Conor Cahill’s 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Version 3.0

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Dec 31, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Texas A

UPDATE: 2014 NFL Mock Draft Version 3.1 

Welcome to my 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Version 3.0. Originally, I intended to make some minor changes to my Version 2.0 NFL Mock Draft, but I needed to make some wholesale changes, and thus, moved right on to version 3.0. This Mock features changes to 75% of the selections made, including a more reasonable trade option for the Rams at #2. Without further ado, check out Version 3.0 of my 2014 NFL Mock Draft:

 

1. Houston Texans
Johnny Manziel
Quarterback, Texas A&M

Johnny Manziel has officially overtaken Teddy Bridgewater in the Texans’ eyes. Manziel has the most upside in the draft, and he gets to stay in Texas. The Texans need a QB, and Johnny Manziel is a pretty good option when you ignore the character issues, as it appears the Texans will. The guy can flat out fly and his passing has improved significantly over his Heisman year. The game-manager style of Matt Schaub is a thing of the past for this Texans team, and Manziel is anything but a game manager. Manziel needs a situation where he can come into an established team with strong veteran leadership in order to keep the pressure low and keep him in line.

Previous Pick: QB Teddy Bridgewater

 

2. Atlanta Falcons (via St. Louis Rams and Washington Redskins)
Jadaveon Clowney
Defensive End, South Carolina

St. Louis will not be picking at #2. Many teams will be scrambling to select a QB and may be willing to offer more than Atlanta, but the Falcons have not been shy about moving up to select the player they want. The Atlanta Falcons were terrible this season after Super Bowl aspirations in the pre-season. The two biggest reasons for their poor season were the rushing attack and the lack of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The Falcons will look to land the best player in the draft and their biggest need, pass-rusher Jadaveon Clowney. Like Manziel, Clowney is a very skilled and talented player, but will likely need a good situation to succeed in the NFL. Luckily for him, the Falcons still have a lot of pieces in place to make a run next year.

Previous Pick (Falcons): OLB Anthony Barr

 

3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Teddy Bridgewater
Quarterback, Louisville

The Jags are nowhere near ready to draft another QB and they have plenty of holes to fill. The Jags GM even said they would build around Blaine Gabbert. I don’t understand it either, but I doubt he sticks with that plan if Bridgewater is available at #3. Jacksonville could also look to trade down to collect more picks to fill one of their many holes, but I doubt they leave Bridgewater on the table or their fan base will go absolutely nuts. He is quick enough to be mobile in and out of the pocket, but isn’t a dual threat quarterback in the true sense. Bridgewater will be the best thing to happen to Justin Blackmon and may resurrect his career with his attitude and skill.

Previous Pick: DE Jadaveon Clowney

 

4. Cleveland Browns
Blake Bortles
Quarterback, Central Florida

The Browns will land their QB of the future in UCF’s Blake Bortles.  The Browns will have to pull the trigger on Bortles because their QB play was horrible and Josh Gordon is just waiting to break out, (even more than he did this year with the musical quarterbacks.) Bortles has a strong arm and the ability to scramble (a la Aaron Rodgers) and makes a good fit for the current 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.

 

5. Oakland Raiders
Sammy Watkins
Wide Receiver, Clemson

If the Raiders are sticking with Terrelle Pryor 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. The Raiders also apparently like Tajh Boyd who will likely be available on day 2 of the draft, and may look to pair Watkins with his college quarterback. The Raiders constantly struggle with continuity of their coaches and roster, so their players never quite have a chance to develop together. The Raiders could skip this step and it would do wonders for their offensive rapport.

Previous Pick: OT Jake Mathews 

 

6. St. Louis Rams (via Atlanta Falcons)
Greg Robinson
Offensive Tackle, Auburn

Sam Bradford just cannot stay healthy in part due to the lackluster play on the offensive line. The tackles improved this season, but the Rams have a shot to take the top tackle on the board even after they traded down. Robinson is a prototypical left tackle in terms of height, weight, arm length, and athleticism. He is quick and agile on the line, and shows a powerful burst in the running game. 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 Rams 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 (Rams): WR Sammy Watkins
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Anthony Barr
Outside Linebacker, UCLA

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. 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. He knows how to force turnovers and get the defense off the field. The Bucs will get lucky with teams reaching for quarterbacks early in the draft.

Previous Pick: OLB Khalil Mack

 

8. Minnesota Vikings
Derek Carr
Quarterback, Fresno State

I made this pick earlier in the year, and the more I feel that Manziel will be a top-3 pick, the more I get the sense that the Vikings will make this reach. Christian Ponder is not the future at QB for the Vikings. 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). He looked better at the Senior Bowl practices, but I’m not sold. The Vikings will not learn from their mistake with Christian Ponder, and reach for Derek Carr with the 8th pick.

Previous Pick: QB Johnny Manziel

 

9. Buffalo Bills
Khalil Mack
Outside Linebacker, Buffalo

I mocked the Bills taking TE Eric Ebron here for the longest time, but with Mack available, how could they pass. They have a rare opportunity to build a 49ers-esque linebacking core by lining up Mack next to DROY Kiko Alonso. Mack is a physical freak and never stops working to get to the quarterback. Mack would instantly improve the Bills defense with his skill, but more importantly, his attitude. Mack is also the best defensive player available at this point, plus he already lives in Buffalo and would likely fit right in with the Bills. The Bills also need some weapons on offense. There is a small chance Sammy Watkins could fall to them at #9, but TE Eric Ebron is another option if he doesn’t.

Previous Pick: TE Eric Ebron

 

10. Detroit Lions
Darqueze Dennard
Cornerback, Michigan St.

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 won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back, and he is rising up the ranks again after a great game against Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Dennard should be the first corner off the board and corner is the Lions’ biggest need, so they will be a mutual fit at #10.

 

11. Tennessee Titans
Kony Ealy
Defensize End, Missouri

The Titans were 20th in the NFL this season in sacks, and gave up 30+ points 5 times. The Titans will benefit by adding another pass rusher. 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. He has a very quick burst off the line and has the potential to disrupt pockets very quickly. He has been steadily moving up the the overall rankings, but will likely be available to the Titans at #11 if they want him. Without any of the “top-4″ quarterbacks available, Ealy is their best option.

Previous Pick: QB Derek Carr

 

12. New York Giants
Jake Mathews
Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M

Jake Mathews falls down to #12 simply because of the rise of Greg Robinson, and the abundance of skilled players that fit with team needs in the top-10. Regardless, he still may be the most reliable prospect in the draft. The Giants could come away with their left tackle of the future if no one else realizes how important of a player he could be for years to come. He will instantly make the job easier for Eli Manning under center for years to come. The Giants could also look to trade down here if Dennard is off the board and they don’t feel comfortable picking CJ Mosely this early.

Previous Pick: OT Greg Robinson

 

13. St. Louis Rams
HaHa Clinton-Dix
Free Safety, Alabama

The Rams will be getting the top safety in the draft in Clinton-Dix and the top tackle in the draft (in addition to either a high 2nd rounder in 2014 or a 2015 first rounder from the Falcons.) 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
Ra’shede Hageman
Defensive Tackle, Minnesota

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.

 

15. Pittsburgh Steelers
Louis Nix III
Nose Tackle, Notre Dame

The Steelers need to add some protection for Big Ben and get younger along the defensive line. Nix is the best NT prospect in the draft, boasting a huge frame and insane strength. Nix is still recovering from an ACL injury, but certainly has the talent to be a top-10 pick. Louis Nix fills the hole in the middle of the Steelers’ 3-4 defense left by Casey Hampton a couple years ago. Nix is also a great pass rusher for a 3-4 DT, which just adds to his ability within Dick LeBeau’s power defensive scheme.

Previous Pick: FS Calvin Pryor

 

16. Baltimore Ravens
Mike Evans
Wide Receiver, Texas A&M

The Ravens offense struggled this season without Anquan Boldin. Wide receiver Mike Evans 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 much needed weapon for Joe Flacco as a possession receiver and in the red zone. Evans would pair nicely with the speedy Torrey Smith that serves as a good deep ball receiver.

 

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Topics: 2014 Nfl Mock Draft, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinatti Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins

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  • Giorgos Kassakos

    Eagles better target Gilbert if the draft goes like that or trade back and an extra second or third round pick.

  • Royals_Fan

    No way Chiefs go LB with there pick. Makes zero sense when you need a secondary pick and WR. Without a second round pick they’d pick up a position they don’t need and wait 2 rounds before picking again? No chance. Reid and Dorsey are smarter then that. Look for them to pick up Benjamin or Lee with the first pick.

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      No matter how good Mosley is, WR is extremely talented in this class and is by far the Chiefs biggest need. The front seven? The Chiefs are fine there, especially at linebacker. I agree, man, they almost have to get a WR.

      • Julien Bélair

        From a Chargers fan, I do believe benjamin would be a great fit for the chiefs. Long term replacement for Dwayne Bowe

    • Conor Cahill

      Like Joe said, the wide receiver class is very deep. I don’t think the Chiefs need to waster their 1st on a receiver that isn’t Watkins, Evans, or Lee. There are some other guys that may be first round caliber, but I wouldn’t say early 20s. To me the draft oa about potential, and stretching for a need at 23 isn’t the best idea.

      • Royals_Fan

        I don’t think it would be a waste to go WR with the first pick because we don’t have a 2nd round pick as of right now. If we make some moves and get a 2nd round pick then I would be more inclined to say go something else first round. But by the time the Chiefs get to the 23rd pick the number of first round quality secondary picks is limited. Varrett would be the best option and he is 5’10″ (Flowers is getting torn apart right now by fans because they say he is to short to play man coverage in our defensive plays and he is 5’9″). So going secondary with the first pick really doesn’t make much sense to me. McGill from Utah would be the best bet and as of right now he is the 100th best player in the draft to some people. Much easier to get him in the 3rd or 4th round. The number of quality WRs by the 3rd round has dropped significantly and in my opinion that is our weakest area. The Bronco’s win so much because they are always scoring and have the best WRing core in the game. That’s why I think it would be best for the Chiefs to draft WR first. I really like Benjamin. 6’5″, 235lbs and major speed is something I would take any time. Lee isn’t a bad choice but he is 5’11″, maybe 200lbs and injured a lot. If the Chiefs have a chance to get Maclin in FA too…you would have Maclin, Bowe and Benjamin and Charles and Davis in the back field? That would be the best core of WRs/RBs the Chiefs have had i years.

        I’m curious though, if you say the Chiefs should pass on WR first and go with something else, what should they go with in your opinion?

        • Conor Cahill

          Yes, it would be nice to have those options and look at how good they are on paper, but it just isn’t necessary. Denver has the best receiving core in the game because of 1. Peyton Manning and 2. they have 3-4 guys that do their job well and don’t make mistakes. I wouldn’t take Benjamin because the Chiefs need someone who is a polished receiver who will minimize mistakes, not a potential star athlete. KC was 27th in the NFL in dropped passes this year. If they want to emulate the Broncos and have 3-4 B-B+ receivers, they do not need to spend a 1st on a receiver that isn’t Lee, Watkins, or Evans. I think that they either need to draft based on value (on defense, because that is what Andy Reid wants to be the backbone of the team) or trade down.

          In this mock, I mocked them CJ Mosely because he was the best defender on the board by far. They could go with Justin Gilbert too. Trading down and taking a WR (Donte Moncrief, Allen Robinson, Odell Beckham, Davante Adams, Jarred Abbrederis, Robert Herron) later in the draft or getting a reliable receiver in FA are the two best options to me.

          • Royals_Fan

            I would rather have 3-4 B-B+ WRs then one B- and everyone else barely making a C-…in my mind thats a significant improvement.

            I understand that Mosely would be an improvement, but the Chiefs aren’t looking for a ILB with the first pick. It honeslty does not make sense. The two biggest problems they had this year was at the WR and secondary. Thats a huge reason why we had one of the worst defenses in the league at the end of 9 weeks, because we got burned on the sidelines. I understand that pressuring the QB could help with that, but at soe point the pass rush can’t be to blame for getting burned or not being able to play your position to a high enough calibar.

            Signing Maclin should be a priority of KC. If they sign Maclin, then I can see them drafting defense first, but saying the draft is deep in WRs isn’t totally accurate. You’ve got a lot of WRs but you’ve also got the WRs that you know are going to be successful, like Watkins, you’ve got the WRs that have a high promise like Benjamin (I like Lee, but I don’t because he always gets hurt) and then the last where they could do well but most likely wont like the majority of the WRs. But they time KC drafts again the in the 3rd round, those WRs that you either know will succeed or have high promise are gone. Not worth the risk.

            What’s your opinion on McGill from Utah. Someone who could be around in the 3rd round and worth the pick and Sam from Mizzou as the pass rusher in the 4th round?

  • Old Frog

    The Cowboys pick a safety at 17? I hope not. We need Linemen.

    • Conor Cahill

      I had them going with kony Ealy for a long time but I just don’t think he will last until 16-17. Maybe Stephon Tuitt?

  • Travis Forsyth

    I’d like to see kc trade up to get Ha Ha Clinton- Dix

    • freshmeat62

      I like Dix also, but I don’t think Chiefs will be trading up. If anything they’ll trade back to get back that 2nd rd pick they traded away for Alex Smith.

    • Conor Cahill

      There are some god FS prospects to be had on day 2 as well like Dion bailey or Ed Reynolds.

    • Royals_Fan

      I don’t see the Chiefs moving up in the draft. I honestly would like to see them make a move to get a 2nd rounder back (trading a player or something) but I’m not sure who would take that trade. But Clinton-Dix would be gone before 23rd and I would be shocked if he still was there, but I would hold off on secondary till 3rd round. I like Keith McGill. Good size, speed and man to man coverage which is what the Chiefs need. He could still be there to when the 3rd round comes too.

  • Johnny

    You must be copying NFL.com… What happened to OT Mathews??? He’s now being picked behind OT Robinson?? A lot have us picking that OT/G Zach Martin??? Don’t think he’s even worth a 1st rounder… Maybe as a Guard, but not OT.. Or atleast LT.. Maybe RT/G…

    • Conor Cahill

      Lucky you, he looks like he wants to come back.

  • Paul Newbold

    Jets go TE in the first. If Ebron is there at 18, its a no brainer. WR talent is deep in this draft, and with EVERY tight end on the Jets roster being a free agent, they have to address the position. The Jets need offensive weapons, Ebron definitely fits that need!

    • Conor Cahill

      I personally think Lee would be a top-5/top-10 pick this year if USC wasn’t a mess. Yes, the wide receiver group is deep, but I think they would want to take advantage of Lee’s artificially low draft stock. Jace Amaro is still available in this mock as is 6’7″ CJ Fiedorowicz.

      • Paul Newbold

        Fair enough. But speaking as a Jet fan, I think as a group, we are weary of #1 picks out of USC at this point! LOL

        • Conor Cahill

          Hahaha and I don’t blame you. Fortunately, I think Lee is dealing with the opposite effect that Sanchez benefited from. USC was horrible in SC standards this year, and his stock is paying the price.

  • Johnny

    I’m suprised that only 2 OTs are going ahead of 19 in this mock.. You never know…. I still think LT will be addressed in FA with either Monroe or Albert… If they do indeed get Lewen, he’d be moved to RT and hopefully be the Michigan 77 to take over LT on day.. BTW, Jake Long is getting surgery on his MCL/ACL… In which looks like a good move by not overpaying him… But, Ireland didn’t replace him… Like I said before last year, when people laughed at be when I said Jonathon Martin is NOT A NFL LT… But I guess Ireland didn’t see that, like most of us, and that’s why he’s gone…. We basically only have 1 Starting OLine material on this roster.. And that’s out Center Pouncy… The rest MUST be addressed in Free Agency and the draft…. In the end, Lewen would be a decent pick….

  • Don

    Why did everyone think Carr to Minnesota? It’s not going to happen when he could still be there in the second, and Garroppolo might be a better pick.

    • Conor Cahill

      Like I said I’m not a big believer in Carr. I just think Minnesota will press for a QB. I hope they don’t because like you said, Garroppolo will be available in the 2nd, Mettenberger certainly will be available, Boyd, and even David Fales. All 4 of those guys are arguably better than Carr. I just don’t trust Minnesota because then again, Kaepernick, Dalton, and maybe Mallet are also all better than Ponder.

  • 3kolu

    Carr has been the best QB at the Senior bowl. He has a rifle arm, toughness, competitiveness, intelligence, and athleticism. I believe he runs 4.6/40 with a 34″ vertical. Who cares if analysts believe he’s a reach, if a team thinks he offers them a franchise QB in the making they should take him. Minnesota should consider trading down if they want to go with Carr because they would be the last QB needy in the draft. In the right system with the right coaches they could mask his flaws as a rookie and be successful. He will need to learn to take the ball under center. Also, he needs to work on his footwork and pocket presence. Having to improve on variety of bad habits can prove to be challenging.

    • Conor Cahill

      The Senior Bowl teams have only been practicing for 3 days. I watched him all year against average teams with college-level defenses (Mountain West) and he struggled. Not saying he can’t improve on all those areas of his game, but I feel that teams often ‘see’ what they want to see the closer to the draft we get and they ignore the obliviously flawed mechanics and poor decisions the player made against lesser competition. Because of how the NFL has been the last couple years, I expect that if a team takes a QB this high, they are going to try and throw him to the lions in year 1. If the Vikings do that to Carr, I think he may struggle too much to even improve consistently.

      • 3kolu

        Feed him to Da Bears too. I have my doubts as well. I’d like to see him progress as the draft gets closer. You gotta love the skill set, one of the most complete QB’s in the draft. Comparing him to the QB’s on the Vikings roster, he would definitely be an upgrade. He has some of the same strengths such as Ponder, athleticism, intelligence, and speed. However, Carr has a much stronger arm which allows him to fit the ball into tight windows, something Ponder couldn’t do. He also fits the Parcells model for a QB, “The quarterback must be a senior. He must be a graduate, He must be a three-year starter. He must have 23 wins.” He’s also completed 67% of his passes for nearly 13,000 yards, 113 TD’s against only 24 int’s at 8 yards an attempt. He has gotten better every year across the board. Understandably, He threw a lot of short passes, he played in the MWC, and he is the brother of former bust David Carr. and, he struggled against USC. I believe the Turner is going to make the call either way, and I’m a firm believer that Turner can turn, excuse the pun, Carr into a Jet Plane, excuse the pun, again. But, not at #8, we just can’t afford to reach for another QB.

  • Carl Eagan

    what a moron getting younger on the defensive line for the Steeler’s means getting a defensive end.They don’t need a nose tackle as anyone that knows anything about football would point out.

    • Conor Cahill

      I mean, I know that in football you get a penalty kick if the other team shoots a 3-pointer. So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

  • Joshua McEwen

    If the Chiefs do not pick up a WR during free agent signing, Then I hope they can get Lee. He looks like the perfect fit for this offence. If Lee is taken, then maybe go for Adams. The Chiefs should really look at the WRs that are going to be free agent. If they don’t get Maclin or Decker, really look for the best player at WR or DE. The Chiefs with a fourth person that could require double teams is deadly. The defense was the best when they got to the QB.

    • Conor Cahill

      I’ve seen a lot of Chiefs fans really high on Kelvin Benjamin. I just don’t see him as a 1st round talent outside of his size and speed. To me, Lee is the 2nd best receiver in the draft and would be a great pick for the Chiefs. Free agency seems like a good way to go for the Chiefs receiving needs because with Alex Smith, they don’t need a Megatron on the team. They need 2-3 guys that can consistently run good routes and minimize mistakes (aka drops, KC was 27th in the NFL in drops).

  • kyle

    Very accurate mock here the inky problem I have with it is the rams taking an OT it isn’t Fishers style to do so in the first round and Ita also a boring pick. Snead and Fisher always have an exciting draft and that pick isn’t exciting although I can see it happening because it’s a necessity position and a very talented tackle however I would rather see them wait until the second round to get a tackle because it is so deep and instead I would like to see them take a guy like Mike evans in the first because we’ll he’s just a boos at wilde out he doesn’t drop passes witch was a problem for rams receivers last year and he’s also a big target for Bradford. Not the fastest guy but if he gets some speed in the open field I certainly wouldn’t want to step in his path … If u can’t tell I’m praying the rams take evans

    • Conor Cahill

      I could see the Rams taking Evans as well. I could very well see them trading out of that #6 spot to take Evans at around 9-12 and pick up another 2nd rounder. That’s where mocks get messy though haha.

  • Duane Wade

    You didn’t explain exactly what the Falcons gave for the move up.

    • Conor Cahill

      Assuming it would be at least be a 2015 1st or a 2014 2nd and 4th.

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  • Jollyrob68

    For The STeelers can we please stop putting NT in rd 1. CAlvin Pryor is an Awesome Pick. Justin Gilbert & CJ Mosley still on the board as well. COme on know.

  • wt24

    even though I agree the falcons will move up I desperately hope we do not move up. That is where we got into trouble is by trading up for Julio…who I love, but it killed our depth and that is one of our biggest struggles now