Monday, January 27, 2014

NFL Mock Draft 1.0

Vikings Corner analyst Daniel House is set to unveil his 1st NFL Mock Draft for the 2014 season. Which player does he have your favorite team selecting?

Here is Daniel House’s NFL Mock Draft 1.0:

1. Houston Texans- Johnny Manziel- QB: Texas A&M- This isn’t the prototypical pick for the Texans, but it makes perfect sense to keep the Texas product in the state. The Texans have a solid defense and need to make an offensive explosion by adding Manziel. Not only will the play on the field be critical, but the marketing is going to factor into the decision to draft him. He is a leader and he would mesh well with Bill O’ Brien’s schemes and beliefs.

2. St. Louis Rams- Jadeveon Clowney - DE: South Carolina- Jadeveon Clowey is a mammoth and the Rams could easily select Jake Matthews with the uncertainty surrounding Jake Long’s knee, but you simply cannot pass up the talent Clowney provides. He has a skill-set similar to Lawrence Taylor and if he can keep his head out of trouble, he will dominate. Pair Clowney with Chris Long and Robert Quinn and the Rams easily have one of the most fearsome pass rushes in the game.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars- Anthony Barr- DE/OLB: UCLA- The Jaguars will opt to select a quarterback later in the draft and need to bolster a pass rush that was one of the worst in the league last season. Barr fits the scheme and is a dynamic pass rusher that can be used in multiple hybrid sets. The Jags need a quarterback, but they will decide to help bolster the defense and address quarterback later in the draft.

4. Cleveland Browns- Blake Bortles- QB: Central Florida- If Cleveland is awarded with the chance to draft Teddy Bridgewater, will they make the right decision? This organization needs to make a big splash and if they swing and miss again, it will be a devastating blow to the Browns future. I don’t think they make the right decision and instead they will look to
develop Blake Bortles. Bortles has plenty of raw skills and his arm strength, along with an awesome frame are encouraging signs for the future. He needs to work with his accuracy, but he could provide the Browns with some stability at the quarterback position; however, it will take coaching.

5. Oakland Raiders- Sammy Watkins- WR: Clemson- Oakland’s passing game ranked with the worst in the league last season and Watkins provides a raw skill-set that could be developed. Pair him with one of the current quarterbacks on the roster, or draft Tajh Boyd to pair with him in the later rounds and the Raiders may have more stability. Watkins could be compared to former Clemson product DeAndre Hopkins, but he is twice as athletic and with development he could be one of the top wideouts in the game.

6. Atlanta Falcons- Jake Matthews- OT: Texas A&M- The Falcons will not be able to pass up on Matthews if he is still available at this juncture. I don’t care if Donald Penn is due $13 million, Matthews grades out better than Eric Fisher did last year and the Falcons need to protect Matt Ryan, which was a major problem last season. Matthews will be a fixture of the Falcons offensive line for seasons to come and it makes sense for a team looking for an offensive injection.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Khalil Mack-DE/OLB: Buffalo- This is a bit of a reach here, but the Bucs are in dire need of a pass rusher at the moment. They have a huge hole at defensive end opposite of Adrian Clayborn and Mack could alleviate the problem. He is a dynamic pass rusher and many believe with a great scouting combine, his stock could surpass Anthony Barr’s. He comes from a small university, which could be very similarly compared to Ziggy Ansah, who turned out well for the Lions last season.

8. Minnesota Vikings- Teddy Bridgewater- QB: Louisville- The Vikings would be jumping for joy if this scenario happened in May. Teddy Bridgewater has plummeted in this draft and it is the perfect opportunity for the Vikings to make a massive splash. Based upon the draft order, it seems likely one of the top quarterback prospects such as Manziel, Bortles, or Bridgwater will plummet all the way to pick number eight. Bridgewater can bring a strong arm, pinpoint accuracy, elusiveness in the pocket, and amazing leadership abilities. If Teddy falls this far, the Vikings could finally secure a franchise quarterback, which is an absolute priority.

9. Buffalo Bills- Greg Robinson- OT: Auburn- Offensive tackle is a need for the Buffalo Bills as the right side of the offensive line was in ruins last season. Robinson’s stock rose after a great performance in the National Championship game and he could start immediately for the Bills, who are a team with plenty of young talent. He needs work as a run blocker, but his pass blocking skills are very admirable when you evaluate his skill-set.

10. Detroit Lions- Darqueze Dennard- CB: Michigan State- The Lions secondary hasn’t been solid for a long time and Darqueze Dennard could provide them with a lock down cornerback for the future. His size and physicality are traits that will cause him to become a top-ten pick this year. His balls skills and awareness are remarkable for his age and he fills a big need for the Lions at this juncture of the draft.

11. Tennessee Titans- Taylor Lewan- OT: Michigan- David Lewis will likely be released this season as he is due $6.5 million in 2014, which opens the door for the Titans to choose offensive tackle with their first pick. Lewan was a solid lineman for Michigan and comparisons have been drawn to former Michigan product Jake Long. He could start on the right side this season for the Titans and when Michael Roos leaves in free agency in 2015, he could slide over to the right.

12. New York Giants- Justin Gilbert- CB: Oklahoma State- Justin Gilbert would be a nice selection for the Giants in the first round. The G-Men have allowed an astronomical amount of passing yards over the last three seasons and they will look to improve the defense first. Gilbert could start immediately for the Giants and brings with him great tackling ability and some ball skills that could use some polishing.

13. St. Louis Rams- Haha Clinton-Dix- SS: Alabama- The Rams have gotten really lucky the past few seasons and through trades have accumulated plenty of draft picks to select young talent. Again this season they have two first round picks and after the adding Jadeveon Clowney to the defense, they will bolster a backend that was weak, by adding Haha Clinton-Dix. He brings a great blend of size and speed and isn’t afraid to stick his nose in run support. The pedigree Alabama has developed for first round defensive backs has been strong and the Rams will look to upgrade a major position of need.

14. Chicago Bears- Ra’Shede Hageman- DT: Minnesota- Hageman had a great week of practice at the Senior Bowl and his freakish frame, combated with his ability to rush the passer with speed are exciting. The Bears couldn’t keep the middle of their defense healthy and Hageman could provide some durability and energy to the position. Marc Trestman has ties to the U of M where Hageman went to school and he won’t be afraid to use this pick on a player from the Gophers.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers- C.J. Mosley- ILB: Alabama- The Steelers defense hasn’t reloaded after the days James Harrison was in their linebackers corps and it hasn’t helped them win football games. Mosley could bring the Alabama winning presence with him, which would drastically improve their defense. He is slightly undersized, but he is a great athlete and can bring benefits in run support and coverage. The scheme for the Steelers is similar to Alabama’s which also benefits a smooth transition for Mosely.

16. Baltimore Ravens- Marquise Lee- WR: USC- The Ravens desperately missed Anquan Boldin and it showed in their offensive statistics in 2013. They need a receiver who can haul in receptions and move the chains. Marquise Lee is slightly undersized and questions about his durability have caused his stock to remain relatively stagnant. Nonetheless, he is an explosive athlete with an amazing skill-set. His combine performance could dictate how far he climbs up the board, but Ravens fans should hope his stock stays where it’s at.  

17. Dallas Cowboys- Louis Nix- DT: Notre Dame- This would be a steal for the Cowboys because I firmly Louis Nix could be an interior nightmare for opposing offensive lines. Nix fits in the 4-3 scheme and can provide the team with a very athletic defensive tackle in the middle of defense that was abominably bad last season. If Jerry Jones decides he would like to switch back to the 3-4 in the future it would make perfect sense to add a versatile defensive lineman such as Louis Nix.   

18. New York Jets- Mike Evans- WR: Texas A&M- Evans was a massive beast for Texas A&M and was Johnny Football’s go-to target last season. Mike is a big-bodied receiver that is a huge matchup threat for opposing defenses. With Santonio Holmes hitting 30 years old and the Stephen Hill experiment falling flat, the Jets need to draft a playmaker like Mike Evans. His spectacular hands and lanky size add a flair the Jets haven’t witnessed in a long time.

19. Miami Dolphins- Cyrus Kouandjio- OT: Alabama- The Dolphins never recovered from losing Jake Long last season and it effected their play last season. Ryan Tannehill was on his back for the majority of the snaps last season and after the Dolphins fell flat on their face with Jonathan Martin, they need to redeem themselves. Cyrus Kouandijo provides this for the Dolphins and his size and agility are comparable to former Alabama offensive tackle, D.J. Fluker who entered the NFL last year. He has witnessed elite competition in the SEC which is an important aspect to transitioning to the NFL.

20. Arizona Cardinals- Zack Martin- OT: Notre Dame- There is no doubt given the Cardinals issues at tackle last year that this pick will be used to improve the offensive line. Carson Palmer can’t absorb hits like he did last year and Bruce Arians understands this. Zack Martin is a smart four-year starter and is able to get to the second level with the best of the offensive tackles in this class. He needs work as a pass blocker and needs to show more consistency in this avenue, but Bruce Arians will really like his upside and play at one of the top colleges in NCAA football.

21. Green Bay Packers- Calvin Pryor- S: Louisville- There is no question the Packers will spend this pick on the backend of their secondary. In a passing league, Green Bay needs to fix this issue in an urgent manner. Morgan Burnett took a few steps back and M.D. Jennings is not suited to be a starter in this league. Calvin Pryor’s stock will rise as the draft approaches and the Packers would be very lucky to snag him at this spot. After watching tape on Pryor, you can see the fierce hard-hitting mentality he displays. He isn’t afraid to be aggressive, but sometimes this tends to get him into some trouble. The combine will be huge for Pryor and if he is effective in that aspect he could pass Haha Clinton-Dix as the top safety product in this draft.

22. Philadelphia Eagles- Bradley Roby- CB: Ohio State- The Eagles still have one of the worst defenses in the league and it was proven in the playoffs. Chip Kelly’s offense can score as many points as they want, but if they can’t stop the opponent, it won’t matter. Kelly will like the Ohio State pedigree of producing cornerbacks, which could be a factor in this decision. Roby struggled at times this season, but finished strong at the end of the season. His size and extreme speed are huge factors to his skill-set and many have compared him to a slightly bigger version of Antoine Winfield. If Roby has a solid combine, he could be another player that sees his stock rise significantly.

23. Kansas City Chiefs- Kelvin Benjamin- WR: Florida State- The Chiefs are the story of improvement and with the strides they made, Kansas City isn’t far from becoming dominate in the league. The Chiefs haven’t gotten great production from Dwayne Bowe and Kelvin Benjamin could provide Alex Smith with a playmaker. Benjamin has a monstrous frame, but knows how to use it to his advantage. He is very rough around the edges and his current status is similar to rookie Cordarrelle Patterson who was drafted by the Vikings last season.

24. Cincinnati Bengals- Timmy Jernigan- DT: Florida State- The Bengals aren’t sure whether Michael Johnson will return and with Geno Atkins returning from an ACL tear, the Bengals need to make sure they have an insurance policy just in case things don’t work out. Jernigan has great size, along with agility and durability, which are all areas that that Paul Guenther will look to address with Mike Zimmer now in Minnesota.  

25. San Diego Chargers- Eric Ebron- TE: North Carolina- Antonio Gates is aging and it is time to replace his skill-set with a tight end that is full of raw potential. Erbon has excellent size and speed, along with the hands of a wide receiver. He stretches the field vertically and his size is an absolute threat for opposing defenses to cover. San Diego would be receiving tons of value if Ebron fell to them at pick number 25.

26. Cleveland Browns- Carlos Hyde- RB: Ohio State- It’s time to end the quandary the Browns face at running back. No more Willis McGahee, or Montario Hardesty’s of the past, it’s time for Ohio State product Carlos Hyde. This could be a bit of a reach, but the Browns need help at this position and with two first round picks it seems logical to make this move. Hyde is a powerful runner who can catch out of the backfield and create dynamic plays. Hyde is this year’s Eddie Lacy (possibly better) and it fills an immediate need as well.

27. New Orleans Saints- LaMarcus Joyner- CB: Florida State- Joyner could help bolster a Saints passing defense that is aging and hasn’t been near as productive. They may look to address their pass rush alongside Cameron Jordan, but Joyner’s upside is just too big. With the play of Xavier Rhodes for the Vikings last season it proves that Florida State is able to produce elite cornerbacks that are ready to play. Joyner has nice size and speed, but needs to improve in his run support efforts, but the Saints could benefit from his services.

28. Carolina Panthers- Allen Robinson- WR: Penn State- The Panthers need to find a replacement for an aging Steve Smith and with Brandon LaFell’s inconsistences, it seems like this pick is very logical. Robinson has nice size, dynamite hands, and he is a very fluid route runner. He would fit in well with Cam Newton and would provide more weapons through the air, which has been a major problem for this team in recent seasons.

29. New England Patriots- Stephen Tuitt- DT: Notre Dame- Tuitt probably won’t fall this far, but if he does so, the Patriots will be all over this pick. With Vince Wilfork’s continued injury problems Tuitt has the talent to be versatile and rotate over the entire duration of the front-seven. He is an athletic specimen that Bill Belichick could simply not pass up on at this part of the draft.  

30. San Francisco 49ers- Jarvis Landry- WR: LSU- The 49ers are so stacked on both sides of the ball that they can draft for value rather than need. Landry would make perfect sense a successor to Anquan Boldin who is in his thirties. Landry has great size, is explosive off the line of scrimmage, and has awesome hands. He has the uncharacteristic ability to take plays off, but that won’t happen in Jim Harbaugh’s system.

31. Seattle Seahawks- Brandin Cooks- WR: Oregon State- Seattle doesn’t have many threats for Russell Wilson to throw the ball to, but they still manage to play well with players such as Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. Cooks is a solid route runner, with explosive cuts and the ability to garner separation in traffic, he could be a nice weapon in the slot or on the outside in the Seattle offense.

32. Denver Broncos- Jason Verrett- CB: TCU- The Broncos secondary hasn’t exactly been dominate and is an area that could use an upgrade for this team. With Champ Bailey’s durability concerns, combated with his age, the Broncos need a young cornerback that can provide insurance in Mile High nation. He is very undersized, but his speed and athleticism are second to none for a player at his position.

That concludes my first mock draft of the 2014 NFL Draft. Look for things to change in the weeks leading up to the draft. We will have it covered for you and will post our latest mock drafts after they are formulated. 

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