2014 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Projections with Pro Player Comparisons
With the 2014 NFL draft less than a month away, it's time to start finalizing some scenarios for the first round. And when looking at the gentlemen who will go there, pro prospect comparisons are an extremely important part of the process.
So, for every prospect in the first round, I'll not only provide my personal prospect comparison, I'll also include Bleacher Report's Senior NFL Draft Lead Writer Matt Miller's comparison. Follow along for the latest first round projections.
1. Houston Texans: DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
The Houston Texans would be stupid to pass up a franchise quarterback here. However, this mock is being done based on what I’m projecting teams will do, not on what they should do. So Jadeveon Clowney going No. 1 overall would break some hearts.
The concept of Clowney and J.J. Watt at defensive end or having them both line up on the strong side to run games is a scary proposition for the AFC South. The Texans defense will easily be better than it was in 2013. It just won’t win the team more games.
Matt Miller's comparison: Julius Peppers
My comparison: Michael Strahan
While Matt’s comparison does make some sense when looking at the two off the field, Clowney compares much better to Michael Strahan on it. He’s got the same kind of bull rush and ability to shed that made Strahan great. Add in the similar ability to play on either side and similar builds, and it fits even more.
2. St. Louis Rams: OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
The St. Louis Rams could use a top-level offensive lineman to team with Jake Long, Rodger Saffold and Scott Wells. They need to make sure they have the same nasty attitude that made Harvey Dahl great on their offensive line, and Greg Robinson definitely brings that.
He has the potential to be a 15-year Pro Bowl tackle if he can develop as a pass-blocker. He is a dominating run-blocker who will make the rest of the line look better on runs with his ability to demolish anyone who is placed in front of him.
Matt Miller's comparison: Duane Brown
My comparison: Walter Jones
While Matt compares Robinson to Duane Brown, his game comes off more like that of Walter Jones. He’s nasty and is dominant as a run-blocker. Jones had to develop into a great pass-blocker, but Robinson has the same kind of natural abilities that Jones had. In a worst-case scenario, he will be a top-level guard.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
Don’t believe the reports. Teddy Bridgewater has done nothing to hurt his draft stock. He’s still a top-five selection in this year’s draft and is still the best quarterback out of the draft. The Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t going to make the mistake of passing on a franchise QB the first time they have one available to them.
Bridgewater has been shown a ton of interest by the team's brain trust. And it would be shocking if it passed on him for anyone not named Jadeveon Clowney. Gus Bradley and David Caldwell know what they need to take their team to the next level, and they will add that piece here.
Matt Miller's comparison: Aaron Rodgers
My comparison: Aaron Rodgers
Matt hit his comparison right on the nose here. Bridgewater and Aaron Rodgers share a lot of the same talents. If Bridgewater can develop in the same manner that Rodgers did, he’ll be right up there in the conversation for the top five quarterbacks in the league.
4. Cleveland Browns: QB Derek Carr, Fresno State
If you don't have a franchise quarterback, then you have to get one. Derek Carr is the best quarterback available here at No. 4 overall and would be the best fit for the Cleveland Browns. The Browns are a franchise quarterback away from becoming a playoff team.
They have a very good core and a defense that is just as solid. It's tough to believe that they would go with anyone but a franchise quarterback based on their needs at No. 4. The only question here is whether the Browns decide to go with Carr or Johnny Manziel.
Matt Miller's comparison: Jay Cutler
My comparison: Matthew Stafford
Matt chose to go with the Chicago Bears' Jay Cutler because of Carr's cannon. However, Matt Stafford from the Detroit Lions is who stood out for me. The combination of mobility, ability to adjust arm angles and arm strength is what makes him so similar to Stafford.
5. Oakland Raiders: WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
With both of the top quarterbacks gone, the Oakland Raiders need to make a move that will help them win now; otherwise, Reggie McKenzie won't be the general manager much longer. With Matt Schaub looking like a solid addition at quarterback, the Raiders need to make sure they get him targets.
Sammy Watkins makes a ton of sense for them, as he's the best receiver in the draft by far. Sure, this may look like an Al Davis-type pick based on the speed Watkins has, but he would be a true No. 1 wide receiver in that offense. It would open up the field more for Denarius Moore and Mychal Rivera underneath.
Matt Miller's comparison: A.J. Green
My comparison: Julio Jones
Honestly, there's no great fit for what Watkins plays like. Most of his yardage is gained off of screens and short slants, but he can also burn almost any defense deep. He's more similar to Julio Jones than A.J. Green in my eyes, because how Jones has been used as a pro is almost the same as Watkins was used in college.
6. Atlanta Falcons: DE/OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
The Atlanta Falcons run a hybrid-style defense under coordinator Mike Nolan, and they need a premier pass-rusher. With Jadeveon Clowney unavailable, they have to go with the second-best one in the draft. That's Khalil Mack from Buffalo. He was a senior defensive captain who fits the Comrade Filter.
On top of that, Mack has the ability to play either outside linebacker or inside linebacker in the 3-4 as well as defensive end or outside linebacker in the 4-3. He's the kind of player that you just throw on the field regardless of where you put him.
Matt Miller's comparison: Brian Orakpo
My comparison: Von Miller
Brian Orakpo and Von Miller are both very similar. However, Mack is closer to Miller because he shares a similar build and coverage ability that Orakpo doesn't. Mack would instantly have an impact in either defense the same way Miller and Orakpo did.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida
Mike Glennon isn't talented enough to be the starting quarterback for Lovie Smith, so he is going with Josh McCown as his starter. No offense to Smith, but that's just a stupid move, unless there is a plan for a long-term solution at quarterback.
According to Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball, Blake Bortles is a top option for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 7 overall. It would be the smartest pick for them to make. McCown would be a stopgap for a season, similar to what Tommy Maddox was in Pittsburgh for Ben Roethlisberger's rookie year.
Matt Miller's comparison: Jake Locker
My comparison: Ben Roethlisberger
Bortles shares a lot more similarities to Ben Roethlisberger than he does to Jake Locker. He isn't ready to be a great quarterback right away and needs to sit for at least a season to learn. His build, running ability and monster arm are all just icing on the cake.
8. Minnesota Vikings: LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
The Minnesota Vikings need a leader for their defense. They have some very good defensive line talent in Brian Robinson, Sharrif Floyd, Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen. They also have some solid outside linebackers with Gerald Hodges and Chad Greenway. Adding a playmaking middle linebacker for Mike Zimmer's defense is where it will all get tied together.
C.J. Mosley is one of the best linebackers to come out of college in years. He'd be an instant star in Minnesota's defense, as he'd be allowed to play a very similar role to what he did in college.
Matt Miller's comparison: Lavonte David
My comparison: NaVorro Bowman
Lavonte David and C.J. Mosley just play with completely different styles. Mosley is more of an inside thumper most of the plays, but he shows coverage and blitzing talents. That's much closer to how NaVorro Bowman plays than how David plays.
9. Buffalo Bills: TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina
The Buffalo Bills need a true option over the middle to team with Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods and Mike Williams in the offense. They need that safety valve for EJ Manuel that Scott Chandler wasn't able to provide in 2013, despite his career-best receiving stats.
Eric Ebron is a game-changing tight end. He's someone who can stretch the seams in the middle of the field while still providing that key third-down and red-zone target. The biggest issue with Ebron's game is his blocking ability. Nonetheless, he's a willing blocker, even if he isn't a good one.
Matt Miller's comparison: Julius Thomas
My comparison: Jermichael Finley
Julius Thomas, Jermichael Finley and Ebron aren't great blockers. However, they all bring great body control as receivers and can find soft spots in zones. The only reason I think Ebron is closer to Finley than Thomas is because of his concentration lapses that lead to dropped passes.
10. Detroit Lions: WR Odell Beckham, Jr., Louisiana State
The Detroit Lions need a true No. 2 receiver to team with Calvin Johnson and complement Golden Tate. They could look for a tight end at this juncture, but bringing in a guy who fits well in either the slot or the outside would be the wise move to make.
Odell Beckham Jr. might be the best wide receiver from this draft when all is said and done. He's got great speed, running a 4.43 in the 40-yard dash. His quickness in and out of cuts is amazing as well. He's someone who can attack all three levels of a defense and be a legitimate Pro Bowl option for the Lions.
Matt Miller's comparison: DeSean Jackson
My comparison: Steve Smith
While DeSean Jackson makes some sense for Beckham, Steve Smith's toughness and all-around receiving abilities make more sense. Smith is more of that No. 1 that Beckham can turn into. As long as Beckham provides an option that complements Calvin Johnson perfectly, the Lions won't care.
11. Tennessee Titans: OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
Michael Roos is nearing the end of his career and is in the final year of his contract. After 2014, it makes absolutely no sense for the Tennessee Titans to keep him, as he'll only decline from here. The Titans need to make sure they have their left tackle situation set in stone.
To do that, taking current offensive line coach Bruce Matthews' son Jake would be brilliant. He's got the potential to be a 15-year franchise left tackle who sees quite a few Pro Bowls. He also has Hall of Fame potential as a big nasty on the left or right side and could eventually slide to guard like his dad did.
Matt Miller's comparison: Ryan Clady
My comparison: Joe Thomas
Matt compares Matthews to Ryan Clady, but he is much more similar to Joe Thomas. Thomas is a better pass protector than Clady is. He also isn't the powerful run-blocker that Clady is. Much like Thomas, Matthews is a technician rather than a powerhouse.
12. New York Giants: WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
Victor Cruz is a great No. 1 receiver for the New York Giants, but they need to bring in a possession No. 2 who understands how to beat defenses intermediately and underneath. Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans is the best in the draft at doing that.
At 6'5", 230 pounds, he has size to beat any cornerback in the league. He's also got great hands and can find holes in the defense using his intelligent route running. The Giants should be ecstatic if Evans falls right into their laps, as he'd be the perfect target to help them get Eli Manning back on track.
Matt Miller's comparison: Vincent Jackson
My comparison: Vincent Jackson
Matt's right when he talks about how Evans uses his body control and physicality in a similar manner to Vincent Jackson. He also has the sneaky speed that allows him to get behind defenses if they underestimate him. And he's not afraid to make contested catches—again, like Jackson.
13. St. Louis Rams: DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
The Rams need a way to compete with their ridiculously talented division. The best way to do that is to build two of the best lines in the league. Their offensive line would be set with Greg Robinson added to it, but their defensive line needs a top talent to round it out.
Robert Quinn and Chris Long are extremely talented defensive ends, and Michael Brockers is a great nose tackle for the scheme. Adding Aaron Donald would be a brilliant move, as it would give the Rams the best defensive line in football.
Matt Miller's comparison: Jurrell Casey
My comparison: Geno Atkins
Much like Jurrell Casey and Geno Atkins, Donald is a tremendous pass-rusher. However, similar to Atkins, he's not a great run defender and will get washed out in the run game sometimes. That's perfectly OK, though, as the Rams have the perfect defensive group to put around him.
14. Chicago Bears: S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
If Chris Conte is the best option that a team has at free safety, it is in for a long year. The Chicago Bears shouldn't make this year a long year and should target multiple safeties in the draft. The best one is Ha Ha Clinton-Dix from Alabama, and if he's here at No. 14, the Bears should sprint to the podium.
They should also consider adding another safety later in the draft to team with Clinton-Dix. Clinton-Dix has the deep abilities to be effective in the Bears' scheme. He has some questions about an impropriety that led to a suspension, but that shouldn't be a big deal in the NFL when teams dig into it.
Matt Miller's comparison: Eric Berry
My comparison: Eric Berry
Eric Berry is an interesting player to emulate, but Clinton-Dix can do that. The Alabama safety compares well to the former Tennessee safety in many ways. But the biggest similarity is that they can both change a defense by giving it an umbrella in the final level.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: DE Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota
The Pittsburgh Steelers need more talent on their defense, specifically in their front three. They need a guy who will properly replace Brett Kiesel as a weak-side 5-technique defensive end in the 3-4 scheme they run. Ra'Shede Hageman from Minnesota is a perfect fit for that role.
Hageman is a bit raw, but the Steelers have some of the best coaches in the NFL for their defense. He played some 5-technique in the Senior Bowl and in college and should develop nicely in rotation with Cameron Heyward and Nick Williams.
Matt Miller's comparison: Jason Hatcher
My comparison: Jason Hatcher
Much like Jason Hatcher, Hageman is a developmental talent who can provide some pass-rush skill early on. He's got great size, speed and strength and understands how to use his leverage. The big difference between Hageman and Hatcher is the weight that Hageman carries.
16. Dallas Cowboys: DE Anthony Barr, UCLA
The Dallas Cowboys need a top-tier pass-rusher to replace their loss of DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Sure, George Selvie finally looks like the defensive end he could have always been, but they need someone to attack offenses from the other side of the field.
That man is Anthony Barr. He's very similar to Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli's favorite in Simeon Rice. Barr has the perfect size and speed to be effective in the Tampa 2, but he'll have to develop some more functional strength and hand technique to start dominating opponents.
Matt Miller's comparison: Derrick Brooks
My comparison: John Abraham
While Matt compares Barr to Derrick Brooks, Barr doesn't have the coverage abilities that Brooks used to have. He compares better to another former linebacker-turned-defensive end in John Abraham with both his frame and his pass-rush abilities.
17. Baltimore Ravens: OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
The Baltimore Ravens offensive line currently has four pieces that make it look like it could be one of the best in the NFL. With Eugene Monroe, Kelechi Osemele, Jeremy Zuttah and Marshal Yanda, the Ravens could probably throw anyone at right tackle and have him look solid.
But if they really want to have a pocket for Joe Flacco to step up into every game, they'll upgrade their right tackle situation. Taylor Lewan would be the perfect addition there, as he's an athletic pass protector who can play both sides of the line.
Matt Miller's comparison: Nate Solder
My comparison: Nate Solder
"Nasty," "tough," "strong" and "quick off the line" are all adjectives that describe both Nate Solder and Lewan. And much like Solder, Lewan has an outside shot at going to a Pro Bowl in his career. Neither guy is a premier tackle, and, like Solder, Lewan will have to do a lot of technical work when he gets to the league.
18. New York Jets: WR Marqise Lee, Southern California
With Eric Decker the No. 1 receiver and Stephen Hill a solid fit as an outside receiver when they have three-wide receiver sets, the New York Jets need a talented No. 2 who can also slide into the slot on third-down situations and 11-personnel situations.
Marqise Lee is the perfect fit there, as his best talents are when he has the ball in his hand either after a deep route or a screen pass. The Jets could use someone who understands how to catch a ball properly. Lee, Decker and Hill will be a good fit for Geno Smith and give him some options that he didn't have as a rookie.
Matt Miller's comparison: Keenan Allen
My comparison: Pierre Garcon
Matt likens Lee to Keenan Allen, but he doesn't have the size/speed combination that Allen has. He's also faster and smaller than Allen. Pierre Garcon has a similar playing style to Allen but with less size and more speed, so that comparison that makes more sense.
19. Miami Dolphins: OL Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
The Miami Dolphins need another offensive lineman to make sure Ryan Tannehill is protected better than he was in 2013, when the Miami offensive line completely fell apart.
The Dolphins are already two pieces into a complete overhaul of their group after signing both Shelley Smith and Branden Albert. They can combine those two with Dallas Thomas and Mike Pouncey from last year's line. That means they need a dominant, nasty right tackle who can step right in and be an improvement from what they had last year. Cyrus Kouandjio could be that missing piece and would be an ideal fit at right tackle in the NFL.
Matt Miller's comparison: Tyron Smith
My comparison: Anthony Davis
Matt seems to rate Kouandjio much higher than I do. He likens him to Tyron Smith, but the athleticism just isn't there for that comparison. His best comparison is easily Anthony Davis. He can play right tackle or guard and could be a Pro Bowl-caliber player at guard.
20. Arizona Cardinals: OG Zack Martin, Notre Dame
The Arizona Cardinals are just one piece away from completing their offensive line makeover from 2012's horrible unit to a respectable one in 2014. Jared Veldheer and Jonathan Cooper holding down the left side will help out a ton, but the team still needs a right guard to solidify the line as a whole.
The best lineman available at this point is Zack Martin. He's a perfect fit for right guard in the NFL and would be great in Arizona's scheme. He's quick, has solid size and has good footwork. His arms are a bit short, but he makes up for it with his great technique.
Matt Miller's comparison: Josh Sitton
My comparison: Sam Baker
Much like Josh Sitton, Martin has a stout, stockier build that's better for guard than it is for tackle. However, he is more similar to Baker, because he is technically sound and predicates his game based around that instead of the nastiness that Sitton does.
21. Green Bay Packers: S Calvin Pryor, Louisville
The Green Bay Packers' current starting strong safety is Sean Richardson. That’s not acceptable. They need someone who is worthy of starting in the final stage of their defense. Calvin Pryor from Louisville looks like the best fit for their scheme who's available at this point.
Pryor flies around the ball and isn’t afraid to make the big hit over the middle. He’s got great athletic abilities but tends to do better playing in the box than out of it. He’s good in coverage, but he really excels in run support. Overall, he’ll be an instant starter for the Packers.
Matt Miller's comparison: Not Available
My comparison: Troy Polamalu
Matt didn’t have a comparison available, but when watching Pryor, he comes across as a poor-man’s Troy Polamalu to me. He’s a torpedo, and he takes a lot of chances. Nonetheless, he’s extremely instinctual and most of the chances he takes end up working out in the same way they work for Polamalu.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech
The Philadelphia Eagles secondary was one of the worst in the NFL in 2013. That needs to be rectified. Chip Kelly has shown a preference toward bigger-bodied corners, so going with Kyle Fuller over Jason Verrett here feels like the right move when predicting what the team will do.
Fuller has an aggressive playmaking style and could be a piece that the Eagles could center their defense around. He’s a sure tackler and would be an instant starter in that secondary at either cornerback or safety. And if he failed at one spot, he could always just move to the other.
Matt Miller's comparison: Prince Amukamara
My comparison: Devin McCourty
Matt likens Fuller to Prince Amukamara, but I see someone completely different. He reminds me a lot of the New England Patriots’ Devin McCourty in that he isn’t afraid to hit and that he can play both cornerback and safety competently. If Fuller starts at both cornerback and safety at points in his career, it wouldn’t shock me.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: OG David Yankey, Stanford
David Yankey is just a great offensive guard. He’s also got the leadership and nasty demeanor that the Kansas City Chiefs lost when they let Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz slip away this offseason. Yankey would be an instant starter at right guard for the Chiefs.
The line consisting of Eric Fisher, Yankey, Rodney Hudson, Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson could be very good for a very long time. They're all naturally talented, and they also still have a while to go before they hit their ceilings.
Matt Miller's comparison: Evan Mathis
My comparison: Evan Mathis
Matt compares Yankey to Evan Mathis from the Eagles, and it’s a great comparison. Much like Mathis, Yankey didn’t time extraordinarily well. However, he is very technically sound and does all the little things well that will allow him to translate instantly to the NFL.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: DE Kony Ealy, Missouri
The Cincinnati Bengals have to replace former starting defensive end Michael Johnson. And while I’m not extremely high on Kony Ealy, I can see that his value to an NFL team would put him in this range. He especially fits the Bengals as a starting defensive end.
Ealy has prototypical size and good quickness off the ball. However, he will likely be the guy that moves inside on third-down plays, as he’s missing the raw athleticism that would allow him to bend the edge properly.
Matt Miller's comparison: Aldon Smith
My comparison: Justin Tuck
Matt compares Ealy to Aldon Smith, but I don’t see the raw athleticism that would allow him to play outside linebacker in the 3-4. Ealy reminds me of Justin Tuck in that he’s a bigger defensive end who will slide inside to 3-technique on pass-rush plays sometimes to add pressure.
25. San Diego Chargers: NT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame
The biggest needs for the San Diego Chargers are along both lines. When looking at their defense, there seems to be just one big missing piece: that dancing-bear nose tackle. That monster in the middle that will proclaim himself to be the "eater of worlds" after he destroys a center and a guard at the same time.
That man is Louis Nix III. He’s had some injury issues in the past, but he’s a dominating presence when he’s healthy. His role in the Chargers’ 3-4 defense would be to keep his old college buddy, Manti Te’o, clean and eating double-teams like they are snack cakes.
Matt Miller's comparison: Dontari Poe
My comparison: Vince Wilfork
Matt compares Nix to Dontari Poe, while I see more of Vince Wilfork in his game. Either way, he’s a dominating nose tackle who has the potential to change games for his defense. Wilford, Poe and Nix are all nose tackles who fit the Bill Parcells’ planet theory.
26. Cleveland Browns: CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State
The Browns have a big hole in their defense that needs to be filled. Their No. 2 cornerback role has been awful in recent years, despite the team trying to put Band-Aids over the problem with Chris Owens and Buster Skrine.
The Browns would be wise to finally solve this issue with someone who isn’t far from home. Ohio State's Bradley Roby would be perfect for Mike Pettine’s defense, one that is based around having two talented man corners. In Roby and Joe Haden, he would definitely have that in Cleveland.
Matt Miller's comparison: Lardarius Webb
My comparison: Vontae Davis
Matt does make a solid comparison with Lardarius Webb in terms of playing style, but Roby reminds me more of Vontae Davis because of his consistency. Much like Davis, he’ll be solid almost every game, but he’ll also have one awful game every year. He’ll have one exceptional game every year as well.
27. New Orleans Saints: OLB Dee Ford, Auburn
Parys Haralson, Junior Galette and Victor Butler aren’t the ideal starting outside linebackers in Rob Ryan’s 3-4 defense. It led him to play more 4-3 looks last season than 3-4 looks. That needs to change if the Saints want to take the next step.
They should be looking into a pair of guys here. But the one that makes the most sense is Auburn’s Dee Ford. He’s a bit of a one-trick pony, but he does that one trick exceptionally well. The Saints would have an instant starter and leader for their defense.
Matt Miller's comparison: Sio Moore
My comparison: Sio Moore
Ford is tough to find a comparison for. But when looking at the combine particulars and the film, Matt’s comparison to Sio Moore is spot on. Once both Ford and Moore learn how to defend the run better, they will both be Pro Bowl-caliber linebackers.
28. Carolina Panthers: WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
After cutting Steve Smith and following a hectic offseason for the Carolina Panthers, they really have few options at wide receiver. Their best players there are Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant and Tiquan Underwood. A true No. 1 is needed; otherwise, Cam Newton will have a long year.
Brandin Cooks is the best receiver available at this point in the draft and is a perfect fit for the Panthers offense and scheme. He’s a bit undersized, but he’s almost exactly what Steve Smith was in this offense in 2013. The Panthers need to keep Newton happy with his targets or their offense will struggle in 2014.
Matt Miller's comparison: Kendall Wright
My comparison: Steve Smith
Brandin Cooks is the ideal replacement for the recently departed Steve Smith because that’s who he is on the field. He doesn’t have the same toughness and grit just yet, but as far as being a deep option and great yard-after-the-catch threat, he’s right there.
29. New England Patriots: QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Some men just want to watch the world burn. Bill Belichick is one of those men. And he likes to be the one lighting the match when it comes to his draft picks. He’s not afraid to take a guy if he thinks he can mold him into the player he needs him to be.
With Tom Brady nearing his 37th birthday, Belichick needs to bring in the right man to learn from him. Johnny Manziel wouldn’t be a terrible value here and would make a ton of sense as the quarterback of the future for the Patriots.
Matt Miller's comparison: Robert Griffin III
My comparison: Michael Vick
Matt compared Manziel to RGIII, but he doesn’t have the accuracy that Griffin had coming into the league. Manziel reminds me more of Michael Vick when he was coming into the league. He was very raw and a good leader, but he had some off-field and on-field questions about his decision-making.
30. San Francisco 49ers: OLB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech
The San Francisco 49ers could be facing a rough situation with Aldon Smith if his legal issues continue to stockpile. So they should look for a guy who could start right away should Smith be suspended for a couple of games during the season.
Georgia Tech’s Jeremiah Attaochu is a perfect fit for the 49ers’ scheme, as he has experience in both the 3-4 and 4-3 defense. He could be an instant impact at pass-rusher. Most importantly, though, Attaochu has no off-field issues to speak of—a refreshing break from Smith.
Matt Miller's comparison: Corey Lemonier
My comparison: Jason Taylor
Matt compares Attaochu to Corey Lemonier, but in my opinion, he is closer to Jason Taylor in how he plays. Like Taylor, Attaochu's game is predicated on speed and athleticism as opposed to power. Lemonier is good, but he doesn’t have the raw talent that Attaochu has.
31. Denver Broncos: LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
The Denver Broncos need a linebacker who can play the middle and roam in a way that Brain Urlacher used to for the Bears. Ryan Shazier is a perfect fit for that role. He would not just be the guy there athletically, he would also be a leader for the Broncos defense.
A team captain at Ohio State as just a junior, Shazier showed that he was the leader of that defense before plays by making all of the on-field adjustment calls. The Broncos would love to have his personality in the locker room and his talent on the field as they try to win one before Peyton Manning retires.
Matt Miller's comparison: Lavonte David
My comparison: Derrick Johnson
As good as Lavonte David is, he doesn’t feel like the right comparison for Shazier. Derrick Johnson makes more sense because he’s better at shedding blocks and can play in both the 3-4 and the 4-3 effectively. Shazier is excellent in coverage the same way Johnson is.
32. Seattle Seahawks: DL Dominique Easley, Florida
When a team wins a Super Bowl, it’s tough to find needs on its roster. But the Seattle Seahawks could definitely use another 3-technique defensive tackle for their starting defensive line. They need to bring in a guy who has the same "world is against me" attitude that the team played with in 2013.
That guy would definitely be Dominique Easley. Easley has suffered multiple ACL tears. Nonetheless, he would be an ideal fit for the 3-technique role in the Seahawks' 4-3 over scheme. He could also play the 5-technique defensive end in a rotational manner if need be.
Matt Miller's comparison: Greg Hardy
My comparison: Greg Hardy
Easley and Greg Hardy are definitely very similar in how they play. They both explode off the ball and can play any technique from 3-technique through 9-technique. They provide the versatility for their coordinators to run 3-4 looks if they want to, even though both would play in 4-3 defenses as pros in this situation.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All combine and pro day info is courtesy NFL Draft Scout. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.
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