2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated Projections for Every 1st-Round Pick

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2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated Projections for Every 1st-Round Pick
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The 2014 NFL draft is still more than three months away, but it's never too early to break down a mock draft to see where each team stands.

The stock of certain players is changing at a fast rate, and perception seems to be altered constantly, but these picks reflect how things currently stand for each team.

Here is a breakdown of every one of the 32 first-round picks.

 

1. Houston Texans: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

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A few others are making a strong case, but nobody will knock Teddy Bridgewater from his perch of being the top quarterback in this draft.

The Texans—who need a quarterback desperately to help move past the Matt Schaub era and into a new one with a talented current rosterwill be eyeing the top gunslinger with their No. 1 pick, and Bridgewater makes perfect sense.

SportsRants.com's Anthony DiMoro wrote that some teams don't see the Louisville product as a first-rounder, per NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah, but Bridgewater's persistence and desire to be the top pick illustrate just how eager he is to lead in the NFL, per the Texans' official Twitter:

Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles are making a push, but Bridgewater is still the guy. For now.

 

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

St. Louis' trade to Washington for the second overall pick in 2012 that landed the Redskins Robert Griffin III is looking better and better, as the Rams will lock up a franchise lineman with the second pick in 2014. 

Jake Matthews has been one of the nation's best offensive linemen over the past two years and likely would have gotten picked in the top 10 last year had he skipped his senior year. Instead, he came back for the 2013 season and became a consensus All-American. 

ESPN draft expert Todd McShay slotted Matthews at No. 2 to the Rams, but ESPN Rams reporter Nick Wagoner had some thoughts of his own, suggesting South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney is too good to pass up:

Clowney is attractive for any team, but the Rams won't be able to overlook Matthews at No. 2.

 

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

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Clowney is the best overall football player in this draft, and few have changed their minds on that belief even after his statistically disappointing 2013 season. 

Big needs for teams at the top of the draft will deter the South Carolina pass-rusher from getting selected first or second, but his name won't be passed up for long as the Jaguars will snag him at No. 3. Jacksonville has lacked excitement surrounding its franchise since the end of the Mark Brunell and Fred Taylor era, and Clowney will be the start of the revival process.

 

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

Cleveland's front office is crossing its collective fingers that the draft works out in this precise fashion.

The Browns need a franchise quarterback, as has been told by their fans' endless efforts and the ineptitude of any starter who rolled out onto the field in the last 10-plus seasons. Johnny Manziel is one of the most talented players in this draft, and there is very little argument against the notion that he is the most talked-about prospect in the class.

The media frenzy that will follow Johnny Football to Cleveland will be welcomed by Browns fans who haven't been the center of attention in the NFL in the past generation.

 

5. Oakland Raiders: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

The Raiders had an above-average run defense in 2013 but struggled overall and could use a long-term stud on the defensive side.

UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr will need some time before fulfilling his vast potential, but he will produce right away for Oakland. If he can stay healthy and develop into the player he's capable of becoming, the Raiders will be ecstatic to have him on their defense moving forward. 

 

6. Atlanta Falcons: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

More hype is surrounding Barr, but Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack might end up being the best defensive player in the draft when it's all said and done.

The 6'3", 247-pound stud dominated the lower competition he faced while playing for the Bulls. He can cover from sideline to sideline in the run game while also excelling in pass coverage and rushing the quarterback.

Bleacher Report's Scott Carasik has come off impressed by Mack:

The Falcons defense was porous in every category last season, and acquiring Mack will be a huge step forward.  

 

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

The Bucs have a number of areas to address with their seventh pick, but none are more glaring than the offensive line.

Getting Greg Robinson will be a huge boon. The Auburn tackle quickly became one of the top linemen in the country in 2013 by leading the Tigers to the national title game, and he will continue to build off his potential in Tampa Bay.

Lovie Smith would love to add talent to the defensive side of the ball, but with Mack and Barr off the board, Tampa will go offensive line. 

 

8. Minnesota Vikings: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

Each of the top three quarterbacks could very well be off the board, but for now, Minnesota will still snag a franchise QB at No. 8.

Blake Bortles has gone from an unheralded high school recruit to one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, putting up huge numbers and leading UCF to a BCS bowl win in 2013. His 6'4", 230-pound frame is ideal to handle the NFL rigors and to survive in the pocket.

 

9. Buffalo Bills: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

The Bills need plenty of help but won't argue with getting an anchor on the offensive line for perhaps the next decade or more in Taylor Lewan.

At 6'8" and 315 pounds, he is a quarterback protector's dream prospect. He can keep his pocket dweller upright, and he can also run downhill with a formidable run game. Buffalo will hope that adding him helps both facets. 

 

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

The Lions defense ranked 23rd against the pass in 2013 and will look to a local product to clean that up.

Darqueze Dennard hails from nearby Michigan State and also happens to be the top corner available in this draft. Detroit will be attracted to his location, but once it realizes his potential to be a future lockdown corner, it will take him at No. 10.

 

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

Every draft has that Alabama linebacker who can lead the defense and play with smart fundamentals as well as a scary physical presence. C.J. Mosley is this year's version. 

The Titans defense took strides in 2013 but still needs help in the middle of the field. Mosley will be able to settle in alongside young budding stars like Zach Brown and Moise Fokou to make Tennessee's defense relevant again. 

 

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

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I originally had the Giants taking Louis Nix III—the draft's top defensive lineman. But the needs are so glaring on the offensive line that New York won't be able to avoid getting help there.

Kouandjio boasts great size for an NFL offensive lineman at 6'6" and 310 pounds, and he is quick on his feet to adapt to the fastest of pass-rushers. He will develop into a Pro Bowl player year after year and help shore up a woeful Giants O-line.

 

13. St. Louis Rams: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

The Rams will have one of the best first rounds of any team in recent memory by landing both Jake Matthews and Sammy Watkins.

The Clemson wideout is the scariest perimeter player in this year's draft class, possessing the speed to make an immediate impact as well as the intangibles to become one of the NFL's best receivers. St. Louis needs explosive players, and Watkins will be a huge boost in that department.

 

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

There are many formidable secondary players in this year's class, but Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is right up near the top.

The 6'1", 208-pound product plays smart football and makes plays to protect the back of the field while also making his presence felt in the run game. Clinton-Dix has to be accounted for at all times, and he will fit right into a Bears defense that is looking to find its identity. 

 

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame

The Steelers finished in the bottom half of the league in run defense last season, largely due to big holes on the defensive line.

Louis Nix III would start to dispel those worries in Pittsburgh. The huge defensive tackle out of Notre Dame is the top player at his position in this year's draft. He boasts the size to clog up the trenches and also the burst to get into the backfield.

 

16. Baltimore Ravens: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

Fresh off a heroic performance in the BCS National Championship Game, Kelvin Benjamin will enjoy a first-round selection when the Ravens come knocking.

Baltimore is awfully thin at receiver outside of Torrey Smith, and adding Benjamin would allow Joe Flacco to have a deep-ball threat and also a large target to look for in the middle of the field. 

 

17. Dallas Cowboys: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

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Dallas only sacked the quarterback 34 times in 2013, and to fix that, it will look to the green pastures of the SEC.

Kony Ealy was the most feared pass-rusher in the conference last season, wreaking havoc on each of Missouri's opponents and some of the nation's best offensive linemen. There is little doubt that his stellar play will translate to the next level, and that would be a welcome addition to the Cowboys defense.

 

18. New York Jets: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

The Jets have shown little-to-no interest in improving the wide receiver position, but they won't be able to deny doing so in 2014.

Marqise Lee is one of the most valuable receivers to come out of college in the past few years, and although he has slipped in stock behind a few wideouts in this class, he will still become a star.

New York will pair him up alongside Geno Smith and hold its breath.

 

19. Miami Dolphins: Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee

Antonio Richardson was quietly one of the nation's best linemen in the past two seasons, and he will sneak into the first round when Miami takes him off the board.

With Matthews, Robinson, Lewan and Kouandjio already off the board, Richardson is the next best prospect and looks to be a long-term answer at tackle for whoever is lucky enough to land him. The Dolphins need consistency up front on offense, and Richardson will step in and immediately provide stability. 

 

20. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

The Cardinals improved their pass game with the inclusion of Carson Palmer, but adding a formidable tight end target would take it to the next level.

North Carolina's Eric Ebron gashed ACC defenses in his time with the Tar Heels, and he looks to be a solid addition to an Arizona offense that is poised for more success in 2014. 

 

21. Green Bay Packers: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State

It was impossible not to see Timmy Jernigan's impact on Florida State when watching the Seminoles in 2013. He pushes the line backward on nearly every play.

Green Bay could use some of that, as the Packers struggled on defense in 2013. There are more questions than answers on defense for the Packers, but answering one of those in the trenches will be welcomed in Green Bay. 

 

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

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Philadelphia boasted one of the league's worst secondaries in 2013, so it's clear that the Eagles will look to boost that aspect in the first round.

Calvin Pryor looks like a good fit. He's a cerebral player who is always in the right spot, which Philly will enjoy, given the fact that every Eagles secondary player looked lost in 2013. 

 

23. Kansas City Chiefs: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

Despite making it to the playoffs, the Chiefs had an invisible passing game that struggled to find consistency and had few playmakers not named Dwayne Bowe.

To help with that, Kansas City will add Penn State wideout Allen Robinson. The 6'3", 209-pound prospect will develop into one of the better wide receivers in this class, as he boasts the skill set and body to compete at the next level.  

 

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State

Cincinnati already boasts a formidable defense that made plenty of strides in 2013, but adding a future star at linebacker won't hurt.

Ryan Shazier dominated opposing backfields at Ohio State, and his ability to get to the passer will be welcomed in Cincy as the Bengals look to get back to the playoffs again. 

 

25. San Diego Chargers: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Justin Gilbert may end up jumping some of his fellow secondary players in this draft, but the Chargers will be ecstatic to land him at No. 25.

The Oklahoma State standout excels at making the big play, nabbing plenty of interceptions and tipping deep balls.

San Diego improved a lot in 2013, but it wasn't really on defense, so the Chargers will be happy to add some defensive help. 

 

26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis): Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU

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By trading Trent Richardson, the Browns got a second first-round pick in 2014 and will use it to bolster the defensive side.

Kyle Van Noy made it as a third-team All-American in 2012 and 2013 at BYU, slowly emerging as one of the nation's best linebackers. Cleveland already has some studs at the position, but Van Noy should be able to earn his way into a starting spot. 

 

27. New Orleans Saints: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

The Saints made it back to the playoffs in 2013 thanks to a typical season from Drew Brees, but their defense surprised by having a solid year. Jason Verrett will help it to continue ascending. 

He is one of the top defensive backs in this class and shut down opposing wideouts in Big 12 play at TCU. He's no stranger to facing top competition and will use that mentality to produce in the NFL immediately. 

 

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

Other than Steve Smith, Carolina is short-handed at the playmaker position. In order to take the next step and go from a playoff team to a Super Bowl team, the Panthers will need speed on the perimeter. 

That's where Brandin Cooks steps in. The Oregon State standout is one of the fastest players in college football—a title that he might take into the NFL, as his speed is right up there with the best of them. 

 

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

It goes without saying that the Patriots need some help at tight end. 

Jace Amaro could help New England survive without Rob Gronkowski, who tore his ACL in 2013 and may not be ready for the start of next season. Out of Texas Tech, Amaro has put up big numbers against noticeable defenses and boasts the overall skill set of a tight end that general managers look for. 

  

30. San Francisco 49ers: Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida

The 49ers had one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2013 but could use some more bodies in the secondary with a number of key free agents at the position.

Out of Florida, Marcus Roberson is one of the top defensive backs in the country and stepped up to the task of covering the SEC's best receivers over the past few seasons. He won't have to play much out of the gates and can instead slowly develop into a starter in San Francisco.

 

31. Denver Broncos: Stephon Tuitt, DT, Notre Dame

The Broncos need to be more physical if they want to compete with the Seattles of the world like they couldn't in Super Bowl XLVIII. That starts up front.

Stephon Tuitt would be a good start. The Notre Dame defensive tackle can push the line backward on any given play and get into opposing offensive lines. 

 

32. Seattle Seahawks: Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA

It's hard to find a position where Seattle is truly struggling, but it could use some depth on the offensive line, where one or two injuries can decimate the season.

Xavier Su'a-Filo out of UCLA is a solid option for the Seahawks to add a young player who is full of potential to the line. 

 

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

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