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2015 NFL DRAFT

2014 NFL mock draft: Expect runs on receivers, OTs, pass rushers

By Rob Rang | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

The final countdown to the 2014 NFL draft is here and while trades might shake things up, this projection focuses on what we know at this time -- there is plenty of talent available and some teams were unable to fill glaring holes during free agency.

The focus is on the quarterbacks but the unique talent in 2014 lies at wide receiver, offensive tackle and pass rusher. Expect frenzied runs on each position to make this year's draft an early summer blockbuster with plenty of surprises.

With only one projection remaining (scheduled for Thursday), this is how I see the first 64 picks shaking out.

NFL Mock Draft - 5/5/2014
Round 1
1. Houston Texans

(2-14)
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: Every franchise picking No. 1 overall is hoping that an Andrew Luck-like can't miss quarterback is available to them. Unfortunately for Bill O'Brien and the Texans, there isn't one of that caliber available this year. A trade down is certainly possible (and may even be likely) but if it occurs, Clowney would be the target at No. 1, with the Texans likely nabbing QB Blake Bortles.
2. St. Louis Rams

(7-9)
Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn: To compete in the ultra-physical NFC West division, priority No. 1 for the Rams must be to get tougher at the line of scrimmage. Robinson is a work in progress in pass protection but he's a dominant run blocker who could step in at right tackle or guard and be groomed to ultimately take over for Jake Long on the left side.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars

(4-12)
Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: After taking the safe route with offensive tackle Luke Joeckel a year ago, the Jaguars are on the prowl for a player likely to make a bigger impact with this selection. Quarterback is certainly a possibility but Mack offers both safety and immediate impact ability as a proven edge rusher who projects nicely as a LEO defensive end in Gus Bradley's scheme.
4. Cleveland Browns

(4-12)
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: Veteran Brian Hoyer is a serviceable quarterback but he, like virtually every other quarterback the Browns have trotted out since Bernie Kosar, lacks the star power to turn around this rudderless franchise. Do I have questions about Manziel's ability to hold up in the ultra-physical AFC North, especially at gusty and grassy FirstEnergy Stadium? Sure, but waiting to see which quarterback may fall to No. 26 (or lower) could mean more of the same for a long-suffering fan base. If he is not chosen here, Manziel could be in for quite a slide.
5. Oakland Raiders

(4-12)
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: Taking a young quarterback here would make sense but aggressive spending in free agency is a strong indication that Raiders' general manager Reggie McKenzie is feeling the pressure to win now. Watkins' vacuum-like hands and first-step acceleration make him a big play waiting to happen.
6. Atlanta Falcons

(4-12)
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: The Falcons could certainly use a pass rusher and may make the bold trade up to get one but given the investments made in the skill positions, Matthews would be a terrific consolation prize here. He could step in and star at right tackle as a rookie and provide an insurance policy in case incumbent left tackle Sam Baker once again struggles with injury.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(4-12)
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: No one attacked free agency like Tampa, which gives head coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht plenty of options with this pick. Wide receiver is probably the likeliest scenario given the jettisoning of Mike Williams. Evans is a virtual clone of current Tampa star Vincent Jackson and would provide the Bucs with a monstrous duo of pass-catchers similar to the Brandon Marshall-Alshon Jeffery pairing Josh McCown enjoyed great success with a year ago.
8. Minnesota Vikings

(5-10-1)
Blake Bortles, QB, UCF: With serviceable veterans in re-signed veteran Matt Cassel and former first-round pick Christian Ponder on the roster, the Vikings don't have to take a quarterback with the No. 8 overall pick and might view Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald as another John Randle. Should Bortles, who many believe has the highest upside of the 2014 class, slip to this spot, the Vikings could find the ideal fit in offensive coordinator Norv Turner's scheme.
9. Buffalo Bills

(6-10)
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: A four-year starter at left tackle for the Wolverines, Lewan possesses exciting length, athleticism and the mean streak necessary to start immediately in the NFL. Whether pushing Cody Glenn to the right side or switching positions, himself, his addition would provide an upgrade over current Bills' right tackle Eric Pears, providing young quarterback E.J. Manuel the bookend blockers to aid in his development.
10. Detroit Lions

(7-9)
Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: The Lions have visited with most of the blue chip players in the draft, indicating that general manager Martin Mayhew and new head coach Jim Caldwell have a win-now mentality. The club seems fed up with former first round pick Nick Fairley and can't appreciate that star Ndamukong Suh has thus far skipped the team's "voluntary" offseason workouts. Donald's burst and relentless style could complement (or replace) either.
11. Tennessee Titans

(7-9)
Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA: The Titans tied for 21st in the NFL with 36 sacks recorded in 2013 with defensive tackle Jurell Casey chipping in a disproportionate 10.5 of them. With the Titans expected to transition to a 3-4 defense under Ray Horton, Casey's numbers are likely to fall, creating a need for more pass rushers. Only two years removed from playing on offense, Barr lacks the polish to rank as a top 10 pick for everyone but his tremendous blend of size (6-5, 255), speed (4.44) and flexibility made him a star rush linebacker in UCLA's 3-4 scheme.
12. NY Giants

(7-9)
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: The Giants are looking for better protection and big play targets for Eli Manning and could see Ebron as capable of helping in both areas. With new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo expected to feature the position in his attack, Ebron's athleticism could make him an instant hit.
13. St. Louis Rams

(7-9)
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU: The Rams are expected to use their NFL-best three picks among the top 44 to fill their biggest areas of need -- OL, WR, and FS. With the massive Greg Robinson added at No. 2 overall, GM Les Snead shifts to adding a dynamic athlete in Beckham to pair with last year's top selection, Tavon Austin. The duo would finally give Sam Bradford a pair of playmaking receivers capable of turning one missed tackle from the aggressive NFC West cornerbacks into scores.
14. Chicago Bears

(8-8)
C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama: Given the additions of defensive linemen Lamarr Houston, Jared Allen and Willie Young via agency, the Bears are likely to focus on the back seven in the draft. Possessing rare read and react skills and fluidity, Mosley is capable of starring at virtually any of the three linebacker roles in Chicago's 4-3 alignment.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers

(8-8)
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State: The once-proud Pittsburgh defense has fallen off in recent years and reinforcements are needed at all three levels. Gilbert plays with a gambler's mentality that may scare some teams off but his athleticism and ball skills could make him a star if operating behind a productive pass rush.
16. Dallas Cowboys

(8-8)
Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State: The signing of defensive tackle Henry Melton helps fill the gaping hole in the middle of Dallas' defensive line but the Cowboys may want insurance that his surgically-repaired knee will hold up. Jernigan, athletic, powerful and just scratching the surface of his potential would give Dallas the interior duo needed for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli's scheme to be successful.
17. Baltimore Ravens

(8-8)
Hasean Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama: General manager Ozzie Newsome is a master on draft day in large part because he sticks to the "best player available" strategy. While the hole at right tackle might literally be the Ravens' biggest need, pairing Clinton-Dix with 2013 first-round pick Matt Elam would give Baltimore a fierce, physical and instinctive young deep patrol.
18. NY Jets

(8-8)
Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State: Like the Ravens one pick ahead of them, the Jets may find that complementing last year's first-round selection with another physical, instinctive pass defender is the way to go. Like 2013 first-round pick Dee Millliner, Dennard has the length and aggression to excel in Rex Ryan's press-heavy scheme.
19. Miami Dolphins

(8-8)
Zack Martin, OG, Notre Dame: Martin lacks the body type scouts prefer at tackle (where he started 50 of his 52 career games for the Irish), but slides well laterally and controls opponents with fierce hand usage. Whether inside at guard or at right tackle, he'd be an excellent value at this point in the draft.
20. Arizona Cardinals

(10-6)
Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State: In throwing for a career-high 4,274 yards in his first season working with Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer certainly proved that he something left in the tank. He is entering his 12th season, however, and general manager Steve Keim is too smart not to plan ahead. The accurate, strong-armed Carr would make a lot of sense in Arian's vertical attack.
21. Green Bay Packers

(8-7-1)
Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville: Given how the Packers' lack of speed was exposed by San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick to end each of the past two seasons, GM Ted Thompson is likely to target a back-seven defender here. Pryor is an intimidating hitter to slow down mobile quarterbacks like Kaepernick and possesses the instincts and ball-skills to slow down NFC North gunslingers Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford.
22. Philadelphia Eagles

(10-6)
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State: Chip Kelly's offense is built around speedy playmakers who can defeat opponents one on one. After releasing Desean Jackson, Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman are expected to make finding a similarly gifted athlete a priority in the draft. Half of the Eagles' 2013 picks came from the Pac-12. Kelly may once again rely on his experience in the conference to target another former rival in Cooks, the reigning Biletnikof winner.
23. Kansas City Chiefs

(11-5)
Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA: With three blockers lost to free agency -- including Pro Bowl tackle Branden Albert -- former offensive line coach Andy Reid's top priority may be addressing the front wall. Su'a-Filo is reliable in pass protection and has the athletic ability to get out and block at the second level, traits that make him an ideal fit in Andy Reid's screen-heavy offense.
24. Cincinnati Bengals

(11-5)
Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State: With one of the league's deepest rosters, the Bengals are one of the true wildcards of the 2014 draft and could go in a number of directions with this pick. Shazier's instincts, speed and athleticism make him an ideal candidate for the WILL linebacker role in Cincinnati's 4-3 alignment, prompting a potential shift of Vontaze Burfict and Rey Maualuga, respectively, to their more natural middle linebacker and strong-side positions.
25. San Diego Chargers

(9-7)
Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: The Chargers boast young standouts at every level of the defense but cornerback is an obvious area of concern. Fuller is an instinctive, physical defender whose aggression and short-area quickness make him well-suited to defensive coordinator's zone-heavy scheme.
26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis)

(4-12)
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State: The Browns feature one of the league's better young corners in Joe Haden but need better play on the other side to complement him. Roby has the athleticism and physicality to warrant top 20 consideration but off-field issues and inconsistency makes him a bit of a gamble and could push him down the board.
27. New Orleans Saints

(11-5)
Marqise Lee, WR, Southern California: The advancing age of Marques Colston and surprising trade of Darren Sproles means that the Saints are in the market for playmakers. Lee doesn't have the momentum of other receivers in this draft but savvy scouts haven't forgotten his dynamic athleticism.
28. Carolina Panthers

(12-4)
Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia: While receiver and cornerback are areas of concern, replacing longtime standout left tackle Jordan Gross is the Panthers' top priority. Moses is a gifted athlete whose game took off in 2013 after making the jump from right to left tackle, momentum he built upon with an impressive effort at the Senior Bowl.
29. New England Patriots

(12-4)
RaShede Hageman, DT, Minnesota: Convincing 32-year old Vince Wilfork to restructure his deal alleviates some of the concern on the defensive interior for the Patriots but depth behind he and fellow defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (33) is lacking. To fulfill his massive potential Hageman needs structure and a clean schematic fit. He'd get both with Bill Belichick.
30. San Francisco 49ers

(12-4)
Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri: Smith's inability to stay out of trouble may force the 49ers to consider adding a pass rusher early in the draft. An intriguing fit could be Ealy, a friend and former teammate of Smith's at Missouri. Like Smith, Ealy starred at defensive end for the Tigers but he's a fluid athlete also capable of making the transition as a standup outside linebacker in the 3-4.
31. Denver Broncos

(13-3)
Joel Bitonio, OG, Nevada: The Broncos spent millions in free agency to overhaul the defense but protecting Peyton Manning should be priority No. 1. Given the loss of starting guards Zane Beadles (who signed with Jacksonville) and Chris Kuper to retirement, Denver will almost surely dedicate an early pick towards the offensive line and could see Bitonio, a collegiate left tackle who impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl with his toughness and versatility, as an ideal replacement.
32. Seattle Seahawks

(13-3)
Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State: After riding a dominant defense to the championship in team history, few expect the Seahawks to select a defender here. With opponents doling out millions to sap Seattle's depth on both sides of the line of scrimmage, however, Pete Carroll and John Schneider have plenty of holes to fill. They may try to trade out of this pick to acquire more selections but could see the 6-3, 251 pound Lawrence as an ideal LEO defensive end to groom behind Cliff Avril, who is entering the final year of his contract.
Round 2
1. Houston Texans

(2-14)
Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh: O'Brien gets his prototypical NFL passer in Savage, who some scouts believe would rank as a top 10 prospect had he played his entire career with one program.
2. Washington Redskins

(3-13)
JaWuan James, OT, Tennessee: An undersized offensive line was pushed around too often a year ago with RT Tyler Polumbus weaker than most. James, a four-year starter, would be a relatively safe pick who could help immediately.
3. Cleveland Browns

(4-12)
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana: With Josh Gordon one failed test away from a year-long suspension and Greg Little as likely to drop a ball as catch it, the Browns can't afford to let big, talented receivers slip by.
4. Oakland Raiders

(4-12)
Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois: The Raiders currently list Charles Woodson as their starting free safety. He'd be a terrific mentor to Ward, an instinctive playmaker.
5. Atlanta Falcons

(4-12)
Dee Ford, DE, Auburn: Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan gets the dynamic edge rusher he needs.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(4-12)
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: While his slight frame could push him into the second round, Lovie Smith could value Bridgewater's intelligence, accuracy and care of the football.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars

(4-12)
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois: There is some buzz that the Jaguars are smitten with Garoppolo's, who performed quite well under their coaching at the Senior Bowl.
8. Minnesota Vikings

(5-10-1)
Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State: The Vikings invested big money in talented (but inconsistent) Everson Griffen and would be wise to pair him with Crichton, a blue-collar tough-guy.
9. Buffalo Bills

(6-10)
Kyle Van Noy, OLB, Brigham Young: Athletic enough to star on the outside yet possessing the instincts and reliable tackling to play inside, Van Noy would be an ideal complement to Kiko Alonso.
10. Tennessee Titans

(7-9)
Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State: Giving Jake Locker a bruising back to take the pressure off might be just what he needs.
11. NY Giants

(7-9)
Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington: Tom Coughlin will appreciate Sankey's no-nonsense approach and three-down reliability.
12. St. Louis Rams

(7-9)
Jason Verrett, CB, TCU: Tiny but tenacious, Verrett would rank as an easy first round pick if just a few inches taller. At this point, he'd be a steal for a club needing help in the secondary.
13. Detroit Lions

(7-9)
Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State: There is a steep drop-off behind Calvin Johnson and free agent addition Golden Tate. Adams is physical, athletic and a reliable hands-catcher.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers

(8-8)
Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss: Big Ben gets a big target with the former Hoosier, one of the fastest-rising prospects in the draft.
15. Dallas Cowboys

(8-8)
Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State: The release of Miles Austin and impending free agency for Dez Bryant could make once again make receiver a priority for Jerry Jones.
16. Baltimore Ravens

(8-8)
Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee: GM Ozzie Newsome loves size at tackle and they don't come much bigger than "Tiny" Richardson at 6-6, 336 pounds.
17. NY Jets

(8-8)
Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville: A passionate and natural pass rusher, Smith would provide the Jets insurance in case Calvin Pace isn't able to duplicate last season's production.
18. Miami Dolphins

(8-8)
Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State: The Dolphins want to get tougher along the line of scrimmage and would certainly be accomplishing that with Martin in the (first round) and the versatile, blue-collar former Buckeye Mewhort here.
19. Chicago Bears

(8-8)
Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida: Roberson lacks the speed scouts would prefer but he's physical, fluid and competitive.
20. Arizona Cardinals

(10-6)
Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech: John Abraham led the Cardinals with 11.5 sacks in 2014 but next season will be his 15th in the NFL and Attaochu is well-versed in the 3-4 scheme.
21. Green Bay Packers

(8-7-1)
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech: Amaro isn't much of a blocker but he possesses the length and reliable mitts to help ease the sting of the expected loss of Jermichael Finley.
22. Philadelphia Eagles

(10-6)
Stephon Tuitt, DT, Notre Dame: An inconsistent junior season has Tuitt's stock slipping but his length and physicality make him an intriguing five-technique candidate.
23. Cincinnati Bengals

(11-5)
Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State: The Bengals are talented enough up front to adjust after the release of Kyle Cook but could see Richburg as an ideal replacement.
24. San Francisco 49ers

(12-4)
Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State: Pro Bowler Mike Iupati is still recovering from a broken ankle suffered in the NFC Championship Game and is entering the final year of his rookie deal. For a team with 11 picks, finding cheaper alternatives may be a consideration.
25. San Diego Chargers

(9-7)
Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame: The Chargers boast two talented defensive ends in Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes but need help inside. They also may feel more comfortable with the gregarious Nix with ex-teammate Manti Te'o in town.
26. New Orleans Saints

(11-5)
Marcus Martin, C, Southern California: With veteran Brian de la Puente signing with the Chicago Bears, the highly physical, aggressive Martin could be counted on to start as a rookie.
27. Indianapolis Colts

(11-5)
Deone Bucannon, SS, Washington State: The Colts might see the rangy and physical Bucannon as a cheaper version of free agent defection Antoine Bethea.
28. Carolina Panthers

(12-4)
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State: Due to the extraordinary depth at the position, the Panthers can wait until the second round and find a receiver with first round tools.
29. San Francisco 49ers

(12-4)
Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson: Bryant's length and speed could make him an ideal project as a deep threat to take full advantage of Colin Kaepernick's big arm.
30. New England Patriots

(12-4)
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington: With Rob Gronkowski recovering from ACL surgery, Seferian-Jenkins' size and reliable hands could make him a go-to option for Tom Brady.
31. Denver Broncos

(13-3)
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt: Replacing Eric Decker with a similarly reliable route-runner and hands-catcher like Matthews shouldn't be this easy.
32. Seattle Seahawks

(13-3)
Trai Turner, OG, LSU: Competitive, naturally powerful interior lineman with the athletic upside for offensive line coach Tom Cable to develop.

 
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