How 2014 NFL Draft Order Defines These 3 Teams' Day 1 Strategy

Ryan McCrystalFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2014

Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer answers questions during a news-conference Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Berea, Ohio.  (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Putting together a mock draft is fairly simple. Take a look at a team's needs and simply plug in the next best available player. But the real thing is never that easy. 

The consensus may have five quarterbacks or seven offensive lineman with first round grades, but each individual team almost certainly has narrowed their list from that consensus group based on their particular evaluations. 

As a result, draft order—and most importantly, who is picking ahead of you—plays a significant role in how the draft plays out. 

Here are three teams that, based on where they are scheduled to select, may be forced to make some difficult strategic decisions on draft day. 


Cleveland Browns 

The Browns need a quarterback but they may not be in position to land their guy without a trade. 

Sitting behind the Texans and Jaguars puts the Browns is a tough spot. There are only three quarterbacks who appear to be first-round locks (Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel), which means the Browns may only be left with one name on the board. 

New GM Ray Farmer recently told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he knows which quarterback he wants to draft, which means the Browns may be interested in trading up to No. 2 with the St. Louis Rams. 

Then again, Farmer also said "No. 4 is not necessarily where I would take the guy that I like."


Miami Dolphins

An unfortunate on-field result of the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito mess is the fact that the Dolphins are left without two-fifths of their offensive line. As a result, it's expected to be high on their draft wish list. 

Unfortunately, sitting at No. 19 overall, the Dolphins are behind a significant number of others who will consider targeting offensive linemen. 

Someone may fall to Miami, but it's certainly possible that five or six lineman will have already come off the board. If the Dolphins see a run on lineman start to develop early on draft day, they may be forced to pick up the phone in an effort to move into the top 15. 


New York Jets

No team needs an offensive weapon like the Jets, but there's no guarantee that an impact player will be available at No. 18. 

Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins are virtual locks to come off the board within the top 15 picks. And the next tier of receivers could also entice teams selecting ahead of the Jets, such as the Rams, Steelers and Ravens.

The Jets need an immediate impact receiver, which shortens their list of viable candidates. High upside players such as Kelvin Benjamin likely won't be viable first-round options for New York. 

Due to their positioning in the draft, the Jets may be forced to either trade up or target a different position if their guy isn't on the board at No. 18.