The wait is almost over. The 2014 NFL Draft kicks off Thursday at 7:00 PM. With that said, it’s time to unveil the second and final Red Beans & Life mock draft.
1. Houston Texans: Jadaveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
There is still no clear picture of what the Texans plan to do, so I’m sticking with the draft’s top player for them if they hang onto the pick (Don’t trade it to Atlanta. Please!).
2. St. Louis Rams: Kahlil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
The Rams got this pick from the Redskins in the Robert Griffin trade (looks a little one-sided right now, doesn’t it?). The Rams need an offensive tackle, but Jeff Fisher’s teams have rarely used high picks on them. Instead, they go with Mack to bolster their already formidable pass rush.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Justin Blackmon is suspended indefinitely and may not play at all in 2014. The Jaguars may be willing to wait until early round 2 for a quarterback.
4. Cleveland Browns: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Ideally, the Browns would grab Watkins here, but he’s unavailable in this scenario. I still think Cleveland will shoot for their receiver and quarterback combination strategy from my last mock, just in a different order.
5. Oakland Raiders: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
The Raiders are in dire need of a franchise quarterback, but they seem to be in “win now” mode despite not having a roster equipped for that. They take a flashy wide receiver in hopes of reviving Matt Schaub.
6. Atlanata Falcons: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
The Falcons two biggest areas of concern are their offensive and defensive lines. With Clowney and Mock gone (Saints fans can relax), they go with the best available tackle.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Reports have been circulating that the Bucs are interested in Manziel. With all the upgrades they have made in the offseason, landing a franchise quarterback would be icing on the cake for them.
8. Minnesota Vikings: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
The Vikings finally land what they hope is their franchise saving quarterback. I find it hard to believe any team would prefer Carr over Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, but that’s appearing increasingly likely.
9. Buffalo Bills: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Buffalo needs more offensive weapons if E. J. Manuel is to have any chance to succeed. Most teams would be reluctant to draft a tight end this high, but Ebron is a special talent.
10. Detroit Lions: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
Detroit’s collapse at the end of last season highlighted their defensive weaknesses. They need to shore up their secondary so they can stop choking away late leads.
11. Tennessee Titans: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
The Titans have to face Andrew Luck twice a year, as well as the new quarterbacks Houston and Jacksonville bring in. They’ll need either a corner or pass rusher to defend against them. Here they roll with the high-upside pass rusher Barr over more established corners like Justin Gilbert and Darqueze Dennard.
12. New York Giants: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Eli Manning took a pounding last season and the Giants think he might be on the decline (what took them so long?). They need more protection for Manning to keep their window open for one more run. Matthews is a steal at this point.
13. St. Louis Rams: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
This works out perfectly for the Rams. After landing Mack at 2, they also get one of the top offensive linemen at 13. Lewan had some off-field discipline issues in college, but nothing that would scare a tough guy like Fisher.
14. Chicago Bears: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Everybody is mocking Donald to Chicago, so I’ll jump on the bandwagon. It makes sense for the Bears, Donald is an absolute monster on the defensive line.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Father Time is starting to wear down the Steelers’ once dominant defense. This would be a good landing spot for Gilbert; he would have a great chance to get early playing time and make an impression going up against the inconsistent quarterbacks in the AFC North.
16. Dallas Cowboys: Calvin Pryor, S Louisville
The Cowboys defense ranked dead last in the NFL in yards allowed last season. They need help all over, so they take Pryor, a hard hitting safety who can do a little bit of everything.
17. Baltimore Ravens: Odel Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU
The Ravens seriously need to upgrade their receiving corps. Joe Flacco regressed badly with Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones as his primary options.
18. New York Jets: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
While the Jets could probably use another receiver even after signing Eric Decker, it would be difficult to pass on Dennard if he’s still on the board right here. Besides, Rex Ryan would probably blow a gasket if his team missed out on one of the top corners.
19. Miami Dolphins: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
Miami’s offensive line was already in bad shape to begin with. Then that bullying incident happened, and now they’re even worse after jettisoning those responsible. Martin may be skilled enough to play all five O-line positions, so he’s an ideal fit here.
20. Arizona Cardinals: Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
The Cardinals need to add to their pass rush with John Abraham getting up there in age. Ford can work as a situational edge rusher his rookie year before making the transition to a full-time starter later.
21. Green Bay Packers: C. J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Mosley is a top 15 player in this draft based on talent alone. But teams usually don’t value inside linebackers highly unless they really need one. The Packers are one such team.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
The Eagles are on the hunt for a receiver after Desean Jackson’s unceremonious release. The speedy Cooks is a carbon copy of Jackson with better college production.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Kansas City’s leader in receptions and yards last season was their running back, Jamaal Charles. They need more options at wide receiver.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
It’s hard to find a weak link in the Bengals. Andy Dalton can be maddeningly inconsistent, but they’re willing to give their QB one more year to prove himself. Adding to their secondary seems the most likely move.
25. San Diego Chargers: Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
The Chargers defense fared poorly against the run last season, and their starting nose tackle left in free agency. Hageman can clog the running lanes and moves very well for someone his size.
26. Cleveland Browns: Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
The Browns acquired this pick from the Colts for Trent Richardson. They got their franchise quarterback earlier. Now they go for a receiver to pair him with.
27. New Orleans Saints: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Receiver might be a bigger need for the Saints, but they would be better addressing their need for a corner here rather than reaching for a receiver. Verrett is a little undersized, but he has all the skills necessary to be a shut down corner in the NFL. He was the Big XII co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.
28. Carolina Panthers: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
Carolina also has a glaring need at receiver, but choose to fill another big need in offensive line with a value pick in Moses.
29. New England Patriots: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
The Patriots signed Darrelle Revis in free agency, but he’s not guaranteed to be back after 2014. Finding a future replacement for him would be a wise idea.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
The 49ers don’t have many weaknesses. Michael Crabtree is nearing free agency, so adding a receiver for insurance purposes would make sense even if it is a reach.
31. Denver Broncos: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
Denver’s spending spree in free agency left them with few holes to address. They go with the best player available in the versatile Shazier who can play both inside and outside linebacker.
32. Seattle Seahawks: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
Seattle lost leading receiver Golden Tate to free agency. They don’t have very many offensive playmakers other than Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. Adding Amaro would fix that.
So there you have it. The Official Red Beans and 1st round mock draft. Stay tuned for more Saints and NFL updates!