Friday, February 21, 2014

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Pre-Combine

1. Houston Texans: QB Teddy Bridgewater: Throughout the college football season, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater seemed like the clear first overall pick, even when he was no longer a part of the Heisman race. Now, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles are both becoming legitimate contenders for the first overall pick in the upcoming draft. The NFL Combine will be a clear sign of who will be drafted by the Texans this year, but as of right now, Teddy Bridgewater remains the favorite.

2. St. Louis Rams: OT Jake Matthews: The offensive line is not a major problem for the St. Louis Rams, and I would think that the Rams will trade this pick away seeing that they will likely stick with quarterback Sam Bradford, therefore are in no need of drafting a quarterback. If they were to keep this pick, an improved offensive line would be a good idea in order to protect the healing quarterback.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Blake Bortles: Blake Bortles is quickly rocketing up mock draft boards, and may be giving Teddy Bridgewater a run for his money as the first overall pick. Bortles' size, standing at 6'4", 230 pounds, is comparable to that of Colts' quarterback Andrew Luck. Not only can Bortles throw the ball (163.4 passer rating in 2013), but he rushed for 15 touchdowns while at UCF.

4. Cleveland Browns: QB Johnny Manziel: Looking at Johnny Manziel's passing statistics, it is obvious that Manziel had a better year passing the ball. Manziel had career highs this past season in completions (300), completion percentage (69.9), passing yards (4,114), touchdowns (37), and passer rating (172.9). The Browns are a mess, and Brandon Weeden has made it clear that he wants out of Cleveland. In the words of Johnny Manziel, "If something happens, and it's the Cleveland Browns, I'm going to pour my heart out for the Dawg Pound and try to win a Super Bowl for Cleveland."

5. Oakland Raiders: DE Jadeveon Clowney: Clowney is bound to have an excellent performance in the combine, and his well-rounded numbers are sure to attract an abundance of NFL teams; however, his draft stock has fallen since the start of the season due to a relatively disappointing year in 2013. His three sacks in 2013 is a huge drop-off from his spectacular sophomore season in 2012. Clowney's inconsistency may even drop him out of the top 5 considering all of the talented quarterbacks.

6. Atlanta Falcons: OLB Khalil Mack: Khalil Mack is coming out of a small school, where he recorded 10.5 sacks with 100 combined tackles in 2013. His most important accomplishment in 2013 was the 9 tackles with 2.5 sacks in the season opener against Ohio State. The Atlanta Falcons ranked 29th in the league in defensive sacks, so a skilled pass rusher is an absolute must for the Falcons.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Greg Robinson: Throughout Auburn's incredible run in the 2013 season, offensive tackle Greg Robinson gained a lot of attention, especially by creating excellent holes for star running back Tre Mason. Standing at 6'5" and 320 pounds, Greg Robinson shut down some of the best defensive players in college football, which is why Robinson will be one of the first offensive linemen to be drafted in this year's draft.

8. Minnesota Vikings: WR Sammy Watkins: Last year, the Minnesota Vikings signed Greg Jennings to a 5 year deal, but in his first season with the Vikings, he recorded just 804 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. Greg Jennings is on the wrong side of 30, so in order to take pressure off of Adrian Peterson and the running game, Sammy Watkins would be the best option for Minnesota.
9. Buffalo Bills: OT Taylor Lewan: Buffalo's offensive line allowed 48 sacks in 2013, which ranked 28th overall in the league. Offensive tackle Erik Pears will be 32 at the start of next season, and his contract will expire in 2015. Meanwhile, Taylor Lewan is a large, powerful offensive tackle who played four years at Michigan, and was named to two All American teams. Most importantly, Lewan won back to back Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year Awards, which is awarded to the best offensive lineman in the Big Ten.

10. Detroit Lions: DE/OLB Anthony Barr: Detroit's front seven sure has plenty of talent, and yet they  ranked 28th overall in terms of sacks. Detroit's outside linebackers have combined for 2 career sacks, even though both have played for 5 seasons. Anthony Barr is the most talented linebacker in this year's draft, but he is talented enough to play defensive end as well. In two seasons at UCLA, Barr recorded 23.5 sacks, which is why the Detroit Lions need to draft him in order to improve the pass rush.

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