2014 NFL Mock Draft: Current Forecast for Every First-Round Team

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IFebruary 6, 2014

Now the Houston Texans are really on the clock. 

Technically, Bill O'Brien's new team has had the No. 1 overall pick since the end of the regular season, but with the Seattle Seahawks wrapping up the Super Bowl in decisive fashion, we can now fully turn our attention to the NFL draft. 

Of course, free agency will play a major role in how teams eventually prepare for the draft, but let's take a look at the current first-round outlook with the Lombardi Trophy now safely in Seattle. 


1. Houston Texans: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

Pairing J.J. Watt with Jadeveon Clowney is undeniably a tantalizing thought (and a downright terrifying one for guys like Andrew Luck, Jake Locker and whoever the Jacksonville Jaguars end up starting under center), but it's hard to imagine the Texans passing on a quarterback here. 

Matt Schaub isn't welcome in Houston anymore, Case Keenum isn't exactly the answer for the future and T.J. Yates is T.J. Yates. 

With the buzz around Teddy Bridgewater cooling considerably over the past month, this pick likely comes down to Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles. 

Manziel has perhaps the most intriguing skill set, but he also presents more of a risk, and that will force the Texans to go with Bortles, who is more of a prototypical signal-caller with size, accuracy and a strong arm. 


2. St. Louis Rams (via Washington): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

There's not nearly as much debate here. 

While Sam Bradford hasn't quite been the ideal poster boy for No. 1 overall selections, the St. Louis Rams aren't ready to give up on him just yet. Clowney is probably out of the discussion, too, since there's not a dire need for a pass-rusher with Robert Quinn and Chris Long in town. 

Although trading this pick and stockpiling assets is also a route for the 7-9 Rams, who have two first-round selections, Greg Robinson, a stud tackle who can give Bradford more time to operate in the pocket, is the choice for now. 


3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

A quarterback here may seem like a no-brainer. Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne aren't going to be saving this franchise anytime soon, and there aren't a lot of encouraging names on the potential free agent market. 

But according to ESPN's Michael DiRocco, the Jags aren't sold on this year's crop of quarterbacks. 

Throw in the facts that head coach Gus Bradley—former Seahawks defensive coordinator—knows the importance of building a dominant defense, as well as Clowney being the most talented and gifted player in the draft. The Jags may surprise some people. 


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

Johnny Football. 

The former Texas A&M superstar is one of the most polarizing prospects in this draft. Many are turned off by his intangibles and questionable off-the-field decision-making, but his athleticism, elusiveness in the pocket and ability to make some gaudy throws on the run make his ceiling sky-high. 

And as NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah pointed out, Super Bowl winner Russell Wilson, who has similar attributes on the field, certainly didn't hurt Mr. Football's stock:

Cleveland, which has talent all over the field but needs a signal-caller, won't let Manziel slip any farther. 


5. Oakland Raiders: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville 

The Oakland Raiders didn't show a ton of confidence in Terrelle Pryor this year, and while Matt McGloin showed he can be serviceable, he's more of a backup.

Should the Jaguars or Rams take a quarterback, Reggie McKenzie and Co. may opt to go a different route. But Bridgewater is a potential No. 1 selection with the propensity to make some unbelievable plays and throws. Like this one:

If he's available, the Raiders won't let him continue to slide. 


6. Atlanta Falcons: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

According to TeamRankings.com, the Atlanta Falcons finished 31st in opponents' yards per rush and 24th in sack percentage.

Although the offensive line could use some bolstering—and it's often more likely to see a team spend a pick this high on an offensive tackle—the need for some playmakers in the front seven is clear. 

Coming out of Buffalo, Khalil Mack doesn't generate as much hype as Anthony Barr, but Bleacher Report's Ryan Riddle put it simply:

Throw in his versatility to play in either a 4-3 or 3-4, and he's a game-changer on defense. 


7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Tampa Bay could go a number of different ways here, but Watkins is the type of playmaker who will likely only gain steam as the draft approaches. 

With his electrifying ability to hurt teams in a number of ways, the former Clemson star makes a lot of sense for the Bucs, who would be stoked about giving Mike Glennon another dominant weapon to play with. 


8. Minnesota Vikings: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

If one of the top four quarterbacks are still around at this point, the Minnesota Vikings are going to have a really difficult time passing on a QB—no matter which of the four it is. 

Not everyone is sold on Derek Carr. As Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke noted, the former Fresno State QB "has issues with his mechanics to work out and played in a very QB-friendly offense."

Nevertheless, with his size, athleticism and arm strength, the physical tools are there. He won't drop any farther than this. 


9. Buffalo Bills: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

The Buffalo Bills are set at left tackle with Cordy Glenn. However, after giving up 48 sacks (fourth-worst in the NFL), improving the offensive line is never a bad idea—especially with a burgeoning young quarterback who must be protected. 

Jake Matthews, who has considerable experience at right tackle, is the perfect fit to replace Erik Pears. 


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

New head coach Jim Caldwell is an offensive guy, meaning the Detroit Lions could certainly go wide receiver, where they are still in search of a legitimate No. 2 across from Calvin Johnson. 

This pick will depend on what the Lions do in free agency, but for now, let's plan on them improving a secondary that gave up 7.3 yards per throw last season. 

Darqueze Dennard is the best shutdown corner in the draft. According to Rotoworld's Greg Peshek, Dennard was targeted every 5.73 snaps last season but allowed a completion on just 27.45 percent of targets, which is tremendous. 


11. Tennessee Titans: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

The future of Alterraun Verner and Bernard Pollard—both soon-to-be free agentscould redirect this pick to the secondary, but the Titans are going to have a hard time passing on Anthony Barr. 

Tennessee finished the season with just 36 sacks, and Barr is an explosive playmaker capable of improving the pass rush instantly.


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

The New York Giants' offensive line is a mess. 

Eli Manning made a living under extreme duress, and the running game (a putrid 3.5 yards per carry) didn't fare much better. New York is likely going to blow things up in the trenches, and Taylor Lewan—a safe, consistent option—is a good way to help rebuild.  


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

After grabbing an offensive tackle to help protect Bradford, this would be a nice place for the Rams to add another weapon for the polarizing QB to throw to. 

Tavon Austin is one of the most galvanizing players in the league, but he's a slot guy and St. Louis still needs a true No. 1. 

Look no further than Mike Evans, who has the size (6'5", 225 pounds) and talent to give cornerbacks nightmares on the outside. 


14. Chicago Bears: Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, S, Alabama

After a year in which they gave up a whopping 394.6 yards per game (30th in the NFL), the Chicago Bears undeniably need help on defense, whether it be at defensive line, linebacker or in the secondary. 

From cornerback Justin Gilbert to linebacker C.J. Mosley to defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, there are a slew of options here for Phil Emery. 

But with Major Wright hitting free agency and Chris Conte playing horrendously in 2013, don't be surprised if the Bears select a safety. 

For now, Ha-Ha Clinton Dix is the top choice at the position. 


15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State

The Pittsburgh Steelers may go with an offensive lineman here, but there is also a need to add a difference-maker on the interior of the defensive line. 

Picking out the best defensive tackle in this class will depend on who you ask, but I'm betting Timmy Jernigan is the first to hear his name called. He was one of the most dominant players during the national championship, and although there are questions about his consistency and conditioning, his ability to disrupt on the interior is impressive.  


16. Baltimore Ravens: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Marlon Brown showed a lot of potential during his rookie season, but an ideal offense would feature him as a No. 3 option with Torrey Smith and someone else on the outside. 

Marqise Lee's size (6'0", 195 pounds) isn't overwhelming, but he's a game-breaker who has tremendous athleticism, runs solid routes and is a serious threat after the catch. 


17. Dallas Cowboys: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame

The Dallas Cowboys' defense was a dumpster fire in 2013, and a good way to fix that is to find players capable of creating penetration and disruption in the middle. 

Currently the 'Boys defensive tackles are far from formidable. Jason Hatcher is an upcoming free agent, and the depth after him is questionable at best. 

Louis Nix III, a 340-pound behemoth with agility and versatility across the line, could help solve that problem. 


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

No matter the position, the New York Jets need playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. 

With Watkins, Evans and Lee already off the board, look for John Idzik and Co. to target a tight end. No. 18 might feel early for a tight end, but this draft is loaded with potential stars at the position, and Ebron is at the head of the class. 

Built in the mold of the new-breed tight ends, Ebron has size (6'4", 245 pounds) and loads of talent as a receiver. In fact, the Jets will be lucky to see him drop this far. 


19. Miami Dolphins: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

Ryan Tannehill has plenty of talent, but he's not going to last very long if he continues to play behind an offensive line that allows him to be sacked an absurd 58 times in a season.

Maybe it was all that time they spent texting.

Either way, offensive tackle has to be a target for the Dolphins here, and Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio is the top guy on the board. 


20. Arizona Cardinals: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame

In case you were wondering, Carson Palmer isn't the most mobile quarterback in the league. And with a dominant defense, the Cardinals are in line for major 2014 success if Palmer can stay healthy. 

They could potentially go after Branden Albert in free agency to help protect the veteran QB, but if not, addressing it during the draft will be important. 

Martin is the top remaining tackle, but he also has versatility to play across the line. 


21. Green Bay Packers: RaShede Hageman, DT, Minnesota

The potential of inserting a tight end like Jace Amaro into this offense is incredibly compelling. But the Packers would be remiss if they ignored their defense here, especially with B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett potentially hitting free agency. 

The best remaining defensive tackle is RaShede Hageman, who has the talent and physical tools to be a dominant force up front. 


22. Philadelphia Eagles: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

According to ESPN's Mel Kiper, Calvin Pryor isn't far behind Clinton Dix on the safety big board. In fact, some teams reportedly rate the Louisville stud as the better prospect:

Should he drop this far, the Philadelphia Eagles won't hesitate to snatch him up. They need defensive help at all three levels, but safety may be the biggest need. 


23. Kansas City Chiefs: Odell Beckham, WR, LSU

Several offensive linemen are headed for free agency, but with the run on tackles earlier, the Kansas City Chiefs may elect to go a different direction instead of reaching too far. 

Andy Reid's squad led the NFL with eight Pro Bowlers, and while that may not be the biggest testament to how good a team is overall, it speaks to Kansas City's talent level. Still, the wide receiving corps is underwhelming. 

Odell Beckham, who averaged an absurd 19.5 yards per catch with LSU this season, is the choice here. 


24. Cincinnati Bengals: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Leon Hall is coming back from a serious Achilles tendon injury, Terence Newman isn't getting any younger and Dre Kirkpatrick hasn't lived up to the hype. 

The Bengals would be wise to go after a cornerback here, and Justin Gilbert has been garnering some serious praise as of late. From NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah and Bleacher Report's Matt Miller:

Gilbert may not drop this far, but if he does, expect the Bengals to make the quick selection. 


25. San Diego Chargers: Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor

The Chargers are in need of some help on the interior, as Chad Rinehart's contract is up and Jeromey Clary has been inconsistent. 

Guards aren't typical first-round picks, but this would be a beneficial selection for the Chargers. 


26. Cleveland Browns (via Indianapolis): Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

After grabbing Manziel with the first pick, it wouldn't be a terrible idea for the Browns to add another receiver opposite the dynamic Josh Gordon. 

Although Kelvin Benjamin is a bit raw and still inconsistent, he has an incredibly large frame, and his upside will be difficult to pass up here. 


27. New Orleans Saints: Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida

Keenan Lewis proved to be a tremendous cornerback last season, but the Saints could still use some depth at the position. 

Marcus Roberson, who has blazing speed and is very good in coverage, could help move New Orleans' pass defense from good to great. 


28. Carolina Panthers: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech

Yes, the Panthers have Greg Olsen, who led the team in receptions, targets (tied with Steve Smith) and receiving yards last season. 

But Cam Newton needs more weapons in the passing game, and Amaro, who can line up as a second tight end or in the slot as a big, dangerous receiver, is simply too talented to pass up if he falls this far.


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

That sound you hear is Bill Belichick screaming after Amaro was selected just one pick in front of him. 

Nevertheless, while the Pats would love to grab a tight end here, they also have a need at defensive tackle, where it's unknown if Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly will be able to make a considerable impact again. 

Stephon Tuitt is capable of clogging holes on the interior, and he is also a very good pass-rusher. 


30. San Francisco 49ers: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

Anquan Boldin and Mario Manningham will be hitting free agency, leaving Michael Crabtree and Quinton Patton as the lone members of the wide receiver corps. Vernon Davis helps, but Colin Kaepernick needs more weapons in the passing game. 

Jordan Matthews is a polished product capable of contributing right away for the 'Niners. 


31. Denver Broncos: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

With Wesley Woodyard and Paris Lenon hitting free agency, the Broncos are going to need some depth at linebacker. 

They have two extremely solid pieces in Danny Trevathan and Von Miller, but Ryan Shazier has the versatility to fit on the inside or the outside—wherever Denver may need him. 


32. Seattle Seahawks: Dee Ford, DE, Auburn

Whether it be at right tackle or on the interior, the Seahawks' biggest area of necessary improvement is on the offensive line. 

But John Schneider and Co. have proven they know how to find steals in the later rounds, so don't expect them to reach for an O-lineman if there isn't one available that they like. 

Instead, don't be surprised if they nab another pass-rusher. Not only does Dan Quinn love rotating guys in and out at the position, but the future of Michael Bennett and Chris Clemons is up in the air. 

Ford was tremendous in the national championship, and would be another scary fit in this historically good defense. 




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