2014 Too-early Mock Draft
Since I have time, I’m using the Football Outsiders mean seasons wins for the order with two adjustments (+1 win for the NY Giants and -1.0 wins for the Browns, +1 Win for Minnesota, -0.5 wins for Houston & Buffalo) along with adjusting for how they would have to be seated in the playoffs.
2014 Mock Draft (Note: No Trades)
1. Jacksonville Jaguars(2.1Mean Wins) – Teddy Bridgewater QB Louisville
Not Andrew Luck good but easily the most "sure thing" in this draft not really a weakness in his game and has all the tools one looks for in a franchise QB. Will likely be the top pick of any QB hungry team and for good reason. After enduring 3 seasons of Blaine Gabbert Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts buy baby face Bridgewater a "man drink" and Jags fans develop hope.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4.5 Mean Wins) – Brett Hundley QB UCLA
Mike Glennon, not the guy. Not gonna be the guy. Our new coaching staff, whomever that may be brings in a young QB with a plethora of skills and upside. Hundley will need some time and easy tools to develop but with sufficient talent and coaching around him has as much upside as anyone in this draft.
3. New York Giants (3.7 Mean Wins per Football Outsiders, 4.7 per DP) – Jadevon Clowney DE S.Carolina
The most physically gifted defensive end since Julius Peppers to come out. Clowney’s rib injury was obviously mishandled by the old ball coach, especially when it was learned that it was more than a simple bruise. Almost impossible to block 1 on 1, would create some issues with Jason Pierre-Paul having one of the defensive end spots but playing both even if one starts at LDE is simply too entertaining a thought to pass on.
4. St. Louis Rams (through Washington 5.4 Mean Wins) – Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M
Really fluid pass blocking specialist of a left tackle who should be an instant plug and play option on any offensive line. Like most offensive lineman he’ll need some adjustment time but the Rams need to keep Sam Bradford vertical and Jake Matthews would instantly solve some line issues for them. With another pick later on they can add still more weapons. They could look QB here but that’s not likely to give them the result they want and in the end I think Bradford returns.
5. Houston Texans (6.0 Mean wins per Football Outsiders 5.5 per DP) – Marcus Mariotta QB Oregon
Mariotta has the most upside if he decides to leave school early but also comes with the most downside risk and is going to require the most training and learning of the top QB’s. He’s mobile and has a huge cannon of an arm but the best comparison maybe Cam Newton, which certainly isn’t bad but also is no guarantee of great success. Houston has gotten old suddenly on the offensive side of the football and should look to retool.
6. Atlanta Falcons (5.5 Mean wins) – Taylor Lewan OT Michigan
Massive powerful road grading tackle who comes with a solid skill set for pass blocking. He could open some holes for Atlanta which has lost physicality on its offensive line over the past few seasons. Lewan is a good pass blocker (a bit vulnerable to the rip but good) and a great run blocker. Instant starter in Atlanta.
7. Oakland Raiders (5.7 Mean Wins) – Anthony Barr OLB UCLA
Oakland may want a QB but I get the feeling they are "ok" seeing if Pryor can develop for two seasons. Barr also is too good to pass on the top 7 players in this draft are really a huge cut above everyone else at this point and Barr would be the pass rusher Oakland needs. Often overlooked, in addition to being a pass rusher Barr is actually very good in pass coverage and while I’m a huge Kuechly fan Barr is better given the pass rushing dimension. Oakland maybe a 4-3 scheme team at the moment, but I don’t think it’s a scheme they are married to and I also believe their personnel is actually a better 34 fit.
8. Minnesota Vikings (4.7 Mean Win per Football Outsiders 5.7 per DP) – Louis Nix III DT Notre Dame
This is really the first "decision point" in the draft whomever picks 8th is a little behind in terms of talent but Nix is a 340lbs load with some good upfield push and those are really hard to come by. He can do it all. He’s massive and a "clean" prospect in terms of conduct. Lost in the shuffle of the Vikings QB woes has been that their defense hasn’t been very good either.
9. St. Louis Rams (6.2 Mean Wins) – Mike Evans WR Texas A&M
Evans is a matchup nightmare at 6’5" with great hands and an equally impressive vertical. Adding Evans to fleet footed Tavon Austin and speedster Chris Givens would give the Rams a young and impressive receiving corps.
10. Cleveland Browns (7.2 Mean Wins per FO 6.2 Mean wins per DP) – Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M
This would be the most hotly debated pick on draft day. Manziel has an incredibly unorthodox style and he’s going to be a love him or hate him pick. I don’t have Manziel anywhere near this high but I believe the rumors that Cleveland is doing a ton of work scouting this guy on and off the field and expect him to be the next Browns QB. They are likely to look either like geniuses or total buffoons with this pick.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (6.4 Mean Wins) – Antonio Richardson OT Tennessee
Pittsburgh’s O-line is a total and complete mess only Maurkrice Puncey who is on IR and David DeCastro are NFLstarting material. The rest are backups and Candian league candidates. Richardson is a big powerful blocker with more size than most if he shows good feet in the post-season, he has better film than Cyrus from Alabama and could easily leap frog him.
12. Buffalo Bills (7.3 Mean Wins per Football Outsiders, 6.8 Mean wins per DP) – Sammy Watkins WR Clemson
No one does more after the catch than Watkins, his lack of height will probably hurt him since he’s only 6’0" even but he knows how to acquire YAC yardage and is very slippery. He’s a really good all around athlete who reminds me of Justin Blackmon. Does come with some off-field red flags as well but Watkins would make a great target for EJ Manuel.
13. Miami Dolphins (7.2 Mean Wins) – Eric Ebron TE UNC
Ebron may be the best offensive non-QB weapon in this draft. He can flank out, he can block, he can elevate and make the catch. He’s a match up nightmare for Pro teams because very few linebackers have the speed to handle him and he’s twice the size of most safties. The hands have been inconsistent but are improving and I’m not sure the Dolphins could pass adding another weapon to build around Tannehill.
14. Baltimore Ravens (7.7 Mean Wins) – C.J. Mosley LB Alabama
Mosley would be a good value pick in this spot and brings versatility to play inside or outside. He’s a tough nosed defender with exceptional range and blitzing ability. He’s no Ray Lewis but he’s the best player available and if your Ozzie Newsome that’s what you love.
15. Arizona Cardinals (7.9 Mean Wins) – Cyrus Kouandjio OT Alabama
The Cardinals offensive line has been bad since about 2002. Cyrus has had some blocking difficulties this season for the Tide but has also been dominant at times. He brings a hard nosed approach though and should be a big building block for the Cardinals. Carson Palmer is not the answer at QB but no other signal caller merits being taken with this selection.
16. New York Jets (7.9 Mean Wins) –Marquise Lee WR USC
Lee is suffering from injury and poor play by USC QB’s (not to mention bad schemes) He’s likely to need some time to adjust to pro route running as he can be sloppy but he has the physical tools to develop into a legitimate #1 NFL WR and if this is 8 wins maybe the Jets will finally get a weapon for their QB’s to work with.
17. San Diego Chargers (7.9 Mean Wins) – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu CB Oregon
One of the more consistent CB’s who remains near the top of draft boards because you know what your getting a stretch 1 excellent 2 CB who can play man to man as well as zone. Has some good playmaking skills and would bolster a resurgent Chargers team.
18. Dallas Cowboys (8.3 Mean Wins) – RaShede Hageman DT Minnesota
Massive interior defensive tackle from an unpublicized program but Shede is a physical talent upfront like nearly no other. Dallas has been trying to run a Tampa 2 defense with some 34 pieces but Hageman will bring them the undertackle they desperately need to generate pass rsuh.
19. Carolina Panthers (8.7 Mean Wins) – HaHa Clinton Dix S Alabama
Aside from off field issues HaHa is really a prototypical pro free safety. Not an enforcer with a hit but a really solid centerfielder and defender of last resort. Really tremendous range and while he’s not a striker he is a very sure tackler.
20. Detroit Lions (9.7 Mean Wins) – Jordan Matthews WR Vanderbilt
In this scenario the current division leaders are the best team not to make the post-season. There problem still remains that no one other than Calvin Johnson is a reliable target outside. Matthews is the quintessential reliable target, big body frame and a solid route runner who comes into and out of breaks quite suddenly. Should play a number of seasons as a starting #2 WR.
21. Tennessee Titans (8.0 Mean Wins) – Domonique Easley DT-DE Florida
Currently injured Easley is likely to surge in post-season workouts he’s fast and violent. Has a wide body and while a bit on the shorter side can surge into the offensive backfield. With most of the really good offensive weapons off the board this would be a really solid pick for the Titans.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (8.6 Mean Wins) – Khalil Mack OLB Buffalo
Exceptional pass rusher with freakish edge rushing skills and a lot of off-field issues, Mack can play with excellent range and great overall gitty up. The Eagles defense is lousy this season and while a secondary player might make more sense the value is for a pass rusher.
23. Chicago Bears (9.9 Mean Wins) – Will Sutton DT Arizona St.
No one wants to place this guy in round 1 because he’s only 6’0" tall but right now he’s the best defensive lineman in the country. Without knowing what will happen with Melton next season Sutton could be the guy for the Bears.
24. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis 10.0 Mean Wins) – Cyril Richardson OG Baylor
Richardson is easily the best offensive guard in this coming draft. He’s huge at 340lbs and an old school drive blocker. The Browns somehow managed to have a terrible line even with the NFL’s best LT and one of its top 3 centers while Manziel’s mobility will help some they still need more pieces.
25. San Francisco 49ers (9.9 Mean Wins) – Stephon Truitt DE Notre Dame
Truitt is a 300lbs DE who seems born to play in a 3-4. Long and disruptive he’s no J.J. Watt, but who is. Truitt does play like a poor mans version of him though and that’s pretty darn good.
26. Green Bay Packers (10.1 Mean Wins) – Austin Sefarian-Jenkins TE Washington
Austin is clearly a "go" TE not much of a blocker at this point and comes with a host of off-field problems. What he also has is the ability to stretch the field vertically, soft hands, and upside. He’s more Jermaine Gresham than Tyler Eifert but clearly good enough to an NFL starter if he stays out of trouble. Jermichael Finley is in a contract year and unlikely to return to the Packers so a replacement TE would seem a prudent choice and with the number of options in this years draft.
27. Cincinnati Bengals (10.3 Mean Wins) – Ryan Shazier OLB Ohio St.
The Bengals are incredibly deep at a number of positions but LB, outside of Burfict is a tad weak. Shazier has quality range and brings some real run stuffing ability. He’s too small to be used regularly in a 34 package so I would look for a 43 team to target Shazier somewhere in the back half of round 1. A lot of boards have him much higher but like Lavonte David his lack of size and pure pass rushing ability will hurt his draft stock but not his career.
28. New England Patriots (10.8 Mean Wins) – Jason Varrett CB TCU
If the Patriots are drafting in this spot its probably because Peyton Manning’s WR’s torched whoever Aqib Talib wasn’t covering. Varrett is an old school cover corner with excellent ball skills that teams should be afraid to throw at. Not much in run support but gives good effort and would actually my #1 CB at this point.
29. New Orleans Saints (10.7 Mean Wins) – David Yankey OT-OG Stanford
I’m not really sure which fit will be better position wise for Yankey but he really is the most cerebral offensive lineman in this draft. I love that he finishes blocks but he’s so hard to trick on rips, stunts, or blitzes I’d love to see him inside on a pass heavy team. His versatility would simply be value added. He’d fit the Saints quite well and after years of suffering offensive line defections the Saints would get a cornerstone of the OL in front of Brees.
30. Kansas City Chiefs (12.1 Mean Wins) – Louchiez Purifoy CB Florida
Probably the most physical cornerback I’ve seen in quite sometime. Purifoy is an edge setter all on his own at CB capable of coming up and delivering a pop. He is good at man to man coverage but seems to get fooled on double moves too often and does not have elite ball skills.
31. Seattle Seahawks (12.3 Mean Wins)- De’Anthony Thomas RB Oregon
Talk about a change of pace to Marshawn Lynch, Pete Carroll would probably love this concept putting the diminutive but lightning fast Thomas in after Lynch has pounded a defense would create all sorts of havoc.
32. Denver Broncos (13.3 Mean Wins)- Marcus Roberson CB/PR Florida
Roberson brings added value because of his kick return ability and also brings natural coverage skills in man press. He’s likely to be highly valued by multiple teams because he can come in right away and be the nickel cornerback while contributing on special teams.
ROUND 2 (Only to the Tampa pick)
33. Jacksonville Jaguars – Bishop Sankey RB Washington
If you haven’t watched Sankey this season because the rest of Washington is bad you’ve missed something. Sankey is pro ready as a tailback , hes slippery, can run from the eye or shotgun, with or without a lead blocker, is a good receiver out of the backfield and does a great job in blitz pickup. Maurice Jones Drew is on the downside of his career and the Jags need production from this spot with a rookie QB.
34. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jace Amaro TE Texas Tech
Amaro is the center piece of 5-0 Texas Tech’s offense. He is a big large target and a superlative route runner he can create separation and at 6’5" 257lbs should be able to develop into a blocker. Right now he’s flanked out wide for the Red Raiders and is more than willing to run over a safety or two but his blocking technique needs serious work. He also has some off-field issues so the current regime wouldn’t take him but they will be drawing unemployment come May.