Wednesday, October 30, 2013

NFL Mid-Season Mock Draft

As the NFL season reaches the midway point, it's never too early for me, a Draftnik, to look ahead to the 2014 NFL Draft. So here is my projections based on the current NFL standings.
[Note: I did not put Notre Dame DE Tuitt on my mock as I believe he will return to school]

For all your NFL draft needs please check out "The Sports Narrative Draft Guide" in April of 2014

2014 NFL Mock Draft


1.       Jacksonville Jaguars: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

This seems like an absolute no-brainer. The Blaine Gabbert experiment is over and I fully expect Bridgewater to be the opening day starter in that stupid two-tone helmet.

2.       Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

With HC Greg Schiano likely out the door, a new coach almost always means a new QB. With several QBs available high in this draft class, I think Mariota’s skill set will make him #2 off the board.

3.       Minnesota Vikings: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

Yes, I have QBs going 1,2,3. Have you seen the state of quarterbacking in the NFL this year? I think the Freeman experiment will fail and the Vikes will get a new signal-caller. My only hesitation here is that if Leslie Frazier stays in place, he could go for DE Barr to replace Jared Allen. But QBs always rise on draft night.

4.       New York Giants: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

The Giants address their woeful O-line in back to back 1st rounds with Matthews. RT Justin Pugh looks outmatched on the outside and is a better fit at guard.  And the G-men generally avoid problem children, which is why I have Clowney slipping a bit. [Alternate Pick: DE Anthony Barr]

5.       St Louis Rams: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

The Jake Long signing has not panned out the way the Rams had hoped so they need another OT. Lewan will start at RT immediately and transition when his time comes.  [Alternate Pick: OT Jake Matthews]

6.       Atlanta Falcons: Anthony Barr, DE, UCLA

Who could have ever imagined the Falcons drafting high enough to take a guy many have as the #1 guy on the board? But I think Clowney or Carr could slide to 6 if Atlanta picks this high. [Alternate Pick: DE Jadeveon Clowney]

7.       Houston Texans: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

If the Texans finish this low, HC Gary Kubiak is likely fired. So, look for the new coach (maybe Kevin Sumlin?) to go get a face of the franchise. While his size and mechanics will draw serious questioning, I think the allure of the marketability of JFF in Houston is too much to pass up. If Kubiak does retain his job, the Texans would likely go for Taj Boyd or Mike Evans. [Alternate Pick: QB Taj Boyd]

8.       Pittsburgh Steelers: Cyrus Kouandijo, OT, Alabama

The Steelers are desperate for O-line help. If both Lewan and Matthews go early, the Steelers could take Nix or Watkins, but I think keeping Big Ben upright is their #1 priority. [Alternate Pick: Louis Nix III]

9.       Philadelphia Eagles: Taj Boyd, QB, Clemson

With Vick getting old, Foles seeming to be a bad fit and Matt Barkley looking like a wasted pick, Chip Kelly needs a trigger-man for his up-tempo offense. Boyd or Manziel fit the bill here, but don’t be surprised to see the Eagles try to jump up to get Mariota either. [Alternate Pick: Taj Boyd]

10.   Buffalo Bills: Jadaveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

This is where things get tricky for me. GM Buddy Nix was always great about sticking to his profile: Best player available, from the south and with plus speed or strength. And usually Nix would reveal his pick in an interview, but no one listens to Buffalo media. But Nix is taking a step back in the organization, so it’s tough to call. O-line and CB are big needs, but this pick could also be a WR or DE. I’m going to take the best player available. [Alternate Pick: DE Khalil Mack]

11.   St Louis Rams (from Washington): Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame

Though it may not be their biggest need, HC Jeff Fisher loves drafting D-linemen. Nix adds enough pass rush ability to make that Rams front 4 very imposing. [Alternate Pick: S Hasean Clinton-Dix]

12.   Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

With all the top QBs gone, the Browns opt for the best player available and add a deep threat opposite Josh Gordon. I think the Browns also need help at RB, CB and will draft a QB too but can do that with later picks. Or they will trade up to land their QB if they fall in love with one. [Alternate Pick: QB Johnny Manziel]

13.   Oakland Raiders: Khalil Mack, DE, Buffalo

Even with Al Davis gone, the Raiders continue to always draft the fastest or most athletic guy available. Given what I expect out of Mack at the Combine, that guy goes here. [Alternate Pick: DE Vic Beasley]

14.   Tennessee Titans: Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson

The Titans will likely spend most their available cap dollars trying to retain CB Verner. That means a few spots like safety and DE will be open. Got to fill holes with the draft.  [Alternate Pick: LB CJ Mosely]

15.   Miami Dolphins: Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee

After a few picks that could go a couple of different ways, the Dolphins are one of the few easy teams to predict right now. Their biggest need is at LT and that is just what they’ll do. [Alternate Pick: OT Cameron Erving]

16.   Baltimore Ravens: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Another pick that seems fairly obvious, especially if you have watched any Ravens games this year. Joe Flacco desperately needs another option at receiver and Lee is the answer. [Alternate Pick: DE Dominique Easley]

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

Yet another need that fits perfectly with what is available. The Jets need a big time receiving threat to bail out young Geno and Evans has been bailing out some of JFF wild throws for the last 2 years. [Alternate Pick: TE Eric Ebron]

18.   Arizona Cardinals: Cameron Erving, OT Florida State

The Cards really need a QB, but taking one here is a reach. But it’s not like teams never reach for quarterbacks in the first round. But I see them reassuring their OT spot then looking QB in the 2nd round. [Alternate Pick: QB Derek Carr]

19.   Chicago Bears: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

The Run on corners could begin with the Bears as both of their starters are free-agents next year. Usually teams only pay one. [Alternate Pick: DT Ra’Shede Hageman]

20.   Carolina Panthers: Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida

The Panthers also are looking for secondary help in the first round. Especially with all the big-time WRs of the board. [Alternate Pick: S Clinton-Dix]

21.   Dallas Cowboys: Tim Jernigan, DT, Florida State

With 32 year old Jason Hatcher a free agent, the Cowboys will need help at defensive tackle. Jernigan, if he comes out, would be a great fit. [Alternate Pick: DT Ra’Shede Hageman]

22.   San Diego Chargers: Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida

The Chargers keep the CB vibe going, trying to improve on their bottom 5 pass defense. [Alternate Pick: TE Eric Ebron]

23.   Detroit Lions: Hasean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

The Lions replace oft-injured Louis Delmas with the safety from Alabama. Clinton-Dix is a ballhawk that will help that porous Lions secondary. [Alternate Pick: CJ Mosely]

24.   Cleveland Browns: CJ Mosely, LB, Alabama

I expect the Browns to address their need at CB in free agency and address their need at RB in the second round. Thus the Browns are open to take a play maker on defense and the best player left on the board. [Alternate Pick: RB D’Anthony Thomas]

25.   Green Bay Packers:  Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota

The entire Packers D-line are free agents next year and it’s unlikely they retain them all. Hageman is a beast at times and could fill all 3 spots for the Pack. [Alternate Pick: TE Eric Ebron]

26.   New England Patriots: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

The Pats make it back to back TEs and get a guy who can be Aaron Hernandez without all the killing (allegedly). [Alternate Pick: DT Ra’Shede Hageman]

27.   Cincinnati Bengals: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

The aging Terrence Newman has served admirably in the Mike Zimmer defense, but Leon Hall’s injury makes CB a big need going into next season. [Alternate Pick: OLB Ryan Shazier]

28.   San Francisco 49ers: Aaron Lynch, OLB, South Florida

With their leading sack guy, Aldon Smith, in all kinds of legal trouble, look for the 49ers to sure up that spot with an explosive guy who could play both strong and weak side effectively. [Alternate Pick: CB Bradley Roby]

29.   New Orleans Saints:  Scott Crichton, OLB, Oregon State

Despite what Rob Ryan has been able to do with the blitz, the Saints still could use a certified pass rusher. Crichton could play on either side and bring solid pressure. [Alternate Pick: OLB Aaron Lynch]

30.   Denver Broncos:  Dominique Easley, DE, Florida

The Broncos add some size and skill to their front line, allowing Derrick Wolfe to slide inside and providing a nice pass rushing compliment to Vaughn Miller. [Alternate Pick: DT Anthony Johnson]

31.   Seattle Seahawks: Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor

If the Seahawks don’t win the Superbowl this year, you can probably look to the offensive line. This problem should be addressed next May. [Alternate Pick: OLB Ryan Shazier]

32.   Kansas City Chiefs: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

The Chiefs play very close to the vest on offense and suffocate you on defense. Matthews could give them more big-play ability and keep their fans from clinching quite so much. [Alternate Pick: G Cyril Richardson]

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