Mike Whites NFL Mock Draft V3

It’s been a looooong process, but finally we’re here: the night of the 2014 NFL Draft.

College prospects have worked out, interviewed and put their PR machines into overdrive, but for now, they just have to sit back and hope their efforts can get them the high pick that they’ve worked so hard for.

I have to say that this has been one of the most difficult draft classes ever to evaluate and place with teams up and down the draft board; teams will be trading up and down all night and I expect the record for trades to be in jeopardy.

It is probably going to be yet another crazy night in Radio City Music Hall, just the way we all love it. So while you’re waiting in expectation and hope, here’s how I could see the first round taking shape in the final mock of the spring…

(1st Round only, No unconfirmed trades.)

Mike White’s NFL 2014 Mock Draft V3

1. Houston Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney South Carolina (Previous Pick: No Change)
It’s always been Clowney, right from the start, and I would be pretty shocked if Houston handed in a card with anyone else’s name on it. But there is still a trade option on the table with the Falcons most likely to be the interested party. But for now, Clowney’s a Texan and joins JJ Watt in a frightening pass rush.
2. St Louis Rams

(from Washington)

OT Greg Robinson Auburn (Previous Pick: No Change)
Jeff Fisher normally likes to wait on offensive linemen and although he is probably looking to trade down here, I think he could take the opportunity to draft a guy who has big time talent. Sam Bradford needs protecting to realise his potential, and Greg Robinson is a player with pro-bowl potential, technique and athleticism on that offensive line.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars WR Sammy Watkins Clemson (Previous Pick: Blake Bortles – QB)
I’ve been saying that the Jags need a QB all along, but the recent words of their GM David Caldwell seem to suggest that they’re not too bothered about Justin Blackmon’s return right now. That may be because they believe that Watkins will be their pick at 3: the Clemson man can change his team’s field position quickly and helps whoever gets picked in Rd 2 to be Jacksonville’s QB.
4. Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel Texas A&M (Previous Pick: No Change)
You can spend all the time you like trying to convince me otherwise, but the way the Browns have gone about this offseason and draft process makes me convinced they will pick their QB here at 4. Which one it will be is another matter. I’ve heard they’re ‘smitten’ with Bortles and the front office ‘loves’ Manziel’s ability and leadership, but choosing between them is difficult. I’ll go with the hype, Johnny Football’s is rising, all is quiet on Bortles.
5. Oakland Raiders DE/OLB Khalil Mack Buffalo (Previous Pick: Sammy Watkins – WR)
Oakland only have 6 picks in this draft and I’m sure they’ll be looking to trade out of this spot on the night. But in this scenario, theyre presented with a no-brainer. Mack is definitely the best player on the board and the Raiders would be sprinting to the podium.
6. Atlanta Falcons OT Jake Matthews Texas A&M (Previous Pick: Greg Robinson – OT)
I have a feeling Atlanta REALLY want Robinson, but won’t be too disappointed if Matthews is sat here instead. They desperately need to upgrade Matt Ryan’s protection, and the man from Texas A&M is the plug and play starter teams dream of drafting.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans Texas A&M (Previous Pick: No Change)
Vincent Jackson Mk.2? Lovie Smith and Josh McCown say thank you very much, you’re going to have to come to Tampa with some fairly large DB’s next year.
8. Minnesota Vikings QB Blake Bortles FSU (Previous Pick: Khalil Mack – OLB/DE)
It sounds like the brass at Minnesota are set on drafting a QB, but letting him sit and learn for a while rather than chucking him in at the deep end. However, this doesn’t mean that if, as in this scenario, Blake Bortles is sat at 8, they won’t use their 1st rounder on a QB. If Bortles and Manziel are gone, look for a trade down here, prime position to grab a top WR or DT.
9. Buffalo Bills OT Taylor Lewan Michigan (Previous Pick: Jake Matthews – OT)
The Bills have a couple of gaping holes on their roster, one is at WR and the other at RT. Taylor Lewan’s skillset is great to shore up one side of the line, and if he turns out to be better than Cordy Glenn, the Bills could swap their bookends around. This would sort their QB protection out for the next 4 years at the very least. Solid pick.
10. Detroit Lions WR Odell Beckham LSU (Previous Pick: Anthony Barr – OLB/DE)
Many of you may be shocked at how high I’m putting Beckham, but the Lions have been waxing lyrical about going and getting themselves a top receiver opposite Calvin Johnson. Golden Tate is a solid veteran, but you’re mad if you think he’s an unquestioned starter. If Detroit can’t trade up for Sammy Watkins, Odell Beckham is a polished, intelligent player with real burner speed. He’ll make CJ and Matt Stafford even more dangerous.
11. Tennessee Titans OLB/DE Anthony Barr UCLA (Previous Pick: Justin Gilbert – CB)
The Titans’ switch to the 3-4 means that Tennessee have to add pieces on defense who can play that system and are better suited to it. Barr is a bit of a project, but as a pass rushing OLB, his ceiling is right up there.
12. New York Giants DT Aaron Donald Pittsburgh (Previous Pick: Timmy Jernigan – DT)
Another team that I think will be looking to trade back down the board and accumulate some picks, the Giants will probably be in BPA mode, picking the man who remains highest on their board. In this case, it could well be the disruptive, fast rising talent of Aaron Donald. He’d also fill a need after Linval Joseph’s departure.
13. St Louis Rams FS HaHa Clinton Dix Alabama (Previous Pick: Calvin Pryor – FS)
There’s a huge hole at safety in St Louis, and if they can add Clinton-Dix to Khalil Mack, this defense could be right up there with the best in the league.
14. Chicago Bears FS Calvin Pryor Louisville (Previous Pick: Aaron Donald – DT)
The Bears are gutted that Donald’s gone here, but their situation is such that most of the players available on the defensive side of the ball would improve their team. After watching Clinton-Dix go before them, they might just panic into taking the other top drawer safety here. But Pryor is a beast so it’s all good for Chicago.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers CB Justin Gilbert Oklahoma State (Previous Pick: Darqueze Dennard – CB)
As the top corner in the class and with significant scope to get even better, the Steelers wouldn’t pass up a chance to add some talented youth and athleticism to their secondary.
16. Dallas Cowboys DE Kony Ealy Missouri (Previous Pick: Calvin Pryor – S)
The defensive line needs to be addressed in Dallas, and while they may be preparing to trade up to get their man, someone who can rush the passer is so vital, they could reach a bit here too. Ealy is capable of rushing from the edges or playing 5-technique on the line. Monte Kiffin will love his versatility.
17. Baltimore Ravens TE Eric Ebron North Carolina (Previous Pick: Taylor Lewan – OT)
Joe Flacco needs an intermediate target and while Owen Daniels has been signed, his injury history doesn’t make him the most reliable guy. Ebron would add athleticism and a hightower of a target for Joe to launch the ball at.
18. New York Jets WR Brandin Cooks Oregon State (Previous Pick: Eric Ebron – TE)
Cooks recently came out and proclaimed to the media that he was the best receiver in the draft. The Jets need some explosive weapons. He sounds like the kind of guy Rex Ryan would love.
19. Miami Dolphins OT Zack Martin Notre Dame (Previous Pick: No Change)
I have a feeling Martin may jump a bit higher than this, but the Dolphins would be absolutely delighted if he was still here. He would solidify any position across the line that the Dolphins would want him to – a versatile, solid character guy for a dodgy locker room.
20. Arizona Cardinals LB Ryan Shazier Ohio State (Previous Pick: Kony Ealy – DE)
After losing Karlos Dansby in Free Agency, the Cards will be keen to shore up the centre of their defense. With the pick of the linebackers, they could go for the athletic tackling machine that is Ryan Shazier, he could end up being the Luke Kuechly of this year’s draft.
21. Green Bay Packers ILB CJ Mosley Alabama (Previous Pick: No Change)
The Pack react quickly to seeing Shazier go by snapping up the other top LB. He may have injury concerns, but Mosley is a leader with speed and power, a true 4-down player.
22. Philadelphia Eagles CB Darqueze Dennard Michigan State (Previous Pick: Marquise Lee- WR)
The Eagles’ secondary was a bit of a mess last year, and in a division with Tony Romo, Eli Manning and RG3, you need all the corners you can get. The big, fast WR they want can wait until rd 2.
23. Kansas City Chiefs WR Marquise Lee USC (Previous Pick: Odell Beckham – WR)
I’m 90% certain that the Chiefs will try to trade out of round 1 and recoup a second round pick, but staying here could mean that they give Alex Smith a reliable, explosive weapon. Lee just needs to stay healthy and he’ll be a very good player in the NFL.
24. Cincinnati Bengals CB Kyle Fuller Virginia Tech. (Previous Pick: Bradley Roby – CB)
The Bengals have an ageing secondary with durability concerns, so taking a big rangey corner who can also play some safety if needed would be a smart plan. Fuller’s stock is rising and he could go even higher.
25. San Diego Chargers CB Jason Verrett TCU (Previous Pick: No Change)
San Diego are desperate for some secondary help, and a hard hitting competitor like Jason Verrett would add to the defense very nicely indeed. Concerns over his size need only reference Tyrann Mathieu.
26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis) WR Kelvin Benjamin Florida State (Previous Pick: Brandin Cooks – WR)
Pick a QB with your first pick, give him a new weapon with your next. It’s a tried and tested formula, and by pairing Kelvin Benjamin with Johnny Football, it gives the rookie QB a 6’5’ tower of a man with bucket hands to throw the ball to.
27. New Orleans Saints CB Bradley Roby Ohio State (Previous Pick: Stephon Tuitt – DE)
The Saints and Rob Ryan will be crying out for a corner here, and will be delighted to add to their stable with the talent of Roby. He has a few red flags but is a player that Ryan will believe he can mould into a winner.
28. Carolina Panthers OT Morgan Moses Virginia (Previous Pick: Kelvin Benjamin – WR)
After all of the top class receiving talent seems to have gone, the Panthers will turn their attention to protecting their prized asset after the retirement of Jordan Gross. Moses is a big man on the offensive line and one with plug and play ability in the NFL.
29. New England Patriots DT Ra’Shede Hanegan Minnesota (Previous Pick: No Change)
Although Hageman has the size and explosiveness coveted by the Patriots, I’m still not sure they’d be willing to risk their 1st rounder on a prospect like the on and off Minnesota DT. A classic Trader Bill move is definitely possible, getting out of round 1, stocking a couple more picks up for later rounds. If they did take Hageman, the Pats would be getting a player who, when on his game, is as disruptive at the point of attack as any in the draft.
30. San Francisco 49’ers DE Demarcus Lawrence Boise State (Previous Pick: Kyle Fuller – CB)
I think the Niners will package some ammo to move up in this draft, they’ve got more than enough picks to add a dynamic receiving threat in the middle of the round. Staying here would cut their options down a bit, but if a player with the pass rush ability of Lawrence is sat here, San Francisco would definitely think about it. Aldon Smith could lose it at any time and Justin Smith is 35.
31. Denver Broncos OG Xavier Su’a-Filo UCLA (Previous Pick: Ryan Shazier – LB)
Peyton Manning needs to continue being protected in his pocket, he’s not getting any more mobile or healthy. Su’a-Filo is a nasty, intelligent, versatile offensive lineman who would fit in really well at any spot on Denver’s line.
32. Seattle Seahawks OT/

DE

Cyrus Kouandjo Alabama (Previous Pick: Xavier Su’a-Filo – OG)
Disappointed to see Su’a-Filo get stolen a spot ahead of them, the O-line needy Super Bowl Champs decide to pull the trigger on their right tackle of the future. The huge, strong mauler from Alabama can be moulded into a good right sided protector with his physical tools.

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