The Last 2014 NFL Mock Draft You’ll Ever Need

NFL-Mock-Draft-2014-stageI love mock drafts. There, I admitted it. The definition of a “guilty pleasure” (according to Google,) is “something… that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.” If that doesn’t describe mock drafts, I don’t know what does.

It’s one thing to do a mock on your own, but it’s an entirely different experience to involve others, either one or two other friends or a large group where each participant drafts for one or more teams.

My good friend Dave Johnson and I have been doing a mock draft a few days before the NFL Draft for years. This year we skipped the inefficiencies of email and used Facebook chat to do it, resulting in a more real-time experience and an overall good time.

We had so much fun, in fact, that I’m posting it to our blog, nearly a month after the actual NFL Draft, possibly making this officially the last 2014 NFL Mock Draft on the internet.

So, without further ado…

 

Pick Team Comments (unedited from our chat)

1

hou Chris: You hear that idiot Justin Blackmon is probably done (drugs)? This per Ian Rappaport. If true, what a complete jackass.

I’ve got the odd-numbered picks this time, so I’ll get this party started in the least surprising possible fashion: Jadeveon Clowney is a Texan.

[Actual pick: DE Jadeveon Clowney]

2

stl Dave: I hadn’t seen the thing on Blackmon. What a waste. StL is happy enough with Barksdale, their biggest OL needs are inside he tackles! where they can get high caliber help later. They need to bring pressure, either with a pass rusher or an elite WR who can bring the game to the other guy. They’re going for the pass disrupter, Kahlil Mack.

Jeez…autocorrect is less helpful than it thinks it is. That should have been a simple, unexcited “inside the tackles.”

[Actual pick: OT Greg Robinson]

3

jax Chris: Rumors on Twitter are about as reliable as Charlie Sheen on location in Amsterdam, but whether the Blackmon story is true or not, the Jags are going to jump at the chance to add Sammy Watkins to their roster. He’s one of three players in this draft I consider worthy of being taken first overall in any draft.

[Actual pick: QB Blake Bortles]

4

cle Dave: Cle talks trade with three teams looking to jump up for Robinson, but ultimately none offer the premium they need to justify not just grabbing their QB here. Derek Carr is now a Brown.

[Actual pick: the Bills did offer the premium to jump up, but it was for WR Sammy Watkins, not Robinson]

5

oak Chris: And with that pick, the last of my top-rated guys is gone. The Raiders would have given him very serious consideration right here. Their phone is ringing off the hook with teams looking to move up to get a tackle, but, alas, this is a no-trade mock.

They brought in Donald Penn as a 2-year stopgap solution at LT after the Saffold/Veldheer fiasco, and they’re paying him $5M a year. To heck with that. I’ll grab a guy who will be their LT for years to come, Greg Robinson, and figure out who to play where later.

[Actual pick: OLB Kahlil Mack]

6

atl Dave: Atl is frustrated they were unable to complete a trade up for any of the three guys in this draft they really covet, Clowney, Mack or Robinson. They somewhat petulantly wait the full ten minutes to turn in the Jake Matthews card, despite knowing from the outset he was their fallback pick if all three higher rated guys were gone. Considering they called nearly every team to try and work out trade combos ahead of time, pretty much everybody knows they’re just stalling here, and the consensus is its kind of a dick move.

[Actual pick: OT Jake Matthews]

7

tb Chris: The Bucs just gave Anthony Collins $30M to replace Donald Penn at LT, and they like the young ‘uns at RT, so they’re not really in the Lewan market. The key to the Tampa 2 is getting pressure from your front four, and they signed Michael Johnson away from Cincy to improve that area. You can never have enough pass rushers, though, and there’s a good one sitting there for them right now: Anthony Barr.

[Actual pick: WR Mike Evans]

8

min Dave: The Vikings are giddy their top QB is still there, they very happily bring in Teddy Bridgewater. Yes, he’ll be the face of the franchise.

[Actual pick: traded down one spot with the Browns (originally Buffalo’s pick,) who took CB Justin Gilbert]

9

buf Chris: I would have gone QB there, too, but a different QB. Bridgewater is one of the most confusing NFL Draft prospects to me this year. He played so well, but everything has gone wrong since the season ended.

But that’s the Vikings’ problem now. The Bills are set with Cordy Glenn at LT (who is also on one of my iGM teams, thank you very much,) but the rest of the line was pretty bad last year. With the last of the “big three” tackles still on the board, they’ll snare Taylor Lewan right here.

[Actual pick: after Cle traded this pick to Minny to move up one spot, the Vikes took DE Anthony Barr]

10

det Dave: Detroit’s phone is ringing off the hook here as the mid-R1 teams with very specific needs/prospect ideas try and get their guy. The Jets, Mia, Pit and Bal are all vying for Ebron, the Bears and Cowboys trying to leapfrog the Giants for Donald…lot of pick chart value to be had here for the Leos in a trade down. They’d be happy with either ‘bama defender, are going with the guy they think will be an elite 3-down playmaker in C.J. Mosley.

[Actual pick: TE Eric Ebron]

 

We only hit on two of the actual top ten picks, Clowney (duh) and Jake Matthews. While projecting the NFL Draft is always difficult, this year was made particularly so by the muddled QB situation. Manziel was a complete wildcard (“it only takes one team…”) How would teams view Bortles in terms of how raw he is? Bridgewater was amazing in 2013, but what effect would his sub-par pre-draft season have? And, would teams evaluate Derek Carr on his own, or would they be haunted by his brother’s disappointing career as the number one overall pick in 2006?

 

NFL-Mock-Draft-2014-Anthony-Barr

 

Pick Team Comments (unedited from our chat)

11

ten Chris: I like that pick quite a bit. I think a lot of us amateurs have been becoming more comfortable with Mosley going a bit higher than maybe a month ago. His leadership on the field is going to make a difference for the Lions.

When the Titans hired new DC Ray Horton, Ken Whisenhunt said, “Scheme-wise, one of the most impressive things about Ray is his flexibility. He has the ability to go between a 4-3 and 3-4 and put our players in the best position to succeed.” That’s great, but their personnel is set up for more of a 3-4 look right now, so much as I like Donald, I’m going to go in another direction.

They didn’t take the 5th-year option on Locker, which is telling. He could still blossom this year, which would be a blessing, but it’s likely he’ll just be holding down the fort while their new franchise QB gets up to speed. Blake Bortles is a Titan.

Dave: I’d be pretty surprised if the Titans didn’t pick a QB. They REALLY need one.

[Actual pick: OT Taylor Lewan]

Chris: I hear the Giants hired Carl Lewis to hand in the card for the next pick…

12

nyg Dave: The Giants are thrilled to see the elite game breaking TE still on the board at 12. He’s got the size to win any battle across the middle, and the speed to beat Carl Lewis to the podium with the card. But then Carl lewis is 52.

He’s so fast, in fact, he got the card up there before I even typed his name on it…Eric Ebron. [Actual pick: WR Odell Beckham, Jr.]

13

stl Chris: Love it. Were you torn between him (Ebron) and Donald? I’ll bet in real life they’d be thrilled to have a shot at either; here they had a shot at both.

The Rams love that three QBs went already; it has pushed a lot of talent down the board. What it didn’t do is give them a shot at one of the tackles, as Jake Long is really wearing down.

They need a DB, but you addressed that side of the ball with Mack up top. Their mantra all off-season has been “must help Sam,” and since there are no OLs I like here, let’s give him a weapon.

This one might be a bit of a surprise, but I watched some tape on this guy recently, and he has grown on me immeasurably, to the point where I have him higher than Mike Evans. Odell Beckham, Jr.

[Turns out I was justified in elevating Beckham, as he was gone one pick before the Rams. Actual pick: the Rams’ formidable DL gets, uh, formidabler with DT Aaron Donald]

14

chi Dave: That is a surprise. I could see them committing to OT early, and targeting WR at 13, and scouting the bejesus out of Lee, Evans and Beckham to figure out their favorite among the likely candidates to be value on the board. I’d have also gone WR for them there, but Evans.

The Giants meanwhile were thrilled to have Donald and Ebron available, but never gave real serious thought to Donald over Ebron. They VERY strongly considered swapping picks with Chicago so the Bears could grab Donald, but they weren’t willing to sweat out the Rams passing on the TE.

In the end, it was the Bears sweating, but they lucked out, and their guy fell to them. They rush to the podium with Aaron Donald‘s name.

[Another near miss, where the player projected went in real life one spot earlier. Actual pick: CB Kyle Fuller]

15

pit Chris: Sorry. I was looking something up. Watch this: (highlight video of Odell Beckham, Jr.)

Add Pittsburgh to the list of teams that giddily watched the QBs go ahead of them. In potentially the easiest decision ever, they draft Justin Gilbert. Best available meets biggest need. And Mike Evans waits on…

Dave: If St louis wants to see him (Beckham) make plays like that they might want to grab Mettenberger at 44.

[Actual pick: LB Ryan Shazier]

16

dal Dave: The Cowboys are taking forever on the phone… ESPN cuts to Manziel, who answers his phone… the TWITTERSPHERE BREAKS!! Holy crow! The Commissioner approaches the podium with the card… An intern snaps a quick pic and tweets it – it has Johnny Manziel‘s name on it!

Thats right, the Texans have jumped up to 16, swapping their 2 and 3 this year, and 1 next year for Johnny Freakin’ U. They manage to land THE two talked about guys in the draft, and ESPN promptly closes their Bristol offices and packs everything up for Houston.

Wait, what, were doing no trades? Ok. The Cowboys trade down anyway, the board doesn’t set up with value for them here, and they’ve never met a trade down offer they couldn’t love. But if they HAVE to pick here, they’ll take Clinton-Dix, FS ‘ bama.

(Note: We decided to go ahead and let this trade count.)

[Actual pick: yet another R1 offensive lineman for the Cowboys: OG Zack Martin]

17

bal Chris: That makes four QBs in the top 16. Manziel’s going to be fascinating to watch. Same as Tebow, though obviously a very different player. They’re going to have to adapt the offense to his skill set, but if it works, he could be terrific.

On to the Ravens. They have needs on both lines, safety, and WR. #2, #3, and #4 on my board right now each address one of these, and I could see going with any of them.

In the end, Baltimore is all about defense, and they’re in transition. There’s another guy here who’s risen on my board of late, and he might be a bit of a surprise again: S Deone Bucannon, who I have ahead of the other two (safeties) by the slightest of margins.

[Actual pick: ILB C.J. Mosely]

18

nyj Dave: The Jests were thwarted in their effort to move up for Ebron, but have been rewarded by the positional priorities of others, and are flat out thrilled to see Mike Evans fall to them.

They have a number of significant needs, and in fact have CB rated internally as a higher need, and have a higher grade on Dennard. But the beat writers have asked seven too many questions about will they target a CB, and how do they plan on dealing with Revis in NE, and hey – they didn’t get to be the “Jests” by tuning out the media and doing the right thing.

Welcome to NY Mr. Evans.

[Actual pick: S Calvin Pryor]

19

mia Chris: Incredible. He (Evans) goes at 18. Never saw that coming, but I’m in part to blame for liking Beckham better. And, by the way, Miami was prepared to toss their needs out the window and give him to Tannehill to play with.

In the end, though, Miami’s very happy to see the guy they wanted all along sitting there for them. They solved their LT woes by signing Brandon Albert, but still have a screaming need on the right side.

A lot of media types will call this a reach. Nonsense. Cyrus Kouandjio is a heckuva lot closer to the “big three” than the crowds think. And, now, he’s a Dolphin. We’ll get them a guard or two later on where the value is.

Dave: I have him 19th overall on my board. The Cards are pissed, btw. They were drooling thinking he’d fall one more pick. Perfectly fair pick.

Chris: I’d be very worried about the Jets taking him; glad Evans was there. On Bucannon – what sold me was what Dan Shonka of Ourlads said about him: “He is the biggest, fastest, most productive, durable, explosive, and athletic safety in this draft.”

How do you really feel, Dan?

[Actual pick: possibly scared off by concerns about arthritis in Kouandjio’s knee, the Dolphins went with a different OT: Ja’Wuan James]

20

ari Dave: The Cards get over their Cyrus envy quickly, and are happy to add a force at OLB in Ryan Shazier to solidify what is already an impressive defense. They have strength at every level of their D now, and are in good shape to rumble with the big boys in the NFC West.

[Actual pick: traded to the Saints, who took speedy WR Brandin Cooks]

We went zero-for-ten in the middle of R1, with a couple of near misses. Not our best work, but we’re not trying to predict here; we’re trying to pick who we would pick if it was our necks on the line as the GM of each team. The way we’ll look at this is three years from now, how many teams would have been better off with the player we picked than the one they took in real life.

NFL-Mock-Draft-2014-CJ-Mosley

Pick Team Comments (unedited from our chat)

21

gb Chris: I know you like him (Shazier) quite a bit, and GB was absolutely giving him a long look. Their defensive backfield’s a mess, though, and that’s their biggest need. They’d have been happy to take Clinton-Dix here, but there’s an even better value that will help this unit. Darqueze Dennard is a Packer.

[Actual pick: I was on the right path mentioning him: FS Hasean “Ha Ha” Clinton-Dix]

22

phi Dave: The iggles waste no time picking Dee Ford, backfield disruptor, Auburn.

[Actual pick: the Browns moved up to this spot to take the most polarizing player in this draft, QB Johnny Manziel]

23

kc Chris: Ah, you know I loved him (Ford) in Mobile, and then he went out and won the MVP in the game. One of my very favorite players in this draft. I thought you might try to replace Desean Jackson, but pass rush is their biggest problem, and there are a ton of WRs in this draft.

KC is more than happy to fill their biggest need with the guy I thought you might take: Brandin Cooks.

[Actual pick: DE Dee Ford]

24

cin Dave: Cincy needs beef on the DL, and jumps at the chance to get an edge presence with size, Stephon Tuitt from ND.

[Actual pick: CB Darquez Dennard]

25

sd Chris: SD has needs everywhere on their defense, except at safety, which is where the value is right now. Tim Jernigan is my top-ranked DL right now (oops,) but he’s a one-gapper.

There is a guy I like here, but he carries some risk. Remember Alphonso Smith? I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. He was a 5’9″ CB from Wake Forest that the Broncos traded their 2010 R1 to Sea for their 2009 R2 to select. I had the same pick Sea had for my iGM team in 2009, and I mirrored the trade, which ultimately allowed me to nab Sam Bradford. In real life, the Seahawks got some guy named Earl Thomas in 2010.

Be that as it may, I think my guy is more Brent Grimes than Alphonso Smith, and I’m going to pull the trigger on him right now: CB Jason Verrett of TCU.

[Actual pick: CB Jason Verrett – hey! Got one right!]

26

cle Dave: Cleveland’s offense all of a sudden looks respectable. Got their QB early, and now they’re able to grab their speed WR to provide a complimentary weapon opposite Gordon. Marquise Lee, welcome to the Dawg Pound.

[Actual pick: the Eagles traded down to this spot and drafted OLB Marcus Smith]

27

no Chris: NO is another team, like the Chargers, who have needs in the secondary, but not at safety, where Clinton-Dix and Pryor are tapping their toes. They have needs on the OL, too, but I don’t see value there right now. Lee would have been our guy, but with him gone they’ll hit another area of need with CB Kyle Fuller.

[Actual pick: the Cardinals traded up to this spot and drafted SS Deone Buchanon]

28

car Dave: Car has needs in a surprising number of places. They really like the way Kelvin Benjamin would replenish their WR corps, but they can’t ignore the way adding a premier safety would solidify the one weak area of their D.

Adding his skills over the top together with their front 7 pressure skills will cover the offense’s sins. OG and WR are deep, they can pass on Jackson/Martin/Benjamin here. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is the pick.

[Actual pick: another case of mentioning the right guy but ultimately going a different direction in the mock. The Panthers opted for WR Kelvin Benjamin.]

29

ne Chris: I love that pick. Ha Ha is a big-time talent who should be to their secondary what Kuechly is to their front seven. Turning our focus to New England, I think they’ll continue to attempt to rebuild the defense. Recent friction with awesome-but-aging Vince Wilfork leads them to this choice: NT Louis Nix.

[Actual pick: DT Dominique Easley – right position, wrong guy]

30

sf Dave: San Fran remains optimistic about Crabtree’s recovery, was happy to keep the aging but seemingly ageless Boldin, and likes the how Lloyd fits with their offense. Still, this is not a young, healthy and dominant WR corps.

They’ve got eyes for Kelvin Benjamin. They also know what those with sharp eyes will tell you – their interior offensive line is a bigger need than Iupati’s or Boone’s reputation would imply. They didn’t actually play all that well this past year. Zack Martin is a guy they could surprise a lot of people with, and boy-howdy would he be a good fit against the fierce front 7s they face six times a year in Sea, StL and Ari.

But they see value having fallen in Kelvin Benjamin, with OG value remaining to be had in the middle rounds. They show Kelvin the Benjamins, so to speak.

[Actual pick: SS Jimmie Ward]

31

den Dave: I like the Nix fit to NE. I doubt they’d actually trade up for him, but I doubt they’d accept a trade down offer (unless overwhelmed) from an early R2 team looking to jump into late-R1 to grab a falling QB, for instance.

Cle might take that type trade, as might NO. Car probably (wrongly) assumes they don’t need to accumulate picks in quantity, and wouldn’t trade down. They might even trade up from last 20s. SF, Den, and Sea all seem willing to listen to moving down a few picks into early R2.

Only thing stopping those formerly routine moves is the 5th-year team option for R1 picks. As we’ve seen this week, that has real value. You want to move from picking 36th to 29th, you need to offer every bit and maybe more of trade chart value.

Anyway, I could see NE moving down with a wide variety of different boards in front of them, but if Nix is there, I like them picking him instead of moving.

Chris: Denver’s top need is on the D-line, where they have lost Robert Ayers, Shaun Phillips, and Jeremy Mincy. They have Derek Wolfe and Kevin Vickerson coming back from injury, but they still need more help here.

Fortunately, the top guy on their board meets their top need. They’ll grab a versatile defensive tackle here. Timmy Jernigan is a Bronco.

[Actual pick: CB Bradley Roby]

By the way, I love Kelvin Benjamin. I’m not sure exactly how he’ll be used, and that makes me a bit nervous. I don’t think he’s Calvin Johnson, though he has some of his qualities. I do think he’s closer to Anquan Boldin in terms of what he’ll look like on Sundays, but he’s way less polished as a route runner.

As a complete aside, Chris Davis had an interesting year, didn’t he? Returns the missed FG to beat ‘bama and gets beat by Benjamin for the national championship. He got so much camera time that he should change his last name to Kardashian.

32 sea Dave: The board sets up well for the defending world champion Seattle Seahawks (and who from our generation ever would have thought we’d write that?) Interior OL is their biggest need, with two leaky guards and a suspect center. Zack Martin is big, tough and nimble…and they can plug him at either guard spot or at C.

He not only provides excellent talent inside, he provides positional flexibility – something that greatly helps Sea bring up the level of the weakest link in their O-line chain, and provides future flexibility in how they seek to continue to improve.

Another OG pops as huge R3 value? Get him, Martin moves to C. A center is there, Martin is your G.

[Actual pick: traded to the Vikings, who took QB Teddy Bridgewater]

Chris: If we kept going, I’d have taken Stanford DE/OLB Trent Murphy for your Cowboys at #33 following your trade-down with Houston. I’d then be looking to add another big body to Dallas’ front seven in the next couple of picks.

And there you have it, the last 2014 NFL mock draft ever in the history of the world. In this last segment, we got one “right,” Jason Verrett to the Chargers. We had Bridgewater going to the right team – Minnesota – but at the wrong spot.

As I led off with, if you ever have the chance to do a mock draft using this format – with one or two friends alternating picks – it’s a real eye-opener. I think the main reason is that we all tend to try to get players to places where we think they fit, even subcounsciously. When you’re drafting with someone else, you’re really forced to focus on the team you’re picking for right now and what they need and how they may view the board.

I hope you enjoyed this. Only eleven months until the NFL Draft!

Thats-All-Folks

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