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With the 2014 NFL Draft about a month away, let's take a look at how I think the 2014 NFL Draft could possibly play out. A lot will change over the next few weeks, so my mock will change as well. Today, I will give my 1st 16 picks of the NFL Draft.
1) Houston - QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida - John McClain of the Houston Chronicle is pretty plugged in to what the Texans look to do, and he thinks the pick will be Bortles. They certainly have a need at the position with former starting QB Matt Schaub having been traded to Oakland. South Carolina uber talented DE Jadeveon Clowney is also a major consideration, and I would not be surprised if he is the pick. That said, new HC Bill O'Brien is knows as a QB guru, and Bortles fits the mode of QB he likes.
2) St. Louis - Greg Robinson, OLT, Auburn - OLT Jake Long tore his ACL in December, and there is a major question of his availabilty for the Rams for the 2014 season. This is also the 3rd straight season that Long has suffered a serious injury. With QB Sam Bradford coming off a torn ACL, protecting his blindside is crucial.
3) Jacksonville - Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina - HC Gus Bradley is a defensive minded coach, and the Jaguars were last in the NFL in sacks with 31. The Jaguars have a need at QB, as 2011 1st round pick and disappointment Blaine Gabbert was traded to San Francisco, leaving Chad Henne as the starting QB. With that said, I believe Clowney is the pick.
4) Cleveland - Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson - This is another team that could very well go quarterback, but they have very little talent at the skill positions as well, as WR Josh Gordon and TE Jordan Cameron are the only legitimate playmakers. Watkins has the hands, size and speed you want at the wide receiver position. He and Gordon would give the Browns a potent duo.
5) Oakland - Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A & M - The Raiders have a need at QB even with the trade for QB Matt Schaub. Manziel is not your prototypical quarterback from a size standpoint, but he is a playmaker, and the Raiders OL is very much a work in progress, so his mobility could be a plus for him.
6) Atlanta Falcons - Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo - Atlanta could easily go OLT here, and Texas A & M OLT Jake Matthews has to be a prime consideration as well. But like the Jaguars, the Falcons have struggled generating a consistent pass rush, and Mack ranks very high on a lot of boards.
7) Tampa Bay - Mike Evans, WR, Texas A & M - Tampa Bay just traded the talented but troubled Mike Williams to Buffalo. While they have Vincent Jackson on one side, the Bucs have little else. They could go OL here as well and I have seen Michigan OLT Taylor Lewan mocked here as well.
8) Minnesota - Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville - The Christian Ponder experiment has been a failure, and the clock is winding down on THE Elite RB in the NFL, Adrian Peterson. The Vikings have to address the QB position. Bridgewater has been considered the most NFL ready QB, and I am not going to let a sub-par Pro Day showing deter my thoughts on Bridgewater.
9) Buffalo - Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina - The Bills just traded for talented but troubled WR Mike Williams of Tampa Bay. The Bills are looking to add a playmaker, and Ebron is considered to be THE top TE in the 2014 NFL Draft. Ebron has the ability to be a threat down the seams of a defense and can makes plays after the catch. He is a work in progress as a blocker.
10) Detroit - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama - Detroit lost S Louis Delmas to Miami, and Dix can be that player to come in and fill an immediate need for the Lions. Dix along with Louisville S Calvin Pryor are considered the top safaties in this draft.
11) Tennessee - Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State - The Titans just lost All Pro cornerback Alterraun Verner to Tampa Bay. Gilbert is a talented cover corner and a very good punt and kickoff returner as well. He fills an immediate need for the Titans.
12) New York Giants - Jake Matthews, OLT, Texas A & M - The Giants are coming off a season of struggles from their offense. A lot of those problems can be traced to the offensive line. Matthews is certainly considered one of the top 2 offensive lineman in this draft, along with Auburn OLT Greg Robinson.
13) St. Louis - Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville - With Ha Ha Clinton-Dix off the board, the Rams select Pryor to add to the secondary. Big, aggressive and a big hitter.
14) Chicago - Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh - The Bears defensive line has taken and hit with DT Henry Melton off to Dallas and DE Julius Peppers cut and signing with rival Green Bay. The Bears add the explosive Donald to help rebuild their defensive front.
15) Pittsburgh - Taylor Lewan, OLT, Michigan - The Steelers offensive line has been an area of concerns for years. Lewan would be an immediate upgrade at the OLT position.
16) Dallas - Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State - Dallas defense was a disaster in 2013. They also have lost DE DeMarcus Ware to Denver and DT Jason Hatcher to Washington. The Cowboys have a lot of work to do on the defensive side of the ball, and they start up from with Jernigan.
Join me next week as I will give the last 16 picks of the 2014 NFL Draft.