Daily Blog • May 7, 2014

The NFL draft is now only one day away and I figured we would post our own Mock Draft. In this mock we have predicted some trades as there will be multiple trades as there are every year. Enjoy the draft and check back here to see how we fared with our picks as we did go against the grain with several picks!

Phil Steele Publications'
2014 NFL Mock Draft Version 2.0

1. Houston Texans – Khalil Mack (OLB), Buffalo

Reasoning: We’re going against the grain with most mocks including our previous Mock 1.0 with the Texans selecting Khalil Mack. Houston may be asking for a king’s ransom to move back and we just don’t see anyone in the Top 10 (where Houston would like to remain) ready to mortgage their future to move up to #1. With that being said, we believe new HC Bill O’Brien and GM Rick Smith favor Mack and his All-Pro potential if they are forced to stand pat with the first overall pick.

2. Atlanta Falcons (predicted trade with St. Louis) –Jadeveon Clowney (DE), South Carolina

Reasoning: Atlanta has been the rumored suitor in many trade scenarios to land Jadeveon Clowney. They will likely jump at the chance to get a shot as it doesn’t appear that the Rams need another DE with Chris Long and Robert Quinn solidified as their starters and entering the primes of their career. Look for the Rams to stockpile some picks here and hope for one of their needs to still be on the board at #6.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Sammy Watkins (WR), Clemson

Reasoning: The Jaguars used a high 1st round pick just a few years ago on the same position in Justin Blackmon. While he was beginning to show some progression, off-the-field issues have many wondering if he’ll ever don a Jaguars uniform (or any NFL jersey) ever again. With uncertainty once again at WR and Sammy Watkins still available, there’s no question in our minds that the Jags go to their #1 player left on the board and potentially bag a future QB at the start of round 2.

4. Buffalo Bills (predicted trade with Cleveland) – Jake Matthews (OT), Texas A&M

Reasoning: 1st year Browns GM Ray Farmer and HC Mike Pettine have an extremely difficult decision to make in arguably the most important Draft since the Browns returned in 1999. With their Top 3 likely gone, look for them to move back to #9 and stay away from arguably the most polarizing figure in the draft (Johnny Manziel). Buffalo hopes to solidify their OL here with the most versatile of the OT’s in Jake Matthews whose bloodlines alone make him worth the jump up into the Top 5.

5. Oakland Raiders – Mike Evans (WR), Texas A&M

Reasoning: Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie doesn’t seem too keen on the idea of drafting a QB this high in 2014 and we agree. Consistency at the WR position has been a major issue for many seasons with the Raiders and Mike Evans gives Matt Schaub an Andre Johnson-type weapon at his disposal to go along with free agent signee James Jones from the Packers.

6. St. Louis Rams (predicted trade with Atlanta) – Greg Robinson (OT), Auburn

Reasoning: Many of the mock drafts out there right now have Greg Robinson going to the Rams at pick #2. Like us, the St. Louis front office may believe that a move back to #6 would still allow them to take one of the players that they have been targeting all along and save some money in the process.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Johnny Manziel (QB), Texas A&M

Reasoning: Many didn’t think that “Johnny Football” would slide out of the Top 5 but with the Browns opting to move back in our trade scenario, Manziel may just land in Tampa with WR’s Watkins and Evans already off the board. The Bucs could then try to trade LY’s 3rd round selection Mike Glennon in return for a later pick in this year’s draft.

8. Minnesota Vikings – Blake Bortles (QB), Central Florida

Reasoning: While nothing is for certain in the NFL Draft, we’ve gotten a pretty good feeling about the Vikings’ preference at QB over the past few weeks. Once billed as a potential #1 overall pick, Bortles hasn’t done much in our eyes to see his value depreciate. With Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder still currently under contract in Minnesota, the Vikings will have the luxury of sitting Bortles as a rookie while grooming him for 2015.

9. Cleveland Browns (predicted trade with Buffalo) – Justin Gilbert (CB), Oklahoma St

Reasoning: If this scenario takes place, the Browns would take care of a major hole in the defense while picking up likely the Bills’ 2nd round pick in the process. Justin Gilbert and Joe Haden would form one of the most talented CB tandems in the AFC. With CB taken care of, the Browns would be able to maximize their versatility with their slew of draft picks.

10. Detroit Lions – Darqueze Dennard (CB), Michigan St

Reasoning: While rumors surfaced that the Lions were contemplating a potential move up in the draft to snag Watkins or Evans, one of their real true needs is CB (especially with Chris Houston’s status). Darqueze Dennard fits that mold as one of the best players at his position.

11. Tennessee Titans – Anthony Barr (OLB), UCLA

Reasoning: There are a few physical freaks in this draft and Anthony Barr belongs in that category. After beginning his career at UCLA as an H-Back, Barr moved to OLB for his final 2 years and ONLY recorded 23.5 sacks in that timeframe while earning back-to-back AA honors. Barr fits a need for the Titans and is clearly one of the top players remaining in all of the draft.

12. New York Giants – Eric Ebron (TE), North Carolina

Reasoning: 2007 was the last year that the Giants had a legitimate threat at the TE position (Jeremy Shockey). Seven years later they address the position with Eric Ebron who tore up the NFL Combine with a 4.56 40. Eli Manning should be extremely excited if the Giants pull the trigger on Ebron at #12.

13. St. Louis Rams – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S), Alabama

Reasoning: While there have been rumors swirling that the Rams are looking to add some competition at QB for Sam Bradford, we’ll stick with our pick from Mock 1.0 in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix who immediately bolsters a St. Louis secondary that finished 19th a year ago.

14. Chicago Bears – Aaron Donald (DT), Pittsburgh

Aaron Donald was unblockable at times during his tenure with the Panthers collecting nearly every single defensive award in his senior campaign. He catapulted himself into the Top 15 of the 1st round and the #1 overall DT with a solid combine and pro day. With the Bears attempting to hold down the fort a year ago by using DE’s to fill up the middle after injuries, Donald is the clear choice in Chicago.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Odell Beckham Jr. (WR), LSU

Reasoning: It’s likely going to be a WR or CB for the Steelers at #15 as they have clear needs at both. With both Justin Gilbert and Darqueze Dennard already gone, Odell Beckham clearly has to be one of their top players in the best-available category.

16. Dallas Cowboys – Kony Ealy (DE), Missouri

Reasoning: While Jerry Jones has hinted that he would be interested in the polarizing Manziel, moving up that far to land the 2012 Heisman Winner may be a little too much for Jerry’s liking. Instead they move to their area of need in Kony Ealy who is ranked as one of the better pass rushers in this year’s draft. While we don’t expect the Cowboy faithful to forget about DeMarcus Ware’s departure, Ealy could have a solid career with Dallas.

17. Philadelphia Eagles (predicted trade with Baltimore) - Marqise Lee (WR), USC

Reasoning: Chip Kelly knows first hand what Marqise Lee can accomplish as he tore apart Kelly’s former team Oregon with 20 receptions, 344 yds and 3 TD’s in the 2 contests that they faced one another. With the WR-needy Jets up next and Beckham going to Pittsburgh a few picks back, the Eagles made the right call as Lee and his injured knee from LY appears to be good to go.

18. New York Jets – Kyle Fuller (CB), Virginia Tech

Reasoning: While we went back and forth between a WR and CB, the free agency signing of Eric Decker and the jump up to #17 by Philly to snag Lee has us leaning towards the Jets taking a CB in the 1st round for a 2nd straight year (Dee Milliner ’13).

19. Miami Dolphins – Zack Martin (OT/OG), Notre Dame

Reasoning: The Dolphins clearly need some help on the OL after the departure of Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. Part of that issue gets solved here as they should run to the podium to make this selection if Zack Martin is still on the board.

20. Arizona Cardinals – Dee Ford (DE), Auburn

Reasoning: While Arizona could invest in the future by drafting a QB to work under the tutelage of Carson Palmer, Dee Ford gives the Cardinals a significant upgrade immediately. Look for Arizona to search for Palmer’s heir-apparent in round 2.

21. Green Bay Packers – C.J. Mosley (ILB), Alabama

Reasoning: C.J. Mosley is all over the place in mock drafts as his abilities fill the needs for plenty of NFL squads. Mosley fills a need for the Packers and has to be one of the best available in the Green Bay war room.

22. Baltimore Ravens (predicted trade with Philadelphia) – Taylor Lewan (OT), Michigan

Reasoning: With the free agency addition of WR Steve Smith the Ravens can concentrate on bolstering their struggling OL in Round 1. Taylor Lewan is talented enough to start from day 1 at RT and gradually move over to the blindside later in his career.

23. Kansas City Chiefs – Brandin Cooks (WR), Oregon St

Reasoning: LY’s Biletnikoff Winner Brandin Cooks led the nation a season ago in receiving yards while finishing #2 in receptions with 128. KC desperately needs a #2 WR to take some of the pressure off of Dwayne Bowe and Cooks’ ability to get open in small places has us believing that he’ll be the pick.

24. Cincinnati Bengals – Bradley Roby (CB), Ohio St

Reasoning: The Bengals stay local with their selection of Bradley Roby feeling that some of his recent off-the-field mishaps are a thing of the past as he is clearly 1st round talent and one of the better CB’s in the ’14 class.  

25. San Diego Chargers – Jason Verrett (CB), TCU

Reasoning: We were torn on this one as Nebraska CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste (6’3”) has been making a strong push to climb into the back of the 1st round. Jason Verrett ran a 4.38 during the combine and appears to be the safer bet for the Chargers’ talent depleted secondary.

26. Cleveland Browns – Teddy Bridgewater (QB), Louisville

Reasoning: Ideal situation for Cleveland if Teddy Bridgewater is still available. Bridgewater is arguably the most NFL-ready of the top trio but clearly lost some of his luster after his Pro Day flop. Also, with Teddy being taken so late, the front office probably won’t feel as obligated to throw him into the fire right away giving Brian Hoyer the starting reigns for the upcoming season. Either way, the Browns continue in the right direction with this selection.

27. New Orleans Saints – Cody Latimer (WR), Indiana

Reasoning: Latimer’s stock has risen greatly over the past few months and he now finds himself in WR heaven with the Saints who need to fill the spot left open by Lance Moore’s departure via free agency.

28. Carolina Panthers – Morgan Moses (OT), Virginia

Reasoning: A few weeks back Panthers HC Ron Rivera stated that protecting his franchise QB Cam Newton was one of his major priorities. The retirement of LT Jordan Gross and limited additions in free agency have us feeling pretty good that Carolina will select Morgan Moses here. Moses is versatile enough to play OG or OT in the next level and will fit perfectly in the Panther offense.

29. New England Patriots – Ra’Shede Hageman (DT), Minnesota

Reasoning: You really never know what Bill Belichick will do come draft time nor any other time to be exact. We’ll go with the majority on this one as Vince Wilfork is extremely long in the tooth and we saw what happened to the Patriots up the middle when he went out with a season-ending injury. At 6’6” 300+ lbs Ra’Shede Hageman already has the size to see plenty of action as a rookie behind a potential future Hall-of Famer.

30. San Francisco 49ers – Kelvin Benjamin (WR), Florida St

Reasoning: This is an extremely rich WR crop in the 2014 class as Benjamin has mid-1st round potential but slipped down to #30 with 6 other players already taken at the position and a disappointing performance at the NFL Combine. Regardless, we like this situation if he slides to SF and Jim Harbaugh always gets the best out of his players.

31. Denver Broncos – Ryan Shazier (OLB), Ohio St

Reasoning: While the Broncos could clearly add some depth to their OL with the departure of OG Zane Beadles to JAX, Ryan Shazier clearly shouldn’t have slipped this far in the draft and will be a big part to the defensive rebuilding in Denver that features the free agent additions of DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and TJ Ward.

32. Seattle Seahawks – Xavier Su’a-Filo (OG), UCLA

Reasoning: While we could see a team jump back into the 1st round to grab a QB (JAX, OAK, CLE if they pass on Bridgewater), we’ll stick with the Seahawks at #32 as they bolster their OL with arguably the best OG in the draft in Xavier Su’a-Filo. After earning All-Conf honors in each of his 3 years with the Bruins, Su’a-Filo (23 yrs old) is fully matured and should have the chance to slide right into the starting rotation on day 1.