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2015 NFL DRAFT

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Watkins, Evans lead rich WR class

By Dane Brugler | NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst

More NFL offseason: Mock Drafts | Prospect Rankings | Pro days | Top free agents

With the draft only five weeks away and free agency slowing, team needs and the direction they might go on draft weekend is becoming clear.

The depth of this wide receiver group is often discussed, but this mock draft is more evidence just how deep it is with 12 pass catchers coming off the board in this exercise. It has happened a few times where 11 receivers have come off the board in the first two rounds, most recently 2005, but a dozen in the top-64 picks would be a new NFL record.

And the 12 in this mock does not account for several talented receivers such as Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews, Colorado's Paul Richardson or Wisconsin's Jared Abbrederis.

NFL Mock Draft - 4/1/2014
Round 1
1. Houston Texans

(2-14)
Blake Bortles, QB, UCF: Losing the final 14 games of last season, the Texans earned this top spot. But despite the forgettable season, Houston isn't a complete rebuild and new head coach Bill O'Brien inherits a roster that only needs a few tweaks. If the Texans keep this pick, it would be a surprise if they didn't draft a quarterback. Bortles and Johnny Manziel are the favorites and I'll stick with the Central Florida product.
2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington)

(7-9)
Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn: Yes, the Rams brought back Rodger Saffold, but with his injury history and Jake Long coming off a serious injury, Robinson is still a strong possibility here. At the end of the day, I think St. Louis trades out of his pick, but if they stay at No. 2, I like the Auburn tackle here.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars

(4-12)
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: If Clowney is still on the board at No. 3, this pick gets interesting. The elusive "franchise" quarterback or the all-world pass rusher? Clowney has elite tools and can become something special in the NFL if he pushes himself, lining up as Gus Bradley's premier pass rusher on defense. If the Jaguars do go Clowney here, look for Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo to be options in the late first or early second round for Jacksonville.
4. Cleveland Browns

(4-12)
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: The Browns will give Brian Hoyer a shot, but is he the long-term option? No, Ray Farmer and his staff weren't at Manziel's pro day, but if you think that means they're not interested, you'd be wrong.
5. Oakland Raiders

(4-12)
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: The Raiders need upgrades at several positions, most importantly quarterback. But they might be left in a spot in which their primary targets are no longer on the board. If that's the case, Watkins would be a very nice consolation prize.
6. Atlanta Falcons

(4-12)
Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: The Falcons have more than a few needs, but especially at pass rusher where the production has been underwhelming. Mack is a hybrid rusher who can play with his hand on the ground or rush from different angles, giving the Falcons an instant boost in the front seven.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(4-12)
Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA: The new regime in Tampa has been active in free agency and are in the position to take the best player available here. Barr is still developing and not yet a polished pass rusher, but his potential as an impact SLB and hybrid DE gives Lovie Smith some exciting options.
8. Minnesota Vikings

(5-10-1)
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: The Vikings have been linked to Bridgewater in recent weeks and if he's still on the board with this pick, could they really pass on him? I don't see how and they shouldn't.
9. Buffalo Bills

(6-10)
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: The Bills need to add a big, physical presence in the receiving game, whether at wide receiver or tight end. Ebron is a freak athlete who will instantly help the Bills offense and second-year quarterback EJ Manuel.
10. Detroit Lions

(7-9)
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State: The Lions have needs on defense, especially in the secondary at cornerback. Gilbert needs footwork and technique work, but his height, length and speed will push him up draft boards.
11. Tennessee Titans

(7-9)
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: In the 2012 NFL Draft when Ken Whisenhunt was the head coach in Arizona, the Cardinals bypassed other needs to draft a wide receiver who slipped out of the top-10 (Michael Floyd). Obviously it's not just Whisenhunt pulling the strings, but if Evans is still on the board here, he's a possible fit for the Titans.
12. NY Giants

(7-9)
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: Matthews is arguably the safest prospect in this class with his steady, technically sound play style to realistically line up at any spot on the offensive line. His fall could be the Giants gain as they rebuild the offensive line.
13. St. Louis Rams

(7-9)
Hasean Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama: The Rams needs to continue and build the secondary with young, talented players and with TJ McDonald slotted for strong safety, Clinton-Dix would be an attractive option at free safety.
14. Chicago Bears

(8-8)
Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State: This pick is expected to be either defensive line or secondary and with no interior defensive lineman drafted to this point, the Bears could have their pick of the litter. Jernigan has the versatility and well-rounded style that might attract Chicago.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers

(8-8)
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: I fully expect this pick to be a defensive player, either a nose tackle like Louis Nix or cornerback like Darqueze Dennard. But if a talented offensive tackle like Taylor Lewan is still available, it would be tough to pass him up, giving them a cornerstone on the line - the Steelers aren't one player away from the Super Bowl.
16. Dallas Cowboys

(8-8)
Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: Signing Henry Melton gives the Cowboys a little more flexibility with this pick, but if Donald is still on the board, he would be a welcome addition to the Cowboys lackluster front four.
17. Baltimore Ravens

(8-8)
Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville: Could the Ravens go safety in back-to-back years? Why not, that's one possibility with James Ihedigbo not expected back and pairing Pryor with Matt Elam would give Baltimore options in the deep half.
18. NY Jets

(8-8)
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU: Although he has been a turnover machine and Mike Vick is now on the roster, Geno Smith will likely hold onto the starting gig for another year. The Jets added Eric Decker in free agency, but need to add more weapons to the offensive arsenal and Beckham helped himself at the Combine, pushing him into the top 20 conversation.
19. Miami Dolphins

(8-8)
Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame: The Dolphins might be able to get by with their patchwork offensive line for now, but no question an upgrade is needed. Martin looks like an All-Pro guard, but he will likely begin at tackle in the NFL until he shows he can't hold up there, possibly lining up on the other side of newly signed Branden Albert.
20. Arizona Cardinals

(10-6)
Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State: Arizona has added some key contributors in the secondary through the early rounds of the draft with Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu and Dennard would make an excellent addition.
21. Green Bay Packers

(8-7-1)
Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois: Green Bay has a need at free safety and although it would be somewhat uncharacteristic for Ted Thompson to go safety in the first round, Ward gives the Packers an instant upgrade in the secondary.
22. Philadelphia Eagles

(10-6)
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State: Chip Kelly, who watched Roby in person at Ohio State's pro day last week, wants to get faster and tougher on defense and the former Buckeyes' cornerback will help accomplish that with his natural speed and aggressive mentality.
23. Kansas City Chiefs

(11-5)
Marqise Lee, WR, Southern California: Besides Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs are lacking for impact targets in the passing game downfield. Lee is explosive down the field and if he stays healthy, he'll provide a productive option for Alex Smith opposite Dwayne Bowe.
24. Cincinnati Bengals

(11-5)
Jason Verrett, CB, TCU: Although shoulder surgery will likely keep Verrett shelved until training camp, he is an outstanding cover man who will be able to help the Bengals immediately in the secondary.
25. San Diego Chargers

(9-7)
Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame: With Cam Thomas signing with the Steelers, San Diego can add some depth in the middle of their defensive line. Not sure they'll anticipate Nix still being on the board, but if he is, the pick would make sense.
26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis)

(4-12)
Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: As the Browns begin talks to lock up Joe Haden long-term, they'll also be looking to draft a worthy counterpart for the No. 2 cornerback spot in Cleveland. Fuller has the instincts and natural athleticism to be an impact performer on the inside or outside.
27. New Orleans Saints

(11-5)
Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State: The Saints ranked top-five in the NFL last season in team sacks, but it's tough to pass up playmaking pass rushers. Lawrence gives New Orleans another option on the edge who can grow into a double-digit sack artist.
28. Carolina Panthers

(12-4)
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama: The Panthers will likely look to help Cam Newton with this pick, possibly at offensive tackle where Jordan Gross recently announced his retirement. Kouandjio's draft stock is a mystery right now due to the knee durability concerns, but his fall could be the Panthers' gain.
29. New England Patriots

(12-4)
C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama: With the Brandon Spikes' tenure likely over in New England, the Patriots will be in the market to add depth at linebacker. And with Nick Saban likely giving Bill Belichick a ringing endorsement, Mosley makes sense.
30. San Francisco 49ers

(12-4)
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State: The last time the 49ers drafted a fast, undersized slot receiver in the last first round, it didn't work out so well (A.J. Jenkins). But Cooks is a different story with his combination of athleticism and polish to start at the "Y" from day one.
31. Denver Broncos

(13-3)
Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri: Injuries put a hurting on the Broncos' pass rush last season and Denver must develop depth in the front seven. Ealy has first-round tools and with some pro coaching, he should continue to blossom.
32. Seattle Seahawks

(13-3)
Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA: Offensive guard has been an inconsistent position on the Seattle roster. Su'a-Filo has experience at tackle and guard, but projects best inside and will be the top guard in this class for several teams.
Round 2
1. Houston Texans

(2-14)
Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State: Shazier is a versatile, athletic run-and-chase linebacker who can play inside and outside in Romeo Crennel's scheme.
2. Washington Redskins

(3-13)
RaShede Hageman, DT, Minnesota: The physically gifted Hageman has the tools to line up as a full-time five-technique while also taking some snaps at the nose.
3. Cleveland Browns

(4-12)
Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss: The Browns signed Andrew Hawkins to cover the slot duties, but are still searching for a reliable No. 2 opposite Josh Gordon.
4. Oakland Raiders

(4-12)
Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State: Yes, the Raiders brought in Matt Schaub to be the presumed starter, but the chance to bring in the strong-armed Carr here is low-risk investment.
5. Atlanta Falcons

(4-12)
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech: While impossible to replace Tony Gonzalez, Amaro would help lessen the blow along with second-year player Levine Toilolo.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(4-12)
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State: Benjamin gives Tampa another red zone threat while he develops into the heir apparent to Vincent Jackson as the team's top receiving option.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars

(4-12)
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois: The Jaguars coaching staff coached Garoppolo in the Senior Bowl and could be the target here if they pass on quarterback in the first round.
8. Minnesota Vikings

(5-10-1)
Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State: Minnesota added Teddy Bridgewater in the first round and he could use another target in the passing game.
9. Buffalo Bills

(6-10)
Dee Ford, DE, Auburn: Buffalo needs to add another pass rusher to the mix and Ford has flexibility to line up with his hand on the ground or standing up.
10. Tennessee Titans

(7-9)
Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech: As the Titans transition to a 3-4 base scheme, they could use some pass rush help from the edges and Attaochu will provide that.
11. NY Giants

(7-9)
Kyle Van Noy, OLB, Brigham Young: As the Giants continue to revamp their linebacker group, Van Noy gives them a versatile option who can do it all.
12. St. Louis Rams

(7-9)
Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State: St. Louis has a bevy of average targets (Austin Pettis, Brian Quick, Chris Givens), but Robinson could potentially be much more.
13. Detroit Lions

(7-9)
Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State: The Lions lost several defensive ends to free agency, including Willie Young and Crichton would help them rebuild the depth at the position.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers

(8-8)
Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida: The Steelers have been eyeing cornerback prospects expected to go in the early rounds and could target one here.
15. Dallas Cowboys

(8-8)
Stephon Tuitt, DT, Notre Dame: Baltimore needs to continue and build their front-seven and Tuitt gives him a low risk, high reward option on the defensive line.
16. Baltimore Ravens

(8-8)
Joel Bitonio, OT, Nevada: With starting right tackle Doug Free and left guard Ronald Leary entering the final years of their contracts, Bitonio offers depth and long-term stability.
17. NY Jets

(8-8)
Lamarcus Joyner, CB, Florida State: The Jets' secondary needs some help and Joyner is a versatile chess piece who can play free safety, nickel and cornerback in Rex Ryan's defense.
18. Miami Dolphins

(8-8)
Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State: The Dolphins needs to address their running back situation, which ranked 26th in the league last year, and it could be as early as this pick.
19. Chicago Bears

(8-8)
Dominique Easley, DT, Florida: Yes, the Bears went defensive tackle in the first round, but could copy what Carolina did last year and go back to the DL well in the second round.
20. Arizona Cardinals

(10-6)
Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU: Defensive line depth is an area of need for Arizona and Ferguson will be intriguing because he can play multiple spots, including the nose.
21. Green Bay Packers

(8-7-1)
Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU: The Packers' wide receiver unit isn't as strong as a few years ago -- minus Greg Jennings (2013) and James Jones ('14) -- but Landry could be the next Jennings in Green Bay.
22. Philadelphia Eagles

(10-6)
Brandon Thomas, OG, Clemson: With Todd Herremans turning 32 this season, Thomas gives the Eagles his future replacement and depth at both tackle and guard.
23. Cincinnati Bengals

(11-5)
Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia: With Anthony Collins moving on, the Bengals could use added depth on the offensive line so a prospect like Moses fits here.
24. San Francisco 49ers

(12-4)
Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood: San Francisco needs help on the outside on defense and are expected to add youth at cornerback in the early rounds.
25. San Diego Chargers

(9-7)
Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson: A depleted secondary needs an upgrade and it would be a surprise if San Diego didn't address it in the first few rounds.
26. New Orleans Saints

(11-5)
Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson: Look for the Saints to add another target for QB Drew Brees at some point on draft weekend and Bryant here gives New Orleans a high-reward player.
27. Indianapolis Colts

(11-5)
Terrence Brooks, FS, Florida State: With no first-round pick (sent to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for Trent Richardson), the Colts are under pressure to fill a pressing need and replace Antoine Bethea. Drafting Brooks would allow LaRon Landry to play strong safety.
28. Carolina Panthers

(12-4)
Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice: Carolina's relatively unknown cast of cornerbacks played admirably last season, but there's always room for improvement in a division with Drew Brees and Matt Ryan.
29. San Francisco 49ers

(12-4)
Marcus Martin, C, Southern California: Yes, the 49ers extended Daniel Kilgore at center, but Martin adds value at center or guard and Mike Iupati's is entering the final year of his rookie deal.
30. New England Patriots

(12-4)
Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame: Niklas is an above-average blocker and just scratching the surface of his potential as a receiver, pairing him with Rob Gronkowski.
31. Denver Broncos

(13-3)
Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina: With Eric Decker no longer in Denver, the Broncos could add some young talent to the wide receiver position.
32. Seattle Seahawks

(13-3)
Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska: The Seahawks are always looking for tall, long cornerbacks who fit their scheme and Jean-Baptiste could be that prospect.

 
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