Posted December 03, 2013

2014 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

NFL Draft, NFL draft 2014
A converted running back, UCLA's Anthony Barr is tied for 12th in the country with 10 sacks this year.

A converted running back, UCLA’s Anthony Barr is tied for 12th in the country with 10 sacks this year. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

College football has reached its championship weekend, meaning that several of the best teams in the country will be battling it out for trophies and BCS bids. And yet, despite seven of the top 10 teams in the country taking the field with plenty on the line, the number of projected 2014 first-round picks in action will be relatively limited.

Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, long believed to be the frontrunner to go No. 1, will take on Cincinnati in his final regular-season game. But teams like Oregon, UCLA, Texas A&M, Clemson, South Carolina and Alabama all will sit out the festivities.

Either way, players headed to the NFL next season mostly have either one or two games left to open scouts’ eyes before the pre-draft gauntlet of All-Star games, the combine and individual workouts. So, things obviously will change again between now — our latest mock draft — and the actual draft in early May.

But as December rolls in, here’s a look at how Round 1 might shake out:

(Note: The draft order used here is based on the current standings with teams’ projected final strengths of schedule as tiebreakers. The final 12 picks will be determined by playoff finish.)

1. Houston Texans: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Expect the Texans to finish out their evaluation of Case Keenum in Weeks 14-17, but this franchise needs a new start under center. In Bridgewater, they would add the best quarterback in this year’s class to a talented offense already stockpiled with players like Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins and Ben Tate.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Not a bad consolation prize if the Jaguars miss out on Bridgewater, and head coach Gus Bradley saw first-hand with Russell Wilson in Seattle what a mobile quarterback can bring to an offense. Mariota is further behind Bridgewater in terms of development. The upside might be higher. (Mariota has announced that he will return to Oregon for his senior season.)

3. St. Louis Rams — via Washington: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Polled the Twitter masses on this one, with most folks arguing St. Louis should do one of two things: trade down, or draft Jadeveon Clowney. If St. Louis lands around this spot with Washington’s pick, another RGIII-like move down the board would make sense. Working off the assumption they stay put, though, I’m dropping Barr in on that defense. He’d give the Rams more flexibility than Clowney, with the potential for just as much destruction.

4. Atlanta Falcons: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

Assuming Atlanta lands somewhere in the top five, this has to be the dream scenario. Clowney’s exactly the type of player that the Falcons’ underperforming defense needs, and adding him to the handful of young guys who saw extended time this year would be a start toward rebuilding.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Mike Glennon’s emergence and the departures of Barr and Clowney off the board leave Tampa Bay in a little bit of a no man’s land. This, too, could be a trade-down spot if any team wants to climb up the board for one of the remaining QBs. Picking Matthews would go against the grain for GM Mark Dominik, who’s leaned heavily on the defensive side of things in the draft. But the O-line could use a boost, which would come from taking the best player available there.

6. Minnesota Vikings: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

What happens after Bridgewater at the QB spot depends so much on which players declare — I’m assuming Mariota will, but it’s not a certainty. Will Johnny Manziel? Blake Bortles? Brett Hundley? We know Carr, a senior, will be available. And if you think his prospects are gaining steam now, just wait until the Senior Bowl.

7. Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

The Browns’ vertical passing game can stretch the field with Josh Gordon and, to a lesser extent, TE Jordan Cameron. It needs another option. Enter Watkins, a home-run threat averaging 14.6 yards per catch this season.

8. Oakland Raiders: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

A few of you might love this. Most probably will hate it. Even in penciling it in here, I’m not sure on which side of the fence I fall. But Manziel is better than anything the Raiders have at QB right now, be it Terrelle Pryor or Matt McGloin (both of whom have played admirably at times). This could be a franchise-changing type of selection.

9. Buffalo Bills: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

Count the Bills as a possible landing spot here for someone like, oh, TE Eric Ebron — a matchup nightmare for defenses and a safety net for a young QB like EJ Manuel. But in Mack the Bills would add an athletic edge player to complement rising star Kiko Alonso inside. Mack’s abilities would allow defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to be even more creative with his hybrid D.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

It’s not too much of a stretch to see Pittsburgh addressing its aging defensive line or secondary early in the 2014 draft. This pairing, however, makes too much sense. If you watched Lewan against Ohio State, you saw a lineman who can win at the point of attack or get out into the open field. With what an OL-starved Pittsburgh team wants to do on offense, he’s an ideal fit.

11. New York Jets: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Blame Geno Smith all you want for the Jets’ offensive woes (and he’s certainly part of the problem), but who is this team’s go-to guy right now? There really is not one. The 6-foot-5 Evans would slide right into that role and bail out Smith on some of those errant throws.

12. Tennessee Titans: Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame

Jurrell Casey is enjoying a monster 2013 season. Drop Nix in next to him on the interior of the line, and the Titans would have a DT combo to rival those of the likes of Detroit and Cincinnati. Tennessee would be set at tackle for years to come.

13. San Diego Chargers: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

The first corner off the board (though Tennessee, Pittsburgh and a couple teams above could be in the market there). The Chargers have to improve against the pass, and bringing in an aggressive corner of Ekpre-Olomu’s ilk would set the table.

14. New York Giants: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

After I tabbed Mosley as a Giant in last week’s mini-Mock, ESPN’s Dan Graziano kindly reminded me that it had been three decades since the Giants took a linebacker in Round 1 — Carl Banks, back in 1984. Well, that Banks pick worked out brilliantly, and the Giants find themselves with a clear need at the second level.

15. St. Louis Rams: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

Thanks to Joe Barksdale’s surprisingly competent play at right tackle this season, the Rams do not appear nearly as desperate for help there as they did a couple months ago. Kouandjio here, though, might be too juicy to pass up, especially with Rodger Saffold on the verge of free agency.

16. Green Bay Packers: HaHa Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

That’s three straight Alabama picks, if  you’re keeping score at home. This match has felt like it has been in the cards for months … so it probably won’t happen, if history has taught us anything. Still, the Packers have a clear need for a safety to partner with Morgan Burnett. That tandem alone would not fix Green Bay’s ills on D, but it would be a significant start.

17. Chicago Bears: Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU

We keep waiting and waiting for some sign that the Bears are ready to commit to Jay Cutler beyond 2013 and … nothing. Here’s Plan B: Marc Trestman hand-picks a talented, young quarterback with the arm and toughness to play in his scheme.

18. Baltimore Ravens: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

Tuitt has taken heat for a somewhat disappointing 2013. His talent and ability to play in a number of different looks up front will win out in the end. Arthur Jones is headed toward a hefty free-agent contract while Chris Canty is due a roster bonus in March. Nabbing Tuitt would allow the Ravens to move on from one or the other without losing sleep.

19. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

My gut says that Ebron and possibly Jace Amaro are off the board by this point come May. In this Mock, the stars did not align until this pick. Arizona has to find an offensive tackle or two somewhere — Antonio Richardson, James Hurst and Jack Mewhort are all still on the board, to name a few. Ebron’s the best player available, and he would be a godsend for Carson Palmer or whoever is at QB next season.

20. Philadelphia Eagles: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

The question for the Eagles will be: Do they hit their biggest areas of need or do they stockpile for Chip Kelly on offense? This pick, obviously, addresses a roster gap. Like Tuitt, Roby’s play has not matched the hype in 2013. But he plays with the hard-nosed approach teams dig at the cornerback spot.

21. Detroit Lions: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

The Lions used a second-round pick in 2013 on Darius Slay, who finally showed some signs of life on Thanksgiving versus Green Bay. They still need more back there, and one of the best available options plays down the road in East Lansing. Detroit’s stout D-line would allow a physical, press-cover corner like Dennard to shine.

108 comments
scinfidel
scinfidel

This Raider fan would love to have Johnny Manziel at QB... 

ElBrett
ElBrett

obviously doesn't watch the news as Mariota already stated he is returning to Oregon. 

pittsburghstillers17
pittsburghstillers17

Where is Aaron Donald. Nobody is talking about him. His size may not be the greatest, but just look at the stats that he put up. He has played much better than the DTs predicted to go in the first round.

mike6479
mike6479

Chris Burke obviously likes taking QB's in the first round more than NFL GM's do.  But then again, his job isn't riding on it.

Anthony41
Anthony41

In this draft i would takw bridgewater, murray, mccarron, and thats it. The reason is that they all play in a pro style offense, so the learning curve is more manageable. Two if u look at their stats they are amazingly consistant, they dont have these huge 400 yrd 59 attempt type of games, they stay around 25-30 attempts and about 260 320 yrds a game with high comp. %. They throw their recievers open, ithats the biggest reason why i like all three of them, bc they not only make quick throws but they undersyans the mental side of the game enough to be able to put the ball into tight windows. In not gonna compare these guys to luck, thats infair hes the best qb prospect prob of all time, but if u look at wilsons numbers in college very similar to those three. Actually, bridgewater reminds me alot of a black matt ryan with his built and style of play and college stats. Ryan didnt go against the best competition either at bc, at that time the acc was worse than what it is now.T

NickFlack
NickFlack

mariotta staying certainly gives credibility to the vikings taking derek carr who until today i thought could be had much later.

lillyd11915
lillyd11915

I think AJ McCarron is the most underrated prospect in the draft. He has lost 3 games in his career, and has proven to be great under pressure, a class act, and a great QB to build around. (see 2 national titles as a starter for more proof)

ConnorFoutras
ConnorFoutras

Finally someone who doesnt have Browns blowing their first pick on a non-franchise QB if Bridgewater is off the board. Watkins would be a godsend to this team, and if you land Boyd later?! Perfect

John Schneck
John Schneck

Wow,  you have the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl, although I think it will be over New England... and you have them picking the right position, tight end, where Zach is a Free Agent we can't afford to resign. (he is the highest paid player on the team this year)

Good research.    

strawwalker
strawwalker

The Lions will pick  a WR in the 1st round, if Lee is available, and also a WR in the 2nd round Landry from LSU, And in the 3rd round CB Baptiste 

MattGent
MattGent

All these QB's are overrated except for Manziel, but I see him going back for 1 more year.  Clowney at 4?  Have you been hanging with Rob Ford.  Come one man, do you think a general manager is going to risk their job on Bridgewater or Mariota.  Both these guys are soft.  And how is Derek Carr or Zach Mettenberger in the first round.  Both those guys are day 3 QB's with a 3 year career, tops.  Everybody knows a good GM goes for talent not on needs.  You can always fill your needs in free agency with proven or developed players.  

Darrell1
Darrell1

Jacksonville won't be taking Mariota. Events have already made this list out of date.

MarioMedina
MarioMedina

nobody talking about the jets. they will get mike evans in the first round and tajh boyd in the secound round wait and see

NBA_Is_Useless
NBA_Is_Useless

Not saying he is wrong - but just amazing to see not one single RB in the first round.  Times have changed. A lot. 



Drew92410
Drew92410

The Texans need a quarterback. But can you imagine the possibilities if they were to get Clowney?! Watt at one end with Clowney on the other side of the line would be unfair!

Drew92410
Drew92410

You have Mettenberger going at #17 to Chicago, but neither of his stud receivers going in the first round? You think half of the first 8 picks will be QBs? Mr. Burke, do you have any idea what is going on?

IanMessner
IanMessner

Why in the world would the Browns take a WR first when they have no QB? Stupid.

zekenotfromcabincreek
zekenotfromcabincreek

Good photo at top of story.   USC's #72 was holding Barr the entire game---grabbed his jersey and dragged him to the turf once and did not receive a penalty.   Finally got tagged late in the game.   Barr's fumble causing sack was a terrific move.

UrsaMajor
UrsaMajor

Yeah, the Bears take a quarterback.  This year's defence is just a one year blip.  Next year all defenders will be back up to snuff.

StevenJGarlick
StevenJGarlick

Kyle Van Noy at BYU. Go watch last years bowl game and tell me he shouldnt be in the 1st round. I could see the Redskins, patriots, or seahawks getting him. 

StevenYaniz
StevenYaniz

Manziel will end up in Jacksonville or Houston, whichever is the most desperate for him


StevenYaniz
StevenYaniz

The Dolphins will look to free agency for an Offensive Tackle

mblackledge89
mblackledge89

Manziel to Raiders? absolute joke of a mock draft

RascalCat
RascalCat

I would love to see Mack in a Bills uni!

j7apple
j7apple

Teddy Bridgewater way overrated 

JBru92
JBru92

Barr destroyed USC's O-line on Saturday. He's going to be a superstar.

6marK6
6marK6

The crappiest excuses for 1st round quarterbacks I have ever seen.

6marK6
6marK6

Marcus Mariota as the 2nd pick in the draft? Is this April 1st? The guy cannot throw a football to save his life. Talk about a system/college quarterback. 

The_Flying_Erxlebens
The_Flying_Erxlebens

Ha-Ha Clinton Dix was suspended for improper benefits and has been flagged a bunch for illegal hits this season. No way the Rams pass on him at 15. Rams have a huge need at safety next to T.J. McDonald, and Jeff Fisher loves his dirty, low-character players.

ToddBennett
ToddBennett

"Pardon?", in my best Elaine voice.

You are going to draft a 5-11 kid with questionable at best character, no arm, and a penchant for interceptions number 8.

Oh wait, the Raiders, well ya never mind then.

You would have to be high out of your mind to think this kid is the eighth best prospect in the country.  I would not take him over McCarron.  If I am going to draft a kid with a so so arm, make it a 6-4 kid with good weight, who rarely loses, and does nothing but what is asked of him.  SMH.

Thomas15
Thomas15

@John Schneck new england will not win AFC. If they do, whatever the fu(k ernie adams is doing up there must be exposed to the light of day. HE is the genius that keeps them winning bringing guys in off the street. It's not bellichek or brady. It's HIM. And it's not football. 

JacobFS
JacobFS

@MattGent You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

1) If anyone is overrated it is Manziel, both Mariota and Bridgewater have more upside than Manziel and both are better pure QB's than Manziel.

2) Derek Carr is the best pure passer and most NFL ready QB in the entire draft. That is not my analysis those are actual experts & scouts quoted. "He is an NFL QB playing in college" another quote from actual experts (not foolish fans like yourself).

3) Everybody knows a good GM goes for talent not on needs???? Probably a huge reason you are not an NFL GM, but a naive and ignorant person posting a comment on a sports site???????

Derek Carr is a stud with a stronger arm than any of the other QB's in the draft, one of the fastest QB's available, and will be a top 10 pick.

Drew92410
Drew92410

Times have changed indeed. With the NFL now becoming a pass dominant league, the value on RBs is really downgraded. Gambling on a RB in the first round is very risky because recent history shows that for every Adrian Peterson or Marshawn Lynch there are several flops like Trent Richardson, William Green, Reggie Bush, Mark Ingram, etc. Value can be found in the later rounds. Just look at Eddie Lacy and Zach Stacy this year. Many times you can find the best backs through undrafted free agency like Arian Foster or Alfred Morris. I know that I would not want my team to consider drafting a RB until the 3rd round at least.

lillyd11915
lillyd11915

@Drew92410  i agree! Mettenberger is a good QB, with a great arm, but it is Landry and Odell Beckham's immense talent that has proven to be a game changer for LSU. any team would be lucky to grab either WR

JacobFS
JacobFS

@Drew92410 Do you have any idea what is going on??? This is expected to be one of the deepest QB drafts of the last 10 years so yes there could potentially be at least 8 QB's and as many as 12. Have you not seen the NFL this year and how many teams are in dire need of a QB??? Or teams who will be in need soon? Chargers, Broncos, Pats, Browns, Dolphins, Vikes, Rams, Cards, Raiders, Jets, Jags, Bears, Bucs, Texans, are all in need of a QB now, or have QB's on the last leg of their careers. Why not take a franchise QB now and let him develop for a couple years behind a hall-of-fame QB? There isn't another draft in sight that will have this much depth at the QB position. Have to take advantage of it while you can.

lillyd11915
lillyd11915

@StevenJGarlick I cant even imagine how amazing the Seahawks D would be if Van Noy went to them. They are already a force to be reckoned with, but with him prowling the field: Game Over

ToddBennett
ToddBennett

@mblackledge89 Keenum can play, to start over with Bridgewater, when you just need a new coach and some line pieces is silly.

ToddBennett
ToddBennett

@JBru92 Barr and Matthews are as close to can't miss as this weak draft gets.

duckfan59
duckfan59

@6marK6 you're an idiot. Mathill1 already called you on this so I'll save my keystrokes.

MatHill1
MatHill1

@6marK6 Yeah, cause highest total QBR, 65% completion percentage, the only QB to have two consecutive 30 TD passing seasons this year and last, all scream "can't throw a football".

The_Flying_Erxlebens
The_Flying_Erxlebens

@ToddBennett So we're really evaluating QBs by win-loss record, and not pretending there are 90 other guys on a college football team, particularly one as deep as Alabama?

mollymeggleston
mollymeggleston

@Drew92410 


I don't think I'd put Reggie Bush in the total bust category. He is having an awesome year for Detroit.

ToddBennett
ToddBennett

@The_Flying_Erxlebens @ToddBennett Did I not just spend time evaluating size and arm and character?  And do you really think for a minute Manziel wins the titles at Alabama in place of A.J.?  I don't.  Manziel is a mistake machine, especially against top tier defenses, or even, middling tier.

Drew92410
Drew92410

He definitely is. I was referring more to the value of the backs that the teams who drafted them received. Bush was not a bust for the Saints but they did use the second overall pick on him and he never really came close to matching that for the Saints. Likewise, Richardson was a top 5 pick 2 years ago for the Browns and he has already been traded. Both Bush and Richardson can still have solid careers. The teams that drafted them just did not get the most value out of their picks. Which is why I would wait till later rounds to draft a RB.

ToddBennett
ToddBennett

@BryanCustard @ToddBennett I see him as a rounder offer too.  They say that can be taught, and Donnie Avery might be proof, but there are guys in the middle to later rounds at small schools with similar physical specs that run sharper routes.  In my view the early rounds belong to franchise changing talent.  The lines, the QB, and skill positions.

To that end I have it Mariota, Barr, and Matthews in that order.  If you have a high pick, and can't get or don't need those three, trade down for depth.  Great chat but have to run.  Find me on facebook user id itwasamongtheitalians.

BryanCustard
BryanCustard

@ToddBennett @BryanCustard Agree on Matthews, and I like the Colston analogy, except I think that Evans is going to prove to be faster than Colston, thus alleviating some of the physicality concerns (however, I think Evans will continue to play more and more physical as he works with NFL strength and conditioning coaches). My concern with Evans is more in the route running, can he run the whole tree?


ToddBennett
ToddBennett

@BryanCustard @ToddBennett Got some Mike Irvin about him, for sure.  Best Aggie to draft is Matthews, can't ignore that pedigree.  Evans is being compared to Colston, but I see Colston as just a bit more physical against press coverages.

BryanCustard
BryanCustard

@ToddBennett @BryanCustard My thoughts exactly, I'm thinking that Mike Evans will be a stud in the league though lol, especially if his 40truly is in the high 4.4-4.5 range

ToddBennett
ToddBennett

@BryanCustard @ToddBennett QB is not that hard if all you have to do is throw jump balls to the best leaper.  He does not handle sophisticated schemes well, and has a tendency to take off and run way too often.  

BryanCustard
BryanCustard

@ToddBennett I feel you on the Romo comparison, I have said all along that he is a weak armed Tony Romo lol, so its kinda nice to have someone agree with me. I personally think that the wounded duck passes he throws will catch up to him in the NFL, as well as his reliance on one receiver (Mike Evans), inability to read a defense (performance against hybrid/elite defenses outside of Alabama has been poor), turnovers, and boorish off-field behavior screams bust, especially in a QB under 6 ft tall. I was just trying to see what you would say ;)

ToddBennett
ToddBennett

@BryanCustard @ToddBennett Manziel did not do well against Alabama except for the stat sheet.  The two turnovers he coughed up changed the game.  Give me a QB who does not make mistakes.  That is a philosophical thing, you might like gunslingers.  At best Manziel is a slightly shorter, better toned Romo.  At worst he is Leaf, and that alone should give teams pause.

BryanCustard
BryanCustard

@ToddBennett Just to play Devil's advocate: you would consider this year's Alabama D to be < middling tier?