Feb 24, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks Jadeveon Clowney puts shoes on during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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 Why on earth do we use an outdated model of trying to guess picks when 1/3 of these picks are traded, and drastically alter the landscape of the draft?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.
Jan 1, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerack Darqueze Dennard (31) reacts during the 100th Rose Bowl against the Stanford Cardinal. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Pick 17-Baltimore-Darqueze Dennard CB: The Ravens need help in the secondary at corner and safety. Dennard is physical, and solid against the run and pass.
Pick 18-New York Jets-Eric Ebron TE: Ebron falls to the Jets because of the needs of other teams. Instant starter and lets Jeff Cumberland play the second tight end role he is best suited for.
TRADE Pick 19-St Louis- Zack Martin G: The Rams are a legit team. They lack elite, or even average guards, and Martin provides that. They were able to trade back from 13 to 19 and still get a starter that they could use.
Pick 20-Arizona-Ha’sean Clinton-Dix FS: The Cardinals are long in the tooth at a lot of positions. They upgrade the safety spot with a player that could have been drafted 10 spots earlier.
Pick 21-Green Bay- Jace Amaro TE: Amaro fits the mold of what they are losing with Jermichael Finley. A big pass catching , red zone and third down threat.
Pick 22-Philadelphia-Brandin Cooks WR: Philadelphia’s offense with Chip Kelly has to replace the speed and production of Desean Jackson. The best way to do that is Brandin Cooks who is similar in skill set to the departed Jackson.
TRADE Pick 23-Cleveland Teddy Bridgewater QB: Why would the Browns trade up three spots to get Bridgewater? A:They don’t have a quarterback to speak of besides Brian Hoyer who started all of three games last year. B: Every team in the league knows they are going to draft a QB here. So rather than let some other team jump up and grab him right before they pick, they trade pick 26 and maybe a 3rd rounder to grab him and assure they have a starter of the present and future.
Pick 24-Cincinnati-Ryan Shazier OLB: Shazier allows Burflict to play the weakside or ILB spot, and move the tackling machine Shazier to the weakside LB spot where he will rack up tackles, and defend passes.
Pick 25-San Diego-Dee Ford OLB: Dwight Freeney is 34 and Jared Johnson is 32 and the season hasn’t even started yet. Ford was the best pass rusher on Auburn in this draft. He’s active and should be starting by week 1.
Pick 26-Kansas City-Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE: Many don’t consider this tight end a first round talent. Consider the Chiefs position however, and how the offense stalled, and then took a nose dive towards the end of the season. They need a safe reliable receiver to move the ball and keep drives alive. He can do that more than any wide receiver in the draft for them.
Pick 27- New Orleans- Jimmy Garoppolo QB: Many will think this is too high. Drew Brees will be 36 this year. Garoppolo is from head coach Sean Payton’s alma matter Eastern Illinois, and broke all of his school records. He also has many of the same qualities as Brees. He gets to sit for a year or two and become the next Drew Brees for the Saints.
Pick 28- Carolina-Odell Beckham JR WR: The Panthers lost 4 receivers in free agency and signed Jason Avant and Jericho Cotchery to replace them. They will draft Beckham in round 1 and a route runner in round 2 or 3.
Pick 29-New England-Timmy Jernigan DT: The Patriots are desperately trying to get some speed on defense. Jernigan provides versatility, and interior pass rusher in 4-3, or a DE in a 3-4 defense. Pass rush and flexibility.
Pick 30-San Francisco-Bradley Roby CB: The 49er’s need someone to replace Carlos Rodgers and Chris Cook is not it. Roby is ok, and should be made better with a good pass rush in front of him, as we saw him get beat more than a few times on double moves.
Pick 31-Denver-Kony Ealy DE: The Broncos did a great job adding Demarcus Ware, but they also add Kony Ealy as the other DE in this new look 4-3 defense. Allowing yet another pass rusher with more looks and ways to move around Von Miller.
Pick 32-Seattle- Davante Adams WR: Pete Carroll stays away from USC WR Marqise Lee, but replaces Golden Tate with Adams. Adams is similar to Tate in that he makes plays but isn’t overly athletic. There you have it. First round mock draft with 8 trades in the round, which is around average for what you might see in the real deal. Comment if you like, and let me know how accurate you think this might be for a mock.