2014 NFL Mock Draft: Projecting Best Possible Picks for Each 1st-Round Team

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2014 NFL Mock Draft: Projecting Best Possible Picks for Each 1st-Round Team
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The first round of the 2014 NFL draft will likely make or break several teams' seasons next fall, especially those looking to land a franchise quarterback.

But the significance of Round 1 doesn't end there.

Here, I'll project the best possible picks for all 30 first-round teams.

 

1. Houston Texans (2-14): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

There's no question that South Carolina pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney is the top talent available in 2014. He certainly made an impact at his pro day earlier this month, doing his best to win over scouts and coaches. Afterward, he told SI.com's Chris Burke:

I want to be the best. I say to myself every morning, "Just be great today." I just want to be one of the best ... to be talked about forever. I think I showed ‘em I’m a fighter, I’m going to push through everything they’re going to throw at me. That’s what it’s about: show ‘em that you got what it takes. You’re out here running around, they want to see how far they can push you before you break.

Still, the Texans desperately need a franchise quarterback, which could lead them to pass on the destructive defender. 

 

2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington [3-13]): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Auburn's Greg Robinson is a top-five talent with very few weaknesses. At No. 2 overall, the 6'5", 330-pound tackle makes perfect sense for the Rams, who should look to bolster their offensive line in anticipation of Sam Bradford's return from a torn ACL.

 

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12): Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

If Houston passes on Central Florida's Blake Bortles at No. 1, the Jacksonville Jaguars are likely to wind up with the local product. 

Chargers.com's Ricky Henne breaks down Bortles' game, which has drawn comparisons to Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger:

For those unfamiliar with him, Bortles is a well-built, strong arm passer who at 6-5, 232 pounds is being compared to Ben Roethlisberger but with better mobility. He can make every throw with good zip, and has excellent pocket presence remaining poised in the face of heavy pressure. When plays break down, he beats opponents with his legs, capable of picking up chunk yards in space. Bortles possesses a high football IQ and is a tireless worker always striving to be better.

Overall, Bortles' durability and composure in the pocket make him an attractive pick.

 

4. Cleveland Browns (4-12): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

With Bortles off the board, Cleveland is likely to take Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, an accurate passer who displays encouraging poise in the pocket.

 

5. Oakland Raiders (4-12): Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Raiders need a spark if they hope to turn the corner following a decade-plus of struggles. Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel's big-play ability and potential make him an intriguing first-round talent, but one Oakland would be wise to take a chance on. 

It would appear that Manziel is also one of the more intelligent players available in 2014, per ESPN's Jeremy Lundblad:

 

6. Atlanta Falcons (4-12): Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo

Atlanta is desperate for a dynamic pass-rusher and Buffalo's Khalil Mack has the potential to become just that at the next level. 

Mack finished his college career as the NCAA leader in tackles for a loss (75) and forced fumbles (16).

 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Bob Levey

Assuming Robinson is the first tackle off the board this spring, Texas A&M's Jake Matthews could potentially find a home in Tampa Bay. 

There's no question a team drafting inside the top 10 will fall in love with his toughness and ability to fire off the ball. 

 

8. Minnesota Vikings (5-10-1): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

Quarterback remains a massive question mark for the Minnesota Vikings, and with three of the top available signal-callers already off the board in this scenario, Fresno State's Derek Carr would be the best possible addition for Minnesota.

 

9. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

It's unlikely that Sammy Watkins will still be available for the Buffalo Bills at No. 9 overall. But there's no doubt they need a talented wideout more than any other team in the top 10. 

Watkins' blend of hands, speed and big-play ability make him a top-five talent. 

 

10. Detroit Lions (7-9): Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

The Lions could target a topflight receiver to bolster their passing attack, but a safety makes more sense in Round 1 following the acquisition of Golden Tate in free agency and the losses Detroit has suffered in the secondary this offseason.

 

11. Tennessee Titans (7-9): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Brett Deering/Getty Images

Alterraun Verner's move to Tampa cost Tennessee a Pro Bowl cornerback. Many consider Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert to be best cornerback available in 2014, and he'll likely still be on the board when the Titans find themselves on the clock at No. 11.

 

12. New York Giants (7-9): Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

The Giants must address their recent losses up front on the defensive line. Following Linval Joseph's depature in free agency, New York should seriously consider Pittsburgh's Aaron Donald at No. 12. 

Donald displays tremendous pass-rushing skills, powerful hands and an ideal motor.

 

13. St. Louis Rams (7-9): Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

The Rams will have a shot at Watkins at No. 2 overall, but if they go in a different direction, they should have a shot at Texas A&M wideout Mike Evans, who could make an immediate impact as a big-bodied possession receiver and chain-mover.

 

14. Chicago Bears (8-8): Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Defense was a big problem for Chicago in 2013. As a result, the Bears will want to patch up their secondary through the draft. 

Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard does everything well and would provide a big boost on the back end.

 

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

Another team in need of help in the secondary is Pittsburgh. With Gilbert and Dennard already off the board, Ohio State's Bradley Roby could be the answer. 

Roby lacks the same level of focus as those other guys but is a topflight athlete with incredible cover skills.

 

16. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

In the wake of DeMarcus Ware's departure, the Cowboys are left with a void at defensive end. Therefore, Missouri's Kony Ealy would be an ideal pickup for Dallas midway through the first round.

 

17. Baltimore Ravens (8-8): Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame

It's very possible the Ravens could target a safety with their Round 1 pick this spring. However, with so much money invested in quarterback Joe Flacco and the running game being virtually nonexistent in 2013, a versatile offensive lineman like Notre Dame's Zack Martin also makes plenty of sense.

 

18. New York Jets (8-8): Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Oregon State's Brandin Cooks brings speed and a change of pace to the wide receiver position that the Jets could use as they look to retool on offense.

 

19. Miami Dolphins (8-8): Xavier Su'a-Filo, G, UCLA

Watch for the Dolphins to target a top-tier guard like UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo in an effort to restore order on their offensive line. 

Su'a-Filo's versatility is impressive and sets him apart from other players at his position. 

 

20. Arizona Cardinals (10-6): Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville 

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Calvin Pryor, Louisville's hard-hitting safety, would fill a big need in Arizona. The 5'11", 207-pound defender is also a force in run defense, which is key considering the Cardinals play the Seahawks and 49ers twice a year.

 

21. Green Bay Packers (8-7-1): Dee Ford, DE, Auburn

The Packers' pass rush was disappointing in 2013. Sure, adding Julius Peppers helps, but Green Bay could use another dynamic edge-rusher. 

Auburn's Dee Ford is somewhat undersized but displays incredible pass-rush skills and instincts.

 

22. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6): Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA

Philadelphia's major needs this offseason are on the defensive side of the ball. And if he's still on the board at No. 22, converted fullback Anthony Barr would be a great pickup at outside linebacker.

Barr would also be an exceptional value pick at this stage of the first round.

 

23. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5): Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State

Free agency resulted in the loss of some quality players up front for Kansas City. That's why a big, physical guard like Mississippi State's Gabe Jackson makes sense at No. 23 overall.

 

24. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5): Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

Stephon Tuitt's combination of size and speed is eye-popping, and his versatility is also a plus. With former Bengals pass-rusher Michael Johnson signing with Tampa this offseason, Tuitt would be an ideal fit in Cincinnati. 

 

25. San Diego Chargers (9-7): Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

An upgrade at cornerback would be a huge pickup for the Chargers. Durability is the biggest concern surrounding TCU's Jason Verrett, but his ability is undeniable and makes him a first-round prospect.

 

26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis [11-5]): David Yankey, G, Stanford

Michael Conroy

Stanford's David Yankey would provide much-needed length and toughness up front for Cleveland and should be available toward the end of Round 1.

 

27. New Orleans Saints (11-5): Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

Outside linebacker is a big-time need for New Orleans this offseason. Ohio State's Ryan Shazier is arguably the third-best available behind Mack and Barr and boasts superb range against the run.

Shazier's instincts and playmaking prowess on third down are hard to ignore also.

 

28. Carolina Panthers (12-4): Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Offseason losses in the secondary mean the Panthers will be looking to bolster key defensive positions this spring. Cornerback is one of those key spots, and Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller would be an excellent fit in Carolina, where he could showcase his ball skills and physicality. 

 

29. New England Patriots (12-4): Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have big needs at wide receiver, and LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. is one of many possible fits. Beckham boasts quality speed but sets himself apart from the pack by committing to blocks and playing with a competitive edge.

 

30. San Francisco 49ers (12-4): Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Marqise Lee's ability to separate from defenders and display above-average ball skills make him a first-round talent in 2014. 

The San Francisco 49ers are just one of many teams that could benefit from his offensive prowess.

 

31. Denver Broncos (13-3): C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Broncos could use some depth on defense, especially considering they'll be in championship contention again in 2014. Alabama's C.J. Mosley is far and away the best inside linebacker available this spring, and if he's somehow still on the board late in Round 1, he'd make a lot of sense for Denver.

 

32. Seattle Seahawks (13-3): Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame

Seattle's defensive line was instrumental in its Super Bowl triumph last February. And with the Seahawks releasing Red Bryant this offseason, Notre Dame's Louis Nix III would have plenty of room to operate.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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