Two extra weeks have been added to this year’s pre-draft run-up, allowing even thicker smokescreens and microanalysis as teams assemble their draft boards and draftniks attempt to discern just how things might play out on May 8.
With a few more free agency signings and a ton more predraft rumors shuffling the board, here’s The Huddle’s second stab at mocking the 2014 NFL draft.
1. Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, Texans
The last time Houston had multiple first-overall options they went d-line; unless the Falcons knock their socks off with a trade offer, odds are they follow the same path in 2014
2. Rams (from Redskins): OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
Some draftniks peg Robinson as the top overall player on the board, and while Sammy Watkins is tempting Robinson is the more likely call for Jeff Fisher.
3. Jaguars: QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
After slotting Teddy Bridgewater to the Jaguars in Mock 1.0, we’ll knee-jerk to Bridgewater’s suddenly plummeting draft stock and give them the controversial play-making fan favorite they passed on when they didn’t take Tim Tebow a couple years back.
4. Browns: WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
Holding that extra first-round pick allows the Browns to snag Watkins here and find someone to throw to him later.
5. Raiders: QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida
Feels like a slow build for the Raiders as they narrow their options to Khalil Mack and a quarterback to develop. Unless they’re enamored with a Day 2 guy, expect them to go QB.
6. Falcons: OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
The Falcons have successfully traded up in Round 1 before (Julio Jones), but if they’ can’t swing a deal with the Texans for Clowney they’ll be happy to settle for an anchor on their much-maligned offensive line.
7. Buccaneers: WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
On the one hand you have Lovie Smith looking at an idyllic piece to his Tampa-2 puzzle in Khalil Mack; on the other, you have an opportunity to give Josh McCown a Twin Towers South version of the receivers he found success with in Chicago. In today’s NFL, advantage: offense.
8. Vikings: QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
The Matt Cassel signing means the Vikings don’t “need” need a quarterback, so they could go Mack here and select a signal-caller on Day 2. But unless there’s some legit teeth to Bridgewater’s pre-draft stock slip, the opportunity to grab the most pro-ready QB in this class is far too good to pass up.
9. Bills: LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
It’s a deep receiver class so if Mike Evans doesn’t fall there are more opportunities on Day 2. In this scenario, the Bills get to keep hometown hero Mack in town—a win-win scenario for the franchise.
10. Lions: CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
An athletic corner and a deep receiver class have Detroit thinking defense on Day 1.
11. Titans: LB Anthony Barr, UCLA
Kony Ealy was slotted here in Mock 1.0, but that may have been a bit aggressive. With Barr still on the board, we’ll slot the Titans with the same position but a different guy.
12. Giants: TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina
A second straight first-round pick spent on the offensive line wouldn’t be a complete surprise, but the Giants’ new-look attack opts to help Eli Manning in another way: with a pass-catching tight end to play the Jermichael Finley role in Ben McAdoo’s offense.
13. Rams: S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
We had Clinton-Dix mocked to the Rams in 1.0, just like almost every other mock. It makes too much sense, so you know it won’t happen.
14. Bears: DT Aaron Donald, Pitt
The mock community is split between Donald and fellow DT Timmy Jernigan going to the Bears here. We’ll stick with our Mock 1.0 prediction and keep it Donald.
15. Steelers: CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
Like the Bears, the Steelers have a definite need most mocks are addressing here—and Dennard is just the guy to fill it.
16. Cowboys: OLB/DE Dee Ford, Auburn
Plenty of options for Dallas here, with the most popular amongst the mock community being a safety or help along either line. All make sense, but with DeMarcus Ware gone the Cowboys need someone to get after the passer so Mock 2.0 sticks with Ford over fellow edge rusher Kony Ealy.
17. Ravens: OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Plenty of teams could use Lewan so he’s no lock to slide this far—and don’t be surprised if Ozzie Newsome bumps Baltimore up the board a bit to make sure they land left tackle help.
18. Jets: WR Odell Beckham Jr., LSU
The Eric Decker signing is a step in the right direction, but the Jets’ receiving corps still needs help. We had Marqise Lee slotted here in Mock 1.0, but Mock 2.0 switches to the fast (and fast-rising) Beckham.
19. Dolphins: OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame
Martin to Miami is another common mock fit, though names like Cyrus Kouandjio and Joel Bitonio are on the rise as well. We’ll stick with the versatile Martin to help rebuild the Dolphins’ o-line.
20. Cardinals: LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Unless Arizona is excited about one of the next-tier quarterbacks, they’ll go defense here with decent pass-rush and secondary options available. But the best move in the NFC North might be upgrading at linebacker, with Mosley getting the nod over Ryan Shazier.
21. Packers: S Calvin Pryor, Louisville
Mocks are all over the board on the Packers, which isn’t a surprise for a roster with no glaring needs and a front office that keeps its draft day cards close to the vest. We mocked them Pryor in 1.0, and while options like Ryan Shazier and Kony Ealy are intriguing, we’ll stick with the Louisville safety in 2.0 as well.
22. Eagles: CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State
The temptation is for Chip Kelly to use this pick to replace DeSean Jackson; Brandin Cooks springs to mind in that role. But there’s steam building for Roby as an athletic fit for a Philly defense that could use some help.
23. Chiefs: WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
A healthy chunk of the mocks you’ll find have the Chiefs drafting a wide receiver; Mock 1.0 had them taking Odell Beckham, but this time he’s already off the board. Andy Reid drafted DeSean Jackson in Philly; he can take a shot on a similarly speedy receiver in Cooks here.
24. Bengals: CB Jason Verrett, TCU
Cincy is down a defensive coordinator and lost a few bodies via free agency as well. At this point in the draft there are options at just about every position, but as in Mock 1.0 we have the Bengals making secondary help their primary focus.
25. Chargers: DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
Plenty of defensive options here, from CB Kyle Fuller to a bevy of defensive linemen including Louis Nix and Ra’shede Hageman. After giving the Bolts Nix in Mock 1.0, we switch names but not positions and roll with Jernigan here.
26. Browns (from Colts): QB Derek Carr, Fresno State
The Browns love it when a plan comes together, and if they can upgrade their receiving corps at 4 and still get their quarterback of the future here… well, that’s A-Team material.
27. Saints: CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech
Mock 1.0 had the Saints selecting Ryan Shazier; Mock 2.0 stays on the defensive but picks between pass rushing help (Kony Ealy, Demarcus Lawrence) and a cornerback for Champ Bailey to mentor. Edge here goes to Fuller.
28. Panthers: OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
Logic suggests the Panthers look to replace Steve Smith, and their receiving corps is in dire need of help. But they’re also losing multiple offensive linemen to retirement, and the buzz is that they’re enamored with Kouandjio.
29. Patriots: DE Ra’shede Hageman, Minnesota
Plenty of players on the board fit the Patriots’ typical draft model… which means it’s probably the year Bill Belichick shakes up the model. Mock 1.0 gave the Pats Eric Ebron, but he’s off the board so we’ll join the growing list of mocks who have Hageman slotted here.
30. 49ers: WR Marqise Lee, USC
There’s still a need for receiver help in San Francisco, and if Lee is still on the board here he coupld be the solution to that very issue.
31. Broncos: DE Kony Ealy, Missouri
Denver seemed to address the free-agency loss of Eric Decker via free agency. They did the same to their need for pass rush help, but it’s not as if DeMarcus Ware is a long-term option so look for the Broncos to draft an eventual replacement to understudy.
32. Seahawks: OG Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA
A team as run-heavy as the Seahawks can’t turn down a crack at the best guard in the draft.