Conor Cahill's 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Version 1.1

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Apr 26, 2013; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks before the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Some teams will begin their playoff journey this week. For everyone else, the playoff means 1 thing: more mock drafts! Version 1.1 of my 2014 NFL Mock Draft features changes to almost 30% of the selections from my Version 1 2014 NFL Mock Draft.

A few draft positions and picks were changed, but no major surprises yet (hint, hint). Most notably, the Cleveland Browns lost again on Sunday and secured the 4th overall selection. The change puts them in the position to draft possibly the best QB in the draft, UCF’s Blake Bortles… Check out the rest of the Version 1.1 Mock Draft below:

1. Houston Texans: QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville Cardinals

This is the most obvious pick it the mock. The Texans need a QB, Bridgewater is the best QB in the draft. It is rumored that the Texans are also looking at Johnny Manziel with their pick. Whoever the Texans do decide to go with, we do know that they want a game-changer type of QB moving forward. The game-manager style of Matt Schaub is a thing of the past for this Texans team. QB Blake Bortles may be a surprise #1 selection here over Teddy.


2. St. Louis Rams (WAS): OT Jake Mathews, Texas A&M Aggies

The Rams want to trade down, as most of their needs are not worth a number 2 pick. I’m sure teams will surely be scrambling to select a QB. (Possibly the Jaguars if they finally realize Blaine Gabbert isn’t very good.) If they can’t find a trade partner, the Rams will probably pick on the offensive line. #2 is a little high for a RT, but if they are sticking with Sam Bradford at QB, or any QB for that matter, they need to keep him upright to have a chance at success.


3. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina Gamecocks

The Jags are nowhere near ready to draft another QB and have plenty of holes to fill. They will get lucky with Clowney, probably the most talented player in the draft, falling to them at #3. Besides, the Jags GM said they would build around Blaine Gabbert. I don’t understand it either, but it makes the Clowney pick make even more sense.


 4. Cleveland Browns: QB Blake Bortles, UCF Knights

The Browns will look to land their QB of the future in UCF’s Blake Bortles. Bortles has a strong arm and the ability to scramble (a la Aaron Rodgers) and would be a good fit for the NFL. I have Bortles ranked as the #2 QB on the board ahead of Derek Carr or Johnny Manziel. The Browns will get a steal with Bortles at #4, as he could easily go #1 at the rate he is flying up draft boards. The Browns should target a receiver later in the draft to pair with Josh Gordon or another offensive lineman. Now that would raise the ceiling of this offense by a mile.

Previous Pick: QB Johnny Manziel.


5. Oakland Raiders: QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M Aggies

Matt McGloin is not the future at QB for the Raiders. He has filled in nicely this year, but looks to be a good backup at best. Johnny Manziel is a pretty good QB option when you ignore the character issues. The guy can flat out fly and his passing has improved significantly over his Heisman year. Oakland is desperate to find their next QB, and Manziel definitely has the skill to be their franchise QB for a long time. The Raiders could also go with Clowney here if the Jags pass him up.

Previous Pick: QB Blake Bortles.


6. Atlanta Falcons: OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA Bruins

The Atlanta Falcons were terrible this season after Super Bowl aspirations in the pre-season. The two biggest reasons for their poor season is the rushing attack and the defense. It is far too early to draft a RB, so they will go with pass-rusher Anthony Barr, who happens to also be the most talented guy left on the board. Barr is an ex-FB with a lot of knowledge about offense, and it has translated into very good instincts on defense. Barr could easily go in the top-3, so the Falcons may have to move up to make sure they can pick him.


7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson Tigers

The Bucs seem set on lanky Mike Glennon as their QB of the future (for now), so they must start surrounding him with more weapons. Sammy Watkins has home run potential on every play and will stretch the defense for Doug Martin and free up Vincent Jackson. Another option here would be TE Eric Ebron, but Watkins has such a huge upside, he might be hard to pass up at #7. This pick will depend on who the Bucs decide to go with as their new Head Coach.


8. Minnesota Vikings: QB Derek Carr, Fresno State Bulldogs

The Vikings should learn not to take the next available QB late in the top-10, but they won’t. From what I’ve seen from Derek Carr, he is maybe the 4th best QB in this draft. His stock fell even more for me after his pedestrian game in the Las Vegas Bowl against USC (the best team he played this season). I would mock him even lower if Hundley or Mariotta came out. The Vikings will not learn from their mistake with Christian Ponder, and reach for Derek Carr with the 8th pick.


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

It may be a little early to take Ebron here, but the Bills need to add some weapons for now-2nd year QB, EJ Manuel. Adding Ebron creates a mismatch for almost any defender in the NFL. Ebron is fast, physical, and can make insane catches in contact. Eric Ebron would make life for EJ Manuel much easier in the open field, and especially in the red zone. Offensive guard is another option here for the Bills.


10. Detroit Lions: WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M Aggies

Another receiver to pair with Johnson would make the offense (and Mathew Stafford) much more explosive and consistent. Mike Evans also happens to be one of the top players available. At 6’5″, Evans led the SEC in receiving touchdowns, would add another legit red zone threat, and would be a good compliment for Megatron. Cornerback is another option here.

Previous Pick: WR Marqise Lee. 


11. Tennessee Titans: OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo Bulls

The Titans are 20th in the NFL this season in sacks, and gave up 30+ points 5 times. The Titans will benefit by adding another pass rusher. Mack is a physical freak and never stops working to get to the quarterback. Mack would instantly improve the Titans defense with his skill, but more importantly, his attitude.


12. New York Giants: CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State Spartans

The giants need some athleticism in the secondary. Prince Amukamara is finally playing better, but the Giants need to shore up that 12th ranked pass defense. Dennard is the top ranked corner in the draft. The Giants could also make a pick along the offensive line, because Eli Manning has been sacked 37 times this season.


13. St. Louis Rams: S HaHa Clinton-Dix, Alabama Rolling Tide

The safety play of the Rams was terrible this season. They will look for an upgrade to play with TJ McDonald. The Rams will be getting the top safety in the draft in Clinton-Dix. Clinton-Dix is probably the best defensive player available at this point, although the Rams could also go with a corner here, since Cortland Finnegan has been horrible this season. 


14. Chicago Bears: OG David Yankey, Stanford Cardinal

If the Rams take HaHa with the 13th pick, the Bears may need to reach to find a player at a position of need worth a #14 overall pick. The Bears need help on the defensive line, offensive line, and at safety. Whether they keep Jay Cutler or go in a different direction, their QB needs more protection to be successful. For that reason, the Bears will select the best guard in the draft, David Yankey from Stanford. Yankey could solidify the Bears O-line for years to come. The Bears could also reach for DT Ra’shede Hageman.

Previous Pick: DE Stephon Tuitt.


15. Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan Wolverines

The Steelers are tied for 25th in the NFL in sacks allowed this season. Big Ben can avoid sacks, but not that many. Somehow the Steelers were able to stay afloat this season despite those sacks allowed and a horrible running game. Adding Taylor Lewan could solve both those issues. Lewan would bring a tenacity and competitiveness that was lacking on the front line this season.


16. 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.

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  • Jared Myers

    Reggie McKenzie will not draft Johnny Manziel. Period.

    • Conor Cahill

      Brett Hundley is definitely playing like he should declare, maybe the Raiders will get lucky…

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  • Kareem Daniels

    The majority of the Steelers sacks were given up in the first half of the season. Beachum only allowed 2 sacks at LT. They will go receiver or corner with that 1st pick

  • Johnny

    Phins should trade up to get a top LT.. LIKE THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE LAST YEAR!!!! I repeated myself too many times saying Martin is not a NFL LT… He’s too weak (benched 15 times?)
    If LT Mathews drops, then trade up and get him!!! He’s the top LT in this draft.. Then it drops off…. If not, draft G Yankey, (who I don’t see going as high as you mocked him)… He will be there at 19… Before drafting G Yankey, make sure we pick up or trade for a LT in free agency, depending who will be available… As for letting Jake Long go, I didn’t like it but look at where he’s at.. He’s injured AGAIN!!! So maybe it was a good decision to let him go… OLine, OLine, and hmmmm. OLine in the draft and Free Agency…. And signing CB Grimes is a MUST!!!!! Phins Down!!!!

    • Conor Cahill

      I dont really see him going that high either, but the Bears need a guard, and unless they go best player available or trade down, they will have to reach.

  • Joseph Bulger

    Finally! A mock of Giants #12 pick that I can agree with. Just saw the mock, and they’ve got the Giants going DE/OLB in 1st round, CB in 2nd, and OLB in 3rd. So I guess they’re thinking owner John Mara was kidding when he declared at the press conference that the “offense is broken.” Maybe when they fire OC Gilbride soon the mock gurus will rethink it some more. But I can get behind this as one of the only other reasonable and defensible picks at #12. Dennard is a potentially great CB, and the Giants do need help back there with Webster done, Ross one and done, Hosley still showing potential, and the overachieving McBride getting it done but not really the answer. Dennard in the 1st, and Guard Cyril Richardson in the 2nd would be a good start to a good draft for the Giants.

    • Conor Cahill

      After today, he might not be on the board at #12.

      • Joseph Bulger

        Yeah, Rose Bowl might have bumped him up. Never know. If I were GM Jerry Reese, after the owner’s not so veiled threats, and comments that they haven’t gotten enough value out of the drafts, I’d double down on offensive linemen on day one. Any of the hand full of good OTs with #12, and then Guard Cyril Richardson in the 2nd round. He too had a nice bowl game, so JR might have to move up a few spots to get him. But hey, he moved up in the 4th round in 2013 to get a QB who he said he never expects to take the field, so moving up to get the #1 Guard isn’t a dumb move.

  • Ernest

    Great mock draft. Thanks for the insight and details that the majority of other mock drafts lack. Adding a 2nd round would be even better, though.

    • Conor Cahill

      After the season I will start doing 2nd and 3rd round mocks. Glad you liked it.

  • metalhead65

    no way the bears go with offense with this pick. if they reach it will be for defensive help. I thought the line played well this year and while they need to fund someone to replace garza the line is not a need like it was last year and emory fixed it. they must focus only on defense this year.

  • Santee Jack

    The Bears are NOT going for offensive guard in the draft. If they did go OL, it would be for a center. Look for them to concentrate on defense.

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