It’s been a chaotic draft season leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft. You have the draft itself pushed back a few weeks, the endless rumors, and the constant evolution of numerous player’s draft stock. Johnny Manziel is the top pick, can’t fall out of the top-10 or is barely worth a third rounder. Teddy Bridgewater is a top-five lock and then he’s a free falling second round prospect.
Then there is the case of Jadeveon Clowney, the already annointed Hall of Famer who lacks drive and a pure skill-set. And if that wasn’t crazy enough, A.J. McCarron might be a first rounder.
It’s a crazy draft season that can only be summed up as unpredictable. We still don’t know for sure who the Houston Texans will take number one overall. Most years we have a pretty good idea, but this year it’s truly up in the air. It’s believed to be down to Johnny Manziel, Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack. At the same time, it’s entirely possible Houston just trades down and still manages to snag one of those guys.
With that said, enjoy my attempt at perfection and be sure to track the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft LIVE with us on Thursday night, right here on Breaking Football:
1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney, DE/OLB, South Carolina
The Texans don’t get the exact trade package they want, so they settle on the top prospect in the draft.
2. Atlanta Falcons (via Rams) – Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo
Atlanta gives up far less to trade with the Rams than with the Texans and they still get a prospect they covet. Mack shores up a lethargic pass rush.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Heeeeere’s Johnny! Jags need a quarterback and the top pass rushers are gone. Sammy Watkins is a possibility, but Justin Blackmon isn’t even for sure out for 2014 yet. Wide receiver is also super deep, while Manziel won’t be here in r0und two.
4. Cleveland Browns – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Cleveland is another team that could reach for a quarterback they love here, but I don’t think they will. Instead, they’ll pair the electric and versatile Watkins with Josh Gordon and cross their fingers a guy they like falls to them when they pick again in round one. Even if that doesn’t happen, it’s worth the risk, as even Brian Hoyer can crush it with talent like this around him.
Word on the street is the Raiders feel good about Matt Schaub giving them “stability” and that they “aren’t really considering drafting” a quarterback with the #5 overall pick. It’s Oakland, so we never know, but if that logic holds up, then they’ll add the best player on their board. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make a splash with wide receiver Mike Evans, but ultimately I think they grab an elite offensive tackle. In the name of Robert Gallery, let’s hope it ends well.
6. St. Louis Rams (via Falcons/Redskins) – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Matthews is more NFL-ready right now than Greg Robinson, so the Rams won’t be too sad that he’s already gone. Jake Long is game for either side and Rodger Saffold moves into guard with this move, making a once shaky o-line quite strong.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Mike Williams got traded away, so unless the Bucs somehow land Johnny Manziel or Khalil Mack, they’re taking a wide receiver. Evans is the best one available and would be a nightmare along with Vincent Jackson.
8. Minnesota Vikings – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Minnesota could go quarterback here, but word on the street suggests they want one more interior defensive lineman. Aaron Donald might be the best one, so despite being a tad undersized, he’s the guy.
9. Buffalo Bills – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Lewan could easily slide thanks to off field issues, but he’s a stud tackle who can man the left side at the next level. It’s hard to see him falling outside of the top-10 and Buffalo could use the o-line help.
10. Detroit Lions – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Mike Evans would have been nice, but he’s gone so it’s time to turn to cornerback. Gilbert is insanely fast and has monster upside, so he’s an easy choice.
11. Tennessee Titans – Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA
Tennessee might like a stud corner here, but Barr is a top-10 talent and they need another rusher on the outside of their new 3-4.
12. New York Giants – Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
There are mixed reports on Ebron’s stock, but ultimately I don’t see how the G-Men can pass on him. He’s without a doubt the best TE in this class and they don’t have a tight end.
13. St. Louis Rams – Hasean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
St. Louis needs safety help about as bad as anyone in the entire league. Clinton-Dix is the top safety and is incredibly balanced, so he should fill the need.
14. Chicago Bears – C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Chicago can go a number of routes here, but whatever they do it better be a defensive move. They could really use a stud inside linebacker.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
The Steelers are likely going corner or offensive weapon here. In the end, I think Benjamin’s upside with Big Ben taking shots down the field will be too much to pass up.
16. Dallas Cowboys – Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Jerry Jones is still calling the shots, so we certainly can’t rule out a kicker here. All joking aside, Dallas still needs help to repair a terrible run defense. A safety would do them good, too, but Hageman is an athletic freak that could change the way they do business up front.
17. Baltimore Ravens – Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
Baltimore is another team in the market for an impact defensive lineman with Arthur Jones now a Colt, but they also experienced life without good weapons in the passing game in 2013. Jernigan will be too good to pass up.
18. New York Jets – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Rex Ryan was crying about not having an elite corner to pair with Dee Milliner. Here he attempts to get one.
19. Miami Dolphins – Zack Martin, OG/OT, Notre Dame
Miami has one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Signing on Branden Albert was huge, but they still need more help. Martin is versatile as heck and can play all over the line, so he makes more sense than anyone else.
20. Arizona Cardinals – Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Carson Palmer is ancient and Bruce Arians needs his own Andrew Luck. Bortles isn’t Luck, but he has the size, arm and untapped potential. He’ll do.
21. Green Bay Packers – Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
Green Bay needs help all over, but starting up front with a beast like Nix is suggested.
22. Philadelphia Eagles – Odell Beckham, WR, LSU
Philly wants Odell Beckham, and they get him without trading up. One way or another they need to replace DeSean Jackson.
23. Kansas City Chiefs – Marqise Lee, WR, Detroit Lions
Perhaps the talk about drafting a quarterback is just leverage to get Alex Smith. Once Carr falls to them, though, perhaps it isn’t.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Quick, name a good Bengals safety. Right. They need to draft Pryor.
25. San Diego Chargers – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
San Diego could go Louis Nix III here, and they very well might. Then again, their secondary is trash and Dennard has the best skill-set of any corner in this draft.
Cleveland probably wanted Derek Carr, but they reportedly like Bridgewater, too. It’s undeniable that they need a passer.
27. New Orleans Saints – Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
New Orleans needs at least one more edge rusher for their 3-4. Ealy could go much higher, but this feels like the perfect spot for him. Falling this far might humble him a bit, too.
28. Carolina Panthers – Ju’Waun James, OT, Tennessee
Carolina needs a WR but the position is super deep. They need to replace retired tackle Jordan Gross first.
29. New England Patriots – Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
Gronk is hurt and Hernandez is in jail. The Pats need another tight end.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
The Niners finally get a wide receiver that doesn’t bust. Robinson has an awesome combination of size, speed and play-making ability. The Dez Bryant comparisons aren’t that far off.
31. Denver Broncos – Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
Denver needs help at linebacker and Shazier has the athleticism to be a major factor as a rookie.
32. Seattle Seahawks – Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
Seattle picks for luxury here and gets a versatile defensive lineman in Tuitt.