2014 NFL Mock Draft: Easiest Moves for Every First Round Team

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 24: Former South Carolina defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney looks on while sitting out position drills during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 24, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Now that the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine is over, it’s time for fans to shift their focus to the actual draft starting on Thursday, May 8 and the mock draft predictions.

After watching some of the biggest names in college football put their skills on display for the scouts and officials from across the league, the excitement surrounding draft season is officially upon us.

Here are the easiest picks for every team selecting in the first round.

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

After clocking a blistering 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the combine, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina is once again considered one of the top picks in the draft despite a lackluster season.

Houston has stated it would trade the No. 1 overall pick for the right price, but Clowney should be the top selection regardless of who picks first.

2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

In 2012, the St. Louis Rams made a deal that sent the No. 2 overall pick to the Washington Redskins for Robert Griffin III, and the franchise is still reaping the rewards of that trade.

The franchise will be open to moving the pick if the right deal arises, according to Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated, but the need for a wide receiver and the availability of a future star like Clemson’s Sammy Watkins would be the ideal combination.

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

Whether you love Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel or not—I’m looking at you, Jaws—there is no denying his mainstream notoriety and his ability on the field. A franchise like the Jacksonville Jaguars desperate for a new quarterback and a marketable player would be foolish to pass on Johnny Football.

4. Cleveland Browns: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

There is no question that the top priority this offseason for the Cleveland Browns is finding a quarterback of the future with their No. 4 overall pick. Manziel may be taken before Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, but many around the league feel Bortles has more upside.

5. Oakland Raiders: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

The Oakland Raiders must get back to basics to build a long-term winning program, and that starts with the anchoring of the offensive line. Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews fits Oakland’s needs.

6. Atlanta Falcons: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

While the Atlanta Falcons were hoping that Clowney would drop all the way to No. 6, the team will not be forced to settle. UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr has the potential to become a top pass-rusher in the NFL.

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

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 22: Former Auburn offensive lineman Greg Robinson takes part in a drill during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 22, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

There is plenty of talent on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster, but the franchise must get back to the fundamentals by building the team from the ground up. Starting with an anchor on the offensive line, Tampa Bay would be smart to draft Auburn tackle Greg Robinson.

8. Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

The Minnesota Vikings have three starting quarterbacks in Matt Cassel, Josh Freeman and Christian Ponder, but none of them deserve the starting job. With new head coach Mike Zimmer looking to make an instant impact, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater would be the fresh start the team needs.

9. Buffalo Bills: Khalil Mack, DE, Buffalo

Buffalo's Khalil Mack is one of the best defensive ends in the 2014 draft. With his ability to stop the run and rush the passer, the Buffalo Bills would be smart to add depth and talent on the defensive line.

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

As great as Calvin Johnson has been for the Detroit Lions, the franchise must find players to complement him by forcing opposing defenses to spread their coverage. If Texas A&M’s Mike Evans is there at No. 10, the Lions would have one of the most dangerous tandems in the NFL.

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

The Tennessee Titans needs to select a linebacker who can dominate against the run with consistent tackling, but he also needs to be able to slide into coverage and disrupt an opponent’s air attack. Alabama’s C.J. Mosley is the answer.

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

TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Offensive linesman Taylor Lewan #77 of the Michigan Wolverines stands on the sidelines during the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against the Kansas State Wildcats at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2013 in Tempe, Arizona. The Wildcats
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Eli Manning is still one of the top quarterbacks in the league, but the New York Giants must draft an offensive tackle who can protect him. Michigan’s Taylor Lewan would be just the man for the job.

13. St. Louis Rams: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

After taking Watkins at No. 2, the St. Louis Rams can shift their focus to another position of need like cornerback. Head coach Jeff Fisher loves physical CBs, and Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard fits that mold.

14. Chicago Bears: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

One of the biggest winners of the combine was Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, according to Bucky Brooks of NFL.com, and the Chicago Bears would be happy to fill its biggest need with Donald.

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

Just as the Bears are looking to add talent at the defensive tackle position, the Pittsburgh Steelers should forgo taking an offensive lineman in the first round and add a run-stopping machine like Louis Nix of Notre Dame.

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

With veteran Dennis Pitta likely leaving via free agency, the Baltimore Ravens' need for a tight end who can stretch the field as a receiver while being just as strong run blocking will lead the franchise to select North Carolina’s Eric Ebron.

17. Dallas Cowboys: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 25: Former Alabama defensive back Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix stretches during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 25, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys need help on defense against the pass and against the rush. The best fit would be Alabama’s hard-hitting free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

18. New York Jets: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

Whether it’s Geno Smith under center this season or not, the New York Jets must add offensive weapons at the wide receiver position to give the quarterback a chance to succeed. Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin would offer the Jets talent on offense and special teams.

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

The need on the offensive line is obvious, and Notre Dame tackle Zack Martin has the right mixture of raw talent and big-game experience to make him a smart addition to a franchise that needs a fresh start.

20. Arizona Cardinals: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

The defense in Arizona is one of the best in the NFL, and the offense has shown great strides led by quarterback Carson Palmer. It’s time to address the needs on the offensive line by selecting Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio.

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

Obvious flaws on defense plagued the Green Bay Packers last season, but selecting a safety with as much raw talent as Louisville’s Calvin Pryor is the smart long-term solution to a fundamental need.

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

Feb 25, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys defensive back Justin Gilbert runs the 40 yard dash during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Chip Kelly has made a major splash since joining the Philadelphia Eagles, and he will make another on draft day when he selects Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert to secure his secondary.

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

With the future of Dwayne Bowe uncertain, the Kansas City Chiefs must look to the future at the wide receiver position. LSU’s Odell Beckham would flourish in Andy Reid’s offense and be a major threat for Alex Smith.

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota

Another team that must get back to basics is the Cincinnati Bengals. The team needs depth at the defensive tackle position and would find it with Minnesota’s Ra'Shede Hageman.

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

The defensive secondary was a big issue for the San Diego Chargers last season, but a postseason berth proves that the franchise is still on the cusp of serious contention. Adding an elite CB like TCU’s Jason Verrett would be an ideal selection.

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

It’s unclear what kind of approach the Cleveland Browns will take this season, but the franchise should be drafting offensive and defensive linemen—like Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy—to start rebuilding the foundation of the team.

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

Oct 6, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Ryan Shazier (10) celebrates in the first quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Ryan’s efforts with the New Orleans Saints defense didn’t go unappreciated, but the team needs more out of the unit to be a serious Super Bowl threat. The NFL is a pass-happy league, and drafting Ohio State outside linebacker Ryan Shazier is a smart addition to the pass rush.

28. Carolina Panthers: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

The need for viable second and third options behind veteran wide receiver Steve Smith is one of the Carolina Panthers' biggest needs this offseason. If USC’s Marqise Lee falls all the way to No. 28, the Panthers will have their weapon.

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

The injury to star tight end Rob Gronkowski’s knee has the New England Patriots looking for a No. 2 option and a possible long-term replacement for the oft-injured Gronkowski. Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro fits the mold of what the Patriots are looking for in a TE.

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

The lack of depth at wide receiver last year for the San Francisco 49ers was one of the biggest reasons the team struggled to find any offensive consistency, and the solution will come in the 2014 draft in the form of Oregon State wideout Brandin Cooks.

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

While there are several needs the Denver Broncos must fill this offseason, the lack of an elite run-stopping defensive tackle will lead the team to draft Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt at the end of the first round.

32. Seattle Seahawks: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State

The Seattle Seahawks will keep with the defensive tackle theme to close the first round and select Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan. With the right conditioning, Jernigan could become another key member of the Seahawks defense.

Stats via NFL.com. Combine information via official tracker.


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