Mock drafts are flying out left and right. This one is going to be a little different. Starting with the Houston Texans up top, all 32 teams in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft will pick the player they “should” take, but might not when it’s all said and done.
For reasons to be explained, each team will target their top need or the best overall value remaining. Of course, all of these picks are at least half based off my own evaluation and opinion of players, so you’ll have to apologize for any biases. For the most part, I’ll be acting as GM for all 32 picks and trying to make the best, most logical pick for each team.
Without further haste, here is how the first round should go down, but totally won’t:
Note: For the sake of my own sanity, I will be refraining from any trades in this mock. You’re welcome.
1. Houston Texans – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Love him or hate him, he’s bound to be a game changer. Jadeveon Clowney would have surely fit the bill here, but quarterback is a greater need and there’s nothing quite like Johnny Football. Plus, the kid is FROM TEXAS. It doesn’t get much better than that.
2. St. Louis Rams – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Greg Robinson has more upside, but Matthews is the safer, more NFL-ready tackle right now. The Sam Bradford trade rumors don’t appear legit, while GM Les Snead has convinced me to a certain degree that he doesn’t need another wide receiver. That leaves offensive tackle. Matthews slides in on the left or right with Jake Long on the other side, while Rodger Saffold slides in at guard where he could dominate. Suddenly a woeful Rams o-line becomes a strength.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
The Jaguars need a quarterback and the kid played in friggin’ CENTRAL FLORIDA. Enough playing around. Bring Bortles home, people!
4. Cleveland Browns – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Mike Evans could work here, too. Either way, Josh Gordon needs a running mate. Greg Little is torture to watch.
5. Oakland Raiders – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Just win, baby! The Raiders already have Matt Schaub in place, so why mess around when a stud wide receiver is staring them in the face?
6. Atlanta Falcons – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
The free fall doesn’t make much sense, but not much of this will. The point is the Falcons need a stud defensive end and I made it happen!
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Khalil Mack, DE, Buffalo
Well, will you look at that. Just when you were starting to wonder what the heck I did with Clowney and Mack, here they are, back to back. And I just rhymed. The Bucs have one steady pass rusher, and he’s a newly signed free agent. They need Mack.
8. Minnesota Vikings – C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
REACH! Perhaps, but the Vikings need an elite inside linebacker, not some scrub from round two. This talk about a defensive tackle when they have two talented ones already is insanity.
9. Buffalo Bills – Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Scott Chandler is their current tight end. You need more?
10. Detroit Lions – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
I don’t think for a second Golden Tate takes care of their need for a wide receiver, but Gilbert is dripping with talent. They need a corner, too, so that’s a big DUH.
11. Tennessee Titans – Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Perhaps a quarterback is needed, but is anyone at this point going to be all that much better than Jake Locker? Doubtful. It makes much more sense to add the best 3-4 pass rusher when you, ya know, need one.
12. New York Giants – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
The G-Men foolishly let Linval Joseph go and now are starving for help at defensive tackle. In comes the pesky Donald to shore up that line.
13. St. Louis Rams – Hasean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
This doesn’t change from my normal mock. This is just a pick they need to make. Their safeties are terrible.
14. Chicago Bears – Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Defensive tackle is a need, but the Bears actually beefed up their defensive line in free agency. They need a play-maker with some attitude at safety, though.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
What’s all this talk about a wide receiver? Ike Taylor’s corpse can’t cover anyone anymore.
16. Dallas Cowboys – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Even this no nonsense mock can’t resist at least one free falling stud. That, and no one can stop the unpredictable Jerry Jones.
17. Baltimore Ravens – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
More wide receiver talk, just like the Steelers. How ya gonna pass when Joe Flacco is dead? They need a tackle and Lewan is talented as heck.
18. New York Jets – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Rex Ryan wants a corner, so he’s getting a corner.
19. Miami Dolphins – Zack Martin, G/T, Notre Dame
Ryan Tannehill got sacked like two million times in 2013. It’s a miracle he’s alive.
20. Arizona Cardinals – Kony Ealy, OLB, Missouri
Jonathan Abraham is ready for dentures, folks. Time to get some fresh legs into that AZ pass rush.
21. Green Bay Packers – Louis Nix III, NT, Notre Dame
B.J. Raji is a disappointment. They need new blood in the middle of their 3-4.
22. Philadelphia Eagles – Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
They booted DeSean Jackson. Time to replace the guy.
23. Kansas City Chiefs – Odell Beckham, WR, LSU
Dwayne Bowe is slow as molasses these days and they have no one else behind him. That’s why.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
Ohio product who fills a need at outside linebacker. Boom.
25. San Diego Chargers – Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Their weakness last year was their pass defense. So, naturally, here’s a corner.
26. Cleveland Browns – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Apparently they like every quarterback. Carr has the biggest arm and his brother will play babysitter for free.
27. New Orleans Saints – Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn
Can this guy even fit in a 3-4 scheme as an outside linebacker? Who knows.
28. Carolina Panthers – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oklahoma State
If they don’t draft a wide receiver, so help me…
29. New England Patriots – Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
Gronk is hurt and Hernandez is in prison. Think they could use some talent at tight end?
30. San Francisco 49ers – Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Anquan Boldin is old as balls and Michael Crabtree is just one guy. Time to add another WR.
31. Denver Broncos – Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
I flat out almost forgot about this beast. That’ll happen in a no nonsense mock. Word is they love the kid and they actually need defensive tackle help, too. Byaaaay! Those who get the Portlandia reference, you rock.
32. Seattle Seahawks – Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Homegrown product and fills a need. Seattle’s current tight ends are barely passable.