NFL Draft 2014: Latest Expert Mocks and Predictions for Round 1

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NFL Draft 2014: Latest Expert Mocks and Predictions for Round 1
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Pushing the NFL draft back by two weeks meant more speculation, more uncertainty and, of course, more mock drafts this year.

And why not? We all eat this stuff up, right?  

Below, you'll find the latest mock drafts from several experts (and one guy who lumped himself into that group) along with a breakdown of some of the more interesting picks and the latest buzz around this year's draft.

And yes, that buzz is starting to really crackle with the draft just a day away. Let's break it down. 

Note: The mocks chosen for this article were updated this week, so some well-known draft analysts may have been left out.   

 

Expert Picks

Expert 1st-Round NFL Mock Drafts
Pick Team Matt Miller (B/R) Todd McShay (ESPN) Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com) Timothy Rapp (B/R)
1 Houston Texans Jadeveon Clowney Jadeveon Clowney Jadeveon Clowney Jadeveon Clowney
2 St. Louis Rams (via WAS) Sammy Watkins Greg Robinson Greg Robinson Greg Robinson
3 Jacksonville Jaguars Teddy Bridgewater Sammy Watkins Khalil Mack Khalil Mack
4 Cleveland Browns Johnny Manziel Johnny Manziel Johnny Manziel Johnny Manziel
5 Oakland Raiders Greg Robinson Khalil Mack Sammy Watkins Sammy Watkins
6 Atlanta Falcons Khalil Mack Jake Matthews Taylor Lewan Jake Matthews
7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mike Evans Mike Evans Mike Evans Mike Evans
8 Minnesota Vikings Blake Bortles Blake Bortles C.J. Mosley Blake Bortles
9 Buffalo Bills Jake Matthews Taylor Lewan Jake Matthews Taylor Lewan
10 Detroit Lions Justin Gilbert Darqueze Dennard Justin Gilbert Justin Gilbert
11 Tennessee Titans Anthony Barr Justin Gilbert Kyle Fuller Anthony Barr
12 New York Giants Eric Ebron Aaron Donald Zack Martin Eric Ebron
13 St. Louis Rams Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Odell Beckham Calvin Pryor Calvin Pryor
14 Chicago Bears Aaron Donald Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Aaron Donald Aaron Donald
15 Pittsburgh Steelers Taylor Lewan Kyle Fuller Darqueze Dennard Darqueze Dennard
16 Dallas Cowboys Kony Ealy Zack Martin Anthony Barr Ra'Shede Hageman
17 Baltimore Ravens Zack Martin Eric Ebron Eric Ebron C.J. Mosley
18 New York Jets Odell Beckham Brandin Cooks Odell Beckham Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
19 Miami Dolphins C.J. Mosley Morgan Moses Ryan Shazier Zack Martin
20 Arizona Cardinals Derek Carr Ryan Shazier Blake Bortles Derek Carr
21 Green Bay Packers Jimmie Ward C.J. Mosley Austin Seferian-Jenkins Louis Nix III
22 Philadelphia Eagles Dee Ford Calvin Pryor Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Odell Beckham Jr.
23 Kansas City Chiefs Brandin Cooks Marqise Lee Brandin Cooks Brandin Cooks
24 Cincinnat Bengals Kyle Fuller Jason Verrett Bradley Roby Kyle Fuller
25 San Diego Chargers Darqueze Dennard Anthony Barr Jason Verrett Timmy Jernigan
26 Cleveland Browns (via IND) Cody Latimer Cody Latimer Marqise Lee Cody Latimer
27 New Orleans Saints Davante Adams Dee Ford Marcus Martin Dee Ford
28 Carolina Panthers Morgan Moses Joel Bitonio Morgan Moses Marqise Lee
29 New England Patriots Dominique Easley Stephon Tuitt Ra'Shede Hageman Jace Amaro
30 San Francisco 49ers Allen Robinson Ra'Shede Hageman Stanley Jean-Baptiste Jason Verrett
31 Denver Broncos Ryan Shazier Xavier Su'a-Filo Joel Bitonio Ryan Shazier
32 Seattle Seahawks Jason Verrett Kony Ealy Xavier Su'a-Filo Allen Robinson

Matt Miller's mock can be found here via Bleacher Report.

Todd McShay's mock can be found here via ESPN Insider (subscription required).

Daniel Jeremiah's mock can be found here via NFL.com.

 

Surprises, Storylines and Latest Buzz

The mystery of Teddy Bridgewater continues. While Miller thinks he should go at No. 3 to Jacksonville—and has him as his top overall player in this draft—many folks think he could drop out of the first round altogether.

The latest buzz puts him in Cleveland (though not at the pick you might think), per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com:

Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report thinks that interest is feigned, however:

In general, the quarterback position is a question mark, though interestingly enough, all of the above mockers (myself included) believe the Browns will select Johnny Manziel. The fact that Kyle Shanahan, the team's offensive coordinator, worked closely with Robert Griffin III in Washington makes Manziel an intriguing fit in Cleveland.

Of course, it's silly season, and rumors emerged on Wednesday that Manziel could possibly be selected by Jacksonville, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle:

That could very well be true. The Jaguars could also be hoping that a team coveting Manziel will be willing to pay a steep price to jump ahead of the Browns to draft him. Who knows?

Meanwhile, the consensus in most mocks around the web is that Jadeveon Clowney will go No. 1 overall, but will he in fact be heading to Houston? It seems very possible a number of teams, most notably among them the Atlanta Falcons, could try to move up to that selection to draft the dynamic defensive end.

But if the Texans keep the pick, Clowney not only thinks he'll be selected there, but he's also excited by the prospect, per Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports:

If the Texans indeed can't or decide not to move the pick go with Clowney at No. 1, what the St. Louis Rams do at No. 2 will shape the rest of Round 1 entirely. As usual with this team, don't be surprised if they trade out of the selection, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports points out:

In general, it seems most folks consider Clowney, Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, Khalil Mack and Sammy Watkins to be the top five talents, in varying order. All five should be off the board in the first nine selections, at the very latest. 

As you go down the board, two things become clear—this is a very deep draft, and people begin to really disagree on which players deserve to be in the first round. Matt Miller has Kony Ealy going in the top 16 picks, and not only does he have Jimmie Ward going ahead of Calvin Pryor, but he also dropped Pryor out of the first round entirely.

Both McShay and Jeremiah think offensive linemen like Morgan Moses and Joel Bitonio will crash the first round. Jeremiah also thinks the New Orleans Saints will go with a center in the first round, USC's Marcus Martin (he also like Moses in the first round), while thinking the San Francisco 49ers will go after intriguing corner Stanley Jean-Baptiste in the first round.

To be clear, none of these are "bad" picks; they just veer a bit away from what you might see in the majority of mocks around the web right now. The actual NFL draft has a habit of doing that, too, as every team evaluates its own needs and the upside of prospects differently. 

The only certainty is, well, the uncertainty. It's going to be a very fun draft this year, that much is certain.

 

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