Todd McShay NFL Mock Draft 2014: Surprises from ESPN Expert's Personal Picks

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Todd McShay NFL Mock Draft 2014: Surprises from ESPN Expert's Personal Picks
Michael Conroy

If anyone knows how turbulent this time of the year can be, it's Todd McShay.

The NFL draft analyst for ESPN has seen quite a few huge changes over the years, including Reggie Bush being passed up for Mario Williams with the No. 1 overall pick. While that seems pretty tame now, it was considered blasphemous at the time.

This year, the Houston Texans are once again at the top of the first round and have an interesting choice to make. Do they go with another defensive end in Jadeveon Clowney or one of the three top-tier quarterbacks in this year's class?

Rather than putting out another traditional mock draft, McShay went with a little more off-kilter approach by releasing his own personal predictions for the first round.

Here's a look at the full list from ESPN.com (subscription required) and some of the biggest surprises from the draft analyst's latest mock draft.

Todd McShay's "Grade A Picks"
Pick Team Player
1 Houston Texans Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
2 St. Louis Rams Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
3 Jacksonville Jaguars Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
4 Cleveland Browns Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
5 Oakland Raiders Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
6 Atlanta Falcons Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
8 Minnesota Vikings Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
9 Buffalo Bills Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
10 Detroit Lions Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
11 Tennessee Titans Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
12 New York Giants Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
13 St. Louis Rams C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
14 Chicago Bears Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
15 Pittsburgh Steelers Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
16 Dallas Cowboys Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
17 Baltimore Ravens Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
18 New York Jets Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
19 Miami Dolphins Marqise Lee, WR, USC
20 Arizona Cardinals Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
21 Green Bay Packers Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
22 Philadelphia Eagles Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
23 Kansas City Chiefs Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
24 Cincinnati Bengals Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
25 San Diego Chargers Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
26 Cleveland Browns Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
27 New Orleans Saints Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
28 Carolina Panthers Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
29 New England Patriots Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
30 San Francisco 49ers Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
31 Denver Broncos Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
32 Seattle Seahawks Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

ESPN.com

 

12. New York Giants: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia

Yes, Morgan Moses has been a name talked about as a prospect climbing up draft boards, but all the way up at No. 12 in the draft is a bit lofty.

Jordan Raanan, who covers the New York Giants for NJ.com, apparently agrees that the pick is just a bit out of the norm:

Moses' time at Virginia was spent out of the limelight, but he still made a huge impact on draft scouts thanks to his film and pedigree as a pass-blocker. But he was outdone at the combine by other offensive linemen and is commonly seen as a late first-round pick, like every CBS Sports analyst has him slotted.

But McShay isn't the only analyst high on Moses, as Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel believes he would be much higher on boards if he had a stronger combine performance:

Let's remember though, these are personal picks from McShay. He's allowed to have a man crush on Moses for his skills as a lineman, but it's still a shocker to see the UVA player this close to the top 10 in the first round.

 

16. Dallas Cowboys: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

After a year where the Dallas Cowboys had one of their worst defensive seasons in the history of the franchise and released DeMarcus Ware, the obvious choice at this pick is to go with a defensive game changer, right? Wrong.

According to McShay, adding another wide receiver to complement Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and the emerging Terrance Williams would be his personal favorite. Here's part of McShay's explanation for the pick:

Receiver is certainly down the line in terms of need, but I think Cooks could be a big-time playmaker alongside Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams because of his route-running ability and top-end speed. It's all about allowing Tony Romo to succeed for Dallas, and drafting Cooks would serve that purpose.

OK, so at least he admits picking a receiver is pretty far down the list of needs.

But even with the need to continue building around Tony Romo and the offense, the franchise quarterback had the team in several games where the defense couldn't hold the lead late.

Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star provides his own analysis of the former Beavers wide receiver:

The 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner is certainly a flashy wide receiver that would make a great fit for any team that picks him, but this just isn't a smart pick for the Cowboys. With the needs it has at other positions, don't expect Dallas to go after Cooks despite his speed and ability.

 

19. Miami Dolphins: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Once again, another great receiver, but this pick just doesn't make a lot of sense.

During the offseason in 2013, the Miami Dolphins spent a boatload of cash on Mike Wallace to play alongside Brian Hartline to shore up the position. But even with Charles Clay making some serious noise last year, the Dolphins will go after...Marqise Lee?

McShay has apparently fallen in love with Biletnikoff Award winners—Lee took the honor in 2012—and put them high on his personal picks. Though it seems out of left field, Albert Breer of NFL.com also spoke highly of the Trojans wide receiver:

Even with his immense talent, Lee can't help one of the biggest issues last season for the Dolphins. Miami allowed 58 sacks in 2013, eight more than any other team in the league, as the Jacksonville Jaguars were the only other team over the 50-sack mark in the category.

How about focusing on keeping Tannehill upright during the 2014 season before adding to an already stout receiving corps.

 

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