2014 NFL Mock Draft (9/6/13): First Round
The draft positions here are based off the Associated Press Pro32 power rankings, which were assembled by a 12-member medial panel. Naturally, as the season goes on, we’ll be moving teams around and picks will adjust accordingly.
As usual, thanks to Walt at walterfootball.com for posting this. His draft database is here: http://walterfootball.com/draftdata.php
1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
If the Jaguars are picking here, it means their quarterback situation, once again, was an unmitigated disaster. Fortunately, the 2014 draft class is loaded at the position, and none are better than Bridgewater, who is an elite prospect that should fly off the board early in this draft.
2) Oakland Raiders: Jadeveon Clowney, DE/OLB, South Carolina
The Raiders likely need a quarterback, but if Clowney isn’t the stereotypical ultra-athletic Raiders pick, who is? Plus, he does fill a need up front on a defense that doesn’t have many impact players.
3) Buffalo Bills: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Matthews is the top offensive line prospect in this draft class by a considerable margin. Buffalo’s offensive line isn’t bad, and I personally think this poll underranked them a bit, but this gives EJ Manuel and company a young left tackle to grow with.
4) New York Jets: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
This pick is bound to rub some the wrong way, and while it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Jets take Tajh Boyd or any other quarterback in this class, consider that whoever this year’s quarterback winds up being has nobody of substance to throw to. Santonio Holmes isn’t healthy, and he’s their one playmaker in the entire receiving corps. Much can be blamed on the Jets quarterbacks, but that part isn’t their fault.
5) Cleveland Browns: Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
The current Browns brass didn’t pick Brandon Weeden, who isn’t horrible but likely won’t get much better than he is right now. Boyd is an athletic quarterback who can beat teams with his arm and his feet, and he opens up the playbook for gifted offensive coordinator Norv Turner.
6) Philadelphia Eagles: Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA
Barr’s father played for the Eagles, and he would be an excellent fit. We all know Chip Kelly loves speed and athleticism, and Barr provides that in spades for a defense that could use another player who can get to opposing quarterbacks.
7) Tennessee Titans: Cyrus Kouandijo, OT, Alabama
Tennessee loaded up on interior linemen, and with this pick, they get one of the top tackles in a loaded draft class. Kouandijo is the consensus #2 tackle behind Matthews, and Tennessee could use him, as both of their current starters have contracts expiring in the next few years. Do note that if they pick much higher than this, the Titans probably clean house and go for a quarterback, as Jake Locker probably had a bad year.
8) San Diego Chargers: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Philip Rivers has suffered behind a bad offensive line for years, and it’s sort of sad that the Chargers haven’t given him any time to work. Here, though, they luck into Lewan, who would have been a top-10 pick in last year’s draft but chose to return to Michigan for his senior year.
9) Arizona Cardinals: Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
The Cardinals could easily take an offensive lineman here, or even reach for a quarterback since Carson Palmer’s not getting any younger. However, the Cardinals don’t have much at their interior defensive line spots. Nix may not be a prototypical nose tackle, but he takes up a lot of space and is very skilled.
10) Carolina Panthers: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Watkins could have gone a bit earlier, but he’s got some character concerns. Still, he’s an electrifying playmaker, something Carolina could use in its receiving corps. Steve Smith is getting up there in age, and there’s not much behind him on the depth chart.
11) Detroit Lions: James Hurst, OT, North Carolina
The Lions desperately need help up front. They’ve got several pieces in place for an electric offense, but a weak offensive line could hurt them this year. Hurst is a bit of a reach at this point, but he fills a huge, huge need.
12) St. Louis Rams: HaHa Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
St. Louis’s front seven is pretty solid, and has several excellent prospects. However, their secondary isn’t anything special, especially at safety. Clinton-Dix is easily the best safety prospect in the draft, and here, he’d have a chance to play right away.
13) Miami Dolphins: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
You can never have too many talented corners, especially when you’re going up against Tom Brady twice a year. Roby is probably the best cornerback prospect in the draft, and while corner isn’t an extremely talented part of this draft class, Roby could probably start from day one in Miami.
14) Kansas City Chiefs: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
This seems a bit late for Kansas City, and I’d have had them down around #10. That would have put them in play for Sammy Watkins, who’d be an excellent fit, but alas, he’s off the board here. However, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins is the top tight end in the draft. Anthony Fasano has eclipsed 40 receptions in only one season, so it’s not like the Chiefs are set at the position.
15) Chicago Bears: Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo
Julius Peppers turns 34 after this season, and it’s not like the Bears have much depth opposite or behind him. Mack emerged as a serious playmaker against Ohio State, who had their hands full with him all game long.
16) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
Donald Penn is due about $6 million and has struggled with his weight. The Bucs are pretty much set at the skill positions and Richardson isn’t too much of a reach, so this is a reasonable fit.
17) Dallas Cowboys: Kyle Van Noy, DE/OLB, BYU
Dallas has Demarcus Ware, but there’s not much across from him or at either outside linebacker spot. Van Noy is a fearsome pass-rusher who knows how to get to the quarterback. He had 13 sacks for the Cougars a year ago, and his versatility is a plus.
18) Minnesota Vikings: Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
Chris Cook is slated as the team’s #1 corner on opening day, and he has zero interceptions in three seasons. Minnesota tried to address this in the 2013 draft with Xavier Rhodes. That helps, but in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Matt Stafford, you need all the good corners you can find, and Colvin is a bargain at this point in the first round.
19) Pittsburgh Steelers: Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida
Pittsburgh has two problem areas: The secondary, and the offensive line. No tackle prospect really makes sense here, so I’ll give them Purifoy, who’s the third-best corner prospect and a decent value just outside the top 20. He’s also got the size necessary to potentially play some safety, which would be welcome news for Pittsburgh, who has aging vets Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu in those spots.
20) St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): David Fales, QB, San Diego State
Sam Bradford is owed a ton of money over the next two years, but if he has another shaky season in 2013, it may be time to start looking for answers elsewhere. The Rams run a bunch of check-down and short passing plays, and that’s Fales’s game. He’d be an excellent fit for the Rams offense.
21) New York Giants: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
There are tons of question marks in New York’s back seven. Corey Webster has made a career off of intercepting Brett Favre in the NFC Championship game, but has no right to be a #1 corner on an NFL team.
22) New Orleans Saints: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
The Saints just switched to a 3-4 this year and may not have ideal 3-4 personnel. Mosley, though, looks like a prototypical 3-4 inside linebacker, and he plays both the run and the pass very well.
23) Indianapolis Colts: Aaron Lynch, DE, South Florida
Indianapolis still has several holes defensively. One is at defensive end, where Ricky Jean-Francois, who has never been a full-time starter, is atop the depth chart. Lynch is a great value pick here, though, and would probably start right away.
24) Cincinnati Bengals: Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
Outside of A.J. Green, the Bengals don’t have a whole lot at wide receiver. Coleman is a big target (6’6”, 220 pounds) with game-breaking speed, and he’d provide a very competent secondary target in the passing game.
25) New England Patriots: Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida
Secondary depth is still a big issue for the Pats, who don’t have much there outside of Aqib Talib. Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy form a dynamic duo for the Gators, and both are NFL-caliber defensive backs.
26) Houston Texans: Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
Johnson is a freakish athlete at a school known for producing those. Houston’s interior defensive linemen, while solid, aren’t spectacular, and Johnson is one of the top defensive prospects left at this point in the first round.
27) Baltimore Ravens: Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
Chris Canty turns 31 this season, and Arthur Jones, who’s next on the depth chart, only signed a one-year deal. Crichton slipped a little bit in this mock, actually; he could have easily been a mid-first round pick. However, he instead goes to a team where he could make an immediate impact.
28) Green Bay Packers: A.J. Johnson, ILB, Tennessee
Depth at inside linebacker is an issue for the Packers, who will need to make a decision about A.J. Hawk after the season. If they don’t re-sign him, it becomes paramount that they go get a linebacker in the draft, and Johnson is among the top players available.
29) Seattle Seahawks: Josh Huff, WR, Oregon
Percy Harvin is going to miss most of the season. If he doesn’t come back with the speed that makes him such a threat, it may be time for Seattle to look for some insurance. Huff has speed in spades, and can also be used as a rushing threat.
30) Atlanta Falcons: Craig Loston, S, LSU
Atlanta could use some more depth in their defensive backfield. Desmond Trufant, their 2013 draftee, will help, but the Falcons are still thin at safety. Loston is a reasonable value at this point and is easily the best safety left on the board.
31) Denver Broncos: Adrian Hubbard, DE/OLB, Alabama
Von Miller will miss at least the first several games of the season due to a suspension, and the Broncos still need to find a replacement for Elvis Dumervil. Hubbard is versatile and can play several positions at the next level.
32) San Francisco 49ers: Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
The 49ers don’t have many weaknesses, and as such, they can afford to take the best player available. In this case, that’s Jeffcoat, who could have easily gone in the late-teens or early-20’s and slipped through no fault of his own.