NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones
With another week of games in the books, it’s time to reconsider the 2014 NFL Draft; read on to find out where everyone’s currently being projected. Note: no redshirt sophomores are included in this mock.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville*
Blaine Gabbert currently holds a 36.0 quarterback rating through the three games he’s appeared in thus far this season; he’s completing less than half of his passes.
2. New York Giants – DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina*
Typically a strength of the Giants in the past, the team’s pass rush has stagnated in 2013, with Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka lacking success in that area.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – LB Anthony Barr, UCLA
If head coach Greg Schiano is able to keep his job, adding a dynamic pass rusher like Barr may make more sense than scrapping the Mike Glennon experiment.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers – OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
Considered something of a bargain at the time, Pittsburgh’s selection of Mike Adams in 2012 has been a disaster, with him having been relegated to a bench role.
5. Minnesota Vikings – QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson
Christian Ponder’s grasp on the starting job moving forwards is tenuous at best, with six turnovers through three games this season and a recently-sustained rib injury.
6. St. Louis Rams (from Redskins) – LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Although Taylor Lewan would make an attractive bookend opposite left tackle Jake Long, Joseph Barksdale has actually been surprisingly effective on the right.
7. Carolina Panthers – WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson*
Given the way that Jordan Gross is playing, the Panthers may be able to get away with temporarily postponing the offensive tackle position in favor of a receiver.
8. St. Louis Rams – FS Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, Alabama*
Despite being suspended from the team recently, Clinton-Dix remains the front-runner to be the first defensive back drafted given the league’s recent emphasis on the position.
9. Oakland Raiders – DT Louis Nix, Notre Dame*
A cornerback would be nice, but Bradley Roby’s recent struggles make investing in a foundational defensive lineman like Nix a better value at this point in the draft.
10. Buffalo Bills – OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama*
Right tackle Erik Pears was recently exposed at Cleveland, creating an opening for a massive, nimble tackle to stabilize the offensive line opposite Cordy Glenn.
11. Atlanta Falcons – OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
There’s no way Lewan should have slid this far down the board, greatly benefiting an Atlanta team which has received little to no protection for quarterback Matt Ryan.
12. Philadelphia Eagles – CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon*
Through four weeks, the Eagles rank 30th in the league in pass defense, with incumbent starter Bradley Fletcher’s injury history creating concerns about his viability.
13. San Diego Chargers – CB Jason Verrett, Texas Christian
It’s too early to call recent free agent signing Derek Cox a miss, but the team still needs to find a starter opposite him, as the three options on roster are underwhelming.
14. Arizona Cardinals – LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
The offensive line still needs plenty of attention, but a linebacker could also be in play given John Abraham’s age and lack of effectiveness as a stand-up edge rusher.
15. New York Jets – WR Marqise Lee, Southern California*
It wasn’t cost-effective for the Jets to part ways with Santonio Holmes this past offseason, but they can save over $8 million by releasing him prior to the 2014 season.
16. Houston Texans – OT Cameron Erving, Florida St.*
Derek Newton, who has started at right tackle since 2012, has been disastrous enough over that span to warrant investing a first-round pick in securing his replacement.