NFL Draft Prospects 2014: Latest Predictions for Entire 1st Round

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2014

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel passes the ball during a drill at pro day for NFL football representatives in College Station, Texas, Thursday, March 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)
Patric Schneider/Associated Press

The 2014 NFL draft is one of the most exciting in recent memory due to its immense star power, so all eyes will be on Radio City Music Hall in New York for Thursday night's opening round.

Several prospects in this year's class could potentially become true franchise players at the next level. Add in the uncertainty surrounding what might happen at the top of the draft and it will most definitely make for must-see television.

Here is an updated first-round mock draft along with a closer look at some of the most intriguing prospects with the 2014 NFL draft looming.

 

First-Round Mock Draft

Full First-Round Mock for 2014 NFL Draft
Pick No.TeamSelection
1Houston TexansJadeveon Clowney
2St. Louis Rams (via WAS)Sammy Watkins
3Jacksonville JaguarsBlake Bortles
4Cleveland BrownsJohnny Manziel
5Oakland RaidersKhalil Mack
6Atlanta FalconsGreg Robinson
7Tampa Bay BuccaneersMike Evans
8Minnesota VikingsTeddy Bridgewater
9Buffalo BillsJake Matthews
10Detroit LionsJustin Gilbert
11Tennessee TitansDarqueze Dennard
12New York GiantsAaron Donald
13St. Louis RamsHa Ha Clinton-Dix
14Chicago BearsCalvin Pryor
15Pittsburgh SteelersAnthony Barr
16Dallas CowboysDee Ford
17Baltimore RavensTaylor Lewan
18New York JetsEric Ebron
19Miami DolphinsZack Martin
20Arizona CardinalsKony Ealy
21Green Bay PackersC.J. Mosley
22Philadelphia EaglesOdell Beckham
23Kansas City ChiefsBrandin Cooks
24Cincinnati BengalsMorgan Moses
25San Diego ChargersKyle Fuller
26Cleveland Browns (via IND)Xavier Su'a-Filo
27New Orleans SaintsRyan Shazier
28Carolina PanthersMarqise Lee
29New England PatriotsStephon Tuitt
30San Francisco 49ersDavante Adams
31Denver BroncosJason Verrett
32Seattle SeahawksCyrus Kouandjio
Mike Chiari's Mock Draft

 

Top Prospects to Watch

Johnny Manziel

It can be argued that quarterback Johnny Manziel was one of the most dynamic players in the history of college football during his two seasons at Texas A&M. Whether or not his skill set will successfully transfer to the NFL is a major point of contention, though, as is his projected landing spot within the draft.

Several teams selecting early in the first round could use a quarterback, including the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders. That means Johnny Football should have several opportunities to get selected early.

Manziel is such a polarizing prospect that opinions regarding him seem to run the gamut, but ESPN's Mike Greenberg doesn't expect him to get past Oakland at No. 5:

Houston desperately needs a quarterback at No. 1, but it may be difficult to pass up an elite prospect like defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Jacksonville is definitely a potential landing spot for Manziel too, as is Cleveland at No. 4.

The Browns could really use a signal-caller as well as a personality who can reinvigorate the fanbase. Manziel definitely fits the bill, and he would presumably fit offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's scheme, which Robert Griffin III excelled in with the Washington Redskins.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam would likely love to have Manziel due to the impact it would have on the organization's bottom line, but football people will have the final say on draft night, per Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network:

In addition to that, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports is reporting that the Browns will not select Manziel at No. 4:

As definitive as Glazer appears to be, nothing can be taken as gospel during the lead-up to the draft. It would behoove the Browns to discount their interest in Manziel if they truly want him, and it is entirely possible that it is nothing more than a smokescreen.

Manziel to Cleveland makes all the sense in the world, and there is every reason to believe that the Browns will take him if he is still available at No. 4.

 

Jadeveon Clowney

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney may very well be the most talented prospect to enter the NFL draft in a decade or more. Despite that, he is far from a sure thing to be the No. 1 overall pick. The Houston Texans are at the top of the draft and could potentially pair Clowney with All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt, but they have a number of different options.

The Texans need a franchise quarterback, especially with an offensive-minded head coach in Bill O'Brien. Staying at No. 1 and taking a signal-caller is a possibility, as is trading down with someone who is enthralled by Clowney's potential.

Some are seemingly convinced that the Texans will stay at No. 1 and take Clowney since it is the popular maneuver. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, though, Houston is definitely willing to listen to trade offers:

Clowney wouldn't necessarily fill an area of need for the Texans, and he may not be a great scheme fit either. Rather than trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, trading down and acquiring more picks may ultimately be the smartest thing the Texans can do.

Houston has been predictably tight-lipped about its intentions, but Clowney believes that he is its top target should it stay at No. 1, per Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports:

There is no question the Texans will receive and consider some enticing offers leading up to draft night, but the allure of a once-in-a-generation pass-rusher will ultimately prove to be too much for Houston to pass up. Look for the Texans to stand pat, take Clowney and pray that he becomes the player so many expect him to be.

 

Teddy Bridgewater

When the 2013 college football season ended, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was considered the likely No. 1 overall pick. Despite not having played in an actual game since then, the perception is that he could fall to the bottom of the first round or perhaps even into the second round.

Bridgewater didn't have a particularly good pro-day performance, but it is tough to believe that one minor hiccup would cause teams to sour on him. If anything, it is possible that teams are feigning disinterest in order to increase their chances of landing him.

Maybe Bridgewater isn't quite at the level of Manziel or Blake Bortles, but he is at least a top-three quarterback in this class. Since so many teams need a quarterback early in the draft, Bridgewater definitely still has a chance to be a top-10 selection.

The Vikings are most definitely in the market for a quarterback after declining Christian Ponder's fifth-year option. The Vikes may very well choose to let Ponder leave via free agency following the season. Matt Cassel is also in place, but he simply isn't a long-term answer.

Bridgewater, on the other hand, is arguably the most polished passer in the draft, and he has the potential to be an excellent NFL quarterback. Minnesota seemingly has interest in Bridgewater or it at least did at one time, as it brought him in for an official visit:

The Vikings can't afford to waste running back Adrian Peterson's peak years, so they need to find a franchise quarterback immediately. Bridgewater fits the bill and would be a major steal at No. 8.

 

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