There are several changes in the second edition of the 2014 NFL Mock Draft. After the Senior Bowl, some players really made their names known. It has only been two weeks since the last mock, but already some players stocks have fallen and risen sharply and smokescreens and trade scenarios are beginning to surface.
So without further ado, the Houston Texans are on the clock…
1. Houston Texans (2-14) Team Needs: Quarterback, Offensive Tackle, Safety Key Stat(s) from 2013: 21st Third Down Offense (35.9%),30th Sacks (32.0), 32nd Turnover Differential (-20). The Pick: Teddy Bridgewater | Quarterback | Louisville There is still no reason for the Houston Texans not to pick the draft’s top quarterback. They could select Jadeveon Clowney and take a quarterback in the second round, but then they would not be getting Teddy Bridgewater. Trading this pick is also an option if a team like the Cleveland Browns feels like they cannot wait to select Johnny Manziel. The bottom line is that the Texans are still built to win right now, and plugging in a playmaking quarterback can help get them back on track.
2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) (7-9) Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Offensive Line, Safety Key Stat(s) from 2013: 19th Pass Defense (242 YPG), 27th Pass Offense (195 YPG), 28th Third Down Offense (34.4%). The Pick: Jake Matthews | Offensive Tackle | Texas A&M This high in the draft, there is really only one pick that truly makes sense for the Rams here – offensive tackle Jake Matthews. The Rams have needed offensive line help for years and Matthews is the top offensive lineman in the draft. Adding in that starting tackle Rodger Saffold is an unrestricted free agent only helps the argument.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12) Team Needs: Quarterback, Offensive Line, Defensive End Key Stat(s) from 2013: 28th Scoring Defense (28.1 PPG), 32nd Scoring Offense (15.4 PPG), 32nd Sacks (31.0). The Pick: Jadeveon Clowney | Defensive End | South Carolina Two weeks ago, I would have hated the idea of not giving the Jaguars a quarterback in the first round. However, with a deep quarterback class of players who can become starters, they can afford to wait until the top of the second round to take their next franchise signal caller. Blaine Gabbert is a disaster, but Chad Henne did okay. The Jaguars take the top defensive prospect in years here to improve their last-ranked sack totals, then find out they have a surprise signal caller waiting for them in Round 2.
4. Cleveland Browns (4-12) Team Needs: Quarterback, Running Back, Offensive Guard Key Stat(s) from 2013: 26th Turnover Differential (-8), 27th Run Offense (86.4 YPG), 31st Third Down Defense (44.7%). The Pick: Johnny Manziel | Quarterback | Texas A&M Whether it is a smokescreen or not, the Cleveland Browns have already been rumored to be in love with Johnny Football. This selection is just a matter of whether or not they trade up before the fourth pick to take Manziel or not.
5. Oakland Raiders (4-12) Team Needs: Quarterback, Offensive Tackle, Secondary Key Stat(s) from 2013: 25th Pass Offense (209 YPG), 26th Third Down Offense (35.0%), 27th Turnover Differential (-9). The Pick: Greg Robinson | Offensive Tackle | Auburn The Raiders continue to have needs all over the place, including quarterback. However, any new quarterback they get won’t be able to do much without blockers in front of him. The Raiders have four offensive linemen that will be unrestricted free agents when the league year begins. They need to nip this massive issue in the bud as soon as possible.
6. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) Team Needs: Tight End, Offensive Line, Defensive End Key Stat(s) from 2013: 20th Sacks Allowed (44), 29th Sacks (32), 32nd Rush Offense (77.9 YPG). The Pick: Khalil Mack | Outside Linebacker | Buffalo What happened to the Atlanta Falcons in 2013 is as much of a disaster as what happened to the Texans. In fact, both teams were popular Super Bowl picks for this year. One of the Falcons’ biggest issues was the fact they let extremely important players leave and barely did anything to remedy the losses. On top of offensive line needs, the Falcons need help on the defensive line too. Luckily for them, their offense is good enough to overcome offensive line woes for now. They go with the defensive line here, then address the offensive line afterward.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12) Team Needs: Tight End, Offensive Tackle, Defensive End Key Stat(s) from 2013: 24th Sacks (35), 27th Sacks Allowed (47), 32nd Pass Offense (176 YPG). The Pick: Anthony Barr | Outside Linebacker | UCLA The Buccaneers are a move or two away from being consistently competitive in the NFC South. They will welcome Doug Martin and Mike Williams back on offense from season-ending injuries, so their offense can manage. On defense, they need a more consistent pass rush in the front seven to put in with Gerald McCoy, Adrian Clayborn and Lavonte David. Barr will play a Von Miller-type role for the Bucs and it will help take them to the next level.
8. Minnesota Vikings (5-10-1) Team Needs: Quarterback, Offensive Guard, Defensive End Key Stat(s) from 2013: 23rd Pass Offense (209 YPG), 30th Third Down Defense (44.2%), 31st Pass Defense (287 YPG). The Pick: Derek Carr | Quarterback | Fresno State The Vikings really have an embarrassment of riches on offense – they just need a quarterback to tap the unit’s potential. How many more seasons can Adrian Peterson be kept away from a deep playoff run? In the remainder of the draft, the Vikings can focus on their offensive line and defense.
9. Buffalo Bills (6-10) Team Needs: Offensive Line, Defensive End, Safety Key Stat(s) from 2013: 28th Pass Offense (194 YPG), 28th Run Defense (128.9 YPG), 30th Pass Touchdowns (16). The Pick: Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix | Safety | Alabama The Bills have a nice, young defense but it might take a hit if Jairus Byrd isn’t brought back. They will need someone to either team with or replace Byrd so they need to move toward the top safety in the draft.
10. Detroit Lions (7-9) Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Defensive End, Secondary Key Stat(s) from 2013: 23rd Pass Defense (247 YPG), 28th Sacks (33.0), 30th Giveaways (34). The Pick: Sammy Watkins | Wide Receiver | Clemson The Lions have needs on defense, but this is simply a move they cannot pass up. Teaming Sammy Watkins up with Calvin Johnson immediately gives the Lions one of the best receiving tandems in the league.
11. Tennessee Titans (7-9) Team Needs: Running Back, Defensive End, Safety Key Stat(s) from 2013: 20th Run Defense (112.2 YPG), 20th Pass Touchdowns (22), 21st Pass Offense (219 YPG). The Pick: Kony Ealy | Defensive End | Missouri The Titans find themselves without a ton of needs, but they do need to do something with their defensive front seven. They have one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL in Jurrell Casey. Adding an end like Ealy will only benefit Casey and the Titans’ defense.
12. New York Giants (7-9) Team Needs: Offensive Line, Linebacker, Cornerback Key Stat(s) from 2013: 29th Run Offense (83.3 YPG), 31st Passer Rating (67.6), 32nd Giveaways (44). The Pick: Zack Martin | Offensive Lineman | Notre Dame The Giants defense hasn’t been great in a few years, but a massive part of their struggles in 2013 were due to offensive dysfunction and offensive line issues. Eli Manning is still one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, but he needs help staying on his feet. Adding Martin also helps the Giants’ 29th-ranked run offense.
13. St. Louis Rams (7-9) Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Offensive Line, Safety Key Stat(s) from 2013: 19th Pass Defense (242 YPG), 27th Pass Offense (195 YPG), 28th Third Down Offense (34.4%). The Pick: Darqueze Dennard | Cornerback | Michigan State The Rams addressed their top need on offense with their first pick, now they move to the defense (now led by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams). The Rams need safety help more than at corner, but Clinton-Dix is already off the board. Cornerback Cortland Finnegan has not panned out, and there can certainly be an upgrade over Trumaine Johnson, Brandon McGee and Quinton Pointer next to Janoris Jenkins. Darqueze Dennard is tough and as close to a shutdown corner as there is in this year’s draft class.
14. Chicago Bears (8-8) Team Needs: Offensive Line, Defensive Line, Safety Key Stat(s) from 2013: 30th Points Allowed (29.9 PPG), 31st Run Touchdowns Allowed (22),32nd Run Defense (161.4). The Pick: Louis Nix III | Defensive Tackle | Notre Dame This year, the Bears’ run defense was bad, awful, rough, poor, not good. They have a pass-rushing defensive tackle in Henry Melton, so why not add arguably the best run stopper in the draft in Louis Nix III? With all the injured players the Bears will get back next year, Nix is a perfect fit.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Defensive Line, Secondary Key Stat(s) from 2013: 22nd Third Down Defense (39.6%), 27th Sacks (34), 28th Run Offense (86.4 YPG). The Pick: Stephon Tuitt | Defensive End | Notre Dame For the second straight mock, Tuitt heads to Pittsburgh. It is just a natural fit. With Tuitt, the Steelers have some young, talented defenders that are just waiting to blow up as a unit. Tuitt is determined to be the best he can be, and for a player coming into the NFL as a 3-4 defensive end, that will be an absolutely needed trait.
16. Baltimore Ravens (8-8) Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Offensive Line, Cornerback Key Stat(s) from 2013: 22nd Turnover Differential (-5), 29th Yards per Reception (10.8), 30th Run Offense (83.0 YPG). The Pick: Marqise Lee | Wide Receiver | USC Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco already struggled getting the ball out last year after losing Anquan Boldin to a trade and Dennis Pitta to injury. Well, this year things do not get much better – Jacoby Jones, Dallas Clark, Ed Dickson and Pitta are all unrestricted free agents. Flacco needs playmakers.
17. Dallas Cowboys (8-8) Team Needs: Defensive Line, Linebacker, Safety Key Stat(s) from 2013: 26th Scoring Defense (27.0 PPG),30th Pass Defense (287.0 YPG),32nd Total Defense (415.3 YPG). The Pick: RaShede Hageman | Defensive Tackle | Minnesota The Cowboys have some big needs here, but perhaps none bigger than defensive line. Will Anthony Spencer be brought back? Regardless, Dallas can retain George Selvie and Caesar Rayford to help on the opposite side of Demarcus Ware. Dallas’ offense is always good, but now it’s time for the defense to catch up.
18. New York Jets (8-8) Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Offensive Guard, Cornerback Key Stat(s) from 2013: 30th Turnover Differential (-14), 31st Pass Offense (183.0 YPG), 32nd Pass Touchdowns (13). The Pick: Mike Evans | Wide Receiver | Texas A&M Last year, Jets quarterback Geno Smith had brilliant moments, and at other times he looked like his predecessor Mark Sanchez. Part of the issue is that the Jets don’t have anyone for the quarterbacks to throw to. They add a receiver here with the wingspan of a pterodactyl. Whether Smith is accurate or not, he can surely get the ball in Evans’ neighborhood.
19. Miami Dolphins (8-8) Team Needs: Running Back, Offensive Line, Cornerback Key Stat(s) from 2013: 26th Run Offense (90.0 YPG), 27th Total Offense (312.9 YPG), 32nd Sacks Allowed (58). The Pick: Cyrus Kouandjio | Offensive Tackle | Alabama According to ESPN, a source stated it is unlikely Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito return to the team in 2014. That leaves Miami with three big holes to fill on their offensive line. The Dolphins have a good, young quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, but no one was sacked more than he was last year. They need to protect Tannehill if they are going to get over the hump and into the playoffs.
20. Arizona Cardinals (10-6) Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Outside Linebacker, Cornerback Key Stat(s) from 2013: 19th Passer Rating (83.9), 23rd Run Offense (96.3 YPG), 29th Interceptions Thrown (22). The Pick: Taylor Lewan | Offensive Tackle | Michigan Eric Winston was an underwhelming free agent signing this year, and now he is a free agent again. On the other side, Bradley Sowell is their other starting tackle. That makes offensive tackle a massive priority for Arizona.
21. Green Bay Packers (8-7-1) Team Needs: Tight End, Linebacker, Safety Key Stat(s) from 2013: 24th Pass Defense (247.0 YPG), 25th Run Defense (125.0 YPG), 27th Pass Touchdowns Allowed (30). The Pick: Aaron Donald | Defensive Tackle | Pittsburgh Now that Aaron Rodgers will be back and healthy for the Packers, the Green Bay defense needs to catch up with the offense (much like in Dallas). The Packers would have quite the talented defensive line with Datone Jones and Aaron Donald running things.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) Team Needs: Linebacker, Cornerback, Safety Key Stat(s) from 2013: 20th Sacks (37), 24th Third Down Defense (40.3%), 29th Total Defense (394.2 YPG), The Pick: Justin Gilbert | Cornerback | Oklahoma State The Eagles get lucky and pick up Justin Gilbert as he slips to the twenty-second pick. The Eagles offense hit great strides last year, but their defense failed to meet the offense’s standards. They could really use defensive backs to help fix that. Gilbert is considered by some to be the best corner in the draft – at least the corner with the best ball skills.
23. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Defensive Line, Inside Linebacker Key Stat(s) from 2013: 22nd Run Defense (120.2 YPG), 25th Pass Defense (248.0 YPG), 27th Average Attempted Pass (6.5 YPAT). The Pick: C.J. Mosley | Linebacker | Alabama When Justin Houston got hurt and missed several games this season, the Chiefs went from one of the league’s best defenses to one of the league’s worst. They cannot afford for that to happen again. Pairing C.J. Mosley and Derrick Johnson behind Dontari Poe gives the Chiefs a phenomenal interior defense.
24. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) Team Needs: Outside Linebacker, Cornerback, Safety Key Stat(s) from 2013: 19th Penalties (102), 25th Giveaways (30). The Pick: Bradley Roby | Cornerback | Ohio State The Bengals did not have many weaknesses last year, but after Geno Atkins, Leon Hall and Taylor Mays went down with injuries, their pass defense became somewhat vulnerable. The Bengals need some insurance for their defensive backs and a steady presence at corner. Roby is their selection.
25. San Diego Chargers (9-7) Team Needs: Offensive Guard, Outside Linebacker, Cornerback Key Stat(s) from 2013: 20th Third Down Defense (38.9%), 27th Interceptions (11), 29th Pass Defense (259.0 YPG) The Pick: Jason Verrett | Cornerback | TCU The Chargers are very similar to the Bengals in that one of their only weaknesses is their pass defense. They lost Antoine Cason last offseason and now Richard Marshall and Darrell Stuckey are unrestricted free agents. The Chargers are legitimate contenders, but not if they don’t plug this hole.
26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis) (4-12) Team Needs: Quarterback, Running Back, Offensive Guard Key Stat(s) from 2013: 26th Turnover Differential (-8), 27th Run Offense (86.4 YPG), 31st Third Down Defense (44.7%). The Pick: Calvin Pryor | Safety | Louisville Many will want to give Johnny Manziel more weapons here, but what are the Browns going to do if safety T.J. Ward leaves in free agency? They will need to do something to make sure they aren’t left empty handed at safety if Ward leaves.
27. New Orleans Saints (11-5) Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Outside Linebacker, Cornerback Key Stat(s) from 2013: 25th Run Offense (92.1 YPG) The Pick: Kyle Van Noy | Outside Linebacker | BYU Keep an eye on the Saints drafting a wide receiver here based on Lance Moore declining and Robert Meachem being a free agent. However, in the meantime the Saints will continue to build up their defense. Van Noy is a great fit for this Saints defense and should hit the ground running.
28. Carolina Panthers (12-4) Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Offensive Line, Cornerback Key Stat(s) from 2013: 26th Total Offense (316.8 YPG), 29th Pass Offense (190.0 YPG). The Pick: Kelvin Benjamin | Wide Receiver | Florida State With Cam Newton at the helm, there is no reason the Panthers should not have a top 10-15 offense. The only issue with that is Steve Smith is the only legitimate #1 receiver around. Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn Jr. are nice, but the Panthers need something more. Benjamin gives them a big-bodied receiver who can help in the red zone and develop into something similar to Chicago Bears receiver Alshon Jeffrey.
29. New England Patriots (12-4) Team Needs: Offensive Line, Defensive Line, Cornerback Key Stat(s) from 2013: 14th Pass Touchdowns (25), 18th Pass Defense (239.0 YPG), 30th Run Defense (134.1 YPG). The Pick: Eric Ebron | Tight End | North Carolina It’s official; Aaron Hernandez is not walking through the door in Foxborough. With the injury issues Rob Gronkowski has had, the Patriots could really use some insurance for Gronkowski and someone who could be an upgrade over Hernandez. Tom Brady took more pity this year than any season I can ever recall for the mediocrity he has had at his disposal. Ebron immediately helps the issue.
30. San Francisco 49ers (12-4) Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Defensive Line, Cornerback Key Stat(s) from 2013: 18th Third Down Offense (36.5%), 21st Penalties (103), 30th Pass Offense (186.0 YPG). The Pick: Marcus Roberson | Cornerback | Florida The 49ers window of opportunity is still wide open, but they face the task of having Tarell Brown, Eric Wright and Donte Whitner all being free agents this offseason. They ought to make sure they can still defend the pass effectively by selecting the best corner still available.
31. Denver Broncos (13-3) Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Defensive Line, Cornerback Key Stat(s) from 2013: 22nd Points Allowed (24.9 PPG), 27th Pass Defense (254.4 YPG), 29th Penalties (117). The Pick: Dee Ford | Defensive End | Auburn This pick is a home run for the Broncos. They lost Elvis Dumervil before the season, Derek Wolfe during the season and Von Miller towards the end of the season. They could really use some pass rush help. Dee Ford has been on fire lately, and he could be a good fit in Denver’s defense.
32. Seattle Seahawks (13-3) Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Tight End, Offensive Line Key Stat(s) from 2013: 23rd Sacks Allowed (44), 26th Pass Offense (202.0 YPG), 32nd Penalties (128). The Pick: David Yankey | Offensive Guard | Stanford The Seahawks are one of the most complete teams in the league, if not the most. Their biggest issue is their offensive line. For a team that makes their bread and butter by running the ball, they need to make sure their offensive line is as good as it can be.
Jake’s 2014 NFL Mock Drafts have been featured in WalterFootball.com’s Mock Draft Database, DCProSportsReport.com’s Mock Draft Database and SB Nation’s BehindTheSteelCurtain.com and BloggingTheBoys.com.
Jake Arthur is the Associate Editor at the Indy Sports Report covering the Indianapolis Colts and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by the Colts and has full media access. He is a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. You can follow Jake and ISRon Twitter.
Jake Arthur is the Associate Editor/Pro Sports Editor at the Indiana Sports Report covering the Indianapolis Colts and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by the Colts and has full media access. He is a member of the Professional Football Writers of America.
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