2014 NFL Mock Draft: Collaboration, 1.0
With the 2013 NFL season officially in the books, Sean Beazley and I have once again (like last year) completed a joint mock draft.
Sean picked for all AFC teams while I picked for all NFC teams and both of us made comments for our own picks.
As we move through the offseason, we will update this "collaboration" mock and also switch things up — alternating odd and even picks, Sean picking for the NFC, etc.
Here is how the first round shakes out in our first collaboration mock for the 2014 NFL Draft:
[SB] I expect Clowney to put up some pretty sick numbers this month at the Combine at Indy. The Texans already have one horse at defensive end in J.J. Watt; now they will have another. This tandem will make this defense one of the fiercest in the league again. The Texans pass on QB until Round 2, where someone should fall to them.
[KH] No matter who the Texans select at No. 1, the Rams will likely try to deal this pick and move down. If the Rams are unable to find a suitable trade partner, the Rams would prefer for the Texans to draft a quarterback (as John McClain of the Houston Chronicle projects) and then be able to select Clowney here, but obviously that's not what happened in our mock.
A starter at left tackle last season, Matthews started on the right side earlier in his Aggies career and has the versatility to play either spot. With left tackle Jake Long coming off a torn ACL and right tackle Rodger Saffold scheduled to become a free agent, Matthews is a talented yet safe pick at a position of need.
[SB] I'm not a huge fan of any quarterback in this draft class, but Bortles has the most upside of any of them. I truly do think the best move for the Jags is to draft an elite pass rusher and then solve their quarterback situation on Day 2, but that would be too risky for a franchise that needs a new identity.
[SB] Watkins teamed with Josh Gordon would be a great combo for any quarterback. The Browns hold the 26th pick thanks to the Trent Richardson deal, and I think they can either stand pat at 26 for their future signal-caller, or move back up if Manziel or Bridgewater slips. Watkins is also great insurance if Gordon slips up and gets a full-year suspension.
[SB] Robinson is the best player available (BPA) on my board and I expect left tackle Jared Veldheer to test free agency and sign elsewhere. Oakland needs to solidify their offensive line before spending a first-round pick on a quarterback.
[KH] Only two teams had fewer sacks than the Falcons (32) last year, but the Falcons only had one more sack than the Bears and Jaguars (tied with 31). To make matters worse, Osi Umyeniora, a player with declining skills and a free agent after 2014, was the only Falcon to record more than 5.0 sacks last season.
A converted running back, Barr had at least 20 TFL and double-digit sacks for a second consecutive season.
[KH] Starting strong-side linebacker Dekoda Watson will be a free agent in March and Mack was one of college football's most productive players ever. The all-time leader in forced fumbles (16) and tied for the most tackles for loss (75) in NCAA history, it wouldn't surprise me if Mack is the first linebacker off the board.
[KH] Last year, the Vikings started Christian Ponder, Matt Cassell and Josh Freeman in various weeks. While none played great, Cassel played the best and he has opted out of the final year of his contract. While I think it's unlikely that only one quarterback is off the board by this spot, especially with so many quarterback-needy teams picking in the top five, new offensive coordinator Norv Turner is certainly not going to complain.
While some may question his frame (i.e., ability to hold up to the pounding an NFL quarterback can take) 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.
[SB] I'm all for surrounding my young QB with weapons. It wouldn't shock me to see them draft Marqise Lee either, but I think having a good receiving tight end is just as important, and Ebron is the top tight end in this year's draft. Ebron should step in and replace Scott Chandler, who is expected to go elsewhere this offseason.
[KH] Even with two Day 2 picks at corner over the past couple of years, the Lions ranked 23rd in the NFL in passing defense last year. Dennard, the recipient of the Jim Thorpe Award, is a physical corner that led a Spartans pass defense that ranked sixth in the country (167.4 passing yards allowed per game).