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2014 NFL Mock Draft First Round Version 3

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17. Dallas Cowboys
Aaron Donald
DT, Pittsburgh

With Louis Nix off the board, Aaron Donald is the next-best defensive tackle, and he would make plenty of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. Even though his lack of size really worries me in the running game, he has the hand usage to disengage and the awareness to avoid being a major liability in run defense. Donald rushes the passer better than any DT in this year’s draft class, and it isn’t even close. He’s a special pass rusher, and it’s never easy to find someone nearly as disruptive as Donald is. The Cowboys would have to give him a big DT to play next to, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he can be a great interior pass rusher at the next level after beating up on some strong competition at the Senior Bowl to supplement his ridiculous numbers last year.

18. New York Jets
Eric Ebron

Marqise Lee or another top wide receiver would make sense here, but I think Eric Ebron might be too good for the New York Jets to pass up on. They need offensive playmakers at wide receiver or tight end, and it doesn’t really matter which one they take. I think they have a bigger need for an outside WR who is a true No. 1 than a tight end, but Ebron has such a great mix of explosiveness, size, and speed that he makes up for his poor blocking and inconsistent hands. I don’t think Ebron is worth a top 15 pick, but I think he would be a fine selection for the Jets, who would be wise to pull a WR in round two.

19. Miami Dolphins
Zack Martin
OT, Notre Dame

I’ve been watching a lot of Notre Dame tape lately, and it’s amazing to see just how dominant Zack Martin was last season. He would beat the likes of Trent Murphy pretty badly, and Martin’s dominance was clearly fawned over at the Senior Bowl. I don’t think there’s a better pick for the Miami Dolphins, as Dennis Hickey would probably love to get his hands on an offensive lineman with Martin’s talent. He’s a true technician at the position, and technique reigns supreme in most cases. Martin can play at either tackle or guard, and that versatility only makes him more appealing to an OL-desperate Dolphins team.

20. Arizona Cardinals
Anthony Barr

Anthony Barr is too raw to take in the top ten, but he’s also too talented and has too much upside to fall far in the first round. The Arizona Cardinals need a young edge rusher, and Barr would certainly fill that need. Surrounded by the likes of Calais Campbell and Daryl Washington, he could really blossom under Todd Bowles on the Cardinals defense.

21. Green Bay Packers
Jimmie Ward
FS, Northern Illinois

Calvin Pryor is rated higher than Jimmie Ward, but I think Ward is the better fit for the Green Bay Packers. With Nix and Mosley off the board, the Packers should take a close look at the safety position, with an especially close look at Ward. I think he’s an underrated prospect, and I don’t think the first round is too early for a player of his caliber. He has the speed and instincts to cover deep, and he also has the physicality to cover shorter routes and slot receivers. The Packers need a coverage safety at FS more than a playmaking safety like Pryor, who seems to be a better fit at SS.

22. Philadelphia Eagles
Dee Ford
OLB, Auburn

I was torn between giving the Eagles Jeremiah Attaochu or Auburn’s Dee Ford, and  Attaochu is my higher rated prospect. Ford is a better pure pass rusher, and that’s what the Eagles could use in 2014. I usually have Barr going to the Eagles, but he’s already off the board. Thus, Ford becomes the talented, speedy edge rusher for the Eagles, and I think he fits this team better than Attaochu. It’s an incredibly difficult call, but I have the Eagles making the pick. I also strongly considered Lamarcus Joyner here, but I think he’s more of a second-round prospect at FS than a first-round guy.

23. Kansas City Chiefs
Marqise Lee

Brandin Cooks could also make plenty of sense here, but I think Marqise Lee is just too talented to pass up on. His ability to make big plays on the outside make up for his drops and injuries, but picking between Cooks and Lee is almost a wash. What I do know is that the Chiefs desperately need an upgrade at wide receiver, and drafting Lee would accomplish that.

24. Cincinnati Bengals
Jason Verrett

My top cornerback in the draft class, Jason Verrett is a pass-defended machine out there, and he has the ability to be an elite slot corner in the NFL. His lack of size causes some to believe that he can only play in the slot, but he has the technique and ball skills to succeed on the outside. I could see Verrett having a career similar to Brent Grimes’s, and he’s the kind of guy who could help the Cincinnati Bengals defense become even scarier.

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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…

    • 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

    • 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

    • 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

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

        • 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.

    • 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?

        • 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.

    • 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!

    • 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.

        • 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!

          • 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.

    • 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…