Conor Cahill's 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Version 2.0

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Apr 26, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans first round draft pick wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins speaks to the media during a press conference at at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

New year, new mock: 2014 NFL Mock Draft Version 2.0 to be exact. Version 2.0 of my 2014 NFL Mock Draft features changes to over 65% of the selections from my Version 1.1 2014 NFL Mock Draft.

The Houston Texans seem to be questioning the idea that Teddy Bridgewater is the obvious choice at #1. The St. Louis Rams will no doubt be on the phones the second the Super Bowl comes to an end, because their position at #2 provides them with almost no value. The Jacksonville Jaguars must decide between yet another quarterback or a skill player that could help them now. Check out my Version 2.0 2014 NFL Mock Draft below:


1. Houston Texans: QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville Cardinals

This pick is not as obvious as it was earlier in the season. The Texans need a QB, but Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel are closing in on Bridgewater as the favorite to go #1 in the draft. 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.


 2. Cleveland Browns (TRADE: Washington Redskins via St. Louis Rams): QB Blake Bortles, UCF Knights

St. Louis will not be picking at #2. The Browns will look to land their QB of the future in UCF’s Blake Bortles. Jacksonville is very high on Bortles and the Rams are looking to sell the #2 pick. The Browns will have to pull the trigger to land him and will trade their other pick later in the 1st round to do it. Bortles has a strong arm and the ability to scramble (a la Aaron Rodgers) and would be a good fit for the NFL. Bortles could easily go #1 at the rate he is flying up draft boards. The Browns can still target a receiver later in the draft to pair with Josh Gordon or another offensive lineman. Now this would raise the ceiling of this offense by a mile.


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

The Jags lose out on Blake Bortles but are nowhere near ready to draft another QB anyways. Plus, they 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. Jacksonville could also look to take Johnny Manziel or trade down to collect more picks.


4. St. Louis Rams (TRADE: via Cleveland Browns): WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson Tigers

The Rams will trade down because most of their needs are not worth a #2 pick. Many teams will be scrambling to select a QB, but the Browns have the assets in the 2014 draft to make the trade worthwhile. The Rams will need to surround Sam Bradford with some more weapons. #4 is a little high for Sammy Watkins, but if they are sticking with Sam Bradford at QB, or any QB for that matter, they need to give him more firepower to succeed. Sammy Watkins has home run potential on every play and will cause a lot of problems for defenses when paired with Tavon Austin.

Previous Pick (#2): OT Jake Mathews


5. Oakland Raiders: OT Jake Mathews, Texas A&M Aggies

Jake Mathews may be the most reliable prospect in the draft, and for the Raiders’ sake, I hope they realize that. With everyone else reaching for quarterbacks or home run possibilities, Jake Mathews may very well fall down to #5 or lower. If the Raiders don’t fall into the same trap, they could come away with their left tackle of the future. He will instantly make the job easier for whomever is playing under center next year for the Raiders.

Previous Pick: QB Johnny Manziel


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 was the rushing attack and the defense. It is far too early to draft a runningback, 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. The Falcons may have to move up to make sure they can snatch him.


7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo Bulls

The Buccaneers were 23rd in the NFL this season in sacks, and gave up 30+ points 6 times. The Bucs 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. Mack is also the best defensive player available at this point. The Bucs also need some weapons on offense. Watkins could fall to them at #7 if the Rams trade down, but TE Eric Ebron is another option if he doesn’t.

Previous Pick: WR Sammy Watkins


8. Minnesota Vikings: QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M Aggies

Christian Ponder is not the future at QB for the Vikings. 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. Minnesota is desperate to find their next QB, and Manziel definitely has the skill to be their franchise QB for a long time. Minnesota may also be the perfect place for Manziel to settle down and finally focus on football.

Previous Pick: QB Derek Carr


 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: CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State Spartans

Dennard is the top ranked corner in the draft. Detroit had the 23rd ranked passing defense in the NFL and need some help at corner. Chris Houston has played well, but Rashean Mathis is already 33 years old and failed to intercept a pass all year. Dennard is rising up the ranks again after a great game against Stanford in the Rose Bowl.

Previous Pick: WR Mike Evans 

11. Tennessee Titans: QB Derek Carr, Fresno State Bulldogs

The Titans should learn not to take the “next-best” QB in the draft, 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 Jake Locker, and reach for Derek Carr with the 11th pick.

Previous Pick: OLB Khalil Mack


12. New York Giants: OT Greg Robinson, Auburn Tigers

Eli Manning suffered a great deal this season due to the lackluster play on the offensive line. Robinson is a prototypical left tackle in terms or height, weight, arm length, and athleticism. He is quick and agile on the line, and shows a powerful burst when run blocking. He is, however, only a redshirt sophomore and has little experience at the left tackle position. This shows in his lack of technique when he drops into pass protection. Technique, unlike size and natural ability, can be learned, and I would expect the Giants to invest a great deal of energy into Robinson, who could be the best tackle in the NFL in just a few years.

Previous Pick: CB Darqueze Dennard


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

The Rams will be getting the top safety in the draft in Clinton-Dix. The safety play of the Rams was terrible this season. They will look for an upgrade to play with TJ McDonald. 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: DE Ra’shede Hageman, Minnesota Gophers

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. Their defensive line has been plagued with injuries all year, so they must get younger there. Ra’shede Hageman has elite size (6’6″, 311 lbs.) for a 4-3 DT and shows good ability as a pass-rusher. He consistently gets penetration in the middle and disrupts the pocket for opposing QBs with 11 tackles for loss, but must improve his stamina to succeed in the NFL.

Previous Pick: OG David Yankey


15. Pittsburgh Steelers: FS Calvin Pryor, Louisville Cardinals

Calvin Pryor is flying up draft boards. He even surpassed his fellow Louisville safety, Hakeem Smith. He can play both safety spots because he is a vicious hitter and great tackler, but athletic enough to make plays in center field. Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu are getting older and less effective, so safety is a major position of concern for the Steelers. Pryor hasn’t been tested much in coverage, but could fill Polamalu’s shoes nicely. The Steelers could also go with a corner here, since Ike Taylor is 33.

Previous Pick: OT Taylor Lewan


16. Dallas Cowboys: DE Kony Ealy, Missouri Tigers

The Cowboys need some help along the defensive line. They were 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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  • mccall316

    Not a bad mock with a few exceptions. I can’t see the Raiders drafting an o-lineman. They have Veldeer for left tackle and will either sign him to a long term contract or use the tag on him. They drafted Watson last year and hope he is the right tackle of the future as long as he can stay healthy. My bet on Oakland is taking defense as in Barr or Clowney.

    No way the Jags pass on a qb. They need one, it’s a damn must or they are dumbest franchise in football.

    Couldn’t agree more with the Lions pick. They need secondary help and why not get the kid that practically plays in their backyard.

    Last thing, Verrett won’t last until the Denver pick. To good of a player.

    • Joe Soriano

      I hope Verrett doesn’t last too long, because either he or Dennard are the top CBs in this draft class; Verrett is getting too underrated by some.

  • Scott Aldridge

    Could see Oakland and St. Louis swapping picks and Oakland grabbing a qb unless they’re sold on Pryor. Rams get additional pick and still gets Mathews.

    • Conor Cahill

      I don’t think the Rams really need Mathews. They just signed Jake Long and Joe Barksdale has played well. But, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland, and Atlanta will all be in play for that pick.

      • cesarnoel

        Among the 4 you mentioned Atlanta has the leverage due to Snead’s previous working relationship with Thomas Dimitroff. They can trade down with Atlanta for the right to draft Clowney or Mathews.

    • Frank Petrelli

      If Oakland swaps pick with the Rams it will be for Clowney!

  • Scott K

    The Browns will not trade up to #2 but if they do it will be for Manziel and not for Bortles. Lombardi covets Manziel greatly and loves his play and will draft him at #4 if he’s there or trade up to #2 if he fears he will be gone

  • PJ

    If the Raiders are smart they will address the O and D lines first for immediate impact players or go FAs for skilled positions. We don’t need another rookie QB to start over with. We have TP who will develop with a team that is still wearing name tags. We need a vet QB to come in and backup and coach up our 23 yr old TP and then let them all develop at the same time. Those of you who think starting a 14′ drafted QB is nothing more then another 3-4 years away from contending Kaep, Cam, Wilson and Luck still have growing to do also. We need to roll with TP and build around him and were on our way. Today a QB that can do more then just pocket pass is a dual threat otherwise he is another Rivets ( no SB) or Peyton with 1 etc. These guys are starting to see the benefits of being able to scramble with weapons around them and are doing it!

    • mccall316

      TP is not the freaking answer, unless that question is who is the fastest qb on the team. TP may be able to scramble but the guy doesn’t look up field and has only half the field to work with. Don’t roll to the left because he blows then. No chance either McGloin or Pryor are the answers on the roster. Need to bring in a qb that can really develop into a franchise qb. Free agent this year and a qb next is what I would guess.

      • Conor Cahill

        If every team that needed a QB drafted one in the first round, there would be like 15 QBs taken every year. They need to address other positions before they try to fit another QB into a system with limited talent. A. Barr is another good option.

  • Frank Petrelli

    The Raiders WILL NOT draft Matthews, for the love of GOD, you and everyone else stop mocking Matthews to the Raiders, its not gonna happen!!!!! It causes the rest of your draft to be wrong. We will resign Veldheer (our LT of the future) and we just drafted RT Watson in the 2nd round of last years draft. If Clowney is gone Oakland is gonna trade back, DE and Guard are our most pressing needs. Oakland will draft DE Kony Ealy or G David Yankey (if he declares), Richardson or Martin, but I think Martin is entering the draft as a Tackle

    • Joe Soriano

      Ealy and Yankey aren’t good enough to draft that high. Hopefully, the Jags don’t pass up on a QB, thus allowing the Raiders to draft Clowney.

      • Frank Petrelli

        Right, thats why I said Oakland will trade back to draft them. Either one is worth a pick after #10. Ealy is the 2nd best DE in the draft or maybe Tuitt and Yankey is the best Guard by far.

  • krivka

    I can’t see the Brown’s trading their second pick to anybody with the needs they have. They may still land Bortles and if not take Watkins, then with the second pick, get Carr or trade the second pick and a second and third round pick to move up to take another QB on the board. I wouldn’t trade a pick. Manziel may be an option too. They have too many needs to trade any picks.

    • Joe Soriano

      Carr probably won’t last long enough to allow the Browns to take him with their second first-round pick, but I agree that the Browns should stay where they are unless if they are 100% sold on Bortles (or Bridgewater if the Texans pass up on him). That way, the Browns can get a franchise QB without selling too high by moving just two picks to get one, and they would also get a better skill position player with their second first-round pick.

      • krivka

        Carr is a question mark right now. But I can’t see the Brown’s not taking a QB with their first pick unless Bortles, Bridgewater and Manziel are off the board. If that is the case, Watkins will be there and Carr MAY be available with a later pick and Mettenberger, McCarron and Boyd will be available in the second round. If they go that way, Hoyer will be the de facto starter next season. That would be a decent way to go about the draft if Haslem didn’t need to sell tickets and get the fans back in fold. I really have no idea what is happening and worry that the FO doesn’t either. And one last thing, I believe they will take TWO QBs in the next draft. They may go after Guiton as an undrafted FA. It won’t hurt.

  • Jacob

    I’d love to see your explanation on why the Chiefs defense, namely secondary, isn’t holding them back.

    • Joe Soriano

      If they can get a better FS, then their secondary will be fine.

    • tomflex

      The offense especially at receiver was a weak spot on this years team but the defensive secondary was the reason for our loss in the playoffs and was also the reason we failed to win games against good teams. Anyone who says differently is not seeing the team objectively. Obviously this is the area that must be addressed first or the rest is all going to be for naught.
      The first priority will be to find that free safety with leadership ability (something the Chiefs have been lacking) to coordinate on the field and ensure everyone is on the same page all the time. Also he needs the skills to keep all those long plays that killed us this year to a minimum. That one correction could be the difference maker. What I’d like to see is for the Chiefs to address this in free agency with a know quanity and quality and then address the receiver—corner—line in the draft.

    • Conor Cahill

      Are you a fan of Calvin Pryor?

  • Joe Soriano

    The Rams really came out winners in this by getting Clinton-Dix (basically a must-pick for them, especially since he’s the top S in the draft), an elite WR prospect in Sammy Watkins (def the best), and a third first-round pick (Les Snead sure does love trading down). However, I wish you gave them Jason Verrett, because that would have made it a dream draft for them: top WR, S, and CB prospects haha.

    • cesarnoel

      Jason Verrett is a bit of a reach for the Rams because they are practically set at starting CB’s. Cyril Richardson would be a much better pick at 26 because he’s this draft’s Rodger Saffold (can play LT or LG). Rams can still get their cornerback in day 2. (hopefully E.J. Gaines).

  • Nathan Kearns

    Love the fact that you have the St. Louis Rams trading down, because that is exactly what will happen. Mockers far too often neglect blatantly obvious moves in favor of “playing it safe” or hiding behind some arbitrary rule that you can’t predict trades in a mock… appreciate it.

    I would have liked to see the St. Louis Rams actually trade down again out of the No.4 spot, maybe with the Minnesota Vikings who should be nervous sitting back at No.8 if Johnny Manziel is their “target” player. Sammy Watkins should be available in the No.8 slot, and the Rams will be cautious to take any “big money” positional player in the Top 5 given their current salary cap constraints.

    For that same reason, I think it may be more feasible that they would prefer trading with some team other than the Cleveland Browns. Les Snead has made it abundantly clear that he likes “future” picks. Why take a late 1st-rounder this season when you could have the Vikings 2015 1st-rounder… which could be another Top 5 pick? Moreover, trading further down the board should (theoretically) net a significantly larger return AND allot the Rams a significantly smaller rookie contract to handle.

    That is likely the reason the Rams opted to trade with the Washington Redskins back in 2012, as opposed to the Cleveland Browns (who were reportedly offering the same deal). Future picks are likely lottery tickets: You can’t win unless you play. Snead has shown that he doesn’t mind “playing” games on Draft Day.

    I wouldn’t necessarily expect them to pick at the No.13 spot either (but that might be a tad much for a mock draft) :)

  • Johnny

    Erving is going back to school… hello??????

  • Calchiefsfan

    Okay, so apparently Conor didn’t watch the Chiefs the second half of the season. The offense isn’t the problem, though Beckham would be a great addition. The defense needs an upgrade at free safety, (top priority), more depth at cornerback and a pass rushing defensive end. A new DC wouldn’t hurt.

  • Noah

    Not to burst your bubble but the bears would not consider drafting a lineman at 14 this year. For the first time since i can remember, the bears were actually towards the top of the league for least amount of sacks allowed(tied for 5th i believe). They have all their starting offensive linemen under contract except their center who is expected to resign before the spring. If they don’t draft defensive line at 14 it would be a travesty. I like the Ra’shede Hageman pick but also look at Stephen Tuitt, the bear’s GM Phil Emery looks for size and athleticism along with work ethic in his draft picks and Tuitt has all of those and then some!

  • Reece Hudson

    Oakland isn’t sold on a QB they hate TP as a qb An will never be the guy unless we get a new coach that loves him, but by then it will be too late. If Manziel or Bortels falls we will draft them. After that it’s Clowney then Watkins maybe a trade back if they don’t fall or Barr. But I agree we wont take Matthews . We have so many needs we probally should trade out of the 1st for a 1st next yr and a 2nd an maybe a 3rd if wer lucky this yr. But no way the Browns trade up to get Bortels. and the Rams grabbing Watkins makes no sense they have spent way to many high picks on WR’s.

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  • cesarnoel

    You are spot on with the Rams picks except for #26 pick on which it would be better if they pick Cyril Richardson over Zach Martin as he’s much better prospect who has played both LT and LG at a high level.

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