Draft day is here! And to celebrate, I’m shaking things up and incorporating trades in my final first-round mock draft. From an aggressive trade into the top five, to a mid-round pick changing hands twice, my 2014 NFL Draft Day Mock is filled with surprises, starting with the very first pick…
1) Houston Texans: Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
A mild upset at #1, as the Texans bypass Jadeveon Clowney to select Khalil Mack.
2) Atlanta Falcons (via St. Louis Rams): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Atlanta doesn’t think twice about pulling the trigger on a blockbuster deal to trade up to take Jadeveon Clowney. St. Louis moves down to #6.
3) Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
With the two top defenders off the board, the Jaguars go all in and roll the dice on Johnny Football.
4) Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
The Browns prepare for the inevitable selection of a quarterback with their second first-rounder by taking the explosive Sammy Watkins.
5) Oakland Raiders: Greg Robinson, T, Auburn
Oakland is content to stay put at #5 and lands the big, athletic tackle with the even bigger upside.
6) St. Louis Rams (via Atlanta Falcons): Jake Matthews, T, Texas A&M
St. Louis trades back with Atlanta and takes the player they would have been happy to select second overall – tackle Jake Matthews.
7) Detroit Lions (via Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Detroit makes a bold move to go up and get the Starscream to Calvin Johnson’s Megatron – receiver Mike Evans. Tampa Bay moves down to #10.
8) Minnesota Vikings: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
The Vikings choose the quarterback prospect projected to have the highest ceiling to be the eventual leader of their offense.
9) Buffalo Bills: Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
The Bills make the smart decision to address a desperate need, taking a viable top-10 talent and the top safety on the board, rather than settle for one in the later rounds.
10) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via Detroit Lions): Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan
The Buccaneers trade back with Detroit, get additional picks and still get the cornerstone tackle they need in Taylor Lewan.
11) Baltimore Ravens (via Tennessee Titans): Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
The Ravens leapfrog the Giants in trade with Tennessee to take Eric Ebron to add a big, athletic target in the seam. Tennessee moves down to #17.
12) New York Giants: Zack Martin, T, Notre Dame
The Giants stay put and take versatile offensive lineman Zack Martin to upgrade their run blocking and pass protection.
13) St. Louis Rams: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
The hard-hitting, ball-hawking safety brings an edge to the St. Louis secondary and gives their defense a physical presence over the middle.
14) Chicago Bears: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
The dynamic 3-technique falls right into the lap of the Bears, who gladly scoop him up.
15) Pittsburgh Steelers: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
The Steelers add the physical press corner to get younger in the secondary and stronger against the pass.
16) Dallas Cowboys: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
The athletic pass rusher has the tools to come off the edge for the Cowboys now and the upside to get even better down the road.
17) San Francisco 49ers (via Baltimore Ravens through Tennessee Titans): Odell Beckham, WR, LSU
The 49ers shoot up from the bottom of the first round in a trade with Tennessee to take the explosive Odell Beckham and add a vertical threat to their offense. Tennessee moves down again, to #30.
18) Arizona Cardinals (via New York Jets): C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
Arizona trades up to get ahead of Miami to select inside linebacker C.J. Mosley. New York moves down to #20.
19) San Diego Chargers (via Miami Dolphins): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
With Mosley off the board, the Dolphins trade back. They find a willing partner in the Chargers, who jump in front of New York to take playmaking corner Justin Gilbert.
20) New York Jets (via Arizona Cardinals): Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
The Jets trade back and end up leaving Mosley on the table and missing out on Justin Gilbert, but get a nice consolation prize in Kyle Fuller.
21) New Orleans Saints (via Green Bay Packers): Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
The Saints make a shrewd move to sneak in front of Philadelphia and Kansas City and steal away receiver Brandin Cooks. Green Bay moves down to #27.
22) Philadelphia Eagles: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
The Eagles fill their need at receiver with Marqise Lee, a polished route runner who can line up outside the numbers or inside at the slot.
23) Cleveland Browns (via Kansas City Chiefs): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
The Browns get antsy about getting their quarterback of the future and trade up with Kansas City to take the passer they covet. Kansas City moves down to #26.
24) Cincinnati Bengals: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
The Bengals flirt with taking a quarterback, but instead strengthen their defense with the speedy linebacker who flies to the ball and performs well in coverage.
25) Miami Dolphins (via San Diego Chargers): Xavier Su’a-Filo, G, UCLA
The Dolphins benefit from dropping back, getting additional picks while still getting the offensive lineman they considered six picks earlier.
26) Kansas City Chiefs (via Cleveland Browns): Ra’Shede Hageman, DE, Minnesota
Kansas City decides to chase a receiver in the later rounds, instead opting to fortify their defensive front by taking Ra’Shede Hageman.
27) Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints): Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
The Packers drop back, get the top remaining safety on the board, and feel more comfortable about it because it’s less of a reach than doing so their original draft position.
28) Carolina Panthers: Morgan Moses, T, Virgina
The Panthers sit tight at #28 and take their left tackle of the future, the mountainous Morgan Moses.
29) New England Patriots: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
The Patriots elect to reload their 12 personnel group with the talented tight end who could end up being a steal if he plays up to expectations.
30) Tennessee Titans (via San Francisco 49ers): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
The Titans wisely stockpile picks by trading back, first with Baltimore and then with San Francisco, and still wind up with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
31) Denver Broncos: Joel Bitonio, T, Nevada
Athletic and versatile, the Broncos can plug Joel Bitonio in at guard or tackle to get tougher up front.
32) Seattle Seahawks: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
The size, length and position flex of Kony Ealy makes him a valuable addition to the Seahawks vaunted defense.