NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones
With another weekend of football completed, it’s time to take an updated look at some possibilities for this April’s 2014 NFL Draft. This mock draft features the addition of draft-eligible redshirt sophomores; read on to find out who’s being projected where.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville*
This decision should be relatively easy for the Jaguars, as Blaine Gabbert has done nothing to show that he is a viable long term option; Bridgewater should be the pick if Jacksonville picks first.
2. New York Giants – DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina*
Although it’s in vogue to project UCLA pass rusher Anthony Barr ahead of Clowney right now, Clowney’s potential opposite 2010 first-rounder Jason Pierre-Paul is frightening.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon**
If Greg Schiano somehow survives beyond this season, look for the Buccaneers to give Mike Glennon another shot, but new leadership would likely want their own quarterback.
4. Minnesota Vikings – QB Brett Hundley, UCLA**
Hundley seems to have a leg up on the competition to become one of the top three quarterbacks selected, and Minnesota currently lacks a convincing long-term option.
5. St. Louis Rams (from Redskins) – OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
Joe Barksdale has been significantly better than anticipated at right tackle, but perhaps not good enough to prevent the Rams from drafting the top blocker in a strong class.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers – OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
With Levi Brown on injured reserve and his status for 2014 in question, it would appear that the Steelers lack anyone they’ve identified as an internal solution at left tackle.
7. Oakland Raiders – WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson*
With a disappointing crop of top secondary options in this year’s draft class, the best move for the Raiders may be to find another playmaker to help their 30th-ranked passing attack.
8. Buffalo Bills – LB Anthony Barr, UCLA
Barr, who could realistically project to outside linebacker in either a three-or-four-man front, should be a very appealing option to Mike Pettine for Buffalo’s varied defensive looks.
9. Carolina Panthers – OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama*
Jordan Gross is still playing at a high level, but he will turn 34 next July and has indicated that he is considering retiring at this season’s conclusion, putting Kouandjio in play.
10. Atlanta Falcons – DT Louis Nix, Notre Dame*
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff knows from his time in New England how beneficial it can be to have a versatile, two-gapping nose tackle option on the defensive line, currently a weakness.
11. Houston Texans – QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M**
As the season continues to implode, Texans fans are clamoring for a replacement at quarterback, and given the guaranteed money in Schaub’s deal, this is likely the team’s best option.
12. Arizona Cardinals – LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Mosley, the best player available on the board, would be an interesting complement to fellow inside linebacker Daryl Washington, replacing aging incumbent Karlos Dansby.
13. New York Jets – LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
New York’s offense could use some help as well, but projecting the athletic, versatile Mack to a team run by John Idzik makes too much sense given his involvement in selecting Bruce Irvin.
14. St. Louis Rams – FS Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, Alabama*
T.J. McDonald has been better than anticipated, giving the Rams one potential starting-caliber player at safety, but the spot opposite him could currently use an upgrade.
15. Cleveland Browns – QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson
If Boyd is still available at this point, the Browns should be ecstatic to select him, as temporary sensation Brian Hoyer is probably not the team’s ideal starter moving forwards.
16. Philadelphia Eagles – CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon*
Philaldelphia’s defense is holding the team back thus far in 2013, which should make head coach Chip Kelly receptive to addressing it first, especially with Ekpre-Olomu on the board.