Monday, May 5, 2014

Final 2014 NFL Mock Draft Top 10 Picks

A lot has changed since my last mock draft. The biggest story has been Bridgwater falling to the second round by most estimates. I still have him as my 2nd QB, but it was clear that he was a big question mark for being considered the top pick for so long. Nobody was really talking about him, with Manziel stealing most of the spotlight. Manziel's pro day has made him a lock as a top 8 pick. I don't see him falling to the Vikings at 8, but if he does, the entire fan base is praying we grab him. Reports coming out that we have Bortles as our #1 was not what I wanted to see. I would be okay with us taking him, just not at 8. Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard, and Anthony Barr all seem like better picks there. I would love to see us take one of them at 8, and then trade up into the late 1st/early 2nd and go for Bridgewater, but I don't see our front office doing something so logical. The most likely scenario is probably us taking Bortles at 8, or maybe trading down to 16ish and hoping to get him there. This is a draft we really need to get right. I know one guy only has so much impact on a team, but we are only one or two guys away from being a playoff team. There should be no scenario where we don't end up with one of Manziel/Bortles/Bridgewater/Carr. A top linebacker or corner in addition would put us in the playoffs within 2 years.

This is my final mock draft of the top 10 picks, look for more to come immediately post-draft.

1. Houston Texans

JaDeveon Clowney, DE South Carolina

The Texans have not hinted which way they are headed with this one yet. I believe that Manziel and Clowney have the best potential in this draft, but Clowney is the safer pick. The guy is a freak of nature and is a lock to be a top 5 DE at some point in his career.

2. Saint Louis Rams

Greg Robinson, OT Auburn

The Rams would be thrilled with Clowney here. Although they did essentially give up RG3 for this pick, Clowney has a chance to revolutionize his position. A great combine means he is a lock for a top 2 pick.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars

Sammy Watkins, WR Clemson

The Jags will give Manziel very serious consideration here, but with Blackmon's future in the air, their receiving core is in desperate need. I doubt they think Chad Henne is any sort of future for them, but he will do better with a stud like Watkins on the outside.

4. Cleveland Browns

Khalil Mack, OLB Buffalo

I think Cleveland will be split between Mack and Manziel here. Mack's incredible combine will sway them in the end. He would be a huge boost to this defense and be a playmaker as an OLB or DE right away. 

5. Oakland Raiders

Johnny Manziel, QB Texas A&M

The Raiders have suffered through years of awful draft picks. Even if they are fortunate enough to have Manziel fall to them, the nightmares of JaMarcus will make it difficult to send this pick in. I think they consider a safer pick like a Matthews or Lewan, but in the end can't pass up the potential franchise QB.

6. Atlanta Falcons

Jake Matthews, OT Texas A&M

The Falcons are hoping to bounce back from a disappointing season, finishing last in their division. Matt Ryan was sacked nine times by the Panthers in one game. The statistics say the O-Line needs an upgrade big-time, and Matthews and Robinson seem like a coin-flip, despite Robinson having a slightly better combine.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Taylor Lewan, OT Michigan

After releasing Donald Penn, I really think Tampa Bay will go OT here. The gap between Robinson/Matthews and Lewan has been closing, and I see all 3 of them going top 10. Tampa may give Mike Evans a look here, but ultimately I think this pick makes a lot more sense.

8. Minnesota Vikings

Blake Bortles, QB UCF

After declining the 5th year option on Christian Ponder, the Vikings will be taking a QB in this draft. Assuming either Manziel or Bortles is on the board, they will take one here. I think there is a decent chance of them trading down into the middle or late 1st if they think Bortles will still be around, with Bridgewater or Carr as insurance. If both top QB's are gone before 8, look for them to consider Anthony Barr or Justin Gilbert to patch up the defense.

9. Buffalo Bills

Justin Gilbert, CB Oklahoma State

Really though Mike Evans was a fit here, but now I'm think he may fall out of the top 10. Sammy Watkins has created a lot of separation as the number 1 wideout, and I think that will cause teams to pass on Evans. The bills next best option is to patch up their secondary. I think they look at Gilbert, Dix, and Dennard and take Gilbert as scouts have given him a slight advantage over the other two.

10. Detroit Lions

Anthony Barr, OLB UCLA

    Many have the Lions looking at a receiver to line up aside Megatron here, but if Watkins and Evans are both off the board, Barr is a great selection for them. His freakish size and athleticism would significantly add to the pass rush and complement Suh's run stopping nicely. I think that they will think long and hard about Evans but with many failed attempts at drafting WR's in the past side with Barr, who is more of a sure star in my opinion.

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