NFL Mock Draft 2014

BECKHAM

It’s important to understand that the NFL draft is impossible to predict. Plugging players to teams and draft slots in mock drafts is about as predictable as the weather in Louisiana. It’s senseless to hope that you get every pick correct when the BEST mock drafts only hit on about 7/32 picks. Although it would be nice to get more picks slotted correctly than the “big 3” (draft analysts Mel Kiper, Todd McShay and Mike Mayock) again this year, my MAIN GOAL of this mock is to provide readers with everything they need to know about each team, in terms of their situation, needs, philosophy and potential prospects, in order to MINIMIZE THE SURPRISES.

The less surprises that occur in the draft after you read this, the better I did my job.

Each team’s draft breakdown is divided into two sections:

  1. TEAM NEEDS – Ranked in order of importance, I’ve evaluated each team’s depth chart and salary cap situation to determine where improvement is most necessary. Keep in mind that some teams don’t draft on a need-basis, but rather use a BPA strategy! (Best Player Available)
  2. WAR ROOM – I’ve spent countless hours divulging through hundreds of media-induced rumors and NFL smokescreens, as well as watching film cut-ups on all of the first round prospects. In each team’s “war room,” I’ll give you the most comprehensive and accurate analysis possible. Trust me, there will still be some unexplainable shockers no one saw coming. Heck, I might miss on every single pick. But as I mentioned, the goal of this draft breakdown is to minimize the surprises, so the war room is the most important section in terms of obtaining information (real or fake) to keep an eye on during the draft!

All right. Game On…

With the First Pick in the 2014 NFL Draft,
***The HOUSTON TEXANS Are Now On The Clock***

-Team Needs: QB, NT, OLB, RT, OG

-WAR ROOM: The Texans don’t love Clowney. He has freakish athleticism and potential through the roof, but he doesn’t come without questions. There are legitimate concerns about Clowney’s work ethic (or lack thereof), his poor 3-sack season in 2013, and his ability to switch to stand-up linebacker in Romeo Crennel’s base 3-4 front. I don’t blame them for showing signs throughout the draft process pointing to the team wanting to trade down and take a quarterback. Clowney’s upside is immense as a player, but the upside for the TEAM is greater if they take a quarterback. This is a quarterback-driven league, and the Texans should realize that they already have the BEST defensive player in the NFL in J.J. Watt, yet they were still 2-14. The absolute best case with Clowney is that he becomes a Pro Bowler, and the Texans still go 6-10 despite the two great pass rushers because  Ryan Fitzpatrick is at QB. In order to win this division against Andrew Luck, the team needs a quarterback that can rejuvenate a potentially potent offense talents like Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, Arian Foster and LT Duane Brown. So in my opinion, the Texans are right to want to trade down and take the top QB on their board (probably Blake Bortles). The owner Bob McNair is rumored to love Johnny Manziel. But I don’t think they’ll get a great enough offer from a team like Atlanta or Buffalo to move down, so for now, taking Clowney and moving Brooks Reed to ILB. The Texans shown late interest in acquiring Patriots backup QB Ryan Mallett. This would solidify Clowney as the pick and be a best-case scenario for the Texans. I love the fit with Bill O’Brien.

1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney (DE – S.C.)

***The ST. LOUIS RAMS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: S, OT, QB, WR

WAR ROOM: The Rams have a lot of options here. Their main ones in my eyes are Jake Matthews, Greg Robinson, and Johnny Manziel. I’m hearing they want to trade down from this spot and take LT Jake Matthews. However, the team could also take Johnny Manziel here. I’m buying the Manziel interest from STL for a variety of reasons, mainly because Sam Bradford is essentially in a contract year, coming off a torn ACL. The team could save a lot of money moving on from him, and adding Manziel fits the mold of the success within the division (SEA/SF both have mobile QBs and great defenses). A business outlook holds that Manziel would give the franchise much greater value which could help if the team moves to Los Angeles. Whatever the reason, the Rams need a QB and Manziel could be the guy. I don’t think they are high on Sammy Watkins, which makes sense because they’ve invested a lot at the WR position lately. I’ve heard that Buffalo AND Atlanta are interested in trading up to this pick to take a pass rusher or an elite tackle. Ultimately, I think the Rams will play it safe, taking an OT to fix a depleted O-line. LT Jake Long is returning off a torn ACL. The team resigned Roger Saffold but he fits better inside at guard. STL can also move Joseph Barksdale to guard if they add Jake Matthews or Greg Robinson. The Rams are a run-first team, so I’d take the mauler here, completing the O-line, and then look to address safety or go BPA at 13th overall…

2. St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson (OT – Auburn)

***The JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: QB, WR, OT, OLB, G/C

WAR ROOM: There’s an outside shot of Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles (a hometown product) here because he would put fans in the empty seats, but I think the Jaguars are eyeing a QB like Jimmy Garapollo or Tom Savage in the second round. If the Jags take Manziel, it will be the owner forcing over football operations. The scouts, GMs and coaches ultimately believe the Jaguars will have to decide between going pass rusher in Khalil Mack or receiver Sammy Watkins here. Gus Bradley is a defensive-minded coach from Seattle, and the receiver class is very deep. Here, Mack fills the “leo” pass rushing role in Bradley’s defense…

3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Khalil Mack (OLB) 

***The CLEVELAND BROWNS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: QB, CB, ILB, OT

-WAR ROOM: This is a tough spot for Cleveland. I think Cleveland is high on Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr, so they should look to address the QB position with their second pick in the first round at 26th overall. Here, I think it’s wise to go offense. I’ve heard they are really high on Khalil Mack, which wouldn’t make much sense to me because they have so many OLBs already. Reliable media sources have pinned Mike Evans or Sammy Watkins here. The Browns could really use a receiver opposite of Josh Gordon, as Greg Little has been a disappointment. I also think offensive tackle is a possibility. The team wants to move RT Mitchell Schwartz to guard, so Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews are both legitimate options here. Perhaps they’ll take whatever tackle is NOT taken at 2. Those are the options, but I don’t have a good feel on what the Browns want to do with this pick, so I’m going with the media…

4. Cleveland Browns – Mike Evans (WR – Texas AM)

***The OAKLAND RAIDERS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: QB, OT, MLB, WR/TE

-WAR ROOM: It’s very likely the Raiders will trade down from this pick. There have been reports that they are higher on Taylor Lewan than the two other tackles, Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson. If this is the case, they should move down and take him. Lewan has a nasty mean streak and fits the Raiders’ philosophy well. The team drafted Menelik Watson in the second round two years ago, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and Donald Penn is only a short-term option at LT. Taking an O-lineman solidifies a unit that will be much stronger than last season. The Raiders could also move down to take QB Derek Carr. If they stay put and go BPA, I think the pick will be either Khalil Mack, Aaron Donald or Mike Evans if available. I hear they love Mike Evans, so I’d expect them to take Evans if they stay at 5, but in this mock he’s not available. Oakland should receive a lot of interest for their pick to trade down, especially from teams looking to move up to draft a falling Sammy Watkins or Khalil Mack. Blake Bortles is the dark horse here, but the Browns have been rumored to go QB with their second pick.

5. Oakland Raiders – Taylor Lewan (OT – Buff)

***The ATLANTA FALCONS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: DE, OT, TE, C

-WAR ROOM: There are 5 prospects for this pick – the three offensive tackles in this order: Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, and Taylor Lewan, and the two pass rushers Clowney and Khalil Mack. The Falcons are expected to do everything they can to trade up to picks 1 or 2 in order to acquire Clowney, Khalil Mack or Greg Robinson. The team desperately needs a pass rusher, especially if they plan on implementing more 3-4 looks in Mike Nolan’s defense. The team has made a lot of moves this offseason to strengthen its core, acquiring bigger, tougher players. In this sense, Robinson is a road-grading mauler that could fit this mold. If they stay put, they’ll happily take any of the offensive tackles in this order: Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, and Taylor Lewan. The team may have Khalil Mack higher than all of them though. Ultimately, I think the Rams are ideal trading partners, and they can swap tackle prospects, or ATL can jump ahead of Jacksonville and steal Mack. For what it’s worth, I’ve heard the Falcons are very high on TE Jace Amaro and DE Demarcus Lawrence (so maybe they’ll be inclined to go OT in the first and Lawrence in the 2nd). 

6. Atlanta Falcons – Jake Matthews (OT – Texas AM)

***The TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: WR, LB, QB

-WAR ROOM: Lovie Smith would love to have penetrating 3-tech Aaron Donald, but the owners have been eyeing Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans for this pick. If Mike Evans somehow falls to 7, I think he’ll be the pick. But that’s unlikely. The Buccaneers’ new regime is not high on Mike Glennon, and Josh McCown is a stop-gap option at QB. So trading down and drafting a quarterback is definitely a possibility. Derek Carr is even on the short-list here, along with Blake Bortles and Manziel. I haven’t heard anything about Teddy Bridgewater for this pick, but maybe there’s a reason for that. Ultimately, I think they’ll let Lovie Smith take the pick, and he’ll want a perfect fit for his cover-2 scheme reliant on pressure from the front four.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Aaron Donald (DT – Pitt)

***The MINNESOTA VIKINGS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: QB, LB, DT, CB, SS

-WAR ROOM: The Vikings’ pick has drawn crazy debates from the draftnik community. The Vikings’ pick is one of the most interesting selections in the first round, in my opinion. I have no idea what route they’ll take. They could go Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel here, who would be nice franchise QBs for this team. However, I think Norv Turner has his eyes on a guy like Zach Mettenberger in the 2nd round. If the Vikings don’t go QB, I think they’ll take the BPA on defense. They are probably pursuing Aaron Donald if it’s up to Mike Zimmer. Zimmer could also love C.J. Mosley, as the Vikings could desperately use some help at LB. Drafting Anthony Barr makes sense here to play a hybrid SLB/DE pass rushing role. I would absolutely mock Mosley here if I wasn’t scared about potential medical red flags. In a pass-happy NFC North loaded with receivers (Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and maybe Sammy Watkins), I’m thinking Minnesota needs another CB to compete.

8. Minnesota Vikings – Justin Gilbert (CB – OK ST)

***The BUFFALO BILLS Are On The Clock*** 

-Team Needs: OT, DE, WR/TE, QB

WAR ROOM: The Bills could use a right tackle, a pass rusher like Anthony Barr and a pass catcher to help E.J. Manuel, last year’s shocking first round pick. I expect the Bills to go offense with this pick in order to give the passing game some life so they won’t have to rely on the running game so much. The Bills are looking to trade up into the top-5 to acquire either one of the tackles, probably Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews. They are also in play for Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans if they trade up. Either players would make a lot of sense. Both would be great fits in Buffalo. Taylor Lewan is certainly an option if they stay put, and so is Odell Beckham and Eric Ebron.

9. Buffalo Bills – Odell Beckham (WR – LSU)

***The DETROIT LIONS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: CB, SS, SLB, WR/TE

WAR ROOM: There’s every indication that the Lions are trying to move up into the top-5 to take Sammy Watkins, who they covet. I fully expect the Lions to go pass catcher despite massive issues at defensive back, so Odell Beckham, Marqise Lee and Eric Ebron are sneaky options. Anthony Barr makes since to plug in to SLB. Any secondary member would fill a need, so Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard, Bradley Roby, and Kyle Fuller all shouldn’t be shocking picks.

10. Detroit Lions – Sammy Watkins (WR – Clemson)

***The TENNESSEE TITANS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: NT, CB, QB, C, OLB

-WAR ROOM: The Titans have been very quiet throughout the draft process. Blake Bortles is a sneaky option here, as Ken Whisenhunt may want to groom his own QB while Jake Locker plays out the final year in his contract. The Titans’ biggest needs are on defense, at CB and NT. New defensive coordinator Ray Horton has a history of convincing GMs that a new nose tackle is needed to run his defense. In this is the case, guys like Louis Nix could be in consideration. A lot of people have Anthony Barr mocked here, but I think this is less likely, as the team already has a lot of capable bodies at OLB. All in all, I’d trade down and take a CB if I was Tennessee. Kyle Fuller, Darqueze Dennard, and Justin Gilbert are all very much in play.

11. Tennessee Titans – Blake Bortles (QB – UCF)

***The NEW YORK GIANTS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: TE, G/C, SLB, WR

-WAR ROOM: There are four realistic prospects I’ve been hearing for this pick: Zack Martin, Eric Ebron, Taylor Lewan, and C.J. Mosley. I think the team really covets Martin because of the major pass protection issues last season. This pick should be offense, and it should involve supporting Eli Manning, either by protecting him or giving him another weapon. Odell Beckham is a sleeper for this pick. If the Giants go defense, I’d assume Anthony Barr or C.J. Mosley.

12. New York Giants – Zack Martin (OT – Notre Dame)

***The ST. LOUIS RAMS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: S, OT, QB, WR 

-WAR ROOM: I don’t think Manziel will get passed 13. Realistic, I think Johnny Football will go in the 7-8 range, but I’m not sure which team. This is Manziel’s floor, and I think STL would be happy to have him here. The team is desperate for safety help, and they could take Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor. Odell Beckham, if available, is a sleeper for this pick.

13. St. Louis Rams – Johnny Manziel (QB – Texas AM)

***The CHICAGO BEARS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: S, CB, DT, RT

-WAR ROOM: The Bears should go defense with this pick. Their run defense was atrocious last season, so they’d love for Aaron Donald to fall. He’d be a perfect pick here. An influx of talent in the secondary is needed as well. Kyle Fuller, Justin Gilbert, Calvin Pryor, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix all would be reasonable picks. The Bears are high on Anthony Barr, Timmy Jernigan and Dominique Easley as well, but they are outside shots. Jernigan is a second day prospect but the Bears have a grave need at DT. Their run defense was a sieve.

14. Chicago Bears – Calvin Pryor (FS – Louisville)

***The PITTSBURGH STEELERS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: WR, CB

-WAR ROOM: Ben Roethlisberger wants a receiver. Ike Taylor says the team is going corner. Since the WR class is so deep, I’ll side with receiver on this one. The Steelers should be very interested in Darqueze Dennard, Kyle Fuller, and Justin Gilbert. If they go receiver, I imagine Odell Beckham and Kelvin Benjamin would be surprise targets.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Kyle Fuller (CB – V. Tech)

***The DALLAS COWBOYS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: Any Defensive Player, OG

-WAR ROOM: Let’s be real, any defensive player the Cowboys draft would help this football team. They should be targeting both safeties, Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Anthony Barr is a nice pass rushing project they could use to replace Demarcus Ware. If the Cowboys go offense, it’ll likely be OG Zack Martin. Stop trying to make Johnny Manziel happening. It’s not going to happen.

16. Dallas Cowboys – Anthony Barr (DE – UCLA)

***The BALTIMORE RAVENS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: RT, FS, CB, WR

-WAR ROOM: The Ravens would love an offensive tackle like Zack Martin or Taylor Lewan to fall. Eric Ebron could be the pick here if they stay put. I’d imagine they are high on physical WRs too like Marqise Lee, Cody Latimer, and Kelvin Benjamin.

17. Baltimore Ravens – Eric Ebron (TE – UNC)

***The NEW YORK JETS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: OLB, FS, WR/TE, CB, QB

-WAR ROOM: The Jets are rumored to love Odell Beckham, and I imagine they want a major pass catching upgrade. Eric Ebron and Brandin Cooks should be highly sought after here. Obviously, CB makes sense with Darqueze Dennard, Justin Gilbert and Bradley Roby, in that order. TE Jace Amaro is a darkhorse for this pick.

18. New York Jets – Brandin Cooks (WR – Oregon St.)

***The MIAMI DOLPHINS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: LB, OT, OG, CB, TE

-WAR ROOM: The Fins are looking to trade back. They like OT JuWuan James, which would be a shocking pick, as most teams have a 3rd round grade on him, I’ve heard. If Zack Martin or Taylor Lewan falls passed New York, look for the Fins to trade ahead of the Ravens to snatch either player. Eric Ebron is also an option here, and C.J. Mosley makes a ton of sense to me to upgrade a putrid linebacking corp last season.

19. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Shazier (LB – Ohio St.)

***The ARIZONA CARDINALS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: OLB, ILB, OT, QB

-WAR ROOM: I expect the Cardinals to really take a strong look immediate-impact defensive players like ILBs Ryan Shazier and C.J. Mosley, as Daryl Washington hasn’t proven trustworthy off the field and Karlos Dansby departed to Cleveland. Anthony Barr makes a lot of sense here because the team’s best pass rusher, John Abraham, is 35. Ra’Shede Hageman has the versatility the Cardinals like on the D-line. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for Bruce Arians to find “his guy” at QB to groom under Carson Palmer either. 

20. Arizona Cardinals – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S – Bama) 

***The GREEN BAY PACKERS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: ILB, C, TE

-WAR ROOM: The Packers have similar needs to the Cardinals and will hope that they do not take an ILB like C.J. Mosley or Ryan Shazier. Safeties Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix make a lot of sense here. Even Jimmie Ward could be a dark horse for this pick. I’ve also heard the Packers are interested in Weston Richburg, but that may be for the second round.

21. Green Bay Packers – C.J. Mosley (ILB – Bama)

***The PHILADELPHIA EAGLES Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: SS, WR, LB, CB

-WAR ROOM: The Eagles should be going defense, but Chip Kelly may get his way with offense. I think Bradley Roby and Marqise Lee are two logical options here. I’m told the Eagles are really high on Kyle Fuller and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Both would be outstanding picks. Dee Ford and Kelvin Benjamin are dark horses here.

22. Philadelphia Eagles – Marqise Lee (WR – USC)

***The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: OG, WR, FS, OT

-WAR ROOM: Kansas City has been one of the quietest teams throughout the draft process. I honestly have no idea who they like or dislike. I will say that KC needs upgrades along the O-line and at WR, so expect them to target players like Brandin Cooks or Marqise Lee. They could take Xavier Su’a-Filo, the most available guard. Or they could shock people with an offensive tackle or even a quarterback. Alex Smith only has one year left on his deal.

23. Kansas City Chiefs – Teddy Bridgewater (QB – Louisville)

***The CINCINNATI BENGALS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: CB, DE, RB, QB

-WAR ROOM: The Bengals have three CBs in their 30s, so Darqueze Dennard, Bradley Roby, Jason Verrett, and Kyle Fuller are all options. There are rumors that the Bengals are interested in Teddy Bridgewater. I think they could draft a QB prospect later in the draft like Aaron Murray. The team shouldn’t be sold on Andy Dalton, as his limitations are displayed annually in the playoffs. The Bengals could pick Dee Ford to replace Michael Johnson at DE. The team is reportedly high on LSU RB Jeremy Hill.

24. Cincinnati Bengals – Bradley Roby (CB – Ohio St)

***The SAN DIEGO CHARGERS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: CB, NT, WR, OG

-WAR ROOM: Kyle Fuller, Jason Verrett, and Bradley Roby are logical picks at CB, which the Chargers are desperate for. San Diego could also use a NT like Louis Nix. I’ve heard the Chargers are also very high on pass rushers Kyle Von Noy (BYU) and Dee Ford.

25. San Diego Chargers – Jason Verrett (CB – TCU) 

***The CLEVELAND BROWNS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: QB, CB, ILB, OT

-WAR ROOM: There’s every indication that the Browns plan to take a QB with this pick. They are probably hoping Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel is on the board, but they are not in this mock. Carr fits their west coast system and Kyle Shanahan will try to groom him behind Hoyer for a year. The Browns could also use a CB like Bradley Roby here.

26. Cleveland Browns – Derek Carr (QB – Fresno St.)

***The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: CB, C, WR, LB

-WAR ROOM: All right WHODATs, there’s a lot of material to cover here, so I’ll start by spelling out the team’s needs. I expect the team to address one of the four team needs listed above because the Saints are in win-now mode. Champ Bailey was a nice addition, but at age 35, he’s more of a savvy veteran that will provide leadership and depth. The Saints could certainly draft a cornerback to start from day 1. Darqueze Dennard would be a perfect mesh for Rob Ryan’s press-man style he looks for in CBs. I’d be shocked if he made it to this pick but even more stunned if he gets passed it. Dennard is my second favorite CB in the draft behind Kyle Fuller, but Dennard is a better scheme fit for the Saints. I would love a falling Fuller as well though. Jason Verrett is one of the most underrated players in this draft. He may be the best CB in this deep, strong class from a pure coverage standpoint, but he’s short (5’9). Nevertheless, I’d be very happy to have Verrett. Bradley Roby has some character concerns, but he’s a great athlete who could be an option here. He could very well be on the board, but he’s not a pick I would love for the Saints. At wide receiver, the Saints could use a speedy weapon that could draw coverage on the outside to help Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston get some extra space in the middle of the field. Colston has had real struggles separating from defenders in the past two seasons because of a foot injury. Kenny Stills has promise, and he could develop into a strong #2 WR, but he needs to work on getting off the line of scrimmage. He’s not that physical and had a tough time getting off the line of scrimmage against press coverage. This is why I think Marqise Lee is the good pick for the Saints today. After a poor 2013 season due to a knee injury and bad QB play, Lee is somewhat under the radar right now. His true form was displayed in 2012 where Lee dominated practically every team USC faced. Lee plays faster than he timed, and although he is slightly undersized at 5’11, he is extremely physical, using his slightly undersized body well to shield and attacking the ball at its highest point like Steve Smith does. He’s not afraid to go over the middle, and my favorite part about him is that once he catches the ball, he explodes upfield with insane acceleration, displaying separating skills both before and after the catch. The Saints could also target Brandin Cooks, a small Desean Jackson-esque receiver that could help open up the field. Mike Mayock had FSU WR Kelvin Benjamin here, who plays like a taller Colston (6’5, 240). He’d be dominant in the red zone, but I don’t know if he has the speed and separation skills to succeed. However, with Brees throwing, a lack of speed hasn’t mattered, as players and like Colston and Graham have shown that it’s impossible to cover a perfectly thrown pass 9+ feet in the air. I’ve also heard the Saints are interested in Davante Adams (Fresno St.), but he’s a possession WR considered a 2nd round pick by most teams. The Saints could also elect to go LB with this pick. David Hawthorne has been a bust of a signing, and he could be replaced by a reliable ILB like Ryan Shazier. Although Victor Butler returns, Rob Ryan could value a one-trick-pass-rushing pony like Dee Ford highly. Ford could alternate with Butler, Haralson, and Galette to give the Saints a nice OLB rotation. This is not a pressing need, in my opinion, but it wouldn’t hurt. Ryan is a creative blitzer and he’d find a way to get Ford clear lanes to attack opposing QBs. Other OLBs the Saints are high on are Demarcus Lawrence (Boise St.) and Jeremiah Attochu (G. Tech), but they are considered early 2nd round prospects by most teams. One sleeper pick if the board plays out poorly is center Marcus Martin out of USC. He’s the best center in this draft, and there’s a legitimate argument for taking him. Center isn’t considered an important position, but Brees is short and needs a strong interior O-line to be able to push back DTs in order to see clearly over the linemen. Tim Lelito is penciled in as the Saints’ current starter at center, and he’s only started two games in his career…both at guard. My last note on Martin is that the rest of the division is loaded with great interior DTs, so the Saints may feel to the need to mitigate their rivals’ strengths. Overall, my short-list in order of my most desired picks is as followed: Darqueze Dennard, Kyle Fuller, Jason Verrett, Marqise Lee, Brandin Cooks, Dee Ford, Trade Down to take OLB / other WR. In order to take the first three on my list, the Saints may have to trade up.

27. New Orleans Saints – Darqueze Dennard (CB – Mich St.)

***The CAROLINA PANTHERS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: OT, WR, CB, OG

-WAR ROOM: The pick should be either an offensive tackle or a wide receiver. I’ve been told the Panthers are interested in Joel Bitonio, and possibly Cryus Kounjado or Morgan Moses. A big receiver like Kelvin Benjamin makes a lot of sense for Cam Newton. Allen Robinson, Donte Moncrief or Davante Adams all are in play as well.

28. Carolina Panthers – Joel Bitonio (OT – Nevada)

***The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: G/C, SS, DT, TE

-WAR ROOM: Obviously, trading down is a strong possibility for Belichick annually. I wouldn’t be surprised if they trade this pick to a team looking to move back into the first round to take a QB. Otherwise, I think Jace Amaro could be a duel-threat with Rob Gronkowski. Weston Richburg would be a sleeper pick here. Perhaps the Pats are looking for Vince Wilfork’s eventual replacement in Ra’Shede Hageman or Dominique Easley. Easley is a major risk coming off his second torn ACL, but the Pats could bite the bullet.

29. New England Patriots – Dominique Easley (DT – Florida)

***The SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: WR, CB, C, OLB

-WAR ROOM: There is a lot of buzz going around that the 49ers are interested in moving up to acquire a receiver. They tried to lure in Desean Jackson but failed. In that regard, the Niners could be targeting Brandin Cooks. They’d love Odell Beckham but he may be a little too rich for their blood. Marqise Lee would make a lot of sense. Otherwise, the Niners could use a CB like Jason Verrett and Bradley Roby. Ra’Shede Hageman may be Justin Smith’s future replacement.

30. San Francisco 49ers – Ra’Shede Hageman (DT – Minn)

***The DENVER BRONCOS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: MLB, CB, DE

-WAR ROOM: I haven’t heard much about Denver’s pick. They are rumored to be trading up. I could see them eyeing Kyle Fuller, and Kony Ealy makes sense. I like the fit of Dee Ford to them. But I’ve heard John Fox is high on…

31. Denver Broncos – Cody Latimer (WR – Indiana) 

***The SEATTLE SEAHAWKS Are On The Clock***

-Team Needs: OG, CB, WR

-WAR ROOM: The Super Bowl champs are expected to make a surprising pick. They are high on Dominique Easley. Big-bodied WRs like Cody Latimer and Kelvin Benjamin make a lot of sense for this pick. I could also see Joel Bitonio and Xavier Su’a-Filo here because the offensive line could stand to improve with two spots, RT and LG, open for competition.

32. Seattle Seahawks – Xavier Su’a-Filo (OG – UCLA)

MOCK DRAFT SCORING: 

  • Picking Correct Team = 1 point… OR
  • Picking Correct Draft Slot/Number = 1 point
  • ^^^NOTE: Mocking pick/team right in original spot is still worth 1 point. No Duplicates. 
  • Tie-Breaker = Cumulative Variance of First Round Selections

Categories: The NFL Draft