2014 RotoRob NFL Mock Draft: Nick
Blake Bortles (5) is near the head of this year’s QB class. (John Munson/The Star-Ledger via USA Today Sports)
Every year we hear the same ol’ song and dance from coaches and general managers around the league as the draft draws near: “We plan on drafting the best player left on our board.” While that is the best long-term approach, the harsh reality of today’s NFL is that coaches only get a couple years to turn around an organization, so more often than not teams draft to fill needs, at times ignoring the higher talent in order to fill a void on the roster. Trying to find an allpro is the goal here.
That being said, in the third and final RotoRob 2014 NFL Mock Draft, we tended to focus more on addressing weaknesses than just a player’s skill levels. As Mike Ditka recently stated “Look, when we drafted Jim Covert, we needed an offensive tackle… When we drafted Jim] McMahon, we needed a quarterback. Period. It’s not too complicated.” Enjoy!
1. Houston Texans — Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina Gamecocks: We’ve been ranting since January that Houston should line up Clowney with J.J. Watt, and now that the rest of the football world has come around we aren’t about to change our minds.
2. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) — Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M Aggies: Matthews seems to be the safest pick in the draft. The Rams should go with the sure thing over the potential upside of Greg Robinson.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars — Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville Cardinals: Bridgewater looks to us to be the most pro-ready quarterback in this draft, so the Jags shouldn’t buy into all the negative hype. And despite ESPN’s very scientific analysis (see video below), we don’t think he’ll last to the fifth pick and wind up in Oakland.
4. Cleveland Browns — Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson Tigers: Pairing Watkins with Josh Gordon should make life easier for whoever is playing quarterback… but more on that later.
5. Oakland Raiders — Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida Golden Knights: Bortles needs some time to sit and learn the pro game, but having Matt Schaub around gives the Raiders time to let the youngster with the super hot girlfriend develop. As for her, she is already well developed, as you can see.
6. Atlanta Falcons — Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo Bulls: Mack instantly improves an anemic pass rush (32 team sacks in 2013).
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M Aggies: Secondaries should have fun trying to cover two talented 6’5″ wideouts in Evans and Vincent Jackson.
8. Minnesota Vikings — Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State Bulldogs: Vikings will opt for the strong armed Carr instead of the over-hyped Johnny Manziel.
9. Buffalo Bills — Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA Bruins: Buffalo needs another playmaker at linebacker to go with our favourite player in the whole wide world, Kiko Alonso.
10. Detroit Lions — Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State Spartans: Lions must upgrade a secondary in a division loaded with talented wide receivers.
11. Tennessee Titans — Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State Cowboys: Titans solidify their secondary with a playmaker after the free agent loss of Alterraun Verner.
12. New York Giants — Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina Tar Heels: Eli Manning, meet your new best friend.
13. St. Louis Rams — Hasean Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama Crimson Tide: Rams are hoping Mike Evans falls here, but this year’s top safety — Clinton-Dix — fits Coach Jeff Fisher’s defensive style.
14. Chicago Bears — Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn Tigers: Bears planned on going defense, but can’t pass when a top-five talent like Robinson slips this far.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers — Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan Wolverines: Keeping Ben Roethlisberger healthy needs to be Pittsburgh’s number one priority.
16. Dallas Cowboys — Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville Cardinals: Calmer heads prevail and Jerry Jones is persuaded to pass on Johnny Football.
17. Baltimore Ravens — Zach Martin, OL, Notre Dame Fighting Irish: If the Ravens are going to continue to rely on the aging Ray Rice then they better look to upgrade a weak O-line.
18. New York Jets — Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech Hokies: Fuller’s aggressive style meshes well with Rex Ryan’s defense. We know this won’t happen, but we would absolutely love to see the media freak out if the headline-hungry Jets were to opt for Manziel!
19. Miami Dolphins — C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama Crimson Tide: Expect the Dolphins to attempt to move up or down to address the offensive line. If they do stay at 19, they should help out their defense rather than reach for a second round offensive lineman.
20. Arizona Cardinals — Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State Buckeyes: This may be a slight reach, but Shazier has the speed to chase down division rivals Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.
21. Green Bay Packers — Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame: B.J. Raji was only re-signed to a one year deal, so Nix would be the ideal replacement.
22. Philadelphia Eagles — Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State Beavers: DeSean who? Cooks is tough as nails and despite his diminutive size should provide more of a threat across the middle than Jackson ever did.
23. Kansas City Chiefs — Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech Red Raiders: Chiefs desperately need someone to draw attention away from Dwayne Bowe, their only threat last year that was worthy of double coverage.
24. Cincinnati Bengals — Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri Tigers: After losing Michael Johnson to Tampa Bay, the Bengals are in need of a pass rusher.
25. San Diego Chargers — Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh Panthers: Corey Liuget led San Diego with a mere five and a half sacks in 2013. Donald’s presence should help boost a weak pass rush.
26. Cleveland Browns (via Indianapolis Colts) — Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M Aggies: Finally, the moment the world has been waiting for, Johnny Football has a team! While we are not sold on Manziel being a good pro, he may have two stud receivers in Josh Gordon and possibly Watkins (if he goes No. 4 to the Brows as we project above) to help prove us (and many others) wrong.
27. New Orleans Saints — Marqise Lee, WR, Southern Califorina Trojans: The Saints have a giant hole to fill in their passing game after trading Darren Sproles and his 71 catches to Philly.
28. Carolina Panthers — Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Louisiana State Tigers: If your starting wide receivers were Jason Avant and Jerricho Cotchery, you would take the top available wideout too.
29. New England Patriots — Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State Seminoles: The Patriots’ defense wasn’t the same after Vince Wilfork went down with a torn Achilles last season. With solid coaching, Jernigan could improve his consistency and develop into an elite player.
30. San Francisco 49ers — Marcus Martin, C, Southern California Trojans: Replacing the aging Jonathan Goodwin makes sense late in the first round for a team with few holes.
31. Denver Broncos — Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State Buckeyes: Denver GM John Elway may have one more celebratory leap left in him if Roby were to slide this far.
32. Seattle Seahawks — Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington Huskies: With the top wideouts already gone, Seattle will grab the best pass catcher available.
33. Houston Texans — Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama Crimson Tide
34. Washington Redskins — Morgan Moses, OT Virginia Cavaliers
35. Cleveland Browns — Dee Ford, DE, Auburn Tigers
36. Oakland Raiders — Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA Bruins
37. Atlanta Falcons — Ja’Wuan James, OT, Tennessee Volunteers
38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State Beavers
39. Jacksonville Jaguars — Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State Seminoles
40. Minnesota Vikings — Joel Bitonio, OG, Nevada Wolfpack
41. Buffalo Bills — Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois Huskies
42. Tennessee Titans — Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford Cardinal
43. New York Giants — Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota Gophers
44. St. Louis Rams — Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt Commodores
45. Detroit Lions — Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State Nittany Lions
46. Pittsburgh Steelers — Jason Verrett, CB, Texas Christian Horned Frogs
47. Dallas Cowboys — Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois Panthers
48. Baltimore Ravens — Deone Bucannon, SS, Washington State Cougars
49. New York Jets — Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss Rebels
50. Miami Dolphins — Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State Bulldogs
51. Chicago Bears — Ed Reynolds, FS, Stanford
52. Arizona Cardinals — Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State Buckeyes
53. Green Bay Packers — Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas Razorbacks
54. Philadelphia Eagles — Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU Cougars
55. Cincinnati Bengals — Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee Volunteers
56. San Francisco 49ers — Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida Gators
57. San Diego Chargers — Lamarcus Joyner, CB, Florida State Seminoles
58. New Orleans Saints — Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State Rams
59. Indianapolis Colts — Dakota Dozier, OG, Furman Paladins
60. Carolina Panthers — Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State Bulldogs
61. San Francisco 49ers — Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson Tigers
62. New England Patriots — Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State Buckeyes
63. Denver Broncos — Tre Mason, RB, Auburn Tigers
64. Seattle Seahawks — Louchiez Purifoy, CB, Florida Gators
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below whether you agree or disagree with Nick’s take on how the first two rounds will go down.