Friday, August 30, 2013

Preseason 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Complete

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Teddy Bridgewater: The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted Blaine Gabbert in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, but Gabbert has not yet proved he is worthy of the starting job. Gabbert was placed on the IR after the first 10 games, where his passer rating finished at a mediocre 77.4. Backup Chad Henne was even worse, at 72.4. The Jaguars are in desperate need of a talented, consistent quarterback to resurrect this struggling franchise. Teddy Bridgewater passed for 3,718 yards, with 27 touchdowns and a passer rating of 160.5. Coming from Louisville, Bridgewater's big arm and elusiveness in the pocket allows him to make big plays at any point in the game.

2. Oakland Raiders: DE Jadeveon Clowney: The Oakland Raiders have just one returning starter on the defensive line, after Matt Shaughessy, Richard Seymour, and Desmond Bryant all left via free agency. At defensive end, the Raiders acquired Andre Carter, who at age 34, is signed on a one-year deal. Jadeveon Clowney, a defensive end from South Carolina, is by far the most talented player of the draft, and it is possible surpasses Teddy Bridgewater as the first overall pick. The Raiders need help on the defensive line, and Clowney has the potential to be a Hall of Fame defensive end in the NFL. Clowney may be the key to an Oakland turnaround.

3. Tennessee Titans: OT Jake Matthews: The Tennessee Titans are trying to re-vamp their offensive line, who ranked 21st in the league in sacks allowed. Guard Chance Warmack, the first round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, will join Andy Levitre at guard, while two tackles, both with 9 years experience in the league, will protect the outside corners. Jake Matthews is well-deserving of the third overall pick, and with his father Bruce Matthews as Tennessee's offensive line coach, it would only make sense that Jake Matthews plays in a Titans uniform in 2014.

4. Buffalo Bills: OT Taylor Lewan: Three out of Buffalo's five offensive tackles finished the 2012 season on the injured reserve, including starting right tackle Erik Pears. If Pears can not make a swift recovery, the Buffalo Bills will need new talent to replace the aging lineman. Many believe Taylor Lewan is better than Texas A&M's Jake Matthews, and at 6'8" with All-American honors on his resume, Taylor Lewan makes a pretty good case for the nation's best offensive lineman.

5. Arizona Cardinals: WR Marquis Lee: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald will be turning 30 in August, where he is coming off his least productive season of his accomplished career. The Cardinals were hoping 2011 Draft pick Michael Floyd could take some pressure off of Fitzgerald in 2012, but Floyd looked undeveloped as a rookie, and will need a few more years before he can blossom into an NFL star. Marquis Lee is clearly the most talented wide receiver of the 2014 Draft Class, as he was a unanimous All-American as a junior. Lee also won the 2012 Biletnekoff Award, which honors the best wide receiver in college football. Lee no longer has Matt Barkley throwing him the ball, so there may be a slight drop-off in production, but Arizona will look to spice-up this offense as Larry Fitzgerald enters his thirties.

6. Cleveland Browns: QB Tahj Boyd: The Cleveland Browns have had extreme difficulty finding a talented quarterback within this past few years, and they will continue to search when Brandon Weeden fails in 2013. The Browns did not draft a quarterback in last April's draft, sending a message that they have not yet given up on Brandon Weeden. Weeden, though only in his second season, will turn 30 in October, and unless he can turn his game around with Norv Turner as offensive coordinator in 2013, the Browns will give up on Weeden and search for yet another quarterback. Tahj Boyd is one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy, with a lethal combination of accuracy, strength, and speed. Boyd  might even be a better quarterback than projected first overall pick Teddy Bridgewater. We will have to wait and see.

7. New York Jets: WR Sammy Watkins: The New York Jets lost number one wide receiver Santonio Holmes to a Lisfranc injury in 2012. Sophomore wide receiver Stephen Hill did not seem to be prepared for the big leagues, where he caught the ball just 21 times for 252 yards in his rookie season. It would not be surprising if Geno Smith replaces Mark Sanchez midway through the season, and the New York Jets would want to surround the young quarterback with new talent. Sammy Watkins is Tahj Boyd's number one target at Clemson, and this two-time All-American will make a smooth transition into the National Football League.

8. St. Louis Rams: OLB Anthony Barr: The St. Louis Rams improved their defense dramatically when they drafted outside linebacker Alec Ogletree in last April's draft. This selection will likely shift Jo-Lonn Dunbar to the strong side if Ogletree succeeds as a rookie. With Anthony Barr still on the board, it would be hard to pass on the most talented linebacker of the 2014 draft class, and it is rumored that Barr ran the 40-yard dash in a mind boggling 4.47 seconds. Barr's 13.5 sacks ranked second in the nation last season, only behind Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones (drafted 17th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers). If St. Louis drafts Barr with the eighth overall pick, the Rams' pass rush would be by far the most dominant in the league.

9. Carolina Panthers: CB Bradley Roby: The Carolina Panthers cornerback situation is a complete mess, where they have five different mediocre cornerbacks to choose from. Both starting cornerbacks, Captain Munnerlyn and Josh Norman, are incapable of shutting down the top wide receivers of a very talented passing division. With Carolina competing with Atlanta, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay for the division title (all talented passing teams), they will need someone who can shut-down the most talented of wide receivers. Bradley Roby is by far the best cornerback of this draft class, and he can be a star defender for the Panthers.

10. Kansas City Chiefs: DE Stephon Tuitt: The Kansas City Chiefs signed defensive end Mike DeVito to play left end this past off-season, whereas right end is held by Tyson Jackson, a 2009 draft pick whose contract was reduced this past off-season. If Jackson fails, there is little talent on the Chiefs' depth chart left to replace him, therefore ruining this defensive line. Stephon Tuitt is a first-team All American from Notre Dame, where he sacked the quarterback 12 times as a freshman. Expect that number to only increase as he enters his second year at Notre Dame.

11. Miami Dolphins: OT Cyrus Kouandijo: Left tackle Jake Long has left for St. Louis, and second year tackle Jonathan Martin will be replacing him in 2013. Miami will also have 31-year-old Tyson Clabo at right tackle, who will only be productive for one or two more years. Cyrus Kouandijo of Alabama is one of the most talented offensive linemen in this year's draft class, and could easily transform into a star while protecting Ryan Tannehill.

12. Detroit Lions: G David Yankey: The Detroit Lions lost three offensive lineman this past offseason: two tackles and one guard. Now, Detroit's offensive line is made up of veterans and inexperienced first and second year players, some lacking the talent needed to succeed in the NFL. With Bill Nagy at right guard, a player who ended the season on the IR, the Lions could use someone like David Yankey protecting Matthew Stafford in the pocket. Offense means everything to this organization, so it would make sense that Detroit draft Yankey with their first round pick.

13. San Diego Chargers: OLB Trent Murphy: The San Diego Chargers were hoping outside linebacker Melvin Ingram could make an immediate impact on their defense when they drafted him in 2011; instead, Ingram recorded just 1 sack with 41 tackles in his rookie season. If Ingram can not elevate his game in 2013, the Chargers will look to replace him through the draft. Trent Murphy sacked the quarterback 10 times as a junior at Stanford, while also recording 50 tackles. If Manti Te'o is successful in San Diego, and Trent Murphy is added on the outside, the Chargers would have a very talented group of linebackers.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DE Jackson Jeffcoat: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers let their star defensive end Michael Bennett test the free-agent market, and to their misfortune, he was signed by the Seattle Seahawks. This was a dangerous decision made by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are left to rely on second-year DE Da'Quan Bowers and DE Adrian Clayborne, who is coming off of a major knee surgery. With one of the most talented defensive ends in this year's draft class still on the board, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would use Jeffcoat to add more depth to their roster.

15. Minnesota Vikings: DT Louis Nix III: As of right now, the Minnesota Vikings' defensive line is one of the most talented units in the National Football League. Unfortunately for the Vikings organization, three of the four defensive linemen will be free agents, and there is no telling if all three will be able to return to Minnesota. In the event that defensive tackle Kevin Williams is not re-signed, Louis Nix III, widely regarded as the most talented tackle of this draft class, would be an excellent replacement.

16. Indianapolis Colts: WR Brandon Coleman: Reggie Wayne's days in Indianapolis are numbered, and at age 34, it is expected Wayne will see a drastic drop-off in production as the years drag on. The Indianapolis Colts have a group of very young wide receivers, but it is hard to pass on this future Calvin Johnson. Coming out of Rutgers University, Brandon Coleman's size (6'6") and speed makes him a very versatile wide receiver. Andre Luck and the Colts would greatly benefit from Coleman's presence on the field.

17. Cincinnati Bengals: OLB CJ Mosley: The Cincinnati Bengals managed to steal James Harrison after he was cut from Pittsburgh, but at age 35, the Bengals would much prefer a young, talented rookie at outside linebacker. CJ Mosley recorded 107 tackles and 4 sacks while playing for Alabama, and once Harrison's contract expires in 2015, Mosley will take control of this linebacker unit. Vontaze Burfict has many more years as Cincinnati's weak side linebacker, and alongside CJ Mosley, the Bengals' defense could be one of the league's best.

18. Philadelphia Eagles: DT Daniel McCullers: The Philadelphia Eagles just signed DT Isaac Sopoaga to a three year deal, but with Daniel McCullers still on the board, it would be extremely difficult not to draft the sophomore out of Tennessee. McCullers is an astounding 6'8" and 360 pounds, and it would be absolutely remarkable if any offensive lineman in college could stop this guy. With a new defensive scheme set for 2013, McCullers would be the ideal nose tackle in Philadelphia's 3-4 scheme.

19. Dallas Cowboys: DE Aaron Lynch: The rumors appear to be true; 2013 will be defensive end Anthony Spencer's last season in a Cowboys uniforms. The Cowboys organization and Spencer have halted talks on a contract extension, despite Spencer's above-average year in 2012. The 2014 draft class has several talented defensive ends, including Aaron Lynch. Lynch left Notre Dame as a result of home sickness, and transferred to USF. He is only a sophomore, so there is no telling if he leaves for the draft after next year. If Lynch's numbers stay the same, he has the potential to be top 10 pick in the upcoming draft.

20. St. Louis Rams: RB De'Anthony Thomas: There is no disputing Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas is one of the most exciting players to watch in all of college football. With an official 40-yard dash time of 4.38, Thomas has the capability of out running the majority of NFL linebackers and safeties. Thomas also has experience as a return man from his freshman year, when he averaged 27.3 yards per attempt. St. Louis just lost Steven Jackson to free agency, with seventh round draft pick Daryl Richardson serving as his replacement. By season's end, St. Louis will be searching for a new running back, and De'Anthony Thomas would be a perfect fit.

21. Chicago Bears: OLB Adrian Hubbard: The Chicago Bears will likely have one more year left with their starting linebackers, but by 2014, Lance Briggs, D.J. Williams, and James Anderson will all be over the age of 30. Adrian Hubbard, an outside linebacker from Alabama, will have plenty experience playing in college football's most competitive division, the SEC. Hubbard is 6'6", yet his quickness allowed him to sack the quarterback 7 times last season. The NFL knows how talented players coming from Alabama can be, and Hubbard is no different. Once Chicago's starting three retire, Hubbard will get his chance to shine.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Jason Verrett: Cornerback Keenan Lewis is gone, as he will be playing for New Orleans next season after just one solid year as a Steeler. This puts the majority of the pressure on 33 year old Ike Taylor, who is still Pittsburgh's best cornerback despite his age. Unfortunately, Taylor's contract will expire in 2014, which means Pittsburgh will need to find someone who can replace him. Jason Verett is that guy.

23. New York Giants: OLB Kyle Van Noy: New York's linebacker group will look very different in 2013; Chase Blackburn has left, Michael Boley is gone, and Mathias Kiwanuka will be moving back to defensive end. Now, the Giants must rely on Keith Rivers, who will likely be gone when his contract expires by the end of the season. With so much change taking place, the Giants will need someone like Kyle Van Noy to put consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback. As a junior, Van Noy recorded 13 sacks, and has one more chance to show the scouts what he is capable of in his senior season.

24. Baltimore Ravens: WR Cody Hoffman: Wide receiver Anquan Boldin played in a Baltimore uniform for three years, and in 2012, Boldin helped the Ravens win their second Super Bowl title in franchise history. Now, Boldin will be playing for San Francisco, and Joe Flacco's number one target will be missing from this offense for the rest of the season. Wide receivers Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones are legitimate deep threats, but Flacco will need someone like Boldin who is capable of easily separating himself from coverage. At 6'4" and 215 pounds, Hoffman's style of play is very similar to that of Anquan Boldin, and he would be able to fill the hole left by number 81.

25. New Orleans Saints: OLB Ryan Shazier: After surrendering the most rushing yards of any team in the National Football League last season, the New Orleans Saints have done little to improve their run defense. The organization is hoping Rex Ryan's new approach can change the defense for the better as they adjust to the 3-4. The outside linebacker position is clearly in need of some new talent to turn around this defensive unit, which is why Ohio State's Ryan Shazier would be a solid pick late in the draft. At 6'2" and 222 pounds, Shazier is not the biggest defender at the position, but his name has already been mentioned in the 2013 Butkus and Lombardi Award discussion.

26. Houston Texans: TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins: The clear-cut favorite to be the first tight end to be taken in next April's draft, Austin Seferian-Jenkins is expected to dominate in 2013. His overwhelming size and ability (6'6, 266 pounds) allowed him to snag 69 passes for 852 yards and 7 scores. Sefarian-Jenkins pleaded guilty to a DUI charge from last March and will spend one night in jail. Hopefully, this is only a one time offense; otherwise, off the field problems may keep this player from a spot in the first round.

27. Atlanta Falcons: DE Kareem Martin: Last season, veteran defensive end John Abraham accounted for 10 of Atlanta's 29 total sacks (34.4%), and with Abraham now an unsigned free agent, the team will need someone to fill the void. As a junior at UNC, Kareem Martin (6'6", 265 pounds) recorded 40 tackles and 4 sacks in 12 games, but is looking to top those numbers in 2013. And with his extraordinary size, who's going to stop him?

28. Green Bay Packers: ILB A.J. Johnson: As seen in their playoff game against San Francisco last season, the Green Bay Packers need to do better in stopping the run. In their final two games of the season, Green Bay allowed a grand total of 490 rushing yards on 72 attempts, an average of 6.8 yards per attempt. With someone like A.J. Johnson protecting the middle (134 tackles last season), Green Bay's run defense would surely see an immediate improvement.

29. Seattle Seahawks: OLB Christian Jones: The loss of outside linebacker Leroy Hill has left a hole that needs to be re-filled through the draft. It is believed the Seattle Seahawks will put Heath Farewell at the job left vacant by Hill, but it is safe to assume Farewell will not have the starting job for more than a year. Christian Jones has the speed to keep up with some of the league's best wide receivers, while also having the athleticism necessary to pursue the opposing team's running back.

30. New England Patriots: CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu: Yes, the New England Patriots were successful in re-signing Aqib Talib, but they are in desperate need of a new cornerback on the opposite side of the field. Alfanzo Dennard, a 7th round draft pick out of Nebraska, will be playing right cornerback for the Patriots, and it is unlikely for him to find success in New England. With a DUI now on his resume, the Patriots would be more than happy to drop this cornerback as soon as the opportunity arrives. Ekpre-Olomu is projected to be a first round draft pick, and will be a grade-A cornerback in the NFL.

31. Denver Broncos: CB Loucheiz Purifoy: After surrounding Peyton Manning with talent on offense, the Broncos should look to add young talent for their defense through the draft. Cornerback Champ Bailey is set to retire any year now, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is only signed to a one year deal. If these two cornerbacks were to leave Denver in 2014, there is no disputing the need to draft Loucheiz Purifoy in the draft.

32. San Francisco 49ers: CB Aaron Colvin: The San Francisco 49ers are heavily relying on Nnamdi Asomugha returning to his All-Pro form, as they brought him to the West Coast in order to improve San Francisco's pass defense. The first string cornerback is Carlos Rogers, a veteran defender who still has three more years on his contract. If Asomugha flops in 2013, the 49ers will look for a shut-down corner in Aaron Colvin.

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