2014 NFL Mock Draft (Jan. 19th update)
Based (at least in part) on the (un)availability of Radio City Music Hall in New York City next April, the 2014 NFL Draft will be held from May 8-10. This mock draft will be updated from now until draft day with changes, as needed, and additional rounds will be added as we get closer to the draft.
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Here is my updated 2014 NFL Mock Draft:
Loaded with much more talent than their record suggests, the Texans were a popular pick to win the division and possibly get to (or even win) the Super Bowl. Instead, the Texans have set a franchise record for their longest losing streak (14 games), fired their head coach and benched starting quarterback Matt Schaub.
While some may question his frame and/or his level of competition, Bridgewater is a highly accurate passer with the ability to make all of the throws and possesses all of the intangibles and leadership you'd want in a franchise quarterback.
Not only was Clowney's motivation and effort questioned this season, but his production dropped significantly — 23.5 tackles for loss and 13.0 sacks in 2012; only 10.5 TFL and 3.0 sacks this year. Certainly not the biggest of off-field concerns, the junior has a couple of speeding tickets over the past month that could technically lead to a suspension of his license, which adds some questions about his judgment.
With all that said, Clowney, the top prospect on our consensus big board, is a physical freak and arguably the best defensive line prospect in a decade.
After an 0-8 start before the bye, the Jaguars went .500 in their final eight games and have a few reasons to be optimistic about the direction of the team. One of the reasons for optimism, however, is not their quarterback play. Whether or not Blaine Gabbert is back in 2014, he is not the long-term answer and he is scheduled to become a free agent in 2015.
With prototypical size for the position, Bortles threw for 3,581 yards, 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season and led the Knights to a win in the Fiesta Bowl over Baylor by throwing for 301 yards and rushing for 93 yards as he accounted for four total touchdowns.
The Browns have several young talented players, but it's been a long time since they've had a franchise quarterback. Even though they selected Brandon Weeden in the first round in 2012, he was the choice of the previous regime's and is not in the long-term plans. Collectively, Browns signal-callers have thrown for more than 3,000 yards in only four seasons since 1990. All four of those 3,000-yard seasons were by different quarterbacks.
One of the most exciting and polarizing players in college football, Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, threw for 3,732 yards, 33 touchdowns and 13 interceptions and ran for another 686 yards and eight touchdowns this year.
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Matthews, the son of Hall-of-Famer Bruce, was a first-team AP All-American in 2013 one year after sliding over from right tackle to protect Johnny Football. Left tackle Jared Veldheer is currently set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
A converted running back, Barr could very well be the first defensive player off the board in the draft, but that honor will likely go to Clowney. For a second consecutive season, Barr had at least 20 TFL and double-digit sacks. Only the Bears and Jaguars had fewer sacks this season than the Falcons.
One of college football's most productive players ever, Mack is the all-time leader in forced fumbles (16) and is tied for the most tackles for loss (75) in NCAA history.
Even if Mack hasn't played against top-level competition on a weekly basis, one college scouting director tells NFL.com's Albert Breer: "He played his best games against the biggest opponents, and can be an (outside linebacker) in a 3-4 or a Sam (linebacker) in a 4-3. ... He's proven (what kind of player) he is."
It's been a phenomenal season for Carr, the brother of former No. 1 overall pick David Carr, as he led the nation in both passing yards (5,082) and passing touchdowns (50) with only eight interceptions. Helped by the style of his offense, Carr threw for 400-plus yards eight times and 500-plus yards twice this season.
Despite the gaudy stats, Carr has the tools to potentially be the top quarterback in this year's draft class, but there are also concerns about the level of competition he has faced as well. Against the toughest competition he faced, however, Carr had his worst performance of the season in his last collegiate game: 53.7 completion percentage, 216 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.