Football Memo

2014 NFL Mock Draft (Selections 1 through 10)

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With the 2014 NFL Draft looming, many analysts and scholars from across the land will entice you to listen to their insights. With each mock draft comes a new perspective or angle that has not been discovered. While many are more or less in agreement in the top 10, the predictions are far from unanimous. The consensus has often been the voice of treason and the draft results have materialized in a far different outcome than projected. For example: NFL great, Aaron Rodgers was passed up 23 times before he was taken by Green Bay 24th overall in 2005. Meanwhile, Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams was taken first overall by Houston, a sure pick slated for USC running back Reggie Bush. Without further adieu, yet another Mock Draft from another Football Memo contributor:

1) Houston Texans - DE Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina) – Without question the Texans will take Clowney at number 1. Is Jadeveon the best player in the draft? Probably not. Is he the best fit for Houston, given their needs and his talent? Absolutely. The Texans have declared their kinship for QB T.J Yates and Clowney would be an excellent complement to one of the best rushers in the league, J.J Watt. Clearly, Houston is hoping to reconstruct a vaunted defense they established in 2012.

2) St. Louis Rams - OT Greg Robinson (Auburn) – With Sam Bradford returning from injury and the emergence of Zac Stacy at running back, the Rams will need to protect their assets. Greg Robinson is a great RT option for the Rams, but he can easily be a great LT option to safeguard Bradford’s blind side. Look for the Rams to package together OT Taylor Lewan and OT Greg Robinson with their two first-round selections, rejuvenating their porous offensive line with some premiere talent.

3) Jacksonville Jaguars - QB Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) – The mystique of Johnny Football will descend upon the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars need a quarterback and they need a spark. Manziel can provide both, despite his draft stock falling, look for Jacksonville to take Manziel as the first QB in the draft.

4) Cleveland Browns - WR Sammy Watkins (Clemson) – Watkins is ranked as the number two prospect overall. However, he will fall in to the hands of Cleveland who would love nothing more than to add Watkins to the imminently explosive offense featuring Josh Gordon, Ben Tate and Jordan Cameron. Watkins is a perfect fit for the Dogs, and look for them to pull the trigger with him falling to them at No. 4.

5) Oakland Raiders -QB Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville) – With Bridgewater on the board, the Raiders take their quarterback of the future. With Matt Schaub running the show for 2014, look for a transition to take place as the reins are slowly pulled away from Schaub and placed in the hands of this economical and resourceful Louisville product. Bridgewater has excellent accuracy and a cannon of an arm. With Rod Streater and James Jones at receiver, Bridgewater may be able to cultivate a vertical attack with these speed demons.

6) Atlanta Falcons – LB Khalil Mack (Buffalo) – A top-ranked prospect and absolute freak is Khalil Mack. The Falcons in need of help on their deplorable defense will enlist the help of this prodigal playmaker from the lowly Mid-American Conference. Mack was the best in the business, countrywide. Pairing Mack with Georgia-native Akeem Dent will give the Falcons some strength in the core of their defense. Look for Mack to make an impact immediately.

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - OT Jake Matthews (Texas A&M) – He blocked for Johnny Football in college, now the Bucs will grab him to protect their new signing, QB Josh McCown. Matthews is a big, strong, athletic and very adept offensive lineman. He sealed off the left side for the Aggies in the toughest conference in America: The SEC.

8) Minnesota Vikings - QB Blake Bortles (UCF) – With top-tier quarterback options exhausted, the Vikings will take Blake Bortles, who will fall to them at eight. The Vikings are in desperate need of a quarterback and apparently Bortles is the best available. He has a prototypical NFL build and delivery, and this is attractive on paper. The Vikings will not take their chances and pass on Bortles to grab QB Derek Carr, even though Carr is probably the better choice. Perhaps Bortles may be trade bait for a Minnesota team looking to package a deal with Bortles going to a team with a lower pick.

9) Buffalo Bills - OLB Anthony Barr (UCLA) – With Mack off the board, the Bills will grab Anthony Barr at outside linebacker. Barr is a true pass rusher and paired with Mario Williams, he can make a splash very quickly. Barr is a gifted athlete and relentless adversary. The Bills are hoping to improve their defense to complement an offense with the potential to put up points. Barr will be a great addition to a talented Bills front seven.

10) Detroit Lions - CB Justin Gilbert (Okla. St.) – One of the best players in the draft in my opinion, the Lions pull the trigger and scoop up Gilbert at 10. Gilbert is a tremendous cornerback and defensive genius. He also has return man speed and wide receiver agility. However rumors are circulating that the Lions may trade up to grab Sammy Watkins. If this were to happen, the Lions would most likely swap picks with the St. Louis Rams. In this instance, the Rams would fall to 10 and most likely take Taylor Lewan first and perhaps shuffle the deck with their second pick at 13. We will see if the Lions make this cunning negotiation, I think it is likely.

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