Todd Salem 2014 NFL Mock Draft - 1 January 2014

1. Blake Bortles 2. Cyrus Kouandjio 3. Teddy Bridgewater 4. Jake Matthews 5. Anthony Barr
Round 1
1Houston Texans 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesHoustonBlake BortlesQBCentral Florida
At this point, this pick seems almost inevitable. For months, two things were certain: the Texans were going to need to draft a quarterback, and Teddy Bridgewater was going to be the first quarterback taken in the NFL Draft. Once Houston was locked in with the first selection, those two certainties converged...until Blake Bortles happened. From an unknown midway through this actual college football season, Bortles is now being thought of as a mix between Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and Hercules. With combines and workouts still pending, it seems only a matter of time until Bortles passes Bridgewater on everyone's board.
2Saint Louis Rams 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesSt. Louis (from WAS)Cyrus KouandjioOTAlabama
With Washington's pick giving them two first-rounders, the St. Louis Rams have some wiggle room in this draft. While Jake Matthews seems to be the consensus top offensive tackle, he is not the man with the highest upside at the position. That is Cyrus Kouandjio. If the Rams had just one first round pick that locked them into needing a definitive starter, they might have went with the safer Matthews. Instead, they can reach for the higher ceiling.
3Jacksonville Jaguars 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesJacksonvilleTeddy BridgewaterQBLouisville
It is rare that things break in the Jacksonville Jaguars' favor. Things haven't broken right for them in years now it seems. Teddy Bridgewater falling to three is a break Jags fans desperately needed.
4Cleveland Browns 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesClevelandJake MatthewsOTTexas A&M
The Cleveland Browns have a number of needs, not the least of which being head coach. They could probably use a wide receiver to pair with Josh Gordon. They will be drafting a quarterback at some point as well. However, Jake Matthews was not supposed to be available at four. If the new Browns' brass is as smart as they claim to be, they won't pass on Matthews here.
5Oakland Raiders 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesOaklandAnthony BarrLBUCLA
Wouldn't it be so Raiders-like to take the first rush end and it not be Jadeveon Clowney? Of course, Anthony Barr is a fantastic specimen in his own right. Neither player will fall out of the top six or seven; it just comes down to preference.
6Atlanta Falcons 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesAtlantaJadeveon ClowneyDESouth Carolina
With character and effort and hard work mattering more than ever in today's sports and society, it figures that the best player in the draft would fall to sixth. Jadeveon Clowney has had some off-field issues. His motor has been questioned numerous times. In past years, perhaps he still goes number one overall. In 2014, there is little chance, which ends up benefiting the Atlanta Falcons greatly. With the return of Julio Jones next season, and the addition of Clowney, Atlanta should be back near the playoff hunt.
7Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesTampa BayTaylor LewanOTMichigan
At 6'7" tall and 314 pounds, there was a reason Taylor Lewan entered his senior season at Michigan as one of the top prospects in the country. A poor season overall for him and for the Wolverines pushed Lewan's draft stock down, but the hate went too far. This is a very good offensive line prospect. Tampa Bay will see through the faults and, in a way,and  buy low on Lewan.
8Minnesota Vikings 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesMinnesotaJohnny ManzielQBTexas A&M
It remains to be seen which franchise will fall in love with Johnny Manziel. Someone will, and it might be a team picking higher than eighth to be honest. However, if he falls to Minnesota, the Vikings will certainly scoop him up. They are in dire need of a quarterback the players and fans can believe in. Perhaps Manziel is too small and won't fit as a franchise quarterback. Minnesota is going to find out either way.
9Buffalo Bills 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesBuffaloKhalil MackLBBuffalo
Khalil Mack is one of the best players in the draft, regardless of position. As a senior at Buffalo, the outside linebacker set all kinds of records. He destroyed his competition rushing the passer, defending the run and in coverage. Mack is one of the most well-rounded linebackers to enter the league. Whether OLB is one of the Bills' biggest needs or not, Mack, coming from the University of Buffalo, is too good of a pick to pass up both on the field and off it.
10Detroit Lions 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesDetroitMarqise LeeWRUSC
Having battled through an injury-plagued season, wide receiver Marqise Lee developed some doubters. Many began to question whether he could be a team's go-to offensive threat. However, going to Detroit, that will not be a concern. The 6'0" Lee slots in nicely opposite Calvin Johnson, giving the Lions two weapons at the receiver position that Matthew Stafford can look to. The Lions fell off dramatically when Johnson was not able to play this season. It is certainly a worry that needs to be addressed.
11Tennessee Titans 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesTennesseeBrett HundleyQBUCLA
Jake Locker is not the answer in Tennessee. Many Titans fans love the guy, but he cannot stay healthy and hasn't been great for long enough stretches to believe in him for the future. With the top quarterback prospects off the board, it might be a bit of a reach in some people's eyes for Tennessee to then turn to UCLA's Brett Hundley. After all, he was far from flawless this season in college. However, Hundley's mix of passing ability and athleticism could slot him right into what Locker offered if the Titans decide to cut ties with the third-year man.
12New York Giants 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesNY GiantsDarqueze DennardCBMichigan State
The Thorpe Award winner, Darqueze Dennard fought his way through a number of top defensive back prospects to be named the top one in the country. At a shade under six feet, Dennard does not quite fit the mold of a Richard-Sherman-type power corner, but he has great instincts and coverage skills. The New York Giants have a lot of holes on their roster, offensive line perhaps being the biggest. But if one of the top three tackles does not drop to them, they may need to look at filling another hole, such as in the defensive backfield.
13Saint Louis Rams 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesSt. LouisIfo Ekpre-OlomuCBOregon
Whether the Giants select Dennard at 12 or not, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu may be the guy St. Louis is targeting with its pick. The Oregon defensive back is a physical, ball-hawking player. He is good in coverage and may even be suited to a shift to safety if St. Louis' needs at the spot overwhelm them. The name is a mouth full, but like anyone is today's society, if he becomes a great player, everyone will know how to spell Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
14Chicago Bears 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesChicagoC.J. MosleyLBAlabama
There was no worse unit in all of football this season than the Chicago Bears' run defense. With the retirement of Brian Urlacher and the injuries to a number of players, including Lance Briggs, Chicago was decimated at the linebacker position. C.J. Mosley is by far the best inside backer in this draft. He would immediately compete for a starting gig in Chicago if the Bears selected him.
15Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesPittsburghTimmy JerniganDTFlorida State
It took a long while for the Pittsburgh Steelers to get going this season. In the end, it took too long. They might have been the team playing the best out of any of the squads competing for that final AFC wildcard spot, but 8-8 was not good enough. With an aging defense, it may be time to select some replacements for past Pro Bowlers. Timmy Jernigan is perhaps the top interior defensive line prospect in this draft.
16Dallas Cowboys 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesDallasJustin GilbertCBOklahoma State
Whether the Dallas Cowboys win or lose the coin flip for the 16th pick, it shouldn't matter a whole lot. Dallas is not interested in a wide receiver at this juncture, and Baltimore should not be focusing on defensive backs in the first round. The Cowboys need help at all levels of their defense. The best defensive player available may be the route to go, and that would be Oklahoma State corner Justin Gilbert. Having three reliable cornerbacks should also not be looked at as a bad thing.
17Baltimore Ravens 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesBaltimoreSammy WatkinsWRClemson
The Baltimore Ravens had a putrid offense this season. The best evidence of this is that their offensive MVP was probably their kicker. Joe Flacco wasn't anywhere near as good as he was during last year's playoffs. Part of this was the terrible rushing game. He could also have used another weapon on the outside. Receiver Sammy Watkins fills that void and brings an element a bit different from Torrey Smith.
18New York Jets 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesNY JetsKelvin BenjaminWRFlorida State
It is no secret the New York Jets are in need of some offensive firepower. They drafted their quarterback last year. This year, they need to give him some more help. Kelvin Benjamin is a big-bodied wide-out who will give Geno Smith an option against one-on-one coverage. There wasn't a player on the Jets roster this season who could go up and beat a defensive back to a ball in the air on a consistent basis.
19Miami Dolphins 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesMiamiAntonio RichardsonOTTennessee
With perhaps the biggest story of the 2013 NFL season centered around the departure of two of Miami's starting offensive linemen, there is a clear hole the Dolphins must address during the draft. Tennessee's Antonio Richardson is probably the best tackle still on the board. If the Dolphins feel Cyril Richardson from Baylor is a better player, they may take the guard instead. Auburn's Greg Robinson may also be an option at this point in the first round.
20Arizona Cardinals 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesArizonaDerek CarrQBFresno State
For a team who missed the playoffs, the Arizona Cardinals have a lot to be pleased about. They have one of the top few defenses in the entire league, anchored by the best young cover corner in the NFL. They have good skill position players on offense. The only thing that should worry Cardinals fans, besides playing in the NFC West, is their quarterback situation. Carson Palmer is not a long-term answer at the position. It makes sense to draft a QB for the future as soon as possible, so he can take over while that defense is still elite.
21Green Bay Packers 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesGreen BayEric EbronTENorth Carolina
With the unfortunate injury to Jermichael Finley, the Green Bay Packers are in need of a starting tight end for next season. While Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a premiere athlete at the position, Eric Ebron is probably the best tight end prospect in the draft. Trying to find the next Jimmy Graham is becoming as important as finding a Calvin Johnson in a league centered around matchup advantages.
22San Diego Chargers 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesSan DiegoTrent MurphyLBStanford
The Chargers defense is poor. While it is always fun to think of adding weapons to Philip Rivers' arsenal, the defense is a higher priority. Trent Murphy is one of the best edge linebacker options available at this point in the draft. He lacks elite speed but makes up for it with his strength and instincts.
23Philadelphia Eagles 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesPhiladelphiaStephon TuittDENotre Dame
Stephon Tuitt's stock took a major hit this season. The Notre Dame defense was not as good as people expected, and Tuitt fell under the radar. But his loss is the Eagles' gain. For a team that took the league by storm under new coach Chip Kelly, Philadelphia was not very good on the defensive side of the ball. If Tuitt is able to get back to what he was in 2012, he will be a huge asset to the Eagles.
24Kansas City Chiefs 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesKansas CityMike EvansWRTexas A&M
With great size and strength, there is an argument to be made that Mike Evans was more responsible for the great production through the air by Johnny Manziel rather than the other way around. When Manziel threw up a pass, occasionally into double coverage, Evans went up and got it. He made a lot more big plays as a sophomore than during his freshman year (yards per catch over 20 as opposed to 13.5 the year before). Kansas City is in need of a big-play wide receiver. With the decline and possible departure of Dwayne Bowe, and the underneath/west coast nature of the offense in general, there wasn't much downfield for quarterback Alex Smith to look for. That would change with Evans in uniform.
25Cincinnati Bengals 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesCincinnatiRyan ShazierLBOhio State
 The Cincinnati Bengals did pretty well for themselves this season considering who they were playing without. Their top two defenders, corner Leon Hall and tackle Geno Atkins, were lost for the season. Other than Vontaze Burfict, the linebacking corps was also lacking. Ryan Shazier would help to solve that. The linebacker out of Ohio State has great sideline-to-sideline range and can play in coverage. He is a bit on the smallish side and needs to add strength to his frame, but Shazier is one of the better linebackers who isn't strictly an edge rusher.
26Cleveland Browns 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesCleveland (from IND)Zach MettenbergerQBLSU
Missing out on the top two QBs near the front end of round one, Cleveland may decide to dip its toe in that water with its inherited pick from Indianapolis. Zach Mettenberger had a very nice season at LSU. He was overshadowed by the likes of Manziel and A.J. McCarron in his conference, but Mettenberger put up big numbers and has NFL size behind center.
27New Orleans Saints 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesNew OrleansLoucheiz PurifoyCBFlorida
Entering the season, Loucheiz Purifoy was the Gators' best defensive back. Although his teammate Marcus Roberson played his way into first round consideration too, Purifoy is still the more talented prospect. He possesses good size and speed and should hold up well in man coverage. That would be a much-needed addition to the Saints defense.
28San Francisco Giants 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesSan FranciscoLouis NixDTNotre Dame
If Louis Nix had entered the NFL draft in 2013, after Notre Dame's trip to the National Championship, he would have been selected much higher than this. Nevertheless, falling to late in the first round may end up being a boon if a team like the 49ers select him. Fitting inside on the defensive line, with such an elite group of linebackers backing him, Nix may live up to that old draft projection yet. He certainly has the talents.
29New England Patriots 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesNew EnglandHa Ha Clinton-DixSAlabama
The safety position has not been highly thought of in draft circles for some time now. Teams felt they could fill the spot with talent from later in the draft. That feeling may be changing slightly with the recent additions to the league. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is the only safety really deserving of a first round grade this year though. His brief suspension during the season notwithstanding, Clinton-Dix had a fine final campaign and would bring depth to a depleted Patriots secondary.
30Carolina Panthers 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesCarolinaMarcus RobersonCBFlorida
If the New Orleans Saints decide to pass on Marcus Roberson in favor of his teammate, Carolina may pounce on the other Gator corner when the time comes. Roberson really propelled his name up draft boards this season and has some potential in the return game as well. He would be a nice addition to an already formidable defense.
31Denver Broncos 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesDenverGreg RobinsonOTAuburn
Yet another offensive tackle being considered for the first round, Auburn's Greg Robinson would help fill depth on the Broncos offensive line. When Ryan Clady went down with a season-ending injury, it forced players into the starting lineup who were not ready. Denver may have needs on the defensive side, where they really struggled at times this season. However, no place on the team is more important than that offensive line, especially with Peyton Manning behind center and entering his age 38 season.
32Seattle Seahawks 2014 NFL Mock Draft College Football Draft ProfilesSeattlePaul RichardsonWRColorado
There are a couple of wide receivers that may go in this area, including Jordan Matthews out of Vanderbilt, but the Seattle Seahawks may be looking for that Percy Harvin substitute if Harvin never materializes for them. Paul Richardson is a speedy wide receiver who can fill that void. Seattle would really benefit from selecting a receiver even if they believe in Harvin's full recovery though. They were a team who was lacking on the offensive end all year long, which put a lot of pressure on Russell Wilson to make plays with his feet.
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