The Armchair Quarterback’s 2014 Mock Draft 2.0
1. Houston Texans
Blake Bortles – QB – Central Florida
I still think the Texans would be better served taking Jadeveon Clowney and then a QB in the second round, but it seems like the signs are pointing towards them taking a QB in the first. It could be here or they may move down. Regardless, the buzz seems to be that Bortles will be the pick. He has a high upside, but he still feels like a gamble to me.
2. Atlanta Falcons (TRADE w/St. Louis)
Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina
With Jacksonville a threat to take Clowney at #3 overall the Falcons give up their second round pick to get the most talented player in this draft. Their defense was abysmal last season so this should help and the Falcons showed they would move up to get their man when they jumped up to get Julio Jones a few years back. While I believe that the Falcons will make this move, my concern is that their roster needs enough help that I’m not sure trading away even one of their picks is wise.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Teddy Bridgewater – QB – Louisville
The common belief right now is that the Jags will pass on a QB in the first round and wait until the second. I’m not buying it. There is also a lot of talk about Bridgewater falling in this draft. I’m not buying that either. When actual games were being played Bridgewater was seen as the clear #1 QB in this draft. He’s only fallen during the combine/workout/media speculation part of the offseason. I think the Jags won’t want to risk missing out on getting the best QB on their board, and that should be Bridgewater.
4. Cleveland Browns
Johnny Manziel – QB – Texas A&M
These two just seem like a match made in heaven. The Browns front office would be seen as the biggest three ring circus in the NFL if it wasn’t for all the hoopla surrounding “Johnny Football”. While I’m not sure Manziel will be any better than Brian Hoyer would be, he’ll definitely be more entertaining. The Browns actually have the pieces in place for a QB to come in and be successful, so despite the front office issues this could actually be the best landing place for him.
5. Oakland Raiders
Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson
With Oakland bringing in Matt Schaub it gives them the opportunity to actually draft one of the most talented player available instead of reaching for a QB here. Besides, with the top three QBs already off the board just four picks in, this is a no brainer. Schaub was able to succeed for a while in Houston in part because of his amazing go to WR, Andre Johnson. Drafting Watkins here gives Oakland a chance to provide Schaub with another great wide receiver.
6. St. Louis Rams (TRADE w/Atlanta)
Greg Robinson – OT – Auburn
This is the perfect situation for the Rams. They are able to trade back four spots, pick up an extra 2nd round pick, and still draft the most talented offensive lineman in this draft. Technically, the “draft trade chart” says they should have received more in return, but the depth of the top of this draft makes it worth the discounted price. I probably would have mocked Robinson to St. Louis if I had kept them at the #2 overall pick. Having the run on quarterbacks early pushes Robinson back into their laps and makes this pick an easy one.
7. Dallas (TRADE w/Tampa Bay)
Khalil Mack – OLB – Buffalo
Here’s the first real surprise of this mock draft. The run on QBs early pushes the extremely talented Mack down a few spots farther than expected and the always aggressive Jerry Jones pounces on him to try and replace DeMarcus Ware. The Cowboys give up their second round pick as well as one of their four seventh round picks to move up nine spots and get their new pass rusher.
8. Minnesota Vikings
HaHa Clinton-Dix – S – Alabama
If any of the top three QBs fall to this spot I think the Vikings will take them, but with them off the board they decide to sure up their defense instead. Having already addressed some of their needs at CB and on the defensive line in free agency, the Vikings take the best safety in the draft this year to pair with Harrison Smith in what should be a much improved secondary compared to what they had last season.
9. Buffalo Bills
Jake Matthews – OT – Texas A&M
This was a really hard decision between two Texas A&M prospects. Matthews gives them an elite LT prospect to protect EJ Manuel’s blindside, but Mike Evans would give him a true #1 WR to throw to. Ultimately, the WR depth in this draft makes it possible to get a really good WR at the top of the second round while snatching up one of the best prospects in this draft in Matthews.
10. Detroit Lions
Justin Gilbert – CB – Oklahoma State
Prior to signing Golden Tate I thought that Detroit might go WR here, but with Tate and Megatron already on their roster it would be hard to justify taking Evans here. Instead they’ll look to improve their defense by adding Gilbert, who I believe is the best CB in this draft. His pure athleticism and speed will play well on the indoor turf of Ford Field. Gilbert will give the Lions the true #1 CB that they have lacked for a long time.
11. Tennessee Titans
Anthony Barr – LB – UCLA
While the Titans did sign Shaun Phillips to help with their outside pass rush, the talented Barr simply is too good to pass up here. The Titans were in the bottom third of the league in team sacks. Barr is an elite player and could have easily been a top five pick in other drafts.
12. New York Giants
Aaron Donald – DT – Pittsburgh
In my previous mock I had the Giants taking OT Taylor Lewan here, but the Giants did bolster their OL some in free agency and after the loses of both Justin Tuck and Linval Joseph they need to reload on their defensive line. Adding Donald here helps fill the starting DT spot left vacant by Joseph but also helps replace some of the pass rush they lost with Tuck’s departure. Donald looks like he could be one of the best interior pass rush prospects we’ve seen in several years.
13. St. Louis Rams
Mike Evans – WR – Texas A&M
While some may think the signing of Kenny Britt would make a WR selection pick here unlikely, Evans is just too talented to pass up. The contrast that the physically dominant Evans would provide to the small and speedy Tavon Austin would give Sam Bradford two very different and very talented options. I would imagine that if the Rams came away with Robinson, Evans, AND an extra 2nd round pick there would be a lot of happy people in St. Louis.
14. Chicago Bears
Louis Nix – DT – Notre Dame
The Bears added some much needed help at DE in free agency, headlined by Jared Allen and Lamar Houston, but they still need some help up the middle. Their run defense was abysmal last season and adding the athletic 340 lbs Nix would go a long ways towards clogging up the middle of their defensive front. While most have projected Nix as a 3-4 NT, he is athletic enough to play in an even front and I like his upside more than the other top run stuffing DT, Timmy Jernigan.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers
Darqueze Dennard – CB – Michigan State
The Steelers probably would have liked to take Nix here to plug into the NT spot in their 3-4 defense, but with him off the board now they’ll look to some much needed secondary help. A safety would be an option here too, but I think they’d prefer Clinton-Dix to Calvin Pryor to play next to Troy Polamalu. So with those players not available they go with the best CB still on the board, and that’s Darqueze Dennard. Dennard’s physical play should fit in well with the Steelers defense.