite pass-rusher. When Ohio State outside linebacker Ryan Shazier slips to the franchise at the tail end of the first round, the team will have the long-term prospect that could blossom into an elite player at the NFL level.


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

Despite a tremendous season in all facets of the game, the Carolina Panthers’ biggest offseason need is at wide receiver. If Penn State’s Allen Robinson slips to No. 28 overall, Carolina will have the perfect addition to the roster.


29. New England Patriots: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

The New England Patriots failed to stop the run consistently last season, and adding a versatile defensive end like Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt that can shut down the run while still getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks is a smart decision.


30. San Francisco 49ers: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

The San Francisco 49ers need serious help at the wide receiver position, and the franchise should take the educated risk with unheralded prospect Brandin Cooks. The lack of pressure to perform immediately will give Cooks a chance to learn on the job.


31. Denver Broncos: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

The biggest needs for the Denver Broncos come on the defensive side of the ball. Whether it’s a cornerback, defensive tackle or another position, John Fox and the Broncos will take the best player available at a position of need. That will be Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald.


32. Seattle Seahawks: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia

The Seattle Seahawks proved the team needs little help after winning the Super Bowl in dominant fashion, but there is a need for more talent and discipline on the offensive line. A player like Virginia tackle Morgan Moses would be a smart selection.


*All stats and info via NFL.com.


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