2014 NFL Mock Draft

nfldraft

As NFL Free Agency calms down, it is time to start thinking about the NFL Draft.

The biggest prospects in football showcased their skills at the NFL Scouting Combine, pro days, as well as the different college football all star games. We can have a general idea who we think teams may be interested in, but it is very hard to pinpoint who teams secretly have fallen in love with.

So let’s get right to it!

1. Houston Texans – DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

The Texans have a glaring need at quarterback, but Clowney is too good of a talent for the Texans to pass up on. The idea of Jadeveon Clowney opposite J.J. Watt on the Texans defensive line is scary. New Texans coach Bill O’Brien has a history of taking lesser name quarterbacks and developing them, so I cannot justify taking a quarterback at the first pick with Clowney available.

Jadeveon Clowney delivers a hit that had the entire sports world talking for months

Jadeveon Clowney delivers a hit that had the entire sports world talking for months

2. St. Louis Rams – OT Greg Robinson, Auburn

The Rams can use some help blocking for Sam Bradford. Bradford suffered an injury last season, and is coming up to the end of his contract. Why not take one of the most talented players in this draft, protect the quarterback, and be able to see if you want to resign the quarterback or let him go.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida

The Jaguars need a quarterback badly. It really is a toss-up as to which they would pick. Bortles seems to fit their style the closest. He also went to school somewhat close by, so that may actually be the selling point to the fans. Bortles may not be the most talented of this quarterback class as of now, but he just might have the most potential.

4. Cleveland Browns – QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

The Browns are surprisingly really close to being able to contend with the other teams in their division. They have their superstar wide receiver in Josh Gordon, and a talented tight end in Jordan Cameron, so why not give them a dynamic exciting quarterback to help then even more? Johnny Manziel is a little undersized and remains a question mark as to whether his style can work in the NFL. Of all of the teams who need a quarterback, the Browns can afford to try it more than anyone else, and he would probably fit their better than any other.

5. Oakland Raiders – WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

The Raiders have a ton of needs, but I don’t think they can pass on a player with this level of skill. Watkins will be an elite receiver in the NFL. He has all the skills you want out of a wide receiver. He can go to Oakland and instantly have an impact. I don’t think the Raiders can refuse that.

Elite wide receiver prospect Sammy Watkins

Elite wide receiver prospect Sammy Watkins

6. Atlanta Falcons – LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo

Khalil Mack is my second rated player in this draft. Behind Jadeveon Clowney, Mack is the next best player. The Falcons would be running to the podium to announce their selection if he fell to their pick. Fortunately for them, I don’t think Mack fits anywhere above their pick, so I can easily see him falling to their pick. The Falcons would pick up an elite defender for the next 10 or so years.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M

Matthews comes from a very prestigious bloodline in the NFL. He already has proven himself as a top tackle in this class, and the Buccaneers could never refuse taking a franchise left tackle.

8. Minnesota Vikings – QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

The Vikings are one of the other teams who need a quarterback. Bridgewater, Manziel and Bortles have all been flip-flopped as to where they will get picked. I think the Vikings would prefer Bortles, but at their pick they would be fine with Bridgewater. Bridgewater comes with a ton of question marks, but he can very well be a major quarter back in the future.

9. Buffalo Bills – OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan

This fits another need of the Buffalo Bills. This draft comes with four elite tackles, and they would be fortunate enough to land one of them.

10. Detroit Lions – DB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

The Lions would love to somehow get Sammy Watkins to pair with Calvin Johnson, but he would never fall to them, and they also seriously need some secondary help. With Justin Gilbert they would be adding a great coverage cornerback who can get some great opportunities due to the pressure from their elite defensive line.

11. Tennessee Titans – LB Anthony Barr, UCLA

Anthony Barr and Khalil Mack are somewhat similar players, but because Mack is such a rare talent, Barr has been getting overlooked. The Titans would love to get their hands on a player like Barr. He is a dynamic playmaker for a defense. He may not be the best down-pass rusher, but teams will find ways to use his skill.

12. New York Giants – OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame

Zack Martin is such an intriguing prospect. What I really love about Martin is that he can play multiple positions on the offensive line. This is really what the Giants need. With many problems on their offensive line, adding a player who can play different positions would be so useful for them.

13. St. Louis Rams – DB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State

With Cortland Finnegan leaving the Rams, they have a major need at cornerback. Dennard is a quality cornerback who can make up or surpass what they got from Finnegan.

14. Chicago Bears – DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State

This may be some of my Dallas Cowboys bias talking here, but I think they take Jernigan over Aaron Donald, the other major defensive tackle. Jernigan is a proven winner who not only is very good now, but has an extreme amount of potential. I think he would fit right in on their line and make an immediate impact. With the additions they made at defensive end and safety, defensive tackle seems like their only need.

Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan celebrates during the National Championship game

Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan celebrates during the National Championship game

15. Pittsburgh Steelers – LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama 

The Steelers have not been able to find their next linebackers to replace some of their legends from the past years. Mosley may just be that player. Had it not been for his injury during the combine days, he would have been an even bigger prospect.

16. Dallas Cowboys – DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

The Cowboys would be jumping for joy for this one. With the loss of Jason Hatcher and Demarcus Ware, they have a major need at defensive line. With former defensive line coach Rod Marinelli becoming the defensive coordinator, he would be extremely happy to get a player with Donald’s skill and motor. He will be an immediate impact player.

17. Baltimore Ravens – WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M

Even though the Ravens recently signed Steve Smith, they have a major need at wide receiver. Smith is 35 years old and they need a major young receiver for their highly paid quarterback, Joe Flacco. Evans is a tall, extremely gifted wide receiver who would make an instant impact.

18. New York Jets – WR Marquis Lee, USC

The Jets signed Eric Decker this past week, but that is just one step in rebuilding a terrible wide receiver core. Before fans want to run Geno Smith out of town without even giving the guy a try, give him some talented receivers. Lee is a player who was looked at as a top 5 pick before this past season, and due to a down season he is being somewhat overlooked. You can blame his struggles on the lack of a decent QB at USC.

19. Miami Dolphins – OG Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA

The Dolphins need some offensive line help, and although as of now Su’a-Filo is projected to be a late first round pick, I see his draft stock increasing significantly as draft day nears. This is a player who dominated at the combine and has show he has what it takes to be an interior offensive lineman. The Dolphins would instantly improve their offensive line combine Su’a-Filo with free agent signee Branden Albert.

20. Arizona Cardinals – TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina

The Cardinals already have an immensely talented defense. Add an electrifying talented tight end like Ebron and that can be what it takes to send this team over the top. Ebron would instantly improve the Cardinal offense, pairing him with future hall of fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

21. Green Bay Packers – S Hasean Clinton-Dix, Alabama

The Packers have one of the best offenses in football, but really struggle defensively. They are in the process of rebuilding their defense, and have made some nice free agent signings to help the building. Clinton-Dix would become the Packers’ franchise safety for the future. He would be the playmaker they need in the secondary.

22. Philadelphia Eagles – S Calvin Pryor, Louisville

The Eagles are quickly rebuilding their franchise. They have been very active in free agency, and with the implementation of head coach Chip Kelly’s exotic style of offense, they are now a legitimate contender. They could use a playmaker like Pryor in their secondary. Pryor is always around the football making huge plays.

Calvin Pryor doing what he is known for, tracking players down from deep in the secondary, and laying punishing hits

Calvin Pryor doing what he is known for, tracking players down from deep in the secondary, and laying punishing hits

23. Kansas City Chiefs – WR Odell Beckham Jr., LSU

The Chiefs desperately need a wide receiver. Beckham Jr. has amazing hands. It seems like he can twist his body to make the most ridiculous catches all over the field. This is a player who really grew on me the more I watched him play. With Alex Smith’s style of short passes, a player who catches everything that touches his hands will be extremely useful.

24. Cincinnati Bengals – DE Kony Ealy, Missouri

The Bengals lost defensive end Michael Johnson, and they can replace him with Ealy. Ealy is already a big time player, but it is his potential that has scouts buzzing. The Bengals are already a good defense, so they wouldn’t mind helping and waiting for him to develop.

25. San Diego Chargers – DB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

The Chargers have a need at wide receiver, but it can wait a round or two. They can address their need at corner back with a wide amount of talented corners still available. Fuller seems to be the player who would be most exciting here, and I do not think they would pass.

26. Cleveland Browns – LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State

As the Browns continue to make strides towards becoming a legitimate threat, Shazier would become a staple in their defense. With Manziel at quarterback and Shazier in their defense, they come out of the first round looking very good.

27. New Orleans Saints – WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State

The Saints lost Darren Sproles and Lance Moore, two of quarterback Drew Brees’ favorite targets. In order to make up for the loss, they can use a speedy receiver like Cooks in their offense. This one would be a n0-brainer.

28. Carolina Panthers – WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State

This one was easy. The Panthers have no legitimate wide receivers on their roster as of now. Their franchise quarterback, Cam Newton, must be upset right now. A tall receiver with immense skill like Benjamin would definitely improve their receiving core.

29. New England Patriots – DT Louis Nix, Notre Dame 

With Vince Wilfork asking to be released, the Patriots are going to miss the massive anchor in their defensive line. In comes Louis Nix. He will be the Wilfork clone that they need in order to deal with the loss of one of their biggest players.

30. San Francisco 49ers – S Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois

The 49ers lost their elite safety in Donte Whitner, but they can make up for it with Ward. Ward is a ball-hawking coverage safety that can be the cherry on top for this elite defense.

31. Denver Broncos – DB Bradley Roby, Ohio State 

The Broncos pretty much got everything they need in free agency, but who could argue this move? Pair Roby with Aqib Talib in the secondary, and the Broncos are already looking like a Super Bowl team.

32. Seattle Seahawks – TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech

What don’t the Seahawks have? Tight end seems to be the only thing. This is a luxury pick, giving Russell Wilson another big time target to throw to. The rich get richer as the Seahawks and Broncos still look like the best teams in the NFL.

Tight end Jace Amaro would flourish in Seattle

Tight end Jace Amaro would flourish in Seattle

Well, there you have it. Things will change as draft day comes closer. Players will rise and others will fall. On draft day, trades will happen. It is very hard to anticipate what will happen at the draft, but if every team stayed put and didn’t trade, I think these would most likely be the picks. So what do you think?!

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About Nick Cocchiaro