2014 NFL Mock Draft: Jadeveon Clowney to the Raiders
Since 1998 when Peyton Manning was selected with the first overall pick, 12 of the past 16 top overall draft picks have been quarterbacks.
If the top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft is someone other than a quarterback, it will mark the first time since Peyton entered the league that consecutive top picks were not quarterbacks.
[Related: See historical list of past No. 1 picks]
While plenty will change over the next 51 weeks, here is how I see the first round next April:
The nation's top high school recruit as a senior, Clowney would have likely been the No. 1 overall pick if he were eligible for the 2013 NFL draft. Clowney became an instant national sensation on New Year's Day with his bone-crushing, fumble-forcing hit on Michigan's Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl.
A physical freak, Clowney was one of six players tied for third in the nation with 13.0 sacks in 2012. In addition, only Georgia's Jarvis Jones (24.5) had more tackles for loss than Clowney (23.5), who was tied for second with Arizona State's Will Sutton.
The only team with fewer sacks than the Raiders (25) last season was the Jaguars (20).
As much as I was surprised that the Jaguars did not draft a quarterback in 2013, I was as surprised that Arizona quarterback Matt Scott went undrafted. The Jags signed Scott as an undrafted free agent and it wouldn't surprise me if Scott ends the year as the team's starting quarterback.
If not, however, I don't expect them to pass on a potential franchise signal-caller in this year's draft.
Bridgewater, the Big East Offensive Player of the Year, led the Cardinals to an 11-2 record and a win over the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl. At 6-3 and 218 pounds, the sophomore completed 68.5 percent of his pass attempts and finished with a 27:8 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Johnny Football might get more hype, but Bridgewater has as much, if not more, of a chance to be the first quarterback drafted assuming he declares early for the 2014 draft.
It seemed possible that the Jets would draft a quarterback with one of their two first-round picks in 2013, but they used both on defense. Although Geno Smith fell to them in the second round, the Jets lack weapons for Smith.
Lee, the Biletnikoff award winner, had a monster season. He led the nation in receptions (118), finished second in receiving yards (1,721) and scored 14 touchdowns.
Paired with Luke Joeckel as the bookend tackles protecting Johnny Football last year, Matthews will make the transition to the left side in 2013. The son of Hall-of-Famer Bruce Matthews, Matthews has a legitimate shot of being the first tackle off the board.
The Chargers drafted their right tackle of the future in Alabama's D.J. Fluker in the first round and now they address the blind side.
Along with Matthews, Lewan surprised many when he decided to return to school for his senior season. As a junior in 2012, he was a first-team AP All-American with Joeckel. Lewan has the prototypical size (6-8 and 309 pounds) and athleticism to play left tackle at the next level.
The biggest knock on Manziel, from a draft perspective, is he's not, well, the biggest quarterback. With the success last season of Russell Wilson, who slipped to the third-round due to his height (5-10), Manziel has a shot of a being a first-rounder in 2014.
Manziel, the first freshman Heisman Trophy winner, is listed at 6-1 and 200 pounds, but he set the SEC record for most yards with 3,706 passing yards and 1,410 rushing yards. In fact, he led all players in rushing -- both yards and touchdowns (21) -- in the SEC.
The team's current mobile (but inconsistent) quarterback Jake Locker will be entering a walk year in 2014. With the team upgrading their interior offensive line in both free agency and the draft as well as adding an additional playmaker in Justin Hunter, Locker will need to step up in his third year to keep the team from possibly going in a different direction.
A converted running back from his first two seasons at UCLA, Barr flourished as a pass-rusher and finished second in the nation in sacks (13.5) in 2012. In addition, he finished tied for seventh with Texas A&M's Damontre Moore in tackles for loss (21.0).
With a new front office and coaching staff, the Browns may go in a different direction from Brandon Weeden, who was selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft by the previous regime.
Boyd, the ACC Player of the Year, made nice strides as a junior. His completion percentage increased to 67.2 percent (from 59.7 percent), his yards-per-attempt average increased to 9.12 (from 7.67) and his rating increased to 165.6 from 141.2.
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