2014 NFL Mock Draft: Full Analysis of Entire 1st Round

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2014

South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney warms up before the start of an NCAA college football game against Florida Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/ Richard Shiro)
RICHARD SHIRO/Associated Press

Can you feel it? That little buzz of anticipation in the pit of your stomach? That excitement that is gradually growing as the NFL Scouting Combine approaches?

Yup, you've got draft fever too.

It's a common condition at this time of the year, as people are most vulnerable to catching draft fever a few weeks after the NFL season ends. It's withdrawal, folks, and we all go through it.

Luckily, a healthy dose of scouting videos on YouTube and mock drafts here on Bleacher Report are the perfect treatment plan. You're going to be dealing with draft fever until, you know, the actual draft, so make sure you get your treatments in!

1. Houston Texans: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel will continue to be popular picks for the Houston Texans—ditto for Jadeveon Clowney—but I continue to believe Bridgewater will be the guy. He's so smart, so polished and seems a natural fit for Bill O'Brien's offense, making him a plug-and-play starter on a Houston Texans team that has a roster in place to make a run at the postseason again with a steady quarterback.

Bridgewater doesn't have any one elite skill, but he also doesn't have any glaring weaknesses. Bortles and Manziel remain fairly unknown quantities—Bortles remains an unfinished product, while it's hard to evaluate how Manziel's game will translate to the NFL—but in Bridgewater, you know what you get.

And for that reason, I continue to believe he'll be the Texans' pick.

2. Cleveland Browns (from St. Louis via Washington): Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

At this point, who knows what the Cleveland Browns will do or who their general manager or head coach will even be in a few months. This team seems a bad practice or two from being completely blown up again by owner Jimmy Haslam.

Okay, okay, so I'm exaggerating a bit, but the truth is, it's nearly impossible to know what Cleveland is thinking with all of the upheaval. So, for now, I'll continue to project that the team will use its two first-round picks to trade up to No. 2 with the St. Louis Rams and add Manziel.

The Browns need a "face of the franchise" type player, and Manziel certainly has the potential to be that guy. And for what it's worth, he's ready for that challenge if Cleveland happens to select him, as he told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle:

If something happens, and it's the Cleveland Browns, I'm going to pour my heart out for the Dawg Pound and try to win a Super Bowl for Cleveland. I don't care if they've had 20 starting quarterbacks since 1999. I'm going to be the 21st and the guy that brought them the Super Bowl.

He's certainly saying the right things.

And his selection would invigorate a beatdown fanbase, and he would have weapons to work with in Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. If the Browns want him, they might have to trade ahead of Jacksonville to get him, so I'll continue to project this trade and selection.

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

I think the Jags will have a really tough time passing up Jadeveon Clowney here. Yes, the team desperately needs a quarterback, but adding a dynamic pass-rusher is almost as big a need, and Clowney is simply the top talent available at this spot. 

Besides, the Jags could always sign a stopgap at quarterback like Michael Vick and draft a player in the second round this year. They'll certainly have options at No. 3, but if the draft develops in this manner, I think Clowney will be the guy.

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

I'm convinced the Rams will move the No. 2 pick. Too many teams have quarterback needs, while the Rams can move down and still nab a player like Jake Matthews to bolster the tackle position. Plus, you have to think that the thought of having three first-round picks would make the team salivate.

After the combine, this pick could easily Auburn's Greg Robinson, but for now I have Matthews rated slightly higher on my board. I'd be shocked if St. Louis stands pat at No. 2.

5. Oakland Raiders: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

You never quite know what the Oakland Raiders will do, but the quarterback position is such a glaring need that you have to think they would snatch up Bortles if he fell to them here. Bortles certainly has the look of the prototypical quarterback, with the size and athleticism teams covet. He doesn't have elite arm strength, however, and he certainly doesn't come into the NFL a finished product.

But he's almost certainly going to be a top-15 pick, and it would be surprising if he fell past Oakland. The Raiders have to address the quarterback position.

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

This could also be Anthony Barr, but it should be a pass-rusher, as Atlanta managed just 32 sacks last season, tied for 29th in the NFL. Khalil Mack is a stud coming off the edge and would fit Atlanta's system nicely.

It wouldn't be shocking to see the Falcons deal this pick to a team trying to move up to nab a quarterback or a player like Sammy Watkins either. After last year's utter disaster, stockpiling picks would make sense.

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

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers find themselves in a position where need and value won't quite line up, and so they'll either have to move this pick, reach a little to fill a need or simply take the best player on their board.

I think they'll do the latter, because Watkins is so dynamic, he'll really make the Bucs scary next season. Giving Mike Glennon a full complement in weapons with Watkins, Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, Mike Williams and Timothy Wright will certainly help along the young quarterback's development.

And Watkins would be a nice fit alongside vertical-threat Jackson, as he is very dangerous making plays after the catch. Wide receiver isn't a huge need, but few folks in Tampa Bay would be disappointed with this pick.

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

Some folks might think this is a reach here, but that's never stopped the Minnesota Vikings before (cough, cough, Christian Ponder, cough). The Vikings could wait until the later rounds to select a quarterback, but why risk it?

Derek Carr is not his brother, David, and has the talent to make an impact in the NFL. Heck, in Minnesota he might be the Day 1 starter. I don't think the Vikings can afford to pass on him.

9. Buffalo Bills: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Greg Robinson truly is a steal here, and solidifying the right tackle position would be a smart move for a team with a young quarterback to protect in EJ Manuel. Plus, the Bills are still built around running the ball with C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson (or at least they should be), so improving the offensive line makes sense.

The team could also go with a wide receiver here, but I think Robinson is too good to pass up.

10. Detroit Lions: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

With Calvin Johnson and Mike Evans paired together, Matt Stafford may never throw a pass under 15 yards again. 

Yes, corner is the bigger need, but I think Evans is the better value here. Plus, the Lions desperately need to add a quality receiver to pair with Megatron. Evans would make teams hesitant to consistently roll coverage over to Johnson, while giving Stafford a go-to receiver should Megatron miss any time to injury. 

This would be a very, very scary offense with Evans on board.

11. Tennessee Titans: Anthony Barr, OLB/DE, UCLA

With the Tennessee Titans transitioning into a hybrid 3-4 scheme, adding an athletic, dynamic edge-rusher like Anthony Barr should be a priority. If Barr drops this far, the Titans should snag him without giving it a second thought. 


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

The Giants have plenty of needs, but protecting Eli Manning should be top priority. Lewan is a nice value here and may have been a top-10 selection had he come out a year ago, so the Giants will be quite pleased to see him available at No. 12.

13. St. Louis Rams: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

You could argue there isn't a bigger need for the Rams than upgrading at safety, so the fact that the best player at the position might be available for them at No. 13 would be pretty exciting for this team.

14. Chicago Bears: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State

Running the ball last year was like taking candy from a baby. Actually, it might have been easier. Though, honestly, what kind of terrible parent gives candy to a baby?

Moving along.

Timmy Jernigan is the best defensive tackle available in this draft, and he would dramatically improve a run defense that was nothing short of atrocious a year ago. Of course, the Bears could also look to upgrade at safety in this spot, though if Clinton-Dix goes off the board before they pick, Jernigan is the best value here.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State   

The Steelers have solid yet diminutive receivers in Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders (though he could walk in free agency) and Markus Wheaton, but the team could really use a big, athletic wide receiver to go up and get the ball in the red zone. Benjamin is a project, yes, but he has huge upside and would add a new element to this passing game.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Marqise Lee, WR, USC 

Torrey Smith has developed into a nice No. 1 option and is excellent at stretching a defense—and Marlon Brown was a solid red-zone threat as a rookie—but the Ravens still need to upgrade at receiver. Marqise Lee could step in and be the No. 2 receiver from day one, flashing a full route tree, the ability to run crisp patterns and the athleticism to break free after the catch or get downfield. 

He's a great fit for the Ravens.

17. Dallas Cowboys: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota 

The Cowboys really need to bolster the defensive line and can afford to take the best player available at either end or defensive tackle. On my board, that's Hageman, though it could just as easily be Louis Nix III or Kony Ealy.

Or, knowing the Cowboys, it could be a player completely out of left field. Because Jerry Jones.

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

There isn't a team in the NFL that needs playmakers in the passing game more than the Jets. It's pretty hard to judge Geno Smith too harshly as of yet, given the putrid options he had to throw to this season. Eric Ebron would give him a go-to option at tight end and would give this Jets team a player capable of splitting out wide or lining up on the line (though his blocking is still a work in progress).

He's a matchup nightmare waiting to happen, something this Jets team most certainly didn't have in 2013.

19. Miami Dolphins: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

It seems pretty safe to predict that the Dolphins will have a completely revamped offensive line in 2014. Cyrus Kouandjio is a nice pick to begin the rebuilding process in the trenches. 

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

The Cardinals will be a bit annoyed to see Kouandjio go a pick before they select, as offensive tackle is the team's top need. Zack Martin may be considered a slight reach here, but adding a player to protect Carson Palmer should be the top priority.

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

Strong safety is a big need for this club, and Pryor can certainly bring the pain. In fact, he may not last this long in the draft, as it's possible he could be the first safety off the board. He's a great athlete and could be a valuable asset for a Packers defense that has really taken some big steps back in recent years. 

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

The Eagles would likely love to see either Clinton-Dix or Pryor fall to them in the draft, as upgrading at safety is a huge need (though it's very possible they could address the position in free agency). But if Justin Gilbert somehow falls to them at No. 22, you have to think they'd be quite pleased to snag him. 

Yes, improving the secondary is this team's top priority. Chip Kelly's offense was excellent in 2013, but this team simply couldn't stop opposing passing attacks. Adding Gilbert would certainly help. 

23. Kansas City Chiefs: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State 

Wide receiver is arguably the bigger need, but with the top four players at the position off the board and a quality corner like Darqueze Dennard available, the Chiefs will address the defense. Dennard isn't the most athletic player at the position, but he's experienced and can lock down an opposing receiver in press coverage, so he's a nice value here.

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida

This is the worst-case scenario for the Bengals, as corner is a glaring need, and, at least in this mock, the top two options just went off the board.

Leon Hall has had trouble staying on the field, while Terence Newman and Pacman Jones were decent enough but only have so much left in the tank. In a division with receivers such as Josh Gordon, Torrey Smith and Antonio Brown, having solid corners is a must. Luckily, there is pretty solid depth in the first round at the position, and landing Marcus Roberson is certainly a solid consolation prize.

25. San Diego Chargers: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame 

The offense was excellent for the Chargers a season ago, but the defense could use some work. Nose tackle is a big need, and Louis Nix III is the best player in that role in this year's draft. Nix is a talented player and could end up going much, much higher than this, but if he's available he makes a ton of sense for San Diego.

26. St. Louis Rams (from Cleveland via Indianapolis): C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

Here's another player I have dropping pretty far. I just don't see value matching need for teams when it comes to C.J. Mosley in this draft, but he's a perfect fit for the Rams, who will be doing back flips if he falls to them with this pick (well, if they actually own this pick, that is). Clinton-Dix and Mosley will upgrade an already solid defense.

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

Bolstering the pass rush on the edge will be a priority, and Ealy is a player who could go anywhere from No. 17 to early in the second round in my opinion. It remains to be seen if he can play standing up, but this kid lives behind the line of scrimmage and will add a lot off the edge for the Saints.

28. Carolina Panthers: Odell Beckham, WR, LSU

The Panthers would be wise to add the top wide receiver on the board here, and on my board that is Odell Beckham. The Panthers look like a real deal behind their stout defense, but Cam Newton needs more weapons in the passing game.

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

This one is easy. The Patriots suffered all season long in the passing game with Wes Welker in Denver, Rob Gronkowski injured and Aaron Hernandez no longer in the league. Adding a player like Jace Amaro would allow the team to go back to the two-tight end formations it thrived with in 2012, while also adding Gronkowski insurance.

30. San Francisco 49ers: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

Michael Crabtree might have the best hands in the history of mankind according to his (somewhat biased) head coach, but this team still needs to upgrade at wide receiver. Allen Robinson is a big target who can stretch the field and has a knack for making big plays. This is a deep receiver draft, and the Niners should be able to upgrade at the position.

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

The Broncos just aren't quite the same without Von Miller on the field, and after 2013, it's hard to know how much the Broncos can rely on him moving forward. Adding a young, dynamic edge-rusher opposite him is pretty vital but so is having a potential contingency plan in place. Enter Ryan Shazier.

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

A player who just played his college ball in the same state? Check. A talented athlete who fills a huge need? Check. If Harvin can stay healthy and Austin Seferian-Jenkins hits the NFL running, the Seahawks offense might start catching up.

Well, kinda.

Follow me on Twitter @TRappaRT.


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