NFL Mock Draft 2014: Last-Minute Predictions For Every 1st-Round Pick

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NFL Mock Draft 2014: Last-Minute Predictions For Every 1st-Round Pick
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

The NFL draft begins in less than 24 hours, but we've always got time for at least one more mock predicting the first-round selections.

By now, we've heard or read about almost every prospect ranked from No. 1-50 going to almost every team in the NFL. The uncertainty is especially centered around the very first selection.

Experience says, barring something substantial happening, the Texans will ultimately settle on the player most associated with this pick.

In this year's case, that's the extraordinarily gifted defensive end out of South Carolina.

 

1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

If a team is picking first in the draft, it needs an impact player—unless of course it managed to land the coveted position through a previous trade.

The Texans got it the old fashioned way, and that means the team needs the player in the draft who can potentially make the biggest splash.

Without question, that's Clowney. Clearly, he thinks he's proven himself.

 

2. St. Louis Rams: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Even though the Rams have a couple areas of need, they can't pass on the chance to grab a legitimate No. 1 receiver. That's something quarterback Sam Bradford has never really had.

Even with the team signing veteran Kenny Britt and drafting dynamic slot receiver Tavon Austin in 2013, Watkins would still be the player the team needs to go to the next level.

He should be the pick here.

 

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

The Denver Post's Mike Klis says the latest draft scuttlebutt has Johnny Football landing in Jacksonville. Klis writes: "One NFL source close to the draftable quarterback situation said the buzz is Johnny Manziel going to Jacksonville with the Jaguars’ No. 3 overall pick."

Why not? The Jaguars need a talented star who can win football games and put butts in seats. We know for sure Manziel can at least do one of those things.
 

4. Cleveland Browns: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

The last time the Browns drafted a "franchise quarterback," the team took 28-year-old Brandon Weeden in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft.

That didn't work out so well.

This time, the team should aim for a player not so close to his 30th birthday. Bortles' name has been mentioned in association with almost every team in the top 10. Come Thursday, this is where he should go.

 

5. Oakland Raiders: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Oakland needs a quarterback, but the team can't afford to miss with this pick. It is better off going for the safest bet at a position of need.

In this case, that would be Auburn's massive and talented young offensive lineman. 

 

6. Atlanta Falcons: Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo

Here's a stat to ponder: In 2013, the Carolina Panthers had 60 sacks as a team. Atlanta has had just 59 over the last two seasons. That's no way to contend in the NFC South.

Mack's pass-rushing skills are perhaps only bested by Clowney's in this draft. He could be an instant impact player for the Dirty Birds.

 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Josh McCown is the quarterback, but he's going to need a tool chest of weapons similar to what he had in Chicago in 2013 to be solid.

With Vincent Jackson already in place, Evans would give the team another big target for McCown to find down the field. Evans should add even more verticality to Tampa Bay's aerial attack.

 

8. Minnesota Vikings: Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA

Don't overreact to Barr's speed numbers at the NFL combine. This guy plays the game fast. Minnesota is in need of defensive playmakers, and Barr projects as one of the most dynamic defensive talents in the draft.

Whether he plays end or outside linebacker, he figures to make an impact.

 

9. Buffalo Bills: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Younq quarterbacks like EJ Manuel need good offensive lines and receiving options who represent a safety blanket. Buffalo is still working on strengthening the line, but a talent like Ebron isn't going to grow on trees.

If he and Manuel can quickly get on the same page, they could be a prolific duo.

 

10. Detroit Lions: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Detroit is in need of a cornerback whose coverage skills can help take pressure off the defensive line. Gilbert has the athleticism, size and confidence to become a top-notch cover corner in the NFL.

He plays a position where swag is actually important. Gilbert has plenty of that.

 

11. Tennessee Titans: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Starting left tackle Michael Roos is a free agent after this season. It makes sense for the Titans to take an offensive tackle with this selection. Considering Matthews' father, Bruce, is an offensive line coach and legend with the organization, this seems like a no-brainer.

It would be difficult to explain why the team wouldn't take Matthews here.

 

12. New York Giants: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

Getting younger is the primary objective for the Giants' defense. The defensive line is an option here, but Mosley has star potential as a middle linebacker in the NFL.

He has experience leading one of the nation's top defenses over the last two seasons. Because of his instincts and high football I.Q., Mosley looks like a potential Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate.

 

13. St. Louis Rams: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

With the Rams having already addressed the wide receiver position, they can grab the safety they need with this pick.

Depending on who you ask, either Clinton-Dix or Louisville's Calvin Pryor is the top safety in the draft. In either case, the Rams may very well have a chance to draft the best player at wideout and free safety.

This draft could be the one experts look at as the most instrumental in a future Rams Super Bowl run.

 

14. Chicago Bears: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

USA TODAY Sports

Donald is a perfect fit for the Bears' Tampa 2 scheme. Playing alongside Lamar Houston, Willie Young, Jay Ratliff and Jared Allen could help to make him shine early.

That defensive line sounds pretty imposing.

Considering Israel Idonije and Stephen Paea are there to provide depth, the front seven rotation could be one of the best in the NFL.

 

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Ike Taylor is 34 years old and some might argue he's never been a legitimate No. 1 cornerback. Dennard's physical style and work ethic are a natural fit for the Steelers organization.

Pittsburgh is another team in need of a youth injection on defense. Drafting Dennard would be a smart step in that direction.

 

16. Dallas Cowboys: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When a defense is as bad as Dallas' was in 2013, it can afford to take the best defensive player available. Shazier is a bullet on the field.

His speed and ferocity is a combination that has to be attractive to the Cowboys' brain trust.

 

17. Baltimore Ravens: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Getting back to a physical, run-first offense should be the top priority for the Ravens. The team needs to adapt with the times a bit, but the personnel is still best suited for smashmouth football.

Players like Lewan help to establish that type of identity. The Ravens can look for a receiver later in the draft, but they can't afford to pass on Lewan.

 

18. New York Jets: Marqise Lee, WR, USC 

The Jets don't have a dependable downfield threat on their roster. No matter if the quarterback is Geno Smith or Michael Vick, a receiver who can stretch the defense is a must.

Lee's speed, hands and experience in a pro-style offense make him a good candidate to help fix what ails the Jets offense. 

 

19. Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame

Nothing good came from the Dolphins' offensive line in 2013. Locker room issues got most of the press, but the team also allowed its franchise quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, to be sacked 48 times.

If those events don't scream change, nothing does. 

Martin is a versatile grinder who could become an instant team leader and a cornerstone for a new and improved culture.

 

20. Arizona Cardinals: Xavier Su'a-Filo, G, UCLA

Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

Defensively, the Cardinals were solid in 2013, and Carson Palmer had a resurgence with the passing game. The team didn't run the ball well, though.

Arizona's run offense was ranked 23rd in the NFL, and that simply won't do if the team hopes to take the next step toward contending.

Su'a-Filo is a monster on the interior line. He can help pave the way for a more successful running game.

 

21. Green Bay Packers: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

Green Bay has several needs on defense. With Mosley already off the board in this scenario, the Packers can afford to look at another position of need.

Pryor's hard-hitting style is a little scary in this safety-cautious era of professional football, but he has some undeniable instincts.

Look for the Pack to make him their pick.

 

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

DeSean Jackson's exit leaves a void in the passing and return game. But Cooks has the jets and playmaking ability to step in for the departed wide receiver.

Cooks projects as the same type of downfield threat through the air and a potentially elite kick returner.

 

23. Kansas City Chiefs: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

Head coach Andy Reid has a quarterback with a weak arm to run his offense predicated on short passes. Sounds like they need a receiver who can make yards after the catch routinely.

Beckham Jr. certainly fits the profile.

In 2013, Beckham had 18 plays that went for 25-plus yards, per CFBStats.com. Much of that is due to his ability to make defenders miss after the catch and turn it upfield. 

 

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State

Phil Sears/Associated Press

The Bengals don't have a great deal of depth at nose tackle. After Domata Peko, the pickings are really slim on the Bengals' depth chart at the position.

Taking a player like Jernigan would give the Bengals a rock-solid rotation of defensive tackles and make them all the more tough to run against.

 

25. San Diego Chargers: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

San Diego's secondary wasn't very good last season. Per Football Outsiders, the Chargers were ranked 31st in the NFL in defending teams' top receivers. 

The team needs a competitive and athletic cover corner back who can help to change that trend.

Verrett isn't very big at 5'9" 189 pounds, but he's fast and fearless. He could start from Day 1 in San Diego.

 

26. Cleveland Browns: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

If the Browns use their No. 4 pick to take a quarterback, this pick should be used on a player to help protect him. Joe Thomas is a mainstay at left tackle, but Kouandjio could be the future on the right side.

At only 20 years old, Kouandjio has tremendous upside. This could be a huge draft for the Cleveland offense.

 

27. New Orleans Saints: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia

The Saints couldn't have enjoyed watching Drew Brees get sacked 37 times in 2013. The team seemed to really miss Jermon Bushrod. Over the years, the organization has done a solid job developing young offensive lineman.

The next project should be Virginia's Morgan Moses. He's a massive young man with solid potential who seems to be a hot name as draft day rolls around.

 

28. Carolina Panthers: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

Bob Leverone/Associated Press

Unless the Panthers do something major before the beginning of the regular season, the team is going to have arguably the worst receiving corps in the NFL.

There's no player available at this spot in the first round who's going to change that, but Benjamin does at least give Cam Newton a red-zone threat.

His ability to go up high for catches could make him a force.

 

29. New England Patriots: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

It seems that some have soured on Bridgewater over the last month. That dynamic could allow him to fall in the hands of an unexpected suitor.

Tom Brady is 36 years old. He's not going to play forever. At some point, the Pats have to start thinking about his successor.

Bridgewater has the talent and the demeanor to learn from an all-time great and then hit the ground running when his name is called.

 

30. San Francisco 49ers: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

With a 4.42 40-yard-dash time at his pro day, per PennLive.com, Robinson jumped out as one of the best athletes at wide receiver in the draft.

Anquan Boldin is aging, and the Niners need to find a running mate for Michael Crabtree. Robinson has the skills and physical gifts to make an already talented Niners' receiving corps even better.

 

31. Denver Broncos: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota

Denver added a ton of assets in free agency, but now its time to bring in some pieces for the future. Hageman may need some time to mature, but that process could be aided by the Broncos' veteran locker room.

There's no better landing spot for him.

 

32. Seattle Seahawks: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington

Don Ryan/Associated Press

Tight end is about the only offensive position without an elite player in Seattle. Seferian-Jenkins is a local product and a talented pass-catcher who could give Russell Wilson another weapon.

Like he needs another way to victimize the league.

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