2014 NFL Mock Draft: Rounding Up Expert Picks for Every Team
As free agents jump from team to team, it pays to remember that NFL teams will have another chance this offseason to plug some holes on their 53-man rosters. This 2014 NFL mock draft shows one way that the first round could turn out this May.
Matt Miller of BleacherReport and Mel Kiper of ESPN.com (subscription required)—two respected draft experts—are included on each slide, giving you a broader image of what positions and players teams may be targeting.
1. Houston Texans
Miller: Blake Bortles (QB, Central Florida)
Kiper: Khalil Mack (LB, Buffalo)
The Texans have an interesting choice to make with the first pick. Do they take a quarterback that they might not be fully in love with because of need, or do they take the best player in the draft?
Miller has them doing the former, Kiper has them doing the latter. I agree with Kiper, but differ on the pick. Jadeveon Clowney is a rare specimen. While Mack might have had the more impressive season in 2013, Clowney will be better on Sundays.
My Pick: Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina)
2. St. Louis Rams
Miller: Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson)
Kiper: Greg Robinson (OT, Auburn)
I can't fault Miller for giving the Rams the talented Sammy Watkins, but I think the Rams have more pressing needs than receiver with young talent still developing on their roster.
Kiper and I are on the same page with giving St. Louis the top offensive lineman in the draft. Robinson and the newly re-signed Rodger Saffold will keep Sam Bradford upright and pop open holes for Zac Stacy.
My Pick: Greg Robinson (OT, Auburn)
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Miller: Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville)
Kiper: Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina)
The Jaguars started moving in the right direction in 2013, but they are still more than a quarterback away from competing with the cream of the AFC. I like Teddy Bridgewater as a quarterback; I just think that Jacksonville should take the best player available.
In this case that would be Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins. If Clowney were available—like in Kiper's scenario—I doubt they would be able to pass on him for their "Leo" position.
My Pick: Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson)
4. Cleveland Browns
Miller: Johnny Manziel (QB, Texas A&M)
Kiper: Blake Bortles (QB, Central Florida)
In a similar vein to the Jaguars, the Browns have some talent but aren't a complete team yet. Both Manziel and Bortles are good fits in Cleveland though, so you couldn't fault Mike Pettine for selecting one of the talented quarterbacks.
That said, adding another talented defender to their young, aggressive defense could be enough to make a Brian Hoyer-led squad competitive in the AFC North. Khalil Mack is a dynamic presence that, across from Barkevious Mingo, could give opposing offenses fits on a weekly basis.
My Pick: Khalil Mack (LB, Buffalo)
5. Oakland Raiders
Miller: Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina)
Kiper: Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville)
If Clowney is available—like in Miller's scenario—any team would be lucky to draft him with the fifth pick in the draft. If he is gone, however, the Raiders might be looking to improve the other side of the ball.
Kiper and I both see Bridgewater as a player that the Raiders—a train-wreck as of late—can build their franchise around. They missed with JaMarcus Russell, but can redeem themselves here.
My Pick: Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville)
6. Atlanta Falcons
Miller: Greg Robinson (OT, Auburn)
Kiper: Jake Matthews (OT, Texas A&M)
Selecting an offensive tackle is a no-brainer here for Atlanta. While Kiper and I have Greg Robinson going to the St. Louis Rams with the second pick of the draft, the Falcons wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger on the talented Auburn lineman if he were available.
A more likely scenario would involve the Falcons taking Jake Matthews—part of the bloodline that involves Clay Matthews, among others—a versatile tackle that can play on either side of the line. There might not be a safer pick in the draft than Matthews.
My Pick: Jake Matthews (OT, Texas A&M)
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Miller: Jake Matthews (OT, Texas A&M)
Kiper: Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson)
Matthews and Watkins would both be steals at this point but have already been selected in my mock draft. Each would add another dimension to the Buccaneers offense, but new coach Lovie Smith might want to put more of a mark on this team.
With Mike Glennon the last regime's pick and Josh McCown a backup with occasional starter-caliber play, a quarterback like Blake Bortles that may fall down the board a bit could be an attractive option. Bortles has the movement skills that Glennon just doesn't have.
My Pick: Blake Bortles (QB, Central Florida)
8. Minnesota Vikings
Miller: Derek Carr (QB, Fresno State)
Kiper: Johnny Manziel (QB, Texas A&M)
All three of us are in agreement that the Vikings need an upgrade over the current duo of Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder. Manziel was already selected in Miller's mock, otherwise he would probably be the choice here as well.
With Manziel threatening the edges and Adrian Peterson pounding in between the hashes, the Vikings could be a difficult offense to play against.
My Pick: Johnny Manziel (QB, Texas A&M)
9. Buffalo Bills
Miller: Khalil Mack (LB, Buffalo)
Kiper: Taylor Lewan (OT, Michigan)
The Bills have a lot of holes to fill on their team and it shows with the three positions represented here. Their pass rush on the edge could certainly improve and any team could use an upgrade on the offensive line.
My thought is that Buffalo needs to get on the dynamic tight end bandwagon. Eric Ebron isn't a great blocker—yet—but he has enough receiving ability to warrant a top-10 selection.
My Pick: Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina)
10. Detroit Lions
Miller: Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M)
Kiper: Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M)
Mike Evans and Calvin Johnson Jr. on the same field would be a sight to see. However, with Golden Tate in the fold, receiver might not be the No. 1 need for Detroit.
If the Lions choose to address the other side of the ball, Justin Gilbert would go a long way in shoring up the woeful pass defense that has plagued the Hawaii blue and silver over the last few years.
My Pick: Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State)
11. Tennessee Titans
Miller: Anthony Barr (OLB, UCLA)
Kiper: Anthony Barr (OLB, UCLA)
As Miller and Kiper allude to, the Titans could stand to gain from adding a dynamic pass-rusher on the edge. I'm not quite as sold on Barr as a finished product, but his athleticism is quite intriguing.
I'd have the Titans take a look at upgrading the most important position on the field: quarterback. Jake Locker isn't accurate enough to be a franchise quarterback and Charlie Whitehurst is just taking up space. Add Derek Carr to the mix and you add an athletic thrower that has the requisite accuracy to lead an NFL offense.
My Pick: Derek Carr (QB, Fresno State)
12. New York Giants
Miller: Kony Ealy (DE, Missouri)
Kiper: Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina)
Ealy would give the Giants an athletic pass-rusher, while Ebron would provide the Giants with the dynamic tight end that they have been missing since Jeremy Shockey left town.
Ra'Shede Hageman, however, gives the Giants what they had when Justin Tuck was in his prime: an athletic and versatile lineman that can rush the passer from a lot of different spots.
My Pick: Ra'Shede Hageman (DL, Minnesota)
13. St. Louis Rams
Miller: Taylor Lewan (OT, Michigan)
Kiper: Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix (SS, Alabama)
With Robinson already in town in my mock draft, the Rams wouldn't need to add Lewan. Clinton-Dix is a good safety, but I think this price is a little rich for safety with some flaws.
I mentioned the young Rams receivers early and that they should get some time to develop. However, if Mike Evans is still on the board here, run up to the podium and hand in the card. You just can't teach his size and athleticism.
My Pick: Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M)
14. Chicago Bears
Miller: Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State)
Kiper: Aaron Donald (DL, Pittsburgh)
Losing Charles Tillman and Julius Peppers leads a lot of experts to call for corners and linemen to come to the Windy City. Gilbert and Donald are impact players that will contribute immediately as rookies.
With Gilbert gone in my mock draft, Donald is the easy choice. His ability to disrupt offenses will allow the Bears defense to do what they do best: create turnovers.
My Pick: Aaron Donald (DL, Pittsburgh)
15. Pittsburgh Steelers
Miller: Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State)
Kiper: Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State)
The Steelers could use a big-bodied receiver, but a raw prospect like Benjamin isn't something that Pittsburgh can afford at this point. Kiper's pick of a cornerback is right on, as the Steelers corners just don't have the youth and talent that they used to.
Darqueze Dennard brings the press-man ability, savvy and enough speed to compete in the NFL. If they can't land Gilbert, Dennard and Ohio State's Bradley Roby are two options for them to consider.
My Pick: Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan State)
16. Dallas Cowboys
Miller: Aaron Donald (DT, Pittsburgh)
Kiper: Tim Jernigan (DT, Florida State)
The Cowboys defense is a mess. Their best player—DeMarcus Ware—is now in Denver, and it doesn't look like any help is on its way in free agency. Miller's pick of Donald is spot on, but I'm not a big fan of Jernigan. Dallas needs an every-down lineman that doesn't need regular breaks—especially if they are going to spend a first-round pick.
Kony Ealy is a versatile player that can fill in for Ware and slowly take over the production that he was responsible for.
My Pick: Kony Ealy (DE, Missouri)
17. Baltimore Ravens
Miller: Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina)
Kiper: Brandin Cooks (WR, Oregon State)
The Ravens needed more offensive weapons in 2013 and a common theme among Miller, Kiper and myself is getting Joe Flacco some help. Ebron and Cooks both provide dynamic ability with the ball in their hands and would be great pickups for Baltimore.
It is a bit more risky due to injury concerns, but Marqise Lee would give the Ravens an intermediate threat that is capable of producing chunk plays with regularity. With Torrey Smith clearing out space for Lee, Flacco should have some easy reads.
My Pick: Marqise Lee (WR, USC)
18. New York Jets
Miller: Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, LSU)
Kiper: Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, LSU)
While Miller and Kiper want to give Geno Smith another weapon, I'd like to see what he can do with Jeremy Kerley and Eric Decker. The Jets can always pick up a talented receiver in Round 2 or 3, but offensive linemen won't be around forever.
Zack Martin is a versatile lineman that can play inside or outside. I feel that he projects best as a guard, but he has the technique to be a solid tackle in the NFL.
My Pick: Zack Martin (OL, Notre Dame)
19. Miami Dolphins
Miller: Louis Nix III (DL, Notre Dame)
Kiper: Zack Martin (OL, Notre Dame)
The Dolphins could certainly choose to shore up either of their lines, but the Branden Albert signing might have plugged the biggest hole on their team.
Mike linebacker Dannell Ellerbe was a disappointment to me last year, and the Dolphins might want to upgrade the future of that position. Alabama's C.J. Mosley has the coverage ability and range to remind Dolphins fans of Karlos Dansby at his peak.
My Pick: C.J. Mosley (LB, Alabama)
20. Arizona Cardinals
Miller: Dee Ford (OLB, Auburn)
Kiper: Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan State)
Dee Ford has a great first step and impressive athleticism, but I'm not sure he can have an impact on first and second down in the NFL. Dennard would look great next to Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu.
Anthony Barr, however, would be a steal at this point of the draft. He isn't polished, but his athletic skill set won't let him get out of the top 20 picks.
My Pick: Anthony Barr (OLB, UCLA)
21. Green Bay Packers
Miller: Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix (SS, Alabama)
Kiper: C.J. Mosley (LB, Alabama)
Safety and linebacker are certainly good options here for the Packers, and Clinton-Dix and Mosley present decent enough values here to make Ted Thompson happy. However, the nagging injuries on the offensive line might prompt Thompson to pick a falling star.
Taylor Lewan could easily be a top-10 pick when all is said and done. His senior season wasn't spectacular, but he is tough as nails.
My Pick: Taylor Lewan (OT, Michigan)
22. Philadelphia Eagles
Miller: Calvin Pryor (SS, Louisville)
Kiper: Calvin Pryor (SS, Louisville)
We're all on the same page here: Calvin Pryor would be an excellent fit for this system. Pryor excels in the box and hits like he enjoys it. He isn't an Ed Reed-esque ball hawk in coverage, but he can hold his own covering a deep half.
Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix could be another option here, but I think he may slip out of the first round entirely.
My Pick: Calvin Pryor (SS, Louisville)
23. Kansas City Chiefs
Miller: Ra'Shede Hageman (DL, Minnesota)
Kiper: Marqise Lee (WR, USC)
The Chiefs haven't had a very active free-agency period and will be forced to plug some holes in the 2014 NFL draft. Lee and Hageman would be excellent choices for Kansas City here, but both are gone in my mock draft.
Brandin Cooks is a savvy receiver that seems to get open at will. He is electric with the ball in his hands. With Dexter McCluster not in the fold, Cooks could take over as the main target on receiver screen plays.
My Pick: Brandin Cooks (WR, Oregon State)
24. Cincinnati Bengals
Miller: Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan State)
Kiper: Ryan Shazier (LB, Ohio State)
While Dennard would look great next to Leon Hall and company, I agree with Kiper that Ryan Shazier could be a force in Cincinnati.
There might not be a more explosive player in this draft. Shazier has the speed, strength and agility to become an NFL star. Hopefully, he can stay healthy long enough to show off his skills.
My Pick: Ryan Shazier (LB, Ohio State)
25. San Diego Chargers
Miller: Jason Verrett (CB, TCU)
Kiper: Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State)
The San Diego Chargers couldn't stop a nosebleed last year unless they were playing—of all teams—the Denver Broncos. They will add some cornerbacks in the offseason, and you might as well start in Round 1.
Roby and Verrett are two talented corners with solid ball-skills and fluid movements. Verrett's technique is better, but Roby's size will ultimately trump Verrett on many teams' boards.
My Pick: Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State)
26. Cleveland Browns
Miller: Marqise Lee (WR, USC)
Kiper: Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State)
Giving Josh Gordon a Robin to his Batman seems like a good idea. If the Browns are sold on Brian Hoyer, I can see them making this move. If not—and they didn't take a quarterback earlier—they could be looking for competition late in the first round.
One player that you will hear a lot about in the coming weeks is Jimmy Garoppolo. If a team falls in love with him, the end of the first round is a great spot to bring him in. He might need a year to develop, but the Browns aren't Super Bowl contenders at this point anyway.
My Pick: Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, Eastern Illinois)
27. New Orleans Saints
Miller: C.J. Mosley (LB, Alabama)
Kiper: Dee Ford (DE/OLB, Auburn)
The Saints just spent a load of money on safety Jairus Byrd, so I like Miller and Kiper's thinking in shoring up the defense in front of him. That said, there is another need on this team that bears watching.
Jimmy Graham had the franchise tag placed on him this offseason and could be playing his last season in New Orleans. Rather than waiting hopefully for a long-term deal, the Saints could be proactive and draft a replacement in Jace Amaro. He isn't as smooth of an athlete, but Amaro is a big-time receiving threat that can already block better than Graham.
My Pick: Jace Amaro (TE, Texas Tech)
28. Carolina Panthers
Miller: Zack Martin (OT, Notre Dame)
Kiper: Cyrus Kouandjio (OT, Alabama)
The Panthers have lost a lot on their offensive line, and it is no secret that they will likely pick an offensive lineman or receiver with their first pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Martin especially would be a great pick due to his versatility, but I don't think he will last this long. Kouandjio is a good player, but NFL teams seem concerned with his health.
If the Panthers want a safe pick that will contribute for the next decade, Xavier Su'a-Filo can play all five positions and can come in and start as a rookie. I think he projects best as a guard, but he can play tackle or center in a pinch.
My Pick: Xavier Su’a-Filo (OG, UCLA)
29. New England Patriots
Miller: Jace Amaro (TE, Texas Tech)
Kiper: Ra'Shede Hageman (DL, Minnesota)
Hageman and Amaro are both good players—although I do worry about Amaro's injury history—that would be great fits in New England. The Patriots have a more pressing need and just the right man to fill it.
Louis Nix III is a mammoth lineman that can plug the interior and allow the linebackers to make plays behind him. Like Vince Wilfork—who is a potential cap casualty—Nix doesn't rush the passer much but is a tough guy to move off his spot. If he is available this late in the draft, Bill Belichick won't hesitate.
My Pick: Louis Nix III (DL, Notre Dame)
30. San Francisco 49ers
Miller: Brandin Cooks (WR, Oregon State)
Kiper: Kyle Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech)
Cooks is a fantastic receiver that shouldn't make it this far into the draft. I'm not as high on Fuller as most, but San Francisco would be a great fit for his style of play.
Although Cooks is gone in my mock draft, I'll agree with Miller and give the 49ers a new receiver. Odell Beckham Jr. has a knack for getting open and will thrive when Colin Kaepernick breaks out of the pocket.
My Pick: Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, LSU)
31. Denver Broncos
Miller: Tim Jernigan (DL, Florida State)
Kiper: Chris Borland (LB, Wisconsin)
The Broncos have filled the majority of their holes with their torrid run through free agency, adding T.J. Ward, DeMarcus Ware and Aqib Talib in a monster start to the offseason.
Jernigan are Borland are two guys that seem better suited to the second round to me. Adding another cornerback as Talib-insurance seems like good business. Jason Verrett might not have elite size, but he has elite skills. With Denver's pass rush, Verrett will get his hands on a lot of footballs.
My Pick: Jason Verrett (CB, TCU)
32. Seattle Seahawks
Miller: Cyrus Kouandjio (OT, Alabama)
Kiper: Stephon Tuitt (DL, Notre Dame)
The Seahawks are one of only a few teams in the NFL that don't have any glaring holes on their team. Therefore, they can add talent to their team without hesitation. Kouandjio and Tuitt are two big-bodied players that would solidify their respective lines for Seattle.
I have the Seahawks staying local, adding Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins to the fold. Adding another dynamic receiving threat to Russell Wilson's arsenal just wouldn't be fair.
My Pick: Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE, Washington)