Vance’s Final 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Round One

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The 2014 NFL Draft is less than a week away, so here is my final mock draft predicting where players will land, and not where I think they should go.

Round One

  1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, Defensive End-The closer the draft gets, the more it looks like this will be the pick. All of the quarterbacks come with question marks, and the Texans might consider the better value there in the second round. Clowney is a game-changing talent and worthy of the number one pick.
  2. St Louis Rams: Greg Robinson, Offensive Tackle-This one makes too much sense. The Rams biggest need is at tackle, and the best player available is a potentially dominating one. Robinson is a freakish athlete, who combines size and strength with uncanny quickness and agility.
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Khalil Mack, Linebacker-Even with all of the quarterbacks on the board, the Jaguars look up upgrade the defense. Mack is a terrific pass rusher, but is also solid in coverage and the run game. The Jaguars have been looking for a player like Mack and it’s too hard to pass on.
  4. Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel, Quarterback-The first quarterback off the board has possibly the highest bust potential, but a very high ceiling. He brings excitement and an ability to electrify crowds with his freelancing and frenetic style. The Browns desperately need, and have been looking for, a franchise passer.
  5. Oakland Raiders: Sammy Watkins, Wide Receiver-The Raiders added Matt Schaub, so they might feel like they can wait on a quarterback. They need a playmaker at receiver and Watkins fits the bill. He’s the best of the receivers in the class and will give Schaub a nice weapon to work with.
  6. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, Offensive Tackle-Look for Atlanta to try and trade down if the draft falls this way. They need a pass rusher, but the better value is Matthews, who is a top five talent. He’s even more NFL-ready than Robinson, and brings experience and a feel for the position to the league.
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans, Wide Receiver-Quarterback is definitely a possibility here, but Glennon showed enough last year to earn a shot in 2014, and they could get a value player a little later on. Evans is a big playmaker, and gives the team a scary pair of pass catchers.  A trade back is possible here.
  8. Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater, Quarterback-If the Vikings want to compete in the NFC North, they need a quarterback, and Bridgewater is the most ready to play in this class. There are questions about his size, but he’s smart, accurate, and a talented. He’s an instant upgrade for new head coach Mike Zimmer.
  9. Buffalo Bills: Taylor Lewan, Offensive Tackle-Tackle might not be the team’s biggest need, but there is value with Lewan. He’s big with a mean streak that team’s desire. There are off-field concerns, but on the field, he’s a potentially devastating blocker. EJ Manuel will be pleased with this pick.
  10. Detroit Lions: Justin Gilbert, Cornerback-Gilbert isn’t the best cornerback in the class, but his upside is off the charts, and he is a great return man as well. The Lions have to get better in the secondary, and the speedy Gilbert could form a nice duo with Darius Slay once they both gain some experience.
  11. Tennessee Titans: Blake Bortles, Quarterback-With the quarterbacks dropping a bit, the Titans get a shot at a one of the top four. Bortles has a big arm, but has the ability to pull the ball down and pick up yards too. He has tremendous upside, and takes over for Jake Locker, who never put it together.
  12. New York Giants: Aaron Donald, Defensive Tackle-Donald is a steal here in terms of talent. The Giants want to have a dominating defensive line and the former Pitt star could be a great player. He will get pressure up the middle and allow the defensive ends to make plays by commanding attention.
  13. St Louis Rams: HaHa Clinton-Dix, Safety-This pick almost seems too logical to happen. The Rams have a pair of terrific young cornerbacks, but need a center-fielder. Clinton-Dix has great range and though he needs to refine his tackling, he brings a big stick when coming after receivers.
  14. Chicago Bears: Darqueze Dennard, Cornerback-With Donald and Clinton-Dix off the board, cornerback has the best value. Dennard is a physical cornerback who knows how to get between the ball and the receiver. The Bears are aging at the corner spots, and an injection of youth is needed.
  15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Eric Ebron, Tight End-Last season, the Cincinnati Bengals added an athletic tight end that many predicted the Steelers would take. This time, they pull the trigger on Ebron, a weapon that makes the offense more dangerous. They could take a receiver here as well.
  16. Dallas Cowboys: Anthony Barr, Linebacker-The Cowboys need a pass rusher, and Barr is the best on the board at this point. He’s still a little raw, and needs to develop his game, but he’s immensely talented, and fills a huge need. They could draft an interior lineman as well here.
  17. Baltimore Ravens: Zack Martin, Offensive Tackle-With Steve Smith added, the Ravens can focus on the offensive line. Martin could start right away at right tackle, but can also play guard if needed. He’s a savvy blocker who moves well and knows how to use leverage to gain the advantage.
  18. New York Jets: Odell Beckham Jr, Wide Receiver-The Jets need a playmaker at receiver, and Beckham certainly fits that description. With tremendous speed and ability with the ball in his hands, he is a nice fit across from Eric Decker. Cornerback is an option too.
  19. Miami Dolphins: Ra’Shede Hageman, Defensive Tackle-Miami misses out on the top offensive tackles, so they move to the other side and get a starting defensive tackle. Hageman is big, but he’s quick, and gets tremendous push. He can struggle in the mental aspects of the game, but his ability is undeniable.
  20. Arizona Cardinals: Calvin Pryor, Safety-The Cardinals could take a quarterback here, but they need pass rush and backend help on defense. Pryor is a big hitter and a great tackler. He’s a little bit raw in coverage, but overall, he’s an upgrade at safety in Arizona.
  21. Green Bay Packers: CJ Mosley, Linebacker-Based strictly off talent, Mosley is a top 15 pick. He’s very good in coverage, but also excels in pursuit, and generally finds himself in the right place. His leadership skills are a plus too. He does bring injury concerns, however.
  22. Philadelphia Eagles: Marqise Lee, Wide Receiver-Cornerback might be an even bigger need here, but Lee is one of the most talented players in this draft, despite his stock slipping after a tough 2013 season. He is electric with the ball in his hands, and could be a rookie of the year candidate in this offense.
  23. Kansas City Chiefs: Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver-The Chiefs badly need some targets for Alex Smith down the field. Cooks is blazing fast, and another player dangerous after the catch. He’s smaller than ideal, but he is a game-breaking player who adds teeth to the offense.
  24. Cincinnati Bengals, Kyle Fuller, Cornerback-After injuries ended Leon Hall’s season in 2013, the Bengals were forced to count on aging veterans at cornerback. Fuller has good size, and is also fast with great ball skills. He’s more physical than he looks as well.
  25. San Diego Chargers, Jason Verrett, Cornerback-If Verrett were a couple of inches taller, he’d be a top ten selection. He’s tough, smart, and his anticipation is top notch. He’s also an experienced player who has all the skills a team could want. He could be a steal, even at pick 25.
  26. Cleveland Browns: Bradley Roby, Cornerback-The Browns could elect to add a receiver here, but they could use a number two corner just as much. Roby was a top ten prospect before this past season, but a down year hurt his stock. He has all the ability in the world, and could be great.
  27. New Orleans Saints: Dee Ford, Linebacker-Ford is lightning quick off the snap, and adds another pass rusher to an already solid defense. He’ll be switching to a 3-4 linebacker, but showed the skills to successfully make the move. They could go with a receiver, but the value with Ford.
  28. Carolina Panthers: Morgan Moses, Offensive Tackle-Carolina certainly has a huge need at receiver, but in a deep class, it’s more important to give Cam Newton some protection with their first pick. Moses is big, but shows quick feet in pass protection. He’ll keep getting better.
  29. New England Patriots: Louis Nix, Defensive Tackle-This is the hardest pick to predict in the entire draft because the Patriots always manage to surprise. However, Nix is great value here at a position of need. They’re aging at defensive tackle, and Nix is a mountain of a man, but with good agility and movement skills.
  30. San Francisco 49ers: Davante Adams, Wide Receiver-The Niners might trade up for a shot at one of the top receivers, but staying put and keeping picks might be more prudent. If they stay at 30, Adams provides a sky-high upside to pair with Michael Crabtree. His ability to go up and high-point balls is second to none.
  31. Denver Broncos: Xavier Su’a-Filo, Offensive Guard-After addressing some of their biggest needs in free agency, the Broncos look to address an offensive line that was just overmatched in the Super Bowl. Su’a-Filo is strong, and a good pass blocker, using good balance, and technique.
  32. Seattle Seahawks: Joel Bitonio, Offensive Guard-The defending champs could take a receiver to replace Golden Tate, but getting better up front, and giving Russell Wilson time to work, is of the utmost importance. He doesn’t have much experience inside, but has all the tools to succeed.

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