Now that the NFL Scouting Combine is in the books, the next step in the pre-draft process is a wrap. All of these NFL draft prospects are one step closer to achieving the ultimate goal: a career as a professional football player. From this point forward, it will be pro days and individual workouts as we creep toward May and the 2014 NFL draft.
With that, it is time for an updated one-round mock draft. Doing a projection like this is based on multiple things. One is rumors. And oh my are the rumors in full effect now. Sometimes it is better to avoid the smoke altogether. However, some of all this smoke is fire and has to be taken seriously.
Another factor is the impending free-agency period. Between now and March 11th when free agency begins, lots of information is going to come out about veterans being released, franchised and re-signed. This always molds the team needs of all 32 franchises.
You throw all of this in a bucket with personal positional rankings and existing team needs, and you get this new mock draft.
The top of the round is certain to be a giant mess by May. Just take that to the bank. The Houston Texans sit at the top of the heap, and how they select is going to have huge repercussions through the round. If this holds true and the Texans opt for South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, the draft world could implode.
And along with it, all of those quarterback-needy teams will drool at the prospect that one of the top signal-callers is now one step closer to their team.
Clowney to the Texans also puts the St. Louis Rams in an interesting spot at No. 2. They do not want a quarterback this year, so that pick could be worth a mint. Just like the trade they made that allowed them to get this choice, they could trade down again this year and likely stockpile high-draft picks for the future.
A team like Cleveland perhaps with two picks in the round already and on the hunt for a quarterback could be willing to deal.
If the Rams sit tight, it seems that offensive tackle Greg Robinson from Auburn would be the pick. Robinson is a fascinating prospect with a tremendous ceiling and awesome physical tools. Tackle is also a need for the Rams, so sitting tight and taking Robinson makes sense. However, a move down, still snagging a tackle like Texas A&M product Jake Matthews or Michigan’s Taylor Lewan, would be quite shrewd.
Moving to the middle of the round, one of the most fascinating storylines of the draft is about the defensive tackles. There are several very talented interior defensive linemen in this group. However, their body types and styles of play could not be more different.
Notre Dame’s Louis Nix III is a massive nose tackle prospect whose game is built around his girth and power. Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald is a bit undersized, but he is lightning quick and technically elite. Beyond these two, Minnesota’s Ra’Shede Hageman is a massive, versatile athlete who is very raw. The order that these young men are selected will have as much to do with scheme fit as it will their individual talent.
The end of the round is always a case for some excitement. There are no trades projected in this mock draft, but you can just about count on a few. Teams that select early in the round see a player slide, and they roll the dice to go up and get them at the end of the round.
Along those lines, the teams picking at the end of the round are typically more successful, and therefore, they do not have the needs of other franchises. They can afford to move back if they want to select a player from a deep position and maybe get a bad team to overpay in doing so. So, expect multiple trades at the end of the first round in this deep draft class.
|1||Houston Texans||Jadeveon Clowney||Defensive End||South Carolina|
|2||St. Louis Rams (from Washington)||Greg Robinson||Offensive Tackle||Auburn|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||Teddy Bridgewater||Quarterback||Louisville|
|4||Cleveland Browns||Johnny Manziel||Quarterback||Texas A&M|
|5||Oakland Raiders||Blake Bortles||Quarterback||UCF|
|6||Atlanta Falcons||Khalil Mack||Defensive End||Buffalo|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Sammy Watkins||Wide Receiver||Clemson|
|8||Minnesota Vikings||Derek Carr||Quarterback||Fresno State|
|9||Buffalo Bills||Jake Matthews||Offensive Tackle||Texas A&M|
|10||Detroit Lions||Mike Evans||Wide Receiver||Texas A&M|
|11||Tennessee Titans||Anthony Barr||Linebacker||UCLA|
|12||New York Giants||C.J. Mosley||Linebacker||Alabama|
|13||St. Louis Rams||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||Safety||Alabama|
|14||Chicago Bears||Aaron Donald||Defensive Tackle||Pittsburgh|
|15||Pittsburgh Steelers||Justin Gilbert||Cornerback||Oklahoma State|
|16||Dallas Cowboys||Darqueze Dennard||Cornerback||Michigan State|
|17||Baltimore Ravens||Taylor Lewan||Offensive Tackle||Michigan|
|18||New York Jets||Eric Ebron||Tight End||North Carolina|
|19||Miami Dolphins||Zack Martin||Offensive Tackle||Notre Dame|
|20||Arizona Cardinals||Jason Verrett||Cornerback||TCU|
|21||Green Bay Packers||Jimmie Ward||Safety||Northern Illinois|
|22||Philadelphia Eagles||Kyle Fuller||Cornerback||Virginia Tech|
|23||Kansas City Chiefs||Ra'Shede Hageman||Defensive Tackle||Minnesota|
|24||Cincinnati Bengals||Kony Ealy||Defensive End||Missouri|
|25||San Diego Chargers||Dee Ford||Linebacker||Auburn|
|26||Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis)||Odell Beckham Jr.||Wide Receiver||LSU|
|27||New Orleans Saints||Brandin Cooks||Wide Receiver||Oregon State|
|28||Carolina Panthers||Marqise Lee||Wide Receiver||USC|
|29||New England Patriots||Louis Nix III||Defensive Tackle||Notre Dame|
|30||San Francisco 49ers||Calvin Pryor||Safety||Louisville|
|31||Denver Broncos||Bradley Roby||Cornerback||Ohio State|
|32||Seattle Seahawks||Jordan Matthews||Wide Receiver||Vanderbilt|