QB or Not QB: 2014 NFL Mock Draft Picks 1-16

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Photo by Marianne O’Leary via Flickr.

The 2014 NFL Draft class is one of the best we have seen in years, which means this draft is much more difficult to predict. The quarterback class is the great unknown. Just like every other year, many teams are looking for their next franchise QB, but is he out there?

Many 2014 mock drafts have 4 QBs going in the top 10 picks. While many GMs still have the 2011 draft fresh in their minds where QBs taken in the first round (Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, & Christian Ponder) have not offered much return on investment with the exception of  Newton in Carolina.

To give you an idea of the quality of this years draft eligible QBs, many scouts believe that 2013 2nd round pick Gino Smith (Jets) would have been the top QB prospect in the 2014 draft. My feeling is that teams in the top 10 are going to pass on the QBs early and take a talented player from another position, then look to take a QB by trading back in to the bottom half of the first round or with their 2nd round picks.

1. Texans – DE Jadeveon Clowney – University of South Carolina

Houston has made no secret of their desire to trade this pick. The Texans biggest need is at QB, and new coach Bill O’Brien can’t be excited about the lack of depth his team has at the position (Keenum, Fitzpatrick, & Yates.) But as stated above, I think the Texans will wait until the top of the 2nd round to choose a QB. Clowney long considered the top prospect for this draft has been accused of being overrated based on his big hit in the 2013 bowl game vs Michigan, his perceived lack of effort during the 2014 college season and his refusal to work out for NFL teams to prevent injury. However the game tape shows when motivated Clowney is a player that needs to be accounted for, pairing Clowney with All Pro DE J.J. Watt will help the Texans rebound from last year’s disappointing season.

2. Rams – OT Greg Robinson – Auburn

St. Louis has this pick as a result of the trade with Washington that was used to select RG3. The Rams have some holes along the offensive line and LT Jake Long is recovering from a December ACL tear. Robinson is strong run blocker with an SEC pedigree.

3. Jaguars – LB Khalil Mack – Buffalo

The Jaguars are one of the teams that missed on a Quarterback in the 2011 draft (Gabbert) and may be hesitant to use a high pick on another QB. Jaguars coach Gus Bradley came from Seattle last season with a defensive background and the Jaguars are looking to make this area their strength. Some scouts question Mack’s competition in the MAC, but he is an impact player who can step right in for the Jaguars and help the pass rush.

4. Browns – WR Sammy Watkins – Clemson

The Browns are another team that needs a QB but will likely use this pick on the most talented player they can get while addressing the QB position later. Sammy Watkins will be a nice complement to Josh Gordon and can also make an impact in the return game. A 2012 drug arrest is a minor off field concern.

5. Raiders – WR Mike Evans – Texas A&M

The Raiders old Al Davis way of thinking was take the fastest guy available and they would love to see Watkins fall to this spot. If he goes before them Evans is not a bad consolation prize. I actually like Evans better than Watkins he is a big (6-5, 231) WR that can create a huge mismatch with many undersized corners.

6. Falcons – OT Jake Matthews – Texas A&M

Atlanta needs a pass rusher, Anthony Barr is a possibility with Clowney and Mack off the board but they also need to protect Matt Ryan and Matthews is an elite OT they should be able to rely on. Matthews has great NFL bloodlines.

7. Buccaneers – OLB Anthony Barr – UCLA

The Bucs will be disappointed that the WRs (Watkins & Evans) are gone by their pick. They need an OLB and Barr who started his college career as a RB has developed into a top defensive prospect. Barr projects better as a 3-4 OLB because of his pass rush ability, but has the athleticism to play outside in a 4-3 for the Bucs.

8. Vikings – DT Aaron Donald – Pittsburgh

Vikings are another team who needs a QB but they should consider taking the best player available. Donald is a little undersized but has made a huge movement up the board this draft season after a strong combine workout. Donald would form a strong DT rotation with S. Floyd and L. Joseph, he could also get a look as 3rd down rusher as well.

9. Bills – OT Taylor Lewan – Michigan

The Bills could really use a TE here, but I can’t see them taking Eric Ebron this high. Lewan was a 4 year starter at Michigan he plays with a nasty streak that sometimes leads to penalties. Lewan is dealing with an off field assault issue that may scare some teams.

10. Lions – CB Justin Gilbert – Oklahoma St.

The Lions may be disappointed to see Watkins, Evans and Barr off the board but CB is a huge hole that needs to be filled. Gilbert offers good height (6-0) for a corner and great athleticism.

11. Titans – CB Kyle Fuller – Virginia Tech

I’m getting the feeling a lot of teams may be trying to trade up because their target players are going one slot ahead of their picks. The Titans would like Gilbert to be available but if he isn’t Fuller has been moving up the draft board and his brother Vincent played for the Titans. Fuller is a natural athlete who plays bigger than his 190 lbs.

12. Giants – OL Zack Martin – Notre Dame

Many Giants fans would like to see TE Eric Ebron taken here, while Ebron is considered a great athlete his hands and his desire to go over the middle have been questioned. The Giants are rebuilding their offensive line after a deplorable showing in 2013. Martin is versatile and can play all 5 OL positions but projects best at OG.

13. Rams – S Ha Ha Clinton Dix – Alabama

This pick by the Rams seems to make the most sense of the entire 1st round. The Rams need an athletic ball hawking Free Safety to play next to Strong Safety T.J. McDonald.

Editor’s note:  Theory on Ha Ha’s name – his parents thought it was funny that their last name’s when hyphenated brought forth memories of Bill Clinton’s ill-fated blowjob, so they named him Ha Ha. Just a theory…

14. Bears – S Calvin Pryor – Louisville

Good athletic Safety who projects as a tiny bit more physical than Ha Ha Clinton Dix and fills a huge hole in the back end of the Bears D.

15. Steelers – CB Darqueze Dennard – Michigan St.

Dennard is a physical press corner the Steelers could really use to match up against Division rivals A.J. Green and Josh Gordon. Any corner that can contribute against the run is a nice bonus in today’s NFL.

16. Cowboys – QB Johnny Manziel – Texas A&M

The most talked about player in the 2014 draft, does his schoolyard style translate into the NFL? I don’t think so but Manziel is the type of player Jerry Jones falls in love with and could shock everyone by drafting Manziel despite having Tony Romo. I also like Florida State DT Timmy Jernigan as an option here.

Come back tomorrow for picks 17 – 32.

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