I don’t really like to write blogs about mock drafts because they are always done by filling draft slot with appropriate player with no attention given to motivations to move up or down. Over the past five drafts there have been 54 (2009-2013) draft picks traded, so on average about 10 picks a year are dealt in the 1st round. Why on earth do we use an outdated model of trying to guess picks when 1/3 of these picks are traded, and drastically alter the landscape of the draft?
Here’s my 2014 draft with those trades anticipated:
TRADE Pick 1-Atlanta Falcons – Jadeveon Clowney DE: Texans produced 4,000 yards passing and 2,000 yards rushing even with a QB carousel. The problem is defense in Texas which allowed 2,000 yards rushing, and turnovers. Falcons go for the splash and add pass rushing help, as well as the most overly hyped player. Remember the trade for #1 pick Michael Vick.
Pick 2- St Louis – Sammy Watkins WR: None of the Rams receivers really produced, because they need an “It” guy to take the pressure off everyone else. Rams success will not be measured by Watkins stats, but by the other receivers he helps to free up.
Pick 3- Jacksonville- Blake Bortles QB: Bortles is a Florida guy already. He’s better than anyone they could draft in Round 2. This time with Bortles they let him sit a year, something they should have done with Blaine Gabbert. This time is about the long-term foundation as Chad Henne starts, and Bortles sits and learns the system.
Pick 4-Cleveland- Khalil Mack OLB: Cleveland has a great defense and a second pick in the 1st round. They skip the QB here, and add to a tenacious defense that they want to be known for under Mike Pettine.
TRADE Pick 5-Tampa Bay- Greg Robinson OT: The Bucs released starter Donald Penn, and have Anthony Collins on the other side of the line. They trade up from pick 7 to pick 5 to get the most physically gifted, and most ready to start player in the draft. They only have to move up 2 spots to do it.
TRADE Pick 6- Houston- Johnny Manziel QB: The Texans traded back 5 spots and still got a QB they wanted. They also have Ryan Fitzpatrick, who despite for what some might say threw for 20+ TD’s for 3 years straight with average receivers in Buffalo. Texans can either start Manziel as a rookie, or give him a year to sit behind Fitzpatrick while he learns the ropes.
TRADE Pick 7-New York Giants-Mike Evans WR: The Raiders trade down yet again, this time from 7 to 12. The Giants move up to get the big receiver for Manning they haven’t had since Burress. Victor Cruz and Manning are both happy for a guy to take pressure off Cruz, keep the chains moving, and be a red zone threat.
Pick 8- Minnesota- Anthony Barr OLB: New head coach Mike Zimmer prefers bigger immobile QB’s. They will try for Mettenburger or AJ McCarron, even Tom Savage later on. They don’t have a lot of production from the outside linebacker spot opposite Chad Greenway. Barr fills the need.
Pick 9-Buffalo- CJ Mosley ILB: The Bills just signed ILB Brandon Spikes. He’s a 2 down run stopper. The Bills are expected to run a 4-3 defense. However, if they want to run a flexible d, and change to 3-4 CJ Mosley would be the pick. He gives them an ILB that wouldn’t have to come off in passing downs, and a complimentary player to Spikes. He also hedges the bets, should Spikes not pan out immediately.
Pick 10-Detroit-Justin Gilbert CB: Teams completed passes to the tune of 4200 yards against Detroit’s pass defense. Darqueze Dennard would be the popular pick, but Gilbert gets the nod.
Pick 11- Tennessee Aaron Donald DT: The Titans are in need of an interior pass rush. They are running a 4-3 defense without any stud defensive tackles. Donald can provide interior pass rush, and penetration.
TRADE Pick 12-Oakland- Derek Carr QB: The Raider s after trading back twice, pick up the player they wanted all along. They pick up extra picks, and get a guy to either groom, or push Matt Schaub should he produce another season like 2013.
TRADE Pick 13-Miami-Taylor Lewan OT: There is nothing the Rams desperately need, and they have shown a pattern of trading down or out of the 1st round recently. The Dolphins after losing some starters have to rebuild. They move up six spots and draft Lewan to bookend the right side with LT Brandon Albert.
Pick 14-Chicago-Louis Nix DT: While I don’t think this will be a popular pick, and somewhat of a reach, Chicago’s defense surrendered 2600 yards rushing and 5.3 a carry last season. Some of this can be contributed to overmatched defensive tackles. Nix provides 330 pounds of inside tackle to demand a double team and minimize the running lanes.
Pick 15-Pittsburgh-Allen Robinson WR: Another shocker. Most have Odell Beckham and/or Marquise Lee rated higher. Pittsburgh needs help at receiver in the worst way. They need a big receiver, or a fast one, but Robinson is simply the best. Teams won’t make the mistake this year they made last year with Cal’s Keenan Allen. Robinson is the best possession receiver, and will duplicate Allen’s success for the Steelers.
Pick 16-Dallas-Calvin Pryor FS: Opponents passed for 4800 yards and 33 TD’s against the Cowboys last year. Dallas needs help at every position on defense. They start the overhaul and draft defense heavy beginning with Pryor.