Hunter's 2014 NFL Mock Draft 3.0
Hey guys, once again it's Hunter coming back with my third edition in just a couple of weeks. Hopefully I can make this a semi-weekly thing where I post my mocks, but with everything thats going on it could be faster or longer than every 2 weeks or so. Anyway without further ado, lets get right into it.
1. Houston Texans | Teddy Bridgewater QB Louisville
Common arguments against Teddy Bridgewater going to the Houston Texans is that he hasn't played against elite competition, and that the Texans don't need a Quarterback. However The Louisville Cardinals are severely overlooked going 12-1 this season as Bridgewater, the best signal caller in this draft, has thrown for career highs in passing yards, 3970, touchdowns, 31, and career low of 4 interceptions as he led his team to a bowl victory over the once top 5 team in the country Miami 36-9. Last year when Matt Schaub was playing like a decent quarterback with 22 touchdowns and 12 interceptions the Texans rolled to 12-4 as they won the AFC South. This year when Matt Schaub and Case Keenum have thrown for a combined 19 touchdowns and 20 interceptions and the Texans have plummeted to a 2-14 season. If the Texans pass over Jadaveon Clowney who has only gotten 3 sacks the entire season, and grab the greatest signal caller in College Football, their team could turn around from 2-14 back to an at least 10 win team, especially with new Head Coach Bill O'Brien from Penn State.
2. St. Louis Rams | Sammy Watkins WR Clemson
This most likely is the pick if The Rams decide to trade down. Even though Watkins is such a playmaker I'm not sure he gets taken at #2, maybe as high as #5 or #6. Sam Bradford has been inconsistent with his time with the Rams after being the #1 overall draft choice in 2010, however that being said, he has never had a "#1 Receiver". Austin Pettis however having the size, doesn't have the speed or catching, Chris Givens is undersized and too struggles at reeling in the ball at times, and 2013's #1 selection for the Rams, Tavon Austin is only 5'9, and despite having amazing speed, isn't and will never be a #1 Receiver. Watkins is a physical specimen, running at least a 4.4 forty. His hands are phenomenal and he wins a good 70% of jump balls. If the Steelers take Watkins they will add the most dynamic offensive weapon in this years class besides maybe Johnny Manziel. The Rams could build up a stellar passing offense, being able to match their great pass rush.
(Former Pick, Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M)
3. Jacksonville Jaguars | Blake Bortles QB UCF
After his performances this year Blake Bortles has skyrocketed up draft boards with his fantastic play this year with 25 touchdowns and over 3000 yards in each of his last two seasons. He is a prototype Quarterback at 6'4 230 pounds and can run a 4.65 forty yard dash. Not only does he have one of the best QB ratings in the FBS with 163.4, he has only thrown 9 interceptions the whole year. He also played great against the number #6 team in the country this year, as he propelled UCF to a 52-42 win with over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Jaguars organization has also stated that they like Blake Bortles even more than #1 projected draft pick Teddy Bridgewater. Even though the Jaguars are by far the least talented team in the NFL by far with Josh Scobee, the kicker being one of the top 3 players on the team behind only MLB Paul Posluszny and maybe veteran HB Maurice Jones-Drew. If the Jaguars can have even a decent draft this year they can become a 6 win team. Gus Bradley has been a very good to the Jaguars this year as he has taken a team with literally absolutely no talent to get 4 wins this year is astounding, with a good QB and a decent receiving staff, slightly above the ground is the limit for this team.
4. Cleveland Browns | Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M
Arguably the best all-around playmaker in the entire draft and the entire FBS. Johnny Manziel has proved once again that he can be a franchise QB as he recorded 5 total touchdowns for nearly 500 all-purpose yards. This years Heisman runner-up and the first ever Freshman to win the Heisman has nearly 5000 all-purpose yards and 46 total touchdowns, an FBS best. And on top of all that the personnel high up in the Cleveland Browns organization is very, very high on Johnny Manziel. Although the number 4 overall pick is not to be taken lightly, the Browns could afford to take a gamble on egotistic, partying, and rowdy Manziel as they will have another pick in the First Round from when they traded Trent Richardson to the Colts for their 2014 First Round pick.
5. Oakland Raiders | Jadeveon Clowney DE South Carolina
Having Clowney slotted "this late" almost seems like a sin, but considering the way that he has sit out pretty much the entire season and has only recorded 3 sacks, it shows that just being a 6'6, 275 pound Defensive End that can run better than 4.5 forty yard dash who recorded 13 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss his Sophomore season can drop out of the Top 3 just as soon as he got in. All speculation aside, Jadeveon Clowney could be the best Defensive End prospect since Bruce Smith from Virginia Tech in the 1985 Draft where he went #1 overall, if not the greatest Defensive End prospect of all-time. The Raiders pass rush has been absolutely atrocious this year and If this pass rush and run defense don't improve soon, the entire team could become worse than they already are.
6. Atlanta Falcons | Anthony Barr OLB UCLA
The biggest need for the Falcons right now seems to be a linebacker. They haven't had a decent Outside Linebacker since Keith Brooking. Barr is a superior pass rusher from this class, and is something that the Falcons haven't had the entire season. Anthony Barr is one of the best overall Athletes in the draft where he can not only stop the run but can also get after the Quarterback as he recorded 10 sacks and 66 total tackles.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Greg Robinson OT Auburn
The Bucs O-Line has played extraordinary this year allowing no-names like Mike James and Bobby Rainey to rush for over 150 yards in a game. However with Demar Dotson being not amazing physically gifted at Right Tackle, despite being 6'9. He doesn't move his feet extraordinarily well and it would benefit the pass and run game to have an overpoweringly gifted and athletic Tackle light Robinson. Greg Robinson wouldn't have been this high on my list, and certainly not the 2nd Offensive Tackle off the board, but during Auburn's National Title run Robinson has played like an All-Pro Tackle that will excel in the NFL. If Glennon gets protection, and he can really show that he deserves to start, and he could be the franchise Quarterback; with limited protection, and taking as many sacks as he does (40 times in 13 games), if he can get protection he is a Top 20, if not Top Fifteen Quarterback in the NFL despite being a 1 year player. If The Bucs take Greg Robinson, sure up the Offensive Line, Bucs could be looking at definitely more than an 8 win season as Glennon has thrown for 19 TD's and only 9 interceptions in his rookie year. Especially with a revamped coaching staff, the Bucs could be very good.
8. Minnesota Vikings | Derek Carr QB Fresno State
Newsflash! The Josh Freeman signing didn't work. What a big surprise. Christian Ponder is a bust and a terrible 12th overall pick. Matt Cassel has thrown for 17 touchdowns and 22 interceptions over the past two years. Donovan McNabb didn't work out. The Last successful Quarterback that was brought in was Brett Favre who only played for a year. It's finally time for the Vikings not to take a gamble in this years draft and take Derek Carr. He has proven to be a successful Quarterback this year as he's thrown for over 5000 and 50 touchdowns through the air this season with only 8 interceptions. He is a pure pocket passer and very safe pick for the Vikings especially if the Vikings want to take the edge off of Adrian Peterson, who some people forget is the best Running Back in the league.
9. Buffalo Bills | Mike Evans WR Texas A&M
A lot of mocks have the Bills taking Khalil Mack OLB out of Buffalo, however those same people doing the mocks don't realize that the Bills are second in the NFL in sacks this year with 57.0 ahead of the Chiefs by 10.0 sacks, and behind only the the Carolina Panther rush defense by a mere 3.0 sacks. Robert Woods was a good draft pick, but he isn't a decent #1 wideout, Stevie Johnson has shown flashes of being a solid #1 receiver but what the Bills are looking for are not flashes, it is a solid #1 wideout all the time. Mike Evans is a 6'5 230 pound WR who has had almost 1500 yards and 12 touchdowns this season with 69 receptions. Evans has not only showed flashes of brilliance, but can be considered the top receiver in this years class, behind potentially only Sammy Watkins. However even though Watkins runs a 4.45 forty and Evans runs 4.58 forty its amazing what an extra 4 and 1/2 inches can do for a receiver.
10. Detroit Lions | Justin Gilbert CB Oklahoma State
The Lions have allowed the 10th most passing yards and the 10th most touchdowns in the NFL this year. Justin Gilbert is arguably the best corner in this draft and would be assessing a huge need for that secondary. He is also a great returner and an even better athlete as he clocks in at nearly a 4 flat. The OSU corner also has recorded 6 interceptions this year, third in the FBS, and two defensive touchdowns. He also has recorded 425 total kick return yards and a touchdown in just 16 attempts. If the Lions are looking for a shutdown corner, turnover forcing cornerback that can make plays happen on special teams as well as defense. Justin Gilbert may not be a physical as Michigan State Cornerback Darqueze Dennard, but he is not only faster, but has a higher ceiling.
11. Tennessee Titans | C.J. Mosley ILB Alabama
If Alterraun Verner leaves the Titans this year they will have a glaring hole at Cornerback, however the most glaring hole on this defense right now is undoubtedly Middle Linebacker. Akeem Ayers is a fantastic young player on the left side, and Zach Brown is an up and coming young player on the right side. However the Titans starting MLB Moise Fokou doesn't deserve to be starting on any NFL team. C.J. Mosley is the top Middle Linebacker prospect this year out of Alabama, and easily one of the top players in the country. This year he led The Crimson Tide in tackles as he recorded 100. For some reason in a lot of mock drafts they have Mosley not even going till after 20, Mosley is one of the most solid player in this draft and should be treated as such.
12. New York Giants | Khalil Mack OLB Buffalo
Khalil Mack in my mind is the best fit for the Giants in the entire draft. I think he is, and definitely should be considered as a top 5 player in the draft. I personally think he is a top 3 player in the draft behind only Jadeveon Clowney and Teddy Bridgewater. Khalil Mack is a combination of lethal size, speed, and strength. Mack is 6'3, 250 and has recorded a team leading 10.5 sacks. I think he is the surest player in the draft and has debatably the highest ceiling as he produces week in and week out. Mack is expected to run under a 4.6 forty and at 250 pounds he is lethal coming off the edge. Depending on whether the Giants decide to make a splash in free agency and sign a big name pass rushed like Brian Orakpo or Wesley Woodyard, they could have a easily a top 5 LB core in the NFL. Jon Beason has been exceptional since his arrival from Carolina and adding a premiere pass rusher like Orakpo and drafting Mack, the Giants would go from being 7th worst in the NFL in sacks, to an elite pass rushing force in the NFL.
13. St. Louis Rams | Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix S Alabama
The Rams defense has proven this year that they are extremely good. Robert Quinn has been playing like a man possessed and 1st Round Draft Pick Alec Ogletree should definitely be considered as a Defensive Rookie Of the Year candidate. Janoris Jenkins however only having 1 interception this year has played very well. Cortland Finnegan is older and needs to be replaced, but isn't the number 1 need in the draft by far. T.J. McDonald has played well, but really could develop better with another young and good Safety. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has played extremely well, not only is he a ballhawking Safety, but he is one of the hardest hitters on the entire Alabama squad. The defensive line is elite, provided they get a better defensive tackle to play alongside Michael Brockers, Kendall Langford is entering a contract year, and isn't getting the job done. The linebacking core led by James Laurinaitis is progressing really well, and when and if the Rams take Clinton-Dix in the draft, it would make the Rams defense one of the top in the NFL.
14. Chicago Bears | Ra'Shede Hageman DT Minnesota
With Henry Melton out with an ACL tear this season, it is clearly visible how well the Bears pass rush has played in 2012 when they were 8th in the NFL in sacks, to where they are now at 2nd worst in the entire NFL in getting to the Quarterback. Even though Louis Nix III could be a better Defensive Tackle than Ra'Shede Hageman, the Bears don't need another run stopper, they need someone who can get to the Quarterback and a Ra'Shede Hageman has a respectable 2.0 sacks and 13.0 tackles for loss; while Nix III only had 2 tackles for loss and 0 sacks. Granted Hageman hasn't played against the same kind of talent that Nix has played against, but that doesn't take away talent. Alfred Morris from Florida Atlantic has developed into a top 10 Running Back in just 2 years, while highly recruited Trent Richardson from Alabama has proved to be a bust. It doesn't matter where you come from, as long as you show up to play, and do your job for whatever team you're drafted to.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers | Marqise Lee WR USC
Ben Roethlisberger has been on the hot seat all year. However he probably shouldn't have been with 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions passing for over 4000 yards and over a 90 QBR. The problem in Pittsburgh is that there are no solid #1 wide receivers, Emmanuel Sanders is 5'11, Antonio Brown is 5'10, Marqise Lee is 6'0, 200 and adding the best offensive player available and filling the need for a number 1 wideout is crucial for Big Ben as he gets older. Marqise Lee has extreme talent and was a top 5 projected pick when the 2013 NCAAF season began. If the 6'0, 200 pound Lee can show up at the combine he could end up being a steal at 15 to the Steelers.
(Former Pick, Sammy Watkins WR Clemson)
16. Dallas Cowboys | Louis Nix III DT Notre Dame
The Cowboys run defense has been terrible this year and has allowed the 6th most rushing yards and rushing average in 2013. After releasing Jay Ratliff following an injury, the run defense became worse than it already was. Louis Nix III is debatably the best Defensive Tackle in the draft, but especially the best run stopper and could work well as a the #1 nose tackle. The best thing for the Cowboys right now is passing on Cyril Richardson in the first round and look to drafting him or another top Guard if one is available in the second round.
17. Baltimore Ravens | Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M
This year the Ravens brought in Eugene Monroe from Jacksonville and he has filled a big hole on the left side. However Michael Oher, despite having a blockbuster moving isn't that good on the field. Flacco has been sacked 48 times this year and Oher hasn't helped matters. Jake Matthews is a phenomenal OT and probably the best in the Draft, he has played very well protecting Johnny Manziel this season and filled the Left Tackle spot after Luke Joeckel left to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. It's amazing that I had Matthews at #2 in just my last posted edition, in 3.0 however Matthews has dropped. Greg Robinson has played so well in Auburn's failed title run and I now have him as the #1 overall Tackle. That doesn't take anything away from Matthews however, and if somehow, someway, he drops this far, which I'm not sure he will, I just didn't know where else to slot him before pick 17. If that somehow happens, the Ravens front office will be doing backflips.
(Former Pick, Cyrus Kouandjio OT Alabama)
18. New York Jets | Kelvin Benjamin WR Florida State
New York/New Jersey is a tough place to play. Geno Smith has taken so much criticism this year, not knowing if he was going to start, getting benched, throwing interceptions, Smith has been really anything but a successful 2nd Round pick thus far. But then, Geno Smith started playing at the end of the season, in the last couple of games Geno threw for 3 Touchdowns and only 1 interception has he rushed for 2 touchdowns as well. If Smith was to get even one solid receiver, Geno could turn from a near-terrible rookie, to a progressed Sophomore. Kelvin Benjamin is an amazing athlete with phenomenal size. He is a big time playmaker and a huge reason that Florida State won the BCS National Championship, and that Jameis Winston won the Heisman. Benjamin is 6'5 234, a near exact replica of Calvin Johnson coming out of Georgia Tech. Anyway Benjamin can get his hands on the ball, would make the Jets extremely better.
(Former Pick, Marqise Lee WR USC)
19. Miami Dolphins | Taylor Lewan OT Michigan
Taylor Lewan was the top Tackle going into the NCAAF season this year.The Miami Dolphins O-Line has been absolutely atrocious this year, and at 26th for rushing yards in the league this year something needs to be done. The Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin situation definitely didn't help matters. Tannehill has been sacked 58 total times this year, and a lot of that has to be on the back of backup Right Tackle Tyson Clabo who definitely isn't getting any younger. Taylor Lewan will be the best available Tackle in the draft, if the Dolphins could land him at 19, I'm sure that front offense would be ecstatic.
20. Arizona Cardinals | Antonio Richardson OT Tennessee
Last year the Cardinals had the worst O-Line in the NFL and allowed the most sacks in the league. In the 2013 NFL Draft the Cards selected Jonathan Cooper to secure up the inside area of the line, however the Tackle position still deserves to be upgraded in a serious way, Eric Winston at Right Tackle is 30 years old and shouldn't be starting, and Bradley Sowell at Left Tackle was an Undrafted Free Agent last year and couldn't start at a High School level. Richardson is 6'6, 327 and has been superior in protecting the 'Vols passing game this year, and Richardson could be the next big O-Line name in the NFL and the Cardinals will definitely benefit from this sure pick.
21. Green Bay Packers | Jace Amaro TE Texas Tech
Jace Amaro could be the best Tight End in this draft class, the 6'5, 260 pound Tight End runs better than a 4.6 forty and has hauled in 106 passes and 7 touchdowns this year for more than 1300 yards with a subpar Quarterback. Aaron Rodgers has played extremely well with Jermichael Finley (a 6'5 TE) as Finley has caught more than 220 passes in his career playing with Aaron Rodgers with more than 300 targets in 5 years. With Finley heading to test the waters of Free Agency and most likely set sail with another team going into the 2014 season. Amaro has potential to be an even better playmaker than Finley, and it would be an extremely wise move to pull the trigger on Amaro as long as he drops to this spot in the draft.
22. San Diego Chargers | Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan
Dennard is arguably the best Corner in the draft this year and definitely the most physical. Once again, it seems terrible that I have him slotted this late. The near 6'0 200 pound Corner has picked off opposing Quarterbacks 4 times this year with 10 pass deflections to win the Jim Thorpe Award for the best Defensive Back in the country. From the beginning of all of my mock drafts, I saw Dennard fitting in with the San Diego Chargers that has let up the 4th most passing yards in the NFL this year. The main needs for San Diego in this draft are to take a corner in Darqueze Dennard, and take a pass rushing Outside Linebacker, and if they take a superior pass rusher in the second or third round, that could also help the Chargers secondary by pressuring the QB and eventually leading to more turnovers and an overall better defense.
23. Philadelphia Eagles | Jason Verrett TCU
Although Jason Verrett has dropped to at least the second round in a majority of mock drafts with a semi non-productive season with only 2 interceptions this year, however just a few games ago he shut down star Baylor Wide Receiver Antwan Goodley to only 1 reception. The Philadelphia eagles defense has allowed the most total passing yards in the league by over 100 yards with 4,636 yards all season. Brandon Boykin has played exceptionally this year with 6 picks, however the other cornerback spot needs to be improved as cary williams really hasn't been getting it done. Jason Verrett also could be slid over to Safety where he also could excel with better zone defense abilities than man coverage ability.
24. Kansas City Chiefs | Eric Ebron TE North Carolina
Eric Ebron, the 6'4, 245 pound TE runs a 4.6 forty and is a supreme vertical threat. Kansas City's defense is the best all around in the NFL. Their Pass Defense is good, and their rush defense is excellent. The Offense has an excellent running game and their receivers and Offensive Line are also good. The one thing that is missing from the Kansas City team is a dynamic Tight End. Eric Ebron is that dynamic tight end, and he's proven that this year with 62 catches for nearly 1000 yards and 3 touchdowns. If Kansas City wants to take their team to the next level and to finally beat Denver, they should seriously consider taking Ebron.
25. Cincinnati Bengals | Kony Ealy DE Missouri
Carlos Dunlap just signed a multiyear extension and with Michael Johnson as an unrestricted Free Agent, is unlikely to be retained. This year the entire Bengal's defense suffered the price of Geno Atkins, the Bengal's best pass rusher being out with an ACL tear. What they really need is a pass rusher off the edge. Kony Ealy is the defensive leader on that Mizzou team, and was the only bright spot in the entire Mizzou pass rush, when the defense got slaughtered by Auburn and Tre Mason where the 6'5 275 DE recorded 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 2 forced fumbles. Ealy has a rare combination of power and finesse moves and if the Bengals elect to take Ealy in the first round they won't be disappointed.
26. Cleveland Browns | Vic Beasley OLB Clemson
Last year the Browns took OLB Barkevious Mingo who has played fairly well for a Top 10 Draft pick. However bringing Paul Kruger didn't exactly work out. Beasley has played very well this year at both getting after the QB and stopping the run with 13.0 sacks and 40 tackles. He has an ideal frame for an pass rushing linebacker at 6'3, 225, so long as he puts on a little weight. And with the Browns having two first round picks, taking a gamble on the first pick with Johnny Football, turning around an taking a sure pick and a sure performer in Vic Beasley is a smart move at 26.
27. New Orleans Saints | Ryan Shazier ILB Ohio State
Ryan Shazier is a prototype Middle Linebacker at 6'2, 230. He has great speed for someone of his size and is one of the biggest reasons that Ohio State has done so well in run defense this year. Shazier can be the cornerstone on that young and developing defense. New Orleans hasn't been the most successful stopping the run this year and they really need a linebacker to be able to step up and play coverage as well. Shazier is one of the top 5 most athletic Linebackers in this class and could really help out the defense.
28. San Francisco 49'ers | Bradley Roby CB Ohio State
Bradley Roby was the best Cornerback going into this years NCAAF season, however do to personal issues off the field his stock has dropped a lot. However, that doesn't change his physical ability on the field. With 3 picks this year, and nearly 70 tackles its just the kind of player that the 49'ers could use. San Francisco plays physical and really only acquires hard hitting players. Just look at the players they've drafted and signed over the past 6 years; Patrick Willis, Navorro Bowman, Donte Whitner, Eric Reid, Tarell Brown, Ahmad Brooks, and Aldon Smith. Roby would fit in very nicely with that skill set and his pass coverage ability is not to be taken lightly even though he has had off the field issues, and plus, Jim Harbaugh is just the type of coach that could whip Roby into shape.
(Former Pick, Aaron Colvin CB Oklahoma)
29. New England Patriots | Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE
When The Patriots had Aaron Hernandez their offense was among the most dominant in the entire NFL. Taking someone with superior size and speed like 6'6, 275 pound Seferian-Jenkins could put Brady and the Patriots Offense back on top with their poor receiving core. Even though Ebron and Amaro are top Tight Ends in the class I still feel like Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the best Tight End in the class because of his supreme size and overall athletic ability.
30. Carolina Panthers | La'el Collins OT LSU
The one thing that the Panthers are missing is a dominant Tackle to help protect Cam Newton and develop the potential receivers that they draft or sign. It's possible that La'el Collins could help propel Cam Newton to an MVP Award and maybe even a Super Bowl. With Jordan Gross possibly entering retirement, and Bryon Bell and Nate Chandler not being acceptable starters, taking someone who has performed day in and day out, Collins could be the next big Tackle in the NFL. If he decides to enter the draft, he could go as high as the top 15 as well, this would be a very wise pick for the Panthers at this spot.
31. Denver Broncos | Christian Jones ILB Florida State
Wesley Woodyard is a Free Agent this year, and quite frankly hasn't performed all that great as a converted Middle Linebacker. Christian Jones has led Florida State to FSU having their run defense in the top 5 in the entire FBS. If Woodyard leaves, there will be a gaping hole at MLB. Christian Jones is 6'4, 235 and could also be used as a great pass rusher coming off the edge. If Jones is drafted by the Broncos they would not be missing out, and even could replace Nate Irving as a way better Linebacker.
32. Seattle Seahawks | Timmy Jernigan DT Florida State
The Seattle Defense has the best secondary in the entire NFL. The only reason that they don't have the best defense in the entire league is because they don't have a good Defensive Tackle. Chris Clemons has played great as well as Cliff Avril from Detroit. Drafting the pass rushing and run stopping DT out of FSU with 4.5 sacks and 44 total tackles. He was predicted by unnamed NFL Scouts that he would be a late first round draft pick, and I don't see him falling out of the first round with his ability.
Thanks for reading this updated 2014 NFL Mock Draft, and please give feedback through the comments section below, and of course the poll!