2014 NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Who Are the Experts Picking?

Nick KostosContributor IApril 22, 2014

2014 NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Who Are the Experts Picking?

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    John Bazemore

    The NFL's decision to move the NFL draft back until the second weekend in May has accomplished two drastically different goals: First, it's whipped all of the crazed NFL fans (and if you're reading this, welcome to the club!) into a frenzy. And second, it's provided more time for speculation and the creation of mock drafts.

    In that vein, it's time to roundup the most recent 2014 NFL mock drafts from experts around the nation and find out who they're picking.

    While some decry the mock draft, it's still a fun and semi-effective tool for predicting what each team will do. Yes, it's nearly impossible to forecast what will occur with 100-percent accuracy, but that's not the point. Reading what the experts think provides a glimpse into what some teams are likely pondering.

    This roundup is devoid of trades, which can and will throw each mock draft out the window. This exercise is meant to present the primary needs for each team currently selecting in the first round (sorry, Colts and Redskins fans) and provide a number of potential options to fill those holes.

    The five experts featured are:

    Here is a roundup of the 2014 NFL mock draft picks for each of those five experts, complete with analysis.

     

     

No. 1: Houston Texans

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    RICHARD SHIRO
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

    All five of the experts tabbed South Carolina pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney as the Houston Texans' choice for the No. 1 overall pick, and you'll find no consternation here.

    Clowney is the best player in this draft, and he has the ability to be a transcendent defender. He'll provide the Texans with punch in new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel's 3-4 scheme, combining with defensive lineman J.J. Watt to form one of the premier pass-rushing duos in the NFL.

    When it comes to the No. 1 overall pick, tune out the noise; the Texans aren't selecting a quarterback with the first pick, and they aren't selecting Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack, as Sports Illustrated's Peter King suggested.

    Take it to the bank: Jadeveon Clowney will be the No. 1 overall pick.

    And as the experts agree, he's the right choice.

No. 2: St. Louis Rams

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    Michael Conroy
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

    The experts once again agree in unanimous fashion, selecting Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson for the St. Louis Rams with the second overall pick.

    But unlike the selection of Jadeveon Clowney to Houston, there are legitimate alternatives to Robinson that should be bandied about.

    While Robinson is a fine selection and would help solidify the Rams offensive line, there's no doubt that the club could use a playmaker the caliber of Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins. With the Rams publicly committed to quarterback Sam Bradfordper Kevin Patra of NFL.com, it makes sense to surround him with as many weapons as possible, and Watkins is undoubtedly the best offensive weapon in the draft.

    But I won't begrudge the concordant selection of Robinson. He's the tackle with the most upside, and he could be an effective 10-year starter in the NFL.

No. 3: Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Rainier Ehrhardt
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo

    With the third overall pick comes some discord among our experts, as the five soothsayers have selected three different players for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    Out of those three players, Mack should be the selection for Jacksonville.

    There is no quarterback in this draft worthy of the third overall selection, and for a team in need of help in myriad areas, the Jaguars cannot afford to take one this early; that eliminates Manziel.

    Last season, the Jaguars finished with 31 sacks, tied for last in the league. It's imperative that the club be able to rush the passer, especially in a division (AFC South) poised to be dominated by Colts quarterback Andrew Luck for years to come.

    With Jadeveon Clowney already off the board, Mack becomes the next-best thing for coach Gus Bradley and general manager David Caldwell. With this being an extremely deep receiver class, the Jaguars can wait to grab one later and select Mack with the third overall pick. Ditto for quarterback, as the Jaguars can assess that position at the top of the second round.

No. 4: Cleveland Browns

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    TONY AVELAR
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

    The Cleveland Browns hit the clock with the fourth overall selection, and for the first time in this mock draft roundup, the five experts chose five different players, speaking to the nebulous nature of the pick.

    Mel Kiper (Johnny Manziel), Todd McShay (Blake Bortles) and Matt Miller (Derek Carr) all project the Browns to select a quarterback. Out of those three, Carr is the most likely selectionalthough I'm not sure it happens with the fourth overall pick, as the Browns also hold the 26th overall selection.

    In his latest "10-Point Stance," Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman writes that the Browns "really love" Carr, and that "the feeling with many in football is that Cleveland will take Carr with the 26th overall pick."

    Daniel Jeremiah likes Sammy Watkins here, and that would be an intriguing selection. Watkins would pair with Josh Gordon to form one of the best receiving combinations in the league, not to mention a frightening trio along with tight end Jordan Cameron.

    Evan Silva has new Browns general manager Ray Farmer opting for a safe pick in Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews, but I can't see that happening, at least not with other holes on the roster to fill.

    Out of these choices, Watkins would be the best fit at No. 4 overall, as his presence would give the Browns their most explosive and dynamic offense in years.

    But it's entirely possible that the team won't wait to take a quarterback and will tab one at fourth overall, as Kiper, McShay and Miller suggested.

No. 5: Oakland Raiders

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    Michael Conroy
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

    Perhaps no team needs to inject its roster with a young playmaking stud more than the Oakland Raiders, and it's imperative that general manager Reggie McKenzie hits a home run with the fifth overall selection.

    None of the experts believe a quarterback will be the selection, and that should not be the route McKenzie takes.

    The Raiders traded for former Texans quarterback Matt Schaub this offseason, and he'll be the starter in 2014. Plus, despite a swath of free-agent signings, the Raiders still desperately need to upgrade the talent level on the NFL's worst roster.

    Picking a quarterback here would be a reach, and it would likely end up costing both McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen their jobs. 

    The Raiders can wait to grab a quarterback and select either Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack, Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins or one of the top two tackles (Auburn's Greg Robinson or Texas A&M's Jake Matthews) with the fifth overall pick.

No. 6: Atlanta Falcons

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    Patric Schneider
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

    Last season, the Atlanta Falcons allowed Matt Ryan to be sacked 44 times and only managed 3.9 yards per carry on the ground. 

    It's obvious that the offensive line is in need of an upgrade, and four of the five experts agree, with three (Jeremiah, McShay and Miller) tabbing Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews as Atlanta's selection here.

    The Falcons can go in one of two directions with their first-round pick: an offensive tackle or a pass-rusher. And with both South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney and Buffalo's Khalil Mack likely to be off the board, that means tackle becomes the choice.

    If Auburn's Greg Robinson isn't available, Matthews provides the next-best choice. He'd help to immediately solidify the line and keep Ryan upright.

     

No. 7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Patric Schneider
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

    For the third and final time in this roundup, the experts have reached a unanimous conclusion, selecting Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the seventh overall pick.

    It's hard to argue with the logic behind this one, as Evans would really open up Tampa Bay's offense. 

    The Buccaneers defense should be very good in 2014 under the stewardship of new head coach Lovie Smith, especially with the free-agent signings of defensive end Michael Johnson and cornerback Alterraun Verner. That should allow Smith and new general manager Jason Licht to focus on offense with this selection.

    With wideout Mike Williams traded to Buffalo, there is a hole opposite Vincent Jackson at the No. 2 receiver spot, and Evans would fill that void. He'd also provide new quarterback Josh McCown with a big (6'5", 231 lbs) weapon, giving him a receiving corps similar to the one he possessed in Chicagowith 6'4" Brandon Marshall and 6'3" Alshon Jeffery. (Jackson is 6'5" in his own right.)

No. 8: Minnesota Vikings

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    John Raoux
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

    The Minnesota Vikings are in need of a franchise passer, and four of the five experts have them selecting a signal-caller with the eighth overall pick, albeit with four picking different players.

    Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald presents an enthralling option as Evan Silva's selection, especially with defensive-minded Mike Zimmer as the team's new head coach, but the likely choice still remains a quarterback.

    The NFC North is loaded with quarterbacks, with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, Jay Cutler in Chicago and Matthew Stafford in Detroit. The Vikings need a young quarterback of their own, and this is the spot to grab him.

    Matt Miller has long ranked Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater as his top overall player in this draft, and he should be available when the Vikings hit the clock.

     

No. 9: Buffalo Bills

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    Gerry Broome
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA

    The experts are once again split here, but the one player that was mocked twice to Western New York (by Todd McShay and Matt Miller) is North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron.

    Ebron would be a wonderful choice, particularly as quarterback EJ Manuel enters Year 2. Manuel struggled as a neophyte, and Ebron would serve as a major threat over the middle of the field. He'd join with Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin to form a fearsome foursome of pass-catchers.

    The club could also go in the direction of Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews, as Mel Kiper suggested, but there's a good chance he won't be on the board. Silva likes UCLA pass-rusher Anthony Barr, but with the Bills having finished last year with 57 sacks, they should address needs elsewhere. 

     

No. 10: Detroit Lions

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    Michael Conroy
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

    The five experts nearly reached consensus on the Detroit's selection, with Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, Matt Miller and Evan Silva all agreeing on Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Daniel Jeremiah was the lone dissenter, tabbing Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan.

    The Lions have a serious need for a playmaker in the secondary, and Clinton-Dix provides an ideal fit. Adding a cornerback is also a necessity, but Clinton-Dix represents the best value at this point. He has cover skills and impressive range, and he would greatly help the back end of Detroit's defense.

No. 11: Tennessee Titans

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    Michael Conroy
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame

    The Tennessee Titans are a team in flux.

    They have a new head coach in Ken Whisenhunt but no discernible identity, the presumed starting quarterback, Jake Locker, has shown an inability to stay on the field (missing 14 games over the past two seasons), and both the skill positions and defense need work.

    Other than that, the team is great.

    Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert is the most popular pick here in the expert mock drafts, with three of the five (Daniel Jeremiah, Mel Kiper and Matt Miller) selecting him for the Titans. The Titans must replace Alterraun Verner, who signed with the Buccaneers in free agency, and Gilbert fits the bill as the draft's best cornerback.

    While the team could surprise and select a quarterback, as Todd McShay suggestsespecially if Whisenhunt doesn't believe he can coax success out of the injury-prone Lockercornerback is the safer and more likely option.

No. 12: New York Giants

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    Michael Conroy
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

    Last season, the New York Giants suffered through a miserable 7-9 campaign, and while general manager Jerry Reese has filled some of the gaping roster holes in free agency, many still remain heading into the draft.

    The two primary needs are along the offensive and defensive line. The Giants could not protect quarterback Eli Manning in 2013, nullifying any hope for a successful offensive attack. Alos, the team's once-vaunted pass rush only managed a meager 34 sacks.

    In that vein, the best two expert picks would be Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan (Todd McShay) or Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald (Matt Miller). 

    Regardless of which way Reese goes, he'll need to improve both lines throughout the draft.

No. 13: St. Louis Rams

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    Patric Schneider
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State 
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois

    The 13th overall selection is held by the St. Louis Ramstheir second pick of the first round (along with No. 2 overall)—and it's anyone's guess whom they'll select with it.

    The five experts all have divergent opinions, but the most interesting selection belongs to Matt Miller, who projects Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr as the pick.

    Sam Bradford is currently the team's starting signal-caller, but he has underwhelmed in his four years in St. Louis. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel could also be an inspired selection and would breathe life into the franchise, particularly as it contends in the ultra-tough NFC West with Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona.

    If the club opts to go in another direction, general manager Les Snead would surely pounce on Alabama free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (as Daniel Jeremiah forecasts), provided he falls past the Lions at No. 10 overall.

No. 14: Chicago Bears

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    Michael Conroy
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Ra'Shede Hageman, DT/DE, Minnesota
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

    While the five experts selected three different players for the Chicago Bears with the 14th overall pick, there is one constant: they all play defense.

    Last season, the Bears ranked 30th in total defense and allowed an outrageous 5.3 yards per carry. Their offense is set, so defense will certainly be the direction general manager Phil Emery traverses toward.

    Three of the five experts (Daniel Jeremiah, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay) like Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald in this spot, and he'd continue to shore up the defensive line after the free-agent signings of ends Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young. Ditto for Minnesota defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman, the selection of Matt Miller.

    The secondary also needs help, and if Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert fell, he would be a terrific selection, as he was mocked here by Evan Silva.

    Any of these three players selected by the experts would make an instant impact on a Bears defense in sore need of it.

No. 15: Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Jonathan Bachman
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

    The Pittsburgh Steelers are at a crossroads, having gone 8-8 and missing the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. This is a critical draft for general manager Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin.

    Only one player was selected more than once by our experts: LSU receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was the choice of Mel Kiper and Matt Miller. With the Steelers needing more weapons for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Beckham looms as a possibility.

    But cornerback is the more pressing issue, and the other three experts have the Steelers heading in that direction. Out of three choices provided by the experts, I'm highest on Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard, Mel Kiper's pick. He's the best pressing corner in the draft.

No. 16: Dallas Cowboys

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    Colin Hackley
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Zack Martin, OT/OG, Notre Dame
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Kony Early, DE, Missouri
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Zack Martin, OT/OG, Notre Dame

    Much like the Steelers, the Dallas Cowboys find themselves at a crossroadsexcept with three consecutive 8-8 finishes (as opposed to two) and no postseason visits over that span. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones must nail this draft in order for the Cowboys to compete in the NFC East.

    Only one player was selected twice by our experts (Mel Kiper and Evan Silva): Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin. 

    Daniel Jeremiah's pick of UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr makes a ton of sense. The Cowboys are in dire need of edge rushers, especially after losing DeMarcus Ware in free agency. Barr would fit the bill and provide the pass-rushing prowess that the team desires.

No. 17: Baltimore Ravens

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    Michael Conroy
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Zack Martin, OT/OG, Notre Dame
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

    Last season, the Baltimore Ravens couldn't run the ball, averaging a putrid 3.1 yards per carry.

    So it stands to reason that the team must address the offensive line in the draft, specifically at right tackle. Eugene Monroe will man quarterback Joe Flacco's blindside at left tackle after signing a big-money deal in free agency, but right tackle Michael Oher signed with the Titans.

    Matt Miller and Evan Silva like Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan in this spot, while Todd McShay has Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin.

    The other two experts (Daniel Jeremiah and Mel Kiper) selected Louisville free safety Calvin Pryor, but offensive line is the bigger need in the Charm City.

    If Lewan drops to Baltimore, expect general manager Ozzie Newsome to make him the pick. Martin would be a nice fallback option, though.

     

No. 18: New York Jets

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    Rick Bowmer
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA

    Despite the signings of former Broncos receiver Eric Decker and Titans running back Chris Johnson, the New York Jets must still improve the talent level at the skill positions.

    And with the 18th overall pick, they have a chance to do just that, with three of the five experts projecting Gang Green to select a potential game-changing wide receiver.

    Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both tabbed Oregon State burner Brandin Cooks here. Cooks has electric speed and the ability to stretch opposing defenses.

    Daniel Jeremiah has LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. as the pick, and he'd be terrific as well. Either Beckham or Cooks would instantly upgrade the receiving corps, and that's the direction the Jets should move in.

No. 19: Miami Dolphins

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    David Zalubowski
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Zack Martin, OT/OG, Notre Dame
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Zack Martin, OT/OG, Notre Dame
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama

    In 2013, the Miami Dolphins offensive line was a disaster of historic proportions, both on and off the field.

    They couldn't keep quarterback Ryan Tannehill upright, allowing a league-high 58 sacks, and they suffered through the bullying scandal that rocked the NFL and left the team without three of its five starting linemen from a year ago (John Jerry, Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin).

    So it stands to reason that new general manager Dennis Hickey should upgrade the offensive line with the 19th overall selection, despite the free-agent signings of tackle Branden Albert and guard Shelley Smith.

    Daniel Jeremiah and Matt Miller mocked Notre Dame lineman Zack Martin to South Beach, while Todd McShay has Virginia Tech tackle Morgan Moses.

    If Martin slips past Dallas and Baltimore, he'd be the ideal selection at No. 19.

No. 20: Arizona Cardinals

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    Michael Conroy
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Dee Ford, DE/OLB, Auburn

    While Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told NFL.com's Marc Sessler at the scouting combine that he expects 34-year old quarterback Carson Palmer to play until he's "36 or 37," that doesn't mean the club won't look for his eventual successor with the 20th overall pick of next month's draft.

    In fact, three of the five experts have the Cardinals selecting a signal-caller. Daniel Jeremiah and Mel Kiper believe it will be Fresno State's Derek Carr, while Matt Miller has UCF's Blake Bortles.

    The Cardinals should definitely take a quarterback in this draft, but I'm not convinced it should be with their first-round selection. For a team fighting to contend with the Seahawks and 49ers atop the NFC West, selecting a developmental player in the first round would be tantamount to divisional suicide.

    The Cardinals need an impact player with this selection, and they can take a quarterback later on. Evan Silva's pick of Auburn pass-rusher Dee Ford makes sense.

No. 21: Green Bay Packers

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    J Pat Carter
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Ryan Shazier, ILB, Ohio State 
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech

    Once again, the Green Bay Packers find themselves in dire need of a playmaker at the back end of their defense.

    A safety combination of Morgan Burnett and Sean Richardson won't cut it. Richardson is currently listed atop the depth chart at free safety, and he has only played in 11 career games with zero starts. 

    Out of the expert picks, the one I agree with the most is Matt Miller's selection of Northern Illinois free safety Jimmie Ward. Ward is Miller's third-ranked safety in the draft, and with Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Louisville's Calvin Pryor potentially both off the board at this point, Ward makes the most sense for the Packers. 

     

No. 22: Philadelphia Eagles

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    Michael Conroy
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Kelvin Bejamin, WR, Florida State
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Marqise Lee, WR, USC
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Dee Ford, DE/OLB, Auburn
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

    The Philadelphia Eagles sent shock waves throughout the NFL world with the release of receiver DeSean Jackson last month, and three of the five experts have them replacing Jackson with another receiver in the first round.

    Both Daniel Jeremiah and Mel Kiper believe it will be Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin, while Todd McShay has USC's Marqise Lee.

    But the Eagles are loaded on offense, especially with coach Chip Kelly directing the fireworks, and they'd be better served to address the defense.

    Both Matt Miller (pass-rusher Dee Ford) and Evan Silva (cornerback Darqueze Dennard) have the Eagles doing just that, and either player would be a fine fit in coordinator Billy Davis' scheme.

No. 23: Kansas City Chiefs

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    Michael Conroy
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Marqise Lee, WR, USC
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

    Last season, the leading receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs was running back Jamaal Charles, who caught 70 passes. The wide receiver with the most catches was Dwayne Bowe, with 57, and no other wideout on the roster had more than 40 grabs.

    It's easy to see that coach Andy Reid needs to add more firepower to the passing attack in an effort to help quarterback Alex Smith.

    Four of the five experts have the Chiefs selecting receivers, with Daniel Jeremiah and Matt Miller settling on Oregon State's Brandin Cooks. Mel Kiper has USC's Marqise Lee, while Todd McShay opted for Indiana's Cody Latimer.

    If Cooks were to fall to 23rd overall, the Chiefs would strike gold with that selection, as he would add a new dimension to the offense.

No. 24: Cincinnati Bengals

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    Michael Conroy
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

    The Cincinnati Bengals possess one of the deepest rosters in the NFL, but cornerback looms as a legitimate area of need.

    Dre Kirkpatrick has been a disappointment since being selected with the 17th overall pick of the 2012 draft, Terence Newman is 35, and Leon Hall is coming off a torn Achilles. Fortunately for the Bengals, there is a veritable surplus of talented cornerbacks at the top of the draft.

    Four of the five experts agree that the Bengals should select a cornerback, with Mel Kiper and Todd McShay agreeing on Ohio State's Bradley Roby.

    But if I were choosing for the Bengals, I'd roll with Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller, the selection of Matt Miller. Fuller can tackle and defend the slot, and he would vastly upgrade the team's cornerback situation.

     

     

No. 25: San Diego Chargers

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    Michael Conroy
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

    Much like the Bengals, the experts agree that the San Diego Chargers should select a cornerback, with four of the five going in that direction.

    Interestingly enough, the four experts that chose cornerback all picked a different player: Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller (Daniel Jeremiah), Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert (Todd McShay), Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard (Matt Miller) and Ohio State's Bradley Roby (Evan Silva).

    Out of those four, the player most likely to be remaining on the board with the 25th pick is Roby, but the Chargers would be wise to select any of the four if they're available.

    If the season started today, Shareece Wright would be San Diego's No. 1 cornerback—that's not good.

    Either Fuller, Gilbert, Dennard or Roby project as excellent picks here.

No. 26: Cleveland Browns

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    Michael Conroy
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

    The Cleveland Browns are back on the clock for their second pick of the first round, and what they do with the 26th pick depends entirely on what they do with the fourth overall selection.

    If the Browns select a quarterback with the fourth pick, then all other options come into play. Mel Kiper (Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller) and Matt Miller (TCU's Jason Verrett) both project the pick to be a cornerback to pair alongside Joe Haden, while Todd McShay has Florida State receiver Kelvin Benjamin to pair with Josh Gordon.

    But if the Browns don't select a quarterback with the fourth pick, then quarterback is absolutely in play at No. 26. Daniel Jeremiah projects the pick to be Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, while Evan Silva has Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel.

    If Manziel were to drop all the way to 26, general manager Ray Farmer would have to choose him. The Browns have lacked an identity since returning to the league in 1999, and Manziel would provide a jolt to a franchise in sore need of one.

No. 27: New Orleans Saints

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    Doug McSchooler
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Marqise Lee, WR, USC
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): DeMarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State

    In the free-agent period, the New Orleans Saints fortified their safety position by signing Jairus Byrd and retaining Rafael Bush, but they still need help at cornerback.

    They did sign Champ Bailey, but he's no longer an effective starter, and the team needs a solid, young player to pair alongside Keenan Lewis.

    While a receiver like Indiana's Cody Latimer (projected by Mel Kiper and Matt Miller) would be both a nice addition and a luxury, the Saints have a more pressing need at cornerback.

    Todd McShay's pick of Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller makes a lot of sense. If Fuller isn't on the board, Ohio State's Bradley Roby would be a fine selection, as discussed here by Bleacher Report's Chris Simms in a video with Adam Lefkoe.

No. 28: Carolina Panthers

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    Michael Conroy
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Joel Bitonio, OT, Nevada
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia

    While everyone points (and rightly so) to the dumpster fire that is the Carolina Panthers receiving corps, the fact that the offensive line remains unsettled doesn't attract nearly enough play.

    It might surprise you to read that four of the five experts here selected an offensive tackle, but it shouldn't. The Panthers have yet to replace the retired Jordan Gross at left tackle, with Nate Chandler currently sitting atop the depth chart.

    Mel Kiper, Matt Miller and Evan Silva all selected Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses, who would immediately step into the starting lineup and improve the protection of quarterback Cam Newton.

    Daniel Jeremiah projects Fresno State receiver Davante Adams, as the team does sorely need pass-catchers.

    The Panthers can't go wrong with either a receiver or offensive lineman in the first round. General manager Dave Gettlemen just needs to make sure he fortifies both positions throughout the draft.

No. 29: New England Patriots

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    Michael Conroy
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Ra'Shede Hageman, DT/DE, Minnesota
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Ra'Shede Hageman, DT/DE, Minnesota
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Dominique Easley, DT, Florida

    The New England Patriots will once again enter an NFL draft as a bona fide Super Bowl contender, with the ability to select the best player available in a quest for the franchise's fourth Lombardi Trophy.

    And while four of the five experts believe defensive tackle is the way to go, I agree with Matt Miller, who tabbed Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro as the selection.

    The Patriots once possessed the best one-two punch at tight end in football with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, but with Gronkowski coming off a torn ACL and Hernandez in jail, the team could use another threat at the position.

    Amaro fits the bill, and he would be an excellent target for quarterback Tom Brady.

No. 30: San Francisco 49ers

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    Charlie Riedel
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

    An argument could easily be constructed that the San Francisco 49ers have come within one play of winning the Super Bowl in each of the past three seasons.

    There is no doubt that the 49ers are close to winning it all, so the team has the luxury of selecting the best player available with the 30th overall selection.

    Out of the expert picks, I most agree with those made by Mel Kiper and Evan Silva, both of whom selected a receiver. The 49ers still need a deep threat to stretch the field and open things up for receivers Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin as well as tight end Vernon Davis.

    If Oregon State's Brandon Cooks (Silva's pick) were to fall to 30th overall, he would be the perfect selection.

No. 31: Denver Broncos

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    Butch Dill
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Ryan Shazier, ILB, Ohio State
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Ra'Shede Hageman, DT/DE, Minnesota
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Ryan Shazier, ILB, Ohio State

    After watching his team get demolished by the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, Denver Broncos general manager John Elway has aggressively upgraded his defense this offseason.

    Elway signed pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware, cornerback Aqib Talib and safety T.J. Ward early in the free-agent period, but it's safe to assume that the defensive overhaul isn't yet complete.

    In fact, all five experts project this pick to come on the defensive side of the ball.

    In truth, any of the players picked by the experts would be solid, but Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier (Daniel Jeremiah, Evan Silva) is the most captivating.

    Per Mike Klis of the Denver Post, the Broncos recently hosted Shazier, who ran a 4.38 second 40-yard dash at February's scouting combine.

    Imagine Shazier's speed on the field along with Ware and fellow linebacker Von Miller; it'd be a sight to behold.

No. 32: Seattle Seahawks

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    Michael Conroy
    • Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA
    • Mel Kiper (ESPN): Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame 
    • Todd McShay (ESPN): Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA
    • Matt Miller (Bleacher Report): Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
    • Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Ra'Shede Hageman, DT/DE, Minnesota

    The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks hold the final pick of the first round and possess one of the most complete and deepest rosters in the NFL. That should allow general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll to select the best player available.

    Both Daniel Jeremiah and Todd McShay have tabbed UCLA guard Xavier Su'a-Filo with the pick, and it makes sense. Su'a-Filo is a mauler with athleticism, and with the memory of the Super Bowl triumph still fresh, it's easy to forget that the Seahawks offensive line struggled mightily at times last season.

    Matt Miller's selection (Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandjio) would also be interesting, as the team could use an upgrade at right tackle.

    Nick Kostos is a featured NFL columnist for Bleacher Report and an executive producer for SiriusXM's Mad Dog Sports Radio. You can follow him on Twitter here.