2014 NFL Mock Draft: Houston pops Bortles after NFL combine
Blake Bortles goes to the Texans at No. 1 in this edition of our 2014 NFL Mock Draft.
1. Houston Texans -- Blake Bortles, QB, UCF -- Hard to know which way to go here, honestly. Bill O'Brien saw what Bortles can do first hand and the UCF grad fits the mold of the "prototypical quarterback" that O'Brien theoretically wants.
2. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins ) -- Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn -- Eschewing the top talent at wideout and unable to find a trade partner -- FOR NOW -- at this spot, the Rams grab the offensive lineman with the highest upside. Robinson had an absolutely monster combine.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina -- Dave Caldwell sprains his ankle sprinting to get the Jags draft card in so they can nab the top talent in this draft. I can't believe I even let him fall to three.
4. Cleveland Browns -- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M -- I'm a huge fan of John Football. (The truly mature thing is to go from Johnny to John instead of dropping Football.) Who knows if the Browns new regime is … but who knows if they'll even be drafting at this position. Just kidding. Except about the Manziel part. He's a stud and Cleveland needs a quarterback.
5. Oakland Raiders -- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson -- Oakland has holes all over the place and while they need a quarterback, they also need someone to catch passes. Watkins is a guy who can catch them real good. Call this an homage to the late Al Davis.
6. Atlanta Falcons -- Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M -- Toss up on the pass rush versus the pass protection but Matthews gives them a guy who can make an immediate impact in helping to keep Matt Ryan upright. They can also move Sam Baker to the right side and fortify the line.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan -- Part of the problem for Mike Glennon was not enough protection. Donald Penn isn't totally safe on this roster and Lewan can provide immediate impact protection.
8. Minnesota Vikings -- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville -- The Christian Ponder experiment is still fresh in Minnesota but the reality is Ponder's not the guy. It wouldn't be surprising to see Minnesota make a move up the draft to grab a quarterback, but i this scenario they have one fall into their lap.
9. Buffalo Bills -- Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo -- Total dream scenario right? "Hometown" guy at a position of need and a value at No. 9.
10. Detroit Lions -- Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State -- Lot of people want the Lions to take a wideout but the draft is deep enough that they can help out Calvin Johnson in the second round. For now they can grab a cover corner to beef up their secondary.
11. Tennessee Titans -- Eric Ebron, TE, UNC -- A versatile, chess piece type of player, Ebron is going to be an impossible matchup at the next level. Plug him into Ken Whisenhunt's offense and suddenly Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter get a lot less attention and Jake Locker has a safety valve. His drops are a bit of a concern.
12. New York Giants -- Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA -- The Giants need to start generating pressure on the quarterback again. Stealing a high-upside pass rusher here makes a lot of sense and gives them a rotation of the future with Barr, Jason Pierre-Paul and Damontre Moore .
13. St. Louis Rams -- Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M -- Pretty solid OL-WR combo for the Rams in the first round here. If the tackle run happens like it did here then things worked out well for them indeed. Evans is a huge target down the field that will give them some versatility on offense.
14. Chicago Bears -- Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh -- Donald was a combine monster and productive in college. The only knock is his size? Phil Emery will look past that and snatch up a productive player.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, S, Alabama -- Versatile, explosive safeties are a hot commodity in the NFL these days and HHCD fits the bill for a Pittsburgh team that's getting a little old in the tooth on the back end of things.
16. Dallas Cowboys -- Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame -- Dallas should be thrilled to find a low-cost, high-impact player who can step in and help improve the defensive line from the get go.
17. Baltimore Ravens -- C.J. Mosely, LB, Alabama -- A lot of what happens at this spot depends on the contract situations of Dennis Pitta and Eugene Monroe . While Baltimore needs help on offense Ozzie Newsome is still going to take the best player available.
18. New York Jets -- Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State -- Look, anytime you can pair Benjamin and Stephen Hill on the same wide receiver corps you've gotta do what it takes to make that happen.
19. Miami Dolphins -- Zach Martin, OT, Notre Dame -- How can the Dolphins *not* take an offensive lineman here? The Jonathan Martin - Richie Incognito scandal devastated an already bad line and things could get worse depending on what happens with Mike Pouncey . They've got a would-be franchise quarterback in Ryan Tannehill and have to protect him.
20. Arizona Cardinals -- Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri -- All the discussion goes to Michael Sam but Ealy might be the biggest reason why Sam led the SEC in sacks last year. The defensive end ran a 6.83 3-cone drill at the combine. That was one one-hundredth second slower than what LeSean McCoy ran at his Pro Day. Marinate on that for a minute.
21. Green Bay Packers -- Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State -- Lot of directions Ted Thompson could go here, but remember he always leans best player available. Gilbert's speed and athleticism was readily apparent at the combine.
22. Philadelphia Eagles -- Dee Ford, DE, Auburn -- He'll probably be moving to OLB once he gets to the NFL because of his size, but Ford can rush the passer from just about anywhere. With the Eagles spending money early on their own offensive guys, they need to add some talent on the defensive end of things.
23. Kansas City Chiefs -- Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU -- If at first an LSU receiver can't open up the passing game, try, try again? Alex Smith needs someone other than Dwayne Bowe to catch balls and Beckham's a burner from the bayou who can improve the Chiefs vertical game and open up their passing attack.
24. Cincinnati Bengals -- Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville -- Continuing to invest in the secondary would be a smart move for a Bengals team with an impressive roster up and down. Pryor's a very nice value all the way down at 24 here.
25. San Diego Chargers -- Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech -- Aside from the good games against Peyton Manning , the Chargers were a pretty terrible defensive team. They need help on offensive line as well, but beefing up a bad secondary is critical.
26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis Colts ) -- Brandin Cooks, WR, OSU -- Speed, speed and more speed on the outside. Pairing the $100,000 combine winner with Josh Gordon gives new quarterback Manziel some serious weapons to use on the offensive end of things.
27. New Orleans Saints -- Jason Verrett, CB, TCU -- Another year, another piece of the secondary added. Giving Rob Ryan more to work with, like a versatile cornerback and some healthy pass rushers, could result in another surprisingly impressive year for the New Orleans defense.
28. Carolina Panthers -- Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama -- Highly-talented lineman free falls in the draft because of combine-related health concerns and a lot of depth at the position only to get snagged by the Panthers and hog-molly loving GM Dave Gettleman? This seems familiar.
29. New England Patriots -- Timmy Jernigan, DT, FSU -- This might be too far for Jernigan to fall but it happened anyway and the Patriots are pleased. We don't know what they plan to do with Vince Wilfork moving forward but it's clear they need more depth at defensive tackle and another big man on the line.
30. San Francisco 49ers -- Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida -- Injury concerns are a red flag here but San Francisco has to improve their secondary and gambling on Roberson at this point in the first round, provided the medicals check out, could provide a home run of a pick.
31. Denver Broncos -- Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota -- Denver used an early pick on Sylvester Williams but there's no reason to stop beefing up their defense. Hageman's a mammoth presence in the middle and could help secure the center of attack for Denver on the defensive end.
32. Seattle Seahawks -- Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech -- The rich get richer in a deep draft, as the Seahawks snag a new target for Russell Wilson . A potential high volume weapon up the middle, Amaro doesn't fit the perfect profile for a big blocking tight end in the Seahawks power scheme. But getting more weapons for an increasingly dangerous offense helps open things up for the Seahawks.
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