It’s that time of year again! This is the time where teams can hit home runs and add pieces to the puzzle that will put them from pretender to contender. The last two seasons the team with the first overall pick has made the playoffs coming off that draft. Will the Houston Texans continue that trend? I’ll be doing a series of 3 Mock Drafts. This is the first. The second will appear towards the beginning of April and the third will be the week leading up to the draft.
I will provide analysis on the Top 10 picks as well as my favorite club (Green Bay) during this Mock. In Mock 2.0 I will do analysis for picks 11-21 and in Mock 3.0 I will talk about picks 22-32. Here we go!
1. Houston Texans- (Needs: QB, OL, DB)
Jadaveon Clowney, DE South Carolina
This may change in my next two mock drafts but I find it very hard to believe that Houston is blowing smoke screens with the fact they are in love with Clowney. He is a freakish athlete and would play opposite of J.J. Watt setting up one of the most intimidating defensive lines in the NFL. Think about this too, the Texans hold the 33rd pick in the draft and could take a quarterback at that spot. The top 4 or 5 quarterbacks could be off the board by then, but they could go one of two ways. The first is that they could sign a free agent quarterback. I was thinking they could be in the market for Matt Cassel since he and coach Bill O’Brien have a history, but with him being off the board, I think they’ll use the 32nd pick on a quarterback. They could trade up with Cleveland and package Matt Schaub apart of that deal. Swapping 33 and Schaub for 26 might work out very well for both clubs.
2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington)- (Needs: OL, WR, DB)
Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
While I believe that St. Louis will make a trade with a team in the Top 10 to trade down (I would put my money on Oakland or Minnesota) I will make the selection that they will take if they were to stay put. Aside from 4 time Pro Bowler Jake Long, the Rams have 3 tackles on their roster that have a combined 10 games started. Greg Robinson is a top tackle in this draft. I could see them going with him here and saving a wide receiver until their 13th pick. If they manage to trade down to 5 to 8 spot, they could go with Sammy Watkins, the top wide out in the draft.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars- (Needs: DE, QB, OL)
Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
If the first two picks go the way I have them, this will put the Jaguars on the clock with the hopes of selecting their franchise quarterback for the next 10+ years. They could go with Manziel, they could go with Bridgewater but I believe that they’ll roll the dice on Bortles because he’s a guy who has been called a slightly less athletic and a bit more raw version of Andrew Luck. Regardless, they’ll be getting a major upgrade at the position and will need to find a way to keep Justin Blackmon in check and away from the alcohol because teaming Blackmon up with a fresh young quarterback might bring the Jaguars back to relevance.
4. Cleveland Browns- (Needs: QB, RB, OL)
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
The Browns will be ecstatic if Bridgewater is the spot. Since they re-entered the league in 1999 the Browns have started 21 quarterbacks, only once had the same starter started all 16 games in a season (Tim Couch, 2001). The Browns have pieces in place on offense and defense but they have lacked the proper and consistent leadership from the guy under center. They may like Bortles but Bridgewater is a guy who could be the future and has a tremendous upside.
5. Oakland Raiders- (Needs: QB, WR, OL)
Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Well, we all know how the Raiders like to think outside the box when it comes to the NFL Draft. Think outside the box is another way of saying ‘What in the hell are you thinking?’ This could be one of those picks. No disrespect to Derek Carr, he had a fantastic college career. He played in four bowl games was a three year starter who threw for over 12,000 yards and 100 touchdowns. There have been reports they prefer Carr to Johnny Manziel and judging by some of their most recent draft picks (DJ Hayden, Rolando McClain, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Darren McFadden, Jamarcus Russell) they tend to go against the grain and not take the top guy at the top spot.
6. Atlanta Falcons- (Needs: DE, TE, OL)
Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Mike Mayock thinks that Mack should be the #1 Pick in the draft and while Atlanta could go the route of a tight end to replace Tony Gonzalez (Eric Ebron) some help on the offensive line (Jake Matthews) I think they’re going to get an explosive outside pass rusher. I know some Atlanta fans would love them to trade up for Jadaveon Clowney. They’ll get the next best thing here.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- (Needs: DE, TE, OL)
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
I have Atlanta grabbing Mack and while Tampa Bay might mull picking Sammy Watkins to add a big time wide receiver to help out their passing attack. Another name that could go here is Eric Ebron from North Carolina. I fully expect Matthews to go here if he’s available because he can help protect the quarterback and block for their future franchise running back, Doug Martin.
8. Minnesota Vikings- (Needs: QB, DE, OL)
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
As a Packers fan, this pick worries me because they I’ve seen how inept the Packers defense has been when they face a quarterback who can get outside the pocket and make plays with his legs. Taking Manziel here would bring in a guy who has a swagger that the Vikings have never had from the quarterback position. He’s a natural leader and will be able to potentially be the future face of the franchise for the next 10+ years. If Manziel, Bridgewater and Bortles are off the board here, the Vikings will not take a QB until round two. It’s also very possible they trade down and select Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo.
9. Buffalo Bills- (Needs: LB, TE, OL)
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
While Buffalo might not have stellar receiving corps getting a play making tight end might be what they need to compete in the AFC East. If Ebron can quickly establish a rapport with quarterback E.J. Manuel, the Bills could be contenders for the division next year. New England will always be competitive as long as Brady and Belichick are together, the Jets will have a tougher schedule next season and who knows what circus the Dolphins will have. This guy could put the Bills in the right direction.
10. Detroit Lions- (Needs: CB, S, LB)
Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
We all saw Detroit collapse down the stretch and their defensive line is very good but they do need help on defense. Barr is one of the top linebackers in this draft and the Lions could use him at defensive end as well. This team needs to do all they can and stock up on defensive players. Barr is one of the best and will fit in nicely with Detroit.
Picks 11 through 32
11. Tennessee Titans- (Needs: DB, DE, QB)
Pick: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
12. New York Giants- (Needs: LB, CB, OL)
Pick: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
13. St. Louis Rams- (Needs: OL, WR, DB)
Pick: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
14. Chicago Bears- (Needs: OL, DL, DB)
Pick: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
15. Pittsburgh Steelers- (Needs: OL, S, DB)
Pick: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
16. Dallas Cowboys- (Needs: DE, CB, S)
Pick: Ha’Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
17. Baltimore Ravens- (Needs: OL, C, WR)
Pick: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
18. New York Jets- (Needs: WR, OL, CB)
Pick: Marquise Lee, WR, USC
19. Miami Dolphins- (Needs: OT, OG, RB)
Pick: Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA
20. Arizona Cardinals- (Needs: OT, CB, OLB)
Pick: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
21. Green Bay Packers- (Needs: S, LB, DL, OL)
Pick: Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
22. Philadelphia Eagles- (Needs: DB, OLB)
Pick: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
23. Kansas City Chiefs- (Needs: WR, LB, DL)
Pick: RaShede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
24. Cincinnati Bengals- (Needs: CB, S, LB)
Pick: Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
25. San Diego Chargers- (Needs: OL, LB, DB)
Pick: Ryan Shaizer, OLB, Ohio State
26. Cleveland Browns- (from Indy)
Pick: Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
27. New Orleans Saints- (Needs: OL, LB, CB)
Pick: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
28. Carolina Panthers- (Needs: CB, OL, WR)
Pick: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
29. New England Patriots- (Needs: OL, DL, CB)
Pick: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
30. San Francisco 49ers- (Needs: DL, DB, WR)
Pick: Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
31. Denver Broncos- (Needs: OL, DB, DL)
Pick: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
32. Seattle Seahawks- (Needs: OL, TE, WR)
Pick: Jake Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
There you have it! Those are my picks for the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Like I mentioned above, if you didn’t read any analysis from your favorite team, I will provide it for Picks 11-21 in my Mock 2.0 which will come out in early April and analysis for picks 22-32 will be in Mock 3.0 which will come out the week leading up to the draft.
If you love my picks or hate my picks let me know on Twitter @TheAce18 or comment below. Also be sure to check out my radio show Macho Men Radio on Blogtalkradio every Tuesday night at 7pm/CT to get our thoughts on the NFL and Sports world!