January 29, 2014

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Post Senior Bowl Edition

#97, Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Round 1 / Round 2 / Round 3
(Thursday, January 30, 2014)

The Post-Senior Bowl/Pre-Super Bowl edition of my 3 Round 2014 NFL Mock Draft, with gifs of each player. Using the official draft order. No write ups for rounds 2-3.

You can view my 2014 NFL Prospect Rankings here and my 2014 NFL Draft Big Board here.

1. Houston Texans
Teddy Bridgewater*, QB, Louisville
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 205 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Though it seems like Houston has been connected to every signal caller except for Teddy Bridewater, the Louisville quarterback is the best passer in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Texans cannot afford to pass on a franchise quarterback.

2. Saint Louis Rams
Jadeveon Clowney*, DE, South Carolina
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 274 lbs. | Class: Junior
(via Washington)

Analysis: If Saint Louis keeps this pick, and Jadeveon Clowney is on the board, he will almost certainly be the pick. You can never have enough pass rushers, and GM Les Snead understands value. My guess is that Clowney would be used as an interior rusher next to Michael Brockers, and with Robert Quinn and Chris Long on the edge, the Rams would have the best front four in football.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 215 lbs. | Class: Senior (RS)

Analysis: Head Coach Gus Bradley and his staff got a good look at the best quarterback at the Senior Bowl, Derek Carr. He may not have the upside of a Blake Bortles or a Johnny Manziel, but of the three, he is the most NFL ready. With plenty of offensive weapons to work with, Carr should be able to step in right away and show why he's worth a top 10 pick.

4. Cleveland Browns
Johnny Manziel**, QB, Texas A&M
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 210 lbs. | Class: Sophomore (RS)

Analysis: Rumors have been circulating for weeks that the Browns want Johnny Manziel, and may even trade up for him. In this scenario, that won't be necessary. Can he be an elite quarterback at the next level? Only time will tell.

5. Oakland Raiders
Sammy Watkins*, WR, Clemson
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 205 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen isn't sure that the quarterback of the future is on the roster, but has also stated that he would prefer to sit a rookie quarterback for at least a year. For this reason, it's hard to imagine them pulling the trigger on Blake Bortles. A play making receiver like Sammy Watkins is exactly what this offense needs.

6. Atlanta Falcons
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 305 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: Atlanta may not have a shot at Clowney, but thanks to the early run on passers, they are in position to draft an elite player that will also fill a need. Pass rushers Anthony Barr and Khalil Mack are on the board, but protecting Matt Ryan will probably take precedence. The best player on the board is Jake Matthews, and plug and play left tackle.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 248 lbs. | Class: Senior (RS)

Analysis: Head Coach Lovie Smith would love to get his hands on a pass rusher with the seventh overall pick. Khalil Mack would fill their need for a SAM linebacker, and excel in a Von Miller type of role. He should also be able to put his hand in the dirt and rush from a defensive end position.

8. Minnesota Vikings
Blake Bortles*, QB, Central Florida
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 230 lbs. | Class: Junior (RS)

Analysis: If one of the top quarterback prospects falls to the 8th pick, the Vikings should run to the podium. In this case, it's Blake Bortles, who has a serious shot to be the first overall pick. I'm not a huge Bortles fan, but his physical tools and upside are what will make him a top 10 pick.

9. Buffalo Bills
Jace Amaro*, TE, Texas Tech
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 260 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: The Bills could go a few different directions here. A tackle would make sense, but Cordy Glenn played so well n the left side, so they would want to keep him there. Jace Amaro has drawn comparisons to Jimmy Graham, and while he may not be quite on that level, he'd be a welcome addition to this offense.

10. Detroit Lions
Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 245 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: The Lions almost always draft the best available player. In this case, that would be UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr. Like Khalil Mack, he projects best as a SAM linebacker in a 4-3, but should also be able to rush the passer from the RDE position.

11. Tennessee Titans
Greg Robinson**, OT, Auburn
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 320 lbs. | Class: Sophomore (RS)

Analysis: Greg Robinson is a top 10 talent, and has a shot to be the first tackle drafted. Tennessee should continue to improve their offensive line. Robinson would replace right tackle David Stewart, who may be released, and slide over to left tackle after the 2014 season.

12. New York Giants
Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 197 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: The Giants have several needs on defense. With several members of their secondary entering free agency, expect them to draft a defensive back early. The first corner off the board should be Darqueze Dennard. He isn't the biggest, nor is he the best in run support. However, Dennard is elite in coverage, and projects as a potential shutdown corner at the next level.

13. Saint Louis Rams
Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix*, FS, Alabama
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 208 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: A weapon for Sam Bradford? Insurance on the offensive line? The Rams have smart men in their front office, so they will recognize that the can probably wait until Day 2 to add another receiver, as well as additional help up front. Adding a play making safety to pair with TJ McDonald makes a ton of sense. "Ha Ha" Clinton-Dix is the type of play making safety the Rams need in their secondary.

14. Chicago Bears
Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 318 lbs. | Class: Senior (RS)

Analysis: The Bears have several holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball, starting with defensive tackle. Ra'Shede Hageman projects best as a 5-technique defensive end in a 3-4, but is versatile enough to be a dominant 3-technique defensive tackle in Chicago's 4-3 defense.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers
Cyrus Kouandjio*, OT, Alabama
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 310 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Replacing Mike Adams on the left side, Kelvin Beachum played surprisingly well. However, he may not be the long-term answer. He had a few rough games this season, but Cyrus Kouandjio is a very balanced tackle who has the potential to be one of the best in the league a few years from now.

16. Baltimore Ravens
Mike Evans**, WR, Texas A&M
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 225 lbs. | Class: Sophomore (RS)

Analysis: Torrey Smith is the real deal, but he can't make all of the plays in the passing game. Drafting a receiver here makes a ton of sense. Mike Evans is a big, physical receiver who could become the number one option for the Ravens.

17. Dallas Cowboys
Kony Ealy*, DE, Missouri
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 275 lbs. | Class: Junior (RS)

Analysis: The Cowboys are open to bringing defensive end Anthony Spencer back, but don't bet on that happening. Kony Ealy would be an excellent replacement. His combination of size, length, and athleticism is appealing, and his tape suggests that he should be a high first round pick.

18. New York Jets
Eric Ebron*, TE, North Carolina
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 245 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: This pick has to be spent on an offensive weapon. A quarterback's best friend is usually a pass catching tight end, and with Jace Amaro off the board, the obvious choice is Eric Ebron. Ebron is the most dynamic tight end prospect in 2014, and should be an immediate impact player.

19. Miami Dolphins
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Ht: 6-8 Wt: 315 lbs. | Class: Senior (RS)

Analysis: Miami must come away with a left tackle in the first round. Taylor Lewan has been drawing comparisons to Jake Long ever since he arrived at Michigan. The Dolphins organization would hope that Lewan can be the next Long.

20. Arizona Cardinals
Zack Martin, OT/OG, Notre Dame
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 305 lbs. | Class: Senior (RS)

Analysis: Zack Martin impressed at the Senior Bowl, and looks like a lock to be taken in the first round. Though he doesn't posses ideal length or quick feet, he is technically sound, and showed that he should be given a shot protecting the quarterback's blindside.

21. Green Bay Packers
Louis Nix III*, NT, Notre Dame
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 340 lbs. | Class: Junior (RS)

Analysis: Louis Nix would be excellent value here. Teams that are concerned about his health may regret passing on him, especially if the Packers snatch him up to replace B.J. Raji/Ryan Pickett. He projects as a Vince Wilkork type of nose tackle.

22. Philadelphia Eagles
Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 243 lbs. | Class: Senior (RS)

Analysis: Speaking of Senior Bowl risers, Dee Ford forced many draft scouts to take a second look at his tape. I came away very impressed. He projects best as a pass rushing outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, which is good news for the Eagles.

23. Kansas City Chiefs
Marqise Lee*, WR, Southern California
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 195 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Expect the Chiefs to target a wide receiver in the first round. Marqise Lee is a top 10 talent, but could slide a bit come draft day. They would be wise to snatch him up, pairing him with Dwayne Bowe.

24. Cincinnati Bengals
C.J. Mosley, OLB, Alabama
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 238 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: C.J. Mosley would be a steal late in round one. He's the most complete linebacker in this year's class. He's great against the run, and excellent in coverage. If they want Vontaze Burfict to remain at the WILL linebacker spot, Mosley should have no problem starting at the MIKE.

25. San Diego Chargers
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 200 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: Justin Gilbert has the size, athleticism, and ball skills you look for in a number one corner. Late in round one, he's a great value pick, but he also fills a big need in the Chargers's secondary.

26. Cleveland Browns
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 209 lbs. | Class: Senior
(via Indianapolis)

Analysis: After getting their quarterback earlier in the first round, the Browns could look target a receiver here. Jordan Matthews is so underrated. His skill-set is similar to Packers receiver Jordy Nelson. He would be the perfect compliment to Josh Gordon.

27. New Orleans Saints
Kyle Van Noy, OLB, Brigham Young
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 244 lbs. | Class: Senior (RS)

Analysis: New Orleans has been connected to BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy early in the draft prospect. His best fit may be as a WILL/SAM linebacker in a 4-3, but he has the pass rushing skills to succeed in Rob Ryan's 3-4 scheme.

28. Carolina Panthers
Allen Robinson*, WR, Penn State
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 210 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Cam Newton needs more weapons, and the Panthers cannot continue to reply solely on Steve Sith. They could target a receiver like Allen Robinson late in the first round. His route-running needs to improve, but Robinson has an impressive skill set. He can win at the catch point, and make plays after the catch.

29. New England Patriots
Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 288 lbs. | Class: Senior (RS)

Analysis: Aaron Donald was the most impressive player at the Senior Bowl. He's definitely the best interior pass rusher in this class, and would be a great pick for New England, who needed to upgrade the interior of their defensive line.

30. San Francisco 49ers
Calvin Pryor*, SS, Louisville
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 208 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: An already stacked 49ers team has the luxury of selecting the best available player. In this case, that player would also fill a need. Calvin Pryor has a chance to be the first safety drafted, so he'd be considered a steal here. He and last year's first round pick Eric Reid would form an impressive safety tandem.

31. Denver Broncos
Marcus Roberson*, CB, Florida
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 178 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Champ Bailey could retire at season's end, and Denver has several defensive backs who are entering free agency. Roberson missed some time this season, but he's one of the more impressive cover corners in the draft, and deserves late-first round consideration.

32. Seattle Seahawks
Stephon Tuitt*, DT, Notre Dame
Ht: 6-7 Wt: 312 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Seattle could use an interior pass rusher like Stephon Tuitt. Though his best fit might be as a 3-4 defensive end, he could also be a 3-technique defensive tackle.