The time has officially come. Finally, tonight marks the beginning of the 2014 NFL Draft. Thousands of lives will be changed, while many hearts will be broken. This is easily my favorite offseason event that the NFL has to offer. I am looking forward to this year’s draft as this is one of the deepest classes that we have had in a while. With that being said, here is my final 2014 NFL Mock Draft.
Number 1: Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney | DE | South Carolina
Ultimately, I believe that they should draft Jadeveon Clowney. For the longest time I thought that they should have went quarterback, but with the way the quarterbacks have dropped, I think they can get a pretty good one on day two. Draft Clowney now to pair him with Watt. They have to face Andrew Luck twice a year and with the Jaguars possibly bringing in a young quarterback, the added pass rush will greatly benefit Houston.
Number 2: St. Louis Rams (from Washington) – Sammy Watkins | WR | Clemson
If you watch any tape on Sammy Watkins , you would realize that he is an absolute stud. He would be Sam Bradford’s best receiver that he has ever had. Watkins, Austin, Cook and Stacy would give St. Louis one of the better group at the skilled positions in the league. At first, I believed that St. Louis will go with an offensive lineman; however, the Rams also have the thirteenth pick in the draft. There should be a quality tackle that they can select at thirteen, and I expect them to do just that.
Number 3: Jacksonville Jaguars – Blake Bortles | QB | Central Florida
Blake Bortles is an ideal fit for the quarterlacking franchise Jacksonville Jaguars. Clearly, Blaine Gabbert is not to answer for the Jaguars and Chad Henne is an average starter at best. Trust me, I am a Dolphins fan. With the third pick in the draft I see the Jaguars taking the first quarterback in the class. Blake Bortles is a big bodied quarterback with a ton of untapped potential. He is very mobile and can make the throws. Bortles is practically a hometown kid that could not only win the Jaguars some games, but also sell tickets and ultimately get the fan base excited again.
Number 4: Cleveland Browns - Greg Robinson | OT | Auburn
The Cleveland Browns are in a really good position in this year’s draft, as they have two first round picks. They did a nice job finding Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon as they both appear to be on the rise of super-stardom. Not only do they have some viable receiving options, but they also went out and brought in Ben Tate to be the starting running back. With two first round picks, they have some flexibility; especially with the way the quarterbacks have been dropping. Bringing in Greg Robinson with the fourth pick would pair him with one of the leagues elite tackles, Joe Thomas. Their offensive line would be tremendously upgraded with the fourth pick and then they can grab a quarterback with the twenty-sixth pick.
Number 5: Oakland Raiders - Johnny Manziel | QB | Texas A&M
Despite trading for Matt Schuab, the Oakland Raiders still have a whole at the quarterback position. Johnny Manziel could provide an instant spark to a franchise that has not exactly been relevant since the early 2000′s. The franchise needs to bring in a big name that can help this team win games. Although I am not as high on Manziel as others are, there is no question in my mind that he is an upgrade to what they already have. The only thing left for them to do is provide him with weapons.
Number 6: Atlanta Falcons – Khalil Mack | LB | Buffalo
During free agency, the Atlanta Falcons were able to bulk up their defensive line. They signed former Dolphins defensive tackle Paul Soliai and former Chief Tyson Jackson. The Falcons could still use another edge rusher, and with Khalil Mack still on the board, it would be foolish not to select him.
Number 7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans | WR | Texas A&M
After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded wide receiver Mike Williams, the need for a second option quickly became open. While I am almost certain the Bucs would love to get their hands on Sammy Watkins, they would have to trade up, which is most likely not in the cards. Despite not being able to get Watkins, Mike Evans is a very good second option. To go with his NFL body, Mike Evans has excellent control of his body and catches nearly everything thrown to him. Matching him with Vincent Jackson would give the Bucs a very good tandem of one and two receivers.
Number 8: Minnesota Vikings – Derek Carr | QB | Fresno State
This is a bit of a shocker in my opinion. With Teddy Bridgewater still available, the Vikings can go either way. Ultimately, I believe the Vikings will chose to select Carr over Bridgewater because Carr is the right fit for the Vikings. He is a perfect fit for newly hired offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Is Carr the better quarterback than Bridgewater? That remains to be seen. However, out of the quarterbacks available they seem to be the most NFL ready. Will the Minnesota Vikings finally find their quarterback to bring them back to the promised land? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Number 9: Buffalo Bills – Taylor Lewan | OT | Michigan
The Buffalo Bills are a team that has some glaring holes on their offense. They need help at the receiver position, the tight end spot and on the offensive line. I have Lewan slotted over players such as Ebron and Beckham Jr. because of the fact that they drafted E.J. Manuel last season. If he is the quarterback of the Bills future, it is imperative that they can keep him upright. He already had some problems staying healthy last season, so drafting players to protect him might not be such a bad idea.
Number 10: Detroit Lions – Darqueze Dennard | CB | Michigan State
The Detroit Lions brought in Golden Tate on a five-year deal, so drafting a receiver at the tenth spot will most likely not happen. With the departure of Louis Delmas, Detroit’s already weak secondary became even weaker. As a result, the Detroit Lions must improve their secondary; particularly the cornerback position. With Justin Gilbert off of the board, the Detroit Lions will take the next best option – Darqueze Dennard. Dennard is a very physical cornerback that excels in man-to-man coverage.
Number 11: Tennessee Titans – Anthony Barr | LB | UCLA
One of the biggest positions of need that the Tennessee Titans were unable to upgrade during free agency was the need for a pass rusher. Jurrell Casey was the Titans most consistent pass rusher last season, as he led the team with ten and a half sacks. Outside of Casey, the Titans pass rush was just average. The best way to counter a division that has multiple capable quarterbacks in it (one great), is by rushing the quarterback. Anthony Barr is a very athletic outside linebacker who is at his best when he is rushing the quarterback. Along with his freakish athleticism, Barr also has very good size and should turn into a very solid pass rusher in the National Football League.
Number 12: New York Giants – Aaron Donald | DT | Pittsburgh
The New York Giants need to get bigger and stronger up front. They lost Linval Joseph to the Minnesota Vikings and it is very important that they fill the hole that was left. When the Giants were winning Super Bowl’s their biggest strength was their defensive line. Excluding Jason Pierre-Paul, there are some nice pieces on the line; however; no one really jumps out towards you. Due to his incredible speed, Donald has the great ability to penetrate the backfield. In his last season at Pittsburgh, Donald led the entire country in sacks per game with 1.6.
Number 13: St. Louis Rams – Jake Matthews | OT | Texas A&M
Here is the pick that I was talking about earlier. Last season, the St. Louis Rams brought in Jake Long with the hopes of dramatically improving their offensive line. Unfortunately, Long had trouble remaining healthy throughout last season and failed to live up to the contract that he received. If Jake Matthews can get past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, then the St. Louis Rams would gladly select him. Matthews was a great pass blocker at Texas A&M and his great play will surely transfer over into the NFL. The Rams need to do something with their offensive line to protect their brittle quarterback. Drafting Matthews would be a great step moving forward to
Number 14: Chicago Bears – Calvin Pryor | S | Louisville
I met get some heat for this pick. Before you guys all let me know, I know that the Chicago Bears signed five safeties this offseason, however, Major Wright is a free agent and will most likely not be back next year. It would make sense for the Bears to bring in a young safety to come in and fill the void left by Wright. Calvin Pryor has the prototypical body to play the safety position, and combined with his good closing speed and ball skills, he has the potential to be a very good safety in the league.
Number 15: Pittsburgh Steelers – Justin Gilbert | CB | Oklahoma State
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a real problem with their secondary. They lack depth at the cornerback position and their best cornerback (Ike Taylor) is only getting older and regressing as a player. In fact, Taylor struggled for a majority of last season when it came to covering the opposing teams number one receiver. Since they are in a division that features great receivers, it is important that the Steelers bolster their secondary. They can do so at fifteen by selecting Justin Gilbert.
Number 16: Dallas Cowboys – Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix | S | Alabama
To the surprise of many, Tony Romo wasn’t the problem in Dallas last season. In fact, Romo played fairly well throughout the season, finishing off with thirty-one touchdowns and just ten interceptions. The biggest problem that Dallas was faced with last season was their awful defense. They had a historically bad season and particularly struggled in the secondary. They have a huge need at the safety position and with Clinton-Dix still on the board, the Cowboys must pull the trigger. Clinton-Dix has a very rare combination of size, speed, and instincts have the potential to make him a perennial Pro Bowler at the next level.