17. Baltimore Ravens: WR Davante Adams, Fresno State Bulldogs
The Ravens offense has struggled this season without Anquan Boldin. Adams is possibly the 2nd-best receiver in the draft after Sammy Watkins, so the Ravens will be happy if he falls to them at #17. Davante Adams has the speed to stretch a defense. Adams could easily go in the top-15, however like Derek Carr, most of his tape is against lesser competition, which could cause him to be drafted later than expected.
18. Dallas Cowboys: DE Kony Ealy, Missouri Tigers
The Cowboys need some help along the defensive line. They are tied for 26th in the NFL in sacks, and recently switched to a 4-3 defense. The defensive scheme looks much better than the 3-4 of the past few seasons, but they still need to add some personnel to complete the switch. Kony Ealy is a good prospect for the 4-3 DE because he is very athletic and can play the run and rush the passer. Ealy and Demarcus Ware would make a great bookend pass rush duo.
19. San Diego Chargers: NT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Nix’s knee surgery is already a concern for most teams. The Chargers have had a huge hole in the middle ever since Jamal Williams left a few years ago. Cam Thomas is a backup at best and adding Nix would turn turn the defensive line into one of the best in the NFL with Kendall Reyes and Corey Liuget. Having that inside presence will also make things easier for the outside rushers and secondary. The Chargers could also look to draft a CB here, and they will surely draft on the defensive side.
20. Arizona Cardinals: OLB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State Buckeyes
The Cardinals have a thing for bringing in old pass rushers, but never seem to be able to get a young stud. Now is their chance. Ryan Shazier is very fast and instinctive, recording over 22 tackles for loss this season at Ohio State. The Cardinals could also target an offensive tackle here.
21. Chicago Bears: DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Injuries have plagued the Bears D-line this season. Adding some youth and athleticism should help. Stephon Tuitt has the athleticism and skill to play either DE or DT in the Bears’ 4-3 defense, and would add some much needed versatility for their defense. Tuitt would be able to stick around the midwest and finish his degree at Notre Dame, a concern of HC Brian Kelly that may hold him out of this years draft.
22. Miami Dolphins: OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama Crimson Tide
The Dolphins did nothing to replace Jake Long on the offensive line, and the offense has struggled because of it. Koundjio is the second straight Alabama player coming off the board, and is the best offensive line prospect left. Cyrus Kouandjio is a physical specimen for a lineman who gets off the line quickly and establishes running lanes early. He still has work to do in passing protection, but he has shown improvement.
23. Philadelphia Eagles: OLB Vic Beasley, Clemson Tigers
The Eagles need to add some explosion to their defense to match that offense. Vic Beasley is exactly that: explosive. Beasley is quick of the line and uses that as his main method of attack. By pushing offensive lineman on their heels from the snap, Beasley drives them back with a strong bull rush. If Beasley can add some moves to his arsenal, he could be dangerous in the NFL. The Eagles may also elect to pick a corner.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Bengals have relied on Pacman Jones and Terrence Newman for a little too long. Besides, If Mike Zimmer gets a head coaching offer in the offseason, the Bengals D will most likely take a step back. They need to get younger in the secondary, and Gilbert is possibly the best CB in the draft. He is a physical ballhawk on the outside and would add plenty of athleticism to improve the Bengals secondary. He could also replace Leon Hall in a few years.
25. Cleveland Browns (IND): OG David Yankey, Stanford Cardinal
The Browns already selected Johnny Manziel earlier in the draft. Now, they need to keep him clean. David Yankey is the top guard prospect in the draft, and could solidify the Browns O-line for years. The Browns may also want to take another receiver to pair with Josh Gordon if there are any left that are worth a top-25 selection.
26. New Orleans Saints: OT Cameron Erving, Florida State Seminoles
New Orleans didn’t allow a bunch of sacks this season, but when Brees isn’t kept upright, this offense completely stalls. The Saints still need to replace Carl Nicks and Jermon Bushrod on the left side. Cameron Erving could be a top-15 pick, so the Saints should take him if he falls to #26. Cameron Erving is athletic and aggressive on the line and will improve the running lanes for Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram as well.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: OLB Kyle Van Noy, Penn State Nittany Lions
The Chiefs defense must have the most drastic change in draft position in 1 year in NFL history. I’ll check on that. Defense is the key to the Chiefs’ success, and their defense suffered when they can’t rush the passer. Van Noy is a good pick for them at #27. Van Noy has potential to be a 3-down linebacker. He can rush the passer and defend the pass. Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, and Kyle Van Noy would likely make up the best pass-rushing trio in the NFL.
28. New England Patriots: DE Ra’shede Hageman, Minnesota Gophers
The Patriots need to add some protection for Tom Brady and get younger along the defensive line. Unfortunately, most of the premier offensive line prospects are off the board. Ra’shede Hageman is a nice consolation prize though. He is the 2nd best DT prospect in the draft, boasting a huge frame and often unmatched strength. He consistently gets penetration in the middle and disrupts the pocket for opposing QBs with 11 tackles for loss.
29. San Francisco 49ers: DE Trenty Murphy, Stanford Cardinal
Justin Smith is getting older, and Trent Murphy would be a great replacement. Murphy was recruited by Jim Harbaugh at Stanford and fits Harbaugh’s aggressive and tenacious style of play. Murphy has good instincts, can play the run, and rushes the passer with ferocity. The Niners could also target a corner here to get younger in the secondary.
30. Carolina Panthers: WR Allen Robinson, Penn State Nittany Lions
The Panthers have needed another wide receiver for a long, long time. Steve Smith can still get it done, but not for much longer. Robinson has the height, hands, and hops to be a #1 receiver in the NFL. He doesn’t have elite speed, but would be a great compliment to Steve Smith.
31. Denver Broncos: OG Cyril Richardson, Baylor Bears
The Broncos’ offensive line has suffered greatly form injuries this season. Starters Ryan Clady and Dan Koppen both went down before the season started. Manning still put up the best passing performance in a season in NFL history, so imagine what he could do with some depth in the offensive line. Richardson is a huge lineman, and must keep his weight down in the NFL. However, Manning doesn’t move much, so he would be a good pick for the Broncos.
32. Seattle Seahawks: TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington Huskies
Seferian-Jenkins will stick around in Seattle to give Russell Wilson a legit red zone threat and add some consistency to the offense. Sidney Rice isn’t dependable and Percy Harvin could barely crack the field and Wilson still looked great. Jenkins is a huge target for Wilson and would add another dimension to the offense that ranks 2nd in rushing but only 24th in passing.
Thanks for checking out my first 2014 NFL Mock Draft. I will be updating it each week until the NFL Draft on May 8th.