2014 NFL Mock Draft 1.0, First Round

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Dec 21, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws a pass against the Southern California Trojans in the Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL scouting combine is now over, so we have a better idea of rising and falling prospects, although the combine really shouldn’t mean much. I know that there will be many more trades than I have in this mock, but I only included trades where I thought necessary, just so that the mock draft isn’t confusing.

Without further ado…

1.   Houston Texans

Teddy Bridgewater

QB, Louisville

Most new mock drafts have the Texans taking Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, or Jadeveon Clowney. I think the Texans have to take the best overall quarterback prospect in the draft, and that is Teddy Bridgewater. All of the “red flags” on Bridgewater because he didn’t throw at the combine are meaningless to me because he’s the most accurate, polished, and NFL-ready quarterback of the 2013 class. Size was also pegged as an “issue”, but 6’3” and 196 pounds while throwing for 31 touchdowns and just four interceptions last year doesn’t seem like an issue to me.

The reason why I have a problem with taking Clowney here is that the Texans were 2-14 because of horrible quarterback play and not bad run defense or pass rush. I think drafting a guy who’s probably going to end up being the franchise quarterback is a better decision than drafting a pass rusher when the team already has the best pass rusher in the league. I just don’t have enough confidence in Case Keenum or a reeling Matt Schaub to pass up the most pro-ready, and best, quarterback in the draft.

2.   Atlanta Falcons (trade with Rams)

Jadeveon Clowney

DE, South Carolina

The Falcons aren’t afraid to trade up in the draft (see: Julio Jones trade) and I believe they’ll do it again, as they desperately need a stud pass rusher. Clowney is the best player in the draft by far and I don’t anticipate him slipping past this pick. I also don’t think the Rams have any business in the top 5 in the draft; they can trade down and get more picks.

As for the Falcons, one of the worst-ranked pass rushing teams in the league could certainly use some speed and freakish ability on the line. The Falcons don’t have many areas of need on the offensive side of the ball outside of the offensive line, so I’d like to see them snag a pass rusher to fill the most pressing and glaring need by taking a possible once-in-a-generation player.

3.   Minnesota Vikings (trade with Jaguars)

Johnny Manziel

QB, Texas A&M

The Jaguars will trade back in the draft – Manziel or Bortles would be the “flashy” pick, but there’s no point in taking a quarterback this early in the draft if he’s going to turn out to be a complete bust (see: Blaine Gabbert). Jacksonville needs depth, something it will get in the draft by trading down and acquiring more picks. Minnesota’s struggles in 2013, like Houston’s, were largely due to inconsistent quarterback play by Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, and Matt Cassel.

Manziel isn’t the best quarterback in the draft, but I believe he has the most potential out of any player in the draft. He’s pretty much a make-or-break pick – either he’s a bust or he’s the real deal. That all depends on his health, and he did stay healthy at College Station. The thought of Manziel and Adrian Peterson on the same team makes me shudder – Minnesota could have the best running game in the league with Manziel. They might need another receiver, but this is a very deep receiver class. Minnesota finally gets a franchise quarterback here.

4.   Cleveland Browns

Blake Bortles

QB, Central Florida

Cleveland already has a star left tackle along with one of the best offensive lines in football, a stud receiver in Josh Gordon, and a top-ranked defense with Pro Bowl defensive backs T.J. Ward and Joe Haden. I believe that the Browns are a solid quarterback away from being legitimate contenders. Bortles could be that guy.

The Browns have enough depth at quarterback to even sit Bortles for his first year and start Brian Hoyer until 2015 rolls around. Cleveland could really go any way with this pick, but, as was the case with Houston and Minnesota, bad quarterback play has been the cause of the team’s poor play. It’s not 2000 anymore (sorry Trent Dilfer) but teams need franchise quarterbacks to succeed.

5.   Oakland Raiders

Khalil Mack

OLB, Buffalo

I would definitely want Oakland to consider taking a quarterback early, but the “Big 3” of quarterbacks (Bridgewater, Manziel, and Bortles) is gone already by the time Oakland’s pick rolls around. Derek Carr would be available, but like Jacksonville, Oakland can’t afford a quarterback who isn’t a lock to be a star right away (like Andrew Luck was).

Oakland needs help on both sides of the ball, and although I really want them to take a quarterback, it’s just not worth a top five pick. The best player available is Mack. The Raiders’ front seven needs some help both in pass rush and run defense. Mack is definitely the best outside linebacker and perhaps the second-best pass rusher behind Clowney. Oakland can’t go wrong with this pick. Mack would be a flexible player who could play outside linebacker or defensive end in the Raiders’ 4-3 scheme.

6.   St. Louis Rams (trade with Falcons)

Sammy Watkins

WR, Clemson

The Rams are in need of a tackle for depth on the offensive line and to possibly take over if Jake Long doesn’t come back from his knee injury, but Watkins is just too good to pass up. The team picks again seven picks from this spot. St. Louis already has a top ten defense with a menacing front four, so I think taking a defensive player here would be a mistake. The offense has been the reason for the team’s sub .500 seasons for the last few years, not the defense.

The Rams need some firepower on offense to score against the stingy defenses of its division rivals. I’m not sold on Tavon Austin as a true number one receiver, but Watkins could be a Julio Jones in his rookie year. Austin, Jared Cook, and Stedman Bailey can get it done over the middle. Watkins’s presence would help the Rams’ offense to put up big numbers for the first time in the Sam Bradford era.

7.   Tampa Bay Buccaneers

C.J. Mosley

ILB, Alabama

Defensive end is the Bucs’ biggest need, but Mosley is a better overall player than Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy. Mike Glennon played better than most people think, so Tampa is probably not taking Derek Carr here. Inside linebacker isn’t as big of a need as defensive end, but Mosley is the best player out of anyone available with the seventh overall pick. Mosley would join an already talented Buccaneers defense consisting of Darrelle Revis, Lavonte David, Gerald McCoy, and Adrian Clayborn.

8.   Jacksonville Jaguars (trade with Vikings)

Jake Matthews

OT, Texas A&M

The Jaguars are among the worst teams in the league when it comes to depth. The team needs a quarterback, running back (if/when Maurice Jones-Drew leaves), a number one receiver, a few solid starters on the offensive line, solid defensive line players… you get the point. Pass protection issues are a reason for terrible offense (and, of course, Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert). This team can use a lot of help in a lot of places, but it starts with the offensive line. Put Henne behind the Patriots’ offensive line and I guarantee you he fares much better.

Matthews is my highest-rated offensive linemen – his athleticism and production in college were much better than Greg Robinson of Auburn, so I’d want the Jags to favor Matthews over Robinson (kind of how the Redskins took Trent Williams over Russell Okung in the 2010 draft). Since the team traded down five spots, it’ll have multiple second round picks where it can select a quarterback.

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

  • Joshua Giovannone

    This is probably the best mock I have seen. Dennard over Gilbert and I love the Steelers pick. Clinton – Dix could be really special. His film is pretty incredible. I don’t even care about 40 times but his in game closing time is fantastic.

    • Rishi Pochiraju

      Thank you. People were telling me that DT was a bigger issue, but based on what I’ve seen, Polumalu is getting older and might even be cut. I don’t think PIT could go wrong with Ha Ha.

      • Joshua Giovannone

        I don’t think picking him would be bad at all but they won’t ever cut troy. They will just restructure. He is the type of player who wouldn’t play for anyone else.

    • Kareem Daniels

      The Steelers want take Dix over Gilbert seeing they have Shamarko already. Corner is a bigger need than safety

  • Tyler_KC_Fan

    If Justin Gilbert is there at the 23rd pick the Chief will most likely take him. The draft is deep in WR and if we can either some how get a 2nd or another 3rd we could get Matthrews from Vandy or Robinson from Penn St.

    • Rishi Pochiraju

      I think that WR is a bigger need… I have enough confidence in Sean Smith and Brandon Flowers as starting corners to take a receiver here, but there’s not enough depth behind Dwayne Bowe. It’s a deep CB class as well and KC can take a CB in the 2nd round

      • Dustin McLaughlin

        Except the Chiefs don’t have a second round pick

        • Rishi Pochiraju

          Forgot about the Alex Smith trade. But again, as you saw from the Week 17 game against SD, there’s enough depth on the team to go either way and Flowers and Smith are solid, while anyone behind Dwayne Bowe isn’t (Kyle Williams? A.J. Jenkins? Donnie Avery? Nah.. and McCluster is mainly a halfback)

          • Tyler_KC_Fan

            I agree that WR is a need as well and I still have a hard time calling Bowe our #1 WR because he plays with zero determination or drive, but he is the only WR we do have. My only point is Flowers is not the strongest man to man player. I personally don’t know how Flowers got to the Pro-Bowl, but thats neither here nor there. Gilbert completely changes the secondary for the team because of his speed, height and physical ability.

            I love Cooks and Beckham and wouldn’t be upset with us drafting either of those players, but if Gilbert is still there at 23 I would be torn because Gilbert looks like he can be a stud.

            I think the only way we get our 2nd rounder back is if we trade back, but the risk of trading out of the 1st might be to much of a risk with the players in the draft this year.

  • Johnny

    Crazy… T Zach Martin should be the Phins pick at #19… A lot of mock draft have him gone by 19… Giants or most likely Baltimore would take Martin before 19… But you left him out if the 1st round??? Crazy…
    Did you see him at the Senior Bowl???
    Not letting a few 1st round DE/DTs past him…
    This kid can start immedietly at RT for the Dolphins!!! He also has versatility to play guard if needed… or even take over LT if needed… ( obviously going to address LT with either Monroe or Albert in FA )..
    Martin has also broke ND records with 51 starts, playing 51 games… That shows he’s strong, reliable, and NOT injury-prone…
    He would be IDEAL for the Phins…
    You pick up Monroe at LT (only 27 next month), then draft Martin…
    Now you have both tackle positions secure for the next 5 years…
    Pouncy in the middle at Center…
    Add acouple of Guards in FA and Draft for depth… And your talking about a solid OLine… Maybe keep Tannehill’s jersey clean and give him that extra 1.5 secs to find his target….
    And now sky’s the limit!!!!
    Crazy how you left him out of the 1st round completely… You must have either forgotten him or maybe you don’t like he’s an inch too short compared to average NFL player at the Tackle position…

    • Rishi Pochiraju

      I don’t have Miami taking Martin, but they are taking an offensive linemen…I don’t really pay attention to other mock drafts and base my picks off of those. Yes, he doesn’t have the lateral range for tackle and I just don’t know about him playing guard, as he never played it in college. Antonio Richardson could come in and start just like you said Martin could.

      • Johnny

        Did you see Richardson at the combine???? Terrible!!! Got a grade of a 5th round pick and talks of red-shirting his First NFL year!!! Did you know he had Knee Surgery last (12)????season and still has a lingering affects to that knee?????Talk about one big red flag… Plus his play in college was inconsistent to say the least…
        Martin is the 4th ranked T in this draft…. After Mathews, Robinson, and maybe Lewan (maybe Martin), there’s a big drop off… I know the Phins are desperate for OLine, it’s obvious… But why select a 3rd round tackle in the 1st round… Plus the Phins will address a lot in free agency… They might even jump ahead of say Baltimore to get Martin.. Won’t cost much, being it’s only a few spots… But for one, Richardson does NOT belong in the first round.. PERIOD!!!! Read up on his combine and his Knee surgery…
        Do your homework bro!!!

  • Panther Hines

    As a Panthers fan, I would love for Atlanta to spend a buttload of picks to trade up for Clowney. We sacked Ryan NINE times in their house last year, love to see them completely ignore their biggest need

  • FrankieSmith

    Just because a QB is taken does not make him a franchise QB. I dont believe one exists in this draft, and Houston does not have to reach and take one either.

  • Rick Talley

    For the Rams, I like Evans better than Watkins. So, in this mock, I take Robinson first, Evans second. Or, trade, again, if someone really wants Watkins…..like the Lions. Then you still get one of the big three OT’s, Evans, and a bunch of extra picks in a VERY DEEP draft. Go Rams!

    • Rishi Pochiraju

      I definitely could see that happening, even if the Rams trade down to 6 for the Falcons to take Clowney. It’ll pretty much be just like 2012 — trade down to 6, then trade down to somewhere like 14, get more picks, and grab Evans, but I just think Watkins could succeed anywhere and is just too good to pass up. STL would still get a ton of picks or a few good picks if the Falcons do indeed trade up to second overall.

      • Rick Talley

        I def won’t cry if we take Watkins: you’re right about him being successful anywhere. I just like the idea of Evans beating people on the outside, with Austin, Bailey, and Cook working the middle. Also, if they wait on a receiver, I hope his name is Donte Moncreif…..he is an animal!

  • David Mallow

    Were you high when you put this mock together? First of all Minnesota WILL NOT trade up, second, there is no way Manziel would be the pick even if they did. Whats so hard to understand that THEY DO NOT WANT TO REACH AGAIN!!!!!! Manziel will be a bust and thats a FACT.Look at Ponder and look at Johnny…Both are run first QBs and thats not a good thing , especially considering how pass happy the league is now.If I were any GM of the top 10 to 15 teams I would stay clear of all QBs, none are true franchise guys.Johhny runs too much with absolutely no pocket presence, Bortles, Bridewater, and even Carr are raw and need ALOT of work to be starters in the NFL.i see at least 2 busts from the QBs (Manziel and Bortles) Evryone will disagree, im sure, but it is the truth…guys like Carr, Garoppolo, Mettenberger, Murray and maybe Fales will be just as much a good of pick as any of first 3 guys, but they will be 2nd and 3rd round, the risk is not as high.

  • Jordan Huber

    Haha, I love this quote “Oakland can’t afford a quarterback who isn’t a lock to be a star right away”. Yea, cuz any rookie QB ever has been a “lock to be a star”, give me a break. I guess no QB should ever get drafted.

    • Rishi Pochiraju

      Cam Newton? Andrew Luck? RG3 in his first year? Russell Wilson? All immediate stars

      • anthony

        newton is not a star, rg3 is not a star and the defence is what won the Superbowl not Wilson, he truly is mediocre

        • Rick Talley

          Newton is not a star? Uh, think you got that one wrong! I completely thought he was gonna be a bust when they drafted him #1, but he turned out to be an animal. Wait till they bring in some fresh receivers….he will light the place up!

  • Chris Smith

    Texans need to trade down and collect picks.

  • Diegoblue

    If Justin Gilbert or Louis Nix is available no way the Chargers select Van Noy

    • chargersfanfromswitzerland

      agree, justin gilbert at 26 would be awesome

      • Christian Vazquez

        Oh yeah! Gilbert or Nix would be awesome.
        Also, cut Clary and English and sign some FA’s

  • Wayne Davis

    Lmao Vikes trade up to take manziel???

    Round 1 Pick 14 (CHI): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State (B+)
    Round 2 Pick 8: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State (A)
    Round 2 Pick 19 (CHI): Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois (A)
    Round 3 Pick 8: Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin (B)
    Round 3 Pick 18 (CHI): Chris Smith, DE, Arkansas (A)
    Round 3 Pick 32: Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU (B+)
    Round 4 Pick 8: Anthony Steen, OG, Alabama (B-)
    Round 4 Pick 17 (CHI): Telvin Smith, OLB, Florida State (A)
    Round 5 Pick 8: E.J. Gaines, CB, Missouri (A-)
    Round 6 Pick 8: David Fales, QB, San Jose State (A-)
    Round 7 Pick 8: De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon (C)

  • Ken Tomlin

    Rishi, I agree with the other Viking fans who’ve already commented!! NO WAY WE TRADE UP!! It’s like you guys who make mock drafts, don’t even bother to read/listen to the NUMEROUS reports/interviews with Spielman! Sure, we need a QB, but we will NOT reach for 1, like we did with Ponder!! Even if we do happen to take one in the 1st rd, it’ll ONLY be after trading back, getting more picks later in draft. Then trading back up into the bottom of the 1st(and I only give that maybe a 30-40% of happening. Quit assuming like everyone else, and actually look at our DEF( esp our secondary). Just cuz a team needs a position, doesn’t mean they sacrifice everything to take a player at that position. Especially, when the only thing scouts/”experts”/fans can agree on is that not 1 of them is a can’t miss prospect at the QB position!!

  • 65yt

    Sorry to add to complaints. But i dont think bucs pick LB first. They said they were looking QB and Carr would do. Also taking any DE or OL would be almost a priority. And if Watkins was available i believe they would take him before Detroit.

  • loverpoint

    I can tell you right now the 49ers are not taking Timmy Jerrigan DT at the #30 spot.

  • flogginthelog

    Niners will not take a dt in the first round, that’s ignorant. Do the writers do any kind of research bc if they did half these picks are seem random and lack insight. Niners still have tank carradine who hasn’t played a snap bc of injury. He supposed to be full strength at seasons start. They need cb wr or a backup Qb.

  • Maariz Kashem

    As a saints fan like the pick not that is just a fantasy