2014 NFL mock draft time. Team needs were taken into account sometimes, but not all the time. We did go “best player available” like the cliche says, or value-based pick sometimes. The 2014 NFL mock draft order is based on projections on how we believe the NFL teams will perform this rest of this season.
We also have feature stories on the players themselves. Click on the names where highlighted to read those.
1. Houston Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
No one could have predicted the Texans and Matt Schaub meltdown, but here we are. Case Keenum has been better than what you would expect from a prospect of his caliber, but he’s nowhere near anything that could be considered an answer. And Texans fans will not stand for another year of Schaub. The organization knows Hopefully, they can get all three in Bridgewater.
2. Jacksonville, Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
I know the Jaguars are now winning all these meaningless games, and in the process screwing up their draft position. However, you can count on the Jags to get it right by getting it wrong. They’ll find a way to drop the last three and end up back here. JAX can’t “keep throwing good money after bad” as they say in corporate America. And if it were Gabbert throwing the money, it would almost always miss its mark. This team needs a lot- an icon, a franchise player, a real quarterback. If it’s true that Brett Hundley met with agents, then the redshirt sophomore is coming out. Hundley be a top-10 pick in the 2014 NFL mock draft. Even though he’s not playing up to a level that’s even close to his potential.
Go here for the UCLA Cheerleaders photo gallery
3. Atlanta Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
The Falcons have gone so long without drafting a true pass rusher, this has to be the year that they do it. We know the supposed controversy about Jadeveon Clowney has “no there there” as Gertrude Stein would say. Yet it does bring up one very important potential future issue that we should look at.
“We made something out of nothing, it’s a non-story,” we heard on ESPN College Gameday this morning. Exactly, Jadeveon Clowney has bone spurs and rib muscle injuries, it’s difficult to play under those conditions. At least ESPN owned up to it today.
“I think it got blown out of proportion” – Spurrier. Well, yes but the visored one is the person who got this whole party started by throwing Jadeveon Clowney under the bus in the first place.
So both Spurrier and the media are at fault in this. But as College Gameday did a mea culpa, one of the show’s talking heads, Kirk Herbstreit brought up a salient point that we should takeaway from this.
Whenever a college football player has a star freshman or sophomore season, and he’s clearly ready to leap to the NFL, should be just bail on his team and prepare for the NFL Draft? Instead of risking injury that will derail his draft stock and cost him life-changing amounts of money should he just go leave the game? And work out with a trainer and focus on conditioning for the combine instead?
Clowney’s name sounds like one that would be used as a punchline by Key and Peele in the East/West College Bowl sketch.
4. St. Louis from Washington, Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Matthews comes from the blue blood of NFL families. Bruce Matthews, Clay Matthews, Casey Matthews etc. Dave Matthews….oh wait, not that last one. Matthews is a right tackle turned left tackle and shows the ability to be a franchise building guy. He can play both Tackles positions but projects as a big money Left Tackle protecting the blind side. The Rams also need to find a way to keep Sam Bradford upright. so that’s an option.
5. Vikings Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Still you see what a ship wreck Christine Ponder is at QB. Or you can call him Christian Steele. He’s not the answer. Freeman is more questions, bad questions than answer as well. Can’t see them doing Manziel. He’s too much of a wildcard, and scares too many NFL scouts and front office people.
6. Oakland, Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
This guy needs to give a huge cut of his salary to Johnny Manziel, who’s made all this money for him. Terrelle Pryor is the answer, now go get him a wideout.
7. Tampa Bay Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Obviously, signal caller is the number one priority, as this will be a total rebuild. A total tear down first, then a total rebuild
8. Buffalo, Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson
The Bills went to upgrade their offense last season. Now it’s time to upgrade the defense. Which they didn’t do. They need some help pass rushing and Beasley could be the answer. He’s under-sized, but he’s just getting it done. He’s been all over the place and making things happen.
9. New York Giants, Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA
This guy seems to be high on almost everyone’s 2014 NFL mock draft boards. This college football season he has shown the potential to be a star next-level edge-rusher. He’s only building on his huge 2012 season and increasing his stock each week. Kiper has him as one of the the top three picks in the 2014 NFL mock draft. Your draft priorities are always quarterbacks first, then pass protecters, pass rushers, and then pass-catchers and shutdown pass defenders. Those are the main priorities, every thing else is ancillary. He has 13 TFL and six sacks through nine games this season.
Go here for the UCLA Cheerleaders photo gallery
Really under-the-radar prospect. Not much is known about this guy. Doesn’t get much publicity. We’ve barely even heard of him. He’s so obscure.
11. Pittsburgh, CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama
ESPN Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. ranks him as the sixth best prospect on his big board. “a guy who has done a tremendous job from a production standpoint, he’s consistent, he shows up every week, he studies. For a NFL Defensive Coordinator, he’s someone who can come in and cover and so much on the field and play every down,” Kiper said. And what’s a 2014 NFL mock draft without the Steelers taking a linebacker? What’s a NFL Draft without the Steelers taking a LB somewhere?
12. New York Jets, Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Cyrus Kouandjio has blocked for 17 100-yard rushers over the past two seasons as a starter, including seven this year. He anchors an offensive line that ranks ninth nationally in fewest sacks allowed (.90 per game) while opening holes for one of the most-balanced offenses in the nation, averaging 207.5 yards on the ground, 238.2 yards in the air and 38.8 points per game.
He’s had a few hiccups along the way, and he struggled at the beginning,” ESPN expert Mel Kiper Jr. said of him. However, he still rates Kouandjio as 18th overall on the big board.
Cyrus Kouandjio anchors an offensive line that ranks ninth nationally at .89 sacks per game. Versus Texas A&M he recorded two knockdown blocks, did not allow a sack and graded out at 90 percent.
13. San Diego, Kyle Van Noy, DE/OLB, BYU
“The Van Noy kid is a good linebacker. He’s one of the top linebackers in the country … He is very talented and you have to account for him every snap.”
Andersen would know better than any opposing coach as the former Utah State coach has played BYU each of the last four years. It’s safe to say he’s seen plenty of Van Noy.
Kyle Van Noy didn’t disappoint against the Badgers with eight tackles, two for a loss and an interception. The interception was the seventh of his career.
Getting in to the backfield is something Kyle Van Noy excels at with a tackle for loss in eight of nine games in 2013 and 10 of 13 games in 2012.
His biggest downfall is size (6-3, 235 lbs) because it prevents him from being dominant in rush defense. If he can manage to add 10 to 15 pounds before the draft, he could move up the big board.
Kyle Van Noy will be one of the first outside linebackers taken in the 2014 NFL Draft. Guys he will be competing with at the NFL Combine will be UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Buffalo’s Khalil Mack, Alabama’s C.J. Mosley and Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier.
The Big Ten has been great at producing offensive linemen prospects for he NFL lately. The Wisconsin Badgers are a factory, but there’s also been a bunch in the past few years coming out from the Penn State Nittany Lions, Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines.
Ever wonder what Big Ten school has produced the most 1st round picks these past five years? The answer will surprise you.
Given the “fat boy draft” of 2013, maybe I should put Lewan #1 in my 2014 NFL mock draft. No seriously, this past draft was in fact exceedingly boring, but the next draft will be much more exciting.
Part of what makes these o linemen from the league so tough is who they’re constantly facing off with- great defensive lines, Whether in practice scrimmaging or in game, so many linemen are practicing their craft vs strong defensive lines.
“the Big Ten is great for defensive lines and I think one of the the best defensive lines is the one we have at Michigan,” Lewan said. Of course, he didn’t say anything about the guys who play with him on his own offensive line. Michigan Offensive Coordinator Al Borges will likely get fired. And the worst part of his offense, and his team is the OL. Taylor and the other tackle are fine, it’s the interior that’s horrible at football: the two guards and the center.
He got off to a rough start this year, because he wasn’t healthy. A preseason All-American, he wasn’t living up to the hype. Then he dominated the USC game. Stephon Tuitt pretty much won the USC game for Notre Dame. Stephon Tuitt projects as a first round pick in next May’s NFL Draft. A possible top 15, top 20 pick. ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. sees Tuitt has a great prospect and said that he didn’t like the targeting rule that kept Stephon Tuitt out of the Pitt game, and he mentioned that the absence of Stephon Tuitt pretty much cost Notre Dame the Pitt game. Kiper believes Tuitt could step in and start right away.
A feature on more ND players who should get drafted, signed as free agents
His name is worth being a number one pick alone. Don’t worry too much about the suspension. All he did was seek money for doing his job. A situation that magically changes 180 degrees in a few months.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was the number one rated DB in his recruiting class. And he’s second on the Crimson Tide in tackles right now. He was on track to be a first round NFL Draft pick. Of course, this suspension won’t exactly help his draft stock. Still despite all his potential as a star player, none of that will overshadow his given name.
One of the veteran leaders of the Crimson Tide defense … in his second season as Alabama’s free safety and the play caller in the back of the Tide defense … started six games … returned against Arkansas as a reserve and then returned to the starting against Tennessee … has 31 tackles, ranking third on the team, an interception and three pass breakups … Alabama Defensive Player of the Week following the Ole Miss, Arkansas and LSU games. Virginia Tech: Made six tackles, including two solo stops, as the Tide limited the Hokies to 59 yards passing in a 35-10 victory at the Georgia Dome. Texas A&M
Namewise Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is right up there with college football players Hingle McCringleberry, Fudge, and LeCarpetron Dookmarriot. Of course, those three players don’t actually exist. They’re characters in a Key & Peele sketch.
Ra’Shede Hageman is a hometown product getting it done for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
The Minneapolis native is leading the Gophers in tackles for losses and looks like a top ten pick in the NFL Draft in May. It’s a toss-up between Ra’Shede Hageman or Michigan OT Taylor Lewan to be the first Big Ten player taken in the draft. They are also the only guys who could be top ten picks.
Scouts like Hageman’s length and girth, abt 6-6, 311. He’s a nose guard, who makes an interesting 3-technique prospect in the NFL.
“He had a great off week, and we worked out on his fundamentals,” said Gophers Interim Head Coach Tracy Claeys.
“He’s a big part of what we do, because others prepare for him.”
Hageman said he did a lot of drills working on technique and hand-work. And he needs works on his technique. Very much so as it looks like Hageman plays off every now and the, The Gophers are pretty deep at DL, and Rashede disappears or awhile. He needs more consistency.
18. Miami Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida
Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Roberson as one of the top underclassman corners in the mix. The Gators have had such an awful season. Not Roberson’s fault though. The secondary, and the defense in general have been fine. It’s the offense that’s atrocious. Florida’s issues will not affect the draft stock of Roberson.
19. Dallas, Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
My god that Dallas defense is a train wreck among train wrecks. Did you see Josh McCown score on all eight possessions in the Siberian version of Soldier Field? Josh McCown! ‘Boys must go D BPA in the first round. Defensive best player of available. Verrett’s a very good player, very underrated. Probably underrated because he goes to a mid major school. “very confident, excellent player, I think he could start immediately in the NFL,” ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said on conference call.
Intriguing to pair him with the guy who was rumored to score a 5 on his Wonderlic test. And then later said he just blew the test off because he knows it doesn’t matter that much to your draft status anyway.
20. Baltimore, Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo
Most under the radar player in the 2014 NFL mock draft. Kiper Jr. “I’ve liked him from the start and he grades out as #7 on the big board.” Only true draftniks know this guy because he’s from a small mid-major school.
21. Philadelphia, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
So much for the “dream team.” Building a fantasy football team just doesn’t work in the real world. The Eagles are still rebuilding from those mistakes, The genius offensive mind of Chip Kelly will take someone who can shut down the opponent’s pass. This is someone Chip Kelly is obviously familiar with. Ekpre-Olomu is a phenomenal talent, but not exactly a lock-down corner. Of course, so few cornerbacks really are a true lockdown corners. Mel Kper Jr. projects him as a top 15-20 prospect.
22. San Francisco, Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Ohio State Linebacker Ryan Shazier is a 6-2, 230-pound junior from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida who is rocketing up NFL Draft boards right now. He looks like a second round pick for sure, and may sneak into the first round. He can fly; he’s always around the ball. Kiper Jr. says Shazier has some Lavonte David in him. Shazier is a great physical open field tackler who can play every down.
Shazier had three tackles for loss, including two sacks, and seven total tackles as the Buckeyes rolled over Purdue, 56-0 last Saturday. Then again, playing Purdue ameliorates everyone’s NFL Draft stock; usually. Ryan Shazier is one of 20 quarter-finalists for some stupid award that no one cares about other than players and coaches. And then he got a Big Ten defensive player of the week award versus Illinois. Because everyone gets POW when they play the Illini.
23. Browns from Colts, David Yankey, OG, Stanford
Well, you know guards from Stanford are going to be in high demand in the NFL given what’s happened with Jonathan Martin and Richie Icognito. HAHAHA. I kid I kid. Look for the Brownies to go QB with their first pick and then add OL depth with the pick acquired from the Colts, which is getting more value by the week. An interior guy to complement Joe Thomas might be the right way to go.
24. Carolina Louis Nix, NT, Notre Dame
Has officially declared now, and skyrocketing up draft boards. Why? He didn’t have that great of a final season in South Bend and he’s dinged up to boot. But maybe he’ll wow ‘em at the combine and change my mind. The 2014 NFL mock draft is interesting for the Pack as you don’t know which way they’re going to go, it really should be defense. I could see the Pack going shopping for some “Irish Chocolate” in the 2014 NFL mock draft. And Nix is an awesome soundbite to boot. After he scored a rushing TD in the spring game, he said…..
“That’s what all teams need to be scared of. Everybody needs to be scared of Irish Chocolate.
Louis Nix was blunt about his agenda running the football. “My intentions were just to truck somebody, to be honest. I didn’t care about the touchdown too much. I just wanted to run somebody over and show coach I can do it without fumbling the ball,” he said. The defense wanted no part in taking on Louis Nix, with linebacker Kendall Moore moving out of the way to avoid collision with Louis Nix. “They were scared. I wouldn’t want to tackle me. Would you?” Nix asked. “I saw fear in his eyes. I would have done the same thing.”
A feature on more ND players who should get drafted, signed as free agents
25. Arizona, Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
26. Cincinnati Bengals, Marqise Lee, WR, USC
I’d rate Lee higher but it;s all about health with him. He’s suffered a fair amount of injury during his time in Troy, and he needs to show that he’s 100% at the combine. No worries about him producing a lot of big numbers or possessing talent. He’s proven that already; he’s not just a beneficiary of Matt Barkley, he proves that he can play regardless whatever Trojans QB is throwing to him.
Go here for the USC cheerleaders annual swim event fundraiser, bikini photo gallery
27. Detroit Lions, Eric Ebron, TE, UNC
Eric Ebron has been fantastic year and has passed Austin Seferian-Jenkins as the top tight end on the board. Hopefully, Ebron is a mature, heady player because the Lions are known for committing dumb penalties and making stupid mistakes. I assume they’re going to win the division based on talent alone, but I don’t know if they can walk away with it given all the empty-headed mistakes and dirty play that seems to cost them all the time.
28. New England Patriots, Darqueze Dennard, DB, Michigan State
The Patriots have some issues in the secondary. Their pass defense is bad. They keep drafting DBs all the time. And rotating them, but they keep giving up tons of yards. Then again, they keep signing thugs to play DB. When you have Aqib Talib and Alfonzo Dennard as your starting CBs you’re going to have major legal issues.
Will signing a different CB named Dennard make a difference?
We’ll see. MSU is the #1 defense in the nation, and Dennard is the #1 most NFL ready on that squad. Made himself some good money in the Big Ten title game. Wow did he look good. The “No Fly Zone” can make himself even more money by dominating the Stanford WRs in the Rose Bowl
He’s extremely mature. He understand accountability, at 2013 Big Ten Media Day, he broke down every loss from 2012 as to it being his own fault. He found a way to blame it on himself. And that really says something given who much talent surrounds him on the MSU defense. there is next level talent at every position, and plenty of talented Spartans next to Dennard in the secondary.
29. Seattle, A.J. Johnson, ILB, Tennessee
He’s best player available on the 2014 NFL mock Draft board at this stage…even higher than this. He’s a mid-to-high-first round pick. But linebackers don’t go this high, especially inside linebackers. Johnson deserves to be higher, but it’s just not gonna happen. Johnson is a tackling machine and grades out as the #2 Inside Linebacker prospect right now; about #5 or #6 overall when you factor in the seniors at the position.
30. Kansas City, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Sefarian-Jenkins is one of the top overall prospects in the 2014 NFL mock draft, and could help fill two Chiefs needs: blocking and pass-catching; they could use some help in both areas.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a first team All-American tight end for the Washington Huskies. He finished third in the Mackey Award voting last year, and was 3rd team All-American. Extremely tall, big and fast, he’s projected as a top 15 NFL Draft pick in 2014. I’ve seen him in the top 10 in a few mocks.
Seferian-Jenkins was also a member of the Huskies basketball team during his freshman year.
On March 9, 2013, Seferian-Jenkins was cited for DUI in Seattle. In July he plead guilty to DUI and served a day in jail. A blue chip football prospect with some character issues- I know shocking. UW Coach Steve Sarkisian suspended him for the Huskies’ season opener against #19 Boise State.
31. New Orleans, Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
The Saints, statistically speaking, had the worst defense in NFL history last year. That’s not hyperbole. It’s true. And it only makes what the cowardly lion looking guy has done that much more amazing. Rob Ryan has turned them around. Still, gotta go that side of the ball in round one.
32. Denver, Scott Crichton, DE/OLB, Oregon State
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also an analyst for multiple news talk radio stations across the country; with regular weekly segments on NBC and Fox Sports Radio. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks) and RSS Catch him Tuesdays talking Illini and Northwestern for KOZN 1620 The Zone, Fridays talking Chicago Bears for WAOR 95.7 The Fan