2014 NFL Mock Draft No-QBs Version

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Khalil Mack speaks at the NFL Combine. Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not going to happen, but could you imagine a situation in which no quarterbacks were taking in the 2014 NFL Draft? Mock drafts are all about trying to be creative, analyzing prospects, and analyzing potential fits in the world of the hypothetical. In my view, one of the best ways to delve into this exercise is to strip away the NFL’s glamour position and focus on other possible needs and fits in this year’s draft. If the impossible came true and no quarterbacks were taken in the first round of this year’s draft, what would the board look like? The NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks did this late last month, and now it’s my turn to try it out. I think the four main quarterbacks in this class are potential franchise passers who deserve to be taken in the first round, but I also like trying to take different approaches to mock drafts in the hopes that new ideas etc. can be found.

It’s not an easy exercise, though, because things start to get cloudy without QBs coming off of the board to serve as a bit of a buffer zone for elite prospects. One fringe benefit about this sort of exercise is that it gives teams an underestimate of their draft options with less prospects on the board (a sample of three or four first-round picks has been pulled out, which is about 9% of the sample), so this mock draft has a little bit of a “worst-case scenario” feel for some teams by limiting the pool of prospects.

 

1. Houston Texans

Jadeveon Clowney
DE, South Carolina

If the Houston Texans don’t take a quarterback with the first overall pick, then Jadeveon Clowney pretty much has to be the pick. He’s the best prospect in the draft, and his elite run defense shouldn’t be overlooked. If you question Clowney’s motor, then you need to take a closer look at his relentless pursuit in the running game, because that’s where motor is the most important. Clowney is so good that he transcends scheme, as I could see him lining up as either a 3-4 DE or 3-4 OLB on the Texans, and he would play as a 4-3 DE whenever Romeo Crennel decides to run out of the 4-3 set. I don’t think I need to wax poetic on Clowney’s physical tools, and the non-QB choice is apparent for the Texans.

2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington)
Sammy Watkins
WR, Clemson

Since there are no QBs taken in this mock draft, I don’t see the point in the St. Louis Rams (in mock drafts, you have to act like the GM of each individual team and make the best decision for each team) trading down with the Atlanta Falcons. In this exercise, a skill position player like Sammy Watkins will hold even more value, and I couldn’t see him lasting past pick No. 4. Besides, why would the Falcons or any other team (besides maybe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) want to trade up for a position player with Clowney off of the board? The Rams still need a wide receiver, and Watkins is too good to pass up on.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Khalil Mack
DE/LB, Buffalo

Khalil Mack’s ability to play as a Von Miller-type 4-3 OLB makes him a better fit than Clowney, especially since the Jaguars added Red Bryant and Chris Clemons while also re-signing Jason Babin. Mack has an exceptional motor, and he plays the run and pass well. While he will need to adjust to much better opponents, he has everything you look for in a high-impact DE or LB at the next level.

4. Cleveland Browns
Greg Robinson
OT, Auburn

The idea of the Cleveland Browns drafting an offensive tackle is one that I used to be uncomfortable with, but then I realized that the Browns are looking to kick starting right tackle Mitchell Schwartz inside. I’ve been a fan of Schwartz ever since he came into the league, but he was putrid last season after being expected to have a breakout year. He could be better off kicking inside, and the prospect of an offensive line with Joe Thomas, Alex Mack (though the Jaguars are interested in plucking him away), Greg Robinson, and Schwartz is enough worth salivating over. Wide receiver is a bigger need for the Browns, but Watkins is already off the board and there’s plenty of depth at the position in this class. Robinson is an elite offensive tackle prospect, and I’d rather take him here than Mike Evans.

5. Oakland Raiders
Odell Beckham Jr.
WR, LSU

The Oakland Raiders already invested in the solid starting tackle duo of Donald Penn and Austin Howard, so I don’t see Jake Matthews (the team with the next pick is surely happy) as a legitimate option here. As we saw with their interest in DeSean Jackson, the Raiders know that their biggest task right now is to add more talented playmakers on the offensive side of the ball for Matt Schaub to work with. I wrestled between Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr. for quite some time, and I know that Evans is the better prospect whose size will greatly help the team out. However, I think Beckham Jr. fits what the Raiders need at the position more, because they should be looking for a quick receiver who can play the slot. OBJ has the leaping ability, ball skills, and vertical speed to win on the outside downfield, but his hands and route-running make him an excellent safety valve option over the middle of the field, and he also knows how to get plenty of YAC off of screens, crossing routes, and slants. Evans and OBJ are about even prospects, honestly, with Evans’s edge being only slight. I like OBJ’s fit here for Oakland, and I’m fine with overdrafting him a little bit, because just about every player is going to be overdrafted a bit in this mock draft without QBs.

6. Atlanta Falcons
Jake Matthews
OT, Texas A&M

Even with QBs, Jake Matthews could very well be the pick for the Atlanta Falcons here, as they need big-time pass rushing or pass blocking help. Since trading up for Clowney isn’t an option in this mock, staying put and waiting for an offensive tackle is the best policy. Robinson has better tools and run blocking than Matthews, but the A&M product is more steady in pass pro and is viewed as the safer prospect. He would be an excellent pick for the Falcons, and hopefully he is immediately a steady pass blocker for them. I mean, Matt Ryan deserves at least that much.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Evans
WR, Texas A&M

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would also wrestle with the Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Mike Evans argument quite a bit if both are available at pick No. 7, and I’m sure they’ll gladly scoop up Evans. He is frequently compared to Buccaneers star receiver Vincent Jackson, because he’s a big WR who wins downfield off of long speed, long strides, catch radius, and ball skills. While the Buccaneers might need an underneath receiver more, the outside duo of Evans and Jackson would be too good to pass up on.

8. Minnesota Vikings
C.J. Mosley
LB, Alabama

I hate this. With this pick, I literally sat there for ten minutes, frantically trying to see if I could milk a legitimate pick out of this, and I dwindled things down to three finalists: Anthony Barr, C.J. Mosley, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. I think the Vikings biggest need of those three positions (DE, LB, and S) has to be safety, but I decided to go with a different Alabama prospect. C.J. Mosley isn’t in the top half of most mock drafts, but I think the only reason why he is devalued is because of the devaluation of linebackers on draft day. To me, Mosley is one of the ten most talented prospects in this year’s draft, and I think he’s a better player overall than either Clinton-Dix or Barr. While Barr has plenty of raw talent, he’s valued so high because of his tools and the emphasis placed on pass rushers over LBs. I’m not sure how Barr fits the Vikings, but I do know that Brian Robison and Everson Griffen are two talented pass rusher locked in for the future. The Vikings have depth at linebacker, but they could use a top-notch prospect like Mosley, who is as well-rounded as they come. He plays the run well, covers, can blitz up the middle in a pinch, and he has excellent intangibles. That said, I’m not confident in this pick, so I’m totally cool with somebody stating that Ha Ha or Barr is a better option. But honestly, I think Mosley is a very underrated prospect whose excellent work in coverage goes overlooked.

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  • Ken Tomlin

    Interesting way to do a draft. Mosley would be a good pick for the VIKES, but I’d rather see Gilbert go to them. Even with Munnerlyn starting on the outside, he’ll move inside in nickel. So, we’ll need a CB to start opposite Rhodes. Gilbert would be the perfect fit.

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

      I gave Gilbert consideration here as well, and he’s an excellent player who would be a decent pick-up for the Vikings. However, they did draft Xavier Rhodes in the first last year and signed Munnerlyn and Derek Cox this offseason, so CB doesn’t seem to be as much of a priority. I just read something after the mock was published that Mosley has some medical concerns, so he might be off the board for the Vikings unless if he slips into the 2nd.

  • gdubb

    Your funny no way raiders pass on Mike evans for odell beckham..Mike evens is a beast you must be a donkeys fan

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

      If you prefer Evans to OBJ, then that’s perfectly fine. I just felt like the Raiders needed a WR who can go underneath more. Evans is a beast, but so is Beckham Jr. It’s a matter of preference, and I have no qualms at all with taking Evans over him.

  • anon76returns

    I tend to see Shazier as a best case pick for the Broncos, so surprising not to see him on here in a “worst-case” scenario. The Broncos have two excellent (Talib & Harris) CBs for their base, and one pretty good 2nd year player (Webster) to come in on nickel.
    On the other hand, the Broncos have no Mike LB for base, and only 1 (of 2 required) coverage LBs for their nickel. Shazier would be excellent for both roles, hard to imagine CB being addressed first if Shazier (or Mosley) is still on the board.

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

      Yeah, I was thinking of putting Shazier, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to fit him in. Would the Broncos kick Trevathan inside and play Shazier at OLB or simply play him at the Mike? He would be a real asset for the Broncos defense due to his coverage.

      • anon76returns

        In base I’m sure Shazier would be the Mike. He might have played more snaps at Ohio State on the outside, but he had plenty of experience inside as well. Trevathan was an awesome WIL- should have been a pro bowler last year. No reason to mess with that.

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

          Thanks, I’ll be sure to keep this in mind in my next mock draft. Trevathan is ridiculous, so hopefully Shazier would have that kind of impact if the Broncos draft him. I think he’s good enough in coverage and athletic enough to bring some of that to the table, and I’m guessing he would be an upgrade on Woodyard at the end of the day.

    • Phillip

      If Mosley isn’t available, Shazier don’t get pass 21.

  • Jake

    I don’t see why the bears would draft Louis nix in first? We could get Gilbert or Denmark or even trade back in the draft to get extra picks and still get nix Lol but it’s creative and different i guess it was worth the read

    • Jake

      Excuse me dennard

    • DiscountPCRepair SATX

      Louis Nix is NOT even on the BEARS radar

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

      You and “DiscountPCRepair” aren’t the first two people to tell me that Nix isn’t an option for the Bears, and that has me a bit puzzled to be honest. Why isn’t he a fit and what am I missing that’s clear to so many Bears fans?

      Anyway, Gilbert or Dennard would be great picks for the Bears, and I would also put Jason Verrett on their radar. I have him rated higher than both of those guys (especially Dennard), and I don’t buy into the knocks on his height.

      • Panther Hines

        Who saw Shae Mclellon coming?

  • Jack

    Raiders make dumb decisions up front all the time.that picks proly spot on lol

  • BlueTalon

    “…his great ball skills help make up for his subpar hands.”

    What the heck does that even mean?

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

      Remember Terrell Owens? It’s like that. He can make incredible catches, but he suffers from too many concentration drops.

  • 1961 Fan

    No QB’s taken; that is not an ignorant statement, it is stupid. Go bury your head in the sand numb nut.

    • Panther Hines

      He wasn’t saying he didn’t think any QBs would be taken, he said “what if none were taken” and did a draft based on his hypothetical scenario, trying to identify team needs and players that fit those needs. Honestly, there isn’t really a QB in this class that’s ready to go week 1 but the position is so highly covered that they’re wayyy over drafted. It’s just an exercise…numb nut….

  • Panther Hines

    I commend you for having your own player rankings that stray from the norm for most mocks. I disagree with some of it but there are always surprises on draft day….as for my teams pick, I’m not sold on Kouandjio. I’ve heard that the Panthers are one of the teams that failed his physical at the combine and after Otah, I don’t think they risk it. Its a shame though, he’s just the type of hog mollie that Gettleman covets. I would like Jordan Matthews or Jarvis Landry with that pick. Since the WR run is happening in this draft I think it’s more important to grab one of the top tier WRs in the first. I like those guys more than KB…also, ehy are you so much higher on Amaro than ASJ?

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

      Thanks for the kind words, and my different views on prospects often get me shelled. Kouandjio was a reach for the Panthers, but they have a massive need at OT and I like Kouandjio more than Morgan Moses, even with the injury issues. With The First Pick compared Kouandjio to Marcus McNeill, and I like that comparison: http://withthefirstpick.com/?p=11784

      He should be a solid starting tackle at the next level, but for how long with the injury issues? I was in a pinch at WR with KB the top guy on the board, so I decided to go with OT. In the real draft, there will be QBs taken, so this is a “worst-case scenario” look at the draft for teams picking later on in the first because of the absence of QBs in this mock. Therefore, the Panthers will probably have a chance at picking up a much better receiver prospect, though I can’t see a guy like Allen Robinson falling to them after his big workout numbers.

      I’m now much higher on Amaro than ASJ at all haha. I actually wrote a few times this year that I think ASJ isn’t far off from either Ebron or Amaro, and I think the gap in talent between the three top TEs is pretty close. The issue with ASJ is that he has an awkward running style that hurts him as a pass-catcher, especially compared to Ebron and Amaro. But he is actually more versatile than those guys, because he can line up in the backfield and lined up out wide more than those two. Plus, he’s a much better in-line TE because of his blocking. He has attitude, consistency, and maybe even a couple of injury concerns, but I have a late first-round grade on him. Based on his talent and Amaro’s ability, I think Ebron is going to get overdrafted, but that’s also because teams love “joker” tight ends.

  • Joe

    Odell Beckham to the Raiders? I stopped reading after that. Your mock drafts are getting even more idiotic

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

      I’m an idiot because of one reach pick in a mock draft of 32. Sounds good.

      • Phillip

        Jimmie Ward could be considered a reach too, depending on who ya ask. I feel he’s a risk and Shazier would be a better fit for Green Bay at 21, he bring sideline to sideline playmaking potential to our ILB position, and after him and Mosley, the talent is such a drop off at ILB, not near as much at Safety in the 2nd. Ward is strictly a need pick there too, Shazier is a lot higher value + need, i think Shazier at 21 and than i believe Ward will still be there at the top of the 2nd. Just because Safety is our top need is why i believe TT won’t reach at all for it and a guy like Shazier i believe could have a lot more impact on our D than a Safety anway, a impact LB like him could easily control the line of scrimmage and he easily has the speed and physical ability to cover TE’s and slot receivers, i just believe Shazier would add so much more impact then Ward. I could easily see Shazier as our 1st pick, and than Ted Thompson liking Ward or Bucannon at a certain 2nd round spot and see him move up for him. That’s my opinion anyway, Shazier and Ward or Bucannon would make this D leaps and bounds better.

  • Phillip

    With the 21st pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers select, Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio St.!! If Mosley don’t fall of course.

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

      I think Ward is a good pick for the Packers at 21, because I don’t see him falling to them in the second round and view him as an underrated prospect in this year’s draft. Ryan Shazier would be a very good pick for the Packers, too, even if they don’t have as big of a need for an inside linebacker as they do a free safety. They could still use a talented starting LB, especially one with Shazier’s excellent play in coverage. Drafting Shazier and trading up for Ward is an interesting idea. How often has Ted Thompson traded up in the draft?