2014 NFL Mock Draft: Predicting the Draft's Top 3 Rounds
What if the quarterbacks fall?
Much ado has been made about quarterbacks and whether they will be drafted highly or not. Plenty of negatives have been tossed around like political mudslinging, and many have the opinion that quarterbacks will simply fall from their lofty heights in the draft.
It's difficult to believe this crop will really fall too far, especially given how many teams are needy at the position. But what if it happens?
After all, few expected last year's positional debacle when EJ Manuel was the sole quarterback drafted in the first round, and once touted prospects like Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib fell several rounds.
That kind of quarterbackcalypse is unlikely this year, no matter how we stretch our imaginations. What if the top of the draft isn't occupied by three or four quarterbacks, though? What happens then?
Unlike my previous mock drafts, this one will have trades. The likelihood is low any of these trades happen, but they are intended to tell a plausible story.
1. Houston Texans
Pick: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
There is little doubt the Houston Texans want to trade out of the No. 1 pick, but the odds of that are slim.
Houston needs a quarterback in a bad way, but could anyone blame general manager Rick Smith for taking Jadeveon Clowney if he can't move down?
Clowney may have some questions dogging him, but his talent and athleticism are undeniable. Pairing the South Carolina product with defensive force J.J. Watt would be murderous to opposing quarterbacks.
2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington)
Pick: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
The St. Louis Rams might not get enough in return for the No. 2 pick—especially when compared with the king's ransom they received for the No. 2 pick just two years ago—so they are staying put in this mock draft.
The pick doesn't change either, as offensive tackle Greg Robinson fills a big need in a nice way. An athletic offensive tackle, Robinson is an excellent run-blocker.
3. Atlanta Falcons (from Jacksonville)
Pick: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Rumors are flying that the Atlanta Falcons are considering a move up in the draft. But how far are they willing to move?
It seems too expensive to move up to No. 1 overall to take Jadeveon Clowney, a trade that could cost 2014 second- and 2015 first-round picks, per Will Brinson of CBS Sports. It's easy to envision adding more 2014 picks to this sort of deal.
Clowney might be the best player in the draft, but the Falcons can get a great pass-rusher at No. 3 at a lower cost. In this scenario, the Falcons move their 2014 second- and 2015 first-round picks for the rights to draft Khalil Mack out of Buffalo.
Mack is every bit as athletic as Jadeveon Clowney, an explosive and productive pass-rusher out of college.
4. Cleveland Browns
Pick: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Should the Cleveland Browns take a quarterback with their No. 4 pick? Perhaps, but the pressure isn't on here after the Houston Texans passed on one at No. 1 and the Jacksonville Jaguars traded out of No. 3. Brian Hoyer is also set to come back from his torn ACL, though counting on him as a long-term starter might be a foolish venture.
Receiver Sammy Watkins is still available, though, and it's too tantalizing to pass up pairing him with stud Josh Gordon. Whoever is under center will certainly benefit from this tandem.
He is a bit of a risk in the top five at 6'1" and 211 pounds, but Watkins is a dangerous player who would create problems for opposing defenses having to worry about Gordon and other options on that offense in Cleveland.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Oakland)
Pick: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Having seen their top target go off the board, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cannot resist moving up two spots to ensure they get their man here.
The Buccaneers give up two third-round draft picks to swap with the Oakland Raiders, using the No. 5 pick to select Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans.
Tampa Bay needs a No. 2 receiver badly now that Mike Williams is out of the picture, and Evans will be an excellent complement for veteran Vincent Jackson. In some respects, Evans is a better option than Sammy Watkins, who was taken one pick earlier here.
He is massive at 6'5" and 231 pounds, a huge red-zone target who can do a lot of damage as a possession receiver at the next level.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Atlanta)
Pick: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
This could be the perfect scenario for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Quarterback is obviously the biggest need, but taking one at No. 3 might not be worthwhile. Trading down a few spots and taking the top quarterback on their board seems far more palatable—assuming the quarterbacks are indeed problematic in this year's draft—and the Jaguars found a great trade partner in the Falcons here.
As for the selection of Teddy Bridgewater, well, who could blame the Jaguars for taking the most polished quarterback in the draft class? Bridgewater's draft stock is in the tank right now, but much of that is media-driven idle talk. He is still arguably the best quarterback in the class.
This is a mock draft where the quarterbacks fall, but that doesn't mean they will all fall out of the first round.
7. Oakland Raiders (from Tampa Bay)
Pick: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
The first really big surprise of this mock draft comes in the form of hulking Taylor Lewan, who cracks the top 10 after hovering in the teens or beyond for much of draft season. Of course, if the latest rumors are to be believed, this wouldn't be much of a surprise on draft day.
According to Jerry McDonald of the Oakland Tribune, the Raiders are keen on the 6'8", 315-pound lineman, perhaps to the point of taking him at No. 5 over other options.
The big offensive lineman out of Michigan has been mired in off-field controversy for much of the year, but how much will a misdemeanor charge really affect his draft stock in the end?
8. Dallas Cowboys (from Minnesota)
Pick: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
And now for the first big trade of the draft.
The Dallas Cowboys haven't been shy about moving up or down in the draft in recent years, and they want to be sure they get the man pegged at the top of their board here. They give up a second-round pick and a future first-rounder to do it.
Defensive tackle Aaron Donald would pair with incoming free agent Henry Melton to form a formidable pass-rushing duo in the middle of that defensive line should the Cowboys land the former Pittsburgh star one way or another.
9. Buffalo Bills
Pick: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Some of Buffalo's top targets may have been swiped here in this mock draft, so the Bills go with the best player available at a position of need.
Jake Matthews is arguably the top offensive tackle in the draft.
The Bills already have Cordy Glenn, but the other tackle position is unsettled. They could feasibly move Glenn over to the right side if Matthews is better suited for the left.
10. Detroit Lions
Pick: Eric Ebron, TE, UNC
The Lions already added Golden Tate to the fold at receiver in free agency and brought back Brandon Pettigrew at tight end, but does the latter inspire much excitement as an offensive threat? Then there is Joseph Fauria, also known as Freddy Krueger in the red zone for opposing defenses.
So why would the Lions take a tight end?
While he might not fill a hole at the position, Eric Ebron could still be a huge addition to that offense. At 6'4" and 245 pounds, he is built more like a receiver. As Bleacher Report's Matt Miller mentions in the video above, he is not ideal for a role as an in-line tight end.
Instead of focusing on a third receiver—something the Lions could really use—Detroit adds Ebron and figures out how to use him all over the field in concert with Pettigrew and Fauria.
11. Chicago Bears (from Tennessee)
Pick: Hasean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
The defense needs a major facelift in Chicago, and the Bears need safeties and defensive tackles most.
The Bears need to make a move here with defensive tackle Aaron Donald gone. Who knows if the Giants—who could use a safety—or another team would jump ahead of Chicago at No. 14 to take the next-best thing, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix?
Both safeties were horrid for the Bears last season, and they didn't really upgrade much in free agency.
12. New York Giants
Pick: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
The Giants lose out on their top options by waiting here—namely Aaron Donald in the middle—but Anthony Barr is a nice consolation prize.
The pass-rusher out of UCLA isn't a perfect fit, but he provides athleticism at a position that has taken some hits over the past couple of seasons in New York.
Justin Tuck signed with the Raiders a year after Osi Umenyiora took off for Atlanta, leaving injury-prone Jason Pierre-Paul and unproven Damontre Moore to man the edges. It might not be their top need, but the Giants score a nice player without having to trade up.
13. St. Louis Rams
Pick: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
Imagine a linebacker corps of James Laurinaitis, Alec Ogletree and now C.J. Mosley.
The Rams have other pressing needs, but sometimes the best player available is too good to pass up. C.J. Mosley is a versatile linebacker who can play all over the field. He is a ball-seeking missile comparable to NaVorro Bowman or Luke Kuechly.
Adding Greg Robinson and Mosley in the first round might seem like odd moves for a quarterback- and cornerback-needy team, but the Rams aren't one or two players away from becoming contenders.
14. Tennessee Titans (from Chicago)
Pick: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
The Titans could use an extra pick or two, and they got third- and fifth-round picks to go along with a 2015 third to move down a few spots in this mock draft.
It is an easy move to make for a team with so many needs, cornerback being perhaps chief among them.
Fortunately, that is a deep position, and they have their pick of the litter here. Darqueze Dennard is an aggressive cornerback capable of stepping in for the departed Alterraun Verner and succeeding right away.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers
Pick: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
The defensive front could use a makeover in Pittsburgh.
With several pass-rushers gone, the Steelers take the second-best option on the interior of the defensive line. Louis Nix III has seen his draft stock fall a bit in recent weeks, but it's difficult to see him falling terribly far.
The Steelers could use a space-eating nose tackle to man the middle of that defensive line, and Nix is an excellent option in that regard. Even with Steve McLendon still there and Cam Thomas signing in the offseason, Nix might be too good to pass up for the Steelers at this point.
16. Minnesota Vikings (from Dallas)
Pick: Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
The Minnesota Vikings got a nice haul from the Dallas Cowboys, and now they get a nice player at a position of need.
Calvin Pryor is the second-best safety in the draft class, and the Vikings really need to pair incumbent Harrison Smith with a quality player. Pryor is capable of playing centerfield and laying the big hit.
He and Smith would make for a nice tandem.
17. San Francisco 49ers (from Baltimore)
Pick: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
The San Francisco 49ers have too many draft picks on their hands. It's feasible they spend a few of them making a big move in the first round of the NFL draft, and that is precisely the case here in this mock draft.
With the New York Jets liable to take the top receiver left on their board here, the 49ers swap second-, fourth- and 2015 second-round picks to move all the way up from No. 30 to No. 17.
Selecting Odell Beckham Jr. might be a surprise for a team that currently employs Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin, but the latter will be 34 this season. Beckham, meanwhile, is a bigger, tougher version of DeSean Jackson, though perhaps not quite as speedy.
He can play in the slot or outside, and he should be able to come in and contribute right away unlike past San Francisco draft picks A.J. Jenkins and Quinton Patton.
18. New York Jets
Pick: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
If you are going to place any prop bets on the draft, bet on the New York Jets taking a defensive player in the first round.
Not since Mark Sanchez was taken fifth overall in 2009 have the Jets taken an offensive player in the first round. Last year brought cornerback Dee Milliner and defensive end Sheldon Richardson to that defense.
Milliner wasn't terribly good as a rookie—though he did play well down the stretch—and Antonio Cromartie is no longer with the team. The Jets could use another quality cornerback, and Justin Gilbert is a nice option here.
Gilbert possesses a great combination of size and speed, clocking in at 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash at 6'0" and 202 pounds. He is a good cover cornerback who would fit in just fine in that Rex Ryan defense.
19. Miami Dolphins
Pick: Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame
New general manager, same old song.
The Dolphins surprised many by moving up to select pass-rusher Dion Jordan at No. 3 overall last season, but old general manager Jeff Ireland was known for his futile attempts at fixing a perpetually broken offensive line.
This year is no different with Dennis Hickey, a newcomer with an old problem.
The Dolphins brought in Branden Albert to play left tackle, but big holes remain along that offensive line. While Richie Incognito is now infamous for the bullying scandal and subsequent erratic behavior, he was a solid left guard for Miami.
Right tackle is also a position of need.
Enter Zack Martin, who could fill either of those slots nicely from the first round. The versatile lineman played tackle at Notre Dame, but he can easily kick inside at the next level. Depending on what the Dolphins do with the rest of the draft and free agency, Martin could be needed at either position.
20. Arizona Cardinals
Pick: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
This would be an intriguing pick for the Arizona Cardinals.
Ryan Shazier is an outside linebacker capable of playing in a 3-4 defense, but he could also move inside. With Karlos Dansby gone and Daryl Washington facing another potential suspension, Arizona might need someone to man the middle.
Shazier is incredibly athletic, a great option to move around on that defense. He could line up as a pass-rusher when needed and in the middle as an athletic Mike linebacker at others.
A lack of great middle linebackers in this class means Shazier and his versatility will be at a premium.
21. Green Bay Packers
Pick: Jimmie Ward, FS, Northern Illinois
Nothing has changed from the last draft here for the Green Bay Packers, who need a safety in a bad way.
Jimmie Ward is widely considered the third-best safety in the class out of Northern Illinois, a versatile player who can play center field or line up in the slot as needed. He would be a great pick for the Packers here in the first round.
22. Philadelphia Eagles
Pick: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
The second year of head coach Chip Kelly's tenure in Philadelphia is going to require some improvements on the defensive side.
That's where Timmy Jernigan comes in. The Eagles don't have a huge need at nose tackle at the moment, but Jernigan could be groomed to man the middle there for years to come.
23. Kansas City Chiefs
Pick: Joel Bitonio, OL, Nevada
Conventional wisdom has the Kansas City Chiefs addressing the wide receiver position, but the offensive line is a much bigger concern.
The Chiefs lost Branden Albert, Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah—three-fifths of their starting offensive line—to free agency, and they didn't plug any of those holes. They will need to do some of that in the draft.
Joel Bitonio might seem like a bit of a reach here, but he is the best offensive lineman available in terms of versatility. He is a college tackle who projects as a guard at the next level, and the Chiefs might need some versatility on that line next season.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
The Bengals didn't do much of anything in free agency, hence they feature a complement of aging, snakebitten or otherwise disappointing cornerbacks.
Bradley Roby remains one of the best options in the draft at the position despite an untimely legal issue last week. Roby was cited for operating a vehicle while impaired, per CBS Sports' Josh Katzowitz, though it seems likely the incident was much ado about nothing.
At any rate, the Bengals need a cornerback, and Roby is the next best available player at that position here.
25. Houston Texans (from San Diego)
Pick: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
Having abstained from drafting a quarterback with the No. 1 pick, the Houston Texans couldn't resist jumping ahead of the quarterback-needy Browns to nab their top guy.
Blake Bortles has been tied to Houston for a while now, as evidenced by the video above, but the big quarterback is likely too raw to consider in the top five of the draft. Of course, anything could happen, but Bortles falls all the way to No. 25 here.
Bortles reminds many of Ben Roethlisberger, much of that having to do with his size at 6'5" and 232 pounds. He needs some work to become a solid NFL starter, but there would be far less pressure to start him right away if the Texans can nab him with their second pick rather than No. 1 overall.
26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis)
Pick: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
This has to be a dream scenario for the Cleveland Browns.
Eschewing a quarterback and avoiding a move up from the 26th pick would mean the Browns would have to be comfortable missing out on the top guys. The NFL draft gods have conspired to hand Johnny Manziel to Cleveland here, however, and it was too good to pass up.
At this point, Manziel would step into an offense featuring receivers Josh Gordon and Sammy Watkins, tight end Jordan Cameron and running back Ben Tate.
Manziel wouldn't need to start right away either if Brian Hoyer is healthy. The talented Texas A&M product could use a little seasoning before being thrown into the fire, lest he get happy feet right away, and this scenario could be perfect for him and the Browns.
27. New Orleans Saints
Pick: Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn
This is a bit lucky for the New Orleans Saints, who need a pass-rusher in a bad way.
Dee Ford is an athletic specimen, as evidenced by his sizzling pro day performance when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, among other great numbers.
Ford was great for the Tigers, and he was even better at the Senior Bowl. It might be wishful thinking for the Saints to get him here at No. 27, but that is how the cookie crumbled in this mock draft.
28. Carolina Panthers
Pick: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
The Carolina Panthers must pick their poison—wide receiver or offensive tackle.
Both are major needs for a team that has bled players all offseason. A poor cap situation and left tackle Jordan Gross' retirement has left general manager David Gettleman in a lurch at these positions.
It was almost a matter of flipping a coin here. The tackle position is more valuable and shallow than wide receiver in this year's draft, so Morgan Moses won out over a host of options at receiver.
The massive offensive lineman might not be the most athletic in the class, but he has great footwork to make up for it. He would be a nice replacement for the departed Gross. Now if only he could also play receiver.
29. Washington (from New England)
Pick: Jeremiah Attaochu, LB, Georgia Tech
Washington general manager Bruce Allen couldn't sit on his hands waiting for his pick to come around anymore, especially with pass-rushers flying off the board in the first round. New England, meanwhile, is happy to lend a hand, nabbing a couple of third-round picks to swap picks here.
The pass rush needs major improvement in Washington, and the top players are already gone here. Another handful could have been taken by the time Allen's pick came up at the top of the second round, so moving up for the top player on his board made sense in this mock draft.
So who is the top player there? After taking a closer look since my previous mock draft, Jeremiah Attaochu is that man.
The talented former Yellow Jacket is an athletic force off the edge. His size and run defense concerns are the only reason he isn't being discussed as a guaranteed first-round pick.
30. Baltimore Ravens (from San Francisco)
Pick: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Trading all the way back to No. 30 from No. 17 seems like a huge drop, but grabbing a pair of second-round picks is a nice return. Being able to fill a need with one of the top players at the position is even better.
Michael Oher is no longer manning the right side on that offensive line, so Cyrus Kouandjio is the pick here for the Baltimore Ravens.
The Alabama product might be better than his former teammate, D.J. Fluker, whom the San Diego Chargers took at No. 11 last year. It wouldn't be a shock to see him taken much higher than this on draft day.
He is an athletic but raw offensive lineman who might be too tantalizing for teams to pass up 29 times. The Ravens benefit from other needs and land him here at No. 30. They won't even have to test him at left tackle with Eugene Monroe in the fold.
31. Denver Broncos
Pick: Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA
All of the free agents the Denver Broncos signed cannot mask the holes they still have on the team.
One of those is in the middle of that offensive line, where quality guard Zane Beadles followed the money to Jacksonville. The Broncos might be able to move offensive tackle Orlando Franklin to the middle, but they would be better served keeping him outside and drafting a true guard.
Xavier Su'a-Filo is perhaps the best one in the draft—Zack Martin and Joel Bitonio, who were taken before him, are converted tackles who project well to the interior.
32. Seattle Seahawks
Pick: Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
Whoa, there. Is this really happening?
Martavis Bryant has gotten little love throughout draft season, despite posting a sizzling 4.42 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. The 6'4", 211-pound receiver out of Clemson actually edged out his teammate, Sammy Watkins.
More importantly, he looks like a potential difference-maker on tape, particularly in the red zone. He is less heralded than fellow big receiver Kelvin Benjamin, but Bryant is a more athletic and reliable receiver.
Granted, maybe all this lack of attention really does mean he will be drafted in the third round or later, but cracking the first round is not out of the realm of possibility, especially with a team that needs a big receiver like the Seattle Seahawks.
1 (33). San Diego Chargers (from Houston)—Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Trading down pays off for the Chargers, who snag one of the best cornerbacks in the draft in Kyle Fuller. San Diego desperately needed help in the secondary, and the Chargers got some while snagging an extra draft pick.
2 (34). New England Patriots (from Washington)—Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
The sun rises in the east, taxes are due on April 15 and the Patriots make a draft-day trade. What else is new?
A bit raw, Ra'Shede Hageman winds up falling out of the first round here. He lands with the same team as he did in the last draft, however, as the Patriots are able to snag him early in the second round.
He can team up and learn from veteran stud Vince Wilfork to become a pass-rushing force in the middle.
3 (35). Cleveland Browns—Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Having addressed the offense in the first round, the Browns turn to the defensive side of the ball here. Jason Verrett is a potential first-rounder who fell out of the first here due to the way things fell.
4 (36). Oakland Raiders—Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Once again the Raiders wait on a quarterback—as they did in my previous mock draft—and once again they wind up with a guy they reportedly love, per SI.com's Josh Sanchez.
5 (37). Jacksonville Jaguars (from Atlanta)—Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State
This pick is a nice boon for the Jaguars for moving down three picks in the first.
Despite signing Chris Clemons and Red Bryant away from the Seattle Seahawks and retaining Jason Babin, the Jaguars could use an upgrade at pass-rusher.
6 (38). Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Stephon Tuitt, DL, Notre Dame
While Gerald McCoy saw plenty of success last season, Akeem Spence did not produce the same results.
Stephon Tuitt could play inside for the Buccaneers and move outside when needed.
7 (39). Jacksonville Jaguars—Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State
Brad Meester is retired, and the Browns matched the big offer sheet Jacksonville signed Alex Mack to, so taking the best center in the draft seems like a logical step here.
8 (40). Minnesota Vikings—Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
The Vikings were rumored to want Zach Mettenberger in the second round. It turns out NFL analyst Tony Pauline's tweet was prophetic, at least in terms of this mock draft.
Minnesota would get the benefit of having a potential quarterback of the future without pressuring to start him as a rookie. Well, until Matt Cassel or Christian Ponder begins to falter, at any rate.
9 (41). Buffalo Bills—Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
This isn't a major position of need for the Bills, who boasted a fantastic pass rush last season.
As the Seattle Seahawks proved out west, though, there is no such thing as too many quality defensive linemen. Kony Ealy would be a steal for any team at this point, even one that doesn't necessarily need him.
10 (42). Tennessee Titans—Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
The top running back in Tennessee right now is Shonn Greene. 'Nuff said.
11 (43). New York Giants—Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
Good things come to those who wait.
The New York Giants need a tight end in a bad way, but there is little chance of taking one in the first round outside of Eric Ebron, who was taken by the time New York picked in this mock draft.
Jace Amaro is widely regarded as the second-best tight end in the class, however, and the fact he fell to the Giants here without a move up from the Giants is almost too good to be true.
12 (44). New York Jets (from St. Louis)—Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
The Jets did well to lure Eric Decker over from the Denver Broncos, but wide receiver is still a big position of need.
Brandin Cooks could well go in the first round, but he had fallen far enough here before the Jets pounced in a trade. The talented slot receiver out of Oregon State would be a big addition for that offense.
13 (45). Detroit Lions—Marqise Lee, WR, USC
The Lions address that third receiver position here after all, unable to pass up taking Marqise Lee at this stage. Suddenly Matthew Stafford has a glut of weapons.
14 (46). Pittsburgh Steelers—Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida
Cornerback is a major position of need for the Steelers. Marcus Roberson hasn't had a great draft season, but he is still a fine prospect out of Florida.
15 (47). Minnesota Vikings (from Dallas)—Lamarcus Joyner, DB, Florida State
The Vikings cash in on their first-round trade with the Cowboys by selecting a versatile defensive back.
Lamarcus Joyner might be a more highly touted prospect if he wasn't 5'8" and 184 pounds. He projects well as a free safety at the next level, but he is also a viable nickel cornerback. Having a versatile chip would be nice for that needy secondary.
16 (48). Baltimore Ravens—Kareem Martin, DL, UNC
Arthur Jones is gone, and Chris Canty will be 32 this season, so the defensive line could use some attention in Baltimore.
17 (49). St. Louis Rams (from New York Jets)—Terrence Brooks, FS, Florida State
Safety is a big need for the Rams. Terrence Brooks is a former cornerback with great instincts to play center field, and he can lay the wood when he has to.
18 (50). Cincinnati Bengals (from Miami)—Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
With defensive end Michael Johnson gone and nothing to show for it in free agency, the Bengals need a defensive end in the draft. He isn't likely to become the pass-rusher Johnson is, but Crichton will be a solid player at the next level.
19 (51). Chicago Bears—Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
The Bears need help in the middle of that defensive line in a bad way, especially with Henry Melton gone to Dallas.
After passing on the position in the first round, Will Sutton is a great pickup here in the second for Chicago general manager Phil Emery.
20 (52). Carolina Panthers (from Arizona)—Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
Addressing the receiver position will be a priority for the Panthers in the draft. Having addressed another big need by taking an offensive tackle in the first, Carolina moves up to select the top receiver left on its board.
Kelvin Benjamin is a bit of a polarizing prospect. He possesses tantalizing size, but drop issues and relatively unspectacular tape could easily shunt him down the draft.
21 (53). Green Bay Packers—Marcus Martin, C, USC
With Evan Dietrich-Smith gone and the draft's top center taken, the Packers roll with Marcus Martin here.
22 (54). Philadelphia Eagles—Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
The defensive overhaul continues for Philadelphia.
23 (55). Miami Dolphins (from Cincinnati)—Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
The Dolphins aren't in dire need at wide receiver with Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline in the fold, but another quality receiver couldn't hurt.
Jordan Matthews has fallen off a bit after starting draft season hot, but the 6'3" receiver out of Vanderbilt would make for an excellent No. 3 and some insurance should the new Miami regime choose to jettison Wallace next year.
24 (56). Baltimore Ravens (from Kansas City via San Francisco)—Dion Bailey, FS, USC
James Ihedigbo was a nice surprise at safety for the Ravens last season, but he had Matt Elam playing out of position at free safety. Ihedigbo is gone, allowing Elam to move over to his proper position. It leaves a hole at free safety, however.
Dion Bailey is a nice option here for them.
25 (57). San Diego Chargers—DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State
San Diego needs help along that defensive line, particularly at nose tackle with Cam Thomas gone.
26 (58). New Orleans Saints—Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
The Saints need a cornerback, and Pierre Desir is an intriguing small-school option.
27 (59). Indianapolis Colts—Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor
Think Ryan Grigson might be sweating a little by this point?
The Colts general manager had to wait nearly two full rounds to make a pick thanks to an ill-advised trade for running back Trent Richardson and a nice playoff run. The latter insulates him from much criticism, but the Colts could have used that first-rounder and taken one of the many running backs in the draft later.
At any rate, here they are, unwilling to move up and lose even more picks later in the draft. The interior of the offensive line needs help, and Cyril Richardson is a nice pick.
28 (60). Arizona Cardinals (from Carolina)—Ja'Wuan James, OT, Tennessee
The right tackle position is unsettled for the Cardinals, depending on whether they bring Eric Winston back or not. Even if they do, Winston is 30 years old, and there is a reason teams have shied away from him in free agency two offseasons in a row.
Ja'Wuan James is one of the more underrated offensive linemen in the draft, a nice choice who could start as a rookie if needed.
29 (61). San Francisco 49ers—Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville
It will be interesting to see what happens with pass-rusher Aldon Smith in San Francisco after a spate of arrests. His latest for an alleged bomb threat, per Tom Pelissero of USA Today, had some thinking he might be cut.
The 49ers could use another pass-rusher regardless, and Marcus Smith is a fantastic choice here.
30 (62). Cleveland Browns (from New England)—David Yankey, OL, Stanford
Back to offense for the Browns here, who move back into the second round to address another position of need.
David Yankey's draft stock has plummeted throughout draft season, but at this point he is the best remaining offensive lineman.
31 (63). Denver Broncos—Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin
The Broncos lost Wesley Woodyard to free agency, leaving a bit of a hole in the middle of that defense. Even if Danny Trevathan can manage, drafting an inside linebacker early seems prudent.
32 (64). Seattle Seahawks—Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State
As good as the Seahawks offensive line has been in recent years, it needs help in the middle. Gabe Jackson is the best pure guard left in the draft at this point.
1 (65). San Diego Chargers (from Houston)—Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
Trading down pays off again for the Chargers, who get Keenan Allen some help at wide receiver.
2 (66). New England Patriots (from Washington)—Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
3 (67). Oakland Raiders—Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
The Raiders get sniped here a bit at tight end, but Austin Seferian-Jenkins is still a good pick for them.
4 (68). Atlanta Falcons—Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
He might need wrist surgery soon, but Tre Mason is still arguably the best running back in the class. The third round is a nice discount for the Falcons, who need to plan for 30-year-old Steven Jackson's eventual departure.
5 (69). Oakland Raiders (from Tampa Bay)—Telvin Smith, LB, Florida State
Versatile linebacker Telvin Smith could help shore up the position in a big way.
6 (70). Jacksonville Jaguars—Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
Justin Blackmon is still suspended indefinitely, and Cecil Shorts III seems to get injured every third week. The Jaguars need some help at the position, and Allen Robinson is that man here.
Robinson may well go much higher than this, but his average speed could be problematic. He does have good size at 6'3" and 220 pounds, though. That is nearly the exact same size as Jordy Nelson, who isn't known to be a burner himself.
7 (71). New England Patriots (from Cleveland)—Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington
The Patriots just keep falling into good picks.
Despite losing LeGarrette Blount, New England still has Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. The former is prone to fumbleitis and the latter to injury, however, and both are in the final year of their rookie deals.
Drafting a running back could be in the cards for the Patriots, and Sankey could be just as good as any of this year's prospects.
8 (72). San Francisco 49ers (from Minnesota)—Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson
Another move for the 49ers, who need help at cornerback and want to ensure they get their man here.
9 (73). Buffalo Bills—Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
The Bills could use another cornerback.
10 (74). New York Giants—Ed Reynolds, FS, Stanford
Even though the Giants brought Stevie Brown back, they could still use a safety in the draft.
11 (75). St. Louis Rams—David Fales, QB, San Jose State
The Rams are going to have to face the music on quarterback Sam Bradford at some point, right? Unless he finally lives up to that first-overall status this season, it's the end of the line for the former Oklahoma star.
12 (76). Detroit Lions—Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice
Detroit has stacked the offense enough. It's time to address that secondary, and Phillip Gaines is an excellent third-round option. Gaines had a fantastic combine, showing off a great combination of size and athleticism.
13 (77). Minnesota Vikings (from Tennessee via San Francisco)—Billy Turner, OT, North Dakota State
The interior offensive line needs some work in Minnesota, and Billy Turner is the best available lineman in this draft. Well, if we don't count Brandon Thomas, who is only falling because he tore his ACL working out for the New Orleans Saints during draft season.
14 (78). Dallas Cowboys—Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
Every draft sees unexpected falls. BYU's Kyle Van Noy has been a fringe first-rounder for much of draft season—including twice in mock drafts by yours truly—but he could just as easily fall into the third round or further if teams like other pass-rushers better.
In this case, looking closer at the position revealed some gems who could well go before Van Noy, pushing him into the third round where the Cowboys are stealing him here.
15 (79). Baltimore Ravens—Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State
Who knows what will stem from Ray Rice's off-field issues. The Ravens chose not to cut their starting running back after he allegedly knocked his fiancee unconscious, according to ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley, but they may be looking ahead at the position regardless.
Rice's play has declined over the past couple of seasons, particularly last year when he averaged a horrific 3.1 yards per carry. Poor run blocking was part of the problem, but Rice has simply not looked like his old, spry self.
Bernard Pierce lies in wait to swipe that starting gig, but the Ravens would do well to add some help. Devonta Freeman is a great option here in the third round.
16 (80). New York Jets—C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
The Jets brought back Jeff Cumberland, but they could use another quality tight end.
17 (81). Miami Dolphins—Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State
As mentioned earlier, the Dolphins need help at multiple positions on the offensive line. Jack Mewhort projects to be a right tackle at the next level, potentially sealing a revolving door of turnstiles at the position.
18 (82). Tennessee Titans (from Chicago)—Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
Quarterback Jake Locker looked pretty good last season before being knocked out with injury, but the Titans could be looking to hedge their bet here in the draft. That may be especially true because there is a new regime in town with Ken Whisenhunt.
Jimmy Garoppolo had some hype behind him in recent weeks, and he is a nice developmental option for Tennessee.
19 (83). Cleveland Browns (from Pittsburgh)—Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia
The Browns can indulge themselves a bit after a nice mock draft thus far. They were able to sign free agency's best running back, Ben Tate, for a meager $6.2 million, but they could use some depth at the position.
20 (84). Arizona Cardinals—Keith McGill, CB, Utah
The Cardinals need to add some depth at cornerback behind Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu.
21 (85). Kansas City Chiefs (from Green Bay)—Donte Moncrief, WR, Mississippi
There isn't much help for Dwayne Bowe at wide receiver in Kansas City. Donte Moncrief might not step into a contributing role right away because he is raw, but he has the potential to become a great option in that offense.
22 (86). Philadelphia Eagles—Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
Paul Richardson is a fine option to replace Jackson. The speedy receiver out of Colorado might be of slight appearance at 6'1" and 175 pounds, but he isn't much thinner than Jackson.
23 (87). Green Bay Packers (from Kansas City)—Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia
Jermichael Finley is still looking for work after that horrific neck injury last year, and the Green Bay Packers may be looking for a new tight end.
Arthur Lynch is the antithesis to Finley at tight end, a big blocker rather than an athletic seam threat, but he is a big target who could be a big help as a blocker.
24 (88). Cincinnati Bengals—Dakota Dozier, OG, Furman
The interior of that offensive line in Cincinnati needs a boost. Small-school guard Dakota Dozier might need a little seasoning before he can start at the next level, but he should be nice depth at the very least here.
25 (89). San Diego Chargers—Trevor Reilly, OLB, Utah
The Chargers continue their defensive overhaul by taking another front seven player, Trevor Reilly.
26 (90). Indianapolis Colts—Jordan Tripp, OLB, Montana
The Colts need help at linebacker in a bad way. Jordan Tripp is a versatile defender coming out of small-school Montana, though he may be a bit undersized.
27 (91). New Orleans Saints—Terrance West, RB, Towson
Mark Ingram finally paid off a bit last season for the Saints, but that doesn't mean he will ever live up to that first-round status.
New Orleans retained Pierre Thomas after threatening to trade him, but the Saints may be looking toward the future at running back. Terrance West is a quality back with massive production in college, albeit in the Football Championship Subdivision.
28 (92). Arizona Cardinals (from Carolina)—Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh
All of that hype surrounding Tom Savage did him little good, at least in terms of getting selected near the top of the draft here.
Who knows where he will land, but this seems like a likely enough spot.
29 (93). New England Patriots—Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford
The Patriots get themselves an athletic pass-rusher here who could come in and contribute on passing downs right away.
30 (94). San Francisco 49ers—Dominique Easley, DT, Florida
If any team can afford to take an injured player, it's the San Francisco 49ers. The fact they took Marcus Lattimore and Tank Carradine last year without much hope they would contribute in 2013 is evidence enough, and the 49ers still have plenty of draft picks despite moving up twice in this draft.
Dominique Easley might be the best defensive tackle in the draft. His injury is the only reason he isn't a lock for the top 15. As it stands, he may not make it out of the second round.
31 (95). Denver Broncos—E.J. Gaines, CB, Missouri
The Broncos need some depth at cornerback. Gaines is an experienced cornerback, a senior coming out of an SEC school. He isn't incredibly athletic, but he is a quality player who can be a good special teamer and provide solid depth to any team at the next level.
32 (96). Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle)—Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU
The Vikings landed Linval Joseph in free agency, but they could use more help at defensive tackle.
33 (97). Pittsburgh Steelers (compensatory)—Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
The Steelers need to shore up the receiver position after Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery departed in free agency. Lance Moore isn't that guy, and Markus Wheaton is an unproven commodity.
Davante Adams needs some work, but he could prove to be a nice receiver at the next level.
34 (98). Green Bay Packers (compensatory—Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
Versatility is the name of the game here for Bruce Ellington. The former basketball player could line up all over the field at the next level, giving the Packers a couple of Swiss army knives when paired with Randall Cobb.
35 (99). Baltimore Ravens (compensatory)—Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
This is a nice little wide receiver run to close out the third round. It also shows how deep this class is.
Steve Smith might have shored up the receiver position for the Ravens, but they can certainly use more help. A good slot receiver would be particularly nice for quarterback Joe Flacco and that offense, and Jarvis Landry fits that bill nicely here.
36 (100). San Francisco 49ers (compensatory)—Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
The 49ers have the dynamic duo of NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis, but the former is coming back from a torn ACL, and Patrick Willis is already up to 29 years old. Shayne Skov would add nice depth at middle linebacker for the 49ers, at the very least.