2014 NFL Mock Draft 2.0
17. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis): Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
As trade rumors swirl around current Cleveland receivers Josh Gordon and Greg Little, the possibility of landing both a top-flight QB and an elite WR should have Browns fans feeling giddy. Don’t be surprised if Evans winds up being the most productive 2014 wide receiver.
18. Detroit Lions: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
The Lions have received pretty steady contributions from DeAndre Levy and Stephen Tulloch so far this year. Shazier could fill the remaining void as a steady, reliable, athletic tackler behind Detroit’s stalwart defensive line.
19. Green Bay Packers: Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
The Packers locked in Morgan Burnett at safety for the next few years. The situation alongside him is far less settled. Clinton-Dix could put an end to all the headaches. He had 37 tackles, five interceptions and nine pass break-ups last season and seems to be an even more well-rounded player in 2013.
20. Baltimore Ravens: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
The Ravens are learning each and every week how much the loss of Dennis Pitta hurts their offense. Ed Dickson has not been much help in the passing attack, and Dallas Clark is clearly on his last legs. Put Seferian-Jenkins on the field with Pitta in 2014, and the Ravens will have their own version of the Gronkowski-Hernandez duo.
21. San Francisco 49ers: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
The 49ers spent the preseason trying to piece together their cornerback depth chart — they signed Nnamdi Asomugha this offseason, then twice added Eric Wright. They could use an influx of young talent there, and the physical Ekpre-Olomu has shown himself to be a playmaker in Oregon’s secondary.
22. Atlanta Falcons: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Mack’s stock shot through the roof with a strong season-opening performance against Ohio State (nine tackles, 2.5 sacks and an interception return for a touchdown). Though undrafted rookie Joplo Bartu has been a pleasant surprise for the Falcons thus far, they could use a disruptive force outside.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
The way this mock has fallen, there are still a number of talented WRs out there: Paul Richardson, Allen Robinson, Donte Moncrief and Brandon Coleman, to name a few. The 6-foot-3 Matthews might be the best of the bunch, with his ability to play all over the field and clear knack for finding soft spots in coverage.
24. Miami Dolphins: Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
Nix would be an absolute steal down here — the safe money is on the hulking Notre Dame interior lineman being a top-15 pick when all is said and done. The Dolphins need to start planning for the future up front, with a frustrated Randy Starks playing on a franchise tag and Paul Soliai set to hit free agency.
25. Dallas Cowboys: Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
Defensive tackle run! It’s been a tough start to the 2013 season for Sutton, who added more than 10 pounds in the offseason. He still has the talent to be a first-round pick, though, and the Cowboys could use some more interior bodies for their new 4-3. Current starter Jason Hatcher’s contract is up at the end of 2013.
26. Cincinnati Bengals: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
A bit of a luxury pick for the deep Bengals, the talented Verrett could give them arguably the league’s best group of corners — Leon Hall, 2012 first-rounder Dre Kirkpatrick, Terence Newman and Adam Jones are there already. Newman, 35 and with one year left on his deal, will require a replacement soon.
27. Chicago Bears: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
“It looks illegal. It looks like it shouldn’t be on the field, but it is.” That’s how the 6-4, 254-pound Ebron described his speed to the News and Observer. The junior has 13 catches for 200 yards so far in 2013, and his ability to challenge defenses over the middle would make for a deadly combo alongside Martellus Bennett.
28. New England Patriots: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
The Patriots utilize both 3-4 and 4-3 fronts (as a lot of teams do these days). Tuitt has been a dominant force at end in the Irish’s 3-4 look, but he appears to have the mix-and-match versatility that would work well with a shifting front. Vince Wilfork, 32 and with one year left on his contract, is not going to be around forever.
29. Houston Texans: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Hard to ignore the momentum Gordon has generated over the first four weeks of the season, in rushing for 624 yards and seven TDs with an 11.8 yards-per-carry average. With Ben Tate likely to leave next offseason for a No. 1 gig elsewhere, the Texans will be in the market for another Arian Foster sidekick.
30. New Orleans Saints: Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
The Saints have learned the rather painful lesson that you never can have enough linebacker depth, especially in a 3-4 formation. Van Noy probably needs to fill out to really thrive on the outside as a 3-4 guy, but his knack for finding the ballcarrier in the backfield would play well in Rob Ryan’s aggressive defense.
31. Seattle Seahawks: Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
The Seahawks used a 2013 fifth-round pick on TE Luke Willson. Lyerla’s way, way better. There is very little the Ducks’ star cannot do on offense, and coming from that Oregon system would put him ahead of the curve in Seattle’s attack.
32. Denver Broncos: Adrian Hubbard, OLB, Alabama
Another member of the loaded Alabama defense, Hubbard could help take some heat off Von Miller at linebacker, or he could bulk up to 265 or so and give Denver a little help as a pass-rushing end.