The 2014 NFL Draft is finally here. The day has finally arrived. To help you pass the time until things officially kick off this evening I’ve got one final mock draft. It includes six first round trades, five first round quarterbacks, and a couple of surprises. The first pick is not one of the places where a trade and/or a surprise happen……..
1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina
I have no doubt that Houston would love to trade back, but in the end I don’t think Atlanta (or anyone else) is going to pay the price tag that it usually requires to move up to the number one spot. So unless Houston is willing to take a discount it’ll be their pick to make. While there is buzz that they may like Kalil Mack more, I’m not buying it.
The other thing I don’t understand is the concern over Clowney playing OLB in Romeo Crennel’s 3-4 system. I watched 6’3″ and 275 lbs Tamba Hali make the Pro Bowl as an OLB under Crennel and he’s not as fast or agile as the 6’6″ and 266 lbs Clowney is. Clowney and JJ Watt will make for the best pass rush duos in the NFL. This is a no brainer.
2. St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson – OT – Auburn
I think, just like the Texans, the Rams would love to trade back, but can’t find anyone willing to pay up the price to move up in a draft with such a deep talent pool. While I think Sammy Watkins would be a great choice, all reports point to Robinson being the pick here. He’s a physical freak and even if his pass blocking takes a little time to develop his impact in the run game should help the Rams offense move the ball.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson
The Jaguars opt to pass on a quarterback here and take one of the best players available in Sammy Watkins. Watkins will give whomever plays QB for them (stay tuned) a true dynamic #1 WR option (think Andre Johnson). With Justin Blackmon’s future uncertain Watkins gives them a fresh start at the position and a much needed impact play maker.
4. (TRADE) Atlanta Falcons – Kalil Mack – LB – Buffalo
The Browns trade down a couple of picks, picking up the Falcons third round pick. I believe the Falcons desperately want either of the top two pass rushers or top two offensive tackles. If they stay put at #6 I don’t believe they’ll be able to land any of those players. So for the cost of one third round pick they jump over Oakland and land one of their top players in Mack. The Falcons need pass rush help in a major way and Mack looks like a future Pro Bowler at OLB. They keep their early second round pick to help address the offensive line and hold two fourth round picks still to address other needs.
5. Oakland Raiders – Jake Matthews – OT – Texas A&M
The Raiders really dropped the ball in letting Jared Veldheer escape to Arizona. If they want Matt Schaub or any draft pick they may take to have a chance to succeed they must fill the void at LT that was created by Veldheer’s departure. Matthews looks like a safe pick with his college resume and NFL blood lines. I considered Mike Evans here, but honestly, no QB will have time to throw Mike Evans jump balls to go after if there isn’t a serious upgrade at LT first.
6. (TRADE ) Cleveland Browns – Mike Evans – WR – Texas A&M
Having already picked up a third round pick (giving them a total of three) to go along with their extra first round pick (from Indy) the Browns have more than enough picks to fill needs and can spend this pick on the best player available and that is Evans. Pairing Evans with Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron will give whomever plays QB for them (again, stay tuned) a great arsenal at their disposal and set them up for success.
7. (TRADE) Dallas Cowboys – Aaron Donald – DT – Pittsburgh
The Cowboys give up their 2nd and 4th round picks to jump up to number seven and take the best defensive tackle in this draft. Dallas needs to find a player to help add some pressure with the loss of DeMarcus Ware. While I actually think Dallas has too many needs to give away picks like this, I think Jerry Jones likes to make “big splash” moves and I think he may just decide that Donald is a special enough player to go for it.
8. Minnesota Vinkings – Teddy Bridgewater – QB – Louisville
Despite all the chatter about how Teddy Bridgewater is falling, had a horrible pro day, and may not even be a first round pick, he not only lands in the top ten picks but is the first QB off the board. Why you ask? He was the best QB on tape. Draft hype, rumors, and speculation may make interesting Sports Center sound bites, but game tape gets guys drafted. Bridgewater is the best QB in this draft in my opinion and setting him up to play with Adrian Peterson and the emerging Cordarrelle Patterson puts him in position to succeed.