Thursday, August 15, 2013

2014 Preseason Mock Draft

By Justin Worsley

1. Oakland Raiders (3-13) - Jadeveon Clowney (DE/South Carolina)

Oakland is in this spot for the second time in seven years for many reasons.  One big part is poor drafting.  Only four players on Oakland's roster were drafted by them in the first round (rookie DJ Hayden, kicker Sebastian Janikowski, running back Darren McFadden and Charles Woodson, who left the team and returned this offseason).  Another part is the inability to find a franchise quarterback (JaMarcus Russell was picked first overall in 2007, this also falls under "poor drafting").  Additionally, the Raiders were stuck overpaying aging veterans instead of trying to build a young core together.  The result is a cocktail of salary cap purgatory, zero winning seasons since their Super Bowl appearance in 2002 and a carousel of head coaches.

Quarterback is an obvious need on this team, but Oakland also needs to go after the best player available.  The only football fans who have not heard of Jadeveon Clowney are those living under a rock.  Clowney was the top ranked recruit coming out of high school and has not disappointed in his time with the Gamecocks.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13) - Teddy Bridgewater (QB/Louisville)

If Jacksonville has this high of a draft choice again, the plug will be pulled on the Blaine Gabbert debacle.  The Jaguars do have some talent on their roster, but like Kansas City showed in 2012, a bad quarterback can really hold a team back.

Bridgewater slides up in my rankings because of the ego of Johnny Manziel.  While Manziel is talented, I wouldn't be surprised if a few teams in need of a quarterback passed on him after making many headlines this offseason for negative reasons.

3. Cleveland Browns (4-12) - AJ McCarron (QB/Alabama)

Another team that has potential that is limited by their quarterback.  Brandon Weeden is entering his second year in the league, but he is already 29 and beginning the exit his prime athletic years.  Cleveland brought in a new head coach this year in Rob Chudzinski and he has already sent Colt McCoy packing, don't be surprised if Weeden gets the ax.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (4-12) - Anthony Barr (DE/UCLA)

Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are a great mix as pass rushers for Kansas City, but as the Giants have shown in the past, you can never have too many guys who can get to the quarterback.  Barr is the best player available who fills a need for Kansas City.

5. New York Jets (4-12) - Marqise Lee (WR/USC)

Santonio Holmes can't get on the field and Stephen Hill still needs to learn how to run a route.  The Jets need a top receiver if they want Geno Smith to succeed in the NFL.  Lee suffered a shoulder injury last week, but unless it is something serious, the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner's draft stock shouldn't be affected.

6. Buffalo Bills (5-11) - Aaron Colvin (CB/Oklahoma)

Buffalo used a high draft pick on Stephon Gilmore two years ago, but in this league, you can never have too many cornerbacks.  Colvin could help solidify Buffalo's secondary as one of the leagues best in a few years, a need in a division that features Tom Brady and a rising star in Ryan Tannehill.

7. Philadelphia Eagles (6-10) - Tahj Boyd (QB/Clemson)

Philadelphia has a three-headed monster to deal with at quarterback at the moment.  Michael Vick is easily one of the NFL's most overrated quarterbacks and to make matters worse, he can't stay healthy.  Nick Foles looks average and rumor has it that Matt Barkley isn't truly part of the competition for the starting quarterback gig.  Boyd is an accurate passer who completed over 67-percent of his passes last year and held a 36-13 TD/INT ratio.  Additionally, Boyd is a much more selective runner than he is given credit for, and Philadelphia has been known as a franchise that likes their quarterbacks to be mobile.

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-10) - Stephon Tuitt (DE/Notre Dame)

Tampa Bay lost Michael Bennett in free agency and while the team has young talent at the position in Da'Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn, they are both unproven.  You can never have enough depth at the pass rush in a division with Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Cam Newton.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (6-10) - Aaron Lynch (DE/South Florida)

Cincinnati recently extended Carlos Dunlap, which means it is possible the end of the road in Cincinnati for Michael Johnson.

10. Detroit Lions (7-9) - Taylor Lewan (OT/Michigan)

The Lions added Riley Reiff in 2012, but Jeff Backus has retired and the team needs another tackle.  Taylor Lewan could have been a top 10 pick in 2013.

11. St. Louis Rams (7-9) - Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix (S/Alabama)

The Rams added T.J. McDonald in the draft last year, but they will need another safety in the near future.  Clinton-Dix would fit into the free safety spot while McDonald plays the strong.

12. Tennessee Titans (7-9) - Johnny Manziel (QB/Texas A&M)

If 2013 ends in a one game improvement for the Titans, both Mike Munchack and Jake Locker could be given the boot.  Manziel has made headlines for all of the wrong reasons since wining the Heisman Trophy, but players with character issues has not been an issue for the Titans before.

13. San Diego Chargers (7-9) - Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE/Washington)

Antonio Gates will be 34 next year and is not the same player he was three seasons ago.  Philip Rivers will need a new safety valve.  Luckily, Seferian-Jenkins, who is a top 10 talent, is available in this draft.

14. Dallas Cowboys (7-9) - Scott Crichton (DE/Oregon State)

Anthony Spencer re-signed with Dallas for a year and Tyrone Crawford tore his Achilles in the offseason.  The Cowboys may look to bring depth into their pass rush in the offseason.

15. Carolina Panthers (7-9) - Sammy Watkins (WR/Clemson)

Steve Smith will turn 35 next offseason and is Cam Newton's only reliable target.  The team will need to bring in someone to replace him.

16. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) - Jake Matthews (OT/Texas A&M)

Arizona is still in desperate need for help on the offensive line.  Since Kurt Warner has retired, the Cardinals have allowed 50 sacks per year.

17. St. Louis Rams (7-9) - Louis Nix (DT/Notre Dame)

The Rams drafted Michael Brockers in 2012, but adding another defensive tackle can really solidify an already talented front line for the Rams.

18. Green Bay Packers (9-7) - C.J. Mosley (LB/Alabama)

Green Bay released Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk is entering his thirties in the offseason.  The Pakcers have bulked up the outside linebackers, but they need to add depth inside.

19. Minnesota Vikings (9-7) - David Fales (QB/San Joe State)

If Christian Ponder is awful again after the Vikings brought in Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings, he will get the boot.  Luckily 2014 is the opposite of 2013 for drafting quarterbacks.

20. Miami Dolphins (9-7) - Anthony Johnson (DT/LSU)

Randy Starks and Paul Solai are impending free agents and the Dolphins will have a big void at defensive tackle soon.  Miami was reportedly looking into taking a defensive tackle in the draft last season, but ultimately looked elsewhere.

21. Baltimore Ravens (9-7) - Antonio Richardson (OT/Tennessee)

Baltimore is in another year of dealing with whether or not Bryant McKinnie will retire.  Michael Oher has been a bust so the team will need to upgrade their blind side if McKinnie does leave.

22. Chicago Bears (10-6) - Bradley Roby (CB/Ohio State)

Both Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings are in their contract year.  If the Bears are only able to retain one (or neither) of their starting cornerbacks, they will need to bring in a replacement.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) - James Hurst (OT/North Carolina)

The Steelers need to upgrade the tackle position across from Mike Adams.  As Ben Roethlisberger gets older, he will need better protection.

24. Atlanta Falcons (10-6) - De'Anthony Thomas (RB/Oregon)

The Falcons signed Stephen Jackson this offseason, but he is just a short-term solution.  Atlanta will need to find a feature back in the immediate future.

25. New Orleans Saints (10-6) - Jackson Jeffcoat (DE/Texas)

New Orleans is expected to rebound after last season's debacle, but the pass rush still needs to be imrpoved if they want to be serious contenders for a Super Bowl title.

26. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) - Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (CB/Oregon)

Vontae Davis was a solid acquisition for the Colts, but they need help across from him.  Don't be surprised of Ekpre-Olomu rises during the season, he is a third-team All-American with a high ceiling.

27. New York Giants (10-6) - Loucheiz Purifoy (CB/Florida)

Terrell Thomas, Corey Webster and Aaron Ross are all free agents in 2014.  The Giants will need to bring in help at the secondary because it isn't likely that the will bring back all three.

28. Houston Texans (11-5) - A.J. Johnson (LB/Tennessee)

DeMeco Ryans is gone and Brian Cushing is coming off of a torn ACL, Houston is thin at the inside linebacker position.

29. Seattle Seahawks (11-5) - Kyle Van Noy (DE/BYU)

Seattle added several defensive ends this offseason, but they were all short-term solutions.  The team will look to add depth to their pass rush during the offseason.

30. New England Patriots (11-5) - Marcus Roberson (CB/Florida)

Aqib Talib was brought back on a one-year deal, but chances are he wont return next season.  Alfonzo Dennard is a legal mess so New England will look into bolstering their secondary.

31. San Francisco 49ers (10-6) - Adrian Hubbard (DE/Alabama)

San Francisco has such few holes in their roster that they can afford to go after the best player available.  Justin Smith was injured during their run to the Super Bowl last season so it wouldn't hurt to add depth.

32. Denver Broncos (11-5) - Justin Gilbert (CB/Oklahoma State)

Champ Bailey will be 36 next season and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie signed a one-year deal.  Denver will look at add to their secondary in the near future.