2014 NFL Mock Draft First Round Version 3

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Texas Tech Red Raiders tight end Jace Amaro (22) celebrates his second touchdown catch in the first quarter against the Baylor Bears at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the combine results have sunk in a bit, it’s time to construct another 2014 NFL Mock Draft with new tape evals and combine numbers to keep in mind. It’s always important to make sure not to take too much out of workout numbers, because overrating somebody’s 40 time is a sure way to mess up (see: Allen, Keenan).

For more great mock drafts, check out the databases at Walter FootballDC Pro Sports Report, EDSFootball.com and Sports Jabber.

1. Houston Texans
Teddy Bridgewater
QB, Louisville

I mostly base my mock drafts around my own personal opinions of prospects and team needs/fits, so I’m not going to deviate from tabbing Teddy Bridgewater as the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. He’s simply too polished for the Texans to pass up, and this offense could be great again with Bridgewater at QB and a reliable slot receiver (think Julian Edelman) in tote. Although Derek Carr and Blake Bortles have stronger arms, Bridgewater gets more than enough velocity on his throws and is more accurate and possesses a better football IQ than any QB in this year’s draft class. The Texans taking Jadeveon Clowney isn’t far-fetched, but I can’t see O’Brien missing out on the opportunity to take a QB this year in order to mold his own franchise guy at the position. Bridgewater’s the best QB in this year’s draft class, and he should be a great replacement for Matt Schaub, who should compete for a starting gig elsewhere.

2. St. Louis Rams trade to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Washington)
Jadeveon Clowney
DE, South Carolina

I usually don’t like dealing with trades in mock drafts, but there’s no way I see the Rams staying put at No. 2. It just doesn’t make any sense for them to sit tight instead of dealing down to pick up multiple top draft prospects, and GM Les Snead definitely prefers to trade down. It’s always extremely difficult for me to find the right trade partner for them, so I like to get as creative as possible when trading away the Rams first pick in the first round.

I decided to explore the possibility of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trading up to snag Jadeveon Clowney, who is the top prospect in the draft class. While they could just as easily stay put and snag an elite tackle or Khalil Mack (whichever one falls), I wonder if Jason Licht could surprise us all by being bullish and trading up for a defensive end or quarterback. In next week’s mock, I might explore the possibility of the Bucs trading up for Blake Bortles and giving up on Mike Glennon, but it’s interesting to ponder the chances of the Bucs going all-in for Clowney. It’s risky given his perceived character concerns, but I believe that those concerns are completely overblown. Meanwhile, Clowney is easily the most physically gifted prospect in the class, and his run defense is wonderful to watch. The Bucs biggest need at this point is an impact DE, and that’s exactly what Clowney would give to this team. They don’t need to take a quarterback high, but they could use a player of Clowney’s caliber to add to Adrian Clayborn and Gerald McCoy on the defensive line.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Blake Bortles
QB, UCF

If the Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t fans of the quarterbacks in this year’s draft class (with the exception of Bridgewater), then I could see them pulling Clowney. But with Bridgewater and Clowney off the board, I have the Jaguars scooping up Bortles here. David Caldwell and the Jaguars aren’t going to “force” anything at the QB position, but I don’t think drafting a QB this year is forcing the issue. There’s no guarantee that next year’s class is better, and I think the Jags will find somebody they like. I’m starting to wonder if Derek Carr is a better prospect than Bortles, but I still have Bortles on top due to his intangibles, tools, and upside. All of the non-Bridgewater quarterbacks need polish, and that’s an issue for a team that would want an immediate starter. But they don’t exactly hate Chad Henne either, and I think they’d be willing to have their rookie QB go through some growing pains on the path to becoming a franchise QB. Bortles looks like a great fit for the Jaguars, and he would certainly benefit from throwing it to the likes of Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon (assuming he is indeed there next season).

4. Cleveland Browns
Derek Carr
QB, Fresno State

I’m sorry, but I can’t see the Cleveland Browns passing up on a quarterback with their first pick, because it is easily their biggest need. It’s interesting to see a whole lot of mock drafts pegging Sammy Watkins to the Browns with the fourth overall pick, because I just can’t make sense of that. Watkins is the best wide receiver in this year’s class, but do the Browns need to pay premium for a receiver? I mean, they have Josh Gordon, who looks like the second-best wideout in the game behind Calvin Johnson. So why go for another top wideout in Watkins, especially when the Browns can snag a very good WR with the 26th overall pick? It just doesn’t make sense to me, and it’s too risky to assume that they can pick up their guy with the 26th pick. Ray Farmer seems to hint that the Browns could do this, but it’s not something I feel comfortable with doing with the Browns GM cap on in this mock.

5. Oakland Raiders
Khalil Mack
DE/OLB, Buffalo

I literally spent ten minutes flipping between Khalil Mack and Sammy Watkins for the Oakland Raiders, but I decided to settle on Mack with the Raiders first-round pick. While Watkins would give the Raiders an excellent playmaker and the best WR in the class, I started to realize that Mack is clearly the better pick for the Raiders here. I mean, Denarius Moore and Rod Streater are talented enough, and the Raiders can wait until the early second round to pull a talented wideout in this year’s draft class (is nearby star Davante Adams a possibility?).

Anyway, Mack is one of the blue-chip prospects in this year’s draft class, and he would give the Raiders the kind of playmaker on defense that they are looking for. The Raiders don’t have much talent on the defensive side of the ball, and it’s going to take big free agent signings and a big draft acquisition to change things; count Mack as an enormous acquisition through the draft. Even though he fits better as a 4-3 OLB or 3-4 OLB, he can be an impact player as a 4-3 DE due to his run defense and pass rushing. While he will have some struggles as a rookie, he has as much upside and raw talent as anyone in this class. The Raiders can also move him to outside linebacker if they need to, as I am confident in Kevin Burnett’s ability to play the Mike, should the Raiders decide to move Mack to OLB and bench Nick Roach at MLB in order to kick Burnett inside.

6. Atlanta Falcons
Greg Robinson
OT, Auburn

I’m always torn between picking Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews, but I’ve decided to go with Robinson here after making Matthews the first offensive tackle off the board in my first two mock drafts. Both players are elite tackles, blue-chip prospects, and just about tied overall. But I think the Falcons won’t be able to resist Robinson’s physical tools and upside, and that is enough to overtake the perceived safeness of Matthews as a prospect. The Falcons could also use Robinson’s dominant run blocking ability on the outside, as their offensive line struggled to create holes for Steven Jackson in addition to allowing far too much pressure to get to Matt Ryan last season.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade with the St. Louis Rams
Mike Evans
WR, Texas A&M

I used to be really down on Evans, and I even had him fall all the way down to pick number 26 in one mock. But after looking at Evans’s 40 time and tape closer, I realized that he’s much faster than I gave him credit for being, especially given his size. The Rams need a true “X” receiver, and they would be wise to snag a guy who can go deep and has size. Watkins plays bigger than his height and can also go deep, but the Rams already have a short-area playmaker in Tavon Austin. Although Watkins is so much more than Austin and is the best player in the class, I think Evans is the outside wideout Sam Bradford needs. It’s an extremely tough call, and I feel dirty for passing up on Watkins. But I also like to change things up in mock drafts, and I’ve been influenced a bit by Ramblin’ Fan’s Nathan Kearns.

8. Minnesota Vikings
Sammy Watkins
WR, Clemson

I don’t see any other teams taking Johnny Manziel until the second round, so I’ll gladly give the Minnesota Vikings Sammy Watkins as a great receiver for whoever the Vikings next QB is. They have to draft a franchise-caliber quarterback in this year’s draft class, but there are certain scenarios in which they can wait until the second round to grab their man; this is one of those situations. Watkins is the best wideout in the class, and he would be an amazing addition for this team. They don’t exactly need a wide receiver with Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings as big offseason acquisition from last year, but they could build a high-octane offense with Watkins, Patterson, Jennings, Adrian Peterson, and Manziel. And hopefully Norv Turner and head coach Mike Zimmer can get it working.

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  • Ken Tomlin

    Even though I don’t see the Vikings taking Watkins, it’s still a better mock than the others that have VIKES taking a QB. My hope all along is either take Gilbert at 8 or trade down get more picks and maybe still get Gilbert. Our secondary was horrible and a CB playmaker like Gilbert would be a great tandem with Rhodes, our 1st rd CB from last year.

    • David Mallow

      I would love to get Gilbert,Pryor or Clinton-Dix in the first. Plus I know for sure they will be getting either Verner or Shields in FA.they will not let one of the top CBs get away, Zimmer will make it happen…

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

      Gilbert is very talented, but I’m not sure he’s worth a top ten pick. And I agree with David, the Vikings are going to pull a top CB this year (hopefully Verner).

  • Ryan

    While I think Ford is a great pick for the Eagles if you think attachou is the better player I think you should go with him. I honestly think, and I understand that you do these drafts off the teams needs, that with teams like the Eagles (pats, and hawks to name a couple) you should throw out the picks based off need. Just go with the best player. I don’t believe that need isn’t a factor at all with these teams but I do believe that it is much less important. Good mock though I like it keep em coming

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

      Thanks, Ryan. I actually had Attaochu going to the Eagles before changing the pick to Ford at the end of the mock and writing an entirely new explanation…maybe I should have stuck to my guns haha.

  • Gregory Isaac

    Cowboys pick. 16th

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

      It doesn’t really matter, because the Cowboys and Ravens aren’t jockeying for the same player.

  • Thomas Eric

    Disagree Manziel will not fall out of the first round

    • Jarod Cook

      Scouts/GMs starting to realize he doesn’t belong in the 1st round, he’s got the biggest boom/bust potential of all the QB’s in this draft. And if it wasn’t for Evens being able to out jump and muscle CB’s, for Manziel’s horrible passes and reads, He would’ve had twice the amount of INT’s and halve the TD’s he had.Not to mention his lack of avoiding contact when he scrambles for yards.

      • Thomas Eric

        Y’all are just haters

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

      I think he would in this scenario, but that’s because nobody else in the first round other than Minnesota would take him, and I decided to hedge my bets and have the Vikings wait until Rd 2 to take him. Risky? Definitely.

  • Ross

    I struggled to find a pick here that I agreed with. This makes no sense to me. Matt schaub isn’t great but they won’t pass up on the best defensive player available in 20 years. The Vikings obviously go quarterback if someone is available. That’s by far their biggest need. Manziel doesn’t fall from the first round. Derek Carr at 4???? I don’t like this mock at all.

    • Ross

      Also you’re picking Mike Evans at 7….to the Bucs…but say the Rams need a true X receiver. Proof read your posts please. Typos I get but that’s a whole selection that was messed up.

      • Jake

        Read the title on that pick, it says Bucs trade pick to Rams.

    • Ken Tomlin

      Ross, heard there’s a rumor floating around that Texans might try to go after Cassel in FA and release Schaub and his $10 mil salary. Texans would then draft Clowney 1st and go after QB in 2nd to develop behind Cassel for a yr. don’t know if it’s true or even if it’s a good idea for them. I could see VIKES then signing Schaub in FA on a deal similar to the one Cassel got last yr. VIKES go def (CB- Gilbert) or trade down to get extra picks, go def ( DT, SS ,LB ?), and go QB later in draft. Think I like that scenario better.

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

      You don’t like this mock because you either don’t agree with how I evaluate the QBs, or you don’t like mocks that are different from what you usually read.

      As for the Cassel rumor, the Texans would be crazy to sign him as a stopgap starter, unless if they want to tank this season, which is never going to happen. If they take Clowney, then that means they will keep Schaub or even start Keenum.

      I could see the Vikings going DEF and going for a QB later on, that’s a good suggestion.

  • Bob

    Derek Carr will NOT go this high.

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

        I have never been high on Johnny Football either. One knee injury and is an average QB at best just like RGIII. Carr looking horrible against USC and blamed it on injury. The NFL is a lot harder than a bowl game and you have to play inured. Remember what happened when the Texans built their whole franchise around a QB named Carr from Fresno State? I see no difference here. Any team that takes him in the first round is wasting a draft pick.

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

          I don’t think it’s fair to say, “Derek is just like his brother,” especially since David was ruined by a crapola expansion team with one of the most incompetent lines in NFL history. David Carr actually led the league in completion percentage once.

          • Bob

            Derek failed on the big stage just like his brother and blames bad games on injuries. This is the reason he will fail in the NFL. Fresno State does not play top tier teams either.

  • Gary Stewart

    you forgot to tell us what the rams received for the trade dpwn from 2 to 7!!

  • Old Frog

    I know 95% of Cowboys fans would love Donald with the first pick but I’d rather have Zack Martin.

  • Jarod Cook

    David Carr at #4? I know the Browns have come out and said they like him, but it’s quite the stretch to take him at #4. If anything they trade down and grab him at #8-15 and acquire more picks to fill there numerous holes. I’m not going to sit here and nit pick every thing, you make solid arguments for your picks, and at this point in the process who really knows what’s going to happen. I’m glad to see a mock draft that finally doesn’t have Manziel going in the 1st round.

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

      I think the Browns could have waited until the 26th pick to nab their QB, but I think Carr is good enough to take at #4. He has elite arm strength, is athletic, has great intangibles, and people underrate his accuracy and decision-making. I have him over Manziel, and that’s why I had the Browns taking him. He’s been working out with Tedford and former Bucs OC Mike Sullivan, and he’d be too good of a fit for the Vikings. Carr is “my guy” for the Browns, and I would have had him going to MIN if they didn’t take him. The only reason why I didn’t have Manziel going to the Vikings is because I was hedging my bets (some people don’t understand this). It was too risky and may have been the wrong decision, but my belief was that nobody between the Vikings 1st and 2nd round pick would need a QB; it’s not a knock on JM.

      • Jarod Cook

        In a scenario where no QBs have come of the board, and the Browns sitting at #4 who do you have them taking and why? They’ve said they like Carr so in this situation do they still draft best available QB at #4, or trade down to Mid 1st acquire more picks and draft Carr?

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

          It all depends on how much they are offered in a trade. If they get a huge amount of picks, then I could see them dealing down and stocking up on picks. But if they think their unquestioned No. 1 QB is available (it doesn’t have to be Carr, of course), then I think they should stand pat and pull their franchise QB; it’s just too important to get that pick right.

          If they can choose any QB, then I think Bridgewater would be their best option. And if they have the opportunity to trade down and still have Carr available later on in the 1st, then that would be an excellent situation for them.

  • Steve Batchelor

    Joe…I would love to see Clowney as a Buc…But….It ain’t happening…For the Bucs to move up to the 2nd pick it would cost them all of this years draft and part of next years…Isn’t worth it, I don’t care how good Clowney is or seems to be…With only 5 picks in this years draft I rather see the Bucs trade down and acquire more picks or draft Sammy Watkins at 7. A trade up for Clowney if it happens will come from Atlanta.

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

      Shoot, I should have remembered that Bucs don’t have many picks this year, and I must have been too eager in my quest to be different. If they stayed pat, then I would have had them snagging Jake Matthews as Donald Penn’s replacement.

      • Steve Batchelor

        While drafting Matthews and showing Penn and his 8Mil in salary the door would be great I would still rather see us either draft Watkins at 7 or trade down. I think there are 2 or 3 teams that would want to trade up to 7 and snag Matthews giving us another 2nd rounder and 3rd or 4th. With the drop down we could snag Ebron in the 1st and start to fix the OL in the 2nd. If we did draft Matthews at 7 I’d still be happy though.

  • Kyle Smith

    The Vikings have Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jarius Wright, Jerome Simpson and a returning Greg Childs… They have no need for another wide receiver.

    Your point may be to take the best available player… But at that point we should and most likely will either grab a QB or rebuild our horrid defense.

    I can’t agree with Minnesota taking another WR. It isn’t out of the question bc Watkins is a stud and a half, but with our glaring need @ QB and everywhere on defense, I would disagree.

    But nonetheless I dig the ideas of what could happen.

    Great job!

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

      Thanks a ton for the kind words, Kyle. In retrospect I probably should have had the Vikings trading down, but I hate making trades in mocks. Why? Because I usually suck at it haha.

      I also felt that Watkins was just too good value at pick #8, and I don’t think there’s a CB worth taking in the 1st. Maybe it would have been better to pull Manziel at 8 and then pick up a CB like Roby in the 2nd round.

      • Kyle Smith

        Yes I see the point, which honestly makes me see your side more (can’t pass by the talent / raw skills of a Sammy Watkins type).

        Imagine if he was there at #8 and all the QB’s were gone (all being Manziel, Bortles, Bridgewater). We could make a move in round 2 for a QB like McCarron, Murray, or Mettenberger. Hell, maybe even take a flyer on a Jimmy Garoppolo type.

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

          I’d rather take Garoppolo than McCarron haha. Mettenberger, Murray, Garroppolo are three intriguing second-tier guys for sure, but I think the Vikings need to go for one of the “big four” QBs. It’s why my own decision to wait on Manziel worries me haha.

          • Kyle Smith

            I want Bridgewater so bad I can’t stand it.

            Fingers crossed that Speilman makes a jump in this years draft like last seasons!

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

            It would be incredible for the Vikings to land Teddy Bridgewater, but that’s never going to happen in my mock drafts haha. I mean, I don’t even think I’d let him slip past #1.

      • Beer O’Clock

        Watkins and Patterson and Adrian Peterson. I can’t think of a worse nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators. Well, maybe one, Watkins and Patterson and Adrian Peterson with a good quarterback.

  • ugglorr

    I know you don’t like trades in mock drafts but…
    If Cleveland wants Carr, they WILL trade down and take any offer to get additional picks. And someone WILL be willing to give some picks up to get Watkins.
    The Vikings have enough cash to land Verner (CB) and Michael Johnson (DE) in FA. Sign best 4-3 Linebacker (Mosley?) with number 8 pick. Take 2nd, low 3rd (from Seattle), and 4th pick to move up in late first to get Johnny F or Carr (one of which will be available). Then they can play with number 8 in the 3rd round to get another DB.
    Vikings could still take Watkins and do everything as above, but at the risk of having one of the weakest LB groups in football.

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

      Great point, but I wonder if Mosley would be a reach for the Vikings. Might be better to take a QB in the first and go for Shazier or Van Noy in 2nd if you want an LB high in the draft.

  • Joe

    Are you kidding me? Tampa only has 5 picks and you think they are giving up the whole draft just to take Clowney?

  • Letterman007

    You said it yourself, he the best wide receiver in the draft, yet you would pay premium money for a quarterback that, by all rights, is no better than a second rounder at best!! The quarterback will eventually come in this draft or maybe in 2015. but a sure thing is better than a I’m not sure!!

  • robert evans

    There is no way that WR Robinson from Penn State goes in the first round. Did you pay attention to the combine ?

  • Lukeskywalker88

    I feel that the Packers have at least a dozen other players on their board with better value than Ward at 21. I would be very upset if they picked him in May.

  • bk

    I know teams kind of panic and over-draft QB’s, but, I really don’t see a superstar in the bunch…
    I think Bortles has potential, but, so did Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, etc… Bridgewater is best suited to help asap, but, not a physically dominant guy… All the rest are reaches… I really don’t see any reason Carr would be better than Murray, Mechlenberger, or Mccaron.. Garrapolo is a project and Manziel is a huge risk from many different angles…. Desperation is one thing, but, why waste a high round pick when these guys will be there in rd 2-5….
    Also, i really think the Steelers will try to trade down if Lewan, Haha, or Gilbert is still there… maybe a big run on WR’s and the top 2-3 TE’s early… Steelers need a lot of help and can find it later in rd 1 and get extra picks…